cifarelli: (Ember)
I've tried a few new recipes in the last week, so should bother to write about them.

First was Mushroom Risotto, which I made last Monday after Andrew & I got home from his afternoon appointment, since the boys were still off at Corwin's karate class with their aunt. It was a hit with all the adults (including Sarah), though Corwin ate two bites before declaring he didn't like it, and Ian didn't even bother to try his. I didn't even mind that it had Spinach in it.

Tonight I made two new dishes:

Low Calorie Italian Baked Chicken
This one was a hit with Andrew and me. The kids seemed to think it was merely OK. They both ate a few bites of their chicken, but didn't finish. Corwin said he didn't like the sauce. Ian just got up in the middle of the meal and walked off, which is something he's been doing a lot of lately, since he figured out how to undo the strap on his chair. We're trying to nip that one in the bud, so once he gets up, he's done. I think he might have eaten more, since he did eventually come back to the table and put up a big fuss when we wouldn't let him have his plate back.

Easy Italian Vermicelli
I made a few small changes to this one as I cooked it. I didn't have either Italian style green beans (couldn't find any) or Italian style tomato paste (the one I found had HFCS), so I put in a teaspoon of Italian Seasoning instead. I used penne pasta, and olive oil instead of cooking spray. And added a little water at the end to try to thin the sauce a little. This one was just NOT a hit. Andrew ate all of his but wasn't crazy about it, and the rest of us didn't finish it. It ended up being a really thick sauce, even after I added water, and the flavor just didn't seem quite right. Not sure if it was the green beans, or what.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Andrew had surgery to have his gallbladder removed on Tuesday. It was scheduled for 4:00 p.m., but ended up being pushed back 'til 5:30 because the surgeon was running late. The surgery itself went fine (I spent pretty much the entire hour he was in surgery driving around making wrong turns trying to get myself some dinner -- I must've been more worried than I was consciously aware of, because my route from the surgical center to/from the Long John Silvers on 2920 was a comedy of errors), and the surgeon said afterwards that Andrew's gallbladder was infected so it was a good thing we got it out quickly. However, because the surgery was so late in the day and took place at a "surgical center" instead of a hospital, they essentially kicked us out an hour after the surgery was finished, because all the nurses wanted to go home. Andrew was still in a massive amount of pain (in spite of drugs) when they released us, and I was honestly afraid we were going to end up back in the ER at the hospital asking them to admit him for more pain medication.

Fortunately, after we'd been home for an hour or so (and added a large dose of Ibuprofen on top of the drugs he'd already had at the hospital -- with permission from the nurses), he was finally able to lay quietly and doze off. He woke up every 1.5 to 2 hours all night for more pain meds (we were alternating Vicodin and Ibuprofen) but it ended up being easier than I expected, and after the first couple of hours he was probably more comfortable at home than he would have been in the hospital. That being said, if we had it to do over again, I'd either opt for having the surgery in a hospital setting where he could have been admitted for the night or scheduling it in the morning so he could have been kept as an outpatient for an hour or two longer instead of us being pushed out the door.

On Wednesday afternoon, he got the hiccups and they lasted all afternoon and evening until about 5 minutes after we went to bed. Guess the change of position helped. Now that it's 3 days later, he's doing much better. He's down to one Vicodin a couple times a day, and may be able to wean off it completely and just take Tylenol in the next day or so. Our biggest problem now is his lifting restriction -- he's not to lift anything more than 10 lbs for two weeks after his surgery, which precludes the lifting of Ian. Ian is really struggling with this -- he's not used to Dad refusing to pick him up or let him sit in his lap. We've shown Ian the incisions and explained that they are sore and that Dad can't lift him until they are healed because it will hurt if he does, but I'm not sure how much of that Ian really understands. :(

Andrew's body is of course also still adjusting to not having a gallbladder. So far he hasn't experienced any digestive or excretory problems, but he's been eating small meals and essentially the same low-fat diet he was eating since he had the gallstone attack. We're debating when he should try some fattier stuff.

My mom drove here from Austin on Tuesday morning to take care of the kids while Andrew had surgery and help me out afterwards. I'm really glad she was here, particularly on Tuesday night and Wednesday. I really appreciated having someone here overnight on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning I was able to take a 2-hour nap, which gave me enough pep to get through the rest of the day. Andrew and I had previously scheduled eye doctor appointments this morning, so she stayed until we got home from those so we didn't have to take the kids with us -- which was also appreciated since Andrew isn't up to wrangling Ian while I was seeing the eye doctor yet. She drove home this afternoon, but she and my dad will be back next weekend for a previously scheduled visit. It's our anniversary, so they were gonna babysit while we went to a friend's birthday party that evening -- since I have to work that Saturday afternoon, it's now doubly good that they'll be here, because Andrew will not yet be allowed to lift Ian by then -- so frees us up from having to ask Andrew's sister to come over yet again while I'm working.

We had made some mental plans for what we wanted to do to celebrate our anniversary on Sunday (a couples massage and dinner out somewhere nice), but we've decided to push them back a week or two, since we're not certain Andrew will be up for either a massage or dinner out by a week from Sunday. Reminds me of the year I was pregnant with Corwin on our anniversary and totally uninterested in eating much of anything. Guess it's Andrew's turn now.

I am very, very grateful to Sarah & Sean, Judith, and my mom (and dad, for being willing to part with her) for all of their help over the last couple of weeks, some of it on very short notice. Sarah & Judith will be helping out again tomorrow so that I can go to work.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Last Saturday night/Sunday morning, Andrew woke up around 2 a.m. with severe abdominal pain. After waiting long enough for my sister-in-law Sarah and her husband, Sean, to get here to stay with the kids, we headed off to the ER where he was diagnosed with gallstones, given drugs for pain, told to avoid fatty and spicy foods, and told to contact his primary care doc and/or the surgeon recommended by the ER ASAP. I have an absolutely awesome sister-in-law+hubby, because they were more than willing to take the kids over to their house on Sunday morning after we got home at 7:15 a.m., barely functioning on about 2 hours of sleep. So we got to nap Sunday morning and have a little time to ourselves in the afternoon to try to become more human (it only partially worked) before having to go back to being responsible for children again.

We met with Andrew's primary care doc on Wednesday afternoon, and the verdict is that he needs to have surgery to have his gallbladder removed. Sarah was further wonderful for staying with the kids while we went to Andrew's appointment, and then drove around getting more prescriptions filled and picking up records from the ER. (The kids did some pretty cool artwork with construction paper, markers, and scissors with Sarah -- she's an elementary school art teacher during the school year!)

