Long Minutes and No Underwear!


Founding Member of Pac-Rats Anonymous, where our motto is: "No matter what it takes, I will not end up on an episode of Hoarders!"

For days and days all I have seen all over the house are boxes of kitchen items- pots, pans, coca-cola tins, cans of red mahogany wood stain, polyurethane, paint brushes, drop cloths, screws, hinges and counter tops and to be honest I can’t remember the last time I worked this hard on a household project. Starting last week, and through the entire weekend all my energy has been devoted to this crazy renovation and I have a feeling it will be a few more weekends before I can cross this off as DONE!

I can tell you this, I have learned a few things about remodeling a house. In fact, I’m thinking of writing an instruction manual: “How to remodel while zoo-keeping” so that all my fellow zoo-keepers (aka parents) can know exactly what to expect when tackling those DIY projects we all love so much. It goes something like this:

If at all possible, ship the children to boarding school before commencing with any reconstruction around the house. This will alleviate many problems such as the need to hide power tools or secure open paint cans, pause your work to fetch fruit snacks, order nine hundred pizzas, or recover from the finger prints left on freshly varnished cabinet doors. It will also save you from having to “fire” the little helpers who think banging a hammer on the floor looks an awful lot like FUN! Save yourself many headaches, and just pay the tuition!

Nothing dangerous here....

If you’re anything like me, your budget does not allow for boarding school during renovations, so you better be prepared for complete and utter chaos. We’ve had just a few hiccups! For example, Child Protective Services dropped by with adoption paperwork for me to sign. Of course this is a brand new caseworker, who has never ever seen our house, so she’s never seen it clean, and I was panicked by her unexpected arrival. I met her at the door saying “please pardon our mess” while explaining that we are working on a much needed remodeling project, so she said “that’s fine, as long as there’s nothing dangerous laying around for the children to touch.” Yeah, there’s nothing dangerous. I mean all we did was rip out everything that did exist in what we tried to call a kitchen and bring in all new cabinets, completely redesigning it so that a real kitchen could emerge. Did I mention I have been using a blow torch to remove old tile off the floor? And it’s been a painstakingly slow process? Where did I put that blow torch anyway? Hmmm… So we sat down at the table, and I was talking to her, all the while praying that she didn’t look over at the pile of screw drivers and staple guns directly behind her.  Then I took a deep breath because I was also hoping she didn’t notice I hadn’t  put the lid on the polyurethane just yet…. (Lucky for me, during this exact conversation, my 13 year old was smart enough to toss a box of various kinds of saws and power tools out the back door!) We survived the caseworker, barely, but then three reports cards were somehow lost in the car. I am pretending I believe the children who claim to have all made the honor roll. (That one will come back to bite someone I’m sure!) I’ve learned to never tell my husband “be careful or you’re going to knock that over.” Such words are inevitably going to cause him to spill an entire can (not the little can, the BIG can) of wood stain on the floor, which ruined 2 towels to clean up, left a stain even Billy Mays wouldn’t have been able to tackle, and sent me back to Wal-Mart AGAIN so that I could finally stain the rest of those cabinets! Oh how I love those trips to Wal-mart! (NOT) We survived 4 days without a sink or stove in the kitchen. Shockingly, even children tire of chicken nuggets and french fries. The second we got the stove back inside I decided to make chicken spaghetti for the kiddos. “Yay, REAL FOOD!” They cheered me on! Only, I had forgotten the fact that all the spices, along with the colander and any cooking utensils I had weren’t as easy to spot in all those boxes as my big stock pot had been. At least now the cabinets are in, the spices are put away, and we’re cooking again! That’s major. Of course during all this, Kailynn decided she was going to relocate Tucker’s prized baby turtles, and of course one of them was lost, and for 30 minutes screams of “find my turtle” were all that could be heard through the house. Luckily, he eventually was found under a bed, so crises averted. However, apparently part of my counter top looked something like a toy gun in the eyes of an 8-yr-old boy, so that’s gonna have to be replaced before it was even used…

Good thing we found Heckle, Jeckle is just lost without him!

To top it all off I received a call from Trenton’s teacher. “Trenton didn’t wear any underwear today!” Great… now I am supposed to go back to doing underwear inspections. I thought we were passed that… What do you say to explain the fact that your six-year-old is without his undies? “I sent him to the nurse to get a pair.” Double great, now they’re thinking we don’t own underwear for this poor child. “I’ve consulted with the twins’ teachers and one of them has come without underwear this week too!” Okay, so that had me feeling like Mary Poppins in the flesh! Here I am, putting the silverware in the new drawers so I can pass out the spoonfuls of sugar with zeal while my children are busy getting dressed without their underwear. What’s worse is that I’m not sure I want to know how anyone noticed this lack of underwear… I mean surely they had pants on? Or did they…. Maybe I’m too old to be burning the midnight oil like I have been, better dial it back a notch before someone goes sockless; naked toes at school are completely unacceptable….

Despite the hiccups our project is coming along beautifully! I was actually so happy to hear the cabinet guy tell my hubby that indeed my kitchen was the worst he had ever seen! I call that “Renovation-Validation”, proof that I wasn’t the only one who thought our old kitchen just wasn’t up to par. As luck would have it, he (the cabinet guy) had to leave on another job, so he sent Mr. Fischer to fill in for him hanging the doors. Of course, he ran out of screws and hinges trying to finish up our kitchen for us and the poor guy has had to make 3 trips over here, which has proven to be quite comical! Kailynn actually asked him why he was working in our kitchen instead of going fishing! I guess in the world of a 3-yr-old drama queen, Fischer’s go fishing and Daddy’s are supposed to be working on the kitchen!

I’ll be so glad when we finish up this project, and I can sit back and enjoy it! I know the kids are looking forward to that too, because just the other night I was putting on a load of laundry when Jordan asked me “Mommy could you pour me some juice?” “I sure will, in just a minute!” I replied with all the preschool enthusiasm I could muster, and guess what he said? “Mommy, your minutes have been re-eee-eally lo-oooo-ng, all week!”


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