Housework and egg nog...

Ok...the date I have put in place to finish with the larger projects of the downstairs is December 1st. "Why", you ask? Well, to me the answer is simple: I want to enjoy Christmas this year.

I'm not implying that I didn't enjoy Christmas last year, in fact the holiday spirit was high in our house. It was Declan's first Christmas and that was enough to make it one of the best holiday seasons ever. Although, you have to agree that there is a difference in the potency of the holiday spirit when, on Christmas Eve day, one is sanding spackle whilst listening to Bing Crosby croon away 'White Christmas'. It felt that what made my Christmas white was spackle dust and not snow. Not to mention that our Christmas tree was constructed out of creatively cut wrapping paper and taped to our bedroom wall.

This year however, we have a finished bay window where we can trim and display the Christmas tree, we have a finished stairwell where we can hang the stockings, we have a finished archway between the foyer and living room to hang garland and we have a finished foyer where we can hang some mistletoe for Christmas smooching.

What I want for Christmas, or should I say in time for Christmas is the following:

1. I want a finished dining room where we can sit Christmas eve with Declan and put out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer.
2. I want a bartop installed so I can sit there and enjoy warm egg nog spiked with...whatever.
3. I want a countertop that doesn't move when it's leaned on; where Maribeth can bake her wonderful pumpkin bread on Christmas eve.
4. I want a hood over the stove that can suck up the horrid smell of any Christmas cookies that I may burn.
5. And I wouldn't mind having the tin ceiling installed in the kitchen, that way when I'm flat on my back from the egg nog, I'll have something pretty to look at.

All in all, I think the above list is possible. 30 days is all we have left. That's plenty of time. I think that if we buckle down and maybe take a day or two off of work, Maribeth and I will be able finish all of the items on our wish list. We'll be able to relax this holiday season...and enjoy Christmas.

Here's to egg nog...cheers!

When the bough breaks...

Maribeth's brake light had not been working for quite some time. So on the way home the other night I decided to stop at Advance Auto Parts and pick up a replacement bulb. And naturally my spontaneity got the best of me at 8:30 at night and I decided to change her bulb.

So I gathered all I needed to do the job. One replacement bulb? check. One flashlight? check. One mysterious rustling in the trees? check. Wait. One what? Yes. A mysterious rustling in the trees. hmm...I have a flashlight why not take a look? Well, I like to think that my fear of el Chupacabra would be one good reason not to look...but that's another blog entry.

One flashlight sweep of the trees showed nothing abnormal and no red glowing chupacabra eyes, so back to work I went. Out with the old with with..with...drat. It didn't fit. I guess I shouldn't have put my stock in the guy behind the counter at the autoparts store. Oh well. Time to clean up. I start putting things back and all of a sudden I hear the mysterious rustling again...then I hear a hard thwump!

I pointed my flashlight in the direction of the noise and lo and behold...I see a little furry brown lump lying on the ground. Moving closer I notice that it's a squirrel. It either had to be knocked out cold or else its little neck snapped when it hit the ground. Either way, it's not moving. I creep next to it and poke it with the flashlight. "Eee Eee Eeeeee". It got on all fours and started screaming. It looks like that's all it had in it because a second later it was lying on the ground again, exhausted.

I go inside and yell up to Maribeth, "Come outside. Quick! In front of the garage." I grabbed a box and a towel and head back outside. Maribeth comes out with Declan and there we all stood; staring at a squirrel. As I retold my story about the rustling in the trees and the thud, I scooped him up in the towel. We took turns petting the little guy and placed him in the box.

Initially, we placed the box outside. Then, in all my wondrous softiness, I decided that it was too cold for the lil fella outside and brought him into the laundry room. I pushed the cats away and into the kitchen and closed the door. I picked up the lil guy (in the towel) and held him for a little. I had never seen a squirrel this close before. They are actually really pretty. They have little ears like a hamster, a thin tail with lots of fluff, their coats are really soft and their teeth are huuge! At that point I decided to put him down. I crushed a walnut, put it in there with him and went upstairs.

I started watching a movie and naturally, my childish curiosity kicked in and I went downstairs to have another look. I went into the laundry room and turned on the light. As soon as the light came on, the little guy freaked out and started to thrash inside the box. Having only my pajamas on and no slippers, I decided it best to go upstairs and put some real clothes on. Maribeth was already sleeping, so of course I woke her up and told her about how well he was doing. I convinced her to come downstairs and together we crept into the laundry room. we picked up the box, and set it outside on it's side so that it could get out if it so desired. And once again we climbed up the stairs. Maribeth under the covers and me on the covers watching the movie again.

When it was over I decided to check on him one last time. I grabbed the flashlight and down I went. I peeked in the box and there he was. All curled up in the towel. But this time, he wasn't breathing. No movement at all. With a sigh, I set the box upright and gently pulled the towel out of the box. He slid off and onto the bottom, motionless. I picked up the box and walked across the yard. I gave him one last rub on the nose and said, "If you're actually a really sound sleeper, then I'm sorry for this." And with that, I tossed him onto the woodpile, turned and went back inside.

Alas, it was a valiant effort. I guess last night was its night to go. It could have ended lying there on the cold wet earth, but it didn't. It ended wrapped in a towel, in a warm place, and with a few walnuts to munch on.

Goodbye little friend.

What Exactly is a Swarr? Part 2 of 5

What exactly is a Swarr? That is the million dollar question that I've been asking too.

On Monday, September 11th, 2006 I was an official Swarr for 2 years. Amazing isn’t it? And some people actually still like me…

I became a Swarr one beautiful September day what seems like ages ago. I said “I do” and that was that. No turning back now. I like to think I have adapted well to this new family’s style. And by “adapted well”, I mean “learned to survive”.

It is a cutthroat world where I now live. I am forced to belch in public, forced to partake in countless discussions regarding bodily functions and I can’t even begin to describe the lessons in patience I have been forced to learn. On the upside, I now have a whole new appreciation for art, and I have realized that merciless pranks and jibes are really just expressions of love (thanks Gabe. You teach your lessons well).

My skin has thickened and my wit has quickened. On top of it all, my circle of deeply loved family has widened. And that enough is worth it all.

So all in all I feel that two years ago, a good decision was made…no mater how many times I may step back, look at these people with the utmost curiosity, and be grateful I will soon have my degree in Psychology.