Halloween wasn't as much fun as prior Halloweens. Porsche_girl and mom were away for a crew thing, so there wasn't the gaggle of fourteen year old girls getting together while the parents meandered along behind them drinking wine. Instead, fourteen_year_old went off with some friends to go trick or treating in other neighborhoods, and nine_year_old tagged along with Porsche_boy and his cousins, and me. Mrs. Ha stayed home to hand out candy, but the only people that stopped by were upstreet_boy and his crew. By the end of the night, nine year old had half a pillow case of candy, fourteen year old not nearly as much.
Election Day: Very dissatisfied, paid $140 million for Buy It Now California Governor, was not delivered.
Thanksgiving was busier than usual, we agreed to watch our nine year old niece for the long weekend, so after my parents we drove halfway to Buffalo to pick her up. She's a good kid, but energetic, and even with a good kid there's extra work, and fashion shows, and Barbie puppet shows.
Oh boy, launching new engines, new major software release and the easy problems to recreate are becoming rare. Busy, busy, busy.
Add to that a replacement hard drive from our new standard (non-customized) support level, and I'm still reloading custom apps, setting up custom drive mappings, installing print drivers, etc. I've wasted near a week, but standard support is cheaper!
Mrs. Ha's second job is still dysfunctional, and we still have their kitten. But she's looking.
I didn't get picked for nine_year_old's School Trip. I'm a little disappointed, but I only have so much vacation, and if I spend a day helping out in the class to build up my class rep, that's one less day I'm available for last minute childcare. Of course, we owe $250 for this trip. Money, money, money.
Fourteen_year_old is enjoying being a freshman. She's getting involved in the costuming for Oliver!, and was on the Varsity Swimming Team.
The team had a rough year, ending up maybe 4-8. They're put in the big leagues because the combined schools are big, but they don't get a lot of women turning out for the swim team. She did get "Most Improved Swimmer" at the awards banquet. She's also joing a club swim team, to work on her form, endurance and strength (her flip turns need a lot of help, and she doesn't have enough upper body strength). Figure less than $400 for the swim club for a year. Money, money, money.
OTOH, $400 a year is a lot cheaper than modeling school. Yeah, she went to a modeling thing, they think she has potential, but not enough potential to give her a scholarship. Perspective.
In final school news, fourteen_year_old's school put on Dark of the Moon, but I'll save that for the media review section.
Nine_year_old is on a Lego Robotics team, a classmate asked her to join. It's been a lot of work, this week we're meeting six or seven days, but it's been good for her. The preliminary rounds were a weekend ago, and amazingly they got the Judges Award and are moving on to the Regionals on December 5th.
A shame the NXT kit is close to $300. We do have a part ownership in the stuff they used this time (and that was another $100).
It's been an expensive fall as we've engaged in localized Keynesian spending, culminating in some actual trickle down.
First, our hot water heater went, it was $1500 to get a new one in. We didn't have $1500, but my parents did, so we borrowed it from them. While installing it, the old compression fittings went, quickly resulting in a leak of several gallons a day, trickling down on the floor, when we had the hot water on (we were turning it off a night, and when we were out, it's an anxious way to live). It was another $1100 to replace them, replace some soft kinked copper, replace some leaking soldered joints and generally make the downstairs plumbing professional. The main house shutoff valves leaks too, but we'll wait on that one.
Then, the muffler on my econobox went, $900 to replace that. The $100 to replace the Windstar's battery is chump change, in comparison. I hope our ebay auctions do well.
It's not all dismal financial news, I got a $75 check to talk about health insurance in a discussion group. But that wouldn't even pay for a battery.
My father_in_law is doing poorly, somehow a lifetime of tobacco smoking, alcoholism, poor diet and no exercise can catch up to you. He drove himself to the ER a few weeks back for a numb leg. It was a clot, but before they could do much, he had a heart attack (caused by the DTs most likely) and more operations. He's still recovering, I don't even know if he's conscious.
He had a warning sign ten years ago when he stroked out and spent a few weeks in the local hospital (he likes to schedule his medical emergencies when he's visting back East), but he didn't learn much.
The ironic part is that we're paying for these hospitalizations (well, us Americans at least) since it's paid for by Medicare, and he's a Republican, and probably a big Tea Party sympathesizer. A little self awareness as to why the Fed spends so much, eh?
In other grumpy old being news, the dog is still alive, running us about $100 a month in meds and vet visits. He's an anxious mess at night, too.
The plan to recover from this? I'm taking out less for the HSA, I've been replacing higher interest 401k loans with lower interest ones, Mrs. Ha's health club should get cheaper, there's ebay, eating cheaper, and Mrs. Ha getting a better job. I'm also targeting the highest rate credit cards. I'm hoping to have a few paid off by this time next year.
Droid Incredible and LG Ally
Speaking of irony, while spending $$$ on the home and complaining about it, I chose to upgrade to a more expensive phone, anything to get away from the stupid 2.5 mm cell phone jack. Anyhow, it was time to upgrade my phone and Mrs. Ha's, and Verizon had a lower cost data plan, and deals on Android phones. Mrs. Ha wanted a real slide out keyboard, and free Maps, so she got an Ally for $50 after rebates (plus data plan). She likes it, a lot. She did want to be able to access her email when the XP and Mac box are tied up with Club Penguin and Garageband, as she's still job hunting.
I went with the Incredible, it was $50 more than the Ally or Vortex, I figure I'll appreciate the faster processor, more storage and bigger screen.
I like the Incredible, it's frickin' cool to have a Lunix system hanging off my belt. The LED flashlight app is great, that was one great thing about my Nokia 1100. Wifi is great, I don't have to run up my data allowance when I'm at home, or my parents. Angry Birds, like crack for a Droid.
No movies to review, Mrs. Ha has been having a hard time staying up late, and when we do stay up late, she likes to watch various Ghost Hunting Adventurer shows.
I picked up The View from the Turret: The 743d Tank Battalion During World War II while browsing the stacks at the cnetral library after a Robotics meeting. It's a short history of the 743rd Tank Battalion, which was attached to various Infantry divisions in WWII ETO. It was okay, but not as good as Death Traps , there were some significant errors that a helpful prior reader corrected with red pen (ie. the Panther had a 75 mm gun, not an 88 mm as the book states). I'm surprised at what it goes for on Amazon, it must have been a small print run.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex is a short book by Mary Rouch about the science in studying sex. It was interesting, and personal (a doc in London had trouble finding subjects to have sex while he ultrasounded them, so she asked her husband about taking a trip to London).
After the stress, I decided I needed to visit Discworld. There has to be a least favorite Discworld novel, and Pyramids is a good contender.
SuperFreakonomics was a lot like Freakonomics, but more Super. If you liked Freakonomics, you would like SuperFreakonomics.
Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein about the three battles of El Alamein, it was good, though rueful, as it was the last battle of WWII where the British weren't a junior partner.
On to the performing arts!
Dark of the Moon is an edgy tragedy staged in the small 90 seat black box theater, which looks like a big black box. It was set in the Apalachians, a witch boy wants to be a human, so he marries a human, and will become a real human if his wife remains faithful for a year. The fundy townsfolk find out about this at a revival meeting on the last day of the year.
It was good, they spoke with an Apalachian dialect so it was a little hard to follow, much of the music was from O Brother Where Art Thou and our oldest had a good time. She was told she could have got in for free, as she worked on the show.
Back to my way too busy life.
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