We now have an appointment Monday afternoon to consult with the surgeon, and I assume the surgery itself will get scheduled during that meeting. In the meantime, I'm struggling with trying to keep the kids' schedules as normal as possible (Corwin had Vacation Bible School this week, so that was an added challenge to keep up with), come up with low- or non-fat ideas of things to feed Andrew, and feeling like I am almost-but-not-quite a single parent, since Andrew has not been at his most helpful while he's feeling bad and dosing himself with narcotics on a semi-regular basis. Andrew has been doing well enough to go to work yesterday and today, and said he didn't actually need to take his pain meds at all today, so at least I have been able to let up on the worrying-about-him front a little bit. (I don't like it much when people I love are in pain.) Stress is definitely getting to me, though. I'm looking forward to work tomorrow afternoon, just to get away from being responsible for 2-3 other people for a few hours. Our friend Judith is going to come over to stay with the kids and Andrew while I'm working, just to make sure there's an adult-not-on-narcotics around. :) I'm very glad I decided to still work tomorrow instead of taking the day off -- I need a break. (I just hope I still feel that way after working tomorrow -- hopefully it will be a low-stress day.)

In the midst of all this, I have totally fallen off the exercise bandwagon, which is adding to my stress I think. Unfortunately, there just isn't any time for me to get bike rides in with Andrew not wanting to be alone with the kids. Maybe if he keeps feeling better I can get some rides in this weekend. We'll see.

And now, I should probably head off toward bed, since Ian has been waking early the last couple of days.
cifarelli: (Ember)
I've thought of tons of things over the course of this weekend that I wanted to write about, but of course now most of them have slipped my mind.

Friday was Andrew's Friday off work. I did my bike ride in the morning (with Ian) -- just under 30 minutes for 4 miles. At least this time I felt like I kept up a steady pace over the course of the ride, as opposed to crawling like a snail for some of it like I did the last time I rode with Ian. After the bike ride, I took the Mazda to be inspected. It is now legal for another year. After lunch, Andrew went to get the massage that we gave him a gift certificate for for Father's Day. I am now officially envious (if I wasn't before). Friday evening I had to myself, as it was Andrew's turn to go to board game night at our friends' house.

Saturday I went for another bike ride in the morning. Back to the same ol' 34 minutes for 6 miles time I've been doing. I wrapped the birthday present for the party Corwin was going to in the afternoon, and then I went to work. Excitement at work was that we had new computers in the lab, and the new logins we have for non-student users didn't work. Turned out the issue was that we had been given an incorrect password, but unfortunately our IT librarian had to actually come in to the library in order to figure this out.

Sunday (today) I skipped my bike ride, because my legs have been tired and achy for the last several days running, so I figured maybe I needed to give them a break. They have been feeling better today, so we'll see how I do once I go to bed -- the achiness has been keeping me awake a bit. Slept in late for me these days, got up, cleaned up the kitchen, and made waffles for lunch. Andrew fried bacon -- and I think he did a better job than I usually do! Then I cleaned up the kitchen again.

Corwin had a makeup swimming lesson this afternoon at 3, so I took him to the pool for that. While he was having his lesson, I tried to swim a few laps. I could do one length of the pool no problem, but pretty much had to take a break at the end of every length. The swimming was tiring me out much faster than I'm happy about. However, it has literally been years (I couldn't even tell you how many) since I last spent any time in a pool that didn't involve a child hanging off of my body, so I guess I was doing reasonably well? I suspect I got tired so quickly because I'm not used to the kind of breathing that swimming requires. I wouldn't mind doing it more regularly, but I think the chances of that happening are fairly slim. After I swam for a bit, I ended up helping Corwin's teacher work with him on back floating; by the end of the lesson we actually got him to float on his back with no hands supporting him for a few seconds! Hopefully he can keep improving from there -- he is very scared of being in the water when he's not touching the bottom or holding or being held onto. At least over the course of these swimming lessons he has gotten used to putting his face in the water, which is a big step forward. He's definitely made progress. He has one more lesson left -- another makeup, that won't be until next Sunday.

For dinner tonight, we ordered pizza. After the kids went to bed we unpacked the last big box of clothing that was in our bedroom. It was mostly old t-shirts -- we ended up putting a fair number of them back into the closet for Andrew to wear when he exercises. But we're still getting rid of a bunch of old Beer Bike and MOB t-shirts from our Rice days....really no need to hang onto them any longer since they aren't getting worn. 1 and a half boxes worth of stuff will be going to the local women's shelter tomorrow -- and we have a really big empty space on the floor in our bedroom that we need to figure out what we want to do with now. We have actually come up with a few ideas -- now to see if we can afford to implement them!

Lastly, I had a nightmare last night that I actually remember: I was back at Rice, and it was finals week. I had finals in both Biology and Chemistry, but I hadn't been to either class all semester, so I wasn't even sure what day the finals were. So I was trying to both study frantically and find someone I could ask when the final was, because I wasn't about to call the professors since I hadn't been to class all semester. On top of that, I had just gotten a tattoo on my lower right abdomen, and somehow getting the tattoo required me to have a 6" long, 1/2" diameter stent (in my dream, a metal tube) inserted in my abdomen in that area, so I was walking around with this tube sticking out, and it would periodically fall out and I'd have to shove it back in again. Fortunately, this didn't hurt, but it was incredibly annoying to have to deal with, especially while trying to study for finals that could be happening at any minute.

Food

Jun. 27th, 2012 10:08 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
I've really fallen off the bandwagon of trying new dishes at dinner time lately, so this week I've been making an effort.

Yesterday, I made a pork chop and potatoes dinner (Barbara's Pork Chop Dinner, except the recipe I had omitted the carrots and cauliflower and added dijon mustard and mushrooms) in the crock pot; it was a flop. I think I was the only one that liked it, and I don't like it enough to make it for (mainly) me to eat. Andrew's not wild about pork chops most of the time (though sometimes if they are well-cooked, he says they're not too bad) and the sauce for this dinner was dijon mustard-based, which is also not a flavor he loves. Corwin seemed to think the potatoes were 'okay' but that was about all. I got him to eat 3 bites of pork chop, but he didn't want any more after that. Ian never tried his pork chop at all, nibbled a few bites of potato, and declared himself done. So this one will not go into the rotation. Sad face. :(

My in-laws are on vacation right now, so we are keeping an eye on their garden while they are gone. This mainly involves checking on it every few days to make sure the timer for the sprinkler hasn't given up, and picking anything that's ready to be picked. This afternoon's haul was pretty small - one tomato and some green beans. Since my family hasn't been wild about plain steamed green beans (and I am still figuring out exactly how long to steam them for), I decided to try Garlic Parmesan Green Beans tonight. This one was a hit with Andrew and sort-of with Corwin -- he initially said he really liked them, but then proceeded to eat them really slowly. Ian had one and didn't want any more. I tried them also, but I just don't like green beans to begin with, so my opinion doesn't count. (I ate the two I put on my plate to try, but no more.)
cifarelli: (Ember)
Wow, I'm getting to be a posting fiend! ;)

Let's see, what happened today that's worth recording here?

