So, as already mentioned, Larry and I decided that we could try doing what normal people do when they need household renovations - that is, hire a professional. I know! It sounds so radical! But my neighbor recommended the guy who is currently redoing her kitchen, so he came by and measured our two decrepit bathrooms and talked about tile and vanities and lighting and such. By the time he left, I was feeling optimistic that FINALLY we would have all working bathrooms in our home - complete with toilets that don't mysteriously flush themselves in the middle of the night - AND that the work would be completed in a timely fashion.
Really, I should have known better, right?
We got the quote yesterday, and it was, well, quite a bit higher than I thought it would be. Larry, seeing the total, shook his head. "I can do the tear-out myself," he said. "No way I'm paying someone $1200 per bathroom to do that!"
"We could get our handyman to do the new drywall," I suggested. "And the painting. Look! They want $700 to paint that teeny-tiny room!"
"I can buy this tile for WAY cheaper than $2000," Larry said. "That's highway robbery. And I bet I can find someone to put it in."
What scares me, people, is that I found myself agreeing with him. Me! Encouraging Larry to take on yet another DIY project, this time involving major amounts of plumbing! What is happening here?
Is it temporary insanity, brought on by the stress of sharing my one working shower with a husband, 2 hygiene-obsessed teens, and a tween? Perhaps it's a weird DIY variant of Stockholm syndrome, wherein a captive spouse empathizes with her husband's renovation plans, no matter how much havoc they wreak on her sense of well-being.
Or maybe it was the $2500 worth of sticker shock we just experienced at the orthodontist - that could definitely be a factor here, too, come to think of it...
I'm not going to make excuses for not showing up here lately, because there are none. My muse, it just up and left. She didn't even say good-bye. Oh, well...
Larry keeps threatening to tear out the basement walls, but he doesn't because there is all this STUFF down there and I'm thinking he's not sure what to do with it. I went so far as to have someone in to give me a quote on redoing the 2 bathrooms we have to fix, but then I never heard back from him. I take that as a sign from above that the 5 of us should simply continue sharing the one shower here that actually works.
This weekend I went to yoga (twice), took Susie to a local fiber festival (meh), and managed a trip to the commissary to stock up on everything cheap. Except toilet paper, of course - I've got that covered.
The Holy Grail
You see, while I wasn't blogging in September, I was spending money online. In a desperate attempt to lessen the amount I spend monthly on the girls' favorite hair conditioner, I scoured the Internet, where I discovered Jet.com. Not only did it have lower prices, but it offered 15% off my first 3 orders and free shipping. All of which explains why we have, oh, 4 gallons of Garnier Sleek and Shine, 4 55-oz bottles of my favorite liquid soap, and (drum roll please) 82 rolls of Scott single-ply 1000-sheet toilet paper in our house right now.
I've got to hand it to Larry - he came home to 3 27-packs of toilet paper stacked in our bedroom and he never said anything. Not one word.
The latest in master bedroom decor
This isn't a plug for Jet.com, by the way - some of the prices are good, some aren't. But at least I get a month off from looking for sales on conditioner, right?
I'm trying to adjust to school and fall and schedules - I really am. But then I threw the whole thing in the air by going to the shore for a weekend with 3 other knitters, one of whom married well, apparently, because her in-laws own a beach house that they share generously. So we did that and had a great weekend and now I am back at square one re that whole adjusting-to-fall thing.
When I got back home, I told Larry that we need a beach house. I suggested that he retire right away and we could sell our current abode and buy a house on Long Beach Island, and he mumbled something about money and kids and food and blah, blah, blah. Let me tell you, that man is NOT a visionary.
So now I am focusing on FINALLY getting 2 of our bathrooms redone (one of which hasn't been touched since 1969). That way, I am ready to sell this house once Larry sees the error of his ways.
Living within your means is vastly overrated.
My picture of hell
The problem with redoing bathrooms is that I have to set up appointments with contractors, which means I have to know when I will actually be home, which is really difficult since my entire job description at this point is driving my kids places. And then, once we do hire a contractor, I'm going to be forced to make decisions: what vanity, what toilet (although, really, I'm pretty well-versed on that subject), and what tile. People, this is really hard for me. I mean, I'm supposed to decide which tile I want to look at in my bathroom for the next 30 years (unless Larry comes to his senses), when I am already tired of the nail polish I picked out two weeks ago for my pedicure.
It's stressful. I know it is a first-world kind of stress, but still...this is why we haven't done any of this sort of thing yet, even though we have been living here almost 10 years. Get this: in a house with 3 1/2 baths, we are all taking turns in one shower in the morning, because the other 2 showers are out of commission. As you can imagine, this scenario does not always play out well. Actually, it NEVER plays out well.
You know, beach houses come with outdoor showers. And you don't even have to tile those.
A new school year. Vacation re-entry syndrome. Fruit fly invasion. All good reasons for not having time to write lately. But really? I ran out of words. And believe me, you don't want to be around a writer when she runs out of words. She gets very cranky. Poor Larry.
So I am typing now and trusting some words will show up, for the sake of everyone around me.
Our Rachel (she of the stuffed toilets and decapitated stuffed animals) decided to attend a real high school this year, the kind with teachers and homework and lots of other kids. Let me tell you, 9 years of homeschooling was totally worth it, if only to generate the sort of enthusiasm Rachel displayed when getting on the bus that first day of ninth grade. Granted, she probably sounded a tad weird, but I'm sure she'll settle down soon enough and be as jaded as the rest of 'em.
That leaves just Susie and Brian (a high school junior) at home this year. As Brian's courses are all outsourced (Glory, hallelujah!), Susie and I have spent the last two days sitting around playing Dutch Blitz. I make her keep score, so it's educational.
It's homeschooling, people - we do what we want.
AND I had a job interview today for a senior companion service - their employees drive elderly people to doctor appointments, the grocery store, etc. Or else they visit the clients at home and help pay bills or organize closets or just keep them company. The upshot is, I am going to be paid real money to visit a senior citizen near me and play gin rummy with her a couple of times a week. I feel as though someone just gave me a present.
You know, I would have given anything to find a service like this for my dad during his last year. He was so lonely and bored. I still feel sad thinking about it.
Camping in Acadia? Oh, it was surpassingly excellent, mainly because we took only the 2 youngest children with us, both of whom actually wanted to go. This was the first time in years I didn't spend my "vacation" tiptoeing around a disgruntled teen emphatically not interested in family time.
I swear, I don't know what we've done wrong that our kids act this way.
None of this happened, so far as I know
So we left Brian at home (and really, he did have work to go to and a community college class starting while we were away), but only after alerting all the neighbors that NO ONE besides him should be seen entering or exiting our house. I even managed to restrain myself from texting Brian 100 times a day to make sure he was alive. The kid managed admirably (I mean, so far as we could tell). He even texted me a pic of the house on the day of our return with the caption "Still Standing."
Everyone's a comedian around here.
Anna (remember Anna? She of the lost-forever coat?) is studying abroad this semester in Amman, Jordan, in an intensive Arabic program. Apparently, she has graduated from her Getting A Clue curriculum with honors, impossible as that seemed 7 short years ago. And Theo, our Army officer, is also in the Mideast for a year, as a member of Task Force Sinai. So tell me why, when I think of him, do I still picture him in his highchair, falling asleep face first in a bowl of spaghetti?
Really, feel free to start humming "Sunrise, Sunset" any time now. Lord knows that tune is stuck on constant replay in my head these days. Here, if you need a refresher: