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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 7 ~ October 19, 2008
~ The Third One's a Doozey!

Getting Ready for School
Getting Ready for School
Hi Everyone! I hope your Autumn weather has been as spectacular as ours in New England. The leaves are at full peak now here in Rhode Island and on a crisp, sunny day the trees look like they are on fire because they are so bright with color. Fall has always been my favorite time of the year and regardless of this doom and gloom economy we're all facing right now, when I look outside and see nature giving us such a beautiful show-for FREE, it makes me stop whatever I'm doing and just smile.

Now, it's a good thing I have a memory like an elephant (just ask my kids and husband-I don't forget much!) because I'm relying on it to keep me warm the next few days. Remember that little incident I had with our dryer going on the fritz a few week's ago? We had no dryer for nearly three weeks because the part was backordered-hence I was drying our socks and underoos all over the neighborhood as they would blow off the line each day. And those towels!!! That scratchy, stiff feeling was almost not worth getting dry for after a hot shower. Next, the washer started acting up. Keep in mind now that these appliances are less than four year's old-and we paid for top-of-the line commercial grade products to boot!

My motto has always been that things tend to break in threes. For whatever reason, that has always been the case in our life. Well----this time proves no different. Although the washer and dryer went down within a week of one another, this third one took a little longer. Yesterday we had our first real cold snap of the season. I discovered this early Saturday morning as I stood freezing on the soccer field watching three of my kids play. Instead of wearing a parka like the prepared moms, I was perched in a fleece sweatshirt, paper thin legging sweatpants and sneakers with no socks. I never warmed up for the entire day, so by the time we settled in to watch our awesome Boston Red Sox take the field I told Brian we just had to turn the heat on. We try and wait till late October before flipping that switch "on" but I just couldn't stand it another second.

If I was going to be at my best cheering our guys on to their 3rd win of this final play-off series, I was going to need warm heat pumping through the vents, not just a glass of Chardonnay pumping through my veins!

Backing up just a quick second to the Red Sox-we are die-hard baseball fans in our house. With five sons and a husband who won a scholarship to college for pitching as well as soccer, how could I not love this All-American sport? I cheer louder than they do and my oldest sons can't believe I know every player's stats, averages and at bats against opposing pitchers! Pretty impressive, huh?

So we flipped the switch on and that heavenly warm air started filling the family room. We were eating our popcorn, laughing and taking bets on how many homeruns would be hit during the first couple of innings when I realized that the warm, toasty air was suddenly icy. I set my Chardonnay down and stood right under the vents to see if the air was still blowing. Oh, it was. It just wasn't blowing hot air anymore (that's my job, I guess!); instead, ice cold air was pumping through the vents. The central air was running, not the heating system. Brian, one of the most wonderful husbands on earth has many terrific talents, but being handy is not one of them.

He checked everything out on the heating unit but couldn't figure out why the unit would only blow cold air. Hence, this third thing to break down is a real doozey because for the past 24 hours it's been in the 30's here, and now we have no heat. We sit and wait now-wait for the repair guy to give us a call back. It's been a long wait let me tell you and it's not looking too good for heat for tonight either.

I've already told the kids to get their warmest sweatpants and cozy sweatshirts out because they will need them to stay toasty tonight. And for Brian and I-I guess it will be a real cuddling night (don't worry, I'll stop there!) so that we can stay warm when the temps drop again.

In New England, the weather can change in an instant. Last weekend was Columbus Day, and we had splendid Indian Summer weather with temps in the 60's and a slight balmy breeze for three days. The kids were still wearing shorts to school as of this past Friday but come this Monday, their long pants and heavy Fall coats will be worn instead. Winter is definitely coming.

While this is just a temporary inconvenience for our family, I can't help but think about the many families that will be without heat all winter long due to the high cost of gas and utilities especially during this financial crisis we are all in the midst of.

People often wonder how a large family of ten like ours can possibly survive in times like these. We are certainly very grateful that Brian has such a wonderful job in Marketing and that I'm able to contribute with my writing jobs, but it's the choices we make that allow us to raise eight kids. We don't try to keep up with the Joneses; we just keep up with the Butlers! We also appreciate all the little things, because those are what will matter when our own kids are grown and gone-not material requests that only satisfy them for the short term.

Here's hoping all of you are staying nice and warm and enjoying special times with your own kids and families. Talk to you next week.

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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