Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Looky what I got!

An Epic washer & dryer. Front loading. 4.0 and 7.0 cubic feet capacity!  I can at long last wash my comforters in my own home!! I can also dry a normal load of laundry in less than an hour & a half!

That is the first layout I have done in over 3 weeks. I haven't had much scrapping mojo lately but I'm feeling like if I can get through this week, I'll be in a better mental place to scrap. Plus we're going to Day out with Thomas Saturday so I'll have some fun new photos to scrap as well. That means I'll miss the NSD excitement & sales. I seem to miss it every year though so I am used to it.

I've been reading a lot instead of scrapping or crocheting. I'm about to finish my 20th book this month this afternoon. giving me 15 new reads and 5 rereads.

I've also been working on a Gandalf figure but I'm not having much luck. My stitch counter keeps falling out of the yarn & I'm not tracking what row I am on very well.  We have a long drive Saturday to the Thomas thing, so I'm going to see if I can do any better on the way there.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Things put off today for tomorrow

Mayhem had an appointment with an ENT today, an hour away from home. At noon, which pretty much shot my morning because I only had 90 minutes to work with & that is not enough time to drive 25 minutes in the opposite direction and run errands. It ended up shooting my afternoon as well.

Mayhem has swollen tonsils and adenoids. He probably has allergies. He's been given a prescription for Nasonex and we go back in 6 weeks to see if there is improvement. We waited a half hour to see the doc. She then sent us off to the outpatient clinic to get Mayhem's blood drawn for allergy tests. That took over an hour. We'll get results in 2 weeks. Once we know what we are dealing with & see how the meds do, then we'll decide where to go from there.

Mayhem was cooped up from 11am to 2pm in a car, waiting rooms & offices, then he got stuck with a needle. He behaved really well throughout it all. He watched the rain drops on the car window chase themselves.  He played with blocks at the docs office. He put together a puzzle, played with a sand table and finally pulled a chair up to one of the water fountains and played some game involving the water. His excellent behavior was rewarded with a quick dash into the toy department of Target where he selected a bucket of dinosaurs (to go with the ones we already have). We got home at 3:30pm & there was no time to run errands.


So tomorrow this is what I get to spend the morning doing:

Drive 20 miles

Drop off the boys at school

Drop off the game rentals

Drive 25 miles

Drop of Mayhem's prescription

Go to the gym

Go to library #1, drop off & pick up books

Pick up prescriptions

Go to grocery store

Drive 25 miles

Mail mooched books

Take property tax forms to county office

Go to library #2, drop off & pick up books

Go to Mennonite market

Pick up boys at school

Drive 20 miles

The good part is, given the winding country lane-ness of my drives, I get to listen to 3 hours of an audiobook. The bad news is I have 3 hours and 27 minutes left in a murder mystery. I'm just going to reach the set up for the final unmasking about the time I pull into the driveway.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

When can we have mac & cheese?

Havoc wants mac & cheese for dinner. The problem with that is DH is not fond of it & while I will eat it, I prefer not to. Mac & cheese dinners must occur on nights when we get Thai take out. The boys have yet to find a single edible item on the menu at the Thai place so they get mac & cheese when we want Thai.

Thursday is take out night & we were going to get Thai then.  We'd had the braised endive Tuesdays, and as predicted Havoc ate his eggs, Mayhem's eggs and some of my eggs, plus the required one bite of endive. Mayhem choked down a bite of endive & a bite of egg & had a piece of cheese & some grapes. He asked, rather pathetically "We have meaf-woaf tomowoow?" Havoc is not wild about meatloaf but he ate a few bites of it and the mixed veggies and then requested mac & cheese for the next night. That worked out well with the Thai plan. Except then we were invited to join several other people for dinner at a teppan yaki place. The boys will eat rice and sauce (Havoc likes the pink one & Mayhem will eat the ginger sauce right out of the bowl with a spoon) and I can usually get some veggies into them. So we went there. Friday various meal plans came & went based on DH's estimate of when he would be home that night. It would have been a good mac & cheese night, but ended up being an Arby's night due to communications issues.  Last night we had steak & lentil salad which was ok. I need to get better with beans. The boys didn't like it. Havoc ate his required bites, picking out the olives & then helped himself to an apple. Mayhem had his bites & then announced he would rather go hungry and could we please have pizza next time. I'd just discovered the braised chicken requires bone in breasts which I don't have, so I agreed. Later than evening Havoc was sulking & I asked him why.  "When are we going to have mac & cheese? Why does Mayhem get to pick dinner?" valid questions, especially when the answer is that I don't really want to make mac & cheese because I don't like it much.

