Never mind the homestudy then, what happens when we actually get kids? We've been taking inventory of the items which will need to be far up, out of reach, out of sight, or just out of the house. So without further ado, here are those things which we have identified thus far. Feel free to chip in.
Lots of people have a cactus. Cacti are resilient and take up space. We are different from "lots of people" in the fact that Yuliya has been an avid and active collector of cacti for our entire relationship. At current count, there are nearly forty cacti in our house. Not all of them are the happy, lives-quiet-cactus-lives type of cacti. There are cacti in our house which weigh as much as our cats, and have inch and a half long spines which you could use to hang pictures or sew leather clothing.
Like this, but eight pounds in weight and eleven inches tall. More of a home defense weapon than potted plant, actually.
Then there are the cacti with minuscule, almost invisible needles which break off in your skin and give you rashes. Lastly, and my favorite, the cacti with milky white juice that oozed from it when you speak too loudly, and can burn your skin or blind you.
Threat factor: Minimal - we're leaving the more harmless "ow it's pokey' varieties on window sills and elevating the "kill you in your sleep" varieties to well our of any human's reach, barring an unprecedented visit by Shaquille O'Neal.
Cats are not really much of a threat, especially ours, barring allergies. We've got a pair of ragdolls, Mishka and Loco. With the exception of Mishka's breath, neither would be a danger to a child. We know this because they have undergone rigorous stress testing by other people's children. Here are pictures of our cats.
Threat factor: Just look at them!
Loco the fluffdozer
Mishka doing his best impression of Marlon Brando.
Being handy folks, we have a couple of tools. Off the top of my head, we're going to need to keep the kids away from two power drills, miter saw, skilsaw, reciprocating saw, jigsaw, heatgun, orbital sander. That's not mentioning the hammers, utility knives, and screwdrivers, caulking and whatever else is in the basement.
Which brings us to...
The power tools are in the basement, so there's that. There's also plenty of homely detritus, left over from furnishing a house, several moves, and just having too much stuff (see Yuliya's packrattery). Not to mention litter facilities for the cats, and an incomplete bathroom. We also have a healthy spider population. Most are smallish, no more than an inch across. Getting towards the end of summer though, we can run into some monsters. There was a time when I brought the laundry down and came face to mandible with an eight-legged death machine that was easily four inches across. We stared at each other for a few seconds, and it turned and disappeared into whatever hellmouth spawned it.
Threat factor: We'll be locking the basement.
Bear Spray. Flare Gun. Fishing line/hooks/lures. The bear spray can only be purchased after leaving your contact information at the store, getting a 15min lecture on correct use, and presenting ID which is photocopied. As it turns out in Manitoba, bear spray is controlled at a level just below firearms. Anyone can buy a machete, axe or baseball bat at the same store, go figure. Believe it or not, the flare gun was an anniversary present from Yuliya to myself. A few years back she asked what she should get me for our anniversary - not at all being a smart ass, I said a flare gun. It was the weirdest, most random thing that came to mind. Next year, she got a flare gun for me, so it turns out that she is at least a little bit of a smart-ass herself.
Threat factor: Extremely high - These will be kept in the basement, on the very top shelf of the tallest shelving unit we have, and will be locked in a safety box. Again, we'll be locking the basement.
In addition to the above, we will definitely be taking care of the wobbly railing on our stairs, installing a few more smoke detectors - CO detectors are already in place, getting a fire extinguisher for the second floor, and putting up safety gates at the top and bottom of both our staircases. The plus side to all this is that my sister has an inquisitive toddler of her very own, who probes our plans for weakness. So far we have discovered that the cat's food looks more like a buffet to a two year old, and the water dish was a handy spot to soften up the food first.
So for the next year or (gulp) two, we'll be padding the walls, beveling every edge, and installing airbags on the stairs.
Here is a look at what an innocent soul my Yuliya is, and what a dirty-minded curmudgeon I am. Yuliya made a great pot of barley/pea/farmer sausage soup. She asked me to come to the kitchen to sample her soup. In this capacity I am a willing guinea pig, because our cooking rarely goes catastrophically bad. There was the one time her chicken was under-cooked, but on the other hand I made baked salmon once with cinnamon and cloves. I tasted the soup, signaled my affirmation that it was a worthy effort, and then she asked the question.
"Can you taste the pea-y-ness?"
What she meant was, did I detect the flavour of peas? That was not what came across. I choked out a strangled reply.
"What was in this soup again?" She reached for the bag of dried barley and peas which she had used.
"Here, let me show you the package I used."
It's a good soup, I swear. It tastes of peas. PEAS.