I got an email from a friend today. It's full of good tips.
We live a rainy part of the country. When it rains a lot, the clay that makes up most of the soil around here gets too wet for the ants, and they move into your house. It doesn't matter how clean or dirty your house is - you can have a spotless kitchen counter, and fly dies on your windowsill and now there's a line of black going from the dead fly to whatever hole in the wall the ants found their way out of.
Trevor's way of handling the ants is to "draw" circles around them with the liquid dish detergent. This uses up a lot of detergent. And the ants are still alive, just stuck in the circle. Until you wipe them up. Ew.
Diana likes the foam soap pump better. At least that way you don't have to look as much at the dead ant bodies.
My personal favorite way to get rid of ants was shown to me by my cousin Ekki from Germany. He used his lighter on a line of ants on a tree while we were at a park. They just froze there - burned to a crisp. But we can't do that in the kitchen without causing damage to my counters.
So here's the tip: Put some cornmeal where you notice ants coming in. They will take the cornmeal to their nest, but they can't digest it. So when they eat it, it kills them. Ta da!
Maybe it gets stuck in the 'node.'
For any that take issue with my attitude toward ants - hey, I pay the mortgage. Freeloaders of species other than human or dog will be terminated.
Yesterday, I worked on putting up the insulation in our new to-be bathroom. Trevor helped me first, then later Lee & I worked together.
You know, it's a lot harder to do something if all the tools are the wrong size and/or weight. After 5 tries, I could no longer squeeze the staple gun. Sure, I'm not used to doing that, but dang, it would help if it actually FIT my hand!
Working with the hammer isn't much better. It's weighted correctly for Lee (rightly so, since it's his), but it makes it more work for me. I have a small hammer I use for camping. It's a POS, but it works for me!
I would rather be the gopher with construction. I get too frustrated with doing the actual work. I'll cut the insulation down to size, but forget stapling it. So I just handed Lee the nails, tape measure, caulk gun, yadda yadda.
I'll stick to my sewing machine, knitting, canning stuff, etc. I'll leave construction to the people it's better suited for - people whose hands fit the tools (I know there are large-handed women out there somewhere!) and who have the arm strength to staple things to the ceiling.
Back to my TOPS club. Don't read if not interested. And you're probably not :P
Every week at the TOPS meeting people bring some things (healthy food, money, whatever) to put in a basket. Whoever has the largest weight loss that week (minus any gain from the prior week) wins the basket.
We have a few KOPS, eight ladies, in our club now (Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly) and yesterday another KOPS lady & I were the ones with the biggest weight loss in the chapter that night. That's very unusual.
Until you reach your goal weight, most of the time the TOPS members will beat out the KOPS people every time on the weight loss. Especially since the KOPS people are all about maintaining their weight loss, vs. continuing to lose every week.
We have a 10-lb leeway we're supposed to stay in, and when you are hitting the top of your leeway, sure, you need to lose weight. But it's harder to lose 2 lbs. in one week when you only have 5 to lose!
So, that's my little piece of TOPS club history for today. 2 KOPS beat out the TOPS members to get the prize basket (and I got an energy-saving lightbulb in my half!)
We bought our house because 1) we were sick of living in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex with 2 school-age kids & a baby, 2) it was very very affordable and 3) we planned on living here a long time and the house has such potential! It's on about 1/3 acre, one story with a daylight basement, 2 toilets (tho 1 full bathroom) and 3 bedrooms. A nice fit for us. It's in walking distance from the elementary school and High School, if you really want to walk that far - Downtown is closer than that.
The first thing we did when we moved in was paint the interior. The previous owners were apparently losing their vision, so they painted every thing in extremely LOUD colors - greens & pinks and oranges. It hurt my eyes.
Lee's sister, Donna, came up with a nice color scheme for me - I selected the colors I liked best, and she helped me paint the kitchen & laundry room. Much, much better. The bathroom went from being bright lime green to white with green accents, and our bedroom went from bright pink to white with pink trim. The boy's room had been dark beige and pink (???) so we went instead for a yellow & blue that matched a cool wallpaper space thing that Donna had found for them.
Diana's room was very small. It had been used by the previous owner for his ham radio room. I guess he used to have a massive ham antenna in the back of the house or something. Anyway, her room went from dark beige to light blue. Donna had found a lot of nice wallpaper borders & stuff to match up with paint.
All that together raised the value of the house right off the bat. Then we took a break for about 4 years.
Now we've added a master bedroom where our carport used to be. It's very nice and big and exactly what we wanted. Diana's tiny bedroom became a nice, big walk-in closet, and she moved into our old room. She painted all our previously pink trim a nice shiny black (to fit her oriental-theme decor). The new big bedroom has medium blue walls & light blue ceiling, with a nice Pergo floor that looks like real wood. The trim in the room is white.
Since the windows for the new room came with white frames, we went ahead and painted the other window frames in front white as well. It looks much cleaner than the old blue. We still need to paint the other windows on the sides of the house. However, we are in September now, and it's already started raining here & there. I'm focussed more on the new bathroom at this point. And that's the last thing we've been working on now. If you've looked at Lee's blog at all, you'll know how that's going already. Suffice to say, I'm not much involved in this project other than cleaning up after it a lot. I did put down the tar felt stuff today by myself on the floor. So that's something. I also helped pick out the vanity. I need drawers. I have a blow dryer! And product for my hair!! Lee's dad took the wood from the huge cupboard that shared the room with the toilet, and he's going to make us a linen closet with that. It will go in the laundry room.
