Okay, I did it: I'm up and running at www.dancingbraveblog.com . I haven't gotten any kind of redirect going yet, but I will soon I hope; until then, please update your links and visit me over there in what I hope will be a spam-free playground.
Okay, I did it: I'm up and running at www.dancingbraveblog.com . I haven't gotten any kind of redirect going yet, but I will soon I hope; until then, please update your links and visit me over there in what I hope will be a spam-free playground.
As a parent, you realize quite early that there is no dignity you will not sacrifice if it makes your kid laugh his/her way out of a tizzy (or, laugh in general). And so it was that I found myself changing Liam's diaper, grabbing a kitchen spatula from his hand with my teeth, growling, and nodding vigorously enough to make it slap me in the boobs. This is Liam's idea of comedy. I wonder if he will grow up to be a Carrot Top fan.
Everything here is great. Personally speaking, we're great: Liam is walking, which has been a fascinating experience -- you really understand why they're called "toddlers" because the best word in the world to describe the way he roams the house now is in fact "toddle." It's not a waddle, but it's not a smooth walk. He just half-shuffles, half-wobbles around like an old man lost in his nursing home, biting his fingers, then glowing with recognition and hightailing it when he sees something that interests him. Or, he holds his arms out in front of him like he's a zombie and staggers at you like he's after your brains. Dylan can still only walk while holding something. I think he just knows that his balance isn't there, because he seems to WANT to let go, but also seems aware that if he does he will fall flat on his face. The kid doesn't know "slow." You grab his hand to do some laps around the house, and he takes off like Road Runner, which means his head tips forward and his little legs pump like mad and he drags you away at top speed while practically horizontal.
Professionally, Jessica and I have in our hot little hands a copy of Spoiled, our YA novel that's coming out in June. Well, we have the advanced reading copy, which is paperback; on June 1, 2011, or thereabouts, the hardback Real Version will debut. We are very excited. Kevin loved it. I can't decide whether that means actual young adults will REALLY love it, or that we've missed our target demo altogether. But we can't bask in it, because the second book on that deal is due March 15. We don't have an outline yet. We have awards season to fug through, and Fashion Week, and the busiest professional time of Kevin's life. I am not sure how we're going to get there. But at least if we do, it's only a few months of concentrated hell. I'd rather get it over with than drag it out endlessly.
As I try to get back into the swing of things, I have a question for y'all: Should I switch to Wordpress? I'm familiar with the platform, and I can live with either, but it'd change my link and I don't know what it'd do to my picture posts (or how easy it is to import entries from one to the other). Most of the reason I want to switch is that the spam in the comments on Typepad is getting insane (as it was on Movable Type, which we just moved GFY off of; seriously, wow). I have a lot in there from "viagra online" or "generic Viagra" or "air jordans," things that read like normal comments but are not -- but the final straw might be the opus at the end of this entry from a "commenter" named. "WWII's Unit 731:::Tsushogo was a clue from the Gods illustrating their positioning long before it began. Incidentally, the used it to hurt the Chinese and position against future sucess, concealing Japanese atrocities." The name is long, the comment is about a mile longer, and racist to boot -- it's gross. I am leaving it temporarily just so y'all can see it in all it's COMPLETE AND UTTER INSANITY. Most of the spam is harmless (one was even written as though the person had been watching a UNC basketball game) and chatty, if irrelevant and signed by someone named, "Free Cialis." But that one is really bizarre. I'm sick of dealing with all of it and if anyone is still checking into this blog, they're probably sick of it too. Six Apart claims they're trying to fix it all, but do I wait? Is moving really melodramatic and more trouble than its worth? And would people come with me? I don't want to lose any of the awesome people who were my sanity and my salvation during IVF, the boys' birth, etc. Y'all are the best. I wish I'd gotten www.DancingBrave.com a long time ago, or something, so I could just change the redirect. Ah, well. Hindsight.
