February 2019


When visiting Pam, I wake up and get my coffee and then immediately start writing about the previous day. I don’t want to forget anything and so this keeps each day separate and complete. A couple days ago, by the end of my daily story, my portable keyboard decided that the period/> key and the M/m key were not going to be totally reliable. They would work, but not on the first poke.

My solution to this problem was to recharge the keyboard. That seemed to work and it was functional for the next day’s writing. And then we got to yesterday. The entire bottom row, except for the B, N and ? key was non-functional. While the bottom row letters are not so widely used, the bottom row punctuation is a constant.

I had to admit it, my lovely travelling keyboard was dying. When Dick woke up, I told him about it and asked if we could make a trip to Best Buy sometime. I didn’t want to leave for our extra trip and not be able to write about it because I know how the world at large looks forward to these types of stories. Okay, maybe just a couple people. But I do like writing them so I can look stuff up the next year.

I knew they had some wonderful keyboards on Amazon and I also knew that even with next day delivery, I would be gone before the keyboard arrived. Dick looked for a nearby Best Buy and then looked for keyboards and we found some. They were more expensive (and much nicer) than what I was really looking for, but they were available in store. It’s only money.

That was my problem for the day. Then, Pam came out to the kitchen. She couldn’t find her contacts. She does have glasses and they are even a newer prescription, but as everyone who has ever worn contacts knows, they are not the same thing. When you are used to contacts, glasses (even with the mostestest perfectest prescription) aren’t good enough. They take getting used to. The glasses are a pain in the butt.

We searched high and low. All of us had lost a single contact over the years. It happens and is part of the delight of ownership. How in the hell do you lose both at the same time? Her contact case was sitting at the edge of the sink, upside down. There were no contacts anywhere. She could see clearly with her glasses so she didn’t have them in her eyes, at least correctly. We all looked under eyelids and into corners, but we could find no contact and certainly not two of them. They were lost. They were gone. It was a mystery.

We searched on the counters. We searched on the floor. We searched in the shower. We searched on her clothes. We searched high and low and there were no contacts anywhere to be found.

It was time to go and play cards. We had a wonderful time at Cindy’s house and played Spades Rule. It was much more fun with six people than it was with three. The strategy was a little different than with four and the queen of spades did a remarkable job of travelling around the table. I ate more aces than was statistically reasonable, but I never got stuck with the queen, although I did have her in my possession a few times.

While we were playing cards, it started to rain again. We walked to Cindy’s without problem. We walked home in a slight misty drizzle but it was not really a problem. We decided that would be the best time to run over to Best Buy and get the keyboard. So that’s what we did.

I have never had a really good shopping experience at Best Buy. If you have a question about something, there is never a handy person to ask. They did have the case I was looking at as well as a second case similar to it. My brand of Samsung tablet is a Tab A. Each different type is a slightly different size so neither of the Samsung keyboards in the covers were going to work because they didn’t fit with my sized tablet. This took over twenty minutes to find out.

Someone who didn’t actually work in that department was helping Pam find me a keyboard. She found one that seemed suitable but on closer inspection, it was for Apple products. I am not an Apple person. I went to the other keyboard section away from all the tablets and some kind people let me ask the one guy in the department (who was helping them) answer my question. They keyboard would work by Bluetooth, but the function keys wouldn’t work on an Android.

I had mentioned the dearth of help to the women who had helped Pam and she said, “Well, it’s a holiday,” which apparently only became obvious to Best Buy’s scheduling department earlier in the day. That must have been shocking for them.

We poked around the regular keyboards and I found the smallest Bluetooth keyboard available. It had a sliding mousepad thing over where a number keypad would usually live. I don’t even know if that would work with an Android but it sure made the keyboard bigger. It was the best I could do and it was only $25 so wasn’t going to break the bank even if I only used it for the next week and then got a real travelling one. I stopped at the Samsung desk that was quite a bit distant from the tablets and was really for phones and the three people there who were doing nothing could tell me “Well, if it isn’t over there , we are out of it. You might try Walmart or Target because they carry Samsung.”

