Saturday, August 25, 2012

Close Call

Our house in California was built in 1942 and so we were lucky if there were two outlets per room.  It made plugging shit in a challenge.  In this house, built in 2006, outlets are everywhere.  Sometimes multiple ones to a wall.  In our bedroom there is a place to plug in 12 different things.  Ridiculous.  

Despite the fact that there are electrical outlets in abundance, there is a serious lack of overhead lighting.  My office is problematic because there is no light fixture and lamps can only do so much in a room with high ceilings and lots of square footage.  First world problems, I know.  When you first go up the stairs there is a landing with a few steps that leads up to the play room area.  In that landing there is a giant built in desk with shelving.  I would like to think that someday it will be a perfect place for kids to do homework.  As of right now it is a great place for puzzles.  Not so much for messy art projects (because of the carpet), but lots of coloring does go on.  Anyway, even though there's a desk, there's no overhead light in the area.  Which is so stupid because there's not a good place for a lamp.  

There is, however, an overhead light in the hallway right outside the guest bedroom and bath.  For the past couple of weeks every time that light in the hallway would be flipped on there would be a giant POP and then it would kill the entire circuit, cutting power to the hallway, guest bath and bedroom, and hall light outside Norah's room.  You can kind of see it here.  The open door is the guest bedroom.

It was super annoying because we'd have to reset the circuit in the garage every time someone forgot and turned on that light.  It concerned me because of the POP though and so last week we finally got someone to come out and look at it.

Yeah, some dumbass had put two 75 watt bulbs in the light fixture, even though the fixture CLEARLY said that it had a 40 watt max.  The electrician said that we are incredibly lucky that it didn't start a fire in the insulation that would have likely spread into the attic and then burned down the entire goddamn house.  The wires and insulation in the fixture were completely burned and melted.

My guess is that it probably wasn't the previous homeowner that put those bulbs in, but the idiot realtor who didn't realize the severity of his actions and just wanted to brighten up that dark hallway.  We are spending the weekend checking every.single.bulb in the house and then putting new batteries in all of the smoke detectors.

Then I am going to send a mean email to the realtor.

Friday, August 24, 2012

One Year Later

As of today, we have been in Austin exactly one year.  That's nuts.  BVZ and I were talking about it the other day and it simultaneously feels as though we've been here a week and at the same time, ten years.

I guess I am finally starting to feel settled.  I am working three days a week and my job is intense.  The death penalty is different in Texas.  Defense work here is in the trenches.  I love what I am doing and what I am doing is terrifying.  It keeps me awake at night.  BVZ has a lot going on.  His firm is busy and growing and he hasn't quite found the work-life balance we were hoping for.  I guess we somehow thought we were moving to an alternate universe, not just another state, but he still doesn't come home at 5:00.  Or even 7:00.

The kids are thriving.  When we first moved here Norah went to a pre-school that was just okay.  It was far away and her teacher was kind of an asshole.  She's at a different school now.  It's two minutes away and her teacher is awesome.  The school has its own splash pad.  She officially starts pre-K next week.  She is (kind of) reading and writing and drawing things that aren't just scribbles.  She has the memory of an elephant and can re-tell a story like nobody's business.  She's still a huge chicken about anything even remotely physical.  She's getting ready to start ballet again, is going to take swim lessons, and really, really wants to play soccer (I think that's way too many activities, not to mention way too expensive, but I am not going to dissuade her from anything that will make her a little ballsier).

Louis is incredible.  He is a really physical kid, and extremely agile.  He runs, dances, climbs, and has a mean right hook.  He loves music and cars more than life itself.  He talks more and more every day and surprises me with how gentle and kind he can be (despite his quick and sometimes wicked temper).  He has been with Bubby on the days that I work, but will start a part-time pre-school program in two weeks.  He's going to love it and I think will do great.  As long as he doesn't get kicked out (you know, that whole pesky biting thing).

They both are making me nuts with their eating habits and one, if not both, end up in our bed on a nightly basis.  But, that's a story for another time.

Loretta the cat is still mean as a snake.  I have a new cooking club.  It's been great to be around old friends and make new ones.  It's hard to get out and do stuff sometimes because it's really hot here.  I still don't do hot so well.  It's tough to load kids in the car when it's 104 degrees outside.  

But, of course it goes without saying that our lives are totally and completely different having my mom and sisters here.  The kids love their cousins.  Really, truly, love them.  I mean, they loved them before, but this is different.  And then there's the whole grandma, aunts and uncles readily available for just about anything.  It makes a big difference.  A really big difference.  

Then of course, there is the house.  It's a great house and a kind of dream come true.  It's a good neighborhood with nice people and lots of kids.  I feel really fortunate to get to live here.  Life is always a trade-off, of course, and we were obviously precluded from anything even remotely like this in California.  I know that a big house isn't everything (believe me, I know), but I feel really good that our kids will grow up here.  And that BVZ and I might not actually murder each other sharing one sink.

I don't have many good pictures and we've done pretty much no decorating.  But, we're getting comfortable and it's starting to feel like home.

The kitchen is big and the ceramic tile is easy to clean.  Which is awesome because I mop it approximately 17 times a day, which is roughly the number of times Lou is in there.

The playroom is awesome.  These kids better appreciate it. 

