Category Archives: Is there a manual?

Who Put the Bop in the Bop Shoo Bop Shoo Trash?

Even with all of our plans before the births of our children – (attachment parenting, on-demand breast-feeding, baby wearing, etc) they both became “Bop Babies”. For all those of you unfamiliar with Motherfog lingo, “Bops” are pacifiers. We don’t know where this name came from, but it’s become such a household name, that we are always confused when people have no idea what we’re talking about.

While we did follow through with all of the aforementioned parenting techniques, bops were thrown into the night-time mix to help pacify in between every two and three-hour breast-feedings.

But, when Zachary was around six months old, we made a steadfast rule that no bops would be allowed outside of the crib (or car if napping). This rule followed suit with baby number two and has been high on the short list of “brilliant parenting decisions” made by the Motherfog child-raisers. We have often praised ourselves for this family law, as so many benefits came from it. Not only were we free from chasing after pacifiers all around town, and being stuck with photos full of plastic-faced cherubs, but its practice encouraged a desire for “crib quiet time”. Both kids welcomed a couple of ten or twenty-minute stretches of daytime solitude in their own beds to steal some precious moments with their bops and a book or two.

However, we recently realized a fatal flaw in our plan. When the pacifier is only allowed in the privacy of the child’s bed, the courage and ambition to go through the agony of taking it away slowly wanes. It sort of becomes a little secret, free from judgmental glances from public onlookers. Unless you find yourself entertaining a playdate in your son’s room and the pacifier is spotted. In which case I have not been above quickly covering up with,

“Isabelle! What are your bops doing in Zachary’s room? Silly girl!”

But, before you know it, you’re looking at your three-year old, all dressed for bed, and he suddenly looks like a college kid dressed up for Halloween in a “Baby” costume with a pacifier hanging out of his mouth.

I happened to google the issue this morning, and was stung by the harsh critics on the web – critics, of course, being other mothers who I am certain are the images of maternal perfection themselves – once you agree to look past the glaring grammatical and spelling errors in their scathing comments.

But, lets move past my hurt feelings from judgments of those whom I have never met. Of course, they only ruffled me because it’s true. I am absolutely certain that Zachary is the only kid in his class that still uses a pacifier at night, but the decision to take it away has never aligned with what feels like the right time and place.

When he turned one, I was five months pregnant, alone with him in Utah, working long hours, and attempting to star in a show. Not the best time…for me.

At 16 months, we brought a new baby sister home. Certainly not the best time.

At two, we were about to move across the country. Definitely not.

Last summer, just before he turned three, we planned to tackle the issue.

He broke his femur.

Need I say more?

So, while at the moment, we seem to be finding ourselves in some modicum of status quo (pardon me while I go ram my head into a two-by-four), it’s time to Seize the Day.

But, if we’re going to do this, why not go hog-wild and make it a bat-shit, bop-breaking bash, and take it from the 22 month old too?

This morning went like this:

Me “Hey, honey? How would you feel about getting no sleep for the next week?”

Husband “Why?”

Me “I think it’s time to ditch the bops”

Husband “Um. OK”

Three minutes later…

“Hey guys! Daddy and I have talked for a long time about this. We’ve decided it’s time to say good-bye to the Bops. You are big enough to sleep without them now and they are going away. It will be hard for a few days and we are here to give lots of hugs and snuggles, but we know you can do it!”

Let the Games Begin!

Blogger’s Note:

A friend has a story she likes to tell about her first encounter with me. Apparently, I was amusing a group of people at a party with a story, got carried away with my own exaggerations, and cut myself off with,

“That’s not true!”

She has never forgotten it. It is true. I do exaggerate. It’s a family trait. But, as I have stated before on this blog, I will always fess up, and usually within the same conversation (or post). So, I’ve decided to add a “FACT CHECK” at the end of posts.

*FACT CHECK

1.)The bops are not in the trash. That would be mean and heart-breaking. For me more than them, I think. They are in a drawer and will perhaps be bronzed like a pair of first baby shoes

2.)That was an exaggeration I will most likely not have them bronzed. That would be very strange, even for me.

Have a click!

What Are We Missing?

I do believe that every parent has thought at some point that they must be doing something wrong- that the tornado of insanity descending on those of us with small children throughout a 24 hour period cannot be normal. But, maybe I should face the possibility that it is just me and that everyone else skips about their days with ease, order and structure.

I’ve lost count of how many mealtime madness posts I have written.  I keep thinking we will find some sort of magic key that unlocks the secret door to enjoyable dining, but I feel no closer to this treasure than I did two and a half years ago when baby number one started eating something other than what naturally dispensed from me, with no preparation, no mess and no clean up.  Man, those were the days.

I have shared many meals with other families and have noticed the rules that are in place for their toddlers. Rules that seem to be understood and followed. Rules that I had every intention of setting and fiercely holding to myself.

-We sit at the table until everyone is finished.

-We try everything on our plate.

-We eat something green at every meal

-We eat what is served

-We don’t throw food on the floor

-We don’t throw cups of liquid at our sibling

-We don’t use pasta sauce as finger-paint on the table.

You know, the basics.

But, once baby number two came along, I lost the ability, time and focus to enforce matters such as broccoli eating onto my 16 month old, while simultaneously breast-feeding at the table and attempting to steal a few morsels off my own plate to keep from passing out after day’s worth of no sustenance for myself.

I am tempted to say that these meals during which I have noted the stellar behavior of my friends’ children and the contrasting atrocity of my own, have been with single-child families.  But I am fully aware that I am possibly making excuses for being a shitty parent who has lost all control, and that perhaps there are plenty of parents with children 16 months apart or closer, who have managed to maintain some modicum of pleasantness during the evening meal.

So, I ask all of you Saintly ones for help.

Our children are complete, unruly little maniacs at dinner time, and should you show up at 5:30 pm, I might contemplate selling them to you for a small price.  I cannot think of another parenting woe that compares to this one. Sleep deprivation- HUGE.

Still, dinner time takes the cake.

I was at a baby shower yesterday, quietly listening while a mother of a six month old spoke very knowingly about her ideas of food and nutrition for her daughter.

“We only give such and such.”
“We believe such and such.”
“We only do such and such.”

I wanted to blurt out,

“Here is my number. Get back to me when she is over one and if you add another kid to the mix”

But I shhhed my mouth by stuffing it with three too many scones and
escaped to the bathroom to allow my eyes the rolling they were twitching to hold back.

I too, had very lofty plans. And perhaps I’m just pissed that regardless of hours, days, months, and years of boundless effort and energy, they are simply not in action.

I exclusively breastfed, and when solids were introduced, I started with homemade vegetable purees.  I spent hours preparing my own nutrient-rich baby food. Never has a plate been set before my children that lacks rich, vibrant color.

But, sadly I am on the brink of giving up. I spend weekends  preparing food and concocting meals that I believe will excite my children, only to have them pushed  away, thrown, or just plain refused.

Both kids.
So I can’t blame it on basic nature of inborn character.

The meal they will eat?  Breakfast. By breakfast time, they are so hungry there is barely a peep for half an hour. Waffles, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt…all in one meal. It’s a morning buffet at the Motherfog house.

Lunch?  Maybe a piece of cheese and a cracker.

Dinner- forget about it.

(the obvious seems that they have too many calories in the a. m.,  but we have tinkered with this scenario with no positive results and feel that at least one meal should be complete.)

But, please believe me when I say that dinner is something on which we have placed great importance. In Los Angeles, my husband rolled back his hours in order to facilitate a sit down family meal.  And yet, here we are, in the thick of Hurricane Hugo every evening at 5:30 pm.

I do believe that we all wonder from time to time if we have missed some sort of mark with this parenting fiasco, only to have the truth be told that there is no mistake; parenting  is chaotic, messy and disorganized by nature, especially during toddler years.  But, something tells me that with this particular issue, we have indeed missed the mark in our house.

