Sunday, July 30, 2006

We Found the Toaster!

Yep! We found the toaster! The crazy thing is that it wasn't in the storage unit or the garage. It was in a box on a desk in the guest/craft room. The box also had the arepa maker - arepas are corn flour and water breakfast bread-type things that we had in Venezuela, so P got me a Sunbeam arepa maker so we don't have to fry ours on the stove with lots of oil. But, of course, all of the other things that we kept saying were "with the toaster" were not, actually, with the toaster. Bummer.

Well, it's Sunday night and I still have dishes to do. And more boxes to open. Maybe some of the stuff that wasn't "with the toaster" will be there.

Wishing I Was at Camp

We've been home from camp for a week now. The verdict is in: I liked camp better. IIt was so nice to not have to think about what to have for dinner or where the kids are or whether the laundry is done. But, now we're back to real life.

My disability insurance company is paying benefits right now under "reservation of rights", but they want more information before they make a final determination. They asked me to keep a headache diary for 2 weeks. They sent me a form to fill out. It is 2 pages - one page for each week. Each day gets one line - requesting information about that day's headache. They still don't get it. I don't have one headache a day. I wake up almost every day with a headache which usually gets worse, depending on my activity, the weather, etc. I started the diary yesterday and used an entire page for one day. Yesterday, unfortunately, was one of the really awful headache days. I woke up at 5:30 with a bad headache that was up to a 9/10 by the time I got downstairs to get my meds. I stayed on the sofa until about 1pm. Anyway, I made 12 copies of the headache diary, so I can use one page for each day. Maybe we can come to a meeting of the minds.

On Thursday, my kids decided to become inventors in the basement. The good news is that I have already taken all the give-away stuff to Goodwill, so they weren't mixing give-away stuff with keep stuff. Between the miscellaneous stuff in the basement and their imaginations, they became very well attired spies. There were devices to allow them to climb buildings and see things. C was quite interested in blowing things up. The good news is that L was very interested in force fields, so that the house didn't blow up (nor did the cats!). The kids were showing their inventions to a friend later in the afternoon when the funniest thing happened. C was doing all the steps to ignite one of his inventions when all of the sudden, he said, "Uh oh." and looked up to the ceiling very seriously. I said, in all seriousness, "Did you put a hole in my house?" He kept looking at the ceiling and deadpanned, "Uh, yeah." Those kids are the funniest things. Of course, my basement is fine, except for being messy.

It has been hot as h*ll here, and I am being literal! The highs have been in the mid to upper 90s. It is forecast to be 100 tomorrow and 98 on Tuesday. Talk about living in the Great White North! We are fortunate to have central air conditioning, but it really only works downstairs. We have one air conditioning vent upstairs and one old fashioned grate. Early in the week, we had the kids start sleeping in the basement (thankfully, they didn't meet any bugs, because we have our fair share), P sleeping in the guest/craft room (which is a disaster), and me sleeping on the sofa (which is fine because I've had headaches). Finally, P decided it was time to get a room AC for upstairs. The plan was to put it in L's room and leave all the bedroom doors open to share the cool air (although it would also have to cool the landing and stairwell). I was concerned that they wouldn't have any more ACs in the city. But, Home Depot had just gotten a shipment. The AC to cool the entire upstairs was going to be $500, but 3 small room ACs were $130 each (and wouldn't cool the landing/stairwell). So, we got the 3 room ACs. P has 2 of them set up and running now, but the third one, Cs room, has to wait because we don't have the wiring to run 3 ACs. The upstairs still has old wiring, but we have a friend who can help P redo it this fall to bring it into the 21st century. In the meantime, Cs room is quite comfortable with running Ls AC and keeping the closet doors between their rooms open and running a fan over the grate moving the warm air out. Sounds complicated, but it works.

The house is still something of a wreck. The headaches have been really bad this week, but the fatigue has been even worse. I have some friends who have volunteered to help. I have a natural aversion to getting help. I think it's not helped by the years in medical school and medicine where we worked through anything. But, I'm going to have to take some help or I'm just not going to get stuff done some weeks.

