Wednesday, September 19, 2007

doomed to a life of elastic waistbands, compact flash cards and stinky laundry

I know, I know, I've been a bad blogger lately. Seems like the less you blog, the harder it is to get back into it.

It's not that I haven't wanted to blog. The truth is I've been feeling kind of under the weather for the past while. Nothing serious, just one of those mysterious tropical viruses that treat you to aching joints, a queasy stomach and a week-long headache that stays with you morning, noon and night. Lots of fun.

Before I got struck down Mr. M and I had been making a concerted effort to go out for a walk after dinner every evening. We usually averaged 45 minutes to an hour so I was a pretty good workout. So what happens after a couple of weeks of striding through the fields breathing in all that fresh air? Mr M loses half a pound and I gain two. Hmphhh. I'm prepared to believe it's muscle instead of just too many dumplings.

Sometimes on the weekends we can persuade the kids to go on a family walk with us and one of our usual haunts is a recreational area a few towns over that offers hiking trails of different lengths and degrees of dificulty. It's not like there are any real mountains around here, but there sure are some hills that can get your heart beating fast.

the easy part

We usually choose a shortish hike, about 3 km each way and the boys like it because there's a reward at the end - the Wennigser Wasserräder, a series of colourful miniature water wheels powered by an underground spring.

halfway there

The 22 water wheels are only up from April to October and are maintained through public donations and the skill of 14 craftsmen who are dedicated to repairing and repainting them every year.

At the top of the trail there's also a display depicting the flora and fauna of 2007.

We discovered our own little bit of fauna on the way and although he (or she?) wasn't on the 2007 list, he was the highlight of our hike. Here you see him in Boy11's hands so you can imagine how tiny our little friend was.


Anyway, it was after that hike that things started to fall apart for me. Not only for me, for our camera as well. On one of our following other walks I decided to take the camera along and try to catch a few nice images, including what passes for a sunset around these parts. No such luck. Our memory card, which is (or was, I should say) one of those micro processor thingies, started acting up after about 18 months of constant use by the whole family, including Boy11 saving his his little movies on it. I did some research on the internet and found that the thing is prone to malfuntion and needs to be handled like a raw egg.


So we bought a giant compact flash card and things are wonderful again.

Or at least they could be wonderful if it weren't for my crappy state of health (no exercise = get out the stretch pants, please) and my weird, weird laundry.

You see, after Boy11 got home from summer camp in August, I noticed this strange chemical smell in some of our laundry. I wasn't sure if it was in the clothes he brought back or in something else, but it has lingered on and it's driving me crazy.

I'm really sensitive to smell and it's a biting odour that makes my eyes water and my lungs burn. It's not in every article of clothing and seems to come and go. and Washing the clothes over and over again doesn't seem to make any difference. I've let the washing machine run through a long hot cycle with bleach and we've inspected the dryer and still no solution. Advice and/or andecdotes are more than welcome.


At September 19, 2007 5:08 p.m., Anonymous ian said...

More like: micro-ribbit! That has to be the smallest frog that wasn't a tadpole I've ever seen.

At September 19, 2007 5:52 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

What a cute frog!

What I know about laundry you could probably fit in your little finger. (It's still probably more than my fiance knows. No, dear, you *can't* put a nice wool sweater in the washer and DRYER and expect it to still fit.) But I hope you can get the stink out, soon!

Feel better soon! I understand what you mean about losing the blogging motivation. (Although I'm getting married this weekend, so that's my excuse!)

At September 19, 2007 7:31 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

The water wheels are adorable (so is the froggie)!

I wonder what this irritating smell in your laundry could be. Strange. Is it always in the same pieces of clothing? Did you notice any strange smell from other water sources (taps)?

I also understand about blogging. I feel that the longer I wait, the more I have to tell, and then I'm so far behind timewise that I loose track. That's when it becomes difficult for me.

At September 19, 2007 7:47 p.m., Blogger christina said...

ian - There were tons of them hopping through the bushes and they were all so small. No idea what kind they were.

angie - Yeah, I think I learned the sweater lesson quite a few years ago. And getting married is the BEST excuse not to blog. But afterwards we want pictures!

canswiss - Mr M was thinking it might be the water supply. Perhaps chlorine reacting with something else. It's not always the same pieces of clothing but they all seem to be dark colours. The sheets and towels etc don't pick it up. Maybe it's time to buy a new wardrobe! Yeah, that's it. :-)

At September 19, 2007 9:06 p.m., Anonymous Lisa said...

Sorry you don't feel well. :( You know, as a fellow sufferer of random weird feelings that can change from day-to-day, I'm beginning to think it may be the weather. Have I said this before? I think I have... Anyway, there are so many fronts moving in and out during the course of a day we're suffering random nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness and pretty constant headaches. My BP just goes crazy despite the meds.

Re: the clothes... I know this is terrible but if you suspect it's in the clothes themselves, bleach will kill it. I have the feeling we've had this conversation before too... and in that conversation environmentally friendly bleaches were mentioned (by others).

I'm a big friend of bleach because my boys love to use a towel for 2-3 days and stuff it under their beds or in a crevice and let it rot for a couple weeks. I got tired of throwing the towels away and the thought of putting something black and fuzzy on my body, even if it's really tiny and I might not see it... just ain't going there.

