Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting organized!

Sometimes I feel like a slave driver :)
After working for three years in Behavioral Kindergarten my expectations can be ridiculously high at times. I have to find the right balance in everyday life between just enough and too much. Especially right now where im coming into a pre-existing family that have their own ways. Alex comes home with daily "homework" of tracing and writing his name a few times. Once a week Josie gets a sheet of simple math problems and a kinder-level spelling list to practice. She is reading at a 3rd grade level. The spelling words for her class are things like "it" and "of". Seriously. So I went online and printed a bunch of worksheets at their current levels and a little bit above so we can do a sheet every night. I also found a Brain Quest deck laying around ages 5-6 to use with Alex and I made a journal for Josie. She likes to write so I hope shes into this. I wrote a question on each page and asked her to answer in writing and supplement with a picture if she likes, and said she can write about her day on the back of each page if she wants to. They havent really seen most of it yet so we'll see how it goes tonight.
I've been having them clean up their rooms in the 10 minutes before bed every night and so far that is going great. I made a calendar to show how long they can wear articles of clothing (1 wear for underwear and socks, 1 day for clothes, 2 days for PJ's, 1 week for jackets) and they are paying attention to it and it is helping cut down on laundry! I also hung a picture of a lightbulb with the word "OFF" printed on it by string in the middle of their doorways to remind them to turn off the lights. Alex has been a been a pro so far, Josie is getting there.
Little things make a big difference and make the day go smoother, and let my girl relax a bit when she gets home from work :)

Cleaning break!

Im should be cleaning right now... but i've been cleaning (and organizing, and weeding, and other stuff....) since like 7:30 this morning. So im taking a break! Why all the busy-ness? The Prosser Hot Air Balloon rally and street fair are this weekend, and Michelle's mom and her husband are coming to town! Its the first time ive met any of her family and I want to make a good impression, and having the house clean is a start!! Im not really nerous to meet her mom, she has been supportive of our relationship and seems like a really cool person. So we'll see how all THAT goes! An extra plus to having them here is that Michelle and I might get a night out without the kids, which we've never had. So that would be pretty nice! I absolutely love having them around at every minute, but its fun to have alone time on occasion :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home renovation frusturations

In early July my partner Michelle posted on craigslist looking for someone to help finish the basement in her house. She needed two rooms to be turned into four, creating a bedroom, bathroom/laundry room, living area, and storage area. She got bids from a few people and decided on a young man named Jonathan. His quote wasnt the lowest or the highest but he seemed like a good person and assuresd Michelle that he could do all of the work himself and that it would take about 12 days, start to finish, and that he would be there from 8am-5pm every day. He was to start on July 18th at 8am.
Around noon on the 18th he text Michelle and said that he had forgotten he had an appointment that day and was very sorry, he would be there the next day. The next day he got there around noon. This cycle progressed as time went on. He showed up on and off, but nowhere near full time. Twice he took jobs elsewhere which also cut into the time he was working here. While working here he also ran into multiple issues. A few of those have to do with it being an old house, that is understandable. But the majority of the issues were his incompetencies. Things he had said he would be able to do he ended up not being able to do. He had to call in plumbers, which cost more in labor. He had to do things twice because he messed them up the first time. He would drive 20 min to the hardware store, come back, and realize he had forgotten something or bought the wrong thing.
He FREQUENTLY bought the wrong things. Gold doorknobs instead of silver. A cabinet sink instead of a pedestal. He bought a corner shower base and glass walls/door when he was supposed to build a walk-in shower. Many of these things were much more expensive than they should have been. Michelle bought hardwood laminate flooring for the entire downstairs and tile for the whole bathroom and a few weeks in Jonathan decided the floor wasnt level enough and she needed to get carpet. So all of the flooring was returned (except for a couple boxes of tile to go under the washer and dryer and around the shower and toilet) and carpet and carpet pad was bought.
After about eight weeks of "work" (when it was supposed to take 12 days) Michelle told Jonathan that he had more than exceeded his labor cap and she wasnt able to pay him anymore. Between labor and supplies she had paid out double what the bid was. He agreed to this and said he would continue to work until the job was finished even though he was no longer being paid.
Yesterday, September 20th, he was here for about an hour and left He text Michelle when he left and said that he quit; he was no longer able to work for free and he felt "bullied" by her asking daily what the progress was and when he would finish. He left a huge pile of garbage in the back yard and a disaster downstairs. Before this started there was at least one useable room downstairs plus a toilet and utility sink. Now there arent really any useable rooms, everything is covered in dust and theres stuff laying everywhere. I got the washer and dryer hooked up but theyre sitting in the middle of the room, and there is no working sink or toilet.
After spending twice the amount on this project than originally planned there is now an empty savings account, half-finished basement, and piles of garbage in the yard, which we have no truck to remove.
What needs to be finished: The living area and bathroom need walls and ceilings finished and sanded down. Jonathan "forgot" to put heating vents in the living room and closed up all the walls, so we have to put the vents in. He left one wall in the bathroom open and we need to close that. There is a light that needs to be installed in the living room. The baseboards need to be put up in the living room. The stairs, living room, bedroom, and bathroom need to be padded and carpeted. The tile needs to be laid around the shower and under the washer and dryer in the bathroom. The sink and toilet need to be installed in the bathroom and the shower put together. The doors and doorways need to be finished. Some of the corkboard on the ceiling in the closet in the bedroom is falling apart and needs to be replaced. The windows in the bedroom need to be replaced. Everything needs to be painted. We are going to have Home Depot come install the carpet once everything is ready, but it will be a while before that happens. There is much to do right now and most of it neither of us have ever done before, so I am hoping to find friends and family members able to at least help us get started.
Not only is this frusturating because its taken so long and so much money and still isnt done (especially with Michelles parents coming to stay for the weekend), but because of the way that the job was handled and the way it was left. Its going to be a high-stress few weeks.
Pictures of basement

