Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Money Pit Pays Off!

Ahhhh - Finally. FINALLY are we reaping the benefits of all our pool woes. Today, Jonathan and I hit the pool during Matthew's nap. The weather was perfect, hot, dry and 90, so out we went. He had a blast! Learning to swim already! I was a little apprehensive, thinking he would be afraid (this is the kid, after all, who FELL IN the slime water fully clothed before we got our filter working) but he wasn't afraid at all. I wasn't going to push it - I figured I'd let him set his own pace, and he was full-speed ahead from the getgo. I'm really proud of him, and we're both already looking forward to tomorrow!

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Can't Believe I'm Blogging About Going to the Dump

Ahhhh, the weekend is here....Mark actually made it home a little earlier tonight, and both kids are already in bed...whoooohoooo! (Although I suspect one might not yet be asleep and may make an appearance in the hallway shortly....).
So what're our plans for the weekend? Wish I could blog something spectacular, but alas, the only things we have planned are errands: a trip to the dump (ummm, where we live, trash pick-up isn't government funded, you have to individually contract it out, so, like most other able-bodied citizens of our county, we tote our own garbage out to the landfill about once a month -- good times!), a trip to Lowes to return a lot of plumbing stuff we didn't use for the pool, a trip to the watch repair guy to fix my watch (again!), and maybe even a trip to the grocery store. Like I said.....not much to blog about!
Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Daddy and the Boys

Just a few pics of Mark and the kids - they were actually taken in Philadelphia this past weekend, but you wouldn't know it! We didn't go to any landmarks, so you'll just have to trust me!
The bottom pic was taken in our hotel room. I couldn't resist the shot - it was so cute. Jonathan LOVES to read. He brings us books all the time and asks for stories, and he particularly loves to look at picture books and point out the pictures and then try to spell them. I only wish I had more time for him....here I am a SAHM, and so many times when he approaches me I'm either stirring a pot or changing a diaper or the like. It's sad - I wish I could just sit down with him, guilt-free, and just not look around me and see dust balls rolling around and the kitchen sink piled with dishes or the baby eating the dog's food. I keep telling him, Mommy will read with you later, and then I never get around to later. Sigh. I'll try harder tomorrow, Jonathan, I promise.

"How Would That Be?"

"How would that be?" - Jonathan's latest and greatest phrase. It takes the place of the usual toddler question - that question being "why". It's cute, yes, but hearing it 50 times a day can be tiresome. But I understand that he just wants more information, so I try to just give him more details and he seems happy with that. Like today - he wanders into the kitchen and says "Mommy, what are you cooking?" And I say "Scones", and he says "Scones? How would that be?" Hmmmmmmm. How WOULD that be? So I told him they were sort of like cupcakes. He liked that explanation. But he still won't eat them - after all, they have DRIED FRUIT - the HORROR!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our Weekend Getaway

Well, we're back home from a long weekend away....we left last Thursday, spent the night with my mom and dad, and then took the boys and headed to Philadelphia for the weekend. Why, you ask? My best college friend professed final vows to enter religious life, and we went up to be there for her. We came back to my parents on Sunday, then spent another day there while Mark finished up some work in Annapolis, and just got home this afternoon.
Philly was nice - I hadn't been there in ages. We took in the Italian Market on Saturday morning, then headed to Valley Forge in the afternoon. Weather was beautiful, we had a great hotel, and the kids were awesome - they're such great little travelers!
I got a few pics, but haven't downloaded yet. I'm exhausted - and have to go help Mark get Jonathan in bed - it's not going to be easy tonight!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ah, the Lazy Summer Days

Well, here we are - mid-July, days of cicadas and katydids, watermelon and corn, of bugs and watching the sun go down like a big, red, hot ball. I love these summer days. Long days of daylight, of finishing up dinner AND the dishes and still having plenty of time for a romp outside. Brings back a lot of memories of being a kid!
Last night we took OUR kids to the county fair. We'd never been before, so we weren't sure what to expect. Jonathan sure did. We asked him at dinner if he'd like to go to the fair, and he could hardly contain himself - he announced that he'd like to ride the Ferris Wheel. Now I ask you, how does a 3 year old, who hadn't been to a fair or carnival since LAST summer remember a Ferris Wheel, especially since he'd never even been on one? Mark and I had a minor scuffle over who would actually take him on it, but luckily, they didn't have one - I don't think either of us is crazy about heights! But they had other rides, and Jonathan just loved the bumper cars, the carousel and the little trucks. He didn't much care for the roller coaster or the "Flying Dumbos" - which were these big elephants that went up and down. And Matthew had a blast - with blue cotton candy. I'm not sure which child arrived home dirtier or stickier, but they had a great time - and so did we! Thank you summer, for picnics and fairs, for swimming pools and cotton candy! Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Trip to Cathedral State Park, WVA

So yeah, we've got a lot of cleanup to do, around the house, around the pool, in the house, in the cars....but so what? Dirt will still be there. It was a gorgeous day, and it's the weekend, so we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed our hiking boots and piled the kids into the car and went to Cathedral State Park in nearby West Virginia. It was lovely - all these old, old hemlock trees - some as old as 500 years. And yes, in the picture, that's Jonathan running down the path. He hiked over a mile today like a champ and had a great time! And Matthew? Rode on Mark's back in our Snuggli. Gotta love those things. Tomorrow we play catch-up - hope there's enough hours in the day!

Friday, July 13, 2007

So Where Was I?

