The Right Perspective

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Royal Flush

It's been quite a December here.  It started out relatively normal...the usual hustle and bustle of shopping and cleaning and getting kids to school and nap and back again.  But then things started going a bit crazy. 
We woke up about three weeks ago on a Monday morning and got ready for work and school.  Andrew left first and asked me if I knew that the garage door was up.  I realized that I must have left it up (rather uncharacteristically) over night after I hurridly carried all the groceries in the night before. 
Then Emily, Ethan and I went out to the van to rush off to school.  I had just cleaned it out the Friday before, so it should have been pretty neat....but Emily said, "Mom, why is it so messy in here?"  I'm not sure exactly how many second it took to register, but when I saw the small emergency kit contents strung out around the back seat, I knew that someone had been in our van.  And then Emily said, "Mom, where're our Dvd players?"  That's when I felt sick....and scared.  I hurridly got the kids back out of the van (because I'd been buckling them in) and back into the house and then called Andrew to let him know that we'd been robbed.
Long story short, that Monday was started out with a visit from a friendly local police officer and a police report. 
Tuesday morning came and went without any major incidents.  I did some shopping and then came back home around 11:00.  I saw three messages on the answering machine.  They were all from the fraud department of our local credit union.  To sum up a long story, while we thought nothing of any real value except for the dvd players had been stolen, apparently the thief also walked away with an old (but I guess still functional) bank card which he used quite liberally in the 24 hours he'd had it.  Granted, it was a little-used account with not much money in it and we were not charged for any of the fraud, but I did have to go to the police station, file a police report and then get a copy of the new report to take to the bank so that they could start pursuing the fraudlent charges.  I also had to close that account and open a new one.  Of course the police report couldn't be done immediately, so I had to make a second trip that day (no nap for Ethan) and then spent an hour at the credit union trying to sort everything out.  Fun times with two kids.
Bad things come in threes, right?  I thought the robbery, bank card theft and oh yeah, the credit card number that had been stolen online the month before, counted as three things, but apparently not.
It all started with a flush.  Specifically, a flush from the toilet in the master bathroom.  But I guess that Ethan must have needed a lot of toilet paper.  And then must have flushed....a lot.  I was downstairs and knew nothing...until I started hearing strange water sounds.  Like the water was running (which isn't unusual in our house with two children who are drawn to water like moths to the flame), but not like the normal running sounds.  I listened for a few moments and looked around and tried to figure out what I was hearing.  Then I heard a Drip.....Drip....Drip.  Not far from our Christmas tree, there was a pretty steady drip of water falling from the ceiling. 
I ran upstairs, banged on the bedroom door (which was locked, but we  won't get into how many times I've threatened to take the doors off the hinges if they don't stop locking them) and after being let in, opened the bathroom door to see a completely flooded bathroom, with the toilet still overflowing.  I managed to shut the water off and started to sop up the mess with old towels....and then any towels I could find.  Then I ran back downstairs to see how bad the leak was....and discovered plenty of water dripping from the ceiling and water running down a wall, soaking the carpet in the living room.  More towels were put down, a bucket was produced and I called Andrew to ask his advice.
A little bit later, I took a load of soaked towels down to the basement to throw them in the washer....and discovered that the basement was flooded as well.  There might as well have been a straight pipeline from the bathroom to the basement.  And where do you suppose the worst of the water damage was?  Directly above all of the kids' already wrapped Christmas gifts.  That's when I cried....and thought very vile thoughts.
Very long story short, Andrew is a saint and calmed me down as bawled to him on the phone from inside the van in the garage (because I didn't want to see the children or have them see me).  He actually made me laugh and then offered to re-wrap the presents (which I won't make him do).  When he got home (and got back off the floor from seeing all the mess/damage) he took us to Walmart to buy some more wrapping paper and then out to dinner.
And so that brings us to today.  I called the disaster water remediation people and had them come assess the which they replied, I think you should call your insurance company and file a claim....which we did.  Many hours worth of work later, here's the scoop:  The entire master bathroom floor and subfloor will have to be replaced.  The vanity ( and I guess sink/faucet) has to be replaced.  I think the small areas of carpet in there will be ok. 
The ceiling in the living room....not good.  A large chunk will need to be replaced as there is currently a gaping hole there where massive fans are currently blowing up under the floor of the bathroom trying to dry everything out and prevent and mold.  There is a wall/header in the living room that is also very wet.  They removed a couple of baseboards and drilled holes in that wall to allow air to blow into it and hopefully dry it out that way, although there is still the possibility that we will have to do major repairs to that wall.  The carpet is probably salveageable, but we'll see. 
In the basement, since it's unfinished there's no major damage, just a lot of industrial-sized fans and a huge dehumidifier to thoroughly dry anything damp.
All in all, we have 7 industrial fans and 3 huge dehumidifiers running for the next 2-3 days (at least).  Andrew and I are sitting in the living room, but have to literally shout at each other to be heard.  Upstairs, it's not quite so loud. 
And we are/were hosting Christmas this year!'s all just stuff.  So many are dealing with so much worse right now and so despite my breakdown yesterday, today we're just dealing with it and trying to keep it all in perspective.  I have a bunch of presents to re-wrap, but at least we have presents.  And the kids have driven me insane the last two days....but at least we can still kiss them goodnight, which is something I have not taken for granted lately.  And that is what really matters.
And now, for the pictures:
 The master bath.  It doesn't really look so bad in this picture, but the damage is done.  The red machine is one of the dehumidifiers.  There is also a large fan in the closet directly behind that and one pointing into the bathroom from the bedroom.
 A sideways (sorry) picture where two tiles have completely come up and the warped floor underneath
Our new industrial equipped living room!

