Monday, January 30, 2006

My kingdom for a broadband connection!

Today was another exciting day in the life of an expectant dad--me, that is. I spent most of the day on chores, which always seem to take longer than it appears that they should. I started off in Baby's room, painting the drywall repair that Connie made when she was laying our floor. This was to fix the gap between the outside wall and the wall between our room and Baby's room. The interior wall had pulled away from the exterior wall by about an inch, making the drywall tape warp and buckle. After I cut away the tape, and realized that there was such a large gap behind there, I wasn't sure how to fix it.

For awhile after we moved in, I thought that I would fix it, then gave up on that and for awhile had no idea how it would get fixed and wondered if putting a tall plant in front of it instead of fixing it would really be all that bad. Connie had to think about it for awhile herself, and finally settled on filling it with Great Stuff expanding foam, putting drywall mud over that, then sanding it down and finishing it. She did this rather than put tape back in there, because if it shifts now, all we'll have to do is fill the cracks with some mud and paint over that. If she put in tape again, any more shifting would mean we'd have to take it all out and do it over. But, once she had it fixed, it was up to us to paint it, which means that it was up to me, to keep Mama from huffing paint fumes.

Mama made a run to Target today to buy some more Mamaternity clothes to add to her wardrobe for work (here at home, it's always casual day--the real kind, when you can wear sweats). While she was out, she also stopped by Giant to pick up some food, which was a good move, since we were running low on staples, like ice cream--hey, it's been a warm winter. While she was out, I had a chance to get two coats of Roasted Red Pepper on the drywall repair, which looks like it will be enough, although when we did the rest of the room, it required a dark gray primer and two coats of the red, so we'll have to see how it dries. I also pulled out the vacuum after picking up a few dust bunnies in my trips up and down the hallway.

Even though Barky is the size of a harrier, he's no good with the dust kind of bunny.

Rather than sit and watch the paint dry, I alternated painting and vacuuming until there were two coats down and the floors were all clean--except the dreaded (and soon to be late) kitchen floor, pictured here. She's a real 1960's beauty, isn't she? When we moved in, she was shellacked in a hardened coat of grease and dirt. We chisled and scrubbed through most of that, although as you may be able to see, the vinyl contains thousands of tiny divots that would each have to have their hardened, sedimentary layers of grime picked out of with a dentist's tool if we were to get the floor truly clean. Even Barky, after licking the floor for minutes at a time--and no, we don't want to know what compels him to do that--can't penetrate these grease trap craters. We knew from the start that the floor would have to go--either be ripped up and replaced or simply covered over--so we never went further than making sure the surface was clean. It's been a little while, so today I pulled out our new big gun for the first time: the Swiffer Wet Jet.

We already had the regular Swiffer, but we got the WJ for the laminate floors since Connie had said that the solution was formulated not to damage laminates and that we may need something a little stronger than a regular or wet Swiffer to get some spills off the laminate. Even though it was very successful in the kitchen, peeling back more of the ossified layers of filth laid down by all those who came before us, you can see that the floor is still not truly clean. Ah well, the end is nigh; in February we'll start planning the new kitchen, including a new floor, with Connie.

Coincidentally, as I was working on that, Brother #2 sent along further accounts of his adventures with his new Roomba, which I've been asking about. He included action shots, and even an action movie. I'll spare you the before-and-after sequence of a pile of dirt, but suffice it to say that the Roomba is pretty impressive. It does seem to function as advertised, with the only shortcoming being battery life in a larger place. So, no that's not a picture of an angry face, that's the bottom of the Roomba, showing all of its tools. Seems to have been an exciting day on both coasts.

I haven't checked out the movie yet because we don't have any Internet access at home, since we're between Earthlink and Verizon. It's not too bad for this short bit, since we both have broadband at work, and can keep up on email and a bit of surfing through our Treo and Blackberry, but it is getting to be a bit of a pain for things like the movie I couldn't watch--OK, how sad is that, that I was disappointed I couldn't watch a movie of an automated vacuum cleaner?--and then there are taxes, which we do on the computer, and which always require an upgrade before we get started, not to mention downloading our latest banking activity, and mapping our route to. . .OK, so it is a pain in the ass while it's down, but it's a minor pain, and it keeps me from geeking out when I should be preparing for Baby by doing things like painting Baby's room.

There is still a little touchup to do in Baby's room, but then it's ready to furnish and decorate, which brings me to our latest shared moment of almost-panic: we need to furnish for Baby.

We need Baby Stuff.

We're not too worried, since we're about on track with our panic. Now's a good time to start shopping, what with Mama over her queasiness, but not yet getting so far along that she doesn't want to spend long on her feet debating which sheets for the crib. . .yeah, the crib that we don't have yet.

What got me started on this post were my thoughts as I was painting the wall while Mama was out shopping. It seemed like such a typical, suburban American way to spend a weekend: send Mama out shopping while I do some fix-it project around the house. Typical gender roles, right? The reality is that Mama needed new clothes and that I'm not a very good shopping companion (that's probably understating it a bit--I'm a terrible shopping companion). In addition, I needed to do the painting, and I needed to do it while she was gone, to keep Baby safe from the fumes. Sure, I suppose we could have gotten her an inhaler to protect her from breathing any fumes--although I doubt that even an inhaler would keep them all out--and I could've sucked it up and gone along on the shopping trip. But, there's also the time constraints of a weekend--there's just not that much time to get a lot done, and dividing and conquering our tasks turned out to be an efficient way to get things done.

Did we both end up in activities that are traditionally assigned to our respective gender roles? Sure. Did we do it because I'm a boy and she's a girl, and that's what boys and girls do? No, we did it for a raft of other reasons, without ever considering who's the boy and who's the girl. . .beyond the obvious recognition that the girl is the pregnant one. Actually, had Mama not been pregnant, it might well have been me out of the house on some errands while she painted, since she's the one who painted almost the entire condo by herself.

It's interesting how quickly our roles and priorities shift, ever so slightly, due to Baby's impending arrival. After Baby arrives, and as we get settled in our new patterns, I'm sure that our roles will pretty much revert to what they were before, although our priorities will surely continue to change as we grow with Baby. Does this mean that we'll continue to fulfill our traditional gender roles? Perhaps. Does it mean that we'll do it for reasons of gender? No, just as we don't now.

We'll keep thinking about and posting on all of this--changing roles, priorities, gender patterns, and so forth. In the meantime, does it make me more of a Mama to be excited about an automated vacuum?

*Note: I sent this to Blogger on Sunday night, but the Roomba picture was too large to be posted, so I've reduced the size and am resending. Hope this one goes through.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Please post the Roomba movie ASAP, we have ben looking at them also. And have I got a great painting tool for you, although you may not need it now, its a long tube like thing that you fill with paint then squeeze a trrigger and it squirts it onto a roller. I bought one at Home Depot to paint with and its awesome, soo fast and not messy. Perfect for a lazy old man like me.
    Cilla more Peanut Butter