Yes, with children so close in age we did sacrifice the ability to focus heavily on certain matters. For my own emotional and physical health, I had to loosen the laces on my perfectionistic standards.  But have we really ruined our children’s chances of ever becoming healthy, respectful diners by having them 16 months apart?  Surely not.  We are not the first to enter the eye of the storm and we won’t be the last.

So, what is it? What are we missing?

Sincerely,
Bat-shit and hungry

Have a click!

Spica Cast Must-Haves

Feel free to giggle. As if our five days earn me the right to pose as an expert on the subject. But, I am one who would check into hotels on tour, and even for a short stay, would survey the room, say with shake of my head,

“Oh, dear…this just won’t do.”

Rushing out before sound-check, I would scurry about to stock the room with candles, table cloths, pictures and other objects that would create a homey ambiance. I like routine and familiarity. Where there is lack of these, I zoom like Road Runner to every store within a 15 mile radius to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

That said,

About an hour after my post about Zachary’s incident was written, we were brought back to his room on the pediatric floor. It was at that point that the effects of a sleepless night, and stress of the whole ordeal caused an automatic shutdown in my brain. I could not have fully been prepared for the full aspects of this type of cast and all of the adjustments in basic care it would require.

It also must be noted that I have a temper wear my heart on my sleeve.  As a child, I would stub my toe and have an immediate response of anger toward the inanimate object that dared to step into my path. My best pal from birth is LHTA (laughing her tail off) right now at memories of her spunky, awkward and brace-faced sidekick turning around and yelling at door jams.

“Stupid thing!”

Ok, so as an adult I have matured (for the most part) and have learned to temper this reaction a tad. Although the feelings are still there, most often I don’t go around hitting solid objects, thankfully.  I have not however outgrown my trait of nakedly and unabashedly offerining the world every nuance of my thought process and emotional state.   I don’t believe people often ask,

“Gee. I wonder what Emily feels about this?”

So, when the sweet doctor joined us in the room to offer blog links and tips on how to manage daily routines with a toddler in a spica cast, my thoughts on the contraption were quite clear. As I tried to change our first diaper, my son screamed in pain at the slightest touch. How on earth am I supposed to clean him if I can’t even take the diaper off? I can’t reach the tabs? I can’t turn him over. What. The. Hell?!

“There has to be a better way! Is this cumbersome tank of a contraption really necessary?”

I spouted, displacing my anger over the whole situation onto the cast and the orthopedic surgeons who came up with such an inconvenient and obnoxious solution.  As if she was going to say,

“Ha! Of course there is!  We were just messin’ with ya! Let me get the saw!”

This dear physician sympathetically held my hand and said,

“I know its overwhelming. Do you want me to go get a laptop and we can watch some tips on YouTube together?”

Feeling exhausted and ashamed of showing this lovely person the ugliest side of myself, I bit back tears and quietly said,

“No. I think we just need a minute alone. Can we just have a minute?”

“Of course. I promise you guys will adjust. I know it’s a lot to take in. I’ll be back in a few.”

After I had my over-dramatic, bratty little snit, I got on the phone with a dear friend whose two-year old had the same cast last year. With a few of her tips and a lot of her encouragement, I got off the phone, called “last call” for my pity party and took my first stab at changing Zachary’s diaper. And in case you were concerned, in true Emily Rozek fashion, I made sure to apologize to the doctor when she returned ten minutes later.  We were discharged and managed to load him into his car seat.  The first miracle of miracles.

While the remnants of anesthesia lulled him back to sleep on the way home across the George Washington Bridge, we brainstormed seats, snack trays, possible sleeping positions, and diaper changing techniques.

Its been five days and we feel like pros!  The biggest pro of all, of course is little, trooper Zach.   Here are some of the things we have found to bring ease into a not-so-easy situation.

Pillows for tummy play (baby sis optional) and tray providing hard surface for….

coloring…

…Or building Lincoln Logs
WARNING: baby sis may or may not provoke extreme aggravation in the injured while attempting this task

Infant Bouncer/Toddler Rocker – Best Purchase of All!
WARNING:baby sis may or may not find increasing devilish satisfaction in rocking the injured with each additional yell from him not to.

