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Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day in Louisiana. Or not.

Wake up.  School.  Bible study.  Homework.  Church.  Dance.  Eat.  Brush your teeth.  Go to sleep.  Repeat.  Lately that's what I feel like.  Stuck on repeat.  That's not really a bad thing.  It's just life lately . . . regular, normal life . . . and just not a whole lot to "write home about."  Or a lot to blog about (that anyone would be interested in reading).  But while it's all regular and normal, life around here is hardly ever boring.

Last weekend I noticed that the heating unit for mine and Seth's bedroom and bathroom wasn't working like it was supposed to.  So I texted my heating and air guy, and he came over at 6:45am on Monday morning.  You access the attic above our bedroom by going through a small door in Mason's closet.  So when the guys arrived, they went straight upstairs and into the attic.  I heard a lot of banging around, and about five minutes later, they were coming back downstairs.  Problem resolved.  The problem?  Ladybugs.  "Millions" of dead ladybugs and an old, large wasp nest had fallen through the exhaust pipe (or whatever it's called) and eventually blocked the pipe so any gas fumes couldn't escape.  Oh, and there were a couple of dirt-dobber nests, too, hence all the banging.  The unit contains a built-in safety feature that causes it to essentially shut down if the pipe gets blocked.  If the pipe is blocked and fumes can't escape, they would instead come back into the house.  So I'm thankful for said safety feature.  And I'm just a little aggravated that I paid a service call for them to essentially sweep a bunch of ladybugs out of the way.  I mean, I could've done that myself.  But most of all, I was thankful that it was a quick, easy, inexpensive fix and nothing major.  Problem solved.  Next.

Monday evening the girls were playing upstairs while Mason and I were downstairs doing homework.  All of a sudden the upstairs smoke detectors started going BEZERK.  That's nothing new.  We have five smoke detectors in the house, two downstairs and three upstairs.  They are all wired together so when one goes off or isn't working properly, they all go off.  It's the most annoying thing ever because you just can't figure out what's going on and which one really needs attention and you end up replacing batteries in all of them and they still beep and chirp.  We've been up in the middle of the night before dealing with the silly things.  And you can't just take the battery out.  You have to completely disconnect the thing from the wires in the ceiling.  For the longest time we just took them all down.  And then a few months ago, Seth filed a complaint with the manufacturer, and they sent us two brand new detectors free of charge.  We were hopeful that would solve the problem.  

Anyway, I ran upstairs to see what was going on.  This time was much different than all the other times.  The alarm wouldn't go off, and it was even a different sounding alarm.  There was nothing upstairs that would get me tall enough to take the detectors down so I had to come back downstairs and get one of the barstools and go back upstairs.  I figured out that it was the one in the playroom so I disconnected it and took it down.  And then I realized the one in Mason's room was alarming, too.  So I took it down.  At this point, both of the alarms are still going off even though the wires are disconnected, and I can't get the battery compartment open.  That's when I noticed that it wasn't the smoke alarm indicator that was lit.  It was the carbon monoxide/gas light that was lit.

Somehow I was finally able to pry the battery compartments open and yank the batteries out.  And thank goodness for that because I was about to beat them with a hammer.  No joke.  And then I called my father-in-law.  Because this stuff always happens when Seth is not here.  Always.  So we talked for a few minutes.  He reminded me how much trouble we'd had with the things . . . and that just that morning that heating unit had been serviced and was fine (even though there was that nagging thought in the back of my head, "what if the exhaust is really blocked and gas is coming into Mason's room) . . . and then he proceeded to give me a lesson on what would happen and how it would happen if indeed it really were happening . . . and that it was probably just another faulty detector.  He advised me to just throw them outside on the back porch and be done with it.  So that's what I did.  

Until it was time for the kids to go to bed.  And I just couldn't take it anymore.  Against my better judgment, I got the detectors, put the batteries back in and took them upstairs to reinstall them.  Ellie was screaming the whole time and had her fingers stuck in her ears.  I was pleasantly surprised when the detectors were finally connected, and they were quiet.  No alarms.  No blinking lights.  I knew I was risking a middle-of-the-night alarm, but I didn't care.  I'd rather be scared out of my sleep than deal with the nagging thought that there was something dangerous in the house that I couldn't see.  And four days later, those detectors haven't alarmed again.  The barstool stayed upstairs all week just in case, but we brought it back down today.

The check engine light in my Tahoe has been on for a few weeks.  We knew what the problem was so my father-in-law got my truck yesterday and replaced said part.  When he returned it to me, the light was off.  And, of course, as soon as I got in it to go to the grocery story, the light came back on again.  So we're still dealing with that.

So here we are on Friday again.  And do you know what tomorrow is?  Your answer to that question depends on whether or not you live in the state of Louisiana.  

All of my not-in-Louisiana friends were posting cute little pictures on Facebook today of their children's Valentine's treats and school parties and attire.  Valentine's Day is my second least favorite "holiday."  But during the past several years, we've enjoyed some fun family Valentine's traditions.  And the kids have parties at school.  Now that Mason is in 4th grade, the party scene has changed a lot.  They essentially have a day-o-play-and-movies instead of parties.  And I'm totally fine with this.  Hannah Kate's teacher, on the other hand, is still in first-year-hyper-excited-teacher mode.  So I had no idea what to expect, especially after the over-the-top Christmas party she had.  I'd already planned Hannah Kate's treats to her classmates (thank you, Pinterest), and I'd also decided what I'd sign up to bring for the party.  I kept waiting for the Valentine's flyer from the teacher.  But it never came.  Because this is Louisiana.  And it's Mardi Gras weekend.  

Earlier in the week, the kids came home with the colorful, full-page Mardi Gras flyer announcing the school parade and king cake.  The kids were even encouraged to dress in their favorite Mardi Gras costume.  What?!?  Yeah, let me just go pull that out of my closet.  And here's where I also have to confess that I've never been to a Mardi Gras parade.  Never.  I've never been to a Mardi Gras ball.  But I don't think you can just GO to one.  I think it's like some sort of exclusive club or invite or something.  I really don't know what a krewe is (or why it's spelled that way . . . although I'm sure it has something to do with the French).  And I can not pronounce laissez bon temp rouler.  I do know that it means, "Let the good times roll."  My husband has always told me that I would not like a Mardi Gras parade, and he's probably right (although I don't think he's ever been to any of the major parades either).  But I've always kind of wanted to go to one in New Orleans just for the experience.  There are so many parades, and I really don't know the difference between all of them.  But a friend of mine went to one last night that I'd never heard of before (which means nothing because, again, I don't even know what a krewe is!).  It was the Krewe of Muses parade.  It's an all-female krewe that rolls through uptown New Orleans, and they throw beautiful, decorated shoes.  Now that's my kind of throw.  (And just a side note here . . . I recently found out that the people who are part of these krewes and ride the floats . . . they pay anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 just to do so!)  As far as I'm concerned, the best thing about Mardi Gras is two days off of school next week.  And the Lenten menus that begin at all the restaurants next week.

Hannah Kate finally came home on Wednesday with a half page black-and-white memo noting that parents could send Valentine treats to school for the class if they wanted to.  And that's it.  I mean, it's like Valentine's Day doesn't even exist this year.  

Mardi Gras colors are green, gold and purple.  The kids' uniform shirts are purple so that's what they wore today because that's about as Mardi Gras as we get around here.  And I sent them with beads to throw during the parade.  I also sent both of them with Valentine goodies for their classmates.  And do you know what they came home with? 
 I sent beads for them to throw.  I did not intend for them to return home with beads.  And that little mask would be Hannah Kate's art project at school today.  They didn't even do any Valentine's Day crafts!

Mason had one Valentine.  One.  Unless, of course, he ate all the rest of them.  Which is entirely possible.  Hannah Kate had maybe five.  I know Valentine's Day and I have a love-hate relationship.  But really.  I kind of feel sorry for Valentine's Day this year.  Or at least Valentine's Day in Louisiana.  

1 comment:

Kori Page said...

Lol, Julie, you're hilarious! I never thought about Valentine's Day coinciding with Mardi Gras. The schools really put that much emphasis on Mardi Gras? From what I've seen and heard, it's just people drinking and raising their shirts so they'll get beads? Maybe you can have a better Valentine's Day party at home with your kids today. :)