Saturday, April 29, 2006

New Appliances

On Friday we had a new washer and a new refrigerator delivered. The frig is for Rachel's apartment and it hadn't been in place for an hour before she had covered it with her magnet collection.

The washer has way too many options, but it was the same price as a cheaper model because this model came with free delivery.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tragedy at Taylor U

Andrew sent us news of a terrible accident in which four Taylor students were killed on Wednesday night along with one Taylor employee. Here is the link to an item on the Taylor website and a link to a local newspaper story.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Goodbye, Maytag

Sigh. My washing machine troubles continue. I did fix problem number two this afternoon, then tried a test run. Alas, the machine would spin, but not agitate. A careful look in the Reader's Digest Fix-It Yourself Book showed entries for "agitates, but will not spin" but not for "spins, but will not agitate." I even used the mirror trick to look under the machine while it was running--the belt to the pump was moving, but not the other one. So I decided I would just call a repair man who kindly tried to diagnose the problem over the phone. He suggested maybe a sock was stuck under the agitator or between the two tubs. He gave me directions on how to futher tear it apart, which I did, but alas, no sock. So I called him up again and he said, "Sounds like a transmission problem. That will cost $475 to fix." Yikes! That doesn't sound like it is worth it for a 16 year old machine. He agreed, and gave me his suggestion of what brand to buy at Lowes.

Good thing those kids are through college now so I can spend my money on something besides them, huh?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Washing Machine

The washing machine has been spilling water onto the laundry room floor for some days, and today wouldn't agitate at all. This did cause me agitation, however, so I left work a bit early and went home and tore it apart. I found three things wrong: the water injector was bad (thus the water leaking), the drive belt was frayed (thus the lack of agitator), and there were crystaline flakes of dried bleach all over the inside (caused by a cracked inlet gizzy which I decided not to try to fix. I drove to my favorite repair place, and bought a new drive belt and installed with no problem. But they didn't have the other piece I needed, so I ordered it and will have to go back tomorrow to pick it up. So, if all goes well, this washer will be back washing sometime tomorrow.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Moving Stuff Around

Ever since we agreed to let Rachel turn one third of our house into an apartment for herself, we have been moving stuff. Books, furniture, appliances, computers, more furniture. We've changed the scenario a dozen times to make it work at the least amount of cost. Today we did some more moving, and now we have a place for Carol to stay. We're tabling the plan to paint, Gary thinks we don't need to (yes, I did remind him of his visual acuity, but nevermind... :-) If we don't paint, that is less work, right?

It was nice to talk to Andrew this morning before church and to David during lunch. We had a long discussion with David about the difference between basil and oregano. Rachel is still having allergy problems which seem to be small in the morning and considerable by the evening. Not sure why that happens.

Gary is off to Denver tomorrow, back on Thursday. Carol comes tomorrow and leaves Saturday.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jan

We joined friends from Kimball church to celebrate Jan's 55th birthday. We went to Spaghetti Warehouse and ate way too much. We tried to ride the DART light rail to get there, but the train left while we were still fussing with the ticket machine, so we gave up and drove to the West End. We found a place to park on the street without having to pay, so that was nice. Nice, especially because I put $56 of gas in the van today! That's the most I've ever paid for a fillup.

Today we searched high and low to find the cat to take her to the center for low-cost shots. We had given up and driven off when the cat just reappeared from where, we do not know. But the line was still there, so we stuffed her into a pillowcase and off she went for her shot.

Gary had to drag out the old, old backup mower because he can't get the old mower to start this year. The old, old mower has one wheel that sits at a 45 degree angle. But it did start, and Gary mowed the whole yard with it today.

Rachel is making her plans to go to a Maverick's playoff game with friends this Wednesday, thanks to Andrew's finesse at buying tickets. She's a real fan.

Friday, April 21, 2006

It's Friday

Rachel survived her very first paid day of teaching! When she got to school she was told, "I called you to sub in 4th, but now I want you in 1st." But that way, she got to meet some of the kids who will be in her 2nd grade class next year. She did so well the principal asked her to come back on Monday. Thank the Lord for giving her a good experience.

I helped Andrew out today with a last minute ticket order--it is rather amazing that tickets for tomorrow night's playoff game can be received and resent here in Dallas in the afternoon for a game in LA tomorrow night. It is a flat world.

Gary has lots to do this weekend, including trying to get our lawnmower to start working. If he doesn't, I'm hiring the two little boys who mowed and edged last time for $30. We are planning to attend a birthday party at the Spaghetti Warehouse tomorrow night too. Gary thinks he's too busy to go, but I'm insisting he not work ALL the time. He's busy getting ready for two presentations at a conference in Denver next week where people pay $1000 a day to attend. (If they pay that much to attend, why is he doing this for free?? I ask.)

