Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – February 23rd-March 1st

Wow!  This week started out kind of crazy.  Hold tight!

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Every year, I get a season subscription to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Classics series at Sandler Center for Mother’s Day.  Best give I could give myself!  I don’t do a lot for myself, and over the years, I’ve learned that these brief moments of peace away from the house alone do wonders to recharge my batteries and make me better for everyone else in my life.  It gives me something quiet and peaceful and relaxing to look forward to, and I really do enjoy it so much!  My husband is happy to afford me this privilege, and I appreciate it so much.  So on Sunday, I was off to enjoy a Rachmaninoff performance.  It was lovely!  The guest pianist was wonderful.  I also ran into old friends at the show, and we got to catch up during the intermission.  It was a nice break.

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It was great that I started the week off so peacefully, because Monday was a whole different story! 

To start the day, I woke up and realized it was far too bright in my room, and I had obviously forgotten to set my alarm the night before.  I bolted upright in bed and glanced at the clock, realizing we only had 13 minutes to leave the house, and no one was even up yet!  Somehow, we managed to get out the door on time with a cup of hot tea in hand.  Miracle of miracles! 

On Sunday night, I fueled up my van knowing that I had to take my van in to the dealership for state inspection and an oil change as soon as I dropped Hayden off at school.  On my way home from the gas station, my check engine light came on.  Great!  I happen to have one of those OBDII scanning tools, so I was able to record the error codes and clear them so I could hopefully get through the inspection.  So after I left Hayden’s school, I stopped in at the repair shop we use near our house and asked the mechanic if it presented a problem for my inspection.  He said no, I should go ahead and get the inspection done and stop back by to have him check out the problem with the error codes.  The light had come back on that morning, so I cleared the codes again and headed off to the dealership.  After waiting about an hour and a half, the guy comes and asks me to come out to the garage to look at something.  There under my hood, they had taken off the engine cover to reveal this mess.

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I was informed that all winter, some sort of rodent, be it mouse, rat, or squirrel, had been living inside my engine.  What?!?  As you can see, it had chewed all the insulation off the engine cover and spread it out to make a bed on top of the engine.  In the second picture, you can see that it relieved its boredom by also chewing the fuel injection wires bare.  Therein lies the problem with the check engine light!  The dealer said “I’m surprised your check engine light hasn’t come on yet!”  Umm…yeah.

So this little fiasco cost me $116 to clean that up and replace the wires.  In the end, they still failed my inspection because they said a blinker wasn’t working (hubby probably knocked it loose when he replaced a headlamp bulb the night before), there was a shard of metal in one of the tires, the front brake pads needed to be replaced, and the front brake rotors needed to at least be resurfaced.  Aye, aye, aye!  It was gonna be one of those days.  So I accepted a rejection sticker and went on my way.

Keep in mind that none of us had eaten breakfast, and I had my younger two kids with me.  They were starting to get cranky from hunger, and they were losing patience with one another.  They had an all-out brawl in the waiting room at the dealership.  So we left there and headed off to Goodyear to use my road hazard insurance to fix the tire for free.  While they were looking at it, I went next door to the 7-11 and bought each of the kids a bowl of cereal, milk, and a banana.  I scarfed down a banana myself and called it done.  Then the guy comes out and says that they checked all the tires and couldn’t find anything in any of them.  For the tire that was rejected, they sprayed it and even dunked it in water and didn’t show any leak at all.  So whatever was in the tire must have come out between the dealership and Goodyear, and there was no damage to repair.  No problem!  Then we were off to the repair shop near my house to address the brakes.

I left the van there, and he said he could do new brake pads and brand new rotors for $285, and they probably wouldn’t get to it until the next day.  He said he’d check the signal bulb for me, and once the brakes were fixed, he would be able to give me a passing inspection sticker for $1.  Done deal!  We grabbed out stuff from the van and began our brief walk home from there.

Well by this time, it was close to lunch.  The kids were spent.  Haylee was already ready for lunch, and by the time I emptied out my email, let the dogs in, and returned some phone calls, I only had about an hour before I was planning to pick Hayden up from school.  He was staying late to go to baseball tryouts.  After spending about half an hour in the quiet of my room, Haylee comes running upstairs with my cell phone telling me that Hayden had called twice.  It was time for school to have just ended, so I figured he must have needed something for the tryouts.  I called him back, and he said he thought it was just supposed to be a meeting and not the actual tryout, and he needed to change and get his equipment from home and get back up there pronto.  I grabbed the kids and headed out the door once again, taking my spare van.  Low and behold, I couldn’t even get out of my neighborhood.  They were repaving the main road from damage done by the snow plows recently, and police actually had some intersections blocked off, backing up traffic all the way to my neighborhood.  We were on a time crunch, so I took a long way around, cutting through 2 other neighborhoods to maneuver my way to the school.  All I could think of was that without my GPS, it was a good thing I learned my way around the neighborhoods as a school bus driver many years ago!  Holden remarked that I was like I had a GPS in my head!  LOL

