Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Longer Hanging

Well, my watery adventure this morning was nothing nearly so fun as a swimming pool failure, nor was it as nasty as a dunny* death. It was, well . . . let me tell you a story.

After breakfast, I washed my hands at the kitchen sink. I love my sink, by the way. It's a beautiful, deep, indestructible Kohler porcelain job, set at a 45-degree angle into the corner, with two windows behind it, looking out into the backyard. There's a wonderful spot there, behind the sink and in front of the windows, that holds all of my houseplants. They thrive there, with the indirect sunshine, and near-constant humidity from the heavy use of hot water there. (With a family as big as mine, you use the kitchen sink a LOT.) And after sitting, forgotten and forlorn, in the dark of the Bellingham garage for nearly a month, they deserve it. (I only believe in houseplants that can fend for themselves.)

But where was I? Oh yes, washing my hands.

So, I washed my hands, and turned off the water, like any normal human being accustomed to a kitchen sink would do. Then I heard this incredibly fast, near-deafening, hammering sound. I stood there completely stunned, my brain racing a million miles an hour. It wasn't a hammer, because the noise was continuous . . . but it pulsed and pounded . . . Finally it sunk in that it was coming from behind the sink . . . from BELOW the sink. The hammering was hitting the underside of the counter!

I tore open the cabinet doors in front of the sink, and looked back to see, to my horror, that the plastic supply tube leading to the faucet had been blown out of the compression fitting on the supply valve, loosing a stream of full-municipal-water-system-pressure straight up onto the particle-board under-surface of my countertop. Looking down, I saw a sheet of water just cresting the front edge of the cabinet and spilling out onto the vinyl, rapidly spreading out over the floor.

Squinting in the spray, I climbed in under the sink and took a short shower while cranking the shut-off valve. I started hollering for MrC to get towels, for Vern to get downstairs, and generally feeling like a deer in the headlights . . . unable to leave the ever-spreading water, but knowing I had to get SOMETHING to sop it up, and fast. The hand and dish towels hanging by the sink were saturated in seconds, while the burgeoning lake laughed at my puny efforts. Finally, gut-wrenching seconds later, Vern threw down a couple of towels from the master bath, and MrC appeared with the towels from the kids' bath. (Where he disappeared to between going upstairs and appearing with the towels is beyond me. He had plenty of time to walk sedately down to the Haggen and back to pick up some Ben & Jerry's.)

Nabbing the terry cloth boon, I threw them at the flood plain, and then hit my knees and began tearing everything out from under the sink. (Note to self: from now on EVERYTHING under the kitchen sink stays in baskets or boxes. No more of this "Throw it all in there" stuff.) Mushy cardboard boxes of steel wool and magic erasers, scrub brushes, plastic gloves, dishwasher detergent, sponges, dishwasher accessories, (could someone please tell me why I need two silverware baskets?), a stock pot too tall to fit in any other cupboard, and the list goes on.

With all the hud** cleared, I began sweeping the water out of the sink, trying to keep the particleboard and drywall as dry as possible. It's a little unnerving, doing that while knowing what water can do once it has been in contact with the cut edges of melamine-finished cabinet interiors, not to mention drywall. It was only after I had sopped up most of the water on the cabinet floor that I realized I was kneeling in puddles lined with wet towels. I then set to work trying to chase down the last of the errant pools which had formed around the perimieter of my terry cloth bog.

And thus began the day that was sucked down the "household repair" black hole.

Overall, it could have been much worse. That supply line could have blown free while we were gone last week, and poured water into the house for hours or days. (Be still my beating heart.) My trip to Home Depot only took an hour, and I got exactly what I needed (and what the builder should have used in the first place): a braided-steel supply line with built-in compression fittings on each end.

The silver lining? I was able to finally go to the welding-supply store just a couple of blocks down the street from Home Depot and get 316 TIG welding rods, a.k.a. blocking wires. 18 36" wires in three different gauges, for $8. PVC and caps to hold them: ~$5. Now, all I need is a box of nickel-plated T-pins from an office supply store, and I'll have a blocking kit for about $14. I'm in lace-knitter's nirvana. ;o) Photos to come soon, once I find the memory card that doesn't send my computer into an epileptic fit.


*Dunny: Ever see the second Crocodile Dundee? A dunny is what sits next to the bidet.
**Hud: a Utahrnish*** expletive. Syn: junk
***Utarnish: that which belongs or pertains to the vernacular of the Utahrnians****.
****Utahrnians: the select portion of the population of the state of Utah which evokes a strong desire to leave Utah.
(Authors note: Not everyone who uses the word "hud" is a Utahrnian. After all, I just used it, and I definitely don't live in Utah. (Anymore. ;o)

Caught by Surprise

I'm sitting here with my jeans wet to up above my knees, my sleeves wet above the wrists, a load of totally wet towels in the washer, and the kids in the car ready to go to Home Depot.

