Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cloth update

Here is today's photo of cloth.  As you can see it will soon be in two or three pieces.  I wadded it into a ball the other day and noticed that it seems to have significantly less mass than when it was new.  It truly is falling apart.
I am a little concerned about what will happen when it does become more than one entity.  BC is a stickler for order about some things.  He likes things to be fixed, and doesn't understand broken often means unfixable.  I guess I will be blogging about that in a few weeks, after it happens.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BL rolls over

We have been waiting for this day for a while. BL turns 5 months on Saturday. He was doing it so fast this morning I thought he would roll over before I got the camera on, and then he just sat there forever before he finally rolled over.

Political Posts

After DH and I got married he and I talked about politics and started following politics/economics and related topics.  I was bored by it in the beginning, but it is a nice mental exercise we enjoy together.  Now we debate everything from global warming to guns to ethical and social dilemmas he even gets into the act and talks about sports ethics etc. with me.  We generally agree on most topics and he gets me worked up about these topics.  I love to write to vent about stuff I think about a lot.  I am going to write about these topics from time to time.  This is a simple warning that if you don't want to read about my political/social rants, I will forewarn you.  All posts that will be on these topics will read "opinion" or "optional reading", and the topic I am writing about.  Feel free to skip them, unless you want to know what I/we think.  Just as a warning.  We feel like the Republican Party left us, and so we should be considered right wing nut-jobs.  We are probably getting further and further right every day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Revisiting the past.

Ever since BC could crawl he has been really into shoes.  The fascination took a back seat after he got into John Deere tractors and all things with wheels.  Every so often I find he has run off 
with DH's shoes, or slippers.  These two are both of him wearing my shoes.  I don't often get the camera out before he gets them off, so photos of this phenomenon are rare.  This was much more common when he had just learned to walk.  

Now he does try to put his own shoes on occasionally, but since he can't put his own socks on yet (though 110% is given each morning to doing just that) it never works out.

A few firsts

BL had his first cereal because he is constantly hungry.  I thought perhaps this might help.  He recycled less than I thought he would.  He did swallow about two-thirds without help.  He knows when the spoon is coming  and opens his mouth for it.

BL took his first bath in the big tub.  We only do this if we reuse BC's bath water, but soon BL will have to be in the big tub full time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Dishwasher Saga Continues. . . and ends for the most part

I should have known it was too good to be true.  Yesterday my parts came from Maytag.  Well, the one was right (the one I broke, not the one I have been seeking).  I didn't even open them until after the boys were in bed.  I knew from how the package felt that the one wasn't right.  So I called them today.  They still had no idea what part I really needed, but did give me credit (don't send it back) for the one that I didn't need. 

I decided that the more information I had, the better.  I went back to The Maytag Store armed with both the boys and a determination to leave there with information and a direction.  I walked in and started yanking open dishwasher after dishwasher looking for other models that also took this part.  The salesman was not rude, but he couldn't understand what I was doing this for.  I had him write down the model numbers of ones that took this part.  He wouldn't give me serial numbers (the #$%$%%$) but I left with more information than I came with!!  Since I went all the way over there I decided to stop at Costco and get the last couple of items I couldn't buy last week because they wouldn't fit in the car or had been forgotten.

After Costco BC had lunch and went to bed about 15 min late.  Then I call Maytag back armed with Model numbers and not serial numbers.  The girl I get this time tells me she can't email me a parts diagram (then how did I  get one emailed to me earlier today?) and hangs up on me!
I promptly call back, FURIOUS.  I get about the same response from the next Customer Service agent and I SCREAM for her manager.  Who tries to calm me down and then explains that I did get sent the wrong part. The part I need is. . . the part that PARTS SERVICE SENT ME (99002710)!  No, really, that ISN'T THE RIGHT PART!!!! REALLY.  

 I do squeeze a phone number for the local parts distributor here in Denver (they sell parts to the repairmen).  First, she had to ask me where Colorado was. She couldn't find it on a map. No, I am not kidding.  Yes, she was probably old enough to be my mom, and was from the south.  She could find Nevada, was it close to Nevada?  

