Monday, December 3, 2012

While Daddy's Away...

It never fails, when C goes away on business, the whole house groans at his departure.

Even though he took vacation to work on several household projects and in between our fun weekend, he made sure the oil was changed in my truck and that the van got a repair that we couldn't really afford but was necessary to drive it (a steering rod broke and the shocks needed replacing), he changed the battery in my remote locker-unlocker that lives on my keychain that had died several months ago, he even reattached the dishwasher to the countertop because it had shaken itself loose creating drainage issues -- as soon as he left, more things started breaking.

First thing this morning, Z was getting a little over-emotional about missing his Daddy and was easily overcome by frustration with his younger brother who wasn't doing a job I'd asked him to do (take some empty packages out to the recycle bin) and so Z whacked him in the face with one of the fruit cup cardboard packages.

It wasn't a giant injury, thankfully, but here it was like five hours after C had left home and already the first kid was bleeding (the photo was taken after cleanup).

So then, we had to run to WalMart to get some groceries this morning and we got some of those Command hooks so I could hang our homeschool stocking from the homeschool door.  This wasn't something broken ... it was just a household project that usually C would take on, but I did it myself.

And yes, our homeschool has its own stocking.  Right now, the number one thing on it's wish list is toner for our printer because the color has been out for several months and we can only do black and white prints.  No fun!  Another big wish is for Amazon gift certificates.  Just in case you were wondering.  Don't worry, it's a very big stocking.

After that, I started working with my niece, E, to teach her more about baby Jesus.  She loves babies and this time of year, there are several baby Jesus' around our house -- as ornaments and parts of nativity sets, etc.  So I thought it was a good time to have some visual aids to teach this little 15-month-old about our Lord and his birth.

I finally got her to say "Jesus" and to point to one particular baby Jesus while saying it.  It was soooo cute, let me tell you.

As a reward, I let her hold the little baby Jesus in her tiny hand.  She got so excited to go show S and J, that she accidentally dropped him on the kitchen tile and sadly, Jesus lost his head.

She said, "Uh-oh," and promptly brought Jesus back to me.

Of course, I wasn't upset.  I knew I was taking a risk letting her hold the figurine -- especially when she started walking around with him.  Besides, a little Superglue and Jesus is back in his manger, fully attached.  (Don't ask me how I managed to capture this precise moment with my phone.  I only wish my good camera had been in hand ... but it was put away and so all my photos from the day were from my cell phone.  Sorry about that.)

For dinner, I grilled hamburgers.  Yes, you read that right.

I, the cooking-hater, bought 83% lean ground chuck -- not prepackaged convenience foods -- formed the patties by hand and grilled those burgers on my husband's big ol' gas grill.  Of course, I did have to text him for reminders about temperatures, etc.

I think my kids were almost as surprised as I was.  They were delicious.  H and I had the patties on a plate, S and Z had theirs in the middle of a cheese quesadilla and J and O just had meatless quesadillas.

J even thought to bite hers in such a way, that I could take a picture to send to her Daddy to show him how much she missed him (which was even more evident by a rather emotional 20 minutes or so earlier in the day where J rehashed everything since being teased by a boy in Bethlehem about how she accidentally misspelled Dad on one of her projects).

So after dinner, I was cleaning up the kitchen and realized that the dishwasher had not drained correctly again.  The base was filled with murky water.

I removed the filter and made sure it was cleaned out and then I ran a short cycle hoping it would drain.  It did not.  S bravely stuck her hand down into the muck and felt around for any obvious grossness that might be blocking the drain and felt nothing.

So tomorrow, I need to look under the sink and find the pipe that connects to the sink drain (these are C's instructions to me) and disconnect it over a bucket.  Then run a cycle to see if there's just a blockage in the pipe.  Does this sound fun?  But I'm determined to not let C's absence get the better of me.

If I can't figure it out, I'll have to call a repair person or wait till this weekend to have a functioning dishwasher.  Aack!

For some of my readers, I know this might be a typical weeknight for you, but for me, this is some serious challenges to take on.  I like being able to just tell C about a problem and he gets to fixing it and I don't have to.

Not that I can't.  I just don't like to do it.  And normally, I don't have to.  But I guess that's why God gives me these opportunities to practice and remember that I can do these types of jobs -- if I have to.

In the meantime, I washed all the dishes by hand myself, because I'm too picky to hand that job off to a kid.

Still to put away, the day's dishes are clean and draining on some towels on the counter.  And yes, I washed the empty pickle jar for maybe some other project.  I don't know ... it just seems wasteful to toss handy containers like that away.

I will tell you that J's response to my doing the dishes in the sink was cracking me up.  She said, "Mama, why are you doing dishes the hard way?"

I explained to her the dishwasher situation and then said, "I used to do dishes like this all the time when I was growing up and we didn't have a dishwasher.  I used to ask my dad if we could get a dishwasher and his reply was always, 'Why?!  I already have three!' which meant my two sisters and me."

She sort of shrugged that story of my past off to the side and promptly grabbed two giant bowls, filled one with soapy water and one with clean rinse water.

She said, "Mama, this is really the old-fashioned way.  People didn't have dishwashers or sinks in the old days.  So I'll wash some of those dishes for you this really, really old way and you can have the easier job using our sink."

Leave it to a child to put some perspective on things.  At least I have running water when people for centuries washed dishes without it.

She did about three dishes, splashed water all over the kitchen floor and countertops and then got bored, but at least she tried.  And yes, she did dry up her spills.

While washing dishes, I started getting texts from my niece, K, who usually gets a lot of math homework help from her Uncle C.  So it was up to me to help her figure out how to explain it (math or explaining things are very far away from any gifting I have).

I did end up texting C with some clarifications because of some instructions I was getting about how K's answers were supposed to be in whole numbers.  Number 7 just can't be.  He confirmed this for me.  Hopefully, there was just a misunderstanding about the "whole numbers" thing and K will get her answers correct anyway.  

So finally, around that time, Daddy called the kids to ask them about their day and to tell them all goodnight.  Then I settled the boys in for a movie they all wanted to watch, J went on the computer for a bit and I played some Yahtzee with S.

But we weren't done.  Just as the movie was finishing up, O got kind of wild and jumped on furniture and H's response was a pleasant jab to the face with his elbow (according to O) to remind his younger brother that if he was being crazy, I would send them all to bed (as I'd forewarned).

O came crying to me about a new injury.

Still tiny, but yet another "broken" thing today.  I'm starting to wonder if C will be able to recognize O come Friday if he keeps finding his face in harm's way as much as he did today!

But for now the house is silent.  The boys are in bed.  J is in my bed because she likes to sleep with me when Daddy's not home.  S is watching a Christmas movie in the other room for a little while.  I finally got to sit down to do some blogging and some reflecting on the day.

Overall, things could have been a lot worse.

P.S. C traveled safely.  He arrived, rented his car and checked into his hotel.  We're looking forward to his speedy return this Friday.


  1. Poor O! His mouth looks sore.

    Sorry about the dishwasher. It is an appliance we get used to having around.

    I'm not quite in the same boat as you since I am and empty nester, but Dad left Sunday morning and I'll be picking him up ate the airport about noon on Thursday. I do get very lonely while he is away.

  2. You should have flown out here and we could be alone together! :) Maybe next time we'll coordinate better.