Posts from August, 2009

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

nursery preview

Sunday, 30 August 2009


just a quick peak for now …

the crown molding is up, the walls are painted, and we lucked into a rug that managed to tie the walls, the bedding, and even the blue dresser (from bridesmaid Mel) together. I love it when a happy accident makes you look like a design genius.

fwiw, the lady sparkler thought I was being all arty with the partially closed door photograph … I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there was 50 lbs of chaos and a power mitre saw behind that door.

I’m not skilled, I’m just lazy. no, wait … I’m skilled at being lazy. does that count?



in mt. pleasant, dc:

2y, 1m, 10d

test driving chairs, and means of getting out of them

Friday, 28 August 2009


the lady sparkler recently decided that she wanted a chair in the nursery. i thought that was a little hoity-toity, because we already had a perfectly good milk crate we could use, but she persisted …

so, we went to the ‘burbs — again.

somewhere along the way, my beloved got stuck in a chair that she couldn’t get out of. and before anyone thinks that i am a monster for taking a picture of my beloved instead of helping her out … ha! yeah, well, nevermind.

guilty as charged.

p.s. note to bridesmaids — seriously, she was laughing the whole time. really. you can ask her. yes, i am a bad person. yes, i helped her up eventually. yes, she DID make a Sigourney Weaver/”Aliens” reference the other day. no, we aren’t having eight children and getting our own reality TV show.



tottenham hotspur, the most recent sign that the apocolypse is upon us

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

tottenhamIn a most bizarre stroke of luck, the English football team that I follow (Tottenham Houtspur) has won their first three matches and is sitting in first place.

this is the same team that took nine attempts to win their first match last season, and that we saw in London earlier this year.

I honestly don’t know if I should run out and buy a lottery ticket, or bend over and wait for Armageddon … though currently my money is on the latter.

I should point out that the lady sparkler’s team (Everton) have lost their first two matches by a total of six goals, so it looks like my bad karma hasn’t gone away … it’s just been redistributed.     

but don’t worry, this is never going to last. 

in fact, the only reason I mention is so that when this streak turns out to be yet another false dawn of Spurs supremacy, I can look back on these few weeks as the glory days of my Tottenham romance.

until then, i am going to keep rooting like … um, the happy, well-adjusted fans of any of the normal, not-incredibly-inconsistent clubs in the league.

crown molding

Saturday, 22 August 2009

· · · ·

when we moved into mount pleasant, the lady sparkler and I quickly noticed that there was one room in the house that didn’t have crown molding.

we didn’t really care (because we were planning to redo the room anyway, once we got pregnant) and just chalked it up to the previous owner having a short attention span. 

but, I’ve recently discovered that none of our walls are flat.  and our ceilings sag.  and the corners of our walls aren’t actually square.

and now I’m starting to think the previous owners might have known what they were doing (er, not doing) by loosing inerest in molding before all the rooms were done.

I’m not exactly a slouch with wood-working, from a father who raised me with power tools in the garage, to 15 years of theatrical design, and a groomsman generously let me borrow a power mitre saw to do the heavy lifting…

but nothing really prepared me for putting up straight boards around a room with nary a straight line in sight.

it took two weeks to put up forty feet of molding. it took two and a half tubs of wood putty to fill in the gaps between the molding and the ceiling.  it took four sanding blocks to get the joints in the molding to look like someone this side of a three year-old did the carpentry.

in the end, it looks pretty okay … and thank the good sweet lord that I decided against covering the bottom half of the room in wainscotting.  

(I would have been %#$&ing about how hard that was until baby sparklet turned at LEAST 16.)

everything is finally starting to come together.



in mt. pleasant, dc:

2y, 1m, 2d

i do elevators, too

Thursday, 20 August 2009

· · ·

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks on crown molding in thhe nursery, and just as it’s winding down … I find out have to recarpet the elevator.

yes, the elevator.  

shortly after we moved into our building in mount pleasant, I was elected to our unit-owner association’s board.  i wish it had been some Capra-esque moment, but I was the only one at the annual meeting who wasn’t already a board member.

long story short, our management company misplaced $30,000 in funds … money which we had already spent to replace our 30-year old elevator.  now we are short on funds, don’t have a functioning elevator, and even the hippies in the building are starting to riot.

last night I discovered that the only thing separating me from a functioning (though still not entirely paid for) elevator was a 55 by 80 inch fire-resistant carpet, required in order for us to pass inspection.  

not sure why it fell to me (the rest of the board lives two flights of stairs farther up than I) but I decided I couldn’t risk going into november without a functioning elevator.

the lady sparkler pitched in and called five different carpet vendors, one of which had something suitable that fell off the back of his truck, and would be waiting for me after hours at their family’s Afghan-Pakistani restaraunt in northern Virginia.

