12 February 2016

SQT: There and back again

Hesitantly, possibly against my better judgement, I'll go ahead and say that we're all finally caught up and back on schedule after our trip. Throwing the beginning of Lent into the middle of this first week home certainly made it take a little longer, but we knocked out a whole long list of errands this morning (in town from 8 am to 12:30 pm!), and everyone seems to be back into our regular rhythm at this point. I'm so ready for quiet predictability!

The plan was to fly out the night of January 22, land in Baltimore the next evening, and drive up to visit Matt's parents. We knew there was a storm coming through, but figured that we're Alaskans, we could handle it. Wednesday afternoon, though, with Matt home from work sick, we learned that all of the airports in the area were preemptively closing before the storm, and would probably stay closed through the weekend. But if we could be at the gate in four hours... Kit had an appointment to see the pediatric gastroenterologist first thing Monday morning, which we'd be guaranteed to miss if we waited out the storm, so we frantically threw things in suitcases and ran out the door.

It was a great trip. About two weeks with Matt's family, a day with my sister, a too-short time with several friends. Being snowed in was an experience: from Friday night to Sunday morning, we got about 30" of snow! That's a lot more than we get here, at least in one go. There was still quite a bit on the ground when we left, which was nice—it made the coming home to two and a half more months of winter much less jarring. 

Coming home was... a different sort of "experience." So, it's 2:30 am. We left the hotel 22 hours ago, everyone desperately needs to go to bed, and the jeep (which my brother had dropped off in the airport parking lot for us) is throwing a fit: the check engine light is blinking, the heat won't come on, and when we stop/start or go uphill it starts lurching. We wind up waking my brother up and having him follow us home in his truck, just in case. At home, we notice that the bedrooms are a little chilly, but we'd turned the heat down before we left, so we just turn on the electric heater in Little Bear's room and bump up the thermostat in ours... But the baseboard heat never comes on. Matt and I spend a very cold night, and text our landlord first thing in the morning. At least Little Bear stays nice and warm with his heater!

It turns out that
— the check engine light was telling us that another coil had gone bad (our ridiculous engine has one coil for each cylinder, and we've had to start carrying extras everywhere because they burn out so frequently.) So Matt replaced that on Sunday afternoon.
— the lurching was being caused by ice in our fuel line; we've known that we probably have some water in the gas tank since this summer, but it hasn't caused any trouble as long as we remembered to fill up when the gauge says we have a quarter of a tank left. Matt picked up a bottle of HEET to treat that.
— the zone valve for the bedrooms was stuck closed, but our landlord met us at the house right after church and got it fixed.
— we think we've finally fixed the heat in the jeep as of today; the coolant was low, and after topping that off, within five minutes of starting the jeep we had warm air coming out of the vents again.

Oh, and about Kit: Her appointment with the pediatric gastroenterologist went well. Matt's cold was still too bad for him to come along, so his mother offered to come to help with Kit and to be a second person listening to the doctor and asking questions, which I really appreciated! The doctor was confident that Kit is indeed allergic to cow's milk protein and to soy, and offered to give us a referral to a nutritionist if I wanted it, but said that it sounds like we're already doing everything right. So that's good; we didn't get an "oh, it's X and we can do one quick thing and make it all better!", but it's good to know that we're on the right track for taking care of her, and to hear that most kids grow out of this and get instructions for how to go about trying to introduce dairy once she's older.


Our excitement of the evening. The chocolate chip banana bread had been in the oven for more than an hour, so when Matt pulled it out and showed it to me, I said yeah, it's done, just lay it on its side and I'll take it out if the pan after supper. After supper, we came back into the kitchen to see... this. Oops. It took another 40 minutes to finish baking! Is there some strange property of coconut oil that makes quick breads take f-o-r-e-v-e-r? I've never had any trouble like this with cooking time in other non-dairy breads, but before today I think I'd exclusively been using canola oil in quick breads, not coconut oil. Or, maybe, I just realized that I put a whole cup of barely-above-freezing chocolate chips into the batter right before putting it into the oven... That could possibly have had something to do with it too. Regardless, I'm very glad that he'd laid it down on that sheet pan instead of on the wire rack on the counter; I just stuck the entire pan back into the oven and kept checking it until the goopy mess was solid. There's quite the cavern in the middle of my loaf, now, but at least it tastes good!

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum. Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna guess it's both from the cold chocolate chips and the coconut oil. Whenever I've baked with coconut oil things turn out denser and take longer to bake. I don't do it very often though, so I don't really have any tips...