Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pain in the braces

The blond twin had something the orthodontist calls an "appliance" put into her mouth. It is supposed to help realign her jaw as the braces straighten her teeth. The end result should be a more aligned bite and straighter teeth.

We knew this appliance was coming. Most of her appointments during the past year have been moving us towards this step. What I don't think any of us really understood was how difficult it was going to be for the blond twin. The appliance is a multi-part metal insert that sits behind her bottom teeth. She also has something that looks like springs around her molars. These things are screwed together.

She is, as you might expect, completely miserable. The orthodontist said that she would be in pain for up to a week as her mouth adjusts to the appliance. She struggles to eat since it hurts to chew. Anything crunchy results in small pieces being stuck between the appliance and her bottom teeth.

The blond twin is taking pain killers, although those only seem to dull the pain. She wakes up crying because the pain keeps her from sleeping.

In the meantime we've adjusted our food to include more soft foods like pasta and fewer crunchy foods like tacos. We are trying to shift our food so it is easier for the blond twin to eat, without making her feel like she's creating problems. We have lots of options that everyone likes, so we will shift back and forth as needed.

It is wrenching to see her suffer with her appliance. We are a few days into the year she will have to wear the appliance. We know it will get better, but not quickly enough.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The summer of smelly projects

If we created a summer marketing plan, we'd call these months "Smelly Project Summer." We have a full queue of house projects. This weekend we put stain and polyurethane on the dining room and family room floors.

The dining room floor showed lots of scratches and marks. Some were the normal wear and tear of chairs moving towards and away from the dining room table. Others were along the dog's favorite path. The family room needed work near my desk and the coat closet. Both areas were aging badly.

We looked at the weather forecast to make sure we could leave the windows open as much as possible. We closed the first floor windows at night. The weather was nice enough for us to leave the second floor windows open a crack. As long as we could get some fresh air into the house, we could breath more easily.

The smell wasn't the only concern. We had to rearrange rooms to move the furniture off the floors. The dining table and chairs ended up in the living room. The family room items moved near the fireplace. It created a cramped situation that Holly did not like at all. She couldn't figure out where to go and how to get there. Her normal paths were off limits.

We were talking about when we'd be able to put the rooms back together. One thing we forgot was how long you have to let polyurethane dry before you can put furniture on the new surface. We plotted the times when we'd be able to put everything back together.

As with most projects, there was a side project. Our dining room set is more than 100 years old. The chairs gathered a lot of scratches along the way. At one point I said to Daddy, "We might as well do some work on the chairs."

We pulled the seats off the chairs and cleaned them. We put a light stain coating on each chair. The garage became the dining room chair drying area for three days.

Luckily we had plans that kept us out of the house every day. We left the fans running to keep the air moving and help the floors dry.

Now that the floors are done, we have other smelly projects including painting and more staining. I'd like to say that we have some grand master plan, but our projects are really weather dictated. We need to be able to keep our windows open for the smelly summer projects. If nothing else, we'll keep checking projects off the list as the weather allows. With a little luck, we'll check off most of the projects before we are no longer able to keep the windows open for days at a time.

Friday, June 16, 2017

No summer fun at the stables

On a typical summer schedule, the girls would have lots of activities to keep them busy. When they fill in a few days hanging out with friends, they have a full, fun summer. This year we didn't make a lot of plans. We thought they were going to spend their summer working at the stable.

It all started with an email asking for summer camp workers. The girls wouldn't get paid since they are not old enough to work. They would receive credit they could use for lessons or share boarding. When we went to the meeting, the leader said she needed as many people as possible for as many hours are possible. She painted a picture in which everyone was having fun all summer while earning money/credits.

The girls were so excited. They created a plan in which they would earn enough money to share board a horse. They figured out how many hours they had to work to pay for one year. They started planning to purchase halters and bridles and other stuff.

The first week came and went. The second week came and went. We heard nothing from the stable about the girls' work hours. I emailed several times asking about a schedule. I asked the leader when I saw her at a horseback riding lesson. We never heard anything. To date we have never once received any communication about not being on the schedule.

At this point it's clear that the girls are not going to work this summer. She oversold the entire program, giving the girls false hope.

We wanted to teach the girls a lesson about being responsible and earning their own funds. They were supposed to spend the summer working hard and learning important lessons that would give them a solid foundation for other projects.

Instead we're scrambling to figure out how to fill their days. We decided to stop waiting for work assignments after the brunette twin started crying. She said she realized that they were not going to work enough to share board a horse. She said her dream was crushed.

What makes me really angry is that the girls are not just summer workers. They take horseback riding lessons. We pay a hefty monthly price for those lessons. The girls are summer workers and customers. If the leader didn't want to be professional towards her summer employees, you'd think that she would think about being professional towards her customers.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Another year down

Seventh grade is done. Even as I write those words it seems impossible. Weren't we just taking them to preschool yesterday? Didn't we just walk them to first grade recently? Next year at this time there will be a graduation ceremony and party. They will be headed towards high school, already registered and ready.

Seventh grade is supposed to be just another year, but it feels really momentous. The girls are full-fledged teenagers. They talk about high school and dances and college already. They are growing into lovely young women.

It seems impossible that they are going into eighth grade. It is like we blinked and they are speeding towards high school.

Friday, June 2, 2017

One dead fish

While Erin is visiting family in South Korea, we are watching her fish. We brought home a big fish tank and three fish. A few minutes after filling the fish tank, we were down to two fish.

Yes, I killed a fish within the first few minutes that it was in our house.

When we were at their house, Erin and Jung-he did say that they thought the fish was sick. They said it was old and they didn't expect it to live much longer. Jung-he said the fish was swimming on its side most of the morning. They took the fish's death with a laugh and a smile.

They were so understanding that I felt worse. I know they didn't expect the fish to live long, but I doubt anyone expected it to die a few minutes after entering our house. On the other hand, things can only get better, right?