Saturday, May 13, 2017


 Well, the two guys from Mr. Rooter came out yesterday to dig up the damaged sewer pipe and replace it. Here is what they found: a 40-something pipe, damaged at some point long before we bought the house (the AC installer would never have dug down that far) and covered with a little white plastic cuff that was cut lengthwise and wrapped around the damaged pipe, not even sealed. So it survived for at least 18 years before giving trouble, which I guess is not so bad. Especially since we only had to replace a 3-foot segment of pipe, and not the whole thing out to the street. On the sliding scale of homeowner disasters, this was at least marginally affordable.
The new pipe is much sturdier. The old one could be crumbled by the plumber's hands. And that's the phone line that they had to dig past, and possibly an old cable line.
 Look how neat they left the worksite!
 Right above the repair site is the bathroom window, and above that is the vent where a family of birds has taken up residence. They are very noisy, all the daylight hours. I'm sure they also keep the cats entertained.
 I went to an estate sale yesterday advertising "crafts." Came home with a brown paper envelope with some vintage knitting patterns - argyles, and another copy of the Red Cross sweater vest to knit for WW2 soldiers - my aunt already gave me one, and someday I want to find olive drab yarn and knit it up for Peter.
 Also in the envelope were a bunch of iron-on transfers in those fun 40's happy homemaker designs.
And I bought 2 large cones of thread at 25 cents apiece. Also some frames and some counted cross-stitch fabrics and a nearly full bottle of Resolve carpet cleaner, for a grand total of $4. I kept thinking of my grandmothers, who had many of the same kinds of things. And maybe a little eerie foretaste of myself as a little old lady. She had the same sewing machine as me, only about a decade older.

 Tertia went to the "Life Skills" prom at Skyview yesterday. Quarta did her hair. Both Quarta and Tertia had their doctor check-ups this week. Quarta is 5' 5 1/4" and might still grow. Tertia is at her full adult height of 4' 7".
She danced the night away, or at least until the prom ended at 8:00.

The other three of us had a Bible study group from 7-9, and only one car, so I did a lot of driving back and forth yesterday. I'm tired today and milking the whole Mother's Day holiday for what it's worth, so I went out once this afternoon to check out the quilt store, and it was closed! That happened a few months ago with the yarn store near me. I find that sad. But anyway, I ended up at Joann's, spending my birthday discount card (from October) and buying a quilt batt and about 3 yards of fabric. So I'll have something to add to my stash report next time. I have been spending a lot of time trying to tame my little tiny scraps into usable squares or rectangles, or cutting them into strips. This at the same time as cutting fabric for the latest quilt.

We watched Anne with an E, the first episode, tonight. After Quarta's play, it was a lot edgier, but very well cast. Look forward to seeing more of that. And I think Steve and I might watch another episode of Man in the High Castle. It's getting quite weird.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Design Wall and Stash Report

What was on my design wall is now all sewn together and has joined the to-be-quilted queue:
What is on the Megaquilter is still on there. I haven't quilted any since our plumbing problems.
 I dug out a long-slumbering project and have begun working on it, as I described yesterday. It's , the Frugal Patch from Quilter's Cache, but I'm amping it up by making it into a color study of sorts. I first printed out this pattern in 2006.
Now I have a new project on my design wall - you can check out others a the Patchwork Times link-up.
 I'm not sure how much I want to cut before sewing more together, so I do a little bit here and there. So far I've been working on the blues because there are so many of them. At one point I cut a rectangle of almost every fabric in my stash, but my stash has grown since then.
 It's the kind of quilt that needs to be played with on a design wall, so it will probably be up there for awhile.

 I haven't killed my orchids yet! Adding an ice cube once a week is a little difficult when the pots are so tiny. Some of them just get watered more normally. This one has two bloom stalks; the first one I bought has one, and the other four were discounted because they had lost theirs, or been damaged.
 The one on the far left is regrowing a bloom stalk, I think. Exciting times.
This is the first one I bought, still going well.

Stash report:

Since I finished the Tone it Down top, I'm counting an additional 8 yards of fabric
24 yards fabric used total, year to date
0 yards added to stash, but it's still overflowing.
24 yards net used, year to date

Knitting yarn:
Yarn used year to date: 900 yards
Yarn added year to date: 1700 yards
800 yards net added, year to date

Sunday, May 7, 2017


This is actually Sunday morning before church, but I spent Saturday taking Tertia shopping for dresses for Life Skills Prom next week, doing a bit of gardening, getting my Duolingo Swedish tree entirely golden (I'm switching languages to Dutch now because it's too depressing how fast trees get ungolden, and I'm declaring victory), fighting Charlemagne in the Holy Roman Empire in a Civ4 game, and watching SPECTRE.

Plumbing update: the estimator came out with a scope and determined the location of the part of the sewer line that needs to be replaced. Apparently at some time in the past, the PVC pipe was broken and someone patched it by putting a half-round of a larger PVC pipe over it, thus leaving a golden opportunity for tree roots to find the gap. It is 2 feet deep, slightly under the AC pad. We had the AC installed 10 years ago but no one told us of a problem then. So otherwise it would have been something in the time before we owned the house. Anyway, that part is a relatively easy and not-too-terribly expensive fix. We're still not sure about the flooring inside the house. That will probably depend on whether insurance would cover it at all.

