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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cure for the Toddler Blues

Okay, I just had to share this story with you. If you're a parent or a child's caregiver, then you know how hard it is to herd a tired child. For ages now my youngest has been in the habit of getting up with the sun-when he waits that long. He's an early riser like I haven't been since college. By the time I get up in the morning, he's already out of bed and on the computer. Oh yes, we are raising geeks, never fear.

Unfortunately, this means that frequently he is more tired than he appears. That tiredness can manifest in many different ways. Lack of cooperation is a common one. When Michael tells Connor to get dressed, instead he gets Connor hopping around like a bunny rabbit 'cause it's funnier (at least to Connor). We don't have the inclination to chase Connor-bunny, so sometimes things escalate. The good news is that as days go, this was not really a bad one. We got Connor dressed and he was acting pretty helpful.

Then it was time to leave. Usually this is not a bad thing to Connor, but today he decided to dig his heels in and not cooperate. Michael had to bundle him into the car amidst plenty of crying on Connor's part. He continued to cry as I pulled away and headed down the road. At one point I realized Connor had gotten quiet, then I saw he had fallen asleep. Hallelujah! I thought. Ian and I enjoyed some quiet conversation during the trip. This was the most stress-free trip I have had to or from school in about two weeks at least. I drove easily behind slow cars, let drivers cut me off on the highway. Whatever. I was feeling nice and calm. And mellow I suppose.

Then we got to school and Connor didn't want to do anything. He was still asleep mostly as I carried him in and he went through the motions of his check-in routine. Just before I left he asked, "Mommy, I want to go say Hi in P4." P4 is the classroom next door where some of his friends from last year's class are located. So we went next door to say hi to his old friends. His little "girlfriend" last year was Annie, a pretty little blonde girl that is super-sweet.

Connor moped into P4 and straight to Annie, who gave him a huge smile as he approached. I could tell she was happy to see him, despite his lack of apparent enthusiasm. So Connor said hi to Annie and gave her a hug and then bounced right back to his room. And I do mean that he bounced out. He did this little bounce then shuffle step and looked so happy! He was suddenly cheerful and awake, greeting his friends in his classroom and getting excited about the day.

So apparently, the cure for a rough morning of the Toddler Blues is hugging a pretty girl. He learns young. ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Dead Battery Saga

Okay, in retrospect this is too frickin' funny so I must share. At the time it was just a major pain in the tuckus, but I'd rather laugh now.

Wednesday night I was supposed to be at a friend's house to hang out. Someone I hadn't seen in ages and ages. I got a call just as I was about to call her and it was from my beloved husband. He told me the van wouldn't start and would I listen to the sound it was making? I tried, but we all know what wonderful reception cell phones get, so the true sound didn't come through. I kept giving him advice to deal with it, including such gems as:

"Turn the wheel and try again."
"Pump the accelerator a few times, then try again."
"Give it a minute. Now make sure you turn the wheel and the key at the same time."

Okay, that last one I just made up, but most of my advice was about that useful. One note of suggestion to those of you with decent regular cars: Do not take advice on starting your car from someone who has been driving a push-button ignition car for many years.

In the long run, I brought the kids home and then went back out. The real saga picks up the next day. I stayed home to help Michael with the car, though I was officially working from home. We called the dealership and the mechanic said flat out "that's a dead battery." Yay. At least we didn't need to take it in. We spent about an hour trying to figure out how to jump start a van using a Prius. After finding the freaking batter (which is in the trunk, thank you), I read on a forum that it's a bad idea to do it as the Prius is wimpy and would probably not work afterward.

So we headed out for the battery. We went down the street to Advanced Auto Parts. I noticed in there that they had a testing and charging station for batteries, so we found out they could charge the battery for us if we could get it in. So back to the house we went. It was a pain getting the battery out, but we did. Took it in and they set it to charge while we went next door for a bite to eat. Came back and they tested the now charged battery. It was missing over 100 cold crank amps. (Yeah, whatever, means it won't start in the cold I think.) It also had a dead cell in it.

