Saturday, October 10, 2009

Texas, Our Texas: 2009, part 1

Our trip to Texas this August started out well enough. We left in plenty of time, and we remembered which exit we needed to take for the long-term parking … where we found that the lot was closed. Apparently, it had been closed for a while, because grass was growing up through the asphalt. And there were no signs there telling us where it had moved to, or if holiday parking even still existed (which it does, I just checked, but in a very different place). So we parked at the airport in the garage, knowing it would probably double our parking costs. Unfortunately, neither the airport signs on the road nor the itinerary from the travel agent indicated which terminal we would be flying out of, so we ended up parking at the very far end of the parking garage and hiking the length of Concourse A before discovering that we had to fly out of Concourse C. At least we were in the right terminal, but we still had to get up to the top floor to take the skytrain with all our luggage—no trolleys allowed—to get from A to C.

Once we were at Concourse C, though, everything went smoothly. One thing I like about Frankfurt is that when they rennovated their international flight terminal, they added extra security lines. The first time we flew back home, about 5 years ago, there were 2 scanners for the whole area. 2. The lines were at least an hour long, I kid you not. Now, there is at least 1 scanner for every 3 or 4 gates. Easy peasy.

We flew through New Jersey, and as usual, our second leg to Dallas was delayed, but it wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I called my mom with a credit card from a pay phone—DO NOT DO THIS! 11 bucks for a 30-second message on my mom’s voice mail—and let her know we’d be coming in a little late. Got in late in the evening, went home with her, had a good night’s sleep, up at 6ish, and straggled out the door to drive to Wichita Falls later than originally planned, which is par for the course for us. We would have warned the sibs we were on our way, if they hadn’t changed their phone numbers recently and only notified us by email ONCE WE WERE ALREADY IN THE AIR. But no hard feelings, Mr. Jooge. *g*

Driving up I-35, we noticed a lot of faux-German buildings and signs for various German heritage events. Hannah was all, "Aaaugh! We can’t get away from German stuff!" To top it off, we drove through Muenster, Texas, which is nothing like Muenster, Germany. Sorry Muenster, Texas.

When we got to Wichita Falls, we were able to enjoy all the finer things, like taking everyone out for Mexican food lunch to celebrate the brothers' birthdays. Mr. Jooge totally confused the waitress by asking for the filet mignon tacos. (When John was a teenager, his mom was dating this guy who took the two of them out to dinner, so John ordered the filet mignon, on his mom’s date’s dime.)

Mexican food with the family

Notice how Hannah is bookended by her cousins. Now that she is older, she is a highly coveted playmate by the younger kids in the family. She has always been popular, but being a pre-teen now gives her a certain panache among the elementary-school set.

wild and crazy kids

She wasn’t the only popular one, though.


The wee one really enjoyed capturing the attention of the grown-ups; he’s a funny little monkey.

There were also kittens, which always adds to the attractiveness of visiting relatives.

Hannah and kitten

Unfortunately, this cute little kitten gave Hannah and at least one of her cousins ring worm. A little anti-fungal cream later and all is well, though.

Tomorrow, San Angelo.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I can die now

...that I have found the Muppet Wiki. Yay!

Word of the Day

catsturbation: when a cat rubs itself on any available inanimate object--the edge of the coffee table, on a stack of DVD cases--in lieu of a pet from its cat-parents

This is actually my coinage, after watching Eliza satisfy herself this morning. John was impressed and entertained (by my new word, not by the cat).

I love opening email from the Wordsmith

Plenty of kind, decent, caring people have no religious beliefs, and they act out of the goodness of their hearts. Conversely, plenty of people who profess to be religious, even those who worship regularly, show no particular interest in the world beyond themselves.

-John Danforth, priest, ambassador, senator (b. 1936)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

And the lameness lives on

Hannah had an earache and sore throat this morning, so we let her stay home from school and sleep in. I feel like I have an incipient cold, but have felt that way for a while now, so I got a little extra sleep, too, and took it fairly easy today. I did have a proofreading job come in, and I got through half of it before I had to start dinner and make Hannah get online to study her Latin vocabulary. After dinner, we played Scrabble, and John won, but Hannah was a close second, with my assistance. Tomorrow is Friday, and Hannah is going to school no matter what, and maybe I will manage to finish the proofreading and the syllabi for my 2 courses that start next week. Too tired now to think of anything else...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Free from the tyrrany of class-parent-hood

I went to the meet-the-teachers evening at Hannah's school and stepped down as classroom parent. I don't know that I was all that helpful as the number 2 person, but the replacements (#1 also stepped down, but she is a full-time teacher of disabled first- and second-graders and has 3 children, so it wasn't unexpected) only have one year ahead of them because the kids will get sorted into new classes next year. So I don't feel like anyone is getting taken advantage of because I stepped down.

On the way home, I was reading The Joy Luck Club and almost missed my stop. Oops. The meeting had run over, as usual, so it was 10:30 when I got off the bus.

