Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pancakes, Air Jordans, Tesla.

Untitled

We had a two hour delay today for...nothing?  There appeared to be absolutely no snow on the ground.  MSPS was totally confused and sent three email messages that went like this: 1) it's a 2 hour delay!, 2) yeah, that's true, it's a 2 hour delay, but we'll check again at 7 am and finally 3) um no, yeah, it's still a 2 hour delay.  The kids slept in, Vince made pancakes for breakfast and we shuttled them off to school.

******

Then in the afternoon, I drove the kids to Montgomery Mall.  I don't think I've ever gone shopping with Vince in this particular teenage way of wandering around from store to store and trying on shoes and clothes and admiring Gatorade branded shoes.  It is both fascinating and boring.  Yifan had permission from his mom to buy two pairs of Air Jordan shoes and two pairs he did procure.  Yikes!  Super expensive.  But I guess cheaper than if he tried to buy them in China.

Untitled

I think this is an Adidas jacket (I guess that is the cool brand these days, though I don't ever consider it), doesn't it look like one of those old Member's Only jackets?

Untitled

Another Adidas jacket, this time with orange on the inside.

Untitled

And no trip to the MM would be complete without sitting in the Tesla.

Untitled

Monday, January 29, 2018

Forgetting, heating degree days, selfies!

Untitled

Sometimes I ask Jeremy to do things and he happily agrees and then he promptly forgets to do them.  He doesn't do this on purpose.  He just forgets.  We've had many arguments how this forgetting doesn't mean that I'm not important to him or that the task isn't important, it just means that he's really good at forgetting.  When I'm in a good mood, this sounds like a reasonable argument because I know it is true.  When I'm in a bad mood, I'm like WTF is that kind of crappy excuse?!?  But there are a few things that he gets to with alacrity - almost overcompensating for forgetting all the other things.  One of them is energy consumption.  He likes to think about energy consumption macro at work & micro at home. I was paying the bills today and noticed that our gas bill was crazy high.  $225?  Usually it's well under $200 for a winter month.   Last month, for example, it was $125.  Gas heats our basement and our first floor, we have a ground source heat pump (geothermal) for the upstairs.  I texted him, in the middle of the work day, just an FYI - hey dude, the gas bill about doubled, maybe there is a gas leak? or maybe the tenants are using the gas fireplace all the time?   We should check it out. And within, I swear, 30 seconds, I have graphs of heating degree days for the last three years with the accompanying 4 week rolling average with analysis/commentary of our energy consumption.  Anyways, the conclusion was that it was a terribly cold month, and therefore, it was a reasonable bill.  We also always buy an energy star appliances at Jeremy's request.  Sometimes there is only one model. Our dryer, I think, is the only energy star model, it's hard to dry clothes without a lot of energy input. We put it on super saver mode and it takes almost 90 minutes to dry, but it does end up drying everything. Also, the fridge (which somehow self-resuscitated itself from its brief illness and is happily keeping cold things cold - so I estimate that we'll get another six months from it) would cost $300 - 500 dollars more to save $8 a year on our energy bill which is weird, but maybe the energy star model has better shelving?  who knows. 

Untitled

All the Chinese girl exchange students wanted to take photos with this blond/blue eyed 6'5" host student.  He started joking that it would cost them all $5 to take a photo with him.  lol.

Untitled

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Chinese Exchange student, Yifan.

Tonight, we headed to a hotel in downtown Rockville to meet and pick up our Chinese exchange student.  We had a regular American, hotel buffet dinner.  Here is Vince with a couple of his own classmates while we waited for the Chinese kids to enter the room.

Untitled

If you remember, these kids come from my mom's high school in Chongming - a suburb of Shanghai.  Mom and Dad came to dinner and my mom seemed to have a great time telling everyone that she was class of '59 (!).  She even brought out an old yearbook.  Here's our student, Yifan.  He's following Vince around for the week.  We have one day, Saturday, to plan a fun thing.  We asked Yifan what fun thing he wanted to do because I'd thought we could go see museums, skiing or rock climbing, but the thing that he (and all his classmates) want to do is to go shopping.  For sneakers.  So I guess we'll be going to Montgomery Mall, Tysons & the outlets a bit north.

