Invaded

Internet, I caught it.  I don’t understand it.  I am so amazing with Lysol.  I am the Queen of Containment.  I remember years ago when Liam caught a bug when I was 20 weeks pregnant and had just driven the two big boys on an 8 hour trip, then drove 2 more hours round trip to leave their father a car at the airport due to his unexpected flight delay, and then after dropping off the car I came back to the house and laid down to sleep at like 1 am and Liam came into my room and said “moooom” and then hurled all over me, and I *Still* didn’t catch that bug.  Doubly immunocompromised by pregnancy and exhaustion, dripping in his germs, but I survived unscathed.  This time, the Lysol couldn’t save me, and Liam’s little germ invaders are now my invaders.

It was an unpleasant night.  He’s all better, at least.  And I’m well enough to feel hungry, although not certain if I should feed this recalcitrant stomach or if it’s still got more unpleasantness to go.  At least I can work from home.

Happy Friday.  I am writing opposition briefs on my couch, with Pandora’s “Spa” channel on in the background, and there are zero children or partners competing for my attention.  Life could be worse.

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Care Work

Today I am largely engaged in care work – feeding ice to a pale and sweaty six year old who can’t keep food or drink in his stomach today; following him around the house with a Clorox wipe; washing the numerous linens he is soiling, bless his virus-ridden little heart; shifting him from couch to couch and scrubbing the cushions where he missed the buckets/towels/numerous other puke-catching devices that I’d arranged in his immediate vicinity.

I have work-work screaming for my attention as well, of course.  As we all know, parents are expected to parent like you don’t have work, and work like you don’t have to parent. . . never fun, but I took the sick shift today because although I have lots on my plate, none of it’s due today.  No deadlines, no meetings, nothing requiring my presence in the office, so I’m “working from home.”

I get a lot of satisfaction from work-work, of course, although like 100% of mothers who work in law firms, and most everyone else, too, I can see multiple areas of needed change to improve the way the business is structured.  But I get satisfaction from this care-work, too, as grueling and gross as it can be.  A cool hand on a young one’s sweaty brow – the ability to comfort with a back rub, or a cold cloth – running ice along cracked lips – watching his small chest rise and fall as he sleeps across from me on the couch.  There is intimacy, closeness.  I watch his sleeping form for signs of another bout of retching and suddenly I’m just watching him, the miracle of him, lying there existing.  Heart beating, lungs expanding, thumb from his left hand tucked into the clenched fist of his right.  Things aren’t exactly right, some invader has laid him low, but all the pieces and parts are still miraculous.

A silver pot with a broken hand sits tucked into his armpit, there where he sprawls, limbs flung wide.  I’ve made a nest of towels and he has balled them all up beneath him.  He is desperate for food and drink, hungry and thirsty and sleepy and weak, and these are things I will soon be able to give him to make him feel better.  If I know Liam, and I do (I knew he was sick before he threw up – he slept late, later than normal, and I immediately checked my work calendar), he’ll be bee bopping around this evening like nothing happened.  He’s my Quick Sick – gets desperately ill for half a day and then it’s done – while Jack tends to get much milder versions of everything and then flail like a delicate flower for much longer than is necessary, in service of his hypochondria.

I have briefs to write, emails to answer, and I will, while he sleeps.  But I thought I’d come here to note that today, my six year old was sick, and I was grateful for the day spent in his company, offering palliative care and watching his miraculous little body heal itself.

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Monday Morning

We did a lot of work/packing this weekend – both of us spent several hours working, and I packed eleventy billion boxes while the Prof spent about four hours total (I’d guess – a conservative estimate) washing dishes.  We also both worked out – we’ve been working out regularly for the past month and of course he looks real different and I look just the same, but I *feel* pretty good.  It’s helped the mood, the energy, the sleeping, the lower back pain, everything!

In the middle of all this industry, we also managed some fun.  Friday night we had a pizza/movie night, and introduced the boys to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  We recently watched Back to the Future and they LOVED it, so we thought we’d try another oldie-but-goodie.  They totally dug the action sequences, and just bounced off the walls during the Indy-and-Marcus-Brody-talk-about-boring-stuff bits.  Mostly a win, though there were more scary violent parts than I remembered . . . the Marion-falls-into-a-hallway-of-skeletons part caused some consternation among the young’uns, but I told them to close their eyes.

A non-exciting picture of pizza-and-movie-night

A non-exciting picture of pizza-and-movie-night

We’ve also, speaking of consternation among the young’uns, recently instituted thumb guards at night.  My 8 year old and 6 year old both suck their thumbs – Liam more often and more seriously than Jack.  Jack just rests his thumb in his mouth sometimes, while Liam actively sucks his.  Anyhow, this is bad for their teeth, and while peer pressure at school has gone some way to reducing the sucking, it hasn’t wiped it out.  So we got “T-Guards,” these expensive plastic things that they wear at night.  It’s working for Jack.  As for Liam, we should have bought two . . . we guarded the “dominant” thumb and now he just sucks the other one.  Eh.

When both boys were fitted for theirs, Craig immediately wailed "Where's miiiiiiine??"

When both boys were fitted for theirs, Craig immediately wailed “Where’s miiiiiiine??”

Saturday morning we took them swimming in an indoor pool, as it was looking quite stormy outside.  The indoor pool has a basketball hoop and does not require sunscreen application, so they love it.  We swam for an hour or more, and then took some picnic sandwiches that I’d packed to a park two blocks from our new house.  The boys played a bit, we ate, and then we came home for Craig’s nap.

Shaggy baby  needs a haircut

Shaggy baby needs a haircut

Swimsuits, shade, turkey sandwiches

Swimsuits, shade, turkey sandwiches

Sunday we went to church in the morning.  I was moved by the sermon – I love our preacher.  He basically said “stop thinking up excuses not to be compassionate and loving, we are called to serve, not to judge and try to direct other people’s lives.”  (But he said it better than that.) After church, we came home and had lunch – the Prof bought some chicken fingers and I made up a salad for them to go on top of, mmmm.  Craig napped, we worked/packed, and then in the evening we took the boys to the campus gym and played basketball for a while.  I do love living near campus – we have access to lots of sporting and adventure and culture-type stuff.  We had some meltdowns at first, as Craig did not want to give up the ball, but eventually we checked out three basketballs and that worked much better.  Although I often ended up with three balls coming right at my face at once – and no dirty jokes please, these are my sons we’re talking about!!

We came home, we had showers/baths, and we put three sleepy boys to bed.  Now it’s early in the morning on Monday, and I’ve been up and billing since 5 – trying to get a head start on the week.  We hopefully move in just a few days . . . !!

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Packing

You guys, I have to move again.  AGAIN.  Twice in one year.  We’re only moving a couple of blocks down the street, which mitigates the packing somewhat – we can just stack pictures and other wall hangings, and I will just grab up the hanging clothes in my two arms, drive them down the street, and hang them right back up.  But still.  I spent a lot of yesterday packing up the boys’ toys, games, and books, as well as the kitchen, and kept grumpily thinking “I just did this.  I *JUST* did this.”

The logistics are still uncertain, as the old house is being tented for termites before we go over.  They are everywhere, in everything, so that floorboards are crumbling under our feet and – worryingly – even our furniture has tiny holes bored into it and little piles of termite detritus in it.  We don’t want to bring the termites with us to the new house so we asked that the fumigation occur before the move . . . and we close in a little over a week.  Supposedly it’s happening next Monday.  I’ll schedule it myself if they forgot – I cannot have these punk wingless bugs chewing through my books and couches and the floors of the new place.  I’m glad we’re leaving here because it’s so bad I wouldn’t be surprised if some structural elements of the apartment may be at risk – there are soft spots in the floor literally throughout the apartment.

I’m looking forward to being settled.  It has been a loooooong period of temporal living.  The big boys – old enough to understand what’s going on – are pretty excited about a new room plus playroom upstairs.  Craig is too little to get it and he was a bit nervous watching me pack things.  I anticipate some crappy sleep in our near future, as he gets adjusted.  Nevertheless, I am looking forward to having a dishwasher that works (ours doesn’t), a toilet that works (ours runs and you have to bend down and turn off the water supply, then turn it back on, if you want it to re-fill after a flush), no more termites pooping my kitchen cabinets, no more fireplace with no hearth (just plywood) that is prone to sudden explosions of dirt and detritus falling from the roof, no more splinters in our feet from crumbling floorboards.  This apartment has some nice features – soaring ceilings, gorgeous ornate details including hinges and door knobs, a giant front room and large bedrooms as well.  But it’s very old, and has lots of Old House Problems that we were not empowered to fix.  I’m moving into another new house and I’m totally fine with it.  I don’t need history, I need working appliances.

