Thursday, January 29, 2009

Medical Meets Creative

#3 daughter asked about her guitar this morning. By then, I was able to tell her that it had been recovered.

She's a writer, plays guitar, is right-handed, and her right arm will be in a cast for the next two months. From her knuckles to roughly a third of the way from her elbow to her shoulder.

She's wondering what she's going to be doing, until the cast comes off. My son has offered to type for her: a touching offer, but I'm not sure how well that would work out. I'm sure that #3 daughter will think of some solution.

Picking Up the Pieces: Literally

I've found the towing company that took care of this family's van. They're in Alexandria, about 20 miles up the road. And, I'll be leaving the van there for at least a few days: the odds are that an insurance adjuster will want to see it.

My wife tells me that the van is noticeably shorter now, than it was yesterday at this time.

The good news is that #3 daughter's backpack and guitar aren't in the van - and we know where they are. The guitar's in a soft case, and stands up when leaned against the wall, so I'm hoping that it's relatively undamaged.

Now, I've got to work out how to recover what we still have inside the vehicle, and what to do with what I suspect is now more a source for spare parts, than a repairable vehicle. That'll take time. And, I've been assured that there will be forms to fill out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home Again

My wife and #3 daughter got home a little after 9:00, thanks to a good neighbor. My son was quite relieved to see that they were in fairly good shape.

#3 daughter's right arm is in a cast from her fingers to above the elbow, and in a sling. My wife's got a neck brace on, but for the most part, they're okay: and home.

For which I am very grateful.

Good Neighbors

We've got good neighbors. Someone was willing to drive to Alexandria and back to pick my wife and #3 daughter up. If all goes well, they'll be back in a little less than an hour.

More or less.

I'll sure be glad to see them.

Now, I'd better make sure that I have a meal ready. They haven't eaten since noon: and it's 8:20 in the evening now.

Things to do at Home, and Where's the Van?

Next time we're involved in an accident like this, I'll know: the reporting officer gave my wife all information about where the van was being towed to - and she has the sheet with her.

I've spoken with her: she's very sore, but nothing's broken. On the other hand, her head and neck's in a brace. Just precautionary, I understand: but a worry just the same.

Now, I'd better get back and help our son set up a fold-out couch for the ladies to use when they get home. God willing, and if I can arrange transportation, they're coming home tonight.

Breaking the Tension or Being a Twit: You Decide

While telling our son what little I knew about my wife and #3 daughter's condition, and the accident, I decided that a little humor might help ease the tension.

So, I said, in an exasperated, worried, tone, "who will feed me?!"

Our son gave me an odd look, paused, and said, "that's worthy of Garfield."

Still no word on, from, or about the ladies.

Wednesday: Another Day, and a Traffic Accident

My wife and #3 daughter were in Osakis, for a guitar lesson. From the time I got the call, my guess is that they were on their way home when another vehicle hit the van.

The highway patrol called, with the news, and let me know that the ladies were on their way to the hospital in Alexandria. And, naturally enough, assumed that I'd be driving up to see them.

One little detail: My wife's car, and #3 daughter's are currently a sort of lawn sculpture south of the driveway, with a medium snow cover over them. I think that the ladies have the keys with them: and in any event, the two cars have to be pried apart before either is driven. Nothing serious, but the side of one is pressed rather firmly into the side of the other.

My wife has a plan for getting them apart, and I think I know what it is - but it'll require that we have one or both sets of keys here.

One more thing: they've been sitting there so long, that I'm not at all convinced that either of them will run. Those batteries could be drained by now.

Good news: it doesn't look like either of their injuries are particularly serious. But, they're still being checked out

Now, to see what I can do about feeding myself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday: We're Getting a "New" Van

Yesterday, after picking up some groceries, my wife told me that we were getting a new van. What she actually said was, "we're getting a new car," but since "car" is used as a term for any vehicle that isn't a truck, and since she had been driving the van, I knew what she meant.

Where was I?

Right. We're getting a new car. Van, actually. In fact, I doubt that it'll be new: 'previously owned' vehicles work just as well, as a rule, don't cost as much, and generally have the same maintenance costs as new ones.

I'll be starting to take a look around (online) later today, to see what sort of thing is available in our area, and get an idea of what prices are like. We'll probably have to spend more than the $500 or so that #3 daughter's car cost, but I don't want to be a spendthrift, either.

My son's making a contraption in the living room - but that's a topic for another post.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday: I'm Still Taller than My Son

My son and I compared heights this morning, a few minutes ago. We were in the kitchen, standing back-to-back. My wife handed us a letter-writing tablet, which we set across our heads: and she declared that I was still taller, by a little bit.

