Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Bat!

I went to open the windows this morning to cool off the house and found a bat in between the window and the screen. Eek.

I don't have any idea how he (it?) got there. And I'm not sure how we're going to get it out of there - while making sure it doesn't get into the house. The current thought is to trap it against a bucket while we push the screen out. Then hope that the bat leaves so we can re-install the screen.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Shadow update

Shadow seems to be feeling better this morning. He climbed into D's lap and purred at him. He purred at me when I petted him. He ate a small bit of food.

Of course, this is after the fact that he threw up that water we gave him, around midnight. He was nice enough to throw up on a piece of dirty laundry rather than the carpet. D thinks maybe he got something out that was bothering him. Who knows - I'm just glad he's acting more like normal Shadow.

I'll still call the vet and see if I can get him in to be checked over and for his shots, though.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Shadow is sick

We don't know what is wrong, but he's not quite himself. I hadn't seen him since this morning, but that wasn't anything unusual until it got to be dinnertime and he hadn't come in. When it got to bedtime and he hadn't appeared, I started to worry a bit. A and I called him, and he didn't come, but Pounce did. I thought maybe I heard something, though, so after the kids were in bed I got a flashlight and checked under the deck. Shadow has a favorite cool spot under there, in amongst the ivy - a patch of bare dirt where he can keep cool.

I brought him in, and checked him over as best I could. I didn't feel any problems, but he didn't want to head into the kitchen to eat. That is unusual. Usually he would head in to eat if he hadn't been in in several hours - or at least would head into the kitchen when I went in there.

He did jump off the chair and then back on a few minutes later, so he seems to be moving ok, if not speedily. I brought him one of his treats and he sniffed it, but didn't eat it.

At this point, I called the vet (of course, what I got was a phone number for an emergency vet). The on-call vet is not anywhere near here (of course not, that would be too handy!). They didn't have any real helpful advice, but said I could either bring him in tonight or take him to our vet in the morning. D wasn't home yet at this point, so I couldn't leave. Once he got home a few minutes later, we both checked him out - still no problems we can find.

I had asked the vet if there were any reasons not to give Shadow food or water and they couldn't think of any. So we gave him a bit of water with a syringe. He wasn't wild about it, but didn't mind too much. I feel better, as I worry he could be dehydrated. Dr. Google seems to say that it would take more than 12 hours without water to cause any real problems.

At this point, I think we're going to wait until morning. Shadow thought about jumping into my lap, but didn't - he took himself over to lie in front of the AC. That's another of his favorite spots in this hot weather. He seems to be resting comfortably (and isn't throwing up his water - that's a good sign).

Looks like we'll be heading to the vet's in the morning, though. Even if he's feeling ok in the morning, he's due for his shots.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Lunch with M

I had lunch with M today - at the middle school. Some friends had told me that it wasn't cool to eat lunch with your parents in middle school, but I checked with M and he said to come. Of course, he wanted to make sure I would buy him cookies to go with his lunch as long as I was there too...

I had wanted to get there early enough to go through the line with M, but he misremembered when his lunch started and the office couldn't pin it down either, so I got there right after he went through the line - emerging with only 2 things on his tray - a slice of cheese pizza and a pile of french fries. No drink - milk upsets his stomach so he is supposed to have juice, but he says he doesn't like the orange juice or the grape juice. No fruit or veggies. The cafeteria lady I spoke with last week assured me that they always have fruit, but M claims there was none today. I'll have to go again sometime and get there before he goes through the line so I can see for myself.

For me, I went through the hot lunch line and had chicken bites, tater tots (most of which M ate, like he needed more starches for lunch), green beans, corn and a roll. I brought home a chocolate milk for A and got myself and M cups of water. Evidently M can BUY bottled water, but can't get a cup to fill at the water fountain. He says he usually just heads over to the water fountain and gets a drink when he needs it.

