December 05, 2009

Bunch of videos

Catching up

The year is coming to a fast close. This has been one stressful year for me. With the economy having tanked, there was constant fear that I might not have a job any given week. Even now I look forward to every Friday because then I know at least I'll be back on Monday. Just a few weeks ago we had more layoffs where people with 12-18 years of seniority were laid off. So it still sucks. The economic forecast has been the same for the last decade - next year is going to be better.

Priya has been doing very well in her pre-school. We are currently exploring what school she should go for kindergarten. I think for sure I don't want her to start out in the public school system. She has thrived in a Christian pre-school, and for starters we are thinking about two Christian schools. One is in Lansing, and one is in a town a few miles down the road. Both have their strong points, and weak points. But they do have one thing in common - they are both expensive!

Let's catch up with a few things that the kids have been up to...

Apparently the US doesn't believe in child labor laws

The only rest the workers are allowed

Flapper girl

And her puppy

What better costume than this to beg for candy

The Thanksgiving table

Priya wants the stuffing!

October 28, 2009

Fall Tradition

This is just a quick post to put up some pictures showing our annual apple-picking visit to County Line Orchard. It is always a good time. Though this time around it was raining and wet and muddy. Still - we had fun.

Armaan cuddling up with mama

Priya carving her pumpkin

Ok.. almost all of this was done with Priya watching, but technically its her pumpkin

October 24, 2009

Chrysler Cirrus P300 / P302 Random Misfire OBD Code

This post is an attempt to add to the vast knowledge that can be attained through Google searches. I know I searched high and low for a fix to this problem.

So the background to the story is that my 1998 Chrysler Cirrus died in the garage back in April. I was going to go out of town, and as I tried to start the car to leave, it wouldn't start. Luckily our friend Christy was there, and I borrowed her car to make the trip. So anyway, a friend of mine is a mechanic, and he came over to look at the car. At first he thought it was the crank sensor. Changed that - no start. Then he thought it was the cam sensor. This sensor doesn't come separate, but within the distributor housing. So changed the distributor and the car starts. Yay! Well... sort of.

Then what started happening was that every time I drove the car into work, I would get the P300 OBD code - which is a random misfire. It was very strange. I could reset the check engine light, and not get it again for a week. Then, a trip to work - bam its back! So took it back to my friend, who by now has his own repair shop. I'm already down about 700 bucks so its hard to justify taking it anywhere else. So he has it for a couple of days. He figures its the distributor cap. So change that out. I get it back and its fine for a few weeks, but then the P300 code comes back. Now I'm down $800. I'm seriously looking to get rid of the car, but can't afford to purchase something new or even used. So my fate it tied to this one. Back again to the repair shop. No mechanical fixes this time, but I get the diagnosis that all these years I've been using the wrong fuel type in my car. Instead of using mid-grade fuel. I've been using regular. Umm.. well.. that's what the manual says... So anyway - 10 years of using the wrong fuel has so messed up the engine that it's starting to misfire randomly. So I dutifully start using mid-grade gas. Nothing for a few weeks, and I'm thinking maybe that was it. Not at all. Starting a month ago, I couldn't go a day without the code kicking in. But this time it's P302 - misfire on cylinder 2. So now my friend is thinking there's something wrong in the wiring or ignition system of the vehicle.

I didn't want him experimenting anymore on the car. Even though I'm at $900 with him, I decide to cut my losses. A few years ago when I had to have my cylinder heads rebuilt, I had found a mechanic who is extremely good, but very slow. If you leave a car with him, forget about getting it within 3-4 days. I decided it was worth the wait to get a final fix. Within an hour of diagnosing the car, this guy found what the problem was. It was a substantial vacuum leak in the intake manifold. What started as a small leak (problem only happening every so often) went to a big leak (problem happening every day). So $200 to replace the gaskets, and the car seems to be running a lot better. And I got my car within 2 days. By the way, checking for vacuum leaks is exactly what this website suggests. But the first guy pooh-poohed at the idea of it being a vacuum leak. Why? I don't know.

