Thursday, July 29, 2010

What is this?

So - due to peer pressure - an entry!!!

Today, one of the girls I work with brought in a bag of these "cherries". At least that was what she called them. I didn't recognize them so I passed. Now, I am not a food snob - but I had not seen this 'fruit' before. I guess some neighbor of her's found them in the woods and gave them to her.

No one at work has seen these things before and I can't find them on the internet. Several people did say that they thought they were a weed that grows out on farms. I dunno...

Here is a poor picture. They do have a beige, flakey, thin paper-like outer layer that peels easily. Inside is a pinkish-greenish berry that is very sour (or so I was told).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Next time.... a houseboat

I have been around water pretty much all of my life. But lately - wow...

It all started 10 years ago or so when we moved into our house. Chris and I thought it would be a great idea to build our own house - I mean, what new couple doesn't need that stress on a new relationship? We found a builder who seemed to do great work. I guess that we missed the update that he was a former alcoholic who had recently returned to drinking...

It started with the flood. Make that two - nope, three floods. Two of the floods wiped out AJ's room. The third one was the doozie. It took out the whole basement. At least it was considered by the weather folks as one of those 100-year floods. In the process of developing our basement indoor pool, it was discovered that the egress window drains were never connected to the sump pump - just big pipes stuck in the ground. This would explain the one flood that made AJ's window look like a giant aquarium - that is, until it finally bowed out enough that it cracked. One day, we will get carpet down there again. This did require Lisa to relandscape and grade.

Then the outdoor water faucets. Generally, these are handy gadgets to have. Life is much easier when you can hook up a little hose and water the garden, maybe wash the car or let the girls run in the sprinkler. The back yard faucet went first. It froze and burst - again drenching AJ's room. AJ has declared that he will never live in a basement apartment. The front faucet froze and burst the following winter. This time, drenching the video game room (AJ's room was spared this event). The plumber that came did determine that the faucets that were used weren't exactly installed correctly and not insulated quite right - shocker.

At some point, we had to replace the sump pump. That quit working during some storm - which caused water to seep up from all over the basement. AJ keeps nothing on his floor now.

The hot water heater stopped working - had that replaced. That did not cause any damage - but it was water related so it has been included.

And then of course, the dishwasher has been replaced - that was only leaking slowly. And I can't remember if we are on garbage disposal number two or number three - but those are always fun to clean up.

And we are now current. Water - love it.

Chris loves fish. Chris has, or should I say had, a 75 gallon fish tank. We had just finished watching Hell's Kitchen (thank heavens Chris didn't miss the end of that!) Riley runs in the room - people are yelling - Alyx is crying - we run into the hall. I see blood and then water pouring out of the 75 gallon fish tank. Chris is grabbing towels - I am grabbing Alyx - Riley is freaking out - Mellisa is running downstairs with her friend Sarah to get AJ. The panic has begun. Chris yells - get buckets! I run to the garage. I have heard stories about moms with super-human strength that can lift cars that land on their children. Well, I think I had a brief moment of that strength. I ripped the door off of it's hinges. I guess I was in a hurry. Buckets are upstairs. Chris is trying to get the syphon going. AJ is trying to catch water with towels. Alyx is downstairs crying. Mellisa and Sarah are trying to pick glass out of her hair. Then the fire alarm went off. Chris looks at me - "HELL - we have a fire now??????????????" I run around the house trying to find a fire. Nope, the water is just dripping thru the ceiling into the fire alarm. Now, our builder spared no expense on that system. When one fire alarm goes off, the whole damn house goes off. So now the neighborhood knows that the Nichols house is in chaos once again!

Our drunk builder did neglect to tell us how to turn it off though. Sarah takes the girls and the dogs outside to save their eardrums. So, I am flipping fuses trying to find something to turn it off. I climb a ladder to pull it off the ceiling - it's electrical - Chris is afraid that I will get electrocuted. I yank the damn thing out. Sparks fly - whatever - I don't care at this point. Guess what, it doesn't turn off. NOTHING turns off. Who knew that the battery still would send a signal to the other fire alarms! Makes sense - but when one is panicking - logic is not what I use. Battery out - silence restored - except for the horrible ringing in my left ear.

AJ is sent out to find a rug doctor. And, as luck has it, everything closed at 9pm. Yes, 9. Don't people need Rug Doctor's after 9pm??????? Crap. So - more towels - and wait till morning.

Alyx is fine - just a bad gash and some little holes from loose glass. Meesie made cookies at some point during the fun - so the women will have chocolate. AJ's only comment was - wow, never thought I would see the upstairs flood...