DH has a climb a couple hours away tomorrow & will probably have another day like he had Friday, so there is no point in my planning a full meal. We have to drive an hour to Mayhem ENT appointment in the afternoon, so I think mac & cheese from the blue box, mixed with some peas might be just the thing for dinner tomorrow night. 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Defeated by the house again!

damn hippies!'s an underground home built in 1977 almost entirely by the owners themselves, possibly while they were stoned. The house is full of 'quirks' as a result.

where to begin...... There are 3 problems, 2 stories...Normally I'd start with the one I saw coming, but I was dubious from the beginning about both situations. Not because I am so much better at figuring these things out than the others in my life & just not assertive enough to get my point across, but because I am dubious about everything measurement related until I see the actual thing in it's actual place. It's not intelligence or prescience, it's just simple mistrust predicated on a lifetime's experience. I'm a cynic. I don't believe, given a choice, that I will make the right one. It's always too much or too little. It's never just right.

Let's start with the dryer because it started us looking for a replacement. Plastic ductwork is a fire hazard & the installation guys are not allowed to connect to plastic ductwork. We have plastic duct work. Plus this new dryer puts out lots more heat so it is not in our best interest to just attach the thing to the duct work ourselves & get on with life. No-o-o-o-o. The plastic must be replaced. All guestimated 30 feet of it. Inside the wall, up in the ceiling, through the insulation, around the pipes. That's an all day project Brad has to do by himself because unless I have one of those WWII gas masks I will die from allergies if I go up in the ceilings. So, no dryer until Saturday night sometime. We have 8 feet of metal duct, because we were only measuring the distance from the new dryer outlet (which is on the opposite side of where the old one sat) to the wall duct outlet. So I have to go buy 30ft. DH says get 30ft, unless it comes in 20ft lengths, then get 40ft. DH has a tendency to not just over estimate but significantly over estimate stuff.  He doesn't want to make a second trip into town (an hour round trip just in drive time) and I don't blame him. Mostly though he does this when it comes to square footage (we have enough leftover bamboo flooring to almost, but not quite floor our bedroom, but we thought there would only be one left over already opened box).  So I'm dubious about the 30ft thing. The install guys more or less agree with him & I can't make any better suggestion so I'll get that much. What will happen is we'll need 22ft, & it will come in 20ft sections, leaving us with 18 unneeded & unreturnable feet of duct work. Not DH's fault, just how things are.

But don't be thinking "Oh it's beautiful outside; you can string your wash on a clothesline." because I have no washer either. The hoses are too short. This is why I don't trust the install guys estimate of the duct work. They and DH agreed, in the store, that given the measurement of our nook & the washer, that the 4ft hoses would be fine. We're putting the washer on the opposite side of where the current one is. This is so the doors don't open in the middle. Apparently, most right living folks have their washer on the left side & the dryer on the right and we, poor benighted heathens that we are, have had it backwards for 10 years.
Again, I was dubious because, again, people were talking about measurements but again, they sounded like they knew what they were talking about and I only had vague unsubstantiated suspicions based on nothing but a cynical outlook on life, so what could I add to the discussion?  The hoses were too short. Apparently this particular model has the connectors on the left side, not the right side so that adds 2 feet that were unaccounted for in the original discussion. I'm told to go get a 6ft hose but I may just buy 8 footers to be safe & a couple extra feet of hose behind a washer is no big deal (depending on cost). I can over estimate the amount needed just as well as anyone else.

So we have a washer halfway in place in the nook and a dryer in the guest bedroom, leaving room for DH to get to the duct work outlet and there will be no clothes washed before Sunday,  after a bunch of ceiling tiles have been removed from the guest bedroom and 28 years worth of dust have been stirred up and has fallen in there and I have sneezed myself into a seizure & we get back from the ER visit. You might be thinking "wow you should take a nice hot bath & relax." Yeah. No. That's the other thing.....

The hot water control that the washer hose connects to is corroded. You can't turn the water off there. I had to turn it off at the main. (this was before we had removed the old washer & dryer & brought the new ones in and discovered the unfortunate hose shortage). We can't turn the main hot water back on, it'll just pour out the washer pipe. We can't temporarily hook it to the washer because the hose won't reach (and I need to return it). So no hot water.

