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Pre-holiday update

I've been working like a dog lately, but it looks like a quiet mid-day/afternoon may have finally fallen into my lap, so I shall take advantage of it and say a few words of greeting here.

Did you know your gums often get more sensitive while you're pregnant? I got accustomed to them bleeding more often when I flossed, but I was not ready for the sheer torture of the metal pick against the gumline when I got my twice-yearly dental checkup last week. And to make matters worse, they said I needed a crown replaced, AND a filling aside from that. So yesterday we had part one of the crown replacement, wherein they numb you (thank the gods), hack and drill for half an hour to get the old crown off, and fit you with a new one. Okay, fine, no caramels on that side of my mouth. But the positive way to view this is:

a) I survived these appointments without being so traumatized that I was sent into labor.
b) I only have the one appointment left, which is supposed to go much faster.
c) It makes me more confident about getting through labor. After all, though labor and childbirth involve a lot of interesting pain, the pain is all part of a natural process. Also, childbirth almost never involves metal being directly and violently applied to your bones, an event which is not natural in the slightest.

As to the labor issue, I feel like I'm ready, but my house is not, my replacement at work is not, and it would really interfere with my holiday plans, so my deepest hope is that we can hold off till around mid-January. Got that, LemonDrop? Good.

As to why the house isn't ready: we had this sweet little plan to enrich the aesthetics of the main floor by putting down new flooring, replacing the dishwasher and microwave, and installing new countertops and backsplash in the kitchen. Not too difficult, in theory. Then, in removing the old countertops, some of the kitchen wall came off and revealed the water pipes behind the sink, and, oh my, one of them was leaking. Furthermore, the deeper the investigation went into the house's plumbing in general, the weirder it looked. We brought in a plumber, who ascertained that in his four years of work here so far, he has never seen such a screwy system. And it definitely needs replacing, because not only was some of it leaking, but it was a mix of old galvanized pipes and newer copper pipes, and evidently that's a bad interaction, because copper accelerates the deterioration of galvanized metal. (I write this tidbit down because I won't remember it a year from now otherwise.)

In addition, just to be weird, the previous owner had sent some of the new copper pipes in a roundabout maze in the walls, for no apparent reason, before routing them where they were supposed to go (i.e., a shower). And the plumber found at least one spot where two pipes were joined together, but not soldered, and thus would have burst any day. Now, we know the previous owners were flakes, and the man of the house in particular liked to hit the cheap vodka a little too hard, but we had at least hoped that the plumbing would be in decent shape, because he was a plumber. Turns out he wasn't much of one.

So, of the previous owners' work on the house, we have only changed the floor coverings, the ceilings, the paint colors, the electrical wiring, many of the light fixtures, the heating system, and now the plumbing. And in future we plan to replace some of the windows, doors, and staircases. In fact, we're kind of hard-pressed to think of anything they did right. However, once again, let's face the bright side:

a) It was a damn good thing we discovered the plumbing issue this way, rather than through more disastrous means, and could get it fixed now, while the kitchen walls were torn open anyway.
b) The new stuff is going to look beautiful, especially in comparison with the previous look.
c) Likely enough, points a and b, along with all our other work, will increase the value of the house.
d) I personally don't have to do any of this. Being 8 months pregnant is a great excuse to stand aside and nod and say, "Yeah, I like that blue. Looks good." But a thousand kisses to Steve, who is tackling a great deal of it; and to his parents, who are here helping out; and of course to Vassily, the nice Ukrainian man from Beacon Plumbing who is replacing all our pipes with good new copper, properly soldered together, while Steve and in-laws lay down the new wood floor. We have proposed naming our son Vassily in tribute, if this job gets done in the two days promised.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah (to go with my calendar's spelling) to you all!


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
You are indeed lucky; pipes usually let go when you're out for the day and you come back to a flooded house, etc. Your new plumber is correct, the mix of steel and copper is not 'per code' and would be a problem in the future. Vassily is a good name... :)

Dec. 22nd, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
Exactly - expensive though it is to replace the plumbing this way, and nuisance though it is to have so many walls torn open, it's got to be easier and less pricey than an unexpected flood. The list of stuff that's not up to code on this house was fairly high to start with, but at least we're crossing off some of the more important ones. I suppose every new homeowner is appalled at what the previous owners did...

Slavic names are always pretty cool. We have no Slavic ancestry, so there's no good excuse for us to use them, but one of the reasons we like "Nicholas" is so that we could call him "Nikolai" informally. :)
Dec. 22nd, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
Man, that's one fortuitous hole in the wall! Glad you and yours will not be needing a canoe to navigate your abode any time soon.

Merry Christmas to you guys, especially LemonDrop!

(Vassily is a totally cool name. Of course I am not properly horrified when told that I was almost named Anezka after my Czech great-grandma. So mine might not be a valid opinion.)
Dec. 23rd, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
Anezka would be a cool name! I have to agree. We of German ancestry don't have options near as good. "Hilda"? Hrm.

Luckily we do have kayaks in case of flooding...but indeed, let's hope they don't need to be used. Merry Xmas!
Dec. 22nd, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
First of all - wow about the house... At least you found out about the a-maze-ing pipe system the less shocking way, considering the burst-potential on that one spot.