I can't say that the food was great - ok, but a bit too fried for my tastes. But I did enjoy eating with M and I got to meet his new BF, K. They have all 5 academic classes together.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

21 No Homework Passes

Well, maybe I won't have to worry about how much homework A has. He came home with 21 homework passes today. Since he only gets homework Mon - Thur, that's 5 weeks of no homework. But since much of Thursday's homework is reviewing for spelling and reading tests, a homework pass doesn't do much good - so 21 passes would equal 7 weeks of M-W free of homework. Hmmm. This doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Especially since he is earning these passes by earning AR points and, although he has already earned double the number of points required for the year, he will clearly earn a lot more points. Those Harry Potter books are worth a lot of points. I think he's taken the tests on 2 or 3 of the 7 HP books so far.

I think I'll be having a chat with the teacher on whether there are other things he could "earn" with his AR points (or his homework passes). Perhaps reading time in the library loft? Or when M had this teacher, she let the kids earn lunch in the classroom with a movie once a month.

As much as I think that too much homework is bad for a kid, I also realize that a certain amount of it is useful to reinforce concepts and to let the parents see what the kid is learning. I'm hoping for a happy medium here.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I don't know why it is, but 3rd grade A seems to have a good bit more homework than 6th grade M. Now, each kid's school claims that they aim for the 10 min of homework per grade level, meaning that M should have 60 minutes and A 30, but that's not how its working out in practice. Instead, A is spending closer to an hour (not including his reading, which he enjoys and spends more than the required 15 minutes). Meanwhile M is spending 20-30 minutes max (again, not including reading, though I'm not sure if there is any particular requirement - other than 25 books over the course of the year - in and out of class). And some nights M isn't doing any homework. If he doesn't have any specific homework, he is supposed to be "studying or reviewing his notes". Yeah, right. Some one of these days its going to come back and bite M that he doesn't study and doesn't know how to - but for now, he is making A's without particularly studying - so, from his point of view, why should he?

Another mom from A's class asked me about homework last night and we both agreed that it is getting out of hand some nights. One night last week A spent almost 2 solid hours and was in tears when he realized that it was almost dinnertime and he hadn't "had any fun yet". He had done a bit of paperwork that wasn't actually homework - he asked me to show him how to write his name in cursive - but to him it felt like he'd been at the homework all that time.

I emailed the teacher this morning about another issue (miscommunication over a classwork/homework issue that had A thinking he had to do 2 days work in one - she didn't explain well to the kids or (more probably) A didn't listen/understand) and mentioned that he was spending a lot of time on homework. She explained the miscommunication, but didn't comment on the excessive time on homework. If/when we get another night of too much homework, I'll talk with the teacher again. But I heard that several parents were going to "express their opinions" on too much homework, so maybe the teacher will moderate the amount. I can always hope...

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Enjoying the last of D's birthday presents

My mom gave D (well, really both of us) a night on the town for his birthday - dinner, a play and babysitting for the kids. We'd been bad about making plans to go ahead and do it. We were too busy right at his birthday, then swim meets, then vacation, then school starting. But, finally, we decided we needed to go ahead and do it before the end of the season.

My mom had suggested a play at Georgia Shakespeare Company and their summer season ended today. I think another part of the reason we were hesitating was that we thought (mistakenly) that the performances were outdoors. Ugh. That was just too hot to think about. But, they aren't outdoors - they have a very nice, smallish (all the seats looked quite good) theater - with properly working AC. We saw Loot - a British farce. Quite funny, and definitely not G rated. We weren't quite sure whether it would be PG or PG-13, but in either case, not particularly appropriate for the kids. Just as well we didn't have them with us. My mom had A over to her house and M was off camping with the Scouts.

Before the play, we had thought about ordering a picnic dinner from the catering company that works with the Shakespeare company. But again, the heat. Instead we went to Feast. Quite a good choice - one of D's coworkers recommended it. I had the duck breast and D had the whole roasted trout with the side of asparagus. Yum yum. I'd love to go back again sometime, but its not exactly close to home.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

RIP dryer

The dryer up and quit on me yesterday. It worked fine on Tuesday, then Wednesday morning I twisted the knob and nothing happened. I checked the plug and flipped the circuit breakers. No help there. I made A go under the porch with me to see if the vent was full of lint - some, but definitely not full. This evening my mom came over and she and D and I took various parts of the dryer apart - it wasn't the belt, which we could have fixed (at least according to my mom). It's probably something in the wiring, but none of it seems loose, so who knows. Looks like all the laundry will be going directly from the washer to the drying rack and hangers to dry for a while.

