Thursday, March 30, 2006

The house with the blue door.

It's been so gorgeous and warm I finally got to work on the front door!

I got the door painted and got the screen door put up (if you're not over here from my Mommy Blog, I detailed the two itsy bitsy misfortunes we had there.) Unfortunately I don't have a finished pic from the outside since the door was a bit sticky when I had to shut it for the night and I had to do some touch-ups to the paint this morning. I'll get that to you soon.

Meantime, here's the door drying (told you it was blue!):



Please note the authentic Victorian plastic phone cord and Cat5 data cable stretched across the wall on the right (up by the ceiling). Classy!

I have a wireless network now so that won't be there for long.

Looking at this pic I can see that the blue door does kind of clash with the green room. Hmmm. Well it won't be standing open all that much. I did intend to repaint this room a deep red - I've had the paint for ages, I hate this washed out green - but never got around to it. That would compliment the blue, don't you think?



Here's the mounted screen door (my wee assistant is there minding the screwdriver).



Isn't that a lovely view? So peaceful.

-----

My next project (on a long list) for the house is the shelves in the library. I'll try to get some before pictures.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 3:38 pm   1 comments

Adventures in home improvement!

Or: time for another Mangled Finger Pic!

Yay! It's been warm for two days! Perfect actually ... chilly in the mornings then gradually warming up to a balmy 70 degrees. Not too warm, not too humid.

So I painted! Here's the whole story over on the Farm Blog.

I had only two mishaps. I prepared the area carefully, set everything out I'd need, then made sure that all four babes were close enough to see but far enough away to give me some breathing room and I dipped my brush and applied the first few strokes and ...

... then I looked down and Bitty Girl had her hand, up to mid-forearm, in the paint. She had, apparently, teleported there.

(Stand by. It gets better)

I did the one thing one does NOT do when surrounded by these elements: 1) a toddler, 2) paint, and 3) furniture, books, accessories and surfaces 80+ years old ...

I screamed.

Bitty Girl reacted as if she'd been touched by a live wire. She screamed. Out came the hand, slinging a perfect arc of bright blue paint upward and sideways. Both the older babies materialized (hoping to trod in some paint is my guess) and Bitty Girl ran into the house, shrieking.

I couldn't follow her because there was paint on things that pre-dated my grandparent's birth, and the Incredible Bulk was on the porch: our very, very high porch with the concrete steps, and I couldn't pick him up because I was liberally spattered with paint as well.

But the story has a happy ending. I always paint with acrylic and quickly applied soap and water and it all came up. I apologized to Bitty for scaring the snot out of her and let her keep the blue paint around her fingernails so she could proudly show it off to her older sibs (who were clearly jealous of having been left out of the fray), and I did, finally, get the door painted.

Yay!

Oh, the other teensy little snafu occurred when I drove the tip of my phillips head screwdriver into my finger while putting up the screen door:



It's amazing what one will take pictures of if one has a camera handy.

If the tip of that finger looks red and swollen to you it's because (see that dark spot?) I did the exact same thing when I put up the back screen door.

Ya know ... I'm amazed they actually let me in the Lowes.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 2:44 pm   0 comments

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Waste not, want not, baybee!

*Alternate title: "Bwahahahahahahahahahahahah!" (accompanied by gleeful Ferengi-like hand-rubbing)*

Check out what I got:




I fished these two wooden boxes out of the dump (read my teensy diatribe on this over on my Mommyblog - those of you who just came from there have seen it - suffice to say that I'm a Dumpster Diver and proud of it!)

Anyway, both boxes had one smashed in side (no, I stupidly didn't take a 'before' pic. I'm kicking myself) - the one on the right had the lid and front splintered and the other had two sides caved in. I scavenged the lid off of the left hand one and pulled enough slats out to re-weave the front of the other one. Took me about 20 minutes (and some snapped slats and colourful cursing) and I had one like-new box. How cool is that?!

It's about 12 x 12 inches and the perfect finish to match my parlour. Score!

I found that dog crate in the background there as well and, I swear, it looks unused. I even found this for the babes:

Everything you see was there ... well, except Boy. (note: if anyone local reads this blog and these things look familiar, all I can say is: "Thanks!")

Not pictured is the Graco high chair (I'm washing the cover and donating the high chair to the Salvation Army) , and the large sheet of tin and half-dozen shelving boards destined to be incorporated into a goat/sheep run-in.

MAN, I love a good scavenge!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 4:27 pm   1 comments

Meanwhile, here at the dig site ...

So I was down on the floor wiping out my refrigerator (no, I'm not still nesting. As soon as I blogged it, the urge went away. This burst of housekeeping was precipitated by my spilling a bowl of coleslaw down the bottom three shelves of my fridge. Grrr!)

Anyway, since I was down there I figured I'd clean the outside ('bout time to scour off my Patch Of Nameless Crud - which I do at least bi-yearly ... ok, ok, I'm joking ... I do it twice as often as that) and while I was doing that I discovered how truly grody the floor was in front of the fridge doors so I had to clean THAT. Cleaning the floor anywhere in this house is rather like an archaeological dig ("Spunkmeyer, come take a look at this!", "What the hell is that?") at the best of times and this was no exception: I learned something.

I learned that a small piece of banana, mixed with baby saliva, surreptitiously spat out onto the floor, and subsequently trodden upon by a herd of toddlers, will transform itself into a BLACK mass - sludgy/gooey at first - but then, aging over time into a cement-like fossilized smear of blech that has to be scraped off with a putty knife*.

One day, thousands and thousands of years from now, when mankind has stupidized itself into extinction and ruminants rule the earth, aliens will find this planet, unearth this house, and discover the perfectly preserved footprint of Bitty Girl ... in banana.

-----

Speaking of cleaning, my (albeit brief) frenzy of cleaning quickly necessitated a huge-mungus (man, I'm making up words left and right today!) trip to the dump with bags and bags of rubbish. Our dump is quite cool in that they have convenient and clearly marked places to sort everything, especially recyclables. I love this since I hate waste (as well you know).

Well, since they have the furniture/household goods/construction waste type stuff separate I can take a stroll around and see if there's anything I can use.

# Let me pause right here in my narrative and say that if there is anyone reading this blog who thinks that this thriftychik is too proud to take something useful out of a dumpster rather than let it rot in the landfill, you'd better just leave now.

Anyway, as usual, I was stunned at what folks will toss in the trash. It's a damned shame really, since the world if full of thrift stores and charitable organizations that NEED these things. Every town of any size has homeless shelters and battered women's shelters (one of my fave charities) and there's always Freecycle, one of the coolest things ever.

----

OK, rant over ... I gotta get the putty knife back out. There's a patch of something over by the wood stove that will be achieving sentience soon if I don't scrape it up.

*which, on the upside, presents a perfectly legitimate reason to go to Lowes!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 3:10 pm   2 comments

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My baby speaks Klingon!

We're so proud!

Seriously, the Incredible Bulk gets SO excited when being fed. He can feed himself finger food and does so quickly and mostly neatly. His only accidents are usually when he looks at something while eating. He then turns his head to watch and his brain fails to inform his en route hand that his mouth has changed location. *splat*

The real problem arises when I feed him - since he can't use a spoon. I never shovel fast enough.

This is compounded when he starts to excitedly/frustratedly (and loudly) voice his opinon on how slowly I'm getting the food to him, accompanied by much arm waving and bouncing up and down. It's like trying to feed an amusement park ride.

Or a Klingon baby. He has the inflection down pat, no lie. Why just yesterday he said to me: "AH! Mee'NAH!" in mid mouthful.

I'm not sure of the translation, but I'm thinking it means: "Mother, I love you but just put the bloody bowl down and let me eat the porridge with my hands!"

I wonder if the BiLo carries qagh?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:49 am   1 comments

Friday, March 24, 2006

I need more trash bags!

I am so nesting. I don't know what's going on. I have actually been cleaning my house.

Creepy!

And before you get all excited, no, I don't know if I'm preggers. I hope that I am but I'm a bit depressed on the subject and trying not to get my hopes up. For those of you 'in the know' *taps side of nose and looks mysterious*; I'm CD24, and only 6dpo, so there's no way of telling.

I will say that my temps are hovering at 98.2 and that's an odd pattern for me and makes me question my O date (that it might be earlier than I think - my chart is funky this cycle). keep your extremities crossed for me.

OK, enough TTC code.

One of my mini projects (since I'm actually cleaning) has been to go through the babies' toys and toss out, like, 2/3 of them. I mean, seriously. For a group of little people whose almost entire collection of playthings came from the thrift store, they sure have loads of really nice toys.

I sort out the ones that I know they love and the ones that I know they play with all the time. (These are two seperate categories. They don't play with the obnoxious toy xylophone every day - thank goodness - but they love it and always come back to it.) I bag the ones that are badly broken or that they don't use much anymore. The former will go in the rubbish and the latter back to the thrift.

That leaves the 'problem toys'.

There are two kinds of problem toys: ones that *I* like (they're educational, classic, and/or 'they might play with this one day' types) and the ones that Evil Genius Husband likes (often inexplicable and useless. I mean, what do you do with a 2 foot tall Taz? At least the 2 foot tall Pumba is cute. He has plush bugs on strings that you can stuff into his mouth for goodness' sake!)

Add to all of this the Rule of Culled Toys which states that: no matter how old, broken, or little-played-with a toy is, the child(ren) will immediately fall upon it, play with it, and weep over its being thrown away if he or she discovers that it's being thrown away!