Then she sends me back to the parts department via conference call (at least she didn't hang up on me).  I get someone else who looks at the other model numbers that I have and just can't seem to come up with anything.  He sends me an email (!) with the diagram from one of the new models, but, alas, it too is wrong.  I have to call back and I get the guy I spoke with first today! He decides that there is no way he is going to know which is the right part and sends my dilemma to parts research and they should get back to me within a week (can you hear me crying?)

Meanwhile, I am making bread to take to my neighbors (I haven't met them yet).  I made the dough before we went to Costco, and it was all done rising when we got back.  Before I called back the second time I finished the loaves and left them to rise in the pans.  While on phone call #4 I was putting them in the oven for 45 min.  

Also while the dough rises and customer service is horrible I am using my new model numbers to locate any information on these other dishwashers.  I start coming across all different part numbers that I can't find pictures for, and so each time I call back I am armed with new and different part numbers that I ask about.  

One number came up as a latch (that's what I needed), but when I asked parts about it they told me it was a tine assembly.  Odd.  That wasn't what I needed, nor was that what the part was called.

Bread baking, babies sleeping, I call 1st Source (the parts distributor).  He tells me I need a
99002710.  No, I don't.  I already have one.  He then offers that if I bring him my part he will look at it and find me one.  This sounds promising except I have to wait until the bread is done and BC is awake.

Right after I get the bread out of the pans BC wakes up.  I change his pull-up (I am not stopping for a potty for anything!), I promise "cloth" and snacks and drinks and books in the car and DVDs when we get back if we can just leave now (3:00) with a smile! I grab the baby, coats, parts, part numbers, model numbers, directions, but not diapers and we leave in a mad rush.  I have to drive all the way past downtown Denver over to this industrial/seedy part of town in late afternoon in a brewing snowstorm.

Traffic is as expected (slow for 10 miles or so).  I got a little lost trying to find the place, but there was a big truck in my way the first time I drove by the road.  I got out there and had the best service I have had relating to my dishwasher.  They used all the information I gave them. One guy was going to give me one off a new rack until the other one said he looked up that number that came back to a tine assembly (99003484).  He said it is listed as a latch but supersedes to 99003577 tine assembly.  

I understand this.  This is parts speak.  This is wow!  I spend $20 to get the $5 part I needed because the part supersedes and only comes as an assembly.  I understand.  All is clear, and I get a lifetime parts replacement guarantee from these guys--in writing.  I grab all my parts and papers and shove them in the box.  I grab the kids and hurry out into the building snowstorm.  I drive back across Denver in almost rush hour with snow.  We get back at 4:45.  I have my part.  My dishwasher is fixed.  I will never call Maytag to order a part again.  I may call them tomorrow and ask for my money back on the second part I bought from them because it, too, came on the assembly. 

I just spoke to DH on the phone (he is traveling).  He wants to write to Maytag and tell them how horrible their customer service is.  How they had the information the whole time, and couldn't sell me the right part.  And how their customer service manager didn't pass Geography.   :)

I feel oddly disconcerted.  I should be happy and relieved, but I am not.  I think because I had to get so angry and frustrated and work so hard to get so little that the happy I do feel hasn't overcome the negative emotions.  Maybe tomorrow I will do something more fulfilling and meaningful and finally find my happy place.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Zoo Trip and weekend thoughts

So we went to the zoo today.  This was not BC's first visit--he and I went last summer on someone else's pass. We bought a pass so we can go all year.  Well, all summer.  I don't want to go when it is really cold and snowy.

I think he had a good time, but he wasn't super excited like at the museum.  I think his favorite part of the day was when we walked by a skid steer and the driver got in it and drove it away.  We went all the way to the zoo so that he could see a SKID STEER! 

He did like the polar bears and lions. We saw a cheetah up  close.  He liked the giraffes, elephants and bison.  There is so much to see there isn't enough time to see it all in half a day. 

I didn't take any pictures of BL at the zoo because he was either strapped to me, or sleeping in the stroller still in the front-pack.  BL was a trooper, he only cried to eat or have his diaper changed.    I think I will just plan on BL being in the stroller and making BC walk the whole time.   

