Thursday, November 29, 2012

To Commemorate a Past Event, You Kill and Eat an Animal: Ritual Sacrifice. With Pie.

As I've stated in the past, I'm not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving. But I have been making an effort for a few years now and the holiday is getting better. This year we took my first ever Thanksgiving road trip! We went to stay with Drek's sister, along with most of Drek's fmaily. It was wonderful. A perfect vacation, a perfect holiday. Except that I had forgotten my anti-nausea pills back at home so I was sick for the majority of the time (Halfway through my pregnancy and still have morning sickness. Not fun). 

We ate our delicious feast around eleven am. 

I'm the only strict vegetarian in the family, but my wonderful sister-in-law has really delved into healthly eating this last year. She only occasionally eats meat, but it's more for the health aspect. She was in charge of stuffing this year. Several people requested her famous sausage stuffing, but she wanted to make delicious healthy stuffing, and she didn't want to leave me out, so to my delight, she made three pans of stuffing. Stuffing is my favorite, and having a pan to myself was just about the best thing ever. She labeled the pans and then took the opportunity to poke fun: 

Giggle giggle

After naps for the kids (and who are we kidding, the adults too) we decided to...go on a hike? On Thanksgiving? After eating pounds of food?  

I'm not one to argue throwing out current Thanksgiving traditions so I was all for it! We packed everyone in cars and drove to the mountains. The hike was a bit strenuous, especially since my lungs don't really work like they're supposed to while I'm pregnant, but we had a good time. Coming back down the mountain we spotted a creature in the brush. The creature's nose was pointed away from me and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Was it a monkey? One of those symbol-playing monkeys? Out here? 

But then it turned and sniffed the air: not a monkey. It smelled the pear my father-in-law was eating. The creature ran up to him and grabbed the pear. He took it a few steps away before devouring it.this gave me time to get out my camera: 

Any guesses on what it is?

Our best guess is a Snookum Bear.

Friday, November 16, 2012

May I Point Out That You've Completely Demolished the Roof of My Car! And There is Very Little Difference Between the Blizzard Out There and the Blizzard In Here

When our house was built they used the cheapest (and thinnest) possible windows. So thin, and so cheap, that they are illegal today. Our windows do nothing for heat, cold, or sound.

When we moved in, our bedroom window was cracked, and it went on our "to fix up" list. Mostly it's been on the bottom of the list, because the window is so thin anyway, it really doesn't matter if it's cracked.

Changing topics: Drek I have lived next to roosters before and it was fine. We actually liked being woken up at seven in the morning by a cheerful rooster. It made us feel all farm-y. Currently, the neighbors to our side own a rooster, but that one only crows sometimes, always during the day.

But then there is THAT rooster. He crows all. Freaking. Day. It's not a cheerful crow either; He sounds like he's being strangled. He belongs to our backyard neighbors. Yeah, remember her? This rooster has a name. I don't know what it is. I don't care. She LOVES this rooster. She is sure this rooster will win her a blue ribbon at the county fair in June. That is why she has him.

I hate this rooster. He crows starting at 2:40 in the very early morning and crows an average of five times per minute until about six in the afternoon, when he finally goes to bed. You can hear him from every single room in our house.

In the summer, we dealt with this by putting fans next to each of our heads during the night, so that the noise of the fan would drown out the noise of that rooster. That worked very well. But now it is too cold to use fans. It was a temporary solution anyway, as once the baby comes we will need to hear any movement or changes in breathing, and any white noise could be dangerous.

Last week, when that rooster woke me up (yet again) before the sun was up and I was unable to go back to sleep, I came up with an idea.

Hey! How about I use my paycheck monies to replace our cracked, cheap, thin windows with thick, heavy soundproof windows?!

Several hours later, once the sun came up and companies opened, I called around and got three guys to come over and give me quotes. They tried to tell me about energy efficiency, but I replied with something like: "Uh-huh. Sure. But what about noise? Will it silence THAT noise?"