I have been trying to avoid thinking about schooling. How am I going to get that done with the stuff I can't even handle now? Last night, though, I did come up with an idea on how to at least start a plan. I need to get the house somewhat organized - at least find the schoolbooks! - and not be trying to empty boxes while starting schooling. Then, I need to make a plan that organizes things based on importance. It looks like some weeks we may just scrape through. Other weeks, we may be able to get a lot of stuff done. I need to have a plan going into this about what is most important for the children to learn (not what is important to check off - my real issue - I like to see things checked off!). The kids are also able to help around the house more than they have been, but it needs to be done in a routine, not capriciously. C did dishes for me yesterday and L did other cleaning (we had small group last night). I am also learning to lower my standards.

I am hoping that a friend of mine may be able to come over soon and evaluate Chris for dyslexia. The more I watch him try to read, the more concerned I am. He really is not putting things together like he should. I read a book about dyslexia that was wonderful in helping me understand the problem, but told me nothing about teaching him to read as a parent. It was clearly written for parents of children in school - it told parents how to make sure that the school was using a good program. I need better info, but I'm hoping my friend can help me. I would prefer to wait for her input instead of trying more internet searches and looking through more books. Can you tell I'm getting frustrated?

Well, more later. I'm home from church with another headache. I'm going to go vegetate on the sofa for a while.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Home from Camp

We're home! P and I got home Saturday night, but I haven't gotten a chance to blog until tonight. And, now, I have a migraine, so it will be short.

We had a blast at family camp - of course! P's mom was with us this year which was fun. She enjoyed the activities, but also indulged in her new hobby/small business - making DVD recordings of pretty much everything that went on.

Last night, there was a major storm. We are forecast for more storms today and the pressure is falling - hence the headache and muscle pain. EEK! The kids played with the neighbor kids, though, which was nice. It's good to get to know the neighborhood.

I'll write more later. Right now, I'm going to lie on the sofa and try to convince my head not to hurt.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's with the toaster!

We are still unpacking all of our boxes and trying to find the necessities of life. One thing that frustrates me is that we can't find the toaster! We have just about everything else that we need in the kitchen, but no toaster. The other day, we were looking for something and couldn't imagine where it could be, and P said "It must be with the toaster." So now, whenever we can't find anything, we say, "It's with the toaster."

Our small group was going to study the book of James this summer, but we have had such trouble getting everyone together that we haven't gotten very far. I have been reading a study myself called, "Growing Slowly Wise". I have been meditating recently on the first several verses about developing perseverance and asking for wisdom. James 1:2-6 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. The author quotes Oswald Chambers: "To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to choose God's will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world." The author encourages us to continue in obedience despite the circumstances. "The only fatal flaw, as C.S. Lewis said, is to give up." This has given me much to think about over the last couple of days.

I have recently read some very good books. Eragon by Christopher Paolini is a fantasy novel that bears resemblence to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. What is truly amazing is that this novel was written by a 15 year old! In any case, no matter the age of the author, it stands alone as a very entertaining fantasy novel. The first few chapters had the potential to be slow, but they caught my attention pretty quickly. I did feel, at times, like the cliffhangers were getting to be a little much - I wanted to know what was going on sooner than the author wanted to disclose. By the end, though, I was satisfied. The novel does not completely end. There is a sequel that I am going to have to read. There are still too many unanswered questions.

The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful novel about relationships among women in the South. There are plenty of quirky characters and interesting plot to keep one reading. The story is set in 1960s South Carolina, so there are racial tensions, as well. (On a side note, I keep reading novels set in the South with quirky characters who are so much like my own Southern family and think, "How did they know about my family?" I have since come to the conclusion that my family is really not all that strange - everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line is part of a quirky family!) I absolutely loved reading this book and I highly recommend it for your reading entertainment.

Now, here's the caveat. Do not even think about reading this book for any religious or spiritual content. The characters in the book have their own form of worship that is probably best described as "goddess worship" or "worship of the sacred feminine" or something like that. I have done some reading about this author and found that she has left her Christian faith and is delving now into Gnosticism and "the sacred feminine". So, you won't find those words in her novel, but you will find those ideas. So, the book is a great read - have fun. But know what is in there.

I am currently reading My Antonia by Willa Cather. I love it so far - I'm about halfway through. I'll let you know more about it later.