I'll give you three guesses . . .

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Too Much for Words

Have you ever had a time in your life when things moved so fast, you simply couldn't blog or journal about it all? Couldn't even seem to keep up with all the changes, even though you noted and were thankful for each and every one?

That's where I am now.

Life seems to be pouring out over me all of the knowledge and information I need, at this very time in my life, to move into new directions, changing the things that I've ached over for years. All at once, or very nearly so, new energy and life have been swirling around me, letting me know that now really is the time when I can finally make progress on the course I've spent so much energy plotting and trying to follow over the last eight years. It's like sitting in a small boat, lifted and propelled by ocean swells. There's so much power and momentum already, I just have to avail myself of it, and sail with all the effort I can muster.

Over the last week or so, I've been thinking about how I've taken lousy care of myself, nutritionally speaking, for the last six months or so. Lots of high-fat, un-heart-healthy foods. Can you say "b-u-t-t-e-r" on everything? Lots of turkey sausage? Way more eggs than any human should eat? Almost no veggies, lots of packaged stuff. Granted, it was natural, often organic packaged stuff, but still pre-packaged nonetheless. I've imagined what shape my circulatory system and heart must be in, and shuddered at the thought. And I'm only 32.

Yesterday, after Vern's family left from their week-long visit, I was thinking about them, and realized something ground-shaking. His mom had a heart attack that nearly killed her when Vern was a teenager.

She was 34.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Shiver me timbers and blow me down . . . the internet is awash with a shipload o' phony pirates!


Even Ravelry's been boarded. The Ravatars all have parrots perched upon 'em!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Guess who is cutting teeth!?!?!?!?

BabyB! At four months!

Nooooooo . . . . not already! He can't be that big already!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Like my new look?

I just stumbled upon Leelou's blog templates, and they're beautiful. Even better yet, they're free! She also has a custom blog service, but her waiting list is currently closed.

Just goes to show . . . the best form of advertising is to give away good stuff. ;o)

P.S.) Vern's in my followers over there, if you want to see a picture of him on a mountaintop. Can I just say I'm in love? {Sigh}

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, the Irony of it All.

I decided, since Vern and MrC are off on a manly campout, that I would spend my quiet evening at home getting my FCSS blocked out. (Rav project here.) I want to wear it (as does MissE!), and I wanted to block "real" lace. (Sweet river doesn't really count, although it was fun to block.)

So, I got it out, wove in the two ends, and put together my trusty hopscotch squares. Once the kids saw me put pins in them once upon a time, they went to town with bamboo skewers (bracing for their construction projects, don't'cha know), butter knives, pencils & pens, and whatever else they felt like taking to them. However, they're still good enough to pin knitting to, so they're what I've got.

I worked and fiddled and crouched and got stiff . . . carefully taking pictures (even though Vern has the good camera, and all the batteries were dead on Oly), only to find upon sitting down to blog that I was using the internal memory on the old EasyShare, and I'm out of commission until I can find the docking station or an appropriate USB cable. Ugh. UGH.

So, please do accept my apologies for the stark lack of photos and content in this post. It's all coming . . . once I can retrieve the photographic evidence. What good is a post on blocking lace without show-and-tell?

And now, I'm off to weave in a few ends (lol . . . like 3,000) on a little soaker I knit, and the off to bed. Although, bed sounds awfully good right now. Hmmmmm . . .

Monday, September 8, 2008

Follow Follow Follow Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Blog

Hmmm . . . that just doesn't have the same ring, does it?

And this blog definitely isn't paved with yellow brick.

However, you can still follow it! Even though it's not moving . . .

So, not yellow brick, not moving. But still follow-able. Honest!

Here's how you do it:

Check out that nifty little gadget at the top of my sidebar. It says "Passionate Readers" at the top, and has a little profile photo of my lovely Birrd friend underneath. Click on the orange letters that say "Follow this blog", and Google will walk you through it.

This is all made possible by a new Google nifty-thingie called (amazingly enough) the Google Follower. (Man, I wonder where they come up with these names, don't you?) There are two benefits to Follower. First, you can go to http://reader.google.com, and see all of the blogs you're following there (when you're logged into your Google account, of course). Secondly (and this is my favorite part!), I get to know who you are! Can you just see my big grin from here? Statcounter is nice, and comments are frosting on a bloggy cake, but the Follower makes me feel like I've got permanence, ya know? It means that even without comments (which I still long for, btw), I can know that I'm read, I'm heard, and not just shouting out into the void of cyberspace.

