Sunday, February 24, 2013

Careful what you wish for

The other day, Husband came home from work and we had a lot to talk about. Houses, finances, plans,  moving... the whole nine yards. We just needed, maybe, five minutes to toss around some things before we could set it aside and be parents again. He walks in the door, kisses for all the girls, and a few minutes of monkeying with LMC before coming to talk to me. 

Then MB started wailing and needed her diaper changed. And LMC wanted Dah-dee to open her fruit snacks. And the phone rang. MB needed to nurse. LMC's wheels fell off.

He had not been home 20 minutes and the only conversation we had involved a "hello" and a question about the other's day. 

We needed some peace and quiet. Just 15 minutes to sit down and talk to each other without a baby wailing or a toddler desperately needing attention. 15 minutes to look each other in the eye and speak on an adult level about decisions that needed to be made. 

I wished for a moment of quiet.

Days later, LMC got a cold. Runny nose and coughing kind of cold. It was pathetically nothing. We didn't keep her out of school- she felt fine. She didn't even have a fever. LMC passed the gift to her mother, who in turn passed it to her father.... who passed it to our 8 week old MB. 


It was a nothing cold. A few weeks ago when LMC yakked and had the flu made us more concerned than LMC's runny nose.

MB coughed. Those sad baby coughs when she got done, she looked around- dizzy- with the turmoil of the coughs. MB sneezed. Repetitious sneezes with goobers coming and going from her nose. No fever. Just the same symptoms we all had of this nothing cold- in an eight week old body. 

She struggled. We snuggled. She slept. We nursed. The diapers flew off the changing table and the cooing grew quiet as she wrapped herself in extended periods of deep sleep. 

Husband kept the babies yesterday while I was at the Basilica- an excellent place to be when your pediatric ICU trained husband calls you and says it is time to come home. Your daughter had an episode. It was time to go to the doctor. He said "doctor." I knew he meant "emergency room." We have never made a trip to the ER for our children before. 

I have said many times that my husband is always calm in the face of chaos, and he is. But, for Husband to say it's time to go to the doctor... It's Time. I walk out the front door, round the corner in the rain and hop in my car, cursing DC traffic. LMC and MB in the backseat a wicked 10 minutes later and Husband at the wheel we approach the ER. Husband lets me out with the baby swaddled in a pink blanket. 

The ER at Children's National is blocked by a security desk and you have to be cleared to enter the waiting room. God Bless a post 9/11 life and Jihad for all. The security guard sat at the desk and was carrying a conversation with another employee. There were three people in front of me. And I held my raspy baby. 


In my mind, I will count to ten and then say something... eight... nine... TEN.


click... click... I'm in.

A Thank you was tossed over my shoulder to the expert conversationalist as I crossed the threshold from normal parent to emergent parent. A nurse triaged MB, Husband walked through the door moments later and we were in rapid progression getting moved to a room in the back.


Our last name on the board called for more than one friend and comrade to come through our door to check in on our little family. One of LMC's school buddies has a mom who is a doctor. When she walked through the door, LMC said, "HEY! How Miss Joan get to be Doctor Joan?" Later, Husband would buy our daughter some crayons in a princess case from the gift shop and she would say that it was her Princess Doctor bag. 

"I bet Miss Joan carries one, too."

Even at 3.5, when she can beat the patience right out of me- she is a constant reminder of life from her height is a good life, as long as she gets to pick out her socks. And shoes. And clothes. Hooray for yesterday being a day where I held no limits on what she could wear. 

Pink leggings under a pink skirt matched with a pink shirt with a bright pink and obnoxiously large pink flower pinned to the front. Blue winter boots and no tame to her mane. She was a pink disaster and so proud of her choosing. 

I kept my mouth shut. 

A friend, a saint really, was a phone call away and didn't hesitate to pick up LMC for a slumber party with her equally wild and crazy 3.5 year old. Thankful, eternally thankful for friends in the metropolis. How will I survive without them when we move in a few short months? 

We kiss LMC good night. We check into our room. Husband runs home for a toothbrush and change of clothes and we get settled in for a long night, feeding her every hour- on the hour- for five hours. 

My boobies hurt.

She screamed until after midnight before finally admitting defeat and went off into peaceful slumber, giving us a few hours to rub together with our eyes closed. 

Today, we are sitting in the hospital- both at the wheel- one with a computer and one with an iPad, taking turns holding our newest in quiet love with each other. We should be going home today, but they need to keep us for a full 24 hour period since MB stopped breathing and turned blue. 

Babies shouldn't change colors. Rule of thumb.

We got the peace and quiet I wished for last night.

I will take crazy chaos in our laundry ridden home any day. Husband and I will make our decisions with toddlers at our feet running and screaming the whole time until they are no longer small. A moment that will come with both love and sadness. 

MB is back to her pink self again this morning, after a good night of sleep and minimal monitor alarms. It was a good night. And we'll take a pink baby home any day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Neighbors of the Year

We love our neighbors. Miss Kim and "Misser" Schaeffer moved into our old apartment and are just the two cutest little love bugs around. LMC adores Miss Kim and Miss Kim is pretty awesome with LMC. She is who I call when I think I might send my daughter to the moon.

