Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Rainbows, Travel, Storm Windows

Nice touch, Obamas.

How about that rainbow White House?  Jon and I went out on Friday night and the restaurant (Mas) was giving free champagne to every customer who wanted to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage.  This great news, following on the heels of the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, were a happy end to the week.

I love how UVA's Alderman Library created this book rainbow to use as their facebook profile page.

Our house is as silent as the grave lately.  Seamus departed on June 16th for twenty-four days in Germany.  He went with a group from his German class at school and another high school in the area. He's staying with a German host family in the city of Albstadt and attending German public school. Contact with him has been limited to seeing ATM withdrawals from "Volksbank"on my bank statement, and Instagram.  (I send him selfies and he comments on them.)

On the first night after he'd gone, our dog Sancho woke us up in the middle of the night, barking, and wouldn't stop until we made our other dog, Phoebe, get out of Seamus' bed and come back downstairs and sleep next to him.  Phoebe, meanwhile, seems to think we have sent Seamus away for the express purpose of letting her have his bedroom to herself.

Brigid, got a job as a counselor at a summer camp in the Crans-Montana region of Switzerland.  She left on June 20th and will return on August 30th. I didn't feel too much anxiety about sending Seamus off, since his whole trip was organized by his German teacher, who has done this with other groups several times.  Brigid, on the other hand, had to make her own way to the camp.  It's two hours by train from the Geneva airport, and then a twenty minute ascent via funicular. Nothing like sending your child off to a foreign country, knowing she'll have an immediate need to buy a train ticket with nothing but an ATM card that you hope will work. (Switzerland is not on the Euro, and I had difficulty buying Swiss francs in the US, so we just had to depend 100% on electronic banking.) Anyway, Brigid made it to the camp, where she is very busy, but we get occasional messages.  I've taken to stalking the camp's facebook page, and she has appeared in a few of the pictures there.

It's strange to think that two of my kids are so far from home on separate trips, and yet both in the same time zone.  They will not have the opportunity to see each other.  By the time Brigid has her first day off, Seamus will be back in the United States.

At the risk of sounding like an uncaring mother, I'll say that I had high hopes that the absence of two children would allow me to achieve a high standard of cleanliness around the house, but this hasn't happened.  The house was unbelievably chaotic the week before Seamus and Brigid left and I was itching to get a good cleaning on, but I've been more or less propped up in bed with a book or netflix, when I'm not at work, ever since they left.

This week we finally completed another major item on our to-do list for the house: get storm windows installed.  The old part of the house had dreadful aluminum triple-track storm windows, and we recklessly told the painters to get rid of them when we did the courtyard-building/house painting project.  It turns out that when you research storm windows, you're shunted to replacement windows.  I love my house's original windows.  With the exception of two windows, which we did have to replace, the frames are in good condition and the old wavy glass is preserved in some of the panes.  I was seriously considering the possibility of building them ourselves but we finally found someone who could install storm windows that look decent on an old house.  After replacing the circuit breaker box, this was the top item on our list.  Now I think we can focus on getting to the bottom of the issues with the dishwasher's plumbing.


  1. Every summer when we drop Edie off at camp for three weeks, I have a similar vision - and then I pretty much find myself doing everything BUT a good clean. Sigh. Maybe this will be the year? (Already doubtful.)

    Pat wants storm windows for our house - I might drop you a line once we get past the painting project part.

    1. I'll get his contact info from Jon. I'm pleased with the results, and I thought the price was reasonable, but we only did six windows. It did take weeks of waiting for the storms to be ordered and delivered.

  2. Those sound like such great experiences for your kids. And isn't Brigid the one who was in Australia? She must be a travel expert by now :-) Personally, I was grateful every time I was in an airport or train station, that we were in a country that spoke English. Although there are so many different accents in the UK (including Jamaican and Pakastani) that there were times when we didn't understand a word.

    My parents house (built around 1900) has the wavy glass windows, and I can see how you'd like to preserve that --glad you were able to find someone who could help.

    1. Brigid was in Cape Town, South Africa for a semester. It was an amazing experience!

  3. Your projects are BIG! And what an exciting summer your kids have. That must be weird to be so alone, but I bet you're making the most of the quiet. I am down to one kid this night and it's pretty terrific.