Thursday, January 31, 2008

4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

T-minus 6 hours until I get my Lost fix! Yes, I'm that addicted and geeky. I need my Hurley fix. I need to know if Charlie is miraculously rescued. I need to see Locke and Ben have a smackdown over the weird Jacob voice. Seriously, it's been too long!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways

The fine folks at Bloggy Giveaways are hosting yet another Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! I'm giving away a brand-new hardcover copy of my favorite children's book, The Penderwicks. This story is wholesome and wonderful and a great read-aloud at bedtime. I can't wait for the sequel to be released in April!

To enter the giveaway, you need to leave a comment telling me YOUR favorite children's book. We're always on the hunt for good books to read around here, so I appreciate your recommendations!

The winner will be picked and posted on Saturday, February 2. That's Groundhog Day, so watch the Bill Murray movie again for fun.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Fear

Fear is not an issue I've struggled with much. There have been times when I've worried, times when my imagination has gotten the better of me, but not that many occasions when I've truly been afraid. When I have felt fearful, my trick has been to pray through Philippians 4:8: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." I took each item in order. If the fear wasn't based in truth, then I didn't need to think about it.

Until this week. On Thursday one of my friends experienced a home invasion. Men with ski masks broke down her back door just minutes after her husband left for work. She grabbed the phone and hid in the closet where one of the men came later and, by God's total grace, did not see her in the corner. Also by God's grace was the fact that her son was over at her mom's house for the day. In six minutes the men stole $15,000 worth of material goods but, more importantly, stole my friend's peace of mind. Mine, too, since I had nightmares last night about our house being invaded. In my dream I was completely unable to fight back.

Her husband has since bought a pistol and today is taking KE to the range to learn how to shoot it. They are also looking for a new house and hope to be moved within the month. (Their current house backs up to a strip mall on a major highway, and it's most likely that the thieves jumped the back fence rather than coming in through the front.)

I asked Kevin to turn on our alarm system again and this afternoon he tested it out for me. I also promised him that I will be more vigilant about keeping the front door locked and the garage door closed when I'm home. Still, those precautions can't keep a person from breaking down my back door, and the panic button in my bedroom might not scare him away.

So, for one of the few times in my life, I find myself living in fear. Real fear. And I need a new verse to pray. So, my friends, who's got a Word from God for me?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Laundry Challenge

I don't know WHY I want to do this, but this week I'm going to keep an officially tally of how many loads of laundry I do. I'm just curious, I guess.

By the way, I take back every nice thing I ever said about my Whirlpool Cabrio washer and dryer. The washing machine is no longer my favorite appliance, because it is seriously tangling my clothes. Every time I wash a load of jeans, it take me more than five minutes to untangle the legs and shake out the jeans for the dryer. It has done the same things with sweater sleeves. I've also noticed that the machine is balling up my clothes and getting unbalanced frequently.

I called Sears last week and they are letting me exchange the Cabrio for front-loading LG machines. I'm praying fervently that front-loaders will solve my laundry problems.

Now if they could just invent a machine that folds and puts away the clothes -- now that would be truly amazing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oh Mercy!

I so wish I had a video of this event, but I'll do my best to describe my hubby's mishap. Last weekend Kevin committed to taking down the thousands and thousands of white Christmas lights on our house. (Remind me to take a photo next year and post it, 'cuz Kevin's light display is most impressive. Blinding, but impressive.)

He had already put most of the lights into the attic above the garage, which is not the attic that caused my injury last month. But being the considerate father that he is, he folded up the lower half of the ladder so the kids wouldn't run into it while they were retrieving their outdoor toys.

And that would be his downfall. Kevin (again, being a great dad) leaned over to plug in the battery of David's Jeep. And in a swift, fluid motion, he stood up and turned around and went SMACK! into the dropdown ladder. A millisecond later Kevin was sprawled on the garage floor with a quarter-sized chunk of skin missing from his forehead. He was bleeding. He was hurt. He deserved some mercy.

