Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Home. Sweet!

I learned something new about myself in the last week. I've always known that I bite my fingernails when I get stressed out. What I didn't know is that when the stress passes a certain level I stop biting them. Yikes.

We flew up to Boston for a five-day househunting trip — told ourselves that we'd look around, get a feel for what was available, and if we found something that looked good we'd make an offer on it. If not, we'd rent for six months to a year and see what turned up. And we found it: a 1963-vintage split-entry raised ranch, hardwood floors, big backyard, two-car attached garage. It needs work, beginning with a new circuit breaker box (I said the house was of 1963 vintage!) and a good coat of (white) paint in the (otherwise gloomy) downstairs den. Then the kitchen, which may or may not even be functional (my guess is not) since the appliances are as old as the house is. I mean, the in-wall oven is yellow. So I've just spent half an hour looking at Ikea kitchen ideas.

I feel like such an adult. Yikes. All of a sudden I have weird homeowner-type questions floating through my head: Are there French drains to keep water out of the basement? How soon will the furnace need to be replaced, and is it worth it to convert to a geothermal system when it does? Do the garage door openers work? ('Cause we forgot to check.) How much will the fact that the commuter rail line passes right behind our backyard affect the resale value of the house?

But we're happy with this. A little freaked out, but happy. Beth is in love with the bathroom in the new house. Everything is pink: bathtub, sink, toilet, all the tile. All the fixtures in the bathroom (and in the tiny tan half-bath off the master bedroom) are the exact same make and model as all the fixtures in the bathroom of our first apartment, which were pale blue. Eerie.

The house is in Belmont. Boston neighborhood names still mean nothing to me; likewise with Boston college names, other than the obvious ones. But every time I told someone we were looking for houses in Belmont, they said, "Oh, Belmont," just as every time Scott said he was going to be teaching at Bentley the reaction was, "Oh, Bentley." Anyway. The house is 2.4 miles from Scott's office, and 1.3 miles from church and the temple, and four blocks from the elementary school. The town is unbelievably Mormon (two wards in the town; neighboring areas have four towns to a ward), has excellent schools, and feels, you know, friendly. Homey. People wave to each other from their cars. Road signs at the town borders say, "Welcome to Belmont. Please be courteous and obey all traffic laws."

Beth and Sarah were angels during the trip — even with the missed naps and the hours in airports and our real estate agent's car and the random stops to eat. Beth complained a bit in the car, especially if I had forgotten to bring along her newest Babybug magazine, but was thrilled to sit down and play with the temporarily abandoned toys belonging to kids who actually lived in the houses we were touring. (She threw up at dinner one night, but that's another story — and at least it wasn't while we were on an airplane.) Sarah grinned at everyone and let us subject her to the car seat for hours on end and slept through the night every night. And we took them on the swan boats — the swan boats! — Sunday afternoon when we went downtown. I loved it. Beth was thrilled. And Sarah, placid Sarah, hung onto her daddy and smiled.

Pictures to follow (I'll embed them in this post), so check back in a day or so. Shots of the house are on our Flickr page.

Monday, April 16, 2007


We have a new nickname for Sarah: Sarah Sunshine. It's true. She's a bright little happy ray of golden sunshine, and "Ray" is already taken as a (somewhat ironic) nickname for my mom. I just wish we were getting as much sunshine outside as we're getting inside.

Oh, and Sarah only comes in snuggly.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Bethday #2

Today was the second annual celebration of Bethday — which to you uninitiated folks is also known as Bethie's second birthday. Cute kid! She had so much fun helping me decorate her cake (purple frosting, purple writing, pink and blue sprinkles she put on herself, and lots of frosting tastes)...and fun eating it...and fun with her myriad fascinating presents. Christmas all over again: she couldn't stand to put something down to unwrap the next box. The big hit (and this may change by tomorrow when she and Scott put together her Ikea table and chairs) was a Razor tricycle scooter.

Oh, the Ikea trip. Where do I start?
  1. Beth really, really wants a big-girl bed. (To tell the truth, I want this for her too. But the matching little day beds I want for the girls are a bit more than I can afford right now, and they're bulky, and I don't want to include yet another item in the Boston move. Sigh.) She climbed all over the toddler beds in the children's section, and put her head down and pretended to go night-night, and made sure she inbethtigated all of the kid-friendly room mockups they'd put together.

  2. She was fascinated by the tables and chairs. We tried out a bunch of them, made a decision, and Scott headed out to the furniture pickup area to wrangle a big cardboard box — and Beth was positive we were leaving without the great things she'd just been playing on. Oh, the plaintive cries of "Table and chairs! Please! Oh-kay!"

  3. Now that she has said table and chairs, there's a darling little porcelain dolly-sized tea set that I can't get out of my head and must go back to get her. Maybe it can be a moving present. Ha. Like I need an excuse to buy cute, cute stuff for my kids.
Sarah — sweet baby Sarah! — has discovered her hands. Finally! She's gotten quite adept, in the last few days, at aiming one of them straight for her mouth, inserting her fist, and sucking like mad on the knuckles of her first finger. It's very, very cute. (She's also a kicker, and managed to kick off and lose her big flannel blanket while we were out shopping Wednesday. Conveniently, she did this in the fabric store — so I just bought three lengths of flannel to hem into more blankets. Frustrating, nonetheless.)

Sarah watches and watches and watches us. I'll be nursing her and talking to someone, or watching Veronica Mars reruns, or playing "Talk to Piglet on the Phone" with Beth, and I'll look down at her and see her eyes absolutely riveted on mine. If she's lying on the floor she's watching Beth. And unless she's asleep (or almost so) she can't stand not to be in the same room with us. Such a social little bear. I swear she was as thrilled as Beth was with the birthday celebration, just because she could tell it made us all so happy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In your dreams, Gen Xers

Last night I dreamed that Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland told a homeless guy in Pittsburgh several things that a character was going to do in his next book. The guy went out and did them, and since then (in my dream, at least) Coupland has written him into each of his books, because he knows the guy will actually do all the things Coupland dreams up for him.

I could get all metaphysical about this — something about life imitating art, or the fact that I dream about dreams becoming reality, or someone finding purpose to his life through service to someone else's ideas — but it's not that deep. I watched Friday's episode of "Raines" last night, and I'm halfway through JPod.

(Also, in my dream, the guy lived in the alley next to Little's Shoes on Forbes. So maybe I'm just dreaming about shoes...again.)