Body Aches, Chills
A Few Recent Pictures

Here I Am

Resuming blogging. I would have resumed blogging about four days ago except that my ISP was once again trying and failing to move us to a new server over the weekend, so I didn't want to post entries that would get overwritten. Monday, we had a painter here painting the walls, and I was occupied with taking the house apart and putting it back together. Tuesday, out cable modem connection was out all day.

Some of my recent adventures:

As mentioned in my last post, I had some kind of virus that took me out for a few days. But I recovered.

Over the past month, we've had repeated and expensive problems with the security feature of my car's ignition system; my Secret Decoder Ring (a.k.a. my car key) wouldn't activate the Passkey II system. Earlier in the month, it broke down in our driveway, so it was towed to the dealership where the starter motor was replaced. It worked for a week or so. Then shortly before Thanksgiving, it broke down in the parking lot of Peter's elementary school immediately following my parent teacher conference. We had let the conference run long, and I had let Peter get on the school bus at the end, rather than having him wait for me. I couldn't get home to meet the school bus and the neighbors weren't home so couldn't be called upon to meet it either. So I had the school secretary call the bus company and waited until the bus cold come back to the school so he could meet me. This had the problem that with Peter, there were one too many of us to ride in the front of a tow truck, so I had to go back to the school the next day and deal with the towing of the car. Meanwhile, I had Geoff come pick us up and drive us home.

The car got towed and then it got a diode in its ignition system replaced and everything seemed to work. David has a bad habit of using his van as a storage space and the van was full of cartons, so it was decided that we would drive my car to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.

We stopped at Books and Food at the foot of the Mass Pike for dinner. When we got back in the car to drive, the car wouldn't talk to the car key, once again. David went back in the restaurant to try to arrange for a tow and a rental car and I continued to try to start the car. After about 25 minutes, I got it started. I sent Peter back inside to get David and we drove to Brant Rock, Massachusets to the Fairview Inn. (David's mother sold her house to relatives a few years ago. While she still lives there, there isn't enough room for us to stay there.) The Fairview is on the ocean and has a nice restaurant and bar downstairs. David got me a fine drink from the bar downstairs and the kids played with playsilks, a belated birthday present for Elizabeth which had arrived in the mail, and then we all went to bed.

Thanksgiving morning, we got up and tried to start the car and it wouldn't start. So we stayed put, in our suit with a view of the ocean, and David's mother and sister came over to visit. Meanwhile, David and I began to think seriously about buying a new car and trading the old one in. Then in the late afternoon, the whole crew came over for our Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant downstairs, as planned.

Friday morning, the car still wouldn't start. We called AAA and they sent a truck. Our thought was to have the car repaired in Massachusetts. But meanwhile, we needed to get home. So we were going to need to rent a car and David would have to come back the next week and pick up the car. Luckily, the guy with the tow truck was able to start it by jiggling the gear shift. So we all got in the car and drove straight home without stopping (except for gas when we were careful not to turn the car off!), picked up our other car at home, and went straight to the gas station where we had it most recently repaired and dropped it off for further repair.

Over the weekend, we did some serious car shopping. We have a 1992 luxury sedan that David's mother passed along to us when she decided to stop driving. What to replace it with was an interesting question. David usually buys large cars that hold a lot of books, but I mostly drive the kids around. I've never been really comfortable driving large cars, and have always said I wanted a "mouse-sized car," like, say, a Mini (though no one in her right mind who has to have two kids' car seats in the back seat would buy a Mini). Given the price of gas, and the political cost of keeping the price down, I also wanted a car with great gas milage. (The hybrid cars are interesting, but there's not much of a used market for them yet, so they come with new-car prices.) But of course, being a mom, the cars that really get my attention on the show room floor are the mini vans because they are engineered to be dedicated mothermobiles. Not satisfied with anything we saw below about $20,000, I decided to give the current car another chance. Although I hate the security system and did actually have the dealership give me a price on having it ripped out by the roots, I think for $20,000 I could do a lot of standing around waiting for AAA. Also, when we thought about it, if we were to make a list of the things we'd like to blow that much money on, buying a car doesn't make the top five. So far, so good. The car has behaved itself since we arrived at that decision.

When I thought about what I'd rather spend money on, painting a couple of walls came to mind. So Monday the painter came. The living room wall, damaged by a former roof leak, now is white as a blank piece of paper. And in Elizabeth's room, which we never finished painting a few years ago because a large piece of furniture was in the way, is completed. The largest wall is now a very pale lavender that David picked out. (I wanted to paint it a really bright color, but David insisted a light color would be better. He's probably right.) Now that the living room wall has been painted, the bookcases in Elizabeth's room can move to the living room and many other things in the house can shift around. So things are in flux. My family is converging here for Christmas, so this is a good time to rearrange. I have two guys coming to help me move furniture next week.

In the meantime I've been trying to get my son's elementary school involved with YouthCan, a natural science conference for K-12 held at the American Museum of Natural History in April, and, the entity which provides the Internet infrastructure for YouthCan:

iEARN is the world's largest non-profit global network that enables young people to use the Internet and other new technologies to engage in collaborative educational projects that both enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

Bureaucratic inertia being what it is, the principal and I figured out the perfect way to do this for next school year. The tricky bit is now to get it started now.YouthCaN's theme for this year has to do with endangered and recently extinct species, a topic very near to Peter's heart. So I've been using a lot of energy that might otherwise have been used for blogging working on that.

In general, when I've taken a break from blogging for a few days, I find it hard to resume. What is important enough to write down? Alternatively, there's way too much to say.

Anyway, here I am.