In order to complete my 101 in 1001 list item about cooking with my cast-iron skillet, I need to prep it. And I am now sure how.
See, we got it from Crate and Barrel as a wedding gift, so it probably came seasoned, but we let our lack of knowledge keep us from ever using it.so not only might it have four years of dust or moving taint on it, but when we had to pack away the kitchen for a week, it accidentally cleaved itself to a paper towel and I could swear done of it's fuzz stayed behind.
The Internet seems to advise against using water for fear of rust, and I don't want to scrub at it lest I damage the surface or the seasoning that is (was?) there. Any ideas how I can go about ing this ready for use without violating it?
Phew, I can't believe a month has passed since I last updated. I'm not sure where it all went, except that there was the week (which I should have photographed) in which our kitchen AND our garage were all in my office, and then I was gone at Fashion Week for nine days doing our usual coverage. That really only accounts for half of my absence, though, so maybe the other part is just the emotional fortitude required to empty the kitchen cabinets into my office and then clean dirt and cobwebs off the baby gates that were in storage and then use them to keep two very confused beans out of the kitchen (except one of the barriers doesn't quite stay put, so there was the added, sexy element of danger, because Liam is always two seconds away from throwing himself through it and landing on the floor).
A few short updates:
1) The Kitchen. As with most projects from just about every contractor on the face of this planet, it sits at about 90 percent complete, and hasn't been touched in two weeks. He'll come back tomorrow to even out the tile around the range and then replace the three tiles that were cut too far. No, wait, first, they're still making the new cabinet doors, but they should be finished today. Wait, they just need to be sanded and varnished, but that ought to be done today. Wait, they're still ordering the wood to match the detail that goes around our cabinet doors, but that's due in today. You get the idea.
I still love our contractor, though, and I'd recommend him, because the 90 percent of what he's gotten done, we're really happy with, and that's important. Having the entire contents of our cabinets in my office was... interesting. We packed three huge Rubbermaid bins full of things, then stacked other things randomly. The microwave and toaster oven were still in play, off to the side, but we couldn't cook anything any other way for about five days. Which really isn't so bad -- like, we blocked off the kitchen on a Wednesday, or whatever, so Tom could remove the cabinet doors, mark them, and then sand them. Then on Monday, they came in and cut out the stovetop and the cabinet underneath, and removed the oven and dead microwave. Tuesday and Wednesday, Tom sanded the kitchen and began varnishing. Thursday, he finished the staining and the coats of lacquer, and on Friday the doors that still exist were reattached (we're missing the ones being replaced or added), and then that evening everybody pitched in to install our appliances. So when we had their attention, MAN, did we have it.
We went with a dark stain on the cabinets, and that's worked out nicely with the existing grain in the wood, and we LOVE the pantry. Seriously, this pantry is my new obsession. Sometimes I get things out of it just so I can put them away again. Perhaps if I put a pantry in my bedroom, I would put away my clothes. We are also enamored of the new range, although one negative of the pro-style gas range is its lack of electric temperature gauge, and a dial that only labels every 50 degrees, with another mark on the 25/75s, but the dial is big enough that you can't always tell where exactly it is set. I have to use, gasp, an oven thermometer. This is deeply old-school, and also, really not that hard. But it requires some getting used to after having an oven beep at me when it's hot enough. Still, there is an absurd sense of accomplishment when I get the temperature right and something pops out cooked to perfection because I have successfully managed the oven temperature. It's feels like solving a physics word problem: I kind of can't believe I did it, and yet also, realistically, it was not that hard and why did I think it would be?
There are some pics, but I'd rather wait and share a proper before-and-after, at this point.
