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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Manor Fever

Snow on fenceBetween working at home as usual on Wednesday and Thursday, and icy roads on Friday keeping me here, I’ve mostly been cooped up in the Manor with Mason. Mrs. Fetched’s mom came up to watch him when I was working, but I had him all to myself most of yesterday and Mrs. Fetched has once again bolted for the chicken houses this morning and I’m skipping church (if it hasn’t been cancelled).

Friday evening, Mr. Sunshine and his entire family (including J’s oldest from her first marriage, Kobold) came up to the manor to visit and eat — the good thing there is J makes quesadillas so we don’t have to cook. Kobold has, just in the last week, moved back from Indiana with his fiance and their 2-year old daughter (more about her later) — he left a few years ago, fed up with Mr. Sunshine and the control-freakery streak that seems to run pretty deep in that side of the family, to live with his bio-father and that side of the family. While he was up there, he picked up an affinity for farming and stepped right in to help Mrs. Fetched after Panda found more lucrative work. Mrs. Fetched and Kobold had run into a major electrical problem with the feed lines — as in, fire and flames. She described the problem to me, and I figured (from listening to her) that I had a pretty good idea what was causing the problem. Mistake #2: I said I thought I knew what it was. Since the repair dude was stuck with impassible roads between here and there, I got volunteered to see if I could fix it.

Saying “Mistake #2” above is not a misprint… Mistake #1 is one I should have learned not to make last time: assuming Mrs. Fetched has correctly diagnosed the problem. I’ve noticed in the last few months that her vision has been a bit off — I have to read fine print for her, for example — and she won’t admit there’s a problem. But I digress. When she said she “saw fire shooting out the downspout,” I wrongly assumed that she really saw it. Therefore, I was expecting a short in the motor housing, where she was expecting something actually in the feed line. Thus, up the ladder I go to inspect the wiring (she’d removed the cover earlier) and to pull the downspout bracket off the line. Seeing nothing obvious — no burned spots, no loose wires — I came down and had her hit the breaker while I looked up. There was a bright orange flash, all right, but it was down in the feed hopper… and then I saw smoke coming off the plug where the switch connects to the system. She should have seen the smoke, but more importantly, she should have taken the methodical approach and checked the easy stuff first. There is no time more wasted then time wasted in unnecessary diversions at the chicken houses.

Sad MasonNow Mason’s a pretty good kid, at least most of the time. One attribute he’s picked up from The Boy, though, is that he fights going to sleep — and last night, he did a fine job of keeping it at bay for quite a while.

He’s old enough now that he can associate things: like eating (especially a warm bottle) makes him sleepy — and does very well at communicating concepts like “DO NOT WANT!!!” without words as we know them. So he started fighting before 10, and was up way past 11 last night; it was an ultimately losing battle, but I suppose every minute staying awake is a victory of sorts…

So he was sucking his fist, which is usually the “I’m hungry” sign, so we got the bottle warmed up and gave it to him. He sucked on it for a few seconds, his eyes started flagging, then he jerked away from the bottle and squalled. Rocking wasn’t doing it either — he knows what that’s for, and doesn’t want anything to do with it. Fortunately, I have an ace in the hole. His dad liked to swing, his Aunt Daughter Dearest loved to rock, and his happy thing is getting walked around. Mrs. Fetched says I spoiled him, but I discovered it by accident when he was a few weeks old — I had him, he was crying, and I remembered his plug (pacifier, it stops up the noise… sometimes) was in the bedroom. So I carried him with me, and he stopped crying before I’d gotten to the bedroom. So when he won’t rock, he’ll still let me walk him around, and he’s settling down before I reach the bedroom. A few laps through the house is usually enough to get him calmed down enough where we can finish rocking him to sleep.

I’ve learned a few things about Mason in the last few days. I knew he catnaps through the day — anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, and you never know how long until he wakes up — but I found that once he eats (it doesn’t make him sleepy when he just woke up) and I play with him for about an hour, he’s worn out and ready for another nap. That won’t last long… probably sooner than later, he’ll start consolidating the catnaps into a longer afternoon nap. But by then, he should be scooting around in a walker and wearing himself out.

Meanwhile, Daughter Dearest has had dorm fever — she wanted to come home this weekend, but the main highway has been closed. I think it finally got cleared out last night, so we’re going to meet for lunch.

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