around the platz, april 2014
Wow guys. I finally posted something that even those having trouble seeing my new posts could actually find, and all the “we missed you” and “yeys” I heard in return were awesome. Thanks for the high fives. Back at you.
Today I’ve got a few more photos of life on the Platz, though at this point they are a bit old. Instead of freshly agitated dirt, we have grass so green it looks fake. The herb garden is flourishing (and possibly saved the lives of the two sage plants I raised from seed). So yeah, old news, and I’ll have to get new photos in the works, but hey little steps. At least now you’ll get to see the progession. Spring is the best time of year at a Wagenplatz.
For those you you who still can’t see the newest posts without a link from that damn year in books post, I’ve listed all the posts of 2014 below for you to get clicky with. As well as a few morsels from Book Punks, my new book blog. Huzzah.
The herb garden. All these rocks were just laying around the property.
A new porch! It still needs a few details and better steps, but they are on their way.
Like I said, all that is brown in this photo is now bright green. The rocks have been replaced by mulch. It is SO good.
Posts you might have missed:
If you can see this post you’ve won a prize/Kitchen photos
Oh the places we’ve been
A very tiny kid’s room
Daily life February 2014 (a low moment in time)
And then we had a kitchen and life was suddenly all marshmellows and cartwheels
Put on some rabbit ears and dance
Since I spend most of my time thinking about books
Book Punks posts you might enjoy:
Shelves of magic and wonder
German SF awards announced
News from dystopia
if you can see this post, you have won a prize. and also: our kitchen!
And the prize is that you can see this post. SIGH. My radio silence lately has been the result of some technical issues. I would describe them for you and whine a bunch in vivid detail, but really, who fucking cares?! I owe you some pictures of our new kitchen, and today I am here to deliver. That’s right. Uh-huh. Look at these beauties.
You’ve seen the outside at least a dozen times already, but, yeah, it is still awesome.
No fictisiously clean kitchens in my photos! I am not fast enough to take pictures during the three seconds that is remains orderly before the next Hurricane Pickle/cooking strikes.
I think food makes the best decoration in a kitchen. So I built narrow shelves and lined them with my extensive collection of glass jars. The jars also help keep the grocery moths at bay. I fucking hate those moths.
Note the beautiful floor. Done by our awesome floor who used to live in this space.
I still can barely fathom the luxury that is having a full stove with three burners and an over. OH HELLS YEAH. Also: isn’t the stove cute? I am in love. The Beard found it for sale online for 25 euro bucks.
I still think hanging shit is the best way to make use of your space in a small kitchen. And it looks pretty too. See that cow head hanging there? It makes toast. On the wood stove. More love.
Ikea. Making the world boring, but with a real nice selection of hanging bobbles for kitchens.
Like these hanging drying racks. Such good use of space. Now we just need to get a sink in here.
Another hanging drying rack, one I got for free from freecycle, but also originally from Ikea. It also folds up. Genius.
More glass jar porn.
This is where we store towels and things.
Pancake forms. Pigs, hearts, clover, bears. Cute as fuck. Making cooking fun again.
My coffee grinder will still work after the apocalypse. Will yours? Ok, ok, you’re right, there won’t BE any coffee to grind. So what. I still love this thing.
Ta-da! What do you think?
NOTE NOTE NOTITY NOTE: I started a book-ish website, and I would love it if you all came by and said hello and liked our facebook page and stuffs. Going to keep most of my book ramblings over there from now on, and the tiny house ramblings will all still live here. Once the CCG redisgn that is happening RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE is done (whoops, cat out of the bag huh?), even more so. GO VISIT IT ALREADY: Book Punks.
put on some rabbit ears and dance
Yep, I’m the asshole who still hasn’t managed to take photos of the fucking awesome kitchen I keep promising pictures of. But hey, look at this picture I took of Frankfurt graffiti when I first moved here a hundred years ago! (Nine.) I’ve always liked that one. While poking around for pictures of Germany I could use for work, I (re)discovered a lot of old gems. Which I also won’t be sharing because the Beard is in them, and he doesn’t much like having his picture on the internets. We were so young! We were so carefree! Look, we’re drinking beer! We are sitting still in the sun! We are having fun! Aaaah, the good old days.
