The W Family Chronicles

Archive for February 2008

I’m pretty sure I’ve come down with the flu, now.  D still seems OK.  J is OK in the mornings but slowly gets worn down and by afternoon he’s fairly puny and has a high fever again.  C is mostly OK…he feels warm occasionally but I’m not sure he’s getting it…or at least not as bad as J.  (Yay for breast milk!)

I have a sore throat, headache, lethargy, mild aches and pains and my head feels like it’s going to explode.  No fever yet, but I assume it’s just a matter of time.  I’m not bothering with a flu test today because I don’t think it will show positive yet.   Probably tomorrow AM…and then I can get started on my course of Tamiflu.

Last night, right at 10:00, our power went out.  Both boys were still up and we were all in the living room when it happened.  D and I were on the couch, J was on another couch and C was walking around in the floor.  Everything was pitch black at first and both kids started crying…we got them rounded up as quickly as possible and got them both on the couch where we were, then D went to hunt for a light source.  He came back with a small flashlight and an oil lamp so I grabbed the flashlight and the phone book to call Progress Energy.  Luckily we still have one wall phone that doesn’t require electricity!  We *never* use it but I keep it just in case of the power going out.  They told me it would likely be 12:45 before power was restored so I knew we had to come up with a plan to make this fun and non-scary for the kids.  I suggested a campout in the living room, and all of us sleeping in there together.

So J got his sleeping bag and curled up on the couch.  We put C on the other couch and D dragged the mattress from C’s room into the living room for us.  The power came back on around 11:30 but with both kids asleep, we decided to stay in there.  It turned what was initially something very scary for both of them into something that was not only non-scary, but a fun activity!  I am usually not so brilliant when it comes to stuff like that.  I am really impressed that I got it right, for once.

J came down with a bad case of flu symptoms yesterday afternoon. When I called the pediatrician at 4:00 they told me to call this AM if he was still feeling bad and we’d do a flu test. When D called them about 15 minutes ago, the answering service acted like they weren’t having office hours this morning. Of course now C is also running a fever…and as I type, he’s sitting under my desk coughing. So it looks like we probably have 2 with the flu. D had a flu shot but it sounds like there’s at least one major strain that wasn’t vaccinated against so he could get sick, too. That’s why I don’t bother with one for me or the kids. It’s a crap shoot. And honestly, the years I’ve gotten a flu shot are the years I’ve gotten the flu.

And my throat has been sore for a couple of days. With my luck we’ll all come down with it. Because it’s fun for everyone to be sick at once, right? *sigh*

EDITED TO ADD: Yes, it is the flu.  J had a positive flu test and is now on Tamiflu.  We’re lucky we caught it early.  C’s test was negative, though it may just be too early to test positive.  Or we may get lucky and he doesn’t get it.  A funny thing, though…the doctor who told me to wean C a month ago is now saying it’s a good thing I’m still nursing.  Gee, ya think?  Why do you think I was so adamant that I didn’t want to wean him before cold and flu season was over?  As much as I wish he was weaned, I know that right now he needs that extra immunity.  And I’m glad I stuck to my guns and did what *I* thought was best for *my* child.

I started this whole long post about the eBay boycott but ultimately deleted it because it was so rambling and boring (more than usual!) that I couldn’t risk putting people to sleep at their computers.  Basically I am honoring it but have been doubting whether it’s worth it.  The new feedback rules suck, but the new fee structure won’t really hurt me according to the math I did.  I’ve never had a feedback problem so I’m having a hard time getting too stressed about it.  More info here.

The boys are playing so sweetly this morning…the giggles coming from the play area are so wonderful!  I knew there was a good reason to have more than one child.   And meanwhile, I’ve had time to type up something worthless, delete it, and then post this pointless entry.  Rock on!

The time has come for us to register our first child for kindergarten. I bet you think this is what’s causing my anxiety, but no. I can’t wait to have J in school full time. (That sounds a lot colder than I mean it to, I think. I will miss him a lot but he *really* needs this and so does C. And me for that matter.) We’re lucky that we have a choice here…we have a good school on a traditional calendar as our district school. But even better is that we have the option to send J to an excellent year round school. For many reasons (which I think I’ve mentioned before) the year round concept really appeals to me and I think it’s a better choice for J as well. He’s still pretty immature but he’s definitely ready for kindy according to his preschool teacher. So last night we went to an informational meeting at the year round school to see what additional info we could get.

