Sunday, 26 January 2014

all about Daniel

Because we haven't done anything with the bathroom lately.
And because he's so CUTE and growing up and changing every day.

Daniel is 18 months old today. He says several words now without prompting. First (of course) is Mama. Now this has the usual meaning of maternal parent, but it also can mean "I want". He will gesture at his desired object and say "mama." Or perhaps he will show his displeasure at being made to do something (strap into car seat, etc) by yelling "mama."

Having discovered that I don't always answer just because he says my name, he has taught himself to say "ow!" when he really wants something. (And sometimes, if he is hurt.)

He says "ew!" whenever I check his diaper, if it is wet or not, and at other gross things.

"Riah!" - usually said in an angry voice, but also when he wants to call any of the older children. He tries to say some of the other names, but he has Riah down pat.

"Up-uh" when he wants up.

"At" for cat and hat.

"Ball" for balls or balloons.

"woofwoof" for dog or other miscellaneous animals.  Other animals he growls at (he growls at my snowmen!).

"Mena" for banana, and applied to other fruits as well. How does a baby know that a pear is more like a banana than a cracker?

"mo-ee" for more. eeee-eeee for drink, usually accompanied by the sign.

"Dop!" for stop, when someone offends him in some way.

"unh-uh" for no.

"huh?" when I call him.

"Baby" when he sees another baby, but usually he also points at himself.

"uh-oh" when anything falls.

"sigh" for outside.

"Eye" for eye, nose, light, and fan.

"EE-o" for ear. He also likes to find Q-tips or hair pins and clean out his ears. We try to discourage this habit.

Daniel has curious tastes. He likes candy and cookies, as do the rest of us, white bread/rolls/crackers, peanut butter, fruit, and coffee. He doesn't eat meat, which isn't really weird at his age, except for the fact that meat/eggs was his first food. He's still nursing at least twice a day. We're past ready for him to be weaned, so we try to distract him whenever he starts to beg, but sometimes there's just nothing else that will do.

He doesn't play with toys much - prefers the canned goods or pots in the kitchen - but can stack 6 or more blocks. He likes to read books, though he still sometimes tries to use them as a diversion (by dropping a book, so we'll stoop to pick it up and he can get away, or by handing it to us so we will look at it and he will get into something).

He likes to watch short videos and some computer games, but isn't interested in the Nintendo. At night he frequently goes to sleep on Bob's lap. He usually sleeps all night now, but not always.

Daniel likes to have his hair combed. He once spent 15 minutes bringing a comb to Bob, who fixed his hair, then he'd ruffle it up and come back for more combing.

He still climbs on the table, and enjoys being on the top bunks. He likes to look at running water, but doesn't like showers. Scared of the vacuum and power tools, but is fascinated by them (wants to be held where he can just see what's going on).

He's very good at watching people do things and then imitating the movement. He can open doors, screw lids, flip caps, and baby-locked cabinets. He likes to eat chapstick and lotion. He "snaps" his fingers at people to get their attention, puts on Bob's reading glasses, uses a screwdriver, and tries to open candy wrappers.

He hasn't been weighed and measured lately, but is getting thinner and taller.

Daniel can just reach the water dispenser on our Berkey, and sometimes he gets himself a drink by letting water drip out onto the floor, then lying down and licking the water off the floor.

Anyway, I know I've missed some stuff, but that's all for now.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

more bathroom

When our house was built in the 60s, the construction workers were told to use lots of nails. We know this because Bob's grandparents told us so. They followed directions. We know because we had to pull them out. sigh. 

There is a subfloor made of 2x4s on the diagonal, then a papery substance, then the hardwood floor- 1x2x18" planks that were laid down before the walls were built and so run along under the walls. Most of the house had been covered with carpet (which was then replaced a few times) and has all been pulled up by us except for the girls' room. But the bathroom, ah! the bathroom. Linoleum had been laid on top of the hardwood, and  then at some point the room was remodeled, when plywood was put on top of the linoleum, with more linoleum on top of that.

And all of it rotted.

The toilet was actually not the worst part of the bathroom. Once we started pulling out fixtures and flooring we got a better picture of how bad things were. When Bob popped out the shower thing (a single piece with floor and 3 walls) he noticed that the pipes were not sealed at the joints. And that, coupled with the long time usage of a shower curtain instead of a door, had soaked the floor through all those layers. Mold. Slime. Rot. Stink. Standing water.

We peeled back the linoleum. We pried up the plywood (a nail every 4 inches). We pulled up each plank of hardwood - even those under the walls, thanks to a "sawsall." And then, in the worst of it, we pushed through, cut, pulled, hammered, and otherwise removed the subfloor as well. Yeah, there's a 4' square hole in our bathroom now. We took down 2 walls of drywall, a built in cabinet, a vanity, a built in wall heater, a wall cabinet, a medicine cabinet mirror... And 5 wheelbarrow loads of rotten wood.

