Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Total Random Week in Suburbia

Have you ever had a week, were it seemed that it was linked with a bunch of random events. Nothing major, but a little thing here, a little thing there.  That is how my week has been going. It started of normally. All three kids got up, and went to school. Later in the morning, I decided to go to Target to look for items I needed for a Lego Movie themed party I am working on.  Since I had to pick up my oldest daughter at a certain time, the plan was to hang out in Target for awhile, and then pick up my daughter on the way home.  My youngest daughter had other plans..   The very minute I go into Target, my cell phone rings..  I hear a small voice on the other end.. "Mom, you need to come pick me up.. I just threw up"  I was surprised by that statement because she seemed totally fine when she left for school a few hours before.   I told her to let the office ladies know that I was going to be a few minutes, because I was clear across town. Since I had made a special trip to look for an specific item, I decided to quickly look before I left.  Unfortunately they did not have what I was hoping for, so my trip to Target was very short.  I got in the car, and looked at the clock.  I had only 20 minutes before I was to pick up my oldest daughter.  I did not really want my youngest daughter to wait 30 minutes in the office while she was sick, so I drove across town to get her.  I quickly dropped her off at the house, and opened the garage for her.  I told her I would be right back.   I then drove back across town again to pick up my older daughter at her school.   Luckily I was only a few minutes late. That afternoon, my youngest daughter threw up for about 3 hours straight, and then took a 6 hour nap.

We get back to the house, and the garage door is still open.  We pull into the garage, and see a giant Robin is flying around, trying to get out.  It is startled enough that it flies to the other side of the garage and tries to get out through a closed window.  My oldest daughter is really worried for the bird.   I tell her that if we go inside and leave the door open, it will fly out on it's own.  A few minutes later, she goes back outside.  She opened the other stall door, and threw small pieces of bread around the door of the garage, hoping the snack would entice him out.  She then came back in, and told me to check on the bird in a little while to see if it got out.    I did check about 30 minutes later and no longer saw the bird. I am assuming it did get out.  

After school my son had to go to Robotics.  It was their last official day of their build before the deadline.  He had been acting weird all day.  That morning,  when he got up, he wouldn't look at me.  He only ate half of his breakfast, and moved very slowly.  He got up from the table,  and looked at the calendar.  He asked me what I would say if he told me part of him had died..  I was like. ummm okay..  I would say, "what in the world did you dream about last night?".   We didn't really have much time to talk, he had to hurry to catch his bus. When he got back home, he seemed more alert. The only problem was, he wasn't speaking English.  They are working on scheduling for next year this week at school.  He has been trying to decide if he should take his required foreign language credit now, or the following year.  He is thinking of taking French, so he whenever I would talk to him or ask him a question he would respond in his "own version" of French.  I would occasionally get a few words in English, but he would not break character and went back to his language.  I picked him up a few hours later, and he was back to himself. He explained to me that he had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before, so he extra tired all day long..  That explains a lot.  

Tuesday had a bit of crazy going on too.. I experienced some major deja vu. 
This is my car stuck in the snow bank in my driveway AGAIN.  I had to climb out the passenger side of the car because I could not get my door open.  

A friend of mine offered to come over and help. I am so glad that she did.  The main reason why I keep getting stuck in the snowbank is there was thick slab of ice/snow pack underneath the snow. My driveway also has quite a bit of a slant that leads to the snowbank. The combination of the slant and the ice causes my car to basically slide into the snowbank like a magnet.  In this picture you case see some of the ice we had to remove to get my car free.. I can't wait until this stuff melts. 

Another big thing that is happening this week is we are forced to think of the future.  We had a meeting for juniors and their parents, to talk about c-o-l-l-e-g-e.  Eek! We are so not ready for this..  A state school starts at $17,000 a year  for tuition and room and board. There was so much information to take in at the meeting.  We are pretty sure she is going to go to a great community college at least at first, because they have a great Art program, and is close to home.  My son who is only a freshman is more likely on the 4 yr state school path.   He is advanced math, and is trying to decide if he should take Pre-Calculus or FST (Functions, Stats and Trigonometry)  It is looking more and more like Pre-Calculus, because he plans on taking AP Calculus. If I  am honest, I really can't help much with that decision.. I don't even really understand what Calculus even is.  He is also stressed because he has to take two semesters of a Visual, Performing, or Applied Art classes as a graduation requirement.  He has to chose from a list of classes, and none of them interest him.  I am trying to get him to take the Web Design Class or Bake Shop so he can help me with coding on the blog, or bake treats for his Cooking with Kyle posts, but so far he isn't  going for it.   He would like to take AP European History or Military History because they sound interesting.   Hopefully we can figure this out, and soon.  The schedules are due in a few days.  

My week is not over yet. We still have a few more days..  I wonder what other randomness events it will bring.   