They could hear it. That rooster never shuts up.

The answer: "No question that a new window, ANY new window will help with the noise level. They don't even make windows that thin and cheap anymore. But yes, with some dual paned, heavy duty windows (that come with a very high price tag), you will be able to sleep at night."

They will be installed in two weeks. Hooray! But, sadly, I can't afford to put these new windows in every room of the house. Not that it would help; the experts told me that since the other bedroom windows face the rooster, no windows will silence the direct sound waves.

Lying awake night after night, Drek and I have come up with a few imaginative solutions.
- A shock collar
- A high pitched alarm that hurts the rooster’s ears that is activated for a few seconds every time he crows
- Obedience school
- Vocal cord removal surgery
- Injecting the rooster with laryngitis
- A soundproof rooster house
- Blinding the rooster, so he thinks it's always night
- Attaching a blinding light to a rooster cage, so he thinks it's always day, crows non-stop, then looses his voice.

Mostly I'm hoping for a daring Coyote. Or a chicken thief to come and decide that a rooster would make a mighty fine Thanksgiving dinner.

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can I Give One More Suggestion? No. How About Curtains? No! Manly Curtains? Oxymoron. What Did You Call Me?

I'm loving audio books. They allow me to read a book and listen to a different book at the same time. And, since I am an auditory learner, I can remember quotes with much greater accuracy then if I simply read it. I listen to them while driving, which I feel is a fantastic use of time.

I've grown to love audiobooks so much that when I finish one, and have to drive around without one, I feel sad. The news? The radio? How boring! I need an audiobook!

Today an audiobook I've had on hold at the library finally came in. I went and got it, and as I was checking out I read the cover to find out if it was unabridged. This information cannot be gleaned from the library catalog, and I can't stand abridged versions, so I've had to return some audiobooks the same day I check them out. Anyway, this one said: "Unabridged Selections".

Um...does that mean abridged? Unabridged selections? Isn't that an oxymoron?! What good is that?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Mommy Was Very Bad

My front room is filled with snow. A light dusting of snow; all over the couches and floor.

A few weeks ago I set down my crockpot and it cracked in half. It was very traumatic. Because I make crockpot meals once or twice a week and use my crockpot for other things (beans, bread, drinks) once or twice more in addition to that, I decided a crockpot was a necessity and went out and bought another one. It came packed in those styrofoam pieces that are molded to the shape of the crockpot. I took out the crcokpot and have been using it, while the styrofoam and box were in the laundry room.

Today, Somehow, Ash got a hold of that styrofoam. She scratched it with her fingernails and to her delight, tiny little white balls resulted. I saw her doing this. My reaction: "Hey. Will you please do that in the middle of the floor instead of on the couches?"

But she's three, so of course it took five more minutes and a lot more asking, reminding, counting and commanding before she actually moved off the couch and onto the living room floor. By that time the couch was covered.

And then she made a mess. A huge, messy mess. But she was happy doing it, and I was happy that she was playing by herself. And now our front room looks like Christmas.

And that's kind of how our November is going. I've been blindsided by my new job; instead of the few hours a week I was expecting it's turned into several hours per day. I'm not complaining, It's just that now I'll take advantage of anything that distracts Ash for a few seconds. For the same reason I had no hope of doing Nanowrimo this year, and that is sad.

But, on the happy side, Drek took me to go see Skyfall, which I have been dying to see. It was amazing. Granted, I haven't had any time to watch movies lately, and I've only been to the theater a handful of times since Ash was born, but I haven't been that jubilant when walking out of a theater since...Casino Royale.

Ok then, who wants to build a snowman out of tiny styrofoam bubbles?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My dad's doctor had news yesterday about his incurable cancer: It's...cured? At the very least, there is no evidence of cancer anymore; He is NEC, which is what you want to be for as long as possible if you've ever had a bought with a cancer diagnosis.

Very, very good news.