Our german exchange student is coming at the end of the month, so there's the timeline! Actually, the sooner we get toilet #2 up & running, the better!!
Connor started on Tuesday, T&D started on Wednesday. I worked Tuesday, but we didn't have students until Wednesday, because the construction from the summer wasn't done yet!
Connor's in 3rd this year. He apparently did fine the first week. I keep in email contact with his teacher, special ed teacher & assistants. They can also call me at work if there's an issue. I didn't really hear from anyone, so on Friday I sent an email to his teacher, asking how it's going. So far so good! He should be working on a "word of the day" every day, and he should have homework coming home on Mondays that's due on Fridays. I'm thinking it might be good to have each of us work a little with Connor during the week.
Diana is taking Anatomy & Physiology as an elective this year. She wants to work toward being a Physical Therapist (can't go wrong with the baby boomers getting older!). They are supposed to dissect a rabbit this year. Later, they'll go to a big hospital in Portland and see an autopsy performed. This is the girl who looks away when we watch CSI. Hmm. Should be interesting. She's also taking German 3, Video Production & Algebra 2 as electives. She said she wants to be done with Math after this. Too bad, it really comes pretty easily for her. The required classes are English & Economics, I think.
Trevor is doing Drafting 3, German 3, Trig, Chemistry & College Prep English as electives. The last four are more college-bound classes vs. elective in my book. And he's heading for something to do with engineering, and the Drafting should work best with that. Trig is just a semester class, and if he can do it, Lee would like him to learn welding, just because it would be a good hands-on thing to know - and it fits with engineering too. Trevor's required classes is Government.
I think everyone is going to need to be pretty organized to keep up with the class loads. Both older kids are supposed to do a household chore when they get home, then start on homework. Diana has her route, but she's wanting to change to a "real" job soon. I think we'll wait until after the exchange student is gone though, since it's easier to work around a paper route than it is to ask your new boss for hours to fit socializing with a bunch of german kids. Still, she's almost halfway into what she needs to earn for the trip, and that's pretty good!
The construction in my classroom was so late because 1) the school district waited too long to put the job up for bids - all the local contractors bid way high because their summers were already booked, and 2) they wound up using the district Handymen, who didn't know the codes as well, so there were 5 change-orders during construction.
We still had a toilet uninstalled and no linoleum in our changing room on the first day of school. They finally finished everything completely (I hope) by Wednesday afternoon. The linoleum had been laid on Tuesday, but it needed 24 hours to cure - but we could step on it during our day on Wednesday. Still, all that dust and stuff was a pain in the rear when we should have had kids in class. Oh well.
Now we get down to scheduling who is doing what with which kid. We have a new teacher this year, and she took the first 3 days just to see what the needs of our special kids actually were. On Monday she plans to have a schedule, and that will help us remember to take our breaks and lunches on time too. The new teacher and a new aide still need to be trained on feeding protocols for most of the kids, and that needs time with the nurse and Occupational Therapist. Until then, the three of us from last year will have to cover the feeding schedule. But that's okay, we can do that.
Whew! Once school is going, we get to start thinking about Girl Scouts! Whoopee!!
Here are some photos of Jack from the memorial. It was very nice. His brother played piano & picked out the music for the background, which included Weird Al Yankovic. His dad gave the Eulogy, and his sister related a funny story. Some kids from the High School band performed as well.
During the part where people came to the microphone and talked about their experiences with Jack, Diana went up. I was very proud of her.
One of Jack's friends had said that they'd discussed who had the funnier German last name. Dannenhoffer vs. Kirkendahl. Diana went up and introduced herself as "Diana," and then said, "Jason, I believe I win for the funniest German name with Kiester." Everyone laughed at that. Then she told her story about how Jack had insisted that dragons were real, etc. She held it together and was able to smile. Later, her teachers & people that know us told her she was very brave to do that. But knowing Diana, she has that ability to pull up courage and do what she feels needs to be done.
Afterwards, Jack's dad asked me if it would be okay if he took Trevor & Diana to help pick out a location at the cemetery behind our house for Jack's ashes. He said Jack would have thought it great fun to be so close to our kids - so they could just look over the fence and say "Hi Jack!" I told Diana if she wanted, she could ask if she could plant some snapdragons there. While we believe after death the soul moves on, and the body is just a shell, more or less, it will still be a place that she & Trevor can go to reflect and remember. I don't know what the restrictions are on an Oddfellows Cemetery, but they'll be trying to get him in there.
We'll be going over this week to visit. Lee was home with Connor & missed the memorial, and I think he'd like to visit with Jack's folks for a while too. Diana & I will bring some goodies. We know his brother really likes chocolate, so I think brownies, at least. Diana might want to make a cheesecake too.
Also, a blurb was posted in the paper that Jack was indeed wearing his lifejacket & doing everything he should to be safe. Some debris caught on his shorts, and that's what caused the accident. Of course, anyone that knew Jack would know he was following the rules. This was the safety-monitor kid who would remind everyone to do things the right way. People float the river all the time around here, and unless something freaky like this happens, everyone just has a great time. And that was Jack - living & enjoying life, and having a great time, with a huge grin on his face.
His dad reminded us at the memorial, none of us knows what will happen. Be sure to let those you love know how much you love them, and take the time you need to do that.