Saturday, October 29, 2005

What A Day!

Yesterday was quite a day. I needed to go to the grocery store badly - the cupboards were bare - and I wanted to go to BJs. I didn't like the thought of going over that tall bridge, but not going because of that didn't seem to be right. That is definitely not having faith! Tom and Sam went with Andy and I because they didn't have to be at work until the afternoon. Tom was riding in the front seat and decided it was a bit stuffy in there and so was going to put his window down a little. I saw him push the button down and then we heard an awful grinding, crunching sound. The window came down a little, but there was the definite sound of broken glass somewhere down in the door. I told Tom to put the window back up, if possible, and we would look into it when we got home. He tried to put the window back up but it wouldn't go all the way. It stayed about a half inch down. We decided to just leave it alone so we didn't cause any further damage to whatever was malfunctioning.

We went to BJs, proceeded to spend a disgusting amount of money on food for this family, and headed home. As we were traveling we noticed that the window on Tom's side was dropping little by little all by itself. It got to about two inches and then stopped dropping.

We got off the main road onto the back road that Andy's school is on, now about two miles or so from home. We started hearing a funny noise that kept getting louder and louder, then we felt the truck start riding rough and we realized we were getting a flat tire - quickly. Tom's open window afforded us a prime opportunity to hear the GRRRRRRRRR sound at a deafening level as it was the right front tire. By now we were about one mile from home. I had approximately $350.00 worth of food in the back of the truck, a spare that was also flat (Jerry had just informed me of that about a month ago), and a decision to make. I had to decide whether to try to get home or stop. I decided to try to make it home. I didn't know how long I might be sitting on the side of the road with all that food waiting for either Jerry or a tow truck - and only a mile or so from home. I turned on my flashers and proceeded to do about 10 mph for the rest of the trip. By the time we pulled into the driveway we could smell the tire which had gotten very hot from riding on it flat. I had been afraid of damage to my rim, but had weighed the short distance I was going against that and had decided to risk it. When we pulled into the driveway, we saw that Jerry was home. I was afraid he'd be angry that I had ridden on the rim, but he wasn't, and thankfully there wasn't any damage to it. He had another tire for the truck in the shed so he took the flat one off the rim and put the new one on and pumped it up. Now I just need to have the tire balanced. I will never make a smart remark about him keeping odd tires again. The only thing he could find wrong with the flat tire is that the base of the valve stem looked like it had been cut but that could have happened while riding on the rim. We found nothing in the tire itself like a nail or something, nor any obvious defects that would have made it go flat the way it did. I am very, very thankful that it didn't happen farther from home or - heaven forbid - on that bridge! As for the window, Jerry managed to get it raised all the way up so that it would close, but now we need to have that fixed. They say that things come in threes - whoever they are. A while back my "Change Oil" light started coming on. We have always taken our truck to the same place to have the oil changes and tuneups done ever since we got it, and they always reset the light and put a little sticker on the windshield that tells us when we're due for another oil change. Well, we haven't reached that mileage yet and when Jerry checked the oil, it looked just fine and he couldn't find a reason why the light was coming on. I guess now we'll go ahead and take it in to have that checked, have the window fixed, and have the new tire balanced. That's three. Theoretically we should be done! I told Jerry that the reason these things happened wasn't because things happened in threes - it was because we paid the truck off a month ago!

A couple of weeks ago while we were at Safeway they were having a raffle to benefit breast cancer where you could win $350.00 worth of groceries. I bought a few tickets because it's for a good cause, and the groceries wouldn't hurt, either! (Never mind that I just spent that much at BJs.......!) Anyway, the drawing is today and Andy has just asked me if I had on my "lucky draws" as he says it - so that we would win. It seems he has told everyone in the family to wear their "lucky draws" today. I wonder about that kid.

Now I'd better get going and get Andy busy. We had originally planned to do his lessons when we got back from shopping yesterday, but then with the events the day got later and later. I gave him the choice of doing his lessons yesterday evening or today, and he chose today. Another advantage to homeschooling - not being limited to when you can make up your lessons!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fall Is Here!

The weather has definitely changed. The mornings are actually cold! In the last few days with the rain and wind, it hasn't warmed up much during the day, either. I love the cooler weather. I was jealous when I saw on the Weather Channel that parts of West Virginia were having snow. Soon.....I keep telling myself. After finally having a break from using the air conditioning, I refused to turn the heat on, even though it got quite chilly in the house, especially early in the morning. I tried to bake stuff in the morning to help warm the house. We'll be fat (er!) but warm. I think of it as a challenge to see how creative we can be to keep ourselves warm rather than using the heat - for a while anyway. Definitely no fun in the dead of winter to do that! This morning just as I was making cookie dough to make cookies to warm us up somewhat, Jerry decided it was just too cold and turned the heat on. While the challenge of keeping us warm creatively is gone now, there will be a new challenge taking it's place - paying the electric bill.

