Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moving In

On Saturday I got a call that Katie was coming, as in she was about to leave for the airport. I knew she had Caesar with her. When I picked them up at the airport, I found out she actually had Liz, Owen, and long-time friend Becky with her. Surprise!

When we got to the house, they kicked things right into gear. In just a couple hours, we finished up my bedroom and closet. They rewarded themselves by going to the "Taste of Chicago." Owen and I made a miserable, failed attempt to go to the Lego store, but due to the level of activity downtown, we couldn't buy ourselves a parking space. It had taken 45 minutes to drive the mile from "Taste of Chicago" to near the Lego store, but then the very expensive parking lots were full. I offered Owen $20 for us to just go, but he wouldn't take it. So we searched for a parking spot (moving at the pace of traffic, which was very slow) until I was at my wits end and the Lego store was about to close. Eventually we went to Target, where he selected a Lego item costing $20. He doesn't know I was prepared to pay more.

Sunday we did a little more around the house. Becky is amazing. She is a rare person with planning and organization skills, great work ethic, the ability to direct others, and an eye for decoration. With her help, the office is totally done. All of those boxes that were stashed in the closet have been unpacked and organized! Sunday night Katie made chicken tacos for our special guest: Kent. He is a friend of Liz and Harry's who is in Chicago for an internship with the railroad.

Monday morning Liz flew home and the rest returned to work. Becky installed a set of blinds, single-handed (which I found very impressive.) She hung pictures, arranged my artwork, and helped me do some planning for future decorations. We've removed the most hideous of the window treatments in the house, but more will come down soon.

Owen was an important member of the crew because he entertained Henry. Owen loved Rody, the bouncing house, and bounced on him from one end of the house to the other. It was very cute to watch.

So by visiting, not only did Katie, Becky, and Liz do work I would have taken a long time to do, they did a better job than I ever would have. Becky made sure everything was organized and thought out, so we can actually find and use our stuff. What a novel idea! With so many of my friends moving right now, I wish these ladies could go full-time as professionals, but I don't think anyone can afford to pay them what they're worth- priceless!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Storm of the Century

Last Wednesday, we had a storm unlike anything I've been through before. The heavens open suddenly water was gushing from the sky. The rain drops weren't little cute dollops of water, but rather skinless water balloons. Our street was flooded over the curb and onto the lawn. You could see the "shoreline" of the peak of the storm afterwards, as a line of stick debris on the lawn.

The thunder and lightning were VERY close. We think that several trees in the neighborhood took direct hits. The power lines just a block to the north of us were struck. The lines were laying across the road (which is a busy road, similar to highway 89 in Bountiful) and the road remained closed for almost 24 hours. We were without power just shy of 24 hours. It wasn't bad at all- the weather was cool so we didn't miss the air conditioning, and we had great LED flashlights.

The most inconvenient thing was our phones needed to be charged. On Thursday morning when my phone was dead, I went with Henry to McDonald's, and we enjoyed a drink while I charged my phone using their outlet.
We did not go outside until the storm was gone. We did not want to get struck by lightning, or have the baby drown. The waters began to recede quite quickly, but the street was flooded to some degree for a while. As cars would go by, they created a wake and you could see the wave come most the way onto the lawn. My first thought was, "Where do these people need to go so badly?"

Henry loved running down the water-covered sidewalk. We let him run back and forth on the walkway leading to our door when it was just barely covered with water. He probably did it twenty times, and would have done it more if we had let him.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Learning Curve

There's a slight learning curve to using a spoon. Henry hasn't quite mastered it yet. He gave up and just went for the yogurt with his fingers, which was also not very effective.
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Another Milestone!

The 1992 Honda Accord just reached 170,000 miles. It is a little worse for the wear, but it keeps on going. When we purchased it just over five years ago, it only had 120,000 miles- that's barely broken in.

Don't worry about the glowing light- it's just telling you the parking brake is on.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Power is Out: Hour 23

Last night we had what is clearly the biggest rain and lightning storm
of my life. The power is still out, and this downed line a couple
blocks away may be partly to blame. The power pole was down across a
street similiar to highway 89, and the street is still closed. There
are giant branches down all over the neighborhood.

I went to McDonald's to get a cold beverage and charge my phone. It
was nice to spend time in their AC. Luckily, it's only 82 degrees
today. The rumor in the neighborhood is we won't be getting power
back for at least another day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More MechaNick

After a few technical difficulties, the one-doored 1992 Honda is back on the road. Nick finished putting the brakes together last night. Henry and I were instrumental in the bleeding of the brakes- we pumped the brakes when Nick told us to. Nick is still in orientation for residency, so we're glad to get this wrapped up before he starts working 80 hour weeks.

A picture of Henry, relaxing in the front seat.  He won't get to sit here again for about 10 years.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Longest Day of the Year

We spent the evening of the longest day of the year playing in the yard, working on the car, and watching lightning bugs.