Fast forward to now where I feel like I am just one big bag under the eye. Getting woken up two to three times a night for the past two years has started to wear on me. I feel like I wake up with a new wrinkle every morning. In reality, I don’t have any real wrinkles yet, but I just feel wrinkled. You do what you have to do and you get by, but cod damn when will we be allowed to sleep through the fucking night? When when when?! *Shakes fist at sky and snarls.*
We’re getting Pickles off of her nighttime milk addiction at the moment, which has been SO MUCH FUN. Ha! Hahahahahaha! The idea is that she might actually start sleeping through the night sometime before her 18th birthday. That we might get to sleep through the night before we reach a mental state where murder doesn’t sound like such a practical solution. At least in prison we’d get to sleep through the night! Ba-da-bing! *Weeps.*
But I hyperbolize. There have been some cod-awful nights lately, and we’ve all been much worse for wear. Except for Pickles, who is still full of energy and wants to spend every second of the day running in circles outside, who doesn’t nap for me anymore (but does for the Beard, though I like when she doesn’t nap because then she goes to bed deliciously early, even though it means she is nutso for the last two hours of the day). Still, spring weather has arrived, which feels wonderful, we built a little porch, and I’m putting in an herb garden. And Pickles finally has parents willing to spend every minute outside with her all day every day.
I think things are about to get really awesome. She’ll sleep through the night, we’ll move her into her own bed, she’ll go to the daycare whatever a few days a week (we’re looking for some of that for her right now because she talks about wanting to play with other kids so much), and our humanity will be returned to us, unused this past year, in a neat little package.
and then we had a kitchen and life was suddenly all marshmellows and cartwheels
The kitchen is done. Almost. Minus a sink, but who needs a sink when you, after three years without, suddenly have a stove with an oven for baking?! And a table! You probably have never imagined your life without either of those things, but I am here to tell you that you probably underestimate their awesomeness. We’ve had ours for a few weeks a piece (at the time I was originally writing this post), and I still can’t stop gushing about them. We have a table! We have three flames to cook on! I can bake things without walking to someone else’s kitchen!
A table! A stove! A table! A stove! See? I could go on like this all day.
There was very little building involved in setting things up. There were a number of walks to the building supply store with a little cart for wood and black paint for the shelves, and there were two very disgruntled trips to Ikea for the rods to hang all the utensils from (yeah, I love those lots) and more glass jars to add to my collection (not only does food in glass jars make the prettiest decorations, they also keep the grocery moths at bay). I had to take out the bed that was where our table (thanks, freecycle!) is now, but otherwise, it was all painting and hanging shelves with a side of organizing. I am totally in love with the results.
It is so exciting, that I don’t even mind the extra work of lighting a second wood stove every day. Of course Germany is experiencing the winter of spring (mud, rain, really mild weather), so it’s not as hardcore as it might sound. For now. And when we put Pickles to bed we finally have a room to hang out in where we don’t have to whisper. (Tangent: Did you know that there is a baby moniter app? I was about to buy one of the damn things when I realized I could just tell me phone to call the Beard’s phone when Pickles made noise. Whoa. Thanks, technology.)
I wrote all that almost two months ago. And I still haven’t gotten any good pictures of the damn thing. Every time I think of it, the light sucks. So this is a little teaser, and here’s hoping that the unbelievable spring sunlight that has shown up with March provides a better stage for kitchen plus camera.
Also: My computer has been broken for a long time, but now it is fixed (FUCK YEAH) so I should be back here more often starting now. Also also: There is a Click Clack Gorilla website redesign coming soon. Exciting exciting exciting.
How are you?
daily life, february 2014
With three trailers (Wägen) our daily life has changed again. It is always changing. The nature of life, the nature of parenting, the nature of the passing of seasons. It feels worth recording. It feels like the more of these posts that I remember to write, the more interesting it will one day be to look back at them, wondering at the people and places I have been.
With a cousin visiting the chores spread themselves out among three instead of two, and the difference is a noticable sigh of relief. He may sleep later than Pickles ever lets us, but he loves making kindling for the stove, washes dishes almost every day, cooks spicy Indian food that makes our noses run and our stomachs happy.
When does the day really start? The first time that Pickles wakes me up, asking for a drink, at 1 or 2 or 3 am? At 5 or 6 when she threatens to wake up for good, but usually falls back asleep for a few hours with milk? At the very latest it starts at 7 or 7:30, if we’re lucky 8, when she wakes up for good, usually in a bad mood. “Milk!” “Eat!” “Peepee!” I vaguely remember a time when she woke up happy, and we played games across the pillow from each other until I could bear the thought of getting out of bed. Now she wakes up cranky, demanding. I can’t say I blame her. I feel the same way.
Let’s just assume that this is a day when the Beard is at home.
