30 January 2009

Crunch week is over

We now return to our normally scheduled stress, already in progress...

19 January 2009


Probably gonna be a little quiet around here for a while. The end of the quarter is Friday, and I am awash in backlogged work, plus ready to start next semester's work. Ach! After k-bowl on Saturday we'll also be heading to the College Club in Saint Paul for the Minnesota St. Andrew's Society's Burns' Night supper. Oughta be a blast. But will seriously not help with the paper grading.

15 January 2009

Wild Goose Chase

So I apparently had the other email logged in today and accidentally posted this to the really old blog. This leds me to finding the "import blog" feature so I went ahead and consolidated. Cool beans...The "title" bar has disappeared...

Oh well. So why am I living in Minnesota? It's stinkin' cold here!! We haven't had a full day of school all week. Monday we had completely off at both schools. The blizzard was kind of a flop, but the blowing and drifting in the country still sucked, and the windchills were nasty. More snow on Monday night and continued windchill pushed the Tuesday starts back two hours all over the region. Yesterday, the kids' school ran on time but mine stayed 2 hours late. Diesel buses and children fare better if the sun is actually up, even if it is still blessed cold. By noon yesterday, my district, and several others in the area had already set today's start times back. Most of the rest followed suit by the 10:00 news last night. In this part of the country, almost every district is consolidated to some extent, which means lots more rural routes and shady township roads. With winds, some of them plug back up as soon as they get plowed open. Today as I look out the window, it seems pretty still, but holy cow, the "actual" temperature is -24. Blech. Usually we get one or two "Alberta Clippers" every year, and the severe cold is short-lived (after that it's just cold). We seem to have had more than our fair share of bitter cold this year, and more snow than the past few years. Out and about people are either complaining that it's "the worst winter in several years" or "the first normal winter we've had in several years." The latter is usually heard from snowmobilers and ice fishermen. As I drove home from school around the lake, I noted that it must really be cold, as there were no ice fishermen out, but as I got to the parking area at the boat landing, I saw the DNR hadn't plowed yet. I'm sure if there had been parking spots, the fishermen would have been out. Fishhouses stay warm. I suppose I had better scoot mine out to the bus. Snowsuits ahoy.


As if the week wasn't weird enough, we had a fire alarm today. We knew no-one would have a drill on a day like today, so the kids started to file out into the bitter cold. The all clear was soon sounded, but not until after a bit of consternation. There was a problem: a burst pipe leaking all over the entryway. I assume it had something to do with the sprinkler system to set off the alarms, but haven't heard for sure.

11 January 2009

A love story

iPastor and I have sort of become the coffee couple among our friends. His family was all about the coffee, never without a thermal pot or travel mug; mine probably not as obsessively so, but there was always a percolator going in the background somewhere. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of "going to coffee" at a family friends' home, and how special it was to be given my very own cup, loaded with sugar. iPastor and I started the "coffee club" at church and I have coffee-themed deco in my dining room. We are not, however, by any means coffee snobs. Probably just the latter, truth be told. In the past, when friends have shared their home-ground brews of premium roast beans, we've choked down the bitter, black tar politely and smiled at their enjoyment. We're plain old Butternut lovers, albeit by the quart.
We almost always get cups or specialty coffees from friends at Christmas and birthday time. Usually the little gift packs of dark roast Caribbean blend are trotted out for parties or given to the "gourmet"-loving friends. When Christmas came this year, we were perplexed to find a coffee press in the basket of caffeine-themed goodies from our friends. Without a coffee grinder, I Googled up some instructions and we tried the press with some pre-ground coffee. The results were entirely unimpressive. Not ones to give up, a grinder was added to the shopping list and duly purchased. We dove into the premium gift beans, noting on the package that this particular bean was a mild roast. Sweet heavenly day! The resulting brew was the closest I have ever been to coffee Nirvana. The proof is in the roasting, I guess. Such depth and flavor is squeezed lovingly through its little sieve into my morning cup. I have subsequently grown fonder every day of the little silver and glass jewel of my morning. The "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!" hurry of the gravity drip pot has become stale and lifeless in the shadow of my full and well-rounded new morning companion. I know we shall live happily ever after. At least until somebody drops it.