The hot, hot weather has left us and now we're having some nice spring temperatures. And we've had rain the last two nights, so that will help the wildflowers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cancel the Babysitting

Rachel's Tuesday babysitting job got canceled due to sickness, and today's babysitting job got canceled due to having a new baby. So she hasn't made much $$ this week :-(

Yesterday she went to Christway Academy and observed again. She came home and told me she had gotten brave and signed up to be a sub for the rest of the year. An hour later the phone rang and they asked her to sub tomorrow for 4th grade. So that should be a way to make a little money. It looks like her actual salary for next year is only about half of a starting teacher in the Duncanville public schools, but the payment for a day of subbing is the same.

Gary got home from DC OK. Wow, that trip cost a lot of money for just a one day meeting 9am-4pm. I hope somebody got their money's worth. He brought home a free bottle of shampoo from the hotel that only cost $198.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Monday

Mom left at 8 this morning and called early evening saying she had gotten home OK. She missed our record-breaking heat for today--102 in some parts of the Dallas area.

Rachel is having a serious issue with allergies at the moment. She was OK when she got up this morning, but now in the evening she is again covered in hives. If the stage makeup caused this, it seems like her body absorbed the makeup and the problem is now systemic.

Tomorrow afternoon Rachel is going to babysit for a young child who is developmentally delayed and has seizures. Let's hope the child doesn't have any while she is there! Today we did a practice drive to the house so she could learn how to get there and drive there herself tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning we are having friends over for breakfast, here visiting from Pennsylvania. Breakfast was the only time Gary was available since he flies to DC tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

We took a quick 3-generation photo before heading for church. We skipped the sunrise service because we thought Rachel needed to sleep to be ready for the second performance of Crossroads. She did good, she's now in the shower trying to scrub off the thick layers of tan stage makeup which she is apparently allergic to. After last night's show she had welts all over and had to take benedryl.

Just before we left for the show Andrew called--always nice to hear from him and Laura. They are not too happy with the prospects of sorting and packing their stuff to get ready to leave.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rachel the Jew

Mom joined me and Gary to watch Rachel perform in the church's Easter musical Crossroads. She had a lot of fun doing it. There is another performance tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, April 14, 2006


We're having a beautiful day today, but we still need more rain. Gary's poor wildflower garden isn't looking so good this year due to the extended drought. The Texas primroses are the only thing that have thrived--they are truly native to this part of Texas.

Rachel continues to do practice driving and she's doing better each day. She still needs to draw a permanent map in her head of our town, but she does OK if she navigates by landmarks. She's organized a flashlight, clock, compass, spare key holder, Kleenex, pen and notepad, bottle of water, road atlas, local map, and extended vision mirror. I think she still needs a cover for the steering wheel so it doesn't get so hot in the Texas sun.

She has dress rehearsal for the Crossroads musical this evening. The rest of us will likely go to church to watch a showing of the Passion movie.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday

Mom arrived safely this afternoon. This was her first time to use the suitcase we bought her for Christmas. She was pretty tired, not having slept very well the night before. We are planning for a pretty low-key weekend, but will be attending the Crossroads musical. The weather is so nice, I'm thinking we might grill burgers tomorrow at lunch time. We'll probably go see the Passion movie tomorrow evening at church. Rachel won't be able to attend with us as they will be having dress rehearsal. I wonder how she is going to look covered in "Egyptian-colored" makeup?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mom is Coming

My mom called last night and said she's driving up tomorrow to spend the Easter weekend with us. While she is here she will get to see Rachel in this production put on by our church. Rachel is a bit worried because she isn't allowed to wear her glasses--let's all pray she doesn't fall down!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gas Prices

Today Rachel had another first--she filled her own car with gas and paid for it with her own credit card. She was shocked that a tank of gas cost as much as a new set of sheets which she also bought today. She's starting to have a little fun "playing house" as she turns the end of our house into a separate apartment. It is a lot of work and money to do that, but we are aiming for June 1 to shut the door between our end of the house and hers.

Tomorrow Rachel plans to spend the day at the school where she will teach next fall. She will shadow the 3rd grade teacher for the day. She hopes to do this one day a week for the rest of the school year. I think it will be a great way for her to get some of her million questions answered, and maybe to gain more knowledge about the school and thus be more confident when she starts teaching herself.