Although that was the most blasé bit of advice possible, it was actually the most helpful advice I managed to get all morning. I bought the too big, small keyboard and we went over to Walmart. I found another keyboard that isn’t exactly perfect, but it was a good bit smaller. I bought that, too. Then we had to go back to Best Buy and return the other keyboard which took almost no time at all. The entire experience took well over an hour, but the return was fast.

We headed back home and Dick went to get Aunt Babe and drive her up to Pam’s. It wasn’t raining at the moment but we weren’t sure what the weather would be like later and with the luxury of an extra driver, we could drive. Pam and I started cooking while he was out collecting Aunt Babe. We had leftovers from the steak fry and added some shrimp for a Surf &Turf dinner. It was delicious. The chocolate cakes were a great dessert for the dessert people.

We sat and talked and told stories for a long time. I finally had a chance to write up the day before’s exciting doings. The keyboard works like a charm. It is a bit bigger than my last one and the keys are larger and spaced different so it has been taking me a bit of time to get used to it, but all the keys work and it is wonderful to type on.

We got Aunt Babe delivered back to her house along with a clock that needed some attention, some clean laundry, and other assorted things that were here and needed to be there. We then sat around and since we ate dinner so late, we each went and grabbed some food when we finally got hungry again.

Dick tried to book us a show for while we are in Vegas but since the websites were uncooperative, we have opted to wing it once we get there and see what we see. We finalized our plans for our drive and decided that we would mostly wing the entire thing. We have hotel reservations all over and we have dinner reservations at the Grand Canyon. We have the basics covered and will wing the rest.

We turned in early and got ready for another exciting day.

Broken and functional keyboards

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It was a lovely day. Let me tell you about it. We got a little later start to the day. We were able to sleep in until we wanted to wake up. I still managed to be the first one up so when Dick got up I was there to make him some coffee.

We had talked about the going to Tortilla Flat. We decided that would be a great way to spend the morning. Dick offered to drive and Pam would navigate. There was a race being run somewhere between here and there and so the road kept showing intermittent blockages. As we approached the area, the cops were there stopping traffic to allow runners to not be killed, always a good thing for any race.

The day was overcast to start with and then cleared quite a bit. The entire time we were there it was sunny and chilly, but still wonderful views. We walked the entire length of the town which sounds impressive unless you have ever been to Tortilla Flat. The town is about one block long. We stopped in the candy store and I found prickly pear lip balm and prickly pear tea. Dick got some maple nut fudge and I am not even jealous of that.

We visited the museum and read a few more facts about the town and the region. By then, we were getting hungry and made our way to the restaurant, which we had learned had burned down in 1987 and was rebuilt a year later with lots of help from locals, both with funding and with materials.

We knew how fancy the girl bathroom was. There are Wild West Saloon Girls with their bodies painted on short doors and your own head can peer out over it. We had no idea what the boy bathroom looked like so we send Dick on a reconnaissance mission. He came back with some pictures and although the men’s room is decorated, it isn’t quite the same. There are wanted posters and whatnot, but no painted doors.

After lunch we had completely done all the things one can do in Tortilla Flat, so we came home. The drive back was just as spectacular as the drive up. It was starting to cloud up a bit and was getting pretty dreary by the time we were back home with the car parked.

We had nothing pressing to do in the afternoon and Pam decided to take a nap. She toddled off to bed for a while, I did some more crocheting, Dick played on the computer/tablet. The afternoon went by without incident. I was just about ready to go and wake Pam up when she walked out into the living room. She had set an alarm, was so tired she turned it off and immediately went back to sleep. Luckily she woke herself up in time for our next outing.

It was difficult to remember when our next outing was and when I found a calendar of events, all it said was Steak Fry which not particularly helpful. But there is a good reason for that. The men who volunteer to cook the steaks can’t cook all several hundred at the same time. So there is a time on each ticket. There is not one set time for the entire event.