Untitled

Edda was only slightly vocal during the speeches (when they run longer than necessary, she does not mince words).

Untitled

Vince's HS principal & the coordinator of the exchange!

Untitled

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Camping, working, biking, eating.

Untitled

Vince left very early this morning to spend a weekend camping with the scouts.  We had a quiet day at home - I worked a little, Jeremy went biking.  Edda had a caregiver in the afternoon, so I spent some time at a quilt shop.  We had a simple salad for dinner.  Now to bed early! 

Untitled

Zootopia, DMV, one-acts.



A few weeks ago, we found ourselves done with an early dinner on Saturday night and all looked at each other and decided that maybe we could see a whole movie together.  This rarely happens as we all have our own things we like to watch (and this is what we make fun of each other for watching): Jeremy: biking videos, Doris: ASMR videos, Vince: will it burrito? videos, Edda: Finding Nemo.  We settled on Zootopia (which is a fantastic movie btw) and there is a famous DMV scene where the fast bunny protagonist runs into a groups of sloths running the place.

Yesterday, we lived that experience at our local DMV to get Vince his learner's permit. I had made an appointment online for 1:30 pm, but that did not seem to matter much as no one referenced any appointment time and we waited in line just like everyone else.  We got to the express branch about 15 minutes early and immediately found the line so long that it pressed against the door and we kept needing to scoot out of the way to let people in and out.  I reminded Vince about Zootopia and he was like - yeah, but I didn't think it was really going to be this bad.  He had made the poor DMV virgin move of not having a fully charged phone and no battery backup.  He asked if we could sit down at least because about half the people in the room were standing in our line and half the people were sitting down.  I said that we had to stand in this line first to get a number and then we get to sit in line with the other people.  All week I had kind of gently tried to get him to practice taking the test & reading the booklet (to no avail) - not because I super care about him passing or not passing - but mainly because I would hate blowing another afternoon at the DMV if he didn't pass.  But pass he did!  It only took us 2.5 hours.

Untitled

Besides the frustration of waiting, I love the people watching at DMV because I feel like it's as good of a cross section of the community as you can get sitting in a random room for a couple of hours.  You've got all ethnic groups, all socio-economic groups and all age groups from babies hanging with their moms, to people like me with their teenagers, to old grandmas with walkers hanging out with their adult kids.  And we are all suffering the same suffer.  On the way home, Vince asked if he could start driving and I said that I needed to figure out about adding him to our insurance.  He asked how much it was and how much it was going to cost to insure him and I said that I'm anticipating that it'll double our insurance.  He groaned and said - argh!  I'm going to have to be an adult so soon!  Like I'm going to have to get insurance and do all my own laundry and not spend all my money on random crap and not eat only Oreos for dinner.   Here he is covering his zit so you don't notice it.

Untitled

My parents are back from their trip to Morocco, and we took them to see Vince's one-act plays.  Vince was on the lighting crew which was a little boring because there were so many kids signed up and not that many jobs.  These one-acts are written and directed by students which means they can run a little angsty.  For example, the first one was a musical about a young lesbian who has not recovered from the loss of her partner four years ago and who just got fired from her job.  The second one was about a dysfunctional family where the father has been working so hard, he's not been home for more than 2 days in the past 25 years and his wife and daughters are berating him for abandoning them.  Oooooof, it's hard watching marital/family fighting acted out by a bunch of 16-18 year olds.  The kids did a great job even though the material was so serious.  Luckily, they throw in one professionally written play - this year was the Importance of Being Earnest which was quite funny.

Untitled

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dresden plate, mending, no school.

