Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Four-Day Weekend

Day 1 - Friday we went to the Shedd Aquarium to test out our new membership card. Ada immediately fell in love and was amazed by it all. The new baby beluga is pretty cool and Ada got really close to penguins and dolphins, among a million other underwater creatures. We decided an hour-and-a-half is the perfect amount of time to see what we can and get out before she gets hungry, tired, or just plain cranky--or I do. We'll have to schedule a special time to go see the water show and the 4-D movie feature, but that's why we have a membership.

Then it was out to LaGrange in traffic for a double stroller I found on Craig's List. It was a pain to get out there and back since traffic is always bad the Friday before a holiday weekend, but it was worth it to get that checked off the list. We had to be back in the city by four to see the Doctoress. I had hoped Ada would get a nap in while we were on our way out to get the stroller, but I was clearly mistaken. She finally fell asleep when we were twenty minutes from the Doctoress' office. At least she got some rest.

The Doctoress gave Ada Flownase thinking she might have seasonal allergies that are triggering her asthma. We had her blood drawn to test for allergies so we can avoid any triggers and stop assuming she's allergic to everything. (We found out today that she isn't allergic to anything they tested her for--mainly cats/dogs and seasonal allergies--which is good, but not aligning with her current diagnosis.) It turns out that we have a very rare child. She doesn't cry when you draw her blood or give her most shots, and she let's the Doctoress check her ears and nose without putting up a fight. She's just amazed by it all--causing great shock to all of the nurses. I think it helped that the nurse drawing her blood was awesome. She was calm, soft spoken, and friendly. She came in and asked for a happy vein. Then she asked if Ada would feed her "butterfly"--the needle has two blue "wings" to help her hold it in place. Ada was great and sat perfectly still while the butterfly snacked on her arm. I'll admit it was a moment of pure pride for Rick and I to watch our little rockstar in action.

We rounded out the day with dinner at a new, local burger bar that is environmentally friendly and offers grass-fed beef. I had my first veggie burger and it was delicious. All in all, not a bad start to the weekend.

Day 2 - Saturday didn't go so well. It started early when I smelled a gas leak in the basement as I was doing laundry and getting flower pots from the basement. The gas company found 3 leaks in the main line pipe and shut our building down completely until we got it fixed. That meant no hot water, and no cooking gas. Our building manager scrambled to get emergency pipe fitters to come fix it. She found some, they charged us time and a half and by 8 pm we had hot water. Still no cooking gas--that didn't come back until Tuesday morning (3 days later) when they could inspect each unit in our building to be sure the stoves were working properly. I spent a lot of the weekend getting in touch with our neighbors, who were mostly out of town, to try to get spare keys to allow us in to inspect their units, and to keep them informed of the situation. Not fun, but at least the building didn't blow up.

Before we knew the extent of the gas leak, Rick and I got to sneak out for BB's 36 week ultrasound. He's in position with his head down, just as the Doctoress thought, and all looks good. They think he's 7 lbs at this point, but who knows how accurate that is. And he's still growing so if we get to 8 lbs, I can handle that. It was nice to get the ultrasound out of the way early in the weekend as that always makes me a little bit anxious in case they see something and rush me off for more testing or something even more dramatic like you see on TV. No drama for this momma.

To make things interesting, this was a home improvement weekend. Grandma Ba was in charge of planting flowers in the pots on the porch with Ada while Rick and his dad were going to replace the air conditioner over the back door. When I think air conditioner replacement, I think "Pull out the old, put in the new, plug it in and turn it on." Easy, right? No. That is clearly not how this works. "Pull out the old one" took the majority of the day since we enlisted an Architect and an Engineer and they just don't jump into anything without figuring out how it works first. I respect that. But I sure didn't have the patience for it. They worked on that while Ada was entertained by her Great Granny, Great Aunt Terri and Grandma Ba, who all came in to cook out and enjoy a Memorial Day BBQ. Good thing they brought the food and we were able to grill because the stove wasn't going to do us any good. Grandma Ba and Ada had much more success with their plants and the addition of an herb garden to the baskets on our porch railing. Ada even has her own mini garden that is already starting to sprout. Now I just have to remember to water it all.