This morning, we had Ian's class at The Little Gym, and then from there we headed over to The Woodlands Children's Museum with some friends from The Little Gym, and the boys played there from about 10:45 'til noon. They both looked like they had a lot of fun, and Corwin has declared he wants to go back tomorrow. (We can't; he has a swimming lesson.)

Ian had another day where he did not nurse at all. I wonder when he's going to start going more than one day in a row.

Corwin did his second scissor practice tonight after dinner. After he'd finished the "assignment," he started cutting up some of the rectangles into smaller pieces (practicing the technique I showed him of only closing the scissors halfway and then sliding them along the paper before opening and closing them only halfway again, in order to get a smoother edge). After a few minutes of that, he started to complain (calmly) that his finger was red; I asked if he was ready to stop, and he said no, but his finger was red. After a few more times of him repeating this, I finally went over to look (expecting a pressure spot where the scissors had rubbed), and what he had was a small CUT on his finger that was BLEEDING. *sigh* I don't know if he didn't recognize that he was bleeding, or what, but I told him telling me his finger was red was not the appropriate message in that situation. :P I took him off to the bathroom, washed it, and put a band-aid on it, and all was well after that.

I went on a bike ride tonight, like a good girl trying to stick to an exercise routine. My legs are tired since I've been done. Hopefully that mean's I'm accomplishing something? :)

I think that's about all that's noteworthy about today. Nothing exciting here....move along.
cifarelli: (Ember)
I just printed out a bunch of preschool scissor practice pages that I found freely available in various places online, and I also found the idea of outlining pictures in magazines or catalogs for him to cut out. I'm gonna start giving him one of these per day (on weekdays; I'll probably skip weekends) to practice on, and see how it goes.

Udpates!

Jun. 17th, 2012 11:38 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
Ian:
Potty-training: Meh. He pees in the potty sometimes; other times he just sits and cries and fights to get down...and promptly pees in the bathtub not a minute later. He's pooped in the potty once.
Words: He has lots. Many of them start with B. New words he repeated today: red, two. I think these may be his first "concepts" -- as opposed to nouns and verbs.
Utensils: Learning to use an adult spoon. He's pretty successful with it. Still likes his toddler fork, though.
Weaning: Still nursing.

Corwin:
Making his bed: This is the first (and easiest) of the goals I set for Corwin this summer. He has learned to make his bed by himself, in the sense of pulling up the sheet and blanket and making the bed look neat. He's NOT, of course, putting the sheets on the bed himself or anything so advanced as that. He also has to turn his pajamas right-side-out, fold them, and put them under his pillow. He's not doing so great with the folding (they mostly end up looking like wads), but at least I am no longer dealing with wrong-side-out pajamas scattered all over the floor in his room.
Riding his bike: The goal is for him to be off his training wheels by the time school starts so that we can bike to school. This one is not progessing too quickly. His training wheels have been raised up, but he still prefers to ride with a lean so as to be on 3 wheels rather than actively work on balancing and using only 2 wheels. Andrew is now threatening him with removing the training wheels altogether. We'll see.
Swimming lessons: Corwin has now had 4 lessons (with 4 to go) and he is no longer terrified of putting his face in the water and getting his face wet. I'll count that as progress. He still says he doesn't like it, but he will dunk his head under the water of his own volition now, and no longer requires a ton of coaxing and cajoling to do it. This also means he's holding his breath (even if only for a second or two), which means I am 100x less worried about him in a swimming pool. I may even get brave enough to take both boys by myself sometime this summer!
Scissor practice: I'd intended to have Corwin practice cutting paper this summer (perhaps by printing out some shapes and having him cut one out each morning), since that is the one "academic" skill he seems to be weak in, but so far this one has been sorely neglected. I need to get on the ball with that one.

Weekend report:
Friday: Skipped my bike ride. Went through one of the three boxes in our bedroom that we haven't yet unpacked from our move (all contain clothing of mine). Most of what was in there was still too small and went straight back into the box, which has now been designated as a giveaway box. I was able to move a handful of things back into the closet where they might actually get worn. If we did anything else noteworthy on Friday, heck if I can remember it.
Saturday: Bike ride in the morning. Worked in the afternoon. The parking garage let me in without balking. :)
Sunday: Father's Day. Took Ian on my bike ride this morning for the first time in a few weeks. It was HARD with the extra 30 lbs to pull. I only did one loop (instead of my usual two) and was exhausted when I finished -- left me wondering if I've really been improving my fitness levels at all with all this bike riding. *sigh* After that, we went to lunch for Father's Day at Pallotta's Italian Grill with Andrew's mom, his sister, and her husband. It was yummy, but Ian was done about halfway through the meal, so Andrew and I ended up having to trade off running around outside with him because he did NOT want to sit still any more. That was frustrating. This afternoon Ian and I napped, and after naptime we all went outside and let Corwin get some bike riding practice in. We were outside for about 45 minutes, and that was all the heat we could stand. (Ian actually asked to go in; Corwin still wanted to stay out longer, though.) I fixed chili for dinner, and for once both boys ate all of their dinner. Corwin didn't even complain about it, for once. After baths and bedtime routines, Andrew and I went through some more stuff in our room and got rid of more things we don't need any more. Yes, my pack rat husband actually agreed to part with some stuff -- amazing! Then I called my dad, and chatted with my parents for a bit. They're thinking about coming to visit us for a weekend sometime in July.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Monday:
Morning: Grocery shopping
4:30: Karate for Corwin, "playdate" for Ian with Henry in the waiting area while Corwin's at karate. Henry is the younger brother of Corwin's karate friend Evan, so this is pretty cool. :)
Evening: bike ride for me.

