What the Chalkboard Says (and other words)

20 October 2011

This week has been a relatively uneventful one in the Rhodes Casa, that is if you discount the mountains of student writing I've been sifting through (and the consequent piles of dishes that I haven't touched). 

Midterms. That word fills me with more fear now than when I was a student.

Pity me pity me. I can't handle my job that takes me from home twice a week from 10-5. 

Jacob just left for some "industry party" where he will "network" and drink free liquor on some rooftop in Santa Monica.

So, I ask you, grand readership. Would you rather spend your evening ...
sipping scotch on some overlook breathing in the ocean air and watching the night twinkling on the waves of the Pacific
blogging at home?

Good. I thought so. The rest of you can just leave.

Now down to the real business of Thursday night: cheap wine, chocolate covered almonds, and pictures. Here's a good one:

Camera: Uncle John's Canon Rebel T2i
Photographer: Me (you can tell because of the implicit narrative and how exquisitely in focus the chair behind the grocery bag is)
Here's some two heads are better than one action:

Still strolling

and drooling all over the front of our clothing

 and looking generally (generically?) babyish.

And of course What the Chalkboard Says courtesy of Papa Jacob and A. A. Milne:

Happy Day!

Crafty Katie

11 October 2011


I mostly just love bookmarking them and thinking about how cool to eventually maybe probably make one of them someday/year/something. I made ornaments at Christmas (which I would show you but they're packed away). I made pillow cases (which I would show you except for the fact that when I told Nana about this accomplishment she laughed and said: "So you can sew in a straight line?" Still sassy.)

But I’ve determined this year is a real winner in the DIY department. Consider the following examples:

Exhibit A:
Soft-soled baby shoes. My venture into sewing not in a straight line. I am moderately pleased with them. I would be more pleased except they look VERY homemade, and Jake will probably outgrow them next week. It was everything I could do to get Jake to stop pointing his toes for the picture.

Exhibit B:
Chalkboards for the living room wall. Complete with little snippet from a Flaubert story (always makes me think of you, Glenco!) for this week anyway. Next week Jacob decorates them, but the week after that I'm doing constellations.

Exhibit C:

So I recognize that I had some help with a couple of these, but the shoes I did all by myself.

Onto Other Things

08 October 2011

Happy to report that Perished the Possum is no longer in my ceiling. He has been incinerated.

On to other things.

Today was a pretty day. I went and got my nailsandtoes done with my friend Ruth. Thank you Mr. Expired Today Groupon. Having pretty nailsandtoes fills me with resolutions about hygienic upkeep, these resolutions will last until the very last smudge of pale pink polish chips off because I was too lazy too touch it up or even take it off.

Jacob and I have almost finished an art project for the living room which involves these chalkboards. I left a note on them to remind Jacob why he should hang them up.


Recently, Jake has taken an interest in books. Even if it is just his bath time froggy book, I’m proud at how early he’s begun ingesting the literary.


Very literally.

Currently, Papa Jacob is at a film festival.

Jake is inspecting his on loan baby island o’fun where he will stay happy for anywhere from two to fifteen minutes.

And me. Well here’s a candidly shot picture of my coffee table accoutrements that seem to sum up my weekend pretty thoroughly:

Anawalt bag which = Jacob generally and art project specifically.
An Autumn Brew.
A running watch standing in for my impressive, postpartum every other day 30 minute jog-walks.
The Kettle Corn representing my sweet and salty kick.
The Roku remote...my shameful addiction to the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy which currently grace the halls of Netflix Watch Instantly.
A Sock Monkey...of course.

There you have it. Hasta la next time.

P.S. Jake insisted that the whole world know:

Jake and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Smell

03 October 2011

Well let's start with the good news, shall we? Jake is four months old today!! He is healthy, big, and strong. One reader even called him dapper. 
And that's my good news. And it is very good news, isn't it? Yes. Very good news. 

I'm watching some towels and receiving blankets blowing carelessly on the line in the California breeze. That's nice.

I'm working my best to stay positive. To paint a lovely picture of my little life before I subject you to the next 750ish words of not so fun. Because there is a lot of fun in the world. There is a little baby kicking his little legs on a blanket on the grass. A blanket that has J-A-K-E sewed right on it. There is the lemon verbena bush growing up and over the fence. Bouganvillea. Plumbago. Banana trees. Yes lots of lovely things. Out here. In the yard. As far as I can get from my house without losing internet access.

Because because because because BECAUSE

[Stop here if you can't stomach words like "maggot"- or click here if you'd rather read another sweeter story about a possum that is a littledidweknow precursor to this one - otherwise tallyho]

There is a dead rotting possum in my ceiling.