We still haven't been able to get away to look at property, and I must say I'm getting a bit discouraged. My faith hasn't been very strong lately, and I keep forgetting that as long as I just keep plugging away and doing what I'm supposed to do that things will fall into place. Trying to force things to go your way is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn't work. It seems that the properties we had been planning to visit (ones we had seen online) have all been sold now and land is going fast. Apparently a lot of people are thinking like us. Also a lot of companies are now equipping employees to work from home in order to save fuel and expenses of office space, and so, like me, many more people can work from their home, and moving to places like West Virginia where there may not be any local work, is no longer an obstacle to employment. Oh, well. Faith! Gotta have it - or more of it, anyway.

School is going very well. We're getting into some meaty math which is a challenge for Andy - he has pretty much been cruising through up until now. As I am typing this he is working on a grammar lesson on possessive nouns and objects. He has to write sentences using these plus transitive and intransitive verbs. I must admit that I didn't know what those were until teaching him last week! In case you're wondering (which you probably weren't), a transitive verb is a verb that needs something else to go with it. For instance, you couldn't say, "Karen broke". Well you could, but it wouldn't make sense. You need to add another object to the end of that. Karen broke - what? Her arm? a cup? wind? You get the point. An intransitive verb is a verb that says everything you need. "Karen walked" is an example.

I am anxious about Tom this morning. He has gone to a steamfitter's union office to talk to them about employment. I am surprised at my feelings about this. It seems like I have been pushing him to do more with himself, but now that he is, I am a little frightened. Being a steamfitter seems like such a big deal with the commitment that he needs to make for schooling and belonging to a union - then there's the whole Jimmy Hoffa thing..........

Oh, well. Guess it's time to get on with my day. Faith. Gotta remember that!

Monday, October 17, 2005

A wet parrot is pitiful-looking too - but he was happy!

Buddy took a bath too - except he actually enjoyed his!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I love Sundays. Today has been very relaxing. Usually I try not to work on Sundays, but I think the Lord forgave me today, because I'm trying to work ahead so we can take off for a few days. There's a pork roast in the crock pot, a loaf of bread in the works in the bread machine, the cat is bathed, and the house is relatively clean.

Jerry has been very busy around here this week. The handrail is finished. He put up two fans on the porch, and fluorescent lights in the garage. It sure is bright in there, now!

Last year we had pork in the freezer - this year it will be beef. We bought a steer from Jerry's brother who is going to house it and feed it until it's big enough to butcher. It's already 600 pounds, so it should be big enough by around January or so. He offered us the entire steer for a great price, and we couldn't turn it down, so we'll be getting the whole thing. I hope the freezer is big enough! We also had to think about the fact that moving an empty freezer is a lot easier than moving a full one, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I talked with Dad today and asked him if he would like some of the beef when we get it, and he said that he definitely would - and then proceeded to tell me he wanted several filet mignon, sirloin steaks, and other prime cuts. I told him he needed to call Jerry and place that order himself - there is no way I'm going to get in between a man and his filet mignon!

I gave Peaches a bath today. There is something paradoxical about bathing a cat. Bath and cat are not two words that go together. Like civil and war. Anyway, I managed it, and he seems to be grateful. We had let him outside a couple of days this week and his long fur was hiding fleas that he picked up from being outside. That is definitely not something we need to deal with inside the house, hence the bath.

Well, now I am going to go enjoy the rest of my Sunday - all too soon it will be work, school, and the regular stuff again.

Have you ever seen anything more pitiful?!

Jerry's fluorescent lights. I neglected to mention that the garage ceiling is 11 feet high - that's why I didn't care for standing on a walkboard holding up drywall last week!

The stair rail turned out beautifully. It sure is better than that old black, ugly one!

More of hubby's handiwork - to add to my already insufferably boring blog!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Everybody's A Critic!

I have finally arrived......I guess. There is a tracking function on my blog where I can see who has visited my blog - not who personally, just where their internet connection is. There is a map that shows dots where people have read my blog from. My blog has been read from local places to places as far as Brazil and Japan. There is also a function that shows where the reader was referred from. If it's someone who has my blog address, it just shows that the reader typed in my blog address directly. Sometimes my blog is referred from another blog, and that seems to have been the case lately when I achieved my brief moment of fame. I noticed that my blog had been referred from a blog I had never heard of, so I went to that blog to check it out. This blog writer was writing about how he was recently bored and so decided to check out other blogs just for fun. What he wrote was, "there are insufferably boring blogs out there, like for instance the lady in England who scrapbooks, or this lady who posts pictures of her husband's handiwork...." Guess who that link led to?! Yes, none other than me. That insufferably boring blogger who posts pictures of her husband's handiwork! I did not take the comment to heart, however. This "critic" turns out to be an unemployed 24-year-old living in a basement and apparently has nothing better to do than surf blogs to see what "boring stuff" is out there. I think I liked an earlier visitor to my blog much better, who is affiliated with the homeschooling magazine I referenced in an earlier blog. The magazine was starting a homeschooling blog and wanted to know if I would be interested in writing for their blog. I was flattered, but because we just started homeschooling, I didn't really feel qualified to add anything just yet! Who knew my humble little blog would garner such attention?! Insufferably boring and all!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Slowly but surely....

