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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pentimento, Part 1

Pentimento is an artistic term by which an artist changes his mind or plan for a painting while working on it. I use the term loosely for our present situation; we are revising and repainting part of our house.

We built our house almost six years ago. At the time we thought some things were a great idea when we signed off on them; in other things we were just ignorant. Regardless of our thoughts at the time, thirteen children and six years have shown what will and what will not stand the test of time. So, during this last week of vacation for this year, we are staying home in order to prepare the house for an invasion of builders, painters, trim carpenters, and other skilled workers.

This is a good time for renovations. Most of the subcontractors don't have much work, so they have time for what is a relatively small job. We had tried to get some of this work done a few years - even a few months ago - with no takers. We are taking advantage of the economic conditions to start our own little stimulus package.

On with the pictures. Above and below are photos of one of the boys rooms, with the carpet stripped for tiling and the surfaces ready for repainting. The picture above includes part of a bunk bed which we had to dismantle to move it.

Here is a nighttime shot of another one of the boys rooms - this is the one which became the 'gym' after Dominick went off to college.

Where did all the stuff go? Most of it was moved to the West side of the house, in the school room. This is where the refugees will live until the rooms are done.

The little boys got the guest bedroom to sleep in. Here is said bunk bed put together again. Here also is Marc - the famous 'flaming scalp' Marc. Note his left knee is red in the picture below:

Consider that I am on vacation, so there must be illness in the house in honor of my enhanced presence. Marc started by getting stung by a bee or wasp on Monday. He came in screaming in pain. I thought it was a cactus needle, but then I noticed there was the tail end of some insect on the end of the stinger. I gently took it out of his knee without squeezing more venom into him, and then I showed the kids how it was still twitching and contracting before I threw it out. Motrin and Benadryl for you, and some baking soda on the sting.

By the next day it was red and angry looking, so I put some marks around it to monitor it for cellulitis.

Then this morning Bernard woke up at 4:30 with a fever. After treating him and going back to sleep, I checked his ears and made the diagnosis of otitis media - an ear infection. Carolyn confirmed my diagnosis; she is much better at looking at the children's ears than I am. Now our little one is on antibiotics.

Of course I only mention this because tonight was supposed to be 'Date Night' for us. Instead I got carry out Italian food and we ate it at the dining room table while drinking a bottle of Pellegrino. Any possible romantic atmosphere was erased by the smallest children coming by to mooch("are you going to finish that?") and by a gaggle of fruit flies which came out of nowhere to sample the Italian food. I suspect they wanted something more than banana in their diet.

It's my life, and I love it!

I am reminded of something a friend said to me after finished building the house. I had started to say, "The next house we build - " when he cut me off.

"Don't say it, man! You only get one of these, and anything you don't like you'll be changing for the next twenty years!"

If only it were paid for by then....

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Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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