About the little houses in the woods - we have that here too. If I don't think about it too deeply I can pretend they were made by gnomes. :) I prefer the gnome theory, actually.

At September 19, 2007 10:23 p.m., Blogger Pardon My French said...

Does it smell like mothballs? We have a combo and after I dried a certain pair of baby blankets I noticed a mothball smell that drove me crazy. It went away after a couple of washes, though. I guess this really isn't any help to you, but I think it was linked to the dryer part. There are only two settings and so I have to be careful not to leave things in too long now.

At September 19, 2007 11:31 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

Sorry you've been feeling puny. Hope it's all gone soon.

That frog pictures cracks me up.

And I have no suggestions as to what could be causing or how to cure the stinky laundry thing. When I have that problem it's usually just because Mt. Dirty Clothes is actually stinky.

At September 20, 2007 7:52 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. muscle does weigh more than fat. been there, disappointed as well.
2. love those windmills!
3. I stupidly washed a cleaning rag that had been soaked with WD40 and it stunk up my washer and dryer too. It took a few cycles to get the smell out. The next time I washed that same rag, I had forgotten and it smelled up again. I threw it away after that.
4. I hope you feel better soon. Missed your posts and started to get worried.
Lurking Lisa from Stuttgart

At September 20, 2007 7:58 a.m., Blogger J said...

you've been quite busy.

Glad to hear about the walks, but cycling is still better :)

Those water wheel things are very cool.

Hope you feel better soon.

At September 20, 2007 11:06 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

Can you motivate me to walk that much? Good for you for getting out there!

I can also totally relate to the random illness/blog-slacking. It certainly comes and goes for me. All I can say is don't seat it... it will come back when it's ready. Meanwhile, do something that makes you happy!

At September 21, 2007 3:10 p.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Feel better soon!

At September 22, 2007 11:41 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I always hate to hear when you're under the weather, Christina! Ugh. But it sounds like you're trying to do the right thing, with your walking, especially as a family.

That little waterwheel village is a treasure trove for us photographers. I eat that stuff up, as you know. So glad you got another memory card!

Since you're so sensitive to odd smells, I do hope you get your laundry situation figured out. No fun when you can't get something "fixed" easily. If anyone can figure it out, however, it would be you and Mr. M!

At September 22, 2007 2:59 p.m., Blogger Betty C. said...

This looks charming. And all that green looks like it could be in the Pacific Northwest. The whole thing reminds me of "Never Never Land" at the Point Defiance Park in Tacoma WA -- have you ever been there?

At September 22, 2007 5:36 p.m., Blogger tinakala said...

Nice green and lovely out there. The frog is very cute :)

At September 23, 2007 7:16 a.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

I can't help you with your laundry problem, but I can thank you for posting the pictures of the woods. One of my favorite things about Germany! Nothing like a walk in the German woods!

At September 24, 2007 12:46 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I used to love playing and hunting for those tiny frogs. And the pics were a highlight. How awesome!!!

At September 25, 2007 12:32 p.m., Blogger swenglishexpat said...

Here's an all-in-one explanation: It is some heavy (your added weight), slightly poisonous (your ill-feeling) and foul-smelling substance/metal/whatever that has sneaked into the water supply? Or could it be a mass invasion of little frogs in all the pipes? ;-)

At September 27, 2007 1:58 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Lisa - Well I KNOW that you know how I'm feeling. :-)

I've now sprayed the heck out of anything stinky with Febreze, let it dry and then washed it again and that seems to have worked for now.

PardonmyFrench - It's more of a solvent smell, something that really burns my eyes. We checked out the dryer thinking it might be some burning rubber part or other but didn't find anything.

Dixie- Thanks! The malaise continues but I am soldiering on. :-)

Lisa from Stuttgart - Hi! Well I must have a LOT of muscle then. :-) We also have plenty of WD40 around here, but it seems to be a different smell from that. I haven't figured out if it was in the washer/dryer, the water or in the clothes themselves but it seems to be under control now.

J - Well, busy for me. :-)

Cycling is only better if one is not falling off the bike every five minutes like I would!

Alison - The walking was short lived but we're going to start again soon. It was kind of nice going out together instead of exercising alone.

Betsy - Thanks!

Ginnie - It's a catch 22 for me - I feel better when I exercise but sometimes just the thought of getting out there is too much.

I bet you would have gotten some great shots at the water wheels!

BettyC - It's mostly deciduous trees around here so it's bare in winter but the rest of the year is nice. No, I haven't been to Never Never Land in Tacoma but we're planning a short detour down to WA during our vacaction in Vancouver next year so maybe we should check it out.

tinakala - It's nice to get out in the woods since it's actually mostly fields around here except for a few recreational areas.

thimbleanna - I'm hoping that Febreze has saved the day!
:-) The woods here aren't what I call REAL woods, but they'll have to do. I don't think I could live in a place where there was no natural beauty at all.

Expat - Have you ever been to Alice Lake on the road up to Whistler? There used to be tons of tiny frogs hopping in and out of the water there.

swenglishexpat - I'm sure HOPING it's not frogs. Doesn't smell that way anyway. It may have just been something they put in the water but it's a truly awful smell.


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