Okay - remember I told you that we were actually filtering pool water? Well, we were, EXCEPT that we kinda noticed it wasn't going very well. We were definitely sucking air somewhere (perhaps two places) and everytime we went to vacuum, we lost suction and pressure. Not good. So we troubleshooted (troubleshot?) and finally found a broken skimmer pipe --- 2 feet UNDERGROUND. Let's make a long story short. It's fixed. Mark and I did some digging, some creative plumbing (we're actually really proud of ourselves) and we're back up and running. The next night (Monday) we actually got into a clean, clear pool. Honestly? I think the pool runs better now than ever since we even bought this place. So we've had problems all along. Still have LOTS of cleanup to do - we're working on it!

And a little sad news - my great-aunt died on Sunday, so I had to run down to Baltimore with the boys for the funeral this week - that's why I didn't get a chance to blog. We got back late yesterday afternoon.

Looking forward to the weekend - we're hopefully going to get this place whipped into shape - clean up all the mess both inside and out of the house! And maybe take the kids on a little daytrip to a cool park we found in West Virginia and do a hike and a picnic!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Well, we're up and running; the pool, that is. Last night, Mark and I were out there under the floodlights until 11pm, cutting, fitting and gluing PVC. We collapsed, dirty, tired, discouraged and half high on PVC glue sometime after midnight. We let the whole mess dry and cure overnight, and then had to put some finishing touches on this morning, and FINALLY, around 2pm, we fired her up. We still have a few minor issues that need to be fixed, but we actually filtered pool water for almost 8 hours today, and it's already looking close to swimmable. Tomorrow we do some more repairs and vacuum the bottom, and maybe by Monday (predicted weather: 98 degrees), we can actually get in the pool!

Lest you think the only reason I started this blog is so I can whine and complain, I have to admit, despite all our little troubles lately, life is good. We're very busy, and don't have a lot of extra time for relaxation, but when we do get to sneak an hour or two of fun, we have a great time and are really starting to see how enjoyable life can be with two little guys. Hopefully, the rest of the summer will be major-repair-free (and that goes for everything from lawn mowers to swimming pools to mailboxes....) and we can enjoy these long, lazy days of fresh fruits and veggies, picnics, sunshine and warm weather, and seeing life's little everyday things through a child's eyes, making it all that more worthwhile. :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Money Pit Sucks in Even More $$$ - and Happy 4th of July

Can you believe we are STILL messing with this pool filter, and STILL NOT swimming? Yesterday, after hearing that our local pool store wanted $600 for the new CORRECT filter, I scoured the internet and found the exact one for only $390. Unfortunately, it was in a store in Owings Mills. But fortunately, my parents live right near there and they very graciously went to the store, bought it, and dragged it up to Hagerstown, where they met us for dinner at Cracker Barrel, and we drove it home. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
But today, we opened the box, and some piece - ummmm, let's see, oh yes, the "umbrella-fold lateral assembly" looks like it is mounted crooked in the tank, and starting first thing in the morning, I'm going to have to start making phone calls to the pool filter manufacturer. Stay tuned to see where all this is going..... (Oh, and in the meantime, ANOTHER trip to
Lowes for PVC fittings, a new plug for the pump and a masonry drill bit to stick the outlet onto the brick wall of our house...$24)
And while we were at Lowes, we bought a new mailbox, because ours is falling apart. Never one to just mount a plain, black mailbox, I plan on using my non-existent artistic skills to paint something on there. I'll be sure to post a pic when I get it done!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pool Update

Okay, so the last entry was from last night. Today, I dragged the kiddos with me to the pool store to buy all these fittings and pipes and bushings and unions and all this other PVC stuff I know nothing about. I think the shopowner took pity on me and really took a lot of time with me....good thing. The filter and new pump we bought the other day was the WRONG one for our pool. Would have been disastrous. So I had to special order the correct filter, and now we have to wait until it gets delivered on Thursday. So no swimming on the 4th of July. Oh well - last night it was only 45 degrees here overnight, so I'm not sure why we bothered to uncover it in the first place! Maybe NEXT summer we'll get everything right!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Money Pit, aka, Our Pool

Okay - let me introduce you to our pool. We've lived in this house for 3 years, but actually, this is our fourth summer. The first summer, we moved in August, so we got a month's use out of it. Summer, 2005, the pump broke and we had to have it fixed to the tune of almost $200. Summer 2006? We didn't even bother uncovering it because Matthew was born in June, and me and the kids went down to my Mom and Dad's house for the rest of the summer. But OH, WAIT! Over the summer, the cover split, so we had to uncover it anyway in October, and RE-COVER it immediately with a new cover, about $75. Not to mention, we dumped half the contents of the cover INTO the pool, but had no choice but to just cover it up and hope for the best. So here we are, Summer, 2007. We just got back from vacation, so our pool was still covered, it was our main priority this weekend. Yesterday, we pull the cover off, not too bad! Hooked up the (fixed) pump, turned on the filter. Disaster. Filter had cracks in the bottom, water pouring out. Total cost of new filter PLUS a new pump, because what do you know, they sell it as a package....$575. And lest you think we're ready to swim, how's this - filter STILL not hooked up because we need more parts, and hardly any pool stores are open on Saturday evenings and Sunday. We had to change around the whole electrical system (parts for that...$35), AND we had to buy new sand...$39.
I can only hope, that in the coming years, my boys, and their friends, and their friend's friends and relatives and everybody's dogs get a WHOLE lot of fun out of this pool, otherwise, I'm filling it in and making it into a very nice vegetable garden.
Final word? Don't get a pool. Get A/C.