Monday, October 19, 2015

Auctions Over Time: One More To Go!

Auf Wiedersehen, Frau Audi

Oh, Frau Audi, how we will miss you.  No one was ready to let go, but a window of opportunity appeared and we jumped out of it--or jumped in, depending on your point of view.

Frau Audi was a prankster.  If she felt like the occasion in the car needed music, she would turn it on herself.  Even as we tried to silence her, she kept putting it back on.

Every once in a while, she would make a weird mechanical sound, not let the center console light up or decide not to accelerate at the worst possible minute.  Just when you were sure we needed major repair shop intervention, she would magically go back to normal the next time you turned the key in the ignition.

The old gal was bought as a new gal, to combat the evils of the gasoline engine.  She was clean diesel.  She was 45 miles to the gallon on the highway.  She was forgetting which side the gas tank was on when you filled up at the station, because even after 5 years, the visits for gas were still so infrequent.

She was cutting edge German technology, until a few weeks ago, when poor Frau Audi became Faud-I.  All of the do-gooders with diesel engines at Volkswagon were branded with the scarlet F for fraud.  Not only were they not saving the Earth--they were killing it up to 40 times the legal emission limit.

The news spread far and wide, and you had to read the last paragraphs to realize that it was not only VWs, it was Audi's A3 TDI as well.  How were they going to fix this?  What effects would it have on the cars after they were fixed?  Would our zippy, little car be able to retain her zip?  Would she retain her astounding gas mileage?  Would she be branded a lemon and not be worth a dime, even after 5 years of loyal service.

Frau was the first car for both my son and daughter.  They learned the rules of the road.  They learned the rules at the gas station--green nozzle only.

She went in for her annual service.  The call came from the service department.  New tires, new brakes and new windshield wipers needed--to the tune of $1300.  The annual service itself was $799 if I bought a 2 package special.

Poor Frau, she had been rear ended, backed into when parked twice, and damaged straight off the boat.  She had a new windshield AND 4 new tires.  All in her short 5 year lifetime with us.  Her paint was sketchy, her rims were rashed but we loved her.  Actually, still do love her.

It was sad to see you parked beside your shiny, new replacement.  It was not because you weren't shiny, because you were looking damn good for a 5 year old.  It was because we were saying good bye to an era.

Frau Audi, I hope your next family will take good care of you.  I guarantee they will not have travel scrabble in the back seat secret compartment.  They probably won't have an affinity for the 80's channel on Sirius.  I hope they drive you slow and gently and at an angle over the speed bumps.  I hope they always keep you a little bit on the full side in the gas tank so you never know what it means to go empty.

Even though you are accused of being a bad car, a dirty diesel, you are not bad.  It is fitting to compare you to Frankenstein.  The evil engineers who put that fix on your emissions are the bad ones.  You have a good heart and soul, and we will keep our eyes on the lookout for you, cruising down the highway.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Occupation: Stay At Home Mom

I am tired of filling out forms and coming to the line where I have to enter my occupation. When I write Homemaker, I feel like I'm dating myself to the tune of June Cleaver. It sounds so old fashioned and I am definitely not at home, in my apron, cooking a roast most days.

I also hate the term Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). That sounds like I'm just hanging out at my house and watching soap operas. If I use that term, I sound like an uneducated shut-in that never goes out because it is my job to Stay At Home. I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to go to the bank, I'm a Stay At Home Mom, not a Go To The Bank Mom.

I could just write Mom. But, as you all know, writing Mom doesn't really even hit the tip of the iceberg of my responsibilities or any mom's responsibilites for that matter. Many of us are mothers, many of us work outside the home AND do all of the stuff that a SAHM does, too.

Some of my friends are creatively cute and call themselves Domestic Engineers. I'm not very domestic, in fact, my husband really got cheated on having a domesticated type of woman in his life. I'm also not an engineer, you can ask any of my high school math teachers about that one. This term just doesn't apply to me.

Yet, I'm not stupid and I have no problem with keeping wildly busy all day every day. There is not any time for boredom in my chosen career. Lately, there has barely been time for blogging. I have lots of fodder, but no time to type it out.