The people who built this house specifically designed that nook backwards. The vent is on the left side wall, meaning they had to run 6 additional feet of venting to not put it in the right side wall. It runs to the right to get to the outside. That was a deliberate choice on their part to do the extra work and go those extra feet. They put water connections on the far right of the nook. Again adding 6 feet of piping and an L to do so. The piping comes from the utility room right to the left corner of the nook. They made a deliberate choice to do the extra work & run the water to the other side. Had they not made these choices I would at the very least have a washer & hot water and only need to buy about 13ft of duct work.

Which is why I say "DAMN HIPPIES!"

Doing my bit for the economy

We bought a washer & dryer this weekend. Just doing our part to keep the country out of a recession. The rebate check had nothing to do with it. We don't have it yet so it can't help pay for them. Besides we already earmarked that money for a root canal & tooth cap. This is just gratuitous spending. Our current 13 year old washer & dryer still work, you see. We don't actually *need* a new washer & dryer. Mostly.  The dryer is dying. It now takes 3 runs to dry what used to, for the past 3 years, take 2 runs and before that only took 1. The washer has capacity issues. It's a 3.2 cu ft washer, bought during our "Oh hell no, we won't be having kids" phase. So I am now during laundry 6 days out of 7 because I now have the clothing laundry equivalent of another adult in my house. Plus the towel and sheet equivalent of 2 adults. That will only get larger as the boys get larger. I'm fairly sure I am running up the electric bill running the machines so much.

We bough the Duet washer & dryer. (4.0 cu ft and 7.0 cu ft) We read up on reviews & went out to consumer reports & in the end decided that was the best for our budget. Please don't comment & tell me how bad your experience or your friend's experience with the Duet was. I bought the dented display models. I can't return them. I don't want the stress of hearing horror stories when I cannot change anything. I'd like to give my own review of them but I can't.  They haven't been delivered yet. They were supposed to be delivered sometime between noon and 5 on Tuesday, but mysteriously weren't. Yesterday I heard no word at all about them despite several phone calls to Lowes. This morning I was told 'between 9-12'. I said I have to leave at 11:30, call me if you won't be there by 11:15. It's 11:23 & I haven't heard a word.  Should I stay? Should I call DH and ask him to get the boys? Should I call the school & tell them I'll be needing that after care I asked about this morning? Should I go & leave a note on the door "Back by 1."?  I have 5 minutes to decide......

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

is this day over yet???

It began at 5:45am, when Mayhem came stomping down the stairs from his room and began loudly playing with trains in the kitchen. He was dropping small metal trains off of the table & onto the slate floor. Noisy.

This was followed around 6am by the discovery that I had purchased cinnamon flavored toothpaste instead of mint. I hate cinnamon (except cinnamon rolls). I discovered this, not by reading the box or tube, but by sticking a toothbrush with it in my mouth. Nasty

Then there were the usual issues of small people dawdling while getting ready for school, followed by the engine light coming on in my car while I was driving them there. Could be expensive

Gas was $3.49 a gallon!

One of the cats got in the house while we were leaving for school. The one that pees on bathmats (which is why they are an outside cat). Smelly

Lowe's called. The dryer they were supposed to be delivering and installing today has a massive dent in it and it could be Friday before they can deliver a new one. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Disappointing.

I spent an hour in the hot sun rigging the shade cloth into place on our porch. We take it down for the winter. 3/4 of the way into it I discovered several of the clamps had gone missing and I couldn't fasten it down on one side. Sweaty.

Small boys colored on the wall with markers while I was folding clothes. Annoying.

They spilled juice on the floor while I was taking a shower and left it that way until I came into the room and saw it. Infuriating!

I discovered the sink pipes sprang a leak while I was making dinner. The leak itself started who knows when & all the containers under the sink were full of water. I had to stop what I was doing, go get the shop vac, suck up all the water, take out all the containers, wipe out the cupboard, tighten the valves on the pipes, unload the dishwasher, reload the dishwasher with the assorted containers from under the sink, then go back to preparing dinner. Aggravating.

DH called to say he won't be home until the boys' bedtime.  I have no adjective to express my opinion on that particular development.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dinner Menu

I have about 50 cookbooks. They are all full of post it notes marking recipes I was to try cooking. Most of them have been marked for years without my ever cooking them. Lately I have been trying to change that. Once a month I pick a cookbook and select 3-5 recipes to try. This month's is All About Braising & the dinner plan for the next 2 weeks features 3 recipes from it.

