Thursday, May 12, 2005

There’s A Fungus Among Us

It looks like the Blessed household will be moving soon into our first house! We have been looking for a house for more than a year now, and are thrilled with what we have found. The house is a real estate dream—a real fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood, and well within our budget.

On Monday, we had the house inspected, using a company that had come highly recommended. The good news is that the inspection found few problems of which we were not already aware. The bad news is that the inspector found mold in the basement.

Yes, mold, which according to the inspector, would simply rise up and kill us dead in a matter of weeks. He recommended gutting the basement entirely, including removing the wood frames, and starting from scratch. Well, the REAL recommendation involved purchasing a $300 test from his company which would allow us to determine what sort of mold we had, therefore allowing us to more precisely engage in the intricate mold abatement program. Apparently, bleach doesn’t kill mold these days, but can cause some kind of chemical reaction which will result in the creation of a SuperMold(tm), known to produce spores the size of small ponies and vote Democrat.

I am very grateful for the mold education we have received, since I have been sick with some type of respiratory infection for the past two weeks. I am convinced that this is the result of walking through this particular house three or four times without a full HAZMAT suit. I think our daughter is also being affected. I hear her give the same barking 3-packs-a-day cough which has become my personal trademark, especially after I have been taken over with an uncontrollable fit on the phone to one of the battalion of contractors with whom I have been speaking in the past few weeks. Some would say mimicry, but I am convinced she has been exposed to the dread tortious moldus.

Seriously, there is mold in the basement. The house is filthy, as the owners simply don’t seem to be interested in cleaning it. Considering the house’s neglect, the fact that there is so little mold in the basement, and that there is no seepage, to us is a cause for jubilation. I think we can go far by ripping out the carpet and applying a bleach water solution to the walls. We will also be running a dehumidifier.

On a more dire note, the kitchen has no dishwasher, and no place to put one. Yes, I was horrified, too. What barbarians! However, the dishwasher will have to wait, because the tile in the bathroom is rotting out. Did I mention the house is a fixer-upper? Oh! And the house has a pool with a busted liner, affectionately known as the Toddler Pit of Drowning. For some reason, we are taking these issues a bit more seriously than the need to firebomb our basement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On Corporations Running Scared from Abortion Lobby

At the end of 2004, one of the elders at Trinity Baptist Church was fired from his job. It was Jerry Mestas. We appreciate Jerry because he is an evangelist, whose heart is thankful enough for the life and leadership of Jesus Christ, that he overflows in normal conversation about his Savior. He is bold, and he is always available to tell the story.
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From Scott Brown Online via the House of Degenhart.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Faithful in All Things

There is a blog that I just recently started reading that is one of the most humbling, edifying, and uplifting sites I could visit. It is written by a Christian woman who lives to serve the Lord and her husband, and through her posts other women by her godly instruction and example. I can crunch through hundreds of sites a day, but Kristen’s blog is so full of illuminating truth that one of her posts sustains me for days. Recently she has taken on women blogging, "Angel" paraphernalia, Laura Bush's public behavior, along with her continuing chapter-by-chapter study of Debi Pearl’s Created to Be His Help Meet.

I am speaking, of course, of Walking Circumspectly.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Toddlers mean! Women and children hardest hit.

With our manufacturing base gone in this country, everyone scrambles for a cushy make-believe job. We don’t actually *do* anything, but we have to keep the rodent wheel spinning somehow. I have to admit I admire the obviously frustrated researchers who were able to come up with this study. Publish or perish, baby.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Recommended Site fills the need for a source of information useful for people. It is both a large collection of data as well as a tool for filtering out what you don't want to see. You can dig deep in GovTrack, finding information the mass media does not have room for, and you can let GovTrack send information to you, like a newspaper customized to your interests. It's the power of the Internet put to use to close the citizen-country divide.
Note that once you have selected to monitor a Congresscritter or subject, you can embed these searches into your website or blog for daily updates.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Random Links

Obesity is becoming a problem of the affluent:
In the early 1970s, 22.5 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were obese. By 2002, 32.5 percent of the poor were. By comparison, just 9.7 percent of people with incomes above $60,000 were obese in the 1970s — a figure that jumped to 26.8 percent in 2002.
I personally blame the bacon bandages for the problem.

