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I don’t care for Valentine’s Day and I don’t care for decks. But if you tear my deck out on Valentine’s Day, you’ll have won my heart.

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There is a lot happening on the Parkway this week.

Our porch is just about finished–the floor is down and the columns need to be put back in. The floor–primer white in the picture–will need to be painted as soon as possible. We chose a muted green. The shutters are also going to get a new coat of paint, changing from that very unlovely shade of rust red (oh how i hate that color….) to a much more flattering green.

Tony finished stripping the last few shreds of wallpaper out of the Library and front hall, getting us closer to having those rooms painted, hopefully within a month.

So we’re finally back from vacation, having learned a few very valuable lessons:

1. Rosie likes rides that go very high and very fast. When we go to Disneyworld later this year, Space Mountain is a go!

2. Anthony does not like rides that spin around extremely fast. When we go to Disneyworld later this year, the Teacups are a no!

3. Without the benefit of a nap, and up hours past his bedtime, Anthony will lose his shit and holler “BOOBY!” in a nice restaurant. This is very embarrassing.

MOVING ON. Bright and early Monday morning, our porch renovation began. The columns were removed, and the rotting floor torn up. Unfortunately (although not surprisingly) the joists and other structures below had also rotted, so today they are being removed and rebuilt. If all goes well with that, the new floor should probably go in later this week.

The house looks kind of funny with no columns out front, like a kid who’s missing her front teeth.

The six roses I planted two weeks ago are leafing out beautifully, all but one, who is kind of inching along. This week we are finally done travelling and it’s not so soul-crushingly hot, so I should be able to put in all the rest of my new plants. I’ve got purple coneflower, daisies, black-eyed susans, pink and yellow coreopsis, chamomile and verbena all waiting patiently, under Rosie’s watchful eye.

I threw this window shade together this weekend with a few yards of scrap fabric and satin ribbon, and a spring rod. If anyone ever touches it (likelihood: high) it will fall down, but I wanted to experiment with the concept before making similar shades for our tv room (soon to be dining room). Only those will actually involve cutting and sewing (yikes!).

The weather was idyllic… the company was entertaining… the work was quick and easy… the beer was cold… if the unofficial First Weekend of Summer is any indicator, this might turn out to be the greatest summer of all time.

a new glove

floorboards must be primed on all sides before installation

progress-day one

child learns to fetch drink from cooler. survey says: awesome!

while waiting for the primer to dry, child helped clear overgrown ground cover. number of worms eaten: 3.

progress–day two

It has been such a cool spring so far, and I know it won’t be any time at all before it starts getting incredibly hot, but for now I love having to bring a sweater or hoodie along when I go outside. I dread hot weather. If it never got above maybe 75 degrees, I would be happy forever. This unidentifiable old rose lives in the very back of the yard, in the most unlikely spot. I’ve never watered or fed it, but it seems to thrive on neglect. My favorite type of garden plant.

I was so sad to leave my little rose garden behind when we sold our first house. I had planted four or five beautiful english roses and especially loved the big yellow one that consumed one whole side of our deck. When we moved in here Tony bought me this little yellow climber and we planted it by our garden shed. It hasn’t done as well with neglect, the poor thing. I bought two of the same giant yellow rose this spring and will put them in up front… he doesn’t mind a little shade and was at least ten feet wide and ten feet tall, blooming constantly until Thanksgiving. I also bought six pink climbers for the side of the house. Hopefully the rain is over for now and I can plant them over the holiday weekend.

The kids are enjoying the mild weather also. A has a natural affinity for baseball and R loves to swing as high as possible.

I love that t-shirt he’s wearing; it has a steamroller on it, and whenever he wears it, Rosie sings to him, “I’m a steamroller, baby, gonna rooooolll all over yooou!” I have no idea where she picked that up. Anyway, the shirt is also the exact same color as his eyes, weirdly enough.

I’m trying to shield Rosie from as much awful tween-preteen pop culture as possible (Hannah Montana is persona non grata here), but occasionally she will pick up the odd slang or pop reference and file it away in her brain and then POP! lay it on me in an unexpected moment and I’ll laugh until I choke. The other night she was getting ready for bed and said to me, “Hey girlfriend! What are you wearing to Europe? Are you ready to kick it??”¬† I think she may have gotten that from the movie “Enchanted?” Who knows.

They are always so happy to see each other and (mostly) play so well together. I know I have to take a lot of pictures to remember these times so that when they are older and are all “he looked at meeee!” “she touched meeee!” “MOOOOM!” I can look back and remember how nice it used to be. And I can show them the pictures and say, “Look! You used to hug each other! Without biting!”

Have a great weekend!

Well, I’m back from a brief blogging absence. Every year Derby is worse than Christmas: tons of hype and fun and things to do (and eat and drink) leading up to the big day, then POOF! it’s all over and in the vacuum you’re left wondering, what am I supposed to do for the rest of the summer?

In our case, what we are going to do is finish our living/dining room arrangement (no! really! i mean it!) and have our front porch renovated. As we continue to wail and gnash our teeth over our kitchen indecision, we’ve decided that we may as well tackle one of the other non-DIY-able projects on our list. For some reason our porch floor has deteriorated rapidly over the last year (actually, why be so magnanimous? the reason is that the previous owners installed it improperly and maintained it poorly, just like everything else. harumph) and it’s starting to feel a little… dangerous. So we’re having the old porch floor torn out… which means the columns have to be removed… which means some structure has to be built to support the roof… which is why this is totally not a DIY affair. But that’s not to say we aren’t helping… Tony and I will prime the new tongue-and-groove wood flooring before it is installed and paint it after the contractor is finished. We’ll probably paint our shutters and trim as well…. who wants to help us pick a color?

But back to Derby for a second. It’s widely known that Derby weekend is the greatest holiday of the year, involving a tremendous amount of anticipation and planning. It is also generally the first major outdoor event of the year for most people, although falling as it does in early spring–in the Ohio Valley–conditions¬† can range from snowfall to thunderstorms to 95-degree heat stroke. Needless to say, accurate weather forecasts are crucial on Derby weekend. One must balance the need to look fabulous with the demands of the weather, not to mention staying comfortable trackside for eight hours or so. Take last year, for instance: for Friday’s Oaks, the meteorologists predicted rain throughout the day, so we dressed down, wore appropriate shoes and rain gear, and had a damply wonderful time. This year, however, I am very sorry to report, was an undeniable DISASTER. After wildly ranging forecasts throughout the week, we woke up Friday to a forecast of partly sunny, no rain until after dark, possible storms overnight. Oh no! Derby may be rainy, but at least I won’t have to wear a parka! Yay me! So we eschewed parkas and sneakers for airy ruffles, linen and sandals. This is what it looked like outside early on Oaks day:

Rosie, sporting a Derby hat of her own creation.

This is what it looked like when we got to the racetrack three hours later:

Perplexing! This is partly sunny? Oh well, after a few rounds of mint juleps it didn’t seem so bad, and I figured, at least I won’t get sunburned. And then the skies opened up and the wind started to blow. A quick call home revealed that we were under a thunderstorm warning, a tornado warning, and, yeah, possible hail. SAY WHAT? How do you whiff on a thunderstorm warning, Mr. Weatherman? On the most important weather-related holiday weekend of the year?? So we took our sodden ruffles and soaked linen and wet feet under cover, staked out a friendly corner and resumed our Oaks day. I don’t have any pictures of that part of our day, because for the next six hours I was standing with a racing program in one hand and a drink in the other. When the Oaks went off, amid 40-mph winds and muddy mess, this was the view:

Dreadful. They lied! Jerks. The next day, Derby day, was lovely, of course. But I’m still a leeetle bitter about the way Oaks worked out. So if you ever see me in the headlines, “Woman Punches Weatherman in the Mouth,” now you know why.

There are little metal catches in the floor to hold the french doors in the front of the house closed. One in the entrance to the parlor, one in the entrance to the dining room. They are not quite identical, but I think you can tell which one sits in front of the completed room, and which one sits in front of the unfinished room which is making miserably slow progress.