Braised Endive with eggs (tonight)

Braised Chicken with Cider & Parsnips

Braised Short Ribs

We're also having:


green soup (last night)

lasagna roll ups

chicken with bacon marinade


homemade pizza x2

pasta to be determined

steak & lentils

That is only 11 meals out of 14, but we get take out, go out to eat or have insta food (tyson chicken patties or fish sticks) on the remaining 3 nights. Probably one of each.

I'm not silly enough to think my kids will like braised endive with eggs. I'm not certain I'll like it, but I want to try it. Problem is there is no kid friendly side to go with it. Havoc will eat the eggs, Mayhem will not. Mayhem may have an apple for dinner tonight. I will make it up to him with pasta on Wednesday.  Steak & lentils on Thursday, with teriyaki pizza, topped with leftover steak on Friday.  Braised chicken on Sunday. Lasagna on Monday, meatloaf Tuesday, chicken pizza Wednesday,braised short ribs Thursday, tacos Friday and chicken with bacon on Sunday. Though the short ribs might have to be Sunday, pushing the chicken & bacon into the following week and giving us fish sticks or carry out on Thursday

on being corrected

There was a great deal of noise coming from the backseat the other day.

"BOYS!!!" I said in my stern, knock-it-off, voice

"just BOY, actuawy" replies Mayhem, sitting alone in the back.

"How can you make so much noise by yourself?"

"I don't have anyone to play with. How come you only have 2 boys? Why not 3 so I have someone to play with when Havoc at school?"


Friday, April 18, 2008

2042 books!

My Library Thing library is now completely up to date. 2042 books. I like that the 42 ended up in there without my realizing it. I actually have something about 1100 of those books in my possession currently.

Now that this is done perhaps I can get back to crochet & digi scrapping. I haven't done a single layout or picked up a hook this month.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why hasn't anyone been murdered yet?

My parents were in town this weekend. The boys spent most of their time trying to get Grandma & Pa to put their books down & play with them, which they were perfectly willing to do. This meant that I could read a book in relative peace. 

I read Excellent Women by Barbara Pym in one day. It was glorious. Then, later in the evening I discussed the book with my family. It was a good read. Lots of detail, well drawn characters, with that cozy British village feel.  But nobody died & I found that very disconcerting. I have been reading a lot of mysteries lately & forgot this was just fiction. I read the first couple chapters with an eye toward guessing who the victim would be and speculating on possible motives by various other characters for doing away with this person or that person. But nobody was murdered. I was 6 chapters into the book wondering when the hell a body would turn up before I remembered this was not a cozy village mystery but a straight story. It left me feeling the book was a bit off. There was plenty of scope in the story for a murder, possibly even 2 or 3  (to ensure the murder's safety), lots of motives and some people who certainly could be believably driven to it. The main character was one of those 'excellent women' of village fiction, a spinster who just seems to get involved in people's live. Still, everyone persisted in remaining alive throughout the whole book. I liked the book, I was just slightly perturbed by it, but I think that was entirely my fault.  I'm going to have to read it again when I am not on a cozy mystery spree.

After I had this discussion it occurred to me what I had said. "I have been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately." In other words - I HAVE HAD TIME TO READ LATELY!!!! and I didn't even realized it. I am an avid reader. I am the child of avid readers. When we get together with my parents, once the kids are in bed there is a 90% chance we will all sit around reading. Or talking about what we are reading.

I had time to read when Havoc was a baby. I could read when he was sleeping or nursing or playing happily in his bouncer or the floor. Then he started crawling and had to be watched, then he was cruising, then walking, then Mayhem was born and it started all over, only without the 'time to read while he was a baby' part because I also had a toddler.  I still had some time here & there, but there were other things I wanted to do with that time & working out how to spend it was tricky.  There was little money to buy books, having lost my income & gained two dependants.  My sanity was not up to taking a couple of toddlers to the library very often. (I find regulating my children's public behavior to be the most stressful part of parenting toddlers & preschoolers). I reread my existing books & occasionally bought a new one. But where once I would sit down & devour my new purchases in a few days, now a week could pass before I opened one book.

Some time in past 6 months or so something changed. The demons grew. They needed less supervision & were capable of longish periods of play that didn't involve me. Mayhem started school 3 days a week and I could go into a bookstore or a library and actually BROWSE childfree.  Their behavior, individually, has improved to where I am not on constant high alert. (together they are still demons). I have new books in the house and I have time to read them. Every day almost I have at least an hour after dinner to myself. Most days I can grab a few 15-30 minute stretches to read. I have to do it standing up at the kitchen counter in order to not be immediately climbed all over, but that is a small price to pay.  My to be read pile on my nightstand has 9 books in it, there are 5 waiting to be taken back to the library that I have finished. I have regularly been checking out and actually READING several books a week.

