Friday, December 11, 2009

We have POWER!! And a Sergei story

The time just flies! Here it is more than another week again. I think it has something to do with this time of ther year. There is so much to do that the time just disappears before your eyes.

We were able to get into Anchorage to talk to the off-grid people. They were very helpful and quickly identified what was likely causing our problems. Our system was using a car battery charger to recharge the batteries but that kind of charger really wasn't designed for our system. We were able to purchase a charger relatively inexpensively (compared to the inverter) and set that up on our system. Yesterday Rodney was working out at the house so the generator ran all day. The batteries got a GOOOOOOD charge and last night the system was much more stable, much happier. :) So are we! This morning the fridge and many of the lights were on in the house and the system was handling all of it with no problems. We got the thermostat for the "freezer as fridge" today and that seems to be operating well too. It doesn't run very often and seems to hold the temp fairly steady. The only problems are that now we've lost our built in kitchen bulletin board and there are no ice cubes inside. ;)

The kids had their school band concert this week. It went very well but I have not yet uploaded the videos or pictures. I'll try to work on that this weekend! There is a 24 hr bug going around that causes either the runs or throwing up. Some lucky people get both. At about 2 pm that day the school called me to pick up Andrei because he was throwing up. He threw up a couple of times at school, then a few more times at home. About an hour before we had to leave for the concert, he said he was feeling a little bit better. I had him continue to lie down until we left and then lie down at the school until it was time for him to play but he was able to play! He was the only piano on one song and he'd felt terrible that he might not be there so he was glad to be able to fill that spot. Poor Mr Owen (the conductor) had kids dropping out left and right to that bug but they managed to pull it off and it actually sounded pretty good! There were a lot of people from the community in the band which really helped out a lot. The school is small enough that even with most kids in the band, it is still small.

I suppose I'll have to tell this next story at some point. It might as well be now. Let's just say that it starts with Sergei. That ought to give fair warning that it is a doozy. If you remember last time Rodney had just gotten a new plow and had put it on his ATV. He'd spent an entire day working on his ATV tracking down an electrical problem and putting on the plow. He'd only had the plow on there a few days when our story takes place. Sergei. Sigh. Sergei has been home more than normal lately in order to focus more on his academics. He was getting bored with being home so much. He decided he wanted to take the kid ATV out and haul some logs to the house for fire wood. The problem was that the kid ATV was in the back of the ATV shed behind Rodney's with the brand new plow.

Rodney was in Anchorage with Nate and would not be home until late. Sergei wanted to move Rodney's ATV but I didn't think it was a good idea. He kept pestering and pleading, it was such a simple thing to do to move the ATV, he'd driven it many times, all he was going to do was move it out of the way and get his out, I never considered the plow when visualizing Sergei moving it. A couple of hours later Sergei came back in and told me that the kid's ATV had a flat tire, that it was soft, the less I said the more he talked. Rodney can tell you that a great way to get criminals to talk is to be silent. They feel they need to fill the silence. They were brand new tires. There was no reason one should be flat. The ATV had supposedly slid a little bit coming to rest right up against a nail in a board. Supposedly. With Sergei you're never really sure of what REALLY happened. Sergei had placed those boards in the pile and was supposed to have burned them, but he never got around to it. Then he drove over the boards. Again, the story isn't really clear. Maybe we'll find out what really happened in a year or so when he tells someone else the story (that's how we normally hear the real story).

We do know that he drove Rodney's ATV more than just to move it. There was fresh plowing done down on the ice. The problem is that the plow has bumpers on the bottom that prevent the plow from hitting too low so you don't scrape it on things. Those bumpers were covered in ice so Rodney had them in the house to thaw. Not a problem if you're not plowing but without those bumpers the blade gets scraped up pretty badly. Imagine how we figured that out. Additionally, the winch controls the plow which is a bit tricky to use if you don't know how to operate it. Sergei did not know how to operate it. He broke one of the control arms on the brand new plow and snapped some of the strands of the winch cable. Somehow. Then there's quite a ding on the plow itself, quite likely from running into a rather large boulder that Nate placed as sort of a foundation at the corner of the generator shed. And a bunch of tears in the brand new ATV shed door. All in a couple of hours while not even trying to be destructive. It's a gift the boy has. He never told me about all the other things he'd done. He figured no one would notice I guess. Rodney noticed. Later the next evening a little early for bed time Rodney came home and I told Sergei he might want to make himself scarce and he asked me why. I told him that he'd just done about $1,000 worth of damage and it might be smart to lay low for a while. He still didn't get it. His self preservation instincts seem to be lacking a bit.

We were able to get in to Palmer for Oksana's violin lesson this week. With people traveling and what not we were able to get a double lesson slot and she and Mrs Harding played for at least an hour. It was very intense but a great lesson! Oksana has really gotten into a groove again with her playing and with Mrs Harding and they're making great progress! She's even beginning to actually realize that her violin COULD become a future occupation. That would be really awesome!

I was soooooo annoyed with myself though! I forgot my camera! What a lousy day to do it! The scenery was absolutely stunning! Snow was heavy in the trees like an extra heavy layer of frosting covering each branch. The snow really closed in on the car, muffling sound and pulling you into the peaceful cocoon. The mountains were aglow with pink and gold bright sunshine over the snowy peaks. It was just one of those days that felt like there couldn't be another day more beautiful! That evening as we finished our shopping and errands we came out of Lowes to witness the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. It had somehow created a rainbow of brilliant sunset colors across the horizon. Picture the darkest, most vivid sunset colors you have ever seen. Along the horizon was a strip of sunset red. Above that was a strip of sunset orange blending to yellowish (not so vivid) which then went into a strip of green, then dark blue and finally faded into the dark purple sky. I wish I'd had my camera to try to capture it but I was kicking myself again for missing that! I tried to search online for a picture of something similar but I couldn't find anything quite like what we saw. This one comes close, but doesn't quite capture the depth of colors, nor quite the strips of color we saw (not to mention it didn't have the ray thingy): http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/pictures.html#crepuscular
Truly amazing! Once again we were caught with our mouths gaping open just in awe of the beauty of the scenery. And all of that right outside of Lowes of all places! It's just not right!

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