Archive for August, 2007

Pirouettes and spins

Thursday nights usually find me relaxing in my bag chair along the third base line. I really enjoy watching Scott’s softball games, and I think I qualify as a faithful fan. Sometimes I even go cheer for the team when Scott’s out of town, and I am almost always hoarse on Fridays.

Tonight I got more for my money that usual. Not only did I get to watch our boys of summer in action; I was also treated to a bit of gymnastics, a couple moments of exquisite ballet, and a touch of slapstick comedy.

Our team lost tonight’s game, but there were decent reasons for that. 1) This is a more competitive league than the summer church league. 2) We were short a man. 3) We insisted on hitting fly balls – long ones, short ones, all kinds of ones – instead of line drives. 4) The other players weighed twice as much as our guys. 5) Their shirts were orange. Etc.

Our shortstop and team leader is just great. He’s VERY competitive, a super player, and a team kind of guy. He really likes to win. He takes his softball seriously and he’s quite competitive. Katie and I can usually tell how he’s feeling about how the game’s going. He starts the game with his socks down, but when the pressure is on, the socks come up. On the other hand, if we seem to have the game in the bag, he’ll wear his cap backwards – a sure sign to loyal fans that it’s safe to exhale. Tonight he had no ball cap, and that may have been part of the problem. I think I mentioned that he’s rather competitive.

I wish I had had a camcorder to record our fearless leader at short tonight. Not once but TWICE he demonstrated a full pirouette in search of the ball. Now I’m no dance aficionado, and of course, to obtain an accurate analysis, we’d have to have a slow motion replay, but I think his form was actually pretty good. He also did a fine demonstration of that old holiday favorite, “ten lords a-leaping,” while snagging a line drive hit some 3.7 feet over his head.

Perhaps motivated by our shortstop, several other players decided to spin as well, but they chose to do their acrobatics while at bat. Unfortunately, these gents’ bodily rotations were actually the result of the extreme centrifugal force created as a result of slicing the bat through nothing but air.

Ballet and gymnastics aside, we were also treated to a comedy routine when our esteemed left fielder (not to be outdone by his fly-ball teammates) popped one up. It was high, as pop-ups go, and airborne for a good 16 seconds. I assume he was as sad as we were; he sighed, tucked his chin slightly, and walked back toward the 3rd base dugout. A third of the way there, the fielder who had been patiently waiting for the ball re-enter the atmosphere and plop into his glove DROPPED the ball! Noticing this unbelievable instance of God’s grace, Mr. Left Field turned on a dime, dropped his bat, ran back past home, and sprinted to first, where amazingly, he was safe.

Just think of it; all that excitement for merely a ten-mile drive and a short walk with a bag chair! Truly it would be hard to have more fun for less money on a Thursday night in the our fair town. However, next week, I’m hoping the guys will forgo the peripheral sports and stick to softball.

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Fried brains

Mine, that is, and the cause is math.  Today’s big problem was this one.  If 4 books and 5 magazines cost $36, and 8 books and 3 magazines cost $42, how much more does a book cost than a magazine?  Now try to solve that without using algebra!

The curriculum Josiah is using teaches algebraic principles with diagrams before introducing variables.  Right now, he is emphatically NOT supposed to use algebra, but rather to learn how to draw the appropriate diagram and use the visible logic to solve it.  Today my brain sweated trying to do the above problem, and eventually (maybe 20 minutes later!), I saw how to do it.  We were both fairly brain-dead by that point, but as Josiah said, “Mom, if we ever get through this Singapore, we’ll understand everything about math really well!”

That would be the point, son.

And just to keep us guessing. . .

The push mower has stopped functioning.  Yes, that would be the same push mower that we just had serviced a few weeks ago, and for which we returned our brand-new, only-used-once push mower from Wal-Mart.  Now our sleek red beauty has decided that it will not burn gas directly from the tank.  Rather, it will only burn gas that is pumped in by manually pressing the primer.  This means that you must first prime the mower, then pull the started cord.  When it starts, you can mow for about 2.7 seconds, after which you must bend down and press the primer.  If you stand up again really fast, you can get in about 1.8 more seconds of mowing before stooping to prime it again.

This style of mowing actually has great potential as a weight loss regimen.  Think what all that stooping and bending could do for one’s thigh muscles – not to mention the innate cardio-vascular workout provided.

The bottom line is that Andrew can’t mow right now (boo hoo) and Josiah has to do the whole place with just the rider and weed-eater.  This can be done – and was done for years by our neighbor, Reggie, as mentioned in an earlier post – but for Josiah, it slows the process considerably.  The grass is tall and he will have to mow within the next couple of days, so we shall see how his skills develop.  I am wondering if we should have kept that cheap Wal-Mart mower as a back-up.  Do most landowners keep multiple mowers in case one breaks down, or are landowners by definition people who service their own mowers?

