Birthday card from Grandpa

Elizabeth received a birthday card from Grandpa today with $20 inside! She said, “I love your dad! Tell him thank you very much! Your dad is rich! I wouldn’t have thought such an old old person would have so much money!”

Great suction!

In preparation for the much-anticipated Comcast installation (Internet, not TV), I do as they suggest and clear out a space where I want them to put the cable wall jack. Once I have that space cleared, I decide to vacuum the area. It’s almost an instinctive reaction: You clear out a space that hasn’t seen the light of day in months, then vacuum the spot while it’s exposed.

As part of this “clearing out,” I disconnect the phone that’s plugged in near there, leaving its cord on the floor. I did at least kick it underneath the desk, but it’s just sitting there on the floor at this point.

So, I happily run the vacuum, thinking vacuous vacuum-related thoughts, when I come upon that loose phone cord. Instead of picking it up — as a smarter, less lazy person would have done — I try to vacuum around it. And, you guessed it, I came too close, and I’ll be darned if that Dyson vacuum cleaner didn’t suck that cord right up, yanking the phone itself off the desk in the process! Not only that, it snapped the adapter cord at the base of the AC adapter, so now that is completely useless.

I have to find another AC adapter that will work — which, as you know if you’ve ever tried to match a pile of adapters with its appropriate electronic device, is highly unlikely — or I need to just put an old phone back into use, which sucks because the one I ruined had a speaker option and a nice little screen for caller ID. I could buy another office phone, but really don’t want to spend the money. I’ve been buying too many things lately in preparation for this Comcast cable connection!

I should just punish myself and make do with one of these old thrift-store used phones.

Dad’s 94th birthday, part 2

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Zoo

The next morning, I was up before Elizabeth. I couldn’t wait for her to wake up, so I snuck downstairs for some free coffee. She would have freaked out to wake up and find me gone. Passing through the lobby, I said good morning to an elderly male resident. He was pleasant, but mostly ignored me in favor of his morning TV news.

Returning to our room, I was glad to see Elizabeth still asleep. When I later confessed that I had sneaked out, she said, “Don’t ever do that again! Don’t worry about letting me sleep. Wake me up.”

She later told my brother Don what I had done, without her permission. Don asked, “How could he get your permission when you were asleep?” She said I should have woken her. Don said, “You’re pretty bossy!” She replied, “Well, this is basically my vacation.” It might sound like she’s a spoiled brat, but when she says these things, it’s usually with such charm and good humor that you just have to laugh.

I made scrambled eggs and hash browns with what Don had left behind for us. He had the guest room before we arrived. I offered Elizabeth some, but she didn’t want any. She wanted to go out for breakfast. No surprise there. She wants to go out for every meal, and Tara and I keep explaining that we would go broke if we did that.

I texted Don, wondering where he was, and could I borrow Dad’s car? Trying to save money, I didn’t plan on renting a car until Sunday for the trip to Jeannie’s ranch. While we walked and texted, I mentioned breakfast, so Don invited us to a free breakfast at his hotel a couple blocks away. And it was a great breakfast! Do-it-yourself waffle iron, cereal, eggs, toast and fruit — all free! It would have cost $10 a plate at IHOP with everything we got. As usual, Elizabeth ate roughly half of everything she’d put on her plates — yes, plates, plural — leaving me to scavenge the remains, knowing I hate to see food go to waste.

Finished with that, Elizabeth was already planning her next move. “Let’s go to the zoo!” she said. I had mentioned prior to the trip that it might be something to do in Sacramento. Elizabeth always wants to see the zoo, no matter what town we’re in. Good to know if we visit her cousin Michael and family in San Diego, which has possibly the world’s greatest zoo. We spent a solid two hours at the zoo, with the last half hour in the gift shop. We had started out in the gift shop, actually, where I bought my obligatory, every-four-years Sacramento Zoo hat. I knew I’d need one for walking around. When I complained that this second visit to the gift shop was taking too long, Elizabeth said, “Well, you know how us girls like to shop!” I don’t remember everything she ended up with, but one item was a small tin with some sort of jungle design on it. Inside were little mints looking a lot like TicTacs. She paid $4 for that, even after I said she could get TicTacs for less than a dollar at any dollar store. Oh well.

The ,

Dad’s 94th birthday, part 1

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Going to California

A couple weeks ago for my Dad’s 94th birthday, I brought my (almost) 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. A couple of family members would finally get to meet her. Her mom, Tara, had no vacation days available and so stayed behind. She was probably happy to have me and Elizabeth gone a few days.

Tara dropped us at the ). But I digress.

So, with a mixture of disbelief and disgust, I look at this agent in front of us and say, “Excuse me?” But, he either changes his mind suddenly — à la “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” from Star Wars — or I had completely misread his intentions (probably the latter), as he just smiled, gestured with the other hand, and said, “You can go ahead.” He was simply letting us into a much shorter line, doing us a favor. When Elizabeth asked about it, I said, “That man just did us a favor. He was being nice.” No sense passing my authority figure issues (paranoia?) onto her. Then again, we were the only people the agent let through, and there were plenty of people behind us. Hmmm.

The first leg of the flight, to Salt Lake City, was uneventful. Elizabeth didn’t sleep a wink, even though it was getting late. I was kicking myself for leaving her Christmas gift/distraction device ,

Doing the dishes

So, my wife tells me most people do the dishes every day. I don’t believe her. “Every day?” I ask.

“Yes, every day,” she says.

“Every single day?” I persist. She nods. “You don’t mean,” I search for clarification, “it’s something that is an ‘every day’ thing, but in reality is not done literally every single day, do you?”

“No,” she insists. “What I’m saying is that most people, or at least someone in the house, probably a woman, does the dishes, literally, every single day … unless they’re on vacation or something.”

“Wow,” is all I can say. “I just find that hard to believe.”

“Are you calling me a liar?” she asks.

“Oh, no, definitely not,” I assure her. “I’m sure you’re as honest as … the next wife.”

“You’ll be looking for your next wife if you keep this up!”

Shaking while braking

Three and a half hours in the Pep Boys waiting room is always time well-spent, wouldn’t you agree? 🙂 I’m home now, appreciating the comfort of my office chair, but Pep Boys seriously needs to consider putting more comfortable seats in their waiting area. I did get some things done while waiting, at least. I knew it’d be a while so I brought my laptop. Luckily, they provide free wi-fi. Who doesn’t these days?

I focused on my book-related online chores like updating my Amazon Author’s page, figuring out how to publish a Kindle ebook to hard copy through CreateSpace, etc. The laptop battery held up for most of it, but by the end both the laptop and iPhone batteries were about to die.

I had printed out several Pep Boys coupons ahead of time, not sure which one would apply. Naturally, I didn’t print out the one for 15% off brake parts, the one I ended up needing. [The cashier ended up running it through manually as a “military discount” which, I guess, is 15%.] Other than an oil change, we weren’t sure ahead of time which one I’d need.

Tara’s Honda Accord’s front end was “shaking while braking” pretty badly at high speeds. It seemed fine to me this morning as I drove it, but I never took it on the Interstate. Tara thought the tires were the problem. Other than one of them being low, I thought the front-end alignment might be the problem. Turns out we were both wrong.

Luckily, Tara suggested that I pull up the 15% brakes coupon on my smartphone and show them that and see if that would work. It did, saving us us $50!

It’s nice having a smart wife. 🙂