Christian Video Games?
This is a topic dear to me. I am a gamer, or used to be. Lately I have lost all interest—I even tried the EverQuest II 7-day trial and was left cold, but I have fond memories of gaming and empathize with this man’s attempt to square that circle. Is it possible? Probably not. However, I think this article does a good job fairly describing the challenges developer Rev. Ralph Bagley is facing trying to serve two masters.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Cast Iron

I am still a pretty mediocre cook, but I have gotten much better than I used to be. Our family is very blessed that we have an old-fashioned “Leave It to Beaver” lifestyle. Mr. Blessed is able to come home for lunch. What would have been unremarkable for my great-grandmother’s generation is almost unheard of for my own. This means I get to prepare three interesting, nutritious, and frugal meals each day, seven days a week. It is certainly practice!

I have developed quite particular taste in cookware. I threw out all of my non-stick cookware and now only use cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans. And, oh, how I love my cast iron!

I think I have such devotion because my first pan was so entirely hard to use at first. Lodge claims that their cast iron is pre-seasoned but that is balderdash. I tried seasoning using their instructions, but it just wasn’t working. I will admit, Gentle Reader, that my first cast iron pan had me in tears. I would coat it with a thin coat of shortening and bake it for hours in our oven, smoking our apartment up miserably. Nothing I did would work. The surface would turn black in patches, not glassy the way I thought it was supposed to. But I persevered. I cooked nothing but sausages in it for the first four times or so (much to the delight of Mr. Blessed). I continued seasoning it in the oven over night, trying low heat as if I were cooking a turkey, and high heat if I could steal 30 minutes here or there. Finally, after several months, the pan transformed, taking on a hard, beautiful gloss. It cleaned up quickly and effortlessly. I no longer saw traces of brown on the paper towel when I lightly greased it for storage. I felt such accomplishment!

My second pan I have allowed to mellow on its own, as I am more confident in the process. It has taken much longer to season, however, and it still doesn’t have the super gloss of my first pan. However, the process of using cast iron and watching it season is actually quite psychically rewarding. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and a funny sense of devotion. I truly love my cast iron pans, and can’t wait to add more to the collection. I am even excited about decorating our kitchen with cast iron pieces. I think that cast iron frustrates a lot of people, and it tends to get discarded easily. Taking old cast iron and breathing new life into it is a great way to reach back to our past, to a time when cookware had more personality.

And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?

It has been too long since I have posted to this blog on the topic that is most near and dear to my heart: being a homemaker. Part of the reason I haven’t is pride. Believing well that “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding,” I have refrained from writing about my struggle.

I use the word “struggle” cautiously. In our pagan culture, the only visible expression of a homemaker’s life is that of drudgery, strife, and chaos. We are supposed to struggle; we are supposed to fail. And we are supposed to complain loudly and at length about our struggle and failure, taking a break only to go shopping. Any woman who is organized and competent in this sphere is deemed suspect—hiding dark secrets and compulsions.

So I have hesitated to add my voice to the existing din. However, I remember where I was two years ago, pregnant, wondering if I could actually make the leap. Could we afford for me to stay home? Would I be any good? Would I simply sit on the couch eating too much and watching TV? Would I lose my mind?

After a year and a half, I can honestly say that I do so much more than I thought I would. And there is much that needs improvement. A much-talked about article released today claims that “stay-at-home moms would earn an average of $131,471 annually, including overtime, if they received a paycheck.” I must admit that on some days when I have too many projects in the air, I do tend to console myself by thinking of how much we would be paying if we were to outsource my labor. This is silly, of course. It is never about the money. It is about the multi-tasking. Time is what matters. The phrase “Time is money” made no real impact on me until I quit my paying job.

So, in the interest of saving other women time, I will get back to blogging on housework.