Bean Bag Chair – Big suggestion from other spica cast parents.
(joke playing on the object responsible for breaking the bone – optional, depending on how sick your sense of humor is)

Swivel Bed Tray – Amazing for parents who are sticklers for eating meals at the table. This tray can adjust in height and swivels in any direction. (doctor’s toys a fun touch from amazing Aunt and Uncle)

This post would be more aptly called “Our Spica Cast Must-Haves” being that we have learned that each spica cast is a bit different and what works for one may not work for another, but that’s what we have so far!

Any caregiver who stumbles upon my blog in search of spica cast tips, click on the pictures for links to the actual products.  And remember, it’s only been five days!  What do we know?

Happy Spica-ing!

Love,

The Motherfog Family

Attack of the Empty Threats

We are in a crack-down zone here in the Motherfog house.  With the “half-year” theory (equilibrium-disequilibrium) proving its validity with a vengeance, we are tightening the reins and nailing down boundaries. We are committed to regaining our status as The Parents.  AKA, the ones in control.  Sadly, the roles have recently reversed and those under three feet tall have staged a hostile take-over.

I could give 75 examples, all from before 10 am today, but I’ll pick one from the top five and keep it short. We have been struggling with following through. Just as an example:

“Zachary, if you continue to throw water on your sister’s head, we are going inside”. Followed immediately by Isabelle waddling toward me, drenched and screaming. Great. Now I have to go inside on a beautiful day and figure out how to entertain two toddlers who have been stuck inside for three days due to inclement weather and fevers.  Inevitably, I retract my threat, chipping away at what little authority I still have.  Clearly, mommy doesn’t mean business.

We’re done. We’re not doing them any favors by letting them create their own “routines” or their own rules. This applies to EVERYTHING. Meals, bedtimes, grocery store behavior, and respectful sibling play-time interaction.

Day one of crack-down:

I have a standing Mommy-Zachary Saturday morning date with my two and a half year old. Nothing is more exciting than our weekly trip to the Recycling Depot. The employees look forward to seeing him and fellow town recyclers watch with adoration as my little cherub divides the plastics from the cardboard and tosses them in to their respective bins.

This morning, as we were in the midst of the black hole that appears while attempting to dress two toddlers, Zachary found much merriment in an adorable new game.

Spitting.

Spitting on Daddy. Spitting on Mommy. Spitting on Baby sis.  He was calmly but sternly asked multiple times to stop this gross and unacceptable behavior and each time responded with maniacal giggles.

Finally, I got him to make eye contact and with deliberate weight and seriousness informed him that if he did it again, he would NOT be joining me at the Depot.

One millisecond later, I was wiping saliva from my knee. I picked up Isabelle, left his room and headed downstairs for the front door.  He ran after me crying, “I will stop, Mommy! I will! I will”. I turned to him and said,

“It’s too late, Zachary. You can go next week”, and closed the door behind me.

Windows open, I could hear him screaming in hysterics all the way down the street. “It’s not too late, Mommy!  It’s not to late!  I wanna go with youuuuuuuuuuuuu!”

It was a somber trip to the recycling yard.  I missed my little helper. Not that I don’t adore my daughter, but rusty cans and sour cartons just aren’t her thing.

Why do I share this?  Because I feel you all will benefit from my reiterating a basic concept of Parenting 101?  No. Hundreds of experts have and will continue to explain it better.

The punchline is what makes this story blog material.

As I emptied my blue bins, our friendly Public Works employee asked “Where’s the little guy?”

As I explained this morning’s salivary problem and subsequent unfortunate consequence, a ball of spit escaped from my mouth and hit him on the head.

I chose to ignore it rather than point out the irony,  but I giggled all the way home.

Blogger’s note:
Zachary’s listening skills dramatically improved throughout the rest of the day. I think we’re on to something!

Let’s get ready for Crack-Down Day Two

Would you Be so Kind as to help me out by clicking? Thanks!

Blood is Boiling

The stained glass through which I often write in order to color my more intense stories or emotions with humor or sarcasm is cracking under the steam of my anger at the moment.  So, today you get the real raw and unedited.

I am pecking at my keys with ferocity so intense I just may need a new computer  before this entry is complete.  If you would rather go about your day, free from the poison of my rant, you are excused.  However, I am honestly begging for thoughts on this.

We were kindly notified by the previous occupants of this home, that their 18 month old tested high for lead. They were not sure if this was due to exposure in our home or elsewhere, but felt they needed to make us aware.  Absolutely.

As it is New Jersey law to have this test done every year from ages one to three, Isabelle was recently tested and was fine. However, we had just moved and that level may not have depicted an accurate result as far as exposure in this home. Also, as this is not required in California, Zachary had never been tested, giving us no base line with which to compare.

I reluctantly called our pediatrician to get the prescriptions and also inquired about which lab was best for young children.  My last experience with Isabelle’s first blood draw here in New Jersey was not a good one and I left wondering if the technician had ever even met a child, let alone stuck needles in their arms.

So, naturally when I was given the recommendation for this particular hospital and told they are “The Best” by our current pediatrician, I expected an office painted in bright primary colors, strewn with fish tanks, children’s books, toys and bubbly nurses and doctors. This was, after all our experience at EVERY pediatric office in Southern California, whether it was an urgent care facility or a blood lab.

Instead, once we found the phlebotomist’s office at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ, we entered to see no children, a drab office and a rude receptionist. I checked to make sure this was the correct place as surely this was not the pediatric lab that came so highly recommended.

Unfortunately, this was in fact the place, so armed with the iPad and chocolate, I carried Zachary back first. I had spent the morning explaining what was happening and had even showed him videos of children getting blood drawn so he would be prepared. This is not a simple prick of a vaccine. Four vials of blood needed to be filled from the most tender part of his arm.  He did amazingly well, even with the lack of warmth coming from the technician. He screamed, of course, but it was finished quickly enough and he was out in the waiting room with Daddy, eating a chocolate bunny and playing Monkey’s Preschool lunchbox within five minutes.

Isabelle was next. I broke a rule and allowed the pacifier outside of the crib for this occasion. The tech said nary a cheerful word to her and barely made eye contact as she told me to wrap my legs around her like a vice and called another woman in to help hold her down. I asked if I could breast feed her while they did it. Absolutely not. My 16 month old screamed and shook while three of us forced her into position. I watched as her thin, pale skin bubbled over the barging needle as it poked its way back and forth, up and down.  Three times this woman pricked my daughter attempting to find her little vein.  And three times she failed.

During attempt number two, the pacifier fell out of Isabelle’s gaping mouth and onto the floor and the tech picked it up and handed it back to her.   Are you kidding?  This is a blood lab!!!

She gave up and called for a doctor. I sat there holding my baby as she trembled and sobbed, our sweat and tears mixed. Every part of me was saying to screw it and run. This isn’t right. There has to be a better way.  But, what if there is lead in her system and it’s never addressed. Which is worse?

The “doctor” arrived with less personality than a cement wall and the torment resumed on the other arm. She was successful in getting her blood, but I have never wanted to slap someone in the face so badly.  Both Isabelle and I abruptly escaped, crying. I could barely find Steve and Zachary through the haze of irate red.

I caused the scene of all scenes in the waiting room, now piled with people delayed by my child’s procedure. A sobbing Isabelle in arms, I raced down the hall to find a supervisor and raise holy hell. Steve, Zachary in arms, chased after me and begged me calm down.  Much to his chagrin, I found the patient relations office and hysterically told them about our experience. Isabelle’s tear-streaked face and bruised and bleeding arms did much more to make our case then my own incoherent ranting.

I don’t know what my “complaint” today accomplished other than giving fodder for phlebotomist dinner-time stories…”Man. You should have seen this crazy lady today….whew”.

I understand that giving blood is not fun. I understand it hurts. But when it comes to working with children, a little bit of gentleness and compassion, or hell, maybe even a simple “Hi Isabelle!  I’m, so and so. How are you?” goes a long way in an already crappy situation, doesn’t it?  How hard is it to be friendly?

In the car on the way home, my two and a half year old said,

“Mommy. Calm down. I’m fine. Isabelle is fine. When you cry, you make her cry.”

Out of the mouth of babes.

But, I’m still pissed.

What would you have done? Should we opt out of these tests and take our chances?  I’m honestly asking?

Garbage Day Remix

This is 100% NOT what our recycling depot looks like, FYI

As some of you know, my first entry was written in a somewhat psychotic hysteria over the diabolical effect Los Angeles garbage trucks had on my son, and subsequently our precariously balanced nap time routine.  I grabbed my blackberry and frantically typed through my (possibly overly dramatic) tears, and voila! “Motherfog” was born into this world, drastically altering the lives of 50 or so readers!  (My posts have done that, no?)  God bless the Los Angeles Sanitation Department! For those yearning for a trip down memory lane, click here to revisit “Garbage Day.”

Well, I found it ever so apropos, that one of the major points of contention upon our arrival in Northern New Jersey, was that of disposing of our garbage, more specifically the recycling.  I never dreamed that I would long for the green, blue and black bins and their mechanical counterparts, with all of their monstrous groans, growls and sleep disturbing clanks!

But, alas..as we drove across the country, I made a call to the town’s Public works Department to set up the service, and was given a litany of instructions and a fat text book recitation of rules and regulations.  The 20 minute phone call contained information I absorbed in fragments, but something about having to purchase “toters” to the tune of 150 dollars rings a bell.  Also, there are certain days of the month for each kind of material and one must know which of these materials will be picked up on which date, and how they have to be packaged in order to be permitted on the truck. I got the sense that the drivers use litmus paper to test each and every item and it’s chemical properties before toting it away.  She may have said that if an item gets placed erroneously, your house gets egged, but it’s also possible that that’s a Rozek exaggeration.  I don’t want to find out.  I ended the call with an “um…ok” and enrolled in a class so that I may learn the scientific laws and compositions of plastics, paper, and glass and how each reacts with the Earth’s Atmosphere. (Another possible Rozek exaggeration, but I do like school.)

But it became clear that we would most certainly drown in corrugated cardboard before the course was complete. This issue plagued me almost as much as the quest for employment and health insurance. I’m working on prioritizing my worries.

After about a month, we ventured to the recycling depot, our rental car (do we drive anything else these days?) filled to the brim with
empty bottles, cans and cartons. Through the rear view mirror, two little blonde heads poked out between flattened cardboard as we drove the quarter of a mile to the yard, ready to take on the challenge of freeing ourselves from our used, but reusable garbage.

I must admit that on that day, my life was forever changed! (Much like that of my readers on “Motherfog’s” birthday.) Not only is the town’s Public Works Department staffed with the most friendly and helpful workers in the state, it should also be the next hot spot for children’s birthday parties!

Apparently, one may choose to opt out of the pricey and annoyingly structured one-day-a-month pick up option, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, simply take their recycling to the yard themselves. I must tell you that this has become somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine.  There is something deliciously satisfying about loading up the car with the junk that multiplies like gremlins in my kitchen and on the back porch, tossing it into labeled trucks and piles, and watching as it gets crushed beneath gigantic walls of metal!  Oh my goodness! I can’t wait until next Tuesday!  My husband feels that the extent of my excitement over this activity is borderline creepy, but I’m certain he enjoys our spick and span blue bins, rarely overflowing, and doesn’t care to admit it.

In conclusion, this conundrum that hung over our heads for a month, turned out to have a better solution than I could have imagined!  No cacophonous nap nixing noon-times, and an exciting past time for Mommy!

So, going further….that must mean that the conundrum of employment and health benefits surely has an equally exciting solution!  A job is on the way!

Perhaps at the Public Works department!

What say you to a rip-roaring recycling shindig this Tuesday at 11 AM at the Recycling Depot?!

Ford/Toyota Chronicle Followers:

Still no car.  Toyota has put in a third transmission, fresh out of the box and still can’t get the car to shift properly.  While attempting to upload the car’s computer information directly from the vehicle to Toyota’s National Headquarter’s Engineers for diagnostics, the internet server went down at the dealership.  We are told by Toyota that they can do nothing until the system is restored.  Galpin is refusing to pay for our rental car from this point forward, claiming that it is Toyota’s responsibility.  Upon making the inquiry about what happens if our car (still under factory warranty)  CANNOT be fixed, Toyota talks in circles and gives no answer and Galpin says we have a lemon law suit.  Interesting for Galpin to admit that, you say?   I agree.  The kicker?  They tell me the suit is against Toyota.  It seems that neither Ford nor Toyota feel responsible.  I honestly don’t know who is responsible, but I DO know who is NOT responsible.  Motherfog Family.

Plagued by Oil

I have always had an extreme aversion to the cold.  I never quite got used to the frigid climate during my upbringing in the northeast, in our fanciful, but drafty, 150 year-old Victorian home. People have often said to me “Well, you grew up here. You’re used to the weather.”  Nope. Every year, I seem to be shocked and appalled by Mother Nature, and question her reasoning behind such an arbitrary climate shift.  Really?  Is there some sort of purpose served by ten degree temperatures?  Other than making people angry?

However, upon paying for our first oil delivery to heat our current home, my skin magically thickened and I’m able to tolerate much lower temperatures than ever before!

We put space heaters in both of the kid’s rooms, and snuggle close at night with thick comforters pulled up to our chilly ears.  It’s a challenge now. How long can we make 1000 dollars worth of oil last?  I’m always up for a challenge!

Evidently, I was not all that committed to beating this particular challenge.  After putting the kids down in there toasty rooms last evening, and curling up on the couch for some much-needed quiet time, we felt a touch absurd. Should we really be sitting in our living room donned in wool hats and mittens?  Silliness. I waved the flag and admit defeat. Turn up the heat!

20 minutes later…

No, seriously….turn up the heat.

No heat.

Hmmmm….blown fuse?

Nope.

We remembered the landlord mentioning something about coming over to show us some water valve that needs to stay full. He never came, so we assumed it wasn’t important.  At midnight, we searched in the furnace room for such a tube.

There it is!  Empty.  Ok. Keep it full. Gotcha.  But once empty, how do you fill it?

We played Russian Roullete with random valves until we heard water rushing through the rusty pipes above our heads. Success! We are such clever sleuths! And we will soon be warm in our bed!

After about 30 seconds, the tube did indeed begin to fill…along with our basement floor. Is the furnace supposed to spew water out of every crevice?  We’ve been in California for a while.  We must really be out of the loop concerning new heating technology!

At 2 AM, we were still sitting with a bucket, emptying water from the gushing furnace, and could ascertain with some certainty that something was awry.
Once the furnace depleted its water supply and slowed its stream to a steady drip, we felt safe enough to turn in for the remainder of the night.

The temperature gauge read at a balmy 56 degrees. Thankfully, the space heaters in the kid’s rooms were doing their job.  With kisses on their warm and cozy foreheads, we headed to our freshly chilled room to snuggle close and listen to the clock tick its way toward business hours.

Sure enough, the furnace was completely cracked and beyond repair. Enormous expense.  Deja vu? Didn’t we hear this unfortunate news 3 weeks ago concerning our new car?  What is it with us and oil related malfunctions?  Surely there must be some New Age, spiritual meaning behind these events!  I’m not well versed in such mythology, or ideology, or whatever it may be called, but I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that it most assuredly means that we are about to win the lottery….or inherit an off shore drilling site.

They are arriving tomorrow morning to install a brand new furnace at the owner’s expense.  So tonight, we will make smoke rings with our breath, and dream of our heated mansion, and abundance of fancy, functioning, and non-combustible vehicles.

P.S.
____Ford called today to confirm our address. Our Sienna is fixed and ready to be shipped. It will arrive in approximately 15 business days.  What color was it again?