Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our battle with the DRYER

Here is a story. And readers? If you read through this whole thing, I will love you forever.

2 weeks ago, our dryer made a very smoky, burny smell and melted some fleece pajamas, and then it would heat no more.

BUT... My very handy brother Chris was coming to visit and I thought he could help.

AND SO... I called around and found a local guy who stocks dryer parts, and told him I needed the part that made the dryer get hot. And he said: "Dear, that's called a heater." We went to get the part.

BUT... we had to decide between just the heating coil or the whole heating coil panel ($40 vs. $100). This was deciding between a tricky repair and a really tricky repair.

AND SO... we bought both with a plan to return the one we didn't need. We headed home and took the whole dryer apart to get to the very back part where the decidedly frizzled heating coil awaited us.

BUT... we didn't have the right tool to get the drum out.

AND SO... Chris ran to the hardware store. And came back and we proceded to try to get everything unscrewed to get to the heating coil.

BUT... Chris cut his hand very badly on the sharp edge of some metal plate. And he insisted on not going to the ER for the stitches he definitely needed.

AND SO... We bandaged him up and he told me not to worry... that dryer would get fixed. We continued on, threading the incredibly tedious heating coil onto the brackets and then started to put everything back together.

BUT... we realized a bigger problem: a divet worn out of the bearing hole (so THAT is what caused our dryer to make that grinding metal-on-metal sound from time to time). We simply couldn't get the dryer back together in this state.

(I took these photos so I could take them to the appliance guy).

AND SO... Chris had to go home, and he left with his bandaged hand and we had nothing but a dryer carcass in our laundry room with parts and tools spewed about.

BUT... I went back to the appliance guy and showed him my pictures. He recognized the problem and sold me the new bearing kit. I returned the unused $100 part. As he explained me what to do, he had so much faith in me that I started to believe I could actually put it back together.

AND SO... I went home feeling very excited. I had to take the whole heating coil plate off, refit the bearing housing, and then start putting it back together. Sam came in to help me think it all through, hoist the drum back in, and we had it all back together in about an hour. The last step was to open up the hatch on the back to re-attach the belt that makes the dryer go round-and-round, which I had actually done before.

And you know what? I have been doing laundry all day.

TA DA! we have a carcass no more! A working dryer for $85.00 in parts and a whole heap of satisfaction. My daddy would be awful proud.

Post-dryer repair. I crawled out with a bit of soot to show for my effort.

Two bonus children for a day

We gave a Christmas present to our friend Suzanne yesterday: a whole day to be on her own, a much-deserved break from being a super-momma. We took her two girls, Ella and Maya, from morning to evening and had such a nice time. They were SO good that I actually never had the frenzied, stressed moments I anticipated in having 4 small children. I have to say I felt pretty proud of myself at the end of the day when everyone was happy, well-fed, and well-napped. I also got to be baby Maya's best friend and see Ella's sparkling personality in a whole new way.

We even ventured out! Sam took Reed in his car, and we headed to the open gym at Bangor Rec.

Perfect. One contained place for them to run free.

Maya, my new bff: How cute is this baby? Give me a break. Can I take a tiny bit of credit for her; she is our god-child after all.

Here is Reed swiping the poor girl's milk.

And Skyler giving her a squeeeeeeeeezy kiss.

What I love about keeping extra kids for a day is how EASY 2 kids feel afterwards, even when the 2 extra kids were way easier and better behaved than my own.
Plus, I got paid back by Suzanne taking home a HUGE pile of our laundry to wash and FOLD for us (our dryer has been out of commission for 2 painful weeks). More on that later too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The big one.

I woke up on 12/28 with a 40-year old man in my bed.

happy birthday baby.


Skyler woke up this morning and said: "I had a very hard time sleeping last night because I was missing Uncle Chris." And me too. We love you Chris. Thanks for being SUPER Uncle this week.

More stories about Chris and his heroic efforts soon (hint: the story involves one broken clothes dryer and one bloody hand)

Overdue Christmas Post

Whoa. Where did that week go? I got lost in a happy, cozy world called Christmas. I have emerged into that let's-put-everything-away, clean-up, purge-ourselves-of-sugar-and-rich-food, and get-started-on-a-new-year mode. It was a nice, warm place to be though. Here's a look back:
Celebrating Christmas with the O'Reillys:

Skyler's super-cool watch (and shirt and shoes and bracelet!) from Meredith and Jason

Rozzy. Just look at this child.

My favorite of the attempted group shot.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with climbing gear.

The hardest part!

Santa came!

(Sam laughed when I got dolls and strollers for both kids. I was sure Reed had a sensitive maternal side. He has used his doll's head as a hammer and flung him about the house. I tried to convince him to "love his baby" and he said "no baby." Skyler has rescued him and now she has "twins.")

Totally engrossed in the pictures given to us by Kimmie, their day-care provider. She gave us a year of photos of our kids happily playing at her house. Reed loved it.

Skyler looking merry.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our two-day week turned into a one-day week

SNOW DAY. We woke up Monday to 18 inches of snow and no school.

Sam spent almost 3 hours shoveling the driveway.
(Oh, and then he did the neighbor's driveway. I'm just sayin'.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Outdoor Lit gets cookin'

We did outdoor cooking in class last week.
Bacon and pancakes and hot cider.
Below zero with the wind chill.

We went to our next classes smelling like woodsmoke and bacon. Yep.

Christmas is easier when you aren't the mom

Skyler is feeling pretty relaxed.

I've been going back and forth between having a ball getting ready for Christmas and wishing I could throw in the towel, crawl into my own footy pajamas, and just watch the whole show. I don't know about everyone else, but Christmas used to be so relaxing when my parents were doing all the cooking and preparing. They made it look easy. I'm not sure that's how my kids will feel, but I've been trying.

We did some decorating. We are thrilled to have such pretty snow to make it extra Christmassy for my brother Chris coming in from San Fran tomorrow. We're all ready, Uncle Chris!

We wrote a letter to Santa. Can you read it?

We had Beckett and McKayla over for gingerbread houses. The big snow storm kept everyone else at home. These three had no trouble eating all the decorations and filling up the house with their EXCESSIVELY LOUD VOICES.


Skyler and Reed have watched Rudolph and Frosty a few times (THANKS Aunt Lisa!)

And I've been baking. And cleaning the kitchen, baking some more, cleaning the kitchen.....

This year's selection:
Cranberry orange scones for my English colleagues

And candied-spiced pecans and winter almond bark for the neighbors.

And once this week I snuck out for cocktails with some of my friends. (April and Jen)

Wait. More cocktails. Maybe that's my answer. Gotta go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Mommy, I better try this one."

K is for Kimmie. A is for Alyssa. R is for Rozzy. J is for Jack.

Cookies for our day care friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Our trip to the tree farm right at the end of our little street.