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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Andrew's pre-birthday class party!

We’re so close to Christmas, I can taste it!  Actually, Andrew and I DID make some Christmas sugar cookies for his class party tomorrow, and they’re delicious.  The only thing was, I realized I was going to have to make 3 more batches in order to have enough for all the kids, possibly their siblings, and a few kids from other classes that might be joining us.  It had already taken us about an hour and a half to make one batch, and I couldn’t fathom spending half a day or more making cookies.  So off to the store we went...and thank gawd Safeway had kits of ready-made cookies in the shapes of snowmen, ornaments, and stockings, complete with icing and candy to add to them, AND they also double as ornaments for the tree!  Perfect.  I’ll take the ones I made, too, but I think the kids will do better with the kits.

We’re actually hosting a little birthday/Christmas party for his class tomorrow.  About 2 weeks ago we handed out invitations to his actual birthday party, which we’re having on the 20th even though his birthday is on the 31st (I thought it would be better to have his party when the kids would be more likely available to attend, and with his birthday being new year’s eve, we figured that might be an issue.  Also, while we’ll still do a small cake and of course celebrate on his actual day, I thought it would be much less stressful over the holidays to have had his birthday party done beforehand!)  We decided he could invite 4 kids, to keep it small (since his sisters will be there too, that already brings it up to 7 kids total!)  

Luckily we were able to talk to his teacher before giving out the invites, as I was worried about how it would affect the other kids to find out they weren’t invited.  I’d invite everyone if I could, but 16 kids plus the girls would be WAY too crazy, not to mention way too much food and mess and just NO!  The teacher talked about it with the kids when I wasn’t there, and of course the ones who weren’t invited had hurt feelings, but the teacher did a great job of making them feel better by saying that we’d put all their names in a hat and picked out 4 as that’s how many he could invite, and that it wasn’t about playing favourites (even though in reality Andrew did get to choose...although in all honesty he really would have wanted to have everyone there!)  One boy took it so hard that he ran to the cloakroom sulking and Andrew had to go talk to him about it!  LOL  We ended up inviting him, saying we’d randomly picked one more person and his name came up!  I felt SO BAD, the kids totally tore at my heart strings.  I really like everyone in his class and wouldn’t want any of them to feel left out or have hurt feelings.

So the teacher agreed to letting me host a little party for the whole class, but during class time (so I’m not actually having to be in charge of everyone!)  Originally I was going to make mini cupcakes but the teacher suggested the cookie decorating activity, so that’s what we went with.  I decided to get little goodie bags for everyone, which I was able to do really cheaply at the dollar store.  I think they’re going to love it, Andrew and I put them together yesterday - each little loot bag has 5 things in it.  A ring, a bouncy ball, a party blower, a slinky in the shape of a star, and a little box of Christmas stickers.  Andrew really enjoyed thinking about what colour to give each person, and I was happy to see him getting excited about what other people would get out of receiving the gifts.  I think it’s going to be a crazy afternoon, but a fun one!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A picture with Santa

Yesterday (with the help of my parents) I took the kids for their picture with Santa.

I’d taken the girls over to my moms’ in the afternoon, and left them there to go pick Andrew up after school.  We arrived back at about the same time my dad came in from work, and I got the kids all done up into their fancy Christmas attire.  We were apparently not moving fast enough for Andrew’s liking, and he got into a really grumpy mood to the point I was about to call the whole thing off.  As it was, it was a good thing we showed up at 4pm, as Santa was JUST finished his break when we arrived.  There were 3 families ahead of us so it took no time at all before it was our turn.  

I’d done everything I could think of to get the kids excited about getting their picture with Santa.  Andrew has always loved Santa, even as an almost 1 year old on his first Chistmas.  Margaret is pretty OK about Santa, too.  But Emily...None of my kids are shy, but Emily will sometimes take a few minutes to warm up to people.  Her first Christmas (at 2 months) she spit up all over Santa’s arm as soon as I handed her to him.  Last Christmas she managed to sit long enough for the picture but she was resisting and didn’t want to be there.  I thought this year she might do OK because she’s watched shows with Santa, and knows he’s bringing presents, and she hears Andrew go on about how great he is.  She was doing pretty well till it came time to go sit with him.  She was holding my mom’s hand, and started to pull back like she wanted to go the other way.  Then she resisted completely and started yelling, ‘No, No, No, NOOOO!’ as I tried to force her onto his lap.  LOL  Fa la la la, la la la la!  Margaret was on one knee and Andrew sitting beside Santa.  I tried putting her beside Margaret, away from Santa, but she freaked.  Andrew offered to hold her but she freaked.  I tried her on the complete opposite side of the bench and it was NOT HAPPENING.  So I sat down beside Andrew on the bench and had Emily on my lap and in the end we got a pretty good picture with all of us looking at the camera!  Emily had both her hands in her mouth but didn’t look nearly as unhappy as she actually was!  LOL  I hadn’t planned on being in the picture myself, so note to self: dress for the occasion even if you’re not planning on being a part of it.  I really wish I’d been wearing a different shirt as I felt like I didn’t match the kids in their black and red, and me in blue and black stripes.  BUT over all it worked out well.  It would have been even better if James had been there and could have been in it, too, but the bench was getting fairly crowded as it was!  It was quite the experience, that’s for sure.


