Monday, August 25, 2008

Times Are A Changin'

The Times They Are A Changin’ Come Nov.

My Fair Lady and I purchased our first house last July and closed mid-Sept. Right around one year later, we finally have improved it enough to where we’re satisfied with it. That’s not to say we didn’t like it to begin with. One thing everyone says who sets foot in the house is a variation on this sentence: “Wow, you’re place is so homey!”

It’s even more so now, baby.

We found out in March that we were expecting Holy Screaming Fury v.1 to release in November. Until we settle on an official title, I hath dubbed thee… Pending. We’re excited about Pending, but were more than a little nervous when we looked around Casa de Skim and realized how much work we had to do on the house prior to release. To wit:

• The designated nursery still had boxes in it from Sept.
• The office looked like Poland post Blitzkrieg, if the Nazis had used paper instead of tanks
• A grand total of four pictures were on our walls across the entire house. A large world map showing where we’ve been was hung in our main hallway when we first moved in. The other three were hung this year at my insistence. The remaining wall space was deafening in its emptiness.
• The fountain in the atrium remained hostile towards us. Whenever we plugged it in, it would grind and growl and call us names before allowing a bare trickle of water out. Said trickles would then fall over the edges and spill out onto the tile floor. Again, while the fountain would huff and puff and give me every reason in the world to kick its ass with a sledgehammer.
• The amount of empty space in our front and back yards bordered on ridiculous. After speaking with our neighbor, we learned that the previous tenant did not tend the yard as much as the tenant before them. The result was a series of gaping holes in our grass, branches from our SEVEN TREES in the front yard going every which way, and massive patches of dirt everywhere. This needed to be fixed, ASAP.
• Unwelcome boarders. We discovered in late fall of last year that several unruly squirrels in the neighborhood had long ago labeled our house a flop house. A hostel, if you will. Squirrels backpacking through North Texas were all welcome to crash at our pad for a while before moving on. I think I even saw a sign out once. Not only were they running across the ceiling through the night, but they weren’t even paying rent!

So what was the solution to all of these quandaries? Prioritizing.

That list may not be as long as my annual one to Santa (started a little early this year, Big Guy, so you may get two Fed Ex Overnights from me this year instead of just the one), but there are a load of subtleties per each line item. We have thus far fixed most every issue though, with the side benefit of my ongoing war against the bushy-tailed invaders inspiring notes for a new screenplay, and finished off the nursery and the office this weekend.

Then we figured it would be a smart thing to buy a chest of drawers from IKEA, one that would look nice and that we wouldn’t care about if Pending took up some red and yellow crayons and drew a mural devoted to Dora the Explorer on. Plus, the one we spotted a few weeks back was about half the cost of anything at genuine furniture stores. So we picked it up in the two boxes (we opted to go with the one made by the Poles instead of the Fins, a fact which I now find doubly amusing considering my earlier Poland reference was entirely off the cuff) and brought it home where I unpacked it last night.

My Fair Lady’s reaction was priceless. She walked in after I had everything unpacked and sorted accordingly, took one look and said, “Sweet merciful crap!”

I love a woman who can whip out appropriate “Simpsons” quotes.

“What? You were expecting something smaller?” I asked.

“I just wasn’t expecting so much… wow. Are you gonna be able to do all this?”

“Yeah,” I replied, “It looks fun.”

“FUN?!?!” Yes, she said it in all caps. “Do you know how many guys on The Nest would volunteer for something like this? No one.”

“Recall, dear, that I’m the freak who at five years of age complained that Santa was putting all my G.I. Joe toys together when that was something I wanted to do. My father, standing behind me unbeknownst to Yours Truly at the time, practically fainted from the combination of shock and joy at not having to work so hard every Christmas henceforth.”

What can I say? I like putting stuff together, though only to use. Models, with the exception of LEGOs, I consider a waste of my time. If I’m going to put something together, then I fully intend to use it on a daily basis for more than just a show piece. Toys, furniture, etc. all work for me. I also enjoy jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble, and long walks on the beach at night. Call me.

I managed to get about a third of the way through before sleep pimpslapped me upside the head. But on the whole it was a highly productive weekend. The office is done. The nursery itself is done, and all that’s left is furniture construction. This week will see the delivery of a genuine entertainment center with matching side tables, which will get all electronic cables off the ground and back behind locked doors so that Pending will not inadvertently strangle him/herself while gaming with Daddy.

This will be the culmination of the baby proofing necessary for Casa de Skim. We’ve been told repeatedly that nothing can prepare you for the changes in store. I disagree. I believe that the house can be as ready as humanly possible and once we throw the number of Poison Control and Dominos on the fridge, we will be set. The emotional journey is something entirely different, and one that I’m not focusing on at the moment. There are too many tangible issues on deck at present and the sooner those are knocked off the “To Do” list the better off we’ll be.

More stories to follow, especially once Pending hits release status.

PS – Regarding the fountain, the least it could have done is tell me its airway was constricted. I guess it was giving us a trial run for the last several months which we managed to fail spectacularly. “Is it supposed to sound like that?” “I don’t know, why don’t we dampen the sound in the room so it’ll quiet down.” Yeah, like that’s gonna fly with an infant. Upon taking it apart, draining it, then cleaning it out I found the water tube was bent in half. Fixed it, filled it up, works like a champ now. The fountain gave us failing grades across the board for taking so long to resolve its issues. We have filed an appeal, but the outlook is grim. More on this story as it develops.

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