What was my response? Hysterical giggling. Non-stop, uncontrollable laughter. The next morning we went to church with Kevin wearing a Band-Aid like a philactery on his forehead. And every time Kevin had to explain his boo-boo to our friends, it was accompanied by the sound of my laughter.

Anyone want to guess what score I got for mercy on the spiritual gift survey? I'll give you a hint: It was a single digit. Out of 50 possible points.

The irony is that today I am so sore I can't even walk because I pushed myself at the gym yesterday. I hurt! I want mercy! But Kevin's showing me about as much mercy as I showed him, and I deserve it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fashion Advice (from a four-year-old)

David's latest proclamation: "I'm going to wear Crocs and socks because they rhyme. I'm only going to wear rhyming things."

Now that is a great way to build an outfit. Forget Garanimals -- just match things according to a rhyming sequence! A shirt and a skirt. A belt and a felt (hat). A blouse with some trous-ers? OK, maybe this idea needs some work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lost Library Books - Updated!

My kids are massive readers, which is fabulous. My oldest typically reads one book a day, and the other two go in spurts but also have a love of books. And of course there's me, who would rather read a good book than eat (but doing both at the same time is best).

So here's the problem: Our house has been overrun with library books. We have a system, in theory. We have a cube-shaped green basket that holds all our library books. I just counted and we've got 39 in there. The problem is that there should be 40. We're missing a book and it's due today.

I want my kids to be comfortable reading, so they're allowed to take a book to a different room and read. The problem is getting them to put the books back into the basket when they are finished. I've already had to pay for a lost book recently, and I don't want to have to pay for another.

So what's your opinion of this topic? If we don't find the book, should the kids have to pay for the lost book or should I just show grace and pay for it myself? It's a responsibility issue, but I don't want to discourage them from reading. Ideas?

**UPDATE** The library found the book on their shelves and credited our account. Lesson learned: Ask the library for a shelf search before killing yourself looking in every nook and cranny in the house. At least I didn't get angry at the kids -- I would have had to ask big-time forgiveness!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

Today's Post is Brought to You By the Letter A

A is for Apple. Right after lunch I hauled my 40+ pound computer, three kids, and a bag full of stuff to keep said-kids occupied to the Apple store in La Cantera. I had an appointment at 1:20 and got there around 1:10. I checked in, left my huge desktop on their counter, and got the kids settled onto a pod of computers where they happily played on the games.

I spent the next half hour browsing the store. A is for Astonished. Technology has really passed me by, but I don't understand why all this stuff is important. Bluetooth? Don't need it. Lightning fast computer that connects to your iPod, iPhone, and iRefrigerator? Not necessary. Just let me have a basic machine where I can write, get on the internet, and play games. You know, the important stuff. But spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on fancy equipment just because it's cool is not my thing. One of their ad campaigns said that with an 80 gigabyte iPod, you could drive from LA to NYC 25 times and never hear the same song twice. That's not really a selling point for me. By the time I listen to that many hours of music, I'll be in the grave. With earbuds, apparently.

I finally got called to the Genius Bar at the exact same moment that I noticed my four-year-old doing the bathroom dance. All moms know this dance. I tried to speak quickly to the Genius to expedite the process, but he wanted to take his own sweet time diagnosing the problem, which is basically that the computer has no power.

The tech finally agreed that the computer didn't turn on. (He is a genius, after all.) But right when he asked for my information, I looked over at my son and realized that he was reaching the crescendo portion of his dance. I needed to act fast, so I asked the Genius if there was a bathroom available for my son. He directed me to a public bathroom five stores away, and I took off running with David in tow.

(By the way, La Cantera has the cleanest public bathrooms of any mall I've ever seen. I guess the bajillionaires who have enough money to shop Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and all the other hoity-toity stores in that mall really deserve clean bathrooms. Wouldn't it be terrible if their Manolo Blahnik's got soiled?)

