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Monday, January 30, 2006
Unrighteous Bachelorhood?
Should we be more proactive about shaming the bachelors in our churches into marrying? That seems to be the takeaway from this article. Any thoughts?

Link via ePrays

And Another One Down
Looks like the house we didn't get to see is now under contract. They said it was priced to move, and they weren't kidding.

Saturday, January 28, 2006
Better Homes and Gardens
Or something like that. We missed seeing the one house near church and work because the sellers decided not to let it be shown today. We saw the smallest house first, and agreed that it looked nice and seemed to be in very good condition, but just couldn't envision fitting into that house, even before adding a fourth family member. It's not easy to lose 200 square feet. I suppose if we were willing to divest ourselves of several pieces of furniture, we could make it work, but I really don't want to get rid of our futon, especially with my parents coming down in March. The entertainment center we could live without, and probably a dresser or two (I've still got some work to do cleaning out my wardrobe). Getting rid of the piano and the majority of Paul's books, though, isn't likely to be an option.

The second house we saw was the white one nearby. This was a house with some interesting history packed into the less-than-thirty years of its existence. Cable was run into every room, save the bathrooms, with as many as three outlets in one room. The sidelight at the front door had been replaced with plywood and quarter-round molding at the edge. A makeshift wall with doorway (part of which seen here at right) was erected between the living/family room and the dining area (around a cable, mind you, seen poking slightly through at the corner, near the floor). There were dead crickets all over the house (thankfully, Jay was with some friends of ours and missed out on eating them) and our realtor was disdainful towards the flooring choices in the kitchen/entryway/dining area and the baths. The best part, by far, was where there were holes cut into the hallway for a Curtis Mathes 8-track player and a (kind of cool) cloth-covered speaker with a wooden grille: the only built-in stereo system we've run across in our search (though apparently there are speaker-wire outlets in one of the bedrooms of the next house). Our realtor was underwhelmed to put it mildly, but Paul and I agreed that the house was big enough to work, though we'd certainly want to make some changes. It had lots of storage space, both indoors and out, which would be very nice.

Last stop on our tour was the "nice" house from the previous post. This one is not likely to stay on the market long. It's freshly painted, newly carpeted, with nice big rooms and a great long driveway. I'm curious as to why they chose the dark brown color they chose for the carpet- it's kinda ugly, though at least it's not pinkish as it appears in the online photos. Even if we decide to keep our nice largish dining room table and make the "family room" a dining room, we'll have plenty of room. Unfortunately, it appears I would still have to pack the kids into the car to go beyond the back yard. It is rather a nice back yard, though! The house is in a fairly swanky area overall, though it is directly across the street from some unimpressive apartments. Paul says he doesn't want to spend any more money (on, say, an inspection) until we get some interest in (by which he seems to mean an offer on) our house. Prayer needed here!

Friday, January 27, 2006
But still a bit pricey for us. It's nice and close to everything, though, and bigger than our current house. We may take a look, anyway. It couldn't hurt! And you just never know.

Househunting (Again)
Saturday afternoon. I need to check with some Mebane folks and see if we can get someone to sit around while Jay naps. It shouldn't be too bad, but not a whole lot of fun, either. If ADR or ESM wants to come, we'll be happy to feed you & you can stick around as long as you want and play with him, but I think we'll probably be able to find somebody local.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
Second Tier
It's probably time to add in a couple of previously eliminated properties. This one, for example. This one, too, though I find it a bit over-decorated for my taste and under-large.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
In answer to ADR's inquiry, the househunting was not good yesterday. The 1930 bungalow just went under contract, the '70s ranch by the mall is some kind of bogus listing (there is apparently no way to contact anyone about actually seeing or buying the house), the '50s bungalow in the same part of town was very disappointing, and, like the house in Mebane, got a big thumbs down from our realtor. Paul and I kind of liked the house in Mebane- there's a giant room which would be ideal for an office/playroom, though it's separated from the rest of the house by a 2' wide hall that's maybe 10 ft long. That room also has two doors to the outside (good thing if you want furniture in there!) Anyway, the house had a lot of cracks, and the backyard was pretty much a swamp. We saw two houses which were pretty far out of our price range, and we didn't love either one (Paul and I didn't even prefer the same one). Anyway, I was pretty bummed about the whole thing.

This morning, though, this house appeared in my inbox, courtesy our realtor's computer. And our house is being shown twice tomorrow. Maybe it's still a tad early to give up.

Yep, it's shingles. I got some prescription cream to slather on my hand twice a day to make it feel better and to help prevent any secondary infections. The dermatologist was a very kind sort (as was the ENT I was referred to in December- both affiliated with our county hospital), and personable, though (oddly, I thought) he was doing his dictation to a nurse, which required spelling more than a word or two.

My obstetrician referred me to him yesterday after seeing my rash and saying essentially "Poison oak? I don't think so. Let's not just take a shot in the dark." This, of course, was the same doc who told me a week ago last Monday (through the receptionist) "It won't clear up overnight; quit being a baby." If it were caught early on (and I'm not sure I went in early enough), an antiviral could have shortened the course (if I would be allowed to even have one in my delicate condition). I'm thinking the whole baby fee should be refunded to me for pain and suffering. Not that I'm planning on suing anyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fixing the sofa pillow with a wrench
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Combing hair with a wrench
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Watching VeggieTales
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Who needs a push toy?
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Whistling with Daddy
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Monday, January 23, 2006
Househunting Day
Tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, we'll take a look at four houses: the two in SW Durham, the 1930 bungalow on Maynard, and the 1950's house in Mebane. Although I loved the photos from that brick ranch in Hillsborough and could really envision how we'd live in that house, the walking situation was absolutely hopeless, and I just think it's better for all of us to have walking as an option. The 1970's ranch in north Durham got crossed off the list because it was too inconvenient to everything we do to spend that much on it. A couple other houses came up in a development not too far from the houses in SW Durham, but they were asking $20k more for them than for Maynard, and the Durham crime mapper incident density was almost the same as for the 1930 house, which is bigger (and cooler!)

Please pray for us both to have open and discerning hearts as we consider moving our family. We both love the Mebane community and were so excited about the house because we'd gain so much living area without giving up our downtown access. By the same token, we've been not as involved with our church as we probably should be (that goes at least double for me) because of the 20 mile, 30 minute commute. And when Paul is at church, he's gone that much longer from home, which makes me much less enthusiastic about his involvement. I'm pretty sure, though, that Paul would just as soon stay in this house, given his 'druthers. I just think I'd manage a lot better if there were no stairs involved in childcare and we had a room set up where kids could play and I could sneak in some work in the same space. It would make it a lot easier for me to fly solo with the kids.

We are blessed with a babysitter for tomorrow afternoon (thanks, Heather!!), so there will be much less need for snacks and superfluous entertainment, though I'll probably be wanting the former, and Paul the latter ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2006
I took some photos yesterday to commemorate Jay's 16-month birthday, but haven't gotten to the other computer to move them to disk or upload them yet. It's becoming very difficult to take pictures of Jay. He doesn't sit and smile for the camera- he lunges at it, which makes it difficult to get him in focus, as you might imagine. If he's very distracted (e.g. watching VeggieTales), I can get a photo, but he's not likely to be smiling. This whole trend definitely started before the walking, but the walking has exacerbated the problem. I guess it's the blurry picture phase for Jay.

He's been getting faster and walking more and more. We went whole-hog this morning and actually put SHOES on him before church. The shoes are necessary in order to keep on the socks, you know. As we can't trust him to hold a hand and walk from the parking lot into the building, he's not walking outside yet. Anyway, I got him some Scooby Doo sneakers in size 6 at the Dollar General store, which went over really well. I just told him they were his doggy shoes. "Ggy!" Unfortunately, he's got the velcro figured out already, and apparently had the shoes off a couple of times this morning. Oh, well!

We've also done a little more with crayons, since Jay was trying to grab my red pencil away from me when I brought some work into the living room. He's done some more dots and straight lines, bitten more paper and wax off the crayons, ripped up the crayon box (he only had one crayon out, and that was NOT enough), learned how to operate the zipper on the turtle backpack which became the new crayon box, and pointed to a drawing I made of a cat and said, "ki-y!" I'm not sure whether that last one made me more proud of him or myself ;)

Jay had a great time Friday night. We went to visit friends with a Norwegian elk hound, some sort of collie mix (?), and a passel of cats. The cats were less than excited to have a toddler around, and the dogs weren't exactly thrilled, but they put up with Jay, and he was thrilled. He was also very interested in the fish tank, as our friends have some nice colorful fish.

Meantime I have been reading Twice Blessed by Joan Leonard about adjusting to kid #2. Now I'm scared. Maybe it's just the continuing sleep deprivation and discomfort from my rash, combined with the anxiety and uncertainty relating to our housing situation that made me focus on the warnings so much. Maybe it's just realism. Either way, it makes me both want to batten down the hatches and dig in here and to make sure I only have a single-story to deal with. Because I really need more internal conflict, you know ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2006
That's too Cool!
There is a city-maintained walking trail from the street the 70's house with well water is on up to the street the mall is on. We may need a jogging stroller to negotiate it, but how cool is that? I know the mall road has sidewalks, but I'm not sure where on the road the house is, so it could still be a tricky proposition to get to the trail. We'll have to scope it out. There's also a piece of that same trail up by the 50's house, though across the street (of course). These are interesting developments, nonetheless! Hooray for Durham Parks and Rec greenways! Anybody know how to stay fluoridated on well water?

Friday, January 20, 2006
Two More Possibilities
'50s bungalow in SW Durham
'70s ranch in SW Durham

The 1940 bungalow in Durham is apparently off the market. We're supposed to look at the others with our realtor Monday or Tuesday afternoon. This is quickly getting to be too much, though, especially given the fact that they're so far apart. I've asked our realtor for advice in regard to narrowing things down. I probably also ought to look for someone who can watch Jay that afternoon. I know a couple full-time moms in Mebane/Hillsborough, so I guess I should get on the phone and see if one of them can handle an extra child for an afternoon!

Addendum: These two houses are within five miles of church and my work, which is very hard to come by in our price range. They have other disadvantages, but the location is a big point in their favor. They're also close to lots of shopping, including the new fancy giant mall. It's possible that one could walk there from the ranch house, and the other one is across from a fairly swanky development with sidewalks everywhere, and possibly in walking distance from some commercial establishments- if you can cross the busy street it's on with a stroller.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
I'm Flattered, By the Way,
That my four tagees all responded within 24 hours of being tagged. Not a party pooper among you!

That's Better!
I got two consecutive nights of 6+ hours of sleep! Both were interrupted once, but neither interruption kept me from getting back to sleep for too long. I'm still tired, but less frustrated. The swelling has gone down and many of the blisters have flattened and just resemble red freckles. I still can't write very well, but I managed to push the stroller around a couple of days ago, so I ought to do even better with that today (we may have to go looking for the Solgarden doggie).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Is This a Sign?
The list price on the 1930 Bungalow overwhelmingly preferred by readers just dropped $20k. I wasn't looking at anything that cheap in Durham because it makes me think it's probably not a safe neighborhood. It could still mean that, but I find the timing verrry interesting.

In Full Fours
I've been tagged by the so-called Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady. It's like a junior high dream come true ;)

Four jobs I've had:
Sewing machine reconditioner
Snack bar cashier
Gear shift knob manufacturer
Architectural hardware firm receptionist

Four Movies I (could/would) Watch Over and Over Again:
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Castle
Best in Show
The Hunt for Red October

Four Books I (could/would) Read Over and Over Again (besides the Bible):
Freight Train (believe me, I have)
Baby Animal ABCs (ditto)
The Screwtape Letters
Anything by Georgette Heyer

Four Places I've Lived:
Lancaster, PA
Gainesville, VA
Strongsville, OH
Chapel Hill, NC

Four T.V. Shows I Watch:
Since we don't have cable, antenna, or satellite, I'll just use the series from our Netflix queue-
King of the Hill
and we have a couple of seasons of Rocky & Bullwinkle on DVD, plus one season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Best I could do!

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
Gettysburg, PA
Stockholm, Sweden
Ashe County, NC
St. Augustine, FL

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Dear Abby
Times-News Online (Burlington, NC)
Drudge Report
Most of my blogroll

Four Favorite Foods:
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Sweet and sour pork

Four Places I'd Like to Be Right Now:
Lexington, VA
With my family
In my own beautiful old house (this one would need some beautifying to qualify =-7 )

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:

Jay has flunked his first test. Sort of- it was really a backward test, administered by the county folk. Two sweet ladies came out to assess his development, and said he is way too smart, charming, and all-around wonderful to qualify for their services. They offered to send somebody by specifically to evaluate his speech, since he only has a few words, and they're mostly only understood by us, but they said it often picks up right after a child masters walking, so we'll just give him some time. He showed off his whistling, and wowed them by getting the circle/square/triangle puzzle put together fairly quickly. We'll get a full report in the mail, but they had no real concerns, and said over and over again what a great start he was to their day. So I'm glad I didn't call and cancel. It was a feel-good experience all the way around!

Monday, January 16, 2006
For Those Interested
Here are the houses I e-mailed our realtor about:
1. Mebane
2. Hillsborough
3. Seventies house in Durham
4. 1930 bungalow in Durham (plus floor plan)
5. 1940 bungalow in Durham

Cool note: the last two have permanent stairs to the attic! I could actually contemplate using an attic like that.

I may be the only one interested, but at least I won't have to keep looking them up!

Paul doesn't even want the house anymore. There aren't going to be all that many possibilities in our price range, so I'm thinking it's worth it to check those out that are there, and if nothing makes sense, we'll have to figure out how to make this house work a while longer. Or I'll have to figure it out, since I'm the only one who's having difficulties, and only I can really test-drive alternatives. Right now, with my lovely blistering rash all over my right arm, I can barely carry Jay around one floor, even just to lift him over the gate, onto the changing table, or into the crib. How ironic.

At least I got a few decent chunks of sleep last night.

Sunday, January 15, 2006
O-oh Last Night, I Didn't Get to Sleep at All, No, NO-o-o!
And boy was it fun. For Paul, too, though I did the majority of my tossing and turning downstairs. A few times I was getting close to dozing off, and then there'd be this bracing throb of pain, and once Jay even cried for a few seconds. About 6:30, I decided to see if a nice hot shower would dull the pain in my shoulder. It kind of worked, since I slept for about half an hour until Jay and Paul came downstairs. They went on to church, I watched A Man Called Peter for my spiritual time, and managed to sleep for maybe another hour and a half afterwards. Apparently Catherine Marshall (who wrote the book about her husband on which the movie was based) was bedridden for three years with tuberculosis and unable to take care of their young son during that time. So, it really could be a lot worse.

Then today I spent a little more time going over the home inspection and have dispatched copies to my dad and to CEP's brother for their opinions and advice (and possibly help, should it come to that), so I still haven't given up entirely on the house. The termite damage was very limited in scope, and one of the big projects (demolishing the rear upper floor deck) ought to be able to wait a while.

The report was pretty ambivalent about the roof, but I'm sure that will be an expensive proposition- when it is replaced, two layers of roofing willneed to be removed. The original (?) cedar shingles are under asphalt shingles, with big nails poking through the laundry room ceiling (also the wooden shingles and rafters comprise the ceiling- never seen a ceiling that was just the underside of the roofing material, though it's not ugly, the shingles being wooden and all). Our inspector recommended a metal roof, which is already up over the kitchen/bath ell (though that part of the roof is not in good shape- probably original). I'm sure it would be cute, I'm just thinking it would be really expensive. Our roof wasn't cheap (though it does have more sections, it's considerably smaller) with just the asphalt shingles.

There's a considerable amount of electrical work to be done, besides a good deal of plumbing. There are several spots with exposed wiring, which, while fairly urgent, probably ought to wait to be walled up until the electrical work has been done. I suppose we should get some estimates and maybe try and talk the bank into giving us repair money at closing (they seem reluctant to do that, though they will give us closing costs- go figure). We'd still have to know our house will sell for a good price.

Uggh. Anyway, if my experts give this house the thumbs down, we'll maybe start seriously checking out some alternatives.

Saturday, January 14, 2006
Well, I've found a few houses which might be worth looking at. A lot of the ones in our price range with roughly the same square footage as ours, though, seem to be out in the middle of nowhere or in some little far-flung subdivision. I REALLY don't want to be forced to pack the kids in the car if we run out of milk. I'm spoiled. I guess there's no way to be sure except to drive by and look around the neighborhoods, though. None of them is anywhere close to the size of the house, but they don't look like they'll need any money sunk into them upfront. So if we sell our house, maybe we could buy a minivan. Actually, one of them does say it needs "updating" (the one in Mebane), but it's listed for a lot less than the others. I hate to waste our realtor's time, though. I'm just not sure it's worth moving if we can't get a significantly larger house we feel will continue to accommodate us for the next 30 years. I'm over the major hump with Jay and the inside stairs. If we can re-do our porch, maybe with a stroller ramp, or just less steep stairs, maybe my arthritis/bursitis won't seem like such a problem. But it's easy to take that attitude when I'm not having any joint troubles (apart from the ones my swollen skin is causing- ouch!)

Any words of wisdom?

Friday, January 13, 2006
The midwife thinks it's poison oak, though I can't imagine how I could have picked it up. The blistering started Wednesday AM, so no way it can be blamed on the house, and I really had felt like something else was going on (lymph node involvement, for one). Either way, I'm having a prescription for prednisone filled, as well as something to help me sleep. I probably would have taken a while to get to sleep last night anyway, but I got a total of about 3 hours in two chunks surrounded by hours of painful, sleepless misery. Waah! If it's not markedly better by Monday, I'm supposed to call back. You can be sure I will!

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Fear Not, Gentle Readers
I have an 11 AM appt with the midwife. I'd have preferred an MD, but shingles is supposed to be a fairly straightforward diagnosis, and if it's not that, I'm probably better off seeing a dermatologist or something anyway. I sure hope they can do something for me, but it doesn't look like there's much to be done at this point if it is shingles. Maybe they'll let me have something for the pain, though given that it's my 3rd trimester, I'm not counting on it.

Not a Good Day
We each only got bits and pieces of the inspection, but a lot of it was very discouraging. It also took a VERY LONG TIME. I think our inspector earned his money today. Probably the worst snatches were "termites" and "chimneys falling apart".

Meantime, I had a few blisters on my right hand yesterday morning, and by last night there were red patches all the way up the inside of my forearm. My amateur/hypochondriac diagnosis is shingles. They hurt A LOT. The good thing is that my thumb and forefinger are not affected. Otherwise, that hand is nearly useless because it hurts so much. I'm not entirely sure how I managed to push Jay's umbrella stroller home from the restaurant where Jamie, Jay and I ate while Paul finished the inspection. He was supposed to meet us there, but it all dragged on so long, and Jay had to get a nap (plus we had no way of knowing when Paul was coming). If I had known Paul wouldn't be home until 3, we'd have left with Jamie so she could continue to drive Jay. Oh well!

I'm not a happy girl.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Prayers, Please!
Our house is being shown today. Our inspection on the new house is tomorrow, and we need to tell our mortgage broker Friday at the latest whether we'll proceed with closing. It would be wonderful to have a good inspection and a good offer tomorrow so we'll know what to do. Considering the state of our house (which I, for one, haven't done much to improve), we don't deserve it, but God is good and blesses us far beyond what we deserve!

Meantime, my ailing cat has been into all sorts of mischief, getting himself closed in the dining room closet (No, I don't know why there's a closet in the dining room), jumping up on the rim of the bathroom sink this morning to peek in the shower and bat my hair around with big dilated kitten eyes, and spilling his water for the fifty-gazillionth time. He's an imp.

The other imp walked the width of the living room yesterday- 12 consecutive feet. I'd say that counts for something. For some reason, though, he's been a little unenthusiastic about finishing his milk. He still asks for it, but just doesn't drink all of it. *Shrug* Our friend Jamie is coming along tomorrow to help toddler-wrangle. Yay, Jamie!!

Monday, January 09, 2006
Random, But Cool

An old Mebane postcard I found somewhere on the web. This is the main drag in the old part of town.

My Goodness
They grow 'em big up there!

Congrats to Dawn, Jason, and big sister Meg!

Saturday, January 07, 2006
Yes, I'm Afraid it's True...
The word "cat" has disappeared from my vocabulary. Is "kitty" baby talk? Am I stunting my child's development by using "kitty", "ducky", "doggie", etc? It's too late now, anyway. ;)

A little more background on Kostya, speaking of kitties: I've had Kostya for about 10 years. I was told he was 3 or 4 when I adopted him, but a vet visit in the past several years did not back that up (he was developing cataracts, which shouldn't have happened if he was as young as I believed). In any case, he is at least 14, but probably a year or two or three older. He's no spring chicken.

On the other hand, he still chases our 4-year-old cat around the house at night, or had been until very recently. He can still dash through the living room (over one gate, run 12 feet, over the other gate) before Jay knows he's there. Sure, he sleeps most of the day, but what cat doesn't? I hate to give up on him when he doesn't seem that sick. He's been a very good friend and a great blessing to all of us, but especially to me.

Friday, January 06, 2006
Kitty Update
Not good news. They believe it is a rapidly growing mass, due to its hardness (it's pretty big- I should have noticed it earlier :-( ). They'll need to probably x-ray and biopsy to figure out how/if to treat it. I don't think radiation/chemo is an option due to our finances and priorities, but I'd definitely consider surgery, even leg amputation if it would buy K a few good years. Of course, we won't know if there's anything to do unless we spend at least the x-ray money, and maybe both. He's already kind of limping, though he's been jumping the gates okay. I just don't think he'll be able to for long if we don't do something. Please pray for us to have wisdom.

Meantime, our mortgage broker wants to know if we're going ahead with closing. I told him the inspection isn't until next week, so even if I bring Paul around to my way of thinking, we couldn't say yes until the end of next week. Our realtor heard that the folks who saw our house Wednesday loved it, EXCEPT that the kitchen is too small, and they're not going to make an offer. *Sigh*

But all is not bleak- I learned that the maternity leave benefit was extended not by one week, but by two, so I will have 8 weeks of paid leave (though the last six will not be at my full pay rate). That made me happy, until all the bad stuff happened. My poor kitty.

Sick kitty
We just noticed that Kostya has a large lump in one of his hind legs. The vet was able to see him this afternoon (he hasn't gone yet). He's our lovey cat, and the one that will let Jay pet him sometimes, so we'll really miss him if we lose him. I'll keep you updated, but please pray for his health, and our wisdom!

Thursday, January 05, 2006
The Fragrance of Christmas
Is stronger now than it was when it actually was Christmas. I wonder if fir trees and wreaths give off stronger fragrances as they age and dry out? Anyway, they smell so nice now that I hate that it's time for them to go. One more day, anyway.

Meantime, I'm going to have to see if my boy is going to get up! I thought I heard him stirring, but he's been napping almost 3 hours now! I'm not complaining, though it looks like bedtime will be a little bit late tonight =]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I don't know whether it's having a brother (the older one) in central PA, having watched a couple of movies about coalminers (October Sky and Matewan), driving through WVA a couple times a year, or the fact that I spent about an hour during my OB appt yesterday watching FoxNews (that's what they show at the clinic in Alamance County), but I've been probably a little over-invested in the drama. Anytime 13 lives hang in the balance, I suppose we should all care, but it's easier to let some tragedies run off your back, so to speak. My brother spent a little bit of time working in a coal mine on some electrical equipment (his company was the vendor), and he said it was downright scary. And he wasn't afraid of working at a bus garage in Detroit in the dead of winter (ha ha, little joke).