We're getting settled into our house in Chicago. It's not Chicago-proper, we're just a few miles outside of the city itself in a little suburb that reminds me of a smaller Rose Park. It's like Rose Park (in Salt Lake) in both architecture and era. It's smaller in that this neighborhood is smaller and the individual houses and lots are smaller. The houses next door are REALLY close to ours, like about four feet between our wall and theirs. Our garage even smells like my grandpa's Rose Park garage.

We've been having some car problems.  We had to take the Ford in for a repair, and now that we have it back, Nick is fixing the brakes on the Honda.  They started to make a squeaking noise when you weren't breaking, so he has replaced all the brake pads (as maintenance) and replaced some cylinders, which should fix the problem.  If being a doctor hadn't worked out, maybe he would have been a mechanic.  As a side note, google has totally changed how you fix cars.  You google your symptoms, find out what other people did and if it fixed the problem.  It really saves you a lot of time and money because you're not just throwing parts at things to see if it will fix it.  Nick had a problem with the disassembly, and googled it on the phone to see if anyone had similar problems and how they fixed it.  Someone had, Nick used their idea and it worked.

Henry loves having a yard. He goes to the back door and knocks on it, telling me he wants to go out to play. He loves to play on the Little Tikes play set a St Louis ward member gave us. He loves to play with bubbles. And for some unknown reason, he loves to get handfuls of topsoil and put it on the barbecue.

The garden here is pretty tiny- about the same square footage as a door. Even so, I find it's out of control already. I recognize some of the plants, but many I'm still wondering it's a weed or not. I did plant some basil, a tomato, and a jalapeno plant for Nick.

I can identify chives and dill, but that's about it.  If you have any idea what those little daisy things are, leave a comment.  Feel free to identify which things are weeds too.
We are having a major ant problem in the kitchen, and a minor one everywhere else. We bought commercial ant poison. The ants will have nothing to do with it, and continue looking for any crumb on the counter but pay no attention to the ant bait. Tomorrow I'm putting out borax-laced hot dog meat, which I hear they'll go crazy for. It should also kill them.

I still can't find most things. I have a lot of unpacking to do, and even more organizing. It's probably going to be a little chaotic for a while.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

The Moving Saga Continues

The afternoon before we packed up the truck, Henry and I went to say goodbye to our beloved botanical gardens. It's one of the many things we'll miss about St. Louis.
My cousins (referred to as Aunt Patti and Uncle Stanley) came over to say goodbye. It's been so nice having them so close- they lived just two blocks away. Patti always made sure we had a place to go on holidays, and is the gold standard of being a great hostess.
We had asked our church friends for help loading up the truck Saturday morning at 10:00. At 10:20, only my faithful friend Natalie was there and I was feeling a little unloved. I knew everyone had a lot going on that day, but I had hoped a few people would come. By 10:25, the cavalry arrived and several men and women whisked our belongings (in an orderly fashion) into the truck in just under an hour. Since most of our friends also have small children, this meant several babies came along for the move. Patti ran a nursery in Henry's room to take care of the kids to free up their parents and it worked beautifully.
We had to say goodbye to our apartment just before we drove away. We really enjoyed our time there, and now we have friends moving into it so we know it will be in good hands. Moments before we left, we realized that there were a bunch of shoes in my closet. How do you forget to pack something that obvious?
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Uncooperative Nine-Year-Old

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to Impress a 3-Year-Old

Make cupcakes in her favorite color.
Invite a couple of friends over. Have some party hats (and some bubbles)
Elton John glasses optional.
The one-year-old thinks it's a great party because you let him have him own cupcake.

Miss N is in town for Harry's wedding, so we celebrated her third birthday. We celebrated her second birthday last year when she was in town for Sam's wedding.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Universal Toddler Hobby

Who needs toys when you have toilet paper?

Farewell Apartment

A Final Farewell to our St Louis apartment. (Click on the picture for a larger view)

The hydrangeas in front were in peak bloom as we left. They didn't flower at all last year. They're a bright spot in our otherwise unkempt yard.

Built-in dishwasher, I miss you already. You were the best.

Neutral and attractive paint colors, I have to admit I completely took you for granted. I know better now.

And to the many large windows, I will miss your natural light and the fact I never used electric lights during the day.

Electric water heater, you're terrible. I don't miss you at all. I'm with something better now. It's larger and powered by natural gas.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Austin Powers Moment

We're on the road. Yesterday, the city did some work in the alley, and
moved the dumpster just enough to be a problem.

Dallas was an expert in patiently pulling back and forth, turning the
wheel just enough to eventually set the truck free. In watching the
professional driver have trouble with this mammoth, I was even more
amazed that they'll rent a truck this big to anyone off the street.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Final Alley Update

Seriously?!? A Christmas tree in June?

The box spring is finally out from under the dumpster, but it's still
in the alley. The lawn chair is gone. I don't know what the wooden
frame leaned up against the dumpster is.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our Life in Boxes

We're almost packed up. It doesn't mean I'm ready to go- emotionally
at least.