Category Archives: Family/kids

My Somewhat Busy Day

We haven’t been able to drive because of car issues. This has been going on for over a week, and I have been depressed because I feel trapped in the house. I also haven’t been able to go Ingressing, which I find really fun.

I did get to Ingress a little today, because we had to take Alex up to Chicago to get him on the train. I think I’ll miss him more than I think I will, if that makes any sense. Next time he comes up, though, we don’t have to jump through the hoops of him being an Unaccompanied Minor, because that cuts off at 16. Which, eek, he’s going to be 16!!

I did get him to agree to play Pathfinder with us on Saturdays. As well he should… his dice were on FIRE Tuesday night! (Not literally, though.) He rolled 3 natural 20s in a row! We play on http://roll20.net, which works out well with everyone scattered like they are; we have two additional players, Cohesion and Demoman_Chaos, who don’t even live in the state, so Roll20 works beautifully. Everyone can see the map, it’s got built-in virtual dice, and we can communicate with webcams and mics like on Skype.

We met my dad for lunch, which was nice, since I haven’t seen him in months. Ben was very well-behaved, and even my dad noticed and commented. After that, we decided to stop at the chocolate factory that Mar used to work at and get some of their very good chocolate. The scent of cocoa is so thick in the air there that I was having trouble breathing! Then we came home and did some work. Alex just called and he got back ok, and I’m calling him tomorrow to help him with his character sheet, since we leveled up and the sheet wasn’t filled out correctly to begin with. Which reminds me that I need to do Ben’s, now that I have a website that calculates stats automatically for me.

We also signed up for the Indianapolis Anomaly, which is an Ingress event coming up next weekend. I really hope we get to go, because it will be a lot of fun! Plus it’d be nice if the Resistance actually was close to the Enlightened’s score. 😛

So that’s my boring day. 🙂

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Almost all packed…

We’re heading to New York City in the morning. Very very EARLY in the morning, in fact. The suitcases are almost all packed, just waiting on a few things to dry, Mar is cleaning out the car, the boys are playing video games so they don’t make a mess, the neighbor has a key to feed the cats, and I am very tired of laundry. Six loads today, although with my tiny washing machine, that’s about 30 pieces of clothing, and probably four or more loads yesterday, and everything has to air-dry because I don’t have a dryer. We have clothes EVERYWHERE. Or we did, until some of them dried enough to fold and pack.

Ben will be wearing his jammies so we can just carry him to the car and hopefully he’ll sleep for a while. Probably Alex will wear his jammies, too, and I plan to as well. I don’t know what Mar’s planning.

Anyway, we’re almost on the road. Woohoo!

Oh, and Ben never finished his scavenger hunt, so I’ll post the pictures he did take later on.

Somewhat better, and an indoor scavenger hunt.

I figured out some of my tech issues, and I’ve decided that I really like If This, Then That. It’s an app that is kind of like a very simple flowchart, for those who remember flowcharts. You specify a condition, and when that condition is met, an action happens. I have one set up to sent me a notification on my phone when the pollen count is high (thanks, allergies), and there’s a bunch of gadgets it integrates with as well as other apps, as well as doing things like muting my ringer at bedtime (a set time, not that I’m historically very good at going to bed at a set time).

It’s fairly hot out, and the UV index is at 9 (thank you, IFTTT!), plus Ben’s friends couldn’t play, so I made up a photo scavenger hunt for him. He has a list of colors, and he has to take pictures of things in the house that are those colors. He loves to take pictures with my old phone, an HTC Evo3D, so I figured why not give him something to do? If he ever finishes, I’ll post the pictures, even though I know one of them is not my best photo ever.

Ebooks and an anniversary.

I decided the other day to gather up all the ebooks I have and organize them. I use Calibre because it’s pretty much the best, and I’ve used it before, so I know how it works. Unfortunately for me, it can get kind of tedious initially. I don’t have much RAM on my computer (I’d love another 2 gigs or more), so importing them took probably half an hour. Then I realized that I didn’t have blurbs and covers for a lot of the ebooks I have, so I tried to have Calibre automatically get metadata for me. That took a while, but it was helpful; about 75% of my books got metadata. The other 25%, however, I have to do manually, for a variety of reasons including reversed author/title, random titles or authors that weren’t right, and instances where neither the author nor the title were even close to being correct. If correct was the North Pole, these would be hanging out around the equator or possibly in the Southern Hemisphere.

I don’t think I’m even a quarter done with those. I’m going through by author, and I’m currently on “E”. The task is further complicated by the books that got the wrong metadata. It’ll be awesome when I’m done! It’s just that “done” looks like it’s about a week away. I’m so bored that I’m making stupid comments about Lego Marvel Superheroes as Alex plays; not snarky, just dumb. Ben’s “talking” for the characters, though, and Alex is also making silly comments, so I guess it might be genetic.

Yesterday was me and Mar’s 10th anniversary. (That is an awkward sentence to write in a grammatically correct manner. I don’t think I managed it. “Marco and I had our 10th anniversary yesterday.” That’s better.) We didn’t do anything, though; money was tight. He said we’ll go out for steak when he gets paid, so that will be nice.

Just about two weeks until we go to New York City to visit Mar’s family. Lots of planning to do, and packing, and I HAVE to do something about my hair. I got haircolor remover, but I can’t do it myself, so I have to wait until Mar is done with his nap. We both stayed up way later than we should have, so he set his alarm and got up fairly early to get Ben, who had his very first non-family sleepover last night. It went pretty well, except that Ben went magpie and took some Polish coins from one of his friends, so he’s not allowed to use the PS3 or play with his toys until he finds them. It’s the principle of the thing.

