Saturday, July 31, 2004

Can you have a pimped out family car?

I'm thinking you can, because that's what our van is turning into. A couple days after we bought it, we had Sirius satellite radio put in it. One more remote control for the car (the DVD player already has one). And now Jeff has discovered that he can hook up the Playstation to the DVD screen & play video games. Oh my gosh. This is going to be one long drive back to CA in December because Jeff will be in the backseat, watching movies & playing video games. I will be driving the whole way.
All of these upgrades, of course, are making our van the coolest way to be driven around campus. Jeff says the students he works with fight over who gets to sit in the backseat & watch a DVD with the wireless headphones that came with the car. What's kinda sad is the movie that's in there right now is "Finding Nemo". If they found out they could play video games in there, they'd never get out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Plans change

Especially when they involve my husband. I love him to death, but sometimes he gets on tangents and won't stop until someone's head is on a pike. But, I will give him credit, this time his tirade worked out.
We had put a deposit on the white Honda Odyssey over a week ago. We had been told that it would be delivered by the end of last week. Well that came & went. We actually went down to the dealer on Saturday & they told us that it would be delivered, for sure, the next day, and they would call us on Monday to come pick it up. Well by around noon yesterday no one had called, so we started calling them. The salesman we had dealt with in the beginning didn't answer the pages to come to the phone, nor did he call me back when I left him a message (to his defense, he apparently had gotten his stereo in his car stolen & had been dealing with that all morning). So we ended up calling the finance guy, even though we already had a check to give them and weren't in need of any financing. He told me that the car wasn't delivered the previous day & would get back to me. Jeff had finally had enough & called them to ask them how we could get out of the deal, because he was tired of all the lies & broken promises, and we were going somewhere else. Now, mind you, the people there had told us repeatedly that there were NO Odyssey EX's with the DVD player ON THE LOT at any dealership in the state of Michigan. Nor were any dealership expecting them, because Honda wasn't making the 2004 model anymore. Only "premium" dealerships were going to get the last few & of course, THEY were one of them. And I, being the kind of person I am, believed them. Jeff, being the kind of person he is, didn't. We called 2 other dealerships in MI, one in Grand Rapids, about 90 miles away, and one is Okemos, about 70 miles away. Jeff had told the first dealership that if the other ones didn't have anything, that we would wait for theirs to be delivered. The one in Grand Rapids had one that had just been delivered on Friday, and it was the light blue, called Havasu Blue. We were cool with that, because it was better than the white. Jeff rambled off the numbers that the other dealership had aggreed upon and asked them if they could meet or beat that. They said yes, so we were off to Grand Rapids. Once we got there, and examined the van to make sure it had everything we wanted, we said ok let's do it & Jeff called the first dealership to let them know that the deal was off. They were less than thrilled to say the least. So, we got our van, in Havasu blue. It's pretty cool, and Emma loves the DVD. She had even brought a movie with her to watch on the way home. I am definitely learning that a van handles a lot different than a Civic, though. But we're really happy with it. Now all I have to do is go & get our money back from the first dealership. They had cashed our check, even though the car hadn't come in yet. So now we get to go get a check from them, and mail it to Wells Fargo and wait a week for that to process. Not fun.
On another note, Emma found out that we have a spray nozzle on our kitchen sink. She decided to hand wash my coffee cup this morning (she loves to wash dishes), and I showed her how to use the spray nozzle. Her eyes got really big & she went "Oooooohhhhh". It's very cool to her.
So now we have our new van with the nifty dual sliding doors that can be opened & closed via a remote. It's nice not to have to stoop over to put Sarah into the car. And now that Emma can fasten her own seatbelt, I feel a little more free when it comes time to put the kids in the car.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Dude, where's my car?