Our ticket was for 5.40 and unlike most months, they were ahead of schedule even that late into the day. They call for each time slot in sections as well. First the rare were called, then medium rare, then medium, and finally well done. After all the people from one twenty minute section were served, the next group started.

We went and got our steaks. They are served with baked potatoes, a hot roll, a vegetable (we had green beans), and a salad. The other half of the ticket is used to get your dessert. Last night, they served individual dark chocolate bundt cakes.

After we were full, we packed up all the leftovers. This included steak and potatoes and all the desserts. We came home with lots of food and settled in for the night. Since we had big plans for the day (Monday is card day), we weren’t sure what games we might be playing. First thing we needed was a deck of cards.

This proved to be far more difficult than one might imagine. Pam bought two decks of cards in Ireland. However, there were some very odd things about these decks. First of all, we couldn’t make even one full deck of cards. There were up to three identical cards (say jack of diamonds) and none of some others. Pam had only used the one deck for playing euchre and was able to make that type of deck.

Next Pam got out the cards she had gotten from Rome. She had played canasta with those cards before and they were all mixed up. Dick and I looked at the fronts of the cards and with great effort were able to separate the decks into two complete decks. I went to shuffle the cards and if we had just looked at the backs, we would have noticed one deck was red and one was blue. We resorted the cards.

After all that we were able to teach Dick out to play Spades Rule. However, it is not fun to play that game with three people. There was very little need to have to get a card and we just played our cards until someone finally went out and we had a total score of about 60 for all three people for three rounds. Dick thought he had the idea okay and we went back to not playing cards. I think it took us longer to get the cards ready than we took actually playing cards.

Pam and I went back to crafting. Dick went to watching Netflix. We did that until we went off to bed.

There is a story about why this is so late getting posted, but that will have to wait for tomorrow.

Gned at Tortilla Flat Restaurant

Another “quiet” day. Perspective is everything because the day really turned out to be quite busy. But it was childless and a bit less structured.

Dick let me know he got to the Charleston airport without problem so we knew he was on his way and the airports were still functioning. I really don’t care if the TSA isn’t there but the FAA is pretty damn important. Both were working.

First thing we did was go to the pancake breakfast. I was supposed to do this last year, but was too sick on Saturday morning to make it. I got there this year. They had delicious stuff starting with pancakes. I got two almond ones to save for Emery when she got here again, since they are not considered low carb either with or without the syrup. I did take a small taste and they were delicious. I got scrambled eggs and ham for me.

I got some coffee but couldn’t find creamer. There were bowls of sugar packets of several types on each table, but then, I was out of luck. I ate my eggs and ham (neither of which were green although that would have been awesome) and then went and asked where I could find creamer. The creamer was on each table in the sugar shaker jar things. Who knew? So, I put some of that in my coffee and drank it.

Pam told me about a game she has been playing on her phone and like some game junkie, I put it on my tablet. Eventually, I found another one similar to it because if one is good, two is better – unless we are talking about spouses.

We had talked about when would be a good time to call Cheri and decided this was the day. But Cheri’s first Facebook post was a picture of her weather (11 degrees with the wind chill) and mentioning that she and Marge were doing a 5K race in that crap. Next post was them freezing in public, next one was them finding a darling restaurant for breakfast. So, we waited until we thought she was done with her race and with her refuel and then called her.

We talked for only a short time (barely over an hour and that is short for the three of us) and then Pam needed to spruce up for church and Cheri needed a nap before church. I was as spruced as I could get, so I was ready.

We picked up Aunt Babe and went to mass. That building is really well constructed because the roof did not cave in yet again. I can follow along with the ritual prayers, but they were changed a few years back and the phrasing is now different and jarring. I don’t know the melody of the singing parts of the mass like The Gloria and stuff. But I can read music and sing along with the hymns and whatnot, so that is what I do. I did offer a Sign of Peace and the women next to me did not shake hands so I just nodded at other people around me and tried not to offend anyone. It seemed to work.