2) The Man Cave. This also sits at 90 percent finished. Because on day two of epoxying the floor, our neighbors along the back fence decided to empty their giant 4-foot-deep, 12-foot-long temporary pool into their yard, and the leak we thought we'd fixed in our garage turned out not to be. So water flooded the back of our garage, staining and damaging the epoxy, because the clear coat hadn't gone down yet. We had Pat and his guys go around to the other house and fix the leak issues from behind our garage, but the cement wasn't drying in the drainage trench they cut, because that house's yard doesn't even get enough natural light to grow proper grass. So we waited and waited for it to try, and somewhere in there, that's when we got lost to the morass of other projects and one of Pat's employees' sons is having kidney trouble and yada yada yada that aspect of it is actually quite terrible, and makes me so sad. But my point is, in this arena, It's Always Something. And we knew that going in, but at the same time, that still doesn't explain why our garage door hasn't come in yet.
3) Dylan doesn't hate me anymore. Phew! Within a couple days of Kevin going back to work, Dylan got comfortable with me again, so clearly this was all Kevin's fault and he was whispering rude anti-mother nothings into my child's ear the whole time he was on hiatus. Also, I think Dylan just started seeing more of me again and realized I love him and am there for him. He still really worships Kevin, and clings to Maria a bit during the day, but on the latter front it's not as much and sometimes he'll even reach for me; on the former, it's rather adorable, and not in a way that makes me feel like the thought of me horrifies him. Like, I love seeing my little guy be so enamored of my big guy. Daddy is the hero, and that's just fine. Mommy is the lousy songwriter who just sang a whole five-minute ballad about her having a lettuce face (long story) just to keep Dylan from squirming off the changing table. Hey, we parents do whatever we can, however we can. And if that means holding up a stuffed piece of lettuce from a Melissa & Doug picnic basket in front of my mouth and then intoning a lengthy opus about Why Does Mommy Have A Lettuce Face But I Don't, well, so be it. Hey, it got laughs. I might be a disaster in front of other adults, but on the changing table with sub-two-year olds? I KILL.
As it turns out, that "very specific recycling center" is a little mom-and-pop shop up the road called Best Buy.
Which I may have known, but I decided the other center would be more secure as far as disposing of data that was deleted but improperly wiped, or something? I'm not sure. Obviously I am not behaving rationally, as I have been to that Best Buy a zillion times since rendering this computer obsolete, and could have toted it with me, or asked, or any number of sensible options. But as with everything, the best motivation for doing something is when you are at risk of embarrassing yourself. Kevin's brother was headed to town for an impromptu weekend visit, and so we had to do a sweep of everything taking up space in the guest room. In a fit of pique that my stupid old grey laptop was still sitting on the bed, I re-Googled the matter, found the Best Buy recycling listings, got up right that second and drove to the nearest store, handed it over, got a slip in return, and... that was that.
Listen, if anyone is sufficiently motivated to try and piece together information from whatever ghosts are on my hard drive, congratulations to you. Do something great with my identity, at least, okay?
As for embarrassment... well, my office is still the de facto garage, even though Kevin's mother is coming to stay for nine days while I'm in New York for Fashion Week. I have no idea where we are going to put any of the stuff that's living there, since the garage may not be done (we're pausing to do the kitchen). Should be a delight.
84) Get GFY's official Facebook page up and running. Honestly, this is more of a reminder, but it's got to happen.
And done. Jessica can vouch that it was a tiny bit by accident, as we had the page percolating, but then Facebook apparently just decided to auto-publish it. And so, yet again, the fates gave us a shove into productivity. But now that it's done, I spend more time with that than on Twitter, because the Facebook page is new and shiny and I can be long-winded on it. When we get our book blog up and running to pimp the novel, watch out.
There are a ton of travel-related things on my list that seem so far-fetched now that I'm looking it over -- and I remember making the same mistake the last time. Naturally, since I published the list, I've had a raft of other ideas for what I should have put on there, and naturally, since I had those ideas, I have forgotten them. Maybe I'll make some substitutions if they ever come back to me. My list is like the menu at a nice restaurant, you know. Everyone would prefer I just stuck to the offerings, but if a wee thing here or there is not to my taste, the establishment can accommodate. If only Grant Achatz could turn some of my items into tasty little morsels so I could eat my way to completion.
