Updating……………

Quickest way to let everyone know where things stand:

I’m back living in the 21st century with an active cell phone.

Two Adult Gems sick, but recovering.

Youngest Gem sick, but recovering.

Middle youngest Gem getting into the sickest part of being sick.

Eldest youngest Gem, going about her day, eating bacon.

All will be well and well.

Helpfully Inept

I’m on day 6 of attempting to move cell phones over to a new carrier. This process has been enlightening in an interesting way.

To a person, all the people I have spoken with at Sprint (our previous phone carrier) have been receptive, helpful, and truly want to help. Several of them offered to call me back to check, and Employee Shannon has actually phoned our land line twice over the last two days to see if the problem has been fixed.

Then today, I met up with Jose.

Jose had never heard of the “Financial Eligibility Check,” which was the specific flag I needed removed from my account. I have dealt with so many people over the last couple days, I really didn’t want to try and explain the issue to someone new, and I really just wanted to hang up the phone. I knew that Shannon would be calling to check on me once she got done with the free stuffed baked potato bar that Sprint was serving for lunch today, and I thought I’d just wait and talk with her.

When I said, “Thank you so much, Jose, but if you haven’t heard of this issue, you aren’t going to be able to help me.”

“Please, please, just give me a chance. I’ll read through everything right now, and I’m sure I can help you.”

He was so desperate to help. He really did want to help.

At one point, I had Jose talking through my ear bud in my left ear, while I talked with Shannon on the corded phone in my right ear.

Jose sounded so hurt when he found out I’d been talking with another customer service rep.

After quite awhile (Going on 55 minutes on this particular call.), Jose had done what he could to help me, then his supervisor came on the line.

She, too, was very good, and I have some very slight hope that she might be able to make this problem go away.

They all want to help. They really, truly want to fix this for me. None of them, up to now, have been able to. (Still on hold which means the very thin sliver of hope is still alive.)

It’s just like parenting.

One of the children is having some difficulties. Difficulties I want so badly to fix. Difficulties I am very willing to help with.

I want to tell the child,”Just give me a chance. I’ll read everything I can, and I’m sure I can help you…”

I can’t fix all the difficulties for the people I love. I shouldn’t even try.

The most difficult moments of my life: the most difficult jobs, the most difficult people, they provided lessons I needed to learn.

Helpfully inept. Sometimes that is all I’ve got.

Shots Update

Several of you have asked, so here’s an update.

Monkey is five sessions in on her anti-sneeze regimen. We’ve been heading over for the shots 3x/week, and this will continue for a long time.

When we arrive at the clinic, she swipes in with her special ID card, which tells her where she is in the queue. Generally she only has to wait for 2 or 3 minutes before they call her into the back to receive her shot. They alternate the arm she receives it in to stave off soreness.

Then we wait for 30 minutes until they call her back again to see if she’s having any unusual reactions. The routine they go through cracks me up.

The tech asks: Any problems?

Monkey says: No.

Tech says: Is it itchy?

Monkey says: No.

Tech says: Would you like some anti-itch cream?

Monkey says in her “are you listening voice?!”: No.

Tech says: Have a good day.

Monkey says: Okay, bye.

And off we trot.

She’s been so laid-back and comfortable with this process. I continue to be very impressed.

Merry Christmas To Us

Today was the day for enjoying our Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Vermont, which was tickets to part of the Pied Piper Series at the Nashville Symphony: Young Amadeus. It was our first time attending the symphony here, and it was enjoyed by all.

Monkey kept mentioning how much it reminded her of going to the Smithsonians, and how much she missed that. All of us enjoyed the beautiful day and the gorgeous Symphony Hall.

The extra treat was seeing our friend Roger, who plays the oboe in the Symphony. It was lovely to see him “at work.”

On the steps out front

On the steps out front

Enjoying part of the "musical petting zoo" they had set up in the lobby for all the young patrons.

Enjoying part of the “musical petting zoo” they had set up in the lobby for all the young patrons.

We had outstanding seats.

We had outstanding seats.

Waiting for the fun to begin.

Waiting for the fun to begin.

A family selfie

A family selfie

After the music ended, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to walk on the downtown pedestrian bridge.

Headed back to the car.

Headed back to the car.

A outstanding time had by all. Thanks, LM and LP.

Country Cousin Birthday

For Cousin M’s birthday, Yessa and I took her out to see Paddington, then the restaurant of her choice, then back to our house for an overnight with much story-telling, some Uno, and a late bedtime.

I know we are now in the south because:

1) Paddington stars Nicole Kidman, who is a Nashville resident.

2) The restaurant of choice was Loveless Cafe, and it doesn’t get much more southern than that.

3) For part of their evening, the two young cousins played their fiddles together. (Okay, violins, but same thing.)

It all made me smile.

We started out with the whole theater to ourselves.

We started out with the whole theater to ourselves.

Tic Tac Toe at Loveless while we waited for our biscuits.

Tic Tac Toe at Loveless while we waited for our biscuits.

It was a lovely time for all of us.

The Force Is Strong In This One…

Buds is in the midst of The CrossFit Open, which for CrossFitters is like the run up to the Olympics. It’s a very intense time, and Buds was frustrated when the one CF move he hasn’t yet conquered was the first move in last week’s competition.

It’s called a “muscle up,” and is a very gymnastic movement. (That’s CF speak for, “it favors those with lighter body weight.”) Buddie, he’s built of solid muscle. Muscle ain’t light.

This is what a muscle up looks like “at the top” of the movement.

Image from here: http://www.crossfitignitesydney.com.au/crossfit-workouts/crossfit-workout-emom-muscle-ups

Image from here: http://www.crossfitignitesydney.com.au/crossfit-workouts/crossfit-workout-emom-muscle-ups

Buds hasn’t yet mastered it, but here’s a lovely video of he and our friend Sarah, working hard to figure it out.

Next year, Buddie. Next year!

Adventure Weekend

Every year, Best Bud Gina and I head off on some adventure. This year, she flew into Nash:

Gina's collage of the trip here.

Gina’s collage of the trip here.

and after spending a couple days as a family at our house:

Gina's allergic, hence, Nutmeg loves her.

Gina’s allergic, hence, Nutmeg loves her.

Yessa goes through the clothes Gina brought to share.

Yessa goes through the clothes Gina brought to share.

We hauled her to the new library to enjoy the giant tinker toys. (She enjoyed them more than the children, I believe.)

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She and I were off to Louisville.

Escapees.

Escapees.


Todd says we look like Siamese Twins in many of our photos:

Attached at the brain.

Attached at the brain.

We drove over on a very rainy late afternoon, got into our luxurious hotel (with an indoor pool), walked to Guaca Mole for dinner, had a couple drinks, went back for a swim with lots of youngsters (none of our own), then collapsed into bed. Dinner included many, many stories, snorting laughter, and increasing hilarity. We managed to almost get lost walking back to our hotel that was right next to the restaurant. It was a splendid beginning to our weekend of adventure.

The next morning we got out the door about 11 a.m., which is the middle ground for us.

Churchill Downs was our first stop.

Gina's collage of the day.

Gina’s collage of the day.

Our first tour guide

Our first tour guide

The Derby done in glass.

The Derby done in glass.

Gina on our "back-stage" tour.

Gina on our “back-stage” tour.

In the mural of all the winning Derby jockies, the artist turned this fellow into a 3-peat by modifying his fingers. Note he now has 7 fingers.

In the mural of all the winning Derby jockies, the artist turned this fellow into a 3-peat by modifying his fingers. Note he now has 7 fingers.

Note the jockey statue below. It is taller than life-size. He always wanted to be 5 foot tall, so they stretched him a little for the statue.

Note the jockey statue below. It is taller than life-size. He always wanted to be 5 foot tall, so they stretched him a little for the statue.

The top level in the distance is the "Millionare's Club." You can guess why.

The top level in the distance is the “Millionare’s Club.” You can guess why.

The twin spires

The twin spires

The back-stage tour was fantastic. Our tour guide, Barry, has a passion for horses, racing, and Churchill Downs in particular. His Uncle Joe died shortly after attending his 75th Derby in a row, and Barry has been to 30 straight. (Am I making that up, Gina?)

Some interesting things we learned:

1) During the racing season, 100 thousand gallons of water are used on the track every day. They water and churn it up between each race.

2) The average horse’s heart is 6-7 pounds. When Secretariat died, the autopsy revealed his heart weighed 22#, a large reason for his amazing success.

3) The Kentucky Derby has higher attendance and a greater television viewing audience than the Super Bowl.

I had some excellent questions on this tour, and Gina overheard another one of the tour members snort, “Acchhh, more questions!” So we gave him dirty looks for the rest of the time like the 12 year olds that we are. And then we made fun of ourselves for the rest of the trip.

“I have a great question, shall I ask it?”

“NOOO!”

After spending time at the races, we had a lovely lunch, without liquor, at Barry’s favorite bar.

Then, on to the Louisville Slugger Museum.

We parked right near this golden dude.

We parked right near this golden dude.

Highlights of the “slugger.”

Gina collage

Gina collage

I was worn out after two museums, so back to the hotel for an afternoon nap, which is my idea of an awesome time.

Then, over to Guac for dinner again so we didn’t have to drive, then watching some “House Hunters” talking, talking, talking, laughing, dreaming, planning, laughing some more, then sweet, sweet sleep.

Sunday was the big day: Zip-lining in a cave! Mega-caverns in Louisville is the only fully underground zip-lining cave in the world.

So, dark, high in the air, lots of mesh flooring, and a friend who would support me in doing most anything. Basically, on this adventure, I was sheeple, following Gina’s lead. (Much like the time we hiked up a mountain in pure fog for the great view at the top…of great fog. I followed her willingly while she wandered around muttering, “I’m sure there’s a better view from the summit, if we could just find it. I’m sure it’s just a little farther.”)

I was only the second most scared person on our tour, so Gina and I got to do our comedy couple routine to help keep Elisa from getting even more petrified than she already was. I’d love to do the zip-lining again some day, and I’d try to keep my eyes open and not scream at the beginning and ending of every zip.

Those bridges with open mesh board though, I don’t think I’ll ever like those. Ever. Never.

Gina collage

Gina collage

After zipping, which was really very, very fun, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner, no drinks, then headed on back to reality.

Monday we got to have Gina all to ourselves for one last day, which was wonderful.

Here’s her “Day In The Life” collage:

A little science experiment, CrossFit, music lessons, and silly fun time.

A little science experiment, CrossFit, music lessons, and silly fun time.

I finally zoomed her to the airport for those last precious minutes of conversation, and off she jetted to her family who missed her.

Thanks, Dear One, for a reviving, rejuvenating, laughter-filled weekend. It made all the difference.