Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get your plums off my windowsill

Surprise, everyone, we're still renovating our house.  It was recently my job to carefully chisel off the century-plus buildup of dirt, caulk, paint, glue, whatever (I called it "lead-laden potpourri") that was caked on the frieze so it can be repainted (the frieze is the sculptural element that fits into the middle of the triangular pediment over the balcony over the front door.  I know you are fascinated.)

First I used a small chisel to chip-chip-chip at the frieze then I used a dremel tool to vroom-vroom-vroom.  It took forever but I love work like that -- the kind of work where you can get lost in your thoughts for hours.  After about thirty minutes I realized how weird my thoughts are and spent the rest of the time compiling mental lists of people I had to tell about them.

 Before -- an unacceptably gunky frieze  

After -- hot damn, girl, nice frieze!

a frieze-cleaning station

I worked alongside our normal team of guys for a couple days as I cleaned the frieze.  I kept wondering when we were going to start scratching our balls and talking about chicks.  It never happened, likely because I didn't know the secret pre-ball scratching password.

Which reminds me -- Contractor God has plums.  Really great plums.  Many friends have spoken fondly of Contractor God's plums; some have even boiled and crushed them into a fine jam.  I winced when I heard that, too.

Contractor God asks me all the time if I want to sample his plums.  He says he can "put them in a bag and bring them over tomorrow."  I can't tell if it's a sexy joke or not, so today I yelled, "Keep yer damn plums away from me!"  He seemed confused so I explained I just really didn't know what to do with his plums.  When Contractor God then said, "you just put them on your windowsill until they're nice and ripe,"  I said, "Don't put your plums on my windowsill, you sick freak, what the hell is wrong with you?"

He walked away.  I may have missed out on some great plums but that's the price you pay for being hysterical and confused.

For those of you still around from ye ole Paris blog, we had a visit from one of the featured players of that blog over the weekend.  Remember our English friend, Newcastle Guy?  Newcastle Guy was in Tacoma on business last week and came up to see us over the weekend.  I found him wandering around outside the front of our house trying to figure out how to get in.  Thanks to the construction covering the entire front, we really don't make it easy.

I welcomed Newcastle Guy back into our lives with great emotion and great joy.  It was strange to see such a Paris-themed friend sitting at our dining table in Seattle, but there he was anyway.  He still looks like Jake Gyllenhaal.

I departed from our previous fancypants Paris ways and handed him a PBR (and in a can to boot!)  He looked at it suspiciously, sipped it, then made many horrible sour faces.  I told him it was a hipster beer -- because it's ironically awful! -- and therefore acceptable to drink in Seattle.  He then asked me repeatedly to define "hipster" but I really couldn't.  I know irony is key.  I think I may have gotten frustrated and sputtered, "Hipster is a state of mind" a few times, which didn't help Newcastle Guy's understanding of these complex beings.

Newcastle Guy choked down a couple PBRs then asked if we could order a nice wine at dinner.  I think he was worried hipster wines existed, too.  (They probably do -- anyone know of any?  I'd like to serve them in a glass full of delicious irony.)

We went to Poppy on Capitol Hill.  I recommend it highly.

eggplant fries coming at your face

a delicious cocktail with some delicious fried ball things.  Not plums.

The food was incredible but the company so-so.  Newcastle Guy and Alex can be quite crusty and curmudgeonly individually and the problem gets exponentially worse when they're together.  I suggested they chat with a crack whore up on Aurora Ave. to put the relative awesomeness of their lives in perspective but I realized the point was lost when Newcastle Guy said, "She gets to make her own hours!"

We put Newcastle Guy in a taxi back to Tacoma.  He wasn't interested in trains and none of us were in any shape to drive, so into a yellow cab he went.  Tacoma is about 45 minutes away so the trip wasn't cheap.  Between the PBR in a can and the hundreds of dollars spent in a handful of hours, Newcastle Guy may be happy he's not in our lives very often anymore.

My in-laws arrive this weekend.  Soon thereafter, Al and I are going to Hawaii.  The two of us.  No kids.  We are looking forward to it the way a hipster looks forward to a concert by that band you've never heard of.

As always, I am eternally grateful to my in-laws for taking care of our children so we can get away.  I'm also hopeful they're not offended we yell "SEE YA!" and run out the door pretty much every time they arrive for a visit.

Here are a few awkwardly placed and random photos to leave this post on a scattered note:

Coco got some red boots, never wants to take them off, has slept in them twice

we are about to pour concrete into these forms Contractor God built when he wasn't badgering people about his plums

here's Contractor God doing..... something

corbels and balusters

 Al telling Loosh how many hands he has to use to throw the ball back into play

we put our hands in cement at Banister Abbey.  One of the hands is Contractor God's which is appropriate since without him our house would have fallen down already

I went out with some people and saw this guy at the bar.  Attempted hipsterdom?  Drunk golfer?  Lost gendarme?

I'm now officially sick of writing about plums and hipsters.  Time to go to bed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Searching for Tyson

My children are back in school.  I did it, survived them, and am now going to hibernate until next summer.  If anybody clings to my leg and yells "Mommy" before then, I will be an MJ blur fading into the middle distance.