He gets out of bed first, motivated, I can only assume, by the dream of coffee. Whoever makes the coffee lights the woodstove in the kitchen. Whoever doesn’t lights the woodstove in the sleeping trailer. Except when the Beard is faster, which he almost always is these last few weeks. Then he shoves paper and medium-sized logs into the woodstove and leaves it to relight itself on last night’s embers before heading to the kitchen to do the honors there. It takes somewhere between 10 minutes and 45 for the stove to relight. The pressed mulch briquettes we use to heat at night keep the trailer at a comfortable tempurature until we wake up, and leave enough embers to make relighting a hands-free process. Long live pressed mulch briquettes.
Coffee is ground by hand, water boils on the stove, kindling crackles in two wood stoves, the Chemex is prepared, and it all results in a cup of coffee delivered to my hands. While the Beard heads off to wash dishes or smoke or where ever, I get Pickles dressed, brush her hair (screaming), brush her teeth (more screaming; it is a nightmarish process that you have to hold her down for). I attempt to sneak in a few minutes on the internet, alternatively, while she either plays happily or begins to scream “outside outside” over and over. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. That kid loves the outdoors, the trampoline, and walking around the property anywhere that isn’t our direct yard. Sometimes I actually wish that she liked tv more. HA.
The Beard and I trade off Pickles in shifts. One goes to the park so the other can write a few emails. I take her to play groups and dates (and on Thursdays, child care at the gym) so the Beard can fiddle. The Beard cooks lunch, and we all eat together around the new kitchen table that I am already starting to take for granted. Shifts are traded. We bike to the grocery store. We bike to the playground. We bike into town. We bike to a friends’. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a nap. At home diapers have been replaced by a potty, like magic (the kid potty trained herself).
The Beard, or maybe my cousin, or maybe even I cook dinner. We eat around the table again, reveling in the luxury of delicious food at every meal. Talking about music. Playing music. Pickles refuses to stay in her seat and insists on sitting in my lap. I refuse; eating is holy and I want my space. She clings to my leg, whines, starts yelling and signing “sleep” over and over to signify that she’d like to go back to the sleeping trailer, and she’s not going to leave me alone until we do. Sometimes the Beard takes her over, and she screams until I follow. Sometimes I take her over, leaving my meal half finished, disgruntled. Yesterday we brought her high chair back in from the shed and strapped her in, and she finally had no choice but to sit there until we were all finished. It wasn’t even that dramatic. What a relief.
After dinner she plays in the sleeping trailer for an hour or three. We’re trying to cut back on what sick time has made a rather extreme television habit to a night time wind-down habit, so maybe she watches an episode of Baby Einstein on my computer. It is a quiet, relaxed time most days, and I can read a page or two of a book between interuptions to look at cars or set up train tracks or kiss hurts. Sometime between 8 and 11 she’ll show signs of tiredness, and I’ll whisk her into bed. She usually doesn’t need more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, but they are the longest 20 minutes of my day, spent waiting in the dark. Being kicked. Feeling impatient. Ready for a break.
Now that our kitchen is finished we sometimes hang out there post-bedtime, not worrying about how loud we’re talking or playing music or drinking beer. What luxury! But more often than not I am too exhausted and want nothing more than to lay in bed, reading by the light of my solar lamp, visiting fictional worlds, and finally winding down myself.
more tiny house toys
The internet is full of Bauwagen toys. (And by full I mean “contains about five different kinds upon being googled.”) I found this one here. Steep price for a play house that you could easily, and perhaps more charmingly, build yourself for under 100 euro. Still, I like the idea. Peter Lustig is probably to blame.
My shoes are always full of toys. You know, that sounds like the beginning of a fantastical story about eternal Christmas, doesn’t it? The thought certainly puts a positive spin on Pickles’ rather annoying habit of filling my rubber boots aka my outdoor slippers with cars and otherwise sharp and pointy pieces of metal, wood, and plastic.
The weather has grown cold and lighting the wood stove is still fun, the way it can only be before it is so cold that your hands turn to dust while you are trying to make kindling. We didn’t even light the woodstove before we went to sleep last night. I need to appreciate this while it lasts. I am.
Pickles fell asleep on the floor last night trying to suck toothpaste out of the tube (don’t worry, it was empty). We were so happy to have her out of her bed that we left her there, bundled up beneath a blanket, for several hours. Could this be the beginning of the end of the night terrors that have been the weaning process? Oh dear cod please say it is so.