Tuesday:
11:00: Start getting ready for Corwin's swimming lesson. Yes, it really takes me nearly an hour to get the 3 of us ready and out the door. It feels like WAY too long, but I don't easily see anywhere to speed up the process.
12:00-12:30: Swimming lesson, and I play in the pool with Ian.
12:30-2:00: come home, bathe boys, eat lunch, get Ian in bed for nap.

Wednesday:
9:30: Mom/Baby class at The Little Gym for Ian (and Henry!). Evan and Corwin have "playdate" in the lobby during class. They had an absolute blast last week -- it was Evan, Corwin, and one other little boy out there. Turns out that the younger sister of a boy (Jacob) who was in Corwin's preschool class is also in this mom/baby class, so I'm wondering if Jacob will be an addition to the group this week, now that his mom knows Corwin is there. I'm hoping we can do some after-class playdates this summer with Evan and Henry, but so far scheduling hasn't worked out for that.
Evening: bike ride for me. [Bike ride did not happen this week on Wednesday due to high winds and thunder.]

Thursday:
Repeat Tuesday. This past week, Andrew's mom (who is in Houston this month) came over for a little while in the afternoon after Ian's nap. We mostly just sat and chatted and caught up a bit, and let Ian get used to her again since he hasn't seen her in a while.

Friday: Andrew has alternating Fridays off, so this day will vary. This week was NOT his Friday off, and we were just boring and stayed and played at home. I needed the break from go-go-go-ing after having company all weekend and then stuff to do every day during the week.

Weekend update for the weekend just past:
Saturday: I got back on the horse bike and got my ride done in the morning. Saturday afternoon, I worked. Major problem occurred when I got there, scanned my parking card, and had the gate to the parking garage not open. I hit the help button to talk to the campus police, who promptly informed me that my parking permit expired in May and had not been renewed. I told him that yes, it had been renewed (sadly, did not think to show him my SUMMER PERMIT that I had with me IN THE CAR, that shows it expires in August), but he insisted it hadn't and that I absolutely MUST renew it before next weekend. So I emailed my extremely wonderful supervisor (who has taken to dealing with all the parking stuff on my behalf because I can get precisely nowhere with our parking office over the phone, and it's silly for me to drive all the way downtown with both my children in tow to go deal with them face to face, which is what they always insist must happen if I call them), who tells me she talked to them yesterday and they have now fixed their mistake. Guess I'll find out next weekend. Aside from that, the workday was uneventful.

Sunday: Exercised in the morning. Cooked bacon & eggs & biscuits for lunch. [This is only notable because lunch is usually a cold meal at our house.] Took Corwin to the pool in the afternoon. I would have preferred to take the whole family, but Andrew is currently on a hardcore antibiotic that says he needs to limit sun exposure and he is still tired from fighting the infection, so he stayed home with Ian. Almost as soon as we got to the pool, Corwin got ambushed by a boy from his preschool class, Sean, who was super excited to see Corwin. So the two of them played in the pool together for an hour, and I met and chatted with Sean's mother for a while. She got my number (I had foolishly left my phone at home, and don't tend to carry pen and paper to the pool either, so I have no contact info for her), so hopefully the two of them will be able to have some (planned) playdates this summer, too. After the pool, we all headed over to Andrew's parents' house for dinner with his mom, sister, and brother-in-law (also a Sean). Corwin and I went with Sarah and Sean out to their garden, ostensibly to pick blackberries, but there weren't very many to be had. We got a handful of blackberries, but Corwin ended up having a blast helping pick green beans, as there were a ton of those ready. The blackberries got eaten (by the boys, as there weren't enough for the rest of us) along with homemade snickerdoodles for dessert, and I now have a ton of fresh green beans and a cucumber to fix sometime this week.

Monday (today): Grocery shopping, karate, and a bike ride. Also, got to wash the kitchen trash can, as something in the bag (best guess: a rotten banana) had leaked out, leaving a wet mess in the bottom that I found when I went to take the trash out. Somehow, cleaning the trash can got me motivated to pull out the Magic Eraser, and I spent some time scrubbing walls and doors with that. Also: Ian did not nurse at all today. 2nd day (though not in a row) that that's happened.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Last weekend (May 31-June 4) we had friends with 5- and 7-year-old boys visiting from Austin, so the weekend was crazy. Various permutations of the group did the following:

1) Tried a new restaurant called Zumon Zunum (I cannot keep this name straight in my head!) up in The Woodlands. It advertises itself as the best of both worlds -- good food for an adult palate, plus a children's play area. Our boys loved the play area, but the food was mediocre at best. Given that the place was also crazy expensive for what you got ($3.95 for a cup of milk for a kid?! Really?), I don't think we'll be going back without a coupon.

2) Played in the backyard in the inflatable hippo pool and new curvy slip-n-slide. (Our neighborhood pool was closed due to vandalism. Joy!) The hippo was definitely a bigger hit than the slip-n-slide. Verdict: slip-n-slide is much better in its normal, boring, straight version.

3) Ian and I went to Ian's buddy Miles' 2nd birthday party on Saturday morning. 4 kiddos total, Ian being the youngest at 20 months. It was essentially a playdate with presents and cake. But lots of fun for the kiddos :).

4) The rest of the group went to Space Center Houston. The big boys LOVED the giant indoor playscape there. If we lived in Clear Lake, a season pass for the playscape alone would be in our future. Alas, we do not. Seeing the Saturn V rocket was apparently the other highlight.

5) Ian and I drove down and met the rest of the group in Galveston. We explored the new Pleasure Pier, tried to have dinner at Fish Tales but failed due to an hour-long wait at the time we arrived with hungry, hungry kiddos. Had pizza for dinner at Mario's Ristorante instead -- it's an Italian place on 61st Street (i.e. NOT the Seawall!) we ate at in Galveston a few years back and remembered liking. They have GOOD pizza! And no wait at 6:00. (They were much busier by the time we left after 7.)

6) Lots of bike riding in our cul-de-sac. Corwin is slowly improving.

7) Sunday morning, Corwin's behavior was atrocious. So he stayed home with his (not feeling well) dad Saturday afternoon while the rest of us went down to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and saw the new Paleontology Hall and the butterfly exhibit. The Paleontology Hall looks INCREDIBLY cool (I have never seen so many dino skeletons all in one place!) but I didn't get to look at anything closely due to having to focus on keeping Ian under control. I didn't expect him to be really interested, but I expected him to be a little more interested in the big skeletons than he turned out to be. I definitely want to go back without him to look at the Hall more closely. Ian enjoyed the butterfly center much more, though his favorite part was the big pool with the waterfall at the bottom of the pyramid. Ian's other favorite thing was the big spinning granite ball/water feature outside.

