Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy Decade to Will!

The children are ancient.  And now I have proof.  Will turned 10 years old.

Last year when he was 9 years old, he was not really in the party mood.  He has a tendency to be introverted and just isn't into partying.  So we took him to the Lego Store at Downtown Disney and had him pick something.  He selected one of the most complex Lego Technic Sets that have been released.  The LEGO Technic 42009 Mobile Crane MKII.

Large Crane moved to France with us
This year, we looked into having an event at an indoor sky diving place as Will has oddly mentioned that he is interested in that activity.  We know they exist in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but didn't get a chance to check them out in person before we moved out of the area.  Since we were going to be in Michigan for Will's birthday, we thought we would check Grand Rapids for something like this.  After searching for it though, we realized that people would rather do actual sky diving in Western Michigan than pretend indoor skydiving.  Will accepted our proposed alternative, going to the indoor trampoline place.

We (me, primarily) also needed cake, so we went to Meijer and picked up this cupcake dragon.

We didn't feel like renting out a party room at the trampoline place.  They tend to have a weird sweaty vibe.  Fortunately, we discovered a Dave and Buster's a block away from Sky Zone and made a reservation there for post-bouncing food and cupcake consumption.

Guests?  We could have celebrated with Will, Alex, Dan, myself, Dad and Lee.  But we sent out a note to our friends and ended up with 10 total kids at the event and a bunch of parents.  We got to connect and socialize with friends we haven't seen in a while, and we had some kids to eat the cupcakes.  (That's my cupcake story and I'm sticking to it.)

It was good we picked some indoor activities.  Because LATER THAT DAY...

Happy 10th birthday, Will!  Probably the snowiest birthday of your life.

How far has Will come in 10 years?  He has developed into a mature, risk-adverse, responsible child.  He enjoys analyzing information and how the world works.  He is talented in computer programming and debugging.  He enjoys spending time with Alex, even though Alex can sometimes be a little crazy.  He reads nearly all books.  While he isn't really into sports, he does enjoy playing ones where he can form a calculated strategy of winning.  We are looking forward to the pre-teen years as ones where he grows even more and learns to appreciate even more of the world.  

Awesome Things About France: Consistent Shower Temperature

Don't you hate it when you turn the shower on, then step in, only to have it burn or freeze your skin?  Or you take a long time to adjust the dial slightly, back and forth, until it is just the right temperature?

Back in 2005 when we were traveling in Austria, our hotel had an amazing shower feature.  You set the temperature on one side of the dial, then turn the water dial on the other side.  The water comes out at the predetermined temperature.  I thought that the technology behind this was instant hot water heaters.  However, the technology is much more simple.  There is a thermostat in the shower fixture.


38 degrees Celsius is nice

Perfectly heated water, immediately!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Je Suis MacGyver

Putting an entirely new house together comes with some challenges.

First Challenge:  Shower

Our shower room has a shower and a sink.  The shower has a shower curtain and liner, but the way that the basin of the shower is shaped, the curtain doesn't really keep the water in on the sides.  It falls down on the outside of the basin and runs off onto the floor in front of the sink.  This is less than ideal.

Flat Sides Cause Run-Off

You would think that there might be some sort of solution for this poor design.  However, that would require me to go to a hardware store or the French equivalent of a Home Depot and try to explain this problem to someone in French.  As I don't yet know the words for flat, run-off, and "block the water!" I was required to innovate.

What supplies do I have that might help solve this problem?

Vinyl Shelf Paper


Some Super Glue to Prevent Leaks

Now the water is re-routed into the basin.  Seriously, who designed this shower basin?!

Second Challenge: Kitchen Cabinets

Our kitchen cabinets are not the highest quality.  They are quite wobbly and not quite aligned properly.  Sometimes this misalignment causes drawers and doors to bump into each other, causing loose connections.  In one specific case, the cabinet door hit the utensil drawer and the drawer front came loose from it's sides.  This was held together by dowels.  Additionally, the slide that the drawer goes on was not connected fully on the front side.  Every time it got opened, it put a little pressure on the slide and it broke.

Broken Drawer Removed along with Broken Left Slide

 What supplies do I have that might help solve this problem?

Sticky Pad in Place of Broken Drawer Slide

Look! an IKEA Bag Clip, My Favorite Kitchen Item

Pliers to Modify Clip Inside

Screwdriver to use as Smoothing Chisel

More Clip Moidifications

Stick Clip on Side and Secure with Screw 

After reinforcing the drawer with some wood glue on the separated dowels, the cabinet was back in working order.  I also added screws to all of the other drawer slides so that they are all more stable.

Still a little out of alignment, but functional

More Challenges?  Bring them on.  Or not.  Living with completely working household items is also quite nice.