Monday, June 01, 2020

Broken windows (and empty hallways)

I feel like I've been glazing windows for forever and that I will be glazing windows forever. I managed to rope Miriam into helping me for a few minutes this afternoon. She'd been asking to learn how previously but was reluctant to help today because Rachel was in the middle of decorating some cupcakes for a Young Women's Camp activity tomorrow (they're showing off their baking skills on zoom since we're having the "home edition" of Young Women's Camp this year) and Miriam wanted to help. 

Rachel was just making fondant and didn't want Miriam's help at that exact moment, so I told Miriam that glazing compound was very similar to fondant. So she came and put some glazing around one window while she waited for Rachel to finish mixing up the fondant and then she abandoned me.


But that's alright because there were a few little people waiting in the wings to take over her spot. I've tried not to let them help for the most part because it does feel like this is a rather exacting task that needs some...attention to detail...which the littlest ones haven't quite developed yet. However, the second-to-last step where we just put glazing compound on the windows (before smoothing it out) is a rather forgiving part of the process, so I told the kids to roll little snakes and mash them onto the windows. They're pretty good at making play dough snakes so this job was right up their alley.


They had a blast!


And really took the task quite seriously.

 


Their efforts were...



...redeemable.



This project feels eternal. It is so time-consuming. Today Alexander and I got up around 8:00. He actually stayed in his bed from when he fell asleep until 8:00 so that was awesome. Anyway, we were the first ones up this morning, so I took him potty and got him a sticker for his sleeping chart and then sent him downstairs to find a bowl and spoon ready for his oatmeal while I got dressed. He started down the stairs while I went to find my glasses. I hadn't made it very far when he started screaming bloody murder, so I raced to the top of the stairs to "see" what was the matter.

"What's going on, Alexander?" I asked.

He blubbered and howled and pointed ambiguously (plus, I mean, I didn't have my glasses on).

"What is it?" I asked.

More blubbering and wailing.

I came downstairs and got right on his level.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG!" he screamed, pointing to a cockroach lying flat on its back at his feet.

"Oh," I said. "I see. Come with me to find my glasses and then we'll take care of it. It's fine. It's just a big ol' bug."

So we found my glasses and cuddled for a few minutes before going to deal with the cockroach. They don't seem to be able to get off their backs very easily but they do tend to flip over when you scootch a paper under the cup to pick them up. Anyway, we got the cockroach taken care of and proceeded with breakfast.

I don't blame him for hating the cockroach. They're so big they make little scuttling noises as they run across the floor. We don't often get them (they prefer to live outside...but, like...I've told you about how often our door gets left open, right?) but occasionally find them in the house.

The other evening I was reading to the kids from the hallway and a big ol' cockroach dropped out of the attic door, right beside me! It was horrifying. Somehow it fell into a box that the kids had been colouring in (they love to sit in boxes and colour) so it was a little bit trapped and I just grabbed a nearby shoe and smashed it.

Today Andrew installed an insulated attic tent across the entrance to the attic, put new weather stripping around the door, and rigged up a way to get the door to close somewhat tightly. We're hoping this both makes our attic a little more energy efficient and will cut down on bugs dropping onto me while reading to the kids in the hallway. Win, win, win.

Anyway, we dealt with the cockroach and I was just getting Alexander's oatmeal ready when Zoë came waltzing down the stairs. "May I practice the piano before breakfast?" she asked sweetly.

"Of course," I said.

She begged me to give her a piano lesson yesterday, so I did. So far she seems 100% committed to the idea of practicing. Not only did she practice in the morning, when she conducted Family Home Evening this evening she picked herself to choose the opening song and after much deliberation finally settled on "Two Blackbirds," one of the songs I assigned her. So we all mumbled along (because none of us really know the words) while she played the song (which she has actually made a lot of progress on since yesterday). When she finished she said, "You guys did okay but you didn't say all of the right words," so we also sang I Am a Child of God. This time we nailed the lyrics.

"She's never going to catch up to me," said Benjamin, who refuses to practice the piano. "I'm so far ahead of her."

Rachel told him that he shouldn't be too sure of himself. "That's exactly what I thought," she told him. "But Miriam would practice and I wouldn't...and she passed me up a long time ago."

He practiced today. So perhaps a little competition will be good for him.

Not only is Zoë taking piano lessons now, she's also studying Spanish. She begged me to find a language-learning app to put on her little device, so I did and she loves it. She already knows a bunch of colours and will often walk around naming the colour of things in Spanish.

Today while I was working on the windows I mentioned something about being so close to being finished (we're not close at all) that all we have to do is pick out paint.

"Oooh! What colour?" the kids wanted to know.

"Blue!" Benjamin said.

"Purple! Morado!" Zoë squealed.

"Rainbow!" Benjamin said.

"Arco iris!" Zoë quickly agreed.

"And now you know how to say rainbow in...I forget. What language am I studying again, Mom?"

"Spanish."

"That's right! In Spanish!"

She's a silly little thing. Smart. But silly.

Anyway, all of that rambling was a very long way of telling you that I worked on this one 3x3 grid of windows from before 9:00 in the morning until I was called in for dinner (which happened to be right as I was putting on the finishing touches) at 6:30. I mean, sure, I had a few distractions throughout the day (I have five children, after all) but I was mostly working the entire day and, guys, it's just such a time-consuming project.

And so strangely delicate. Like, I have to use enough force to chisel off what's basically cement but do it gently enough that I don't break the glass the cement is adhered to. It's...super fun. I broke a window today. It's my second one, so now I've broken two windows and Andrew has broken one. But in my defense, I've only broken 3% of the window panes I've worked with, while Andrew has broken 100% of the window panes he's worked with.

Good thing we bought (and cut) a whole sheet of glass, rather than just buying one little pane when Andrew broke that first window!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That project is amazing, and I am still just mind-blown that you let the little kids help. And I think you are an awesome mom. I wish you had been the mom to my kids--but that is impossible, since you are one of my kids!

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