Seven days ’til China: Chaos, panic and horrible cats

You know how I’ve been all calm and stuff about going to China and becoming a mom again? Yeah. We leave in a week and I’m FREAKING OUT.

There’s the little issue of my house. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re having new hardwoods put in one room, can lights going in in our crypt-like basement family room, painting in said family room, and built-ins for the same room, so that we can, nine months after we moved in, completely unpack.

This is my downstairs room, with fans running. I should mention that this house is about 18 months old.
This is my downstairs room, with fans running. I should mention that this house is about 18 months old.

Hardwood guy gets here this morning after flaking on Monday, rips up the carpet and calls me in. The subfloor is wet, from my most recent pet-stain-removal effort. He can’t put hardwoods on a wet subfloor, so he brings in two fans to run overnight. We also discover little patches of black mold, which I immediately want to scrub with bleach (except that I’m out of bleach).

“Don’t even bother,” he assures me. “There’s this product called Killz and it’s an anti-bacterial. It kills everything. I’ll just roll it over the spots tomorrow.” He goes on to tell me that this product is often used in dilapidated houses where the previous owner was perhaps a heavy smoker, or a crazy cat lady.

Awesome. These are apparently my people.

While this was going on, the electricians came, and installed the six can lights and a dimmer. Indeed, that room looks decidedly less funereal, but in order to get past the duct work, they had to cut out five additional holes. Or I think that’s what they said. I kind of stopped listening when I saw the five extra holes.

Deep, cleansing breaths.
Why yes, those are holes in my ceiling.

ANYway. On the kid front, I’ve been torturing myself about preschools for Kid X. I have two choices: First, there’s the rather sterile Montessori that I visited a few weeks ago. It was sparkling clean, beautiful facility where no fun seemed to be happening. Still, their schedule works for me — two days, 8:45-3. I could go back to doing freelance, or even do a part-time job somewhere. They also have a two-week summer school thing, so X could start getting acclimated.

Or, there’s the sweet preschool that’s about a 1-minute walk from my house. The teachers are warm and nurturing and it’s in a house, so it’s a little cramped. But the stuff the kids were doing the day I visited looked super fun — lots of options with clay and dress-up and awesome toys. However, it’s a co-op, and I’d need to volunteer once a month. Also, the school year starts later. And, it’s only 9-11:30 am, although there’s an option to extend to 2:00.

You’re probably catching the strong sense that I want some semblance of “me time” once we become the parents of two. Yes. That is true. I could make excuses and say that I didn’t become a mom until I was in my late 30s, so “me time” was all I had (I’m thinking maybe this shouldn’t be in quotes). And, that I’ve gotten used to having time now that Bini’s in school. But really, I just remember that I had a really hard time adjusting from having full-on me time to having none when Bini came home. I got used to it, but it was a rough re-entry.

My cats' bowls, defiantly full. Little shitheads.
My cats’ bowls, defiantly full. Little shitheads.

OK, non-sequitur of the day: My cats are on a hunger strike. We bought this food one night because the fancy pet store that sells their goddamned Royal Canin was closed, and they hate it. It’s three weeks later and they still stand next to their full bowls and yowl. This is not a battle I’m going to fight right now. You win, horrible cats.

Other non-sequitur (kind of): I like to vacuum. I’ve been popping Rescue Remedy pastilles like an addict today, but after I got a look at our growing to-do list tonight, I went and got the Dyson. I vacuumed the areas of my downstairs that aren’t covered in drop cloths and hardwood flooring. I vacuumed even though there will be more people tramping through my house tomorrow. It calms me, vacuuming. I wonder if I can get my hands on a vacuum in China.


Eight days ’til China: Summer camp and selfie sticks

You may have noticed that I’ve titled this post similarly to yesterday’s post. That’s because I realized I was counting wrong. I never have figured out the definitive way to count days until a specific event. Do you count the day you’re on? Or is the next day when you start counting? Of course, I turned to the internet for help, and of course, the internet was wrong. We leave for China on March 4, which is next Wednesday. Today is Tuesday. Eight days.

I'm not really good at taking selfies. Keep reading.
I’m not really good at taking selfies. Keep reading.

Anyhoo, I spent much of today planning for things in the future. We have a house project coming together this week, in fact. Today, I paid a guy to install sprinklers so our new yard doesn’t die because of global warming. Tomorrow, an electrician comes to put in can lights, and another guy is coming to put hardwoods in a carpeted room that the pets decided was a good place to vomit, pee and poop. Thursday and Friday, paint. Saturday and Sunday, built-ins installed in our basement. Did I mention we’re leaving for China next week?

I’ve also been driving my friends crazy by asking them if they have their summer camp schedules squared away yet. It’s late February, I know. But I DO HAVE MY REASONS. Summer swim signups start while we’re in China, and they sell out faster than Radiohead tickets. I asked the nice woman at parks and rec if I could get a gander at the program guide before it went to print, and she said sure. I’ve sent a list of barcodes to a friend and asked her if she’ll sign us up. I’ve pestered two other friends about which weeks they want to do the wilderness camp? And the basketball camp? August 3rd through the 7th? July 20th through the 24th? WHY DON’T YOU KNOW YET?

To their credit, my friends have been remarkably patient with my persistent requests. Sort of like how you’re patient with someone who’s had a traumatic brain injury.

Bini selfie
Bini, taking one of several dozen selfies. By the time he’s a teenager, he can go pro.

It’s like planning for your own death, all this months-ahead scheduling. I’m assuming that I’ll be a half-wit when we get back from China, so I’m making sure that Bini has things to do when I’m sitting in the corner, rocking repeatedly. Also, I don’t want him home all summer long begging for iPad time or trying to hit his brother.

I’m a little freaked out about how Bini and Kid X are going to get along. Or not get along. People tell me to expect jealousy and tears and fighting, but I have a skewed view of the whole sibling thing. I was the oldest and I loved my younger siblings and was a model sister. Kind of a lot like the Julie Andrews character from “The Sound of Music.” (Really. My mom says so.) Bini is a wild card. And obviously, I don’t know this other kid yet. It could be a disaster.

OK. Ready for the non sequitur? I now have a selfie stick, which, ostensibly, I bought for China. Mainly, it’s being used so that I can try to master the whole selfie thing (not working), and also, so my kid can don his pretend safety glasses and take 52 pictures of himself. Incidentally, this study says men who post a lot of selfies may be psychopaths. Good thing I’m not a dude.