We were pretty excited about this weekend because we were anticipating going to go pick up our brand new, barely off the truck, has approximately 1 mile on it, van. We got approved through Navy Federal Credit Union for a new car loan, at a really good interest rate, WITHOUT needing a co-signer, which is a first for us. We didn't have to deal with the dealership ruining our credit by going all over town, trying to get a loan for us. Jeff had haggled for a decent price on the van (the dealership's only getting $200 over invoice), and we were getting a pretty good trade-in value for our Civic. We were on top of the world. Then the other shoe dropped - our van wasn't going to be delivered on time. It was scheduled to be there by Friday, it was on the delivery invoice & everything, but something happened that prevented it from getting there. We were so bummed. We even thought that maybe the dealership was just yanking our chain for some reason & our car was actually already there. Maybe they were upset at the fact that they hadn't taken us for a ride on the price of the car & weren't getting much out of us, so they decided to hold our car for ransom until next week. But that seemed silly (but we took a ride down there today, for an unrelated reason, & checked it out anyway). So, here we are, van-less. Emma was upset, not because of the van itself, but because of the DVD player. Everywhere we went, she asked about the "car with the TV in it". Something tells me we're not going to be able to go to the grocery store without watching 5 minutes of a movie on the way there. I know we're just whining about the van not being here when we thought it was going to be. Our Civic isn't on it's last legs, we aren't without reliable transportation. But gosh darnit, we want our nifty van. You know the feeling when you're looking forward to something new, that whatever you have at the present time just starts to seem less than what it is? Our Civic is in good condition, it runs great, it looks good. But when we've got that new van in our minds, and we know how it looks, it just seems better than what we have, and we want it now. We're spoiled people, I will admit. We remind me of this woman on this new Fox show called "Trading Spouses". The concept seemed really bad to me when I first heard of it, but I watched most of it anyway. The two women who traded places for about a week, were one completely spoiled rich housewife, who has 2 kids, and a mother-in-law who lives with them, who does all the cleaning & cooking. She had a gorgeous huge house, with a closet the size of my bedroom and it seemed she didn't really spend all that much time with her children. The other woman was a married working mom of 3 kids, and their family was definitely "working class". They traded places & the first thing that set me off about this rich woman, was that she thought the husband of the other woman, who had come to pick her up, was a member of the crew of the show. I'm wondering if it had to do with the fact that the husband was black, and she was white. He was dressed very casually, and maybe, to her, that was a clue that he couldn't possibly be the person she was supposed to meet. She seemed less than impressed with the family's house, and she seemed to be very put off by the fact that the family drank instant coffee, and wouldn't even drink it. She didn't seem to want to help with dishes or cleaning. And she wanted the husband, and in fact TOLD him, to go pick up something for lunch because she wasn't "in the mood to make lunch". She just seemed very uncooperative. The other woman, on the other hand, was helping out at the rich woman's house, playing with her kids, bonding with her mother-in-law and generally being a good sport about everything. I'm sure it had a little to do with the environment she was in. It was definitely more luxurious than her own house, but I know it had a LOT to do with her character. She was appreciative of everything she had & didn't take it for granted. The other woman just seemed really spoiled & selfish. She even said something to the effect of,"Maybe I should spend this kind of quality time with MY kids." It just made me very upset, but I suppose, when you're used to one type of situation, whether it's financial or otherwise, anything else is very foreign, especially if it's something lower than you're used to. I know my life is a lot better than other people's. I don't need to boil water before I drink it, I know where my next meal is coming from, and I have a roof over my head & a soft bed to sleep in. My children aren't begging on the street or dying from some disease that is preventable. There are people in this world who that is a reality for, but I am not one of them. So, I realize that my whining about not getting our new van is just that, whining.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hurray for handymen