I have included a picture of BL that we took when we got home so that you can see how cute he really is.  BC now says cute all the time.  BL cute.  BC cute. 
Thomas (the tank engine) cute.  He is a smart kid. 
He loves his brother so much.  BL thinks the world of him too.  You can see the hero-worship already happening.  When BC does something interesting or funny BL is there to watch or laugh or egg him on.  BL will stop fussing if BC is talking to him. 

The best part about today though was the weather.  I got a sunburn and so did BC.  (I forgot sunblock and hats.)  It was 73 today.  It was 60+ when we got to the zoo at 9:45.  Tomorrow is supposed to be about the same, and then snow for Wednesday.  We will probably go to the museum on Friday because the high is in the 60's. 

The snow isn't really unexpected.  See it snowed last Thursday.  (That's a picture out my back door).  It was still really cold last Friday, and even snowed a little bit Saturday night and we had snowflakes and frost yesterday morning.
I hadn't even gone anywhere between the rain last Wednesday afternoon (that turned to snow) and Saturday night.  DH and I went out for my B-day (we couldn't get a sitter the saturday before) to a place called North Woods Inn.  I liked it.  It had lots of dead animals on the walls, and wasn't at all like your traditional restaurants.  I would love to know what they put in their cottage cheese (I think it was chopped green onions, salt, pepper, and something else).   Soup comes in a pot, and everyone gets the same thing except the meat that you order.  I had killer prime rib.  It was really nice to get out without the kids.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just Venting about my dishwasher.

I have lost all faith in men I don't know.

A while ago a part in my dishwasher broke.  It's not a big part, and for a couple of months now we have been dealing with it. 
 I looked up the part online and bought it about 2 weeks ago.  It came.  It was the wrong one. My bad.  I start looking for it again and can't find it anywhere online.  It's like the part didn't exist except in my dishwasher.  So Saturday I decided to go to the Maytag store where I bought it and see if they could give me a part number or be of some greater assistance.

Saturday I went out and stopped at the bank.   All the ladies at the bank were really nice to me and BL and I left in a good mood.  When I go out to the parking lot I see that there is a line at the coffee shop take out window (next to the bank), but someone has left space in the line so that you can drive through it to the exit of the parking lot.  Just as I approach the space to drive through it a MAN decides that I am going to take his place in the coffee line (how absurd!) and closes the gap to the exit.  He completely blocks the way out.  I turn around and go out the other exit of the strip mall (over a block in the other direction).  Thank You MAN #1

So I drive over to the Maytag store and go open the dishwasher that looks like mine.  I ask for the part number to this part I am pointing out.  I get the response, "I don't know. We don't do parts here!" For a salesMAN, he was rude and very unfamiliar with true customer service.  I asked for a drawing, or any other help he could offer me.  So he hands me a business card for Maytag Parts Sales and writes down my model number for me (like I don't already have that at home).   What really got me about him was all the other salesMEN in the store didn't say anything.  None of them offered to call this number for me, or even said hello.  I felt like I shouldn't have bought from them if they were going to treat me like that.  Thank You MAN #2 and coworkers.

So, I came home and I called the parts place and gave them all the information they asked for.  The MAN I talked to was helpful to a point.  He described the part to me the best he could, but it didn't quite fit my description.  I tried telling him how mine looked, and he assured me that this was that part.  Then when I ask for the part number he tells me he can't give it to me and this and that.  I just wanted a part number to go find a picture of it online so I wouldn't buy the wrong part again.  No, they don't do that and he can't help me further.  I got mad and thanked him before I threw the phone.  Thank You MAN #3.

DH talked some sense into me--I needed the part. They had the part. Order it and get it over with.  DH called back and ordered it.  I love you DH!

I wait patiently for my package and it comes today, YEAH-UUUGH! It's the wrong part.  So I call up Maytag parts service again and get a MAN.  I explain to him I am very, very irritated and that I tried to prevent this from happening and this and that.  I go get the part out of my dishwasher so that I can give him  a complete description.  In doing so I broke the part that works with it.   Now part of one rack is totally non functional.  I was so mad.  This guy tries to tell me 8 different ways that I have the part listed.  I know that.  It still doesn't make it the right part.  Thank You MAN #4.

