Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Stop There?

No sooner had we finished installing the new swamp cooler, showered, and had a bite to eat when I realized that it was "Brush and Bulky" trash pick-up week in our neighborhood. Ib and I have been toying with the idea of removing the carpet for years.

Every time I vacuum, and parts of the seams get sucked up and grow larger and more unsightly, I rant and rave about getting rid of it. A few months back we considered tiling the house, but don't really want to put that kind of money into a place that's for sale anyway.

Then we started talking about and researching painting or staining the concrete which is pretty trendy these days, especially in the desert. So at 10 o'clock on a Tuesday night, after deciding "YEP, let's do this!" we started ripping out carpet in the hopes of catching the bulky trash pick-up and saving ourselves a costly trip to the dump.

Ib was making fun of me for wanting to wear the respirator. He says he's going to use it for changing diapers. I told him that I didn't want to be breathing in whatever nastiness lurked under the carpet, for Knox's sake.

UGH...GROSS! What's under YOUR carpet?

We left carpet in the 3 bedrooms, since it didn't have near the amount of wear as the living room and hallway did. Ib pulled up tack strips and all and hauled it out to the street. I mostly followed around sweeping up. We found 2 layers of old vinyl tile under the carpet that we weren't expecting. So using a transparent stain on the concrete was ruled out, because of all the old glue. That would require some serious labor to remove. We finally finished around midnight. The next day, it (and the old swamp cooler) was all hauled away by the time we got home...totally worth it!

Friday night, Ib started chiseling away at the tiles. They were so old and dry, that most of them came up easily. I picked up the pieces and swept the floor. After only an hour or so, he (and his poor back) remembered why he quit doing flooring to begin with.

Saturday morning I was off to Home Depot to get paint while Ib skim-coated the floor with a concrete filler, then scraped and swept again. 3/4 of the way through rolling the floor, we realized that I'd brought home a flat-finish opaque concrete stain, rather than regular floor paint. So it was back to Home Depot to get a gloss sealer. Hey--at least the color was right!

Luckily, we had all water-based products, rather than the typical acid-stain. So it didn't turn out to be quite as big an ordeal. We were hoping to just paint, wax and be done. But it all worked out in the end.

We put the first coat of sealer on last night before bed and will do coat #2 today. It is pretty volatile stuff, and contains anti-freeze, so we crated the dogs until it was dry and will probably take them for a nice long ride today after applying the second coat.

The Chocolate Brown stained floor looks a million times better than that ratty old carpet (even with a few dusty dog prints under the sealer). I just have to touch up the baseboards that used to be hidden behind carpet.

And now I get to go shopping for a sweet area rug. Lucky for me, there is a giant sale at the furniture store just down the street. couches might be nice, too...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Murphy's Law

Sunday night, right before Ib came to bed, our swamp cooler stopped working. A lot of older houses in the desert use swamp coolers (sometimes called evaporative coolers) rather than A/C units. It's a giant blower that pushes air through water-filled pads, which cools it, and then into the central ductwork of the house. They are much more efficient on the old electric bill. And since it's rarely humid in the desert (except during monsoon season), they work great!

Until they stop working, that is. This is the actual temperature INSIDE the house when I got home today. With temps reaching 105°, this has been the hottest week of the summer, so far. It just figures!

The thing was making an awful racket this past weekend, and Ib climbed up to see what he could see. It wasn't pretty. He replaced a couple pieces, but with the bottom of the squirrel cage enclosure rusted out, there wasn't enough suction. The motor kept overheating and shutting itself off. So we were forced to buy a new cooler today.

Ib stopped at the local plumbing and cooling store before work this morning and paid for it. Then, he and his boss borrowed a truck from work and went to pick it up at lunch. They took it to the house and lifted it up onto the roof with a rope. It weighs about 180 pounds.

Then, being the nice guy that he is, his boss let him out of work early so he could come home and get started on removing the old one and installing the new one...for his poor, suffering pregnant wife's sake.

I was really hoping I'd get to do the honors of shoving the old one off the roof...but that would have required getting on the roof in the first place. I'm OK going up ladders, but have trouble coming down. And, in my condition, Ib wouldn't allow me to get up there anyway.

For his first cooler removal and installation, things went surprisingly smooth. I did get to help a little. I took the power cord off the old cooler motor, because the new motor didn't come with one. And I made a pretty good tool-fetcher, too.

When we flipped the switch, though, nothing happened. We checked a couple things, but had no juice. My old supervisor, Mike, graciously agreed to come over since he just lives a few blocks away. Here, our breaker went bad. So he hooked up the cooler power to a different breaker so we could get it up and running for tonight. Ib has to go pick up a couple new breakers and then Mike said he'd stop by again later this week and get us all fixed up right. The new cooler is nice and quiet! And it's already cooling the house down. Props to my awesome husband for climbing up there and sweating all afternoon to make me more comfortable. And a giant "Thank You!" to Mike for interrupting his evening to help us out.

Too bad monsoons are supposed to start tomorrow...

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Down, One To Go: The Newest Addition to The 724 Family

I got a phone call from my dear friend Amy lastnight. It was around 11:00, her time. Pretty late.
So of course, I knew what it was about!

"I think my water just broke! And Nick won't let me sit on the good furniture."

I laughed because she'd called me rather than, um, the DOCTOR! So after listening to her describe what was going on, I was certainly convinced "This was IT!"

Sure enough, between 4:00 and 5:00 this evening Andrew James Martin made his debut. Congratulations! We love you guys!

(Photos blantantly stolen from Jenna's Facebook album. THANKS!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father Knows Best

It's no secret that I've been somewhat of a baby shopping addict, especially since finding out that we're expecting a boy. Tiny baby clothes make me melt. Among my latest purchases is this onesie. Tell me it's not cute...I dare you!

Not to be outdone, Ib has his own ideas of how to dress our son. He did a little shopping of his own this week.

There was a clearance sale at so he got some new skate gear to go with that deck. The DC sock/shoes were too cute to pass up. They definitely get a thumbs up from me!

Then, just surfing around, we found another site: My Baby Rocks that has some unorthodox, yet humorous stuff. These are just a few of Dad's picks:

I have to admit, I am also a fan of the pirate ensamble.

The classic ghetto-blaster. Nice.

Would you expect anything less from an IT guy/computer geek?

Well...boys will be boys. He claims it has everything to do with breastfeeding...uh huh...sure.

Of course, at around $18 a pop (that's just silly!), you know crafty-Mom is working on making her own. I'll be sure to post my handi-work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SK8 and Destroy

From left to right: Reef, Farlan and Ib skating in the driveway at the "Tower House". This photo was in the Perkinsville, VT newspaper a long time ago.

Being the clever guy that he is, Ib found that same old skateboard on Ebay for Knox. It's straight from the 70's, and in great shape!

Last night he took it all apart, cleaned it up and got it ready for a new little boy.

He was really enjoying himself.

Now it's just like new! I'm pretty sure Knox will be skating before he can walk. In fact, Ib said the minute we get him home from the hospital, he's going to put the baby carrier on the skateboard and push him down the hall.

We'll see about that...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Giraffe Cake

I saw the funniest comment on Facebook the other day. It was from my friend, Michelle, to The Curious Cake Shoppe. And it had something to do with a giraffe cake that they'd made for her.

I thought to myself, "Hey, I want a giraffe cake!"

And then, "Mmmmm...cake!"

And then I was distracted by something shiny.

I don't even know what a giraffe cake is. Ever since I bought that crib set on Ebay, though, I've had giraffes on the brain. But when I got home tonight, and there was a box on the doorstep from "The Curious Cake Shoppe", I had to laugh. That Mish: she sure is a sneaky one!

And now, I know what a giraffe cake is!

What a great gift! And super adorable!

The cake ingredients - too cute!

Thank you so much Mish & Joe! We love it!

The Dog of Steel

Meet SuperCooper, the luckiest dog in Tucson, Arizona!

Last week it was a trip to the Emergency Vet, where he was diagnosed with a case of HGE (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis). Thankfully, that was cleared up with some antibiotics and some TLC. I also threw away every bone and rawhide chew that they had in their toy box, just in case.

