Monday, October 18, 2010

Water Woes

I woke up Saturday morning before the alarm went off. We had a busy day planned, so I fought the urge to roll over and go back to sleep, and got up instead. After saying good morning to my husband, who was already busy surfing the 'net, I went to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. But first, I had to deal with the pile of recyclables taking up space on my countertop. Cans were crushed, plastic smashed, and glass bottles gently placed in the bin.  Then, finally, the coffee was set to brew.  Time to deal with the hand-wash-only dishes. I turned on the water and reached for the sponge and... the water dropped to a bare trickle.  Uh-oh!

The water going out is never a good thing.  For most people, it means you call the water company to report an outage and then wait for them to get it fixed.  When you live in the country, like we do, you don't have a water company... you have a well.  When you have a well, you call the well repair company and wait for them to come fix it... and hope that it's something simple (cheap) to fix.  (There are not a lot of cheap parts on a water well.)

This is not the first time we've had our well repaired.  Not surprising.  We've lived in the house for 20 years, and things are bound to break if you hang around long enough.  We were fortunate enough to find a wonderful company in Conroe - McKnight's Water Well Service.  If you're in the area, and need this kind of service, give them a call.  They're fast, they do a good job for a fair price, and they don't recommend unnecessary repairs (if it can last six months, they'll tell you to wait). 

This time, it was the pump. It was an easy repair - took less than half an hour - but it wasn't cheap. As he was leaving, Mr. McKnight informed us that he has personally replaced every working part of our well, except for the float valve (replaced before we found McKnight's) and the cement storage tank (if that ever needs replacing we have serious problems indeed). We should be good for a while now (I hope) and, while we like Mr. McKnight, we hope we don't have to see him again any time soon.

After spending the rest of the day (11 hours) working at the school's fall festival, that hot shower felt so good!  The new pump?  Worth. Every. Penny.

 Disclaimer: McKnight's Water Well Service did not reimburse me for mentioning their business in my blog. (They don't even know about it.)  I am just a satisfied customer who highly recommends this company.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Half-Time Show

Most folks refer to this time of year as football season, but at our house, it's marching band season. The after school practices, the Friday night games, the weekend competitions... they have been a part of my son's life for four years now.  Aside from providing black socks, washing the band shirt and shorts, and attending a couple of games every season, I haven't really been involved with the marching band... until this year.

This is Jimmy's last year of high school, his last year of marching band, so I decided to become an active member of the band boosters.  Yes, I am officially a Band Mom.  I ride on the bus with the kids to games and competitions, help move equipment on and off the field, pass out water, take pictures or run the video camera, and answer to "mama" for 60+ teenagers. 

At first, I thought that I would be spending a lot of extra time with my son, but that isn't the case. We drive to and from the school together and see each other while moving equipment, but that's about all.  The rest of the time I am in the stands dancing and cheering with the other moms.  We try to pay attention to the game and cheer when our team scores, but we know we are all there for only one thing... half-time!  The team may win or lose, but the band always puts on a great show.

Last Saturday I attended my first band competition.  Working on very little sleep after the previous night's game, we arrived at the school at 6:00 AM.  After a quick review of video and a walk-through of their routine, we boarded the bus for the 1-1/2 ride to the host school. We arrived around 8:30 and started preparing for the 10:00 performance. After performing, the kids watched the other bands to see what their competition had to offer, and waited for the awards ceremony.

Evidently, the judges were impressed with our little band from Panther Land. They gave them a rating of 1, and awarded them with trophies for Outstanding Drum Line, Outstanding Drum Major, and Outstanding Overall Performance.  After three years of "almost, but not quite," the kids were thrilled to win three out of five categories for their division. 

I am so glad that I decided to be a part of this amazing group of individuals. I'd like to attend every single game and competition, unfortunately other committments will prevent this, but you can bet I will be there every time I can... with bells on.  Yes, I said bells.  Go Panthers!!

Due to my recent hospital stay and my new Band Mom duties, I've fallen behind on my 52 Organizing Missions. I plan to continue with the project and I have a few updates to add. 
  • #10 Clear out your closet. I pulled out a large bag full of clothes that I no longer wear. Still plenty of stuff that needs to be weeded out. I'd like to pull out everything and evaluate each item - something to plan for the future.  Done (for now).
  • #11 Create your wardrobe wish list.  I have more than enough clothes to meet my current needs. No need for a wish list.  Done.
  • #12 Organize your accounts and credit cards. Did this one several years ago. We have one checking account and a 529 savings for my son's college (next year!!!!). The credit cards have been whittled down to 4 - a gas card and 3 majors - and they are all paid in full every month. Done.
I'm expecting #25 tomorrow, so I have a lot of catching up to do.  Maybe when marching band season is over...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Will Work for Wheels

There comes a time when you begin to wonder if your vehicle is worth keeping. You know... when you spend more time at the repair shop than you do on the road, or when the repair bill is more than your paycheck.  This is where I am today. Once again, I'm waiting on a mechanic to finish working on my truck.

I've considered trading my '03 Explorer for a newer model, but now I feel like I have to keep it for a while longer to justify all the money that I've just put into it. Last week it was brakes and struts (and a few related things) - $2800. Then it was new tires - $550.  And now I am looking at the possibility of having to replace the rear end - another $2500. Ugh! I'm working just to keep my truck running!

I do have to tell you that I'm really fortunate to have found a great shop to handle all my repairs - Milstead Automotive. They do a great job, they don't try to sell you repairs that you don't need, and they stand by their work. And no, they did not pay me anything to mention their services - I am just so happy with them that I felt I had to share. If you are in The Woodlands or Conroe area, this is a great place to take your vehicle.  If you go there, you might see me... patiently working on my laptop as I wait for them to complete yet another repair.