My car broke down and I had to have it towed to my mechanic yesterday. Basically, driving along and a loud fwapping noise coming from the engine and I lost power steering and power brakes. Fortunately, it happened before I made it to the highway. Mechanic called back after they had a chance to stick it up on the rack. My problem was a large rat. Yes, a rat. Apparently climbed up on the engine because it was warm and ended up getting caught between the belt and pulleys. I took a picture and it is definitely a size LARGE rat. I haven't had a chance to take it off the camera yet, but I'll get it up here as soon as I can. One of my co-workers says it looks like a river rat to him. Weird things always seem to happen to me. *sigh* And not in a fun way.
Anyway, good weekend, what there was of it. Saturday we spent the day cleaning up the house and Mo had a hair appointment in the afternoon. Munchkin stayed home with me and watched TV while I used the carpet cleaner to try and get some spots out and I washed some of the big pots. We were getting ready to have our immediate family over for our Thanksgiving at our house, more of an intimate affair. Mo picked up the ingredients for brining the turkey and got it all in the big pot (my big brew pot - so that she doesn't feel bad about me spending the money on buying it). The turkey came out of the brine at 2:30am. Then we had to wash it down and put it in the fridge to rest. We went back to bed.
Munchkin woke us up later with a blood curdling scream. She was having a night terror and it took a while for us to get her to wake up. I hate it when she has night terrors because we are powerless to resolve the situation until she wakes up. It took about 5-10 minutes before she "woke" up. Then we finally got out of her that she had dreamed that she was playing and a stranger came up to her and when she would not go with him, he chased her and was trying to catch her.
After munchkin was squared away, we started cooking. Mo got triple chocolate mud pie and pumpkin pie (made from fresh pumpkin) in the oven and I started on peeling 10 pounds of potatoes. We got the turkey into the oven around 2:30pm and continued getting everything going. Family started showing up around 4ish and we were still cooking. It took a lot longer to get the potatoes boiling than I thought. Anyway, my mom & sister and Mo's mom helped us get the food finished. Our menu for Thanksgiving Sunday was:
- 17 pound Turkey
- home-made mashed potatoes
- home-made mashed sweet potatoes
- home-made cranberries
- triple chocolate mud pie
- home-made pumpkin pie
- home-made apple crisp pie
- chocolate chip cookies
- pumpkin bread pudding
Bad news this morning, about 53,000 Ameren UE customers lost power this morning around 4:30am down in the South city area we used to live in. A transformer caught fire near Shrewsbury this morning, and Ameren customers from Clayton to South County are in the dark. There is an article about it in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In St. Charles county, consignment stores are reporting a spike in sales and new consigners, and the county's three MERS Goodwill stores are reporting modest gains, while pawn shops are reporting an overall downturn in business. Lisa Korn (owner of Changing Hands in St. Peters) attributed the sudden boost in sales and consigners to the falling price of gas. "When gas dropped below $2 it got crazy. People suddenly could spend money."
This morning, I read a report from an American Forces Press Release blog about Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sims (Sgt Sims and his wife call St. Charles, MO home). Sgt. Sims was wounded three times during his yearlong deployment to Iraq with the 1st Armored Division's Company B, 270th Armor Battalion, out of Fort Riley, Kan.
Sgt. Sims, a medic, was riding in a tracked ambulance between two M1-A1 Abrams tanks when a roadside bomb detonated. Shrapnel pierced the vehicle and penetrated his flak vest, puncturing his left lung. He was evac'd to the hospital in Balad. He spent about three weeks recovering before returning to his unit.
Three months after he'd returned to duty, his unit was on a foot patrol when it started taking enemy mortar fire. One mortar landed near Sims. "Shrapnel hit near my lower left leg, penetrating through the front lower part and coming out the back," he said. "[I] almost, almost lost that limb in that incident, but everything's fine now." Sgt. Sims spent another four weeks at the hospital in Balad before rejoining his unit to complete his tour.
Company B was patrolling one of the Main Supply Routes around 4am when Sgt. Sims, who was riding in an Abrams tank, detected flashes in the distance. That is all he remembers about the incident however. "I took a sniper bullet – 7.62 mm – to the front of the helmet -- straight in front, almost right between the eyes," Sgt. Sims said. The bullet fractured his neck and skull and knocked him unconscious. As he fell unconscious, he fell into the tank turrent. As the turret turned to return fire it broke his right femur.
Sgt. Sims returned to the hospital in Balad for another two months. Sgt. Sims tour in Iraq has earned him three purple hearts. He said that he would not hesitate to return if called upon. Which is good, since it would appear that his current unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Engineer Battalion based out of Schweinfurt, Germany, is certain to deploy.
Personally, I hope that when Sgt. Sims returns home that St. Charles chooses to honor his service. I don't recall hearing anything before today about it. In fact, I'm going to drop a letter over to city hall with the info from this press release and see if they had done anything to honor this man's service to the country. All I can say is wow. This guy is awesome. Sgt. Sims has said that he like to become a doctor or a physician's assistant. Sgt. Sims has served ten years in the military since enlisting out of high school.
[Update] Steve, from the Urban Review St. Louis blog, is putting up two tickets to St. Louis’ 2009 Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the St. Louis African American Caucus Foundation and the St. Louis Young Democrats and held inside the beautiful rotunda of the St Louis City Hall. Tickets for this black-tie event are $50 per person or $125 per person for the VIP ticket which includes valet parking, a cocktail party and dinner. The Ball starts at 8pm with the VIP events starting at 6:30pm. He has two regular tickets (non-VIP) for a lucky reader. The contest is open between now and 5pm Friday January 2, 2009. Head over to this blog entry for more information about entering.