After mass, we all went out to lunch. Pam and I had talked about what places were close to church and I picked one to study intensely. Kneaders (similar in concept to Panera) has an online menu with nutrition information available as well. So I could look that over and see if there was anything I felt comfortable eating. There was. In fact, there were several things. I had decided on a cup of soup and a half salad. I knew that I didn’t want poppy seed dressing but they had balsamic vinaigrette I could substitute. So I was ready.

Aunt Babe wasn’t thrilled with our choice, but it was where I felt safe eating, so she graciously acquiesced. We walked in and they were out of the broccoli soup. I didn’t want the two that were left on the board, so I opted for just the half salad. I knew which bread I wanted with it and ate only a small corner of that because it made me happy. What I forgot in the two days since studying the menu was that they put feta on my salad. I hate feta. The server kindly took it back and remade it with mozzarella instead.

Pam got a BLT and the white bean chili thing for her cup of soup, something she had really wanted and was still available that late in the day. Aunt Babe got a pastrami sandwich. They both got half sandwiches which were still very large and more than enough to eat. My salad was a complete delight once I got rid of the feta. Pam’s chili was full of peppers and she couldn’t eat it, but her sandwich was delicious. Aunt Babe didn’t tell them no sauce on her sandwich and so scraped off as much of the mayo/mustard sauce as she could remove. All in all, I made the best choice.

I am going to have to remember to ask, with each salad I order, what kind of cheese they add. They love putting on those gritty, crumbly, icky cheeses and then it ruins the salad. I prefer nothing over that or something else as a substitute. I need to be proactive and remember to ask for modifications before they bring out the icky cheesed salad. This is now my new goal for dining out.

We dropped Aunt Babe off at Dollar Tree and we went over to Hobby Lobby to see what yarn was on sale. None. They had no yarn on sale at all. They had that doily string stuff on sale, but that wasn’t going to make a baby blanket, so we bought nothing. We got back to Dollar Tree and walked around there and then found Aunt Babe and came home.

We then did a lot of nothing, waiting for Dick to arrive in Phoenix. He did, got his car, got the Garmin set up, and found Monte Vista. Pam lives just seconds from the entry and rather than tell him how to get through the maze of streets in the dark (they are marked, but not where you would be looking for a street sign) I ran (literally) (and that lets you know how close it is) up to get him and bring him to Pam’s house. He got his luggage in the house and then we took his rental car down to park in Aunt Babe’s driveway. He got a really nice rental car and we will have a nice ride as drive around Arizona and Nevada for a few days.

We walked back to Pam’s and he ate the chili and some of the bread left over from lunch. And then we talked and talked until it was time for bed. See? A quiet day.

My least favorite baby blanket to date. I like the pattern, but I made it too wide.

I have been waking up quite early, usually well before Pam comes out of her room. I walked past the kitchen window slightly after dawn’s breaking and saw someone passing by. That is not unusual. These people are out and walking and biking and golf carting themselves all over at all times of the day. I was making my coffee and then there was a guy just standing there looking in the window. I looked closer.

Since it had rained “all day” yesterday, and since the side of Pam’s house is rather like a reservoir for the street, there is a large puddle of standing water. Across the street is saguaro cactus with a variety of arms. The reflection of the cactus in the pool of water looked like a person standing there being all creepy and shit. But it wasn’t. Nice of me to scare myself over nothing yet again.

We had a lighter schedule for the day. First thing was to teach Masterpiece Art, a class the Mesa school district sponsors so children can have a bit of art history even in first grade. Pam was teaching a class on a Rembrandt painting, The Apostle Simon.

We had altered The List for Mark, telling him we would be picking up Emery especially early so Pam could get to the school to teach the class. I’m getting to know my way around a bit, and she nearly missed the exit for Emery and was going to head directly to the school. This would have left us with two problems. Emery would not be with us and we would be at the school way too early. I mentioned that I thought the upcoming exit was ours (since we weren’t in the right lane) and Pam mentioned that she forgot she was picking up Emery first.

