Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Actual phone conversation yesterday

Me: This is Kristine.

Clinton: We have an emergency.


Me outloud: o…kay.

Clinton: Shane...


Clinton: ...cut a gas line in the backyard.

Me:[ Too tired to react from all the over reacting in my head]

Clinton: He called centerpoint and they asked if it was an emergency (they’re kind of busy trying to get people fixed up from the storm.) He said he was 75 ft away and could hear it hissing and see it. The operator said, yeah that’s an emergency, we’ll have someone right out.

They came, they fixed. All is well again in whoville.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Somebody stole my weekend

I came to work today in order to relax.

Between eye appointments, fence removal, garage door repairs, etc. I am wiped out. And I did very little physical labor.

I am back in my normal office at least.

Here are some hurricane Ike damage pictures.

We were extremely lucky, as this was our only house damage, which was easily pushed back into position:

We lost our entire fence.
This is the side fence, posts snapped at the ground:

This is the back fence, posts also snapped at the ground:

This is the other side. The side with the lady with the dog. The side that disintegrated. We are missing whole pieces of this fence, and that one chunk in the middle that seems to be in one piece? That's the one I fixed, it's the only reasons it stuck together.

And the plant and branch we lost in front:

We currently literally have no fence. Clinton and Shane took it down yesterday, and Shane will be rebuilding it this week. I'll post pictures when it's done.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Landon learned stuff too

I stole the idea to give him a bunch of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and connectors as toys from Tiffany at Electric Boogaloo. We showed him various ways to put them together including making a flute/horn.

Yesterday at home he was playing with them on his own and he was making his own version of the horn. So I took a picture, and instead, I got a picture of him smoking his "special" pipe. It would be a bong, but I don't see anywhere for the reservoir.

While at my in-laws, one of the things we looked through together was a beading magazine. One page in particular had a bunch of pendants. So we talked about each one. These are the ones that stuck:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Could this week get any worse?


Don't answer that.

I was at work for a whopping 1.5 hours when the day care called. Landon had a 102° fever. They have a 24 hours fever free policy. So he can't go back tomorrow.


I Dislike Ike

Hey, for all my calculation work yesterday...25 more customers in our area don't have power. You know, just to make things more difficult - and actually still very much in line with my trendline since I had used the early morning estimate on the 23rd and that's the end of the day estimate of the 23rd - which is what I used for all the other days. Our day care had a generator set-up yesterday - I'm pretty sure they're renting it because I doubt the city will approve of where it is sitting. So Landon is back at his normal school. It seems that the internet cameras are not running, but that's ok.

In other good news, my parents have power as of yesterday.

And, because you can’t have a major catastrophe without learning a lesson or two.

Things we did well:

We had water. We had plenty of water. One case of bottled water, a couple gallon jugs. Honestly, I kind of knew that without electricity, we’d be leaving for somewhere better anyway, so we really just needed enough to last a day or so. If we’d had a generator and intended to stick it out for the whole non-electricity debacle, we’d also need a generator. Our windows on one side of the house don’t open, so creating a cross breeze by opening windows doesn’t work.

I filled the voids of our deep freeze with ice prior to the outage (we will probably purchase dry ice to put in there for the next storm.) That ice and not opening the freezer is probably the only reason we did not have to throw out any beef. On Wednesday when we were still without power I sent Linda over to shop in our freezer. When she opened it she found that everything was still frozen and we still had ice. We got power that evening, so we were good to go.

I drained the pool as low as I could, and the rain refilled it to just over full. It kept us from having all the earthworms in the pool that normally result from a hard rain overflow.

Things we will do differently next time:

Food. Our food choices were…peanut butter on saltines…and peanut butter on saltines. I cannot find my Coleman stove, although I am still looking for it, so we had no heating up ability aside from the BBQ pit. For all the ice I put in the deep freeze, I had none for a cooler, if I stocked the freezer of the outdoor fridge with ice as well, we’d have been able to salvage a lot of stuff by putting it in a cooler, including condiments. I should have planned a “camping trip” style menu, instead of wishing for the best and thinking I could pull some kind of magic out of my butt to create a meal out of our unstocked pantry. The main issue here is that we shop like Eminem's trailer park girls (round the outside), we don’t eat a lot of canned or processed food, so we had nothing really. We also don’t eat a lot of bread, so we didn’t even have sandwich type making stuff.

Evacuating. When we finally made the call to leave, we grabbed just enough clothes for what we thought would be one night and planned to return in the morning. Clint was better prepared because he had a bag packed when he thought he’d be riding out the storm at work. Things we were missing once we realized we were not going home the next morning: my deodorant, dog food, any kind of baby friendly washing supplies, enough underwear for me, enough diapers for Landon, and any food at all. We made it work, we were able to do a load of laundry once we got to my in-laws and we bought what we needed as we needed it, but it would have been nice if we’d had it to begin with.

All in all, I much prefer the way this disaster went over Rita any day. Massive lengthy power outage not withstanding.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Definition of Insanity Revised

I just plotted the trend line of power restoration to time in our zip code to see if there's any possibility that our day care will get their power back today. My calculations predict that yes, they will. (Technically what I plotted was the outtages remaining to time...the goal being - for the outtages to reach 0.)

Actually the first one I did I used more data points, this one only has the last given data point for each day. I tried all kinds of trend lines and the linear one actually worked the best.

I am a nerd.

That is all.

Back to still not normal

Please excuse the lack of pictures this week. I am temporarily officed with a "partner." But only one Internet plug works, so I'm sitting at someone else's computer in another office, and downloading photos to someone else's computer isn't something I want to bother with.

The toll road is still not charging tolls, so I think people are all "GET ON THE TOLL ROAD WHILE YOU CAN FOR FREEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" They are in my way, and I hate them.

Landon's school still doesn't have power, but they opened up their sister school (10 miles out of my way) to kids from his school. So until they have power we are packing his stuff that normally is in his cubbie every day. Not convenient, but way better than what we did yesterday.

Did you know how exciting it is to slam office doors and sneak behind desks and bang your fists and head on the wall of neighboring offices? We lasted 2 hours before I nearly killed him. Or he nearly killed himself, since he found the keys to the drawers in the desk and thought the electrical plus looks suspiciously like key holes.

He took a 20 minute nap on the way home. And then refused to take a normal nap at home. And then starting at 4:30 pm began screaming at me, but refused anything I offered him. And then at about 5:45 banished me from my own bedroom. "GAH, MOOOM, I'm trying to watch TV in peace, how dare you disturb me with your mere presence! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! GET OUT!!!!" By 6:15 he was asleep. And then he slept all night.

So I made the executive decision that we'd go to the sister school today. Even though I can't watch him on the Internet there.

I asked him this morning if he wanted to go to school and see his friends. He said yes.

The receptionist distracted him with fissies (fishies) while I made my escape. (I am sick of fissies, I have seen enough Nemo to recite the movie in its entirety.)

And here I am sitting at not my computer in not my office with little to no work to do. But...no one is screaming at me about my existence.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let there be light

So. We got our power back on Wednesday and came home Thursday morning. I was supposed to report to work Thursday morning at 10 am, which I didn't get the message about until about 1:30 pm. Never the less, I wasn't expected to be there because I had child care issues. I actually still have child care issues, they do not have power, so I have a 2 year old in my office. This is not going to last very long, but I had to come in and get some files so I could conceivably work from home, you know, if they had moved phones AND computers to our new offices instead of just computers...

Anyway, hopefully the day care will get power today, that's what the map says should happen. And tomorrow I can return to work as normal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're ok

We rode out the storm, lost power about midnight or so, then wait around until about 8 pm Saturday to decide that no, we cannot sleep in an non breezey non A/C'd house. We went to my parents Lake house, we are now at my in-laws house, from our sources back home we apparently have no power still, although the rest of the nieghborhood has power.

Anyway, work's been canceled, schools are canceled, we're not going back until we have power, and when we do, we may very well have to throw out 200 lbs of beef. If power doesn't come back on today, I have little hope for our freezer. Or we'll pull it all out in the front of the house and start cooking for all the neighbors.

Anyway, this isn't a very put together post, but I thought you might be interested in our well being.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ike Ike Bo Bike, Banana Fana Fo Fike

Unless you're living under a rock, you know that Ike is aiming it's big fat fist at Houston. Actually it's the eye, but that sounds dumb, I'm menacingly aiming my eye at you!

So yesterday Clinton and I put everything in our backyard in the garage. Well, most everything. We're not in a flood plane, we're not in a mandatory evacuation area, we are going to probably see winds between 80-110mph. Which houses in our area are built for. We have a case of water, and when/if the water runs out and if we don't have electricity at that point, I will pack up the car and head out. To where? I don't know. But hopefully it won't come to that anyway.

It will be 10 am before most places in our area are going to make the call about whether they are closing on Friday or not, schools included, as of now, they have not canceled classes.