Quick plug for Google Reader: it's like BlogLines or other feed management tools, except it rocks. Straightforward, stupid-easy to add feeds (and now completely automatic with the Follower feature), and error-proof. (Let's not talk about my woes with Thunderbird and TypePad blogs. They're few but pernicious.) And the best best best part of all, you can Follow private blogs! Yep! So, you can go to the Google Reader and see all of the latest updates to your favorite blogs, even if they're private blogs (I have a few I read), and even if they're non-Blogger-blogs. (More on that later.)

Now, as you're wondering why on earth you should bother, let me tell you: because I really really really want you to! (And since you're a devoted blog reader, you'd do it to please me, wouldn't you? Since I work so hard taking photos and typing on this keyboard that has a flaky t-key, and thinking up strange/fun/entertaining/knitterly/munchkin stuff to blog for you, it really is the least you can do. Even if you Follow anonymously (which I guess is okay, even though I don't get to see your cool profile photo), it still shows me I'm being read.

So, now you're wondering how you can add this useful pot feature to your blog, right? Well, just go to your blog's Layout tab (linked from your Bloggger Dashboard), and click on the "Add a Gadget" link at the top of your sidebar or footer. Type in a witty title (or use the one they supply), and you're in business. I highly recommend putting it at the top, or near it, so it's easy to see for all of your bloggy lurkers.

I've got to get done with this, so ChickenScratch can play with his blog. Later, my future Followers! {ahem} ;o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Structural Integrity at 28%

My head is about to explode.

No, I'm serious.

It's stuffed full of unwanted new info on cracked cylinder heads, leaky head gaskets, motors, valves, coolant system leaks, repairing or replacing the same, and a slew of places to call and spit all this info back so they can tell me how much they'll charge.

The 4Runner is at a dealership shop in the next town over, its guts lying on the shop floor around it, with a bill of $700 just in tear-down time. They want either $6,500 or a starting point of $5,000 (sliding upwards from there) to fix it or put in a new motor. I've found a new motor for $1150 (with fewer miles and nearly as good a pressure test as their $5K motor!), and now I've just got to figure out how to get my ol' buddy out of the prison he's in and to a place that's friendlier.

Needless to say, I won't be telling the dealership what I think of their prices until after I've talked them into discounting my bill, I've paid for it, and the 4Runner is on it's way to either my driveway (to be sold for parts) or to a reasonable mechanic.

My dad put it this way: Dealerships are out to sell cars. More expensive repairs mean more car sales and trade-ins.

Add to that the fact that my washer has nearly the most expensive problem possible, and it has been quite the 24 hours. Thanks be to heaven we bought the "Master Service Agreement", (and for about 1/4 the cost due to a labeling mistake at Sears!), and don't have to pay the horrifyingly-close-to-$1,000 bill. The washer cost $1200, for Pete's sake. It's only three years old!

So, with my head spinning about repair options and service scheduling and wondering what this is all going to end up costing, I'm going out to forage for groceries tonight. Wish me luck. Otherwise who knows what I'll bring back.

Sardines and strawberries, anyone?

Mutant Play Dough Munchkins

The kids were hankerin' to play with play dough the other day, so I stopped by the store on the way home from an errand (registering the van, not as painful as I thought) and picked up the things I didn't have in the house: white flour, veg oil & food coloring. It's funny . . . those, along with the white sugar, are up on a pantry shelf together in the "not for human consumption" section. (The sugar is for the hummingbirds.)

So, making play dough was interesting. Easy, quick, and not too messy. Here are the kids goin' at it:

The Anderman, displaying his work, while Lil'MissL happily chops away with a butter knife on MrC's kayak fleet.

MissE, carefully explaining the finer workings of a play dough kayak.

MrC, (aka ChickenScratch), providing his insights on the finer points of play dough kayak construction. As you can see, he's a master builder with a fleet of aquadynamic vessels.

The night before, playing with some commercial PD MissE was given at church:

I don't remember what prompted the pink boils, but they sure got into it.

And MrC's crowning achievement: a play dough pirate ship.

And, just because I need some warm fuzzies today, a photo of my favorite part of my little house, complete with hydrangeas and roses from the front yard.

Have a great Tuesday, evereyone. I'm sure going to try. (Oh. I guess it's Wednesday, isn't it . . . )

Monday, September 1, 2008


Socks are the bane of my existence.

Not my own. Not Vern's. I mean little, disparate, smelly, mischievous munchkin socks.

I picked up 21 socks from my downstairs tonight: 17 icky, dirty ones and two clean pair. They were everywhere . . . under furniture, behind things, mixed into the toys, under the kitchen table . . . and this is during sandal season, when I try to keep the kids out of socks as much as possible.

At least there weren't any in the piano.

Hopefully the slight, but persistent, smell I've been chasing today is now banished. Ugh. Maybe there's a reason I haven't knit socks for the kids that are big enough to remove their own footwear.

I think it's time I go and do some reading on the barefoot movement.