I have a few potential posts I want to write, but things have been a bit busy around here.
1. I spent a long time troubleshooting a memory problem and then waiting a while for Dell technical support, only to find that once they've sent me my memory I still only have 128 MB instead of the 256 MB I'm supposed to have. It turns out one of the motherboard ports was bad in addition to one of the memory chips not working. I thought I tried every combination before getting off the phone with the guy, and I though both ports were working. I must have gotten things backwards in repeatedly turning the computer over to open up the bottom and then to turn it back on when done. Well, the new motherboard should solve a few minor problems that were beginning to annoy me as well, and it's nice to be operating at normal speed again. The nice thing about having a Dell complete care warranty is that they fix anything with no questions asked. I just hope they let me renew it when it expires in May. They're phasing this model out, and we're not ready to buy another computer. Sam's computer is already out of warranty, and they wouldn't let me pay ridiculous amounts of money to renew it for another year. Add to all this that my computer has been really slow lately due to the memory problem, and I've had to wait a little bit just to switch from one window to another. What's really disturbing is that Sam's computer is doing the same thing, and as far as I know she has no problem with her RAM.
2. We've finally begun our long-awaited attempt to make our windows less of a heat sink. It's good that someone who knows what he's doing is doing it, but we had to wait a while to get him. I believe we first talked to him before Thanksgiving. (There's also a currently underway renovation to this blog's design by Wink, but all I have to do is look at what he comes up with and tell him what I think. With a real life person working on our house, I have to talk to him about what he's doing and run and drive him to the hardware store when he needs stuff, since he gets dropped off by his wife.)
3. I'm spending far more time than usual wrangling three crazy kids due to having nowhere immediate to go and no immediate deadline to meet. I think I need to go to campus if I want to work, but that feels weird during a break.
4. We waited around yesterday for a home visit from an organization that will provide 10 free hours of child care a month for us because of Ethan's diagnosis of autism. We got a call an hour after the appointment saying that she wasn't coming. We found out today that it was ultimately because of a fire in her building, among other things, so I don't blame her, but it was annoying, and we'd spent hours earlier that day hastily cleaning up what amounted to a huge mess from before we'd left for Christmas.
5. We returned after almost two weeks away to piles of stuff to clean up. Most of our boxes and bags are still unpacked even after all the work cleaning up what was a mess before we'd even left. We also had next to no food in the house. We're two shopping trips later. I still keep wanting to go shopping to pick up things I want to eat that we don't have. We also would have run out of diapers for Isaiah this morning if my trip out to the hardware store didn't also involve stopping into the pharmacy next door to get some more of his size. That wasn't one of the shopping trips, either.
6. We now have to sit with Ethan for an hour a day while he learns that he needs to use the potty. He's been peeing in the toilet since summer, but he likes to use his pants for #2. If we let him get up off the potty for a few minutes unsupervised during this time, we find him in his room with his pants back on and already filled up with a treat. He's now used the potty three times, once at my parents' house and two here. After an hour today, he finally managed his third.
7. Reading to Ethan at night has also become time consuming. It's the only way to get him enjoying going to bed, and he wants to read multiple books. Unfortunately for my time, the best use of books at bedtime is to get him answering questions that he's been learning how to answer. It's fun, and it's great for him, but it was difficult during my grading rush, and it adds on to everything else in this list even if it's not that great a time commitment by itself. Right now Ehtan's identifying words on the page. He can basically read quite a few words now, and he can sound out words he hasn't encountered before, or at least we think he can. All he's demonstrated is the ability to tell us what letter words begin with, often completely obscure words he's never seen written out. I asked him yesterday what 'Swahili' begins with, and he answered correctly. That means he's just about got the basic skills necessary for reading. All he needs to be able to do is put them together over longer words, and he recognizes enough words that I wonder if he can do that but just isn't because we haven't brought it out of him in the right sort of way.
7. I discovered yesterday that I'm being switched at less than two weeks notice to teach a different class from the one I've been thinking for months that I would do. Now I have to work out very quickly what my schedule and readings will be. I need to make time to prepare for the new stuff I'm using to replace the stuff that didn't quite work out last time. It was fun dealing with an angry bookstore manager who never even got word about the previous change in who was teaching this course (yes, this is the second switch for this exact course). My students are going to be showing up with all manner of books the first day. I just hope my order comes in early enough that they can immediately go and switch what they've got for the real books.
8. I just got what looks to be an excellent commentary review publication, as per John Glynn's recommendation, and now I want to read it. It's lengthy enough that it's going to take a while, and I'd planned to spend most of my reading time this week finishing the introduction to D.A. Carson's John commentary, which I'd read sections of almost a year ago and decided to finish off this break. I was hoping to be done before we resume our study of John in the sermons beginning with John 13 this coming Sunday. That's looking unlikely at the moment, but I might make a concerted effort to eschew catching up on all the blogs I've been ignoring for weeks due to dialup in New York City, a busier schedule in NH than usual, and everything on this list upon our return. Sam wants to have Christmas here next year, and maybe that would give me more time to use a break for what a break should be for: rest, relaxation, and reading (almost exact synonyms, of course, except that the first too also involve sleep). Of course, we might end up traveling anyway during the break but just not on Christmas itself, or family might come here to see us.
9. I do have this dissertation thing to be working on, and I need to figure out how to work some regular dissertation time into my weekly schedule this semester, but I was especially hoping to put in at least a few solid hours figuring out exactly what I want to present to my potential advisor, when I manage to get in touch with her to schedule a meeting to figure out which direction I should go in. That would, I hope, give me more motivation to keep working once I have other immediate concerns distracting me during the semester.
[Note: One of the previous list items has a serious mistake in it that most readers probably won't even notice: booby prize to the first person who points it out in the comments. I expect many won't even notice but will be kicking themselves for not picking up on it when you discover it. Those who know it as a classic example must please refrain from commenting. I want to see if anyone picks up on it more naturally.]