November 11
    Hooray!  The new laptop is finally up and running and internet service is installed.  After looking around for a few weeks, we decided to stay with AOL because it has more of the features the kids and I like.  Just not doing much surfing yet as the computer didn't come with an anti-virus program and at this time McAfee isn't available through AOL because they're working on a new version that will include it free.

    Matt and Megan didn't have school today.  The middle and high schools were off to free the staff for parent/teacher conferences.  The elementary schools were open, however, because they were closed two days last week for the conferences.  I had to work, of course, but got to sleep in just a bit later.  Megan went to work with me.  She likes to ride along on the bus and today I had a trip during the day that she went on, too.  It was a nice day together and we got to have lunch out and take a nice long walk around Ethel Lake in Derry.  Megan enjoyed seeing the swans, geese and ducks as well as some very large carp.
    I had to meet with Megan's team of teachers after work.  It was pretty much the same thing I hear every year....lovely girl, pleasant, helpful, etc., but unfocused, unorganized, undisciplined, unmotivated and the biggie, assignments not done.  One thing I noticed is that all of the male teachers were very positive and encouraging while the female teachers were all negative and discouraging.  I wonder why that is?  Anyway, I came away with a real sense of having them behind the efforts I make at home now that we've talked and are all on the same page.  Hopefully, we'll be able to reign Meg in and help her to focus on what she needs to be doing.  The teachers are all bending over backward to help her get her work done so if she fails, it is really her fault.
    I lost another piece of my temporary filling.  There isn't much left at this point, but I have to hang in there until the 22nd.  This past Monday I had two teeth prepped for crowns and temporaries put on.  I had to go back to work and the dentist ran out of time to prep the third tooth so is planning to do it when I go back to have the permanent crowns put on the other two.
    Matt found two eggs today.  Those are the first in a couple of weeks, at least.  We put lights in the coop a week or so ago and are feeding them a higher protein feed so maybe they'll start laying again.  Sure hope so.
    Beautiful weather today.  It started out cold with frost, but warmed up to about 60 this afternoon with lots of sunshine until early evening when it started clouding up and raining.
November 12
    All of the schools were closed today so I had the day off.  I'd planned to sleep in, but woke up with Tim and couldn't fall back to sleep.  I didn't want to wake the kids up so sat and read for a long while.  Once she woke up, Megan wanted to cook breakfast.  She made pancakes and did a pretty good job.  We really didn't do much at all this morning.  It was cold and rainy, one of those days that makes you want to curl up somewhere.
    After lunch we did go to Wal-mart.  I canceled a layaway we'd made back in September.  Most of the things I had in it for the kids' Christmas weren't going to work any more.  I had asked them to make me their official Christmas wish lists earlier this week and found there really wasn't any overlap at all.  I found a beautiful print fleece that has Cardinals and Chickadees on snow-covered pine branches and a coordinating creamy yellow fleece.  I bought a yard and a half of each and plan to make my Nana one of those no-sew blankets from them.  It will be big enough to cover her if she lies down, but not so big it can't be a lap robe.  If it turns out well, I am going to buy something more colorful and make Megan one, too.  She has been asking.
    Matt quit his job at a local Italian restaurant earlier in the week.  It really was a miserable place to work so we told him it was long as he got serious about finding something else right away.  He isn't really doing that, but I did get him to apply at Pizza Hut while we were out.  It took him over half an hour to fill out the application.  I'm not sure how many pages were in it, but he said the last four were all math problems!
    Tim had another bad day at work.  Seems like there are more bad days than good on this job site.  Anything and everything that can go wrong does just that.  The excavating company alone has ripped out the water lines four times.  They've made a lot of other mistakes, too.  I asked why the company couldn't just fire them and Tim said it was because it'd be too hard to find a replacement in the middle of the job and also because at this point the excavating company is responsible for all the mistakes, not the company Tim works for.
November 13
    Tim had to work today, but I did manage to sleep in until 7:00.  The house was so cold!  I couldn't believe Tim didn't notice.  He is usually very sensitive to cold.  I guess maybe he is getting less so since we've been keeping the house a bit cooler than we used to.  Anyway, a quick check showed we still had plenty of fuel and the pilot was lit.  Beyond that, I don't know what to do, so called Tim.  He told me how to disconnect a couple of wires and reconnect them to reset the starter.  About 20 minutes later, right after I got a good fire going, the furnace started.
    The kids and I spent the morning and part of the afternoon doing the cleaning and laundry.  I wanted to get everything looking good before our friends, Dave and Helen came.  Their daughter stayed with Matt and Megan tonight while we went out to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  The actual day is this coming Wednesday, but we most likely wouldn't have time to go out during the week so decided to go out this weekend.  We went to a local place called Halula's that's been around for years.  We all had the steak and lobster pot, which is a specialty.  Mm-mmm, they make the best steaks!  We drove to the mall and walked around there afterward and I was able to pick up two Christmas presents for Matthew.  By 9:00 all us old fogies were ready to head home, because we're all used to getting up early and going to bed early.  We sat around talking at the house for a while and enjoyed a piece of the pumpkin pie I had ordered from the high school band.