O Christmas tree, and holiday get togethers

On Friday our new carpets were installed.  The workers got here half an hour early and were done in lightning speed.  I was overjoyed when the job was done!  Our place has never looked so good, since the upper portion of the living room needed replaced before we even moved in.  Having it all plush and perfectly matching the new carpet in the rest of the living room just looks SO nice.  I’m in love with it!  I also love the new carpet smell, it makes it feel as though we’re living in a new house.  A new sink is being installed in our upstairs bathroom as I type this, and the downstairs bathroom is getting an update sometime this week.  There’s always more to be done around here, but I’m glad we’re getting some things taken care of.

It’s amazing the weight that was lifted from me when the carpets were done and I could start putting things back in their rightful place.  They’ve yet to come back to paint the drywall/put linoleum in the closet under the stairs, so there’s still some disarray we’re dealing with, but it’s nothing compared to how it was.  

On Saturday we had my grandma and my parents over for a little visit in the afternoon, and we had our Christmas tree up but not decorated yet.  We put it up on Friday night (after we attended the Craft Fair at Andrew’s school and then went out for an early dinner at White Spot just the 3 of us, while my parents watched the girls).  I knew right away that we’d made a good choice, the perfect choice for us, in getting this particular tree.  It was ‘only’ $150, is pre-lit, and it came with a remote control with 7 different modes for the lights.  It can be just white lights, white with colour, and then all sorts of variations of twinkling and colour sets.  I LOVE IT!!  It’s 7.5 feet and it feels like the perfect tree for us!  

On Saturday night the mil came over with the bil and his new girlfriend (the bil and sil got divorced last year) and we had a little tree decorating party.  It ended up going really well.  The bil was in a good mood, and we really get along well with his girlfriend.  She also happens to be a nanny so she’s really great with the kids, which is always a plus!  And while my bil hasn’t really bonded all that much with the kids in the past, especially the girls, he was really hands on and helpful with them, so I was really happy about that.  After getting all the kids to bed (and finally, eventually, SLEEPING!) we played a game called Caption Captions.  It ended up being SO much fun.  Basically everyone gets 5 little pieces of paper and numbers them as such.  On the first paper you write a caption.  It could be anything.  For example, for my first one was, ‘I like to make snow angels in the snow!’  Then you hand your stack of papers to the person to your right, and everyone draws a picture of the caption on the 2nd piece of paper.  Pass to your right, then write a caption for THAT picture, and so on till you end up with another caption at the end.  Then you all go around and share what your caption became.  As my bil put it, ‘There are no winners with this game, essentially we’re all losers!’ LOL  It’s a really hilarious game, and great for getting people laughing - I recommend pairing the game with several festive drinks =)
On Sunday I had a hair appointment at 11, and had to bus for the first time in I can’t even remember how long to get to it.  We were having a gingerbread cookie making party in the afternoon at my brother’s place, and it made more sense for James to be able to drive them there to meet me.  It wasn’t a big deal to bus and skytrain, but I’d forgotten how much time is tacked on to waiting for transit, and then having people cough and sneeze around you, or crazy people do things you’re unsure about, and having to smell people’s smells...LOL  I felt a bit like a duck out of water, which is ridiculous after literally 15 years of taking transit ALWAYS and thinking driving would be a pain in the ass!  I love my van now, what can I say!  

My hair appointment went well.  I basically got the same cut as last time, it just needed to be redone.  But the colour is awesome.  Lots of magenta on the sides and the base colour is fairly dark but there just seem to be a lot of nice highlights throughout.  I’m really happy with it.  I love having short hair, it’s so much easier to maintain.  

The party went well at my bro and sil’s.  My sil decided to set up the cookie decorating on the coffee table in the living room, so that Margaret and Emily would be able to do some, too.  I thought it would be a nightmare with candy and sparkles EVERYWHERE but it turned out really well.  The girls decorated their cookies fairly neatly.  Emily enjoyed placing little candy balls on top of the icing, and Margaret enjoyed licking the icing off of hers as soon as it was put on!  Andrew really got into the whole thing and decorated some giant cookies that my bro had got just for him.

