kls_eloise (kls_eloise) wrote,

Swing sets and mountain laurels

It was a good weekend, I guess. Busy. But aren’t they always?

Friday was a bit of a disaster. I started the day on campus wrangling a tour for a mess of interns, and never really got my feet back under me afterwards. The whole day kind of got flushed down the toilet, unfortunately. On the bright side, while I was hanging around the Building 4 lobby waiting for stragglers I made up a “to do” list for the weekend. I suppose I should more property call it a “needs to be done” list, because it was ENORMOUS and we hardly touched it.

Saturday morning started earlier than I would have liked, because someone woke up early wanting to go to go see Gran-gran. So as long as we’re up already… It was still too cold to go outside and start working on the swing set, so I decided to start stripping the old bookcases in order to set the new ones up. I emptied out the bookcase in the corner… and realized that because of the way it was trapped in there I would need to also unload the one next to it and pull them both out. I suppose on some level I always knew it was going to work that way, but the idea of pulling down all of the paperbacks and trying to keep them in order on the floor was daunting. So I did that thing, and settled in to put the furthest in bookcase together. Now I need to digress a bit.

Years ago there was an incredibly stupid reality show called “Love U” (as in “university.”) The premise was that couples tested their compatibility by competing in a series of challenges together – both to see how they did on the test, and how they treated each other during it. In one of the “challenges,” they were given a piece of do-it-yourself furniture in a box (an expensive entertainment center as I recall), and the goal was to put it together. If they could put it together correctly in an hour, they got to keep it. The directions, I might add, weren’t in English. On the other hand, the directions also included an exploded drawing, some standard Ikea-type picture directions, and they had an empty warehouse floor to assemble the thing on. I’ve always contended that there was absolutely no challenge in that particular test. A REAL challenge would be the way Bob and I always had to put this stuff together – in an over-crowded apartment where the only flat space is 20% smaller than the thing that you’re assembling, the coffee table is in the way, and you have two cats underfoot. They had a HUGE empty flat space AND an exploded drawing – we could have had it together in 30 minutes. The reason I mention this is that on Saturday I discovered a new dimension of difficulty in flat furniture assembly: having a two year old “help” you. It was actually quite sweet, but there is always a concern that bits are going to go astray.

However, even with my enthusiastic helper, I got the first bookcase together and set in place, and then came to an ugly realization. The new ones are taller than the old ones. This is good – except for the tall candelabra that I had been storing up there. Well crud. It looked nice up there too. Despite that small setback, I got the CPU relocated onto the bottom shelf, the rest of the shelves set in place, and started loading in the paperbacks. There are two other things happening in the course of this project. The first is that I’m purging the book collection. Not much, I’ll admit, but it’s a step. This is actually three people’s collection. The main assortment belonged to my father and me, and when I moved out I took, well, all of them. So there are a lot of books in there that I just haven’t read. Yet. Then after some ridiculous amount of time, Bob and I co-mingled our books. Some people think that wedding bands are an outward and visible sign of commitment, but in my house we know that it’s integrated libraries. I’m pulling out books that I don’t think I’ll have any interest in reading, books that I read and didn’t like, and books that are one book of a series from the (fill in decade here), so that I am virtually guaranteed to be unable to find the rest of the series. Just on that basis I’ve culled a fair number out. The second thing that is happening is that I’m cataloguing them into LibraryThing while I’m at it. Luckily, most of the paperbacks have the ISBN printed on the back cover next to the bar code, so it’s fairly quick and easy to punch it into the search feature. On the newer ones I can even scan the bar code itself and it pops right up. This is going to finally document my library, for the first time in a couple of decades. I’m up to 619 so far, and I’m going to be curious to see the final number. But I digress - again.

