Archive for September, 2007

There’s a body under the floorboards!

September 23, 2007

Water leak
Originally uploaded by pinkaboo_uk.

I got back from a disappointing consignment sale in Toco Hills on Friday morning and was freaked out to hear gushing water when I went into the office. Couldn’t hear it in the bathroom or kitchen at all, but it was very loud in the office and seemed to be coming from near, and beneath, the closet. No water was running in any of the taps or appliances so I went down into the crawl space to turn the water off at the mains. It was decidedly wet down there and Bill came straight home from work that afternoon once I’d told him.

Upon further investigation he discovered several large problems. Our immediate trouble was a nasty leak in the inbound water pipe, but it looks like it had been leaking for a long time before giving way completely, as all the joists around it were sodden and very rotten. Not only that but there were also several holes rusted through in the some of the outbound pipes which have also been drip dripping away.

Added to this, a previous owner had done a hack job with the joists when the bathroom was “remodelled” He had cut through the joists to put the pipes in but not reinforced it so the joists were just floating and the bathroom wasn’t supported by anything. The strut that had been badly put in place in absence of supporting beam has now rotted and fallen away completely.

Sadly, we sort of knew about this, but as we were supposed to be residing in a nice new house and this one should have been demolished this month, we hadn’t wanted to throw money at something that was just going to get torn down. Aaargh! I want to scream. Damn this house.

Could be worse, could have really found a body down there I suppose!

Bill is still working on getting the plumbing fixed and the bathroom safe now. He’s spent the best part of the weekend inching around in the muck beneath the house, framing in some new support and tearing out all the old pipes. I’ve been down there with him and we are both filthy, and without a shower. Thankfully Bill was able to cap off the pipes so that we do have water in the kitchen, but despite best efforts we are still stinky and feel gross.

Bill’s carpentry skills are being tested right now and it looks like he is doing a grand job. Framing is almost done and hopefully we’ll be replacing the pipes this afternoon.

Sam is an absolute darling, He’s had to spend a lot of time in his nursery but he’s been playing quite happily. I feel terribly guilty though and will have to make it up to him this week.

I’ve been bringing out some of the toys that I had packed up ready for the move. I think that has really helped because they now seem fresh and fun again to him.

Last night I gave him his box of wooden blocks that he got as a birthday present. I was really impressed, last time he played with them I was building towers and he was only interested in knocking them down. This time, he pulled out the blocks and straight away started to build stuff! So happy with himself.

That night I cleared up the nursery and put the blocks back in a box on top of his toy chest. I peeped in later and he’d carried them over into the bed with him and was hugging the box. I carefully extracted the box and replaced it on the toy chest. Picking up a stray block I went to put it away. When I lifted the lid I was surprised to find Sam’s little toy monkey staring up at me, along with his water beaker. It was like he’d created a little box of treasures. Of course, this morning when I went in to see Sam the box was back on the bed and he was sat up on his mattress happily poring over the blocks again.

Bill’s now happy with his framing job and is off to the store to buy the plumbing pipe.

Festivity in EAV

September 16, 2007

That was a much needed weekend of fun and family time. I’ve been feeling rather stretched thin lately and last week was really hard. Sam is absolutely wonderful but is really trying my patience lately. I wish I had a boundless supply because I’ve really been feeling like I’m at the end of my rope lately. Bill’s been super busy with work and I never know what time he is going to be getting home, around eight o’clock seems to be the norm right now and although the nights are now drawing in, the days have never felt longer.

Last week I was feeling dreadful because in the early evening I would be exhausted and desperate for Bill to be coming home from work. Just as I was hoping with all my might that he wasn’t on IM because he was on his way, I would get a call from the office that would just sink me into despair. I’d just get to a point in the day where I could no longer cope with Sam and even though he is really so well behaved and a complete treasure, I’d be clamouring for a break, feeling deadly tired and like I was going to implode.

One day I had had enough of Sam’s constant energy and I’d been trying to keep him entertained in his room, playing and reading him stories. Oh yes, he loves books. Books are his favourite things, ever. He signs that he wants books. He’ll earnestly beseech me to give him a “booh!” If you go into his room in the morning he’ll instantly get up and go to the book shelf, try to climb up the chest of drawers, get frustrated when you tell him off for climbing and just sign “book!” “book!” “booh!” “booh!” over and over again. I’ll then lift him up so he can choose the book he wants. He always has to have specific books. If I hand him the wrong one it’ll get flung immediately onto the floor with annoyance, and the signing and impatience will continue. Very particular is little Sam.