So for all you people doing Google searches for solutions for the P0300 random misfire code, make sure your mechanic checks for vacuum leaks. Of course, I still don't know if this is the full fix. Three or four months down the road, the problem can still reappear. But from the way the car is running, I'm pretty sure that's what it was.

October 08, 2009

My genius girl

Priya decided a couple of days ago that she didn't want training wheels on her bike anymore. I thought, "oh boy - here we go with days of walking behind her." Not to be! Her first day of training lasted ten minutes. The next day, she hopped on her bike, and took off! What? That's my girl!!

Here are some other pictures over the last few weeks.

The ringleader - planning something suspicious...

The pre-school class - most of these kids will not be together next year, including Priya's best friend Skylar

A rare moment

Sarah and Bruno's wedding

Joyce, Sarah and Bruno

September 18, 2009

Armaan Special

The title is because all the pictures I could find were of Armaan. But first, some serious stuff...

I got the bad news today that there is some nerve damage in my optic nerve. It has not affected my vision so far, but the goal is to keep this contained. During the last few weeks I've learned a fair amount about glaucoma. I've always associated the disease with older people. The doctor was telling me that its great that I've caught it now, instead of her other patients who walk in at 50 completely blind. Nothing can be done then.

Ok.. so now on to other things. Just looking at my front lawn I started noticing lots of leaves. Umm.. is fall here already? What happened to summer? In a month or so it will be apple picking season again. Yikes! This year has really flown by. I am definitely not looking forward to winter.

Priya's first day of pre-school

September 06, 2009

Lonely blog

Sorry to my dwindling readership - i just didn't have the time to put up a post. Things were a little busy. But now that I actually start to think about what we were doing - blank. The biggest thing was really Priya being a little sick. Sick as in not having a fever, but have severe stomach issues. For several days she had blood and mucus in her stool. And not only that, she was going upwards of 8-10 times a day. Poor girl. Nothing came out of the lab results. She is now good as before, but we are left wondering what that was all about.

We just got back from a wedding in Kalamazoo. We stayed at a pretty nice Radisson in one of the bigger suites, so there was room for everyone. The kids loved it, as is common with anything new. They had a pretty nice pool and jacuzzi where we spent a few hours. Armaan still doesn't like water all *that* much. He doesn't like to be in it by himself, though he will spend hours in it if you hold him. Priya, like her mama, is a water baby and can happily swim around (though still with an arm floatie).

Priya with her growing collection of lap dogs

The only way the kids would get on the dance floor. They were pretty tired by this point.

Armaan can entertain himself for long periods of time lining up his cars and trucks.

August 17, 2009

Mid-summer catching up

It doesn't feel like we've had that much of a summer this year. I think its mostly because we've not gone to the beach at all this summer. The weather has just now gotten hot, but then there have been other things that have taken up weekend time.

The kids are busy being kids. That pretty much sums up their summer! This last week Armaan graduated to being a post-2 year old boy by having to give up his pacifier. I don't think its still sunk in for him - I almost catch a glimpse of hope that the next bedtime will bring it back. So far no problems, though. If everything goes well, that will be two kids who came off of pacifiers with no issues.

On a different note, Armaan is now entering the phase where he starts getting anxious with new places and new people. It takes him a little bit to stop feeling anxious, look around, and see that everything is still ok. I took him with me to the barber shop, and for 20 mins he stood straight as a ruler, whimpering by my feet. About five minutes before we had to leave, he broke out of it, and became interested in what the whole place was about.

Priya spent a week at vacation bible school at a local church. She pretty much loved it. She loves being in a social setting with other kids. She can't wait for her pre-school to start again in a few weeks.

Priya and Skylar in their VBS presentation

Grandma Kathie's birthday

Along with beaches, we had also missed out on a couple of carnivals that we go to every year. Fortunately, the Lake County Fair was still going on, and we had a free weekend. We had a really good time. Priya finally got to ride in the bumper cars that she'd been wanting to go on for the last two years.

The two rides below were really amusing to me. The first one was where the kids sat in cars and trucks. Priya howled the whole ride through, while you can see how Armaan's expression is - pretty stoic.

The next ride was where they sat in motorboats. Priya had fun clanging the bell the entire time, while Armaan wanted no part of it. Kids...

I love Armaan's expession in this picture