Saturday, February 23, 2019

15 Minutes

Do not be alarmed. We will return to the kitchen drama shortly.

Since I decided to commit to posting more often by limiting my typing time to 15 minutes, I have discovered how infrequently I have 15 uninterrupted minutes. Several times over the past week, I have sat down to type and immediately had to abandon the attempt. Even now, Ella is trying to wrestle the laptop away and clear the spot next to me to climb up. I expect I'll have to hit pause on the timer a time or two even now. Constant interruptions is the season.

It's not that I never have 15 uninterrupted minutes alone, it's just I am already doing other things. I have 15 minutes and more uninterrupted while grocery shopping, but I am grocery shopping. I have 15 minutes alone in the shower, but I am showering. And on.

Yesterday, I put on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to listen to a podcast to distract from the horror of dumping everything that has died in the refrigerator during our month-long kitchen exile. I had someone attempt to talk to me every two or three minutes, in a round robin, for a solid hour. I can't hear you. Can't you see I am not in a conversational mood? No. Everyone needs to say something. Wash hands. Remove phone from pocket. Hit pause. Remove headphones. Yes, what do you need? Yes, I know you need an eye appointment. Put on headphones. Hit play. Put phone back in pocket. Continue cleaning.

On ye old FB, this article about focus came to my attention. What he has to say is well and good and I am sure well suited to office life. It is good to limit social media and distractions while diving deep into a focused project. However it's hard to drain the shallows when your whole life revolves around wading knee-deep. I don't know how to limit shallow work with a constant stream of tiny minnows nibbling my ankles.

 (Yes, in these fifteen minutes I did have to hit pause to look at flood pictures, hit pause again to nurse a baby suddenly ravenous, and wrestle back my laptop from said baby twice. I'm not complaining, exactly. Just noting reality right now.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Kitchen and Sundry, Part 2

Sometimes even 15 minutes is hard. It's been a whirlwind since last I posted. Torn up floors, trashed house, travelling to get the baby out of the way. Fun times!

When last we met, you'll recall we had spurned laminate flooring because I am a snob and lived to regret it.

Fast forward, oh, about eleven years. In the summer of 2018, we had several strong storms with hail blow through and we lost shingles off the roof. After storm season was finished, we called a roofer to evaluate the roof because it seemed like the reasonable thing to do. The roofer came out and thought there was significant enough damage to make a homeowner's claim since the roof was supposed to last 30 years and was visibly breaking down after only 14. The developer of our neighborhood did not excel at roofs. They were installed poorly, not allowed to vent heat, and as a result, almost every house around us has had to prematurely replace their roof. We didn't think we were doing anything out of the ordinary.

We called the insurance who told us we could make the claim and if the adjuster decided there was not enough damage to merit a claim, we could withdraw it at no penalty to us.

This, my friends, is known as a lie.

The adjuster came out, said the roof had at least five or six years of life still in it, said we needed to replace the lost shingles, and said if the claim proceeded, it would likely be denied. Okay. Well, we tried right? We withdrew the claim and proceeded on with life, not thinking much about it.

You may wonder what in the world this has to do with the kitchen floor. Oh, it's relevant. Trust me, it's relevant.


For those of you keeping track at home, the math book was behind Sam and Marian's bedroom door where Marian threw it after getting mad that Olivia and Sam set up a Valentine card operation right in the middle of where Marian wanted to play by her bed. Olivia was trying to do math and make cards at the same time. Or something? And then nobody remembered where the book went for about five days until it was discovered on a laundry hunt. It's like this at your house too, yes?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Kitchen and Sundry, Part 1

Let's see how blogging on the regular goes. I have the timer set for 15 minutes. Right now, Sam and Marian are wrestling loudly at my feet, Ella is yelling and keeps pulling my laptop away, Dave is ripping out flooring, and I am not looking for Olivia's math book which has inexplicably disappeared since Tuesday. Onward.

I said the kitchen floor is being ripped out. Why? you wonder. This story starts awhile back in 2007 when we bought the house out of foreclosure. The previous owners used our house as a rental. The renters had animals. The animals left messes. The owners were foreclosed on. They didn't clean up the animal mess. The floors in the house were trashed and all had to be replaced (and all the subfloors scrubbed and primed). Well, we had just spent all our money buying the house. It was at the top of our affordability range. We didn't have much left for remodeling, and yet we needed to do a bunch of remodeling. 

Inexplicably, the kitchen was half carpet. I had dreams of putting hardwood down in the kitchen. But we were poor and could not afford hardwood. I may have been poor, but I was also a snob. I was not buying laminate, I sniffed.

We searched out a flooring that wasn't quite hardwoods but certainly wasn't laminate, and ran into engineered flooring, which was sold as being the best of both worlds. The look of hardwood with the ease of laminate. More expensive than laminate, but cheaper than hardwood. I was sold. Dave and his father installed it themselves.

Soon we discovered we had made a stupid, stupid mistake. The floor did not wear well at all. The top clear coat peeled at the slightest contact with water. It was obvious the floor would have to be replaced before we moved, but we weren't moving anytime soon so we did what everyone does when you don't have money to replace items. You just live with it. Besides we had a gaggle of children who took no particular care so may as well let them destroy the floor we have before putting in something shiny for whomever gets the house next.

Time is up. To Be Continued.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Blog Revival

Why u no post? Once again I shall begin again. 

This post at Catholic Conspiracy has been floating around the last few days reliving the glory days of the blogosphere and whether it can be revived in this brave new world of Facebook and Twitter. There was a discussion, ironically on FB, killer of the blog, about attempting to get a group back in the blogging groove, maybe as a Lenten exercise. I'm going to try. (Do or do not; there is no try.) 

For me Facebook is easy and mindless, but blogging is hard. I feel like I've said this before. My biggest hang up is that I see blogging as a long-form narrative concept and I just don't have time these days. A baby is always hanging off my appendages. I think I shall attempt the 15 minute minimally edited post and see where that gets me. And I have just the story that can be told in easy installments!

So we are replacing our kitchen floor. For reasons. Stay tuned. (Yes, everyone on FB has heard most of this, but the blog mojo has to be restored one way or another.)