Archive for December, 2007

Khet scores big!

For Christmas, Josiah received a game called Khet.  It is a twist on chess that also uses lasers.  The lasers are good because they let you see the exact results of the move you just made.  For me, this is MUCH easier than chess, because I don’t have to try to remember it all in my head.

Josiah and I have played twice so far, and we have each won one game.  It’s rather addictive, but we pulled ourselves away because it’s nearly bedtime.  The real challenge will be when I try to play Scott.  He ALWAYS wins any strategic game.  Perhaps I should keep playing against Josiah a while longer.

I am notorious

For Christmas, my parents re-created our wedding album.  The original one succumbed to mildew and was destroyed.  I assumed those pictures were gone forever, but Mom and Dad had the proofs and were able to have them scanned and re-printed.  The result is wonderful and absolutely lovely, but that’s not why I’m notorious.

I’m notorious because when they went back to the original photographer to discuss options and prices for this project, he looked at the proofs and said, “I remember this wedding.  Didn’t she have trouble keeping her eyes open?”  Now, this guy has probably shot thousands of weddings in the twenty years since we got married, and he remembered ME because I blink!

It’s just one of those reflex things.  I’m a horrid photographic subject because I blink, and I gag, too, so the dentist probably dislikes working on me.  At least these professionals are paid well for the pain I put them through.  Such is life, but think about this:  What are strangers likely to remember YOU for twenty years from now?

Josiah’s two claims to fame

A couple weeks ago (I think), Scott and Jessica attended a church in Branson.  As a result, Jessica was invited to their youth group’s Christmas party, to be held that evening.  Jessica took Josiah with her, and since it was a costume party of sorts, he went as a mime.  In white face.  And mime shirt.  And he said NOT ONE WORD the whole evening!

There were about 25 kids there, and they were all pretty taken with Josiah the silent one and his translating sidekick.  Together, they did some various mime stuff, and Jessica explained that they were part of a team that did mimes to Christian songs.  The kids thought that was really neat and said they wished they could learn to do that, too.

When it came time for the judging of the costumes, guess who won first place?!?  The prize was a very nice, leather-bound New Century version Bible.  The two of them came home very chatty and happy, and it was really neat to see Josiah having the limelight.  Usually, he functions in the shadow of his sisters or father (or even his cute and charming brother), so it was a very special evening.

Then there was the issue with Ray.  Josiah is a new cameraman at church, and Ray is also on the TV department team.  Ray’s probably in his fifties, single, a painter by trade, and more than slightly odd by anyone’s estimation.  When the December crew schedule came out, Josiah was scheduled to run camera on December 16th (the day of the kids’ Christmas production) – the day he was scheduled to be skiing in Colorado.  I suggested he ask to switch with Ray.

Josiah talked to Ray, who agreed to do it for him.  Then the ski trip dates were changed.  This meant that Josiah WOULD be in town and COULD run his camera as originally scheduled.   However, the weather forecast for that particular day called for a 100% chance of heavy ice in and around Springfield.  As late as Saturday night, we hadn’t determined whether or not we’d be able to get to church and back safely.  For that reason, I didn’t ask Josiah to call Ray and say that he (Josiah) would be there.  After all, maybe he wouldn’t.

We didn’t make the final decision to go until 7:45 AM Sunday.  We packed boots, coats, gloves, etc., and headed out.  The head of the TV department had asked Josiah and me (I was also to run a camera that day) to come to the early service during which the kids were to do a final dress rehearsal, so that we could see the order of what would be happening.  Although we got there shortly after the start of the supposed rehearsal, it never actually occurred, so we basically sat around.

A few minutes before 10:00 AM, in strolled Ray, saying, “I’m here to run the camera!”  Josiah said, “well, my trip was postponed, so I can do it.”  Before he could even go into why he hadn’t called Ray, Ray went totally off.  He was SUPER angry, and he let Josiah know it.  He resented having to come, when he “might have had something else to do,” etc.  He finally stormed out, and we went on with the service.

Later, Josiah wrote and mailed to Ray an apology, explaining what had happened, telling why he hadn’t called, and asking Ray to forgive him.

So, this past Sunday, I walked into the lobby and there sat Ray.  He said he was waiting for Josiah, and when I told him Josiah wouldn’t be there that day (he was involved in an AIM presentation at C of O), he asked me to sit down.  I did, and he proceeded to tell me that he tried his best to hear from God and obey God, and he believed God was telling him to “give this to your son.”  With that, he pressed a $100 bill into my hand, and walked out the door.  He called “Merry Christmas” over his shoulder, and was gone.

That evening at supper, I related the incident to Josiah in  front of the family.  I passed him the $100 bill, and the look on his face was one of total shock.  We were all shocked, and it was fun to see Josiah blessed in such an enormous way.

Finally back in the kitchen

I’ve been unable to get into the kitchen for most of this week, so it is great to be able to FINALLY get started on some Christmas food prep.  I made Grandma R’s Christmas Cookie Balls today – a double batch.  It was quite the production, but they are done!

Last night, Josiah was up for over an hour in the night trying not to throw up (he succeeded), but that made for a rough beginning to my day, as well.  It was probably something he ate, which is kind of sad.  We ate at Taco Bell, a place we don’t normally eat, because Josiah picked it.  He was given that privilege in honor of the fact that he has now read 2000 books!  He’s read more than that, but I have record of 2000+ books since he started reading at age eight.  Many of them are picture books, but there are also a lot of really hefty tomes in the list.

Today he’s been puny – sleepy, drinking Sprite – but he feels much better.

In a few minutes, I’m off to take Andrew to gymnastics and stop at Lowe’s to return the valance we don’t like and pick up more deely-bops to go under chair legs and table and piano wheels.

Number of stops I made on my grand errand excursion today:


Picture this

If you have been in our house, you will be able to. The floor guys came today to refinish the dining room and kitchen floors. The deal is that they sand on Day 1, and apply oil-based polyurethane on Days 1, 2, and 3. It has to dry for at least eight hours – which means no walking in the kitchen or dining room during that time period.

In preparation for this gala event, we moved the green chair from the living room into Jessica’s room, the piano and TV from the dining room into the living room, and the bookshelves, buffet, and dining room table and chairs into the playroom. We now have a whole new routine of life. Since the polyurethane goes on each afternoon, we can eat breakfast standing in the kitchen or sitting at our various desks. Not too bad. We then haul everything we could need for lunch and supper out of the kitchen and into the playroom, where we have it spread on the dining room table. It’s too cold to eat in there, and cold enough to keep the milk from turning, so we are in good shape for that stuff.

Today, I put also put the crockpot on the hearth and brought up a freezer meal of chili. The big kids have their final AIM presentation tonight at 6:30, so we will snack before and eat after. Normally I defrost the freezer meal on the counter the night before, but last night I forgot. I figured, instead, that we could set the pan of chili on the floor somewhere near a heat vent and it would eventually melt enough to cram it into the crockpot.

I figured wrong. When the guys started sanding, Scott turned off the furnace that heats the first and second floors, so as to keep all that dust from being blown all over the house and worsening his asthmas symptoms. Smart move, but it forced me to resort to IM-ing Katie and asking her to descend from her lair to haul the chili to the only warm vent on the third floor. Which she did.

My other last resort on thawing things when I for some reason don’t want to (or in this case can’t get to) the oven is to place the frozen item (well-wrapped, of course) outside in the sun. Today was a sunny day, so after about 11:00 AM, I could have done that with the chili, except for the dog.

We happen to live next to a restaurant and quite near the point where two creeks converge an our local US highway crosses one of them. for some unknown reason, owners of unwanted dogs have a nasty habit of dropping them off at the bridge or the creek or the store, and they inevitably wind up at our house. We do not want a dog. We have one husband and four children and that is quite sufficient, thank you. But some local yokels seem to think we want their stray dogs, and every few months a new one shows up.

This specemin – a medium-sized friendly male with short black-and-gray hair (sounds like some men I know. . .) – arrived on the front porch about a week ago Sunday. He tried to get in the house and did manage to enter the breezeway one day. He slept on the porch, even though we didn’t feed or water him, and by Wednesday, he had bit my favorite jump rope in half, torn the stuffing out of the seat of our porch swing, tossed an old peanut butter jar up onto our hedge, and dragged to the porch an old toy plastic shovel out of the sandbox.

The dog also loved to chase cars. He would get down in a crouch as he saw one cross the bridge and then shoot beside it for about 40 yards, before returning – either to the porch, or to the crouch, depending on the flow of traffic.

I called animal control on Thursday and they said they could pick him up “sometime early next week.” Lovely. Meanwhile, he had taken over my prayer closet (the porch), and when Jessica and I tried to walk in the mornings, it was very difficult. I won’t even tell you about the opossum roadkill incident. So, we waited and waited and waited for this dog to go away. Scott broke down on Saturday and bought him some dog food.

All that to explain why I couldn’t defrost the chili on the porch in the sun.

We called animal control back this morning (Monday) and were told they though they could pick him up Wednesday or Thursday, but I could bring him in for no charge if I could get there between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Could I ever?!?!? So, one of the flooring guys got the dog into the van for me and I drove one-handed (one hand on the dog to keep him from climbing on me or into the back of the van) to the Taney County Animal Control Center on Critter Road off 165 south of Hollister. No need to try it yourself; you can trust me when I say that it’s hard to drive fifteen miles while trying to restrain a collarless, leashless dog!

Having FINALLY unloaded our burdensome beast, I returned home to sawdust and fumes and totally forgot the chili until about 4:00 PM. I had to call the kids (already gone) to find out where they had left it, and thankfully it was thawed enough to shove into the crockpot. But then what? I wanted to heat it on the hearth, which is brick, and I would clearly need to run it on high to have it ready by the time we got home, ravenous, at 8:00 PM. However, there are no electrical outlets near the hearth. You suggest an extension cord, and so would I, Sherlock, but they are all in the junk drawer, which is in the – you guessed it – wet-polyurethane-coated kitchen.

So, I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I plugged it in on the porch right under the American flag. I’m just hoping no other strays come along to eat our chili before we do.

Days in Review

In the recent past I/we have:

* Adjusted our desires on carpet

* Shopped for carpet unsuccessfully

* Realized we are not in agreement on the overall color scheme for the living room and dining room

* Gotten used to the carpet sample that’s been leaning against our wall

* Eaten good, Chicago-style pizza at Mr. G’s

* Completely cleaned Andrew’s bedroom!

* Cleaned the playroom so we could put dining room furniture in there

* Moved almost all the furniture out of the dining room

* Moved some of the living room furniture into Jessica’s room

* Attended a WONDERFUL Christmas “concert” by Larry Dalton (piano) and a Polish orchestra at church

* Attended the first-ever Branson Area Music Teacher’s Association joint (piano) recital at C of O

A honk in time

Tonight, after Josiah took his shower, I went to ask him about a couple of notes he had written.  I didn’t realize that he was already in bed, almost asleep.  He assured me he’d mail the notes tomorrow, and I left.

A few minutes later, he appeared in the office doorway, with this pronouncement:  “Mom, you know how roosters always crow at sunrise?  Well that donkey always goes off at 10:15!”

This was news to me, but as Josiah’s two bedroom windows do both face southwest, and as our across-the-road neighbors (to the southwest) do have a donkey who produces very loud “honks,” (it actually sounds a lot like the protracted moan of a sick goose) I guess he knows what he’s talking about.

Josiah continued, “I’ve noticed that he starts every night between 9:45 and 10:00 PM. He goes for about twenty seconds and then he’s done.  It’s just interesting that he goes off at the same time each night.”  And with that, he said (honked?), “good night,” and returned to bed.

Now we know.

A boy and his book crate are not soon parted

I have two wonderful wheeled book crates that we use each week for library runs.  They are perfect.  One child (who shall remain nameless) carried in a crate of his/her books to his/her room on another floor of the house, and, the crate being way over-loaded, broke the crate.  Said child realized its error and purchased a replacement crate for me.

All was fine and good, but I had to figure out what to do with the broken crate.  Although its side was cracked open and it could no longer carry a full load of books, I was hesitant to just throw it out.  I come by this genetically, and it is a tendency against which I struggle on a regular basis.  While I was stewing over what to do with the broken crate, Andrew asked if he could have it.  Sure!

So now, Andrew is merrily wheeling around his treasures all day.  He has used his crate to haul books, take out the trash, stroll his “sons,” and on and on.  My only caveat is our beautiful new first floor walls.  I have warned him that if he wangs his crate into my wall, I am going to be strongly tempted to wang something else.

Almost done with Christmas shopping

We have made purchases and/or decisions for most of the people on our (admittedly short) gift list.  The person(s) left to buy for are probably reading this blog, so feel free to email me any last-minute list additions!

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