Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Did you know that technically speaking, your PC shouldn't be able to run on less than 20% of free memory?

That was an interesting little tidbit of information my Dad gave me over the holiday. Lest you think my Dad just sits around blurting out random nuggets of trivia, let me just say, we found out ours is running on a whopping 3% right now.

Eeeek! My dad said he couldn't figure out how our PC was even turning on, and it showed what a good unit it is. That is reassuring, but knowing we are skating on VERY.THIN.ICE is not.

I got a call from my stepmother yesterday letting us know that she just mailed a hard drive for our tower. Doesn't that make it sound like I know what I'm talking about? I do.. now. Initially, when my Dad first discovered our lack of memory he offered to send an extra hard rive to bump it up with plenty room to spare. I told Dale later that I appreciated my Dad's thoughtfulness, but how on earth were we going to fit another tower by the computer? There is no room for so much a piece of paper. Well, I guess there is room for some paper, judging by the debris leftover here at the desk from a certain 5 year old's adventure in paper crown making.

Dale looked at me like I had 3 or 4 heads.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"The tower... how are we going to fit another one? The one Dad is sending?" I prodded his understanding.

Those of you who know Dale know what I am talking about when I say, he gave me a goofy little grin and said "we'll just hang it from the ceiling or something."

It was the goofy little grin. I knew it. He was pulling my leg.

Come to find out it isn't a TOWER that is the hard drive, but a little thingie that goes IN our current tower to boost the memory.


My stepmother also told me she put a cork in the package. Now some might think that is a not-so-subtle hint from my father to "put a cork in it", but there is an explanation that is less insulting to his favorite "dottah".

A while back, one of our gremlins left our fancy smancy Pfastgraff salt shaker on the stove while they were baking. The shaker is make out of ceramic, so that wasn't a problem. The cork, that holds all salt in from seeping out the bottom hole, was made out of plastic. We found out, that is a problem.

I love my salt and pepper shakers, so there was no way I was going to retire them because of the lack for a cork. For Thanksgiving I got four bottles of that yummy sparkling cider. Yes, I love the stuff, but my real motive was for the corks in the bottles. I was thinking I could whittle one down to fit the hole in the salt shaker. By getting four bottles I had some for error. I'm not the best at whittling.

All went well, and on Thanksgiving we opened the first bottle. My face crumpled up into a frown. That cork wasn't a cork! Not in the traditional sense. It was a plastic screw in cork. So much for my cleverness!

Anyway, my stepmother assured me they had REAL grown up corks and sent me one with the hard drive (not a tower! whew!).

"A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a book series by Lemony Snicket. Okay, seriously, think that might be a non de plume?

These books are for kids, but come with the disclaimer, in the first chapter in the very first book.

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."

The dedications all go something like :
"To Beatrice- our love broke my heart, and stopped yours."
"To Beatrice - my love for you shall last forever. You, however, did not."
"To Beatrice- I would much prefer it if you were alive and well."

This series has been one of my children's favorites over the summer. It is about three children and all their misadventures. I read the first book and understood why the title of the series. My kids laugh at the happenings. I don't know if that means they are mature enough to understand the satire of the story, or that they are just hard hearted little beasts.

Though our life hasn't been as unfortunate as the Baudelaire siblings', I felt like the last couple days could be titled with their book series.

Monday, I realized I had only two days left to finish my novella challenge. I knew from my writing on Sunday, this would be possible, yea, even probable. I was confident I could accomplish the goal I had been working for so hard all month. I didn't take into account Mr. Isaac.

Isaac decided to start the day at 4a.m. Monday morning. He didn't start it pleasantly either. If he had been content to play and just burn off some energy with a happy countenance, I could have set up the lap top in the living room and taken some advantage of some unexpected writing time. I have the sorry little story saved on the word processor there instead of the PC for portability. In others, I can duck and hide to write in whatever corner is quiet when Dale is home.

Isaac was C-R-A-N-K-Y and had to be held, rocked, walked and finally he managed to fall asleep snuggled up to me in bed just before Dale left for work around 7a.m.

Not a good start to the day.

As a result, I overslept a bit, and with Isaac snoozing on our bed, I couldn't just get up and walk away for fear he would roll off, despite the barricade of pillows and blankets. I had to direct activities from our doorway. I did putter about a bit in the bedroom, and would have one of the twins come in to keep an eye on him while I did the wood stove or ate breakfast quickly and got thing rolling in the right direction.

So, I planned on writing like a mad woman last night. However, I could tell Dale needed to go to bed so I shoo'd him and the kids off to bed in a timely manner after supper, fully intending on writing while Isaac (the night owl) played for a while in the living room. I blocked off the big entrance way, got out the lap top and was ready to type.

