Thursday, April 05, 2012

Houses, kids, and all those stresses of "adulthood"

I am posting this on Thursday, but writing it on Monday (4/2) night. I don't like to advertise that I am home alone when Tim is traveling, so I try to keep that info limited to people I know. Tim left Sunday night for a business trip and got home late Thursday night. And I had all three kids home this week. By myself. I thought it would be easier than trying to truck them to and from daycare every day. I might've been wrong.

The fun started Saturday. Our water heater gave us a hint that it might be on its way out a month ago, but after turning up the thermostat, we've had no problems. Then, Saturday morning, I was running a bath for Noah and noticed that the water was barely tepid. And it wasn't getting warmer. Tim noticed the same thing at the kitchen faucet. He tried turning the thermostat up again, and turning the tank on and off, but nothing worked. Of course, we had debated running a few loads of laundry and giving the kids their baths on Friday night, but we figured we had all weekend.

And of course, the tank broke on Saturday, and Tim was leaving Sunday. The same thing happened at the old house--the water heater went the day before he left for San Francisco for two weeks. We also knew that replacing a powervent natural gas water heater ran us about $900 in 2005. We checked online and made a few phone calls, and the best we could get was just over $1300 for the same type of tank. Inflation sucks. But, the company said they could have a new tank installed by the afternoon.

Of course, things never go according to plan. The plumbers took a look at the way the builder had installed the old tank, and it wasn't up to code. They had to run new lines, which also meant punching a new hole through the concrete block foundation to vent it out the other side of the house. And the expansion tank needed replaced. All of this added several hundred dollars.

Tim and I are hoping to finish the basement in the next few years, and part of that involved possibly moving the hot water tank (and maybe the furnace, though that is much more complex) in order to gain some floor space in the middle of the basement and wall off some of the mechanical items in a corner. We talked to the plumber about that idea, and he said the cost to install the water heater in its current location and then move it later was very much higher than the cost to just install the new water heater where we wanted it to be. So, after some discussion, we took the first step toward a basement remodel and agreed to move the tank.

The final result was ~$2200 and a delayed install--because of code requirements and re-doing lines, they couldn't put the new tank in until Tuesday. At least we had gotten our tax refund back. Instead of going into the minivan fund, it'll get us hot water for a while. Hopefully the furnace isn't next--it acted up a little over a month ago as well. Both are original to the house (12 years old). That's old for a water heater and on the young side for a furnace. Crossing fingers for only one major repair at a time...

We headed down to Tim's parents for dinner, laundry, and baths/showers. We had planned to go visit Tim's grandma in the nursing home, but we unfortunately had to reschedule. She's in hospice with stage 4 colon cancer, with an ileostomy and ureteral stents because of the size of the tumor. From the sounds of things, she's also in heart failure. She's doing well though, considering she was diagnosed last summer and has had two heart attacks and a minor stroke just in the last few weeks. We saw her a few weekends ago, and we wanted to bring the kids this time, but I think we are rescheduling for Easter. She's a tough lady--she's made it 90 years. She's already beaten the statistics, so I am making no predictions at this point.

We got home late Saturday night--late enough that Tim and I both stayed up past two until Noah stopped fussing enough to attempt sleep. Sleep didn't happen much, as usual, but time marches on. Sophie and I went to Palm Sunday services and the grocery store (which I should remember never to visit on a Sunday). After naps, the kids and I headed to my parents for dinner, and Tim went to the airport. Dinner went fine, though bathtime was marred by Josh pooping in the tub--and it was green from the blue icing he had on his cupcake the night before. He and Sophie had been sharing a bath, and I think Sophie was scarred for life by the poop. She started screaming and crying, "I want to go home!" It was all my mom and I could do to not laugh hysterically. I showered Sophie and Josh off in another bathroom while mom scrubbed the tub of green poop.

Trying to get three sleepy kids in the house and into beds by myself was tricky, but the big two went down without much complaint. Noah and I had a rougher time, but he did have an almost two hour block of sleep. The rest of it was fussing and replacing the binky every few minutes, with a feeding and a diaper change about every two hours.

Monday morning went ok--low expectations helped. We watched cartoons in my bed for a while, then an easy breakfast. Tim's parents came up to watch Sophie and Josh (and wire new electrical for the hot water heater, just in case). I took Noah to his two month checkup. 23 inches (from 19.5) and 12 lbs 11 oz (from 8 lb 8 oz). Both the other kids were sleeping several hour stretches--Sophie was at 5 or 6 hours--by the time they were at 12 lbs. Noah, not so much... The doc thought he looked fine otherwise and just suggested patience. He said most kids sleep through the night between 2 and 4 months. Here's hoping.

Things fell apart a bit in the afternoon. Sophie and Josh didn't nap, despite my efforts. Sophie was mostly quiet, though awake. Josh was climbing and jumping off things most of the time. About 3:30, Sophie came downstairs (and cried because I told her she had to rest with no tv for a while), Noah started screaming bloody murder from a dead sleep, and Josh was crying in his room when I told him for the umpteenth time to stop jumping and lay down. For about half an hour, it was total chaos. I gave Noah a dose of tylenol for his red, warm legs from his shots, but it took a bit to kick in. Finally, a little after 4, Sophie calmed down, Noah ate and fell asleep, and I brought Josh downstairs.

Things got better. We did pancakes for dinner. And then, just before bed, Josh walked over and said, "Poop." I turned him around to check his pants, and I saw poop up his back, outside of his shirt, and down his pants. I unrolled a bunch of paper towels, laid him down on them, and proceeded to de-fecalize him with wipes. Since we had no hot water, a bath was out. He had a similar (though less voluminous) blowout on Saturday for Tim, so maybe he knows there's no hot water for a bath. After cleaning him up, I looked for where the blowout had occurred. I found a bum-sized area on top of a small legal pad filled with Sophie's drawings--and some overlap on the rug.  I cleaned that up, and as I was taking the big two to bed, I saw the biggest spot: there was a bum-level spot on the front edge of the microsuede recliner. As in, the recliner that is one of two pieces of furniture that is NOT a hand me down in the house. I cleaned it up as best I could, and I am praying I didn't ruin the nicest piece we own.

Since bedtime, Noah has been awake. He's feisty from about 9 PM until, well, about 9 AM. It's not as simple as having his days and night confused. He tried to sleep at night. But he is just...ANGRY. He fusses and cries. He doesn't like the swing or the buzzy seat (which he loves during the day). It's not textbook colic, because he doesn't cry continuously the entire time, and he can be calmed briefly. But brief is the key word. It's not usually more than 5-10 minutes before he's fussing again. And the ear-piercing screams at 2 AM. Ugh. But here is hoping he grows out of that.

In all, my first day of single parenting three kids was a FAIL. And I even had Tim's parents to help for a few hours! I'm not sure what else will happen before Tim gets home, but I know I will need a nap. Desperately.

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