Friday, May 30, 2008


Gary got a laptop computer from Best Buy three years ago. Three years and three days, to be precise. The extended warranty expired three days ago. Two days ago the whole thing just plain stopped. When he took it in yesterday, they told him what the problem was, and nope, they couldn't fix it under warranty.

Thing is, he's had the machine in twice this past winter for the very problem that finally brought the computer to being utterly unusable two days ago. Best Buy kept insisting there was nothing wrong with the machine. They essentially told Gary that he didn't know how to plug in the machine. If he just plugged it in right, there wouldn't be a problem. Uh. No. How do you make them honor the warranty, short of going to small claims court?

Same day, my oven was blanked out and unusable too. As I tried to figure out online what might need to be repaired, Gary began taking the back off the control. I don't know what he did; I'm not sure he knows what he did. He did get a little zot. But somehow the electricity came back to the control panel, and now the oven is working again. Yeeee haw! (I've been without a stove twice already in the last 9 months, and really really didn't want to do it again.)

Now, if only the computer repair were as easily resolved.

Gary says the moral of the story is to never buy an extended warranty. I don't know. Without the extended warranty, that computer would have only made it a year. I think the moral of the story is to never buy a laptop. (And now all you laptop-lovers, especially the Dell folks, can tell me I'm silly.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008


When I was little, I would spin around and around and around in the living room until I got so dizzy I fell over. I loved to get so dizzy that the world would keep on spinning even after I stopped twirling.

My husband hates getting dizzy. He doesn't like to ride the tea-cups or the Tilt-a-Whirl at the fair or at Six Flags. I want to ride the tea-cups with my sons, who have muscles and can make that ride spin fast enough that passers-by stop and point and say, "Wow, look how fast they're going!"

The other day we were at a graduation party. The house has a tiny kettle in the yard. (Maggie calls it a big pit.) A couple of my sons decided to roll down the hill. Oh, gosh! That looked like fun! So I did too. It was steep enough to get rolling really fast, and for a long way down. I finally came to a stop and lay at the bottom of the kettle, looking up at the trees spinning like crazy.

I discovered, though, that I don't have as much padding as I might. I've lost a lot of weight in the last year. And now there are two big bruises on my hips, from thump-thump-thumping down the hill. Still, the 60 seconds of dizziness was great. (And NO, I am not hoping for vertigo! A controlled and sought-after temporary dizziness from a carnival ride is altogether different from being stuck with persistent dizziness.)

Is this what comes from grown-ups tossing around a baby when she's little??? Not only am I not sickened by the spinning, but I love it. Come to think of it, most of my kids enjoy the dizziness, and they were swung around as babies too. Hmmmm, maybe I need to get a large government grant to study this....

The Nagging Habit

The plumber spent Wednesday morning fixing a plethora of leaks around here. Oh, what a wonderful man!! So when he's packing up his final tools, saying goodbye, and taking his leave, I (stupid never-quit-nagging mother that I am) ask if he's got all his tools, and want to go around the house checking all the spots where he might've left things. Oh good grief. Paul (the nice guy from church who is the plumber) told me kindly that he takes good care of his tools and doesn't have a problem leaving them places. Well, of course! Once he said it, it was obvious. Is this what comes from having a plumber a little older than my own kids, instead of older than me? I want to pester and take care of them and make sure they pick up their toys? Oh, what a dummy I am! But at least Paul was nice about my gaffs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Six Months

More than 17 years ago, Gary had made the decision to leave Wautoma. We were making our first trip to the new home, to visit, to check out the parsonage, to meet the people at Triune. I remember driving down the highway as we approached what would soon be our new home. I remember thinking about this new-to-us landscape, this unfamiliar territory, that someday these farms and fields and roads would signal, "We're almost home!"

It didn't come fast. It took a long long time before that place felt like home. Even after five years, I still thought with longing of the previous parsonage, considering that village and that house to be "home." (We'd lived in the first parsonage for less than 4 years.) When we would go upstate to the annual Wisconsin homeschool conference, we'd swing by the old stomping grounds, and still feel very much "at home" years later. By the time we'd been at the "new" place for about 10 years, I began to feel at home. The roads and farms nearby actually were a sign that we were approaching HOME.