We got Emery, I got signed in to be a guest at the school, and we made our way to Quinn’s class. We were let in the door, Pam settled her stuff, and then she began teaching her lesson. The adult person (one of two in the room) did ask the students to put down their stuff and turn towards Pam as she spoke. That person then went to the back of the room and did small intervention lessons with one on one time, talking into the lesson Pam was giving and not paying attention at all. I later found out that she was the teacher and the polite, attentive adult must be the aide.

In the middle of the lesson, three larger children, maybe fifth or sixth grade, came into the room, walked about gathering items (the perfect pen or pencil and some papers) and then went over there to do something and then eventually left. Lots of chaos while Pam continued to engage the kids in biographical stuff on Rembrandt as well as the particular painting. The kids who were listening were truly engaged. Just the teacher and the pulled out kids and the older kids were a bit of a nuisance. Apparently this particular teacher isn’t impressed with the School District’s choice on The Arts.

She never said one word to Pam and didn’t seem to give a flying rat’s ass who I was. We left without her speaking to us at all, although when asked when spring break started, the aide answered Pam’s question, letting her know that she would be back in two, rather than three weeks.

We got home and Emery had decided she did not have enough to play with while here, so she brought a few more toys. These were more Barbie inspired dolls and vehicles. She had Pam’s truck, her own truck, and a convertible and amused herself with these and their drivers and passengers for the morning.

Dinner was “Get Rid of Stuff in the Fridge” and so we each had a bit of this or that and cleaned up here and there and emptied a few containers and there is actually a bit of shelf space without something stacked on it over there in the fridge.

Aunt Babe wanted a few items including a half gallon of almond milk and she can’t carry that much stuff, so Pam went to Safeway while I cleaned up the kitchen. I was back to crocheting and Aunt Babe was reading and Emery was playing quietly and there was still no Pam back. Her quick trip to the store took for damn ever. First, she couldn’t find the hard boiled eggs on the list. She found some other ones, but not the right ones. Different employees kept sending her to different spots. She eventually found the eggs.

Luckily, she knew where the milk lived so she went over there to get some and there are four different kinds of Silk Almond Milk. Aunt Babe did not specify which one she wanted and so the item that Pam went over specifically to get remained at the store since she really didn’t want to get some, take it back if it was wrong, and get something else. She opted to get more information and get the right thing when the time was ripe.

We sat and did nothing in particular for a while and then I reminded Pam she wanted strings cut for rosary making. She said she did but wanted to just sit for a few more minutes. I kept crocheting and all of a sudden she said she was ready. I’m old. By this time I forget what she was ready for. She left the room and came back with string and it was only then that I realized I was part of what she was ready for. Whoops. I jumped up to help.

The string needs to be cut to a certain length and then the tips need to be dipped in nail polish to make the string rather like a shoelace and allowing one to thread beads on to it at a later date. I did not want to be responsible for any nail polish fiasco stuff, so I said I would cut the string. I have done this before, and I had a system.

The string is stuck to itself on the roll and is a pain in the ass to try to just pull off, so last time I found that putting it on the paper towel holder spindle thing and putting that on a nonslip surface allowed one to just pull the string off as one might choose. So I got the paper towel rack and set myself up. Pam had made some of these with Roseann. She was the string person and had forgotten my neat system. Too bad.

If you want to find the easiest way to get something done, give that task to the lazy person. I am nothing if not lazy. I’m your person for this type of task. We got six strings drying on each chair back and then went to the cabinets to hang some. With the system we had, there were going to be 59 strings done. I just can’t do those sorts of numbers, so we did 60.

We eventually were down to just the two of us left in the house and needed to eat some more stuff and wanted more containers out of the fridge, so even though we had the same thing for dinner, we didn’t. but we got rid of one more container, so that was good.

We needed to get the now dried strings put away. Pam needed more steps. She walked around tying the knots at the ends, getting a few more steps with each string. When she finally got to five miles, she could sit and finish them sitting down.