One boon to having switched to the toddler bed is that it’s now so very nice to be able to sit on the bed next to Sam so he can lean right up against me and we can read books together. I love it. But this day I was so tired it was absolutely awful and I could barely keep my eyes open as I lifted the flaps and read the stories and just wished that I could curl up and have some quiet time. So there I was, absolutely exhausted, and trying to keep up with Sam’s unlimited demand for books and attention and thinking it was still going to be absolutely ages before Daddy arrived home as he hadn’t even called to give his status yet, when who should walk through the nursery door but the man himself. Yay! It’s incredible how quickly I suddenly felt so much better and was able to deal cheerfully with Sam and the housework again. It was then I decided that the hash had to be foregone this weekend, the Allen’s were desperately in need of some family time.

As luck would have it the next day was a mini festival day in East Atlanta Village. It was the annual EAV Strut, a little street festival with music, art booths and food, a 5K for the wide awake and athletic, and, for us the highlight of the day, a carnival parade through the village (which Sam and I’d been supposed to take part in but am disappointed to say that I didn’t get around to dressing up our beast of a stroller in time). Each year the Strut gets better and better. It’s such a great day out and a really nice village event for our neighbourhood.

Bill called his folks and despite the late notice his mom decided to also drive up to Atlanta to get some Sammy time and join us at the Strut. Sadly she didn’t manage to find us in time for the parade, which was small but which a lot of effort had been put in by participants. We stood on the corner, Sam high up on my shoulders and watched children dressed as storybooks and an animal menagerie, the colourful Marching Abominables marching band, a gaggle of scooters, bikes and cyclists, and the Atlanta Rollergirls bumble jovially past. The kids costumes were all great because they were all obviously created by themselves as an art project and made from cardboard, paper, string and crayons. Nothing fancy, but totally awesome.

Eav Strut 2

Spotting Granma hiding amongst the stalls we then tried to meander up and down the high street with Sam in his stroller. We stuck it out long enough for Bill and Granma to get a corndog each and me to get a beloved coffee, before backing away and deciding to go find some quiet and let Sam loose in Brownwood Park. Actually, it wasn’t so quiet there either as a band was playing from the roof of an adjacent house and a large family reunion was taking place in the pavilion, but Sam and I did get to have a good time at the playground while Granma and Bill sat on a nearby bench and watched his crazy antics.

Daddy, Granma and Sam

All too soon it was time for Granma to make the drive back to Milledgeville. I’m so glad she was able to join us for the afternoon though, was lovely to see her.

Get Free!

September 15, 2007

Sam has been presenting lots of new challenges since he proved he can climb out of his cot, easily. He’s both entertained us greatly by suddenly appearing next to us when Bill and I are snuggled up on the couch watching a movie way past his bedtime, and infuriated us by being totally unstoppable and getting into absolutely everything. We didn’t even get to try Bill’s idea of switching to the deeper pack and play, once Sam’d escaped the crib he was merrily climbing out of that too.

Mornings are interesting because we generally wake up when one of us starts to the sound of pitter patter pitter patter past our bedroom door. When we go to bed now we have to be really careful that the baby gate to the kitchen is in place, bathroom door shut, nursery door shut tight and everything else picked up and baby proofed just in case.

Around 3 o’clock I tend to wake up to the sound of Sam on the move. He loves to ride his rocking truck around that time. It was beginning to get to the point where we would generally find Sam awake in the middle of the nursery, or fast asleep on the floor somewhere. Sam’s cot would always be the last place to look.

Last Sunday we decided to convert his cot into the toddler bed. He was an expert at climbing out and 99% of the time did so very gingerly and adeptly (it was the other 1% we caught on film), but the warning on the label had us worried as it strongly said not to use once its occupant could climb out unassisted.

So far so good.

Despite our fretting, Sam does actually climb into his bed and go to sleep now! No idea how long this will last but I like it, and Sam really seems to too. We put a folded duvet beside the open side of the bed just in case he rolls out in his sleep. I’ve heard a muffled thump a few times and had to bundle him back into bed again, usually he just carries on sleeping.

Sam’s slightly potty

September 12, 2007

I’m at home today trying to get the house ship shape again in between keeping Sam entertained with stories and spinning around on the spot (. I have Sam running around in his nursery without any clothes on.

I am heartened when I see him go over to the potty and go pssssssss pssssssss. I go over and sure enough the potty is wet.

A little later I hear him again. Psssss pssssssssss.

This time I see him take a big swig of water and spit it straight out into the potty bowl. Then again, and again. Pssssss psssssss *swig* *spit* He giggles.

I then find the puddle by his chest of drawers where he did pee.


Good Morning Samuel

September 9, 2007

This morning I woke up and all was quiet. I hadn’t heard a peep from Sam and I began to have niggles about him being okay if we hadn’t heard movement or squeaks from him by nine o’clock. So, although I really wanted to just stay in bed and snooze there was nothing for it but to get up and sate my mummy worry by checking in on him.