That at-home feeling is coming much faster here. Already there is that deep & comfortable acknowledgment within me that we're "almost home" when we've gotten to within 10 minutes of the house. There's already an "out of place" feeling when I have to go back to the area around the old house for an errand, like this used to be my home. (However, I still am very mixed up in how I refer to which house as "home," going back and forth.)

Anyway, last Thursday when the septic was installed, the previous owner stopped by. (She was the one who contracted with the company who did the work.) It was nice to chat with her and find out that those trees weren't crab apples but were cherries, and when she planted the tulips, and where the garden used to be. But I also thought it was interesting that she's not settled and comfortable in her new home. It's been six months since they moved, and she's still thinking of this place as home. She's wishing they hadn't moved after all.

A couple of hours later, Pastor stopped by. He is a neighbor to the realtor we worked with. Back in March, the realtor would mention how exciting it was that we were moving and buying a house. I was always a little leery, feeling that we'd sort of been pushed into this decision. And then one time she acknowledged the unsettledness that can come from moving. She admitted that it took her six months before she began to feel like their new home (15 years ago) was actually "home." She said it was a gorgeous house, and that it was a wise decision as far as family needs and finances and many other things. But it was still harder on her emotionally than she thought the move should've been. When I mentioned that to Pastor, he couldn't quite figure it out; he thought it would be miiiighty easy to get used to his neighbor's very-nice house. :-)

So maybe this is a girl-thing. Maybe there's something about women and their homes and the attachment they have to those places. Regardless, I feel like maybe I'm a little ahead of the curve on this one, feeling settled faster than these other two women whose stories came up last Thursday, and much faster than I was after our previous move! I think that's why the decision of where to buy groceries yesterday seemed so BIG to me.

New Grocery Stores

I have been trying to finagle a time to get to Woodmans, and it's just not working out. It's so far away, and the gas is so expensive. So yesterday I gathered all my gumption and decided to do the shopping locally. I went to Aldi and got the "real" food (as opposed to majorly processed stuff which is most of what Aldi sells), and then I went to Walmart (sigh!) for the whole wheat flour and the real (not powdered) parmesan and a few other items. I also did some scouting to find out how prices compare and whether the stores even carried a few necessary-to-me items. I know Walmart is more expensive than Woodmans. But is it so much more expensive that it would counteract $12-13 worth of gas to Oak Creek?

I feel disloyal to Mr Woodman. I wonder how long it's going to take before they get that store built in the Falls?

Kombucha Nutrition

Janelle brought to my attention that the nutrition-factoid page I'd linked to previously has been abandoned. The information is no longer there. Bummers. So here is a website that tells what acids are in kombucha and all the different B vitamins in it (along with their specific health benefits). If I remember correctly (and I can't make any guarantees about that), the website that I'd linked to previously claimed that 8 ounces of kombucha provided about 20% of the daily requirements for B vitamins. Another website hawking kombucha claims that a half-pint has traces of protein, fat, and sodium, and about 25 calories,
1/5 from non-sugar carbohydrates
2/5 from fructose
2/5 from glucose
Of course, with home-made kombucha, there's really no sure way to tell what the nutrient content is. But we do know it's heavy in probiotics, enzymes, B's, and all that stuff about acids that I'm not scientific enough to understand.

(This will teach me to rely on using the world-wide web as a file cabinet. You never know when somebody else may come along and purge some files you wanted!)

And for a side comment: while hunting up "replacement information" on kombucha nutrition, I found an article on nutrition and detoxing and eating REAL foods. I didn't read it thoroughly, and I can see there's theology in there that I disagree with. But the lady has some good points with regard to health and nutrition. I really should try making beet kvass. It sounds disgusting, but I used to think carrot juice sounded disgusting, and it actually turned out to be quite sweet. (The sugars in carrots was why Atkins had them on the no-no list.)