Andrew and Laura have struggled to know exactly how to file their taxes. It isn't easy to call the SSA or IRS from Ethiopia, but that's what they've had to do. The hard thing was figuring out what status Laura was and whether or not she needed a ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or SSN or neither.

We need to pray for them as they are about to start the packing process to leave Ethiopia. I know times like that are guaranteed to be stressful.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


We enjoyed having a potluck lunch on Saturday with a large number of friends from our old church. Lots of good food at Mary T's house in DeSoto. Former pastors and current missionaries, Pete and Jan, gave an update of their work. Always nice to see them. Rachel went with us (after spending some time that morning at a nursing home with the singles from church) and it was nice for her to see folks who knew her as a child.

After that, Rachel drove us to Target for a little shopping--she's starting to learn her way around town.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Home Safely

Gary got home safely this afternoon, but his suitcase wasn't there. When we checked with the agent, we learned the suitcase had come on an earlier flight out of LAX. Sure enough, it was in a locker at a different baggage claim, but not that far away.

Gary had nothing good to say about the LA airport--crowded and disorganized and poorly laid out. We've been pretty spoiled by DFW, I guess.

It still isn't clear if Gary will get paid for this trip. The grant that funded his ticket was supposed to pay him a consulting fee, but the University has different ideas, so it isn't clear whether he will get paid or not. If not, I guess he had a nice vacation!

Rachel paid for her car today and got an insurance policy in her own name. Yesterday the man we bought it from changed the master brake cylinder, added an outside mirror, and changed the oil. Today we carefully washed the car inside and out. We're hoping that over the next couple weeks she can memorize all the places she likes to go to so she can get there safely by herself.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gary Eats Kangaroo

He says it doesn't taste like chicken--more like beef. He hasn't just been working. They've been to the symphony and on some nature outings. This is from an email.

On Saturday we stopped in a gum forest park and encountered a flock of crimson rosellas and galahs. Steve had bird seed in the trunk, so we fed them out of the palms of our hands until one of the galahs took a bite out of my thumb and at about the same moment the same thing happened to him. No blood though. The high point was visiting the HealesVille Sanctuary (which no doubt has a web site). It is a wildlife sanctuary where we saw most of the unique animals of Australia: platypus, echidna, koala, kangaroo, wallaby, wombat, kookaburra, flying fox, water rat (which isn't really a rat), quoll, and more. With the flying fox, you actually go inside their big pen and watch them hang from the wire mesh ceiling 15 or 20 feet up. They have a strong pungent smell. It was quite a display of the variety of God's creatures.

Here's the link to Healesville Sanctuary, in case you want it.

Rachel put out "Do you need a Babysitter?" flyers around the Center today, in hopes to drum up a little business to keep herself solvent until her first paycheck in September. She also talked me into going to a new store this afternoon called Home Educator's Resource. It is a large store aimed at homeschooling families featuring lots of used curricula and books. Rachel is just so anxious to get started teaching that she had to buy something. She did pretty good with used book prices, picking up two books of teacher ideas/tips, one book on her ACSI certification reading list, and an EZ-grader (whatever that is) all for less than $20.

The Subaru went off to have a mirror added and the brakes checked. Rachel will soon write a check for that, and then she will have even more reason to look for babysitting jobs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Whew, That's Over

Rachel had her follow-up interview today with the school administrator, the assistant school administrator, and the elementary principal. She was asked some questions and they talked to her a bit more about what to expect. It seems they liked her--well, why wouldn't they?? I guess they wanted to at least meet Rachel to rubber stamp the principal's choice. (Now if they hadn't liked her, I'm not sure what would have happened.)

Now it looks like the "new" car won't get worked on until Wednesday afternoon, but we really aren't in too big of a rush anyway.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Hope This Isn't a Glitch

Rachel just got a rather strange phone call from the principal who recently hired her to teach next fall. She was told she now had to come and pass some kind of inspection by the school's administrator (apparently, the principal's boss). She told Rachel, "Be confident and dress very professionally." Yikes! That sounds just a little bit scary. Pray with us that it is nothing more than a formality.

Other Rachel news is that she is sick again--bronchitis with a little laryngitis too. She was able to get into the clinic this morning and now we're waiting on the prescription to be filled.

We've pretty much decided we are going to purchase the little car we test drove over the weekend. But it will be a day or two before we finish that transaction. We are asking the guy to install an after-market outside mirror on the passenger side, and to check the brakes.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Party Time

Last night the old people had a party here to celebrate Carol's birthday.

Tonight the young people had a party here to say farewell to Zach.

Rachel says, "We always party when dad leaves."

Click the triangle to see them playing Spoons.