"a portrait of my children in black and white, once a week, every week in 2015."

Stella: She's been craving independence since she turned five. She has no fear of talking to strangers, which is remarkable considering how dependant she was, how attached to my side she used to be. She asks to go ahead down to the lobby and wait for me on her own. She wants to ride in the elevator all alone. She always wants to call room service herself. Yesterday she went into a the restaurant by herself (I was two minutes behind her), and got a table for three, asked for a high chair, and ordered me a coffee. 

Hugo: He wants to climb everything, throw a ball everywhere, and have whatever his sister is interested in. He's also started saying poo-poo whenever anyone heads to the toilet. So. 

Interested in a ratstravaganza update? No? Okay, well. Here's one anyway. We are still in our temporary living situation (hence the frequent room service orders and visits to restaurants.) This "week-long" project has extended to nearly a month. And it's now ramadan, so things just happen a bit slower. But, the bright spots continue to be the fact that I have not cooked dinner since we moved out that fateful rat-infested Saturday night. And, we now have ceilings in our apartment. Which is a major advancement on last week. We just need to add a ceiling to our kitchen. And maybe do something with our kitchen cabinets? I'm never quite sure what the contractors are talking about as it gets filtered through a million people like a game of telephone. But. 

Anyway, one thing that I'm thankful for in all this mess is my parents' insistence on child labour. My parents were like proto-hipsters (my dad was a skinny bearded dude who drove the junkiest cars imaginable, kept chickens, and built his own furniture in the basement. Now he's a regular suburban guy who drives a minivan, lives on a golf course, and walks his dog. So, basically there is hope for humanity.) Anyway, when I was a kid, my parents were big diy-ers. They put an addition onto our house basically on their own. They (re)built their summer house entirely themselves. They renovated 100 year old farmhouse under their own power. And all of this required the help of their three children. 

And at the time I hated it. Like seriously, it was the worst. But now? Maybe I see the value.

So, I do know a thing or two about drywall. And I DO know that you are not supposed to put up drywall so that the light fixtures are behind the gypsum. Like, for example, if you start out with four ceiling lights, you typically should still have four ceiling lights after you've finished? And I also do know that you can't paint directly over newly installed drywall. Mudding and drying and sanding and priming has to happen first. 

I also know that massive gaps between slabs of drywall are, like, not awesome. 

And I know that the best way to find a stud is NOT to keep cutting holes in a wall until you finally locate one. That it's much easier to use a stud finder. 

And that a chalk line is a good way to create a straight edge. 

And measure twice cut once. 

Which is a good thing. Because the people responsible for reinstalling our ceilings do not, apparently, know any of that. 

Anyway, I guess this is turning into a bit of an ode to my dad? Well, I guess it's appropriate, given that it's father's' day. 

So, happy father's day, Dad. Thanks for making me do all that hard labour way back then.