Friday, September 26, 2014

Just an "E"

I expect most people who read this blog are people I know.  But in the interest of internet privacy I am going to be cryptic anyway.

Blondie's real name is spelled with just an E at the end.  Let's pretend for a moment her real hame is Blondie but we spell it B-L-O-N-D-E but pronounce it like 'Blond-EE."  When she was born there was some discussion about how to spell it because while the way we ended up spelling it is the correct way for the word, it is popular to spell it with an EY at the end.  Hubby insisted the E is the correct way to spell it, and he is right, and we shouldn't cutsie it up and misspell it.  And he is/was right so that's what we did.

This morning she told me there was a little girl in her class who spells her own name with a pronounced E at the end.  We'll call her Trixe pronounced Tricks-EE.  She informs Blondie that her name BLONDE should be pronounced BLOND.  To really be "Blond-ee" she needs a Y at the end like other Blondeys she's seen.  Blondie says "So then your name is really Tricks, right?".  Trixe starts to argue.  Blondie says, "Do you know what Greek Mythology is?"  
"Do you know who Hercules is?"
"Hercules came from Greece.  My name is a Greek word which means "Life."  And that is how it is spelled in Greek.  If you change the Greek word it won't mean "Life" anymore, it will just be a plain old word."
Trixe was impressed, and informed Blondie that she likes her name spelled with just the E.

Score one for the Blondes of the world!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Horse, of Course

Right after school started there was a horse show for Blondie and Bones.

She was competing in the "Intro" level, which means the jumps were about 2 feet high, in the "Junior" division which meant 19 year olds and younger.

It involved missing a day of school to go down and practice doing the cross country phase, since there isn't a cross country field at the barn they ride at.  She and I camped at the fairgrounds with the rest of the people from the barn.
She got to take care of the horse all day and wake up and do it again the next morning.  She was in heaven.  The little girls all took their horses for a walk before they tucked them into bed that night.

The next day both of them - she and the horse - did very well.  I had worried about her Dressage, but to her credit she really had been practicing with him.  And the dressage field was out in the open - nothing to shy at. So they did great.

 She nailed the stadium jumping - and had a great time on the cross country.

They came in 2nd place in a field of about 20 kids.
She was so happy she nearly burst.

It was a good day for all of us.

Summer Wrap Up

Summer has come and gone!

The girls are back in school and I am looking around and taking a deep breath and it is so nice to feel like my life is not as hectic as it has been the past couple of years.  Don't get me wrong, the house is still and probably always will be something of a disaster, but I, Personally, am in a happy place.

Probably the biggest highlight of the summer -  our trip to Oregon.

This is the 2nd annual trip to this house.  It is an amazing place and when confronted with not getting the house when we wanted next year, we chose to come a different week rather than find a new house to come to.

We were watching summer slip away from us so we planned a quick trip down to Zion's Park.  This is the first trip we have taken the girls down there since Red was a baby.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn, which was nice, and hiked around.  The first day we sort of accidentally missed the turn off to the shuttle parking lot and ended up driving out the other side of the canyon without actually going up into it, so since that took up most of the day, we went back and swam in the very nice hotel pool until dinner.  The next day, though, we caught the shuttle and did a bunch of hikes and had a very nice day.

Red and Blondie are in the same school now, catching the same bus and on the same schedule.  They were both put into groups of students without many of their good friends this year.  That is kind of normal for Blondie, but for Red she's always had at least one really good friend in most of her classes.  This year all of her good friends are in another group, she's mostly alone in this one.  Same with Blondie, who was bothered by this more than Red.  They are having good days and bad, but for the most part things are going well.

The week after school started was Blondie's biggest horse show to date.  It was a schooling show, still, but required her to miss a day of school and she and I camped over at the county fairgrounds where it was held.    But I haven't uploaded pictures from that yet… it will be for next time.

Oregon Again!!!

We stopped at a recreation of Stonehenge on the Columbia River on the way over.

 The Stonehenge looks out over the Columbia river

 My brother's girls - they were an hour or two behind us on the drive.

Hubby and I and our girls made it to the house first, and picked up the key from the rental agency and then headed to the house.  Just walking in the door of that lovely home and looking out to see the ocean from the back windows made me happy.  It is a lovely place.

Grandma, Papa, and 3 nieces
We went for a hike but it was so foggy we couldn't see the view

My cute niece on the swingin' tree
 My brother-in-law (on the right in the red shirt) is famous for his huge hamburgers.
Blondie and my youngest niece spent two solid days boogie boarding

 We celebrated Blondie's birthday while we were there.

We went to the maritime museum in Astoria.

We relaxed, we slept, we read, we ate, we walked on the beach, we collected sand dollars, we ate and slept and relaxed some more.