Friday, February 14, 2014

A New Friend

Did you read about what happened earlier in the week, when Kara's female mouse Frappe, had a taste of freedom?  After about 30 hours on the loose, she was safely back in her cage.  Kara feels one reason  why she jumped out of her hands to make a beeline to Oreo's cage, is because she was lonely.  It is recommended that you should have a 2-3 female mice living together, because they are very social.   That not as true with male mice.  You should keep them housed alone, because they can get very aggressive with other male mice.   When Frappe had an unexpected litter she went from living with three other mice, to living all alone. Since they were all males, we had to remove them immediately so they did not hurt the babies. Kara was quite worried about her, especially after we had to take her last surviving baby, and nurse it by hand.   Meet Luna! She is a pretty little black mouse.   The last thing we need is another pet, but I agreed that Frappe could use another female friend.  She is a little bit younger and smaller, but is used to living with other mice.   

Kara has been introducing them slowly in a neutral location.  For the most part they seem to get along, and like each other's company.  Since Luna is a bit smaller, she is sometimes nervous with Frappe. Frappe has been a bit more excited to have a new friend, and has already tried to groom Luna.  They should be full time cage mates soon. 

The plan was that Lucky, who is now 6 weeks, was also going to go back and live with mama when full grown.  We need to wait a few more weeks before the decision is made.  It seems that our initial thought that Lucky was a girl, might be wrong. In the last week, there are signs that Lucky could be male. We should know for sure in about two  more weeks.  Male mice are able to mate at around eight weeks, so it should be  clear then.  

Also in about two weeks, we will know if Oreo, has become a father.  When Frappe was on the loose we caught her many times climbing Oreo's cage. We would try to catch her while she was doing it, but she would run off.  During the night, however, she could have visited him without us knowing.  Since there  are spaces between the bars, they could have technically "met up".  I am hoping that there are no more babies, but we are aware that it is a possibility.   I wish I had a clearer picture of Oreo, but he moves way too fast.  He is also becoming a bit tubby.  Kara has taught him to beg, and take food from her hand.   He loves sunflower seeds, which are supposed to be only occasional treats.  She showed me last night that whenever she gave him other treats, he would drop them.  When it was a sunflower seed, he would happily eat it right up. 

Hopefully now things will settle down with Kara's Christmas present that keeps on giving.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Mouse in the House

Late Sunday afternoon, our ordeal began. Kara thought it might be a fun idea to make a maze for the mice.  She first took Oreo out, and he did the maze and got his treat with no problem. Then it was Frappe's  turn. (A.K.A mama mouse)   She went through the maze, and got her treat. When it was time to get in her cage though, she had other plans.  She jumped out of Kara's hands, and ran to Oreo's cage.  She took cover underneath the chairs in the family  room.  Kara thought quickly, and barricaded her in with various items that were in the family room. This was about the time I walked in the room, and I saw the look of panic on Kara's face.  I have several foam boards that we used to block off the entire room.  The family room is right off the kitchen, so it only took four boards.  We were very worried that if she was able to escape the room, one of our cats might find her.  We had several close calls where we almost caught Frappe, but she would slip away at the last second. She also climbed Oreo's cage quite a few times, like she was trying to get inside.  He was climbing it too, but on the inside.  Luckily they were not near each other long enough that she could get pregnant again.. (at least I hope not!!!)  As long as we could see where she was, we were hopeful that we would catch her.. Then around 7 p.m. she disappeared, and we did not see her again. 

About that time, we brought in the live trap we had in the garage. We thought that if we could not catch her before bed, maybe we could catch her if  she tried to get something to eat during the night.   We locked up the cats for the night, and set the trap.  Early in the morning Kara was devastated to find the trap empty. It looked like the food had been moved, but there was no mouse.   Kara was so upset, that I allowed her to stay home from school for  the day. She had a headache, and an upset stomach.  I knew she would not have a good day at school, worrying about her mouse at home. Around 11 a.m., I heard a happy yell from the family room.  She had spotted Frappe as she ran behind the TV table.  That was the first sighting of her in 15 hours! We were confused though, we knew where she went, but there was no sign of her anywhere.   Kara did not see her again for several hours, and began to doubt that she actually saw her.. Then around 7 p.m., she appeared once more.  This time we were able to find out where she was going.  There was a small hole in the cardboard backing of our old entertainment center that we are using as shelving.  She was hiding out underneath the entertainment center!  She had been right under our noses the entire time, only we did not know it.  This was a good news, bad news situation. Good that we knew where she was hiding, and that she was definitely still in the family room.  It was also bad,  due to the size of the entertainment center there was no way we could reach her to get her out. We had to wait until she came to us.  We were in luck though.. For about an hour she was very active.  She kept going into the trap, so we thought we had her.   There was just one problem, she was too light to trigger the trap.  Kara tied a string to the trigger hoping to manually set it off if needed.   Then around 11 p.m., I heard the words I was waiting to hear..    

"Mom! I caught her!" 