All the travelling people were coming home and Pam looked up the exact when for that. Both flights were on time and then all of a sudden, Ronnie got there early. He had driven and was waiting for Jen to get in which was supposed to be within ten minutes of his flight. But as I said, he was early and was going to have to wait. And then, Jen was late and he was going to have to wait longer. I couldn’t wait anymore and toddled off to bed. I assume everyone is home now. Well, not me. I’m here. And Uncle Mark as spending the night at his “All Expenses Paid Resort” on Kael Road.

Today is when Dick arrives. According to my phone, he is at the gate and waiting for his own adventures to begin.

Creepy guy staring in the window.

Some of the 60 strings drying.

We had another day together! We started out with Pam walking before the “all day” rain began. She got most of her steps, all her active minutes, and her rosary completed before getting back to the house. She was pretty far away when she realized she needed to be home in 15 minutes, so her active minutes had to be even more active to get back to the house in time to go pick up Emery for preschool.

We got Emery there right on time and with her Valentine’s Day cards intact (and even more importantly, with us) and we dropped her off at school and went to the park over there for another walk before the rain started. We got more steps in and then went shopping. We started at Target and I bought a pack of socks. I used Google Pay to pay for them and it worked. I don’t really remember how I did it, but I do remember that I had to be logged into my phone for it to work.

Pam bought some fancy fizzy flavored water that was 3 pack for $9 except they didn’t ring up that way and so we had to go to the service desk for “guests” to get service. I think the term “guest” is being used incorrectly in business establishments. You don’t charge guests. You charge customers for a service. Just trying to keep the language working here. And Target helped their paying guests not overpay.

We couldn’t find the specific size of trash bags Pam was looking for at Target, so we then went to Walmart and they had them. On the way back to the car, it finally started to drizzle a bit. We still had time to kill, so we went to Joann’s and I bought – wait for it – some yarn. I needed it! Pam bought some, too. She needed it!

The basket weave pattern I’m making is beautiful and I love the way the blanket itself looks. However, I made a bit of an error. First of all, I could have made it narrower. Second of all, I could have used a larger crochet hook to get more of an airy look to the pattern and use less yarn. Either way would have helped but the end result was I was going to run out of yarn before I had an entire blanket. The pattern is a bit of a yarn hog. I would make it again, but I would do things just a tad different.

I bought a variegated skein and then a contrasting color to complete the blanket. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of the blue, but something else. Perhaps, this will still need the extra blue added at the end. I have no idea what’s happening with this whole item.

We got Emery from school and in the car and then, since it had finally started really raining, we went to Aunt Babe’s and got her. Pam went in to get the water stuff set and make sure Aunt Babe’s other stuff was ready for her use for the next couple days. Aunt Babe wanted the blind behind the sofa different and Pam fixed it and then, disaster.

I thought I heard something thump and then a yell from Aunt Babe and then heard Emery saying “Aunt Babe fell” and I was out the car door and into the house in a flash and Pam was upright, there was a stack of papers on the floor, and Aunt Babe was standing there looking devastated but not hurt. Pam had tripped over a small coffee table in front of the sofa, fell backwards and hit the end table next to the recliner, tipping the papers all over the floor, but not the table itself. She said she was all right, but would probably be bruised. We got a shaken Aunt Babe into the car and back to Pam’s house.

We then made Spinach Soup which sounds horrible but is really delicious. This was supposed to happen before the freezer fiasco, but this is when we finally ran out of other food to cook and use. It really looked iffy there in the middle, but turned out to be surprisingly wonderful.

Pam was loading the dishwasher and cleaning up over there in the kitchen and then there was another thumping sound. She had the dishwasher open and was standing between the lowered door and the stove when she turned to go back to the sink. She misjudged the exact millimeters and ran into the very corner of the dishwasher door. She limped to the freezer, got an ice pack out, and propped her foot up. I managed to finish the dishes without injury.

We then did pretty much nothing all afternoon. Aunt Babe read, Pam and I either played with electronics or crocheted (really a combination of both), and Emery amused herself with all her Valentines and some toys and her vivid imagination. It was time to get Aunt Babe and Emery all delivered back to their houses.

We came home and made a salad called “Empty the Refrigerator of as Many Containers as Possible” and it was delicious, too. We spent the evening pretty much the same way as the afternoon, but without ice packs.

Another busy day in what was only partially sunny Arizona. We began our day by picking up Emery. Uncle Mark has been following his calendar, a detailed timeline for each day saying what each kid needs to do and when they need to do it. Everyone is surviving like this. Good job, family.

We took Emery with us to make rosaries. Ryan had to be taken to school at the same time we had to be at rosaries and there weren’t enough drivers to then get Emery to preschool so she came with us. The old ladies were happy to see her again.

We had all the beads sorted and Pam and Roseanne had made new strings. What Pam had forgotten to do was put the first knot in the end to keep the beads on the string. So that put a little kink in our progress. Even so, and with Emery’s help, we were able to make seven rosaries in under two hours. Only once did Pam try to trick me by not putting the Our Father on before handing one of my strings back. I only put the beads on the wrong end of the string once. So there was little in the tactical error realm.

We finished up there and came home. We had a plan for dinner but were not completely sure how to execute it. We had the steak mostly cooked from the frozen fiasco. There were carrots and onions with it already. We needed some potatoes and Aunt Babe only likes canned potatoes that are already cooked. So we strategized and managed to get three bowls of stew, each with the preferred items in it, on the table. Emery doesn’t like carrots, onions, or mushrooms and the meal did not meet her high standards. She got a grilled cheese sandwich.

Penelope, Aunt Babe’s scooter was getting low on charge. She had enough to get home and for the next couple days (probably) but it is supposed to rain “all day” today and it was tactically superior to get the thing charged yesterday. So Pam walked over to Aunt Babe’s about ten minutes after she left to plug it in.

We piddled away the entire afternoon and then it was time to take Emery home. Uncle Mark had several items all checked off and we got a checkmark for delivering another kid and then a second checkmark for taking Hannah and her friend to gymnastics. His plan has been solid. If it isn’t on the list, the answer is no. If it is on the list, it gets done. One problem, he had to “take Ryan to school” for lacrosse practice. He didn’t know where the school was. Luckily, he could find that out in several ways. It did let him know that if he needed to transport a kid to or from any other school thing, he needed an address. That has been rectified. He still had all his hair and all the kids are doing well, so this seems to be working.

We came home and made something to eat. We had salad mix stuff and added lots of extras to it, including the leftover chicken from Applebee’s. It was delicious. It was quick. Because we had more to do. Even though it was trivia night and I wasn’t home for trivia, I was still out after dark. In fact, I was out after dark for two nights in a row. Whew!

The Tennis Club sponsored a Local Talent Show and had an auction to go along with it. They had several items up for Silent Auction and then they had three items to have with a live auction. They made several hundred dollars with the auction and we got a wonderful talent show. They had a group with a variety of instruments (even the bass viola huge thing belonged to one of the residents) singing a few songs. There was a juggler, a bagpipe player, and three little girls singing a cappella. There were several comedy sketches and a soloist singing and the grand finale was a couple of professional singers giving a two song sample of their work which will be an upcoming event here.

After leaving, we walked over to Aunt Babe’s and unplugged Penelope and then toddled home. Each of holding our phones with the flashlight lighting our way. Last night someone said how easy we were to see walking like that, so we know it is effective as both an anti-trip and anti-get-run-over technique.

We got home and breathed the same air until it was time to fall asleep. Another great day.

PS As far as I can tell, there is no rain out there – yet.

The day started out with preschool. Miss Jody welcomed me into the class. There were several familiar faces from last year and a few new faces as well. By the end of the day, I had all the names straight. The class was preparing for their Valentine’s Day party coming up on Thursday. There was lots of work to get done.

