March 18, 2018: Paul Moves In

Sunday. We got up at eight and got right into cleaning the house.  So much still left to do.  Paul was supposed to have left Cuba, Missouri around five this morning which would put him in Carrollton around two this afternoon.  A lot to do between now and then.

Dominica was up first and doing some cleaning.  My first task, once I was awake, was to run to Walmart and buy a replacement vacuum cleaner.  I was taking our old one apart last night to see if I would be able to fix it and the short answer was, “no way”.  The spinning brush unit was seized up, and the belt was broken.  It’s a cheap Black and Decker and there is no way for us to get parts for it.  And for as cheap as it was, getting parts for it would not make any sense, anyway.

Walmart was quick and easy.  The Bissel that we wanted to get was on sale for $48.  Picked that up and grabbed a dozen doughnuts (sorry, Do-Nuts, oh Texas) from Shipley’s around the corner on Josey and got back to the house.

Liesl was a very good helper today and swept much of the house.  She loves to sweep.

Liesl Sweeping the Living Room

Last night we had taken the fagots that we had gotten from Francesca that she had been using to decorate their old home for sale and we put them into the old built in plant pots that separate the living room from the dining room (the girls’ homeschool room) and they seem to work decently well, for now.  You can see them in the picture of Liesl sweeping.

I assembled the vacuum and got the entire house vacuumed.  The new vacuum is great and had to be emptied no less than a dozen times while making my way around the house.  A bit excessive, but the house is so much nicer now.  I vacuumed so much that in just what I did this morning I had to disassemble the vacuum, remove the brushes and spend a good twenty minutes cutting them free of hair and stuff.  It was crazy.

In doing the cleaning around the house, Dominica managed to come up with three additional bags of clothes for donation that we took out to the Quest to store there.  I met the owners of the house next door this morning as well.  It’s apparently empty again, but it is being shown to potential renters actively, already.  They had no idea that we owned this house and were actively living here again.

Today was a gorgeous day. Bright sun and nice weather outside.  We had the windows open for most of the morning, but by around one it was so warm that I was just sweating like crazy and we had to switch over to air conditioning.

We finally got to a point that we felt that the house was “good enough” around three, which is good then that Paul went the wrong way and drove through Oklahoma City, and then hit traffic there.  So he was hours late and got to us around four this afternoon.

We hung out for only about an hour before we all went to Los Lupes, our awesome local Mexican restaurant for some dinner.  Dominica and I both got some really awesome fish tacos, they do them grilled with avocados, so they are pretty healthy, too.  Liesl got popcorn shrimp and ate nearly everyone’s rice in addition to her shrimp.  Luciana got a shrimp and calamari appetizer plate and liked it us, but could not finish all of it; we got to bring some home for her for tomorrow.  Paul did steak fajitas and said that they were great.

We were all quite full when we finished our dinner.  The girls both asked if we could come back and eat here.  They have been here before, but it has been long enough ago that they do not remember it.

Tomorrow work begins on the girls’ bathroom.  First the walls need to come down and we need to find out what is hiding behind the walls.  We fear that there is going to be mold and really have no idea how there couldn’t be, given the amount of water that we know that was leaking in the shower over the past several years.  Our hope is just that it is not black mold and not “that bad.”  The walls, tile, floor, sink, everything is coming out except for the toilet, which is “good enough” and the tub.  I really want to remove the tub and go to an all tile standing shower area that is more modern, but Dominica and the girls say that they want to keep the tub and, at least, that is cheaper and easier, so it will stay.  But the tub in our master bath is definitely coming out when we redo that bathroom, I hate having a tub in there.  This is our first serious work on the house here in Texas, other than putting in the office, but that was “new” construction (back around 2011) and not modifying what is already there.

After dinner we just visited and caught up in the living room.  Paul’s sciatica is really bad after his long drive so spent much of the evening trying to control that.  The girls were playing in our bedroom, watching shows, and would occasionally come running through the living room.

Got everyone to bed around eleven.  Paul has the girls’ room.  The girls officially have my back office, but just sleep with us anyway.  So that is easy.  They barely notice that Paul is even here.

Paul is staying this week and leaving sometime around Friday.  He is heading back to Missouri to get his house onto the market and get another load of his stuff.  Then he will be back in a few days.

So our spring cleaning is done.  And Paul is moved in.  And tomorrow begins the complete overhaul of our secondary bathroom.  Exciting stuff.

March 17, 2018: Big Texas House Cleaning

Saturday. I woke up just before five in the morning and instantly had that “mind racing” problem that told me that if I stayed in bed for any length of time whatsoever that I would be having terrible insomnia and would not get back to sleep.  Even with a snuggly Liesl sleeping with us it was not going to get me back to sleep.  So I just got up and went over to my office and got to work.  No reason not to.  I was awake and felt fine.  Wasn’t even anxious, my mind was just ready to go and did not want to be kept in bed.  So my day started much earlier than I would have expected it to.

I ended up going back to bed closer to eight in the morning and sleeping for another three hours.  So I got a full night’s sleep, just broken up into two sections, which was a bit abnormal for me.

Today was pretty much an all day cleaning day around the house.  So much to do.  Paul gets here tomorrow in the early afternoon, and the house is an epic disaster.  I also did a lot of work on learning Ruby on Rails, which I have used before but not for several versions and I am working on updating my skills on it.  Dominica just cleaned and cleaned, as she’s been doing for a couple of days.

We are both feeling a bit better today.  I still have a cough, it’s been almost a month now with it, but it is very slight and I can feel that it is nothing like it was even two days ago.  Dominica is still weak, but barely coughing and mostly just tired.

I managed to get SGL caught up completely for all of March and the majority of February today, which is astonishing.  There is still much to be done, but it is great progress.  We are finally, we thinking, edging towards having a more stable lifestyle now that several big things in our lives have been worked out.  So that will make it easier to be keeping up with SGL.

Dominica and I have been watching a few British garden shows recently, including today, and have been kicking around some ideas with our house here in Carrollton.  One big change is that we are pretty sure that we are going to scale back dramatically with our plans for altering the house here.  We will not put an additional roof on the house, as much as we’d like the extra interior space, but are just going to try going for something like an Italian style small garden in the atrium instead. Something with really strong drainage to help to deal with the flooding problem, and maybe a partial plastic deck so that we can easily sit outside.  We have to take out the tree that is out there no matter what.  And putting in a pergola might be just the thing to create softened, dappled sunlight out there to cool the atrium (and the house) and make it a space that we can use a lot more.  It needs to be a serious garden, an oasis in the middle of the house.  I imagine Liesl discovering it to be an awesome reading nook as she gets older.

We are thinking about removing the back driveway and putting a deck over the top of it so that the back yard becomes massively more open and useful.  Our back yard is not large, at all.  It’s quite small and so there is only so much that we can usefully do with it.  But watching these British gardening shows, they often have even less yard than we do and are able to do so much interesting with it.  We should be able to do something nice.  The hardest thing to do that I really want is to have an “office pod” in the back yard.  That is neither cheap, nor easy, nor is it easy to fit into the space.  Much to figure out.  But the bigger it is, the nicer it is, the more it would be useful.  I really want to get my office moved out of the house, though, and into the yard on the far side so that we have more space in the house for home things, and so that I can have a really great, dedicated office space where I can totally get away and seal off and, hopefully, that can double as an additional guest bedroom, a little oasis space, etc.  Liesl has already announced that when she is a teenager that she wants her own room, so we have to be prepared for that sooner rather than later.  That will only leave the current “summer office”, the one that we built, as a guest room once that happens.

We have more immediate house plans, though.  Hopefully work on the girls’ bathroom will begin soon.  It needs to be torn down to the studs and rebuilt with insulation, new dry wall, completely new tile, new bath fixtures, new sink, etc.  Absolutely everything needs to be done fresh in there.  Which is all very doable, we think, but it is a lot of work that we do not know how to do ourselves.  Always a challenge.  But Dominica is interested in learning how to do tile and there is a lot of potential tile work to be done around the house.  That might work out really well.

Got the family ready for bed at about eleven.  Loads and loads of additional cleaning to be done first thing in the morning tomorrow.  We are going to be exceptionally busy trying to get things ready for Paul to move in.