The dryer predates our marriage, so is at least 17 years old. I don't think we'll be calling in a repair person, but rather doing some appliance shopping. I'd like something a bit more energy efficient, but I don't need a bunch of bells and whistles (just more likely to break).


Sunday, August 12, 2007

M's "About Me" folder

M's language arts teacher asked each student to make a folder to help her get to know them - with 5 goals on the front and pictures of things they like/are important to them on the back.

M's goals:
I want to see the Parthenon
I want to go to Italy
I want to get all A's
I want to get a Wii
I want to be a millionaire

M's photos

Clockwise from upper left:
A coqui (small Puerto Rican frog),
the beach (extra nice with a rainbow),
M ice skating,
M swimming,

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Friday, August 10, 2007


Gasp. 103 degrees, both yesterday and today. And a heat index of around 110. Wilt.... It hasn't been this hot here in 7 years. My poor basil plants need watering every day or they look so withered and thirsty.

A was quite sweaty when he got home yesterday, especially his head. I took the opportunity to give him a haircut. When I cut his hair in July, it wasn't so hot, so when he wanted his hair a bit longer, it didn't seem so bad. Now, though, it has grown for another month and it is blisteringly hot outside - time to take off some volume of hair. He did say his head was cooler this afternoon.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007


We're roasting here currently. June and July weren't too bad, but August is being blisteringly hot. It's 85 degrees by 9:30 in the morning. And its still 85 at 10pm. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay 85 in between - oh no, its been up in the mid to upper 90's. Each day the radio tells us that "we'll be close to 100 today". Arrrggghh. I don't like this kind of heat. I feel trapped indoors. The lawn needed some work, so I was out mowing (yesterday) and edging (today) starting at 8am, so I could get finished before it was scorching.

I'm ready for some rain to cool things down a bit (and because we're still in a drought and could really use the rain). Not much in sight, though.


Monday, August 06, 2007

A's classes changed

Turns out that they did change A's classes. He kept the Entomology class and the others switched to Medieval Times and Coral Reef. He said that they were all interesting yesterday.

He took in a dead cicada and a live fly today - in different containers. And after he got home, he wanted to put the fly into a container where it could breathe. We found a "bug catcher" he got at the end of school and transferred the fly - with some difficulty. It escaped the first time and we had to replace it (or maybe we caught the same one again - who knows?). Then A decided he wanted TWO flies in there together. That was tricky, trying to get another one in, without letting the first out. But we finally accomplished it. Two is my limit!

Shadow is very interested in the flies and several times jumped onto the coffee table to check out the bug keeper and flies.

Me, I just want to kill all the flies in the house. These are the large housefly variety - I haven't had them before. Twice before we've had flies, but they have been the smaller type.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Open House for Challenge

It's the start of our weekly school nights for the next few weeks. Tonight was for Challenge. A got his class assignments for this fall. I went back and looked up his choices from last spring. He only got one of his top 6 choices.

His current class schedule is
Entomology - choice 7
RMS Titanic - choice 2
Historical Fiction - choice (9 or lower - I only recorded his top 8 choices)

All with the same teacher! That is highly unusual - usually they have a different teacher for each class. Occasionally M or A has had 2 classes with the same teacher in a semester, but not often. One of the teachers said that she had seen one other kid with the same teacher for all 3 classes (and just then another parent came up with the same thing) - she said they may try to adjust schedules a little bit. So I guess we won't know for sure what his classes are until he come home on Monday.

Next week we have Curriculum night for A's 3rd grade class and the following week we have Curriculum night for M's 6th grade classes. Should be interesting.