If Ever There Was a Conversation That I Wish I Had on Video, This Is It

"Are you ready to watch Steelers tonight?" I asked Alexis as I carried her to the car from the daycare playground.

Her eyes popped wide open, she giggled, and then she excitedly yelled, "YES!"

"Who is your favorite Steeler?" I asked.

"Ummm . . . Sidney Crosby," she replied, glee still dripping from her voice.

"Sidney Crosby plays hockey, silly," I told her.

"No, he doesn't," she said. Everything is an argument. EVERYTHING. "He plays poofball," she continued.

I laughed. "No, he plays hockey for the Penguins," I continued.

"OH YEAH!" she replied, in a voice that made it sound like she had just uncovered a stash of chocolate-covered potato chips (yummmmmmmmm).

She thought for a moment, looked at me, grinned and yelled, "POLAMALUUUUUUUUU! He's my favorite!" then jumped out of my arms and stood in the daycare parking lot doing a Polamalu dance.

That? Is MY girl!


In Her Eyes

The mind of a 3-year old is full of awesome truths. Alexis will unabashedly tell you if your hair is ugly, she'll speak up if she disagrees with your words, and she observes things exactly as they are. Exactly as they are.

It's been a few weeks since I openly complained about the construction disaster in our part of town. Since then, it's gotten approximately 150325% worse, but oh well. I did get the pleasure of gloating when Mr. Husband had to meet me near my office to drop off a car. He called all lost and confused and all, "How the hell do you get to work every day?"

The answer involves glitter, fairies, a helicopter, a gravel road that TomTom says doesn't exist, and a whole lot of luck. These days the background music to my commute is cows mooing and the screenplay consists of lots of games of chicken between my car and herds of while turkeys. Yes, turkeys. In another month or so, I might set up a roadside stand and start selling fresh wild turkey carcass because I'm sure by then I'll have hit 10 or 12 of the dumb things.

Anyhoooo, Alexis and I were navigating the precarious path between daycare and dance class when we came upon a construction area that has been in the works forever. I started thinking back to my Ohio days and how the scene was starting to remind me of I-76 in Akron. The entire six years that I lived near Akron, many lanes were closed for "construction." I didn't know anyone who actually remembered it ever NOT being "under construction," and I never once saw someone operating a piece of equipment.

Never once.

I had a theory that there wasn't really a road getting worked on at all. Rather, there was an illegal gambling site behind those concrete barriers and guys were spending 12 hours a day drinking and smoking and playing poker. In Pennsylvania the trend seems to be many little projects going on at once, with the idea being to finish a project just in time to start it all over again. Ohio never finishes.

(This is where I know Jayna is nodding furiously. Woot! Kent State!)

Anyway, as Alexis and I drove by, she started asking what was going on. I thought about explaining to her that the site is caught up in litigation (it is), but instead figured I would keep it simple. "They're fixing it, Alexis," I told her.

"No, they're not," she replied.

"Yeah. They are fixing it," I replied. Have I ever mentioned that Alexis will argue about absolutely anything? I predict she will either grow up to be a pop singer or a lawyer. If she doesn't manage to find a high school where the kids spontaneously break out in synchronous song and dance, my money is on lawyer. She's going to be the kind that can trick you into saying whatever she wants, too.

"No, it's not getting fixed. There aren't any men there," she observed.

She had a point. If there aren't people on a construction site actively working, it's not really getting fixed, is it? (Yes, I am conveniently ignoring the part where she has decided only males can work in construction. LALALALALA I like living along the river De Nile LALALALALA.)

I was willing to give her one gold star for that observation, but I didn't really need her to try earning 412 more stars. After dance class was over, she spent the ENTIRE ride home pointing out all the construction sites that were unmanned, and thus where nothing is getting fixed.

"That's not getting fixed neither, momma," she would say.

Like I said, she tells it like it is.


Just a Few of My Favorite Things

It's been seven weeks since we moved to the Newer! Bigger! House! and just about every spare moment since then has been spent painting, fixing, replacing, sewing, digging, destroying, cleaning, and otherwise pouring sweat and tears into the house. There have been very few complaints because, frankly, we pretty much expected it to be like this. When you buy a trashed foreclosure, you get to do a lot of work. That's the trade-off for getting more house than you could otherwise afford to buy.

Somewhere in there, I think we forgot to sit back and recognize all the good that is coming from all this work. Now that we're starting to round the corner on the looooong list of projects, it's a little easier to remember that there are things about this house that are just fine. Absolutely fine. Maybe even fantastic.

Like, for example, the Mother of All Pantries.

Sure, it is in desperate need of some organizing and sorting and general OCD action, but IT'S A PANTRY! I've never had one of those before. I very nearly did the Dance of Joy right in Target when I realized I could buy the big package of paper towels for the first time because we actually have space for BIG packs of anything. Woohoo for not having to go buy paper towels every other day! (You tree huggers can shoosh it, btw. We have a cat with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That means daily pukes and poops in random places. I'M NOT CLEANING THAT UP WITH ANYTHING I HAVE TO WASH. The end.)

You know what I don't have to clean up? Dog crap. Gone are the days when a surprise poop by one of the pups meant I had to run inside to grab a bag and then hunt the treasure down by smell. With no homeowner's association, and no tattle-tale neighbors, we are free to let whatever be in the yard, if we so desire. Sure, we do still clean it up, but we don't have to.

Nor do we have to be quiet. Between townhouses and apartments and dorms, it's been 18 years since I last lived in a place that didn't have walls shared with other people. It's SO AMAZING not hearing your neighbor throwing a party for elephants and buffalo at 2:00am. Sometimes I like to just sit and listen to the silence in the middle of the night. Bliss.

More bliss: having a place for Mr. Husband's workout equipment.

I can't even put into words how fantabulous it is to walk into our master bedroom and not see weights and bikes and other such stuff clogging up every inch of floor space. Just thinking about how crammed with crap our old bedroom was makes my blood boil.

Instead of exercise equipment, our master bedroom now boasts pretty lights. Like this:

It's just a cheap-ish light I found on Overstock, but after a coat of copper paint, it's perfect. Our old townhouse didn't have the wiring to have light fixtures in most of the rooms (beyond lamps, of course), so I'm all LOOOOOOK! It's a light! On the ceiling!

It's the little things that make me happy.

And the big things. Like, the dining room:

The fisheye lens makes it look bigger than it really is, but that is still a big dining room. It's big enough for Alexis and I to spread out on the floor and work on art projects. It's big enough to hold said art projects as they dry. It's big enough for Alexis and I to work on Serious Puzzles together at the table. Now, if only Alexis would quit being a poopystinkyhead in Target so that I could buy a Serious Puzzle for her . . .

All that? Yeah, THAT is why we moved.

It's worth every bruise, paint stain, sore muscle, and the empty checking account.