My brother created a treasure hunt this year, on three planks of wood, one containing a map and two scribed with a very clever poem.  He wanted to do the "Take ten steps to the west" sort of map which  follows the pirate stereotype but totally stumped the girls.  Which way is west, anyway?  We say "The sun sets in the west."  They look at us blankly.   It took quite a lot of help to get them to figure out where the treasure was buried, with the older girls looking on saying "There should be a time limit!  If they can't get it in 10 minutes it's our turn!"  I am curious if the older girls could have figured it out.

Last year most of us went deep sea fishing.  My mom and dad and sister opted out.  Hubby and my sister's husband were horribly sea sick, and my brother's wife and two of his daughters were moderately sea sick. We brought back so much fish we ended up feeding it to the seagulls because it was going bad and stinking up the house fridge.  Even though he spent a lot of the time leaning over the rail, Hubby said it was something he really enjoyed doing and looked forward to doing this year.

This year the only ones willing to go fishing were the four of us, my brother, and his youngest daughter.  I bought some different nausea medication for Hubby, and he was not sick at all!  That was probably my favorite part of the fishing trip.  My niece and I caught a bunch of fish, this year Blondie didn't get nearly as many fish as she thought she should.  She was standing right in between me and my niece, but just didn't get the bites.   Red was on the other side of my niece, she caught quite a lot.  Mostly we were catching black sea bass, but my brother and I both caught a ling cod, a big ugly fish that fought a lot harder than the bass.  All in all we had a really nice trip, and a great fried fish dinner that evening.  This year we were smarter, too, and we packed all the fish we didn't eat in ice and drove it home.  We probably got 12 fish dinners out of it, and that was just 1/3rd of what was left.

 Red would catch 'em, but she wouldn't touch 'em.  The captain came out to help her reel that one in.
 My brother, on the right, pulled in a crab trap.

When Blondie FINALLY caught her first fish of the day, the woman deckhand helping told her she had to kiss it to make sure she'd catch more.  She did catch more eventually, though she did not kiss that first fish.

Thank you Grandma and Papa for a most wonderful trip!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


So the woman who 1/2 leases the horse we now own took him to an event in Wyoming last weekend, and the two of them took 6th place!  She is a really nice lady and she just couldn't stop saying nice things about Bones.   She said he didn't refuse anything, and obviously performed really well.  It was her first real competition.  She did the Intro level, someone told me that means she won't be nationally ranked, but she was still thrilled.   She sent me this picture.

Awww they are so cute!!!!

She is leasing Bones until her own horse comes in, sometime in August.  But she loves him very much.       I hope she likes her new horse a lot, but Bones will be a tough act to follow!

I Can Prove Global Warming is REAL

When we lived in the valley I developed a system of air flow management in order to maintain a comfortable temperature inside our house.  When it got to be 80 degrees in the house I would turn on the swamp cooler above the kitchen table which would send gale force cooling winds through the house.  80 degrees was my breaking point, anything above 80 was too darned hot and I simply couldn't stand it.  We lived in an old house that did not have central air on the main floor.  It did have it upstairs, thank all things holy, because the upstairs had been remodeled in an era of sanity.  The swamp cooler wasn't perfect but it did move the air around, and it raised the humidity in the horribly dry air and it made me feel better.  It also cleaned all the girl's artwork off the fridge and anything not nailed down was blown all over, but you get used to that.  If I turned the swamp cooler on just after dinner and ran it all night, it would drop the temperature in the house enough so that it wouldn't reach 80 degrees until I was making dinner the next day.  Sure, I closed up the house and drew the blinds like a hermit when I got up, and we all put on sweatshirts to to eat breakfast in, but it made the house tolerable.

Then we moved up to the mountains. It's supposed to be much cooler up here, so 35 years ago when this house was built it didn't get central air.  And the homeowners association thinks we're way too classy to allow for window air conditioners.  So when it hits 83 degrees or warmer in the house by 4:00 or 5:00, I start to melt.  I am not actively sweating, but I become a heat slug.  I can't think, I can't function, I don't clean, cook, or much of anything.   All I can do is sit and feel lethargic and be miserable.

It is even warmer upstairs where the bedrooms are.  "Intolerable" on the main floor is usually my clue to start airflow management procedures, which involve going upstairs, where temperatures are reaching 87 or so, and turning on the mobile swamp cooler we bought last year - it does help.  It is in the master bedroom. I need one for Red's bedroom too.  I open the windows at the back of the house, load up the swamp cooler with water, and crank it to high.  By the time we go upstairs to bed, the temperatures can drop down into the low to mid 70s.  75 is uncomfortable to try and get to sleep, but as the night goes on it will drop a few degrees cooler.