We have to keep his door closed now and I knew there is no way to open that door without causing a racket and waking a sleeping toddler, unleashing the beast. I simply had to satisfy myself that he was okay in there though. Resigned to disturb a dreaming boy, I gingerly tried to crack open the door but the door had stuck again and needed a good shove. As ever my entrance could not be subtle and I winced as I waited for Sam’s disgruntled waking up cries.

Instead I was greeted by a happy smiling baby sat on a blanket in the middle of the nursery floor. Having climbed out of his cot again, he was contentedly up and about, playing and reading a book. He saw me, grinned and stood up, grabbed his potty, waved it awkwardly about said “doh!”

Going in to give Sam morning hugs I did a nappy check and soon regretted my decision to go in close. Yup, it was full and stinky.

Coincidence? Or do you think he really was trying to tell me that?

Tony Hart

September 7, 2007

Originally uploaded by pinkaboo_uk.

While Bill was watching Sam the other day I decided to go have a root around in the no man’s land behind our property. We’ve been getting deer coming into our backyard and I was really curious to see where they are coming from and exactly what is back there.

I couldn’t easily get over the fence in our yard so I tried to cut down between our neighbour’s house and I-20. I was disappointed to learn that that wasn’t possible but I did make an interesting and sad find while I was poking around.

I was quite shocked to discover a large pile of discarded items that the neighbour’s had apparently just throw over their fence and left to fester. Amongst the heap of bathroom furniture, old broken blinds and rotting garden furniture there was some stuff that caught my eye.

Returning a little later armed with a pair of gloves, with some effort I managed to haul a Little Tikes plastic table and benches, Little Tikes toddler basketball hoop, child’s bicycle, plastic outdoor ride on sportscar, and another plastic toddler table out to the kerb. I really couldn’t believe my treasure trove. With a good hose down and a little work it all scrubbed up really well and apart from a little damage from being thrown over the high fence really bore no ill scars from being dumped, or clue as to why it had been deemed unwanted. Weird. It really sickens me that somebody had just dumped all this stuff, especially as the county will pick up whatever rubbish you leave out as long as it is neatly on the side of the road. Their insanity is Sam’s gain.

I was especially excited by the picnic table and bench set as it is just perfect for Sam to sit at and make a big mess. I eagerly ran to the store to buy some paint and this afternoon had a great time showing Sam how to smear colour everywhere. It took him a little while to warm up but he was soon enjoying himself. I was really impressed when he started asking for the tubes and trying to squeeze paint out himself. He even started to get the hang of colour names but then reverted to calling them all blue.

I put a blob of each colour in front of him and he dipped his finger in first one, and then another. As the two paints merged and became a new colour his eyes widened and he got so excited. Seconds later he was testing out mixing other blobs too. No prompting from me on that one, fantastic.

I then showed him how to make a print by placing another sheet of paper on top of his wet mess. He loved that game and would get impatient as I counted to three before lifting the sheet to show him the transfers. I felt a bit like a magician showing him a really amazingtrick.

We then made a butterfly painting or two. That got Samuel very animated too. He wasn’t happy with the one colour butterfly I made to show him first and very forcefully insisted I add more and more paint, then he would delight in the new revealed butterfly each time.

So much fun.

Thursday, 6 September 2007 22:52:38

September 6, 2007

Sam is fast asleep right behind his nursery door and hugging a Mickey Mouse football that his Uncle Donnie and cousins Maxx and Julia gave him. We can’t get in to the room to put him in his cot without sweeping the door into him and making him cry.

I’m an idiot.
There’s someone smart in this house, and it’s not me. A while ago Bill accidentally sat on the tray that fits onto Sam’s highchair and broke it. Since then mealtimes have been a trial as Sam would pull the tray free of the chair and throw the whole thing to the floor, his meal included. Infuriating. I was about ready to throw the tray at Sam when Bill came home, cleared off the dining room table which was overflowing with packing and pulled the highchair up snug. Problem solved. Genius!

We’re still in limbo. As you should know we lost the Tampa house and deposit and have taken Braeburn Circle off the market while we wait out the moratorium. Well, tonight it was the planning commissioner’s meeting and our issue was on the agenda so Team Allen showed up in force and Bill got up and spoke his piece at the appropriate moment. It really looks as though the commissioners will go ahead and force non confirming contiguous lots to merge. However, they did say that the focus of the moratorium was not situations like ours, which gives us small hope that variances may be written into the ordinance taking existing neighbourhood conditions into consideration. *fingers crossed*

Item no. 10 on the agenda was also of interest to us residents of Braeburn circle as the lot up the road was appealing to be allowed a Special Land Use Permit to allow use as a church. There was a large neighbourhood showing in opposition to this but the commissioners took a vote and the motion was granted.