We had lots of party type snacks, and then my bro had made the most delicious mac n’ cheese EVER and a really yummy vegetarian chili.  It was such a treat to me to get a home cooked meal that I didn’t make myself.  I almost never have a meal made for me, maybe a couple of times a month James makes dinner on the weekend but otherwise I pretty much make everything we eat.  And I don’t really love cooking, so having someone make a meal for me is AMAZING.  

It was a good weekend and nice to have all that visiting time, but it was also SO tiring and James and I have come away from it pretty exhausted.  I wish we could get more rest and also some time together just the two of us.  On Friday (the 5th) it was our 16 year anniversary since our first kiss.  I know that might seem a silly thing to want to celebrate (I mentioned to my mil that it was 16 years since our first kiss and she said, ‘That’s a weird thing to celebrate, do you also celebrate the first time you….’ and then made a face...I couldn’t even dignify that with an answer...who’s mother says something like that to their child?!  Oh yeah...James’ does...but anyway…)  It’s important to us because it’s basically when we started falling in love.  I remember our first kiss like it just happened, it was really special and also signified an important time in our lives.  But we didn’t really get to celebrate it yet, unfortunately.  We just don’t ever get the chance for a date.  Hopefully eventually we can, at some point over the holidays.

Now that the carpet is fresh and new and the mould is gone and the new walls are up, I feel like I can just focus more on Christmas and getting into the holiday vibe.  I can’t believe Christmas is coming up in just a few weeks!!  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Just for the record...

The issues at our house have felt all-consuming this past week (at least).  James told me I’m stressing out unnecessarily, that it is what it is.  And maybe he’s right, but at the same time it’s such a huge disruption to my life and our routine (mine especially) and I hate that.  I also find it very frustrating when the manager we go through says one thing but then the people who are sent to do the work do something else, or have no idea what’s even going on.  I finally feel like I’ve got something settled with one person, and then I’m thrown for a loop when the workers arrive and have a different story.  I am not a person who flies by the seat of her pants, I like to have things planned out in advance with no surprises, please and thank you.

Yesterday the manager came over to look at the carpets and there’s NO WAY she couldn’t have smelled how musty and disgusting it was as soon as she walked in the door.  She agreed that the carpets need to be changed in both (all) sections of the living room.  She said she had already ordered it, and after getting the drywall done today (which it was), the painting could be done Thursday and the carpets put in on Friday.  I was feeling so much better about things after her visit.  She said the carpet cleaner was coming over at 4:30 (which it basically WAS 4:30 at that point) and they’d suck up as much of the water from the carpets as possible to help the smell not be so bad till Friday when the new ones would be put in.  

At 6:15, just as I was about to drain the spaghetti noodles and put dinner on the table, the doorbell rings (despite my sign RIGHT BESIDE THE DOORBELL says to knock because we have twins and if they’re sleeping I’m not going to be pleased if they’re woken) and it’s the carpet people!  And they don’t even say sorry or anything for being late, or for OBVIOUSLY coming at the worst possible time (think tantrums, screaming, freak outs galore and everyone wondering why suddenly we’re not getting fed and are being told to go upstairs!)  I asked them if they could please just cut out the gross sections of carpet because they’re so nasty that cleaning them isn’t going to help at this point, and they said yes but they didn’t speak much English (which is a pattern and similar to a post a while ago about language issues, I can’t help but feel frustrated that we’re not able to communicate with the people who are coming to our house to do a service.  Multi-culturalism is good, but I really do have a problem with the complete inability to communicate when it’s important that we should be able to).  So even though they said yes to cutting out the gross sections, they cut out a little piece of the underlay in both of the worst sections, but left a ton of several-days-soaked underlay and carpet, and then proceeded to shampoo half of our lower living room when half of it wasn’t in need of it, so instead of a partial wet spot all over the carpet we had the majority of the room soaking wet!  So frustrating.  They left two giant, extremely LOUD fans that they insisted we keep on ALL THE TIME FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS to dry it all out, but not to ever leave the children unattended near the fans.  Yeah, OK, tell me how I’m supposed to go and get their meals and snacks or do ANYTHING that requires me to ever leave the room.  And I’m sorry but NO.  We did leave the fans on all through the night last night, and ultimately I think all it did was blow the musty smell EVERYWHERE into the entire house.  When I got up this morning, I opened the bedroom door to head to the bathroom and literally felt like my breath was taken away by the odour.  So nasty.