After I turn on the fans and the swamp cooler, I go down and hide in the basement, where the temperature is in the high 60s or low 70s already.  There isn't much to do down there but sleep or watch TV or read.  

I should be packing or cleaning, but I just can't seem to find the motivation for any of that.  I just want to melt.  It's an amazing effort just to type this.  It's time to start heat management but I do not look forward to that climb up the stairs into worse heat than I'm sitting in now.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Psuedonyms

I have been trying to call my girls Thing 1 and Thing 2 and in many ways it works, as I think of them that way and we got matching Dr. Seuss shirts!  That they long ago grew out of.

But I reread my old entries and it is Just Confusing.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are so similar that it is easy to mix them up and I find it confusing, even when I know who I'm talking about.

From Now On I am going to call them by their hair color, as it has been a distinguishing feature for both of them.  Thing 1 shall henceforth be called Red and Thing 2 will answer to Blondie.  It also eliminates the need for explanation as to who is whom in pictures.

Consider yourself informed.  And because I like pictures in blogs, here is the most recent one I have of the two of them together, taken at the Arts Festival in April or May.  Red - the artist formally known as Thing 1- was selling her polymer clay baubles at a booth.  Blondie was helping and selling her Grandmother's American Girl Doll poncho and hat sets.
Aren't they just the cutest?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And The Living is Easy

Road construction in front of our house.  We have been living on a dirt road for two weeks as they ripped up the pavement in preparation for the new pavement.  Which hasn't arrived yet, and might not for a while.  First they tore up the curb in front of our house and we were stranded with one car in the garage and one car parking on the street for two days.  Luckily we were able to hobble around in the one car and Hubby didn't have any big trips.

We are Horse Owners.  Or will be in a matter of hours.  The original understanding was we would lease this horse, Bones, for a year and at some as of yet unspecified point during that year we would approach the owner about purchasing the horse.  However, Thing 2's riding instructor, who is the go-between in this situation, and the one who talked the original owner into taking Bones out of early retirement and putting him into a lease situation told me we ought to just bite the bullet and offer to buy him.  I was inclined to agree, despite all my fears of horse ownership and horse health problems.  I have been watching all the other barn moms struggling to find a horse for their daughters for the past four months or so. Thing 2 was happily riding and then sadly losing Doc, and then shuffled around for a bit until Bones was pulled into the barn.  In talking to the owner I can see what a trick our instructor pulled off because they really had no intention of selling him.  They were happy just keeping him as a "pasture pal" but she became convinced that as an athlete he wasn't really happy just hanging out in her field.  And he's a perfect horse for Thing 2.  Though his price wasn't as low as we'd hoped, Hubby pointed out how much time and effort would we would have to put into a horse search hoping to find something that has Bone's qualities for 2/3 the price.  So we bought a horse today.  I wanted to hold off giving her the saddle I bought on eBay until her birthday, but with all the summer camps and clinics going on and it is becoming a pain for me to jockey for tack for her, so I gave it to her last week.  The rest of it will wait until her birthday, but the saddle she got already.

I am not doing too well on the summer balance of keeping them occupied and letting them goof off.  There has been more goofing off, especially on Thing 1's part, than I'm happy with.  This mostly comes up when there's something she needs to do, for either me or her art class, and I have to remind her repeatedly to put down the stupid iPad or computer and get back to it.  The trauma in her life was she got her braces put on, finally, a couple of weeks ago.  She has a pretty good overbite, and to keep her top teeth from banging into and knocking off the braces buttons on her bottom teeth, they attached two big plastic things to the back of her front teeth to keep her from closing her mouth.  She felt quite violated orally.  They told me to take her out and feed her a big lunch before the pain set in, but  between the pain and the frustration of her teeth not meeting, she didn't eat much lunch and continued to basically starve herself for a little over a week.  I tried to ply her with smoothies, milkshakes, anything I could think of but she found something wrong with everything, yes, even milkshakes, and she lived on a very sparse diet of scrambled eggs and milk and …  well I'm not sure what else she ate. She lost weight, but finally started perking up and said the pain was lessening, and now she's pretty much back to eating whatever she wants.  Her teeth still don't touch much but she can at least chew enough to live.  The funny thing was when Hubby returned from a trip and went straight to pick her up from her class the day after she got her braces and texted me in obvious alarm that her back molars didn't even meet!!  Did the orthodontist know?  Can we make an appointment for tomorrow to alert them to this unacceptable situation?  Calm down, honey, I'm sure when they glued the big plastic things to the back of her front teeth they were aware that it would screw up her bite for a while.

