Sunday, July 31, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Finishing off the month

So where were we? I was looking at clear blue skies, remembering.

Friday we went to a birthday party, just Emma and me. We closed the place down. Emma picked out a great present, a My Little Pony book and pencils with Christina’s name on them, but was worried later that she wouldn’t like them.

“What if she doesn’t like my presents?”

“Oh honey, she will, and on the off chance she doesn’t, her mommy will make her say thank you and she’ll pretend to like them.”

Emma sighed deeply and sounded forty-five years old. “I hope you’re right…”

Of course she had an awesomely wonderful time, and I did too. Must get out more with my friends. And? I got to cuddle baby Lincoln, so there. He sure was cute but I had to give him back before I got crazy ideas. I think it took him a good five minutes to look at me and decide, “Heeeeeyyyyy…. you’re not my mommy…”

After that, I picked up Sarah at her last day of music camp. The instructor said she did very well and was quite impressed. He didn’t know until the last day that Sarah is homeschooled. I’m making a point now to tell people after they meet the kids, that they learn at home.

Sarah and I stopped into the library because we were both sorely lacking reading material. The grouchy librarian asked how everyone was, and I told her how much fun Emma had at a party earlier. She said, “It’s nice for her to get out, I bet.” Yeah, such a change from keeping her locked in the basement.

I spent some time prepping for a yard sale, then fell into bed exhausted.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early, just after our drunken neighbours woke up the sun, again this weekend. Yard sale season is winding down, but we made out okay. I had to roll Ron out of bed, as some guys came by to see the motorcycle again and they wound up buying it, so it was a banner day.

We were up before the kids even. When Emma did finally get up, she was wandering around the yard in her nightdress and flip-flops, the ones with the big pink fabric flowers on them, making sure all the kids who stopped by were at home. She even took one little boy on a tour of the garden.

I cleaned up the yard sale early, because the die-hards know that by ten thirty all the decent stuff is gone, and then I headed off to the mall to pick up a couple things, including lunch. Although we don’t go for fast food often, like once every two weeks, BK is wearing thin and we haven’t been impressed the last couple of times. There’s not a lot of choices around though.

I bought Meaghan a small sticker maker, partly because it was way cool and a decent price, and I got to trade in HBC points and get it FREE. All I had to pay was the tax. I’m thinking of getting another one.

Emma also went shopping, as a cool-kids clothing store was having a huge sale, so we took advantage. She picked out a green dress and a pink skort, both in a dragonfly pattern. Her Mam trained her well, for she knew to look for the SALE sticker. It was also 30% off the lowest marked price. Later that day, we went out again running errands, and Emma (who is SO NOT SHY anymore) went right up to the clerk washing a window and said, “Hi, my name is Emma, do you like my new dress? I bought it myself.”

She also spent a lot of the day posing and preening, even winking at us. There’s one part I can’t explain, why she wandered around using a high-pitched voice, calling herself Jerry Ann the librarian.

The boys continued scraping around to the front of the house, where the paint was completely off right above the porch roof where the snow piles up. Ron was also scraping the trim around the oval window, when some of the smaller pieces practically crumbled when he touched them. Our neighbour is a woodworker (among other things), so Ron took over some pieces and he whipped up new trim for us. He does awesome work, as the miters are perfect, and they look exactly the same, except new. Pictures soon, I promise.

Today we have another birthday party to go to. Our neighbour is turning eighty-two and his wife is throwing a little meet-and-greet. Sarah went over to their house yesterday and helped clean. I’ve got some things to write (including this), some laundry to do, and a quiet Sunday dinner to think about and cook.

There are a hundred other little details – small incedental things – but the day is wasting away.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

and some photos

If you head on over to my flick account, you’ll see:
a self-portrait of Emma I found on the camera,
what Ron does all week,
what happens when the math manipulatives are left on the table over mealtimes,
the pile of wood chips left in the yard,
and how the squash we planted didn’t come up, but we have squash anyway that grew out of the compost under the tomatoes.

Unless you are my mom, of course, who can’t see these at work and has to wait until she gets home. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

New Brunswick is really a small town

I was on the phone with my mom, who had called my grandmother three hours away, who told her a story from her best friend and neighbour Gerry.

It seems Gerry was at Wal-Mart, and ran into a girl she used to babysit. How nice it was for her to see the girl, all grown up, with her kids. The girl said how she was in town, visiting her brother. They got to talking, as people do, right in the midle of the aisle, and the girl said how she’d also been to see a friend on the Miramichi.

“Yeah,” said Gerry, “You went to see Andrea. I heard all about it.”

Yep, the girl whom my grandmother’s neighbour used to babysit was my high-school friend Lyndia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

So what’s new with you?