After a period of time two things happened: it got warm enough to be outside, and Charlotte INSISTED on going outside. So out we all went, and Bob tackled the swing set. Luckily for him, I had read the reviews where people complained about putting it together, and even more luckily I reminded him of it. You see, in Step 1 you start to attach things to the horizontal bar. In Step 12 (of 12) they mention that the bar has a top and a bottom. It’s kind of important, and I mentioned it at a very timely point. He got things bolted together, I held some parts when he needed another set of hands, and Charlotte roamed the back yard playing with sticks. When we flipped the A-frame over onto its legs, she suddenly recognized it. “Swing?” “My swing?” “My swing!” She was *beside* herself. She wanted to get onto the glider before we even had it bolted to the ridge. Once we had that on, I lifted her up and swung her on it while Bob went and got the bits for the slide. Of course once that made an appearance she came unglued all over again. There was a bit of confusion between the directions and the parts we actually had, but it all worked out in the end – and once the slide was on we could work on the rest uninterrupted because Charlotte was busy. She can’t climb onto the swings or the glider by herself yet, but she can climb the slide ladder. She slid down, ran around, and climbed back up so many times that she made me tired watching her. While she was doing that, Bob got the swings on, and our little girl was deliriously happy. It’s not often one gets to witness pure joy.

I swear, these things are as bad as road maps...

Hmm.  It looks like we're going to need a couple of wrenches, a phillips-head, and the channel-locks...

No daddy, it's THIS one...

She couldn't have ordered it pre-assembled?

"MY slide!"

Now another digression. I can’t recall if I posted my fall clothes-shopping meltdown here or not, so I’ll summarize. When I went shopping for fall/winter clothes for her at the Carter’s store, I wanted a few pairs of jeans. The only jeans that were available in the girl’s section were “skinny jeans.” I threw a fit about the marketing machine telling TODDLERS that they needed to fit in skinny jeans at TWO, marched over to the boy’s side and bought her two pairs of carpenter pants. It was later pointed out to me that the name references the cut rather than the size, but I still wasn’t really okay with it. I made a discovery last week. She has two pairs of that cut of jean that are hand-me-downs, and they’re still fairly large on her. However, because of how tight the legs are cut, she can’t climb up onto anything wearing them because they restrict her movement. Are we seriously doing this to little girls – putting them in “fashionable” clothes that they can’t play in? Really? I suspect that we’ll be shopping in the boy’s section for a while.

After we finally got the God Empress of Burlington to come inside, eat some dinner, and go to bed, I went back to work on the books. I got a little carried away – went to bed well after midnight. So naturally, Her Eminence woke up at 6:30 on Sunday morning. I went in to get her changed, brought her Cheerios, and asked her to please play in her bedroom so that mommy and daddy could get some more sleep. It worked for a while, I guess, and Bob got up the second time so that I could sleep a bit longer. Sunday was slated for yardwork, and while I knew that I needed to spray the mountain laurels, I really didn’t want to. I managed to stall until after noon, but then I couldn’t put it off any longer. Bob took Charlotte out to play on the slide while he did yard work, and I dove in. I swear the damn things are multiplying, because every time I find another bush that I swear I didn’t spray last time. I’ll just say that I got it done and skip the swearing. If the damn things die anyhow, no one can say that I didn’t try. Bob got the snow-blower summer-ized and got some grass seed down in time for this week’s rain, and we got take out Chinese because we were both beat. We argued her into the bath (“Me go OUTSIDE!”) and then argued her into bed, and once she went down she was OUT. Bob ran to the grocery store, and I went back to the bookcases. By the end of the evening they were all assembled and I determined that I need to purchase two more extra shelves. Luckily I have some extras from the oak finish bookcases, so I can use those in the interim. It’s going to look FABULOUS when it’s all done. I’ve wanted this for so long.

This morning the ache in my left bicep is telling me that I was using a pump sprayer to the tune of ten gallons of fungicide, the broken blister on my right thumb is telling me that I should *always* wear gloves, and my feet are telling me that next weekend I need to wear foot gear with better grip. Happy Monday.

Tags: charlotte, yardwork

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