First grade never looked so good

Lucien is playing soccer this Fall.  I'm looking forward to burning some of the kid's energy.  It's likely a futile effort because he has the energy of a thousand heavily caffeinated men, but I've got to try.

The problem is Lucien's coach, whose name is Tyson, is as disorganized as Lucien is hyper.  I received an email from him last Monday afternoon stating our first practice would be Tuesday afternoon.  He also said Lucien needed something called "shinguards" within those next 24 hours.

I'm not an athletic person so I asked Dan the Man, who was here working on the house at the time, where I could buy these "shinguards."  His reply was "anywhere."  I first tried Anthropologie.  No shinguards there but I got a great dress.

Ten more stores and a fantastic new wardrobe later, I eventually stumbled into Target and bought shinguards.  I even threw in a new water bottle and a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball. We were ready for our first practice.

Any soccer person out there can tell you what's wrong with this next picture --

I'm a newbie.  Forgive me.  But it still makes more sense to me to have the padding of the sock UNDER the velcro of the shinguard.  Why are all you people doing it the harder, presumably less comfortable, way?  I say let those Stormtropper shinguards shine in the sun.

I realized my shinguard folly when we arrived for practice and found five thousand kids running around the fields searching for their new soccer teams.  I noted smugly that no other kids had shinguards.  I was better prepared!  I'm Mother of the Year!  But then I realized the other kids' socks were extremely bulky and angular.

I looked down at my son, realized my mistake and how ridiculous he looked, and ordered him to sit down in the middle of the soccer melee.  I began frantically pulling off his shoes, shinguards, and socks.  Lucien laid on the ground and stared up at me pathetically, "Why are you doing this to me, Mommy?"  he asked.  "Sshhh"  I hissed at him.  "Be subtle about it, boy!"

After Lucien was correctly re-assembled, we stood up.  We were alone.  All other kids had found their teams, were already voting on team names and donning their uniform t-shirts.

I walked up to a few groups and asked the men with the clipboards, "Are you Tyson?  I'm looking for Tyson."  Nobody was Tyson.  So then I did what any parent still flustered by shinguards would do -- cupped my hands around my mouth and yelled, "TYSON!"  Nobody was Tyson.  Or if they were, they didn't want to meet me.

Half an hour later, and with desperation setting in, we found Tyson, red-faced, trying to get out of his car with two kids and ten million soccer balls.  Tyson was breathless and flustered.  He kept calling Lucien "Lucent" and in the middle of the chaos, I chose not to correct him, just told Lucien that was his new special soccer name.

While Lucien warmed up with his team I took Coco to a nearby playground where she kicked off her shoes and ran far away from me.  I chased her, grabbed her by the leg as she tried to climb up the slide, and told her we had to return to see if Tyson needed any help.  I suspected he did.

We returned to where Coco kicked off her shoes only to discover they were gone, along with our brand new glow-in-the-dark soccer ball.  It was about that time I started thinking someone was f*cking with me.  It was also about that time I realized Tyson was yelling.  I ran to Tyson with a shoeless Coco under my arm and found him wrestling his own son to the ground, who apparently had pitched some kind of fit and was hitting everybody.

I love soccer!

Tyson's son, Matthew, then ran off, yelling over his shoulder he was going to the bathroom.  I asked Tyson if he wanted me to follow Matthew to the bathroom.   He said "sure."  I ran after Matthew into the community center, where I found Coco's shoes lying in the middle of the floor.  I don't know.

I poked my head into the men's bathroom and called for Matthew.  There was no response.  I walked in and looked in all the stalls.  No Matthew.  I didn't know how, but I'd managed to find Coco's shoes and lose the coach's son all in the span of thirty seconds.

I asked everyone in the community center if they'd seen a little boy walking around by himself, possibly crying really hard.  Nobody had.  Then I was back yelling in the middle of the soccer fields, but I was yelling "MATTHEW!" this time.  I knew I was about to develop a reputation as the woman who yells random mens' names in the middle of soccer fields, but only if my reputation as the mom who puts shinguards on incorrectly wasn't already firmly established.

I don't know how everyone survived that soccer practice, but we did.  Matthew turned up later, completely unscathed and eating a candy bar.  Our glow-in-the-dark soccer ball also reappeared.  I don't know where it was because soccer balls can't talk, hard as I tried to shake the information out of it.  

We had our first game over the weekend.  In the chaos of our first practice, we never picked a team name.  Alex began cheering for "Les Bleus," and it's likely that will stick. 

"Allez, allez, Les Bleus!" 

Lucien is a natural born goalie.  He blocked a hard shot, everyone cheered for him, and the proud, almost embarrassed, grin on his face made the whole thing worth it.  We're in this for the long haul, Tyson, so God help us all.

We had a Labor Day party.  I forgot to take pictures.  The party involved water balloons, a lot of alcohol, some broken furniture and a friend passed out in the guest room.  It was a very good party.

An overturned chair in the middle of the lawn the next morning says, "Fun happened here."

I hope to blog more often now that the kids are in school.  Prepare yourselves for a ton of indecipherable pictures of construction. Please don't leave me.

I'm off to "find shinguards" at Nordstrom Rack,