In the middle of the destruction Tuesday Bob cut through the shower water supply line and so did a 50 yard dash out to the shutoff valve, so we were without water in the house until I went to town for a fitting, which required a "crimping tool" that sells for $66. The nice guys at the lumberyard decided they could loan it out for a $50 deposit.

(Saturday, while Bob was doing schoolwork and I was playing Farmv... er, doing research online, the lights suddenly went out. The old fluorescent fixtures are a little temperamental, so I just waited for them to come back on. When they didn't, we went investigating. The circuit for the lights in 2/3 of the house had popped up. When we pushed it back down it sparked and popped up again, even with all the switches off. Bob switched out the breaker and it did the same thing. He finally decided it must be from our bathroom vent/fan, which we had trouble with and haven't turned on in a year. Then Riah decided it was time to take a 30 minute break. So in the meantime we prodded in the broken bathroom, by flashlight. Once Bob got into our bathroom and cut the wire to the vent, all problems were resolved. Then we got a better look at the main bath, and decided it had to be done.)
Sunday we took a break.

Monday we did some stuff here in the morning (I even worked in the garden for 10 minutes), and after lunch we went to Fayetteville. We checked the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and they did have a lot of tubs, but the tubs weren't cleared for sale yet (they test everything before they price it), and none of them looked very nice/just right. But we did find a reel mower for $40, and bought a bathtub sliding glass door that we thought we could find a track for, because new doors on Lowe's website were $700. Stopped by Taryn's doctor for an allergy shot.

Then we went to Lowe's. We were there about 3 hours before we decided to finish up and go eat supper. We looked at tubs, and they had in stock the one I'd seen online that said was a special order and would take 10 days to get in. Of the 4 tubs they had in the price range, we liked that one the best - it is a standard "footprint" but has an "apron" front, so the inside of the tub is actually 2 inches wider than normal. It was set up with the tub surround that we liked best, and had a custom made sliding glass door with it for $400. We realized the door we'd bought wouldn't work because it was straight, but didn't like the curved one, so decided to go with a curtain - they don't leak as bad on a tub as on a shower.  Then we looked at sinks and counters, and then over to cabinets where we found the cheapest cabinet actually suited, and came with a sink/counter. We looked at light fixtures, and I picked out the same one we'd installed at church, because of familiarity, and the reasons we bought it then - very quiet fan, takes regular sized bulbs. It is white and "brushed nickel" which is a soft silver color. Then we looked at faucets, and I first went for brushed nickel to match the light, but as we had a hard time deciding on a sink faucet I thought we'd pick the tub faucet first and match the sink to it (much fewer selections on the tubs). But then, I saw that in the chrome section (that is, shiny silver) they had tub/shower faucets with - gasp! - 3 handles!!! Remember when they all had that? And then for the last 15 years they've only offered the faucets with a single handle, so that the higher the volume of water, the hotter it is. (We managed to find a 3 handle one for our master bath, but had to order it online. Even the specialty plumbing store didn't have any.) So we decided to go with chrome. Picked the tub fixture, then argued about the sink faucet. (This was me and the girls. Bob had gone out to measure the van and see what we could fit in it today.) Bob showed up and helped us decide on a faucet. Then he didn't like that the light was nickel, so back to the lights and changed for a chrome one. Then to tile. They don't have white tile in anything bigger than a 4" square. We wanted white. So we talked about the little tiles. We looked at big ones that were mostly whiteish. We noticed that 99% of the tiles were rough on the surface, which we all agree feels "ugly." We were getting tired and grumpy and the children were going nuts, so we went to dinner. But first we had to load the van. This took at least 30 minutes, and finally ended with the tub out of the box, wedged in between the top of a seat and the ceiling. We didn't get the tub surround because it "wouldn't fit." 

Then Taco Bell. Took 20 minutes to get our food. Were still hungry. Got more food. Got a single churro that took 10 minutes to heat up. Finally left! To MIL's for our tile saw that they'd been using. Went to another Lowe's to decide about tile. Finally picked out a 9x18" marble-look that's labeled "wall tile" - on closer inspection, all the smooth ones are labeled for walls. Got mortar and grout. Went home.

Tuesday was the day of demolition described above. We had to move a bookshelf to get the shower unit out of the house. Taryn and I wore dust masks all day. Everybody drank some Emergen-C. Wednesday we worked more and calculated the plumbing needed. As the list got longer it seemed that it would be cost effective to go back to Springdale. Taryn called her allergist and they said she could get shot Wed. instead of Thur, and we were off. We finally found all the right fittings, the children were a little better, and then we ate at Buffalo Wild Wings, where the service and the food were both excellent. We decided it wasn't worth going out of our way to Aldi for bananas, but just as we left town I remembered we were out of milk, so we stopped at Harp's grocery. 