When we evacuated for Rita, we learned many many lessons. One of which was...don't go if you don't have to. A 24 hour car ride with 2 dogs was excruiating, I can't imagine adding a baby to the mix. And the possibility of one less adult as well (since Clint may be staying at work.) Rest assured, I will not be so bold as to stay when/if I think the conditions warrant leaving, and at the very outmost possibility, we have an upstairs window to rooftop, so I can climb out with Landon and the dogs and assuming the cats are even findable, and sit on the roof and wait for the helicopter. If I black out some of my teeth and wear a nightgown I might even get interviewed by the news!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cow rider

Only in Texas.

We saw this sign on the dirt road that leads to a dairy farm...I guess they didn't want to have to take care of horses too, so they just ride the cows. We're pretty sure that's a cow anyway.

Confirmation that Landon is getting breakfast, since I can't get anyone to write that down. I'll never really know if he eats it, but at least they're serving it to him.
And that's Noah, whose back is towards the camera.

Don't mind those kids with the square black heads...they seemed normal in person.
Tomorrow I hope to get over myself and have something about the experiment.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Landon did great yesterday. Although his sheet doesn't tell me what he ate for breakfast, I was assured he had indeed eaten breakfast; it's just that his teacher who fills out the sheet came in late.

His sheet says he played outside, he sang songs, he "Mr. Ralphed", he sat on the potty 3 times, although apparently just for fun, and he had like 7,438 diaper changes and/or checks. I am going to go broke if they keep changing his diaper that much, but maybe it will lead to potty training, so who am I to argue? It also says he was happy and active. Also, I can only assume Mr. Ralph was the music guy.

He had spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, and since they said no bibs, even if it hadn't been on the sheet, I'd have known by the shirt I sent him in - it was so messy; it was not the shirt I picked him up in. What do they have against bibs? I realize they're not doing the laundry, but jeez. He ate "most" of his peas and none of his roll. (Weirdo.)

I did get access to the web-cams yesterday right about the time they were taking a nap. And in the afternoon I peeked in on him, he alternated between standing and sitting still watching the other blurry little kids run around him, and playing by himself. Now, I did notice that the other kids didn't really seem to be playing with each other either, so no biggie. He played with some kind of paddle looking thing, and a baby doll for a while. He appeared to be giving the baby doll the chest compressions of CPR at one point.

He also appears to be a ladies man, when he did socialize with anyone it was girls. One girl hung out with him and each had a doll at that point, they walked the dolls around the room. And later when they put all the toys up and were sitting waiting for the teacher to start some kind of lesson, he and another girl entertained themselves by holding their feet and rolling backwards. It was hilariously funny, apparently. He did check in on Noah occasionally, but only briefly to find out if Noah had a toy worth playing with.

Anyway, after watching him a lot of the afternoon and not getting much work done, I was thinking we had made a good choice and all was well in whoville.

And then I showed up to pick him up. He was bawling on the teacher's lap. He saw me and ran to me, and he kept sobbing. It was heart wrenching. The teacher said he was fine until Linda came in to pick up Noah. And when Linda left without him, he was inconsolable.

I called Linda to ask if that was going to be her normal pick up time, so that I could maybe arrange my schedule to match, and she said she didn't know, that classes had let out early, they didn't have her computer and stuff set up and they had nothing for her to do, so she really didn't have much choice but to leave.

I asked him all kinds of questions about school and what he did. He said yes to everything. Did you have eggs for breakfast? Yes. Did you have waffles for breakfast? Yes. Did you learn about music? Yes. Did elephants come in and play with you? Yes. Did Miss Linda come and pick up Noah? Yes. Did you know Mama or Daddy was going to come back and get you? Yes. Why were you so upset then? Yes.

He drank a bunch of water, orange juice and milk when he got home. And by a bunch I mean, I was beginning to think he had been dehydrated. But bonus! he was so tired from all the playing that he went to sleep at a decent hour for the first time in like...forever!

This morning, we got there at 6:00. Landon didn't want to stay. Noah wasn't there yet and I waited around for nearly 20 minutes, but they hadn't come yet. I know it will take an adjustment period for him to get used to this. I know that a two year old isn't logical, and I know that eventually he'll run in like the other little kids do. But watching Miss Keisha hold him while he screamed his little head off as I pulled out of the parking lot this morning was enough to make me want to sell the house, downsize everything, and stay home with him.

Here's a picture of what his first day of school would have looked like, except that he was wearing a different shirt, and different pants, and he was asleep yesterday and I just located his backpack this morning. Maybe I'll start a new tradition and take his picture on the second day of school every year.

