Saturday, April 11, 2009

Comin' Together

***Although this post was started on April 11, it wasn't finished/posted until April 22. Until I remember how to change this, it'll read as if from a time warp.
Hard to believe we've lived here a month already. Now I know why shows like House Hunters revisit the new owners after they've been settled in for three or four months. Only crazy people have housewarming/first birthday parties three weeks after moving in.

Of course, only crazy people move in five days before escrow is really closed.

The party went well, though, and I'm glad it's over. And for my coworker who is almost done with her own home buying experience, we have set the bar comfortably low for her party. Most of the stuff we really can live without is still packed up and making a wall in the garage. Our cabinets are still only painted on the ends. Some people loved the color. Some thought it was black. Some didn't care for it. One of the things that I love about them is that they are not for everybody.

Our dining table is still in the box. Staining the chairs has gone very badly. I'm not sure if the problem is that it's a cherry stain or if it's water-based. I'm leaning toward the former, because Corey stained Mad's dresser with a rosewood water-based stain and it came out beautifully. In a couple of weeks I'll deal with that. At the party we just used our old dining table which was, as usual, way too small for the occasion.

The walls are still bare. We still only own three lamps. Thank goodness for battery operated camping lanterns or I'm not sure what Mad would use for lighting in her room. We still have no dishes. Probably Mother's Day weekend we'll deal with that.

We haven't brought our computer desk over from my mom's place yet. I hope we do soon, though. I've used this table of Tom's for the past three and a half years and it isn't that comfortable.

The day of the party was pretty cool. We had just over 50 people in and out. Most of them stayed a lot longer than I'd anticipated. I'm not sure why I thought people might come in, have a tour, snack a little and leave, but mostly they didn't. The only ones who did were Tom's coffee drinking relatives. When my mom arrived without her promised coffee maker (yeah, I have one... I decided to clean it with vinegar... who knew it wasn't supposed to be an entire pot of vinegar? OK, you knew that, but I didn't), I headed off to Starbucks to get some of their travelers. Took a bit longer than I'd figured. If I were a thinking girl, I'd have sent someone. Like my mom. But it would have felt like punishment to her. By the time I returned, the coffee drinkers were gone. They live in Santa Monica and L.A., and felt like our old place was "out there." C'est la vie.

Mad handled the party like she handles anything new and overwhelming. She was confused and upset for a little while, then she was fine. When she saw Grandma Margaret, however, she was free and happy to roam around and check people out. And so was I. Margaret was Mad's familiar face and arms in the crowd. She made sure that Mad got something to eat, gave her the afternoon bottle. And when it was naptime, Margaret climbed our staircase so she could rock our baby in the same chair that Margaret used to rock her own babies.

I point out climbed our staircase because it impresses me that she did it. That she can do it. A few years back she and her two daughters and their five kids were in a van that rolled three times. Margaret was the second most badly injured. The "relatively simple surgery" to repair some broken vertebrae took triple the time we were told to expect. Afterward Dad and I met with the neurosurgeon, standing over Margaret's unconscious body. Dad asked her, "When will we know if she's paralyzed?"

"Mr. S., she is paralyzed. In a year we will know how much she can recover." Ugh! It still pains me to think about it, even though I know what she's done since then.

So having Margaret get up those stairs is amazing. It's not easy for her. She has to use both hands on the handrail (it's not a super wide staircase, so there's only one rail) and pull herself up each step. She'd already been up once to see the place, but for Madelyn she did it again. Margaret doesn't say I love you, but she does.

One of the activities we'd planned for the party was Easter egg coloring. We had 10 dozen perfectly boiled eggs (thanks again, Margaret!) for people to color and take home. Apparently nobody got the and take home part of the message.

Madelyn's part of the party was nice. Naturally my camera wouldn't even turn on when it was time to do the cake (yes, I'd charged the battery the night before... this is just not supposed to be my camera). Meija saved the day by snapping photos for us. The other activity was designing our backyard. Out of all the people there, we probably had a dozen entries. Two were from a six year old boy. His dad also did one, which included grass growing up the sides and dirt overhead. Imagine what the boy's looked like!

We had two prizes: For the winner, a prize of questionable greatness ($50 gift card for Red Lobster/Olive Garden); and for the loser, tools and gloves to come work in our yard.

There were two contenders for the loser prize. One from my friend Jesse. It had four stick people, a rat dog and a tiny house (roughly the same size as the adult sticks) with a chimney. She came in second. The winning loser was Tom's friend Ray. His had a pond with a "No fishing" sign, a horse in a cage (yeah, the yard's decent, but not horse-sized) and an outhouse with yellow stuff leaking out the bottom. Have another beer, Ray!

There were four top choices for winner; two were really pretty and two were very technical. One of the technical ones won. It has a garden on the side (yay!), trees and a place for Mad and Corey to play. Sure, Corey's nearly 16, but he's a very young nearly 16. We can't imagine Steve and Meija eating at Red Lobster, so we're getting them something more appropriate... a gift card for an organic nursery.

We're pretty good about making sure Mad gets organic baby cereal and I make all of her fruits and vegetables and meats. But if we can't find something organic, we move on. When Meija couldn't find organic barley baby cereal for her daughter, she found organic barley and ground it herself. As Tom said, "Whoa. They're hardcore." Props to them.

After the party was over, some of Tom's guys stuck around for a poker game. They're fun guys who really enjoy giving one another a hard time. I had a lot of laughs hanging out with them.
Oh, we did have a neighbor come by to welcome us the day after the party. We thought he was pretty cool right up to the point when he said, "You know, there are a lot of blacks in the area." Oh well, better to know up front than to find out later, I guess (uh... I mean about him... we'd already seen the neighbors before moving here... they looked nice).
Dad and Margaret brought my sister's family up to check out our new home this past Saturday. That evening Mad attended her first birthday party for a friend. She was quite a hit in her party dress.
Since our party day, nothing has been done besides laundry and a bit of straightening. We have only had one evening as a family (tonight). It was spent pulling Mad around the neighborhood in her wagon. We didn't meet anybody, but one woman waved. She's one of "the lot" but saw fit to be friendly with those of us who are pigmentally challenged (do I sound jealous? I might be) anyway. Go figure.

1 comment:

Loud Spirit said...

Oh dang...Shan..AN ENTIRE pot of

In no order:

1. You baby is adorable - looks like she enjoyed her cake!

2. Staining chairs is really hard to do because of drippage and runs..I admire you greatly for doing all this on your own.

3. At least the guy didn't hand you a demographic map. HELLO??? Isn't California the "melting pot" of society? I know you wanted to respond, "Really?? How many racists in the neighborhood?"

4. I am beyond impressed with your idea for getting a technical landscape design for $50.

I am so happy for you - and that baby - GORGEOUS.....

peace ~ Kim

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