I grabbed him from school as fast as I could and shimmied my way back home.  It was already time for him to be back at school by that time.  He rummaged around and realized that his athletic cup was still in the van in the repair shop, and his sports physical form wasn’t where he thought it was.  It was clear that we weren’t going to make it to that tryout!  We had a bit of a heated discussion about his unpreparedness, and then I emailed the student activities coordinator to explain what happened and ask about possibly trying out another day, called the school office to ask if he could try out another day, and contacted the pediatrician’s office about picking up another copy of his sports physical.  Off I went then to pick that up.  Hayden thanked me for trying to help, and I got a message back from the activities coordinator that he just needed to shop up tomorrow after school and explain why he missed the first day, and everything should be okay.  Crisis averted!  Steve and I tried to stop by the repair shop to get his athletic cup out of the van, but the van was locked up in the shop.  So late that night, they ran to the store to buy another one.

Sheesh!  The stuff we do for our kids…

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Monday evening, thankfully, Steve and I had planned to go out for a date night.  We only do this once a year for our anniversary and occasionally one other time during the year, so this was a big deal for us to go out together without the kids.  After the day I’d had, I really needed a nice break with my hubby!

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We went to Applebee’s, and I had the new Tequila Lime Chicken & Shrimp from their 2 for $20 menu.  Oh, my!  It was amazing!  Way too much food for me, but that just meant lunch for the next day.  Steve looked at his steak and then had a bite of my meal and said it paled in comparison!  Really, it was SO good.  You should definitely try it.  Smile  Don’t mind Steve’s strange expression…he has a habit of making some weird face every time I take his picture.  I told him when we’re old, I won’t remember what his smile looks like, because he never shows it in any photos!  LOL.

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When Steve and Hayden ran out to Target to get the athletic cup, they came back laughing that they had a bizarre story to tell. 

Apparently, the couple in line in front of them were holding what looked like a premature baby in a bed of straw wrapped in a blanket and laid across the girl’s arm.  Steve was so puzzled by what the heck it could be that he stopped and stared, and he and Hayden had a discussion about what it could possibly be.  Hayden thought it was a doll.  Then Hayden saw patches of black fur on its legs, and they were REALLY confused. 

So when they got up to the cashier, they couldn’t resist asking what the heck that was about.  The cashier said “oh, that was their homemade wolf baby.”  WHAT?!?  Then the cashier proceeds to tell them that the fellow had such a pronounced widow’s peak on his forehead that she was convinced he could have transformed into a wolf himself at any moment.  OMG…I’m dying laughing by this point in the story and told Steve I couldn’t believe he hadn’t snapped a picture with his phone.  A picture speaks a thousand words after all.  Aren’t you all dying to see a picture?  I know I was.  Steve said he was too stunned to think about getting a picture. 

I Googled “homemade wolf baby” but couldn’t come up with an image.  I was convinced there must have been a whole segment of the population I was out of touch with, but apparently that was not the case.  Welcome to the beach! 

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The day after I had the repairs done to my van and got it to pass inspection, my check engine light came on.  Isn’t that always the way?  Now what?!?  I’ll have to deal with that next week.

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I devoted Wednesday to working on writing my first review of the year and then volunteered at Hayden’s school with him that evening. 

While there, the Head of School asked Hayden to join the school’s Planning Council, of which I am also a member.  What an honor!  He has decided to accept, and I am pleased that we were both selected to represent parents and students at the school.  I am also quite pleased that being the only homeschoolers there, we have the opportunity to represent the homeschooling community, too, and influence the public school community’s stereotypical perception of our homeschooling.

Thursday morning, I finalized my review and got it posted.  That was a long and very thorough review!  I hope you all liked it, too.  We definitely enjoyed using the product, and I think it showed in the photos of my kids doing the experiments and fun, hands-on activities.

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I spoke to my mom on Friday morning.  She sounded fine and said she had seen her doctor the day before for a rash that appeared to be some sort of allergic reaction to something.  Then on Friday night, my brother called to say she had been taken by ambulance to her local hospital because she was delirious.  He suspected perhaps she was dehydrated, which has happened before.  However, that turned out not to be the case.  A CT scan didn’t appear to show a new stroke, and they kept her overnight for observation.  On Saturday morning, however, she was no longer able to speak at all.  Also, her doctor posted a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order on her door.  My brother argued with them about it and had it taken down.  They have not as yet offered an explanation.  I did some research to see if all this could be related, and it appears it could be further symptoms of the spread of her cancer.  It’s certainly disheartening that we can no longer talk by phone.  I pray that this condition improves and that she is able to go home, but we just don’t know at this point what it means.  Please continue to pray for her peace and comfort.

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Also on Saturday morning, I took the kids to another kids’ Build & Grow workshop at Lowe’s.  They got to build a Trojan horse bank. 

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It’s a character from a movie that’s coming out this month.  It is a working bank with a trap door and everything, and it actually rolls on its wheels, so it’s like a toy, too.  Neat!

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That pretty much sums up my week.  We were off from school, but the kids took turns being sick with a bad head cold and eventually passed it to me, too, so I spent the last half of the week feeling pretty miserable.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was this sick.  So glad the week is over!