Friday, March 4, 2011

A visit from Superman - aka Grampa

Last week we were lucky enough to have my dad come stay with us for a whole week and he helped us with so many different projects...I've nicknamed him "superman", but not for the first time in my life. 

Xavi met Grampa for the first time in his "Team Grampa" jammies. 
Grampa was in his "Guiness" jammies.

Xavi was a little cranky as he was getting a fever...
he was cozy and representing Grampa's alma mater in his Wisconsin outfit!

Between a new baby, Mario's three degrees and Navy reserve service, and my full time job...there just hasn't been much time for fun, let alone certain home projects on top of the daily "chores" like laundry, dishes, and cooking.  But we live in a tiny little's basically one room that houses our music, dining, TV, office, Xavi play ground, and kitchen areas plus two bedrooms and a bathroom.  We absolutely love is bright, sunny, cozy, has a great view, and outdoor space that includes GRASS and TREES! But it does get messy easily and storage has been an issue.  There is ONE closet in the cottage (and not a big walk in is a small coat closet with one shelf) and no garage.  So, we moved in knowing we would have to be creative and live simply. 

Anyone that knows me also knows that I have a knack for organization and creative storage...especially once I've gone through and ruthlessly gotten rid of anything not currently in use OR of considerable value.  I thrive in neat, orderly environments and was confident that I could get our "ship" in shape, have things humming in no time.  We spent a couple grand at IKEA and Lowe's getting closets, shelving, and baskets.  And before Xavi came I worked and worked on getting things in order.  The list just kept on going...I did the best I could but still look around and see...well, I need to find a way to put that pile away, make that corner look neat, etc.  Now, I realize that I may have a bit of perfectionism in my blood but I just couldn't finish that list, especially once my little Xavi arrived.

Handsome like daddy.  They were dressed alike this day. My boys!
 Mario spent too many weekends rigging an outdoor storage area to hold our bins of "stuff" Christmas decorations, school notes and books (that are still needed), Olympic memorabilia, surfboards, wetsuits, camping stuff...blah blah...@*#t I've been about to just heave rather than deal with the issue of storing it all.  He tried to make it waterproof and sun shaded to protect the "stuff" from damage.  I call Mario, "McGyver" because he can rig anything if he just has a bit of rope, duct tape, and a caribiner.  (He once rigged our hammock with a tent over it between two trees by a river in the dark!)  Our nice neighbor even tried to help him, but this year has been the rainiest on record in Southern California...probably because our stuff never was water proof and that's just the way it goes, right? 

So, I am soooo happy to announce to all the rest of Southern California that we will be going back to the usual weather pattern of little rain and lots of sun because....WE HAVE A DRY, CLEAN STORAGE PLACE. 

Our landlords had a space that wasn't being used and allowed us to cut a hole in the block wall, add a door, and wah-la, store our "stuff".  So we rented the equipment, Dad sawed the hole in the 8 inch block (that had been poured solid due to earthquake reinforcing) and Mario swung the sledgehammer that brought it all down.  Xavi tired of being in the house with me (cried and cried) but was happy to be with the guys doing "manly" work...also known as going to Home Depot.  It may sound ridiculous that a stupid storage space would make me so happy..but it did and does. 

Getting ready to make a big hole...

And a big mess!  Clearing the room here...

And Dad didn't think he would get dirty...yikes!
But it all got cleaned up...I'll have to get a shot of it all done and looking nice.

Then Dad fixed our lighting in the living room, tightened the bolts and seats on our dining room chairs (that had been threatening to buck Mario off for the past month), leveled our refrigerator so that the door didn't go slamming against the wall (sending my nerves over the edge every time), put batteries in our outdoor thermometer, built me a window bench seat that has storage underneath, assembled Mario's work/school "station" (also from IKEA), rehung our instrument shelves, fixed the media cabinent door so that it doesn't fall off when opened, and hung the new room darkening curtains on rods in each of the bedrooms. With each project completed, Mario and I breathed deeper and easier having a load taken from our minds (and lists). 

putting up some track lighting...

Let there be light!

My new window seat with storage! 

Grampa and Xavi on the patio in the sun

I am so happy and feel so grateful that I have a dad that can not only fix anything, but truly wants to help, jumping in where he sees a need, without question or begrudging.  My job is to help him stay healthy so that Xavi can go to "Grampa camp" and learn how to drive a skidsteer (aka "the Machine" from our little girl days), and how to serve others.  So, I made sure he had good food, plenty of water, a few adjustments, an acupuncture treatment at Mario's clinic, and his supplements.  (Plus, a donut or two as special "treats" and of course, coffee!) 

Getting a treatment at the can see Dad's face in the background.
 (Couldn't very well show a picture of his nipples now could I? )

He even had some time to do some reading, hold Xavi, go for walks with us, and enjoy a beer in the evening. 

Catching some rays...Xavi needs shades. 
No, this is not a's his nap sack.

Look at that boy...he's wearing shoes!!!  size 2 already
And a snazzy Adidas sweat suit with his surfer baby hat.

View from "our" bluff...having a nice walk.
We love you Dad.  Thanks so much!  We are grateful for the space you created in our lives.  Space to relax, to raise our son, to spend our free time having some much needed FUN, and space to store our "stuff"...on shelves, not shoulders. 
The last and best sunset of the visit...We love you Grampa!


  1. LOVE the Addidas sweatsuit picture and all the sunset pictures! Xavi sure has a wonderful smile.
    It added up to a lot of work that was accomplished... once you see it all listed! Great job Grampa Phil.

  2. I can totally relate. I get such satisfaction out of having a place for everything and having everything in it's place!! Yippeee for Uncle Phil!