My weekend - All about Floors...and then some...

This weekend. Wow.

On Friday I decided that our floors could be done soon. I called my mother-in-law to see if they had plans on Saturday. They were free. WOOO! We met them around 11:15 on Saturday to drop our girls off to spend the night with them since they were already planning to come up to see us on Easter. On our way home, we rented a floor sander from Home Depot. I went home and got to work. Sort of. Part of the floor sander was a little too worn to hold the buffer pad that holds the sandpaper on properly. AND the remnant adhesive was majorly gumming up the sandpaper. I did a bit of research and realized I was using too high of a grit (still not quite knowing the buffer pad wasn't just operator error). I set off on a quest that included two more Home Depots. The first didn't have sandpaper for the machine, and the second explained the buffer pad but couldn't do anything about it because I rented it from a different store. I called the store I rented it from and they said I needed to bring it back and they could quickly fix the problem. But I had a problem. It was too heavy for my to lift into the car and Jake was gone until 10:30. I did what I could and called it a day until this morning.

Home Depot opened at 8, I was there at 8:15. On Easter. When I got home with the fixed sander, I went to a neighbor to ask for assistance getting the sander out of Olive (our car) and into Dot. He agreed. I'll be making his family some sort of baked good as a thank you as soon as my kitchen is functional. Oh, and I almost died on the way home because some cra-cra started slamming on his brakes (with no one around him), so I had to slam on my breaks. Sanders are heavy, and they fly forward with great force. Luckily our console stopped it from coming into the front seat (not without some damage to the console). I tried really hard to be like Jesus in my thoughts toward this driver, but I was unsuccessful because I cussed in my head. More than once. On Easter. I know.

I sanded with 20-grit and then 36-grit. Then I got ready and went to church. Our girls met us there and they were so darling. We went to dinner with Vaughn and Tracey afterwards then home for an Easter egg hunt. We also took lots of pictures which are all on Vaughn's camera, so look forward to that post. They so very graciously agreed to take our girls home for another night so I could finish sanding and start putting the finish on the floors. It was nice having Jake home because he was able to help scrape up adhesive after each sand. I hate adhesive. Really, I do. It almost made me cry even.

I finished sanding with 60 and 80 grit, cleaned the floors extra super great and started with the polyurethane. That's where we are tonight. One coat of of poly down, two more to go. The first three photos are after I finished sanding with 60-grit.

Surveying the work

Me with my orbital sander friend

This is what your booty would look like, too, if you'd been refinishing hardwood floors all day. All day for days.

But it's super worth it because this is what our floor looks like after its first coat of poly.

Holy Bologna

Our fridge is in the dining room. Our stove is in the dining room too. Yesterday I started painting the laundry room and just passed 3, a new washer and dryer arrived. The three girls who reside in Dot have all spent our fair share of time watching the laundry go around and around. I've spent the longest. I dried things I would have never dried in our old dryer. His name was Winston. And I can't wait to replace things that have scorch marks on them that I didn't want to replace if the new ones would just get scorched too. "It's cool to have brown streaks on your underwear," said no one ever. Luckily the scorch marks were just on the legs. "Legs on your underwear?" Yes. Imagine a pair of white biker shorts. Now imagine me wearing them. You've just imagined me in my underwear. Meow. But seriously, folks, no panty lines or wedgies ever. I speak the truth.

Yesterday I also finished painting the laundry room, minus the trim. Today I finished scraping up the paper and adhesive [to the best of my ability] from the floor, hence the large appliances moving. I worked on the floor for eight hours today. If my back could cry, it would. I'm hoping that all of this hard work will count for something in terms of training for the 10k I'm running as part of a Memorial Marathon relay team at the end of April. I hope so. I REALLY need to get on the ball with that.

We're renting a sander tomorrow, and I'm hoping to find someone who would love to watch my girls while the sanding is happening. We only need one set of ears buzzing around here.

Lastly, I've been thinking about the Easter Pageant at the Mesa Temple. Oh how I'd love to be on the lawn in front of the temple watching it.

Kitchen Floor Progress

I didn't think ripping up the vinyl floor in our kitchen would be easy, even if the first strip I peeled away may have given me a false sense of the labor it would entail. All of the vinyl flooring is now in a couple trash bags. Finally.

Today I started the process of removing the paper backing and adhesive. That part is especially tedious. I'm using an adhesive remover. I had Jake take the girls to the science museum so they wouldn't be around the fumes. It was a cold day here, but I had all of the kitchen windows open and one in the living room to ensure cross-ventilation. I wore a hoodie.

In taking up the vinyl, we've only found one patch near the sink. There's a 1x1 foot of parquet patch. It could be worse. I was hoping not to find any holes. I did find one tonight when I removed the last of the floor from the laundry room (yes, I decided I might as well keep on going). There's about a 1x3 inch gap where one of the boards doesn't quite make it to the wall. When I peeked through it, I was definitely looking down into the crawl space beneath our house. I stuffed a washcloth in the gap...and put one of my shoes on top of that...just to be safe. I've seen one of the spiders that lives under there.

My whole body is tired after working today. When I stood up from scraping adhesive my double jointed hip caught all funny. And then I realized it wasn't my double jointed hip, and I thought about how flexible I might be if I really did have two double jointed hips. But I just have one, and another that was in a weird position for a little too long. My hands are swollen, my knees are a little bruised, but the final product will be fantastic. I can't wait to see it, especially since seeing it will mean I'm done.

Oh, and for something seriously exciting: I ordered a new washer and dryer yesterday. I'm giddy. A dryer that doesn't burn clothes and a washer where all the cycles work. Dreamy. They're also stackable, so we will be opening up some space in our laundry room. Extra space = Extra Dreamy. They should arrive next Thursday. I'm hoping to have everything with the floors done by then as well as have the laundry room repainted.

Because it felt good to read this tonight

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
By Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Science Museum and Oklahoma Talk

We went to the Science Museum after school today. We haven't been in longer than we've ever not been before. I'm happy to report that I finally figured out how to bolt down the three-story slide.The secret was a fleece jacket and my arm wrapped around the center pole. Anyone who has seen this slide and had to take children down it know exactly what I'm talking about.

We spent the most time with a huge display of cardboard boxes. We built a small two room house that we were very proud of. I enjoyed sitting in it. I could have curled up and fallen asleep in the back room, which Cora turned into a bathroom by adding a box that was the bathtub, right in the middle of the museum. I love small spaces that feel secret.
 The girls inside their house.

Cora taking a peak out the front door.

 Magnolia looking at Cora.

 Sizing up the other builders.

The whole picture.

While eating lunch, I was eavesdropping on a group of teachers sitting next to us. They were talking about the various places they'd smoked in or around the school building in the past...and not so distant past. I couldn't help but think back on my time as a teacher. Some of the bathrooms almost always smelled like smoke, and I always assumed it was from sneaky students. Now I wonder.

And finally, I heard a good example of Oklahoma Talk today. There was a little boy playing blocks next to my girls, and his mom said, "Look up there at sister!" He looked and spotted her and began to wave. His mom said, "Now you see her. Say hi to Tyler." And as he excitedly waved, he said, "Hi" to his sister Tyler. What makes this Oklahoma? It's the way the mom said her daughter's name. I say, "Tie-ler." She said, "Tah-lir," but I know she means what I say as Tyler. It made me think about Jake's cousin's husband's name. His name is Cooper. Easy, right? But I bet you just read it wrong. Cooper is his mom's maiden name, and her family is from Alabama. They say the "oo" like book or look. Pretend like you're southern ('suth-uhn'), and you'll probably say his name right. I practiced and practiced because there's no rule that makes two o's before a p say the same sound as two o's before a k. But I am a great respecter of names being pronounced as they were intended. The way I finally made it work for my very-from-Arizona-self was to say a hard 'C' and add 'per' - C'per. 

Why did Tyler make me think of Cooper? I wondered if someday this mom would have a conversation with someone who would say, "Oh, your daughter's name is Tyler? How cute." And she would reply,

"Thanks, but it's actually pronounced, 'Tah-lir'." Or maybe it made me think of Cooper because he has a twin brother named Tyler. I don't know. But I think it's fun to live in a place where most of the voices sound different from the ones I grew up being familiar with. I still sometimes have to ask people if they mean "pen" or "pin" because the "e" in pen rarely exists here. Some of the accommodations for this lack of "e" make me smile. I'd never heard a penguin called a peen-guin before I moved here. Not everybody says it that way, but I've heard it several times, and my darling husband is one of the people who utters it. I think there's something dreamy about Southern accents. Nouns and consonants run together smooth as butter, and in Oklahoma emphasis is placed on different syllables which is fun for the surprise factor. If I could pick any accent to claim for myself, it would definitely be British. There's an interview on Mormon Stories with Terryl and Fiona Givens, and I could listen to it over and over again just to hear Fiona speak. Perfect "English" accent.


Cora had her well-child appointment this afternoon. She weighs 45 pounds, which puts her in the 78th percentile for weight, and she measured 44.5 inches tall, but she was slouching a little. I think she's closer to 46 inches. 44.5 inches puts her in the 84th percentile for height. At 4, she was in the 88th percentile for both height and weight. They also tested her vision, and it's 20/20.

