January 11, 2010

Adventures in Home-Making

Last week I made myself a promise that I would not just sit around and ignore the things that need doing around the house each day. I made myself a list of all the household chores that need doing on any given day or in any given week. You know, change beds, scrub toilets, put trash cans out for collection. That sort of list. I made myself a weekly calendar page on some graph paper, and made myself a sort of schedule of when I'd do things.

I know this sounds anal retentive or obsessive compulsive, but stick with me for a bit longer.

You see, with Captain Chaos starting school 2 days a week as of tomorrow morning, it adds some complexity to my routine. Not much, I admit, especially when I read about those of you who take kids to soccer and music and youth group and all the other places...but still...this having to be up and out the door twice a week is new to me, and a bit intimidating at this point. We also have the added complexity of potty training DestructoGirl, BB building a bed for Captain Chaos, transitioning DestructoGirl out of her crib into a "junior bed", and the arrival of Number 3, which will be accompanied by my having major surgery to retrieve said baby. All of these things added together make for the perfect storm as far as parenting and home-making go in my mind.

Now, into my routine (no, it's not a schedule as I won't be doing only laundry from 9 - 12 on Mondays), I did build an emergency padding of time. And that is where today's post is really going.

When we moved into our house 7 1/2 years ago, we noticed the first winter that our bathroom and closest were pretty darn cold compared to the rest of the house. Chalking it up to the way the HVAC was set up, we went about the business of rebuilding a deck, painting rooms, moving furniture and settling in. We spent each of the next 5 falls and springs saying we should open up the ceiling and add more insulation, but always forgot or didn't get to it...well, this winter, with it being so arctic for so many days, it really made a HUGE difference...we installed a wall-unit space heater about 2 years ago which has helped with the temperature right outside the shower. However...when we returned home from the In-Laws, we noticed that the caulk in our shower was totally pulled away from the tile all around the pan. We spent several hours pulling it out, cleaning it out, drying the shower and redoing the caulk. No big deal, only cost us about $8 in caulk and a total of 6 hours of time over the weekend.

Friday night, I asked BB if he had any specific plans for the weekend, and we decided that we just wanted to hang out at home and "do things around the house" which normally translates into his spending the day in the shop working on wood projects and my baking and cleaning. Well, I said that I wanted to get all the decorations down and away and the house picked up and things put away so that this week I could focus on just getting back into a groove with the kids and school and chores. Saturday morning came and at 7, BB got out of bed, got dressed and headed downstairs. I stumbled after him because the kids were both awake, and he said he wanted to open the ceiling and check it out and get cared for NOW while it was supposed to be close to 50 and sunny. I said OK and we had our breakfast. As he gathered tools, I emptied the master closet onto our bed knowing that I could put it all away and have things back to normal by bedtime. BB asked if I wanted him to open first and then go get materials, or go get materials and then open. I opted for door #2 and said "Go get the insulation FIRST" so we could move the project along a bit more swiftly. He went off to the store and returned with insulation sufficient for our needs. He proceeded to heft it all upstairs into our bathroom, cut a hole in our ceiling big enough to get through, and as soon as that piece of sheet rock came down, wouldn't you know we both swore and he climbed back down the ladder, closed the closet door, and went back to the store.

When our house was built, the builder never put any insulation into that part of the ceiling at all. So, since the house was completed back in 1997, all 3 home owners have been paying to heat and cool a house that was not insulated to code. Needless to say, we were NOT amused. However, at this point, there is nothing we can do legally to go after the builder because it has been so long since home completion and our moving in. Grrrrrr...

BB worked with my Dad from about 1 on Saturday afternoon until 5 to get 2 layers of R38 insulation into our attic above our closet and bathroom. BB was so worn out that he put up a temporary cover over the hole, and was right back at work Sunday morning. We spent part of Saturday night moving our clothes from our bed to the empty nursery, draped things over the crib, neatly on the floor etc etc etc.

We now have a lid in place, and are hoping and praying that the patch on the piece of sheet rock will cure and we can use it, rather than having to make a new on, match the texture and prime and paint it. I spent from 5 - 6 last night vacuuming all the sheet rock dust, dirt, and fiberglass out of our closet so we could put things away. We had dinner, spent some play time with the kids as we watched the Cardinals whoop up on the Packers (sorry any green and gold fans!), and after the kids went to bed, we spent a few more minutes (about 60 of them) watching some recorded episodes of Income Property, and then started moving hanging clothes from the nursery back into our closet. I have about 85% of my clothes back in the closet folded or hung neatly and organized nicely. BB has about 95% of his things in there. The bathroom is spotless and scrubbed clean, all shiny and nice-smelling. Our room is a combination of dusty piles of things that don't belong in our bedroom, bathroom or closet but have been in there for some reason since Captain was born that need to find permanent homes, a shelf for DG's room that has needed hanging since last summer when she moved in, and things that were unpacked 10 days ago when we got home that don't belong in our room.

I am frustrated, agitated, exhausted, feeling a bit awkward as the baby continues to grow and develop.

I know that I am mostly tired, but I am still struggling to handle my temper at such stupid little things like BB leaving the caulk in our bathroom for a week after he was done using it. I am frustrated at my children for not reading my mind.

I am ready to have this baby, and yet so not ready.

I know that in no time at all we'll be bringing this little one home from the hospital and trying to settle into a new routine with 3 children, of whom, none are really truly independent for things like nose and bottom wiping, shoe-tying, zipping and fixing their own food. I know we'll have lots of help, but still...

I'm trying desperately to help us save money by sticking to a plan of only 1 meal out per month, only buying what we need as far as food goes, and only buying things that the kids need because they are outgrowing their clothes. BB is behind this plan, but spent $400 on a new flat-screen tv after only discussing it once with me. We chose to use our rewards from a credit card to "buy" one for our camper right around Labor Day, and I was already deciding that we should use it in our bedroom, and see about the prices coming down for one in the trailer. We had the money from Christmas gifts, but we really should have put all the Christmas money right toward a credit card.

I am tired of seeing bills come in with balances that have as many digits before the decimal place as they do. I am tired of seeing so many bills come in that tell me to send our money. I am tired of crunching numbers and pinching pennies and feeling like I cannot even take $7 once a month to go to a fast food restaurant and buy 2 value meals for the kids and I to share as a treat, because I don't have any money left over.

BB knows the numbers, but for some reason is in some sort of fog about spending until something big comes up that he wants, and I tell him that we can't afford to pay for it. Yes, we have the credit available, but we don't have the additional money to pay the bill each month, neither do we have the liquid funds to just use a check or the debit card to buy stuff.

It is a horrible place to be, knowing what BB's salary is and knowing that we owe so much money to people for things that are sitting around our house gathering dust because BB swore he "needed to have it" and would use it all the time.

I'm already scrounging through my mind and the boxes and bins and stacks in the basement, hoping against hope we can make a couple hundred dollars in a garage sale this month.

Really, had the fridge not started freaking out on us, we would still have our old one, because, quite frankly, we didn't have the money to pay for it. BB was blessed with a bonus that allowed us to pay off the car rental, the fridge, and a little bit more of the debt on our card. We received the Christmas money, but he spent 1/3 of that on the TV, and we really should have used it all, especially since we just used about another 1/3 of it to buy the insulation for our attic.

Please be praying for me, for my attitude, my heart, and my behavior, to be able to find joy, be peaceful and calm and kind through the rocky patches. Pray too for us, that we'll be wise with our finances this year of 2010, and that we can really make a difference in our lives!!

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