Friday, August 23, 2013

Photography Friday

Germany, 2009

Scott AFB, June 2013

Scott AFB, June 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Coulda, shoulda, woulda.....

I first saw this as a shared post from George Takei's Facebook page.

And I laughed and laughed. Because, you see, my husband is an adorable, lovable, Star Trek (the original and Voyager) and Star Wars fan. And I have seen enough original Star Trek episodes to love a good Shatner impression.

When I posted earlier about my car battery misadventures, I was still irritated (obviously) that I was standing out in the broiling sun with two small kids and no one cared enough to make sure we were okay. Even the police parked nearby.

What I failed to remember is that this - THIS - my friends would have been the perfect opportunity to practice my SHATNER! skills.

Imagine it: It's 80 degrees outside, 103 if you are in direct sunlight, 250 if you are in direct sunlight in a black vehicle with black interior. The little old guy behind you agrees to help you jump off your car, you both fail miserably at making that work, and then he drives off and leaves you without a word.

What I did: nothing
What I should have done: shouted out 'I've been...abandoned!! ABANDONED!' while shaking my fist at the sky or the departing vehicles or the cop.

So you walk a long way in the brain melting heat to make sure your kids know that 1) you didn't forget about them and 2) you will take any situation and handle it, cause that's what parents do, yo!

What I did: walk to get the kids and walk them back to the car with me
What I should have done: once I got within sight distance of the school staff and my  kids, fallen to my knees and started to crawl towards the kids gasping, "car battery....died. Water.     Waaaattteeerrrrrr..... and then collapsed dramatically.

Your husband arrives about 5 minutes after you get back to the car.

What I did: gave him a huge hug and start trouble shooting the problem between him, me, and the vehicle manual.
What I should have done: shout out really loud "WE ARE SAVED!!! HALLELUJAH!" and then do a victory dance in the middle of the street while surreptitiously giving the finger to all the people around who were just watching this happen. Including one of our towns policemen.

Did I mention there was a police officer nearby? SMH.

You and the hubs manage to jump the car on the first try.

What I did: grinned like an idiot
What I should have done: hooked up the jumper cables myself to the first car instead of assuming the guy knew what he was doing.

So, now I know. I am sad that I missed a perfect opportunity to SHATNER! But there's always tomorrow....

Start me up!

Star date: second day of school. I am picking the kids up after school this week and next week they are trying the bus. We'll see which works better for us since the nearest bus stop is a 10 to 15 minute walk from our house. Totally doable in the afternoon, practically impossible in the morning. 

Anyway, the school has a great system for releasing kids at the end of the day. Classes end at 2:35, then the bus riders are loaded and the buses leave, then those kids whose parents are picking them up are allowed to drive through the bus lane and pick up the the kids. I cannot stress enough how organized and well executed this process is. 

Today I got to the line at 2 pm. That put me about 8 cars back from the front of the line. It gives me a chance to listen to music and read or just chill out before I pick up the kids and the homework chaos begins. The temperature wasn't all that high today, but the sun bearing down on my black car with black interior started to make me feel like a roasting chicken within minutes. 

Since we moved here last March, I have picked up the kids from school every day. I don't like the thought of letting my car just sit there and run, especially for 30 minutes or more, but there was no breeze today which is really unusual here. I rolled down the windows when I parked and stood it until there was sweat rolling off me, at which point I turned on my car again for a couple of minutes to cool off a little. I kept the radio playing, like I normally do, and after I started sweating profusely for the second time, I turned the ignition switch on enough so that air was blowing out of the vents, even though the engine wasn't running. I figured warm air was better than no air. Or global warming the air around me. 

Well, the non conditioned air was helping about as much as hot soup, and since it was almost time for the car line to start moving, I decided to just go ahead and start my engine. 

My car, however, had other plans. All I got was, click, click.

I'm not automotive genius, but I knew that meant trouble. 

Luckily, my tendency for chronic over packing combined with frequently dying car batteries whist in Germany resulted in my having a pair of jumper cables in my trunk. I got out and asked the gentleman behind me in line if he'd give me a jump. He said yes, and pulled forward. We hooked up our batteries, I cranked my engine....and......nothing. Nada. Zip. 

Well, that's not good! 

Within a couple minutes, the car line started moving, so the gentleman helping me concentrated on waving cars around us. We agreed that maybe we'd just leave the cars hooked to each other for a few minutes and see if that helped. 

It didn't. 

Last year,  there was a lady parked almost exactly where I was parked today whose battery died too. No one offered to help her..they all just drove right by. I stopped and offered to jump her, but she said she had already called someone and they were almost there. On a normal day, there are probably 50 cars in that line and it's sad that none of them stopped. I was running later than normal that day, so I was towards the end of the line. After I picked up the kids, I circled back around and was going to wait with her, but she was already gone. 