If you need me, I'll be studying for my inspector test.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Everything changes

Landon started day care again today. I'm going to call it school though, because they're going to teach him a lot of stuff.

The last time he was in day care, he contracted a cold, which led to pneumonia. And while I know that he's got a better immune system now, thanks to licking floors, and kissing the dogs. I am terrified beyond belief.

This day care that we chose, has allowed him to be placed in a class with Noah, despite the fact that Landon is a month too young for that class. When they saw each other this morning, I know that it eased a little of my apprehension, since Noah was so excited to see Landon, and they immediately walked to the door of the nursery to see if they could get a sneak peek at Jonah. This afternoon, he'll be treated to a musical lesson, which I know he'll love.

I should have known better than to try to get a goodbye hug and kiss, or even a wave, because he screamed and hugged me so tightly as I tried to leave. But we settled him down at a table in the cafe (thank goodness for his love of little chairs), and Noah was there, and he seemed basically happy when I left.

The tears didn't really start until I left. I don't know how he did though - the internet camera set up is going to take a day or so to get me registered.

I honestly hope it's struggle to get him to leave this afternoon. That's what I want. I want him to love going there.

And here's where I should have a picture of him all ready for his first day of school...but he was totally asleep this morning - so I guess I'll get one this afternoon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Raising a Republican

Before you get all huffy and puffy about republicans or democrats, let me tell you this: I am neither. There are things on both party platforms that I disagree with. Not just slightly, but vehemently. So much so that I do not wish to associate with either side. I'm not going to delve into which ones, because this is not a political blog, and I have no desire to debate the merits of any of those things. I am an independent. I have voted democrat, I have voted republican, and I have voted libertarian.

I do my best to find unbiased information for each candidate and vote based on their overall views. I am not a one issue voter, and I am not an uninformed voter. Clinton can tell you how annoying it is around the house during election times when I can't find information on some candidates (mostly the local ones for school board and such) and feel like I'm just picking which name I like best.

Last night Clinton and I wanted to watch Governor Palin's speech at the Republican convention. Pretty much our knowledge of her has been that her daughter is pregnant - which is what the media is focusing on, even though neither the daughter, nor the baby is the one who will be making the decisions that the VP makes. Anyway, we were both interested in what she had to say. It was a good speech, I can see why she has been called a formidable campaigner, and I look forward to the VP debate whenever that happens.

Landon watched the speech too, and he clapped every time the audience clapped. I can't say he wouldn't have done the same if we'd watched the democratic speeches - because we didn't watch any of that coverage - much like we haven't and won't watch any of the rest of the republican convention coverage.

So, either he's already feeling very republican, or he's just an enthusiastic clapper.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Monthly Newsletter #23

Dear Landon,

Holy bejeebus, you are talking. Not just talking, but saying things that people can like understand and translate into a more enunciated form of English. At this point you could probably take a job as a college professor and all the students would be able to understand you just as well as any of the foreign professors. You say “see you” to the dogs when we kennel them and leave for the day. You say “hi cow!” to all the cows (and horses) you see out the window when we drive by them. You say “Mom, dat’s oww” when something hurts you. You say “dorree” to the dogs when we tell you to tell them you’re sorry after you beat the crap out of them.

You are also starting to repeat what we say. Which isn’t going to fly at the Day Care in which we are about to enroll you. Uh…that’s probably something we need to work on, not so much that you need to. Miss Linda got a job, so we’re looking into Montessori Schools and day cares. We visited one with Miss Linda and Noah, you liked it, but we’re still looking at a few other. Everything is still very up in the air, but hopefully we will find a place where you and Noah will be in the same class at least for a little while. I don’t know how long this arrangement will last, but we have to consider it a permanent change at this point.

It also appears that wherever we send you, they may very well wean you of the bottle. We’ll see, you’re a little demanding when it comes to the bottle and even more demanding of how milk is delivered to your system. You have no issue with juice in a sippy cup, but clearly milk does not belong in a sippy cup in your mind. Ever. They would prefer you use a sippy cup for everything, but said a bottle is ok for a while. Rather than shake up your entire world at once, I will give them the bottles and the sippy and we’ll see what they do.

