Happy Halloween!

Having survived the planning and execution of the school Halloween carnival, I spent my weekend putting my house back together after a week of neglect. I made decent progress, including over 10 loads of laundry, and the encroaching dust bunnies have been quarantined to manageable proportions. Between all of the work, we found time for a little family fun in the way of carving pumpkins, while watching The Great Pumpkin, of course. Given that Halloween falls on a Monday this year (can we say bummer, much?), we decided to make Saturday night a mini-fun night. I figured that we’d be so rushed on Monday, we’d barely have time to throw on our costumes after work for trick-or-treating. So, by making Saturday night seem like a “special event,” we took some of the sting off the fact that the kids will be limited in their Halloween fun time on Monday. My husband is really good a creating impromptu activities that the boys perceive to be super-special treats; we went from “maybe we’ll carve pumpkins this weekend,” to “pumpkin-movie party!” in no time.

In typical Heathen fashion, the boys picked out pumpkin designs that were far above the average kid’s skill set. My husband and I helped as much as we could, and we tried to keep the swearing to a minimum.

Bear wanted an Angry Birds pumpkin, and after more effort that I ever wanted to expend on a pumpkin, I think we were successful:

Now, it’s time to start thinking Thanksgiving (pregnancy has made this more of an obsession than normal), and Christmas…and then there’s that whole baby needs a nursery thing that we’ve been procrastinating about. But in the meantime, I’m trying to slow down and enjoy life a little more, instead of rush-rush-rushing all of the time. Life’s way too short to be too busy to enjoy it.

The Power of Google—Or How We Overcame Our Plumbing Trauma

Today started out as one REALLY bad day. I woke up to find that my DirecTV receiver had died an unexplained death, taking all my DVR’d shows with it. Not only did I lose a bundle of movies and saved shows, but I learned I would also be without TV until the new receiver comes in. No morning news, no Food Network and no brain-rotting reality shows for me. In the big scheme of things, I understood this was no big deal, but little did I know it was just an omen of things to come.

When my husband turned on the kitchen faucet, the water that came out was just a tiny, pathetic trickle. At first, we assumed the city was working on the water pipes, because we’d seen several city trucks around the neighborhood digging around the water lines. However, we soon learned that the water pressure to the rest of the house was just fine. That’s when the sick sense of dread set in. I have to confess that in the past month, the faucet had already developed a steady drip that we both chose to ignore, in the small hope that it would fix itself and go away. Genius, huh?

So, between the growing drip, and the sudden loss of water pressure, we were crossing into freak-out territory.

You see, my husband and I have a severe aversion to all things plumbing. Why? Because our old house was a plumbing nightmare. From collapsing sewer lines, flooded laundry rooms, leaking pipes, and frequent water outages, our old house was cursed with a never-ending stream of plumbing problems. In fact, I don’t remember a time when all of the plumbing was functional and leak-free. As a result, we’ve been traumatized when it comes to potential plumbing problems, because every problem in our old house was NEVER an easy fix. We usually had to pay a lot of money, go for days without functional plumbing or replace things at an accelerated rate due to the poor water quality.

So, when we realized our current water pressure problem was actually OUR problem, we both started to get panicky. To make things worse, our efforts to figure out the problem turned our drippy faucet into a streaming faucet that would not shut off.

Finally, my husband shut off the water supply, and let loose a steady stream of NC-17 language that does not bear repeating.

In the meantime, my inner-whiner thought, “oh, HELL NO! I am not spending my only day off in MONTHS dealing with a damn plumber.” I turned my panic into sheer determination, and hit up Google for answers. The first solution I found for the water pressure issue involved unscrewing and cleaning the aerator-thingy to remove build-up. I was willing to bet $100 that this would never work, because nothing in my plumbing history was that freaking easy. Despite our skepticism, my husband did that, and lo and behold, IT WORKED! The water pressure was restored to sand-blasting status. My husband looked at me like, “you’ve got to be f-ing kidding me,” because neither of us could believe we actually fixed a plumbing problem, on the first try no less. Armed with my newfound Google confidence, I figured out that the dripping/streaming faucet was mostly likely caused by a broken washer hidden somewhere inside the handle-thingy. We proceeded to take apart the faucet like we were disarming a nuclear bomb, and after a quick trip to Lowes, put the whole mess back together with the new washers in place. And lo and behold, THAT WORKED TOO! No more drippy faucet for us!

We were on a roll, so we tried the aerator-thingy trick on the bathroom faucet (because we had been adamantly ignoring its’ diminishing water pressure for months), and sure enough, we were three for three.

Needless to say, I am still doing a victory dance, we are all in a better mood, and this almost makes up for the fact that I’ll be TV-less for a few days.

Trying to Snap Out of It

Fall weather FINALLY arrived this week, and after my first cup of hot chocolate, I feel like a new Mama.

The past month has been quite a challenge for me. While my pregnancy has been smooth sailing thus far, my one noticeable symptom is persistent, crippling exhaustion. People are starting to wonder if I’m narcoleptic, because I sleep like it’s an Olympic sport. Between work, kids, and trying to keep my house under some semblance of control, I collapse into bed by 8:00 every night, while my husband wonders what the heck happened to his previously insomniatic wife. It’s as if, as soon as I eat dinner, someone flips the energy switch in my body to “off,” and I’m ready to be horizontal.

Somewhere between all of the usual stuff, I also volunteered to head help with the school’s Halloween carnival. Brilliant, I know. My only excuse is that I volunteered long before I knew there was an energy-sucking embryo in my body. Though I love helping plan one of the biggest events of the year, I live each day in constant terror that my pregnancy-addled brain is going to forget something really important. I’ve taken to carrying a post-it pad around, so I can jot down all the random things I need to remember.

Speaking of Bean, I have an ultrasound next Friday, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can find out the gender. I plan on eating a handful of cookies, drinking some juice and dancing around a bit just prior to the scan, because I’m not above hedging my bets. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ridiculously excited.

In the meantime, I’ve developed an action-plan to get me out of my funk before Fall passes me by. I’m well out of my first trimester, and if the “pregnancy glow” won’t appear on its’ own, I will MAKE it manifest, by gosh! I’m going spend my weekend cleaning my house, getting caught up on all those things that have slipped through the cracks, and baking up some treats for the heathens.

In case you were wondering, I’m still trucking along with my homemade Christmas plan. This week’s project is a scarf for my brother-in-law:

I found the pattern on Ravelry, and with my craft store coupons, the yarn was less than $10 for the whole project. The colors are actually much darker and more muted than they appear in the picture, but my iPhone camera reacts badly to the fluorescent lights in my office. I hope to finish this by Monday, so I can stay on track for my frugal, crafty Christmas goals.