Wednesday, April 30, 2008

hippy gardening

I finally planted some peas today. The kids were kept busy with the wading pool while I was playing in the dirt. I suppose if they were TRUE nature children they would have been playing in a pit that was dug out of the dirt instead of some plastic contraption invented and sold by 'The Man.' I still can't believe that it was warm enough the last day of April to bust out the kiddie pool. Not to worry. It's supposed to snow tomorrow.

homage to alex

We'll see how long my patience lasts trying to upload these little videos, but here are some audio and visual highlights of the man from the last week or so. My favorite is the cake eating fest.

Here are a couple of the kids giggling together. Katie can get little Xander to laugh like no one else can. I'll have to pull these out when they're teenagers, to remind them and PROVE to them that they did in fact like each other at one point in their lives! :)

My tech guy got home and showed me a program that saves the video in much smaller files. The quality should be OK, and this way you can enjoy Alex eating his cake!

Here's the clean up AFTER the cake fun.

And, finally, here is Captain Handsome showing off how tough he is. He doesn't walk on his own yet, but I guess he's seen Katie go up the slide this way enough times that he figures that's how the slide works.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

happy 1st birthday alex!

Our little man turns 1 year old tomorrow. We celebrated a little early over at Oma and Opa's house. Alex was way into his cake, and Katie graciously showed him how the whole unwrapping of presents works. I can't believe he's already a year old! He cut 3 new teeth this past week to prove he's a big man now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

happy anniversary to me

So, people. How do YOU like to spend your anniversary? Over here at the Young house, we like to mix things up a little. Last year I would have almost be money that we'd be celebrating year 3 hanging out in the hospital with the arrival of our little friend Alex. He and the induction folks decided to wait a few more days.

This year, we decided to be extra exciting and romantic. Roger got sent to scenic Ohio for work, helping some dork manage his own account. I spent part of the morning at the Sheriff's office in Boulder filing the Writ of Restitution for our deadbeat liar pants tenant P. Good times, good fun.

For those of you just DYING to know the ending of the eviction story, here's a little update to keep you on the edge of your seats. We held off filing in March, and the rent trickled in - less $100 - by the end of the month. Ahh. And then it's the first of the month again and the game starts anew. I'm sure by now you're surprised to hear that P did NOT in fact have all the money for April. Apparently she needs to find a new congregation to milk, because her church was just not forthcoming. She could pay me $300 (of the $1300 she owes, an amount of payment that had dropped overnight from what she said she could pay). This is a kicker - if the tenant pays ANYTHING, even if it's just $1, you have to start the game all over again with a new 3-day notice. I had to turn down the partial payment and we - me and my class of future landlords, Katie and Alex - hit the courthouse to file the eviction. Happily this adds on another $88 that P. won't be paying us. To put the cherry on the cake, I got a speeding ticket on the way from the courthouse to the process server. It was of course deserved, but Alex gets some credit for distracting me with his screams of protest at not being able to take a nap in his own bed. I wonder if I can add that on to P's bill?

In an eviction, you file one week and then the hearing is set for the following Friday. Time for court arrives - apparently, I had not done enough of my 'NO MEDIATION!' mantras ahead of time. P arrived 10 minutes late, and said that she was on her way to a social security hearing to get an advance on her disability settlement. She had paperwork proving this money is due her. She could pay us the full amount that night. So we went the mediation route again, and agreed to stipulations that included the amount that she owes us, when she would pay, when the Writ would be issued if she failed to pay, and when she would be out if she failed to pay. The judge said that he would issue the Writ on April 23 provided I didn't show up right before they closed for the day.

Are you sitting down? Friday night, no word from P. No word all weekend. I tracked her down Tuesday, and she came out of her apartment asking 'Are you here to talk to me?' Surprisingly enough, P, yes I was. Well, guess what. No money. Surprise again, her church wouldn't be able to help her.