Hmm, let’s see; we have the van back, and so far so good. Apparently, the mechanic thinks because we’ve been driving it so infrequently, the battery isn’t getting fully charged each time. He charged it fully for us, so for now at least it works.

Sarah’s got a music day camp, so we have to go out everyday, which at the very least is good for the van. I think she’s having fun, strumming away on a guitar in a basement with six other kids who can barely play.

We’ve halfway around the third side of our house with the excruciatingly detailed paint job. The last side to do is the front, and that has a porch/ verandah with plenty of detailed moldings that should take us forever to finish.

But oh my goodness, does it ever look nice. Invariably, when we are out there painting, someone walking by will actually say something.

And over the weekend, the neighbourhood men rented a chipper and did up all the brush we cleared out of our yard, as well as two other yards. All the big boys came over to see the toys. There were men in my yard I hadn’t seen, waiting for a turn to use the big ol’ chipper.

I can see all kinds of neighbours through the trees now.

Our swimming pool also sprung a leak, right by the outlet plug. Good thing it hasn’t been overwhelmingly hot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Argh

I wrote a very short fluffy post here earlier and Stuff Got Horked. Too “eh” to type it up again.

Saturday, July 23, 2005 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Broken Down

Once upon a time, we had a Volvo sedan, black with navy interior. Our friends called it a “mob car” and its engine rumbled like a Harley. We bought the Volvo right before a family vacation to Cape Breton, because we need a reliable vehicle we could all travel in comfortably.

I don’t know if you, dear reader, have ever been to Cape Breton, but part of its appeal is the rolling landscape. We set off on the Cabot Trail, which goes up and down and round and round. It was during this knuckle-whitener of a scenic drive that we discovered something vitally important.

The moonroof of our Volvo leaked. More specifically, the passenger side leaked. Now, I’m sure the Cabot Trail really is “North America’s most scenic drive” but I don’t recall much of it, what with spending the drive hanging on for dear life with one hand, and holding an empty coffee cup to catch the pouring leaks in the intermittent rain.

And then the engine light kept coming on. We were overheating. Every time we had to stop for the engine, the skies miraculously cleared. Every time we got back in the car, I sat in a wet spot and held up a quickly filling paper cup.

Eventually, something happened to the Volvo’s electrical system, and it would just stop working with no warning. There I’d be, rumbling along, and the next thing I knew, we’d be dead on the road and have to drift to the side.

Usually in the middle of the woods.

Now it is mercifully in that great junkyard in the sky.

I thought of all this yesterday, sitting in the grocery store parking lot. Our van has something wrong with it, loosing its charge on the battery for no immediately apparent reason. For most of the week, as long as we could plug it in and start it, I was good to go – as long as I didn’t turn it off on errands, and got back to it quickly if I did turn it off.

I had hurried around the store as best I could, and as fast as possible, what with half the city inside. When I turned the key, the van thought about starting, but… no. Nope, sorry.

We were cognizant enough to think of this as a possibility, so we had brought the cell phone. I say “we” because it means Sarah held it for me, as she’s a pro at a cell phones (she is fourteen after all) and even though I am a whiz at computers, the phone still puzzles me. We sat down to relax, and she showed me How To Place a Call.

The two other girls in the seats behind us dug out the Oreos and the Cheezies. We did have a full load of groceries after all.

I dialed home, so Ron could come rescue us on his motercycle somehow, but it kept ringing and ringing. We opened up a bottle of pop and scrounged up at least one thing to drink from, the benefits of having a messy van.

Sarah and I sat in the front, feet up on the dash, watching the passer-bys. I noted how most of the people arriving were women. “If we had broken down at Canadian Tire, we’d have thirty guys offer to help already.” Sarah giggled. “And see that muscle truck over there? You just know he has jumper cables in the back.” The girls giggled some more.

I rang my house again. Still no answer.

We broke into the popsicles. It was a pretty warm day, after all, and my window wasn’t rolled down. “If we were MacGyver,” I said to the girls, “we’d be able to get out of this with a paperclip or something. Or at least boost the van from the cell phone.” Sarah tried to stuff the phone into the tape deck. Thanks to their father, I do not have to explain who MacGyver is.

I did figure out many of the features on the cell phone, and I think we have at least one movie and a half-dozen pictures stored on it. Not sure what strangers thought of us dancing in our seats to ringtones, though.

At least a half-hour had passed, judging by the emptying parking lot, the half bag of oreos and the amount of food smeared on Emma. I gave up trying to reach Ron (still no answer), and called Carl instead. He said he’d be right down, and indeed was there within five minutes. As soon as the jumper cables were on, my van started easily. Carl said he had a spare solar panel we could have that was enough to charge a car battery. Carl would, you know.

We made it almost all the way home without incident, and as I flicked on my left blinker, the cell phone rang. Sarah answered and it was Ron. “Look out the window,” she told him. We were home.