Now I know what the inside of our ceiling looks like, minus the completely soaked insulation.

A closer view of underneath our bathroom.

The holes drilled behind our baseboard in one wall with the fan blowing into it to dry everything.

We had to move the Christmas tree and a piece of furniture or two to accomodate the mess.  The living room is a bit of a disaster, but at least we're making some progress.
I'll keep you updated as we learn more and make repairs.  It should be..,..interesting. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Out With The Old...

Once upon a time, a young couple bought their first couch.  They were young (did I mention that?), just married, far away from family and fancy-free (except for the gallant gentleman who was studying for the Bar Exam and the fair maiden who was preparing to student teach). 
This young couple lived on the third floor of a nice little apartment and since neither of them was technically working during that summer immediately after their wedding, they were living on a small stipend from the husband's soon-to-be-pending-passage-of-said-bar-exam.  As such, although they had bedroom furniture and a second-hand kitchen table, they had nothing but two lawn chairs upon which to sit in their living room. 
After a few months, the lawn chairs were, well....getting old....and uncomfy, so the couple went off in desperate search of a couch.  (I believe that Andrew was gainfully employed by that time.)  We were in a bit of a hurry because we were tired of sitting on the lawn chairs, so we opted to choose an in-stock (probably floor model, if I recall) couch and have it delivered as soon as possible.  We chose a dark blue dual reclining La-Z-Boy couch and loveseat and comfort (if not style) was had by all.
I would include a picture of said couch, but that was before we had a digital camera (remember, this was 12 and a half years ago), and you've probably seen it in the background of countless other posts. 
The couch was comfy and held up well, but alas, it could not last forever....particularly when a certain 8 year old and 3 year old who shall remain nameless, liked to jump and fly onto and sit on the backs and arms of the reclining couch.  And so it was, that a few weeks ago, Andrew came home from a particularly long day at work and found that when he sat down in "his" seat, he was no longer sitting upright, but laying back and leaning off to the left.  Thus, the old blue couch had breathed it's last.  (Of course, if you ask either of the unnamed children in this story, they will swear to you that they had nothing to do with the couch's demise.)
So, after once again searching for a new couch, this time with the firm belief that a neutral color was a must, a couch was found, and after much deliberation and measurements and visitations, ultimately purchased.
And then it was delivered....and holy cow, it's a big brown beast of couch, but it is the most comfy delightful piece of furniture ever (in my humble and completely biased opinion)!
Here she is!  As you look straight at the couch from this angle, there are two recliners, then a wedge piece, a single chair and closest to you, a chaise lounger which will also fully recline.
We call the chaise section "Carlos" because Andrew thinks that "Chaise" is a dumb word.  And he's claimed it as his own.  It's big enough to easily hold him and both kids or two adults.
I took this picture from one of the recliners that has become "my" seat.  This is how far away I am from Andrew when he's sitting on "Carlos".  Next to me (between the two recliners) and next to "Carlos" are two arm rests that open up for storage and have two cupholders built in.  We won't make any style magazines, but it works great for us!
And here is the view from "my" seat of the other side of the living room.  We had to completely flip-flop the layout of the room to fit the sectional.  So the tv now sits where the couch has always sat and the new couch sits where a whole lot of other things used to be!  It took a few days to get used to the new set-up after 8+ years of the same layout, but I have come to enjoy it very much.  Sometimes it's good to shake things up and get a new perspective....and new furniture!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Distraction from Hurricane Sandy

Since my family (out east on the Delmarva Peninsula) is hunkered down in an attempt to safely ride out Hurricane Sandy, I thought I'd provide a little distraction in the form of pictures.
 Arghhh Matey!  Pirate Ethan dressed as Jake from "Jake and the Neverland Pirates".  This will be his Halloween costume.

The kids wanted to play in the leaves on Saturday, so I raked a little pile and here's what they did:

Yesterday afternoon, we carved pumpkins.  These would be the second round of pumpkins as the ones that we hand-picked at the pumpkin patch rotted.
Ethan rather enjoyed scooping out the pumpkin guts.  Emily...not so much.
The kids with their pumpkins.
The finished product...a bat and a cat!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Before and After

There's been some creativity here lately.  Exhibit #1:  A certain three-year-old who shall remain nameless got creative during "naptime" and found a small manicure set with scissors.  And he used them...on his hair.  Nice bald spot, buddy!

Here he is after his hair cut.  Yep, still has a bald spot, but his hair all over is A LOT shorter.  It'll grow back...eventually.  Until then,  he can wear a lot of hats.  The only good thing was that we had just taken his official three year pictures the week before. 

Exhibit #2 is a little project I took on.  Emily needed a space for her homework and supplies, so I'd been on the lookout for a very inexpensive and not too huge desk.  I happened to find one in a thrift store for $19.95.  It was just the right size and real wood, just old.  I neglected to take a true "before" picture, but this is what it looked like after I sanded off the honey oak finish and removed the old-fashioned, tarnished and stripped hardware.

And here is the finished product:  a couple of coats of black paint and some new hardware....voila....a new and more modern desk!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lots of Pictures, Few Words

Prepare yourself:  This post is full of pictures.  I won't bother to describe them all, so here's the quick over-view. 
As a final fling before summer was over, we made an impromptu trip to Chicago.  Most of the pictures are of that.  Ethan made his first train ride (we took the train in to Chicago, or "Sickago" as Ethan calls it).  We left early in the morning and rode for about 3 hours, then walked to our hotel, dropped off our bags and headed to the Museum of Science and Industry.  The kids enjoyed it and liked some of the hands-on exhibits.  Andrew and I enjoyed getting to tour a real captured German submarine.  It was suffocatingly tiny and so hard to believe that men actually lived in it for months at a time.  Heck....they were probably sort of glad to be captured!  (Kidding, I think!)
We went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner and then all crashed for the night.
The next day we headed to the Shedd Aquarium.  We spent several hours looking at the fish and sea life, watched a dolphin show that included a couple of Beluga whales and just enjoyed the day together.  After that, we took a boat ride from the aquarium across the water to Navy Pier, where we ate dinner at Bubba Gump's and spent the rest of the lovely evening looking in shops and walking up and down the pier.  All in all, it was a lovely little getaway.
Oh, and the first few pictures are just some random kid pictures.  The first two with face paint were from the day we accidently went to Chick-fil-a on their birthday.  They had free face painting, free food, free birthday cake and free prizes.  The kids had a great time.
And then there's Ethan.  Clearly, potty training hasn't quite clicked yet, if the placement of underwear is any indicator!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Catching Up...Look Who's Three!

I'm about a month or so behind, but here are a few pictures from the little man's 3rd birthday party
Ethan loves "Cowboody" (Cowboy Woody) and Buzz from Toystory, so his cake was a VERY bright one this year.

The birthday boy waiting to open his presents.

A big hit was his Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster dart gun.

He also got a tricycle, however the one he ended up with is not the same one here.  He's so short that he was having trouble with this one.  Still...he looks so cute with his blaster on his bike! 
Grandma and Pa got this cute little ride-on turtle.  He likes to zoom around on it.
Happy Third Birthday, little buddy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School 2012

Emily, this morning, on the first day of
second grade.

Emily, one year ago today, on the first day of
first grade.

Note how much higher up her knees are in the picture from today!


Ethan, one year ago today.

This morning.  He looks a bit more dignified today.
He's also grown more than it seems.

I apologize for the crazy formatting.  There must be an easier/better way, but I can't figure it out right now.  This is as good as it gets for today!