On Friday I noticed there were some fleas in the house. It's never fun of course to have fleas, but I didn't pay too much attention to them. I figured the landlord's dog had somehow left them around. Every thirty minutes or so I would pick another of the little buggers out of my sock, and keep on with my day. By about four in the afternoon there were a lot of fleas, and they were concentrated right around the bedroom door. I texted Jacob. It was a rainy day, which is very unusual for us, so we figured this little flea circus had something to do with the weather. 

On Saturday the number of fleas had started to diminish somewhat, but the house began smelling strangely of gas, I can't tell you how many times I checked the range only to find that indeed all the knobs were OFF. By the evening we noticed there were an unusual amount of flies buzzing around. We of course wondered at this strange coincidence of not-niceties but we figured it was indeed just that. Coincidence. But I should have remembered some wisdom from my favorite Hugh-Laurie-as-Dr.-House and kept at it for 95% of the episode until I found the one disease that could explain all these seemingly disconnected symptoms.

For it was no disease at all, but death itself.

Yesterday, there was no mistaking it. There was no mistaking the flies literally crawling of the light fixtures, no mistaking from where the flies had jumped ship, and most of all no mistaking the pungent smell of putrefication. 

This is the part where you get to start feeling sorry for us.

We called the landlord to come fix the situation. He asked if Jacob wanted to handle it, and Jacob said he would take care of it for the tune of 500$. This didn't fly with our landlord, and he said he would make it better while we spent the afternoon at Uncle John's. We got home at 6 and found the smell even stronger and a vent in our bedroom ceiling (??*!*?)

Jacob covered up the vent with plastic wrap and tape and proceeded to call the landlord and say that by "fix it" we'd prefer to have the dead thing gone, not venting into our bedroom. So we shacked up in the living room for the night. A big fan and an occasional misting of orange oil and we managed to keep the scent at bay.

This morning the plastic that Jacob used to seal up the vent was full of maggots, and they were slowly oozing their white squirmy bodies under the masking tape. Our landlord and his handyman started in on the project of extricating the thing by entering the roof from the side of the house. They decided to slowly pull out the insulation and hopefully the deceased critter would be on top of it. They hip hoorayed when very quickly their efforts were rewarded with a dead possum. But this dead possum was not our dead possum. This was another dead possum. Like very dead. Like one year dead (?!?*?).

The handyman soon came inside to seal up the vent he had put in our bedroom. To avoid the ensuing maggots-all-over-the-bedroom-floor scene, I decided to take the baby for a little jog. When we got back, we found the ceiling patched. Good. And a new vent in the closet. (?!?!?!) And the handyman looked like he was packing up. 

I asked about the vent in the closet and he hedged. I asked if they had found the freshly dead possum in the ceiling, he hedged again. He did however inform me that as he cleaned up from the mess he had noticed that our bedroom was very dusty. Cue blank stare from me.

So I did what every modern, self-respecting, independent wife and mother would do. I called my husband and held back tears as I shamelessly tattled on our landlord.

Jacob then contacted the landlord and certainly said some very sweet things to him.

Current status. The expired possum is still in residence, but at least all the vents have been reconverted into ceiling. I'm camped out in the yard with a fussy baby as I admire the constellation of flea bites on my ankles, and think about how I haven't prepped for my classes tomorrow, and agonize over the laundry I haven't folded, dishes I haven't washed, and thank you notes I still haven't written. I'm also fretting about how Jacob is working late and seriously considering breaking my no drinking alone during the week rule (specifically it's a nothing-but-one-glass-of-wine-alone-on-non-consecutive-weeknights rule, but still...)

Yes, here I am, smelly and indignant.

How was your day?

Bob and the Rainbow

01 October 2011

So yesterday Jake and I broke out the jogging stroller and strapped him into it big kid style. He's probably still too small for it, which probably makes me a bad parent, but this momma has got to get her jog on if she wants to make the next family marathon (Seattle. June.) and the baby loathes his car seat.  So facing forward in the big stroller we go, we go.
He seemed relatively content. I say relatively because, while he looked extremely bored, he didn't cry.

We were only going for a walk to try things out, but a thunderstorm (the only one I've ever seen in Los Angeles??) turned our little walk into a bit more of a...no. not run...a sit in the least soggy place we could find. Add this to the fact that I had two loads of clothes on the line, and you have a rather peeved homemaker.

I managed to stay annoyed until Jake's bath time when I noticed a rainbow. It didn't last long, but the whole evening was breathtaking. Jake and I went up a level on the property to watch the back of the sunset. Or whatever you would call the eastern sky.

Substract the buildings and the jets flying into LAX and the awful electric billboards and it made me think of the kind of sunsets we get in Texas. Someday we'll watch those together, little buddy.

This morning were woken up a little too early by a chain saw next door. But at least one of us was cheery. (I put this up for your enjoyment and make no apologies for all my getJaketolaugh antics.)

Have a lovely Saturday!
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