The funny thing is how she caught her.  We had her cage open nearby where she was hiding out, just in case she decided to she wanted to go home.   After multiple misses with the live trap, she was caught when she climbed into her cage.  Kara was close enough to the cage that she was able to close the door in time.  Frappe seemed happy to be home. She went up to her nest, and within a few minutes took a nap.   We were happy she was no longer on the loose, and  the cats were happy they were no longer confined to the bedroom.   We all slept a little bit easier last night, including Frappe.  Hopefully no more adventures for her! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow is my Nemesis

Today was one of those days that  if you didn't already dislike winter, you would hate it by the end of the day.  Snow was my nemesis today.  The snow started falling in the middle of the night.  By morning we had  about 3 inches of new snow on the ground. That is on top of the several feet of snow that was already had.  Around the time the kids had to go to school,  it had started snowing pretty hard again. We had at least 3 more inches of snow by noon,  on top of what we got overnight. All of the roads were snow covered, which made driving my kids to school this morning difficult. 

When it was time to take my other daughter to school, the garbage men had left our  garbage can at the end of the driveway.  It  was sticking out in the street just a couple of inches, which usually is no bid deal.  Our driveway is narrow, only wide enough for one car until you get close to the house.   It was a tight squeeze, but I was able to just get by the can.   I  didn't put the can away at the moment, because I was worried she would be late for school because of how bad the roads were.  I had planned on taking it back up to the house when I got back.  

When I got home, I had a bit of a surprise.  I found the trashcan upside down in a snow bank about 5 feet away from my driveway. It seems the snow plow ran into it when he was plowing the street.  Luckily there was no damage, so no harm done, but it was a pain to get upright, and back up the driveway.    When I picked up my oldest daughter a few hours later,  my car got stuck in the driveway, and I could not get it to turn to go in the garage.  The two of us were able to free it relatively quickly, and all was well. (at least at that moment)  

When it was time to go pick up my other daughter, I backed out of the garage.  My car started to get stuck in the middle of the driveway again.  I have found that if I put it in reverse a couple of feet, I usually can get free and drive it forward.  This time though, I was not so lucky.  Do you see where that blue arrow is?..  that is a snow bank that is over 3 feet high.  My front right tire somehow got lodged in that snow bank, and nothing that I did would free my car. I was concerned about my daughter, because I knew she was waiting for me, and  by that point I was about 20 minutes late to pick her up.  I tried to call her several times, but she is having issues with her phone so I could not reach her. I finally had to give up on the car, and set out on foot.   The school is not that far from where we live, but I had to walk through knee deep snow to get there.  By the time I reached her she had been waiting for over a half hour, and  I was exhausted from  fighting  my way through the deep snow.  Luckily one of the office ladies who lives near us was still there, and she gladly drove us back home.  Kara could not have made it back home through the snow, because she has been having a lot of pain in her knees and legs, and will most likely need to see a doctor.   I probably should have taken a picture of my car when it  stuck in the snow bank, but I did not think of it at the time.  I just wanted to get my car free.   Finally after 3 hours, some ice melt, kitty litter, a lot of digging, and some more help from my oldest daughter,, we finally got it out.  Not a moment too soon, because it was starting to get dark.  As I write this now, I am wrapped up in a blanket. I am still a bit chilled even though I was wearing snow pants (a few sizes too small), a warm coat, and waterproof gloves. 

I guess this day was not all bad. While I was at my daughter's school, I saw this beautiful bird family in a tree near the school.  There were several birds in this tree, and at least a couple of nests.  I was amazed that they were so close to the school, and did not seem afraid of the people nearby. 

Today is just one of those days, when I really hate winter..  How many days until spring??  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Getting Back to Normal

There were not a lot of things to write about this past week other than the weather.. We were out of school, and stuck inside on both Tuesday and Wednesday because of extreme temps.  On Saturday, we had a  snowstorm come through the area. Another 6+ inches were added to the  already deep snow on the ground.  Kyle was supposed to have robotics that day, but the roads were in really  bad shape. We were told that that it would be an optional meeting, and that we should only make the drive if we had a good snow vehicle, and were used to driving in adverse conditions.   Since driving in snow makes me nervous, and we do not have a 4 wheel drive, we decided to sit this one out.

 I took this picture of the mailbox this morning while getting the Sunday paper.  The snow is so deep that  my standing mailbox is almost buried.  I am not very happy that the groundhog said there will be 6 more weeks of winter today.  We have had more than our share already. 

Today Lucky is 1 month old.  She has gotten so big in the last two weeks.  At 4 weeks old, mice are not  quite considered "full grown", but there are  like a teenager in mouse time.  Once they reach 4 weeks, you would need to separate males and females in the same litter because could reproduce.  She has begun eating seeds in addition to her crisp bread in formula. We are weaning her off the formula to just pure water. In another week or two, her diet will be just like the other mice.   It was hard to get a picture of her today, because she would not stay still and most of the pictures were blurry.  

I think this upcoming will be the first week in a very long time that everything should be back to normal.  We have had so many snow days, and other days off that  it will take some getting used to being back in school five days in a row.  Time will tell!