Wednesday I was back at court with my posse of helpers. The judge wasn't back from lunch yet, but the clerk offered to call me when he issued the Writ. After an hour of kicking it at the library, we headed home, with no word from the clerk. By 4 pm, I called the courthouse and asked what was going on - 15 minutes later I received word that the judge had finally acted. Let me just add here that a trip to the Boulder courthouse is required next to actually FILE the Writ with the Sheriff's department. Even lead foot Kat cannot pull off a trip to 6th and Canyon via the Longmont courthouse in 45 minutes, even if I did not have two friends to carry along with me. ARGH! But now our story is up to date. The kiddies got to go play with Oma at work, I got to go hit the courthouse on my own, which was good considering the hike I had from the parking area to the courthouse, and the multiple trips up and down the stairs to get everything taken care of.

I did talk to Roger just after filing, so I guess we were together on this anniversary after all. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rockies game

The kiddies went to their first Rockies game Tuesday night. Opa had a work 'night at the Rockies' and we tagged along. I talked to a friend earlier that day and I asked her if I was nuts doing this little adventure with a 1 and 2 year old. She pointed out that it really wasn't that much different than going to church - both are 3 hour adventures. Coors Field just charges for parking, and is a bit more of a drive.

Overall, it really wasn't very different from taking the two guys to church. Katie is pretty happy sitting in her seat and checking things out. Alexander likes to climb nonstop, and I'm the jungle gym. The main differences were better snacks - I might be irreverent, but I have yet to take kettle corn to church! - and I wasn't worried about our bunch making too much noise. We made it to the 7th inning, and then started the hike out to the car. Good thing I sprung for the 'closer' parking. I can only imagine where we would have ended up if cheapo Kat had saved $2 and gone for Lot B. It was good that I didn't have to manage Miss 'I-like-to-run-all-over-the-place-and-push-the-stroller-like-a-drunk-person' Katie in the middle of a throng of sad fans. We had the sidewalk almost completely to ourselves, so she could go nuts without making me nuts.

Oh. And similar to some weeks of going to church with small children, I can't really say one thing that actually happened at the game, except that we all had a good time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

the male animal

This afternoon's 'nap time at the movies' was The Male Animal (1942). It was an interesting blend of 40's screwball comedy with a basic discussion of the freedom of speech. Henry Fonda plays an English professor who causes an uproar because he proposes to read three letters to his class, written by three historical figures not known as writers: Lincoln, General Sherman, and Vanzetti. At the first mention of 'Vanzetti,' Sacco and Vanzetti sprang into my mind - I guess I learned something in high school history after all! - but I did need to refresh my memory. Briefly, Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian-born anarchists tried and executed for robbery and murder in 1927. The idea that a letter written by Lincoln would be read alongside a letter by an anarchist naturally sends the university administration into a tizzy. The professor is threatened with losing his job if he goes through with it by the stereotypical corpulent, short, heavily-jowled bureaucrat, who knows nothing of the letter's actual content, but objects to it based on the author.

The movie's themes - freedom of speech, student/teacher rights, mucky-mucks feeling threatened by something without actually knowing what it says, don't suppress ideas just because you disagree with them - are clearly nothing novel. I just thought it was interesting that I was watching a 'fresh' take on these ideas from a movie released in 1942. The US was at war - perhaps when the film was actually in production, the US wasn't physically involved yet, but the war in Europe was certainly well underway - and issues of loyalty and terrorism had to be in the forefront of film goers' minds. In the 30s and 40s, people were afraid of Italian immigrants, some of whom may have been terrorists, but most of whom were not. Today, we're afraid of people of middle eastern descent, again some of whom may be terrorists but most of whom are not.

It just got me thinking about how the passing of time might shift themes a bit, but that there are plenty of questions we still haven't found the answers to. That and the idea of 'freedom of speech' at a University. During my studies at universities, freedom of speech included much, as long as you left out God. No God allowed in the philosophy or thinking of the German lit crowd - how can you PROVE through argument that He exists - and no supreme creator for the scientists - how would you test that hypothesis? Somehow the power of the mind has to trump all else.