Speaking of cleaning, I have discovered the perfect tool for me in my ongoing war with my house: a Shop-Vac. Yep, you read that correctly. I went to Lowes (would you look at all that stuff?*) and bought a Shop-Vac. For my house.

It's cute, squat, surprisingly quiet, and bright red. I love it. It's so me.

I have a perfectly good hoover, by the way. But you have to understand that all of our floors are wood - there's only two largish rugs in the whole house that need hoovering - and there's 4 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and one EGH who likes to walk about inside with his barn boots on.

This shop-vac is destined to be my dear, dear friend.

Now ... Mr potato-head, should he stay or should he go?

----

*from Weird Al Yankovic's Hardware Store. I want a pair of pliers for every single room in my house. Seriously.

Oh, PS: check out what I got done before the weather got yucky.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:47 am   1 comments

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Itching to paint!

Well since I'm stuck inside with all the cold wet weather we've been having I'll just amuse myself by blogging about what I did get done.

Here's the bottom of the doorframe on the front door:



This is after I removed the upper board (which was nailed to the grey board in the pic with these HUGE nails - 4 of 'em!). I had to take it off because the door is very short and I couldn't have cut the new screen door to fit it, so I had to remove some of the wood from the doorframe.

I unfortunately couldn't get the top board off without splintering it to bits, as you can see in the pic. All of that kindling is the board I took off. This is the view from the porch BTW.


Here's the frame cleaned up a bit. See how I had to insert pieces where the uneven porch boards didn't go all the way up to the doorframe? That's where the screen door will 'sit'.


Here's the finished door. yeah, it's a crap pic. You can just see the new board I put on (scavenged off of a pre-civil-war-era barn). Yes, the door is that uneven.

I haven't installed the new screen door yet because I'm painting the front door (bright blue!)first.


Here's the new screen door on the back. Not a handsome a setting as in the adverts, eh? Man, I need to clean my aluminium siding! It's actually been painted that pale yellow (hate!) and I'm a bit trepidacious about trying to clean it without taking off that paint.

I am positively gagging to paint my front door! I need a warm day, though since I'll have to keep the front door standing open until the paint dries. I'm not certain as to how I'll keep eight wee baby hands off of the wet paint, either.

----

And here's a quick bonus pic:


Yep! That's Brownie and her MicroDoe in the adoption pen. They both seem to be doing well and are hale and hearty (so far). Now to introduce her back out to the herd ...

Brownie is a Nubian/Alpine cross in case you're curious and MicroDoe's daddy is my LaMancha buck's baby (that's the reason she looks as if she has no ears ... she doesn't!)

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 2:39 pm   1 comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Here, have a doughnut.

Well, our trip to the BiLo was boring (I know you all were just biting your nails in eager anticipation of a story) (*snort*). We got the middle-aged, sweet and super-efficient check out lady. Man, I wish every cashier was like her.

Oh-oh-oh! I did get a Mommy Drive-By!

When I'm alone with The Brood in a store that has carts I put the two youngest in the seats and the two oldest in the carts (sitting down quietly, of course. It drives me insane to see someone let her child stand up in a cart. Do they not realize how hard that floor is? I've seen kids reaching out with over half their bodies outside the cart. I've seen toddlers standing up in the seat!).

Where was I?

Oh, so anyway, I'm pushing the one cart (the one with the Incredible Bulk in - I keep the baby close to me) and pulling the other. Now, I'm adept at this and we proceed carefully along the side of the aisle, keeping out of folks's way and snaking around corners like a short train. Well, I came around to the front aisle and there was the Merita guy setting up the Merita doughnut display (Mmmmm ... little white powdered sugar Merita doughnuts. Food of the gods) and he's all out in the aisle so we have to do an apologetic (Excuse me! No, excuse ME!) little side step.

As I get free of the Merita guy, a mom with her approximately-Bulk's-size-baby comes past. She's a few years younger than me - late 30s - and professionally dressed. I smile and say: " excuse me" even though I'm really not in her way by that time (it's a Southern thing, we're very polite) and her gaze sweeps my carts and she says, coldly, with just a hint of disgust:

"Well, you've got YOUR hands full,"

And strides off.

Uh ... what? What did I do? So much for polite Southerners (although, to be honest, she didn't sound Southern.) I was sincerely hurt.

Was it my casual clothes, perhaps indicative of my non-working-outside-the-home status? Was it the number of children? Did she assume that I lived off of her tax dollars and that I'd gathered my fat arse up off the couch just long enough to drag into the store for cigarettes and some TV dinners and cold cereal? Was she suffering secondary infertility and just disgruntled at any display of fecundity? Was she just a bitch? Was she just having a bad day and tired?

I'd like to go for the last one, please. That's what I keep telling myself.

I mean, I might be amused by (and blog about) some strange people, but I'd never treat another mom badly unless she was endangering her child. I've seen children who were thin, pale, with matted hair and dark circles under their eyes. I've seen kids in tee-shirts and a diaper in 40 degree weather. I've seen young mothers right outside the WalMart in a cloud of cigarette smoke holding their newborns (yes, that was Lexington). These people deserve some disgust.

As far as I'm concerned, if your kid appears healthy and happy and is well behaved, I'm cool.

I sure hope my drive-by mommy got herself some of those little doughnuts and went through the sweet and super-efficient cashier's line ... and I hope that her day got better.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 2:09 pm   4 comments

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Head 'em up, move 'em out

I'm absolutely antsy today. Dunno why.

Evil Genius Husband will be late from work again as he's putting the finishing touches on his National Boards stuff. (It's simply baffling to me why he can't just come home to work. I mean, goodness ... roosters crowing outside the window; wife yelping at kids; kids screaming, running, snatching, falling, laughing ... uh, OK ... nevermind.)

Keep him and his success in your thoughts.

My disquiet is exacerbated by it being bloody cold and rainy and generally nasty outside so I can't finish my various projects, (all of which are outside the house. Heaven forbid I should actually clean my house) uppermost of which is painting my front door cobalt blue.

I'm miffed.

I think I'll scrape the worst of the crud off of the brood and toss 'em in the HMS Behemoth and toil into Newberry (Woohoo! Bright lights, big city!). Problem is, what do we do when we get there? My Salvation Army thrift store is closed (insert curse words here). Too disgusting out to go to our newly discovered park. I need bread ... we could hit the BiLo.

Gah!

It's sad when the most exciting thing you can think of doing is walking around the grocery store.

Say, speaking of walking ... the Incredible Bulk decided arbitrarily today to begin pulling up. He only started crawling two days ago, the lazy thing. Now, he has been doing his own version of army crawling for a bit. This involved kind of slugging around (seriously, he looked like a big, pink grub) and when he wanted to get across the floor fast, he would simply throw out one arm (the Right Hand of Doom!) grab the rug, and drag his 23 lbs 8oz of sweetness forward.

The boy is strong.

Apparently he's decided that while crawling was an improvement over slugging, it wasn't getting him high enough. High as in: able to reach the buttons on the telly, the DVDs on the lowest shelves, and any unsuspecting Diet Coke that had been foolishly left on the end table.

He's also obsessed with getting up the steps. It has dawned on him that he might be able to follow his herd of siblings when they leave the family room. Golly bob howdy!

So, as of today, I can no longer leave the room for a second without returning to find him trying to heave his Bulk into the hall.

His brother and sisters move like mercury throughout the house, occasionally apart but always coalescing back into a solid blob of destruction. Of course, it's just the opposite when there's trouble. Every time I go to investigate a scream and a crash the effect is exactly like turning on the light in a white trash kitchen: children scatter like cockroaches. And no one ever knows precisely what happened or who did it (although they offer up their siblings as potentially guilty parties).

Do I dare inflict this rowdy crowd on the BiLo?

Heck yeah.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:54 pm   1 comments

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Luck of the not-irish

Argh!

OK, so I decided to trim the girls' hair, right? I normally do this just often enough to keep it out of their eyes and I always go with soft bangs arched over the eyes and the rest tapered to the back. I deviated from this last time and cut the Human Crash Test Dummy's hair into a long bob because 1) her hair is really thin and stringy and 2) she keeps some sort of sticky crap in it at all times so her general look is of a homeless child on a bad day.

The bob makes it look much more tidy:



So I trimmed the HCTD first, no problem, then got Bitty up. She did really well and stayed quite still. I wasn't doing much to the back so I was just blending the sides and then doing one final evening-up of the bangs ...

Then she sneezed.

Yep. Some tiny hair trimmings had fallen down her face and she'd breathed them in. I, of course, was in mid-snip.

So then she had this HUGE diagonal gouge out of her bangs, almost to the hairline. NOW WHAT?

Did I say ARGH?!

I decided that I shouldn't fiddle with anything fancy but should cut them off straight and as evenly as I was able. I almost hacked all of it off into a page-boy but I despise that look. Besides I couldn't bear to cut off any more of her gorgeous ash-blonde curls.

So here's my little Dutch Girl:



----

Apparently my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which I pre-ordered from Amazon (Yay!) got lost by the post office (Boo!). Amazon is hustling me another copy via 2-day air so perhaps I'll get by tomorrow.

We have a real problem over here with CD/DVDs and the post office. Somewhere along the line there's a problem. Our Netflix get mysteriously mangled, wadded and opened regularly (I mean like almost every one of them) and if we get a box or envelope smaller than the average book it is often torn (just enough to see inside) or missing entirely.

I have complained at my local post office and they just smile and nod politely and tell me that the official complaint forms that I need are in the main PO in Columbia. They should be downloadable off the internet - if the freakin' IRS can do something then ANY government agency can. You can get about 30 forms for the USPS off of their website and none of them is what I need. (in case you're curious: Form 1510 -mail loss & rifling and Form 2016-mail theft & vandalism.) When I do get a chance to get these forms I'm gonna get two dozen copies - I need them!

----

Oh and finally, while I'm being crabby, will someone please tell me why people insist on writing ST. PATTY's DAY?

Hello! Patty is a girl's name, people. The diminutive of Patrick is PADDY. Pee-ae-dee-dee-wye. Paddy. Get it right. Have you never read The Thornbirds?

I'm not irish, not into anything irish, don't even care for the irish, and certainly don't need a holiday to consume mass quantities of alcohol (I'm Scots, we know our drinking) and I know that it's PADDY!

OK, I feel better now.

Cheers.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 4:01 pm   4 comments

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Opening doors

Why is it that all the restoring-old-houses blogs and websites that I find have these things: two handy, into-it spouses/partners doing the work and money. Lots and lots of money.

I mean the people seemingly have gobs of money. They talk about redoing the bathroom in their 1920s bungalow and I'm all excited and I eagerly inspect the pics: Ohh, nice new tile, replace the seal on the toilet and a bit of rotten flooring. Ahh, there they've replaced the window since they discovered the extent of the water damage. Then custom paint, and new fixtures and ...

Then they gush over how they did it all - this 'tiny' job - for under five grand and over a week-end.

Five thousand? I don't have $500. I'm trying to restore my home running to the Lowes with a $100 gift card every now and then.

I also have no help. Not ragging on Evil Genius Husband: he's busy as all hell plus he's just not the handy/crafty/fixy type.

I have no animosity towards these other folks, of course. I love to read the how-to part and see the result. I'm glad they're remodeling these old homes but howcome I can't find someone else doing it a brick at a time ... on a shoestring? It's just depressing.

I hate it because I can't relate. I can't identify with 'getting someone out' to rebrick all the chimneys or put up the 1000 square foot addition. I'm never going to be able to get all new appliances for my kitchen much less decide then that - what the heck - I'll just replace all the countertops as well!

So help me out here. If you are restoring an old home (or have come across someone who is) on a tight budget, let me know. Show me the blogs and websites! I'll love you forever!

----

Speaking of that $100 Lowes gift card ...

The babies and I went and picked up two screen doors for the front and back so that I can have the doors open in pretty weather without sharing my home with roughly 1200 flies and mosquitoes.

I wanted something really nice for the front door that would compliment the porch with it's Victorian woodwork and something sturdy for the back to hopefully save the screen from babies.

This is the front door that I got.



And the back.



They're by ScreenTight which is a South Carolina company (which is cool) and are solid white vinyl. I spent 20 minutes agonizing over which door to get and whether I should go with wood or vinyl. I loathe the thought of vinyl but decided in the end that it would wear longer and look better. The back door, especially, will get sun, rain, and baby hands on it all the time. I don't need to be wasting money having to replace these doors ... ever.

My only complaint is that the filigree on the front door looks really vinylly if that makes sense. I mean it looks like plastic. But I figure that since we come and go through the back door that the overall impression (like from the road) is of more value than any close inspection the front door will get.

Because both of these doorways are in the oldest parts of the house they are crooked and oddly shaped. I'll have to add a strip of wood to the back doorjamb and actually partially rebuild the front door opening.

I'm also going to paint the front door (not the new screen door, the actual front door itself) cobalt blue. Because I want to. Hah!


(PS: now that I look at these pics I realize that the back door came with different hardware than pictured. It has a latch and strikeplate and hydrolic door-closer. I prefer a traditional look so I'll need to save up to get handles and a doorspring. Great. Now I don't know when I'll get the danged doors up. *sigh*)

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:47 pm   1 comments

Friday, March 10, 2006

The shout-out post

First of all I want to say that you are reading the blog of the wife of the Chapin Alternative Academy Teacher of the Year.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!



Yep, the Evil Genius Husband, just 30 years old and who has only been teaching for five of those years, has won his school's Teacher of the Year award. AND, get this, they have a middle school and high school programme there and no middle school teacher has ever won the award before.

I'm more proud of him than I can put into words.

He's usually the first there in the mornings and often one of the last to leave, he takes up any slack and does whatever job is needed. He goes to school when he doesn't feel well, when the weather's impossible, and takes the Saturday detention when he can. AND he's going for his National Boards.

*Bursts with pride*

----



Dad came down yesterday. He drove himself here and walked into my house under his own impetus - sans crutches.

I'm just stunned. Stunned and grateful. Grateful for his amazing recovery and grateful for the folks who made it happen. I wanted to take a second and give a holla to those people who helped. Helped me, helped him: the folks who stepped up and did what they could; the ones who helped us get through what was a nightmare ... a little quicker.

First of all to the B family who suffered the most horrible loss but who helped me out at every turn and who were there for Dad steadily from the get-go. I can never express how sorry I am or how grateful.

To KH who smoothly stepped in and took care of Dad's pets with no fuss and no drama and with the determination to do so for as long as she was needed.

To KK who, with her precise mind and organizational skills, was on top of the situation in a flash and helped me out more than she will ever know.

To JT who was the soothing voice of support (and reason!) no matter what. What a great deal of strength (and everything else) she gave me!

To DR for her help and support and emails: another shoulder I knew I could always cry on.

To Dad's dear friends DR and wife MR who carefully co-ordinated their visits to be with Dad in W-S when I couldn't.

To RJ and JC and all the other guys at UNCC who helped keep the students updated with info and who took care of Dad's classes for him.

To Steelman (KW) who was always so cheerful and upbeat and brought cool computer goodies for Dad to use.

To TR who made me laugh and showed me a detour around the Charlotte traffic that cut almost a hour off my drive time.

To WK (of the grabby clutch) and AK who found me a Cingular store and saved me from a trip to Hell Mall.

To AG and his TechnoGeek wife, MG, who came and took dad out for some desperately needed fresh air when he was staying here (and helped us fix our network).

To those long-time friends of Dad's who reached out to me even though some of them hadn't seen me since I was Bitty Girl's age: ST, TR, BT, JP, JR (and his wife JW), RP and KP.

To CB who was working so hard on Dad's behalf and who called me "Hun" like he'd known me forever.

To the lovely women who work with Dad at the University and who beat the bushes and got info for me when I couldn't figure stuff out.

To the students and ex-students who wrote, emailed, and commented on this blog. Every voice, every word, helped.



To the medical staff at Wake-Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem where he couldn't have gotten better care and to the other staff, especially Monique, who put up with my repeated phone calls and dumb questions and helped me no end.

To the staff at Oak Summit, especially the young and probably underpaid techs who had to do the hard and dirty jobs and who were sweet and attentive while Dad was there.

To SR the no-nonsense physical therapist who dragged Dad toward getting well whether he felt like it that day or not. Girl, you rock.



To my aunt ZH whom I knew I could count on and who was close by if I needed her.

To my Mum who jeopardized her job to drive the hour to my home in the wee hours of the morning every other day and watch her bad grandbabies.

And finally, to Evil Genius Husband who put up with it all: the disruptions, the stress, the crying, the anger, the exhaustion, the phone calls ... with quiet aplomb.

Thank you.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:27 pm   1 comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Caution: philosophical post!

I just have to apologize for the spotty posts. I know that almost no one is drifting by to read, but I'm sorry on my own behalf as well, LOL!

I need to keep this record to help me see how far the farm has come as well as be able to show my children what I did.

See, this is where I intend to live for the rest of my life. Here on this farm, Cool Shade Farm, and here in this house, The Burrow. I intend to raise my children here. I want to build something not only for me, but for them - if for no other reason than to give them good memories of their childhoods.

Of course, I hope that one of my kids will want to stay here and continue on farmsteading, perhaps raise his or her own kids here.

That would be cool.

Part of my problem with posting is that I really feel like this blog should be filled with pictures. Farmsteading and restoring a house (and raising four -hopefully five - children!) is a visceral pursuit. It's really hands-on and I feel like there's only so much a person of my limited writing talents can convey with just words.

So I resolve to take more pics and get them up!

I also have searched many times for other farm/homesteading/farmsteading blogs and haven't been able to find many. I often think that I'm obliged to make this a good one so that other folks who are interested in this sort of stuff will have something to read.

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So the news up to now is that I caught yet another opossum (after he killed my black white-crested polish rooster who'd stupidly decided to roost on the ground) and something got in and decimated my new pigeons.

I still haven't figured out what it was, but did discover how it got in: it pulled the door out at the bottom and slipped through. I've fixed the door and had no more problems but I've not caught the critter. The trap is still out there, after 3 days, empty. What the heck was it?

The Microdoe and her mum were let out into the herd yesterday and I'm keeping a cautious eye on her. Brownie is acting a lot less attentive since she's been out and I'm not certain she's feeding the Microdoe. They may have to go back in the adoption pen.

OK, I'm off to take some pics.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:23 pm   1 comments

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nurse, I need a pencil, stat!


