## Sunday, March 20, 2011

### Enjoying the Spring Weather

Today the three of us went on a hike together.  Our town has a lot of greenways, so we went on one where we got to see a lake in a former quarry and an old cemetery.  I don't know how long we were out walking -- probably 2 or 3 hours -- but Vinny did quite well until the end when he got tired.

The weather was beautiful -- sunny, but not too hot.  The trees don't have leaves on them yet, but they will soon.

## Saturday, March 19, 2011

### My Little Mathematician

Vinny loves numbers.  (I wonder where he got that from?)

He loves to count.  He will just start counting and keep going as high as he can, sometimes with humorous results (e.g., ninety-eight, ninety-nine, ninety-ten, ninety-eleven...).  He also loves to count people, or toys, or anything else he can figure to count.  When he is upset, I can take advantage of his proclivity for numbers, and calm him down by counting to 100 together.

He loves clocks and timers.  I was getting exasperated with him the other morning for wasting time when I was trying to get him ready for school, so I turned on the timer and he suddenly saw it as a challenge to beat the countdown.  He is really into telling time, and remarks on the passing of nearly every minute in the car on the way to school.  He's also fascinated by the thermometer in the car, and we have nearly daily conversations about the relative heat or cold of a range of temperatures.

His favorite book these days is 26 Letters and 99 Cents, (the 99 cents part, not the letters part).  It has pictures of coins (or, as he calls them, "coinks") that add up to the numbers 1 through 99 (skipping quite a few at the end, thank goodness!).  From this book he has learned to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and how the coins add up to various numbers.  I swear I have read him this book a countably infinite number of times.

We play games with numbers.  We count together, alternating who says the next number, so that one is counting evens and one is counting odds.  We find cool number patterns and remark on how cool they are (e.g., "Mama, it's 12:34 -- one two three four!"  "Cool!  Good observation, buddy!").  He loves to type or lay out a string of digits, and make me say what number it is (e.g., 8537832104 is 8 billion, 537 million, 832 thousand, 104).

It is really fun to enjoy numbers together.  I look forward to teaching him how to play Sudoku and Kenken when he is older (games he already wants to play but lacks the skills at this point).  I hope he never loses his enthusiasm for math!

## Monday, March 14, 2011

### Bunk Bed Update

As I alluded to in the previous post, Vinny's bunk bed finally came.  It has been working out great so far.

It is a little big in his very small bedroom.  Unfortunately the way the room is configured, the only place to put the bed is right by the door, but the door opens such that it does not interfere.  The thing I like about it though, is that even with his door open (as he insists on keeping it at night), he can't see out so that makes it easier to sneak past without disturbing him.

The bed also has a trundle underneath, meaning that there could potentially be room for three children.  (I have visions of two of his boy cousins* staying over for a sleepover someday.)  However, we have only one mattress at the moment -- he is sleeping on the lower bunk because he is much too young to sleep on the top as of yet.

He's enjoyed it so much that when we first got the bed, we had to pretend that it was nighttime and so he could pretend to sleep in it.  And he's been going to bed in his own bed without a fuss, and not even complaining when I don't sit beside his bed for five minutes.

Here's hoping I don't jinx it by saying this, but I am so glad we got the bunk bed for him, because it has made a world of difference at night!

* Either my sisters' sons, or Jeff's sister's sons.  Probably not both sets of cousins at the same time, though!

## Sunday, March 13, 2011

### My Poor Baby Boy

My sweet baby boy has been sick since Friday.  He's been running a fever for three days now.  He has also been suffering from diarrhea.  I got concerned this afternoon when his temperature was still above 100 F despite the fact that he was under the influence of acetaminophen.  So I have called the doctor's office and hopefully the nurse will get back to me soon.

But, on the bright side, he has been sleeping very consistently in his own bed, because he finally got his cool new bunk bed* on Tuesday and has been faithfully sleeping in it because it is so cool.  He hasn't even considered sleeping in the bed with us despite feeling so sick.

* Best investment EVAR!!!!

## Saturday, March 12, 2011

### Taxing My Patience

I'm not trying to brag, but I make a lot of money.  Despite the fact that I am the only income earner in the household, we are very firmly in the top quintile of household incomes in the United States.

Commensurate with a large income is a large tax burden.  A larger percentage of my earnings are taken by income taxes and payroll taxes than were taken when I was a graduate student, for example.  But I don't mind -- it's part of my responsibility as a citizen.  I benefitted (and still continue to benefit) from others' tax outlays, so it's only fair that I do my part.