    Four eggs from the chooks today.
November 14  
    Woke up to a cold house again this morning.  Tim checked everything and discovered the tank was freezing up so he got it thawed and now has a light shining on it to give just enough heat to keep it thawed.  We didn't seem to have that problem last year, but sure did the year before.  I suggested Tim build some sort of protection for it so it doesn't keep happening.  He agrees that is what we need, but heaven knows when he will find the time.  Probably not until next weekend.
    Tim and I sat down and wrote out checks to pay the bills first thing.  I hate doing that.  Always seems like there's more going out all the time, but at least it's done until the next payday.  We did get a bit of an unexpected windfall in the process.  Tim was looking for a paper that I knew I had seen the day before on the dresser in our room.  We couldn't find it anywhere so I thought maybe it had fallen down behind the dresser.  It had, but when we pulled it out I also saw paper sticking out from underneath.  It turned out to be the check my mom had written to us last year for our anniversary.  Oops!  I talked to Mom and she said to go ahead and deposit it so that's a bit extra we hadn't counted on.
    I had thought to work on the kids' bathroom today.  It needs a good bit of brightening up and sprucing up.  I bought a double roll of a sage green gingham check wallpaper last week and wanted to get the trim painted and the paper hung today.  Tim and the kids painted the trim after breakfast, but the paper never got on the walls.  It was such a nice day that we decided to take some time to go to all the Christmas stores to look at trees.  We are looking for a much slimmer one for the livingroom, plus it's fun to see all the creative ways they decorate the trees.  I think we found the tree we want.  It's even pre-lit which is a big plus.  Everyone hates putting the lights on (or taking them off) so I usually end up doing it myself.  Guess we will get that out of the next pay.
    Megan asked to go to Best Buy while we were out.  She still had a gift card from last Christmas to use and found a Sims game for Gamecube.  Tim looked at digital cameras, Matt looked at components to rebuild the old computer so he can take it to school with him next year, and I drooled over a pretty fancy oven that had a smooth cooktop, the oven down near the floor and a big drawer that pulled out above the oven that was actually a microwave!  What  will they think of next?  There is already a refrigerator that has a plasma television in the door and one with a computer in the door.  What we came home with was the 2005 version of McAfee Virusscan.  Much more practical and now we can use the internet freely.
    Matthew talked us into having a late lunch at Nopalito's, a newer Mexican restaurant not far from home.  He had been there, but the rest of us hadn't.  It is very authentic and the food was delicious!  I had the Mexico City platter that was one each of beef, chicken and cheese enchiladas and rice.  Matt had a quesedilia (I know I spelled that wrong) and flan.  Tim and Megan had the tacos.  Megan is the only one that didn't like it.  She likes her homogenized, Americanized Taco Bell food.  She did like the chips provided on every table.  They refilled the basket as often as she asked and she really liked their salsa, which was pureed so she didn't have to deal with chunks.
    Tim's foot was bothering him by the time we got home so we didn't work on the wallpaper at all.  He doesn't remember hurting it and it doesn't hurt when he walks on it.  It's just some times when he bumps it the pain spreads over the top and bottom of his foot and lasts a while.  There is no swelling.  I want him to see the doctor because it was obvious it was pretty intense pain, but he isn't much for going himself, even though he always insists the kids and I go.  He took a long nap while I installed the virus program and the kids played Megan's new game.  We spent the evening taking turns playing on the computer and watching television.
    Eight eggs today.  I think the girls are back!
November 15
    Brrrr!  No snow, but COLD!  The temperature outside the kitchen window was only about 25 degrees this morning and I had to scrape a thick layer of frost off the car windows before work.  This is the first really heavy frost we've had and it was so pretty out on my bus route this morning.  The sun shining off the frost on all the trees and grasses made everything sparkle.  There's plenty of sun predicted for the whole day so the temperature is expected to reach the low to mid 50's. 
    Today is errand day for me.  I have to go to the bank and go about paying the bills that I can pay locally.  I also took care of the chickens this morning.  Feeding them is supposed to be one of Matt's chores, but no matter what we do he just refuses to be real regular about it.  I try to always check, but we're thinking that his irregular times maybe be putting stress on them and affecting the laying.  So, looks like I'm going to inherit the chore.
    Here's a good autumn recipe I found (and tried):
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 tart red apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup poppy seed salad dressing
2 tablespoons sour cream
Toss together cabbage and apple.  Combine dressing and sour cream, mix well and toss with cabbage mixture.  Chill.
*Really good served along with kielbasa and pierogies
Carpe diem!