I am so excited about going to the World Fantasy Convention next week that I think about almost nothing else. Maybe I’ll fall into a time warp beforehand and manage to finish The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch beforehand. Oh and, you know, fifteen other books by authors who are going to be there who I’d like to know more about before I commence to fanish drooling. When I can’t think another book-ish thought I start thinking about things like allowed luggage weight and what my couchsurfing host will be like. (Dude, she has been to Privet Drive. PRIVET DRIVE. *People who don’t like Harry Potter can just leave this parenthetical right now.* Us getting along is pretty much a given. PRIVET DRIVE.)
Pickles has invented a word. “Balla.” It means banana and belly button. Yesterday she went from calling books “boo” to saying “book.” My work here is done.
I proudly present to you: Our new shed.
We have been meaning to build this damn thing for over a year. Strike that. I have been meaning to build it (promising to build it) for over a year. And the Beard has been patiently waiting. But then he got tired of waiting, I accepted some help, and we built our firewood’s new house in a few days time. Almost entirely scavenged materials! For the win!
And, yes, those are candles hanging on the front. Because chopping wood by candlelight is pretty awesome, not to mention romantic (ummm, or something) and doesn’t involve running pesky power lines or remembering to put the solar lamp’s cell out in the sun during the day.
Some of those boards I scavenged in Mainz, with the intention of building a sweet shed out of them one day. (Frankenshed was nice, but this is a lot easier on the eye.) They’ve been sitting outside sort of under a tarp ever since. It’s a wonder that they weren’t all rotten. Other boards came from our red trailer’s ceiling, which we redid because the person who had put it in was apparently drunk—I can’t think of any other reason to just screw tongue and groove boards on top of each other like that without fitting them together. It certainly made the boards look like they were drunk. And now they are a shed wall.
We found the bigger beams we needed laying on the bonfire pile at the front of the property. There were a lot of nails in them, nails that I tried to rip out with a crowbar. When that barely worked, we hammered them all flat and got on with it. I put it together, and the Beard did all the sawing. At the time we only had a hand circle saw, which I—for no actual reason whatsoever—don’t like to use. (I’ve since bought myself a jigsaw. Love those things. Also love my “Japan” saws, as they are called in German. Fucking best saws ever.)
The roof is made of someone’s old terrace (we saved it from the bonfire pile as well) as well as some old flooring we found. We covered the roof boards with tarps made to create faux ponds in people’s backyards, which I got from freecycle. We did buy the paint, a second bit of tarp (my free bit wasn’t quite big enouhg), and a few three-meter boards to finish off the back wall when the firewood came before the scavenger gods had offered up any other solutions.
Having built this, I feel pretty confident that I could build a little house. I would do a number of things differently, more exactly, and with better materials, but it isn’t as hard as it looks. It never is.
Hey, look! There’s my Wagen!
Since the shed, our yard just makes me happy. (Of course, the weather has turned for the worse, which means things are getting rather straggley, but before that.) I wish I had done this months ago so that I could have spent all summer sitting outside and admiring our work, and our neat, tidey yard. Maybe then I would have been inspired to finally plant the herb garden or the forsythia that I’ve had planted in my head for months. But there’s always next year. Winter is coming, but so is spring.
whine whine whine, weaning is fucking hard and i miss cofffee
Dear cod has this been a bad time to give up coffee. (Is there ever a good time to give up coffee? No.) Not that I had a choice. Acid reflux forced my hand. Bah! Bah I say!
Meanwhile, back in the Wagen…Pickles sucks at sleep. I mean, she always has. As a very little Little she couldn’t sleep without being held. You wanted to put her down?! Ha! Go ahead. Put her down. If you want her to wake up instantly and berate you with cries and probably start sucking on you again.
She has always slept decently nights, but I can only call it decently because we co-sleep, because I barely had to wake up to get her what she wanted (boob). I still don’t understand why anyone would choose to put their kid in a separate room to sleep, a place they have to actually move their bodies to get to when the baby inevitably wakes up in the wee hours. No, no, NO. I can handle being woken up briefly in the night, several times, for two years straight. I’ve passed that test. I can’t handle being woken up and asked to get out of bed. Fuck that.
And now here we are, in weaning land. Two of my closest parent friends, whose kids aren’t much older than Pickles, got tired of nursing and night weaned back in the day. They both reported four or five hellish nights. But their kids have slept through the night ever since. Sounds annoying, but doable. Sounds like fucking heaven, actually.