This morning, I got up and got Hannah off to school, then I lay down on the couch and went to sleep for 4 hours. This afternoon, John lay down for an hour or two. We are two lazy--or perhaps slightly ill--people. At least Hannah still seems healthy.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Busy bee

I got up and screwed around for a little while on the Internet this morning before helping John get out the door. Then I washed a whole pile of dishes, which is no fun because we still have that leak in the kitchen sink and therefore have to do dishes in a large plastic bowl that came with pancake(?) mix from Costco or Sam's back in the day. But, our landlord came by (only a week later than expected--huzzah!) and measured the sink and promised to get a chrome replacement for it. Right now it is out of some mystery substance that is an unpleasant brown--very 70s--so chrome is a definite improvement. If only he would replace the dishwasher, too, but since we have never brought it up, the odds are not good. Oh well, it is probably eco-friendlier this way. Maybe.

Then I threw some towels in the wash--oops, gotta go take those out--and headed out to the grocery store. One place we shop is a discount store: they have a certain amount of stock (food) that is always there, but every week they have specials on non-food items or specialty (often foreign) foods. I found some stuff for Hannah's bed I had been looking for a few weeks ago when I blew our budget on some kitchen appliances, so between those things and the shopping, I had a hell of a lot to carry up to our top-floor apartment on my very own (Hannah was at school and John at his office). Oof! Hannah got home just as I was carrying the last 4 bags up the last 2 flights of stairs--she's got that uncanny sense of timing from her dad's side of the family--so she helped me put away the groceries and complained while I ate some tuna salad. While she ate lunch and studied Latin, I put together the new support system for her bed. The American-style box-spring is unknown here. Instead, people use a Lattenrost, a slatted frame that fits into a bed frame and on top of which the mattress is laid. Hannah's looks about like this:

Her old play bed just had a simple arrangement of slats that are nailed directly to the edges of the frame but have no spring to them. Since she is bigger than me now--i.e., grown-up sized--it was past time for her to have grown-up back support.

I also got a mattress pad for her bed, but it is rather thick and cushy, so it is almost like a pillow-top for her mattress. She seems pretty happy with the new set-up so far, although she hasn't slept in it yet. If she falls out tonight, I'll have to go back and pull out the old slats that are still nailed in place under the new system. I really don't want to do that, though, so I hope gravity gives her a break near the edge of the bed.

Now I am a bit stiff and sore from the lugging, sitting on the floor putting the Lattenrost together, and yesterday's turn at cleaning the communal stairwell. Since I have to go to a parent meeting later this evening--which I can't skip because I am one of the classroom reps, oi--I will now go lie down somewhere and veg out.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Last Minute

I was sitting there eating dinner--homemade pumpkin soup, which Hannah refused to eat--and realized I hadn't posted yet today. It would be rather lame of me to lose steam of day 5 of my month of blogging, so here I am while Hannah plays Animal Crossing.

We spent the last 3 days making our way through The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I can't help myself thinking of The Very Secret Diaries whenever we watch it, though. Highlights: Aragorn--"Still not king." Legolas--"Still prettiest." Everyone: "Sam will kill him if he tries anything."

And that is the lame end to a rather lame day 5.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Little Bit of This and That

John got all Mr. Fix-It recently and fixed:

1. the toilet seat in the downstairs bathroom, which had been sliding off the rim to the left every time we sat on it, for ages.

2. the light switch in the upstairs bathroom, which had a bit of it snapped off.

3. the light bulb in the car's right headlight.

I was Suzy Homemaker and sewed:

1. a cozy for the new kitchen radio after spraying it with powdered sugar. John mocked me for making a kitchen cozy, since in his experience only grandmothers sew cozies, but when our radio is still clean, functioning, and dust-free in 5 years, he will thank me for it.

2. hems on 2 new pairs of pants I bought in the States.

3. 2 still-secret xmas presents.

4. the second bench cushion, once I figured out the proper sewing machine needle to use on the upholstery.

5. and generally fixed a few things in need of repair, sewing-wise.

Hannah has joined the drama club but skipped the first meeting. She has promised to attend the next one this week on pain of death or loss of Animal Crossing, whichever would pain her more.

She tried to go to the movies today to see a German teenie film called Gangs with her classmates--girls only because the boys acted like "idiots" the last time--but it turned out to be a big event because the cast was there to give autographs, and half the group, including Hannah, couldn't get tickets. Hannah swears some girl shoved the person in front of her in line out of the way and swiped her ticket, which I doubt, but it does sound like it was crowded and crazy. She and her friend came back to our house and are watching Clueless now.

I am finding my laptop super annoying right now. The space bar doesn't always work, and now that I am managing to get in more typing, that means more times for the space bar to annoy me. grrr...

Our camera has crapped out on us, and I don't know when we'll have it fixed. The pictures look smeared, and a little research online shows that it is probably a part that Canon will fix for free, if we send it off to a Canon shop to be repaired. Now we just have to figure out where we can send it. That means I will not be able to inflict new photos on you. Luckily, I have a hard drive full of old photos. bwahahaha! Maybe later.