Once home, in anticipation of today's extreme cold, Bob rough-cut our new subfloor and covered the hole in the floor. Today, Thursday, Bob went to work with his friend at a remodel in Kingston. I'm keeping the fire going and catching up on laundry.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

a birthday and a bathroom

Friday was Taryn's birthday. She had wanted to go ice skating with two girl friends (and maybe her family), and the rink was open on Saturday. On Monday the girls' father said they were permitted to go, but he didn't know if they already had plans. On Tuesday he thought they could go. By Thursday he wasn't sure, and Friday morning he said they couldn't make it. So she was disappointed, and in an effort to cheer her up we decided to go out for Krispy Kreme for breakfast - but not all the other doughnut shops in town as we did last year.

As the boys did their chores and we got ready to go, I cleaned the main bathroom. The toilet has been leaking, and I gagged every time the door was open, so I just had to clean it before we left. Seeing up close how bad it was, I declared that I would not come back home without a new wax ring (assuming the old one had smooshed or rotted and that's why it was leaking). Bob answered that he had recently changed the ring - we needed to get a whole new toilet.

So into town on the coldest day of the week. We got free hot doughnuts and bought a dozen. The new chocolate cheesecake ones are a lot better than the cheesecake ones they had last year. We thought we might get a new mattress for Taryn as her present - she's had the same mattress since... we bought that bed used 10 years ago, and it became hers 7-8 years ago. So it was past due. Went to one mattress store and she liked the first one she tried, but liked the next one better, and the third was great (but over $100 more). So I suggested we try another store. Meanwhile, Bob took William to a used game store to spend Christmas money on Wii Sports Resort. The second mattress store had a bigger selection of cheap twin mattresses, and she found one that she adored. (Just happened to be the same one the other customer liked). The salesman gave us $140 off the marked sale price, and we bought it.

Then we had lunch at Jim's Razorback Pizza in Lowell, which was pretty good, and reasonably priced. I drank soda with my lunch special - the first full glass I've had in quite a while. It tasted good, but didn't wow me. After lunch we went on to Fayetteville to the music store and to pick up the mattress at another location of the same chain. And we also went to Lowe's for the new toilet - we got the cheaper of the two chair-height rounded front toilets they carry. Got home at almost dark, but Taryn still managed to get Bob to grill burgers for supper (in the cold and wind).

And then we took out the old toilet. Oh, dear! This really deserves its own post, but I guess that will come. First, we noticed that it was gross. Second, it was really gross!! Okay, sorry. There's just no way to describe the smell or the revulsion of "brown water" inside my house. Right. The ring wasn't in bad shape, and the toilet didn't appear cracked. But the plastic thing that holds it all together was in bad shape. The drain pipe is lead. The rim of the pipe which is supposed to overlap with the wax and the toilet was broken, thus our leak. Based on visual cues, Bob decided to cut out the linoleum from around the toilet. And that's when IT began in earnest. The floor was rotten. After much deliberation, hammering, and poking around, we decided to go ahead and fix it rather than patch it with a proverbial bandaid and put it off.

And that gets its own post.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

pics from my phone

 Cedwryck plays the iPad. With natural and fluorescent light.

Daniel was standing in front of me, trying to look at my phone when he activated the camera. I thought this was cool, and pretty clear considering the low light and the close proximity.

Christmas at home.

Samsung Note 3

Samsung Note 3 (or is it III?)

I may have mentioned a few times that I got a new phone. It's not just "smart" - it's top-of-the-line, which is a little unusual for me. I usually try to get by with the minimum, and cut costs wherever it won't cut service. But when we started thinking about getting a smart phone, I narrowed things down to 4 phones, one of which was the Note 2. Then Black Friday came, and T-Mobile put the Note 3 on sale for $100 less than list price. Comparing the specs, Note 3 blew away the competition. The Google Nexus has the same size processor and is cheaper, but it, like the HTC One, has a non-removable battery and no memory upgrade. Samsung's phones have both of those life-lengthening features. 

The stand-out feature of the Note phones (and tablets) is that they come with a built-in stylus. Yeah, you can buy a stylus for other touch screen devices, but Note is made for it - there's a button on the "pen" that activates certain features, and it has an alarm if you walk away from the pen. You all know how old I am, so it won't be a surprise that I grew up writing notes, not typing them. I still find it more natural to jot a note than to type one out, and often have to be reminded to use the computer/printer instead of pen and ink. I enjoy the physical sensation of holding a well-crafted pen (similarly, I prefer a paintbrush to a roller). But anyway, this is about the phone, not me. :D The point is that I like to pull out the pen and write my grocery list on my phone. I was so sick of losing well-thought-out grocery lists! Now it's on my phone so I better not lose it! Besides that, I can select text and move it around, so I can jot down each item as it comes to my attention, and then organize the list by store when we are ready to go shopping. It also recognizes handwriting, so I can convert it to text, or even write down a phone number and then have the phone call it.

