Monday, January 3, 2011

Project 365, Week 1

I feel like this post should come with a warning: LONGEST post ever! I apologize in advance, but I just haven't had time to post this week and a lot has been going on... 

We're still catching up but we are seeing progress. Just had not anticipated a lot of what we came home to... mainly broken things that had to be fixed (or, in one case, replaced) and just putting things back in order. We're feeling a lot better this evening after checking off the last "big" thing on our list: repairing the hole in the wall at the casita. Yes, it was broken into AGAIN. But since those who broke in last time took the only two things in it (toilet and bathroom sink) there was nothing for the recent would-be thieves to take. But it did mean we had a big ole hole in the wall to fix. *sigh*

This is not to say we've been working nonstop since we got home. We've had company and just enjoyed hanging out with them as much as possible. We had planned on doing more fUN stuff while they were here, but our guests were troopers while we tended to those more urgent items on the "to do" list.

But let's get back to the purpose of this post: Project 365. Participating in this has been a good discipline for me, as well as a great way to document what's happening. Last year I debated on whether to do it another year (it IS a big commitment) but this year there wasn't even a question; P365 has simply become a way of life and I knew I wanted to continue!

Our friends arrived the week before we did and they took time to haul the Christmas boxes down and decorate. It made me so happy to see the tree up!

Our garden was overgrown and a number of things had gone to seed during our absence -- including my dill :(  But other things are going great this squash that we didn't even plant. It's the result of discarded seeds in the compost pile.
(Yes, I plan to re-plant the dill. I simply have to try making my own dill pickles since we have a very difficult time finding them here.)

Look what came in the mail!!!
I won this on a giveaway hosted by my "neighbor" Betty (Paraguay is right next door to Argentina, you know, so that makes us neighbors!). Isn't it lovely?! Next year I plan to place it front and center, right at eye level, on the bookshelf with some Christmas lights behind to back light it.

Monday and Tuesday Ivan tackled the car. When we went to run errands Monday morning, it made a terrible noise and it didn't take Ivan long to figure out it had a bad wheel bearing. He bought the part, tore into the project and realized he needed to have a mechanic do something to it before he installed it. Which is why it ended up taking two days instead of just one. I don't have a photo of this because I just didn't think about it...

...because I was too preoccupied with the fridge situation. When our friends got here they could tell it wasn't very cold, so they turned it up but that didn't help, and then they thought it needed to be defrosted but that didn't help either. By the time we arrived it was barely cool but, of course, it was a weekend AND Christmas so there was nothing we could do. Compounding the problem was that a lot of people take off between Christmas and New Years so finding somebody to come and look at it took several days. In fact, it was Wednesday evening before that happened.

The service guy had no idea what caused the problem but he quickly diagnosed it; the freon had slowly been leaking out of damaged coils. He said he could fix it, but since it's not built to be easily repaired, he would to have to drill holes in the back and...(I just heard blah, blah, blah after that).  His quote was almost what we'd paid for the fridge new just two years ago! *sigh* So we decided to just buy a new one with a warranty.

We did find out that it's easy to get parts for Whirlpools and Bosch so that helped with the search on Thursday. WHICH TOOK ALL DAY. We traveled to Cordoba and went to five different stores, comparing prices and options. There was some serious DMD* going on! We were shocked at the prices -- they were three times what they were just two short years ago. GULP!  Ben went with us and I think we kept him entertained with the whole process :)  We pulled back into the driveway at 4:30 p.m. The new fridge is smaller than our first one and doesn't have adjustable shelves (a feature on our old fridge that I really liked) but it has a high energy efficiency rating AND it's a No Frost. Woot! Plus it's a Whirlpool so if we do have any problems, parts will be readily available.

After such an exhausting Thursday, we played on Friday. First up: asado for lunch! The men grilled chicken and red peppers and I made risotto with onions and mushrooms, and threw together a salad with vegetables (mostly) from the garden. Then Ben made two batches of No Bake cookies; one with dark cocoa powder I brought from the U.S. and the other using cocoa we bought locally. Then we had a No Bake Off! with Ivan and Joe doing the blind taste test.
Joe, ever the diplomat, said although they were quite different, he couldn't choose a favorite -- they were both good! The dark cocoa No Bakes proved a bit better in Ivan's opinion. Ben wasn't happy with either, saying they were among the five worst batches he'd ever made. The rest of us encouraged him to continue working at it, until he got it right :)  [So Sunday he made a triple batch, that time combining equal amounts of both cocoas for what the rest of us dubbed "perfect"!]