We finally got our garage door opener & towel/toilet paper bars installed yesterday. I might have to ask to put another towel bar up, though, because the one's our landlord bought are really short in length. About 1 1/2 towels are all that will fit on them. That might work for the girls' bathroom that they share, but not for Jeff & I, since I alone use 2 towels when I take a shower.
It's very nice to be able to drive into the garage without physically having to get out of the car, & opening up the door manually. A lot easier. I feel better now about driving Jeff to work in the morning in my pj's and not having to go outside to get into the car. I know that's lazy, but right now, I cherish sleep over fashion, and it's much easier to just get up & go rather than getting fully dressed just to drive him 3 miles away & come right back.
We had a freaky sudden rain storm yesterday. I hadn't seen it coming & left one of the windows down in the car. When it started pouring, I realized that the inside of the car was going to get soaked, and ran outside really quick to shut the window. I was out in the rain maybe a total of 10 seconds, but by the time I got back into the house, I was drenched. These Midwestern storms are no joke. And the humidity after it ended was bad, like walking into a sauna every time we went outside. But there was a gorgeous rainbow so I guess that made up for it.
I finished Sarah's room yesterday. Well "finished" is a loaded word. I guess the correct thing for me to say should be that you can now walk into her room & not trip over anything. If it were truly finished, her crib would be painted & set up, and she'd be sleeping in there. But alas, that is not the case. She's still sleeping in the basinette in our room. She's still waking up once during the night (it usually ranges from 4-7 am) and I don't feel like walking upstairs to go get her. I'm starting to think the idea of keeping both girls on the same floor (that's different from the one we're on) was not such a good thing, but it's too late to change it now. Plus, I know Jeff loves having his office down here, rather than upstairs. So, we'll deal with whatever has to happen once Sarah gets into her own room.
So now I just need to get the rest of the house straightened up. It's coming along nicely, I think. Everything's pretty much out of boxes & bags, it's just put in piles somewhere else until I can figure out where everything goes. We also need storage, because that's something this house lacks. No linen closets. We have a "closet" that could be used for linens & other things, but we have no shelves to put things on. So that's on our long list of stuff we need. Or should I say "want" cause we could live without some of the things on the list, but life would be a lot easier with them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Online shopping

I'm up after midnight because I was trying to take advantage of the "Free shipping" in the Fall & Winter JCPenney catalog. We need something to put on our windows so we can change in our bedroom without worrying about people looking in on us. I know that mini blinds are way too expensive & they probably wouldn't transfer well to another house, what with windows not all being the same width. So I decided on cheap roller shades. I didn't even get the kind with the pretty fringe on the ends. Just the plain old white roller shades. But I'm going to be putting pretty valances & curtains over them, so it will make them look better. We're only in this house for 2 years, anyways. I bought a valance for the kitchen window & Sarah's window the other day. Now I'm on the prowl for some white eyelet curtains for Emma's room and something manly for Jeff's office. That leaves our room & the living room, but I think I'm going to wait a little longer to get something for those rooms. I have no idea what I want in them.
This house seems to be coming together. Hopefully we'll have our garage door opener all set up tomorrow, along with the towel bars & toilet paper holders. We got the A/C fixed yesterday, I think. It's been cooler in the house, so I guess that means it's working. And Jeff said if he got an 80% or higher on his test tomorrow (that's worth 1/10th of his entire grade) and I finished at least 2 rooms by this weekend, that maybe we'd go to Cedar Point. It's "Six Flags-ish" type of amusement park. Oh did I mention we bought a minivan? Yeah, we're supposed to be going to pick that up this weekend, too. Before our "yet to be determined if it'll happen" trip to Cedar Point. We bought a 2004 Honda Odyssey.  It's pretty sweet. We got one with the RES (Rear Entertainment System). Basically, it's a DVD player with a screen coming down from the roof for the people in the back to watch. We had a DVD player that was portable that was our lifesave on the long 4 day trip out here last year, but it kicked the bucket right after we got here. It had a good long life, though. We've only made one long trip without it since we moved, and that was enough to make us want another one. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying to get the kids interested in watching the great outdoors fly by at 65 MPH and trying to find all the out of state license plates, and playing all the wonderful car games that we all grew up on. But eventually, on a 10 hour drive to Tennessee & back, those types of things lose their nostalgic, kitchy appeal. And you just want peace & quiet, even if it's shared by a Disney character singing something about "Hakuna Matata". Although Sarah won't be able to enjoy the movie experience, seeing as how she has to make all car trips facing the back window (poor kid), I'm sure she'll be equally relieved when Emma isn't asking that dreaded question "Are we there yet?" every 10 seconds.
Our van is going to be white, not our first choice in colors, but it will do. It was actually put together only the day before we bought it. Our Civic was brand new when we bought it 3 years ago, but not, right off the truck, out of the factory new. This is like having another child, only one we have to feed oil instead of breast milk. I know Jeff isn't thrilled with the idea of another "family car". He was really hoping to be able to get a truck soon, but with 2 kids in car seats, it's not that feasible. Maybe by the time we're 40 he can get a car of his own. But by then he'll be wanting his mandatory "mid-life crisis" car. He already knows what that's going to be: a Dodge Viper. He's known that since he was 12. I told him if he had taken over Bill Gates job by then he could get one. I'm thinking that's the only way we'd be able to afford it.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Sarah's appointment