Day 3 - Sunday started with my imagined hope that the air conditioner project would magically become fast and easy, and ended with a reality check that we really should have just paid someone else to do it so Rick could have enjoyed some time off and we could have spent some quality family time together. Hindsight is 20/20. He ended up spending the day re-framing the space above the back door to hold the new, bigger, and surely better since the other one didn't work at all, air conditioning unit. I spent the morning making pancakes on the electric griddle and being thankful for having a microwave when the stove has no gas.

Sunday's high note was a BBQ with friends down the street. I gave Ada a bath right before we went since she was covered in dirt from playing on the porch and in the parking lot behind our place. I knew they would have a baby pool out at the BBQ but I wasn't sure how Ada would react and we were already running late so I opted for a dress and regular diaper instead of a swimsuit and swim diaper. At least I was thinking and had her wear water friendly Crocs instead of fancy shoes. In my defense, it took her a good hour to decide she wanted to get into the pool and when she did, there was no hesitation and little warning that she was going "all in". Now I know what diapers look like when they get dunked. Wow. Thankfully I had a change of clothes and extra diapers on hand. After finding a stopping point and cleaning up a bit, Rick arrived in time to clean up the leftovers and have a couple, much deserved, beers.

Day 4 - Monday's plans all went down the drain. Rick continued re-framing the space over the door -- we could charge admission to see this thing now it is so beautiful. We were supposed to have brunch with friends who spent the weekend moving to thier new condo, but knew that was unlikly since, well, they were moving and that throws all plans out the window. Then we could have marched in the annual WOOGAMS parade --a neighborhood parade that's been around for almost 50 years now, but a thunderstorm rolled in right as it started and I wasn't up for getting wet or hit by lightening. I decided to sit on the porch with Ada to have a light lunch and watch the storm blow by. Rick just kept working. That afternoon, when trying to find something local to have for a late lunch, Rick realized that most restaurants near us aren't open on Memorial Day so we ended up with soup from the Soup Box. By 4 pm, Rick was still working on the air conditioner project and it was time to go sell our single stroller to some friends and meet their newborn. We made a quick trip to the grocery store after that for the bare necessities and then went to dinner which turned into the longest experience we've ever had in entertaining Ada until the food came. It wasn't the night to be slow with our meal and Rick, Mr. Patience, was about to lose it. Luckily, Ada was a trooper and was easily entertained by his animal drawings on a lime green Post-it Note I had tucked into my purse. We made it home in time to put Ada to bed, put me to bed, and finally, at 11 pm, Rick turned off the drill and crawled into bed as well. The framing was finally done.

Tuesday, we ignored the air conditioner and took a night off. I cooked myself dinner on the stove and Rick played a little volleyball with friends. It was so nice.

Wednesday night, Rick caulked the air conditioner case into it's new home and suckered two strong neighbors to help him hoist the new unit into place, which took less than three minutes and it fit perfectly, of course. Then he did some final screwing and assembled the actual air conditioner front and insides.

But wait, we're not done yet.

Friday, the electrician is scheduled to come in and upgrade the outlet to a 15amp/230volt so we can plug it in. Oh yes, this is a powerful unit and needs it's own, special outlet. Chances are that this new outlet will cost a few hundred dollars -- hopefully not more than the air conditioner itself, but we'll see about that--and will involve the demolition of a portion of the wall in our kitchen. Can I just tell you how excited I am about the prospect of Rick having to re-drywall a section of our kitchen when I'm due to have his second child in three weeks or less? And home improvement projects in general? Needless to say, we won't ever be buying a "fixer upper", and I'll be getting a quote from a professional from this point forward on any projects we think we can handle ourselves. I'm much more motivated to find ways to save money so we can afford to pay professionals to get the job done. I think this is similar to the point you get after moving a few times when you finally say, "Next time, we're hiring movers."

Moral of the story: Home improvement projects are easy to underestimate. Do your best to know what you are getting into, and hire a professional if this isn't your favorite pasttime.

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