Untitled

Between Christmas & New Years, I got one of my quilts back from the quilters.  I make only the top of the quilt and then I send it out to a quilting company and they put in the cotton batting, overlay the backing and then do the machine quilting.  They also put the edging (binding) on it for me.  This is my third finished quilt, I average a quilt every three months or so, which I think is a reasonable pace.  I quite like this quilt - the flowers (Dresden plate in the quilting vernacular) were the interesting part. It can be tedious - the making of the flowers - but somehow I find the tedium relaxing.  Sometimes I consider it my own form of meditation.  When we were in Charlottesville, I saw a beautiful $13,000 free motion quilting machine which would enable me to quilt my own quilts.  I'll work up to that.  Maybe.  This quilt was for my parents. 

******

Tonight, Edda was happily laughing when nine o'clock rolled around and I relieved Adriana from sitting with her in her darkened bedroom.  Usually Edda is asleep at 9 pm, but not tonight.  There was a big smile on her face, happily asking for me to hang out with her for a few minutes.  I turned on the light to my sewing station which is in her room as I had some household sewing to do.  One of Edda's Velcro straps on her orthotics had split in two and needed repair.  I found one of Vince's T-shirts from Japan needed mending at the neckline.  I did these while Edda laughed (loudly at first and then more and more quietly) and settled into sleep.

Untitled

And then I turned to the next quilt:

Untitled

There is no school tomorrow, it's the end of the semester and teachers are tallying the last of the grades.  Vince is going to go try for his learner's permit.  And then my parents will come over for dinner.

Untitled

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Emy, Nat, birthday & refrigerator.

Untitled

Emy came down from NY, unexpectedly, to stay with us Monday and Tuesday night.   Usually we see her with Seth or Bob & Katherine and usually over a trip or holiday, it's always rushed and hectic, but this time it was just her and our regular routine!  She mostly hung out here at the house, it's nice to have a chance to catch up with her.   And then to overlap with that, on Tuesday night, our regular Edda-caregiver had a conflict and cancelled (weeks ago, but I had forgotten) and at the last minute I texted Nat to see if she wanted to help us out (mainly so I would have a chance to catch up with her too!) and she had some time in the evening.  Both Jeremy and Vince had Tues night meetings, so after a quick dinner of chicken/mushroom/cashew stir-fry (and a just-as-quick happy birthday song for Nat as today is her birthday) it was just us girls (Edda, Nat, Emy & me) chatting for a few hours in the evening about relationships and future plans.

After Edda was put to bed and the boys came home, we introduced Emy to our evening video tradition of us all piling into the king-size bed to watch about 10-15 min of videos.  We watched cooking videos - Binging with Babish is one of our favorites. 

Untitled

Tonight, we celebrated Arietni's birthday - she wanted chocolate, chocolate, chocolate so I got an assortment of desserts from Whole Foods and we sung after a dinner of Taco Tuesday (but on Wed).

Untitled

We can't decide if our fridge is dying.  Many moons ago, the water dispenser refused to turn off whenever an innocent person wanted a glass of water, so we had to turn off the water to the fridge to prevent inadvertent flooding in the kitchen.  A side effect of turning off the water was the inability to maintain ice production in the freezer.  Vince really, really wanted us to replace the fridge because he missed the ice so much, but I refused to replace a perfectly working fridge to have a constant source of ice.  We went old school and I bought ice trays and Vince looked at the pair of trays as if they were canisters of photographic film.  What are these mom?  Then last night, the fridge read 44 degrees even though it was set for 37, so we emptied the fridge into our drink fridge (I know! I know!  We have a wine fridge for backup cold cut storage) and emptied the freezer into our chest freezer and pulled it out of its space and waited the night.  We started researching consumer reports for replacement fridges.  In the morning, the temps were back to almost the right temps.  Is it working now?  My fridge is playing mind *&^ games with me.

Untitled

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Burrito, anxious, 21, ankles.

Sunday, Jeremy was still in Philly and I wanted to go for a quick run and asked Vince to watch Edda for an hour.  He was totally up for it, but it meant that she ended up being wrapped up in a blanket burrito on his bed while he played computer games. 

Untitled

******

I did end up getting the Childr*n's job on the heart and kidney unit.  I was momentarily confused by my online application which said that I was no longer under consideration (NLUC) (which I checked last Friday, but was marked as NLUC immediately the day after my interview the week prior), but then they left a message on Thursday on my voicemail that said I did have the job - but because of the terrible way I've set up my voicemail system on my cell phone (google hangouts on an iPhone), I didn't see the voicemail until Sunday night.   I called on Monday to get the formal offer.  I spent all of Monday psyching myself up to take the offer (because, omg, I would learn/see so so so (let's put one more so) much on a heart & kidney transplant floor at a prestigious childr*n's hospital) & getting more and more anxious about it (for all the reasons I've gone through before, and let's put in one more stressor - parking + shuttling to the hospital) and then I said to myself at about 4pm, you know, you totally don't have to do this and then I felt immediately relieved.  So I think I'm not going to take it.  Just for reference - the pay is $29 an hour, union.  At U of MD it was $28.54 - nonunion.

******

Jane is 21!

Untitled

Unicorn cupcakes, the 2nd round of Georgetown cupcakes I've indulged in this past weekend.

Untitled

******

Monday, we took Edda to Children's (the Rockville outpost - super convenient) to see a physical medicine guy to get Edda a new wheelchair and to look at the bracing on her feet.  He thinks her Achilles is a bit tight, so he wants a splint to stretch it out at night and then go with a smaller foot brace during the day.  He thinks her foot flaring doesn't look too bad.  It looks bad to me, so it makes me wonder what really bad feet look like.

Untitled

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Interviews, Philly, sleepover.

Well, I didn't get the Childr*n's job which I guess is just as well, but ack!  I want to be wanted!  And I turned down the U of MD job before they had a chance to offer it to me.  So, I'm onto the fourth round of thinking about what to do.  I still do want a job that doesn't impact the family bit too much for too long, we'll see.  I asked Vince what he thought about me working nights - if he'd be alright with less support from me and maybe I'd need more support from him (I just signed him up for driving lessons with the thinking that I'll need him to pick Edda up every once in a while when we are in a bind) - and he said, don't worry about me, but I'm sure you are going to be grouchy all the time. Out of the mouth of babes.  All this tells me is that I'm way better at finding engineering jobs than I am at finding nursing jobs.  Engineering jobs - I bat 1000 once I get to the interview.  Nursing jobs - I bat a big fat zero once I get to the interview. 

******

Jeremy's in Philly this weekend visiting Vidya.  We are trying to go every few weeks.

Untitled

He took my engagement ring to see our jeweler who is in Philly.  A tiny diamond has fallen out, we are hoping to get it replaced with a ruby for Ruby.  Our jeweler is Jeremy's college friend Caleb who went and became a jeweler after he finished school.  We get all our jewelry from him!  lol.  Pretty much just the engagement ring and wedding rings - and one extra ring when we had more money and fewer children. 

Untitled

He took his bike, hoping to bike around a bit.   I'm not sure if he's going to feel like he'll be able to leave Vidya alone for long (to either bike or get the ring fixed).

Untitled

******

Jeremy left Friday am and will be back Sunday PM.  Friday PM found me driving Vince and Calvin to see Ben in Woodbine.  Thank you Soojung for hosting a sleepover and having so much good food!  I don't know what I was thinking, but all day I imagined taking the boys and dropping them off and turning around and going home and eating with just me and Edda, but as I was driving there, I was like - I could have my own sleepover and hang out with Soojung all night!  I didn't hang out all night, we chatted until almost 10 and then Edda was getting impatient and wanted to head home.

Untitled

The boys are so big, we've been friends for a long time now.

Untitled

The Rett siblings.  I wouldn't have guessed that they get along pretty well after all these years.  Hopefully they can lean against each other as we all get older. 

Untitled

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Finals, shutdown, interviews.