We returned to the Apple store where I realized that the tech guy didn't exactly hold my place at the Genius Bar. A woman with an iPhone crisis had jumped onto my stool and was waving her arms wildly trying to explain the severity of the problem. I waited patiently, which worked for once. The Genius excused himself and returned to me, where we continued trying to log in my information.

Fast forward 10 minutes: The Genius looks at me apologetically and says, "I'm really sorry, but we can't service this model. You see, it was bought in 2000 and it's considered vintage."

A is for Annoyed. I'm sorry, did he just call a 7-year-old computer vintage? I mean, the guy was probably in middle school when I bought it -- I guess that constitutes vintage, right? I could actually feel a new gray hair popping through my scalp.

So one hour after entering the Apple store, I hauled my retro Mac, my three kids and all their junk back to the car, drove to the local Mac repair shop and dropped off the hard drive. Took less than two minutes to fill out the paperwork. This place I like. If they can fix the power problem, I'll bake them cookies. Vintage people like to be nice like that.

UPDATE: MacTLC called yesterday and said I need a new power supply. To the tune of $200.67 plus tax plus labor. Which is less than one-tenth the cost of a new Mac, so I said yes please. But no cookies.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Technical Difficulties

The shredder is still alive, but my beloved Mac is apparently dead. I shut it down around 1 o'clock this morning, and now there is absolutely no power. None. I've tried different cords, different outlets, but the machine is as dead as an armadillo on 281 North.

I talked to the friendly outsourced Apple guy, who confirmed that no, he couldn't help me. And the next available appointment at the Genius Bar at the Apple store is on Monday afternoon, so I'm at least 48 hours with only a semi-reliable laptop.

It's amazing how absolutely addicted I am to the computer. I physically get the shakes every time I walk into the study and can't check my e-mail. I'm also repeatedly pressing the power button with the faint hope that it will magically turn on, even though I know it won't. Crud.

My main prayer is that the Apple folks can somehow salvage the info on the hard drive. And then I need wisdom on whether to buy another Apple despite the painful pricetag, or to get a less-expensive Dell and deal with the technical issues that are involved with PCs. Double crud.

In the meantime, I'm going to deal with my unwanted computer detox the best way I can. Lots of chocolate.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Broke the Shredder

I'm on a house-cleaning, office-organizing, closet-purging binge. So far I've finished the closet under the stairs and right now I'm tackling the study. I've discovered Kevin's secret stash of his life history in paper. Everything from discussions regarding his starting salary at Andersen in 1994 to detailed notes about how much chandeliers cost in 1996. Truly riveting papers, these are. For trivia's sake, my salary was $33,491 when I quit teaching in 1999. I think my improved mental status far outweighed the loss of that semi-paltry income.

I've been shredding like a mad woman because I also found stacks and stacks of OLD bank statements (as in, we haven't had an account at these banks since we were newlyweds). I probably didn't have to shred all that, but there were numbers and addresses and, well, better safe than sorry.

At least that's what I thought until the shredder broke. It was straining from overuse but seemed fine. But now it won't accept any papers. It's little green light is staring at me, mocking me. I think I'll turn it off and see if it resets after it cools down, but it's looking like one of my first purchases of the new year is going to be a heavy-duty shredder. This little one never stood a chance.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day Resolutions

Please note that these resolutions are just for today, not the whole year. Wouldn't want to fail right off the bat, would you?

1) Spend entire day in Troll Pajamas. (aren't they hilarious?) Check.
2) Spend most of the day on the couch doing the final proof on Kristine's book. Check.
3) Watch the Biggest Loser. Check.
4) Don't waste time or water by showering. Check.
5) Take out the trash wearing my Troll pajamas. Check.

See? I'm already off to a great start in 2008.

I really might take some time to reflect and make a few goals for 2008, but for today I'm starting small.