I read to the boys regularly & I am so looking forward to them being able to read. Havoc can read small words with short vowel sounds. We went to the library & checked him out some books specifically geared to that. I loved going to the library as a child. I loved having a stack of new to me books waiting to be read. I loved sitting around with my parents in the evening, everyone reading or talking about what they were reading. I cannot wait for my kids to be there & I really hope they want to. I think I would count that my big failure as a parent if my kids don't love to read like I do.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Technology gap

My parents are in town for a visit.  Dad will be 70 this year, mom will be 69 on Tuesday.  My 4 and 5 year old do not understand that their grandparents have no idea how to use a Wii, that they have never seen or used a Wii and that they will need some time to figure out the controls.

Dad wasn't here 5 minutes before Mayhem had him sitting in front of the TV, Wiimote in hand and playing tanks. Or at least, trying to play tanks. Tanks is Mayhem's all time favorite Wii game and he doesn't understand that Pa does not instinctively know how to play tanks. Havoc had created Miis for Grandma & Pa earlier this week in anticipation of their arrival. I did try to explain that it would take some time for them to figure out how to use it.  The boys didn't get it. They tried to explain how to use the Wiimote, but Mayhem's version of explaining is "You do dis Pa! Wike dis!" and Havoc runs back & forth between Grandma and the TV, wanting to be next to it to watch Grandma's Mii play tennis & wanting to push the buttons for her.

Pa still has not figured out tanks, but he is fishing just fine and doing well at baseball. Grandma can now bowl and play tennis. The boys are delighted.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Problems that never occurred to me

I have food issues. There are a lot of foods I don't like. I was a 'picky eater' when I was a kid, completely unwilling to try anything new. I was in my late 20's before I was willing to risk trying new foods or reconsider old rejected ones. Looking back from an adult perspective, part of this is my parents' fault. I was not encouraged to try new foods. Dad would occasionally offer me something but Mom's invariable reply was "Ew, don't give her that, she'll hate it." Dad was not so open in his food dislike, but I never once in my entire childhood saw a bowl of peas on the table, or carrots. We had canned green beans, canned corn, and frozen broccoli or cauliflower in cheese sauce. Other foods simply never appeared because my did didn't like them & he never suggested I try them.

We had decided from the beginning, given my issues, that we would always encourage the kids to try things. We would never say "ew" or "yuck" even if we thought it and we would never say "you won't like that." or "you don't like that". Only positive, happy thoughts about food.

This is fairly easy when you are dealing with new food or food only rarely encountered.  Especially in your own kitchen. You make the meal, offer it with encouragement to the child & if he doesn't want it, it's not too bad. There are 2 adults who will eat it or it can be made into something else as leftovers.  If you are at someone else's house, it is also easy. Encourage & if they don't like it, no biggie. The food won't be wasted. This is also true at restaurants with new foods. You can offer them bites of your own food, if they want to try something new off the menu you can try to direct them toward something you think they will like or that at least others will eat if they hate it.

The problem comes when you are dealing with something you know they don't like and they are insisting they want. You don't want to be negative but you don't want to spend the effort, the time or the money on something you know darn well will not be eaten. I hadn't taken this issue into account when I decided to never be negative. It hadn't occurred to me that my 4 year old, who hates pepperoni, would regularly insist on getting pepperoni pizza and then whine & complain that he doesn't like pepperoni & wants you to pick it all off, only all the cheese comes with it and you are left with a sauce covered crust that the child won't eat because he'll only eat bread with cheese on it. (I draw the line at then going and making or buying him a slice of cheese pizza. You asked for the food you have in front of you. Eat it or go hungry...or have an apple.)

I try to divert him to other things "How about cheese pizza?" and sometimes this works, but not always. "NO. I want pepperoni" he will insist. Some of the time there are no other options. The other day at the supermarket I was getting things for dinner at the deli & knowing that neither child would eat the stuffed pork I was buying, I told Mayhem he could pick out something from the sandwich case for him & his brother to have. They had meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, spaghetti, calzones & pizza on display. The boys will eat any of it. Except... Mayhem picked the pepperoni pizza and insisted he wanted the *pepperoni* pizza. The only other pizzas were Greek and meat lovers, not viable options for diversion. "How about meatloaf or mac & cheese?" I asked. "Pepperoni pizza." he insisted. <sigh> I did not want to pay $8 for something that was not going to get eaten. Something I knew, right then, standing there, was not going to get eaten. (Havoc doesn't like pepperoni either)  I didn't want to deal with this child when he realized, once again, that 'pepperoni pizza' means pizza that is not all cheese but in fact has pepperoni on it. I didn't want to deal an hour after that with the now hungry child who had refused his dinner and didn't want an apple but pizza. "But doesn't the mac & cheese look yummy?  Havoc would love the mac & cheese and you love it too" "I want pepperoni pizza mama!" "But you hate pepperoni!!!" I wanted to shout at him. "You hate it & you won't eat it. You think pepperoni is yuck."  but I didn't