Sarah had her 2 month well-baby appointment this afternoon. Seeing as how she's going to be 3 months old tomorrow, it seems kinda late, I know. But I was out of town when she turned 2 months, so it could not be helped. But, some good news, she's gained almost 3 pounds since she was 1 month old. She's 11 lbs. 7 3/4 oz., and 22 1/2 inches long. And no, that does NOT include her hair. The doctor says that she's growing great & that she's showing no signs of any problems normally associated with DS. No heart, intestinal, vision or hearing problems, so far. The heart & intestinal or any other major problem should have shown up by now, so it looks like she's in the clear for that. The only bad part was she had to gets shots today. Poor little girl never saw it coming. One minute she's lying on the doctor's table, perfectly happy, staring up at mommy, the next, some maniacal nurse is jabbing her in the thigh with a sharp object. Four times! At least she got some nifty Garfield band-aids out of the deal. But she was too traumatized to care. She was so worn out from protesting the indignity, that she fell right asleep when I nursed her to make her feel better. But after she woke up again, she remember, HEY, I'm hurt over here, and started crying again. So we bought her some infant tylenol to help with the achiness. I had been trying to explain the concept of immunizations to Emma before we went to the hospital. I think she got the idea. She asked if she needed a "pinch" to keep her from getting sick. I told her not until she started Kindergarden. But that won't be until next year, so hopefully she'll forget all about this conversation we had & not be freaked out about it.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Home at last

I'm finally home!!!! It's been a long 4 weeks, and I had a blast but I'm glad to be home. Such as it is. There are boxes & bags of stuff everywhere. I am trying to get everything unpacked & into it's place. It's going well but it's been hampered by little people needing things. Like food & baths. Can't these kids see that I'm trying to get some work done here?! J/K Dave & Liz are coming to visit in 3 1/2 weeks & I'm sure they'd appreciate being able to sit on the couch & not have to step over boxes in the kitchen on the way to the fridge. We have no curtains on the windows & the landlord isn't providing us with blinds, so it's up to us to make sure we aren't flashing the neighbors. I'm looking around for cheap blinds or curtains. I'm thinking roll-up blinds would be the best idea. With a cute valance on the top to make it look not quite so ghetto. I'm not going to worry about privacy on the kitchen window. We're not in the habit of getting dressed in there. The big problem is the sliding glass door in the dining room. I found something really cute in a catalog. It's vertical blinds, but it has a sheer curtain that goes with it. So when you close the blinds, the curtain is attached to them & closes with it. It's very pretty, but expensive. And not exactly practical, since we won't be living here forever. We could probably take that with us, since sliding glass are pretty universal in size, but I don't think Jeff woiuld go for it.
Have to cut this short, hubby just called for a lunch date. Write more later!

Friday, July 09, 2004

End of the line

My trip to California is almost as an end. Tomorrow the girls & I are leaving Sac & traveling south, back to Santa Barbara, and eventually LA where we'll catch our plane back to Michigan. Emma is very excited about this. She misses her daddy & I think this long of a trip is kinda hard on her. Sarah doesn't notice a difference as long as the food supply is with her (me). She's pretty easy going. I'll be glad that we're in our new place. I really think the other place dragged me down. Maybe it was just the weather, I don't know. But there's something nice & refreshing about newly painted walls & floors that don't already have scuffs on them. And carpet that doesn't jab your foot when you step on it. I'll finally be able to decorate Sarah's room the way I want to. Even though I can't paint the walls, I can still do a lot. Hopefully we'll have nice neighbors whose kids can play with Emma. We still have a visit from Nana & Papa to look forward to next month. It'll be nice to be back home.
But while we're still here, we have a lunch date with Aunt Deanna, and a visit from a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in 4 years. She's bringing her 16 month old son with her so Emma should have a little playmate for a couple hours.
It's lunch time, so I better end this. A hungry stomach calls...