Untitled

Vince is in the final week of the 2nd marking period.  There are 2 marking periods per semester and the high schools only send the semester grades to colleges.  If you get an "A" in the first marking period and "B" in the second marking period, you end up with an "A" for the semester.  So Vince's motivation to study on a few of his final exams is very low.  Vince is very pragmatic about work - why do extra work that clearly you don't have to do?  Honestly, I could come up with only the following platitudes: You should always do your best.  There is just the satisfaction of mastery of the material.  And isn't it just fun to get the A?  Obviously, I did not pass down the love of getting the "A" for no good reason.  There is also the issue of actually gathering the materials for studying for the final.  All semester, the US Govt teacher has handed out hard copies of the chapters of the book.  Vince loathes to save them in any sort of binder or special stack or anything.  This sort of thing drives me up the wall, but I hold my tongue every day.  Every day.  This is the most difficult part of parenting - keeping my big, fat mouth shut.  But what the hell do I know about organization?  He found every one of his chapters somewhere (except for one) and started studying.

Untitled

Snow day on Wed - school was cancelled.  MCPS got into a little kerfuffle here.  They first announced a 2 hour delay and then an hour after that announcement, they cancelled school. Speaking of cancellation, I thought that I would work through any government shutdown because my office is self-funded and we support ourselves with our own fees that we charge.  The last time the govt shut down, we got an email a few days prior to the possibility saying that we'd stay open using our operational reserves.  But today I got an email saying that if the govt shuts down tomorrow, we won't be able to log in because we haven't yet gotten the special dispensation to use the operational reserves and there really is no way to know if we'll be able to get it.

Untitled

I have been interviewing for nursing jobs.  I tried for six months to get a part time day job and just wasn't having much luck.  The goal, was, and still is, to supplement my regular day job with a side gig of nursing (about 10-20 hours a week).  I applied for all these varied things - hospice, prison RN, long term care facilities.  I did get a few leads/interviews, but I closed on none of them because I was asking for a thing that doesn't exist or exists rarely.  Sometimes I'd get, we really like you, you seem like a good fit, let's see if we can make part time days work.  Never did it work out. You must understand, as a newly graduated nurse, I've not given injections, I've not started IVs, I've not been able to give blood transfusions, not put in an NG tube or Foleys etc, etc, etc.  I learned about them all and I've seen all of them done, but I haven't actually any skills.  I'm pretty useless as a nurse.  Both Mary Ann, my pediatric nurse friend, and Christine, my cousin-in-law-in-law who has worked in oncology & hospice, both said you have to start in a hospital on rotating shifts (meaning half days/half nights).  People!  If I stay up until 11, it's like a big party.  I did not like this when I slowly came around to realizing this and I still don't like the idea very much, but what the heck.  Be curious & be open to life's adventures.  Right?  Maybe it would/could be fabulous.  OK, so over Xmas break, I decided that if I was going to work at night and lose sleep & time with my family and give up all my hobbies, I was going to go to work at a big academic hospital.  In the past two weeks, I've interviewed at Childr*n's on their heart & kidney floor and at the Univers*ty of MD medical center in Baltimore on their medical telemetry floor.  The interview at Childr*n's just about killed me.  This is a floor full of kids who need heart & kidney transplants.  I spent three hours on the floor shadowing a nurse and then an hour with interviewing with management.  There is absolutely nothing more emotionally devastating like joking around with a kid who needs a new heart and making up a little "game" of having him guess his blood pressure as you take it and then looking into the eyes of the parent.  All of my suppressed grief about Edda just bubbles back up to the surface.  There is also a particular type of nurse who is a hospital pediatric nurse - the pediatric nurse has always wanted to work with kids, he/she tends to be young and hasn't been married or had kids yet.   I've never felt so out of place interviewing at any job (I felt old.)  Today's I was in Baltimore on a typical med/surg floor. This floor is more my style.  A little quieter, nurses are more diverse, some patients are on telemetry.  You get all the admits from the ER and since you are in downtown Baltimore, you'll see more IV drug users, people detoxing, a lot of mental illness.  But there's lots of cardiac/pulmonary stuff, sepsis, GI distress. You'll get everything.  But it's far from the house.  I'll continue to look around.  I hope something will reveal itself to me.