I do not understand those who seek to avoid paying their fair share of taxes through the extension of tax cuts and special exemptions for the wealthy.  Their avarice only serves to hurt the people around them, and ultimately themselves.  Why should programs like Head Start (proven to dramatically improve the future prospects of children in low-income families) be on the chopping block?  I am happy to fund programs like that, if for no other reason than that when I'm old, I'd much rather encounter these kids as my doctor or nurse rather than robbing my house for drug money.

It makes me sick to think that some people would prefer to have a larger number in their bank account instead of contributing to the general welfare of their country.  Paying taxes is patriotic, and helping those who are less fortunate is our duty.

## Saturday, March 05, 2011

### Thoughts on a Rainy Saturday Afternoon

In the latest news:
• I ordered some new chairs for the dining room.  The table is old but serviceable, the chairs -- not so much.  Somehow they got sent to Oregon.  I don't know how that happened.  But the customer service representative set me up with a new shipment.
• We bought bunk beds for Vinny from a local furniture store, as a reward and incentive for sleeping in his own room.  Today, the delivery guys started putting it together only to discover that it was the wrong bed.  They had brought a double bed size bunk bed, not a twin size!  So, they had to take it back and reschedule us for delivery on Tuesday.  It was going to be a really cool bed, with bunks plus a trundle on the bottom.  Luckily, the trundle was the right one so they let us keep it and he is going to be sleeping on that for a few nights.  He is pretty excited about it, pretending that it was nighttime several times, so not all is lost.  I think he will be excited to stay in his own bed now (definitely a step up from a mattress on the floor).
• The toilet in our hallway bathroom stopped working.  The tank stopped filling.  Jeff successfully replaced the apparatus inside the toilet.
• Our kitchen sink faucet broke.  The stem unit inside the handle got bent up for some reason.  No problem, we could just get a new one, right?  Well, our faucet was relatively new, and the store doesn't carry the replacement parts for it.  So I ordered it online.  The total cost was \$25, more than half of which was shipping.
• It is raining.  A lot.  I will be interested to see what the structural engineers say next week about our foundation.  The evidence of water seepage will be fresh.

## Thursday, March 03, 2011

### Is this Thing On?

Sorry, vast blogging audience, that I just up and left you hanging there.  February was a long month, even though it was only 28 days.  And, I didn't hardly even do anything remotely interesting or significant.  It just seemed to never stop.  But, here are a few things that have happened:

• I found out that we will be getting our Nissan Leaf in May.  I am so excited about it!
• I test drove a Nissan Leaf over the weekend.  I'll post a longer entry about the test drive, but the main thing I was concerned about was whether it had sufficient headroom for a long-torsoed driver such as myself.  The good news is, there was room to spare!  So I am all set!
• The bad news is that we discovered that there is a big leak or crack in the foundation of our house.  We have a finished basement, but the leak is in a room that was just a storage room we rarely went into.  We did not realize the extent of the problem until we cleaned the house and emptied that room and saw all the nasty mold growing on the wall.  Jeff took out the drywall and a friend who is a home inspector came over to assess the damage.  It was nasty enough that we have two foundation experts coming next week to give us quotes.  Our friend will be there too.  It is likely that the estimates will be in the low five-figure range.  I am hoping (but seriously doubting) that our homeowner's insurance might pay for some of this.
• We paid some people to come and give our house a good cleaning from top to bottom.  We were just sick of it being kind of grungy and grimy.  The house sparkles now (apart from the nasty part with the water damage).  We are going to try to keep it clean, and maybe even hire a maid service to come in regularly as well.
• We are having bad luck with plumbing right now.  The tank on the back of one of our toilets decided to stop filling.  There's either a problem with the pipe that connects to the toilet or with the apparatus inside the toilet, because water just trickles into the tank.  Then, the stopper in the bathtub decided to get stuck and not come out.  And then, the handle for the cold water in the kitchen sink decided to not turn off fully.  It has been a little frustrating, to say the least.
• I've been wiped out by some sort of nasty cold or flu bug.  I actually had a fever on Tuesday, so I went home from work early and then I stayed home yesterday and today.  I am feeling better now and plan to go back to work tomorrow, but I am still not fully recovered.
Well, hopefully I will have the time to write about the test drive.  It was a great experience!