Thursday 5 April 2012

Stinky fridges and wobbly washing machines

After our holiday we came back home nice and relaxed. However, there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for us - the house had a really bad smell when we walked in. Unbeknownst to us the circuit breaker on the power circuit had tripped a few days after we had left for the USA. This meant that fridge was switched off for 2.5 weeks. The fridge part was mainly ok as we had cleaned that out except for a few condiments - even the butter had kept its shape. However, some stewed fruit and a chicken satay in the freezer decided to call the mould mafia, have a party and leave the stinky mess for me to clean up.

The full photo album is available via the following link: March 2012

We had some interesting suggestions on how to clean up the fridge (ground coffee, vanilla) however, in the end we: take out all shelves and wash in hot soapy water, wiped off the mould off inner surfaces, wiped all surfaces with white vinegar and closed both doors and left for a few hours, wiped down again with a bicarb soda / water mix and then left halved lemons and bicarb soda to soak up the remaining smells. Only took 2 weeks! And the fridge is very shiny and clean. Luckily we had a small bar fridge to get by on.

Our garage replacement project took a turn for the worse just before we left as the council reject our 2nd attempt at a DA - 2 days before we left for the US. A lot of work was needed on the 3rd attempt (new quotes ad new designs) which was partly done in the US but a lot had to be done when we got back. The DA was sent to council at the end of march so hopefully it is third time lucky! More detail on this in a dedicated blog post.

I won't even go into my tribulations with Telstra. Gaaaahhh!

Our other problem was that our fisher and paykel washing machine was acting up, er should I say not acting! We'd put in a wash and get to the spin/dry stage and then the machine would just turn off, once or twice with a weird smell too. Normally you could self diagnose the problem with the "code" of lights on the machine display panel, but even those were not turned on. We did get the Fisher and Paykel service man to repair some parts (got a new pump!) but the problem seems to exist once again. The saga continues into April...

There was some good stuff in March too! We did our annual weekend down at Sanctuary Point - Timothy's first visit. Whilst the weather was sunny, it was rather cold so instead of going to the beach, we went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross in nearby Nowra. Jeremy loved it! This museum was just the right size to show our toddler some really cool planes and helicopters used by the Australian navy airships. There was even a fun helicopter flight simulator game which you could fly over Sydney and "through" some buildings. It was a great day to keep the kids entertained.

Last weekend we had originally planned to go to the Zig Zag railway to ride the trains. Jeremy now has a new obsession with Thomas trains thanks to his new favourite book from Lola featuring Thomas and his friends - he wants this read to him most nights since getting back! We were also going to meet up with my parents and make a day of it. Unfortunately both the Steam and Motor trains were out of service. Luckily we had a backup plan and had our picnic at Mt Tomah Botanical gardens. Jeremy loved looking at all the plants with Grandma, as well as finding all the dinosaurs (painted cutouts hidden amongst the gardens for kids to find) and seeing the little lizards on rocks and looking at the koi in the billabong. Timothy rather enjoyed the day too as we carried him front facing in our pikkolo baby carrier.

Timothy no longer stays still. He rolls across the floor to explore and always gets out of his covers in his cot. He is also being more responsive in giving us gurgles, smiles and rasberries. We have now started him on solid food and whilst he isn't taking to it as much as Jeremy, he is doing well. Jeremy did his first poo on the toilet on 28 March and has done several wees since. Potty training II (scheduled for the Easter long weekend) might be more successful than the first attempt...

Monday 2 April 2012

San Francisco and Seattle trip 2012

On 17 Feb 2012 we flew to the USA so Timothy could meet his grandparents and for a quick holiday in San Francisco. This post covers both our holiday and the last couple of weeks in March. It has taken a while to post this blog as we were busy almost as soon as we got back and unlike last time there was no free hotel wifi so to blog on the road.

The full photo album is available via the following link: San Francisco and Seattle trip 2012

Timothy's first flight was on the A380 from Sydney to Los Angeles and for the most part both kids behaved well. Unlike the last trip Jeremy did go to sleep without too much trouble, though he really did enjoy watching his "own" tv.

When we arrived at SFO we took the BART (which Jeremy did enjoy) and walked the short distance to our hotel, the Westin Market Street. We did go out for dinner and worked out that while the weather was ok during the day it was quite cold at night. The kids had a bit of trouble getting to sleep (and it took us a couple of days to get them in sync with US west coast time).

On the second day we purchased a MUNI passport from Hallide Plaza visitor centre (on the lower level - top tip as the queue is shorter than for the one near the cable car terminus).  Since we had cranky kids and didn't want to wait so long for the cable cars, we went to Market street to catch the F-line tram to wharf 39. We enjoyed a relaxed stroll through Pier 39 to see the sea lions and had clam chowder in the bread bowl. Then we took bus to Coit Tower and enjoyed beautiful views of the city. We ended the day with cable car ride back to Powell Street.

On the third day we spent most of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Jeremy loved the aquarium and the rainforest (ok mainly the frogs). The food place was expensive and the queue too long so a good tip is to bring your own.

Our last full day was spent at the Palace of Fine Arts (where we got some great photos). We also walked over to Crissy Field to get some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. As Jeremy loved the cable cars so much we took the cable car again back to our hotel. Jeremy liked it so much he fell asleep halfway through the trip!

We were tired and were looking to checking into our next hotel. As the price doubled on the 4th night we only booked the Westin for 3 nights and booked in at the Hotel Milano (which was closer to our Amtrak pickup) for our last night. Hotel Milano was a mistake! They did not have us booked in for that night and had booked us for a night in January instead. The guy on the front desk was most unhelpful so we headed back to the Westin where our luggage was stored. We explained the situation to them and luckily they had a room spare for the night - at a similar price to our other nights. The new room was on the top floor which was cool. In the end we managed to sort out a full refund with Hotel Milano.

Our final day in San Francisco was spent walking around Chinatown where we had great yumcha at Yous Dim Sum on Broadway. At around 8.30pm we started the next leg of the journey up to Seattle. We were bussed to Emeryville where we caught the Coast Starlight train which would take us to Seattle the following night.

As it was after 10pm we were in bed asleep quite quickly and by the time we woke up we were already in Oregon and breakfast was being served. It was cool to sit down and watch Lake Klamath zip by. We spent most of the day in the family cabin except for lunch and Jeremy wanting to wander from one end of the train to the other.

Most of our 2 weeks in Seattle was quiet and relaxing. Both boys had a great time with their grandparents and the relatives we visited. We visited Pike Place market, though Jeremy was more interested in running around the park, and had a great coffee at Caffe D'arte nearby. Jeremy really enjoyed going to the Museum of Flight (we spent half a day there as he kept wanting to look at everything).

We had a good flight home (Jeremy fell asleep soon after takeoff) and grabbed a taxi very quickly upon arrival. Unfortunately, here were a number of surprises and unfinished jobs awaiting our arrival back home that have kept us quite busy.Those are, however, for another blog post...