I bought the pizza & before I baked it I pulled out all the pepperonis hidden under the cheese. Slight mistake there. "Pepperoni pizza is yummy Mama." he says at dinner time. "I wike pepperoni pizza."


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Photo of the Day - Week 14

March 31 - the Island of Sodor today

April 1 - I'm not sure who is hauling who

April 2 - beautiful day to play with the hose

April 3 - setting up the castle for defense

April 4 - what trains do when there is no track

April 5 - Curious George comes for a visit & helps make banana muffins

April 6 - Curious George learns to play cow racing.

He can hear

He just chooses not to listen. That is the verdict from the hearing tests Mayhem had yesterday. He had some problems with the test they do in the ped's office. We couldn't determine whether he wasn't hearing or if he wasn't paying attention.  The doc & I discussed it and because I did have other concerns about his hearing she scheduled this more in depth test. Mayhem always complains that the TV is not loud enough and his ability to hear when there are distractions seems to be limited.  "What did you say?" gets shouted at me several times a week. When he speaks he sounds as if he is stuffed up, even when he isn't. Is it a hearing problem or is he just being difficult or attempting to exert control on his surroundings?  Turns out he's just being Mayhem, which doesn't really surprise me.  He passed the test with flying colors.  He hears what he wants to hear.  We are going to see a ear, nose & throat specialist in a couple of weeks because of the speech issue and his frequent runny noses. I suspect we will then be sent to an allergist.

Havoc lost his first tooth on Thursday.  This was unexpectedly early and he accepted that the Tooth Fairy might be a couple days late in collecting the tooth because of that. The tooth fairy is on a tight schedule & if your tooth comes out before she was expecting it she has to work you in when she can find an opening. That can take a few days.  Havoc was fine with that. Monday night the tooth fairy finally got her act together & found a Sacajawea dollar coin to give him (the alternative being foreign currency because the tooth fairy never  remembers to go the bank).  Havoc is thrilled with his new coin, takes it to school to show it off and loses it. We assume he lost it at school as that is the last place he remembers having it.

So, my dilemma is do I replace the coin & have a happy child or do I not replace the coin and pitch this as a 'learning opportunity'. I'm thinking of combining the 2 and let today go by & see how he reacts to it not being found. If he is still fairly upset about it, the coin will turn up in the laundry tomorrow afternoon and we'll discuss again the importance of keeping track of his possessions. If he's not really upset about it we'll have the discussion and the coin will remain lost (assuming it doesn't turn up at school today)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yarn woes

I've been out on etsy looking at the lovely hand dyed yarns. They are all so pretty my hands just itch to reach through the screen and touch them. Problem is, odds are my hands really would itch if I touched the yarn but I have no way of knowing for sure without actually touching. Sniff... all that lovely yarn and I can't have any!

I just bought some Vinca superwash sock weight wool in a beautiful blue off of etsy. That's supposed to be the really soft stuff and it is soft ish on my hands, but a little scratchy on my legs and I'm afraid to make it into socks for fear I'd never wear them.

I have a wool sensitivity & it extends to cover mohair, angora, llama, and alpaca. I'm allergic to dog & cat hair too, so I'm assuming its just an animal sensitivity.  Some wools, etc, are just a bit uncomfortable. I could wear them as a cardigan or shawl, assuming it didn't constantly touch bare skin. Most wools make me itchy and give me hives. Some make my eyes swell shut.  Its not the lanolin, which most wool lovers immediately point to as the culprit, I can use lanolin lotion with no problem. Its the actual animal hair itself. How it is processed can make it easier on me. I have no idea how any of the wool yarn I encounter is processed, I just know I find things itchy when others marvel at it's softness.  Making it impossible to buy yarn without touching it.

I want some nice, lovely, quality yarn to crochet with. I've been working on my afghan which is Red Heart acrylic, and I'm ready for a change. I'd love some silk or bamboo yarn but I'e only seen blends with wool that I can afford. Maybe it would be fine but I can't drop $11-15 on a maybe.  I wish there was a yarn store around me so I could go and and get all touchy with they different yarns & then have some idea of brands & blends to look for. I'm making the drive to the big city tomorrow for Mayhem's hearing screening (he failed the doc's office test, but he can hear & possibly was not paying attention so the full screen is called for). There is a yarn store near the screening place. If Mayhem is in a good mood and not too grubby I may be able to check it out.

I want some nice yarn to play with.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Getting it up

Feel free to read whatever innuendo you please into this account my weekend.
Friday I told DH that his pole just wasn't doing it for me any longer. I needed something bigger & if he needed any help raising it, to just let me know.
Saturday he collapsed the pole and took it down. He then spent a lot of time working out just how much wire he would need to tie down the new, taller and stronger pole. Cutting the wires, fastening them to the top & middle rings & untangling everything took a bit more time. Then I joined in and helped make it bigger. The first section slid out smoothly, the second would not budge & the third & fourth required a lot of effort. We had to pull the second one out while the pole was down because there was no way in hell DH could move once the pole was up. That took about a half hour because that section was tight. We spent a lot of time beating that pole to get it to extend all the way.
Now we had a 30ft pole to erect. This is considerably more difficult than a 10ft pole (which is the norm) or a 20ft pole (which is not too bad). Especially when there is a 6ft antenna running perpendicular to the pole, lashed to one end. Let me just say now, my back is killing me. My job was to be on the other end, lining the interior of the hollow pole up with the spike in the ground that will keep the pole in place. DH started at the other end, walking to me and lifting the pole. Which did not want to stay on the spike. But we got it there eventually. Pause to catch our breaths, erect a ladder, check to make sure none of the wires or cable have been twisted and tie down the bottom ring of wires. This involved looking up to the top of the pole, directly into the sun.
DH climbed up the ladder, began pulling up the third section and pulled the pole right off the spike, making it almost fall down, but between us & the wires we managed to keep it up and get it back on the spike.
Interesting side note on the mounting of poles. The mounting equipment - from the manufacturer - includes a big long spike that is driven into the ground, leaving 5-6 inches sticking out to impale the pole upon, and a square metal plate with a hole in the center that goes over the spike & sets on the ground, before you impale the pole. It does not include any mounting hardware. Nothing to keep the pole firmly attached to the ground. I suppose the theory is that the guide wires will keep the pole attached to the ground. The theory apparently only considers a side to side motion threat & not someone pulling on the pole from above.
My job, from this point forward was to grab the pole as hard as I could and pull down while DH pulled up. It took a long time to get the third section up. This pole takes 'snug fit' to a whole new level. While trying to get the fourth and last section up DH ran into resistance. All of the wires were slack, so assuming it was the section itself DH gave it a hard yank...and the cable snapped off the antenna box 40 feet up.
It seems, that the 50ft pole I have been complaining about all this time, has in fact been only a 40ft pole and the section collapse last week made it a 30ft pole. It was the lack of cable length that reminded DH of the circumstances. After all, nothing had changed about the cable & had the pole actually been 50ft originally then the should have been plenty of cable. Remember that second section we had to extend on the ground because it was so stuck? It had never been extended in the first place for the same reason. We had a decent signal to 40ft so DH had decided to it be until he had the wire to tie it down properly. He'd have to take the pole down at that point & could force the extension then. That was over 18 months ago. When he cleaned up the interior install 6 months ago, he moved the receiver inside and tightened up that additional 10ft of cable, having forgotten the original plan.
Pole is then collapsed to 30ft, taken down and cable is reconnected. Pause while things are tested and moved around inside & tested some more to make sure no damage was done to the antenna receiver or the connector. Everything tests out fine, one final check of cable length and we repeat the pole raising process up to and including me wrapping myself around the pole to keep it on the spike while DH laboriously re-extends the 3rd and 4th sections. Woo Hoo!! The pole is up. Another hour is eaten up tying down the wires, getting the pole straight, tightening things, adjusting positions, etc. Come in the house and NO INTERNET!!!
DH spends some time replacing things on our end because the damn thing had worked just fine before we put the pole up. But there is no joy, or internet. And it's 4:30, the boys are getting hungry and not enough light left to take it down, fix the antenna end and put it back up. So we go to dinner and I have no internet.
Today it is raining. A heavy mist and a bit of wind. DH collapses the pole and replaces the connectors and everything is fine until he closes up the box. Closing the box cuts off the signal. Best guess is the cable stretched before it pulled loose and somewhere in 66 ft of cable some wires snapped. The handy thing about being married to a network guy is the odds are good there is another 66ft length of cable in his truck, or the shed - and there was! Everything is replaced. Multiple tests are done and then a couple more and some re-measuring of everything. Then, once more we hoist the 30ft pole. Only now the ground is soft and muddy and pole is slippery. But we get it up! As I am clinging to the bottom pole I notice the plethora of warning stickers decorating it. I read as the breeze blew, under the YOU COULD BE KILLED! sticker another one that said "Do NOT attempt to erect or disassemble this pole when it is wet or windy." and one that said "Only knowledgeable trained professional technicians should install this pole." I'm not sure how much knowledge & training you actually need to hang on to a pole, assuming you are outside, fully clothed and no one is waiting to stick dollar bills in your G string. But there it is.
Eventually the pole was fully erect, the wires were re-adjusted and re-tightened and thank you JEEZUS! the internet works! It is even better than before. Previously I had about 700 download and 250 up. Now I have 1000 down and almost 600 up.
That was a hell of a lot of work for free internet.