Another distinctive is the size. It's actually classified as a "phablet" - a phone/tablet hybrid. It looks ridiculously large when put next to an iPhone or most of the cell phones around, but is still smaller than a home phone in height and width, and of course much smaller in depth. This can be either a plus or a minus, depending on taste. I personally don't mind the height of it - I think it's handy when a phone reaches to both ear and mouth - but think it's a little wide when using as a phone. For non-phone use, it's great! 

The size of the screen enables another bonus feature - "multi-window". A number of applications can be opened in a portion of the screen while another app is running on the other side. I haven't used this a lot, but it is handy when I want it. For instance, I could be watching a video and look up something online at the same time (or write a note). There are several ways to take a screen shot, and then save, edit, or even write on it. It has voice activated Google-powered search that can search the internet as well as the phone itself (for tags I've put on photos or saved images or documents, as well as document content).

Of course there's the standard features like front and rear facing cameras, texting, phone calling, internet browsing. The main camera is 13 megapixels, but as people with real cameras know, the sensor size makes the difference, so it's not much better than an 8 MP would be. It does take super-high definition videos, which are pretty nice. Text is easy to use; my complaint there is that the spell check doesn't like me to use texting shortcuts like gr8 or tmr. This is fine with me, but I worry about people with small phones who need to receive short texts. The first call I made was to my Dad, who said it sounded like I was calling from "next door." I haven't talked a lot on it, but am satisfied with the volume and quality of the calls. It came with a browser, and I soon downloaded Firefox as well. On the phone, I can't tell much difference between the two as far as form or function go.

Being an Android, it has much more to offer than an Apple. We do have an (original) iPad, so have dealt with Apple and the iStore. With Apple, the store shows you the top 5 - 10 apps of the day, and it is no end of trouble to try to get past that into the thousands of available apps. If you know what you want and search for the name, you can find it, but browsing is impossible (for me). With the Google Play store, each "top" category has 500 apps in it, which allows for a lot of browsing. There are multiple ways to browse, and of course the search function as well. Then there are other stores: I have looked in Amazon's app store a bit, and Samsung has their own, but I didn't like it much (too much adult content). 

I have downloaded a few apps: games, maps, navigation, star charts, guitar tuner and chord teacher, phonics and math games, my bank, my favorite stores (see their sale flyers and get coupons)... I can send pictures directly to my computer (without even telling it to), print to my home printer, view and edit .doc and .pdf files. 

Compared to my old flip phone that I had with AT&T pay as you go, the sound is better, the numbers are easier to access, and there are tons more options, It's also WAY more expensive, and I have to charge the battery every 2 days instead of every 10 days. Funnily, the battery is better than the phone thinks it is. At 25% power, my app that sends my pictures to my home PC stops running. At 15% power, the phone starts warning me of low battery.
Compared to the iPad, everything is better except the location of the power button - it's just opposite the volume "rocker" and I tended to squeeze them both at the same time (I have trained myself to not do that anymore).

Wil has mentioned that his new phone is slower than his home computer for internet browsing, but at home we are limited by our provider rather than our computers, so all devices run the same. In town, where I can connect at 4G LTE, it is amazingly fast. I downloaded a program before the little progress bar even popped up. But my plan does limit how much I can use the 4G speeds, so at home I connect (and even call) over my wifi network. 

I tried once to download some music from my computer to my phone via a "cloud," and it worked but took hours. Then Bob went "duh" at me, and I bought a memory card. I stick it in my PC and download songs in just a couple of minutes, then play in my phone straight from the card. So while it may be "nice" to be able to download or share files wirelessly (as Apple does exclusively), it is much "better" to have a memory card.

Not sure what else to say... I used my own photos (from my Facebook account) for my "lock screen" and my "home screen" backgrounds.  I set a password on my lock screen rather than the default swipe to unlock, because I have children. Phone calls bypass the lock and can be answered by a swipe. Notifications show up on a bar at the top of my screen, and swiping down from the top allows me to see details of the notices, and take action right from there (for instance, if someone comments on my Facebook post, I tap on the notice and it opens up the Facebook page). I bought a screen protector that's supposed to be impact resistant, and a leather-look wallet thing that has a plastic case for the phone to snap into, and a magnetic latch on the front cover. I hope that these will lengthen its usable life (I didn't opt for the protection plan offered by T-Mobile). 

These opinions are (obviously) my own; no one asked me to write this or will pay or(I hope) prosecute me in any way for saying what I did.