So we bought a new battery. Got home and tried to install it. Or, Michael did while I worked. He finally fesses that he wants help, so I come out and turns out the battery won't work b/c the cables don't reach right or something. So I helped him get it back out and he had to take it back to the store. So he lugged the new battery back to the store, got another new battery with raised terminals, and got back.

Finally he got the new one, got it back to the house, and had some trouble getting that one in, so I helped him out again. After we got it connected and everything back in its place, I went inside. I heard him start the van up as I walked to the kitchen and I'm shocked the whole neighborhood didn't hear me whoop in victory happiness!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Conquering the Project!

I finally conquered that project that's been nagging me. The turtleneck dickey. I finished the neck today and struggled with the binding off starting around midnight. I tried to use a regular bind-off method, but that wasn't going to happen wiht this one. I tried it and couldn't get the piece over my head! I had to start over and alter the bind-off method. Instead of the usual knitted bind-off, I added some stitches to it. For every knit stitch that you bind off, there are two additional yarn overs that are also bound off. Basically, knit a stitch, bind it off, then YO and pull the YO through the loop on the needle. Do that twice, then knit a stitch and bind it off, etc. This made a neckline that was loose enough for the piece to fit over my head and be comfortable. Personally, I think it looks good, too. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Project attention wanders and superhero purses

I would call this Project ADD, except that perhaps that might be overstating the issue a bit. Have you ever had one of those projects that just seemed to drag on and on? Then maybe you look and realize that it isn't the project that took so long but you. I keep finding neat and exciting new things to try. I'm 95% finished with the turtleneck dickey, but got distracted by a necktie pattern. No, I have no need to make a necktie. But I will b/c a friend would like it and it's something to do. So I'm trying hard to finish the dickey by the end of the weekend now. I need to before I get completely derailed.

One thing I didn't mention earlier this week was my untimely footing Tuesday morning on the ice. I was walking around the van after getting the kids into it. Thank goodness it was after. One foot slipped, then the second. I tried to brace myself with my right arm and that didn't work either. In the end, I fell on my rear end and almost flat on my back. I have to thank my husband for the wonderful leather purse he gave me five years ago on our anniversary. It's a backpack style that I totally love. When I fell Tuesday (incidentally, on my anniversary), I fell on the backpack, which then prevented me from hitting my head on either the mound of ice behind me or the sidewalk itself. This purse definitely knows its job. It has saved my sanity for five years by giving me an easy way to carry a purse and a child at the same time. Now it has saved me from a sure concussion. Way to go, dear husband Michael, on one of the best anniversary gifts any man ever gave his wife. :) Most men can't boast this sort of thing about their anniversary gifts.

The other good news is that my arm is getting better. It's still a little sore, but nothing like yesterday. I still can't believe it's been eight years since we got married. It seems like yesterday and forever at the same time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Socks what?

So I've been trying to crochet a pair of socks, but that effort has hit multiple brick walls. I got it started, but I clearly made some kind of mistake with the heel. After finishing the heel section I had an additional 20 stitches! So I'll ripping out the heel and starting over. I might convert it to an afterthought heel, but I'm not sure yet.

In the meantime, I started yet another project. I'm knitting a turtleneck dickey from a vintage pattern. This pattern is from Coats and Clarks Learn to Knit, Book 190, published in 1968 and has been somewhat challenging to read. I've been finding it very interesting to see the differences in how things are described in this booklet vs what I'm accustomed to reading now. For example, this pattern will tell you "finish it like you did the other side." Seems normal, until you realize you're left wondering exactly how much of that finishing you're supposed to do. Am I supposed to bind off and sew it up? Or just bind off? Other things come out too, making this a serious exercise in interpretation. It's been a very intriguing challenge and I'm glad I undertook it. I might even try the cable cardigan that's also in this booklet.

I'm about 95% finished with the dicky, though, with only the neck portion to finish. I'm exited to finish and sew it up and try it on. I even checked my gauge on this one, if that gives you any idea how much I want it to work. ;) I promise pictures when it's done, which I hope will be this week.