I decided to wean because I had developed a pretty harsh nursing aversion. I could cuddle Pickles all she wanted, but as soon as she started nursing I felt horrible–trapped and chlostrophobic and irritated and annoyed. I particularly hated the nights, how she would fall asleep nursing, but wake up as soon as I pried her mouth off of me, forcing me to start the process from the beginning, and how I would be stuck laying in bed while the Beard skipped around the Wagen doing whatever the fuck he wanted. (Yes, when trapped on a bed by a nursing baby, even seeing someone sweeping the floor can cause jealousy.) It was obviously time. Though we had planned to wean when I went to England for four days at the end of the month, I decided to start while the Beard was away for five days. Get that shit over with. Give her time to adjust before our epic journey to the U.S.ofA.
The first three nights were stressful, but not nearly as bad as I had imagined. On the fourth night she slept through the night. On the fifth night, the Beard came home, and she didn’t repeat the performance. Now she just wakes up two or three times a night screaming and rolling and gnashing her teeth. We’re fifteen fucking days in. She slept through the night again on day nine (once again when the Beard was away), and otherwise: welcome to hell.
The only way to get her back to sleep is to give her milk (which I generally refuse because the fucking point of this exercise is getting her used to NOT eating during the night) or to play First Aid Kit’s album The Big Black and the Blue on my phone, loud. The first is like shooting myself in the foot, and the second doesn’t help any of the rest of us get to sleep any faster. And if you want to know how to make yourself hate an album you previously enjoyed, this is the way to do it, tell you what. Oh and sometimes she just wakes up at 5 am and can’t get back to sleep. Because it isn’t depressing enough that it doesn’t get light here this time of year until almost 8 o’clock.
And oh, do people have advice! So much advice! If I have to listen to another person talk about how “they couldn’t survive” if their kid didn’t go to bed at 7 pm! Listen, I’ve tried it. In our house, a 7 pm bedtime means a 4 am wake up time. Pick your poison, because it’s all going to suck. Everyone has a theory about how to get Pickles to sleep. The problem is that kids aren’t Kids, they are just people, individuals, as weird and random as the rest of us. There are about ten trillion things we could try, but the truth is we’ll have probably just bludgened each other to death before we get around to trying everything that is supposed solve our problems. Blah blah blah, complain complain complain, my life is so hard, who cares, there are people being imprisoned for life for crimes they didn’t committ so shut the fuck up Stewart.
Did I mention I built Pickles her own bed? *Laughs maniacally.* I’m going to be finishing it tomorrow. (Then, pictures! It looks like a treehouse! It is so fucking awesome holy shit.) Putting her in there is the next experiment. Pray we live long enough to find out if it works.
There is so much to do. Don’t people usually start cleaning in spring? That’s all wrong. As soon as fall’s chilly little tendrils start to work their way into the air I start rearranging things, decluttering, nesting. Bunkering down for winter. When spring arrives I’m too busy sitting in the sun to care about what it looks like inside.
I have a list. We are leaving on an epic journey in one month. The things on the list are supposed to happen before we leave. It is a short list, but involved. Item one: build Pickles’ bed. Which, once I got started ripping out the bench that used to dominate that side of the trailer, turned into “finish Pickles’ room.” Once our kitchen trailer arrives our red trailer will be half our bedroom, half Pickles’ bedroom. (Putting her in a separate trailer would just mean maintaining another wood stove, being paranoid about the wood stove with her alone at night, and, even more likely, her refusing to sleep off alone in a separate trailer anyway.)
I have been planning this space in my head for months. Longer maybe. Had the colors picked out. Made sure all the little bits and bobs that are always rolling around on the floor would all have a place. It took four days to make it happen. Though to be fair, the bed isn’t quite finished.
Consider these pictures a preview of the finished product. The bed is lofted, and still needs all the “don’t fall out and die” fixtures.” Maybe this weekend. But so far Pickles loves it. I love it. The Beard loves it. The trailer suddenly feels bigger, more practical, more homey. It is almost magical, the way a little change can completely renew the feel of a space.
And the space isn’t the only thing that is changing. We are on day seven of operation no more breastfeeding. It is going well. The nights are hard, but all in all, not any harder than they always have been. They are harder for the Beard though because now instead of her waking me up and me quieting her with some boob, she wakes up and makes noise and wakes everybody up and only goes back to sleep if you play First Aid Kit really loud on my telephone right next to her head.
And we built a shed.
And the firewood came.
And I stopped drinking coffee.
And Pickles slept through the night. (Once.)
I’ll be back with more pictures and words tomorrow then, huh?