Oh, Katie, I just want to point out: the reason you're not supposed to detox while pregnant is because you don't want to loose those deep-buried toxins for your body to deal with. Your body is doing enough work to build a healthy baby. If you're already used to some kombucha now and then, that should be fine. But if anyone you happen to be living with decides to Get Healthy (ahem) you shouldn't be going whole-hog with him.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Site-meter tells me that my 50,000th visitor was this afternoon. Wow! Thanks for reading, y'all. :-)

Online Bill Payment

Oh my goodness. Techno-phobe Extraordinaire (that'd be me, by the way) just signed up for online banking and paid a bill online for the first time ever. I got off the computer all shaky and nervous and flustered. But I did it. I bet I can do it again. Especially with the price of stamps these days. Oh, and the price of paper checks too.


I know there are people who freeze-dry their clothes on the clothesline all winter. But I don't want to be one of them! Frugality only goes so far, y'know! It's 50 whoppin' degrees out there, and it's cold to be handling those wet clothes. (Good thing it's summer and we have global warming. Just think how cold it'd be otherwise!)

Maybe I'll look at the electric bill when I resume use of the clothes-dryer next fall and maybe I'll feel compelled to hang clothes on the line in spite of the frigid temps. But right now I'm wondering how long it's going to take those t-shirts to dry today, anyhow. And I'm justifying the use of the clothes-dryer in winter by thinking of colds and immune systems and arthritic hands and other things I want to avoid messing with.

I think maybe, in the ancient days before clothes-dryers, when people had to hang their clothes on the line ALWAYS, they probably didn't do as much laundry during the winter as we do now. Don't you suppose they postponed a lot of it for spring cleaning?

And WHY am I talking about this at the END of MAY??? Aren't we supposed to be reveling in the perfect weather of 70s and 80s -- not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.... Hmmm?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Whatcha Gotta Do

This morning, while jogging, a neighbor (who was out working in his yard bright and early) commented that I sure am a very hard worker, out jogging every day. It caught me off-guard. I smiled and said briefly as I jogged past, "It's not hard work that does it. I need this to be able to breathe." He smiled and said, "Well, good for you to keep at it." And I kept on joggin' down the road.

And I thought for my last 3/4 mile about the assumptions we make. This man thought I was jogging because it was a good thing to do to exercise, or whatever. And it's not. I do it because I have to. If I don't do my running, I definitely can see the ramifications in both my breathing and my mood. And it's cheaper and has fewer side effects than medications for the same problems.

And I thought about the story I read yesterday (and totally identified with) about the young moms admiring other young moms who have it all together, without a clue that the ones who "have it all together" really really don't and are just acting out of desperation.

And I remembered when my friend Laura thought it was so cool (and was maybe just a mite jealous) that I was all by myself in the house for a couple of days, kids and husband at Grandma's while I painted a few rooms and hauled stuff off to Goodwill. She thought it sounded like a great organization-break from regular life. And all the while I was falling to pieces, trying to figure out how I was going to cope with Baby#7 and where this kid's crib could possibly fit in the house. Thus the purge of belongings to Goodwill. And the early nesting instinct, knowing that there was going to be a LOT of work involved in making space for that baby. (Most of you know us to have six kids. The one in this story was my first miscarriage.)

I have had other homeschool moms make comments about how much catechism or hymnody my children and I have memorized. Sometimes I get the impression they think I'm a dedicated mother who is holy and spiritual and knows her priorities and all that stuff, and thus does [did] a great job of catechizing children. And it's not that. It's much more about being in a situation I can't cope with, neeeeeding God's word to see me through, and therefore devotions is born out of my selfishness rather than proper vocational duty.

I suppose it's nice that the neighbor this morning admired my supposed "hard work." I guess that's putting the best construction on things. And I think we all do that. We admire the hard work and the coping skills of others. The only danger is when we beat ourselves up with thinking, "Why can't I do that too?" Because sometimes things are not what they appear. Today's [3-year] Gospel: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Maybe you don't want the conditions that impel somebody to DO the things you're admiring???