 Another quilt top finished! This is a low-tone Burgoyne Surrounded, the APQquiltalong from 2014. I was on that bandwagon for awhile and then it fell into the black hole for awhile, and now it's ready to add to the quilting pipeline. Very pleased with the fun scrappy mix of colors.
 This block features Olivia the pig.
 New quilt project: Frugal Patch. Speaking of long-dormant quilting projects, I printed off  this from the Quilter's Cache in 2006. I have been cutting 1.5"x 2.5" rectangles and sorting them into color families, off and on, ever since. Mostly off. My concept for this quilt was to make it a massive rainbow-gradation color study, as you can see from my sketch above. Because, while I like scrappy quilts, I like "planned scrappy" quilts better. I've started finally just sewing some units together and seeing how they look.
 Some square-in-square blocks will have a dark neutral background, and some will have a light-neutral background. Originally I was going to use just one patch of each color in my stash, but I think that might drive me insane.
So far I have pieced a lot of the already-cut rectangles together. I've decided it's possible to use 2.5" strips to cut the triangles for the square-in-square pieces, but I will have to piece them very carefully.  I'm envisioning a twin-size quilt when I'm all done. Definitely a workout for my design wall.

Thursday and Friday I sub-taught Latin to 3rd-5th grades, and will again tomorrow. It is a fun reminder of how little minds learn. And wears me out completely, even just a half day!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Randomness by the Bucket

I really like doing my "randomday" posts on Saturdays. Trouble is, that hasn't been happening regularly enough to keep up with all the randomness. We get it Costco super-sized around here, and I haven't been keeping up. But in the blogging world, you kind of have to keep up. so here's my try.
Quarta, 14, played Anne of Green Gables in the matinee performance a little over a week ago. This was the before picture, taken the Friday before the performance.
And the after picture. It's a semi-permanent color, which means it will (probably, on a blonde) gradually fade. I'm unfamiliar with this whole world of hair coloring, but judging from the reactions of complete strangers as well as those who know her, she makes a stunning redhead and should consider being a redhead longer. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I might have to try being a redhead myself, since I have the same skin coloring. Also, the performance went very well. She had worked very hard on all her lines, but seeing the performance, she also nailed the vulnerability and sensitivity that Anne needs to have. And of course I'm not biased or anything! I was sad there was only the one performance for her (another cast was involved in the two evening performances. But it was also a relief to have the play and all the time requirements over.
This Mexico pic of the "3 monkeys" also features Quarta. Too fun!
A day or two after Easter I discovered this orchid for $3.99 at Grocery Outlet. I have since been mildly obsessing over orchid care, and I went back twice to buy more. There's a white one and 4 others that have been damaged and I am trying to nurse back to health.

There ends the positive randomness of the past few weeks. Last Tuesday evening we experienced a plumbing catastrophe when water suddenly started cascading out of the downstairs toilet. It was warm water, from the upstairs shower. Eventually as Steve and I were bailing and plunging and collecting every rag in the house to mop up the mess, it occurred to us that this was bigger than a plunger problem. And sure enough, thanks to Mr. Rooter 24-7 emergency plumbing service, it was confirmed: some as-yet-unidentified tree root had likely obstructed our sewer line. So no flushing or using drains all Tuesday night and most of Wednesday, and they had the rooter trucks with their high-powered jets at work.

We were really happy to discover (which we couldn't find at 10:00 Tuesday night) that there was an exterior clean-out access for the sewer line. It had been hidden beneath some landscaping fabric and behind bushes. There appears to be only one section of pipe that will need to be replaced. That is another appointment with another evaluator this coming Wednesday. We are at least functional in the meantime. Water damage experts highly recommend tearing out all the flooring, subflooring and some of the drywall in the bathroom to get rid of bacteria growth. We're kind of waiting to see how much we're in for on the pipe replacement, and since it's a tree root, there's little chance that homeowners' insurance will cover it.

We had water running through the floorboards into the basement as well: less worry there, but we did dispose of several decades' worth of National Geographics that suddenly became a whole lot less appealing to keep storing. Daniel's wine bottles were also near the line of fire, but the only damage there was to some of the labels.

Actually, looking back at nearly 18 years in this house, it's pretty amazing we haven't had a serious plumbing setback before this. I just wish money grew on some of those trees with the roots. Because I made a list of all the other things we need to spend money on before this plumbing incident happened, and we're nowhere near the halfway point yet. New washer and dryer are definitely looming.

Ah well. On Saturday I went to a Special Mom's breakfast which was a great experience and we are hoping to meet more regularly to strategize as to how to support our children as they become adults. Then I went on to Cedar Tree, where the Latin Olympika was being held. I was able to be scorekeeper for the very exciting final rounds (and I had written the Level 1 Certamen, and had to run out to the car to fetch some extra bonus questions at the very end!) Tertia spent Saturday with the Horticulture class, working at their plant sale. She was rewarded with "plant bucks" and so our garden will be the richer for her experience. Peter also made a fly-by visit home this weekend, before his finals and summer job.

I'm making some progress on sock knitting -- still no sweater knitting going on -- and quilting. The APQquiltalong from years back, the low-tone Burgoyne Surrounded, is almost a complete top, and I have started a quilt I have been planning for even longer than that, but no pictures yet. And the Farmer's Wife quilt is on my bed and is being enjoyed.

I'm thinking of writing a story about a post-apocalyptic world, where the plumbers rule. It would be totally believable. I already have the Latin short-short story version of our current situation: cloaca obstructa, pecunia maxima. (Blocked sewer, big money).