Ebony, Ivory, and Other Hard Woods

by on Sep.22, 2010, under family, home & stuff

This weekend had been significantly more eventful than most recently.  Among these events were a couple of parties, a couple of changes to the household, a couple hours of work that I could have done without, and a couple more projects on my to do list.  Most of these (except the work-related part) can be traced back to my mother coming to visit, and all seem to be related to wood in some way.

My parents as well as my wife and I were invited to a surprise 25th-anniversary party on Saturday for my uncle (the party being the surprise part – I’m pretty sure they were aware of the marital milestone).  My mom, being the opportunist that she is, planned to come up on Thursday so that she could get in some visitation with the kids.  As usual, this visit seemed to dovetail into tackling projects that we had otherwise left in a primordial phase (for some reason my wife thought she could stave this off by tackling all open painting projects earlier in the week – so silly).  The first to bubble up was tearing up the carpeting in the living room – something my wife had been wrestling with for weeks (weighing her hatred for the state of the carpet with her fear of the state of the floor beneath it).  Naturally we dove into it and less than an hour later our living room floor was bare.  As it turns out, it is going to need some work – I now have the pending projects of sistering the joists, tacking the floorboard more firmly to the new joists, patching, sanding,  polishing and finishing the floor, and then debating with my wife over whether we should top it with a new floating floor.  But at least I don’t have to hear any more about the carpet.

The next conversation thread that came up on Thursday night after we were settled on our newly repositioned couch was Christmas – specifically gift ideas.  My mom had the idea that she wanted to get each family a very high-end electronic piano (apparently as part of this plan she had already bought one that my sister declined – my mom conveniently claimed that one as her own with, I’m sure, no regrets).  In our case she decided to have the conversation before dropping the chunk of change.  And apparently our consent to the idea cascaded to a shopping trip on Friday so that by the time I got home on Friday evening my kids were already accustomed to fighting over who gets to play next (my wife is slightly more patient, though this gift will likely parallel that of Rock Band last year in that most nights as I’m saying goodnight to the kids she will already be engrossed in playing – at least with this she can wear headphones and not pique the kids’ curiosity to any noise sources).  I have to say that it is an awesome keyboard – it is a full set of 88 keys, full-sized and fully weighted.  If has plenty of options including a built in metronome and a variety of very realistic instrument voices.

As a welcome distraction from our creaky floor and the kids slowly learning not to abuse their new toy, we headed to the surprise party Saturday afternoon.  There my wife, mother and I enjoyed a reconnecting with a number of relatives we don’t get to see often as well as others we didn’t even know we had (some of them classifiable by the third part of this post’s title).  My cousin did a splendid job not only preparing for and conducting such a party, but managing to keep knowledge of it from its victims right to the moment they walked in the door (right down to making sure no suspicious cars would be parked near the house).  It was great to have that time with them.  My aunts even made time to join us for breakfast the next morning before getting back on the road for their long journey to upstate New York.

As this post has grown longer than intended, I will close with on final story that may seem like a non-sequitur, but isn’t quite.  This morning our routine was convoluted more so than usual by the fact that my wife’s car needed to be dropped off for service due to a scraping noise coming from the front, driver’s-side corner.  If I had had the time, I may have looked into it myself to some extent, but I got home late from work the night before and didn’t have any time in the morning to do more than drive it around the block before committing to the tasks before us.  My wife, as is characteristic, worried her way through a variety of ridiculously expensive possibilities such as  a broken brake shoe, blown shocks or struts, or even a cracked axle.  As it turned out, the true culprit was a piece of wood – a tree branch wedged in the suspension.  Supposedly in the process of correcting this issue, the shop noted wear in the sway bar and still managed to score around $300 from us.  But all said it seems wood is the theme ingredient of my week.

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