I picked up the rug and a pound of baklava (the lady sparkler dropped ~27 hints about how good the desserts’ reviews were) and settled in for a long evening of carpet installation.

turns out my carpeting skills gives my talent for breakdancing a real run for their money, but it went down with two tubes of construction adhesive (replaced duct tape as my universal repair tool of choice) which got our elevator inspected, and back in service.

in the meantime, i’m glad that my life is going to settle down this winter, and become moderately less bizarre.

in mt. pleasant, dc:

2y, 1m, 0d


Sunday, 16 August 2009


[Nursery Paint Color, Washington, DC]

“Look at the staaaaaars, look how they shiiiine for youuuuu … And everything youuuuu do, and they were allllll yell-o.”

so … the insanity? it’s setting in. in two more weeks i will be running around with a tie wrapped around my forehead, talking to “Wilson.” yeah.

so, like … i, well, decided to paiiiiint. and that was cooool. buuut, the color we picked out???? it was like, chickadee. and, i painted the walls with it. which was cool, and all. but it sucked. and was, like, totally pale. and lame.

and soooo, i, like, painted the walls a different color??? and this one was totally bolder. like *REALLY* yellow. but it was called, like, acorn squash. and the lady sparkler hates squash. but i didn’t want to paint the walls again, so i, like, didn’t tell her. so please don’t tell my wiiife.

and nowwwwww? i decided to put up, uh, crown molding? and that’s really going to be great. on 80 year old walls. that are not flat at all. or straight. or flush. and i’m pretty sure that this will totally solve my “going mental” thing.

did i mention i’ve never done it before???? yeahhh. it’s going to be greeeeaaat.



in mt. pleasant, dc:

2y, 0m, 27d


Sunday, 9 August 2009

[Baby Bedding, Washington, DC]
whatever I said about the crib being the hardest decision to make, I lied. it was just the hardest, most *expensive* decision.crib bedding sucks.

we’ve been all over the map. we looked at cute (insects, butterflies) and bold (letters, primary colors) and girly (toile, nursery rhymes) and natural (rainforests, coral reefs).

and the worst part? we would decided on each one in turn, only to rollback the decision the following morning. and then, after we had ruled out everything else, we decided on just a solid color … moments before we figured out that solids don’t hide stains very well.

after about a month, we finally found carousel designs baby bedding which seemed to have a lot of “normal” looking baby bedding. and you could buy whatever they had piece by piece, so no paying $100 for a baby bumper that you didn’t want.

(speaking of … wow. didn’t realize the crazy wacko emotions that baby bumper use triggers. i will bring up women’s reproductive health at a party before bringing up whether baby bumpers are safe and / or effective.)

in the end it was a coin flip between two sets we saw from carousel — one with pink paisley and another with red poppies.

eventually, we chose the latter … mainly because the pink would have seriously driven everything in the room into a level of “pretty, pretty princess” that neither of us were sure we wanted to go. if baby sparklet decides to go down the princess path herself, that’s more than fine … but the paisley option seemed like a shove down the path to big hair and pageant sashes that she might not otherwise take.

the next controversy is paint color, and i am (obviously) excited to have yet another decision of seemingly little significance suck up a month of our lives.

when do we get to the part where we don’t have any decisions to make because our child won’t listen to anything we say? i’m so there.



and the winners are …

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


today, the lady sparkler and I started spending the $340,552 it’s going to take to raise baby sparklet until she graduates college.