You are very curious. This will probably serve you really well in the future, so I’m trying not to dissuade you of it, except in cases of impending injury. It has come to my attention that you are now tall enough to reach your hand up to the countertop and get things within 3 inches or so of the edge. Pot handles in on the stove now. But it also means I can leave you a snack or a juice on the counter and you can swoop by and get it. It also means that you want to taste everything we eat, which is kind of awesome. You had your first cream of poblano soup, and your first corn on the cob this month. When you like something your eyes get big and you nod yes. Like a little food critic. When you don’t like something you spit it back out on the plate…which I guess is fine, eventually we’ll teach you to do that into a napkin. You seem to like the spicier foods too. Curry satay chicken is one of your favorites, as well as sausage.

Unfortunately along with curiosity comes responsibility, and when Daddy and I say you need to stop doing something, you don’t always do it. You have probably experienced more time outs in the last month than you have in the past year. We set you on the bottom step of the stairs and you…actually stay there. It’s amazing! You know you’re in trouble. When we go to get you out, you give us hugs and tell the dogs sorry (since normally what you are punished for is hitting the dogs.)

This month will be rough for you; you will be in a new environment during the week. I hope you are happy there, I hope having Noah with you will help ease the transition, and I hope that you will meet some new kids and find out that other kids are not so scary. I hope you are as excited about the new place, wherever it is, as you were when we went to check out the Montessori School. Last but not least, I hope you do not catch a cold which develops into Pneumonia. Oh, and try to learn something while you’re there.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Packing my bags

I called Landon’s Dr. to get an appointment for his 2 year well child visit. I have every Friday off and the closest Friday to his 2nd birthday is…his birthday. So I scheduled it for that day and the receptionist/appointment booker lady basically called me mean. And told me he would remember his 2 year old visit. And told me that we had to get him some really big presents to make up for it. And I told her to mind her own beeswax and that if I needed her parenting advice then I would ask for it and also, would she like to pay me my normal wages to come in on a day I don’t have off, if she thinks it’s so terrible that I bring him in on his birthday. Except I didn’t. I possibly mumbled something about his party being the next day and that he wouldn’t know the difference.


A couple weeks ago I took Ivan in to the vet for his annual cortisone shot. He’s allergic to mosquitoes we believe, and basically we wait until his ears are all red and bleedy and gross and his nose swells up and get him a cortisone shot and it all goes down and he’s happy until the next year when the mosquitoes come back. He also gets his annual shots when this happens and I tried to combine this appointment with Alexander’s well cat visit, but when I went to gather the cats, the yard guys were making as much noise as humanly possible and only Ivan fell for the old tuna trick.

Well, as it turns out one of his lymph nodes is swollen in one of his hind legs. The Dr. aspirated it and didn’t see anything that indicated cancer or lymphoma saying that not only are the typical cells not present in the sample she took, but also that normally a cat with lymphoma has all his lymph nodes swollen, not just one. But she gave him an antibiotic shot and sent us packing with a huge vet bill. Thank God Alexander was hiding, because if I’d had them both there and had to pay for his shots too, I’m not sure we would have made it out of there without having to wash dishes or something. She said to call in 3 weeks or so and check back in about his lymph node.

Well, she called to check on him. His lymph node is still swollen. She said she has to recommend a biopsy. And I felt like a jackass, but I asked “how much money are we talking here?” She added the histopath and the anesthesia and came up with about $300. “And what happens if it comes back as cancer? Cat Chemotherapy?” Yeah, pretty much.

And here’s where I then have to choose between money and cat chemotherapy.

Cat chemotherapy will probably only actually extend his life a year. A sick year. A year of 2 daily pills and a shot every 3 weeks. Basically, a year of hell. And since I suck at remembering to administer pills probably less than a year. On a cat that seemingly is pretty durn healthy at the moment. I didn’t even ask how much that was going to cost me. She did say it was pretty reasonably priced. This vet also told me that the shot antibiotic I had opted for over the pills was about the same price and very reasonable ($90 is NOT reasonable for a cat antibiotic.)

Bottomline, I’m not going to go for cat chemotherapy – I’d rather watch him live happily as he is doing now, and when/if I see a decline in his health we’ll reevaluate the situation. She said if I wasn’t going to do the treatment there really no reason to biopsy. Honestly, I think that it was probably inflamed due to an infection from the mosquito bites and once it’s all good and healed he’ll be fine. Plus, he’s an outside cat, and he’s 6 years old and he’s already outlived a lot of his siblings.

The dog next door is still there, but they did get his fur cut. So yea for the system. Except, he's still alone 99.9% of the time and I still feel bad for him.
Have you seen the commercial where they ask President Bush if he ate dinner with his family growing up and claim it keeps kids from doing drugs and committing crimes? He says he did, and then Barbara chimes in about it...does no one remember his convictions for cocaine. Is he really the best spokesman for that spot?