Well, that didn't go so well. I think I got about fifteen words typed. Isaac is at that age where is into everything. Including my two flute cases. He got them unlocked and opened and the parts and pieces to the two flutes all mixed up while Benjamin sat right next to him, distracted by whatever he was doing on the computer. Since my tall teenager wasn't being helpful, I sent him to bed.

Then I shifted my agenda again. I figured I would play with Isaac, wear him out, and he would be in bed by say, 10p.m., and I could write for a while and still get a decent night's sleep.

Once again, Sir Isaac had other plans. He was WIRED last night. I changed diaper, snuggled up, rocked and rocked, and sang, stopped singing when he cried harder, and tried desperately to get him into a state of drowsiness.

Finally, after a very long session of rocking and crying, I stood up, and his eyes slammed shut.

Seriously? That was all I had to do?

I swayed/walked into the bedroom and after about five minutes of standing and gently rocking him, I felt Isaac get very heavy, and was able to put him in the crib.

By now it was almost midnight and I was too pooped to even think about writing. Two intense, late nights in a row were taking their toll, and I admitted defeat in the writing challenge. There is not a very good chance I'll be able to finish it by tonight, and have it validated for the 50k word count.

This is extremely frustrating to me because it makes it feel like all the hours I spent writing were for nothing, and just a big waste of time now. Plus, to fall short just a little over 5k from the goal is like kicking a body while they are down.

Oh, and just when I got into a nice deep sleep, guess who woke up? What is with this child? He must be allergic to sleep. Around 3 a.m., he was awake, but not bright eyed, so he thankfully fell back asleep quickly in our bed, snuggling with Mama. I was getting a kink in my back from whatever odd angle I was at, so I slipped off the bed, surround the child with pillows and extra blankets on one side, and told Dale I was going out to the couch. He got the part that Isaac was still in bed with him, but mumbled something at me incoherently. I have no clue what he said.

Before Dale left this morning he told me two things. 1) Isaac was in his crib so I didn't have to worry about him rolling off the bed. And 2) to try to get some writing time in today and when he got home I could write like crazy to try and beat the deadline.

Yeah, well... homeschooling 7 children doesn't leave a whole lot of time, but, hey, you never know! I am dubious but think I'll give it the ol' college try. If you see a cute little button on my blog tomorrow on the sidebar then you know I accomplished my goal. If not... well, best not to mention it. I may have to have an over tired, over caffinated, first class melt down.

Either that or a nap. :D

I know what you are thinking. All the time I spent here typing all this out I could have been writing on my story.

Yes and no. The problem is that I have been interrupted a billion times by kids and by someone at the door who wanted Dale, but ended up chatting with me for way too long. Whenever I am interrupted, it isn't a matter of just starting up again. There is lost momentum that has to be recovered, and my train of thought redirected. No offense, but for blog writing, it doesn't really matter. But for a story line, you kind of have to pay attention, if that makes any sense.

Before I go and check on Sleeping Beauty and maybe get a little while of writing in, here are a couple of awesome freebies this week.

This first one GET IT NOW. It was actually for yesterday, but I downloaded it this morning because of some puter issues I was having yesterday. It actually had nothing to do with the scant 3% free memory. Much to my embarrassment, it was pilot error. .

The Hiawatha Primer for grades 2-3. Could be tweaked for any age, really. This is a fantastic resource. Make sure you RIGHT CLICK and SAVE AS or you may not download. Usually the links on that page you can just click and it will automatically download, but this link didn't and I thought there was a problem with the site and tinkered and tried and finally figured it out this morning. I strongly encourage you to try this primer.

For Jerusha I have downloaded the Cinnamon Bear coloring book and the little online stories you can listen to are available until Christmas. Each chapter is about 15 minutes long. What a great little treat for the littles!

Okay, here is a great idea that I am going to do as soon as the writing crisis is over. An encouragement journal! You can make them for Christmas presents to give as family gifts, or just use it in your own home. One of my favorite bloggers, Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living has the tutorial on her blog, here.

Have a blessed day, ya'll.

I'm going to get more coffee.


Missionfieldof5 said...

"Did you know that technically speaking, your PC shouldn't be able to run on less than 20% of free memory? "

So where do you go to check out on your computer...where this information is at?

My hubby is really computer savvy but I thought I would just check on my own...lol

Anonymous said...

Ganbatte Lisa!! (means = stick with it! Don't quit!) Oh, how I laughed and understood your post. We have had sick, cranky kids all week, and LOTS of late nights and VERY little sleep. :) No way, I could write coherently at this point (did I spell that right?) If your book is as funny as your blog is, it'll be a hoot to read!


Lisa said...

Thank you Shellee! I doubt if anyone will ever read that little tale. Consider it a rough draft, of a rough draft, of a rough draft.

I have NO clue how to tell how much memory your computer. I think there must be something you click on in My Computer Panel or something like that. My Dad used to work with computers for a living before he retired so this stuff is like breathing to him.