The drywallers showed up at 10am and I had been told it would probably take ‘a couple of hours’ to get the job done.  The actual workers were very pleasant, but also spoke only a few words of English, so I couldn’t get a clear answer as to when they’d be done (it was another person altogether who’d estimated it would be a few hours).  The issue I had was that I had to leave by 2:45 to pick Andrew up from school, and I couldn’t have them there without me/locking the door, so basically they had to be done by the time I had to leave.  In the morning I’d been told that would be no problem.  Luckily my mil was able to take the girls to her place for the day so they didn’t have to be dealing with all of the chaos, because it was very noisy, dusty, and did I mention noisy?!  And the smell, well, let’s not even go there!!  I had both the front and back sliding doors open for HOURS and I’m pretty sure it was in the minus degrees, so I was frozen, and cranking the furnace up which will be awesome for our heating bill.  

At 1:00 I thought they were about to tell me they were just about done but instead he had come to say that they were going to take a half hour lunch break and then would be back to do the rest.  I said ok, but I have to leave by 2:45.  He said it wouldn’t be possible for them to finish before that, probably 3 or 4.  When I said the issue was me not being there and them not having a key, and he was confused about what I was saying so I decided I would just go get Andrew out of school early and then I wouldn’t be worrying about it anymore.  So I went and got him at 1:15 instead of 3, and it worked out fine.  We ended up drawing and doing a craft project for about 2 hours together, and it was nice to have that time just the two of us.  I’d say ‘quiet time’ but it wasn’t as the drywalling was quite noisy, but it was nice having some quality mommy/son time, anyway.

When they left at 4 I decided Andrew and I would go pay a visit to the management office as I’d been calling all throughout the day without ever getting an answer to my calls (not surprising as this is generally the case when they know you’re going to be asking them questions they may not want to answer or don’t have answers for or having answers for that they know you won’t like!)  Of course the managers were both there, (confirming that they’d been screening my calls just minutes before - madness!!) so I chatted with the one who we tend to deal with, and maybe sort of kind of got things sorted out.  Our new dishwasher (oh, did I not mention, that started to go recently, too) was supposed to be delivered today and I of course was waiting all day for that to happen but no one ever even called about it, so she said tomorrow it will be delivered.  (We’ll see if it actually happens, I’m not holding my breath!)  It sounds like MAYBE the walls will be sanded and painted tomorrow and the linoleum put in under the stairs...And then on Friday we get the new carpets.  One snag, though, is that her superior has not actually ok’d the carpets yet!  WTF?!!!  One of the carpets HAD MUSHROOMS GROWING OUT OF IT and the manager is not wanting to sign off on replacing it?!  This is seriously what we’re up against.  She said she agreed with us that it needs to be replaced, and I sent her some pictures to prove it is bad, and I told her the reason I was there was to tell her that I was planning on having my dad over tonight to cut out the really nasty pieces because the smell is unbearable and not healthy for my family to be constantly breathing in, I really can’t take it anymore!  At first she said we should wait till tomorrow but I said I didn’t think I felt comfortable with the kids staying in the house over night with that smell and she said you know what, just cut it.  If you feel it’s best for you and your family, it’s what you should do.  So we did!  My dad came over after work and cut out several pieces of carpet and after just a few hours of that (and after spraying an odour remover over the concrete area) I am not smelling the mustiness much at all.  It was NASTY, my dad couldn’t believe how bad it was in one section.

We have to have blankets over it while the kids are still up but tonight I’ll put the giant fans on through the night and see if it won’t dry things up by tomorrow.  It’s a total nightmare in here to me, but I am HOPING that they will come through for us and have the carpets done on Friday as I’ve been hearing is the plan, and then all will be well in my world by Friday night!  And our plan is to have a Christmas Tree decorating party on Saturday with family, so it better work out that way.  We have a brand new 7.5 foot Christmas tree sitting so sadly STILL IN THE BOX in our front foyer and I am itching to put it together and start focusing on Christmas the way I’d hoped to have been doing by now.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Swimming in our living room...

I feel so sick today, partly because of the virus I STILL have, but mostly because of what’s going on at our house.