The last time we spoke of the Man Cave, it looked like this on Day Two:
Now, at the end of Week Three (not three consistent weeks of work, though -- probably about 14 days total), it looks like this:
And it has lights, each row of which turns on via a separate switch:
The color of the walls is probably somewhere in between the brightness of the first photo and the grey-blue of the next two. It looks really nice, which is amusing because we chose it in the span of about 30 seconds, knowing we wanted something in this family but taken by surprise at how soon they wanted to do the walls. We chose this, and not the one a modicum different, because the color name is Falling Tears and Kevin really thought the inherent melodrama in that was an essential ingredient to his man cave.
Next up: gray epoxy floors and a garage door, and a new ceiling fan. Kevin would be beside himself with excitement, were he not totally swamped with work and not even getting home until after midnight. I suppose it's for the best that it's not sitting there ready to be restuffed and furnished, since he doesn't have time to do anything but work and snore. Falling Tears, indeed.
In some respects, motherhood brings out qualities you didn't know you possessed, like patience, skill at using your forearms to hold down a squirming, furious child who would rather dive head-first off the changing table than let you open his diaper, or the ability to use a bathroom while still wearing a baby in a Bjorn dangling from your chest. But it also unearths a few ugly things now and again, and I'm grappling with one of mine now: jealousy.
The other day, I emerged from my office at 4 p.m. to take the reins from Maria. She hugged Dylan and set him down next to the coffee table, and he looked up at her -- eyes wide as saucers -- and stuck out his lower lip in a mighty, cartoonish frown. So she hugged him one more time, then handed him to me. Dylan took one look at me, one look at Maria, and burst into tears. He twisted, he turned, he threw an elbow into my throat, he reached for her. And a tiny piece of my heart broke off and went down into my feet.
This is exactly the friendship and love I want my kids to feel for Maria -- for anyone taking care of them, spending this kind of time with them, as she does. I don't begrudge them their playtime, their closeness. But I also can't escape how much it hurts when Dylan is like, "YOU? OH HELL NO." Liam manages to be thrilled to see Maria while also clutching for me sometimes, and deriving comfort from being in my arms. Dylan does not.
It doesn't have to do with Maria directly, either. Once Kevin went on hiatus, he spent more time with the boys in the evenings, because Jessica and I were scrambling to hit deadlines. Knowing he was there and that I didn't have to finish my work cold-turkey at 4 p.m. made life easier for me and I wanted to make the most of it. I was still there for dinner time, still there for the bedtime bottle and pre-bed roughhousing that helps them burn off that last bit of energy. But I've grown to suspect that it affected Dylan weirdly -- that, or I did something else to upset or offend or hurt him. Because in the past few months, I am Dylan's no. 3 choice behind Maria and Kevin, and it's not even close. In fact, put anyone else in my house, and they're probably right up there in that three spot with me.
Maybe they're more comfortable, and so when he's tired or scared he can snuggle up to them better. Maybe I messed up and was trying too much to work like it's the old days, pre-kids. Or maybe, on some subconscious level Dylan doesn't understand, he associates me with being scared and distressed in utero, when he was starving and basically had to engineer a prison break. I don't think it's always been this way, although I don't think he's ever been a mama's boy, either. All I know is, recently Maria put him in my arms while she took a bathroom break, and when she returned, he all but took flight leaping out of my lap toward her. And it really hurt. Because at the end of the day, I'm flawed enough to be jealous of my nanny. To wish they could always love me best. It's funny how parenting brings out the selflessness and selfishness all at once. The kids come first, but why can't I come first for them, too, and ME ME ME ME.
