Friday Fast Five: Kick a$$ red heads with bad hair days, What the Swiss do better, Effing birds, and the Latest Chapter in Appliance Hell.

Yay! It’s actually Friday! The only reason I’m on time with this post is because I missed my morning spin work-out at the gym.

1. The reason my butt is sitting in front of the computer now instead of on a stationary bike while I cry and swear (the Friday instructor is cruel, but she gets results) is because I ran late trying to tame the monster that is Lil’ G’s hair. My youngest child is blessed and cursed with my mane of wild red curls and, like her personality, getting it to obey is a monumental task. It also involves tears and swearing. Though I won’t say which of us does what.

2. On the subject of crazy red hair, I am taking my girls to see the new Disney movie BRAVE this weekend. Lil’ G intends to wear Merida’s dress to the theatre (Also: Halloween costume, check). The girl is such a dead ringer for the character, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up signing autographs. I am looking forward to seeing the film too; yay for kick-ass red head heroines!

3. Every kick-ass heroine needs to start her day with a great breakfast, right? Well, Merida is Scottish, and Scots are known for loving their morning bowl of porridge. Me, I prefer the Swiss version. The Swiss are known for excellent chocolate, time pieces, and –  I’d like to add –  oatmeal. A month or so ago the family had breakfast at the Corner Bakery and I made the life-changing decision to order the Swiss Oatmeal. Ok, it wasn’t life-changing…but it was really good! So good I consulted the mighty Google to find a copy-cat recipe. Here are a few of my favorites:

4. While enjoying a yummy healthy breakfast of Swiss Oatmeal, you’d think it would be pleasant to hear the sound of birds chirping, right? Sure…as long as the chirping isn’t coming from your effing chimney. We recently discovered we have birds living in our chimney. The good news, I suppose, is the fact they are living – I’ve heard horror stories of dead things caught in chimneys (and no, I’m not talking about that ridiculous Santa story from Gremlins). It was the husband’s turn to consult the mighty Google, and he learned that we have a family of Chimney Swifts living with us. At first I was annoyed, but now Chester (yes, my family named at least one of the chimney chirpers) has become a part of our daily routine – we hear him happily chirping and fluttering away. Besides, even if I wanted to hire a sweep to clean out the chimney and the nest – it is against the law to do so…Chimney Swifts are a protected species, and advocates suggest homeowners do what they can to make their chimneys more accommodating for the migrating birds. Like in this article: Being A Good Chimney Swift Landlord. Um…I’m not going to kick the ones that have moved in out…but I’m not hanging a welcome mat out on my roof either, thank you very much. Apparently, as a local newspaper explained, while the bird is becoming rare in other parts of the country, it is thriving here in the Mid-West. Well, I hope Chester and his family enjoys his stay. He better not poop too much in there.

5. While birds in the chimney turned out to be not frustrating enough to earn a spot in Appliance Hell, the same week we discovered Chester, our a/c went on the fritz. Lucky for us, I noticed it just before we left for vacation, so we were able to make an appointment for as soon as we came home. Even luckier, it was a not-too-expensive or time-consuming fix, and the a/c was working again in time for the nasty heat wave that hit earlier this week. If you notice your air conditioner is running normally, but the air coming out of the vents is not cool, it might be your capacitor (no, not a flux capacitor…though wouldn’t that be cool). It’s a thing that kind of looks like a pop-can sized 9-volt battery.

Sometimes the capacitor will "pop" - and that's what ours looked like: a pop can that exploded.

Apparently it’s possible to fix this problem yourself, if interested check out this post on Do It Yourself HVAC Repair. I prefer to pay someone who knows what they’re doing…who, in this case, turned out to be a former student of mine. I still live in the area I used to teach high school, and occasionally will run into old students (and by old, they really are getting old – with jobs and kids and oh, God…that makes me really old!). This young man asked me if ever taught at so-and-so school, and of course I had, and though I didn’t remember his name immediately, I recalled who he was once we talked for a minute. Thank goodness he liked me as a teacher (or at least, he didn’t hate me). I suppose if he held any grudges, it would have been easy to make me sweat a little…literally.

And with that horrible pun, I shall wish you a happy Friday and hope you have a cool, relaxing bird-free weekend.

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