Slowly, s l o w l y, this house is getting in shape so we can put in on the market. Jerry has been very busy the last few days. He extended the small deck off of the back porch and made it larger. We had to do that because the way it was, one of the supports was sitting on the septic tank - not a good thing considering all the work we just did to the septic system here! Now the deck supports are clear of the septic and the larger deck looks much nicer. He also finished the block retaining wall in the back yard. There are two tiers, and it has turned out beautifully. It is also making a huge difference in keeping the yard in place instead of running down the hill when it rains. Today he is replacing the old wrought iron railing in the foyer with a wooden one. Now comes the hard part - for me, at least. He is going to run air conditioning ducts downstairs, which requires going through MY bedroom closet. Yikes - I'm afraid to open the doors for fear of avalanche, but it has to be cleaned out for him to have access. Only the upstairs had air conditioning vents and the basement always pretty much stayed cool, but we decided that air conditioning downstairs might make a difference in selling the house for someone who might be considering using the downstairs for separate living space, especially since we're putting a shower down there, too. (That's his NEXT project!). Oh yeah - he also finished putting drywall on the garage ceiling. Tom and I had to stand on a walkboard HIGH in the air and hold a piece of drywall above our heads while Jerry nailed it. That was one job I didn't really like much!

We have had a good week as far as school goes. We are moving right along learning about Columbus. I tried to tell Andy that his ships were named the El Nino, Pinto Bean, and Santa Claus, but he didn't believe me. Kind of scary to think about me teaching him, isn't it?!

Jerry is replacing the horrid wrought iron rail with a wooden one.

I was experimenting with the black & white setting on my new camera, and caught Peaches napping on Jerry's arm!

Andy has made friends with a stray cat that has been here for months. Sigh......another animal.

The block wall extends to the garage, behind Jerry's truck. It turned out very nicely, and is really helping to keep the yard from washing down the hill!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What's In A Blog?

I haven't written in a while because I haven't been in a very good mood. No reason, really. Just feeling work pressure, housecleaning pressure, PMS, overweight, overtired - you get the picture. Somehow I felt like I couldn't write because I felt grumpy. That's the thing about blogs. What you read is never a picture of the whole person - just those parts that the writer is sharing. People are far more multifaceted than that. I am subject to foibles, bad moods, and mess-ups just as much as the next person, but I guess it's hard for me to put that in a forum where everyone and anyone can see it! So, there it is. I was grumpy, so I didn't write.

Anyway, not much has been happening here. Andy, Tom, Sam and I went to the county fair on Friday. It was much more crowded than it was in the previous few years. We were literally shoulder-to-shoulder with people trying to move around the fairgrounds. It wasn't as enjoyable as in previous years because of the crowd and long lines. I guess that's what happens when you live in the county dubbed as the "fastest growing county in the state", which it was several months back. Actually it was determined to be the fastest growing county in the state, and one of the 100 fastest growing jurisdictions in the nation. The people here think it's great, but I don't see it that way. It is crowded and noisy, the people are getting more rude by the day, and the county is filling up with yuppies. I read an article recently about how the county is trying to change the zoning laws here now, to make it more difficult for farmers to have livestock. It was stated that the county was having affluent people moving in, and with what they are paying for a house here, they should not have to be subject to seeing or smelling pigs, cows, chickens, or anything else "farm". Seems to me to be a step backwards. This county was nothing BUT farmland not so long ago. But we mustn't make the affluent yuppies uncomfortable now, right?! Sheesh. Oops - some residual bad mood is oozing out.

Today has been a wonderful birthday so far. Jerry and the boys insisted that I open my gifts after lunch. I kind of wanted to delay it, to somehow stretch the day out more, but they were so eager! They gave me a beautiful sunflower gel candle that smells wonderful even without being lit, and a digital camera of MY VERY OWN! Tom is thrilled that I no longer have to borrow his. Mine came with a case and a tripod, too, so I told everyone I expect to take a family picture very shortly, now that I can set the camera on the tripod and set the timer to take the picture. Now I can't wait to go to the mountains to look at property - and take LOTS of pictures! I'm looking forward to sitting down and reading through all the literature. There are a lot of features to learn to use. The camera is the same model as Tom's, just with a few more features than his, so I already basically know how to point and shoot. Now I just have to watch Tom, to make sure our cameras don't "accidentally-on-purpose" get switched!


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