People laugh at me, say it's just a phase. "He loves his mommy," they oh-silly-you, and they're probably right on some level, but that doesn't solve anything for now. It doesn't make it sting less when my son would rather go to someone else. It doesn't make me any less self-conscious when Dylan is upset at PT and bypasses me in favor of seeking solace with Maria. I feel like the perpetual bad cop, the torturer who enforces physical therapy regimens and makes him eat dinner and go to bed and brush his teeth. It doesn't help me understand how to reinforce the bond without treating him differently or making Liam feel excluded.
Jealousy is an awful, stupid thing that colors my vision. I'm embarrassed that I've given it any credence at all. Although I admit sometimes I wish I'd hired a nanny whose name wasn't so close to "mama," because when they call her that -- and they do -- it rips another tiny piece of me and flushes it away, as if the word isn't uniquely ours. I'm supposed to be their mommy. That's supposed to be for us. Why can't I wait patiently for the day when it will be, when they can verbalize and understand? Because I'm jealous. I hate it, and I am it.
It's getting better, slowly but surely. In some areas. Since Kevin's been back to work and I'm on the afternoon/evening patrol, Dylan is seeking me out a bit more, but still more so when I'm the only option. Last night, as he woke up screaming his lungs out from teething pain and exhaustion, Kevin handed him to me to see if I could get him to take some water. He wouldn't, so I stood up to rock him and make up silly songs to comfort him. He tensed and fought and yelled, then Kevin reached to take him back, and he burrowed into Kevin's neck and went quiet. (I would've liked to have kept him until he calmed down, just to establish that kind of connection, but Kevin thought he was doing me a favor by taking him back because it was Kevin's turn to do the night-to-5 a.m. shift. I'm only mentioning that misunderstanding -- which we sorted out later -- because I want to make it clear that I don't just hand Dylan off every time he protests.)
Seeing all the other kids who show up for therapy, kids with very real problems, puts it into perspective a bit. Some days I'm calm and practical about it. Others, I'm emotionally turgid. Nothing is easy, and that's part of the point. It's a lifetime of getting to know each other. I just wish he'd trust me more unconditionally, because it makes me wonder what I did to violate his trust along the line. I want to be his safe haven, not just the most convenient port in the storm. I want him to love Maria, to want to be with her, but not to the exclusion of me. But I guess in some ways, it's an early reminder of how I have to be there for him while letting him find his own path. I don't love him less because he wants other people more. I just respect myself a tiny bit less for making the comparison.
When my mother visited in April, Dylan swiped Kevin's Chuck baseball cap from the coffee table, so Mom rested it on his head and I took a picture and made it The Daily Bean (the pictures I send Kevin while he's working and/or away). So I got the notion that I should do the same with Liam, and pair them up and frame them so Kevin could hang them in his edit bay.
Thanks to the canyon-sized cracks in my memory, this proved harder than expected, although I was also impeded by the fact that Kevin was on hiatus at the time and so pulling this off without him seeing it was tricky. And when he was elsewhere, I could never find the damn hat. You think you know a guy, until you realize you have no idea where he keeps his lids.
This past weekend, Kevin snapped a photo of the boys wearing their matching Captain Awesome sweatshirts -- which are, by the way, totally too small for them now, as we bought them at Gymboree last fall in a six-to-12-month size. He thought that would be funny on his wall, given the character that goes by that name on Chuck (which is why we own the shirts in the first place). So a plan formed: I went to Target under other auspices, I picked up a three-photo frame, and I conspired to get that third picture of Liam so that Kevin's Captain Awesome picture could be flanked by one of each guy in a Chuck hat. Perfect, right?
Kevin gave me an opening when he disappeared into our just-painted master bathroom to put up the towel rails and toilet paper holder. And after an exhaustive search of every crafty place in the house for him to have stuffed the hat, I found it... in his closet. Where, naturally, I did not look before, because who keeps their clothes in a thing that's specifically made for keeping clothes? It's madness. Next you'll be telling me he does some living in our living room and kitches in the kitchen, or something, and the planet will tumble off its axis.
