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Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello?

Wow, where has the time gone? I haven't posted anything of substance in a while. School is keeping me super busy during the day and I often do my blogging during lunch...but recently I've been reading articles and grading quizzes while I eat instead.

To play catch up:

May 12: Found and confirmed a date for my qualifying exam. Whew. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a single date that 5 faculty members can agree to be free? Oy. It is still a few months away so my panic attacks haven't kicked in completely...but my nerves are already starting to get to me.....

May 13: We hired a cleaning service to do the "deep cleaning" of our house each month. Thank GOD. When there is grit/dog hair/dust in the corners of my house or grime ground into the nasty linoleum on my kitchen floor that I can't easily mop up, I seriously feel dirty. Like my body is covered in all that ickiness. Normally, this just leads me to sweep, mop, dust, andd vacuum our entire house every Sunday night with Dave's help. And during the week I try to clean both bathrooms and always have to sweep and vacuum up the dog hair and grit. We calculated that together we spend about 4-6 hours a week cleaning the house. That's 8-12 man-hours! And since Dave is only home and awake for 56 hours a week, it just isn't worth it anymore.

Since we have a very mobile child, two dogs (and a dog door so they have unlimited access to the outdoors...meaning they track in a LOT of dust), AND we cool our house with box fans in the windows instead of our AC all summer our house gets super dusty in the warm months. Obviously having someone to do the elbow-grease-required cleaning (like using a nylon scrub brush on her hands and knees to clean the kitchen floor) won't totally let me off the cleaning hook. I'll still have to clean the bathrooms and the floors every week like usual. But I won't have that nagging feeling that I didn't do enough. Because now it WILL get done, even if I don't have time to do it.

Growing up, our house was ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS dirty. And not just untidy with piles of clutter everywhere. But dusty. So dusty. I don't want to live that way, but dangit, it is HARD to keep a house clean when you keep the windows open and have dogs inside.

For a long time I felt guilty wanting a house cleaner. But then it dawned on me: I'm NOT a housewife. I am a Ph.D. student who spends nearly 40 hours a week working on campus and my husband isn't at home to help me out with any chores (dishes, cooking, laundry, cleaning, child rearing). And he shouldn't be expected to spend all his time cleaning when he actually is at home.

And once I realized that Dave was excited about hiring someone...well, let's just say I scheduled an appointment immediately.

The team of two women came last week for the first time. The difference they made was amazing. Not in an obvious way, but everything smelled good, shined, and my kitchen floor has never looked better. It is like going out to dinner, when you can enjoy the meal without worrying about how long it will take you to clean up the dishes afterward. Ahhhh.

And for the record: I refuse to feel guilty about hiring someone to help me. After asking around, it turns out many, many people I know have house cleaners. They talk about it in hushed tones, like it is something to be ashamed of. Come on, spending quality time with your family (and your dissertation research) is much more virtuous than staying up late after the children are in bed or avoiding plans with your friends in order to have time to clean the house. Or living in filth.

May 14-15: We went to Livermore for part of the weekend with two goals in mind: hang out with friends and haul my old green Volvo to a junk yard. Both goals were completed with success! On Saturday afternoon Dave and my dad loaded the car onto a trailer while Eddie and I went to Del Valle park to hang out with the Joneses (I'm pretty sure us Bowers got into the Jones family picture...oops). It was super fun, but caused Eddie to miss his nap so he was a tad cranky the rest of the day. After Eddie was bedded down for the night, Dave and I went to a wine release party at John Even Cellars with Robby and Tina. Then a bunch of us went out for Nation's breakfast at 10pm. It was super fun to hang out with my friends. =) I love not feeling like a mom for a night!

The next morning we spent some time loading giant rocks into the truck to put in our patio yard for decoration. To haul them in the truck, though, my dad needed to make a "rock pallet." And Eddie decided to help.


His favorite part, of course, was riding in the wheel barrow to and from the rock pile. Doesn't he look like he belongs in that wheel barrow? These pictures melt my heart...and remind me of myself at that age (I spent a lot of time riding in wheel barrows). Dave hauled the Volvo back to Davis in Clifford (the Big Red Truck) while Eddie and I followed in the van. We got home early enough in the day to put up a coat of paint on the stucco around our new windows, play at the park, and do our weekly produce/milk shopping.

May 17: Eddie and I went to the train museum in Sacramento during our Tuesday afternoon together. Because it was raining we decided to drive. I have my dad's manual transmission pick up truck ...and of course there was an accident on the Yolo Causeway so I had to be in and out of first gear for 30 minutes. Normally that's not so bad, but Dave had strapped Eddie car seat onto the truck's bench seat without first scooting it all the way forward. Since I'm a lot shorter than Dave, this made using the clutch a little difficult (I had to put three pillow behind me to shove me forward). I wasn't sure I could restrap the seat myself since I'd tweaked my back in Livermore the previous weekend. But Eddie LOVED driving in the truck since he's right up front with me and can see everything--the Causeway was fun for him, actually, since he could see all the emergency vehicles zooming along on the shoulders to the accident.

We had a really fun time at the museum.

Eddie ran around like a mad man, stopped and stared at a tiny baby girl for a while, ran through the Post Office train about 5 times (only because he likes going up and down the stairs into the train), and played on the second floor Thomas the Tank Engine tables. Boy, howdy. He was in heaven playing with those train toys! Eddie doesn't know it, but his very generous Great Aunt Virginia gifted him all of his cousin's old Thomas toys...shhhh....I'm planning on slowly doling them out over the next year.

May 20: Dave was going to haul the car to the pick-n-pull while I went to school, but once I was on campus, we realized that I needed to be there to sign the title (mostly because we didn't understand where I needed to sign on the form). So I read about stable isotopes on our way there and then made it back to campus in time to teach that afternoon.

May 21: A new male baby sitter named Justin came over that evening to watch Eddie while Dave and I went to the vet school's end-of-school party, the Smoker. Justin and Eddie did great--they went to Justin's friend's pool party, had dinner, and then a bath and bed like normal. This was the first time we left Eddie under someone else's care for his bedtime routine, other than Cassie. I'm so glad he did well! And the best thing is that Justin is moving into our old rental house, just across the park. Can I get a "woohoo!" for having a sitter only 5 minutes away?!

Dave and I left the house with make up on, bows in our hair, and ready to party. We went to John and Christina's house for a carnitas dinner and then got dressed up in our leotards, tights, and ballerina tutus. Yes, Dave was a ballerina, too. AND he made his OWN tutu. God, I love this guy.

The rest of the gang dressed up as: a bearded lady, a tattooed lady, a clown, lions, lion tamer, tight rope walker, and "strong man." We walked to a bus stop nearby to take one of the party buses to the Dixon fair grounds where the party was held. I'm sure we looked hilarious trooping along the residential streets like that. Of course, we looked totally fine once at the bus stop since there were many more dressed up folks there. After waiting for a long time, we decided NOT to take the bus after all so that *actual* vet students could take advantage of the designated driver bus. Dave drove us in our very sexy minivan and I drove us home.

The party theme this year was "circus" and was pretty fun. John made many of the decorations, including an animal cage to dance in, a beer/wine bottle ring-toss game, and a bean-bag toss (into animal bums...vet students are weird.). It was open bar, with circus-themed drinks. I had a "trapeze freeze" (snow cone with vodka) and a cotton candy martini (tooooooooooo sweet, yuck). There were also lots of fun snacks: nachos, cotton candy, pop corn, and soft pretzels. We brought home a package of cotton candy for Eddie, expecting him to LOVE it...it was weird that he didn't like it. I don't think he understands that it is food...maybe he thinks it is cotton and can't understand why his weird parents would want him to shove it into his mouth? Dunno.

Yesterday Dave tilled peat moss into a garden bed for our new blue berry bushes while I took Eddie to the park. Then, while Eddie napped, I planted the bushes and installed irrigation lines to water them. Later on I went to see our 10 year old neighbor in a production of Cinderella. She was in the ensemble and played a mouse and village girl and did a great job! Hopefully Eddie will have learned to sit still by next year so he can see her in another production. The audience was full of little girls in tiaras and princess gowns, it was adorable.

Anyway, I have finish my lunch salad, moisten my compost samples, pop them into the incubator, buy a coffee, and go to class!

5 comments:

Mariah said...

Yes I am all about hiring out! LOL and even though I am a housewife and a husband who will help with something on the weekend still not enough time (and I group up in the opposite house where it needed to be cleaned ALL the freak'n time-like up until 11pm cleaning and you possibly having to get out of bed to help clean. So I am impressed that you even clean your bathrooms that regularly!

steph.kelley said...

When I was a kid, the housecleaner at our house in Livermore made life sane. My mom adored the excuse for us all to just pick up our stuff so that the cleaning lady could vacuum etc., and of course having the truly clean house. It was awesome. You are admirable for having embraced the cleaning lady love! :) I like the sound of blueberry bushes — did you ever read Blueberries for Sal? Will hope to see some Smoker pics — hope you had a blast! xoxo

Team Roy said...

I'm with the other girls, embrace the cleaning help! We women are human after all...we may think (and attempt) to do it all, but sometimes its just easier to pay someone to do the work. Charlie was around 15mo when his love for trains started, and he didn't discover Thomas until Lucy was born, around 19mo. I don't see this phase going away any time soon either, how fun that you already have some loot for Eddie. Almost all of our train good have been gifted.

Kaitlin said...

So jealous you hired a house cleaner! Some day my budget will allow that *sigh*, until then I'm an up at 11pm housewife cleaner.

Kelly said...

I love the idea of a house cleaner - I've actually thought of it several times for the exact same reasons as you, but I always dismiss it. I might just have to bring it up to Jeff now and see what he thinks ;D

The ballerina pictures are hilarious!!

And hooray for the QE date!!! That has been a pain in your side forever!! You are going to do great :D