Aside: Maybe I have no patience for people like this because I used to do the same job in a different sector and I know when the customer really is right, and what customer service really ought to be.

So after 20 minutes of me asking this guy "Where I am supposed to get the right part if he doesn't have it?" I finally get his supervisor.  This MAN asks me the same questions.  Sends me part diagrams, and calls me back.  He still can't believe I didn't get the right part.  He doesn't know why.  

While I was waiting for him to call me back I was searching on the internet for this unobtainable part and stumbled upon information that there were two kinds of my dishwasher model. Series 10 and Series 30.  I asked Mr. Supervisor if he had information on a Series 30.  No, his is all for Series 10.  Obviously, I have a Series 30 dishwasher and he CAN'T HELP ME!  Thank You MAN #5.  He does give me the number to Maytag (isn't that who I called?) and transfers me to Customer Service so that I can return the part that I just bought.

A nice woman answers the phone in Customer Service.  She tells me that it would not be cost-effective to have the part returned, so I am going to get a credit to my credit card and I get to keep the part. (Ebay here it comes!)  

Then I call Maytag (not Parts Service) and another nice woman answers the phone and confirms that I do, in fact, have a Series 30 dishwasher.  She tells me "No, that other part is wrong and this part is right (and less expensive) and here is the part number for both the parts you need.  They will get shipped today. Is there anything else you need?" 

I know that all men are not like this, but during this transaction, all the men I had to deal with were (you fill in your insult of choice) and all the women were helpful, pleasant and gave me the information I asked for, and were very accommodating.  

If this were all that happened today it would seem like an interesting day, but I also made dinner like a mad woman after the Maytag fiasco so that it would be done when DH came home.  I folded a mountain of laundry that has been sitting on the washer for 4 days.  I watched BC wet his pants for no reason twice before nap time.  I changed a poopy diaper while on the phone with the parts people.  I planned my primary lesson.  I stayed in the house all day with BC because it was snowing. I did a load (load and unload) in the dishwasher.  I did 3 more loads of laundry.  I colored.  I did baths for the kids. I took time to blog just so this whole nightmare of an experience doesn't bug me.    I'm exhausted.

If you need the number to Maytag (not Parts Service) it is: 800-688-9900. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My favorite shirt.

I don't quite have the photo thing down yet, so the photos are in the post below.

Any of you who have spent any amount of time with me since 1998 (with the exception of my mission) probably saw me wear my favorite shirt.  It is red, white and blue tie-dye and used to say U.S.A. Washington D.C. on it.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time with BC knows that this is his "special cloth."

I bought the shirt in October 1997 while on a trip to the East Coast.  I loved that shirt.  I wore it all the time.  The first time I know I had my picture taken wearing it was when I got my driver's license renewed in 1998.

I didn't take it on my mission, but I did when I went back to Russia with ILP in early 2000.

I was wearing it when DH and I went to visit his parents in August 2000 (long before we were engaged).  See Photo.

I was wearing it when we got new driver's licenses in MI shortly after we were married.

I was wearing it when we lived in Virginia in 2003, but by then all the lettering had worn off.  It was also starting to get some holes and come apart.  See Photo.

It seems I stopped wearing it in public sometime after that, but I still wore it for pajamas.  This is how it came to be in BC's possession.

One day when he was about 3 months old I was wearing it while I nursed him.  He didn't want me to put him down to sleep afterwards so he grabbed the shirt.  I simply slipped the shirt off and he was left holding it.  We used it every time he went to sleep after that.  Before I turned it over to him fully I did remove the collar (it was halfway out anyway) so that he wouldn't strangle himself.

It was officially his blankie well before his first birthday.

Now, when I take him to visit old friends they comment upon seeing it "I recognize that!"

In January this year I took a good look at the shirt.  It had a lot of small to medium sized holes and one or larger tears in it, but the sleeves were still very much sleeves  It wasn't until a month ago it really started to come apart.  See photo. I can see that the shirt will soon fully succumb to entropy, but until then it is a very important "cloth."  Which is why I am writing about it today.