8) Dinner at the Black Labrador English Pub on Montrose. I haven't been there in years, but much enjoyed it!

9) Monday morning, we took the boys to play on the playground at Mercer Arboretum. It was HOT, but they had a blast.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Thursday morning was Corwin's preschool graduation. Andrew had the day off work. We went out to dinner at Red Lobster (Corwin's choice) to celebrate in the evening. I vacuuumed the hall, kids' bathroom, laundry room, and both boys' bedrooms before picking Corwin up from his last day of preschool. I skipped my bike ride due to feeling drainy. Ian had a runny nose.

Friday Ian woke up with a massively runny nose, Now with Pretty Colors! In the morning, Andrew and I exercised (bike for me, treadmill for him). I got to ride without Ian; riding is massively easier when you're not pulling an extra 30 lbs of weight. After lunch, I got to make a solo trip up to the preschool to retrieve Corwin's water bottle that we'd forgotten the previous day, and stopped by my friend Amie's house to pick up a box of greeting cards she was giving away -- she's disbanding a card business she used to run. Now I have Lots. of. Cards! After that, Andrew went and got his car inspected and spend a $20 certificate we had for Best Buy (new Xbox controller rechargeable battery packs!). Once he got home, I vacuumed. No more dust bunny convention in the entry hall, office, or dining room!

Saturday -- that would be today -- we both exercised again. Ian is still snotty. I took Corwin on a Target run where we picked out a kiddie pool and a water slide to play with in the back yard this summer. We also picked up some other odds and ends. I also cleaned the master bath. Master bath got vacuummed (yay!!!!). Our bedroom was also supposed to get vacuumed today, but I didn't get that far. Maybe I'll go try to work on that a bit now. Also, I boiled eggs and made iced tea. And cooked dinner -- bacon & eggs & biscuits. Also, checked work email, but there was nothing pressing to be dealt with.

And there you have it, the list of my accomplishments so far in my 4-day weekend.
cifarelli: (Ember)
If it can go wrong today, it is.

I'm still sick (Day 3!). Ian pooped either as we were driving to preschool or as we were walking in to drop off Corwin, so I had to change a poopy diaper in the back of the van after we dropped off Corwin. One I finished with that, noticed it was 9:28; giving me 2 minutes to make the 15-minute drive to The Little Gym for Ian's class that starts at 9:30. I picked up my full Coke to take a sip before pulling out of the parking spot, and promptly dropped it, spilling about 1/4 of it in my car. Cleaned up as best I could using the Kleenexes we keep in the car, pulled out of parking spot at 9:31.

We were late to Ian's class, of course, but the class itself went okay. I didn't really feel like being there, but he was going a bit stir-crazy yesterday when we were home all day due to my feeling crappy, so I figured giving him 45 minutes to run around not-at-home would overall be a good thing. So we went.

Got home from class, parked car, got cleaning wipes to wipe down the area where the Coke spilled, and noticed that the auxiliary cable that connects my ipod to the auxiliary input is frayed in one spot, leaving the wires exposed. So need to order a new one of those. There's probably Coke in with the wires now, too, since Coke got all over the ipod when it spilled. Still seemed to be working okay, though. *shrug*

Now I am home, and Ian wants my attention, of course. Off to give it to him.

Also, we have (had?) a babysitter lined up so we could go to a concert this weekend, but I'm seriously wondering if we are gonna be healthy enough to go out Saturday night. Andrew was feeling drainy last night and went to bed early, so he may be coming down with this cold, too. I haven't seen or gotten to chat with him today to ask how he's doing, as he is in an all-day meeting at work.
cifarelli: (Ember)
This weekend needed an extra day, or something.

Friday I ran off to the mall after dinner to shop for shoes -- summer sandals and shoes to wear for riding my bike. I combed the mall for about 3 hours, found 2(!) pairs of summer shoes I liked in the 2nd-to-last store I looked in, and discovered that the mall is NOT the place to look for athletic shoes with stiff soles and without laces that tie. The one pair of Merrill's that I found with lariat laces turned out to be a red herring...when I asked to try them on, the lady brought me different Merrill's with regular laces. When I asked about the discrepancy, she told me the model I'd picked up with the lariat laces was last year's model, and this year's had regular laces. Turns out the label on the sample shoe did in fact match the label on the shoe boxes she brought me, but it was NOT the same shoe. *sigh* (And I had two pairs in two different sizes....neither of which was the same as the display, so I know it wasn't a case of the wrong shoe being in the box.)

Saturday I worked. I got 30 minutes to myself in the house after I got home, since Andrew had taken the kids to a birthday party that started at 5, and they hadn't gotten home yet. I ate dinner, did some dishes, folded some laundry, got Ian's room ready for him to go to bed, and watered my plants in the back yard. And it was a glorious half hour! ;) Once they were home and the kids were in bed, Andrew and I used the Xbox to stream the last Harry Potter movie, so now we've finally seen that!

Sunday Andrew got up with the kids and I got to stay in bed 'til 9. Funny how staying in bed 'til 9 seems like the height of luxury now, when I used to sleep 'til noon on the weekend on a regular basis. Kids, they really do change your life! ;) After I got up, we took turns supervising the kiddos while the other exercised and showered afterwards. I got the water bottle holder attached to my bike and got a slightly longer than usual ride in.

After lunch, I headed out shopping again -- this time to a bike shop to look for bike shorts, and then Academy to continue the hunt for shoes. I ended up with two pairs of bike shorts ($60/each on clearance, *sigh*: unfortunately for my pocket book, I tried these on before I tried on the cheaper $20-on-sale pairs, and the more expensive ones were vastly more comfortable. Guess it really is "you get what you pay for.") and two jerseys, chosen because they have POCKETS on the BACK! I had been thinking I was going to have to look for some kind of pouch to go on my bike to carry my keys and cell phone since the bike shorts don't have pockets, but then I saw the jerseys with pockets and I was sold. I bought clearance jerseys, too, but I still ended up spending $190 for four pieces of clothing. Then it was off to Academy, where I finally had success in the shoe hunt -- I ended up getting a $45 pair of Skechers with lariat laces. Not quite as "athletic" as I had been envisioning, but they have a similar footbed to some older Skechers I have worn into the ground, so I decided to give them a try. And at $45 they were about half what I had expected to spend on shoes, so got a little bit of savings there.

Once I got home, we ordered pizza for dinner and then took the kids outside to play 'til it arrived. We got Corwin to practice riding his bike for a little while; he seems to be going pretty well with his training wheels now, so I suspect it's time to raise them up a bit so he can start working on balance. Ian pushed his lion around for a while, and then had me take him for a ride on Corwin's scooter (this involves Ian standing on the scooter while I hold it upright and "drive" it around). When Corwin was done riding his bike, he and Andrew and a couple of girls a year or two older than Corwin all kicked a soccer ball around in the cul de sac.

Today I took the boys to get their hair cut this morning. We were treated to a girl with very long curly hair having a screaming tantrum about getting her hair detangled for almost the entire HOUR we were there (there were breaks in the screaming at least, but they were working on her when we arrived, and were still at it when we left). So not fun for me, though the boys didn't seem to notice or care. This afternoon we stopped at the Montgomery County Women's Shelter storefront on the way to Corwin's karate class to drop off some donations -- a box of baby blankets, 3 pairs of shoes I weeded out of my closet last night, and one pair of baby shoes that were Corwin's that are only lightly worn and already too small for Ian. It felt good to get that stuff out of the house. I still need to figure out what to do with the high chair and exersaucer -- I'd like to try to sell those since I don't know anyone personally to give them to, but not really sure where to start. Craigslist is probably my best bet, but I'm wary about having people come to the house to look at them. Alternately, there's a resale shop nearby that I could probably sell them to, but I doubt I'd get very much for them going that route.
cifarelli: (Ember)
The aftermath of yesterday's crappy day was expensive.

Tires
$725 for 4 new tires on my car.  I still had the factory-original new-car tires, which are generally only good for about 30k miles or so.  I was at just shy of 29,500, and I noticed on the flat tire that Andrew took off that the tread was almost gone.  I hadn't looked at the other tires closely, but did catch myself wondering if the tread was gone because it was flat and I'd been driving on it for a bit, or if all the tires were in that same shape.  Turns out they were all in that same shape, and I needed 4 new ones.  On the positive side, the boys were well-behaved while we waited, and our wait only ended up being about 45 minutes.  Much better than I had been dreading.

Air Conditioning
We had an AC tech out this afternoon, and it turns out that we're low on freon and the evaporator coils need to be replaced. Again.  May 2010 we had this exact same problem, but it was completely covered by the warranty then.  And this time I noticed and called it in before the thing froze up and caused water damage.  Since we're past our 2-year warranty now, I called out the AC company we used at our old house that I had been happy with rather than the company we used last time (that provided the builder's warranty).  Turns out we're still covered by the manufacturer's warranty (for 5 years, so through 2014), so we are only having to pay for the labor and incidentals, but that's still going to run us $810, to be paid tomorrow. 

I asked a bunch of questions about why the evaporator coils are going bad so often.  The tech who was here said that the particular brand of coils we have, which are the only ones Lennox authorizes for use with their blowers, are not ones that he has a high opinion of.  If we were to switch to a better evaporator coil, we'd (a) have to pay for it to the tune of a couple thousand dollars and (b) they'd no longer be able to determine the energy efficiency (SEER rating) of the system because the new one wouldn't be authorized by Lennox and may change the efficiency.  So we'd really need to change out the blower (outside unit...I may be getting my terminology wrong here) as well, which would up our costs to $5k-$6k.  Additionally, he said that there has been research done showing that new houses are hard on evaporator coils...apparently some of the chemicals released by the new materials just eat up the evaporator coils.  I'd be curious to see a citation for that, though -- guess I could do some research next weekend when I'm at work and see what I can turn up.

Anyway, it makes the most monetary sense to just replace the evaporator coils at this time with the ones that are still covered by the manufacturer's warranty.  Once the warranty runs out, if they need replacing again when we'd need to pay the full $2500+ for them, then we need to look at just spending the money to upgrade/replace the whole system.  I can only hope our house has stopped being "new" enough for this new set (being installed tomorrow) to last more than 2 years.  In the meantime, we're not running AC tonight so as not to damage any other of the components, or develop a frozen AC overnight.  Fortunately, it's cool outside so staying in the high 70s here in the house.  Not ideal for sleeping, but not terrible.  I've actually been reasonably comfortable today, except for the brief period after my hot shower and washing dishes in hot dish water. 

Ian
While the AC tech was here, I carried Ian outside with me for 5 minutes so he could see what the tech was doing.  Dumb move.  I hadn't put bug spray on him, and a mosquito found him.  I saw it land on his leg, swatted it away, and immediately took him back in the house.  Well, it got a bite in, because a few minutes later there was an obvious welt appearing. I dosed him with Benadryl right then, and gave him another dose before bed.  As of bedtime his leg (this new bite was about an inch or so away from the one that has just healed) was swollen a little bit right around the bite, but nothing egregious-looking.  We'll see what it's like in the morning -- dunno how much the immediate dosing with Benadryl might have helped in keeping the swelling down.  Organic (or at least "natural") bugspray is on my grocery list for tomorrow.

cifarelli: (Ember)
I only wish all the things that happened today could be chalked up to April Fools. 

We got the call this morning that Andrew's grandmother passed away this morning.  It was expected, but still not news we wanted to hear.  She was 96 years old. 

About the only good thing for today is that I took Corwin to the Easter Egg Hunt and party at The Little Gym this afternoon.  It was only an hour long (from 1-2) but since that is prime Ian nap time, I actually got to spend some one-on-one time with Corwin, which he loved.  He had fun hunting for eggs, though the eggs themselves were a bit disappointing as they all held a tootsie roll and a temporary tattoo.  A little variety would have been nice.  There was also a trackless train, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and free play in the gym.  Corwin go to show off for me a bunch of the skills he's learned, which was nice because I really don't get to pay that much attention to what he's doing in his class due to having to keep a close eye on Ian.

