Saturday, January 8, 2011

K has a fabulous day

Yesterday was a very good day for K.

It started off as boring and quiet as any other. Got up, watched a little TV, ate some breakfast, got her schoolwork from mom, complained that I gave her a ton of work for history, then sat down and did it all. She "heart"ed her sister's writing page (that's what L calls it when someone puts hearts around the best letters) and gave up the folding table and stool to L, doing her own work while sitting on the floor.

But then, things got immensely better.

She finished her work first and got to go with me to Ikea to spend my Christmas gift card. I bought two desks and two swively, rolly office chairs (and I only went a little bit over my gift card - thanks Heather and Leah!). The desks are plain white table tops, but the legs came separately, so K asked if she could get two different colors. K picked black and silver legs for her desk and a dark gray chair and we got red and white legs for L and a red chair.

We came home and the girls helped assemble everything and we got them tucked away in the loft. They had a great time organizing their things on their new desks and getting their chairs adjusted just right. I'm hoping the desks make it easier for them to focus on their work and for me to teach Lydia how to sit quietly for more than 2 seconds. She's very high-energy and sitting still for church or concerts or presentations seems to be beyond her present abilities. So we're working on that.

We had dinner and the girls disappeared back to the loft while Mr. at Home and I lounged downstairs. And the conversation turned to jailbreaking iPhones. He had tried earlier in the week to unlock his, but it had caused issues with it. So he thought he'd try my old iPhone that is currently serving as a fancy iPod.

Remember when I mentioned that the transmission went out on my car? Well, something inside had simply broken and there is absolutely no way to fix it. We had to decide between replacing the transmission or the car, so we gathered all the information we could, including having a long talk with our service guy. I can't say enough good things about our service guy. He's at the local Kia dealership and they do all the work on our cars because he has proven himself incredibly trustworthy and honest about what needs to be done and what doesn't. It's hard to find a good mechanic and we've had all kinds of experiences with other dealerships and shops and I will never voluntarily leave this guy.

After our talk with the service guy and a talk with a sales rep, we decided to fix the transmission. So we're looking at putting out a lot of money next week. And we also decided that we're going to start setting aside a "car payment" each month into a savings account so that when the car does start costing more to maintain than to buy a new one, we have the money to put toward a new one.

All that rabbit trail does indeed lead back to K's red letter day. Our "car payment" that we're going to start saving is having to come out of budget somewhere and that means a few things have to change. We've been eating at home more, combining trips, being more conscious of only buying what we need, and not going to the store at all if we can avoid it. Mr. at Home has been researching ways to save money on one of our major expenses - cell phones. We both have smart phones with data plans. We have the lowest number of minutes available and only a small number of text messages, but it's still very expensive. He discovered that Walmart has a family plan that's much cheaper than our current provider and would allow us to pay for only what we actually use, but we've had so much trouble with reception at our house that we've been wary about trying it.

So last night we decided to use a different old phone of mine and try the Walmart plan. Our old provider was very nice and gave us an unlock code for the phone, which untethered it from their network so we could use on the new network. It wasn't very late, so we loaded up the car and took the phone down to our local Walmart where they hooked us up with a new sim card and a new phone number and we handed the phone over to K.

We've been promising to get a cell phone she could use for awhile. We don't have a home phone and while she's perfectly capable of staying home by herself or babysitting her sister, we didn't feel comfortable leaving her home without a phone. So now she has a phone (and it does work very well in our house) and her parents are footloose and fancy-free! Woohoo!!

Oh, and K was excited, too.

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