Getting Liam to cooperate was a whole different issue. My children don't particularly love having things on their heads. Case in point: We couldn't get either of them to wear the sunglasses we bought for our Duck trip, which Velcro around their heads, and they look miserable any time we put their Syracuse baseball caps on, although I prefer to think it's because they know their alliance is with another Big East basketball school. AHEM.
Anyway, this all means Liam did not let me keep those hats on his head. I found three: One that said Chuck, one with a Nerd Herd logo, and one bright green one for the Buy More Fight Club.
So I'd put one on, and Liam would pull it off, and I'd shove another one on there real fast thinking that would trick him, but no.
Each one was ripped off almost quicker than the first. So then I tried sitting him with Dylan, a hat apiece, but that devolved into a fisty fiasco wherein Dylan slid down and then tried to roll over and bite the hat Liam clutched bemusedly in his fingers, while Dylan's hat flew over the side of the chair.
Three times Kevin emerged from the bathroom to get a tool from my office -- which is currently being used as the garage, since the garage is currently being used as a construction site -- and each time I was like, "DON'T LOOK." Super smooth!
But it seriously took about fifteen minutes of trying before I settled upon one of the first pictures of the bunch, realizing that it had a pleasant echo of Dylan's photo and also was the only one in which his eyes were visible without a hint of six chins.
And so, the three photos, in the order they appeared:
Finish Kevin's Father's Day present (from 2010, just in case I also muck it up in 2011 and beyond). Yes, it's a tad late. But I know one thing I'd like to do; I just need a second to do it, without him home to see.
Complete! One down, 100 to go.
Because the boys were born prematurely, we have three prescribed visits to a developmental clinic to assess their progress in bridging the gulf between their chronological age and the age they would be if they'd been born on time -- in our case, roughly two months. The first visit passed mostly without incident in January, but we had our second one in late July, and as we crept toward it I had that horrible feeling of being about to get busted for not doing my homework. I knew the guys were doing great in some areas, but I also knew there was one glaringly empty box on the checklist: sitting.
"Wait they don't what?" the therapists asked, confused. "Hang on, explain again what they don't do?"
They don't sit. I don't mean in their high-chairs: strapped in and supported, they sit in high-chairs, car seats, boosters, whatever. But when it comes to play time on the floor, the beans do not sit. At all. They cannot push themselves from the floor into a seated position, they cannot stay in a seated position (well, Liam can hang out there for a little while, but he doesn't), they do not want to be in a seated position, and Dylan can't get out of it gracefully. So, unlike most babies who sit on the floor and play, our guys can't. Don't. Both.
The therapists had never heard of this.
And frankly, I knew it was weird, too. It bothered me constantly. We watched our guys pull up on the coffee table, the bookshelves, our legs, and cruise along, side-stepping and using their hands to get around; we watch them haul themselves across the floor at light speed. They are engaged and engaging; they smile readily, laugh, react to the world around them. But no sitting. We'd try to fold Dylan into a sit, but he'd straighten his legs immediately, arch his back, twist and turn like a tornado against our bodies to avoid being forced into that position. When we got him there, he'd either fold in half or kick out and fall straight backward (usually right into us). Their trunks never got strong enough to hold them there. It's a vicious cycle: They don't do it because they can't, and they can't do it because they don't.
We all kept thinking they'd develop the skill, that cruising would make their backs tougher. Our doctor seemed to think we should wait and see. And then suddenly their 12-month developmental checkup was upon us, and our dudes couldn't sit on the scale to be weighed.
Also, they aren't clapping -- or bringing their hands together to bang two toys together, or anything of that ilk. While one hand is stationary they'll bring the other to it, but that's it. They don't point when they want things. And they only military crawl; no hands-and-knees, tummy-off-the-floor movement. That in itself isn't a concern for most parents because most babies learn to sit before they learn to crawl. I think the sitting is the lynchpin of all of this. Because our beans don't, they never had times when they were too immobile to get a toy and cognizant enough to point at it so that we knew what they wanted. Our guys just went and got it themselves. And when you spend most of your time on your tummy, or standing up with at least one hand on a supportive surface, you don't tend to clap much. It's like the old tacky joke, "How do you get a one-handed [insert stereotype for stupid person here] to fall out of a tree? Wave at him, he'll wave back."