BTW - the internet is free because DH is a director at our ISP. We did not erect a 50ft eyesore on our property just to pirate the neighbors unsecured wireless network.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Odds and Ends

It seems I do not have a principle, I just had an idea that I liked.  Mayhem had the varicella vax. He also had his last MMR and sometime in the next couple months he'll get the last DTaP.  I did have a bit of an argument with the doc about the Hib & HepB.  I'll be bringing my supporting documentation (from the DOH website) when we go back for the DTaP.  He meets the base vax requirement on those even if the schedule looks like he needs one more of each.  I did stick with my intended delayed vax schedule. It just was bumped a year because the public school started offering a Pre-K, so the shots were needed sooner. He would have had that MMR and DTaP at his yearly exam anyway (which should have been last month) So maybe I did have a principle and even mostly stuck to it.

Tomorrow Curious George comes home with Havoc for the weekend. His teacher has a stuffed George, complete with suitcase, journal and PJs, and he is visiting everyone in the class for a weekend. We're supposed to write a story in his journal about the things George did while visiting us. We were going to take him hiking, but DH is going camping this weekend and no way I am I taking 2 energetic small boys into the mountains by myself. And it's supposed to rain. So the back up plan is George gets to pick out a Wii game to rent and we are all going to make banana yogurt muffins (which Havoc assures me are George's favorite).  If there is a break in the rain we'll go to the park and Sunday night we're taking George for teppan yaki.  I'm sure George will have a lovely time.

I am behind on my 365 Project.  I've taken a photo a day. But they sit in my download folder. I haven't cropped them or adjusted them, or even chosen which of the 6 photos of the same thing I want to be that day's photos. The last one I have done is March 24. Plus it's now April so I need to get March's book pages set up.

I've been entirely sucked up by the Library Thing. I've been scanning & entering books like crazy. 800 books in the last 4 days alone. I'm sure my enthusiasm will dim soon, but in the meanwhile I am not getting anything else done.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How I know I am old

There is this tv commercial running lately. It's for a cell phones or maybe for cell phone service. I'm not sure because the commercial content itself distracts me so much I pay no attention to the logo.  It shows 2 people, one sitting outside on a park bench & the other sitting in a home, on a sofa. They are both holding cell phones and texting one another what are assumed to be romantic messages, given the doodles shown over their heads.  Here is why I don't know what exactly is being sold & why I do know I am old. Every time I see that commercial I cannot help but say "Why don't they just CALL each other? They are holding PHONES in their hands." Obviously they have nothing going on to prevent them from actually speaking to one another. They are alone. They are not doing anything else.  Why would you text someone in that circumstance? I can see texting if you are someplace where you cannot talk easily - someplace really noisy or someplace really quiet. I can see texting specific information that doesn't require extraneous conversation - a phone number, the amount the parking fine turned out to be. I can see texting useful or important info if you know the recipient is not in a position to take a call - in a meeting or at the dentist.  But why, why why why, would you carry on a random text based conversation with someone when you are both sitting alone, doing nothing and HAVE PHONES IN YOUR HANDS?? I can see the usefulness of texting, I can even see the fun in randomly texting your significant other affectionate messages, I can even sort of understand texting 'what up?" to your friends but I don't understand the need to fully converse with it.  I don't understand why the recipient of 'what up" would text back lots of info that would then be replied to with more info. Why wouldn't the recipient just call back?

So, obviously, I am old.