Monday, October 18, 2010

Vehicular Insanity

The day before we moved back to New York from Pennsylvania (the first time), Todd purchased this car.   The reason behind the purchase was that he would get a job here, and this would enable him to get to work on much less gas, as well as allowing me to still do stuff.  I gave him a pretty low budget number for this, mostly because I didn't want to buy a car.
I didn't want to buy a car or have him get a job because I don't want people to think that we have given up on going to the mission field.  So now that's out there; this move is not a cop out.  It's just what we need to do, for the time being.

Back to the story.  When we moved, Todd drove the black truck and I drove this little thing.  It was loaded to the gills and had one little girl in it besides me.  That was actually kind of fun, and she found out that the license plate game is more fun from the front seat because you can see so much more.  We played "I'm going on Noah's Ark and I'm bringing..." which was schoolwork, but she didn't even complain!  About an hour into the 5.5 hour trip, Todd called from the other car to ask where I was, and then why I was so far behind him.  I had to tell him that his new little car got the shakes at 65mph!

We spent $1,000 on this car.  To cure the shakes, we put three new tires on it that week.  We also put in new headlamps and bought a stereo for $25, because it was missing.  It's a 1991, in case you were wondering, with 80,000 miles on it.

A week later, as you know, we totaled our truck.  Todd very kindly tells people that "we" totaled it, allowing them to believe that he was driving.  He wasn't.  But that's sweet of him, isn't it?  He did pull the brake controller on the trailer though, so he figures his hands were on the equipment, too.

Anyway, this little buggy has been our main mode of transportation for the past three weeks.  We do have another car which was loaned to us.  That car doesn't fit the entire family, but it has allowed us to be in two places at once or to get the whole family to church in two cars.  I want to thank our Pastor and her daughter for the brave loan, especially considering what comes next.

One day two weeks ago, I sent Todd to the grocery store for something missing from dinner.  It was getting late, so imagine how dismayed we were when he called and said it would be longer than anticipated.    Why?  Because he got into an accident in the grocery store parking lot!!
You have got to be kidding me.
No, really.
At least it wasn't his fault.  The other driver stopped at a stop sign, then went through it because he didn't see him
  Here's the damage:

The other driver's insurance company was kind of slow to respond, so we took the car to the body shop we are familiar with.  He gave us a nice estimate of about $1,600.  Scroll up...yup, we paid $1,000 for the car, and it is totaled, less than three weeks later.  Eventually they sent their own estimator up (he makes house-calls??) and he wants to give us $1,800, minus the $225 salvage value.  Me, laughing?  No, that's Todd you hear. 

Have all the vehicles gone insane?
We expect a check in the mail any day now.  We might take the car to the vocational training center to get the dent pulled out by students before snow flies.

In other vehicular news, we picked up the new minivan on Saturday morning.  It was agony waiting for the check from the insurance company (for the camper; we're still waiting for the one from the truck) to clear so that we could get a cashier's check.  We had found out on Wednesday morning that we "won" it in auction at the bank (it was a repossession). 
Here it is: a 2005 Saturn Relay 2 or 3, depends who you ask apparently. 
It has a DVD player, automatic sliding door, quad seating, some leather, etc.  Nice car.  Probably the nicest car we have ever owned, but then, we said the same thing about the truck we just turned into hamburger.
  In that case, nice=safe.  I hope that this one is the same.    We registered it this morning (ouch!, $522!).  Now, it needs the windshield wiper arm (and hopefully not the motor) replaced.  That happens on Thursday. 
Assuming we get the two remaining checks from the insurance companies, all's well and I won't have to put up any more posts about vehicles.

Posts, Julie.  That's for you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Market Day

A bored child asked me for the "Activity Book" the other day.  This is the one suggested by Tapestry of Grace for this year's work.   It's called Old Testament Days.  We were done with school; she was just looking for something to do.

She managed to get her sisters, a friend and her brother to go along with this, and here are the results:

A Middle Eastern Market Day in the back yard.  The costume was my only contribution.  There was actually another booth, a bit more involved, but my camera battery died and DD12 doesn't particularly like to be blogged so I didn't bother her.  
In case you are wondering, they are selling spices, cloth, (rotten) tomatoes, apples, stuffed animals and, I believe, matchbox cars.  
I just say what a great feeling it is when your kids want to "play" history when their studies have ended.  I cannot wait to see what they come up with for the Seder meal at the end of our Unit.

In other news, I surprised my husband this Thursday night by taking him on a twilight kayaking trip on Moreau Lake.  The idea came to me in a newsletter for homeschoolers, and I thought,Oh, he would love that.  When is it?"  Well, it was on his birthday.  So I quickly made arrangements for childcare (Thanks, family!) and kayak rental.  The above picture is the only one I took because I was afraid of dropping the camera in the water if I took it along.  It started to rain on the way there, but we decided to go anyway.  So glad we did, because the rain cleared right up after that.  By the time we were done, the clouds had cleared up enough to see a few constellations, too.

We began the trip by kayaking around the rim of the lake, stopping to talk to some passing campers about moose, which have been seen in the area of late.  We're in the Adirondacks, so moose sightings are not unheard of, but still newsworthy.  We didn't see any though, which is surprising when you consider that I was a moose magnet during the 15 months we lived in New Hampshire back in 1997-1998.
What we did see was geese!  Hundreds of them!  We kayaked into a pond adjacent to the lake, "Mud Pond."  There is a beaver dam across the opening which they just pulled open, and a beaver house in the middle.  Another at the back.  We didn't see a beaver but a muskrat that jumped into the water near us.
As it grew dark, geese came in by pairs, tens, and fifties, honking like mad!  It was LOUD!  They were all coming in to spend the night in the corner of the pond.  Then, when it had gotten quiet, our guide shone a spotlight into their corner and 20 or more took off, honking all over again  but really mad this time!

