Thursday, October 8, 2009

General Busy-ness and Jumping Through Hoops

It's raining. It's supposed to rain all day. And it's supposed to rain tomorrow. But we got all of the outside stuff done that needed to be done this week. This included:

Fertilizing the lawn. We only fertilize in fall, because in spring it's growing like crazy anyway and in summer it's dormant. This time we used a product to kill weeds. Although I'm generally okay with weeds, I'm not okay with plants that turn into bullies -- and the lespedeza is a bully, folks. It's taking over the place.

Repairing the sprinkler system. This is the first house we've had with a sprinkler system. It is So Annoying -- there's always something going wrong with it. This time a line got broken while planting a tree (a spruce to eventually replace a white pine that's dying a rather dramatic death, as white pines tend to do). Several trips to Lowe's, and a trip to the irrigation place that turns the stupid system on and off each year (because legally you have to have the system turned on and the back pressure valve checked every single year whether you use the sprinklers or not). The irrigation place was very nice, and turned out to be a cheap place for do-it-yourself repairs. This scenario also involved several nights with lanterns and flashlights wallowing in mud. So those mud-caked pants I was wearing this week weren't a fashion statement. Also, Rick isn't planning to become a lawn-irrigation guy as a career move -- what dismal work.

Indoor adventures included:

Thalia's ear. After a terrible earache the pain subsided and yellow stuff came out of her ear, followed the next day by an ear full of dried snot. This seemed worth a visit to the doctor. They peered inside her ear, but didn't see a huge, gaping hole. They gave us a prescription for antibiotics ... we rarely use antibiotics, frankly. But, after much consideration and discussion, she's taking them. It hasn't exactly been a miracle healing. And last night her eyelid started swelling up. A stye? Who knows.

In the meantime, Annabeth was still sniffly. She made a concerted effort to eat and drink super-healthy things yesterday. Because of this and the easy accessibility in our house to Emergen-C, she now understands the concept of how a body rids itself of excess Vitamin C in the digestive tract. Ahem. And guess what -- the sniffles are totally gone, and she seems perkier than she's been in weeks. So, a startling, memorable experience with a happy ending.

Cat news:

Me: I think we should teach the cat some new tricks.
Thalia: How about if we teach her to do quadratic equations?
Me: I was thinking more along the lines of jumping through a hoop ....

So, Monday the hoop-jumping started. The training has been a little erratic, what with running to the doctor and all. So far she simply steps through the hoop and then pauses to receive her reward. Wow, that cat loves to eat. Anyway, video to follow when we either get her a little more air-born or else she starts solving quadratics while stepping through the hoop.


Ami said...

I was amazed at how much work putting in a landscape/sprinkler system really is when Eric and his guys did ours. He likes the work, though. His creative side enjoys making something beautiful.

Hope everyone is feeling better soon and no more ear stuff. EWWW. I only wish I didn't know exactly what you're talking about with the ear infections.

Can't wait to see the video of your cat jumping through a hoop. You could also teach the cat to recite handy Latin phrases...

km said...

When 7's eardrum exploded this was actual blood dripping out. Pretty gross. For another nasty ear infection a few years back, my now 6 had the yellow stuff. They said that was just a bad infection. Antibiotics are good when they are necessary. ...and sprinkler systems are evil.

Ami said...

Regarding checking your backflow device. I talked with Eric about it, and he turned me on to some information.

It's a pain in the butt, but it's something that keeps you and yours safe from cross contamination in your water supply.

Here's one link with a little info:

Google backflow accidents... scary stuff.

So while I agree that it's a pain in the butt, Eric says under NO circumstances would he ever use a water supply that does not have backflow prevention device in place.

The more you know....

Gail said...

Really, Rick is up on piping design -- he studied waste water treatment. So he ponders the pressure on each side of the device, the choice to leave the system totally turned off, etc. The issue isn't that there's a backflow device -- it's that it must be checked every. single. year. (by an "official" person on the approved list) whether the system is in use or not -- which involves turning the system on, checking the backflow , blowing the entire system out and turning it back off, followed by writing a large check to the "official" person who then submits paperwork to the county gov't (who then loses everyone's paperwork due to a weeklong computer breakdown earlier in the summer and sends out letters to thousands of people that their backflow devices haven't been properly registered as "checked" this year).

Ami said...

Interesting. Eric is a licensed backflow tester, but the checks he gets aren't large, and they go to the company anyway... but it's $25.00 for the test, the piece of paper and the whole mess is done for another year.

Sucks to have your paperwork get lost and have to deal with bureaucrats, though.

Since we usually send in the paperwork from here, he puts our return address on it. So we get lots and lots of junk mail, thinking our home is a business address.

The worst part about testing backflow devices and all that, according to Eric, are the Black Widow spiders he sometimes has to brush out of the way to hook up his testing device.

Gail said...

The backflow test itself isn't necessarily expensive. What's expensive is turning on and off the system -- getting it all blown out, etc. Leaving the system turned off and untested is not an option -- it must be done whether you plan to use it or not.