Zev Family Newsletter: November 2000

The month got off to a roaring start when we decided that between the stopped up kitchen sink, the downstairs toilet that would no longer flush solid waste and the upstairs toilet that needed plunging, maybe it was time to call a plumber. And as long as he was in the neighborhood ... maybe he could fix the Master bathtub, which didnít hold water, the kids bathtub overflow drain, which drained onto the ceiling of the bathroom below, and the Master bath shower knobs, which needed extreme torque to prevent drips. The plumber quoted us between $220 and $280 to fix all these things, and we said, "go for it."

Then we hit the inevitable snags. The shower handles were so rusted and corroded that they could not be removed and had to be replaced. The downstairs toilet had a broken baffle and had to be replaced. (Hey, we wanted to put in a low flow toilet anyway.) Snaking was not sufficient for the kitchen sink; it had to be augured. The plumbing in our house is so convoluted that the plumber needed to go through the cleanout, which had been covered up by the landscaper, so the plumber had to cut out the old cleanout cap and install a new cleanout plug. While clearing the kitchen sink, the plumber discovered a leak underneath the sink. The bathroom sink also needed to be snaked.

So much for our original quote, right? Unbelievably, the answer was no. There was an additional charge for the new toilet and its installation, but for EVERYTHING else (including the new shower handles!) the plumber charged us $280!

Oh, and what was the problem with the downstairs toilet? Well, that was traced to a 4"x2" plastic piece that until the day before was clipped onto Benjaminís potty (so that little boys donít have to aim.) We suspected that it was the cause when we noticed that it was missing. We asked Benjamin what had happened to it. He said, "It went down the hole." "What did you do then." "I flushed it." Thanks for the new toilet, Benjamin.

Next on the "are we having fun yet?" list was a trip to the dentist for Jonathan and Benjamin. This was Benjaminís first trip. He was an angel. We were very proud of him. We learned that he only has 19 baby teeth, instead of the normal twenty. Heís missing the back molar on the lower left (right?) side. The dentist said that we shouldnít do anything about it, unless it becomes a problem. The dentist was surprised to hear that, at 7 Ĺ, Jonathan has only lost two teeth. Again, he did not think that we should do anything about it. Jonathanís cavity, on the other hand, that he thought we should do something about! So a week later, we were back at the dentist. This visit was noteworthy for three reasons: 1) Jonathan was an angel, with no complaints, and following all directions to the letter. 2) Benjamin cried, because he wanted a cavity filled too. 3) Twenty-five minutes after we arrived, we were already getting back into our car. This may be worth noting in the Guinness Book of world records.

The next day we noticed a bunch of what looked like spider bites on Benjamin. A friend suggested that they might be ringworm, and since we didnít have the slightest idea what ringworm looked like, we took him to the doctor, who said that they were most likely sand flea bites. We were concerned that he might have picked them up at preschool, but they faded after a couple of days and havenít returned.

Finally, we got to have some fun. Jackie took off work and took Benjamin (Jonathan was in school) to meet his 10 month old cousin Rose for the very first time. Benjamin was thrilled to have a new cousin, and had great fun playing with Roseís sister Miriam who is just a few months older than him. Rose and Miriam live in San Francisco, so we donít see them as much as Benjamin (or we!) would like.

Then it was back to not fun at all, when Marc came home from work and went to bed for 24 hours with a high fever and aches and pains. Fortunately it passed quickly. The illness did have a silver lining. The second night, Jackie wanted to go to a meeting, and while Marc was well enough to be left home with the boys, (which was NOT true the previous evening) he was not up to getting them ready for bed. So Jackie got them ready for bed at 6:30, and told them that Jonathan should read to Benjamin from 7 to 8, and at 8:00 Jonathan should tell Benjamin to go to the bathroom, Benjamin should do that, wash his hands, and then they should go to bed. If they did all this, and didnít bother Daddy, they would get a reward (candy) the next day. They agreed, and at 6:55 Jackie left for her meeting. When she returned at 8:50, they were both asleep. Marc reported that Jonathan had read until a few minutes after 8, and told Benjamin to go potty, which he did, and washed his hands. Jonathan then said that it was time to go to bed, and Benjamin refused. Jonathan then said, "if you go to bed, Iíll tell Mommy that you were a good boy and you will get your candy tomorrow." Benjamin said "OK" and went to bed!

The high point of the month was definitely the parent-teacher conference with Jonathanís teacher. Now, we expected her to say positive things about our son, that he had an excellent mind and was doing well academically, but what we did not expect, and were very pleased to hear, was that he is also an excellent artist. His drawing ability is not particularly out of the ordinary, but his teacher said that his color choices are "very advanced for his age." We saw a watercolor that he did, and also another picture and a poem, and were impressed. Jackie was particularly surprised, because Jonathan is SO much like her in so many ways, but apparently, in this respect, he takes after Marc.

Of course, the next day was a real low for Jackie. It started when, on the way to drop Jonathan and Benjamin off at school, Benjamin says, "I donít want to throw up in the car, Mommy." "Uh, oh," she thinks. But he looks fine, and he certainly didnít show any signs of being sick up until now. She asks if he feels ok, and he says yes. She asks if heís going to throw up and he says no. But as she was in the car pool line, just minutes from dropping Jonathan off, Benjamin again says that he doesnít want to throw up in the car. Weíll fast forward past the inevitable, back to Jackieís return to the house. Fortunately, our housekeeper was there (she was supposed to clean the house that day.) Surprise! You get to watch Benjamin today! We were very concerned, as this was two days before Thanksgiving, but he showed no other signs of being sick. Plus, this is not the first time he has thrown up in the car with no other apparent illness, either before or afterwards.

As unpleasant as this was, it was only the beginning of Jackieís day. She had a doctorís appointment that day, which she had expected to be quick. But an hour and a half after the appointment time, she hadnít even seen the doctor yet. This really crabbed her out. Plus, it meant that she decided not to get gas after her appointment like she had planned.

She had a conference call at 2, which was mildly problematic, because she needed to be home before 3. However, the cool thing about conference calls is that they donít know where you are, so she decided just to go home and do the conference call from there. Unfortunately, her decision not to get gas caught up to her about Ĺ a mile from her house. She was able to get out of traffic safely, so she just walked the rest of the way home.

After the conference call, she called the Auto Club, and asked them to meet her at the car with a gallon of gas. She had to walk back to the car with Benjamin, but that was no big deal, she just threw him in the stroller. Now for the annoying part. Since Benjamin had thrown up in the car that morning, the carseat wasnít in the car. Jackie had taken it out to clean it. So she took it with her on the walk back, which turned out to be substantially more difficult than she expected. Ah well, as annoying as it was, she recognizes this day would not even register on the meter in some peopleís lives, and is thankful that it wasnít worse.

Thanksgiving was wonderful, full of family and good food. Jackie watched the younger generation playing with their cousins, and this brought back memories of when she WAS the younger generation playing with cousins in the very same house. We are very thankful for the blessings that life has brought to us.

Last, but not least, was a major milestone at Marcís work. On November 30, the new shopping tab at Homestore.com launched. This is Marcís project. The shopping page was developed without a producer and without anyone guiding it until it was handed to Marc near the end. His team was able to overcome the usual dozen or so last minute problems to launch on time and under budget. From all accounts this was the smoothest launch in recent Homestore memory.
We hope that life is also treating you well, and if not, that things will improve soon.

ĎTil next month,

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin