Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dead electronics

A big tree fell in our neighborhood earlier in the week, as a result of the winds and rain we had... Anna was home at the time, and heard the CRACK of it falling... The power browned out for a few minutes, before finally going out entirely.

The incident seems to have killed off our cordless phone's base station, as well as my networked hard drive. Both devices were, I thought, plugged in to a surge protector, so I'm a bit surprised. I guess I will have to review and reconfigure the electrical devices in our office now.

Nimue's piano teacher was on her way over here just at the time the power went out - in the confusion, we think she must have rung the doorbell (which of course was out with the power) and, not getting a response, left. The layout of our house is such that the doorbell pushbutton is located way out by the street - knocking can't be heard from out there. Thus, I'm wondering if I need to come up with some kind of Rube Goldberg mechanical doorbell device!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because she had to walk to school!
Halloween starts a day early this year, as Nimue's school Halloween parade was this morning, and the big Fall Festival is this afternoon/evening.

(Yes, the chicken feathers are made from cut up plastic milk jugs -- the whole costume rustles delightfully.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things that Confuse Ma

Many things confuse me this week:

Extra volunteer hours at Nim's garden club. (help 60 kids play with live snails!)

One of the quasi-randomly occuring early-dismissal Tuesdays.

Piano lessons at home rather than the piano teacher's house. (her floors are being done)

Work days switched around. (teacher needed a Thursday instead of Wednesday)

But most of all -- my bike computer did its Daylight Saving Time fall back thing over the weekend a week early. Given that the clock on this device is the main timepiece I use when trying to get anywhere at the right time, this is messing with my mind a little too much.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Not All Bad

Despite the tenor of Anna's previous post, last weekend's outings did not all result in foul odors. We got some truly epic mountain-bike rides in, prior to the definitive end-of-summer rain deluge of Tuesday, up in Downieville.

Friends Randy and Pete joined us, and we tested out the recently completed Downieville-to-Goodyears Bar trail, as well as the ever-popular North Yuba Trail, as Saturday's outing. We saw two other riders, and two hikers, on a gorgeous autumn day. The local bears use the trail a lot, too, as evidenced by their massive piles of poo appearing every hundred yards or so. Lucky for us, the poo-piles didn't seem to incorporate any cyclist bits (mostly whole apples and berry seeds -- bears must not chew their apples much.) The new chunk of trail is fantastic, totally worth all the work and wait.

Sunday we tackled the main event -- 37 miles of fun, starting with a lengthy climb from Union Flat up to Packer Saddle, followed by a severely lumpy descent into Gold Valley, a severely lumpy climb up to Big Boulder, and then many miles of sweet singletrack descent back into Downieville. Ah, it was glorious!

On both days, I filmed some of the ride using a fantastic VIO helmet-cam, loaned to me by my friend Dave. I still have to edit the video clips into something interesting; I'll post it here when completed.

Our friends departed on Monday, but Anna and I hiked all the way up to High Commission -- mostly bushwhacking, as the ancient trail disappears after half a mile. Once upon a time (like, circa 1850) there was a great view from the top, as the miner-49ers had chopped down every tree on the mountain. Today, you can't see much, but you still know you're on the top.

And of course, Nimue got to spend lots of unprogrammed time with her grandma! We ate plentifully and well, appetites fueled by lots of exercise at altitudes well above sea level, and outstanding wine was in good supply (thanks, Pete!) Thus, a fine time was had by all. Pay no attention to the woes that awaited our return to civilization...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just tired this morning


Another one bites the dust

Nimue lost another tooth up in Downieville over the weekend. We (the adults) had no idea it was even loose; I think she's getting better, or at least less gentle, about pulling them out.

Fabulous kid dessert, unrelated to tooth loss:
Strawberry buttercream on graham crackers with gummy bears on top.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bug in the Cat Flap

Cat doors should not mysteriously lock themselves. Especially when it is the door to the litterbox and all people have vacated for the weekend. The cheesy plastic lock mechanism that leads the cat to think "Oooh look -- there's a toy to paw at!" is definitely NOT a feature, especially when the cat is not smart enough to reverse the process.

