Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Out of Order
Our home PC is on sabbatical, having the nerve to up and leave me without warning and with no notice of a return date. I hope it realizes that sabbaticals are unpaid, and if it is not careful, it will find itself on a permanently unemployed.
Of course, this happened right as Cliff was leaving out-of-town, and I was forced to spend 18 hours computer-less. Just the gravity of that statement should give you a glimpse of just how much I depend on my computer. Between homeschooling, housekeeping and mothering, somedays it is my only link to the outside world, and man, was I feeling the absense of that link today. Fortunately, the Mister came home right as I was putting the kids to bed, and he promptly zonked out after finishing the little kids' bedtime stories, giving me time to comandeer his laptop for a computer crack fix.
The computer was just the start of things on the fritz. I'll keep the "my-liver's- turning-green-and-my-toenails-are-falling-off" pity party brief and just say that Paloma's week-long run of tantrum-free behavior ended big time today, and that my van, which just celebrated its 90,000 mile anniversary, is fussing at me everytime I want it to start.
Now that I'm back online, fingers itching to blog, I can't think of a darn thing to say! Writers block is a bear, and it always shows up at the worst time. I will say that Darth Maul gives me a BIG case of the heebie jeebies. And I can't believe that Atticus doesn't have bad dreams--I'm scared I'm going to have nightmares about that dude.
A bright spot in my day came with the realization that one entire plot of my garden is snow-free. Just rich, damp, beautiful black dirt, waiting patiently to grow me some vegetables. I have vegetables on my mind big time lately. Last month I sent in my CSA share application to Good Earth Farm (link on the right), and now I'm waiting for that first big, glorious box of veggies and fruit to arrive this June. Good Earth offers a great selection of organic produce, and the cost per pound of all produce is well under $1.00/pound. Where else beside your own backyard could you ever get golden raspberries for under $1.00/pound?
The CSA shares have me rethinking my gardening plan for the year. I'm thinking that perhaps we'll just graze our way through the weekly share boxes, freezing or canning whatever leftovers there may be. With our weekly intake accounted for, I just might try to plant my gardens for canning/freezing purposes only. Someday I hope to be able to can/freeze all of what we use over winter from my own gardens.
We've been spoiled here with very good, organic asparagus. The Mister, Hattie, Paloma and myself chow down on it; Atticus declining but willing to eat broccoli so I let it slide. Hatfield is our asparagus chef--helping me snap it right where the tender part ends and the tough part begins (hold the stalk loosely in the middle with one hand, grasp the end with your other hand. Gently bend, and the stalk will snap off right at this sweet spot). We place it in shallow boiling water for 4 minutes, no more, no less. Then drain and return to pan. Add 1 tablespoon butter and stir about to melt; then add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a dash of salt. Perfection every time. Paloma thinks it's hysterical to eat trees. The Drama Prince (beloved son of the Drama King) tells me that he couldn't possibly eat Junior (you Veggie Tale-dependent parents know what I mean).
All last month I crabbed constantly at Cliff and the kids to turn off lights. I had opened the utility bill earlier that month and felt nauseous. Typically I approach our utility bill as a game--how low can it go? With homeschool and all, I let that mental game slide and boy, did we pay for it. I changed over all remaining traditional light bubls to those curly energy efficient ones (the name is eluding me at the moment). I ditched the upstairs hallway "noise-maker," a cool mist humidifier with the tank removed, and replaced it with a white-noise clock, which I figure has to save some energy. I started unplugging things like radios, the coffee maker, and the toaster, all to the Mister's great irritation. And like I said, I also crabbed a whole lot more, but it was worth it. The month's bill came around and I was pleasantly surprised--$80 less than the month before. Granted, the month before had more days below freezing, but not that many to make such a substantial difference. For next month, I'm wondering which uses less energy: a hot/cold water wash cycle, or a warm/warm cycle? I wonder if Kenmore would know if I called them up to ask them?
The Mister is looking over my shoulder, telling me that I need to get out of the house more.