So today, I can't say that I was surprised that no one in the line even looked at us twice. But I was surprised that there were two police cars with policemen nearby that were in my sightline and didn't even bother to see if I needed help, especially after the guy helping me decided he'd had enough, unhooked the cables from his car, and just drove off without saying a word. 

Thanks, man. 

By this time, I had called Robert and said as nicely as I could that he needed to come and help me. His comment: Well, what do you want me to do? My comment: I want you to come here and help me. 


Even if he couldn't fix it, he could at least take me somewhere to someone that could help. Plus, the kids had no idea what was going on. And, by this time, all the cars had passed me so I knew they would be the last kids left and they would be starting to freak out a little.   

So, I locked up the car and walked to pick them up. We walked back and I swear it felt like it was 100 degrees outside and even worse in the car. Luckily, Robert got there about 5 minutes after we got back to the car and had called a tow truck to meet us there. 

Just for kicks, he and I hooked up the jumper cables to his car (right as the tow truck driver got there - natch) and BOOM! My car started. Right away. Which makes me wonder why it didn't start when the other guy tried to jump me. 

We drove the car to Advance Auto and they tested the battery, alternator, and starter, which all checked out okay. So the only thing we could figure is that I drained the battery while waiting for the kids. The battery is still under warranty, so tomorrow I'll call the dealership and see if they will replace the battery. I left the radio on five days a week while I picked up the kids last school year with no I'm thinking that while the battery seems okay now, it's probably on the great downhill slide to battery heaven. 

Guess we'll be getting up early enough to make it to the bus stop just in case the car won't start in the morning. I cannot even put into words how much that thrills me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Make It Work Wednesday

Tucker is a Monopoly wunderkind. We have regular Monopoly and Monopoly Millionaire. I prefer Monopoly Millionaire about a million times over regular Monopoly. There are several really good reasons for this:

1. Monopoly takes FOREVER to play. Even if you use the fast track version with the extra red die. And when it comes to board games, I get bored after about 30 minutes.

2. Monopoly messes with my sense of organization. It's impossible to keep the money neat and it bugs me when it's not all turned the same way. (I blame my past life as a teller for that last one.) And when my kids have this huge pile of money and property all tossed together, I find myself actually resisting the urge to straighten it out when they look away. Plus, if you get to the point where you can actually add houses/hotels, they don't fit neatly on the board and they are always getting pushed out of place. Drives me nuts! In addition, my kids have played with other kids who have been allowed to cheat, and that doesn't fly in our house, so tears and anger are almost always included. No fun!

3. Since Robert and I insist we play by the written rules included in the game, gone are the days of the chance of landing on Free Parking and scoring a huge pile o'Monopoly money collected from taxes, fees, and such. I'm probably just bitter about that because I seem to land on Free Parking a lot. Also I land on Go To Jail a lot, but with all the hotels and houses Tucker scatters across the board, sometimes that's way more of a blessing than a curse.

So, with this edition of Make It Work Wednesday in mind, I not only agreed to play Monopoly with Tucker (we started a game yesterday but had to leave for Meet the Teacher day), but I actually was the one who suggested it.

We played the fast track game. He annihilated me. He was willing to trade me 3 of the 4 railroad properties for Boardwalk. That only worked to his advantage though, because he ended up with 3 houses on Boardwalk and did not once land on a railroad after we traded. Not once. And my two house Oriental Avenue rent of $30 didn't really hold up against his $700 rent for his 3 house Kentucky Avenue. How many times did I land on Kentucky Avenue? About 7. How many times did he land on any of my properties with houses? About 3.

But what I DO love about Monopoly is that Tucker practices a lot of adding and subtracting and he learns about managing money (even if it's sort of abstract). When I looked at it as the Daily Dose of Dahl version of the Cosby Show episode where Cliff teaches Theo about money, well, it became a lot more fun.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This and that, and not much else

I post more often when I have a few themed days a week. So, starting this week, I'm introducing three new weekly post topics. 

Megan Mondays: my friend Megan often comes up with excellent blogging ideas. From now on, I'm going to keep a list of ideas from her and write about one each Monday. Don't worry - names will be changed to protect the innocent. The guilty are on their own and will not be protected. HA!

Make it Work Wednesdays: this can be anything I've tried in the last week. It's a great way for me to force myself to try something new. Pretty sure skydiving won't be included, but you never know. 

Photography Friday: We live near Asheville, NC now and it's beautiful! I've been meaning to work on my photography skills for over a year and there's no time to start like the present. 

I'm also open to suggestions. Recipes, kid stories, misadventures in pintrest suggest it, I'll write about it. 

See you guys tomorrow for Make It Work Wednesday!