The cat's satellite bathroom: Nimue's room. Great. Welcome home humans.

Many things around the house are a pain to clean up. I thought projectile carrot barf from the top bunk was bad. Mixed vegetable carnage in the kitchen is bad. Ancient dry-erase marker on the whiteboard is just annoying. Dead rats in the garden that then reek in the garbage can are bad. But a long weekend's worth of cat pee that couldn't make it into the litterbox because the cat was locked out of the room is BAAAAAAAD.

Fortunately, the poop was easy to clean up -- it was dry and solid and I got it up and taken care of before Nimue had even made it out of the car. Kids-n-Pets is a wonder substance for the minor surface cleaning and odor removal needed. (we have Nim's preschool teacher Miss Angeline to thank for pointing out that particular wonder substance) However, after cleaning that up, the room was still.... well... fragrant, and I knew that the liquid waste had to have been deposited somewhere. By then, I had the odor up my nose and couldn't really tell where it was strongest. Since I had a vague suspicion it was worst in or around the closet and there were no obvious wet spots on the carpet, I pulled out everything on the closet floor and threw it in the garage to evaluate in the morning.

For those of you with urchins of your own, you will be quite familiar with the litany of objects filling every square inch of a kid's closet -- especially when said kid can't really reach most of the shelves very well: A big hamper full of dress-up items spilling out everywhere, several small blankets, miscellaneous craft supplies, plastic building toys, stray legos, old crumpled-up artwork, workbooks, books, pinecones, feathers, missing puzzle pieces, musical instruments, et al. I don't normally object to the state of the closet as the alternative seems to be constantly having everything out in the main body of the room, but it's just a lot of stuff when you have to completely clear out the floor.

The next morning brought a full carpet shampooingand I was reminded of how disgusting carpet really can get. I just cleaned it about a month ago, and the water coming out of the machine on this current cleaning was still black. If one were a suspicious type, one would think the evil marketing geniuses involved in carpet shampooers insidiously coerced the engineers into introducing some substance that makes the water black after it goes through the machine, just so users feel like the machine and soap are doing something. The simpler explanation, of course, is that carpet in my house just gets gross.

While the carpet was drying and I still had the smell of soap in my nose, I headed out to the garage to tackle the smelly pile from the closet. Sniff legos: clean. Pinecone: clean. Bells: fine. Dulcimer: clean. Books and papers: no evidence of wetness. Craft supplies: good. Basket full of dress-up clothes and blankets/capes: EEEEEEEEEWWWWWW! Apparently the cat decided the semi-enclosed basket full of nice soft things was the location that most resembled her litterbox. Fortunately, the basket was plastic, and everything in it could go in the wash. Three loads of laundry, done first with vinegar and then with soap. There will be an energy use spike for us this month for sure.

Of course, once one starts smelling things, one finds all sorts of other items that need to be fumigated. Never, ever smell a beloved stuffed animal acquired at a garage sale. You just don't want to know. The giant stuffed tiger showed no evidence of having been sullied by this most recent episode, but turns out to reek of old (other person's) kid emanations and cleaning attempts. I would have been much happier just not knowing. Into washing machine with tiger too.

Hopefully this full closet fumigation will also take care of whatever was causing the intermittent rotting tuna fish smell that periodically wafts out...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another one down

In what is becoming a recurring pattern, Nimue worried another tooth loose a couple of days ago while she was reading on the couch. This time, she announced that she no longer believes in the Tooth Fairy, and even if she did, she wasn't willing to exchange the tooth for a measly 50 cents. Not even for a million dollars. It's part of her and she wants to keep it. So be it!

Monday night dinners

Perhaps inspired by the fact that Chad has taken up responsibility for Friday night dinners, and perhaps also influenced by her new cookbook, Nimue announced that she was now in charge of Monday night dinners. While this means more work for me in the short term, I'm humoring the request as it seems the sort of thing that will be good for all involved in the long term. Nimue being artistically inclined, presentation of food is very important, as can be seen in the Potato Tuna Fish Cakes that we had last Monday: