Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quieter Week

It has been a significantly quieter week than the previous one I blogged about for two reasons. First of all, there were far less disasters to deal with and secondly, Ike is gone to camp...that makes it REALLY quiet.

We took him up Sunday afternoon, north of Deer Park for a week at Bible camp. He was very excited & raring to go. He makes new friends very easily so should have a fabulous week. He will be riding home Friday with the mother of one of the other kids that went.

Kaittlin made it back from her two week hiatus very tanned & ready to get back to work. She has worked everyday since she got back. She had a very productive throwing camp & enjoyed Bible camp very much.

Cassidy has been splitting her time between here and Plummer at Papa's house...her favorite place to go.

I am off work the rest of the week. I will be having a yard sale on Friday & Saturday & hope to earn enough money to buy a new kitchen table and chairs. I hate having yard sales & after the last one I vowed to take my things to the local senior citizen's thrift shop as soon as I had a box full...well, now I have a garage full!!! I am trying to get more organized so hopefully this one will be my last! :)

Mike still has not figured out what is wrong with his pick has him stumped! In addition, we are looking hard at trading in our mini van...I think for a NON mini van this time! We are plugging along in that process...maybe by next week I will have a new (used) vehicle.

Tonight & tomorrow on the agenda I will be getting my stuff ready for the yard sale...I probably won't post until next week again.

Have a great one!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WOW!!! What a week!

Well, the past week and a half has been busy, interesting, and at times, a not-so-funny comedy of errors. Let me explain...

About 2 weeks ago my Check Engine light came on in my minivan. Mike checked the oil, the gas cap, and all the other things that he could think of that would cause this and couldn't find anything wrong. The van appeared to be running fine, just the light was on. As a precaution we only drove it in town when necessary. After a couple days when it didn't appear it was going to fix itself, we took the car to a local auto shop here. After putting it on their diagnostic computer they determined that the light was triggered by a sensor in the exhaust system...either something was wrong with the exhaust system or the sensor was bad. They felt that it was probably still covered under our warranty so didn't mess with it.

Mike called Dishman Dodge and spoke with someone there. He agreed that the problem was a warranty issue as well and they made an appointment to have it fixed last Thursday. So on Wednesday night Mike's dad came and traded me cars. He took the van to Dishman, received a loaner car, and spent the day doing errands in Spokane. When he went back to pick it up they told him that they had actually found two things that were causing the light to come one. One of them was a warranty issue and the other one cost $350 to fix!!! Of course, it was one of those things that had to be fixed to avoid damage to the car!

The day before Mike and I had just discussed how we had managed to overspend on our flooring project leaving us a little "lean" in the financial area. Also the day before Mike had visited the credit union where we keep our very meager savings account and nearly emptied it to get cash for his week long trip to Boise this week (most of his expenses are reimbursable, but the reimbursement will not arrive for 30-60 days). So, the $350 bill had to be put on the credit card, ugh!!!

Car fixed, now ready for All Star baseball games in Coeur d'Alene. Having to drive there three days in a row and paying for that gas was not something we were looking forward to so we drove the van, which gets the best gas mileage, the first two days. The final day, Sunday, we decided to take Mike's pickup to Plummer and load up some landscaping block that Mike's dad was getting rid of. Then we would take his car from there to Coeur d'Alene.

Halfway up PeeDee hill the pickup starting making some weird clicking noises. By the time we got to the top of the hill it was blowing TONS of white smoke and trying to cut out unless he kept the accelerator pegged. When we got to flat ground it seemed to improve a little so he decided that he would try to limp it into Plummer (another couple miles) and look at it there. But on the next hill climb it did the same thing, except this time the smoke was black. He decided to pull over and as soon as he let off the gas the pickup died. It wouldn't start again.

While we were there trying to figure out what was wrong some friends of ours from Plummer drove by on their way to church. They stopped, offered some suggestions and encouragement, then headed into town, but not before offering to trailer the pickup back to St. Maries if need be. We called Mike's dad and he came and picked us up.

Mike had a suspicion he knew what part was possibly causing the problem, so when we got to Cd'A we headed to Schuck's to buy said part (did I mention that we are kinda broke right now?!?). Then we went to the game.

After the game, back to Plummer, and install the new part on the pickup on the side of the road. Got it installed, attempted to start the pickup....NOPE, apparently that wasn't what was wrong! So we had to call our friends, Walter and Denise, and take them up on their offer to load up the pickup on their trailer and pull it back to St. Maries. Of course, this got us home at about 9:30pm, which was too late for Mike to mow the lawn and for us to get some of the clothes washed that he needed to pack as he left early the next morning. Oh yeah, and when we were getting out of Walter's pickup in our driveway, I heard Mike's cell phone (one of those Palm Treo smart phones that are so FRAGILE) hit the ground and break into several pieces....I didn't even ask!

It was one of those weeks that makes my stomach hurt and my hair turn gray(er), but there were some definite blessings hidden in there as well. Let me list them for you (it makes me feel so much better about the situation)...
*at least ONE of the items wrong with the car were covered under warranty
*we had recently talked about looking into trading in the car...this got it past the talking stage, now we are looking
*we were not running late on Sunday. Had the pickup broken down when we were running late on Saturday Ike would have likely missed the warm up part of his game.
*the pickup made it to a great spot when it died. The field access on the side of the road where it stopped had enough room for the pickup and Walter's pickup and trailer when we were loading it.
*when we left the pickup by the side of the road we were concerned because Mike did not have his key with him to lock his tool box in the bed of the pickup. No one touched his tools.
*we got the pickup loaded and ready to go just as the heavy farm equipment arrived needing to use the field access that we had been parked in all day.
*Walter and Denise...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Mike left for Boise first thing Monday morning, we could not have left it there for a week.

I feel better already! :)

In addition to the fiasco part of the last week, I do need to say that the All Star games were absolutely FABULOUS!

Friday night we played Lewiston. Lewiston baseball is notorious for being very skilled, as their good weather permits them to start practice in the late winter months, rather than late spring like us. It was an evening game and the weather was great. The game started out as many people expected. Going into the top of the third inning we were behind 10-1 (at this level the boys play 6 innings, however after 4 innings if one team is ahead 10 or more points the game is over). Then our boys kicked it into gear. We started hitting the ball well, pitching well, capitalizing on mistakes made by the other team, and playing really good defense. We battled back and lost the game, after 6 innings, 12-11! It was such an exciting game. It was interesting to watch the teams and crowds leave the field at the end. Lewiston, the winners, were quiet and dejected looking. St. Maries looked like they had won the World Series.

Saturday was Ike's 11th birthday...can you believe it?!? We were running late that morning, but managed to get him there just in time. After the game we set up one of those pop up shelters near the field and cooked hot dogs for the boys and their families. It was fun, the team loved it, and clean up was so much easier than if you have a birthday party at your house!!! They played Timberlake that day and won was kind of a boring game, but Ike played really well. In fact, he even got his name in the Coeur d'Alene paper the next day. He popped out once, and got a single, double, and a triple (another one of those that was just feet from clearing the fence).

Sunday was the fateful broken truck day. But baseball went well. We played Coeur d'Alene. We jumped out ahead early, but Cd'A kept battling back. It was extremely close the whole game, but we ended up winning by 1 point I think. Ike had an interesting game, a bad tag and two bad throws (by him) scored for the other team 3 different times...but he evened it out with two great plays at the plate and two more REALLY long hits! He also got beat up pretty bad, he was hit by 2 pitches while catching and another while batting. They ended up taking third place in the tournament, which was a very good showing considering the competition.

Mike left for Boise on Monday morning and I had to spend the day yesterday at our location in Pullman, Washington so Ike and Cassidy stayed in Plummer for a couple days (Kaittlin is still at camp) so I have been "home alone". Although it is weird to not have anyone there it is kind of nice to have a little peace and quiet...I have not gotten nearly as much done as I would have liked, though.

That's the update for now. I am hoping for a much quieter second half of July! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy 4th of July

It has been a crazy couple weeks since my last post. Let me try to catch you all up.

Cassidy returned home from her trip to Washington DC, Philadelphia, & New York City safe, sound, & sleepy! :) She had a fabulous time & in true Cassidy fashion spent all of her spending money...mostly on gifts for other people! Having had two children attend this trip now, I was amazed at how different kids enjoy different parts of the trip. Kaittlin's favorite parts of the same trip were the Holocaust section of the Smithsonian, dinner at an Amish community in Pennsylvania, & the Empire State Building. Cassidy's favorite parts were Mt. Vernon, the changing of the guards at Arlington, & shopping in NYC.

Cassidy has been busy "friend hopping" since she got home. She has spent the night with several friends, went on a boat ride to see fireworks, & put up babysitting flyers in hopes of earning some money this summer.

When Kaittlin was hired at the city pool this summer she was told that they were cutting back hours of all the lifeguards & they would likely only work about 20 hours per week. So she set off in search of a second job. It is difficult to find a job in St. Maries that is willing to work around a teenager's school, sports, activity schedule and even more difficult to find one that is also willing to work around another job. Both she & I originally avoided her applying at the store where I work for several reasons. But, finally she decided to apply there. She was hired in our Subway/Deli department & worked both jobs for several weeks.

She found that she was enjoying working at Subway very much & her manager offered her more hours several times. She began having some problems at the pool with one of her supervisors & decided that she would leave their employment & accept the offer of more hours at the store. She has been very happy since then, working nearly 40 hours every week. She now has spending money, is very close to having 1/2 of her letterman's jacket paid for, & is putting a significant amount into her bank account for college.

Yesterday we took her to Spokane for the Ironwood Thrower's Camp which is held on the Whitworth College campus. This is the largest track throwing camp in the United States & Kaittlin won a scholarship to go there. We got her checked in & helped her move all of her things into one of the dorm rooms. It was kind of surreal following her into a college dorm, packing all of her things, & leaving her there. Wow! Two more years...hard to imagine. She called last night & texted me earlier today. It sounds like she is having a fabulous time. The camp gets over on Friday. We will be driving up to see her & talk to some of the instructors. But she will be leaving with a friend from Bonners Ferry who she met several years ago at church camp & who also throws & is attending Ironwood. She & Alisha will head to Bonners where she will spend the weekend, then they will go to church camp from there. She will be home on the 18th.

Ike has been busy swimming at the pool, riding his bike, & going to All Star baseball practice. Last weekend he was asked to be a ball boy for the American Legion wood bat tournament. He worked ALL day, both days of the weekend & was tired & dirty when he came home, but I think he had a great time.

This weekend we had our first 2 All Star baseball games. On Saturday we played Sandpoint in Coeur d'Alene (all of the games are in Cd'A this year). Ike was the catcher for the whole game & hit a VERY LONG triple of which he was quite proud. The game was a good one & we won 13-2. Yesterday after dropping Kaittlin off at camp we made a mad dash from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene to see his second game. Thank God for Papa (Mike's dad) who drove Ike to Cd'A so that both of us could drop off Kaittlin. We got there just in time to see Ike hit for the first time. He was the catcher during this entire game as well. He had a good sacrafice out, a great tag at home, & a really long stretch to make an out at home. The boys played well, but lost this game 8-2. There was also some questionable calls by the umpires, but I don't believe that is what lost them the game.

Next weekend we have games on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, & Sunday afternoon. Ike's birthday is on Saturday so we will likely provide some type of treat for the team after the game to help celebrate that. I don't know what I am going to get him for his birthday, but may put off the "party" until later in the month so that we can possibly attend a Spokane Indians game.

Mike & I have been busy trying to finish our new flooring in the upstairs of our house. The floor is in, but we have the pesky "finish work" to do...molding, stair treads, etc. We have another coat of paint to put up in the top half of our stairway, stair treads to stain, polyurathene, & install on the top part of the stairs, flooring to lay on the landing, paint on the bottom part of the stairs, then pulling out the carpet on the bottom part of the stairs, & stain, polyurathene, & install stair treads on the bottom part of the stairs. After that there will be some minor molding & then we are done with that project! Whew!

I have also been trying to get the garage cleaned out & get ready for a yard sale. This weekend I got half way through 3 stacks of boxes (floor to ceiling) in the garage that have been there since we moved!!!

All of that & throw in a couple weddings, a visit from my VERY good friends from North Dakota, a baby shower & you can see that it has been a very eventful several weeks. I will try to do better about posting more often...that way I can make the posts shorter! It is hard to get computer time at home when I am not absolutely exhausted. Sometimes I can get a chance to post during my lunch hour at work, but it has been busy there as well & I find that I get interrupted so much that it is useless!

More later....probably after this weekend of baseball games...unless I get lucky!!!