We're still in limbo on the heating issue. I have been exchanging e-mail with a plumber who I hope will come and install a pressure gage and a heat exchanger so we can keep an eye on the system and reduce the chances of anything truly catastrophic happening while we limp through this winter (and try to figure out how to get the additional tens of thousands of dollars a full "rip out all the walls" replacement of the existing system).
I swear everything in the house is choosing this time to break down! Not only am I dealing with the heating system BS and coaxing the clothes dryer to limp along for just a while longer but the dishwasher is not getting the dishes clean and it seems to be intermittently leaking. Then his morning when I went to the refrigerator (the refurb fridge I bought a couple years ago when our came-with-the-house fridge died) and the inside was HOT. Not just warm, not "oh, the door didn't get shut all the way" room temp, but hot enough to melt the butter I had on the top shelf. Why? Apparently something broke somewhere and the inside lights were on ALL NIGHT even though the door was closed. The bulbs got so hot they melted the cover of the fixture (which fell off into the fridge) and proceeded to heat up everything else within 10-12 inches. I had to unscrew the bulbs to shut the lights off and they were so blisteringly hot that even working with an oven mitt and (eventually) a leather glove, I still managed to slip and burn a blister on my finger. Lovely way to star the day. Ha.
My mother came up for an unexpected visit after my birthday and it was fun to see her. She sat in the kitchen with me, reading over my recipe books and cooking magazines while I turned the last of the summer tomatoes into marinara sauce and whipped up a dinner from The Herbfarm Cookbook (pork tenderloin so good that Kate had seconds, took it in her lunch, and begged me to make it again within the week). She's driving down to Arizona at the end of this week to be around for my grandmother, who is having yet another medical issue (this time multiple lumps in her breast) on top of her heart problems and failing kidneys from the last two near death episodes. Mom wanted me to drive down with her but I just don't have it in me. I hope I don't regret not going. Grandma wrote to tell me she fully expects "another miracle" but every time something new comes up I can't help worrying that this will be the one. Mom promises to keep me informed.
Meanwhile Pramas and I have been tag-teaming the several hours a day to research the ins and outs and every minute aspect of Dragon Age: Origins now that it's available for the Xbox. When Chris was working on Box Set 1 for the tabletop game he had access to documents with much of this information in spreadsheet or table form but seeing it all put together and working with the visuals and the game play is a different beast and very inspirational. I'm LOVING the game, it's exactly the sort of game I want. The depth of characters, the richness of the world, the ability to do more than just roam from room to room killing things... I'm a sucker for the writing, the voice acting, the development of the NPCs. I adore the refinements to the relationship system with each Bioware release. I'm finishing up my second run through and already plotting my third. In short, Bioware owns me. Good thing we'll soon have the tabletop game out (it's been out for approvals for a while now and I'm biting my nails to nubs hoping we can get it approved and out to stores before the end of the year!) because I'm smitten with the world and want to explore more. Speaking of, I think my shift is starting any minute now. Fereldon here I come.