I feel strangely proud.

we’ve been futzing around for *months* on the three “big” purchases — the crib, the stroller and the car seat — going baaaack, and forth, and baaaaack, and forth. but today, after nearly two months of researching, six weeks of trips to the suburbs, and three weeks of dithering, we finally pulled the trigger. on something. eventually.

and the winners are …

bonavita_peyton_07116_2bonavita peyton classic crib — a lot of decisions about baby sparklet have terrorized us, but none quite like this one. we’re in a small, small space in the city, so wanted to avoid all of the giii-normous “lifestyle” cribs on the showroom floors.

unfortunately, all anybody sells are giii-normous “lifestyle” cribs.

occasionally, you would see a couple of normal looking cribs in a store. in the back corner. under a sign that says “you hate your baby if you get one of these.”

living in the city, the tween edition of baby sparklet is going to need a loft bed, or is going to have about 2 square feet of floor on which to play. getting a lifestyle crib that converts into a twin bed is of no use to us.

eventually, we found a crib we liked (bonavita peyton) that had a version (classic, not lifestyle) that was just a crib. not a burr grinder. or a lifeboat. just a crib. it seemed very sturdy in the one showroom (out of six) which featured the model that did *not* convert into a dishwasher.

the issue that sealed the peyton classic for us was that it was made from good, hard wood … where most of the competition had soft finishes, and were seriously scuffed up from people window shopping. (really, if a crib can’t survive life in a showroom, what’s it going to look like after a couple of years of teething?!?)

41LiILMKDBL._SL500_AA280_city mini stroller — got a super recommendation from a friend on this one (mightybabyboig) as the stroller they wished they had bought back at the very beginning. it’s light, folds up ridiculously small (important for the bus) and has one of the narrower wheelbases (important for navigating the drunks passed out on District sidewalks).

another crib, the uppababy vista, went deep into our decision making process when it got a strong plug from the baby bargains book (the guardian of my sanity for the last two months) as the best stroller for “hip urban dwellers.” the vista *was* pretty freakin’ cool as a full strollerpalooza system (included with bassinet, raincover, blender, etc.) but was much wider (2″+) than the mini and no where near as compact folded (might need to be strapped to the roof on a city bus).

so, i’m not sure how the city mini didn’t get the top pick for my demographic (maybe its just a definition thing — i’m pretty sure we aren’t hip) but i guess it’s a little much asking one little book to make EVERY decision for me.

of course, none of the stroller models we looked at had either (a) air bags or (b) a star wars missile defense shield, so I’m sure we are recklessly sacrificing baby sparklet’s safety every time we think we even think about leaving the house.

ECPA20090817_0033graco snugride infant car seat — ah, yes. the Honda civic of car seats. the snugride was at the top of every ranking, and the only thing we really did was shop for the color.

the lady sparkler hinted that having a car seat that matched the stroller would be a good thing, because apparently the two can plug together into some sort of voltron-like super-combo-robot-stroller.

speaking of … i wonder if they sell flaming sword attachments? if they did, i’m thinking it would capture the “early-pubescent teen daddy” market that seems to be blooming lately. just a thought.

on the more boring side, the snugride we got appears to have side impact protection … which is great, because I am pretty sure our car (which cost 200x more) does not.

i take this fact as yet another sign that I hate my unborn child, as we haven’t dropped everything and bought a tan Volvo station wagon … yet.

but, then again, tan wouldn’t match.



nice rack

Sunday, 2 August 2009

· ·

the lady sparkler and I had a very early realization once we got pregnant — that our poor little Jetta was going to have problems coping.

first, we have the smallest trunk in the free world (or so it seems…) as when we put two small roller bag in the trunk, there isn’t room for much more. and by “much”, i mean “anything bigger than my self-esteem.”

next, we have a sick cat whose meds require that she travel with us every time we leave for more than a day. that means a procession of (at minimum) a cat carrier, a cooler for meds, a litter box, a water fountain, replacement litter, not to mention the vaguely mental cat at the head of the entourage (who i am beginning to think has a future in pop music).

now, we are facing a new baby, the very thought of which fills our back seat and trunk with crap: strollers, clothes, books, bags, diapers, not to mention whatever mommy and daddy needs to not be naked and insane.

suddenly, getting an SUV doesn’t seem quite so crazy.

we love our little (fully paid off) Jetta, and specifically how easy it is to street park in DC (and how fully paid off it is). so, instead of downgrading our beloved to a big suburban monstrosity, we decided to experiment with a roof rack for some added storage.

to date, we just have the a “base” unit that you’d find at REI — a couple of poles running across the roof which other stuff is lashed down to — but we have a low-profile basket (which we can remove and store in the trunk) shipping to us in the next couple weeks.

the system (it’s a Yakima) is admittedly a little pricey, but we figure we have a long way to go before we spend the cost of a new monthly car payment, so it’s worth a shot.

here’s hoping.