Well Evil Genius Husband got back safe and sound from his conference at Myrtle Beach. He and his cohorts were a hit with the middle-school-teacher crowd. Bless him, he brought me some pics and some shells and a really cool candle that's too nice to ever burn. I miss the ocean so much and I grilled him on what he did there: "Did you walk on the beach? Did you look for sharks teeth? Was it fabulous?"

Of course, EGH, who doesn't like the beach and didn't want to be away from his family over the week-end, apparently ventured out - fully clothed in jeans, shoes, etc - just far enough to snap my pics then scampered back to the hotel.


Wish I wuz there. *sigh*


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Here are some pics from the two recent birthdays:



Boy is four. Don't forget.



Two-year-old Bitty devouring a cupcake. Don't mind the ratty hair, they'd all just had a bath.



"No pictures please!" The Human Crash Test Dummy on her second cupcake.

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What are little girls made of?

So, I have never bought my daughters any sexually stereotyped toys. No babydolls, barbies, princess outfits, mini-shopping cart with it's own Platinum Card, etc.

I'm not trying to defeminize my daughters, it's just that I'm not into that stuff and never have been. I love playing super hero and getting down on the floor and putting together HotWheels tracks ... but that girly stuff? Meh.

So my policy has always been that if they want some fru-fru stuff then I will be happy to get it for them but so long as I'm doing the choosing it will be more eclectic (for example: all 3 of the older children - boy and girls - love to pretend to cook. They are allowed to play with my pots and spoons and I've gotten them some play food and dishes to further their interest in cooking.)

Anyway, so the HCTD began yesterday to carry a toy around and refer to it as her 'baby'. She even talked to it and put it to bed, etc (which was made a bit bizarre by the fact that the toy in question is a purple rubber anemone that EGH had brought back from the Ripley's Aquaruium gift shop.) The two oldest are really into imaginative play so I wasn't too startled. You would have been proud of me: I dutifully dug out a little soft dolly that had been a gift and gave it to her. Everybody's happy, right?

Fast forward to today just before lunch.

The girls tend to go off on their own sometimes. Actually, it's that Bitty tends to follow her sister around because she (Bitty) is evil and knows that no one can get up to bad stuff like the HCTD. The potential for wanton destruction is high just being in proximity to the HCTD. The two of them together, alone, in another room, even for a moment, is a recipe for disaster.

So after the requisite 30 seconds of not seeing them both I went looking.

I found them in the dining room, on the floor, crouched over the doll. Bitty was holding up a Duplo block and a crayon expectantly and the HCTD was repeatedly stabbing the doll with a pencil. She was even going:"Ow!, Ow! Ow!" after each stab. After a couple of seconds watching this macabre scene with my mouth gaping, I asked the HCTD what the heck was going on:

"HCTD! What the heck is going on?!"

She paused and smiled sweetly. (Of course Bitty grinned ... this is how she puts her victims at ease).

"Baby has an owie ..."
"No lie! You're stabbing her with a pencil!"
"No ... no ... no!" and she shook her head like boy, you're dumb, Mom, "She's sick and had to go to the doctors and get SHOT-ed!"

Ohhh ... ok. I get it. I had just rung yesterday and made appointments for all four of them with Dr. Clemson and had explained to a very upset Boy how he would, indeed, have to get some shots. The HCTD was in the room at the time.

She was playing like she was the doctor and Bitty was her nurse ('cause, you never know when the doctor will need a Duplo and a brown crayon in the middle of a proceedure) and the unfortunate baby doll was their patient. I'm up to speed now.

It still creeped me out. Here are the medical personnnel looking innocent:



Would you trust these two with a pencil?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 10:58 am   0 comments

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Potato of Time

I have, apparently, acquired Old Person Memory syndrome. You know the one. It's where you can remember details from old memories but can't remember new stuff. You can recall with perfect clarity what you had for breakfast the morning you stormed the beach at Normandy, but you can't think what you did with your underpants that you had on before you showered.

You also begin to lose the realization of how old a memory is and begin to think that everything happened 'just a few years ago'.

I've got it, I'm tellin' ya.

When Googling the stuff for the last post I came across articles on baby Jessica McClure (the 18 month old down the well) which seems to me like it happened ... well ... just a few years ago. It was, like, sixteen years ago. Sixteen! And the adopted baby Jessica? I would have sworn that happened recently. Twelve years ago!

Jeez.

So forgive the 'remember this?' stuff. If anyone had to Google to figure out what the heck I was talking about, I apologize!

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But I did come across this extra cool site and am ordering myself several of these:

Truer words were never spoken. They have several more cool stickers, magnets and tees, some a bit more ... brusque than others! Check it.

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Oh and it was potatoes. We had fried potatoes for breakfast before getting on the assault boats.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:34 am   0 comments

Friday, March 03, 2006

So, what makes a mom?

How nifty is this?!

Here's a cool article on the subject that's a bit more science-geeky and even Snopes verified that the story is true.

