Friday, July 13, 2007

Picnic Point

Briana has been taking her kids to a beach on the Sound lately to hunt for crabs, and yesterday morning Jack and I joined them. We took some buckets, shovels and plastic measuring cups and began disturbing the crabs like nobody's business. You can't see them terribly well in the picture, but we found lots. At one point it looked like the entire bottom of the bucket was gently shifting around, but it was just the collective scuttling of the crab community we'd put in there. After a while I looked down and the bucket had stopped moving; I looked closer and saw only one tiny crab left on the bottom where minutes before there had been dozens. "Who took all my crabs?" I asked. Cyril, reluctant to lie but equally as unwilling to incriminate himself, stood frozen staring at me with a funny look on his face, as if dumbfounded that a grownup cared about how many crabs were in her bucket. "Put them back, Cyril," Briana said. He slowly fished several of the smallest crabs he could find out of his bucket and put them back in mine. I noticed that he kept my prize crab, a chubby green guy with white pincers, but I decided to take the high road and act like I was in fact 18 years older than my crab-pilfering nephew. If you look very carefully, you can see a reddish-brown crab and one that's half-gay and half-white. You scored extra points for finding anything other than the all-green kind.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jack wanted to go outside to help Aaron water the vegetables, so Aaron told him to go get his shoes on. This is what Jack picked and put on all by himself. I think it's a stunning combination.
I am exactly 7 months pregnant today, a mere nine weeks from my due date. I was looking at the calendar and August 28th is a full moon, so even though it's two weeks from my due date I've "decided" that's when I'd like to have the baby. I'm torn between wanting to deliver early so I don't have to be pregnant anymore and staying pregnant as long as possible so we have more time to move into our new house. Twenty days until closing, and the weather is awfully warm for packing. Last night on the news they were warning people to stay as cool as possible today and for the next two days, as we're supposed to be experiencing a Heat Wave. Just when I was thinking that the heat really hasn't been so bad...some clubs are evening opening their doors as "public cooling shelters" and senior citizens especially are encouraged to seek air conditioned places. I plan on lying on my bedroom floor with the fan blowing on me later; it's alright now, but it's only 11 a.m.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It's hard to believe that our little garden has gone from this to this in just a month. The tomatoes are taller than Jack. The cucumber vine even has lovely curly tendrils that I think are rather picturesque. So far we've only eaten lettuce out of our garden, but all of the tomatoes and the cucumber have blossoms and should be producing something edible soon. The garden is one of the things I'm going to be sad to leave behind when we move, but there are lots of things I'm excited about not having to deal with anymore, like the mysterious dank smell that the kitchen sink emits at random times and the burnt-orange shag carpet on the stairs. It's going to be so cool to OWN something and be able to do whatever we want to it. I bought a sink today off of Craig's list to replace the ugly stock stainless steel one that's in our new house right now. It's a white cast-iron Kohler sink that came with a really pretty polished chrome faucet with detachable spray head and matching soap dispenser; I'd been watching the listings for sinks for three days, and called fifteen minutes after this one was posted. I'd seen other sinks I kind of liked for around $100 but none of them came with a faucet; this one was listed for $50 including the faucet. I checked Home Depot and the model I bought retails for about $270 and the faucet is another $230, so I got $500 worth of sink for $50. I did have to drive all the way to Federal Way to get it, but it took me just shy of two hours round-trip and I have something that I'm really happy with to put in our new house. I have sort of an addiction to Craig's list now. We've bought things using Craig's list before, but now that we have a house of our own that we can make alterations to there are so many more possibilities. It's especially fun to look at what people are giving away for free and then compare those listings to the ones people are trying to charge money for. Lots of people actually give away perfectly nice kitchen sinks, but most of them don't come with faucets. My next hunt is going to be for a hutch for the kitchen since it doesn't have a lot of cupboard space or a pantry, one thing our Brier house had lots of. We had an inspection done on our new house Thursday afternoon and signed off on it that night, so that's one less thing to worry about. Megan(our agent) said that everything was flying through with no problem, so as long as things continue to go well we get the keys in 23 days. I've started packing in small batches and am trying to think of the best way to do things before getting too involved. We decided to get a storage unit for one month so we can pack things and unpack things at a more relaxed pace and I think doing one room at a time will help me focus and not get overwhelmed. If anyone has any really good moving tips or horror stories, please share.

