Sunday, September 02, 2007

Twelve Days

In twelve days we will sink down in our undersized yet expensive seats as the 737 rotates off the runway at PDX, on our way to the next stage of our lives, on our way to our daughter in Guangzhou.

We've worked for it. Goddamn but we've worked.

Here's a quick tour of the physical results of our preparations. I'm not sure, honestly, what made all this happen. Nesting? Nervous energy? Both? But the result has been a wholesale makeover of our little home on N. Amherst.

First, outside, there's an entirely new deck. Watersealed, inspected, complete. Note the nice two-level effect. We still need a bit of shrubbery.

Where the old east bay window once leaked and mildewed in unhappy malconstruction: behold the newly installed, painted and cleaned side door.

One note regarding the construction of this entryway: enlarge the picture and take a close look at the floor along the bottom of the door. We knew when we started remodelling that the northeast front of the house had settled "some", probably early in the life of the building some time in the 1920's. But there's a difference between knowing something and knowing it. Now, we know that the front of the house really does slope downhill. This had an interesting effect on laying the laminate floor. Inside of midroom it was quick and simple. Toward the front? Cleaning the corruption out of the House Republican Caucus would have been easier. Herculean. That's the best description for the task. Looks nice, tho, doesn't it?
You've seen the back hallway - the last bit was to replace these...

...nasty landlord snow globes...

...with better-looking pendant lamps from IKEA. Our spending this year at the purveyor of meatballs and laminate furniture make up 0.001% of the GNP of Sweden.
I'm glossing over all the other stuff, like the new "OTTAVA" lamp and the new "BJÄRNUM /JÄRPEN" shelves in the bathroom, or the cute little "ALSEDA" footstools out front, or all the painting and detailing...
Done. Done, done, done. We may still be flailing around but at least the house is ready for Mei-mei.
But first a visitor had to go home. Yes, it was time for Christine and the Boys to come and take Oscar the Ginormous Fish home to his family. I'm afraid to relate that there wasn't a moist eye in the Fire Direction Center when he went into his five-gallon bucket for the trip down to Capitol Hill. It helped that the Peep had dumped a bluefin tune-sized helping of his reeking chiclid food in the tank that morning, most of which had hydrated and was pretty foul by the time it came to move the Big Boy.

As she put her lips to the siphon in hopes of avoiding a full mouthful of vile chiclid tank-water Christine, in a most unmaternal voice, muttered "I thought he'd die. I really did."
But as I've related, Oscar is the Fish Too Mean to Die. He survived yet another move, and is currently stinking up the Wilson's new house.
To help with the move, Peep and his friend The Poet posed as Asian gangsters. Note to self: do NOT let those boys watch any more John Woo films.

The amazing thing is that we've spent most of this weekend doing nothing in particular! No home improvement, no frantic e-mailings or phone calls. Lazed about the house, taked stabs at reassembling May's (Peep's old) crib, gone to Columbia Pool. But nothing more than idling about. What a lovely feeling.

We did have a pleasant surprise this morning: our friend Millicent, of Different Dirt, stopped by to visit. She's back in Portland just for what amounts to a moment before leaving to pick up her own daughter the same week we leave for Mei-mei.
I have some nice snapshots of her and Mojo chatting and was going to post them here until I took a moment to look through the Dirt and realized that she seldom posts closeup shots of either her or Floyd. I'm not particularly concerned about people getting creepy about what I post here - I work in Southeast Portland, forgod'ssake, where "creepy" is a resume term - but I realize that others are and that she might be. So here's my own bloggy tribute to the fact that we tend to see as much of Millie's bare feet over at her blog as we see the rest of her.
It was a lovely visit, and after that we went shopping for prezzies for the lovely workers in the Lianjiang City Social Welfare Center - I bet the lads'll be stylin' in their Oregon State University 2007 NCAA Champion Baseball t-shirts. Heh heh...
So it's Labor Day tomorrow, and another two short weeks until we fly. All we have to do is pack and prepare for a fun get-together with our homestyles from the ALT-DTC Yahoo group coming for our September "Orphanpalooza" get-together.
Speaking of which...I had to share this. One of our visitors mentioned that she was pining for the fall colors she misses in the southcentral U.S. - she loves the brilliant turn of leaves and asked if our "fall parade" had begun. I hated to disillusion her but had to give her the truth straight from the shoulder:
To: XXXXXXX (address redacted)
Re: Fall colors.
<<"Fall Parade"????>>

(name redacted). Girlfriend. Here in Portland we have two seasons, and they're sort of like a Pamela Anderson video:

1. Hot (July-September)
2. Wet (October-June)

The leaves don't turn except for 15 minutes (2:00-2:15pm) September 27th, every year. After that they mold on the tree, fall off, and get slimy on the ground.

Oh, and slugs eat them.

So if you're missing full color fall and coming here hoping to...ummm...did I mention how magnificent the mighty douglas-firs look in the autumn light?

Looking forward to seeing everyone, parade or no parade...


walternatives said...

Are you gonna be back from China in time to see the leaves change on Sept. 27th? I am so looking forward to checking out that deck from all angles, beer in hand. I apreciate your discretion in showing only Millicent's feet and will have had a fresh pedicure for my visit. Thanks so much, Cheif and Mojo and Peeps, for hosting the crew soon.

walternatives said...

p.s. I hate misspellings, Chief.

atomic mama said...

The deck, floors, door, lights, all look FABULOUS! As do Millicent's feet. Congrats on gettin' it done! Wish I could join y'all for that Orphanalooza. Have fun!