So on Wednesday, Kevin and I took the dudes to an OT/PT clinic for another assessment, with the goal of establishing a regular treatment plan. They were evaluated separately, and no surprise, found to be grossly all-over-the-place in development and hypotonic (in short, untoned) in the hip and shoulder joints, as well as the torso. They hadn't seen anything quite like this, either -- the guys can do things you wouldn't expect kids who skipped sitting to do. They did rule out autism as the cause of these particular delays, although I know that doesn't necessarily mean they're in the clear forever; still, that was enough to get me to breathe a bit easier.
There are caveats all over the place: Liam can do almost do a lot of this, or more or less everything Dylan can't. He's three and a half pounds sturdier at only an inch taller, so that makes sense. You can get him into a sit, and he'll stay there, but he doesn't have much interest in doing it for long. His posture is better than Dylan's -- he cruises more upright, he kneels more upright, he will catch himself on his hands, he will try to stay on his hands and knees with his tummy off the floor if you knead him into that position. He squats properly from a standing position to pick up toys on the floor, he gets up to a stand correctly. Dylan often picks his leg up and straightens it behind him at an angle, meaning when he stands up, he's heaving leaning on whatever he pulled up on, and then slowly scoots his feet closer to it so that he's nearer to vertical. He also tries to pick stuff up without bending both knees, or sometimes without bending even one, and thus frequently gives up, and starts crying when he's tired of standing because he gets too scared to try and lower himself. (He's had a few more falls than Liam has, and so I think he's gun-shy, which may govern his developmental lags as much as his lack of torso strength does.)
But, for now, the program is the same: Mondays and Fridays, for the next month, include an hour of therapy with their ladies -- they'll work concurrently, in the same space, possibly also interchangeably but it's hard to say yet -- and then whatever we can do with them ourselves on an extracurricular basis. I'm confident this is the best and right thing for them, a little annoyed at myself for taking this long to get here even though I also understand the logic we used to defer this, and anxious to get going. I want my boys to be strong, to keep exploring the world without fear.
And I want to get to a point where I'm not scuttling along the floor after them, trying to make them crawl with their tummies off the floor, holding their bellies up or their knees at a 90-degree angle, because damn, that really hurts a girl's knees and back, you know?
I wish I'd photographed the contractors punching a hole through the existing garage door, but alas, I didn't have the camera handy. You'd think that's a lesson from being a parent -- always have a camera handy, because otherwise, you'll miss the time your kid climbs into the bookshelf -- but I guess it hasn't quite taken yet.
Things are progressing pretty nicely here. Now, instead of looking like a very cheap mausoleum built for a person that nobody actually liked, we're getting into it looking like a space somebody might want to use someday for something other than the disposal of a body.
On the first day, the workers scraped out the inside of this thing like it was a pumpkin being gutted for decoration. They demolished that garage door, and they framed and cut the door and window openings, and finally put in all the beams for the ceiling. The second day, one guy spent his entire time essentially putting the attic "floor" over those beams, working on wiring and the placement of the recessed lights, and installing the hideaway ladder.
They also bought the door and window:
This is what it looks like on the hot-tub side:
When we repaint the garage, sadly we're going to pull down all the ivy. The report when we bought the house said it wasn't good for the wall and recommended that we eventually get rid of it, but I just like it so much, especially how secluded and wooded it makes the jacuzzi feel. I suppose we could leave it for a future owner to do, but I'm Suzy Rulefollower, so when somebody tells me I really ought to do something, I tend to do it. Unless it was, "Read this book as part of your homework." I know, I don't understand why, either.