February 11, 2014: Dad Comes to Babysit

Today is Tuesday and today dad is spending the day on Amtrak working his way down to Peekskill to stay with the girls for the week. He leaves around eleven and, if all goes well, we should see him before seven. If he is on time Dominica and the girls will get him and if he is running late I will be picking him up.

This morning was a very cold one. Seven degrees when I went out to warm up the car. Quite nippy. I took out the garbage and the recycling to get the space in the kitchen cleaned up and did some cleaning in the living room while waiting for the car to get warm enough to drive. Even with all of this need to warm up the car for up to half an hour before leaving in the mornings my fuel efficiency has taken another bump up and the car’s lifetime average is now 34.7 MPG instead of 34.6 MPG. That’s the second increase I’ve seen since I got the last oil change that included the air filter change, that we knew was very much needed. That is the lifetime average at around 26,000 miles so gaining a tenth of a mile per gallon average increase is a huge deal. I continue to be extremely happy with the decision to buy the, rather silly, Chevy Spark. And Dominica still drives it anytime that she can. It has saved us a fortune already and we have not owned it all that long. It was one of our wiser investments. It has been acceptably good in the snow as well, which is pretty surprising, but the tiny wheels have something to do with that.

At least today is bright and clear. A good day for dad to be on the train. He has his new iPad but his train heading south does not have WiFi on it yet. He northbound train ride next week does, though. He has his T-Mobile 4G and should have a connection from time to time to get email.

I have the Amtrak app for my iPhone, as does Dominica, so we can track dad’s progress that way. Very handy. While at my desk I can track dad’s train in real time too via Amtrak’s site: http://www.amtrak.com/train-routes

Dad’s train was pretty delayed getting into Albany but made up some time heading down the Hudson River and I was able to leave the office in Connecticut at the perfect time to get out to Croton, New York at almost exactly the same time that dad’s train was pulling into the station at around a quarter past seven.

Liesl and Luciana was so excited to see grandpa. They were just exploding with excitement. They were screaming and bouncing off of the walls. They could not contain themselves at all. For a while they just ran back and forth through the house like crazed animals.

Dominica had managed to find someone in town who wanted our queen mattress and bed frame via Freecycle and they were coming at eight thirty tonight to pick them up. Dad and I had gotten to the house at a quarter to eight. The mattress was by the door and ready to go, no big deal there. But the bed frame that we were giving away was upstairs in the girls’ bedroom with dad’s bed made up on it. So we had to quickly go up and move it downstairs.

Moving the bed frame seemed like it would not be too hard of a task but when I tried to move it down the stairs I realized that the slats were going to fall off as I did it and would need Dominica’s help. When she came up to help we managed to get it heading down the stairs but then got stuck near the bottom as it would not fit through the available opening. Not good. We ended up having to disassemble it in situ in the stairwell. Less than ideal. That was a huge amount of effort and we were still getting the last pieces down the stairs when the two guys arrived to pick everything up. But we had it ready before they were done carrying the available parts out to their car so it worked out just fine.

We are so thankful for Freecycle. That worked out wonderfully. We would have hated to have thrown that bed frame or that mattress out. They were very high quality items when new and while the bed has taken some wear (mostly for our renters of four years) and the frame is less than fully intact they were both very usable and when assembled the bed frame was as functional and aesthetic as new. It is only when disassembled that the frame has any issues. Now they are off to a good home and we have a lot more space in our house.

Since that bed left, we had to go up to the attic and take down the folding queen bed frame that we had up there and put it together so that dad would have that to sleep on instead. So we made for ourselves a bit of work tonight but with that mattress gone the house, for the first time, is really feeling livable.

I did not get a chance to mention it or to pay attention because of the mattress work and screaming children but Dominica did a ton of cleaning in the house today. The Roomba was run all day long and the house is so much cleaner than it has been. It has been pretty rough living there and finally things are starting to look nice, like the house used to look when we lived here many years ago.

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