The most important thing about this check up was what we learned in terms of her hearing. Her doctor used a tympanometer to determine how much her eardrum could move with the fluid in her middle ear. He knew that there was some fluid present, but it wasn't infected, and he told me that the line on the tympanometer would peak to the left if there was fluid present but her eardrum could still move, and it would flatline if there was no movement, and no movement means the middle ear is full of fluid. Both of her ears flatlined. She can hear. She's passed all of her hearing tests, but I'm sure everything sounds like she's underwater.

Our first plan of action is to try a nasal spray (Flonase) for six weeks to see if it will open up her eustachian tube. If there's still fluid when we go back for our follow-up appointment, she will get tubes.

She has been in speech since October, and there has been some improvement, but I think the improvement has come mostly from an awareness of sound misusage that was brought to her attention. I sent her speech pathologist a text after Cora's appointment, and she agreed that we should postpone further speech treatment until we get her hearing worked out. When we know that her hearing is okay, she will undoubtedly continue in speech therapy, and I'm sure her speech will improve greatly. She's going to be sad not to go to speech for a while. She loves her Kim.

It feels like such a relief to finally have the whole picture of what's going on. I knew that something was going on with her hearing, I just wasn't sure what it was because she's been passing all of her hearing tests. A few weeks ago, I was reading about hearing disorders, and that's when I read that children could continually have fluid in their middle ear that wasn't infected, and it would basically go unnoticed because it's symptomless (with the exception of speech issues that arise from not being able to hear properly). She's had many ear infections, but the infection has always cleared, even though I'm sure the fluid hasn't. It's so frustrating when my ears are plugged up. I can't imagine that being my normal. This explains so much of her voice quality and issues with volume and pitch.


A few days ago, my friend Andrew sent me a text letting me know he would be on Spring Break this week and wanted to know if he could take the girls to give me a "day-cation." My girls love Andrew and Ashleigh (and Jack, their dog), so I knew they would love a fun out of the ordinary day. Today was that day. I dropped off Cora at school and then took Magnolia to Andrew's house, installed car seats in his car, gave him a quick rundown of carpool for when he picked up Cora, and left still unsure of how I was going to spend my day. On the way home, I decided I was going to paint the vanity in our bathroom. I needed some stir sticks, so I went to Ace, and of course I spent some sweet time gushing over the Benjamin Moore paint colors.

I got home and gathered everything I would need for the vanity and got to work. Between coats of paint, I looked up "painted floors" on pinterest, and was filled with inspiration. I discovered the magic of painting vinyl floor tutorials not too long ago. And while at Ace, I was really looking at what color I could paint our kitchen floor, but in my pinteresting today, I saw this:
I think it's a fabulous temporary floor facelift for the bathroom. Yay for stencils. And yay for people just as sick of their vinyl floors as I am who are brave enough to forge the way in making them better and taking pictures to show everyone else how to do it.  

I painted the vanity the same color as our lower cabinets in the kitchen, so I was also running back and forth to do some touch up work. The same hardwoods in the rest of Dot are also under the vinyl flooring in the kitchen and laundry room. I've known this since we moved in, but I also knew I didn't really want to rip up vinyl floor without knowing the condition of the wood floors underneath. That changed today. The change came also while pinteresting. See these:
When I saw the first one, I loved how old and worn the wood floors looked, and the lovely pop of white the paint offered. Then I saw the second picture and read the story that went along with it. The home owner uncovered the wood floors in her kitchen, but didn't have enough money to completely redo them, so she strategically painted over the extra super worn spots.

I was sold. 

And this is what my kitchen looks like tonight...
So far, the wood floor seems to be in pretty good condition. If nothing is too bad, and we can stain it to match it to the rest of our floors, I think I'll forgo the paint. I've never been so happy to have a small kitchen. Just this little bit, and I can feel a little blister starting on my thumb. It feels good to get things done. 

Today, I  also decided to go see a movie, and Oz was the one I chose. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very good either. It could have been much better. My favorite part was the opening sequence, you know, the credits at the beginning. It was visually stunning, but the story could have easily had a greater depth that would have made it much more interesting to follow instead of just look at. When I left the theatre, I wished I would have spend the last 2.5 hours of my life at Lowe's getting lattice and returning home to install it around the bottom of our side deck. Live and learn. ;) The biggest part of making changes is just getting started. My little break today was the perfect jumpstart. 

PS: I just saw this post, and it made me smile: Heaven

Sweet Moon Language

About today: The weather was beautiful. I made it to the gym. When I picked up Cora from school, she wanted to ride her bike to Mesta Park. I thought that was a great idea, so we went home, quickly put together a picnic, and went on a little adventure. We saw some friends when we got to the park, we played for a while, and then Cora wanted to keep riding bikes, so she suggested we ride by Mary Bliss's house before going home, and we did. She's a very cautious bike rider. I was following her on my bike with Magnolia in her little bike seat. I was impressed with my ability to stop quickly when she would suddenly come to a halt because of a slightly uneven spot on the sidewalk or something like a dandelion catching her eye. We went home for a few minutes before heading off to a friend's house. Today was Cora's spring parent/teacher conference. One of her school friends lives really close to the school so I asked if my girls could come and play for a bit while Jake and I went to meet Cora's teacher. The conference was wonderful, as always. I love hearing what her days are like in the classroom. She tells me a lot, but her teacher always fills in the gaps. As I was getting back to pick up my girls, they pulled out the power wheels Jeep, and what ensued was quite comical. Abrupt stops aren't reserved for bicycles. Jake was home at 5:15. We had dinner and then a family movie night in our bed. Madagascar was the feature.

For the last two nights, Jake has been reading me parts of the transcript of an On Being episode featuring Father Greg Boyle. Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest and also the founder of Homeboy Industries. ["Homeboy Industries serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training sites."] The title of the episode was very fitting: The Calling of Delight. Know now that the main idea is love. There were some things that were really important to hear/read from this transcript.

One of the things he discussed was a mantra he took from an off-broadway play: Now. Here. This. It reminds him to be fully present in the situation he finds himself in. I thought that would be a good mantra for me taking things one day at a time. Being present in the moment. 

Another thing he talked about is kinship. He says he'll never be holier than the people he serves. "And the day won't ever come when I have more courage or am more noble or am closer to God than this 16-year-old gang member sitting alone on his porch." He closes with a poem called "That Moon Language."
Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

Reading that poem tonight reminded me of a prayer I said this morning after conquering something I'd been working towards in my yoga practice. It was a prayer of gratitude for the feeling of strength and control I had (yoga is never just about the physical). I prayed that I could continue to be strengthened so that I could be a strength to others. I want to be one with a full moon in each eye. 

Today was a Now. Here. This. kind of day. I spent part of it thinking about some of the things I wrote yesterday and contrasting those anxiety ridden moments with what was before me. Guilt isn't the right word, but I'm not sure what is, and I want to use it to describe what I feel in moments of panic versus most of my time when I know I have a really sweet life and a cute family full of love, and my everydays are completely luxurious compared to most peoples' around the world. I feel God's presence in my life. On my good days, and on my bad ones, too. In addition to balance and letting go, I'm going to work on being more grateful. 


I don't want to fill every post with how I'm adjusting to being on medication, but such is my life at the moment. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I left Sunday school this afternoon to go take a nap in the car because I was afraid I was going to fall asleep on Jake's shoulder, and that would have made me feel super rude.

After the first night of hardly any sleep, I decided to take my medication in the morning. I slept better, but between 11 AM (about 4 hours after I take it) and 4 PM, I feel completely wiped out. I'm going to try taking a half dose tonight and see how that works tomorrow. I know there is an adjustment period, but I feel like I'm sleep walking.

Over dinner, Jake and I were discussing how I was feeling. We talked about how I'm taking medication to correct some sort of imbalance, and he wondered if I would need anything if our life were more balanced. I think this is the truth for my situation. I can't imagine ever having an anxiety attack in the presence of anyone outside of my family. I have them when I feel trapped. I've been feeling very trapped in our life's circumstance. Jake works 60-70 hours per week, which means I shoulder the ins and outs of parenthood alone most of the time. Hardly any breaks. And 60-70 hours a week spent working doesn't always guarantee that ends will meet. It's when I feel stuck that the expectations I perceive from everyone around me feel like too much. My girls are hungry but they just ate. The hamper is full but we just finished laundry. I can't make dinner because Magnolia doesn't want me to put her down. Cora wants me to play a game exactly as she imagines I should. Jake doesn't have anything to take for lunch. No college fund. No retirement. Every errand, big or small, with two small children in tow. I know these things aren't atypical, but when there's never a blip on the radar for change, it just feels so overwhelming. I'm putting too much pressure on myself. I can't be a good enough housekeeper because I'm trying to be a good mother. I can't be a good enough mother because I'm trying to be a good housekeeper. My children have eaten enriched macaroni in some sort of meal every day for lunch this week. And so on.

But really, what I think has brought this on most of all, is that there is some glimmering light of hope for change on the horizon. I want it to happen, but what if it doesn't? I know I should just have faith. I do. I know I should take it one day at a time. I try. I know that everything will work out exactly how it's supposed to, however, having clarity in the big picture doesn't always save me from moments of panic. [Even if in the big picture I also know that I am a good mother and that my vacuum gets used a lot.]

Balance was a really good word to bring up. I'm going to be dwelling on it.


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