Sunday, August 8, 2010

Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona...almost

As of Saturday of last week, we were 1009 miles from home, soaking up some air conditioning at my parent's condo in Las Vegas. Lubbock was three day behind us, along with the entire states of New Mexico and Arizona, the The South rim of the Grand Canyon, two Motel 6s, bags and bags of candy and veggies and fruit, about 12 audio chapters of The Deathly Hallows, and the winding traffic crawling across the top of the Hoover Dam.

Now we're in Utah with the QB's family and we just finished vegetarian rueben sandwiches, French onion soup, and key lime cheese cake for the QB's birthday. We've got lots of pictures to share and we'll slowly get them up, but we just wanted to update you all on our adventure.

Here's the first set of pictures, mostly from the Grand Canyon.

"The canyon was Grand," says the QB. Mr. Baseball wanted to take a lot of pictures.

The Monkey conked about 4pm near the end of the shuttle line on the south rim. He slept for about fifteen minutes before getting his energy back. As a result of his nap he missed both a water break and a potty break.

He went from wiggly and bouncing off the walls to this in about two minutes.

The cannon ball (that's the name we've decided on, by the way) was asleep too.

The boys thought the canyon was sooo big.

We wish the cannon ball could have gotten more of a kick out of the view. As far as he was concerned, the trip was great because he got held all day. We could have been back home for all he cared.

Aubrey, the QBs little sister, came along for the trip and was a big help. We were glad to have her around.

We stayed at a hotel in Holbrook, AZ, a few hours east of the Canyon, and spent the evening swimming and eating microwave dinners in the hotel room. The Cannon Ball didn't want to go in the water much, but he liked watchi

We brought sandwiches for lunch--and I didn't want to share.

The thing about going to the grand canyon is...all your photos look like you're standing in front of a fake cardboard backdrop. But really, we were there.


We took this at the John Wesley Powell overlook. In 1869 Powell led his men down the canyon on long boats. I kept thinking the canyon looked like a photograph, but Powell and his men wouldn't have had that reference point--how did they describe the vista? the way the horizon performs the double magic of both foreshortening into a two-dimensional screen and fading away into an ever expanding horizon?

The first great trick of the Grand Canyon's South Rim is that you get there, but you aren't really there yet. We figured we would arrive at about 10:30 a.m, but that was just to the town outside the park. We didn't actually get to the rim until almost noon. That's where we ate lunch and started our tour.

We had no idea until we chanced upon this Motor Inn (called the Wigwam Hotel) in Holbrook, AZ, but the town we stayed in our first night is a historical oute 66 town and one of the places used as a model for the movie Cars.

It's on the historical registry and looks like an incredible place to stay for kiddos. We thought all the old cars were a nice touch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Post Script to New Carpet


...I've been thinking lately that just having a roof over our heads makes us in better shape than a whole lot of people in the world, and that it seems ridiculous to let a little dust and dead skin cells get to me, and that a certain amount of ingratitude, or a sense of entitlement or delusion hides behind such feelings. And yet, I'm really excited about the sheer cleanliness of the new carpet. I know what's underneath it, because I swept and mopped it all (well, I or the QB, but you get the idea). And I feel happier, more comfortable, more at peace in a home that feels inviting and new.

Hmmm...liberal guilt is a befuddling phenomenon. Can't feel excited about anything without also feeling a little guilty.

I guess that's better than the mindset of the guy I saw the other day driving a truck with a bumper sticker that said, "I love my carbon footprint."

And that is, sadly, the most common remedy for liberal guilt: a mantra that says, more or less: "At least I'm not THAT bad."

Sunday, August 1, 2010 took us a week, but...

We got the house put back together after the carpet installation.

And it's starting to look good.

Here's the rest of the story...

A week before the install, I put in a small tile entry by the front door. Check out the dust here beneath the old carpet we pulled up. Yuck!

It was my first real tile job, and if you ever come over to the house, don't look too closely. Instead, step into the house quickly and then say something like, "wow, what great tile, it looks so good, you must have had a professional install that."

Definitely don't say, "ouch, I stubbed my toe on this uneven tile."
Copper likes it.

flash forward a week or so to Friday morning. We thought the carpet would come Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday. Friday had come and the carpet and pad had arrived at the store and the store was just lining up an installer.

We woke up early and started moving furniture and boxes and children outside. I expected the installation crew to show up at about 10:00 a.m.

At 11:00 a.m I called the carpet company for an ETA. Do to a laundry-list of scheduling and personnel problems, none of their regular installers were available. The folks at the store told me they'd keep calling people until they found someone they could trust.

In the meantime we decided to pull up carpet and pad and clean while we were waiting.

This is how we took care of the old carpet....

The boys were really good about all the chaos. They helped move a ton of stuff out of the house and they helped pull up a lot of pad. I felt an immense amount of satisfaction doing such a big, dirty job with my boys along for the trip.

Here is the lovely linoleum sub-floor.

The QB got us all McDonald's for lunch (because it was close--why do I feel like I have to make an excuse for that? because its McDonald's! anyway...) and the boys played basketball and rode bikes and tried to build a fort out of the piled-up rolls of old, disgusting, smelly, dusty, dirty carpet (this after twice telling them not to climb on it--GUHross)

At 3:30pm, after all the carpet and pad had been pulled and we'd swept and mopped the sub floor, we got a call from the carpet company with news that installers were on the way, but wouldn't be there for an hour.

So I decided to paint our bedroom (the furniture was out, and we already had all the paint and tools, so I figured, hey, why not).

The installers (Victor and Eric were their names) showed up about 5pm, measured the floor, and set to work. They told us they weren't sure how much they could get done that night, but they assured us they would work fast and do a good job.

They did.

It took them five hours (with a short break for some Domino's pizza that the QB picked up for dinner--yeah, that's right. we had McDonald's for lunch and Domino's for dinner. Our stomachs paid for it later) but the floor looked great.

Malachi, our home teacher came over about 8:30 pm to help us move furniture back into the house and by 9:30 pm everything was back inside and the installation crew had gone home.

Everything we owned was crammed into the living room, family room, and kitchen, and it took us an entire week to get the furniture back in place, the boxes unpacked, and the pictures hung.

But now it's really starting to feel like a home, and not just a place to live.

I remember lying in bed our first night in the house and struggling to fall asleep. I could almost feel the fibers of the carpet beneath the bed scratching at me, crawling beneath me, bristling under our foreign footprints. The shadow of the bodies that had slept (and died) in the house seemed to saturate every room, but the carpet in particular. How do I describe the feeling of living on that old, dusty, smelly carpet? It was a little like putting on someone else's dirty underwear.

Carpet is on a short list of things I don't ever really want to share with someone else (right up there with the aforementioned underwear, as well as with toothbrushes and week-old fridge leftovers).

But we got used to the carpet and by necessity stopped letting it bother us (we had no idea when we would be able to get new carpet, so complaining about it would have been useless). It wasn't until the new carpet was within striking distance that the numbness wore off and we began to let the carpet bug us again. And so, it was with great pleasure that we piled it all on our driveway and made room for the new, shiny carpet.

Now, I've got to go rub my face in it one more time, just to remind myself it's real.


I rubbed my face in it.