Archive for category Our House
TweetIt has been two weeks now that our bathroom (at least half of it, that is) has been gutted. And, thankfully, since my last post, much progress has been made.
Just last night, I came home and was pleased to find pretty white tiles in place, a new fan and light installed above the shower, new handles and a very high-placed shower head (Nick was very pleased), and the ceilings all patched up.
With our Cleveland baby shower/Isaiah party coming up in a little over a week, I was beginning to feel some relief off my shoulders. There’s still a lot that needs to be done, but, literally, the dust has settled, some clean-up efforts have commenced, and Nick tried out the shower and reported that the water pressure was not perfect but was definitely better than the trickling down effect we had a few weeks ago.
So, all was well and good last night that we even began to play with our newest toy: a donated baby grand piano!
About two months ago, I was approached at work by a woman who asked if I knew of anyone who would want a baby grand piano – for free – and all that needed to be covered was transportation. She didn’t lie – it was in decent shape and hadn’t been tuned in years. Of course, my ears perked up at the sound of “free,” “piano,” and “grand.”
I took piano for a few years when I was a kid and, as my father predicted that I would, now regret that I didn’t stick with it. As an adult, it would be nice to have a musical vice. However, the scale lessons and hard practice hours I put in as a child were not entirely lost. My family is a piano family. My father and sister play by ear. Nearly everyone on my father’s side can play. To say that a piano is a filipino trademark would be an understatement. Nearly every wedding, gathering, reunion, funeral, or meeting involves a bit of the piano and belting out a song or two.
And so, you can imagine my excitement when the possibility of a baby grand fell into our laps.
A few weeks later, the transaction was final and the piano is now sitting in our living room. I hired a professional piano cleaner and tuner and he affirmed what I already suspected: the piano was in “wild” shape. AKA – it hadn’t been played and/or tuned for YEARS. That kind of neglect is destructive. Imagine a piano like a living body. If you don’t go out for a run or walk or if you don’t do anything but sit in a corner eating Twinkies, you’ll be out of tune as well.
And so, the long journey of repairing our Baby Grand has begun, which is perfect timing as I sing to Isaiah, teach him chords, and fine-tune his ear for the ivory keys. Baby Isaiah, I think, is loving it.
One of the instructions left by the piano cleaner was that we had to play the piano “hard” in the next few weeks and really get the keys moving around again. I made an emergency call to my sister, asking her to come over and play for a while because I am not nearly at the level she is. Even Nick is pitching in. Now, if you can imagine NICK, who may not know a xylophone from a french horn, trying to play the piano just to get it out of its rusty stage, you can understand why I’ve been doubled over, laughing my ass off in the kitchen when he plays.
He sits and plays the keys like he is taking a type writing course and then out of nowhere, he runs his left hand from the bottom to the top of the keys as if finishing off a Bach masterpiece. Oh, my dear spouse. He is such comedy.
So, last night, after I was fiddling with the piano while Nick was huffing and puffing going up and down the steps, clearing out furniture of the soon-to-be nursery when I hear an extremely rare, “You’ve got to be shitting me!” from Nick.
My first thought, “He either found a rat or there’s another leak in the kitchen.”
The ceilings in the bathroom and kitchen HAD JUST BEEN SEALED and I was looking forward to new coat of paint and moving forward in our showering amenities.
For one moment, in all honesty, I almost preferred that he spotted a rat.
I walk into the kitchen to see my hubs staring at the ceiling and, sure enough, there were droplets plopping down onto our newly cleaned floor.
I nearly crumbled in frustration.
As if on cue (I have an emotional reaction, Nick moves into action), our contractor is called and comes right over and accesses the situation. After about 20 minutes of rooting around, he reports it can be fixed first thing in the morning, but he does need to cut out the kitchen ceiling again.
At this point, I am staring like a zombie at the television, wondering if we’ll ever get our lives back.
Even the sight of our baby grand, even the feel of Baby Isaiah kicking his disapproval couldn’t remove our frustration and disappointment of the new deadline: FRIDAY.
Remember, this entire job was supposed to be done LAST WEDNESDAY. ONE WEEK AGO.
But, at least, we are able to shower and I took my inaugural shower this morning and it is quite lovely. I would just love to be able to clean again, move our kitchen out of the dining room, and get ready for more important things.
The saga continues.
TweetI haven’t forgotten about this blog — really, I haven’t.
Maybe there are some things that are forgotten with a pregnant brain (a lot of pregnant women report scatter-mindedness and forgetfulness), but writing and this blog are not one of them.
This week, albeit a shortened week because of the holiday, has been really WEIRD.