Just before midnight Friday we walked down to the lake to watch the fireworks. What a display -- we were very impressed!

Saturday was another day of R&R. Except Ivan and our guests thought climbing to the cross high above the city fell into that category and nothing I said would change their minds. Okay, so I didn't really even try to talk them out of it. My attitude was, "whatever floats their boat!" [But I was more than happy to just stay home and recline on the couch with a good book.] It was late in the day when they got started so they enjoyed a gorgeous sunset on the way down.

Throughout the week Ivan and Ben tackled smaller projects: broken fans, weed whacker, etc. They attempted to fix the water tank on the roof by replacing the float valve (which Ivan had already replaced once before) but it didn't work. Until we can figure out what the problem is, Ivan is turning off the water at the street each night -- so he doesn't have to get up at 3:30 in the morning when it starts overflowing. 'Cause that's no fun! My books had been rearranged while we were gone so I spent a morning putting them back in order. I like to keep authors and genres together. It's no Dewey decimal system, but it makes me happy :)  I've also been trying to find things that weren't where we left them; have found most of them but still searching for a few things that are still "lost".

All in all, a very busy week! But a good one. Hanging out with good friends, eating lots of good food, and fitting in some fun things between the "must do" items on the "to do" list.

Our company left this morning in the middle of a rainstorm. It's rained almost every day. Usually the storm blows over in an hour or so, but one day it rained off and on all day. Great for filling up the lake, keeping the temperatures down, and causing the vegetation to flourish. Not so good for hanging laundry on the line.

After they left we began putting away the Christmas decorations and cleaning house. Working together, we had it (mostly) done by mid-afternoon. The rain was a distant memory by then so we decided to go over to the lot and repair the casita wall. Ivan mixed and applied the mud while I looked for little rocks to put inside the holes of the blocks so it didn't require so much cement. We make a good team! 

*Decision-Making Disorder


Mari said...

What nice friends to get the tree up!
I love your nativity from Betty and your fireworks shot turned out great.
Nice frig too!

sara said...

your garden looks GREAT even if it got a bit I am longing for spring!!!

Love the nativity!

ugh on the frig, but YEA! for a new one!!! Is it really narrow or is that just the picture?

rita said...

Muy interesante y muy buenas fotos.
Siempre tan organizada, Kim.
Por eso eres tan eficiente.
El trabajo en equipo me recuerda a mama y papa.
Adelante! Bendiciones en el 2011!

The Bug said...

Man - that was a lot to come home to! I'm glad you were able to have some fun in the midst of it. Of course my favorite part is the cookie tasting :)

skoots1mom said...

i so wish they wouldn't harm your things when you're away...
what a list of things you had to do...i'm beginning to take down the tree...dd will have to help get it back to it's basement home with her daddy b4 she goes back to school
we hosted BS&K and her family Sunday night...we had a fondue party.
Happy New Year! (eager to see your dill pickles ;)

Angie said...

I'm with Sara...longing for spring.

The fireworks pic was nice.

Hope this fridge turns out to be exactly what you needed. Can't all that shopping be frustrating!

I'm glad you're participating again. I'm jumping in again and hope to finish 2011 strong!

H-Mama said...

What a busy week! Love the sunset and fireworks pix. An appliance never breaks down at the right moment. ;) Glad you were able to replace it! What a sweet gift from your neighbor. ;)

Lori @ The Davidson Den said...

So sorry about the break-in. Did it happen while y'all were in the States?

New applicances are SO nice. Is your fridge taller and skinnier than fridges here?? (Maybe it's my imagination.)

Happy New Year!

Tori said...

Love the manger!!
I don't know why but everything struck me as skinny while looking today. The Christmas tree was tall and skinny. The fridge tall and skinny. I don't know why but it stood out!
Have a great week and looking forward to spending another year with you!

Mimi said...

Wow, what a grand adventure, living in Argentina! I can't wait to get to know you better with P365!

Hugs & love,