On the way home, I stopped to air up my tires, because the tire pressure light was on in my car.  When I got to the rear left tire, I couldn't get a pressure reading above 22, and it didn't really seem like any air was going into the tire.  And the tire pressure light didn't go off in the car, either. So I came home, feeling incompetent, and asked Andrew to go check my tire pressures (I cannot for the life of me get a consistent reading with the pressure gauges we have).  He came in, said the rear left was below 20 and looked visibly flat to him.  (Why it didn't look visibly flat to me, I don't know.)  So I was going to take it to a tire place this afternoon, but Discount Tire (my preference) is closed on Sundays and the NTB I called said they were swamped and wouldn't be able to do anything with it 'til tomorrow.  So I figured I may as well just take it to Discount Tire tomorrow when they're open.  Andrew put the spare tire on for me, and said that once he got the flat tire off, he could see that there was a chunk of metal embedded in it.  So I suspect I'm going to be buying new tires tomorrow.  Really not looking forward to it, as I'll have to take both boys with me, and waiting for however-long with both of them to keep entertained is going to suck. :( 

And lastly, I suspect there's a problem with our AC.  We've been hot in the house most of the day, but just assumed it was due to having the AC set up at 78 for energy and cost savings.  But the AC is supposed to go down to 73 at 9:30 p.m. (and 75 around 8:00 after the kids go to bed) and as of 10:30 the thermostat was still reading 78.  Now at 11:27 it's down to 77. I can hear it blowing, but it doesn't seem to be cooling very well. So I need to call an AC company tomorrow as well....and figure out how I'm going to be at home to let them in at the same time I'm at the tire company.  :P  I'm hoping it hasn't frozen up again....it did that two summers ago, and the warranty company ended up replacing the unit.  But the AC warranty was only for 2 years....so if it's frozen up again I suspect we may be on the hook for it.  Plus that time it leaked water into the kids' bathroom through the fan vent over the toilet and caused some water damage to the ceiling, which the builder took care of free of charge under the warranty. 

I'd ask if anything else could go wrong....but a rhetorical question like that just seems like a BAAAAAD idea today. :(
cifarelli: (Ember)
Remember those New Year's Resolutions I made back in January? 

1) Do the grocery shopping during the week so that we don't have to squeeze it in during our already packed weekends any more.

I've been keeping up with this one.  Tuesday morning is our usual grocery shopping day now, though occasionally it ends up being Tuesday afternoon after preschool or Wednesday morning instead.

2) Try to cook something new for dinner once each week, at least long enough to find some new dishes we like and can throw into our rotation so we don't feel like we're eating the same things week in and week out... [exposition cut]

I've fallen off the wagon a bit with this one; I got lazy over the past few weeks and started reverting back to old standbys that are easy to throw together.  I tried to make up for it a bit this week, though, and fixed TWO new dishes. 

On Friday, we had Chicken Paprikash, a crock pot recipe that Andrew picked up as part of a booklet of "Healthy Crock Pot Recipes" distributed at work by our health insurance company.  It was really easy -- throw boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the crock pot, and mix together cream of mushroom soup and paprika, and put the mixture in the crock pot with the chicken.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, remove the chicken, and stir 1/2 cup fat free sour cream into the remaining liquid.  I ended up having the crock pot ready to start about 7.5 hours before we wanted to eat, so I did it for the 1st 2 hours on high, and then turned it down to low for the rest of the cooking time.  I think this may have been a little too much cooking, as the chicken thighs were so falling-apart done that I couldn't remove them before stirring in the sour cream.  The chicken mostly shredded in the course of my stirring in the sour cream.  Fortunately, I had also cooked some rice to serve this over, so we had chicken-paprikash-and-rice for dinner.  Everyone but Ian liked it. (And I'm not sure Ian bothered to try his.)  I used low-fat sour cream instead of fat-free because the only fat-free that the grocery store had was in a HUGE container, and I only needed a half-cup.  This one will definitely go into the rotation since it was so easy.  I may try it with cream of chicken soup, though, to see if it comes out a bit more chickeny that way (even if the lack of mushrooms makes Andrew pout at me).

Tonight, we had Chicken & Roasted Garlic Risotto, a recipe I got off of a Cambell's soup can, of all places.  This one was really a hit, as even Ian liked it, and both Corwin and Ian had seconds.  I should clarify -- Ian liked the rice and peas, but didn't eat his chicken.  Yes, you read that right -- this dish included peas.  And even *I* ate it!  This one involved browning some chicken breasts, removing them from the pan, adding cream of mushroom with roasted garlic and cream of chicken soups along with two cups water, adding instant rice (I used instant brown rice instead of the white rice called for) and a cup of frozen peas and carrots (I used a frozen peas and mushrooms mix because the grocery store had no frozen peas & carrots when I was there last week), adding the chicken back to the pot, and cooking for 15 minutes (the recipe says 5, but the brown rice required 10, and the chicken wasn't quite done after 10 so I left it for another 5 minutes additional).  I suspect it could be fixed without the chicken and served as a side along with a different protein, and I could change up the veggies for variety.  The only drawback is that it fixes 2 cups of rice (you need that much to absorb both soups plus water), which leaves us with lots of leftovers.  I'll have to see if the kids like it as much as leftovers or not.

3) Re-adopt a more frugal financial mindset; we're not in trouble financially, but over time I've gotten away from really asking myself if I needed something or REALLY wanted it/would use it enough to make it worth its cost. Also, we now have two kids, and I need to keep my spending on them in check as well...

Still struggling with this one.  Andrew's annual raise goes into effect this month, so we'll see if that helps any.  I need to get him to fill out the paperwork to direct deposit some of his paycheck straight to savings, but he's grumbling about doing that.  (Unfortunately, HR paperwork for his job is one thing I can't do on his behalf.) 

4) Finish last year's resolution to get the boxes of china in my dining room unpacked from our move. My sister spent a couple evenings helping me with that last year, and we got through 4 of the 7 boxes. Still 3 more to go, though; I'm disappointed I didn't get them done last year -- I had a whole year.

Done.  My sister helped me when she was here for a long weekend in March.  Thanks, Rebecca!
cifarelli: (Ember)
I'm at loose ends this evening. I'm feeling ready to go to bed, but I can't 'cause I have to take Corwin to the bathroom in another hour and a half or so. I'm losing interest in most of my Facebook games, and have already played through the ones I still care about. I've been working on some filing ([livejournal.com profile] geognome4, you motivated me with all your talk of going through bags and boxes!) and bill-paying the last couple of evenings, but I got the bill-paying done for tonight and can't find any motivation to work on the filing. My current reading material is a biography, and I'm just not feeling like reading biography tonight. Since I can't think of anything I'm just dying to do, I guess I can try to write a short update, since I've gotten bad about writing here lately.

Ian has another mosquito bite, this one on his leg.And here I ramble! Lots! )

In happier news, he had his 18-month well check on Tuesday. He's now up to 27 lbs and 35" (or so...not sure the measurement was 100% accurate) tall. That's 100th percentile on height, and 80th on weight. Crazy tall kid! (I suspect he's more like 34+ inches, and not quite 100%, but even so, he's still going to be another tall one like his brother, and all the rest of my male blood relations.)
cifarelli: (Ember)
I'm getting more and more impressed with Ian's attempts to do the things Corwin does.

