Car repairs and lots of food to dehydrate!

What a nice day this is turning out to be!   Yesterday morning I simply could not get myself motivated to go to our weekly history class after having heard the night before that we’d be having sleet and snow, making for icy driving conditions, and I assumed the class would be cancelled.  When I found out at 8:22 am (I usually leave at 8:30) that class wasn’t cancelled and I was still in bed (because I was letting everyone get a slow start), I had about 60 seconds of wondering if I could get everyone dressed and ready within 8 minutes (I know, totally an insane thought), or at least make the effort and get there late.  Then I decided that there was no way I was going to try to rush out so that I could navigate icy driving conditions during rush hour to somewhere that in the best of traffic conditions is over an hour away.  I felt a little guilty but opted to stay home.  

Well, it turns out that it was really good that I didn’t go.  Because later in the day when my husband got home, he drove somewhere about ten minutes away, and on the way home the brakes totally failed – he put his foot on the pedal to slow down and nothing happened.  (Not something we’d have expected since we replaced our brakes pretty recently and had no signs of any impending problem.)  Thank G-d, he was going slowly and no one was around.  But if I’d been driving, I’d have been on an icy highway during rush hour with a van full of children and it could have been catastrophic.

Dh drove home very, very slowly and left the van close to the mechanic’s shop last night, and this morning I walked over with the keys; I’m grateful that his shop was in easy walking distance.  It was nice to get out early in the morning, and it was a beautiful day – sunny and not too cold, and getting some fresh air is always good in boosting myappreciation of life!     

I’m also glad to have found a good mechanic that we feel knows what he’s doing.  The last three major repairs we’ve had done prior to finding this mechanic were poorly done and led to constant related repairs since the underlying problems that weren’t addressed.  Dh was nervous about our van needing so many repairs, and the old mechanic told him it’s just the kind of van we have, he sees them all the time and they have so many problems.  The new mechanic told us vans like ours last for many years, that it has a strong engine and is in good shape, and we can expect it to last well past 200 – 250,000 miles.  Interesting how different their perspectives were.

Ds12 and dd10 got a ride with someone to the radio station tour that they were scheduled to go on today, and ds4 got a ride from someone else for his activity this afternoon.  In the meantime, I started dehydrating some of the food I prepared yesterday afternoon – 16 quarts of chili, 12 quarts of split pea soup, and 12 quarts of 16 bean soup.  Back in December I sent some homemade foods that I dehydrated to dd16 in Israel, and she’s finally gotten around to eating them!  She said they’re really good, and when I asked how well the chili rehydrated, she said she doesn’t bother waiting long enough because it tastes good even if it’s crunchy!  She even snacks on the dehydrated chili mix as it is. :)  So now I’m making up a bunch more food to take to her so she can have a taste of home. 

Right now in the dehydrator I have about half of the 16 quarts drying; once this is done I’ll go on systematically until all the pots full of food are done.  I’m hoping I can finish this by Friday midday.  It’s not the cooking the food that takes a long time, but the dehydrating of it all.  But it will be worth it to take a good amount of nutritious food to her in a compact and shelf-stable form. 

Then in the afternoon a heating technician came to tell us that our heating system isn’t working because of soot build-up and we need to replace the entire boiler ($5800), that it would be $2600 to clean it out and they say cleaning leads to spotty results that they won’t guarantee.  I wasn’t impressed by that company’s diagnosis (two visits each consisting of a minute each - $150 to tell me their opinion, that it was caused by me not sweeping the floor thoroughly enough around the boiler base :roll:).  I’m sure there’s got to be a less expensive option, so we’re doing some research.  I found a couple of compatible used boiler options if we decide to replace this, and dh spoke to a plumber who told us to vaccuum it out for starters, and said for a complete cleaning he charges $600.  That’s a lot different than $2600!  Hopefully we’ll sort it out quickly because it is rather on the cool side with no working heat!

For dinner we had a Tu B’shvat meal – dd14 made biscuits (wheat), Dutch babies with barley flour (barley), and then we had dried fruits and nuts at the end.  We didn’t have all of the seven species but it was still very nice!

The mechanic stayed late so that our van could be fixed in time for me to do my monthly shopping tomorrow, which I really appreciated.  So tomorrow will hopefully be a day of lots of bargains!

Avivah

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