Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Battling kids, mess and flooding.

This morning, like every morning, Cody and Jamie got up before us. Mike had left them each a little paper bag of popcorn to snack on, so they would not raid our cupboards. As usual, it did not work. Oh, they were thrilled with their popcorn treats, that's for sure. But they completely misinterpreted our kindness. Let me just say that when I got up I heard incriminating sounds in the kitchen so I charged past Micah's room, where he was hollering for us to get him out of his crib, and into the kitchen. Jamie was ducking behind the island counter. He had the canister of brown sugar, and there was a spoon in it. I was so mad. Oh, did I mention that he was naked from the waist down and was covered on his legs and bum in green, brown and orange marker? Yep. Tatoos, Jamie style. Well, not totally Jamie style. Cody was also covered. His arms and legs were completely coloured. I was mad. Yes, I know it's funny. Had Jamie been wearing underwear, I probably would have photographed the moment. But it's still maddening. I told them I would no longer be purchasing brown sugar and that I am done making cookies. Yesterday I made raisin cookies because they ate the chocolate chips, or a good portion of them, and we have none left, so I bought raisins instead. Cody was mad at me, but I told him I will not be buying chocolate chips anymore. So, the battle rages on. I cannot keep my house from being destroyed. I cannot keep my baking ingredients from being stolen and desecrated, no matter how high up I keep them. And I cannot get my three-and-a-half-year-old to use markers on paper instead of on his own body, and on our furniture, and on the walls. Oh, and the carpet. Yes, that's right. They even colour the carpet. My kids will be way behind in school because I will not have let them draw in their youth. Well, this is why. Even Cody wrote all over himself today, and I'm sure it was just to impress his brother.

In other news, ever since our holiday I have been cleaning like crazy, and it feels good. Bit by bit we are getting this place more and more organized, but I have also been doing detail cleaning. I mean, the stuff I don't normally have time to pay attention to, including getting all the pen and other marks off the walls, polishing my piano...those kinds of details. Today I would like to make a cover for my dining room chair. That sounds funny. We have six chairs, but I want to start with one so I can possibly move Micah out of his high chair and into a booster seat. But I know from experience that if I put him into a booster without covering the seat underneath, he'll destroy the chair, and I don't want another one stained like Jamie's. If I can come up with a good pattern, I'd like to cover all of the boys' chairs to prevent further spills. It would be much easier to clean up after them if now and again I could just remove the covers and throw them in the wash. But I will be using bath towels to do it, so I will be destroying some. I have been wondering whether they sell towels at the dollar store, but somehow I doubt it. It's okay. I have a lot of old and very ugly towels that I have been using since I moved out of my parents' house for university, many years ago. I won't say how many. Haha.

Anyway, as much as I'd love to make the covers, I think it would require a bit of sewing, and it is extremely difficult for me to sew because I can't do it with the boys around, and they are always around. So I guess we'll see whether I get to that or not.

We are still fighting the flood here. Mike shut off one of our four pumps in the basement yesterday as an experiment to see whether three pumps could handle the water. They couldn't. I don't know how long the pump was off. Maybe a couple of hours? But sure enough, water came into the basement again, so we still need all four pumps running. Crazy. We are halfway through August and have been flooded since May. It's hard to believe this is still happening. We still have no answers as to whether we will get any financial assistance to get us through this. We also have no answers about what we will have to do to ensure this does not happen again next spring. So far, things are not looking good. There is a smell in our house that is not always noticeable, but sometimes it smells really gross, from all the moisture in the basement. I hate it, and also wonder about health concerns. Last night I was thrilled for a cool evening, so I opened all the windows in the house and let this beautiful breeze in. It felt amazing. Until bed time. The wind totally died, and when we went to bed there was a slight scent of sewer in the air. Mike checked the basement, which was fine, so we went to bed. But I was up in the middle of the night, and the smell was totally overpowering. Our whole house smelled like that, and again Mike checked and we are fine in the basement. We came to the conclusion that the issue is all the standing water in our round pen, which is not far from the house. So it is still gross to live here.

Today I put some dish cloths and towels through the laundry with bleach, so now it smells faintly of chlorine in our kitchen. I have to say, it smells quite lovely. Clean. It has been a long time since our house smelled clean. I sincerely hope we can have it nice in here by October. I keep moving our goal back further and further. I really thought by the end of July we'd be fine. Then by September. Now, I'm thinking October is fairly optimistic. It is difficult not to despair sometimes. Maybe that's why I'm so desperate to make things nicer upstairs. Maybe some part of me believes if it's nice enough up here it will balance out the disaster below.

I have to intervene in the kitchen now. The boys are eating in there alone. Yes, Mike is gone again, so I am fighting the battles alone. Micah refused to use his high chair for lunch, so he is loose in there. Scary. I better go make sure everything is still standing.

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