Monday, July 05, 2004

4th of July

It was actually yesterday, but I didn't have time to write. We had a fun 4th. We went shopping (always fun), Emma went to see the fireworks with Melissa & Mark at Cal Expo, while Dave & I went on the roof to try & see the show from 15 miles away. Getting on & off the roof was an experience in itself. Getting down was a bit more harrowing. I felt like I was going to slip off & hit the concrete. There were some people who were shooting off illegal fireworks somewhere around here. They looked like professional ones. I wonder where they got them, cause it doesn't seem like those are the kinds of things that are sold to the public.
Jeff had a nice 4th, too, I think. He had some friends over for a BBQ and fireworks.
Emma's feeling better after a few days on her antibiotics. The lump under her chin is slowly going away. I guess that's a good thing, but I wonder if it was just an infected lymphnode and nothing more. Now there's no lump to biopsy so I guess we'll just have to wait & see if it comes back.
I went shopping yesterday and bought some cool clothes. I'm seriously going to have to get a box together & ship some stuff home because I do not have enough room in our suitcases for all the stuff that we've bought & been given.
I'm trying to look for matching outfits for the girls to wear in their first professional pictures together. I'm finding some cute things, but they are super expensive. Maybe I'll just end up putting them in something simple. They'll look cute either way.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Moving Day

Well, for Jeff, anyways. Not me, I'm way out here in California while my poor husband gets to move all of our belongings to a new place. But he's got friends to help him out, so he's not alone. Should I feel bad that he has to do this without me? I actually think it's better for me not to be there. I think I would probably be WAY too controlling, and so would Jeff, so that would be a recipe for disaster. Plus I don't want to see the near misses that I'm sure will happen as they manuever big heavy items through tiny doorjams, narrowly escaping putting a gigantic hole in our brand new walls. This way, Jeff can be the foreman of this job & tick all his friends off by being a tad too Nazi-ish. From what I've heard from his mother, this is something that he has always done. And from being with him for 8 years, I can definitely agree to that.
So instead of worrying about moving the house, I'm sitting here, drinking coffee and looking through the JCPenney catalog. I'm looking for things to put into our brand new duplex to make it look pretty and to help KEEP it look pretty. There's going to be a major change it routine once Emma, Sarah & I get home. No more eating in the living room. We have to keep our brand new carpet looking that way. Plus the living room is on an entirely different floor than the kitchen & dining room, so maybe that will help keep us out of there during mealtimes.
Jeff called about 1pm our time to tell us that the move was finished. He had about 10 people show up to help, so it went pretty fast. We're finding out though, that we're responsible for a lot more than we thought. There are no towel bars in the bathrooms, there are no blinds on the windows. So Jeff is trying to do make-shift curtains so he can change his clothes in semi-privacy. I will definitely have my work cut out for me when I get home.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Being worried pays off

So, I call every ENT in the phone book yesterday morning, trying to get Emma an appointment for her lump thing. Most of the people tell me that they don't have any available openings for at least a month. I finally get one for next Tuesday, but I knew I needed to find something sooner. Emma's chin was starting to get pinkish & warm, and the PA had said that those were both signs of an infection. So, I'm starting to freak out. I get another appointment for Friday morning, but I ended up calling them back & asking them if I thought I should just take her to the ER because I thought she was getting an infection, or could it wait until my appointment. They ended up squeezing her in, and she was able to see the ENT. He didn't confirm that it was the thryoglossal duct cyst that the PA had thought it was, and instead called it a "midline neck mass" which doesn't sound much better. He said it could be any number of things, but that most likely it was the cyst. But he said in order to confirm that, he'd have to do a head CT, and all sorts of tests, along with a biopsy. Major stuff. Plus he said that all the biopsy would show now is infected cells, so we would have to wait until the infection was gone anyways. So, Emma's on antibiotics for 10 days, and we'll have to do the medical stuff when we get back home. I'm kinda hoping it will shrink & go away for right now, but on the other hand, if it does, there won't be anything to take samples of, and we'd have to wait for it to show up again. I'm hoping they'll do the biopsy & CT scan at the same time, because I know they're going to have to put her out for those. They put her out last year when she got a CT scan to try & find out what was causing her Bell's palsy. Not a fun prospect but at least I'll have Jeff around for support this time.