Here’s one reason: our bathroom tub and walls are getting ripped out. The bathroom ceiling has been taken out. In the kitchen, if you look up through the ceiling hole, you can see to the top of the bathroom ceiling/3rd floor base. That’s right. From the first floor, you can see straight up to the second floor.
That means an ungodly amount of dust has settled in the nooks and crannies of our house and I am hacking away like it’s the middle of Spring. Poor Isaiah has been tumbling all around when I cough. I think he thinks I’m perpetually choking.
Also, work has turned up the heat on both Nick and I in our respective employment offices. We’re both getting up early to shower at work (we both have access to shower facilities) because we’re obviously without a tub and unless we want to hose each other down on our front lawns, getting up early and showering elsewhere is the only way to stay respectably clean. And our workload has generally increased. We’re busy bees these days.
In the meanwhile my stomach looks like a rising circus tent ready to enfold anyone who comes near it. I’ve noticed that the floor creaks when I walk on it now. Dude, I feel like a slowly expanding hot air balloon, except I don’t get to fly.
Other weird news is that OSU football season has started and WHAT WAS THAT NEAR LOSS TO NAVY AS THE SEASON OPENER? Not a convincing win. That did not put anyone at ease. And so, this Saturday against USC, has us in a quiet nervous state. We don’t want to talk about it because the intensity is just that heavy for us.
Weird reason #3, our kitchen stuff is in the dining room. Because of the ceiling hole, we had to clear out the kitchen and move everything into the dining hall. Correction: NICK had to clear out the kitchen and move everything into the dining hall. We have no place to eat and so we keep eating random foods like cereal and granola bars to stay alive and ordering out which we rarely do because we think it’s usually a waste of money.
Weird reason #4, my pregnant brain is getting uber introverted these days. That means less blogging, less writing. THIS is not a good thing, as I need to be writing everyday to stay in good practice.
Weird reason #5, REGISTERING FOR ISAIAH IS THE BIGGEST PAIN IN THE ASS AND WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT HOW MUCH WE HATE IT.
Weird reason #6…Did I mention how we have to shower at work? That means NICK IS BRINGING A SUITCASE TO WORK TO CHANGE CLOTHES.
Overall, this week just needs to end.
TweetThe truth of the matter is that life is complex. Life is complicated and busy as a pesky summer bee.
I feel that is all I can say after I look at the unimpressive amount of blogging done in the past few weeks. And sometimes I get so behind in this particular blog that I end up just drifting by important events – like the Charleston trip – without really showing the true brilliant colors of the experience.
So, let’s just start with what’s most recent: this past weekend.
Nick headed to Russia with his family immediately after Charleston for Abby Cordonnier’s wedding, his cousin, and I flew home to Cleveland to work two days before joining him in Russia. The two days were uneventful and full of sleepy catch-up days in the real world. Charleston is kinda magical. I felt like the architecture of the south has some sort of time-travel element built into its columns and bricks. I felt like I was in Gone with the Wind, Sweet Home Alabama, or Forest Gump at times. The houses were just beautiful. Our time there was filled with a lot of beach, exploration, Tripoly, and an euchre tourney.
But, we eventually returned to the real world and headed to Abby’s wedding. It was beautiful, as anticipated.
One thing I noticed is that I am getting much better at being on time for a wedding than I used to be. Now that the Borchers house is getting more and more snug with an expanding family, I have learned when to aggressively hog the shower first in the morning and iron my clothes before everyone else notices they need these amenities. With me, Nick, ( + Baby), Kelly, Tim, Jay, Keith, and his girlfriend Anna, it’s a tight run ship on Voisard street. Luckily, after 4 years of marriage and about 6-7 years of Russia trips, I’ve learned a few tricks to being on time.
Abby and Marcus’ wedding stood out for a few reaons, but like I’ve written before, there’s always one thing that will catch my attention. For this wedding, it was the speeches. Quite possibly, this wedding had the best speeches I’ve ever heard overall. And there were plenty – both of Abby’s parents spoke, Marcus’ father, the matron of honor, best man, and even Abby and Marcus themselves spoke. That’s a lot of talking and very impressive for each and every one to hold the attention of the audience with their wit, insight, and words. Bravo!
When I got home, Nick had to scoot off to work for a meeting and I decided to weed and prune some landscaping outside. I guess this was sorely needed because FOUR different neighbors stopped by to tell me what a great job I was doing and how wonderful it was that I was spending so much time taking care of our landscaping. Soon, the 30 minutes I had planned for myself became a 2.5 hour vendetta and I stopped only when Nick came home from his meeting and the sun had all but disappeared.
As Nick happily reviewed my hard work and the piles of branches, twigs, and greenery set out for pick-up, he threw his arm around my shoulder, “Great work, babe!”