Air conditioner question

Does anybody happen to know what it means when the part of your air conditioner that sits out in the yard start making a screeching sound?  It was kind of like “ur-EEK-EEK-EEK-EEK, ur-EEK-EEK-EEK-EEK,” a rather metallic scraping sound that I thought was coming from the restaurant next door.  It kept on going and going and going, and it was getting so obnoxious that I was about to go out and ask whoever was doing whatever to his car in their parking lot to knock it off, when I remembered that the restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  My next realization was that the noise was coming from our air conditioner!

It continued off and on for about 15 minutes, but now it has stopped – perhaps compliments of one of Scott’s famous mouth-holds. However, if any readers have an idea of what it could be, please enlighten me.

Chicken wraps and fruit kabobs on Thursday

Well, life is back to “normal;” my desk is piled high, spending three hours a day on math is really cramping my style, the house is a mess, and my computer is a little testy.  However, this is the THIRD WEEK IN A ROW that I have actually planned our supper menus and used those menus to create very detailed grocery lists.  Somebody give me a hand.

This is a system that most people have probably used all their lives and one that I have used successfully in the past.  The challenge is that I run out of ideas of what to cook, so I put off making the menus, so I just get general stuff at the grocery, and then I (worst of all) frequently spend various sections of my day trying to figure out what to have for supper that night.  Stress.  Then, even when I do decide what to cook, I may not have all the necessary ingredients.  More stress.  So I try to work around and make do, which, for those of us who can NOT cook without a recipe, causes – you guessed it – even more stress.

Therefore, deciding on Tuesday exactly what we will eat through the following Wednesday has a number of advantages over the cook-by-the-seat-of-your-pants system.  Most of all, it reduces a lot of my stress and makes me a happier wife, mom, and teacher.  As everyone knows,   when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Using my own computer. . . and still married

After about 20 hours of Scott’s work, a few hours of Josiah’s and maybe an hour of Katie’s (?), my computer is up and running on some drive or the other.  Everything seems to be working fine except my email, to which Scott still needs to do something.  I would do that something myself, but I don’t know what it is.

However, given the stress and strain that this reformat has put on our relationship, I think that it is time for me to take a class in how to reformat a computer.  I need to remember that Scott resents having to fix my computer, and he needs to remember that I resent his changing my computer without telling me.  Maybe learning how to do this stuff myself will eliminate both problems.

Reformatting still

I am not sure that I fully understand why hard drives need to be reformatted.  I have always been of the opinion that the goal in a given situation is to create a system that works and then leave it alone.

I certainly didn’t do anything to cause a bad spot on my hard (C:) drive.  It just happened.  The attack of the viscious hard drive fairy or something like that.  I have had my trusty C: drive for quite a while.  Then, when I got paranoid about backing up (not just in a car; on a computer) my dad was gracious to come install an extra internal hard drive for that purpose.  Scott was away, and we all know what the mice do when the cat’s away.  We named the backup drive the P: drive, in honor of Yours Truly.

When the C: drive went bad a couple weeks ago, Scott decided to make the P: drive my new C: drive and buy an external hard drive which is now called E: even though it shows up on my screen as Freecycle.  Go figure.  I told Scott I felt forlorn without my P: drive and that I really liked having a drive named after me, or at least aftera bathroom function, but he says it’s C: now and C:  it will remain.

So, for parts of several days, Scott and Josiah – and Katie now and then – have been sitting at my desk and working to load everything that I need onto the former P: but now C: drive.  I told Scott it wouldn’t be much; that there surely weren’t more than a dozen programs I use regulalrly.  He asked me to make a list of them and there were 12 – but that was because there were some basic things I hadn’t even considered.  Like Mail Forward, etc.  There were actually more like 20, and frankly, Scott gets a little disgusted when he has to spend precious time working on my computer.  He doesn’t get disgusted often, but for some reason it drives him nuts to have to sit and wait while this stuff loads.  I told him I would be glad to do it myself, if someone would just show me what to do, or explain it to me.  He replied, “You COULD show Andrew how to enter ministry donations into QuickBooks, but if he did it, would you have confidence that it was done right?”  I said, “Well, of course not!  I’d have to go back in and check everything he’d done and re-do parts of it.  It would be a lot easier to do it myself!”  He gave me a smile – or was it a smirk?  Was he being patronizing or downright condescending?  I decided not to try to figure it out.  I’ve just been giving him lots of hugs and kisses and telling him over and over again how much I appreciate all his work on my computer.

In the meantime, I’m using Jessica’s machine while she’s at work.  I didn’t even ask her.  Hmmm…  Maybe I’d better do that.  Or maybe I just need to go read and pray with Josiah – and thank him, too.


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