Take Your HVAC Registers Off When You Paint – And the Evolution of an Old Fireplace

I don’t care how little time you have or how inexperienced you are at painting, please, please, for the love of everything holy in the world, take your HVAC registers off when you paint.  While you are at it, take off door hardware and plates for electrical outlets.  Please, could you do that for the sake of not only yourself (you really should vacuum out those return registers from time to time), but for the sake of future owners who not only have to chip away 3 layers of paint to get the screws off, but who are disgusted by the 5 inch thick cat hair clogs that are in your return registers.

Now that the PSA is done, part one of the fireplace/living room remodel is done.

Here is the fireplace several years ago:


Here is the fireplace when we bought the house, colors courtesy of their tenant:


Here is the fireplace and all new ceiling pre-Christmas 2014 :


There is a Problem With the Way We Teach Adults New Languages

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a little disappointed that Rosetta Stone discontinued Danish and Norwegian, because I found the way it approached Russian to be super helpful.

However, having said that, 99% of what I’ve seen presented towards adult learners of Danish (is there even anything for children?) is so ridiculously unhelpful for people who need to speak Danish in their own homes.   What we need to learn first is a whole different set of vocabulary and conversations that aren’t even usually covered in any Danish learning books you can purchase.   I need to know how to talk about cleaning, and different aspects of cooking, and an in depth conversation about how someone’s day went.   I need to know how to talk to a baby in Danish or a child.  An ever so tiny bit about this has been covered in some of the Norwegian courses I’ve taken and I can kind of correlate it, but Danish books?  Nope.

Instead, they endlessly cover introductions and polite topics of adult conversation that will get you no further than 5 minutes, etc.  Not helpful at all.  Firstly, because almost everyone in Denmark can easily get that far in English with you, trust me, and secondly, because if you are like me you want to know what the Danes are saying to each other when they switch over and you actually want to be able to hold a conversation with your spouse in their native tongue.  Is that too much to ask, is it?

I’m frustrated with Danish because no matter how much I study it, it doesn’t seem to be in the practical use category for my everyday life, in my house.  With the coming baby and the fact that they need to be fluent to keep Danish citizenship, this is a pressing concern.

I had started to do this a while ago, but I think I need to come up with a whole list of phrases I actually need to know and baby/toddler vocabulary to maybe do flashcards for my and the first wee one.  Now that we’ve been firmly gripped in English again, I feel like we can go back to Danish, maybe.

I think, for those few of you that stumble upon here, I’ll post the results of my attempts as PDFs or just in the text.

Oh bilingual Spanish-English homes, you have no idea how easy you have it.

What have you done with your rare language at home (and yes I think less than 7 million speakers makes it rare enough)?

A room almost done

Besides the 8 other rooms nowhere near done, the front hallway is basically done except for some ceiling paint and eventually, far in the future, replacing the laminate floors with tile.  We got to class it up, right?

Craftsman Bungalow Front Hallway

And now I am in panic about finishing some of the other stuff before my mother comes for Thanksgiving and then for Christmas.  I’d really like a finished living and dining room for Christmas, but I don’t know how realistic that goal is.

I’d also like to finish everything else inside before the baby comes, but at t-minus 5.5 months, it just ain’t happening, especially with me not having the energy to paint whole rooms like I had before.  We are lucky that I’ve finally gotten the energy back to clean.

She’s Reading, Finally Really Reading

The little one turns 6 today and recently started actually reading, really reading.   I mistook our early struggles with simple books as reading, but no, there is something different now, an ease to the reading and an attempt to figure out words that have not been memorized.  That only took 3 painful years.  I credit the BOB books (I think we have 3 or 4 sets of them) and word flashcards for finally doing the trick.

I got to say I was not expecting the difficulty with this that it has been.  My ex-husband has a high IQ, I have a high IQ, why the heck is our child not reading was what was going through my mind.   It was like every image I had of parenting a child like myself has been thrown out the window.  Every idea I had about parenting before she came was basically wrong.

At the end of the day, my daughter is not me, she’s nothing at all like me, and that is truly a fantastic gift.  She’s her own little person who isn’t swayed at all by my personality or desires for her life.  She does things on her own time and her own strength of will.   She’s perfect for her and for us.  Happy Birthday little one.

A Russian Perspective on Scandinavian Men

Don’t even ask how I ventured across this, but, voila:

Scandinavians are very different in terms of expression of emotions, they are reserved. Russian women are emotional. To make them happy, you often have to tell them that they are the best, the most beautiful, the most beloved. And men have to back it up with their actions, not to mention financially. Scandinavians are known for their restraint and stinginess. They are not suited for the Russian temperament. […] Scandinavians tend to be straightforward and stick to the rules, so they try to take away children because children are the most important thing.


