Friday, August 31, 2007

Husband and Wife Roles

Dan and I don't go out of our way to play your typical husband and wife roles, but we don't go out of our way to not play them either. For example, Dan typically takes out the trash. He also mows the lawn. I do a lot of the grocery shopping. Dan changes Will when we are out in public. Dan waters the plants outside. I do a lot of vacuuming. I stay home with Will 3 days of the work week. This just works for us.

But tonight we did experience a bit of a role reversal. Dan (and Will) ended up at Costco in California, calling me for advice about which laundry detergent to buy. I was glad he called because I was stuck in Virginia trying to figure out why the toilet in the half bathroom was not filling properly. Ultimately neither of us was very helpful over the phone, we had to figure out our problems on our own. Here is how my experience went...

When I got to our condo in Virginia, Tuesday, the first thing I noticed was that the toilet was running. As no one has been in our condo since May, who knows how long this has been going on. So, I set down my luggage and opened the tank. Sure enough, the flapper was warped. Later I went to Home Depot and got a new flapper which I installed today while the Air Conditioning Guy was servicing our poor air conditioner. (There's a lot going on for the condo this week. Hence, the reason I am here.) Later, I noticed that while the flapper stayed in place, the toilet would run for a long time. Instead of spraying to fill, it was kind of dribbling. At first when I asked Dan about this, he said, "it sounds like you have a pressure problem." Ok, that might be it, maybe I didn't turn the water back on fully after I installed the flapper.

So, I turned the water on all the way. Still no spraying to fill. I start poking around. I love taking things apart and putting them back together so that they work. I used to do it with my toys when I was a kid. I wiggled and prodded. And, of course, I found the sliding thing that holds the float assembly tightly to the toilet. Now remember, the water pressure was still all the way on. Let's just say that pressure was there. The damp bathroom ceiling proves that. And fortunately I knew where the shut off valve was. However, it takes a couple of turns to get it shut off. My damp head, shirt, pants, and face prove that.

After being sprayed with toilet water, I got smart and began testing with the water turned completely off. Ultimately I got the float assembly taken apart, then put back together, then finally adjusted so that it actually works.

As I sit here and hear the water shut off for the full toilet tank, I breathe a sigh of relief.

Now I must go on to next condo project. Perhaps I should call Dan to see if he remembers how to re-set the filter indicator on our now functioning air conditioner.

Dan: "If I was standing there, I could tell you which buttons to push."
Me: "I'm standing here, I'll figure it out eventually."

Fortunately this is a much drier task than the toilet one. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unemployed... Again

It seems that I have difficulty keeping my job. That happens when you move around with your husband for 6 months at a time, both across the country and the world. The job that I spent 5 years in was abruptly interrupted when Dan and I moved to California (the first time) back in 2004. Fortunately, I was re-hired 5 months later. However, that only lasted until we moved to Japan, total employment lasting about 8 months. This began my episode of unemployment that lasted for almost a year. Of course, during this time I was pregnant, giving birth, then not sleeping, and had a brief contract when Will was 3 months old. At the end of this year long "break" I was happy to return to work. Now, about 10 months later, I find myself once again facing the lack of excitement that comes with being unemployed. But I didn't even move this time! It is baffling.

So basically, if anyone is looking for someone to create large-set automated data analysis programs using Audit Command Language, I am available. The queries that I have written in the past have saved over $60 million. (I earn my keep!) I make the queries automated and user-friendly which means that I usually program myself out of a job until a more complex task comes along (which it always does). I am great at documenting (which is probably why I never became a "real" programmer in C++ or Perl). I can write training documents, present solutions to upper management, and create and implement project plans in MSProject. I have led project teams both locally and remotely. I have a Statistics background in my degree (Economics and Political Science double major). I am familiar with Sarbanes Oxley. I was even an auditor in a past job. I am super-efficient. I have experience in Workers' Compensation, Purchase Card, Contracts, Facilities, Payroll, Financial Systems, Information Systems logs, and Credit Card Fraud. Basically I am very employable. Now I just need to find the appropriate company/agency who can meet my simple demands.

My simple demands:
  • Part-time Contract work (20 hours or so per week)
  • Work from Home, but willing to travel
  • Prefer higher hourly rate over benefits
Who wouldn't want this cheesy mug on a company id badge?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Will's Most Expensive Toy Ever

Yup, Dan and I have gone overboard, providing cutting-edge technology to our baby. We just bought him the most expensive toy we could. Is it a Smart Cycle Physical Arcade Learning System? Is it a Power Wheels Ford Mustang? No. Is it an I-Que Personal Robot? Based on our current robot obsession, you would think so, but no.

We bought Will a personal DVD player. Yup. Actual non-toy technology for him to use as a toy. Before you say that we are crazy parents who let their kid watch too much TV, um, yes, we already know that. We are those parents who told themselves that they would read their kid books instead of setting them down in front of the glowing electronic baby-sitter. But, like most real-life parents, we succumbed to the temptation of the quiet, zoned-out baby. We are able to do stuff like cook dinner, vacuum up Cheerios, and check our email. All with the use of the simple TV device.

Why a personal DVD player? Up until Will learned to crawl, he was great on planes. He could sleep, nurse, or eat snacks for hours. Then, once he realized that he didn’t have to stay in the plane seat, he was impossible to keep still. Fortunately we haven’t needed to go anywhere since April. But now we are taking a couple of different trips, starting tomorrow. Plus, I will be flying alone with him this week and Dan will be flying alone with him next week. We consider the portable DVD player to be the extra parent that isn’t going to be along. I told you we were the crazy parents.

Will it work? We have tried it out at home and Will seems very excited about it. He has learned how to use the headphones and only stops to say “oh-oh” when they fall out of his ears and he wants us to put them back in. So, if all goes well, my 4-5 hour flight tomorrow should go very smoothly.

Will Learning About Head Phones
While Watching "Handy Manny"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Where Are You?

We have heard that there are people reading our blog from many locations. If you would like know more, check out the following map. Of course, we have been lame lately about actually posting stuff, but we hope that you are still checking up on us sometimes.

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Just wanted to try the map out. Lynn and Derek put one on their blog, so we thought we would try it out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Roomba Success and Disappointment

We acquired a Roomba. It is awesome. It wanders across the floor, sucking up dirt and food. It searches under the couch for missing toys. It even beeps happily when it is done cleaning.

We have been unable to select a name for our Roomba. Is the Roomba male? Female (as Elaine claims)? We were hoping that Will would name the Roomba. So far, he has only come up with Bo-Bo. Perhaps that will work.

What is our disappointment with the Roomba? We were hoping for funny videos of the Roomba chasing Will or Will chasing the Roomba. Most of the time Will simply watches it warily. Sometimes he lets it run into his feet and turn around. But no funny videos.

Will is as helpful as always when it comes to the Roomba. If we happen to lose it under a chair, we can ask, "Where is Roomba?" and he will drop down to the floor on his tummy and look for the Roomba.

Now if only we could find a cleaning robot to take care of this...

Friday, August 03, 2007


Someone asked in the comments if was gone. Nope. It's still around. After about 3 years of being hosted on a service provider who was gradually becoming more and more unresponsive, we switched new a new service provider (1and1), but we've yet to create a webpage there. (see previous post about general level of activity.)

At any rate, our e-mails still work:

My baby has a middle name...

I know, I know, I haven't posted in a long time. We switched from every day Will school to only two days a week. This means that while he is at "The Launching Pad" I have to diligently work. Less free time for posting to the blog. So, while I can't catch up on everything that has happened in the past 4 months, I can at least start with this one.

When we named Will, we came up with a new first name and a middle name. And we decided to stick with Kroboth for the last name.

For the first name, we went with William. There are many theories as to how we came up with that name. Was Will named after: William Riker? William Shatner? Wil Wheaton? William the Conqueror? Dan's Grandma's brother? William Clinton? William Tell? William Shakespeare? It is a mystery. In any case, the name William means "protector."

To get a middle name, we queried our Japanese friends to find a name that we liked that also meant protector, hence "Kengo." Depending on the kanji that you select, the name can have different meanings. Being new, sleep-deprived parents who were in the middle of an international, and then cross-country, move, we didn't initially select the kanji for Kengo. But, back on Will's 1st birthday in April, we finally selected the kanji. There is one character for each syllable. Here it is, "KEN-GO"

The first syllable, "KEN" means wisdom. The second syllable, "GO" means protection or guarding. Perhaps we have some Japanese friends who have actual knowledge about the kanji could describe more specifically what the two kanji mean together.

So now, if Will ever goes to Japan, he already has a pronounceable name and something to put on his business cards. Just looking out for Will's future.