Secondly, hey, cool, I used to have a friend Vassily back in Russia. The diminutive names for it are Vasya and Vasilyok, which is also the Russian name for the cornflower which is my favorite flower. (Not very manly, but we Russians are not afraid to show the gentler side of men ^_^ )

If you have any questions about Slavic names, I can help! Nikolai's diminutive versions are MANY - Kolya, Nik, Nikolka, Kolyan, etc.

With Slavic names - at least within the Slavic countries that used to be part of USSR - the full name is mostly used only in formal settings, as it's a sign of respect, and with friends, family and such, you use diminutive versions.
My full name is Tatiana, but when we came to US, it was harder to spell than my short name, which is Tanya, so I went with that on the documents ^_^

ahem... well, that concludes your informal lecture on Slavic names for today! >_<

Also, good luck with your plans for LemonDrop's grand entrance and for the house improvements! You have my sympathy on the teeth and dentists. -shudders-
Dec. 23rd, 2005 12:10 am (UTC)
"Cornflower" - pretty! Heh, yeah, I was noticing the other day how (in English) men are almost never named after flowers. I do remember learning about the -ya ending for diminutive/affectionate versions of Russian names. Also, the middle name is the father or mother's name, with -vich at the end, or something like that? ("Ivanovich" = "son of Ivan"?) Good stuff, linguistics. :)

Happy holidays to you and your clan!
Dec. 30th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
The middle name is patronimic, so it's a version of father's name that indicates... belonging? It can be "vich", but that's for men, for women it's "ovna" or "evna"
Russian operates a lot with endings and suffixes to convey emotion or to describe the aspects of the object or the speaker's feelings about it.
I really like linguistics, also, though I never have pursued it academically.
Dec. 30th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, and happy holidays to you and your family!
Dec. 31st, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's it - evna/ovna. Cool. Happy new year!
Dec. 22nd, 2005 10:48 pm (UTC)
I hope you have a Merry Christmas! And I hope the baby waits it out until after the New Year. This time next year, all the focus will be on the new baby.

Re labor pain: I've never experienced it, but I did have kidney stones 3 years ago (I'm the only person I know who had kidney stones at 20). And it's not fun. At all. My advice: take the drugs. Lots of them.

Good luck with everything :) I dont celebrate Christmas so I'll be at home celebrating another Sunday.

Dec. 23rd, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
Ouch! I definitely would not count kidney stones as "natural" pain either, for what it's worth. And I have it on good authority that the pain of those is worse than childbirth. So you have already gone through worse than most women! My sympathies on that. According to my mom and sisters, recovering from surgery is also more painful than childbirth, as is the tooth infection that leads to a root canal; and also any given bout of food poisoning. So hey, ideally things won't be too bad. And at least I'll get a reward in the end. ;)

Have a happy weekend, whatever it may bring--

Dec. 25th, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
Haha...I hope kidney stones arent natural...although in my case they probably are. They say kidney stones are the closest thing to giving birth...except that you dont have a baby in your arms to distract you for the rest of your life. I was just sharing my wisdom in drug taking to ease the pain. Although I do admire those who have natural births. I wouldnt be able to do it. Do you know what the sex of the baby is?

Good luck with the holidays! I spent tonight (Christmas Eve) drinking at my Italian friends house. Yum ;)

Merry Christmas!

Dec. 31st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
They tell us it's a boy, from the one ultrasound we've had. We're proceeding accordingly, though obviously either sex would be fine. :)

I do look forward to drinking again, at least in the usual moderated occasional amounts I used to. My sisters also tell me that it's fine to drink while breastfeeding. Heh. So, not much longer!

Have a great New Year's.
Dec. 23rd, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
Ah that's a good reminder I need to go to the dentist... and it's a good job you found the pipes before you had a wet Christmas. The plumbing in my old house was a bit funny, but that was because it was built in the 1930s and didn't seem to accomodate proper plumbing. And Merry Chrimble, the card's in the post!
Dec. 23rd, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
We'll have a wet Christmas in terms of the pouring-down rain outside, but hopefully not other than that. :) Yeah, this house was built in 1943, so that was part of the problem. But the old owner should have done much better in the upgrade, all the same.

Merry Xmas, and if you see my sister stumbling down Princes Street at Hogmanay, make sure she doesn't fall onto any train tracks. ;)
Dec. 24th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm totally feeling your pain about poor housing fix-ups. My previous owners seemed to think caulk was the answer to everything. Wallpaper won't stay down? No problem, we'll just caulk it to the backsplash! Mirror falling off the wall? let's caulk that in too. leaky toilet? You guessed it, we'll just caulk that baby to the floor. problem solved. It made me crazy!! Hopefully your problems will be resolved with no flooding. Here in the NE we have happy snow outside!!
Dec. 31st, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
Heh! Yikes. Nothing like the "creativity" of previous houseowners, huh?

So far no flooding, and all looks a lot better now. And warm rain, definitely no snow. :) Happy New Year!
Dec. 25th, 2005 05:19 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas, Mol! I'm thinking of you - and wee Lemon Drop. :-)

Eeek about the dentist visit. *hugs* And how frustrating about the house issues. It sounds like y'all have done so much with it already....I hope that the remainder of your projects go smoothly.
Dec. 31st, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, it's all looking better, and I'm calmer now. Life could always be worse. :)

Happy new year!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )