Archive for February, 2009

Chemistry is evil

Or so says Josiah.  He has been challenged in this course, and I think it’s largely because his math skills are not at the level he needs in order to do the work easily.  Then again, there’s always that pesky matter of significant figures – something I myself have a hard time understanding.  We call them sig figs for short, and we all (Jessica, Josiah, and I) hate them.

Now I am faced with a real dilemma on Josiah’s grades.  Since I lost all his school records for the past year and a half, I either need to guess at what his scores for were for the first nine chemistry modules, or have him retake the tests.  I think he would totally freak out if I asked him to do that, BUT he would probably make higher scores than he did the first time around.

Decisions, decisions. . .

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Used car salesman and keys

So, if he didn’t work as a missionary and a software design consultant, it’s good to know my husband could succeed in yet another profession.

Four days ago, around noon on Saturday, we put “for sale” signs in the windows of our red van and parked it next door (at the defunct Mexican restaurant).   When there were no calls on it by supper time, Scott decided to move it to Wal-Mart – or more accurately to MC Sports, which adjacent to the Wal-Mart parking lot.

At 2:00 PM Sunday, we signed the title over to a man who paid our asking price in cash.  His wife had seen it while shopping at Wal-Mart that night and had begged him to go look at it at MIDNIGHT!  He called us at 8:30 AM and we met him after church.

With the sale of the red van (eleven years old and 196K miles), the net cost of our new van (only eight years old and I think about 92K miles) is less than $1500, and we still have another van to sell!  If  Scott gets his asking price on that one, the new one will be free or very close to it, even after having had a trailer hitch installed on it and two new keys made for it.

The Mazda came with only one key, and it’s one of those new-fangled ones that can’t be duplicated.  It has some computer chip (or something) embedded into it, and the only way to get an extra key is to take it to a Mazda dealer (Springfield), and have them make a template ($100) and use the template to make however many more keys you want ($70 each).

Scott’s Honda has the same kind of key arrangement.  I have been asking for two years for a key to that car.  It’s not that I want to drive the Honda; it’s just that sometimes for various reasons I need to.  That key request has gone unfulfilled, but with all three of us needing to drive the van from time to time, My Hero splurged on not one but two extra keys.  The female drivers in the family feel honored, and we will be VERY careful not to lose those keys!

I took a shower today

IN OUR NEWLY REMODELED BATHROOM!!!

Overall, it was a nice shower; more so because I didn’t have to go up to the attic to take it.  That master bath concept is truly great.  There were a couple down sides – I wasn’t ready for how hard the water came out and inadvertently sprayed the back wall, which ran out onto the bathroom floor; and it’s quite dark in there, which makes shaving a little challenging – but I am pleased.

Now we are down to figuring out how to organize (or maybe simply toss) all our junk and deciding which color bathroom rug we want.  Decisions, decisions.

Turkey in your tote bag

Today was the day we picked up our new van!  This brings our total vehicular count back up to six:  three vans and three cars for a mere four drivers.  = )  However, we plan to give and/or sell the two extraneous vans soon, which would put us back at two cars and a van at home, plus one car with Katie at college.

In order to procure the new van, we had to go to Ozark, where it was being serviced and inspected at Economy Tire, which would close at 5:00 PM.  We go through Ozark on our way to church in Springfield – Ozark being at about the halfway point – so that would have been no big deal.  We planned to leave home at 3:30, get the new van out of hock, take it to the Wal-Mart parking lot in Ozark, and go on to Springfield, where we would shop at Sam’s, shop at Aldi, go to the library, eat supper at Arby’s, and go to church.  After church, we’d retrieve the new van on the way home.

However, when I called at 3:00 to see if the van was ready, it was not, and it either would or would not be ready by 5:00.  They’d call me.  So we left at 3:30 as planned.  Now IF Economy called while we were on the road in Springfield, we’d have to leave town by 4:40 at the latest in order to get back to Ozark to pick up the van by 5:00.  You see, if we left it till Thursday, Jessica and I would have to go get it then, and neither of us really has time on Thursday to do that.  We much prefer to cram all our running into Wednesday.

All of that meant that we needed to do our Sam’s and Aldi very quickly, lest Economy should call.

Sam’s was short and sweet; just sausage biscuits and Swiss cheese.  The kids ran and got the groceries while I stood around, was beautiful, and wrote the check.

Arriving at Aldi at 4:25, Jessica and I planned to run in and get out fast.  But neither of us had a quarter!  Years ago, I used to keep a bit of change in the van’s nifty coin holders, but someone whose name starts with A and ends with W used to steal them.  Hence, no loose change in the van, and though  I had bills in my wallet I was changeless.  Neither Josiah nor Andrew had a quarter, either.  You see, at Aldi, the carts are stored kind of like luggage carts are in some airports.  You have to have a quarter to get a cart unchained, and then when you put it back, you get a quarter back.

