Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yankee Candle Splash of Rain is a really good fragrance.

Today it rained a little in Portland.  We've seen a few red leaves here and there.  Have to admit that fall is on the way. 

Libby has reached an age where she seems to really need a playmate.  She likes to go outside, but when we go in the back "yard", there is nothing for her to do except pick up rocks.  I know I've complained a lot about the space before.  Here is a video that I recorded the day before her birthday (click here), so you can get the idea of just how small the space is and how horrible.  Also it is a freaking cute video.  It's back when Libby was still a baby.  She doesn't look anything like this anymore.  This is what she looks like now:

 Where'd she get that curly hair?

The video opens just to the right of the back door, where you can see you step out onto a concrete patio and then there is the air conditioning unit.  Surrounding the small patio, which is entirely taken up by our grill and patio table, is an area entirely covered with rocks.  That is it.  If you're not thinking much, you might think, "Rocks.  Pretty, I guess.  And practical, since you don't have to mow anything.  No maintenance."  But you'd be wrong.  Our landlord says the rocks grow mildew and have to be treated every 6 months.  They apparently are lousy at acting as mulch, because I still have to pull weeds.  I pulled a forest of weeds a week or so ago.  And they don't make much sense even if they didn't grow things.  They effectively reduce the size of the yard!  Because no one can do anything in the rocky area!  You can't put furniture on it.  You can't put plants in flowerpots on it.  You can't play on it, especially if you're a one-year-old.  Why put rocks down?  Why didn't the owner just pave over the area and extend the patio?  I'm baffled by the decision to put the rocks down.  To make things even worse, if you can imagine it, the area is not level (they didn't even bother to use the rocks to level the space), and there is some kind of clay underneath with poor drainage, so the mildew really comes as no surprise.

Our neighbor told us that our current landlords are not to blame.  The homeowner before them put the rocks down. And was real proud of himself, apparently.  Told our neighbor that he used it as a dog run and just hosed it down when the dog was done.  Which is disgusting and another reason not to let my kid play on the rocks. 

So anyway, lately she has been asking to go play in the back, but when she gets out there, there isn't much to do.  When it was hot, I put out a teeny wading pool and I turned the hose into a water fountain for her to play in.  But now that it's not so hot, I'd rather not do the water, and she just goes out and looks around like, "now what?"  And eventually ends up playing with the rocks, pathetically.  I've been trying to think of something I could do to entertain her.  It occurred to me that we could put a swing set in the area without even having to move the rocks.  But I'm not sure about that.  Good ones are expensive.  Then I thought about putting a playhouse out there.  But, good ones are expensive. 

DH and I agreed that while we are thinking about what to do, we are definitely going to relocate the rocks.  All we need for that is a shovel.  We used to have a shovel.  A big one.  I had to use it to dig up giant dandelions at the mountain house.  I guess it didn't make it over here in the move.

So today I took Libby to the toy store.  I was going to look at play houses or play tents.  They had no play houses and only one play tent, and it didn't have great reviews online.  I've seen better ones on Amazon.  So we didn't get a play tent today, but we did get a couple new books and interactive toys and balls and pairs of shoes and sandals, since she has outgrown her other shoes.  I also got a rubber mat to put down outside when we move the rocks.  That can be the base for her play house or tent.

She was a very good girl at the store and was delighted to play with her new things when we got home.  She seemed really happy, which made me really happy.  She has had a horrible diaper rash since last night, the worst I think I've ever seen.  That had been making her unhappy.  The new toys were a good distraction.

Mae pretty much slept all day, as usual, and DH made turkey soup and is canning it now.  After Libby went to bed I nearly wrapped up my preparedness pantry project, but I'm missing a few ingredients.  After that it seems I need to work on regular pantry.  It's overflowing with mismatched items again.  Mismatched meaning a single ingredient that was purchased without a purpose in mind and may or may not go with any other ingredients in the pantry.

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