Thursday, September 29, 2005

Day in the Life -- Thursday again

Dreary unproductive day. Last night after I logged off and went to brush my teeth, Chuck realized the water pump was cycling, and cycling. There were no taps open. He couldn't figure out where the problem was. He eventually flipped the breaker to shut it off.

This morning I woke up knowing we had no water. Fortunately we have a back-up gravity-fed system, so we switched over to that, but it bypasses the filter and doesn't get enough pressure up to the shower for it to be useable. So I had to forgo my morning shower.

Erin was up and on the computer, making lists of names for fiction works she'll someday write. Fiona woke up. I made breakfast for everyone. Sophie and Noah awoke just before I left.

Then I headed out to work at the hospital. I'm not really sure what transpired during the morning. It was cold so they built the first fire of the season in the woodstove together. Erin played piano. Sophie and Noah tidied, cleaned and vacuumed their bedrooms (weird!). Erin cooked eggs, toast and veggies for lunch.

I got home at 1:30. I checked my e-mail and message boards and did bit more unpacking and laundry. I started some pizza dough. I had brought home the tablet PC from work to get it to do some voice recognition training. I did that. The kids were very interested. Noah set up a profile for himself and went through all the training stuff. It entailed reading aloud for about 10 minutes while the computer "learned" his speech patterns. I was very impressed with his fluency with the pretty advanced, technical text he had to read. Then the kids played a 21st century variant of the old "Telephone" game. They spoke a sentence to the computer and let it do its voice-recognition thing. It has about a 15% error rate early on in the process, so there were lots of inaccuracies. They would then read back to it what it had transcribed, and of course there would then be errors on top of the errors. And then they'd read that transcription. And so on, until the sentence was totally unrecognizable and quite bizarre. Very fun. Lots of hilarity.

Erin went on the Self-Design Virtual Village and discovered she was getting chat requests from other students. She figured out the chat module on her own and chatted away. Noah and Sophie read over her shoulder for a while; then she shooed them away.

Then I let Noah log in as me on the other computer and he and Erin chatted back and forth for a while, from a distance of 5 feet. Noah got a lot of writing/typing practice. They were very silly, laughing and sending each other insults and crazy stuff.

I made pizzas. We had supper. After supper Chuck tackled the pump issue. Bled off the pressure tank, installed a new pre-filter that we'd been waiting for an opportunity to install, and then tried to figure out what's up with the pump. He called a plumber friend who was too busy to come and do anything, but suggested that the problem, as we had guessed, was likely in a backflow valve. He helped Chuck figure out where the backflow valve was and what it looked like. We will try to replace it very soon, but it may take a week or more to get the part. We switched to a "manual electric pump" regimen, where we open a valve and turn on the pump to pressurize the water supply every time we notice water is barely dribbling out of a tap, then shut everything off again.

Erin was back chatting. I logged on and she and I chatted for a while, doing tag-team silly story-writing while Sophie and Noah read over our shoulders and laughed their heads off.

It poured rain all day, and I felt like I had had little productive time at home with the kids, so I decided we should just vegitate for the rest of the evening. Sophie played with hinged locker-mirrors and pattern blocks. Noah answered some e-mail and phoned a friend (using the phone for personal calls is a new thing for him). Erin read. Lazy evening which finished with the standard readalouds and journal-writing.

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