I wrapped up pretty much all of my stuff just minutes before midnight.  I was feeling a bit tired myself, but am making a real effort to make SGL a priority to get updated at night before turning in.  The writing is always so much better when I do it on the same day that things are happening.  Last year was just such a disaster in so many ways, I could not find the time nor the energy to get SGL kept up with.  This year, that is all different.  The money is mostly figured out, we know what we are doing for work now (which is nothing), the house has been sold and is no longer killing us, we know that we are going to be in the Carrollton house quite a bit, etc.

Tomorrow will be another new adventure.  I am sure that I will have much to report.

March 16, 2018: Friday Before Guest

Friday. The sun is out again today and it is just a beautiful day.  We still have all of the windows open.  We had them open all night.  It was so warm we considered air conditioning during the night.

Liesl spent the day mostly watching YouTubers on the living room television.

Dominica did a lot more cleaning around the house today.  It is starting to look much better.  But there is so much to do.  With everyone being sick for so long, the mess has really piled up.

I worked in the office all day.  Dominica has found a new British gardening show that she really likes and from time to time throughout the day would have me pop over to take a look at it with her to get some ideas for our back yard.

This evening we did a little more family gaming with Cruise Director, the hidden object game.  We didn’t get to play even an hour, though, as Luciana decided that she was tired and was ready for me to put her to “bed” on the couch at the foot of the bed in our room.

March 15, 2018: Big ML Day

Thursday.  Not really any flu improvement today.  But no worse.

The sun is out and it is a gorgeous day.  So nice that we were able to just open all of the windows and have fresh air, all day.  Dominica got up, showered, and went on a run to the grocery store first thing this morning.  The house has been pretty empty of food since we got back from traveling.

I spent the day in the office working.  It is so nice out, we are loving the fresh air and bright sun with the windows open.  Supposed to be nearly eight here today!

Found out today that Paul is moving down to Dallas on Sunday.  So we expect to see him on Sunday evening.  He’ll be moving in and looking for a job here in town.  So we have a roommate again.

Dominica and Paul spent much of the day scheming on the phone about ideas for retiling the girls’ bathroom.  Dominica also tried to do some cleaning today and got a bit done.  The house is still a mess from all of the stuff that we brought down from the storage unit in New York.  We were so sick when we arrived back here that it all got put by the front door, more or less, and left.

We got the second dresser put into the girls’ room, in the closet.  So Liesl and Luciana each have their own dressers now, and room for their clothes.

I was super busy all day working on MangoLassi which we believe hit its busiest day ever, at least as far as viewership goes.  One hundred and sixty four thousand full thread reads for the day!  All organic traffic, no spikes or special events driving traffic to the site for the day.

For dinner this evening, Dominica made backed cod, salt potatoes, and asparagus.  We watched a little Allo, Allo second season while we ate dinner.  That show amazes me because it feels like a BBC show that would have only run for one season, maybe six to eight episodes, been a funny joke and that would have been it.  But they actually made nine seasons of it and even though it always feels like a show from when I was a little kid, it was still running new until I was a junior in high school!  The show lasted twice as long as the war on which it was based.

I was working this evening and Luciana requested some family game time.  At first I was going to say that I was too busy for that, but then thought better of it and we all played Cruise Director together for an hour or two.

We got to bed at a good time, in bed by eleven.  I was tired and really looking forward to getting some sleep.  But my sciatica played up something terrible and I was not able to get to sleep until two in the morning after soaking in a hot bath and taking some Ibuprofen.

March 14, 2018: On the Road to Improvement

Wednesday.  Starting to feel a little better today.  Still super sick, and maybe I’m just adjusting to sick as the new normal, but it feels like I am much more functional today.

Dominica must be a little better as well, as she attempted some cooking and cleaning today, with large bouts of resting in between, of course.

The kids are both happy and perky today.  They were running around and playing all day, quite a good change.  They managed to kick this flu very quickly.  Dominica and I definitely got the worst of it.

I ended up working a lot today, working until three in the morning.  I was just too tired to keep going at that point.

I did get an article written today, and I managed to get YouTube videos uploaded for my channel enough to keep it busy into next week.

The weather is nice, we opened the window again tonight.  Luciana continues to sleep in her own room, she really enjoys having her own room.  Liesl has been sleeping in our bed.