First of all, they are adding a class so there’s 132 spots available. Approximately 40 of those are guaranteed spots for siblings (which is another reason we want him in this school…as long as you have one child there, your other kids are guaranteed a spot!) so that leaves around 90. And they’ve already received more applications than they have spots. Here’s where the anxiety comes in. That means there will be a lottery. And a waiting list. Plus there’s another week to turn in applications. I’m thinking this does not look good. I’ve heard of people getting the call the day before school starts in mid-July. D and I have decided that if he is on the waiting list he’ll go there no matter when we get the call. And that means (potentially) no summer vacation plans. No fall vacation plans. No nothing. We were hoping to go to Disney World during the first intersession in September/October. But if he’s on the waiting list we can’t do that. We can’t plan a beach trip for late July/early August because he may be in school. And not only that, but I *reallyreallyreally* want him in this school. It’s sending my anxiety through the roof. So if you could, keep this matter in your thoughts and prayers. It seems like a silly request, but when you have a kid like J, it could make all the difference in the world when it comes to his education and maturation.

In other news, we just got the word on D’s bonus for the year and it’s good. Perhaps the W family will be doing some stimulating of the economy after all? We desperately need a new TV. But even more, I need to pay off some of these medical bills. Hopefully there’s some left over once all of those go away…and we don’t have any more for a while. I feel good lately. I feel a twinge every now and then but it always goes away so I don’t necessarily think it’s stones. I haven’t had an xray in a while (since before Christmas) so I’m hoping there’s nothing going on with my kidneys other than them doing what they’re supposed to do. I’m praying that I just had a couple of bad years with them and now everything is going to be OK for a while. I can hope, right?

Lost has been back for 3 weeks now and it is better than ever.  Last night was *so* good!  And Sayid in a tux?  Holy hotness Batman!  There are some beautiful men on that show.  (Though it goes without saying that none of them are as wonderful as D, right? ;))

Anyway…it was just an excellent, excellent episode.  I nearly quit watching after last season.  Then the season finale and the writer’s strike really changed my mind…not only did the finale give us a peek at where everything was going with the flash forwards, but there is NOTHING else on.  Really, the crap TV out there has been killing me.  Thank goodness that’s over and the writer’s have gotten a livable deal.  I hear they didn’t get everything they wanted/asked for but they made huge strides and that’s good.  Now if we can only get some of this crap off the air that’s been pervasive since they ran out of good things to show…

I read that Chuck and Dirty Sexy Money will be back next fall.  I’m happy, but I fear that the long break will cause them to lose momentum and viewers.  It may be an uphill battle for them next year.  And Jericho is back on!  Season premiere was this week and I’m so happy that they’ve been able to come back.  Apparently their viewership was low this week and they’re at risk if they don’t really pick it up, so watch Jericho!  I was able to download a free ep from iTunes, so maybe that will help, too.  You can view all episodes from Season 1 at iTunes, also if you want to catch up.  They’re $1.99 each, but it’s a really good show…definitely puts my problems into perspective on bad days!

Hmmmmmm…what else is going on?  I sound so lame talking about TV like that’s the only interesting thing in life.

Our router is wonky, so I’m hoping this post will go through.  If not, I’ll save it to post later.  Not sure what’s up there.

We did get our federal refund this morning.

We’re having some behavior problems with J.  Really, really bad tantrums.  He had a doozy in a restaurant the other night and I was mortified.  I talked to his teacher today and she said that he doesn’t do that at school so I feel better, but it’s very stressful and embarrassing.  We’re hoping to get him into the local year round elementary school so he’s got good continuity when it comes to his education and maturity.  He does really well at school, but has to relearn his social skills to an extent at the start of each year.  I don’t want it to sound like he’s completely immature, but there are certain things that he doesn’t have to do as much at home and when he is off school for 3 months he tends to forget these things.  He’s a very sensitive child (like I was) so he has a really hard time dealing with his emotions at times.  With a shorter summer break (like 6 weeks, plus 2-3 week intersessions in the fall, winter, and spring) we think he’ll thrive both academically and socially.  Now we just have to pray that he’s picked (it’s a lottery system) for the year round school.  We’re lucky that the school we would be assigned to for the district is fairly good as well…but we really think that the year round concept is ideal for him.

There’s very little else going on at the W house.  Trying to get some things done…am hoping D will consider staining the coffee and end tables we’ve had for years but haven’t ever been out of the box.  I’m really ready to get the living room looking like a livable space.  It’s still full of boxes and other crap that has no other home.  And the old sofa and loveseat are still in there and driving me crazy.  (So hey, if you’re in Sanford and want a sofa and loveseat, plus slipcovers, for $50 leave me a comment!)

So the IRS didn’t get our refund to us when they said they would.  I’m still waiting.  And now I’m all nervous!  What if I screwed something up?  We used TurboTax, but it’s possible I missed something.  Argh.  I am so stressed about it!  I guess it’s not a huge deal…I know that we don’t *owe* any more so the worst that happens is our refund would be less.  But I stress every year about getting the taxes wrong.  I definitely do not want to have to mess with that kind of problem.  And I’m so ready to pay off those hospital bills…I hate having those looming over my head!

It looks like the writer’s strike may be over, and I am very happy.  Not just that my shows are coming back, but also that the writers are getting a deal they can live with.  And that the other people in Hollywood can go back to earning a living.  Hopefully everyone can get back to work quickly.

All is well at the W house.  D and J spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach (without me and C…since we know how much I *love* MB) with D’s dad.  It was quiet here, and more than a little lonely.  I was glad when they got home, especially since I was feeling a little sick with a sore throat.  Feeling better now but I was so afraid I was getting a nasty bug.

I’m boring today…

I can’t believe we already got our NC refund.  We haven’t even received our federal refund yet, though I expect it tomorrow.  Yay for the NC DOR…I am impressed. 🙂

I have big plans for our federal refund.  First, I am paying off the remainder of J’s preschool tuition for the year, almost $400.  Then, I am going over to the hospital and asking them how much I need to write a check for to be all paid up.  That should be around $1200.  That won’t leave much, so it will be going directly to the loan we got to pay for C’s helmet.  Probably a good portion of our state refund will be going there, too.  Once all of these things are paid off, we’ll have about $250 freed up in our monthly budget.  Whichc will keep us from having to dip into savings every month, I hope.  With all of the other monthly bills I’ve been adjusting or finding better deals on (home phone, long distance, TV, insurance, etc.) we’re going to be in much better financial shape.   That’s been one of my “goals” (I hate resolutions!) for 2008, so it’s good to see it all coming to fruition.

One of our biggest expenses is electricity.  We average around $160/month for our 2000 square foot house.  WAY too much, in my opinion.  This goes along with one of my other goals…trying to be more green.  We waste a lot of electricity.  J hasn’t yet learned the rule of turning lights off when you leave a room.  It seems like our thermostat may be using the auxiliary/emergency heat too often.  We could use new insulation and a new attic fan.  New energy efficient doors and windows.  The list of things that could help us goes on and on.  And the great thing is that *some* of these items may qualify for a tax credit!  But where to start?  I would love to get a motion sensor installed on the bathroom light switch, since that’s the one J seems to always forget.  The problem is that the switch is in the hall…so every time somebody walks down there (to go into a bedroom, including all diaper changes and when the kids decide to run up and down the hall to play) the light in the bathroom would turn on.  Yeah, weird 1950s wiring!  So I’m not sure it would save much energy b/c it would constantly be going on and off.  I’d like to get a new thermostat, a programmable one.  But once I thought about it, I’m not sure it makes sense.  I’m home a lot during the day with the kids, so we need it to be comfortable in the house.  I can’t just set it to turn the heat or air off at 8AM when D leaves for work and have it kick back on at 5PM before he gets home.  We don’t like it to be too cold or warm at night b/c it affects the kid’s sleeping and they have a tendency to not stay under the covers if it’s cold.  So does it make sense for us?  Would a new thermostat keep the temp more constant and eliminate the need for the aux heat?  These are the things I wonder about.

As for insulation and doors and windows, these are all things we need *desperately* but just can’t invest in right now, even with the tax credit.  I’d love to do this someday, though.  Doors are a possibility if I can get D to install them quickly so they don’t sit in the carport forever and ever.  (That’s where my closet shelving system is right now.)  New appliances would be a dream come true, but will they really save us  a lot of money?  I just don’t know how to maximize our savings while minimizing the initial expense.  I’d love to go all solar, but there’s no way we could do that anytime soon!  Unless of course someone wants to hand us several thousand dollars to do it.  If so, just let me know and I’ll get some cost estimates for you. 😉


W Family Players

D is the dad, the husband, and the breadwinner. All around nice guy and good at pretty much everything he does. It's disgusting, really. But makes him worth keeping around.

M is the mom, the wife, and the hopeless housekeeper. At least the kids' heads haven't fallen off yet. Beyond that, she sucks at the "stay at home" thing. Oh, and she's the blogger.

J is the big boy. Born October 11 2002, he is in kindergarten and loves it. Now 6 years old, and too smart for his own good. Talks a lot but extremely entertaining.

C is the little boy. Born June 26, 2006, he went through a lot in his first year but is doing just fine now. The only blond in the family, so his paternity is routinely questioned by rude strangers.

V is our baby girl. She is brand new and arrived in January 2009. So far everything is going well. We're thrilled to have added the final piece to our family puzzle. And yes, she WILL be the final piece!

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