I wrote about the mould problem we discovered last week under our stairs...And management’s (lame) attempt at looking to see what the problem was...They were supposed to get back to us by the end of the day on Thursday to let us know when something was going to be done (to start fixing the leak) and it was all we could do to get them to ‘commit’ to starting on Friday...Only on Friday they became impossible to reach and then when we finally did manage to contact them, they said it was ‘out of their hands’ until the contactors got back to them as to when they could start.  We called again yesterday despite it being Saturday as the problem was getting noticeably worse - about a foot and a half past the wall by the closet door for the stairs was wet, and was getting wetter.  They said there was nothing they could do until at least Monday.  But when I discovered that the main part of our living room is also soaking wet in several areas now, (far away from the area that initially got wet) I called again this morning.  The manager actually said, after I told her outright it’s obviously a serious leak (actually, we suspect there are 2 separate leaks, but anyway…) that, ‘It’s Sunday, so I can’t do anything about it right now.’  When I insisted that it’s serious and needs to be addressed, she said she’d ‘try’ to get a hold of a higher up manager but with it being Sunday, it wasn’t likely he’d answer his phone!  I swear, this is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse we’re dealing with here.  She did call back, and said they’ll be arriving in the morning complete with jackhammers...so we’ll see.  I have to take Andrew to school around the same time they’re arriving, and I don’t want the girls here for the chaos of it, so James will again be working from home so he can be here to see what’s going on.  I feel so fortunate to have him helping me, and with the option of working from home at times like these.

I know they’re supposed to start working on this tomorrow, I guess I just have little faith in whoever they are sending to do the job right.  We’ll have lived here for 2 years in mid January, and it seems like it has been one thing after the other.  In our 15 years of renting together, we have never experienced so many problems as what we have here in 2 short years.  

I was looking at listings for current rentals in our area and as far away as places like Maple Ridge or Delta (neither of which we want to move to) and I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to find something that fits our basic needs ANYWHERE EVEN CLOSE to where we would want to live, let alone what we’d actually ‘like’ to have.  I’m feeling really disheartened by the whole thing!

I love our place over all, I think it’s just hard to stomach the fact that we’re supporting a management company that is totally incompetent and doesn’t care at all about its tenants.  I take so much pride in my home, but it makes me sad that I can’t feel fully comfortable in it because I don’t know how things are being taken care of (or not being taken care of at all).

Anyway...Last night I got all excited because James agreed with me that we should buy a new Christmas tree this year.  We have a 4ft tree (that we set up last night with the kids), which worked perfectly for us in our last place since it was significantly smaller, and we’ve always been happy with a more modest tree.  It’s fibre optic, which in my opinion is AWESOME, but in our place here it looks so small and it’s a bit ridiculous that our ‘babies’ are over half the size of our tree!  I picked one out online and it was just a matter of going to get it, but it snowed the night before last and yesterday it was -3 and extremely icy so I didn’t want to venture out driving in it.  We’re not used to snow and ice here and people don’t drive according to the road conditions.  So I opted to stay home.  By this morning I had given up on the new tree because realistically I have no idea when we’ll be able to set it up and decorate it, because now that our main living room has started to flood, we’re likely going to have to move EVERYTHING out of there to get the carpet replaced.  I was feeling very dejected.  I anticipated that James would agree that we should hold off on it and he’d be happy to just save the money and forgo the tree, but he can obviously tell how much this situation is affecting me, because not only did he think we should still get it, but he took Andrew to the store during the babies’ nap time and he bought it for me!  

It’s hard to feel excited about it right now, but hopefully this stuff will get fixed completely this week so we’ll be able to get it set up and just focus on being excited about the holidays, which is what I want more than anything.  I probably shouldn’t allow myself to get so worked up about this stuff, especially when it’s out of my control, but I think that’s the part that bothers me the most, because if I could control the situation I’d be having something done about it RIGHT NOW.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

All I want for Christmas is...a mould free house?!!

Andrew has a pro-d day today so during the babies’ nap time we went to the mall to do a bit of Christmas shopping together.  (James worked from home, which made this plan possible!)  He got his Christmas presents for Daddy and also picked out one for Papa.  Then we went and got a treat from DQ - a Candy Cane Chill Blizzard.  He loved it so much that he said he’s going to marry it when he grows up!!

I dropped him off with my mom so they can have some time together, and when the girls wake up from their nap (they’ve been asleep for almost 2.5 hours already!!) we’ll head over to my parents’ house for a few hours, just to get away from our house for a while.