March 13, 2018: Day Two of Peak Flu

Tuesday. We were all still so sick today.  Both girls have fevers.  Liesl is around 101, and Luciana is nearly to 103.  Surprisingly, both of them are in good spirits and don’t seem to actually be feeling all that badly, just really tired and unable to do anything.  They have no energy and Liesl has a headache.  But overall, they aren’t showing the regular symptoms of the flu.

We worked on the girls’ room today.  We’ve been sick, but cannot avoid working on the house for forever.  So today we finally removed the closet doors in their room that I have been saying that we needed to just get rid of for quite some time.  They are awful, broken, and constantly get in the way making the room messier and the closet harder to use.  Dominica finally agreed and we took them down.

With the doors out of the way, we were able to move Liesl dresser, the one that we just brought down with us from New York last week, into that closet and get it set up with Liesl’s clothes.  Their room is looking so much better already.

Dad found this picture taken in the barn from 1979, one of the three baby raccoons that we kept in the barn after their mother had been killed on the road in front of the farm.  I would have been three years old, one of my earliest memories is those little raccoons.

Barn Raccoon, Circa 1979

I still remember the three little babies in their little nest in the straw at the front of the barn.  Their nest is still there, thirty nine years later.  I just happened to show the space to Dominica last week while we were in New York cleaning out the barn, too!

This evening we tried to watch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrove with Luciana because she has been requesting it for days.  We got started and she was all excited for about ten minutes then she said that she remembered it from when she was little and did not like it and left to go do something on her own in her room.  But Liesl came in and was all excited because she loved that movie.  So she settled in for a second Liesl movie night, in a row.

Bed time came very early here today.  I was not able to go to bed super early myself, given that I slept for fifteen hours last night.  But I still got to bed early.  I was in terrible shape all day, as was Dominica.  But yesterday seems like it was the worst of it.  Today we are at least not any worse than we were.

March 12, 2018: Peak Flu Day One

Monday.  I was so tired yesterday that I lay down a little before seven in the evening thinking that I would likely just take a nap.  Instead, I slept for fifteen hours, not waiting up until late this morning!  That is, as far as I know, the longest that I have slept continuous for my entire adult life and possible all of my adolescence.  I have no memory of ever passing thirteen hours, and even getting past eight happens no more than once or twice a year!  This is unprecedented, but I am certainly the sickest that I can remember being as an adult, except for that whole pesky appendicitis thing, which was almost exactly twenty years ago.

The girls are both sick today, both with fevers.  They definitely caught what we caught.  Luciana spent the entire day in bed, she never got up.  Liesl camped out on the couch in the living room with the Grim Legends hidden object video game trilogy and played it for the entire day completed multiple of the games (some more than once!)

Dad was doing all kinds of familial research and has discovered that my six times great grandfather, David Diffenderfer, served as an ensign in the Revolutionary War, was at Valley Forge, and crossed the Delaware River at Trenton with George Washington.  He also fought at the battles of Princeton and Monmouth, having been injured at the latter.  Once recovered from that battle he re-entered the Army and was captured at the Battle of Long Island.

David’s father’s father (John M. Diffenderfer), I believe, who would be my eighth great grandfather, has also been recognized as the founder of New Holland, Pennsylvania.  He arrived there in 1728, predating most of my formerly known Swiss immigrant family from the Bern side.

Dad was able to trace that line of the family (which is through my mother’s father’s father’s mother’s side) all the way back to the outskirts of Zurich in 1130 to the patriarch Werver von Dubeldorf.  It is unknown if my family is named for the suburb that they are from, or if the suburb is named after us.  Dubeldorf is near the Zurich Zoo, just east of downtown.

This evening Liesl climbed onto the couch with us in our bedroom and we watching Paddington which I have been wanting to watch for a while.  I had the book (audio, if I remember correctly) as a child and liked the story of Paddington Bear.  The movie has a good cast and looked like it would be good, and it was.  I enjoyed it a lot, as did Liesl.  It was nice to have some snuggle time with nothing to do.  Luciana watched some of it, but was not all that into it.

Got to bed on the early side tonight.  Still have a lot of rest to go before my body is going to be able to effectively fight off this influenza.