We took the girls fishing a week ago Sunday.  What started out as a leisurely drive for a hike turned into a fishing trip when I googled the lake we were going to hike around and read to Hubby that there was good fishing there.  He pulled over in the next town and bought a couple of pole and bait kits and licenses for him and Thing 1, and we proceeded to the lake to go fishing instead of hiking.  We expected to not catch anything and so were quite surprised when Hubby caught a nice sized trout.  Thing 2 and I took the dog back to the car to get the foam cooler we bought just incase, and by the time we walked back Thing 1 had caught a fish too!  She caught two more and she and Hubby both caught  little ones that they turned loose.  The whole fishing thing was fine, but I found that I am lousy at deboning them.  It took me almost two hours to debone them when we got home.  So we froze the fillets and got take-out for dinner.

We had fish for dinner on Monday, a week later.

Thing 1 went to a church girl's camp yesterday, and though the camp goes through Friday morning, I'll be going up tomorrow to pick her up so she can go to her art class.  We all miss her a lot.  She's pretty quiet, but she's a pretty big part of what goes on around here.  
We're counting down to Oregon, 1 week before we leave.  That will probably be one of the big highlights of the summer.  The problem is nothing will be able to live up to last year, which was just magical in every way.  But we'll give it a try.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I walk dogs with another woman from the neighborhood.  Of course while we walk we talk.  She claims talking to me is the best therapy money can't buy.  As we walk she (mostly) complains about everything in her life.

I come home from these walks and I am SO HAPPY!  I am outrageously happy that I am NOT married to her husband, I DO NOT have to put up with her kids, and my dog DOES NOT poop all over my house!  It fills me with such joy to be reminded that my husband, while not perfect, is pretty darn close. My funny, talented, highly intelligent, WELL BEHAVED kids only require minimum effort on my behalf to maintain.  Other than that annoying habit they have of getting hungry EVERY DAY.  My dog's only real demand is the he be walked once a day and fed and watered occasionally.  

I have created an immensely delightful life for myself!

I am just afraid that all this joy is going to attract the attention of the negative forces in the universe, and suddenly horrible things will start happening.  I can't help it, it's the result of years of religious training.

Thing 1 got into the very prestigious kids program at a local art gallery.  It required that she submit two essays, a sample of her work, a letter of recommendation, and she and I had to fill out some forms.  All of that had to be reviewed by a panel of judges, and the 18 winners were selected.  Many of them are repeats who have been in the program before - you have to apply every year.  That means there were only a few open slots this year.  Thing 1 is the youngest kid in the program this year - the only 7th grader.  There is one 8th grader, a 9th grader, and then most of the kids are juniors and seniors in high school.  We went to the first meeting and I came away somewhat daunted by what she needed to do - she came away buoyant and excited to get started.  We are very happy she got in!  

Thing 2 is back in the saddle after complete healing of her broken arm and the death of her horse. and she has a new horse.  By the way we don't actually OWN these horses.  We lease them.  We are set to buy the new one, eventually.  His name is Bones, and he's a 16 year old thoroughbred who has a lot of experience in eventing and jumping.  He is currently owned by another client of the riding instructor, someone wealthy enough to have him stands out in the pasture behind their house all the time and they're not riding him.  She's talking them into selling him.  We get first dibs.  Thing 2 is absolutely in love with him.  We will be required to buy him someday, but I'm pushing that off for a while and leasing him.  I got the complete lowdown on  him from another couple at the barn who considered buying him, but decided not to based on his age (they wanted a younger horse), and the fact that he won't "tie" to a pole.  He has to be held by a person or tied up in a cross tie, with the poles next to him, not right in front of him. The report by EVERYONE who rides him is he is 
1) FUN to ride
2) Flashy.  Flashy was explained to me as he holds himself very pretty, steps out pretty, has a sort of dramatic way of moving.  In a barn full of horses, many of which are retired trail or cow horses, a horse that walks and moves gracefully like that sort of gets everyones attention.  Everyone who sees her on him comments to me that "They look awfully good together!"

I don't have pictures of Thing 1's art class, but I have pictures of the horse.  

This blue jump rattled him once, but he just hesitated and went on over it, and was the highest jump she was doing that day, so I had to get it from a couple of different angles.  It looks like the same instant but it's not.
There was another high school girl watching Thing 2 take her lesson, waiting for the jumping course so she could practice.  She's at the barn a lot, a really nice girl who has been riding for a while.  She was complimenting Thing 2 and saying he was doing so good for her, and he's not an easy horse to ride.  I said really?  She sure makes it look easy!  The older girls said she had seen the teacher and the other woman who is currently half leasing Bones ride him over the jumps and that he didn't perform as well as he did when Thing 2 was riding him.  She said she thinks he is responding to Thing 2's confident gentleness, and that Thing 2 is an amazing rider.  Why thank you!!!!

