Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Boots and Tires and Glasses...Oh, My!

Well, yesterday was the day of broken and worn-out things I guess. First, it was noticed that DD's new pink cowgirl bootshad lost the "jewel" that is front-and-center on the left boot (now, this is the second time that this has happened....this is her second pair of boots as the same thing happened to the first pair less than a week after getting them....left boot as well....and they were replaced by the boot company). DD was upset that it had happened again, but after not having pink cowgirl boots to wear for almost 2 weeks when the last pair had to be returned, she has decided she'd rather have a pair with a missing jewel than go without her beloved boots (and thus she is currently wearing them at school today, as she does almost every other day!).

On to the tires! This story starts the day after Christmas 2004. The driver's side front tire blew out after hitting something on the icy road on the way to my parents' house to visit them. Nothing like sitting in the freezing cold weather with a flat tire miles from the nearest tire shop! And poor DH was even worse off as he dealt with the slush and traffic as he changed out the flat for the spare tire on the side of the road (luckily we were in a spot with a very wide shoulder so it we were able to at least have the van completely off of the road). So that tire was replaced almost 4 years ago. This past summer while on vacation, we started having a slow leak with the other front tire. So in July of this year it was replaced (luckily it held out until we got home....although we were in the middle of nowhere along some lonely stretches of road in the pouring rain when it needed pumped up the first time....poor DH again!). That left us with the rear tires original to the van (now 7 years old). They were getting bald and needed replacing. A few weeks ago while driving the kids down to see my parents (DH was at work, so it wasn't him dealing with it this time!) the low tire pressure indicator went off in the van. So over to the side of the road we go and I got the "pleasure" of getting out and checking the tires....only to discover that it's the driver's front tire (less than 30,000 miles on it!) that was the problem.....low on air and a bulge in the tire between the treads. So yesterday I had the "fun" of replacing 3 tires on my van. And they better hold up for a while now!!

Now on to the glasses part of the story.....DD's glasses are adding drama to our lives for sure! She is already on her 2nd pair (the original pair broke exactly one week after she got them!). Sunday she managed to lose the case she carries them in....but thankfully we discovered that her Sunday school teacher had found it and we were able to get it back from her in time for DD to have it to take her glasses to school in yesterday. Then I noticed when I was putting her glasses in the case that the left temple piece was loose. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the screw holding the temple piece to the front frame was almost out. So I used my tiny screwdriver and tried for about 10 minutes to get it to screw back in with no luck....it would not get any tighter at all. So after the kids were home from school yesterday (luckily the glasses survived the school day intact!) we were off to the eye doctor's office yet again (between picking up glasses, picking up replacement glasses, getting glasses re-fitted a couple of times to keep them from making sore spots, and now this....we have been there 5 times in the past month!). Luckily they were able to fix this pair of glasses by replacing the screw with a new one. Hopefully it will be a while before we have to visit them again.

Thankfully that was all the broken things and repairs I had to deal with yesterday. Guess now we'll see what today and the rest of the week have in store!