The kids were practicing their writing skills, so they had to sign themselves into class. It was my job to get them to sign in. I do not know how my sister teaches kindergarten. I don’t really do well with people who can’t read the directions and do the stuff. It took me longer to get eight signatures on the paper than it would have been for me to go door to door and ask for signatures for a referendum to end free air and get eight. But eventually I had eight kids signed in.

I am gong to miss the big Presidential/American extravaganza they put on because I will be travelling with Dick, but I did get to march with my flag and sing It’s a Grand Old Flag to practice for the event. We had a couple stories read, we had free time to play, we even got out Play Doh at the end. I don’t believe I was ever actually twitching, but that may have been just my eternal optimism. I’m so glad kids grow up into people who can read and follow directions, at least most of the time.

We had plans to meet Marsha for an early supper, so lunch needed to be a little lighter. With all the food we cooked the day before in the food fiasco, we didn’t eat any of that. We decided on cheese crisps. Or as the world calls them, quesadillas. Pam did most of the work because she had to hand shred all the cheese. I built them and baked them while Pam cut up a cantaloupe. Emery had fallen asleep in the car, so it was just three adults eating.

Aunt Babe had an appointment for a haircut and had to leave. Emery finally got up and opted for no cheese at lunch. This should be headline news. That kid loves cheese, but she loves melon more. She wanted watermelon and strawberries and red circles or salami for her lunch.

Pam volunteers to make rosaries to donate to those in need. She buys beads to string by the boatload. The ship had a arrived. However, she already had one boatload at the house and it needed some reorganization so all the beads would fit where they go in the “Costco closet” which is a huge storage closet.

While Emery ate, we got old beads out, containers out, new beads out, and then put them into these containers for storing, those containers for taking to church and actually making rosaries, and other containers for smaller amounts. They were stacking and storing nicely by the time we were finished.

As I mentioned up there, signing one’s name when one is only four is a laborious task. It is a struggle to make the proper squiggles in the correct order and with spacing on the paper a concern. Emery had Valentine’s Day cards to sign. Yesterday, Gail posted pictures of her own personal granddaughter (same age bracket) signing her cards. At least Emery only had five letters instead of nine. It still took a very long time, broken into sessions, in order to get all the cards signed.

For the adults out there reading this, a lower case e is very difficult to write. A lower case y is no picnic either. The difference between an r and an m is where you stop writing. And the three parallel lines on an upper case E can be problematic. All in all, writing is a horrific task and we don’t even appreciate how difficult it was to learn way back when. We blithely go about putting pen to paper. We then make up cursive in order to write even faster. We adults are all whiz kids. Who knew?

Emery got a typewriter perfect e into her name and Nana told her to show me. She was sneaking up on me to show me the paper and I continued to ignore her until she got right up next to me and called my name and then I screamed like I was in the movie Psycho. Scared the crap out of the little kid, who jumped about three feet back before she started laughing. She then showed me her writing which really was great.

She made another wonderful e and snuck over to show me and I thought I had really frightened her so I didn’t scream as loud and then she was disappointed. Whoops. Eventually, and with great struggle, the cards were all signed.

We went to pick up Marsha and then took Emery back to her house. Both Daddy and Uncle Mark were there, or at least their cars were. We gave Emery to them and went on to Applebee’s. I pulled up nutrition information on my phone before I got there so I could know what was good and bad to order. It isn’t always what I think will happen. The salmon was good to go, so that’s what I ordered. It was delicious. Pam and Marsha got a two for $25 deal. The spinach and artichoke dip is bad enough but the chips it goes on is worse, so even though they offered, I didn’t touch it. They got bourbon chicken and shrimp which looked delicious.

We had some food to bring home so now there are more leftover containers in the over packed fridge. We then walked down to the ballroom and watched Mike James deliver his comedy routine and then Michael Paul do his ventriloquism act. I’m unsure why the Mikes didn’t have proper last names! But they were entertaining and we laughed a lot.

We got home and breathed the same air for a while. It was a nice quiet ending to a busy day. Now, for all of you who can simply sign your names without a thought, congratulate yourselves – you are rock stars.

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