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spotlight on: Josie

Oh, the wonderful world of little girls! Its a new experience to me, really. My life has always been swarmed by little boys, girls require a whole new game plan! She's 7.5 and in second grade, with the reading level of at least a third grader. She is incredibly intelligent, and its all natural. She doesnt have to work at it at all. She loves math and reading. She loves to dance and perform. She will sit on youtube for hours choreographing dances to music videos (and shes quite good, actually!) She loves music and teen tv shows. Obsessed with the movie 16 Wishes (there are lists of her 16 Wishes hidden EVERYWHERE in this house!) as well as Monster High. She gets pretty fashionista with her clothes and loves to mix and match. She mentally tries to be 16 and has the attitude to match on occasion, but she is a truly sweet girl. She is very emotionally attuned with people and very internally sensitive as well. She takes the world on her shoulders at times. But she is also super loving and caring. She will definatley go far in life!

Spotlight on: Alex

What a kid! 5.5 and he's just starting kindergarten this year after two years of pre-k, and hes SO excited about it! He comes home every day with lists and lists of things that he's learned at school, he just cant get enough. He is a very critical and logical thinker and good at figuring things out. He is a very compassionate and caring child. Every person and animal has a special place in his heart. He adores his sister, just lives for her. Shes all he ever wants to talk about, except for maybe whales and starfish! He is very loving, always saying "I love you" and asking for hugs. Hes into the Hulk and Spiderman like any boy, but youre more likely to find him tuning into i-Carly and calling his sister over to watch together! Hes got his own unique sense of fashion but he is very specific about it! He likes polo and dress shirts, almost ALWAYS tucked in (and frequently worn with basketball shorts!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spotlight on: Michelle

Ahhh, my love :) She is everything to me!
She is smart and funny. She is a total foodie, she watches all sorts of food shows and loves to cook. She loves wine. A music and theatre fan as well, and both of our favourite show is Rent! She loves to travel and has lived in Mexico and Ecuador. Speaks fluent Spanish and is currently a Spanish teacher, though she aspires to other things. Shes been to some amazing places. Shes so incredibly smart, a combination of a LOT of schooling and some great life experiences. Shes got a slight Scottish accent from a past relationship and I think its absolutely adorable. Shes a wonderful mother and loves her kids more than life itself. She always makes me laugh and makes me feel good about myself. She encourages me to do the things I love, to follow my hopes and dreams.... shes fantastic :-)

Spotlight on: ME!

Who am I? Well, thats a LOADED question!
Im 23. Adopted at birth. Grew up on a small farm in Ellensburg with my two parents, no siblings. Later in life met my biological (maternal) family and am good friends with all of them. My (adoptive) mom died from cancer when I was 17. My dad recently got engaged to a woman he's known since primary school. Im a daddy's girl for sure!
I was a spoiled but good-hearted adolecent and a troublesome teen. I came out as a lesbian when I was 11 years old. I have a neurological disorder that causes an array of issues, but theyre all things ive learned to cope with.
I am an aspiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and completely in love with Deaf culture.
I have recently started playing roller derby and it is a huge passion in my life right now.
Music is the breath of life for me. I love to read, and am a theatre nut. I have a passion for travel, though I havent done nearly as much as i'd like to.
I am a social person and love meeting new people.
I call myself a "Half Blood Hippie" because I have many "hippie" views, but not all. I wash my hair with baking soda and condition with apple cider vinegar and am preparing for dreadlocks. I use organic castile or goats milk soap, and try to avoid chemicals and additives in my daily life. Im moving closer every day towards an organic lifestyle. I am Neo-Pagan and believe in a higher power, though I dont really know what that is.
Most of all, I love my life and all the people in it :)

What does a lesbian bring on a second date?

... A U-HAUL!!!

This is one of the longest running lesbian jokes around, but it is definatley seated in truth. It has to do with the emotional nature of women, the ease of comfort and attachment that is common between two women. Because of that quick connection, lesbians have a tendancy to pack up all their stuff and move in at the drop of a hat.
Not me, of course. Oh no, not this time. I waited.
Until the third date.
Thats relative, though. Because we have yet to go out on a date. We began contact through the internet and the first time that we met in person, I stayed with her for the weekend. And then after going back to my own house for a few days, I spent a week with her. Another couple days apart and I came back.... and never left.

Of course all sorts of mushy-gushy stuff happened in that three week period. But the important part is, im here now! Its been just over a month and we're living together and doing the family thing!
Yep, thats right. "The Family Thing". My partner has two kids. Two beautiful, smart, adoring children that I absolutley love.
This is my life now.... and I wouldnt have it any other way.
I'm loving every minute of it!