Yesterday we had a more professional person come to assess the mould in our under the stairs area, and I was feeling really positive that things were going to be fixed properly, and in a timely fashion.  Everything the guy said was great, and I do believe he meant everything he said, but unfortunately the Mickey Mouse crew that everything has to go through once his recommendations were made are making it not go quite as planned.  I’m now feeling worried about what they’re doing, how they’re going about it, and who will be doing the most crucial work to actually fix the problem.  Unfortunately rather than something more ‘simple’ like a slow leak from the pipes leading to the washing machine, which is what we’d suspected might be the issue, it is looking like a much more serious problem with a pipe leaking UNDERNEATH THE CONCRETE FLOOR.  So it’s quite likely they will have to jackhammer the entire floor under the stairs.  At this point 3-4 walls have to be cut and replaced, the carpet in half our living room has to be replaced...It’ll be nice when it’s all done and we’re finished with this but for the time being I feel like I can’t relax.  To make matters worse, the guy yesterday assured me they’d take extra precautions to section the area off and spray stuff before cutting the walls to minimize the dust/mould becoming airborne etc.  But because the Mickey Mouse crew was sent back (which he said he didn’t even want them LOOKING at it again let alone touching it) half of one wall was taken out without any precautions and by the time I realized what they were doing it was too late.  I could literally SEE the dust coming out of the closet toward me and the kids!  I got them upstairs quickly, but the fact is that dust and grossness is in our house, and a lot of it I’m sure I breathed in.  I’m so annoyed by how things are done around here, it’s really not OK.  In fact, after getting the paperwork from the guy yesterday that said the mould does not pose ‘an immediate health risk’, management called us to suggest that this is not an urgent matter because we’re not at risk from the mould yet!  Seriously!  That’s the way they think, in order to save money as long as possible.  But I called back and made a stink about it so they sent these guys to do what they did...SIGH.  I wish it wasn’t so expensive to live around here, or we’d be moving soon FOR SURE.  I just can’t imagine having to go through that whole process right now, though, and we have a lot more to think about now that Andrew’s in school.  I also really love his school so a part of me wouldn’t want to leave the area because of that, although part of me thinks in the next couple of years we really should think about trying out a new city altogether.

For now, fingers crossed they get this job done SOON and they do it right the first time...I want to get the house decorated for Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Totally grossed out

I was just cleaning up from supper when I heard a knock on the door.  I thought to myself, Who could that be, who would knock on the door at this ungodly hour?!  After the UPS guy left (after dropping off a package of some xmas gifts I bought off Amazon) I looked at the clock and realized it was only just after 6pm!  Seriously.  I thought it had to be at least 9:00.  And since when 9:00 is considered an ‘ungodly hour’ in my mind is another good question.

It felt like a really long day today, parts of it good, others not so much.  First of all, we’ve all still got the stupid virus.  I seem to have had it the worst, and it just lingers - lots of coughing, phlegm (sorry, TMI), massive amounts of snot, like Guiness Book of World Records for most nose blowing.  It zaps energy levels that are barely there to begin with.  It’s really annoying.  I’ve started getting terrible sore throats through the night because I can’t breathe through my nose when I lay down.  And this has been going on for several WEEKS now.  It got to a point where it stopped getting worse, but it can’t seem to figure out how to get better.  James started coming down with it yesterday after showing small signs of it for about a week...so, yeah.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

But anyway...James was working from home today so I was able to take Andrew to school on my own and talk to his teacher a bit as I’ve been so out of the loop lately with not being able to go into his classroom.  From there I stopped by Shoppers for some stamps, then picked up the girls and we went over to my mom and dad’s.  My dad had the day off work and wanted to shampoo their carpets (because that’s the kind of thing my dad does on a ‘day off’) and we had the shampooer at our place, so I took it over and we had a little visit with them.  The girls were over the moon of course, because they LOVE going to my parents’ house!  It was a nice little change of pace for me, too.  I took them home in time for their nap, and that’s when things went a bit awry.  

We had to remove everything from under the stairs today because management was clearing the pipes leading to the outside taps to make sure there would be no water left in them in the winter in case of freezing.  I had taken almost everything out of there before Halloween to get the boxes out for decorating, but I’d left a shelf in there and a few other things that I didn’t have to move to get to the boxes.  It hasn’t been THAT long since I removed everything, but several months I guess.  We found MOLD all in behind the shelf and along part of the wall leading to the closet door.  Not the worst amount ever but enough to be alarmed by it, and it’s definitely a problem.  Then I noticed something that literally had popped up since this morning because I had looked in that exact spot this morning and there was nothing...There were MUSHROOMS growing out of the carpet.  MUSHROOMS. GROWING. OUT. OF. THE. CARPET.  I’ve literally never in my life seen that before and hadn’t even thought about the possibility of it.  So to say I was shocked would be an understatement!  I am so horrified by the whole thing, especially with two 2 year olds who are not shy to pick random things off the floor.  What if they touched them, or worse yet, ate them??  I can’t even believe this is happening, yet at the same time I can.  While this place has great potential, it seems to be riddled with problems because it hasn’t been properly maintained.  