Untitled

Monday, January 15, 2018

Congestion pricing, cookies, collard greens.

Untitled

I spent some time today listening to Jeremy's ideas about congestion pricing with autonomous vehicles.  In order for me to do this, sometimes I have to consciously tell myself that I want to be a kind person and the person I want to be the kindest to is my husband.  And in order to be super kind to him, I need to spend 20 minutes talking to him about congestion pricing and walking through the calculations that he's done on an Excel spreadsheet and ask engaging questions even though the whole thing is seems crazy to me since how can you possibly predict what will happen with autonomous vehicles, lanes which don't exist yet and what people will pay to share a ride or have their own ride?  He's really excited about congestion pricing.  He's spending his weekends making spreadsheets.

Untitled

******

Jeremy took me out to lunch.  And then he took me shopping for pants.  We went to the Levi's store at the newly built outlet mall a bit north of us.  He got skinny pants for five dollars.  His first pair of pants with stretch in them and also a tapered into the ankle cut.  Sexy.

Untitled

******

I made some M&M cookies. They tasted OK, but they could have been better.  But I made a poor judgement call and used whole wheat flour.  No good.  But they mostly got eaten.

Untitled

Kappa came into town today so we moved Sunday night dinner to today (Monday, MLK day).  Vince made ribs, collard greens and brussel sprouts to go with my whole wheat M&M cookies.

Untitled

******

Kappa is staying in the guest room which has all of Jeremy's biking equipment.  Jeremy showed him all of his indoor computer / biking. 

Untitled

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Biking, interview, ramen, ribs.

Untitled

A quiet weekend planned for us.  Yesterday, it reached a high of 70 at Dulles.  Right now it's 25 on it's way down to 15.  Jeremy went biking outside today for the first time since the day after Christmas.  On that day, he got a flat and it was bitterly cold and I had to go rescue him.  Today, there was no rescuing involved.  I worked a few hours today, trying to get some comp time saved up.  I'm a little afraid that I'm going to have to work full time as a nurse for a year (this is Plan B.  Plan A was part time) so I'm trying to figure it out with the primary job & the secondary job.

******

Vince had a busy day.  He had a scout planning meeting at 8:30 am for their big winter campout and then I picked him up from that to take him to an interview with the scouts for a summer position at one of their local sleep-away camps.  We got there early and sat in the car waiting for the appointed time.

Untitled

I spent the 30 minutes or so in the car waiting with Vince trying to wipe off all the marker he had on his forearms, palms and nails.  I started in with some spit on my finger, but Vince recoiled at that but then I remembered that I had Edda's wipes in her backpack.  (You can see some of the green marker on his palm).  Edda and I decided that we were going to wait in the car while Vince went in to interview.  He was gone for about 20 minutes.  When he came back, he was pretty exuberant - they asked him all straightforward questions, the toughest one was - What will you do with a troublemaker?  I asked if all the other interviewees had their parents there.  He said the waiting room was super awkward and, yes, everyone else had their parents in the room.  Whoops.  I asked if he asked how much the pay was, I asked if he asked what the scheduling was (days off?).  He said he has no idea about any of that and didn't ask anything, he didn't care, it was going to be super cool and he'd do it even if they paid him only a dollar.

Untitled

******

To celebrate his first real interview, I took him and Edda out to lunch.  He wanted sushi/ramen.  We went to Maki on the Rockville Pike.  We've tried coming here before, but the wait was too long.  I was not optimistic.  But we got seated quickly and it was very, very good.  Highly recommended.  Vince is so good with Edda, helping me manuver her into and out of the car.  Walking her from the car into the restaurant and then helping me get her into her wheelchair.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

******

Jeremy is trying to sous-vide some ribs for Sunday night dinner (which this week is Monday night dinner).

Untitled