Monday, February 24, 2014

Melt! Melt! Melt! Melt!

1. Sorry about the blog break. The Tuesday before Valentine's Day I came down with the stomach flu and life ground to a halt. That Tuesday afternoon my mother came over to feed the kids dinner and supervise homework. I sent my honey to sleep at my parents' house so he wouldn't be exposed to my germs. Wednesday morning my mother came back to do the breakfast and get on the bus show, since I had been up all night. I think we both napped that afternoon and then she came back again to pick up the kids and all their stuff to keep them through the snow-pocalypse. Marshall stayed in the city Wednesday and Thursday night, courtesy of his employer, so he could walk to work each day. The children we re-delivered Friday morning before the delayed-opening of school so they could go back to school. Oh, and don't forget, my dad came over Thursday to use the snow blower he gave us to clear the driveway.

If you missed it, we would have died without my parents' help the week of Valentine's day. Of course, we've had so much snow in February that they are now considering spending all of February, 2015, in California, moving from house to house and they visit friends, family and grandchildren, completely avoiding NJ snow.

2. Since all I did when I was up all night feeling awful was play on the Internet, here's what I spent my time doing: sending FB messages to friends on the West coast and then, when they were asleep, in Japan; watch Olympic curling live, visit the Veronica Mars Tumblr page, watch Keith Green on YouTube. And then the next day, I watched a lot more Olympic coverage on my laptop. Because the tv wasn't exactly working. And still isn't, kinda.

3. So our television system is rather complex. Marshall built a DVR many years ago (we can't remember how long) and we've been adjusting the system every since. However, the software that runs it stopped getting official updates after the company was purchased by Google several years ago, so sooner or later, we're going to have to change our system. 2 years ago we switched from DirecTV to Comcast for both better service and price, but those advantages have slipped away. Now I have to decide how much I want to pay to be able to watch Tennis competitions and Phillies games. $150 per month seems too much.

Currently, we can watch anything on the system (nearly a terabyte of videos) but we can't record anything new. Somehow, a leaky roof after the snow-pocolypse took precedent.

4. So our roof didn't like all the snow and ice it was holding for weeks on end, so we have a leak in an inconvenient place. Marshall was able to patch it temporarily and now we have to interview roofers to see how hard it will be to repair the problem and how much more will a new roof cost. The roof is at least 15 years old and we know it will need to be replaced eventually but we really didn't want to do that this spring. But then, when is it a good time to get a new roof?

5. My new favorite podcast is Hang Up and Listen from Slate. I read most of what Slate publishes (my mother-in-law and I love Dear Prudence and the weekly news quizzes by Ken Jennings). Lots of weird stuff there, too, but still interesting.

6. The snow is melting. We had rain last week and then a warm weekend so most of the pile is gone. Of course, the polar vortex is back so the children were grabbing for gloves and big coats again today. The bright sunshine helps in that it is cheering but it also fools you into thinking it's not 30 degrees out, before wind chill.

Yesterday, we all spent time outside cleaning up trash and Marshall and I spent some time looking at the trees, checking for broken branches. It took us quite a bit of maneuvering but we got it down to the ground. Now all we need is another nice day to cut it up for pick up.

Here's the branch:

The picture doesn't do it justice. The end is about as thick as my thigh.

Signs of spring are pretty sparse around here (although my mother and I are going to the Philadelphia Flower Show next week), but I found this yesterday:

7. Before I got sick, I did get a little more stitching done:

Two weeks from today we leave for a week in San Antonio, Texas. Eeek! I've a lot to do before then.

Here's Jen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Did I Even Leave the House this Week?

1. Sunday morning my honey and I woke to Alex coming into our bathroom and vomiting on the floor. Then he announced he'd just thrown up in the living room as well (why can't they ever miss the carpet? Most of the house now has laminate or tile or linoleum?). And the week went pretty much downhill from there. Alex was sick with a nausea-dizzy virus from Sunday - Tuesday. My mother had it Monday - Tuesday and I had it Wednesday - Friday.

My schedule for the week was full last Sunday and now it's just a pile of broken appointments or meetings missed. I even missed the big Youth Group party on Sunday. If I was contagious, I didn't want to give it to anyone else. And there's something about vomit that makes you want to wash everything in sight.