But this little guy had his second brush with death in less than 2 weeks on Sunday evening. We were outside just about sundown, cleaning the insides of the cars. I was feeling bad that we'd been ignoring the puppies all weekend, between the new car and the yard sale. So I let them out in the front yard: something I generally never do unless they are on leashes. Our yard is fenced, but there is no gate across the driveway.

They were sitting in the car with me while I applied Armor-All to the dashboard. But all it took was 3 seconds of not paying attention, when our neighbor yelled "HEY! Your dog is in the street!" Sure enough, a stray dog had wandered into the street and Cooper (being the tough-guy that he is) ran out to investigate. Ib was on a dead run for the street, calling Cooper's name. I was watching the whole ordeal unfold in the rear view mirror...frozen with terror.

There was a car coming. The driver was blowing the horn but not slowing down, even with Ib standing in the street. Cooper is a pretty fast dog, and he knew he was in trouble when he saw Ib coming after him. So he came running back towards the yard. But the car was faster. I heard the "thud" and saw Cooper tumbling across the pavement.

At that point, I was running towards the street. Cooper was sitting at the end of the driveway. He sort of shook himself off and ran over and jumped into my arms. He was obviously shook up, but there was not a scratch on him. The front bumper just clipped his hindquarter and sent him rolling back into the driveway. How he escaped the front tire, I will never know. The driver never stopped or turned around.

For the rest of the night, he was limping off-and-on. And upon inspection of his rump, it was pretty tender. I'm sure he's got quite the bruise under that fur. Ib and I really thought he would be stiff the next morning, but he was jumping around like nothing had happened. It's been 2 days now, and he hasn't even given it a second thought.

It was absolutely my fault. Worst.Dog.Mom.Ever.

I never should have let them in the front yard. And they will not be out there unleashed ever again. Right now we are just thankful for the happy ending to our doggy tail.

June 6, 2009 - In Memory of our Schnauzer friend Jetty Klein

All dogs go to Heaven.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

An Ode to Old Blue

There she is, only a week off the showroom floor: Ib's beloved truck.

Back when she still had a tailgate and her paint was shiny. Back when she could make it up any mountain...even on three wheels. She's been everywhere, man. She's been everywhere.

Last night, we tearfully left her on the used car lot. Thanks for 10 years of memories, Old Blue.

This is the newest member of our auto family. It's a 2005 Toyota RAV 4. Unbelievably cherry! Just under 30K miles and the floor mats don't look like they've ever seen the light of day.

I'd swear no one has ever sat in the back seat...except I found a piece of a french fry. (Yes, our neighbor's house is pink. Don't ask.)

Already representing with the Highway 1 Santa Cruz sticker and rocking the car seat. Though I'm not 100% certain it's installed correctly. We'll definitely have to get that checked out before September.

Ib has spent his day pimping the Civic to try to fill some of the hole in his heart. She's got tinted windows (after all these years!) and is in the process of getting a new stereo. It looks like a brand new car! I might have to drive her just a little while longer. Steel or not, it's hard to say goodbye.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Yep, that's how we roll. At least, that's how we rolled away from Colin and Melissa's house this weekend!

Ib traded hours and hours of grueling tile-work for a truck load (LITERALLY!) of baby gear. We are so thankful to have such awesome friends to help us out. We now have: a swing, a jumper, a Baby Einstein play center (YAY!), a baby tub, a car seat, a stroller, 2 garbage bags FULL of toys (thanks Madison & Hailey!), a couple different activity mats for the floor, a grocery cart/restaurant highchair seat cover, a glider rocker with a foot stool, a Baby Bjorn, a Boppy pillow, a wedge-mat to elevate one end of the crib mattress if the baby is congested or has reflux, a microwavable tummy warming-pad for gas bubbles...I'm sure I'm forgetting something! And Mel's mom even sent us some wash cloths and receiving blankets...Thanks, Toni!

Daddy and the puppies, trying out the rocking chair. Vinnie won't be the "baby" much longer.

Who said dogs aren't good practice?

Instant nursery...just add baby!