From now on, I'm writing Mom Friday on that form.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Halloween, Only Scarier!

Our house is pretty scary around Halloween, though my kids are quick to point out we are scary enough on a normal day.

Birk's cast off clothing plus Halloween decor equals what looks like a crime scene...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Holiday: Day 1, London

We arrived surprisingly well rested after an overnight flight to London.  Our temporary home at the Berkeley hotel is pretty fabulous!

The girls are excited to explore London--made famous by Harry Potter of course!

The plan for dinner is our all time favorite restaurant, Tamarind.  The best Indian food ever.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Canadian Chronicles: Happy Holidays 2014!

II was texting a friend about the old days at the cottage in the winter.  You know the below zero kind of days where the power goes out and we were all huddled around the wood stove for warmth.  Candles were a premium then and provided much needed light to supplement the nearly dead flashlight batteries.  My grandmother's brass candelabra was a god send on those evenings--filling the room with warm wonderful light.

The outhouse was a popular place at that time.  The inside toilets couldn't be used, so all of a sudden, a place mostly avoided with dread got the appreciation and respect that it deserved.  It was a long and chilly walk, but it sure did make you think about the wonders of modern day plumbing and central heat.

That was the winter we decided to go "out" for dinner to the local restaurant.  This eatery is only 20 minutes away on a good day, but a great deal farther in the ice and snow.  Our dining experience started in a well-lit place with heat and power.  15 minutes into our visit, the power went out there, too.  We were served whatever was warm in the kitchen by the cook and waitstaff in their head lamps.

I wonder what the memories will be of this winter that endure.  The skating on the lake when it finally froze over?  Playing indoor "bags" where the rule was that you had to have a drink in one hand while you threw with the other hand?  Eating raclette and fondue and watching fireworks that almost blew up the boat house?

Which does remind me of the year that Birk set her mitten on fire with a sparkler as we watched terrified through the window.  Yes, old parents inside, young kids outside with fire AND unattended. Thankfully, we've come a long way there, too.

This winter I was on full mouse alert, and oh, bat alert, too.  I kept a wary eye out for any vermin. Miraculously, this winter was the first time I did not see a creature stirring out of the corner of my eye.  The Cot-Taj felt almost like a real house.  We had cloth napkins, lights, toilets, showers and the mice laid low.  We are happily and sadly civilized.

We also had no lack of warm food, cold drinks and holiday cheer.  Surrounded by family and friends, we really were nestled in the woods.  Sending you all warmest wishes--whether from the fireplace, wood stove, space heater or furnace-- for a jolly 2015 full of love, peace, adventure and friendship!

Nana grabbing some shut eye in the shade of the tree.

Roxy grabbing some shut eye by the warmth of the fire.

Pretzel making for German Night.

Stove covered with foil to protect is from the LYE?

Lye.  Yes, lye.  Note skull and crossbones.

Finished product.

A double batch--eaten in a few days.

Pretzel making is a family tradition.

A strange visit from captain and crew of the Enterprise.

Happiness is skating on the lake.

Ringing in the New Year 2015!

More fun on the lake--sharing the good times with friends!

Skating on the lake--a new adventure for some.

Quiet time.

Hockey games and frolic and the beautiful first days of January 2015.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014: When the Food is Too Scary

I've finally learned my lesson, if the food is too scary, no one eats it.  This is true of punch with eyeballs floating in it, too.

A few years back I found that when I covered the labels of $35 bottles of wine with spooky pretend labels, no one drinks them.  This is especially a bummer if you go ahead and uncork 3 or 4 bottles for the party ahead of time.  There is only so much spaghetti sauce you can make.

The margarita punch with the fresh raspberry brain? Left untouched.  Pouring that down the drain was a bummer, too.  I saved the eyeball ice cubes for next year, but I don't know how to use them for good instead of evil.

One of my favorite moments of Halloween prep? I told my daughter to put the eyeballs next to the brain in the freezer.  Sounded so nefarious! 

Another Halloween come and gone.  I hope yours was spooky, but not too scary. I also hope it was full of treats instead of tricks and that the goblins didn't get you!