We had someone from management come and look at it and they’re sending someone tomorrow to start dealing with it, but I’m so worried that they’ll do a half-assed job of it like they do with everything else, and the underlying issue won’t be fixed.  It really freaks me out, especially for the sake of our kids.  I don’t want to be raising our kids in a place that has mold in it.  I know the problem could be worse and it’s good that we found it and they’re going to do something right away, but at the same time...I’m also stressed about all that this is going to entail.  Tonight before I go to bed I have to take literally everything out of that closet AGAIN (I couldn’t leave it all over the living room all day today as I didn’t want the girls getting into it, although now I’ll have to let that happen because I have no idea when the workers will be here tomorrow).  Then I have to hope they arrive when I’m going to be home, hope it doesn’t totally screw up the girls’ nap since that will totally screw up the rest of the day...then there’s the amount of days they’ll have to come back to patch things up etc.  Not to mention that the carpet has to be replace, which is great in the sense that we NEEDED new carpet there when we moved in...but it also means moving heavy furniture and basically just a giant headache before we have the new carpet installed.  I’m just not in the mood for this, I wish things could just be going smoothly and I didn’t have all this crap added on.

At the same time, we gave management a list of things we’d like to have done to upgrade our place, so there will be a few renos taking place, although it doesn’t sound all that promising as to what we’ll get done.  In some ways I think I just have zero faith in the company to do anything at all, or to do any of it right.  It’s too bad, because otherwise I feel like the bones of this place are great and it has the potential to be a place we could stay for a long time, but there are reasons why I wonder how long we’ll last here.  I’m not about to start looking into moving but I wish I felt more secure where we are.  I don’t like feeling any amount of discomfort in my own home!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our tree is gone

Shortly after the girls and I got home from dropping Andrew off at school this morning, a big truck pulled up outside of our house and workers started clearcutting the trees in our neighbourhood.  First they took down the one in the yard next to ours, and then they cut ours down.  Just like that, our tree is gone.  I feel kind of sick about it.  We had a feeling it was going to happen eventually, as about 6 months ago they clearcut the ones in the little cul de sac across from us, and there were green tags on all the trees in the complex.  But we kept hoping it wouldn’t happen, and for the most part forgot about it because they hadn’t ever come back.  
It looks TERRIBLE, and we have completely lost all privacy in the front of our house.  If we open the blinds in our bedroom, we look right over to a window in the townhouse across from us.  Which means if they look through that window they can not only see into our bedroom, but they can see our dining room and kitchen as well!  I feel way too exposed now.  It will be noisier for us, too, when cars go by, because we don’t have that tree as a barrier anymore.


The thing that bugs me the most is that they didn’t even give us any warning that they’d be doing that today.  It would have been nice to be able to wrap our heads around it.  That’s something that bugs me sometimes about rentals.  They don’t seem to assume that we live here thinking of it as our own home.  This isn’t just their townhouse that we rent, we have made this our home even if we don’t officially own it.  I know we don’t get the final say with things like keeping trees or not (although I have NO IDEA why they’ve done this, it was a stupid move unless they have some sort of fantastic plans to extend the yard spaces or something, which I highly doubt!) but having warning and knowing what’s going on would give us a better sense of community and make us feel more respected as tenants.  I wish our place was under different ownership and things were gone about differently.  I would do things so differently if I was in charge of it!!

Our dining room is definitely a lot brighter now, and I know I’ll get used to this change over time.  I think it’s just sad to see a tree that’s been growing there for about 30 years just cut down like that.  It wasn’t dead or dying, it was a perfectly good tree!  And while I’m glad they kept one, the one they left behind (which looks weird because it grew behind the big tree so it’d warped looking from not growing properly in sunlight...but anyway) is the one that sheds leaves all over our yard like crazy several times a year!!  So we got to keep that one, but not the one that just did it’s own thing and didn’t bother anyone.  LOL  Awesome :S

Monday, November 17, 2014

Preparing for Christmas early

The girls still have colds...as does Andrew...as do I...and as of last night, James, too.  So it’s a house full of sickies for us!  A few nights ago I sneezed and literally within a minute I had a full fledged head cold.  Luckily it’s not the kind of cold where you feel achy and almost flu like, since I feel like I just got over that one.  This is ‘just’ a head cold.  But it’s not fun, and it’s making it nearly impossible to sleep.  Between my nose dripping and having a nightmare that a terrorist was one by one taking out everyone in the room and I knew it was only a matter of time before he got me (I blame season 4 of Homeland for that!), I barely slept a wink last night.