What's funny is the night I was dizziest was when I sat down to finish Game Change: Double Down 2012. It seemed an appropriate mood to read about American politics. Good book; scary system. It did give me significant insights into NJ governor Chris Christie. I'm hoping the current scandal permanently scuttles his presidential ambitions. He's an effective governor and I'd rather he stay and continue to be so than go wandering around Iowa and New Hampshire. He's charismatic to be sure but too volatile for the international stage. Although putting he and Putin together would be fun to watch.

2. If you missed the news (ha!), there was a large snowfall here on Monday which meant no school Monday and delayed opening on Tuesday. Then there was that ice storm on Wednesday, so we had another delayed opening. Then today was a scheduled half-day for teacher in-service. I'm amazed teachers got anything done this week.

3. I realized this week that, once again, I treat Alex's teacher as one of my closest friends, communicating with her almost daily, sharing pictures and anecdotes all through the week. The only people I text more are Marshall and my mother. What does this mean, other than Alex is a high-maintenance kid? I'm not sure.

4. I've done a bit of stitching lately. Here's the most recent progress picture:

I shouldn't have been surprised by my need to unwind my second skein of DMC 355 Terra Cotta - Dark since it is the primary color of all 4 patterns. You can see all of them here. I was surprised to find that the publisher has discontinued the iris and tulip patterns. Yet another reasons to buy ahead of you're actual stitching schedule, a process known by other stitchers as a "stash enhancement experience" or "sex."

5. Simcha has an absolutely hilarious post this week about dogs. Go read it! Of course, she reminds me of all the reasons I haven't insisted we get a dog this year. Maybe if I can keep borrowing Truman or Pepper, it will be enough to give me my doggie fix.

6. The Winter Olympics started last night and I am suddenly a fan of slopestyle. Go figure. The only problem is that our DVR has lost it's ability to tune any channel for longer than about 2 hours and when it fails, it necessitates a reboot of the server, the channel tuner and the display box. Hopefully, a new tuner, arriving tomorrow from Amazon, will fix everything. I know, there is never a good time for a DVR to fail but right before the Olympics? My honey is not happy with the timing. At least there isn't any tennis until March.

7. It actually felt warm today, The sun was out and everything. Then I looked at the thermometer: 33 degrees. Scary.

Here's Jen.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Too Many Squirrels

1. If you've had to ask me multiple times this week to do anything and I've forgotten, I apologize. I'm transitioning to a new anti-depressant and the result seems to be a perpetually foggy brain. Perhaps this is God's way of introducing me to what it feels like to have ADD. I'll have a thought and start to follow it when I blink and it's gone. Very frustrating.

2. I miss tennis. But, on a happier note, the Winter Olympics start on Thursday.

3. I did manage to get to the movies this week. My father and I went to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and it was much better than it's 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates. Maybe some film reviewers just don't think economic threats are sexy enough to rate a decent grade. Whatever. Chris Pine was excellent as usual and Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh were equally good. Jack Ryan was my hero when I was in middle school (which is why I HATED the film adaptation of Patriot Games) and I think this adaptation to a post-911 Jack was a good one. I hope they make more.

4. Valentine's Day is only 2 weeks away and I haven't decided what to do about cards for the kids. Usually we print our own but I might just buy them at the drug store this year.

5. My new favorite author is Kristan Higgins. I continue to work my way through the list of the top ten romances of 2013 and then read everything else the author has ever written (thanks to my local library, of course) and this week it was 3 novels by Higgins. Her writing is delightful and charming and usually concerns the heroine's family just as much as her romance.

I also started Game Change: Double Down but am finding it a lot more boring than the previous book, probably because it describes in detail all the ways the early Obama presidency screwed up. Goodreads continues to be a handy application to keep track of what I've already read and books that sound good and I want to remember to read in the future. Of course, it also reminds me of all the series I've started and not yet returned to finish. Squirrels, I tell you.

6. Some of the weather forecasts for the upcoming week have snow falling on both Monday and Saturday. Alex and I think we've had enough already and Miranda can't wait to build another snow fort.

7. Tomorrow I will be spending the whole afternoon at church with the Youth Group because it's our annual Super Pre-Game Party where we transform the sanctuary into an awesome, inflatable-filled playground, eat lots of great food, and then clean it all up again. It's the one thing that makes the day tolerable for me, besides all the new cool movie trailers.

Bonus 8. I filed our taxes this afternoon, thanks to TurboTax. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to do it with such a fuzzy brain but our deductions are not very exciting so I don't expect any trouble. Of course, it was an interesting exercise to tally up how much we spent on health care in 2012, and when I say interesting I mean terrifying. Yikes!

Here's Jen.