Believe it or not, I'll often get e-mails from people who have read through some of my archives and are curious about where things stand now. I've been saving up those questions for a giant update which will be interesting only to my mother, so unless you gave birth to me, please do not feel like you have to read on...
He is doing very well. We just got a new picture of him about a month ago, and he is positively strapping--I think he's going to be a really tall man someday! His letters have been frequent and happy this year--his family's health appears to be stable. He always asks me to pray for him to do well in school.
Do you still like the paperbagged walls in your bathroom?
Yes and no. That was a cheap and easy stop-gap measure for walls that are damaged. In any room other than a bathroom, I think I'd probably still love it. But over the course of the months (and it took a while) the high bathroom humidity has started to make some of the edges get crinkly. One section near the shower has started coming down entirely.
But never fear! A few weeks ago, I walked in there to find my problem-solving husband re-attaching that portion of the paper WITH A STAPLE GUN. And let me tell you, when you reach a point where you staple-gun paper bags to your bathroom walls, then you know that you have truly reached the highest heights of sophistication.
I'm ultimately going to have to find a longer-term solution (probably wallpaper), just as soon as I can find some time to work on it--so probably in 2033.
How are the pet rats?
Well, in a word, they're dead. So I guess you could say they're not doing very well.
The last one died about three months ago, much to the despair of my sons. My favorite back-yard flower bed is now a little rat cemetary, a fact I choose not to think about when I sit out there sipping my Diet Coke. Certainly, the rats did not die from neglect--I was so proud of how my boys took care of them. My oldest, especially, was so responsible, even carefully monitoring their little ratty diets. (I tried to tell him that they weren't exactly delicate flowers; their grandaddy, after all, came from the sewer.)
It pains me to admit it, but they were good pets--smart and clean-ish, for rodents. They were almost good enough to make me entertain the thought of getting more of them, but then I remember the tails. I could just never get over the tails.
Speaking of rodents, what about the mouse under the fridge?
a few a lotan outrageous number of tries, but we got him. Actually, them. There were at least four. But they're gone now, as is the lingering smell. You're very welcome, and enjoy your breakfast.
How are the new kitchen counters working out?
I love them. LOVE them. We went with quartz, which is a little less expensive than granite and much lower-maintenance. And I have never regretted it for a second--I love everything about those countertops. The good news is that the speckledy pattern I chose doesn't show streaks, stains or food. The bad news is that the speckledy pattern I chose doesn't show streaks, stains or food, which means that sometimes I'll run my hand over a forgotten corner and, well, just eww.
How's your new baby niece?
She couldn't be any better! She is healthy, content, and beautifully bonded to her new family. She is also THE most communicative one year old I've ever seen--if I started describing to you how smart this child is, you wouldn't even believe me. We're all just dazzled by her. Many thanks to those of you who prayed for their family.
What did you decide about the kid cell phone?
We ended up adding a "kid phone" a couple of months ago, simply because our own phone contracts were up for renewal, and they offered us a ridiculously cheap family option. It doesn't belong to any one kid; whoever most needs it gets to carry it. Initially, I handed down more laws than Moses about that phone--you wouldn't believe all the rules I've attached to it.
But (and this is the way things generally go around here), after all my stewing and worrying and concern that this might turn into some abuse of privilege or Very Serious Moral Issue, it's been a complete non-event. My two older boys have been completely responsible with it, never once violating (or complaining about) my 427 cell phone laws. The truth is, my kids have good heads on their shoulders. I should give them more credit sometimes.
Did I forget anything? (*UPDATED: I've answered a few more questions in the comments section.)