School is almost out and I am looking forward to spending more time with my amazing little family!!!!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day.

Hubby usually goes overboard and makes it as wonderful a day as he can… but he's in Australia.  Events conspired against us.

The plan was for me and the girls to go to church at 9:00 until 10:00, then head north to my sister's for mother's day with my mom.  My sister cooked dinner.  I made a cake for dessert.  
I had presents for my sister, who doesn't have kids of her own, and presents for my mom. I had the cake which turned out pretty good.  I had a third of it instead of having any dinner, so I know.  I had chocolate and caramel dipped pretzels, and several dozen chocolate dipped strawberries that Thing 1 had made the day before as part of a fundraiser for girl's camp.  

Thing 2 woke up sick.  It was hard to tell if it was just whiny sick, or really sick. I let the girls stay home from church, but I went.  I was feeling a little sad watching everyone else's kids get up and sing for the mothers.  When I got home we talked and Thing 2 was still feeling kind of crappy but I convinced her that sleeping in the car is as easy as sleeping on the couch.  I let it percolate for a while because there was no rush getting out of the house, by the time we got to my folk's house, they'd be at church.  It started to seem to me like she was getting worse.  But by then I had convinced the girls we should go, and Thing 2 started crying that she had ruined Mother's Day, and we should just go no matter how sick she felt.  But then her temperature popped up to 102, and she finally fell asleep.  It was obvious she was too sick to go, and I was glad we hadn't taken her earlier.  

Mother's day was kind of a bust.   Australia is an inconvenient time difference, Hubby's getting up when the girls are at school, we're going to bed at the middle of his day, and he's asleep when we're getting up.  We won't have many chances to talk for the next two weeks.

I think I'll do a do-over with my mom this weekend, and drive up to see her and my dad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, at the barn, Thing 2's riding instructor has come up with a horse for her to ride.  His name is Bones, and he seems about perfect for her.  He's taller than any other horse she's ridden at 16 hands, is a thoroughbred, and he's already done a lot of dressage and jumping.  He's kind of middle aged, at 16 years old, and is reasonably priced. I'd love to buy him but the upkeep for horses is what puts you in the poor house.  Somewhere along the road someone taught him to smile.

Thing 2 loves him already.  We're going to try and lease him until our ship comes in, unless someone else buys him first.

The Clump of Three

So the hot water heater busted..

Then Thing 2 broke her arm.

I ran into a friend the beginning of the next week and she said, "That's two!"  I hadn't even thought of that.  I conjured up some third disaster, which I can't even remember now because it was so small, and assured myself that would be it.

But it wasn't.

I made an appointment for Thing 2 to go to the Fracture Clinic at Primary Children's Hospital.  I didn't know at the time they're only open on Wednesdays.  They got us in at 2:00.  An hour before I went to go pick her up for her appointment, Thing 2's horseback riding instructor texted me that Doc, the horse she's been riding for the past year, died.

We had gotten wind he was sick, there is another girl who rides him and her mother had texted me on Sunday to say Sorry about Thing 2's arm, and that Doc was feeling poorly and was in a stall in the barn, not out in the corral like usual.

I had decided not to say anything to Thing 2 until that evening, when I picked her up at school she said another friend of hers who goes to the same barn had been out there the night before and reported Doc wasn't doing well.  She teared up and asked me if we could go visit him after her arm appointment.
I couldn't lie to her and say "Oh yes, honey, we can go out there right after your appointment!  I'm sure he'll be happy to see you!"
So I told her.  It was already too late, he'd died that morning.
Of course she was devastated, and my delivery was terrible... the school parking lot is not the place to deliver that kind of news.  We would barely make the appointment anyway, and she started sobbing and saying she couldn't go to the doctor now... I agreed but I was kind of stuck.  She cried all the way down the canyon but pulled herself together for the doctor.  I don't know why they figured she was kind of weepy and tender, one woman asked if it hurt a lot and she agreed.

The doctor at Primary's, but the way, was baffled by the weird splint the ski resort had put on her, his first act was to take it off.  He confessed that he didn't understand why they'd bother splinting her arm, but even more curious was why they'd splint her arm two inches below the break.   Maybe if they had ran the splint up over her shoulder or something?  But below the break?  No sense whatsoever.   He also told her 4-6 weeks of being careful, but from that day, not from the day of the break, so he basically moved her dates back a week.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  Our next appointment would have been 4 weeks later but that fell right in the middle of our spring break and I already knew we'd be leaving town.  They never move appointments up, always back, so her follow up appointment will be the week after we get back.  

