Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacations are overrated....

Everyone keeps asking me how my vacation was last week and although I know they mean well, frankly I just want to say: “I went on a beach vacation with four kids under the age of 8--how do you think it was?” That sounds a little nasty I admit, but you must cut me some slack. A beach vacation with four kids, ages 7, 5, 3 and 2 is not, well, it’s not a day at the beach. They can’t swim; they can’t apply their own sunscreen (30 minutes! 30 minutes is the length of time it takes to get all four children properly lathered with sunscreen); they can’t seem to keep the sand off of their wet hands or their wet, sandy hands out of their mouths (trust me, you don’t know embarrassment until you are standing on the beach telling your kid to stick their tongue out so you can wipe their mouth down with the one non-sandy square inch of beach towel left while they gag uncontrollably); they want ice cream from the ice cream truck but they don’t know how to eat it before it melts all over the place- you try explaining to the nice elderly couple strolling by with horrified looks on their faces that “No, my son did not rip open the flesh of some helpless seagull with his teeth but instead ‘ate’ a Spiderman ice cream stick that has permanently stained his face, his hands, his stomach, his legs and his feet blood red.”

Caution:  May cause others to think your child is stained with the blood of some evil deed.
You can imagine then how happy I was to return to the comparative calm of Historic Cherry Hill. I can sit at my desk and concentrate on what I’m doing, as opposed to conducting a head count of the Doehla children every two minutes, always coming up one short and then discovering that the one short kid is three blankets over trying to pilfer beach toys from an unsuspecting family of four. A well-behaved, family of four where there is a brother and a sister who dig sand castles together instead of trying to bury each other head first in the sand. Gosh – vacations are stressful – it’s so much nicer to be back at work.

At coffee time on Tuesday I sat down, relaxing in the comforting routine of the museum,. I pulled out a paper and pen to ask the Director what, if anything, was new with the restoration. The Director, startled, jumped and looked up from her coffee before saying, “I thought it was a little bit louder in here than last week.” I hoped she was referring to the oscillating fan blowing hot air around a hot room and not to the fact that I was gone all last week.

Between the Director’s sips of coffee, I gathered I didn’t miss much. A lift was supposed to arrive at the museum last week to allow #3 and #4 to work on the upper windows of the house – to fit storms, to paint [note of not particular importance—painters will do the painting, not them], (and if the Director asks really nicely), to clean out the gutters. The lift never materialized for which I am profoundly grateful, because I am hoping to talk the guys into letting me go for a little ride on the lift when it does come and I might have missed my opportunity if it came last week. Also we were awaiting the visit of the City Building Inspector to look at the sill work and pronounce it sound. Until the Inspector makes his determination, #3 and #4 cannot finish putting up the siding on the house.

When I arrived at work today, I found two things – 1) #4 waiting to get into the building to work in the attic and 2) my preference for the relative luxury of my air conditioned mini-van to the hot air in the museum. Focusing on my first finding, I asked #4 what he would be doing in the attic today. He explained that he is preparing the window openings in the attic for the reinstallation of the restored windows. He had a question regarding the window specifications. According to the specs, the architects are calling for four window sills to be replaced in the attic. #4 invited the Director and the Curator up to the attic to take a look at the four sills in question as he wondered if total replacement of each sill was necessary. I invited myself along because that’s what I do. And when I reached the top of the attic stairs, I kind of started wishing I had stayed downstairs in the comfort of the basement air because it was hot as Hades up in the attic and it wasn’t even 10:00 in the morning yet. The Director and #4 examined each window sill, testing it for soundness. One of the window sills clearly needs to be replaced, it is located on the south end of the house. The other windows seemed to be in better shape. I snapped pictures as we moved from window to window. The end result of this informal little inspection was that the Director emailed one of the architects to ask for more information on the decision to replace the window sills.

The sill that is in definite need of replacement.
Another window sill slated for replacement.
And yet another.

I have no further plans to walk up the three flights of stairs to the attic for the rest of the week ‘cause it’s going to be a hot one. I would rather sit in my little office, pretending the wind from my desk fan is really an ocean breeze and my cushioned office chair is really a blanket spread on the sand. Now that’s what I call a good beach vacation.

1 comment:

  1. Your writing is hilarious and the subject is wonderful. What a perfect blog!

    But I must say I was surprised to see the timber - epoxy combination earlier. Is it common practice in the US?

    Keep it up, can't wait for the next post!