Monday, July 2, 2007

When the Going Gets Tough, the Cooking Gets Fatty

This is the beautiful iced Mocha I made for Aaron the other day to make up for being so moody. The strawberries my mother-in-law sent over from a farmer's market; they were incredible. This is me salvaging(eating off the floor) one of the individual tiramisu's I dumped out of the fridge onto the floor, after very sternly warning Aaron to be gentle when opening the fridge so he wouldn't accidentally dump out one of my perfect little desserts. Even off the floor it was still delicious.
The survivor.
I think my iron must be low because red meat, which I usually love, absolutely repulsed me for the first six months of this pregnancy but in the past few weeks I've been craving it. After a particularly rough week, Aaron took Jack to his mom's house and we stayed home and made dinner together. Aaron made me this perfectly-grilled steak and I make baked potatoes with a mushroom, onion, cognac and cream sauce. To balance out the richness of the meat and the sauce we also had some salad made of home-grown lettuce. Aaron teased me that I'd promised to make healthier meals for us, but I said "This is not a meal for your cholesterol; this is a meal for your soul." It was a pretty spiritual experience, that steak and that sauce. This was actually a very healthy meal. The night Anna and I got food poisoning I'd had sole at Il Fornaio, and even though it made me sick it was still delicious. I tried recreating it at home with pretty near-perfect success; I cooked it in butter, shallots, white wine and thyme. The salad was a Momentous Occasion: it was the first salad we made from the lettuce we grew in our garden. I made a creamy lemon shallot vinaigrette in the blender which totally overpowered the delicate sole, but if you ate them totally separately they were each individually exquisite. It's a miracle I've only gained 12 pounds.

Better Late Than Never

The sellers of the tiny house were apparently rather offended by our offer. Their agent said he's tried telling them it's a buyer's market but they didn't want to negotiate. In desperation, the agent suggested that each party pitch in a chunk of money to make up the difference between what we offered and what his clients were asking; I've never heard of a real estate agent offering to help buy a house before. As it turns out, the delay in purchasing a house that the disagreements caused was a blessing in disguise. I still hadn't given up hope on the very first house we looked at back in early June, the one with the huge fenced in yard bordering on the park. The sellers seemed really flaky and wouldn't return Megan's calls, so we had moved on to other houses. But after we neglected to finalize a deal with the tiny Shoreline house, out of NOWHERE the sellers e-mailed Megan and said they'd accept our offer. We sign paperwork tomorrow morning and if all goes well(and we're praying it does) we close July 30th! That's a mere six weeks away from my due date, exactly the time Jack decided he was ready to be born, so I really hope there are no glitches in closing. Moving any closer to my due date would be risky I think, so hopefully the timing is a sign that it's the right house and the right time. It needs a lot of work, but it's completely livable as-is(after a good scrubbing) so it's a nice compromise between the finished cuteness of the tiny house and the overwhelming complete gutting that the big ugly house needed. There are projects in this house that CAN be done, but none of them are essential for being able to live there right now. I'd like to strip the kitchen cupboards and repaint them and there's lots of yard work to do, but we'll see how much energy I have after we move in and when this baby decides he's going to arrive. Before all this house craziness started, we spent some time up at Whidbey playing on the beach and relaxing. We also took a little field trip to Fort Casey and Aaron took me and Jack on a hike along a semi-legitimate trail I wouldn't have thought to walk down as it was in a rather random place in the woods, but he promised there was something cool around the corner and there was. After a little jaunt through some underbrush, we came upon this giant rock with a flat, slanted side that was perfect for sliding. Aaron said his parents used to take him and his brothers there to play and that it seemed a lot bigger when he was younger, but Jack thought it was pretty neat. I used the timer on our camera to take a family photo at the top.