I smiled an exhausted smile and mumbled how I wanted to go to bed.
Then he said, “Hey, what’s lighting up inside your shirt?”
I looked down to see a curious yellow light blinking, sandwiched between my green tank top and skin. All my gardening tools crashed on the driveway as I yelped and screamed and nearly tore my shirt in my frantic attempts to get whatever was in my shirt off my skin. Images of spiders, centipedes, and event tarantulas flooded my brain.
As a lightning bug innocently flew away from my shirt, Nick whooped a hearty laughter and picked up my gardening tools scattered on the ground. Too tired to tell him to stop laughing at me, I headed inside and collapsed on the couch.
Next weekend: Stacy Condon’s wedding and golf tourney for the Borchers clan.
Nick is man who works hard
There’s nothing he can’t do
He drills into new tasks
and does what he puts his mind to
Nick is man who works on taxes
and brings them to H&R block
But it’s Nick who corrects
the Block’s mistakes – oh, really, what a shock!
Nick is man who works on our bathroom
the sorrowful sight that it is
But Nick takes pride in accomplishment
and owns every task as his
So, cheers to you, Saint Nicholas
I’m very grateful for all that you do
Not just for the taxes and paint peels
But just because you’re you
TweetThere is a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling and it is atrocious.
Our contractor had to rip it out because our noggins were endangered of having the thing collapse on us.
So, Bob, our very own Mr. Fixit, is kind and generous enough to help us through this problem. It’s going to be finished at the end of the week. I can’t wait because every time I stand in front of the refrigerator it feels like I am about to be sucked into a huge vortex of darkness and leaky pipes above.
The joys of homeownership. Nothing is better.
In other news…
Last night was an unusual night. I had a late meeting for a potential and temporary short term job and came home around 9:30pm. I chatted on the phone for an hour or so with my lovely sister in law and figured, with a quick peak at our shut bedroom door and the sound of the space heater, that Nick was already sleeping, passed out like the old man he is.
So you can imagine my surprise as I head upstairs after I was done talking to Kelly and my phone rings. And it’s ringing Nick’s ringtone.
Nick is still out to tell me he’s on his way home. If he’s still out, who in the hell is in our bedroom?
And the door swings open and it’s bleary-eyed Nick, cell phone in his hand.
YOU GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK. WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME WHEN YOU ARE ONE ROOM AWAY?
“Oh, hi, babe. I was wondering where you were. I was getting worried.”
HEY MR. SHARPIE – I’VE BEEN HOME FOR AN HOUR.
“Really? I didn’t hear you.”
So, I give him an odd look and get ready for bed.
As I snuggle into my side of the bed and begin drifting off to sleep, Nick speaks clearly as if it’s the middle of the day, “I’m wide awake.”
“Well, this is certainly a role reversal.” I just want to get to sleep, but know it’s not going to happen.
“Maybe I should eat something,” Nick muses.
“If how I feel right now is what you felt the entire first year we were married when I kept yapping my head off because I wanted to talk, this is my way of apologizing right now and I swear I’ll never do that again.”
“I will go eat something,” he decides.
“Fine. There’s some popcorn I just made sitting out downstairs if you want that.”
Now, if you know ANYTHING about Nick and popcorn, you know that popcorn is not just another snack like, say, Pringles or M&Ms. Popcorn, in the Borchers family, is eaten in a rather methodical, non-stop robotic nothing can interrupt my rhythm, kind of way.
So you can imagine my surprise, slight annoyance when I am drifting off to sleep and all of a sudden I hear the clank of a glass (filled with sprite and ice, I’m sure) hitting the side table near our bed followed by Nick easing onto his side of the bed and I hear the back and forth of hand-bucket-stuff into mouth -hand-bucket-stuff into mouth – hand-bucket-stuff into mouth rhythm. All in the background is the distinct sound of Nick chewing the grains and fluff of salty popcorn.
I flipped over, “Are you eating in bed?”
I can’t see him in the dark but I hear the crunching continue, “Yup.”
My tiredness turns into sarcasm, “Is it good?” referring to the popcorn. I try not to think of the crumbs, particles, and oil that are going to get on our sheets or on me because of this late night snack.
With the dark veiling my face, Nick could not see me roll my eyes. I just laid on my back and waited for him to finish the bucket. It didn’t take long. For Nick to finish a bucket of popcorn, it never does.
As I heard him clap his salty hands and throw the excess on the ground because I know he doesn’t believe in napkins, I closed my eyes for much needed rest.
Sure enough, he falls asleep.