We looked at each other and wondered how on earth we’d carry all our Aldi through the store and back out to the van without a cart.  But Jessica, ever Miss Resourcefulness, dumped all her books and papers out of her navy blue tote bag and said, “We can use this!”  Well, there certainly wasn’t anything else to use, so we ran in.  Her tote bag is maybe 12″ wide by 14″ tall by 4″ deep.  We needed about four flats of canned goods and ten pounds of ground turkey!

We stacked our canned goods on a closed checkout belt and Jessica took the tote bag over to frozen meat.  As we reconvened at the checkout and she dumped the one-pound rolls of turkey onto the belt, I said, “Turkey in your tote bag!”  And she said, “THAT’S a blog title!

Economy called as we were checking out.  We managed to haul all the groceries out to the van, we got back to Ozark at 4:55, we paid for and abandoned the new van, we went to the library, we met Scott at Arby’s for a quick supper, we got to church, we picked up the new van, and Jessica drove it home – plateless and without being stopped by the cop in the ditch just north of Highlandville.  Whew!

Moving forward

It appears that my recent hard drive reformat has resulted in the loss of most things from August 2007 to the present (February 2009).  That would be a year and a half of my life.  A year and a half of pictures (although thankfully I had managed to get some of those stored online).  A year and a half of school records.  A year and a half of ministry paperwork.  There aren’t a lot of silver linings, but one is that our family financials and our ministry financials were not stored in “My Documents” and were therefore not backed up with the dreaded Windows Backup Utility.  They both seem to be fine.

I will be fine, too.  I am quite tired of crying and being angry and frustrated.  Today Mr. A came to “finish the bathroom.”  It’s not done.  He’s coming tomorrow.  I am pretty sure it will be done before I turn 50.  That’s my new deadline.  If the bathroom is not done by then, I give myself permission to be angry and frustrated!

Today is Josiah’s birthday.  He’s 15, which means I will soon force him to get his learner’s permit and start driving.  It looks like he will learn to drive in a 2001 Mazda MPV!  It will be our youngest vehicle at only eight years old and sporting only 90-some thousand miles.  It is considerably smaller than our previous vans (the back seat offers Asian seating, which means that four average Asian males can fit comfortably on that seat – OR two pre-adolescent Americans can sit there if they first fold themselves in thirds and insert their knees in their ears), but we think it will be workable.  It will soon have a trailer hitch, as well.

We are all moving forward!

Beware the self-corrupting .bkf file!

First, the carpet is in and looks great.

Second, the bathroom is not done yet, but Mr. A will be here tomorrow to continue working.  So far, we’ve invested about 175% of the original estimated cost.

Third, the red van recently took to stranding Scott as well as me, so we are now in the process of buying a new van.

Fourth, my computer has been reformatted.  This should have been fairly straightforward, because I back up my files religiously.  Our whole family shares the external backup drive so it stays pretty full, and I have to keep dropping off my oldest backups.  I usually have three or four on there at any given time.  I did another backup right before wiping off my hard drive.  BUT, when we went to restore my files, it seems that ALL of my backups were corrupt.  For a significant fee, we were able to recover some of the files, but the critical (to me) stuff like most of my pictures and everything pertaining to the kids – including almost two years of school records – seem at this point to be lost for good.

Fifth, we rearranged our bedroom, and we think we like it, but we need to get a smaller bed.  We’re discussing the possibility of downsizing from a king to a queen.  Being in desperate need of a new mattress, we hope to come to an agreement sooner than later.

And just in case anyone missed it, NEVER USE THE WINDOWS BACKUP UTILTY TO BACK UP YOUR FILES – unless, of course you do it only for recreation and will never need to restore them.  = )

Out of the mouths of babes

It’s time to measure angles in Singapore math, and Andrew needed a protractor.  I though one would find such things in the pencils and rulers area at Wal-Mart, but not so.  Protractors are located with the crayons and art supplies.

Singaporean students must use mini protractors (4″ long at the base and solid, as opposed to the 6″ cutout American version) because the lines of all the angles in the book that Andrew needed to measure were way too short to reach the markings on the protractors we had around here.  I’m handing down our used math textbooks to another mom, so I really didn’t want to write in the book and extend all the lines.  At Wal-Mart, the only protractor I could find with degree markings on the inside edge of the cut out (which the book lines were long enough to reach as printed) came in a pouch with a matching compass.  That was okay.  He’d need a compass someday, too.

I put the packet on his desk and the next day he attacked angle measurements with a gusto.  That evening, out of the blue, he asked me a funny question.  Almost all of Andrew’s comments and questions have nothing to do with whatever is occuring at the time.  He’s very “stream of consciousness.”

“Mom, what’s that thing with the pencil and the dead pen that won’t write for?”

“Huh?  Do what?”

“You know, that orange thing that matches my protractor.  It has a little bitty pencil in it, but the pen won’t write at all.  I think it needs to be thrown out.”

“Ohhhhh!  THAT thing.  It’s called a compass, and it’s used to draw circles of various sizes.”

“Well, the pencil will work, but they gave us a dead pen.”

“That’s not a pen.  It’s a point that marks the middle of a circle.  When you need to use it for math, I’ll show you how it works.”

I thought the “dead pen” description was pretty unique.