She's a lifesaver.

So, the other day... I got a bee in my bonnet that we needed to do something nice for our wonderful neighbors. I contemplated making them a valentine day dinner... but thought that might be a little over the top. Instead, LMC and I made Miss Kim and Misser Schaeffer... and Moby the dog and incubating baby chocolate covered strawberries.

It was, surprisingly, easy. I mean, I know that seems like an obvious statement. But, it really was.

Melt chocolate




15 strawberries were dipped into yummy chocolate. Sprinkled with a little salt, they were just yummy.

14 were delivered. Hey, we had to make sure that our newest culinary adventure was not poisonous. Only to my thighs. Only poisonous to my thighs.

54 pages.

So, now that it is all said and done... I can tell you where I have been.

Reading a 54 page inspection report.

Remember this house?

Simply put- it not only made our hearts sing... it made them dance. The neighbors, the street, the potential.

oh the potential.

We put in an offer.

They countered.

We countered.

They countered.

We countered and stuck our feet in the ground.

They accepted.

We called an interior decorator. She saw the potential and the beauty in it all.
We called an inspector and $400 later, he started walking through the house with my inlaws.

He delivered the 54 page inspection report. We read it like teenagers read Seventeen, scouring the pages and the pictures, our hearts sinking (yet hopeful) with every turn of the bleak report. Words like asbestos, rot, exposed, and damage littered the pages. Phrases like galvanize piping, not attached to the wall, cracked fireplace, rusty water,  sealed entrances, corroded and decrepit electrical, and EPA standards made us see dollar signs spill out of this house.

Two words came to mind: Money Pit.

Husband called some general contractors and got a few estimates. I called my favorite plumber, Eddie Weigle, to see what he said. Love me some Eddie!

The best estimate came back at ... one hundred thousand dollars.... and that was just the estimate. We were expecting a large number and we could have handled a large number- but that was just past our ability. The contractor said that those beautiful lead windows would have to be tossed as they were hardly holding water out of the house and once he opened up the casings, he would be shocked if he didn't see black mold in the walls. Every time it rains, the house becomes a little less valuable.

He saw the potential, but he also saw the problem. Three contractors came back and said the same number-- $250,000.

The house, in the condition it is in, is worth $250,000. To put this in perspective, the same size lot next door sold for $200,000. I would have my feelings seriously hurt if I were the owners of this house. It really makes me sad because this house is beautiful and would have been a lifetime of lovely. But, I don't see them accepting $250,000, nor do I see us spinning our wheels on a beautiful money pit.

What I know about real estate:
* It's never the last great deal.
* It's never the last great house.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The last few

The last few days, rather weeks, have been busy. 

The baby slept.

And last night it snowed. More than an inch fell. As soon as Husband got home from work, LMC and I were bundled and ready to head out into the wintry wonderfulness. LMC ran from corner to corner screaming, "I LOVE YOU SNOW!" It reminded me that while I expect so much out of her and get so frustrated with her when she won't (flat out refuses) to put on her pants, or brush her teeth, or insists on a pink plate instead of a green one-- she's just three. She's been on this earth a quick 45 months. 

After running around and round, getting colder and colder- we finally made our way back up to the apartment where she had the last cup of hot chocolate. We warmed our feet under a blanket before Husband and Wife had beef stew for supper. 

It was a fairy tale kind of evening. 

Our last night in Augusta, Mama hosted a sip and see for MB. It was a lot of fun to see my parent's pals all in one place and all at one time. SIL's parents came, BeBe and Pop. I love Bebe and Pop. They are such conversationalists and are always fun to be around. LMC loves BeBe and I really think she thinks that she has a third grandmother. Bebe treats her like one of her many granddaughters.

Thursday- two days before the sip and see- my in-laws came to town to meet MB.  I adore my FIL. He's a boatload of fun. Cook-a and Dude-ah have 11 grandchildren now with one more one they. My SIL, Catherine, is pregnant with their fifth child. I can't wait to meet her!

MB's birth is the first birth since Miss Lucille died and the first birth that my in-laws missed. We were all sad and reminded why we are heading back to Georgia- Family. FIL took to MB and MB took to FIL in a moment and were instant pals. She'll be his gardening assistant. I can already tell.

Before all this, Husband went to make a presentation at the national CCM conference in Puerto Rico. Mama came to town to help me with the two girls. While she was here, MB turned one month and we swore in Obama for a second term. We were completely landlocked on MLK day/Inauguration day/MB's one month birthday.

LMC and I made glitter letters and Mama cooked praline chicken. So yummy! 

A natural born Republican... 
 The day Husband left, I took Mama to the Basilica at Catholic University. It's a cool place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something outside of the box and away from tourists. LMC asked, "It's okay I take pictures with your iPhone?" Sure, honey!

Figuring this was our one chance to get out of the house for a few days, we started at the National Arboretum- a place that very few go as it is not downtown, nor on the mall. I love taking LMC there as it gives her a chance to run in tall grass and get her willies out. It was cold, cold, cold and we eventually jumped ship for our indoor Catholic adventure.

A good few weeks!