Final interesting note: The professor decides, from his studies of nature and reading of many books, that his wife should leave him for her hunky ex-boyfriend, a manly football coach, because he is the better example of 'the male animal.' The wife is of course moved far more by his standing up for his principles and reading the 'offending' letter, than when the professor punched the boyfriend in the face.

Monday, April 7, 2008

look at me!

Katie running into the kitchen after having just figured out how to put her Cinderella dress on all by herself - in the right direction even: 'Look at me, mom. I did it! I am BEAUTIFUL!' We'll save the discussion on why she's beautiful even when NOT decked out in her princess attire for another day when it can sink in better. For now, that cute little pronouncement, along with the beaming face so proud of having done it herself, just about makes up for the screaming fests we've had every night trying to get her OUT of the princess dress and into her pajamas.

Katie of course had to wear the dress to the zoo on Saturday. Absolutely banner day for animal sightings. No hunting in vain for the random mammal. Everyone was out and about and upclose. Naturally, she got a lot of looks for her outfit. At home later Roger asked: 'Do people think WE dressed her up like that?!'

Alex was there too, of course. We went during our usual nap time, but he did perk up at the drums.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

random observations

What is it with old ladies and boys? We just got back from Walmart, and the over-70 crowd could NOT get enough of Alex. It's a good thing he was strapped in, or he might have gotten kissed to death. I was thinking they were noticing him because he gets to ride in the 'pedestal' position, while Katie is relegated to the basket, until I remembered my mission. In one of my areas we did service at an old folks home. The sisters would spend a few hours helping the ladies get dressed/diapered/setting hair after sauna, and the the elders would show up at the end and we'd sing a few songs for them. Clearly, they were hurting for entertainment. The days the elders didn't show up, you'd think the sky had fallen. Such disappointment. Never mind the beauty shop. Maybe that girl competition thing NEVER goes away for some people, even past 70!

Let's make a rule about boob shirts. If you have to repeatedly grab the front to yank it back up over your cleavage, perhaps you should consider the wisdom of wearing said shirt. At least in the day time. And then I thought, humm, should that same rule apply to me and my pants? :)

a little crafty

In an effort to make our tea parties a little more interesting, and based on more than m&ms and other candies small enough to fit into the creamer, I thought I'd try adding some play food to the toy EXPLOSION (according to Roger) in our house.

I need votes for other foods that could be interesting and maybe even healthy - the best ideas I have tend naturally towards sweets. I have this silly idea that if I can get Katie to PRETEND to eat a vegetable, she might actually eat one some day in real life. Or maybe I need to find a challenging novel to read for a little while to occupy my mind in other ways . . .

Alex still has no fear of putting anything green - or any other color, for that matter - into his mouth and gnawing on it quite happily. Here is Mr. Handsome at 11 months.
Yesterday, we went over to a friend's house who needed to practice administering some developmental tests for her psychology program. I find these things FASCINATING - and this from someone who has spent a good amount of time making fun of the 'science' of psychology. Katie is younger than the age she'll be working with, but the gal just needed a guinea pit on which to practice. I really try not to be hyper about where Katie is at - I'm clearly biased, but it's obvious she's no dummy. It's more interesting to me the things she DOESN'T get yet. Context is not really important to her - she can identify that airplanes and boats are different, but doesn't correlate that one goes in the air and the other on the water. Funniest to me was that when asked 'How old are you?' she just looked blank. We've never gone over that. The same thing when the pediatrician asks(ed) about playing patty cake or other repetitive-type games. It's just not my thing. It's boring to ME, so we don't do it. That and 'baby talk.' I've never been able to stomach it. In my mind, I'm preventing future speech impediments. Or I'm delaying expression, because I'M unwilling to use the sounds that kids actually respond to. Something else I could research besides fake foods!