I took Thing 2 out to the barn last week, she had ridden a new horse just before Doc died and she wanted to just go to the barn.  While I was there I ran into the groom girl, who said he had gotten out when someone was feeding them, and come to the arena and found her and just stood in front of her.  She said she almost didn't recognize him, he looked so awful.  They called the vet and did an ultrasound on him and found a tumor on his kidney.  He died three days later.  He was 20.  Too young, and very sad.

Thing 2 took two for the team on the series of unfortunate events for the family.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Now She's Broken Both Arms

Thing 2 broke her arm a couple years ago coming off the back of a horse.  It was her right arm, at the elbow.  She broke it the summer we moved.
Yesterday she broke her other arm.  This time I was right behind her. I was skiing, she was snow boarding.  We were on the mountain with Thing 1 and her friend, they were skiing and had gone off on their own, though on the same run.  We were all having a great time.  It got to be 3:30, the lifts were closing soon, so I told the girls it was our last run.  Thing 2 was zipping along in front of me, heading back to the lift, and she flipped up ass over teakettle and landed hard on her left shoulder.  She was lying on her face, very still, and when I stopped next to her her first words were "It's broken!  I know it!"  A nice man stopped to help, he didn't realize at first I was her mother, and he briskly took over.  He later apologized but when I said he seemed to know what he was doing and I certainly didn't he said he'd been an EMT.  When we tried to turn  her over she started crying.  A girl from the ski patrol came pretty quickly with her sled, and we bundled up Thing 2 and put her on it. Thing 1 and her friend went by overhead on the lift but I couldn't really talk to them, and of course she had left her phone in the car.  We got down to where you meet the gondola, which takes you down to the lodge level.  They loaded Thing 2 up on the gondola, and I asked the ski patrol if there was a way to get someone to keep an eye out for Thing 1 and her friend.  "Of course." She made a quick radio call and asked the radio world to keep an eye out for them, and that was the end of her worrying about it.
There was a golf cart waiting for us at the bottom of the gondola, which took us to the clinic, where we started our wait for the doctor.  I called Thing 1's friend's mom and told her we'd be late.  She offered to come get the older girls, but since I had no idea where they were, I said I'd call her back.

It took Thing 1 and her friend another 45 minutes or so to find us.  They made it to the bottom of the gondola and looked around for us, then borrowed a cell phone from one of the resort workers.  I told her "We're at the Base Clinic! Find a ski patrol and have them bring you to me at the Base Clinic!"
I don't know what she then relayed to the resort guy, or if he just took his phone back and left.  But she and her friend ended up on the tram that takes you back to the parking lot.  From the tram, they rode right past the base clinic, and she saw the bright pink bottom of Thing 2's snowboard leaning in front of the base clinic.  Since she had just been there the year before, she recognized what it was.  In order to get back to us, she had to take the tram to the bottom and then back up to the top, then hike down to the clinic.
We were still in the lobby waiting for the doctor.  I called the friend's mom, but she didn't pick up so I left a message.

I started to think they had forgotten about us at the clinic.  I finally found someone to ask, and they said we were next.  Finally they took us back to an exam room where the nurse and I took off Thing 2's coat and shirt.  I could tell immediately things did not look right, her left shoulder looked swollen and odd.  The x-rays showed a break that even I could see.  It was broken right up under the knob at the top of her humerus. They debated splinting it, then decided it would be good to keep it still.  The splint is holding her arm from just below the break down to her wrist.  So the broken part is exposed.  They put her in a sling and said have your family doctor monitor it.  They said it's not a good location to put a cast on it, so she'll just have a sling.  They gave me a pain prescription, gave her two motrin for the road, and took us to the lobby.  It was 5:45 and the clinic had officially closed at 5:00.  There were a couple of ski patrol people getting ready to close up shop.  Thing 1's friend's mom still hadn't responded to my call or texts.  I asked if I could have a ride to the parking lot.
One of the ski patrol guys pointed to the tram running in front of the clinic and said "If you walk up to where you can get on that up at the top, you can catch that to the parking lot."
Of the whole experience, that was kind of the icing on the cake.
I looked at the guy.  I am in ski boots, two of the girls are in ski boots and already walked down from the top of the tram.  One of my girls has a broken arm, and is wearing my fleece zipped up around her with no shirt or coat on.  You expect us to walk up to the tram, carrying all our equipment?
I think my voice cracked and I said "I will walk up and get the tram down to the parking lot, but I am not making the girls do that."  I told Thing 1 and her friend to stay with Thing 2, and told them if they closed the clinic, to wait in front until I returned with the car.
I think about that time the people at the clinic were embarrassed enough to help me.  The woman at the paperwork window called someone for a courtesy shuttle, but she said they weren't sure if there was one and the woman she called would call her back.  The ski patrol guy who had pointed out the tram to me said he'd go see if he could get the keys to a truck to take me down.
About this time Thing 1's friend's mom texted to say she could come get the older girls, but I had visions of waiting for her for an hour in the parking lot, so I texted her back that I'd just bring her daughter home.
Turns out the ski patrol guy got the keys to a suburban so we all drove together to the parking lot.  He apologized on the way down and said that as he told me to walk up to take the tram that it was probably not the best plan.  YOU THINK?!
Hubby was on a plane going from Japan to India.  I sent him a picture of Thing 2 in the lobby, telling him we had a problem.  Then since I'd already started, I went ahead and texted him it was broken.  I knew it would be a bad way to find out, as he's getting internet coming off a plane, but I didn't know what else to do.