Monday, November 05, 2012

I Ain't Been Droppin' No Eaves Sir, Honest. I Was Just Cutting the Grass Under the Window There, If You'll Follow Me

Our window coverings came with the house. I assume the have been here since the house was built, back in 1986, because when we moved in they were black. After a lot of scrubbing, face masks and dusting, lo and behold the blinds were actually off-white with that ugly wood texturing. You could tell they were bought cheap from a store rather than made to fit the windows: they were too long for the windows, making them too heavy, so every single one of the blinds was non-functional. Some opened halfway, most didn't open at all. And then, of course, same slats were broken or cracked or missing. 

For over a year now I've been saving up for an extravagance that I REALLY REALLY wanted for the house: Plantation shutters. During the summer I called five or six companies and had them come out and measure, offer opinions and give me quotes. It took until August for me to save the money, and then it took another six weeks to get the shutters made and installed. But finally the wait is over. 

I wish I could describe how awesome they look. Every time I walk into my front room I think "Wow! It does not look like we are squatting in an abandoned warehouse anymore! The new shutters added to the painting we did back in August really make the front room look like a new place.





 And from the outside it looks like this:
Look how well my flowers are doing!!



And the best one was the sliding door. Before, we had no sort of window covering.

Now, we have this:

It slides open.

I'm not sure what is better: the way the look, or how I can actually open and close the blinds. I do love the fact that these shutters keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and add an extra sound barrier (although we can still hear that hateful rooster, all day, everyday).

In short, definitely an upgrade, definitely worth the wait.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Now It's My Turn. I'm Thinking of Something Dark and Mysterious. It's a Fish We Don't Know. If We Ask it Directions, It Could Ingest Us and Spit Out Our Bones. What is it With Men and Asking for Directions?

Rissy's itinerary said she would arrive Monday afternoon. Sunday after church I got an email from her that her flight had been delayed a few hours, but she was finally boarding the plane. I puzzled over this email. How long was the flight again? Ten hours? Sixteen hours? Either way, it puts her in way before Monday afternoon. Was there something about the time change I was miscalculating?

I emailed her back and told her to call me the second her plane landed, just to make sure I was there. That night, just as I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed with a book the phone rang; her plane had just landed! A whole day early! As it turns out, her itinerary was simply wrong about the time change.

I jumped in the car and drove the two hours to the airport. I was only fifteen minutes away when traffic on the freeway came to a stop; A traffic jam.  At ten at night. What were all these people doing??  It didn't last too long and soon I had found Rissy and was loading bags into my car and heading home. Hooray! Rissy was here!

Another traffic jam. This one much worse. Apparently they had decided to close down a freeway. An hour later we were finally taking the exit ramp and following the detour signs. As I drove we talked. And talked and talked. An hour later, I started getting impatient  Wasn't this road we were turning on have the same name as the ramp we exited from? Doesn't this street look familiar? Ok, I KNOW I've seen that Dell Taco before. Apparently the detour signs had taken us in one giant, hour-long circle.

So we did some creative navigating and fifteen minutes later were back on the freeway headed home. Rissy is a brilliant navigator.

Sadly, the traffic nightmares did not stop there. Tuesday night, on the way to the ward Halloween Party, traffic wasn't moving. A trip that usually takes twenty minutes took us forty. We arrived at the party ten minutes before it ended, and no one got to see the costumes I had worked so hard on.

Thursday we celebrated Rissy's birthday and went to get an ice-cream cake. The freeways were stopped in both directions, so we took the side roads. Sadly, they weren't moving either. We gave up and turned around five miles from our house. Alas, it took us forty-five minutes to drive that five mile span. And that was on side streets!

The good news is that it gave Rissy and I A LOT of time to talk. The bad news is I'm sure she thinks Sunnland has horrible traffic all the time. I've not really had problems before, but after this week, I just might agree with her.

She is driving back home now. I hope traffic is much better for her all the way home.