Well, everyone else is in bed. I'm not really tired - probably because I napped from 7-9am today even though I was up at 5am with a migraine. Well, I'd better try and sleep. More later. Tomorrow's my birthday - 39 years!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home again - but in a different house

It's been a good long while since my last post. Since then, C and I have taken a trip down South for a family reunion while L went to camp. Poor P had to stay home the whole time and work. Ah, well, he gets vacation next week when we all go to family camp up North.

This is the first time to come home from a trip to this house. While I was gone, P moved some more stuff from the other house and got some more unpacking and organizing done, so this house doesn't even look the same as when I left. But, it's a good thing. We are gradually making this house feel like home.

C and I left the last Tuesday in June to take a train trip down South to Mississippi to visit my parents and to go to a family reunion. I planned some activities for C to do on the train, knowing that he would probably get bored. Well, it only took 2 hours (out of 16 hours on the the train) for C to realize that travelling by train is really not all it's cracked up to be. We slept in our seats that night, so the next morning, C spent a good bit of time going back and forth between the club car and our seats. It was mostly just entertainment for him.

But, once we were at Grams and Grandpa's trailer, things changed. C and Grandpa went fishing twice. What a great time that was! The second time, though, they went with C's cousin, who is only 4 years old. Grandpa was helping the cousin with getting a cricket on the hook and getting started fishing when C caught a fish. Well, I was sitting on the bank of the pond and taking pictures when this happened, but it looked like C needed some help to get the fish off the hook because Grandpa was busy. So, I unhooked the fish and let it go (we weren't fishing for dinner) and rebaited the hook. I would like to say that I have done my "wiggly creature" duty for the decade, but L likes to pick up insects and other wiggly things, so I'm not sure I'm out of the woods yet. But, for that day, I was grateful that my Uncle Bill showed up to help out C for the rest of the fishing session (Uncle Bill and I did have a short, philosophical discussion on the best way to hook crickets - through the abdomen (my preference) or behind the head (his preference) - I conceded, though, because I prefer to not hook crickets at all).

My brother and sister-in-law came over for the family reunion - they're the ones with the 4 year old son. C and his cousin had fun playing, but it was mostly fun playing each others toys. C liked his cousin's Leapster, but his cousin liked C's GameBoy Advance.

My college roommate was visiting her parents over the weekend, so she came to visit us on Sunday (it was only 1 1/2 hour drive). We were both a little distressed, though, that, when she called Sunday afternoon for directions, her dad and my dad ended up on the phone getting the directions straight - it was just like we were in college - and we're almost 40!! In any case, D and her husband and 4 boys all came over for the afternoon. They joined us for a cookout, as well. It is really hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that we lived together and hadn't even met our husbands yet. But, now, our kids are growing up and we are growing older (and, maybe, wiser).

While C and I were doing our visiting down South, L was at camp up North. This was her first year at Girls Camp. Previously, she has been at kids' camp, which has been co-ed and at the main camp. This year, she was at the more isolated section of camp, and it was just girls. She had a blast. She assures me that she took 2 showers (one of them was required)!! L talked to me some about the studies that they did. They do really good teaching at camp.

C and I got home on Wednesday so that he would be home in time for the baseball tounament. His first game was not until Friday, thankfully. His team won the first game at 4pm, so they played again at 9pm. They lost the 9pm game, but they played again this morning at 10:30am and won that game, so they got the bronze medal for their level!! C was soooooo proud. It was exciting.

The last few bits of our furniture got moved in today. We also got our new refrigerator today. We won't have the ice maker working for a week or two, but so far, so good.

We have an accepted offer on our other house, but it has a contingency of their selling their other house. Another couple put in another offer, and we countered, and they accepted. The first couple has until Monday to remove the contingency from their offer. If they can't do that, then we can take the second offer, which is a better offer and will close sooner (also better). Either way, our other house is sold.

P's mom is coming on Wednesday for a visit. She will be here a couple of days, and then we all go to family camp. Family camp is the most relaxing week of the year for all of us. The food is good, the Bible teaching is solid and interesting, the people are fun, the kids are taken care of. What more could we ask for?

Well, that's enough of a book for now. Pretty much just facts today. I haven't been thinking much today, have I? More later.