Well, off to get metadata for more ebooks and do more laundry. I have the most fun, don’t I? ;P

The Color Run! And Scrump is back!!

We did The Color Run today. It’s a 5k where they splatter the participants with color, and it’s really fun! The color is dyed corn starch, so I had to wrap my phone in  plastic so it wouldn’t get corn starch in it, and the following pictures are a little blurry because of that.

This was us at the beginning:

 

And this was us after:

    

I still have a green tinge. Ben was very very blue, and Alex is also blue even though he didn’t run. He wanted to, but he didn’t sign up in time, but he volunteered and got all the stuff we got (minus the bib) plus two extra shirts. We all had a lot of fun, and everyone agreed that we’re doing it again next year!

According to my FitBit, I walked/ran 7.25 miles before we got home, and I am exhausted. But I’m happy to report that Scrumpy, who’d been missing since Tuesday, is home as of last night. He’s thinner, and limping a bit, but he’s doing ok. He was hiding under a neighbor’s deck, and he spent most of last night sleeping. Sounds good to me right about now!!

ETA: More pictures! Continue reading The Color Run! And Scrump is back!!

We have an Alex!!

Today was an adventure! We left later than we planned to get up to Union Station to get Alex. Ben was out of meds, so he required more supervision, and we had to stop to pick up his meds, which took more time. And nobody had thought to clean out the car so Alex had somewhere to sit that wasn’t a booster seat, so that had to be done.

Once we got on the road, traffic wasn’t too bad until we reached the 22nd Street exit, but we managed to avoid it because we got off on 22nd to get to Canal and ride that all the way down. Ben and I hustled to get to the station while Mar parked the car, but we really didn’t need to rush; Alex’s train was delayed.

I should have expected it, though. Passenger trains have to give way to freight trains, and the closer a train gets to Chicago, the more freight trains there are. So Alex’s train ended up being almost an hour late. Meanwhile, we met up with J and C and their little dude, N, and tried to figure out what we were doing. The initial plan was to have a picnic, but we hadn’t worked out the details, one of which was parking. Fortunately, I have an app called ParkWhiz, which I found because of The Color Run, and I found parking for 3 hours for $6. It was a little out of the way, but not too badly so, and for that price, I was really happy. (I had used the app earlier to get parking for the run, and I got 11 hours for $8. I was impressed.)

Alex arrived, I did the paperwork to get him released because he’s still an unaccompanied minor, and we met up with Mar before he took off. Alex put his luggage in the car, and we decided that Mar would go park, and Ben, Alex, J, C, N and I would take the bus to the Creepy Headless Guys in Grant Park (also referred to as The Legs, but the actual name is Agora). Grant Park is huge, by the way, and is where The Color Run will be on Saturday, although I’m not sure if the route takes us by the Creepy Headless Guys. I have to admit that they’re growing on me, though, and creeping me out less.

We stopped at a store along the way and got some fresh veggie and fruit trays, as well as sandwiches and salads and drinks. We were all starving, so we got a little more than anyone actually ate, but some of the food found its way home with us; I’m currently eating an Asian-type salad between typing.

We got to the CHG (ha, I didn’t notice that that could stand for Chicago as well as Creepy Headless Guys!) and found a nice spot to settle down. As soon as we did, I swear we tore into the food! For a while, there were a few seagulls and some smaller birds, sparrow-like, that were hanging around in hopes of a handout, but I guess they figured out that it wasn’t going to happen, because they eventually wandered off. After Alex and Ben were done eating, they ran around some, including a random “Hi!” as Alex rolled by through the grass, and Ben “forcibly” rolling Alex along.

Eventually, though, it was time to leave, and we had to hustle a bit; ParkWhiz gives people a little leeway as far as getting in or out, but we didn’t want to push it. We managed to grab a bus after a bit of walking. It was very crowded, and there was an older black man who made an amusing comment to Mar that implied that Mar looks like Jesus. At least, that’s how Mar explained it to me; he was speaking very symbolically, and I have trouble interpreting things like that.

We got to the car and drove home, which included the usual pre-Rush Hour traffic and some heart-stopping stupidity, including a semi truck cutting us off, but we ended up home, yay! The neighborhood kids were very excited to meet Alex, and they offered to go with us door to door to look for Scrumpy, who escaped two days ago, after they get back from the grocery store. I figure that when it started raining, Scrumpy ran for the nearest shelter, and someone let him in but now has no idea where he lives, because we stupidly didn’t put a tag on him. It’s obvious that he’s well-cared-for, because he’s not skinny or mangy-looking, and he has a harness and claw caps on. I don’t think he had a run-in with a vehicle, because he’s smart enough to run from them, and I know that if he was at liberty to roam around, he’d find his way back, because he’s done so before. I’ve also told all our nice neighbors that he’s missing so they can keep an eye out for him, and nobody’s seen him, which also points to Scrumpy being in someone’s house. My clever plan is for us to walk around the neighborhood and have the kids go up and ring doorbells and knock on doors with a picture of Scrumpy that I printed out. Nobody can resist a kid looking for their lost pet; if it was me doing it, I figure I’d get weird looks and less help. Scrump is a friendly, sweet cat, so I really hope that we don’t have someone who wants to keep him and gives us a problem because of that.

As of right now, though, the boys are upstairs playing quietly (shockingly!) and Mar’s talking swords and martial arts with one of his friends on Skype. Things are pretty cool here.