While Googling along merrily I came across this older - and more thought provoking - story about an IVF transfer mix up. Remember that?

At the bottom of the article (man, doesn't the media just love to pounce on any legal action?) they talk about two other mix-up cases and who got to keep the resulting babies. I'm really torn on this one. I mean, I'm a person who believes that a bio parent who gave her child up for adoption should NOT be able to just claim that child back. Remember adopted baby Jessica? Remember the news clip of them taking that baby, screaming, out of her home? (side note: Oh, they would have had to have killed me. They would have had to have stepped over my dead body to get that baby from me. I'm just sayin')

Anyway, what are your feelings on this? If you did a successful IVF and discovered that the child wasn't yours would you give him up? What if you found out that he was 'half yours' (your egg and strangers sperm/ strangers egg and your husband's sperm)? Would the child being of a different race from you impact your decision?

As a person who suffered through infertility for a long time I can really empathize with both sides of the coin (although I never had the money to even consider ART, I did look into fostering and domestic adoption). But now, having 4 beautiful bio babies, it's easy for me to throw around opinions, ya know?. My inclination now is to say that if another couple accidentally got my embie and had the baby, that I'd gladly not contest their right to keep her.

But would I say that if I was on the hellish end of a string of failed IVF cycles?

Yep. This is a tough one.

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Note: This post is not intended to be provocative. I am a just huge fan of biology in general and genetics in particular, so this fascinates me. I'd love to go into some field having to do with genetics, but can't think of what. Hey, I'm just amazed that, at the age of 42, I've finally decided what I want to be when I grow up!

Second note: So I guess what I'm saying is that, being pro ART and Pro adoption, I feel like the whole bio thing is not particularly relevant. A mother is a woman who does what I do every day: kisses owies, dries tears, fixes meals, changes nappies, buckles carseats, says: "no, you can't do that right now" and "Hitting is ugly" and "I know you want that toy, but you must share". A mother invests her best time and most energy to helping a little person to be a competent, useful, and happy big person one day. The similarity in their two genomes is beside the point in my definition.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 2:02 pm   1 comments

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Birthdays and babyshowers

Today my Bitty Girl turned two years old.



This is the sweetest, smartest baby you'd ever hope to meet. I know you're saying: "Hey, I've never heard Blue really brag on her children before!", well it's true. I always go by the old Scots belief that if you sing your child's praises too loudly that the elves will come and take the child and leave a changeling:



The elves once took a child away from its mother, and left in its place a changeling with a big head and staring eyes, who did nothing but eat and drink.


(ok, ok, this kinda sounds like all of my babies ...)

Anyway, all my children have their good attributes, but my Bitty? She's going to be my research physicist or the celebrated doctor. Not that the others aren't smart enough but that she has that combination of good nature and canny cleverness. She's the polar opposite of her sister. 10 months and 180 degrees of personality separate the two. The Human Crash Test Dummy is sensitive, eager to please, emotional. Every tiny slight or setback provokes tears.

Bitty? No way. She falls? She gets up, laughs and goes on. Her sibs refuse to share? She vocalizes about it then moves on to another toy. I demand that she does something? She smiles in the face of my displeasure.

My first two are very competitive and vie for attention. Bitty cares not. My first two want my approval. Bitty loves me, but pleasing me? ... eh ... whatever.

She does love her daddy though:




I have to confess that I adore her spunk. I love that I see so much of me in her. That who-gives-a-rip attitude.

*sigh* I'm gonna regret this later, aren't I?

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OK, so I've been invited to a babyshower.

What is it about not being able to get pregnant that causes you to be a magnet for baby showers?

The shower is for my SIL, M. She's a lovely, smart, taciturn (like her brother) person and I'm absolutely thrilled to bits that she'll be the proud mom of baby 'I' here soon.

I'm really glad that the only - and I mean only - good thing about my NOT being preggers is that I won't be upstaging her.

See, Evil Genius Husband is the semi-slacker youngest child; the one who was expected to, well, slack his way for a bit. Instead he met me, unleashed his Power Sperm, and the rest is history. His oldest sister, H, followed with her daughter, E, in between my Boy and my Human Crash Test Dummy.

Now is M's time.

So, I won't be able to attend the shower but I want to get her a gift. I want to get her a good gift. Something that she needs. She'll be inundated with cute, expensive, and useless. I want something that she really finds uselfull. Something she'll appreciate. But what?

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How cool is this? It's a wet-suit-like thingy that can save the life of a woman who has hemorrhaged in childbirth.

My only question is this: It's these very poor women in underdeveloped countries who are the ones who are dying and who can be most helped by the suit, right? So how is a very poor woman in an underdeveloped country who's giving birth in a hut in the middle of nowhere going to get access to his thing if she hemorrhages?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:51 pm   5 comments