I don't know how much of the atmosphere of those movies applies to the modern coal industry, but if you've seen those movies, especially Matewan, you really can't help but think of the management as soulless slavedrivers and the workers as back-to-the-wall drones. It doesn't do anything to dispel these images when FoxNews scrolls counts- seemingly very high ones- of all the safety violations cited in this particular mine over the past several years. Although I'm sure that that's relevant information, it would be more relevant in some context. How many mines have safely operated for years, and how many (if any) violations were they cited for? From the coverage on Fox, it was clear that miners die because of a false step or falling rocks in accidents year round that we don't hear about. It's a dangerous business, even absent explosions and cave-ins.

If you live in that part of the country, you know it's dangerous. Apparently, these guys get paid pretty well (you would hope so!), and are not necessarily without options. It's really a little bit condescending for us city folk to think otherwise. I'm not as much a free-marketeer as I was, and mine operation regulation makes sense to me (as long as it is impartially enforced), but all the same, I think it's important to recognize that miners are aware that their livelihood entails a serious gamble, just like police and firemen know that going to work is a risk. Safety regulations should be enforced, we should pray for those in danger, and mourn for those who lose their lives or health (and with those who lose loved ones), but I don't think casting mine owners as the villains and workers as their helpless victims is appropriate. Although you might not know it from the way they've been acting, tragedies like this are terrible for management as well as for workers (though certainly to a lesser degree- even if they are totally heartless, there are bound to be grave consequences these days), and if management is smart, they're doing what they can to prevent them.

On a more hopeful note, I'm really interested to hear the survivor's story. It seems that a couple of the older men were believers, and I would be surprised to hear that God was not glorified in that desperate situation.


Yum! Pizza night!!
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Face painting with pizza sauce
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Real Estate Non-News
I came home to an exceptionally tidy house, which could only mean one thing- yep, it was shown today. I'm thankful it didn't happen on my watch, 'cuz getting the house tidy and keeping the boy happy all at once is not an easy thing. Meantime, the house is no longer showing up online, which hopefully means my fears about there not really being a contract were ungrounded (maybe there'll even be a signlet up next time we go by). Though I'm convinced we should proceed with closing as long as the inspection doesn't turn up any nasty surprises, Paul is not, so having an offer on our house would be a big boost to our moving-before-I'm-8-months-pregnant odds. Thanks for your prayers!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Late, As Usual
Since all the cool kids are doing it, here is my very own mondo beyondo list for the future:
1. Have a baby girl (someday) and name her Nora
2. Make my living writing song lyrics so I can be with my kids while they're awake without falling into destitution or exhaustion
3. Have a cool old house and fix it up so it can re-live its glory days, only better
4. Take my parents to Germany and see Erfurt, Wittenberg, and the big Lutheran reformation sites
5. Learn how to properly run a household =-7
6. Contribute to the culture of our kids' hometown by opening a B&W movie theater downtown or something similarly fun and salubrious to Mebane's downtown economy
7. Start a club for German speakers or Russian speakers in our home to boost my language skills and build friendships

UPDATE: Kristen's got one too

Monday, January 02, 2006
Blessing in Disguise
So when I was Christmas shopping for Jay, I wanted to get him one of those cool ride-on animals like we got his young cousins (one was an elephant, the other was a lion). Unfortunately, Wal-Mart had neither elephant nor lion nor giraffe in stock. Anyway, I settled for that wagon of MegaBloks. I never would have guessed how he would squeal while throwing them over his shoulder, one by one, or how quickly he'd start building with them (even though he was having fun with his cousin's in Michigan). Last night I built him a big tower, and he had a great time tearing pieces off today and throwing the remnants. Once he started building, he got pretty fast. Not that his structures are stable, but he can get those blocks stuck together. The Duplos are getting packed away!

Meantime, he really has started walking. Though still only 4 or 5 steps, he'll do it consistently if I summon him when he's standing fairly close by. It helped that he wore his nice snug cuffed jammies all day, so he didn't have any descending pants legs to give him grief. Maybe he'll be more interested now in practicing by holding onto a hand (one can always hope!)

Wicked Funny

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