TweetThe remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through Ohio and left us without power for two days. The streets are a mess, and according to the rumors in Shaker Heights, herds of electrical workers were down south helping the more torn up areas and so less resources were available in NE Ohio.
No power for 36 hours. While you could hear a collective Cleveland moan when televisions went out at 8:15pm on Sunday night because you couldn’t watch the Browns/Steelers war, I was more concerned about all my produce and poultry in the fridge. (Aren’t our concerns mighty?)
Living by flashlight is certainly not the way of the Amish, but it did encourage a simplistic kind of living for a little while and it was fun to just sit in the dark and talk without the distraction of the computer, music, television, or even the hum of the kitchen appliances in the background. It gave way to a gentle quiet that we actually liked.
Monday morning we had all kinds of work done on the house – chimney inspection, shower head fixed, toilet worked on (poor guy) and then our car revved up for impending travels to Russia, Cincinnati, New Jersey, and New York – all in the next 6 weekends. Throw in Nick’s 5 day trip to El Salvador with St. Dominic and you have a very busy couple who are determined to live life as a one car family. An oil change, air filter, serpentine belt (that just sounds cool to say), and four new tires got the Corolla ready for Big Fun (aka Kelly and Tim’s wedding) and More Big Fun (the rest of the weddings in October) in faraway places.
I write this post from the inside of a car shop as I wait for the Corolla to be fixed. All I can say is, it is quite the happy family here in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Center Heights Service may be the most friendly car shop I’ve ever been. That’s not really hard to say coming from Boston where most mechanics stare at your chest if you’re a woman and coerce you into dropping several hundos for fixes and twixes you definitely do not need. But the folks here are wonderful. Bill and Tom are actually brainstorming places for me to send my resume and introduced me to Ann, another customer who works at a agency looking for psychotherapists. You don’t come across that kind of service very often. They smile and are more than friendly. Most importantly, they’re honest, don’t treat you like an idiot, and even offer me a lift home so I don’t have to wait around for the car.
Yes, this is a body shop.
Viva La Shaker!
TweetI’ve been home for 9 days and – thank the good saints – I finally was able to sleep like a normal human being last night. I was
O-U-T last night at 10pm and fell asleep with all my jewelry on and my cell phone in my right hand. Don’t ask me who I was on the phone with because, as Nick has been describing, “You were so tired, I don’t even know if you knew your own name.”
Well, I do know my own name. Now.
We had a lovely housewarming party on Saturday and it was a glorious day with lots of sunshine in and out of the house. Tom and Katie Ward tromped into our new digs all the way from Cincinnati, as did my former roomies Claire Mugavin and Lea Minniti Shephard. A nice XU reunion for all as Pete Kosoglov stopped in, just back from Scotland. My brother and sister were able to make it with their significant others and family and lots of Nick’s wonderful co-workers stopped by for a few hours to enjoy our newly blessed home and table of Filipino, Hawaiian, Italian, and American foods.
Truthfully, as wonderful as our new home is, it’s still extremely odd for me to wake up in this new place. “Home” before my trip was a highrise apartment in downtown Boston. But, here are my clothes, my robe, and all my books neatly arranged in little folds in Shaker Heights, Ohio as if I’ve been living here for quite some time. I have no memories here, but all my things are hung as if I’ve hung them myself. My shoes are arranged as if I left them in my closet. It’s a strange feeling. Like I have amnesia and everyone keeps saying, “Welcome Home!” and I have no idea what this house is all about just yet. I’m not used to its noises or the way the cabinets swing open or the creepiness of a dark basement.
Sunday evening, Nick and I went down to Columbus to spend time with his siblings. Kelly, his sister, is getting married in a little over two weeks and it was a nice opportunity to spend quality time before a big event like a wedding. As exciting as they are, as emotional as they can be, weddings are not exactly the time to talk for long periods of time. So we relaxed by a BBQ and caught up. I fell asleep on a couch and while I was asleep, everyone else has decided to move on to a bar to end the evening. I cannot convey how disoriented I was when I woke up after a 4 hour nap to find a completely dark room and a TV the size of a garage door in front of me that was “on” but the screen was black so all I heard were stranger’s voices. Talk about intense confusion, I didn’t know if I was in Boston, the Philippines, or in Shaker Heights, Ohio. I was right on the fourth try, “Oh, right…we’re in Columbus today.”
So life continues to become more and more familiar to me as we settle and make this house our home, a place we will be staying for awhile. I marvel at the small things – seeing the orange plastic wrapped Plain Dealer laying in our driveway, the blooming flowers, and the breeze through our windows. Eleven addresses in eleven years makes one grateful for the steadiness of home. Nine weeks in another country makes one ecstatic to be able to call this blessing a “home.”