The media room now has a 128 inch movie screen and high def projector and is BVZ's dream come true.

This is the upstairs guest bathroom.  It is one of four places in the house in which you can either shower and/or poop.  That might actually be BVZ's dream come true.

It's been a good year.

Na Na and Louie

Norah has been an awesome big sister since the day Lou was born.  She dotes on him, loves on him, shares her stuff with him, wants to take care of him, etc.  There's been no jealousy*, no regressions, no nothing.  She really is the best big sister ever.  

Lou, however, does not necessarily return the favor.  I mean, sure he loves her in a big way. When he wakes up every morning, "Na Na" is what he yells.  He follows her around and is generous with the hugs and kisses.  But, he also steals her shit all the time, pulls her hair, bites and whacks her on a regular basis, and generally wreaks havoc.  Norah is incredibly patient with him.  I keep waiting for the day that she knocks him into the next room, but apparently that's not her nature.  He's a lucky dude.

 All I can hope for is that they will always share this truly genuine affection for one another.  I sleep better at night knowing that Norah will always look out for Lou.  And he needs it.  He's a monster. A cute monster for sure, but a monster nonetheless.

*She could pretty much care less if I pay attention to Lou, but if Megan and Trevor ever favor him over her, all bets are off.  Let's just say Norah can get a bit, ahem, possessive when it comes to Megan and Trevor.

Ariel Makes Bad Choices

Norah asks me all of the time who my favorite princesses are and who my least favorite princesses are.  I tell her that my favorites are Merida, because she stood up for what she believed in; Tiana, because she has a really cool job and is a hard worker and never gave up; and Rapunzel, because she is kind and really got to know Eugene before she decided she was in love with him.  Oh and Belle, because she really likes books.  

I then tell her that my least favorite princess is Ariel, because she makes bad choices and gives up everything that's important to her for someone she doesn't even know; Cinderella, because she waited around for a guy to make her life better instead of making it better herself; and Sleeping Beauty, for wanting to get married when she was 16 years old. 

She rolls her eyes and gets mad because she freaking loves Ariel.  For no good reason.  I mean, sure it's cool she is a mermaid and all, but she really is completely and totally lame.  The other day Megan and Trevor came swimming and the girls played with Norah's figurines in the pool.  They managed to get Ariel caught in the vacuum and we bid a tearful farewell.  We are now required to call the Belle figurine 'Ariel' and pretend she has a big green fin.

Tonight I found both Prince Eric and Fake Ariel strung up on Norah's dresser.  I asked her what was up and she said they made bad choices.  FINALLY.  Torturous intent aside, at least she's listening.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012


When we first moved to Austin I was set up on a blind date.  My friend from the bay area has a sister-in-law who has a friend that lives a few miles away from the house we leased when we first got to town.  Got that?  Email exchanges were made and we connected.  It was a good set up and I now have a new friend I like very much.  Today we celebrated her 40th birthday at a music festival in a tiny Texas town in the middle of hill country.

It was hot (but there was lots of cloud cover thankfully), so the kids ran around with plastic guns filled with ice water.  In a previous life I might have cared about OMG my kid is playing with a gun, but either I am slowly reverting to my Texas roots or the 104 degree heat has fried my brain.  Either way, I didn't realize until halfway through filming this that Norah is dancing with a gun.  Eh. She's still got moves.


Today in the car Norah announced that something smelled bad.  I asked her what it smelled like.  She leaned over, sniffed Lou, and announced, "He smells like toilet water.  And chicken."

At least she's specific. 


For the past four plus years I have been pretty good at consistently and regularly updating this site.  Now I pretty much suck.  I was thinking about it this morning and it all boils down to one thing.  I am tired.

In a nutshell:

Lou got slammed with a nasty stomach virus forever ago and ever since that happened his sleep has been total shit.  I think he's actually slept through the night maybe twice in the past month.  Every other night he ends up in bed with us and he either wants to sleep forehead to forehead or routinely perform roundhouse kicks to my face.  Every time we think maybe just maybe we could do some sleep training he goes and does something obnoxious like gets his one billionth ear infection.  Norah has also had a handful of bad nights (although she's golden compared to her brother).  She had a bad cough for a while but otherwise seemed totally fine.  When I took her in for her four year well child visit the pediatrician listened to her lungs and was like, 'oh yeah, that's some pneumonia in there.'  Kid had freaking pneumonia and we didn't know about it.

When we originally moved I agreed to take on some California cases because I had no idea what my employment situation would be here.  I have started working (a lot), with the post-conviction public defender agency here and doing that while still trying to wrap up these older California cases has pretty much pushed me to the brink of sanity (and sleep deprivation).  Thankfully I am past the biggest hump and it should pretty much be downhill from here.  I hope.

My to-do list with regards to the house is till enormous.  We are unpacked for the most part but I still have a bunch of random boxes scattered throughout the house and I haven't done much in terms of decorating.  I realized we have 9,456 framed, professional photos of Norah and maybe 2 of Lou.  I need to work on that.

My laptop battery is totally dead and won't recharge, which means that in order to use the computer I have to either sit in the office or unplug, reboot, rearrange, etc. on the couch.  My pure laziness prevents me from doing that.  Most nights all I can do after kids are in bed is drool on the couch and watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

I need a good night's sleep and then I will try harder.