We'll try this again next week, I think: It shouldn't be too long, now, before he pops up another half-inch or so.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Night: Videophone Call and Productive Coughs

My son and I forgot to compare heights today: I'll try to catch him before he leaves for school tomorrow.

After a four-day quarter break, school starts again tomorrow. And we've been getting ready for next year, when my son starts home schooling. He and #3 daughter got a study area set up in the southwest corner of the family room.

My wife insisted, since otherwise she'd have to be going down and up the basement stairs to help him with his work. He's going to be making considerable use of the computer that was in the basement, you see.

Right now, the keyboard is partly on an arm of the couch, and the mousepad hangs over the edge of a small table, but the arrangement works. And, my son assures me that he'll be making it better.

We got a call from #2 daughter and her boyfriend-now-fiance this evening.

They're having a fine time down in Louisiana. And, thanks to her young man's technical abilities, it was a videophone call - one way, that is. He had a camera with his laptop, and was able to take us around part of his parent's place. And, #2 daughter could show us her engagement ring.

And, she, #3 daughter, and my wife, all discussed the upcoming wedding.

All in all, a special visit.

#2 daughter's young man told us about (free) software that will let us have a camera at this end, too. My son found the spare webcam in the basement and got it set up this evening. By now, he's probably got the software installed, and is ready to go.

He stayed home this evening, while my wife and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do. He's had the bug I've got. He's getting over it, and we decided he'd better take it easy - to make sure he does.

The bug I have may finally be on its way out. It's acted like a cold, pretty much, and has gone from the feeling-awful stage, through dry coughs, to the rather annoying point where my lungs are doing some heavy housekeeping. My coughs have been what's euphemistically called "productive" today.

I'm looking forward to being bug-free next week. Maybe even tomorrow. But, if I'm going to do that, I've got to get sleep: starting rather soon.


Friday, January 23, 2009

My Son's Growing, a Fender-Bender, and Sleep

My son and I stood back-to-back last weekend, and discovered that he's only slightly less tall than I am. We'll try it again, Saturday or Sunday. At the rate he's been growing, he may be taller than I am by now.

He's looking forward to that. So am I, for that matter.

He's enjoying a four-day weekend: an end-of-quarter break, I'm told. He's making use of the time, developing a browser - debugging it as he goes along. It looks pretty good, I think. And, by the time he's done, it'll work, too.

Earlier this week, my wife pointed out to me that I need about eight hours a day, no matter what tasks I have on my to-do list. Taking a look at the way I've been feeling, I realized that she was right.

No surprises there.

I've been doing my own blogging and other writing/modeling, plus work for another party. And, discovering that I can't 'push the envelope' of how long my body will put up with long hours, the way I could thirty years ago.

No surprises there, either.

So, I've cut back on my own work, and what I'm doing on the side, and putting in my eight hours.

What an amazement! I feel better, more refreshed, and (possibly) a little smarter.

Now, if I can just shake this bug that likes me so much. It's nothing serious, but it has been persistent. I think regular sleep, in adequate amounts, will help a lot. Actually, I'm quite certain of it.

Roads around the area have been slick in spots: and #1 daughter was in a fender-bender yesterday. Nobody was hurt, and her car wouldn't have been badly damaged, if the airbags hadn't popped the windshield out.

As it is, she's in the process of getting her car repaired, and finding alternate ways of getting to classes.

My wife and #3 daughter are over at my father-in-law's, visiting one of my wife's brothers and his kids. My guess is that they're having a fine time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of Homework, Friends, and a Rabbit

My son went back to school today, his friends were glad to see him, and he's still got a lot of homework to catch up on. He spent the afternoon, after school, with one of his friends.

That didn't help him get caught up on his homework, but I don't mind all that much. He started working on the accumulated assignments yesterday, and put in a goodly amount of time. And, he had this evening to spend on homework, too.

He and I read Garfield from the website, as is our routine before his bedtime.

#1 daughter had called earlier. She, or, rather, her rabbit, had made a little girl's day. The girl, probably around five years old, had been wanting to see Giol when she visited her grandmother. Each time she came, though, #1 daughter's car hadn't been there. Until today.

The little girl was delighted with Giol, and petted him for quite a while. Giol, understandably, wasn't as pleased with the situation, but took it quietly. Of course, rabbits take just about everything quietly. They're far from the loudest of animals.

Anyway, the little girl, who hadn't said a word to #1 daughter, enjoyed Giol until her grandmother decided that the rabbit had had enough. Then the girl ran down the hall, crying, 'Daddy! I petted the bunny!'

As #1 daughter said to me, 'then she talked!'

And now, I've got to get some sleep.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Minnesota Winter, and the Furnace is Fixed!

Sometime between 5 and 6 this afternoon, the furnace started generating heat: after about seven and a half days of being on the fritz. Right now, it's a delightful 75 degrees at the keyboard.

We don't normally keep it so warm, this time of year, but one of the technicians told us to set the thermostat up there for some time, to 'let the carbon burn out.' I must admit, I don't mind following that advice. This is the first time since Monday last that I haven't felt at least chilly.

The furnace isn't actually fixed, quite: there are still parts that haven't come in, but the techs installed a few things that will work well enough until the correct equipment shows up.

From what I saw, the part that had failed - spectacularly - was a sort of heat exchanger. The region that's visible without tearing the furnace apart looked fine. The rest resembled a sort of mechanical version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

The techs told us that they've been replacing this unit in quite a few homes around here. Which probably explains why it wasn't to be found in Alexandria or St. Cloud. Thankfully, a place in the Twin Cities had it in stock.

Apparently we came out of this rather well. Some families waited around a month and a half for the right parts to show up.

A fixed furnace featured rather prominently in our prayers of thanks tonight.

Minnesota Winter and No Furnace: Day Eight, Second Entry

It's four in the afternoon, and about a half hour ago a technician started work on the furnace. The part had arrived. And, since then, so have some others that were needed.

I like to think that, before the day is over, we'll have warm air coming through the vents. It got up to 61 here at the keyboard, but that's only comparatively warm. #3 daughter handed me a scarf to wrap around my neck today. It's a real help in keeping warm.

Minnesota Winter and No Furnace: Day Eight

This morning it was two below outside, 53 above at my computer, and a balmy 59 in the kitchen.

I am sincerely looking forward to getting the furnace fixed.


It is now barely 56 at the keyboard, and I wish to make this perfectly clear:

I want to look at a thermometer and see a number that's higher than my age.

I want to see the family huddling together as an affectionate gesture, not as a heat-conservation tactic.

I want that furnace fixed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Minnesota Winter and No Furnace: Day Seven

#1 daughter returned to Alexandria today. I enjoyed having her and her rabbit around for the holidays. I think she liked being here, although it has got to feel good to be in a building with central heating again.

We still don't have a working furnace. The needed part may come tomorrow. Or, on the other hand, it may not. This week has reminded me just how nice it is to have a functioning furnace: particularly during a Minnesota January.

My wife and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do practice tonight. Happily, they were able to use the path they'd cleared earlier today, for #1 daughter's car, to get out themselves.

My son didn't go with them: he's got the bug that's been hopping between members of the family lately. My fever is higher than my son's today - not that we're being competitive about it.

#2 daughter is still down in Louisiana, where she'll be for a couple of months. She's started work as a music teacher there. And, just to keep things interesting, she got a cold.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Minnesota Winter and No Furnace: Day Six

The sky and ground are the same glowing gray as more snow sifts onto an already-lush, pallid, blanket. Headlights of cars pass like sparks in this quiet mid-afternoon.

Quiet, but not silent. In each inhabited room of my house, electric heaters whoosh or hum, lending localized warmth and comfort.

The furnace is still out.

The needed part didn't come Friday, or today: Maybe next week.

I'm rather looking forward to that.

Still, it could be worse: it's almost 40 degrees warmer outside now, than it was earlier in the week.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Minnesota Winter and No Furnace: Day Four

The furnace still isn't fixed, but the kitchen got up to 66 degrees today. Of course, it was a lot warmer: up to the mid-twenties around noon, and only down to roughly zero now.

There was a bit of excitement yesterday, when the part needed for the furnace came. Make that "a part." I thought there was just one on its way, but when the technician came, we discovered that this was the small package. The other one will be about the size of the kitchen trash basket: ours is about two and a half feet tall.

The technician is a nice guy: he assured us that he'd call to make sure that, if the part was back-ordered, one was shipped from an alternative source. He said that he'd call later, when he had news, and showed up at the door, instead.

I'm hoping that the remaining part(s) arrive tomorrow.

#1 daughter took that photo yesterday, of me working at the 'main' computer. It looks like I'm cozy: but between the bug that's settled down in me for a long stay, and my hands being distinctly below their optimal operating temperature, I haven't been as perky as I'd prefer.

#1 daughter brought her rabbit, giol, with her: he's endeared himself to us, when he isn't getting into an area where he's not wanted. I took a picture of him on a kitchen chair a few minutes ago. By now, he's gotten off the chair several times, and given my son and #1 daughter some exercise, recovering him.
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