BUT I am almost done all my Christmas shopping, so that’s a plus!!  I’ve done almost all my shopping online and it has been GREAT.  I finally finished our ‘year in review’ book yesterday and it’s on the printing press right now.  I’m really happy with it.  It’s VERY time consuming, I can’t even count the hours I spent on it, but it’s so worth it to have that keepsake.  Mixbook had a deal for 50% off, ending today, so I wanted to make sure I got in on that deal.  I had 7 books printed, and because of the ridiculous amount of extra pages per book (it’s a 57 page book!...and that was with scaling back!) it would have been $61 PER BOOK!!!  And then shipping on top of that.  INSANE.  But it was half price, so I saved $230.  Amazing!  I don’t think I’d be able to justify the price if it wasn’t on sale, but luckily they always do this deal around this time of year so I make sure the book is done in time for it.  I love Mixbook, I actually have several other books in the works, but I’m taking a bit of a break from it for the time being.


It’s weird that in 2 weeks we’ll be getting decorated for Christmas.  Even though I’m fairly prepared already gift wise, it still feels like Xmas should be a long time off.  It’s going to be exciting though - Andrew of course will be completely wound up, but the girls will be, too.  They don’t totally understand and I’m sure don’t remember last Christmas, but they’ll sometimes mention Christmas and Santa in the right context, so I have a feeling they’re going to be over the moon with it all.

Once again we weren’t able to stay for reading time in Andrew’s class this morning due to our colds, so when we got home the girls decided they wanted to go out and play in the yard.  It was -2 when we took Andrew to school, and had to be about the same or colder when we went out, because it was icy and frosty and COOOOLD.  But we were bundled up, and the girls enjoyed sweeping the leaves of the decks, both front and back, and then playing on their slide and climber in the backyard. It’s nice to have that option, even if it was fairly short-lived given the cold.  The girls’ little fingers were bright red they were so cold, but I can’t get them to keep gloves on for more than a minute.  So glad we live somewhere mild enough that it doesn’t really matter!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Little Miss Grumpy Pants

The girls were over the fever part (of whatever it is they have) today, and while Margaret still has a few dots on her back they’re lighter and the ones on her belly and leg are almost gone.  So we can rule out chicken pox, THANK GAWD.  All 3 kids seem SO stuffed up and major cold symptoms, but Emily was the worst today.  She was really snotty and it was making her miserable.  I felt so bad for her.  Her face was all red and you could just tell she wasn’t feeling good.  Sometime when she gets upset she gets into a mode where she doesn’t know WHAT she wants, she just knows she doesn’t like how things are.  If I suggest cuddles, she pulls away and says,’ NO!’ and it gets her even more worked up.  If I suggest getting her cozy with a blanket she freaks more.  A snack?  More screaming.  You get the drift!  It can be really frustrating, but ultimately the reason she’s doing it is because SHE’S frustrated, and she can’t vocalize it.  I always have to take a deep breath and not let myself get annoyed by the freaking out part!  It doesn’t usually last all that long anyway.  Sometimes it works to just walk away and let her know if she needs anything I’m there, but give her a bit of space.

This morning was tough because I knew she was feeling unwell, and yet I had to get her dressed and bundled up to go out into the cold (which was -5 when James left for work, and I don’t think it was much warmer when we went to school).  She was so upset being out in the cold and just wanted me to carry her, which worked out OK because Margaret was fine with walking.  (I could carry them both if I had to, for a little while, but they’re both exactly 27.8lbs as of last week, so I’d rather not if I don’t have to!!)  (Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but here’s a huge difference in Margaret and Emily’s personalities - when we get to Andrew’s school, they know they have to hold my hand till we get to the fence, and then they can run because we’re in the school yard and it’s safe.  As soon as she knows she’s allowed, Margaret let’s go of my hand and charges away....Whereas Emily doesn’t let go of my hand at all until we’re practically outside of Andrew’s classroom.  If I happened to let go of her hand for any reason, she would protest!)  

We haven’t been able to participate in Family Reading Time in the mornings the past few days because I don’t want the kids in Andrew’s class catching the girls’ cold if possible (even though Andrew has the same symptoms for the most part…)  They’ve been really good about it, even though I know they’re itching to get back into that classroom!  But this morning Emily was just so cold and when we got back to the van she was bawling her eyes out and screaming, and then that seemed to set Margaret off and then she was crying too and it must have been a sight for the other parents because they were both screaming and crying and saying, ‘HUG, HUUUUG!’  I gave them both a shoulder to cry on (good thing I’ve got two of those!!) and then they got into their seats with the promise of a couple of Tic Tac’s each to tide them over till we got home for breakfast LOL.  Oh, but how can I forget, before they settled down, Emily cried so hard she threw up.  ‘Luckily’ I was wearing a scarf and had something to clean it up with!  (Unluckily for my scarf) =S  What can I say, accessories take on new meanings when you’re a mom.
 

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