I really need to post something so Miss America and her skanky gown are not at the top of the blog anymore.

My blogging ability has been somewhat curtailed by the illness of our home computer. But Ned is fixing that piece, thanks to some good tips from his dad and the use of parts of his brother’s old computer, which had also crashed. (Yes, we are considering making the switch to a Mac — tired of these crashing PCs.) Quote from Ned, after getting off the phone with his computer-advice-giving pops: “My dad is smart.” Spittin’ the truth.

Technology has been failing us lately. Our trusty VW, Liesel, would not start a couple weeks ago. When cars work, they are oh-so convenient, but when they break, it is very, very inconvenient. The great thing for us is that we live in DC and mostly rely on our bikes, buses and the metro to get around, so we didn’t have to worry about how to get to work. The other great thing was the “it takes a village”-esque contributions of our neighbors, friends and relatives. One neighbor gave us jumper cables. Two other neighbors helped with various attempts to jump the car, which failed, then gave us their special plug-in battery charging device, which eventually worked. Another friend came with his special tool, so we could extract the very awkwardly-placed bolt that was holding the battery in the car (we do have wrenches, promise, but the Germans don’t make this easy). My dad correctly diagnosed the problem as a chilly battery. My dad is smart too.

For generations the Freemans have been good with tinkering and fixing. My dad fixes stuff at a steel mill; my grandfather had an auto repair shop; his father farmed and, I am told, liked to buy new farm equipment (love for equipment=love for fixing, in my mind). My grandfather told me I don’t want to know about the rest of the Freemans (even though I do): “A lot of sharecroppers.”

The name “Freeman,” at least in our case, is thought to come from men who had some sort of trade, and were therefore not tied to serfdom on the land. I like to think they were all handy makers and do-ers.

Sadly, the handiness came to a screeching halt with me: I got no skills for fixin’. Ned does like to fix things, so maybe our (as yet nonexistent) children will be able to do honor to their ancestors … even the sharecroppers.