See, I know BC brought it downstairs this morning after he got dressed.  That was the last I saw of it until nap time.  I usually go hunt it down for him while he gets in bed for his nap, and so did not think it strange that it was not where I last remembered seeing it.   I went to look for it.  I looked, and looked, and looked, and looked.  I went back each time after a thorough search of the house and told him, " I could not find it. Please, go to sleep."   I looked in the fridge, the pantry, all the kitchen cupboards, under every piece of furniture, behind every open (and closed) door in the house, in the car, in the basement, in the shower, in the dryer, and in every conceivable (and inconceivable) location.  I was beginning to think he put it in the safe!

BC still wasn't sleeping, so I let him out of his room after a couple of hours.  I asked him where it was and he couldn't tell me.  I called a friend of mine to see if she could dream up any other unusual locations that I hadn't thought of (and to commiserate, I hate feeling alone in my helpless mommy moments).

While I am talking to her (for an hour), I start looking in even more far-fetched locations (heat vents, garbage cans, etc.)  I casually flip over a pillow on the floor (BC hates pillows on the couch and puts them on the floor everyday).  Wahoo!!!  What was lost has been found!  It must have stuck to the pillow when I moved them earlier. 

I can now foresee the day that cloth is no more.  DH wishes it was today.  I know we will have a few long nights after it disintegrates completely.  I also know I will suck up a hundred more tiny tails in the vacuum before that day finally arrives.  I know I will miss it when it is  gone as much as BC will.  After all, it is my favorite shirt.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Do you believe in coincidence?

Today started out with DH going to a machine gun shoot.  That's where people who own machine guns have a little show that lasts all day or all weekend where you can watch them shoot their guns.  It goes without saying. . .the camera went with him.

I knew he would be gone from 7 am until after we all go to bed.  I decided that today would be a great day for us to get out and do something fun away from the house all day.  I originally wanted to go to the zoo, but the only good temps today were going to be during nap time.  I opted for the Children's Museum of Denver instead.  I got all ready and packed up for the day early.  

We were out the door at 9 am.  Not 15 minutes later BC says "ungry. Ogurt. Yogurt. Applesauce. Yeah."  

Normally, the kid eats a piece of cheese or part of half a peanut butter sandwich for lunch with some juice.  The last three or four days he has been eating snacks constantly, and then eating his meals too.  BC's breakfast is usually 16 oz of milk.  Today he had that and 40 or so Cheerios, and was begging for food 20 minutes later.  

I told him what was for lunch: a whole sandwich, a cheese stick, and some crackers.  He seemed satisfied that when we got where we were going he would get something to eat, and sat quietly for the next 10 minutes or so until we arrived.

He got excited when we got there to find out what great place we had come to (he gets excited about anywhere he thinks we are going that should interest him.   So we got all packed into the stroller with him walking along holding my hand and I notice another mom with her son walking as she pushes a stroller.  I happened to notice her license plates were Utah USU plates. 

Anyway, we get to the ticket desk at the same time and the other mother points out that our sons are dressed the same: a gray sweatshirt and jeans.  I commented that if one got lost the other would notice and would return them.  She showed her pass and went right in, I bought my pass and so was a few minutes behind her.  

There is a full size fire engine right after you walk in and BC was all about seeing it, right after we go potty, twice.  As soon as we get over there though, he insists that we go upstairs-no fire truck, upstairs!!  So we get upstairs and I direct him into this area where you can play trains (see four train tables).   We are the only ones in there for a while and he is happy.  Then a few more people trickle in including this woman I mentioned earlier.   I was holding BL so he wouldn't fuss and I asked the other mother (as she was reaching for her baby) how old her baby was.  She said he was 4 months.  I answered that BL was also that old.  

"When's his birthday?"
"Nov 30."
"Really, BL's is Nov 28."
"How old is your other son?"
"He turned 2 in Feb"
"Mine too."
"What day?"
"8th for mine."
I told her I had seen her plates and asked her how long she had been living in CO.  I told her that I was from UT, but that I hadn't lived there in a long time.  We sat and talked about our kids and moving to CO and stuff while our boys played/shared/fought over the trains and we fed our babies.  It was so amazing how alike our 4 little boys were, and I probably wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't seen the UT plates on her car.