Friday, November 21, 2008


OK, now that I've got your attention.....no, there was no fire at our house today thankfully. But, we had the adrenaline rush of thinking there was! At the lovely early morning time of 4:30am our smoke detectors went off. They are the hard-wired kind so when one goes off, they all go off. This is actually a good safety feature....so that if there was a fire in the basement, the smoke detector going off upstairs on the 2nd floor where the bedrooms are at night would wake us up. Well......would wake some of us up (more on this later). When they went off at 4:30am they shut off themselves after about 30-45 seconds of alarming. DH went downstairs to check things out while I checked out the kids' rooms upstairs. We found nothing to be concerned about (and at this point, having been awakened from a deep sleep, we weren't even entirely sure it was the smoke detectors since they had ceased to alarm by this point), even checking the carbon monoxide detector as well. Nothing. So we went back to bed. Now DH has the ability to fall asleep immediately at any point and in any place. For me on the other hand...not so easy. I was awake for a good 30 minutes waiting for the adrenaline rush to go away and be able to settle back down to sleep hoping that we were correct in assuming that everything was OK. So finally I was back asleep. Then at 5:35am they go off AGAIN!! And this time they did not stop!! DH went all over the house checking things until he ended up in the basement. By the time he got there (and the alarms were still going off) and couldn't find anything wrong, he decided to try taking the smoke detector down there off of the wall (and thus out of the hard-wired loop they are all connected to). At that point the alarming ceased. Now it took several minutes for this all to occur. I stayed upstairs because I thought for sure that the kids would end up waking up and freaking out that the smoke detectors were going off. But did they? NO! Both DS and DD slept through it all....both times! Considering how loud those things are.....we now know how deeply our kids sleep! Amazing. They sleep as deeply as their Dad. I think the only reason DH heard it this morning is that he is suffering from a horrible cold and isn't sleeping well at all....so he's not sleeping as deeply as usual. I think under normal circumstances even he would have slept through it (his parents love to tell the story of him sleeping through the fire alarm at a hotel once while they were on a family vacation when DH was growing up!). Needless to say, even though I went back to bed, I never was able to return to sleep before the alarm clock went off at 6:00am. Guess today DH will have to either figure out why the smoke detector malfunctioned or buy a new one....and I'll have to start praying that if there's ever a fire at our house at night that I'm home to wake everyone up as it seems that not even that very, very loud and shrill noise is going to wake up these guys!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Children of the Computer Age

It never ceases to amaze me at how adept my children are at the computer. Terms that meant nothing to me as a child are a fluent part of my kids' everyday language. Being of the generation whose first experiences with computers were with the TI99 from Texas Instruments (our first home computer)and the Apple IIe (I remember how excited my teachers were in middle school when these computers first arrived at school for us to use!),it was a very long time before the internet/world wide web/email/etc meant anything to me. My children on the other hand, are growing up with computers in each classroom (we had one computer room with about a half-dozen computers for the entire school) that they use daily, computers at the library, and computers at home that are not only lightyears beyond what I knew as an older child, but that are also connected to the internet. AND they know what that means! I frequently hear DS talking about megabites, flash drives, and the like. He especially loves to throw these kinds of words around while rolling his eyes at me as if to say, "Mom, you just have no idea what I'm talking about so don't even try to understand." (or he'll even comment that he'll just go ask his Dad----DH being of the same generation as I am but having chosen a career path that lets him almost be the creator of some of these strange words that have entered our children's native language). Even my 6-year-old DD gets in on the act. Just yesterday we were in the van on our way home from having attended a live performance of "Beauty and the Beast" by one of the local high schools.We were in the middle of discussing what she liked about the show when suddenly she asked, "Mom, who is God's father?" When I asked what she meant, she replied, "You know, how did He get here in the first place before everything was made?" I told her I didn't know....that it was one of those things we just didn't have the answer to. Her reply? "Well, when we get home can we just Google it?"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Rationale

The kids at my children's school had the chance to vote for President yesterday. They learned about the process of voting and participated in a very realistic mock voting process, right down to having to present picture IDs. The teachers had made up picture IDs for each student using the kids' school pictures....even having the kids' ages, "address" (classroom number), and such on it. The kids showed their IDs to one of the staff members then went over to one of the computers in the computer lab and entered their votes for the Presidential candidate of their choice. It was a very realistic experience for the students. When DS and DD arrived home from school they were very excited about having been able to vote (even though they knew it wouldn't affect the outcome of the real election) and to tell me about their choices. DD was quick to inform me of her choice. She said, "Mom, I don't remember his name but I voted for the gray-haired guy." She then asked if I knew why she voted for him. When I asked why, she replied, "Because he has a girl that will be the Vice President if he wins and I don't think we need two guys in charge."Only the rationale of a 6-year-old could function like that: she doesn't know his name, doesn't know anything about him or what he believes, but the fact that he picked a girl for his Vice Presidential running mate is enough of an endorsement for DD. And in case you think DS is as easily swayed for his vote based on gender, he also voted for McCain. DS had more substance to his rationale. His class has read articles about the candidates and DS and I have had a couple of discussions about them as well (about their beliefs, the differences between Democrats & Republicans in general, and such). DS said he voted for McCain because he thought he would make the best President and make the best decisions for the country. So there you have it. That's 2 votes for McCain. Unfortunately for McCain, the votes of a 6-year-old and 10-year-old don't count.