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Hizz

Wee boys on a wee porch

After taking the boys to the cinema to watch the Secret Life of Pets (I give it a B – it was not bad, not particularly good, but boy it had some exciting previews for some really cool movies coming out!) we wandered over to our new place to peer in the windows.

This is not our house - this is the theater we went to - just to confuse you

This is not our house – this is the theater we went to – just to confuse you

One Liam included for scale

One camelback, plus Liam included for scale

You’ll note the wee front porch, which can only be gotten to by crawling through the window.  That whole front bit that juts out is the master suite – bed, bath, closet.  Although it obviously reduces the footprint of the home to have the driveway there, we deeply appreciate having off-street parking.  Our street is very NOLA – window boxes, quirky little tucked-away courtyards overrun with giant-leafed vegetation and stray cats, crumbly brick walkways that’ll trip you up in a heartbeat.  And a fairly narrow two-way street with cars parked on either side, leaving a tiny bit of room to squeeze one car through.  We will appreciate not competing with neighbors for spots.

This is our street.

This is our street.

We don’t close for a few weeks so we have no key as yet, but we inched our way sideways in the teeny tiny narrow bit of space between our house and the next, and discovered that the side gate was unlocked, and so we wandered around the backyard a bit.

Bare bootie baby

Bare bootie baby

It’s got a nice elevated deck, and a square of grass in which the boys can definitely play a very truncated game of soccer.  We’ll put some patio furniture out there, and to the right of those steps is a little patch of cement just for a grill.  We peered in the windows a bit, and I started thinking about how to put the pretty minimal amount of counter space in the kitchen to its best use.

I took this shot through the back window.

I took this shot through the back window.

The door to the right is a sliding barn-door into a very large pantry, where All The Things will have to go as storage is limited in this place.  That island is pretty giant and will probably be the homework/weeknight dinner station.  We’ll put the tv and couches in here – this is the living space.   It’s very reminiscent of my last kitchen – the backsplash in this one is better, though.  And the light fixtures are pretty nice.

This in-through-the-window-shot did not come out so well

This in-through-the-window-shot did not come out so well

I scooched over and took another shot through the windows of the dining room area, but it did not come out so well – you mostly see the reflection of the backyard (that reflected roofline to the right of the pic is the pseudo-Lion’s-Club building, which the prior owners of this house thoughtfully screened out with that lattice work upward extension of the fence-line.  I shall plant some Confederate jasmine there.)  You can just barely make out the little built in bar area, and if you look very closely in the upper left, just under the bright clouds, you can see the gold-rimmed light fixture that will hang over the dining table.  This is all one room – kitchen, living, dining – and the back side of those X shelves is the pantry.

Peering

Peering

We do sort of have trees

It’s a bird, it’s a plane

Right over the fence next door is a tiny house on a giant lot, and the rest of the lot is covered in giant, beautiful trees.  I’m told the man who lives there is blind and very old, and they anticipate that when he goes, the small house will be razed and a giant McMansion put on this lot (perhaps two).  I’ll be sad – I love this magnolia – but that’s city living for you.

A little better view of our grass

A little better view of our grass

You can see the back corner of the fence in this pic – it’s a truly small yard but we’ll grateful for any yard.  The other two edges of the yard are abutted by buildings, right up against the fence line.  Behind us is a house – they have a nice courtyard and screened in porch, so hopefully they’re nice and we get to be friends.  Opposite the Great Magnolia Forest is the wacky Lions Club type place, which has no yard – the lot is about the same size as ours and they fill every inch of it with tall red brick building – hence the lattice work screen.  I shall hang some twinkle lights therefrom, and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Hope these neighbors are not jerks

Hope these neighbors are not jerks

So that’s the outside of the new digs.  Our inspection report came and we have some things to work through, but we anticipate closing will go through without issues.  Just a couple more weeks in our 2 BR 1 BA place and we get to spread out and give the boys their own rooms again!  I’m tired just thinking about it, and bummed we have to pay movers twice in a year, but will be glad to feel a little more settled.  It’s a really nice place.  We are very lucky.

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