Monday, September 26, 2011


This is what happens when you let seven and ten year olds go to the paint department alone to pick a paint color for their new bathroom:

The 13" tile for the floor is on the bottom (on top of a distracting random throw rug). The (broken piece of) white 6" tile will be on the walls with the patterned piece along the room at about four feet.  The granite is for the vanity top. I don't have a sample of the cabinetry, but the color was called "honey spice"  and is made of maple. 

Our master bathroom has the same floor, wood color and granite, and we painted it turquoise and used some turquoise glass tiles as accent.  I wanted a beach/ water and sand feeling in there.  Since there is so little paint in the small kids bathroom-- just around the door, above the towel bars and around the medicine cabinets-- I'm letting the kids pick.  Personally, I'm ready to veto the yellow, purple and kelly greens, but could go for any of the others probably.  The rest of the room is so neutral (on my insistence) that anything would work.  My thought is that paint is (1) cheap and (2) easily changed.

Anyone have opinions?

Friday, September 23, 2011


The cast is blue this time too.

There is a "closed fracture of the supracondylar humerus." In English, this means that he broke his left arm in the top bone somewhere right at the elbow. He was simply running around on the church playground and fell.

They didn't offer a water safe cast, so we've got to struggle through showers again. He hates all the attention but I think he's most upset that baseball is over for the season. Maybe the coach will make him a ball/bat boy at games.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


There are sledgehammers upstairs in the bathroom.  This is a good thing!

Our upstairs guest/kids bathroom has never been renovated.  The Harvest Gold sink and tile chosen in 1970 are still there.  The ugliness of it didn't escape me, but it was functional, if tiny..  We tried our best to ignore it.  We bathed babies in the tub.  We put up a 12x12 mirrored tile so they could see their little faces above the sink (and below the Big Box woodishlikeproduct vanity).

When guests used the bathroom we were reminded of the problems with it.  When we replaced all the windows in the house we put obscuring glass in the shower's window, understanding that guests felt uncomfortable standing naked in front of a window, even if promised that no neighbors were in viewing distance.  (Yes, there is a window in the shower.)  We added a second Big Box woodishlikeproduct cabinet to add storage space above the toilet.  We replaced the toilet.  (No, the boys still never close it.) Then we lived with it for several more years.

We were aware that there was a leak by the window, but we seldom had guests who needed the shower much.  Our kids were young and took baths.  As they got older and became more independent in the tub and when brushing teeth, I spent less time in the space and was more able to ignore the need for renovation.

When Pook gave up the tub for the shower, we somewhat reluctantly let him use our bathroom.  We'd renovated it already (avocado green, three shades) and while I had wanted to take my baths far away from Spiderman and his ilk, it was very handy to have the boys bathing at the same time, one in each bathroom.  Pook moved in.  Then Bug decided he was ready to give up baths for showers.  Four washcloths lined up on the towel bar.  And so it has continued for the past year or more.

But! Today there is a contractor upstairs beating the heck out of my house.  I don't see the kitchen ceiling crumbling, so I'll trust that the mess is contained.  We've used this contractor (and his brother) several times, so we're comfortable with their style and process.

Here are Before photos to enjoy.

The kids' bathroom, as seen from the hall, toilet open.

Isn't the Harvest Gold lovely?

The rotten part of the sill. We'll see how deep the damage goes.

The old light fixture above the vanity and the wallpaper.

Monday, September 19, 2011

how does a plant grow?

We've all been taught that plants need soil, water and sun to grow.  In my yard, I have little of any of those and yet, there are plants growing and even blooming this time of year.

I have primarily shade. The tree-cutting has brought a bit more sun to my front yard, encouraging the beauty berry bushes I moved, as well as the daisies, which have flourished this year.

I have primarily clay.  We've added compost and amended bits here and there, but unless I removed it all and started over, most of the yard is still red clay with holes filled with nice soil.

I have had no rain this summer.  All the storms in the south and east, but my part of Atlanta got only about an inch of rain. "Nearly all of Georgia has been designated a federal agriculture disaster area due to the ongoing drought and excessive heat," says the news.  None of the typical rush hour thunderstorms came through for us (or sent us home from the pool) this summer.  I watered the new plants a bit but can't possibly give the whole yard what it needs.  I've lost some of them, including some which really sadden me. 

The survivors:

lantana- This perennial is always wonderful for the second half of summer. It will remain covered in butterflies until the first frost.

garlic chives- I'll cut the seedpods off since I don't need more chives, but the bees have been enjoying the flowers.

autumn sedum: The blossoms seem to have hosted a bumblebee slumber party last night with many friends still hanging around this morning.

swamp sunflower- (I think that's what this is) which grows 6-8' tall and blooms reliably in the late summer heat

dogwood- The baby dogwood which cost me $10 is alive and well.  I think it will need to be babied all winter and even next summer, but it is worth it to me.

I even have a handful of gardenia blooms and rose blooms this September.

The dearly departed:
My camelias by the front door were ignored. One has made it, one has not. I will shop to replace it.
The winter daphnes by the front door were also forgotten. The one on the far side of the door perished.
Several heutchera plants are gone, the sweet potato vines are missing, and a few new ajuga plants didn't make it.

This is all from my front yard.  I haven't assessed the ferns, but the backyard wall garden looks lush even with it's losses.

September is Fall to some, but here in Atlanta it is Summer 2.0

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

rolling off the tongue

You never know what will come from a family dinner time conversation.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy them so much.  Last night Bug shared his favorite words with us, then made a list of the favorite words for each of us.

Bug's list:

My favorites:
papillion (French for butterfly)

CD's faves
humuhumunukunukuapuaa (Hawaiian word for the Trigger fish)

Pook's favorites:

I thought our lists were interesting.  Bug's words were new-ish words from vocabulary lists in school, and I could see what they had in common to attract him.  Good words too; I like the sound of them.  He's been obsessing about cheese recently (don't ask; I can't explain) therefore "gorgonzola."   I pick words based on their sound too.  "Papillion" has been a favorite since middle school French class.  I was told I needed a second word and "Guatemala" was the first to roll off my tongue.  I've never thought of it as a favorite before last night, but perhaps I'll keep it around.

Pook and CD had different, or at least additional reasons for their favorites.  "Zyzzyva" is the last word in the dictionary (that Pook has investigated). It means "any of various tropical American weevils of the genus zyzzyva, often destructive to plants," just in case you care.  "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" clearly was chosen for length. "Samurai" he chose for the way it sounds.

CD liked "polysyllabic" because it describes itself, "strengths" for the greatest number of consonants making for the longest one syllable word, and "humuhumunukunukuapuaa" because, well, why not?

So, share your favorite words in the comment section.  If you have a reason for liking them, share that too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

now change clothes

Day One of kiddies in the school.  I'm still a "floater" which meant that after helping with carpool I was asked to check with two particular classrooms to see if they needed help.  On my way to one of them I was snagged by a teacher of "barely 3's."    "Could I help settle this one down?"  Sure.  I made my way to Dominic, a silently sobbing boy sitting by but ignoring a table of puzzles.  Half an hour later he was still not talking but he was calming. (His caretaker had said parting words in Spanish and he had not yet been heard to speak either language, but it was believed that he spoke both.) 

Then the fire alarm went off.  Seeing as no one had known about it being a drill, it was taken seriously. The nursery tossed three to a crib and rolled the cribs out the doors. Toddlers everywhere were crying.   (Did I mention it was raining?)  I carried Dominic outside and then discovered he wasn't about to let me put him down.  He simply wiped his snot on my shoulder and continued his sobbing outside in the rain.

Once back in the room, he gently pushed away some attempts from other kids to interact and sat firmly on my lap, still with the silent sobs.  The rain turned to light sprinkles and the class decided to check out the playground.  The little guy explored a bit but then clung to the fence separating the carpool area from the playground. 

This was the same classroom in which I will substitute while the other support teacher is getting married, so I was trying to watch her tot too, so I could get a feel for his needs.  Mac has cerebral palsy and does not yet walk independently, so she'd been carrying him outside.  When Dominic was exploring, she asked if I'd hold Mac while she took a quick potty break herself.  He immediately started to cry, then gagged on his own mucus and threw up on my (other) shoulder. Seems he'd bonded pretty quickly!

I stayed with this group most of the day.  When I caught Dominic calm and interacting after snack time, I decided to take my own potty break.  On my return he was still calm and playing, so I kept out of his sight, then left the room to check on my original destination.

While that classroom needed all the help it could get (one child needing the support teacher 100% of her time and a second charge needing about 60% more of her attention) no one in that room rubbed either snot or puke on me.  I spent the remaining half hour of the day with them and will probably return to help them out on Thursday too.

Bodily fluids aside, I enjoyed my day a good deal.  I'll clearly be getting to know both rooms and all the kids.  No sign of a charge of my own yet.