This morning after we got home from The Little Gym, Ian went and climbed into Corwin's chair at the table and made it clear that he wanted to eat the rest of the Cheerios left in Corwin's bowl from breakfast this morning. I went ahead and let him have them (since he didn't eat well at either dinner last night or breakfast this morning). Once he finished eating them, he got down and carried the lid to the bowl to the counter by the sink, and then took the bowl over to the pantry where he stood and reached and eheheheh'd in the direction of the Cheerios box. So I refilled the bowl, and he got back in Corwin's chair to eat those as well. (He did have to get down every time he dropped one on the floor and go throw it away, though.) After the 2nd bowl of Cheerios, he got down and went and stood by the fridge and eheheheh'd for milk. So I got him his milk. When he finished it, he handed me the cup and nodded 'yes' when I asked him if he wanted more. BUT, while I was pouring more milk for him, he got up and ran off to the bathroom. He likes to move the stool to in front of the sink and stand on it to request for us to wash his hands (though sadly he is still too short to reach even with the stool...guess we need to get a two-step stool), and I heard the stool being moved. But when I got in there, I found him not in front of the sink but instead trying to climb up either onto or into the potty (the lid was open).

So I got the old potty seat out and put it on the potty, took his pants and diaper off, and let him sit on it. His diaper was wet, and he didn't pee when I used the old warm-water trick, but he sat up there just fine and looked to be enjoying himself (though he definitely thought the warm water was weird). When he was ready to get down I dried him off with toilet paper and let him help me flush (which he promptly wanted to do a second time....).

So very definitely trying to do things the way he sees Corwin do them. He could stand to stay put a little better while eating in the big boy chair, though. :P

Then at nap time today, I put him in bed with his musical seahorse (which usually sits in the rocking chair next to his bed and doesn't go in the bed with him) because he was eheheheh'ing toward it as I was about to put him in bed. Turns out that was a bad idea, as a few minutes later he started screaming from in there. I went to check on him, and found him standing up, holding the seahorse out over the side of the bed in the direction of the rocking chair. All he wanted was for me to take the seahorse from him and put it back in the chair; once I did that he laid down quietly. In retrospect, I think he originally just wanted to hold the seahorse before he got in bed (as he usually does so while I'm getting his sleepsack onto him) because I had sat on the seahorse today so he couldn't hold it. I was just amazed he was that persnickety about the seahorse's location -- neither laying it somewhere else in the bed and ignoring it, nor throwing it out himself was good enough. Guess he takes after his mother. :P
cifarelli: (Ember)
This week's crock pot experiment ought to make those of you familiar with my eating habits very proud! It had both broccoli (which I have been training myself to eat small amounts of when it's steamed) AND cheese in it. And I liked it!

It's one of the more labor-intensive crock pot dishes I've tried, as it involved browning ground beef to add about halfway through the cooking time (I cooked it ahead of time, put it in the fridge, and then nuked it to warm-ish before I put it in the crock pot), and cooking pasta to add about 30 minutes before it was done. I also had to add cheese and tomato paste at the 30-minutes-to-done mark. Neither of those things was difficult, it just meant this was not a "throw-it-all-in-the-pot-and-forget-about-it" recipe.

Andrew and I both liked it; the cheese flavor wasn't really noticeable to me at all. The broccoli wasn't a strong flavor, either. Unfortunately, it was not a hit with either Corwin or Ian. I'm not sure why, as they both like all the individual parts. But Corwin had 2 or 3 bites and then didn't want any more, and Ian nibbled on his but threw most of it on the floor. Oh well...I'll keep this one in the rotation for Andrew and me, and feed the kids leftovers or something.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Last night around 7:30 (just after we got the boys in bed) the smoke alarms went off again, for the first time since right before New Year's. We looked, and all 3 of our combo units had the red light flashing. The plain ol' smoke detector in Corwin's room did not, and it didn't go off long enough for us to get a look at the other units. We ripped down the one in our bedroom and the one right outside our bedroom, since those had seemed to maybe be the problem before.

Fire alarms went off again this afternoon after I had gotten Corwin home from preschool. I just heard a repeated pattern of 3-beeps; Corwin said he heard it say "Fire fire" once -- not sure if he is trustworthy on that or not. The combo unit in the hall had its red light flashing, the one in the guest room did not, and that was all I had time to look at. I ripped down the combo unit from the hall.

Tonight just after the boys' bedtime, the remaining 4 alarms (all smoke only) went off with the 3-beep pattern, but only repeated it once or twice such that Andrew and I didn't have time to get to any of the alarms to check them. It did this 2 or 3 times, then nothing.

Power went out around 3:30 a.m., back on around 3:40. Then....fire alarms going off at 3:45, 3:55, 3:57....and now that I'm up and looking at them, nothing. Green light steady, red light flashing approx every 30 seconds, which means standby, alarm operating properly, according to the manual. They've been doing 3 short beeps and then stopping, so about to check the manual to see what that means. SOOOO tired of this.

From the manual:

WHEN UNITS ARE INTERCONNECTED, only the red LED
of the alarm which senses the smoke or is being tested
(the originating unit) will flash. All other units in the
interconnect system will sound an alarm but their red
LED’s will NOT be flashing.


[Paulina's note: it would help if the system went off long enough for us to look at all the alarms; as it is, we start to get up to go look and it stops going off.]

This smoke alarm is equipped with an alarm memory,
which provides a visual indication when an alarm has
been activated. The red LED will illuminate for about 1.5
seconds every 16 seconds to indicate the memory
condition. The memory will remain activated until
pushing the Test/Hush Button resets it. The memory will
also reset if the battery voltage drops to 8 volts. In an
inteconnected installation only the memory of the
originating alarm will be activated.


[Paulina's note: None of the 4 remaining alarms is displaying this pattern. They all have the "operating normally" pattern going on.]

I was going to take the rest of them down, but they've been quiet long enough now that I'm considering just leaving them up. Partly 'cause I don't know how I'm going to get the ones in the boys' rooms down without turning on a light and waking them up. That, and having no smoke alarms at all in the middle of a thunderstorm scares me.

I called the electricians again yesterday and they are supposed to be out again sometime after 9:30 this morning. If they can't give me a satisfactory explanation this time, I'm going to call around to see if I can't find an electrician who's experienced with fire alarm systems who can come out independently and take a look at it. I'm to the point where I want this fixed, and if I have to pay someone to be competent and fix it, I will. *grumble*

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