Are Danes plain with their words?  Yeppers.  Are they avid rule followers?  Yes.  Do kids in mixed marriages tend to go to the Dane in custody cases?  Yes.   Can the Danes kick foreign divorced spouses out the country?  You betcha.  One of the saving graces and a huge scam loophole in the American system is that once you get a greencard, you are basically here if you don’t commit a felony.  We are about to remove conditions on my husband permanent residency, a process he could do on his own if we divorced before 2 years or I died, and after that there is nothing at all standing in the way of of a legal permanent resident staying in the country, regardless of divorce.  This is fair on several levels to the immigrant – there is less incentive to stay in abusive marriages, children born to the couple get to have both parents in the same country, and the sacrifices of moving to another country are acknowledged.   Well, don’t expect those considerations if you marry a Dane.

I do find the Danes as a whole to be restrained, exceptionally so, and also stingy with compliments, albeit not with money.

Are American women as a whole more or less emotional than Russian women?  That I can’t really quantify, but let’s say for argument sake we are about the same.  I think for me personally and probably for a lot of American women, being married to a typical Dane is going to be emotionally hard.  My husband is wonderful, he truly is, but he is no American, that is for sure.  Many times, I find myself in a position that I know he’s not trying to be hurtful or rude, but the word usage is so curt and slicing that I can’t help but feel hurt.  Hurt that he doesn’t talk to me in the gentler way that I’m used to Americans talking, especially the way that American men speaking to women, etc.  Sometimes I feel like I’m being spoken to as if I’m his annoying kid brother or something, which for him, as we’ve talked this to death, is a sign of our closeness.  If he had to put on a polite front and curb his language it would be a signal that we were drifting apart.

I don’t know how other Scando-American couples deal with this, but for us it is obviously trying to find a middle ground in which he is less curt and I am more understanding of it.    I don’t think we are quite there yet.

And a knocked up American wife update – NT scan went well, they moved up my due date so I’m now 14 weeks.  Oh and I threw up in the car this morning, while driving.  Magical.  I’m not so much afraid of losing it right now, but it still doesn’t feel REAL.  I feel like I don’t belong in the fertile girl world or the infertile one.  Despite it taking 23 months for us, because we didn’t do IVF and our IUI didn’t work, it is like infertile world = ART pregnancies and fertile world = natural pregnancies.   Also, my husband keeps vetoing my Slytherin nursery plans.  I painted the room emerald green like a month before we got pregnant, I am not painting it back.  I also really don’t like cutesy nurseries.  Yes, Slytherin/HP themed nursery, Yes?

The Adventures of Floor Sanding

So, we embarked upon the cause of sanding our nearly 100 year old floors.  As I had previously mentioned, they were a yellowy perhaps natural wood color and then the tenant last year used that terrible Minwax Polyshades stuff on top, in a black.  Now, there were boot prints in it and it had been applied over dirt and rather unevenly and begun to flake up in places to reveal the much lighter floor underneath.  Whatever you do, don’t put that stuff on your floors.   It made it double the fun to sand off as well.

DSC00316 DSC00317

I liked the idea of the dark floors with dark trim (and yes the window trim in a tacky later edition by the homeowners that I one day hope to purge ourselves of).   Then I tried what looked to be good Minwax colors, Red Oak and Dark Walnut:

This is what it actually looks like:

Minwax red oak dark walnut

This is basically yuck.  The Dark Walnut looks like mud and the Red Oak is no good.  I have some theories as to why it doesn’t work – the Dane sanded the floor too fine or maybe the floors are not oak?   I’m going to pick up some lighter colors tomorrow, maybe Early American and see what happens.

Pregnant but Still a Bitter Infertile

Excuse Ipad typos please :)

Of course, my thoughts leading up to our NT scan are that we are going to get there and see that I’ve had a missed miscarriage.   With a return of some of my energy over the last 2 days and less nausea, I worry, but I’ve been worrying all along.  I still say, even at 10 weeks tomorrow, “if we have a baby”.  If we don’t, I’m not sure my heart can take much more and that will be it with the trying for us as it was about to be days before I found out.   For 6 weeks, I’ve been bed bound and barely awake during the day and without energy to do much at all.  I hated being pregnant with DD and I hate being pregnant now.   Just being honest.

I still get upset at women who basically brag about getting pregnant quickly, do we really all need to know that you ‘struggled’ for 3 months, really?  I think damn those stupid fertiles when I see people in the middle of immigration knocking up their partner and then whining about being separated. Too freaking bad, use some birth control.

I’m still upset at parents who don’t have the money, time, etc.  for the kids they have, having more.  I’m upset that the women who want so desperately to have a child aren’t having them, while fertile myrtles are pushing out one after another.  The universe is anything but fair.

Yep, I’m pregnant and still a shockingly bitter infertile at heart.