We ran into each other later at this other exhibit especially for the 4 and under crowd.  I am sure I will see her there again since we now have a pass.  
Do you believe in coincidence?  I don't.

Now for the rest of the trip.  BC had a great time.  He used the potty, and I couldn't get him to leave.  At 11 I told him we could go outside and have lunch. No, he was busy playing.  Again at 11:30, at 12, finally, at 12:30 I convinced him that he was hungry and we should go out to the park so that he could eat.  

Truthfully, I was afraid that he would only want to play on the playground, and wouldn't eat lunch.  He ate lunch.  His whole peanut butter sandwich with crusts, and his cheese and water. I thought he would probably eat crackers too if I sat and waited for him, but BL wanted to go to sleep and I was tired of watching BC eat.   So we went back to the car and came home.  BC fell asleep about 10 min from home, but awoke when we pulled in the driveway.   He came in and went right to bed.  It was 1:45.  

At 4:45 I heard him start waking up.  I think I am going to like going to the museum!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

If at first you don't succeed. . .

This story really starts on Sunday.  I was upstairs reading and I heard Marty making all sorts of racket downstairs.  At first it sounded like he was in the bathroom, but then the noise went on for a long time (20 min or so).  I thought maybe he was down in the basement being mad and throwing things around, but then I heard what I KNEW to be the stool from the bathroom.  After I finished my book a few minutes later I went down to put dinner away and find out what all the hullabaloo was about.  I could see the floor in the hallway was damp, and it looked to have emminated from the bathroom.  Marty's expression told me I should ask questions later like tomorrow or never.
Monday he told me  that the toilet had, in fact,  overflowed and made a HUGE mess.  All that noise was him cleaning up.

Now, to today.  I was flushing old leftovers down the toilet.  This usually works better than having them plug up the garbage disposal.   True to form, I plugged the toilet and got water all over the floor.   So I took 20 min and plunged and mopped until the floor was damp and toilet operational.  Meanwhile BC is asking to go potty and BL is screaming bloody murder in the next room.  I picked up BC and lifted him over the mess and put him on the potty.  Good, all clean.  
Now I need to flush the rest of the stuff.  I broke it into small pieces and put it in the toilet.  Not small enough apparently.  Flood again.  I ran upstairs and grabbed some towels so the mess would not seep into the hallway and jumped back in my pond.  I plunged and plunged and plunged and finally I cleared the clog.  I didn't want to spend 15 minutes or more mopping again so I went out to the garage and grabbed the SHOP VAC.  Hooray for power tools!  5 min and a semi-full vacuum later I took it outside.
Knowing Marty wouldn't want me to leave it full of water I began to drain it all over the driveway.  There was a lot of water in there. A lot.  I came in a really broke up the last bunch of food and Viola! it flushes first try, no problems.  YEAH!
Just as get BL settled down for a nap (he has been crying the WHOLE TIME), Marty comes in and asks why there is a whole bunch of dirty water in the driveway and the floor in the bathroom is all wet.  
At least now I know the best way to clean up such a disaster!  
If at first you don't succeed. . . Try to find a way to make it worse.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

There is an Hour (or 2) of Peace and Rest

Well, I wanted to get back and blog today with some pictures of the kids.  They both went down for a nap at the SAME TIME so I took their pictures.  I am posting while they are sleeping.   It is truly an hour of peace and rest.  I am also busy shopping online and adding stuff for sale on my craft website.  I would love to be sewing right now, but the noise of the sewing machine wakes BL up.  

I was hoping for good weather today.  BC got a trike for his birthday and every time the weather is nice I try to get outside with him.   Usually we just go around the block over and over.   The last 3 mornings have brought skiffs of snow and less than seasonable temperatures.   No biking for almost a week.  I want 60 degrees back so we can go to the park. 

I can't wait for the pool to open.  I know.  ME! The POOL!  But ever since BL was born I have been losing weight like I have some wasting disease.  I am seeing numbers on the scale I haven't seen in 5 years.  Now I just need a new swimsuit to cover up all the stretch marks he gave me!  Oh, well.