Todd said that guy must have been a handful when he was a kid.  Indeed, the phrase, "I just wanted to see what would happen," has accompanied many adventures in our household. 

Finally, for those who read about our accident, we are still car shopping.  Tomorrow we should hear about a minivan we bid on that had been repossessed by the bank.  I would love to have this, a  gold 2005 Saturn Relay.  If we didn't win, *sigh* more work to do.  We just make decisions so s-l-o-w-l-y around here.   Sooo thankful for the loan of a car so that the whole family can go places, even if we have to split up to do it. 
Tomorrow, a representative of another insurance company will be stopping by to do an estimate on Todd's car, which is probably totalled from an accident he had a week later in the parking lot of the local grocery store.  Not his fault, but a guy "didn't see him," went through a stop sign and right into the rear quarter of his car, so there's a big dent in the metal and a hole in the bumper.  Since we only paid $1,000 for the little thing two weeks ago, it should be considered a total loss.  Our guy estimated $1500 to fix it.  If they call it a loss that'll be complicated because we don't even have the title yet!!  If it weren't dark out, I'd give you a picture of that!  But this is New York State in October, so dark out it is, at 6:50p.m.

I'm still waiting for my found camera to come in the mail, but then I will have Botany pics and probably some others that I have forgotten about.  Hopefully, not of crashed up anythings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

World's Largest Garage Sale

The World's Largest Garage Sale
No seriously.  I think it's in Guiness Book and everything.
Now, truth be told this isn't just a garage sale.  There are vendors, food sales, and church efforts in addition to true garage sales.  The only thing missing are the carnival rides!

We took some time away from home today to go help out Todd's parents at their yard sale, enabling them to help out at their church, too.  We went up on Thursday night, because apparently you shouldn't even expect to drive on the streets and get anywhere on Friday or the weekend.  However, there was a driving rain on Thursday night and into Friday morning, so I had no trouble getting out and back for an appointment on Friday.

Oh, the other purpose for our participation was to sell Whoopie Pies.  I used a recipe from and they turned out pretty well, but I usually use devil's food cake so I was not as happy with them.  Now as it turns out many people did not know what a whoopie pie was, so, for those of you reading who are not from New England, be enlightened!  They are chocolate sandwich cakes with frosting-like filling.  I never had one myself until I went to college outside of Boston, and they were a major factor in my freshman 15!  We sold by donation only and made about $17 the first day.  Having run out of Whoopie Pie, I picked up ingredients for my famous finally-got-the-recipe-right chocolate chip cookies, which I will happily share here because I got it off the back of Blue Bonnet Margarine so it isn't really a secret.
3/4 c. Margarine, melted then cooled.  This is important!
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour.
1 c. chocolate chips

Now, if you melted and cooled the margarine (cooled as in forgot what I was doing and left it on the counter for half an hour), you should get dough that acts like play dough.  I use parchment paper for easy cleanup, and voila!  Bake at 350 for 9 minutes, if you didn't eat all the dough.

These we sold at the garage sale on Saturday.  Who can resist these salespersons:
Especially with a bait-and-switch line like "Would you like some cookies?  They're free...but you can make a donation."

These little shysters made $35 on chocolate chip cookies.

Our contribution to the sale, other than cuteness, was some collector's Hotwheels cars.  We also brought the painted windows you can see behind the kids.  I painted these, which were taken out of the house we owned when we remodeled it.  I sold two!  This was very exciting since I had sold several in the past but I have not been able to move any lately.
Got a few left if anyone's interested!
Our daughters got up at 6:30am to wait on tables at the church breakfast and lunch.  Although they seemed quite exhausted by the end, but it was good for them and they got some tips, too.  In the afternoon we closed up the garage sale at the in-laws and went for a look around ourselves.
We didn't get very far.  I just found the whole thing overstimulating.  Too crowded, and we didn't have stroller for the princess, so having her bouncing along next to us in that press was just a little too nerve-wracking.  Plus, we are still pretty exhausted from stress, transition, and working  hard  to put our lives back together this week.  So, one long walk around the block was enough for us.  We followed that up with some offensively expensive fried dough, a bloomin' onion and let's not forget, fried Reese's peanut butter cup.  The GF kids had sno-cones.  The sno-cone place had a myriad of flavors, so I got a sasparilla.  Mostly because DD12 was using "Sasparilla!" as an interjection this summer, and I want a person to know what they are saying.  (For the record, she found it quite disgusting.  I ate it, but it didn't enjoy it either.)

And a little bit of joy to share:  Our camera is found!  The few pics I have posted in the last two weeks were taken with my video camera, which doesn't take super pics and annoys me by resizing after I push the button.  I have been managing ok, but it has no flash.  I got no pics of my parents' 40th anniversary party! Worse, I didn't like thinking that the pictures of my kids on the chip in the camera were floating around lost, either.  We eventually decided that we'd lost it at the conference we went to two weeks ago, but in my state of permanent distraction I never did anything about it.  When I finally emailed the pastor there, he said nothing had been found after the conference.  But yesterday, he emailed and said that he did indeed find my camera!  Hooray!  I was a little worried that it had gotten toasted in the crash and we didn't know it because we weren't looking for it to be there.  So, hooray.  He's going to mail it to me.  Then, dear friends, you will have illuminating pics of the contruction on our Botany light hut, which I promised you lo these many weeks ago.