09 January 2009

Ahhh, the memories

All my fellow children of the 80's should head over to Mercy Me's website to check out their rendition of "Shout." Good fun.

01 January 2009

It's been an interesting Christmas break so far. Still have a few days off, but I'm hoping to use them to gear up for school.
Christmas Eve, Thing 1 and I cruised to town and noticed a stick or something on the side of the road. I mentioned to her that it looked like the leg of a deer. We forgot all about it until the next day when we were returning home from Grandpa's. "There's the deer stick!" she announced, requiring us to let the rest of the car in on the conversation. iPastor, never one to stifle an inquisitive nature, pulled around so we could determine what, exactly, lay by the side of the road. Thing 1 jumped out to discover that it was, indeed, the severed foreleg of a deer. Ew! Of course, she picked it up and used it to tap on the van windows and gross out her siblings. Good thing it was frozen solid.
The bathroom reno is better than half done. They need to install the new pedestal sink and do the finish work. We opted for the heated floor and have not been sorry. Christmas Eve, I crawled into bed around 10. iPastor's work phone rang about 11:30 as one of his fellows called with a question. It woke me enough to decide to get up and use the bathroom. There was something blocking the door, and I pushed my way in to discover Things 1 and 2 sleeping on the heated tiles. I kicked them out; it's nice and warm in there, but not too soft. The cats remedy this by snuggling in on the towels the kids are all too willing to leave on the floor.
As previously documented, we visited friends on Saturday, arriving home about bedtime. We settled in for the night, iPastor making ready for work in the morning, and I planned to take the family to church. We hadn't been there for two weeks, as our two recent snowstorms had cancelled services and the Christmas program. We don't have an answering machine per se, so we have no little contraption with a blinking light to alert us to messages on the voicemail. It was not until I arrived at church the next day, with only one of the four cranky children, that I was informed that the rescheduled program would take place an hour later during Sunday school. We managed to get the kids where they needed to be, but it was not the calm, uneventful morning I planned.
Got some more puttering done around the house between family visits, and got ready for our annual game party, which was pretty much a Wii party, but who's counting. Yesterday dawned bitterly cold. I wasn't expecting the house to seem so chilly. I noticed the blower to the furnace groaning before it kicked in. I thought it didn't sound too healthy, but went about my business, heading out with iPastor for some errands. When we returned, I heard the groan again, but this time the blower did not kick in at all. A quick check of the thermostat revealed that I was not just cold blooded, the temperature in the house was indeed less than 60 degrees. I got on the phone with the local furnace place, who talked me through to determine that it was the blower motor, but they had none in stock and couldn't get any until Tuesday. I got on the phone with the people who had actually installed the furnace. They were further away, and also had no motors in stock, but they had someone there within half an hour to jury rig a different motor until they could get one in. Should have just called them in the first place, but I was thinking that the one 6 miles away would get the job done quicker than the one 25 miles away. I was assuming they'd actually want to do the job. The installers had originally gotten the bid because they bid a bigger furnace/central combo at $1500 less than any of the locals. Guess I'll keep taking my business there.
Today I had some quiet time in the toasty warm house to be thankful for what I have as the new year starts. 2008 was a helluva ride. A year ago we celebrated Christmas on this day with iPastor's mom, who had a headache and was feeling dizzy. She got her diagnosis January 16, and left us July 28 after a good fight, aided by family and friends crawling out of the woodwork to lend any sort of aid they could. It was well appreciated. In the meantime, I finally finished my degree and got a teaching job. We got some work done on this poor old house that's needed doing for ages. iPastor took a promotion at his day job. He's gotten away from his studies as we've dealt with life around here. He's had a tougher year than I. Here's hoping 2009 brings us experiences as valuable, but not quite so traumatic, please.