Thursday, October 17, 2013

Room Mother


It's tough restoring a grand old house like Banister Abbey because everyone is watching you and giving you lots of opinions.  Our neighbors peer at our every design decision and occasionally offer the very unhelpful, "ya know, what you should have done is..."  It's a real dick move, in my opinion.

We like our neighbors very much.  I think the problem is they've been staring at our house for many years in its disrepaired state and have developed many ideas over those years they're itching to finally share.

One neighbor suggested we paint each of the newly-installed dentils a different color.


The contractors and I regularly inspect old photos of the house procured from the city in our attempts to put her back the way she was in 1904.  We stand in a circle on the driveway, photos in hand, heads bowed, squinting, silent.  To passersby, it may look like we're praying and that's not too far from the truth -- if we don't get the soffit detail right, we're surely going to hell.

 I hope we did right by the corbels

As I put the kids to bed a few weeks back on a very rainy night, Lucien said, "You left the faucet running in the bathroom, Mom."  And indeed, that's what it sounded like.  But I was pretty sure we did not have a sink out on the stairwell landing.

I investigated the source of the sound and found a lovely cascading waterfall entering from the corner of a  piece of plywood (which is currently standing in for a transom window) and landing on a brand new piece of wood furniture directly below.

Lots of swear words later, the water is gone but that lovely new piece of furniture will never be the same.  Welcome to renovation hell,  furniture, where windows are luxuries and pieces of plywood are sometimes your only defense against a very wet climate.  Accept it, and try to enjoy your new warped and wavy texture.

Oscar has fleas.  Correction: Oscar has "really really bad" fleas, according to our vet.  The vet looked at me strangely when I replied, "Oh, good! Can I feed fleas to a praying mantis?"

The vet gave me a giant spray can with instructions to spray all fabric and carpet surfaces in our house then stay out of the house for a few hours while it dries.  Before I unleashed the toxic flea-killing fumes this past weekend,  I gave my family strict orders:  these are dangerous chemicals, go outside and wait for me in the car.

Those were the only instructions I gave and I honestly don't think they were too difficult to understand.

I sprayed upstairs. It was pretty intense. When I came downstairs I found my entire family in the entryway, just standing there staring up at me like a bunch of dummies.  "What are you doing in here?  Get out, get out, get out, you imbecilic idiots!"  I screamed, light-headed from the fumes, possibly flailing a bit in the arms area.

Maybe it was a harsh critique of my loved ones but come on, people.  There was only one instruction -- "Go" -- and you botched it.

I managed to get my instruction-averse family out the door, hopefully without any further brain damage, and we drove up north to a pumpkin patch.  Did you know pumpkins can talk?  They talk all wonky and slow out of their sideways mouths.  Never mind, possibly still the flea fumes.

We met up with some friends at the pumpkin patch.

This photo is more awesome if you zoom in on what Lucien is doing to Coco's face --

Why can't men just push a wheelbarrow normally, without getting all nuts about it?

There was a pumpkin cannon at the farm.  We stood in line at the cannon watching pumpkins soar off into the distance with very loud booms.  Alex looked down at the youngest and smallest of our posse members and said, "You ready to fly, little buddy?"  The boy's eyes widened and he whispered  "no" before hiding behind his dad's legs.  And a lifelong fear of hairy men with accents is born.

The pumpkin patch/farm was awesome until the point of absolute saturation, which is the very second you realize you can't be in a place for one more second and are ready to chew your arm off if that's what it takes to free you.  It's also the exact point in time all the children in your group will scatter in different directions, leaving parents glassy-eyed, desperate to herd yet unable to move and wondering aloud if they can go home without the kids because OH MY GOD WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE.

My friend, Seattle Mom, and I are room mothers for Coco's preschool class.  So far we have no idea what that means.  We've asked several times what we're supposed to do as room mothers but our questions have yet to be satisfactorily answered. 

Until we understand our responsibilities as room mothers, we will continue to abuse the imagined privilege that comes with such a lofty rank.  Cutting people off in the parking lot, stealing shoes from that little girl because they're cuter than Coco's, letting the door slam in that kid's face because my arm is tired and I don't want to hold it open -- B*tches, I'm room mother, I do what I please.  

(This just in -- we're responsible for sending emails and gathering money for a teacher appreciation week present.)

I'm finally a somebody!


  1. Ok, there was some weird s**t going on in that post. I think you've outdone yourself, my dear:)))

    Hurray for people with funky French Canadian accents ! (Don't ask me why I say this;))

    (And CAN you feed really big dog fleas to a praying mantis? Oh, and GROSS.)

    1. Really? Was it weirder than most?

      You can't feed fleas to a praying mantis. They're too small and unsatisfying. Mantisy prefers crickets and house flies. All of the above is gross. agreed.

  2. That pumpkin cannon is a thing of absolute beauty.

    1. You're not lying, Mrs. Howard. It's a highlight in life so far. You should see those things fly.

  3. I'll bet you make a great room mother!

    1. Hi Lora. I'm not so sure. As soon as I do something, I'll let you know.

  4. like that Seinfeld where Jerry's apartment had to be sprayed for fleas....the Duchesse knows......

    bon weekend.

    1. I don't remember that Seinfeld. But since the flea fumes I don't remember much.

      Bye, Debs.

    2. ► 1:14► 1:14

  5. mj you and your family are so funny- I really do LOVE reading all the antics-I also REALLY admire all those construction terms you used- I have no idea what they mean, but your home is going to be B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L-full of love and laughter-agreed dick move.... what you should have done...yeah I'll tell you what I should have done is punch you in the gut -have a good weekend!

  6. Bonjour (former) maman américaine à Paris ;-)

    Maybe would you like to let us know about your feelings re. this piece about spending some time in Paris?

  7. Oh oh, I no longer know how to use Blogger... Just in case the former comment doesn't redirect to my (now extinct) blog.