Anyway, we survived.  Because it was late on a Friday I couldn't do much but take her home.  I am going to call the Primary Children's Fracture Center on Monday and get an appointment.  I know it's just a resort clinic, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.  When Hubby took Thing 1 to the same clinic last year, he had a much better experience.  Thing 2 and I were not so lucky.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anniversary Gifts - His and Hers Hot Water Heaters

We had planned on going skiing for our anniversary.  We have season passes, Hubby was in town, and we haven't been skiing together, just the two of us, this season.
We woke up to no water pressure.  One of our two hot water heaters had started trickling recently, and replacing it was on my list of things to do.  Now, why we have TWO hot water heaters is kind of unclear.  There is a hot tub in one of the bathrooms, but really?  That's the way it was when we moved in, and there's no one here to argue with. However, one of them got fed up with my cavalier attitude toward it and decided to show me how important it really is.  It burst sometime during the night and there was water about a half an inch deep in the storage room, and the pad was saturated under the carpet through the adjoining rooms.  We found the shut off valve and turned off the water.

It has become more and more apparent to me over the years that if you are in a crisis, I am probably not the person you would want by your side.  I spin.  I go into some weird irrational deal with what's in front of me mode.  Hubby told me to go call a disaster clean up company.  I told him I was too busy gathering towels.  I'd get to it in a minute, maybe after I got the girls to school, but right now I need to spread towels all over the floor.  Thankfully he recognized my inability to think straight and called a disaster clean up company himself.  I am SO GLAD he was home…

In addition to our usual rush to get the kids to school, we added moving furniture and books out of the flooded area.  About ten minutes after I got Thing 1 on the bus, the first guy from the clean up crew showed up and started helping us move stuff.  Within a couple hours he and his crew had moved the rest of our stuff, and had pulled the wet pad and were vacuuming.  I was on the phone with our insurance agent, and the adjuster hotline.   Hubby went and bought replacement hot water heaters, the clean up guys called their plumber friend to come install them.  I mentioned it was our anniversary, and they told me there was nothing more we could do, we should go skiing.  So Hubby and I did.  Not quite the day we had planned, but at least we were able to have a little together time.  I enjoy skiing with him a lot.

When we got home the plumber had just about finished, and there were fans and dehumidifiers roaring in the basement.  They ran them for two days, then everything was about as dry as it would get.  The Insurance adjuster came the next day, and everything seems to be going along fine.  I had been worried about what was covered and what wasn't, but I think most everything was.  Of course the lovely side-by-side hot water heaters Hubby bought us for our anniversary are totally not covered.  That's on us.

Now I just want it done so we can move back into the basement.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Skipping Christmas

It's not that I skipped Christmas…  No, though I did read the book but that's not what I mean.  I just meant that I haven't written about our Holiday!

It was GREAT!! then it was briefly HORRIBLE! then it was mostly GREAT!

Let's just skip right to the horrible.

Christmas Eve, the girls decided they had to go sledding.  We had been sledding once before Christmas at a Hill of Death near our house - we will NEVER go there again.  It is extremely steep… there is nowhere flat to put out your sled so you can sit on it.  Branches everywhere… Just NOT GOOD.
So in order to erase that unpleasant memory from their brains, the girls decided they wanted to revive a Christmas Tradition we had performed a couple of times in years past and go Sledding in the Avenues!  On Christmas Eve!  Thing 2 was begging for me to commit to this for days ahead of time, I kept saying I'd be happy to go if we could but it's hard to say exactly what we'll have time for on Christmas Eve.  We shuffled things around, Hubby helped, and we ended up able to go.  I called a friend from down there and she warned me there might not be much snow, it had been really warm lately.   We were undaunted.  So we went.  It's a 1/2 hour drive from our house.

We were about the only ones there.  We took the dog.

I am the dedicated cameraman.  I had very little interest in actually sledding.  I let the first couple of runs go by.  It was actually quite fun, the hill opens onto a baseball diamond and since it was so icy they could really just glide along for a long time after taking the hill.  Are there warning bells going off in your head at that last comment?  There should be...

Then Thing 2 had a great run except the dog decided for some inexplicable reason to tackle her.  He took her out hard!

He nailed her in the face, and she probably would have cried if she didn't know she was on camera.  But she toughed it out and shook it off, and marched back up for another run.  We have watched the video several times and it just makes me cackle.  Especially knowing she's okay.

Then toward the end of the day I decided to make a run.  It was fun - really hard and icy, but fun.  The last run, the girls are about tuckered, and I thought Hubby would go with them.  He didn't.  I didn't want to but I did anyway, to be a sport.
This is what happened.  Hubby decided to film, he wanted to try out the slow motion feature on my camera.  So he captured it all in slo mo.

In case it isn't clear from the video, I bounced up, and as I was going sideways, I landed on the side of my sled, flipped over, SNAPPED MY NECK, scraped the crap out of both of my hands, and quickly stopped.  That little dead animal looking thing behind me is a pony tail thinger I add to my hair to make it look like I actually have hair.  It was flung violently from my head.

No, I did not go to the hospital.  I could walk.  Eventually.  But this is how I spent the next couple of days.

Hubby got me the brace from the drug store.  It was exceedingly uncomfortable.  I didn't wear it for long.  My hands were bruised up along the thumb and up into my first finger, and my left wrist has been kind of sprained.  It is the first of February and my neck is finally mostly back to normal.

So other than that, it was a great holiday!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Doodle Bots go to STATE!!!

Thing 1 is on a FIRST Lego league team.  They called themselves the Doodle Bots.  I am one of two coaches.

This has been a bit of a struggle for me because Thing 1 is kind of reticent and hesitant… and often wanders away from the activity and I  struggle to get her back to involve herself.  There is another girl on the team, who has the personality of a bull dozer.  I've struggled with her because she gets angry at being told to get to work, and she barks back at me and the other coach, her mother.  Our biggest personality battles have been with her. There is a boy on the team who is very quiet, a really nice kid, he's the real programmer.  Just the three kids.

The other mother and I have struggled to get them to produce much.  There are four parts to the competition.  The most exciting is the lego robot games, in which the robot has to move levers, manipulate legos, and bypass obstacles to get points.  The three other parts are presentations the kids give about three topics - their robot design, how well they work as a team, and a research project on the topic of the year.  This year it was natural disasters.

The qualifying tournament was January 4th.  We spent all of January 3rd practicing for it.  The kids each spearheaded one of the three presentation topics, each one of them making a trifold board presentation.  Then they doodled all over the black presentation board with metallic sharpie markers.  

The kid's boards really looked good.  Very clean with just their text printed on white paper, pasted to the black boards, with the silver and gold doodles.  We were advised to use black boards by a retired coach of another local team, who won a prize at the world competition last year.  It was excellent advice.  Our boards really looked good.  This is Thing 1's board about the research project.

At the end of the qualifying tournament we ended up with a prize, the championship prize for that qualifier.  Apparently the Championship Prize is sort of the overall prize.  We had to be in the top 40% of the robot games, and have generally high scores on each of our boards.  The kids were so surprised that they won that they were sitting in the auditorium with their faces hanging out… the other coach and I practically had to bodily lift them up out of their chairs to go get their trophy.

The state tournament is next week.  I expect us to get slaughtered.  But then I expected us to be in last place at the qualifier, so what do I know?  It wasn't that we did so great - we only could complete three out of a dozen or so missions, but we did those perfect without any penalties.  Other teams were getting tons of penalties and their scores were beat up for it.  After the first of three rounds on the games we were in third place.  The father of the little boy on our team is one of the most naturally enthusiastic and happy people on the planet, and he was sitting behind me saying "You're in third place!  They're in third place!!!"  I was thinking "Oh that's you just being charmingly overenthusiastic…"  and assuring him it was alphabetical order or something because there was no way we were in third place - but there it was posted on the big screen for all to see - we were in third place!  Over the course of the next two rounds two teams bumped ahead of us, but they ended up in fifth overall of the robot games, and our team is moving on to the state event.
I found this video of someone else's super robot performing a bunch of missions, just in case you're interested.  Our little robot didn't do hardly any of these things.

The tournament itself was all very exciting.  Thing 1 was talking about skipping the whole tournament before we went - she was just tired of it all, but once we got there, it was really fun for the kids.  The whole tournament is run very well and everyone did a great job.

This is a quick video I took of the kids on our 2nd of three trys at the game table - Thing 1 on the left, the boy on the team on the right.  You can see the game table in between them and the robot failing to knock over the building it's supposed to knock over.

They got their trophies (I had copies made for the other two kids), they got their tee shirts.   We won't win the state competition, we're just happy to go.