Archive for January, 2014

Low shoulder warning

Being now officially five feet one and-a-half inches tall and weighing 59 pounds more than would be officially considered “ideal,” I face all kinds of inconsistencies.  Given my girth, my legs should obviously be long enough to enable me to play as a power forward in the WNBA.  My arms should also clearly reach to six inches below my knees.  These little inconsistencies mean that I frequently have to shorten pants (sometimes even those sized “petite”), that cuff-less sleeves are a decided no-no, and that buttons on cuffs always need to be moved.  At least my wrists are nice and thin!

I recently bought four lovely tank tops to layer under other shirts.  I ordered them online from Target, and let us not even go into what I really think about illegal immigrants who hack other people’s credit card information.  Anyway, they are very nice, attractive, comfortable tank tops.  The only problem with them is that they have revealed yet another bodily anomaly that must be addressed:  my shoulders are decidedly too low.  According to these four beauties, my shoulders really should be mounted directly adjacent to my ears.  However, with my disturbingly low shoulder situation, if worn unaltered, these tanks would clearly be entirely too. . . ummm. . . revealing.

I didn’t want to return them, ’cause I really like them, and besides, any replacements I ordered would have, at least,  the exact same problem.  And before my vast reading public overwhelms me with comments about camis with adjustable straps, YES, I have already tried those, and please just trust me when I say that they don’t work well on this bod, either.

So, today I have embarked on one of those things in life that I really dislike, but which at certain times simply must be done.  Yes, read it and weep; I am sewing by hand.  So far I have only stuck myself once, and it wasn’t bad enough to draw blood, so I still feel at least marginally successful.

These tops will always be under something else, which means the shoulders will be invisible, so I am taking the easy way out and just tucking them.  However, even though I didn’t have to actually cut any material, I still had to measure and pin eight shoulders, thread a needle eight times (this is more difficult to do than I remembered from my pre-trifocal days!), and then sew around the edges of eight little rectangles of fabric, all while helping Andrew work a series of nifty algebra problems.  Here’s a typical example.  “If Katie leaves her apartment at 6:45 PM to drive in a 12 mph headwind to the BHC at a rate of 45 mph for the first six miles and at 55 mph for the remainder of the distance, how many Latin nouns will Josiah have declined when she arrives?”

I have completed the alterations on one shirt, and I have three more to go, but I decided I deserved a blogging break.  I now discipline myself to return to the needle.

Addicted to Dominion

Katie, who is The Queen of Creative Gifts gave Scott (or was it a gift to the family?) a new game for Christmas called “Dominion.”  Trying to find a game that multiple Robertses like to play is about as challenging as finding a food that multiple Robertses like to eat (i.e., impossible), but with Dominion, Katie clearly did it!
Scott, Andrew, and I now play Dominion nearly every night, usually two games in a row.  Onve nice feature – and there are many – is that each time you play, you can select which ten action card sets you will play with, so the strategy is different each time.  One of the down sides is that Andrew and I like to eat popcorn while we play, and this has resulted in upward scale creep and buying embarrassingly big boxes of popcorn on a weekly basis, but we sure are having fun!

Up to 10

Degrees, that is.  It’s 11:00 AM, and our thermometer reads “10,” but The Weather Channel says the wind is down to 14 mph.  Today I am thankful for propane and for Andrew being willing to bring in the mail.

Lest there be any doubt, I still dislike the wind

It’s been cold here.  I am fine with cold, but I firmly believe that extreme and/or extended cold should be accompanied by SNOW.  There’s really no point having all this cold weather without it.  Of course we have been blessed with loads of snow this season, and I am really thankful for that.  However, this business of walking when it’s 10 degrees and the wind is 18 mph is for the birds!  Actually, even the birds seem to avoid being out and about in it.

The windchill has been so pronounced in recent days that I can only stand to walk two laps at a time.  I have to come in for a couple minutes to thaw before heading back out.  One day last week, it was minus 10 at 7:00 AM!  Brrrr!!!

Taking the scenic route

I’ve been working for some time on editing a book.  On January 15, I had a meeting in Springfield with the gentleman who is doing the layout formatting for the finished product.  We were scheduled to meet at his office at 11:00 AM.  I went to his company’s website and got directions, Andrew and I planned appropriately for all our other Springfield errands (Sam’s, library, ortho, mammogram), packed all Andrew’s school stuff, and headed out at 10:15 AM – with plenty of time to make the 11:00 AM meeting.

Our first challenge was traffic on Hwy. 65.  When we got to Ozark, after having seen an uncommon number of MoDOT, law enforcement, and medical emergency vehicles, we passed temporary neon orange warning signs that said, “INCIDENT AHEAD.”  What could that mean?

It meant that in front of James River Church, traffic ground to a complete halt; as in put the car in park and sit there for ten minutes.  I called Jon and left a message on his voicemail, saying that I was stuck in traffic on 65, would not make 11:00 AM, and expected to arrive by 11:15 AM.

We did indeed arrive at the office at 11:15.  The waiting area was empty and there was no one at the receptionist’s desk.  We waited.  When we’d sat there for five minutes, I called Jon again, got him, and told him we were there.  “Okay.  I’ll be right out to get you.”  I silenced my phone, so I’d be ready to focus uninterrupted on the business at hand.

We waited.  After a minute or two, I wondered where Jon was.  After another minute, I wondered if he had forgotten us.  After two more minutes, I decided he must be SUPER busy, or meeting with another client, and after yet another minute of sitting and squirming in frustration, I wondered how on earth big that office area must be to cause it to take him SO long to come get us!

Then my phone lit up.  Of course, it didn’t ring or buzz because it was on silent, but I had been holding it and I saw it light up with an incoming call.  However, the number was unfamiliar and said, “No Name.”  I categorically don’t answer those, but the area code started with a 6.  However, when Jessica calls us from Hong Kong (via Skype), it’s from a number with an area code that starts with a 6.  I didn’t answer immediately, and it went to voice mail, but that got me to thinking.  Was Jessica trying to call me?  At 11:30 AM?  Which would be 1:30 AM her time?  The only reason Jessica would call me in the middle of the night would be for something really bad.  Hmmm. . . whoever it was had left a message, so I unsilenced the phone and called back to that same number, and when it rang, who should answer but Jon!

He said that he was very sorry, but he had neglected to tell me that their company had relocated!  Their office was no longer near Sam’s!  Instead, they were located in downtown Springfield.  When he had walked from his office to the reception area and realized I wasn’t there, he had called and left a couple messages on my phone – which I had not received because my phone was silenced.  He was, in fact, about to get in his car to drive across town and find me, and I had just caught him in time.

He gave me directions to his office, and after doing much more sightseeing of Springfield than we had originally bargained for, we arrived and were met by Jon.  Our meeting was productive and all ended well, but I did email Jon’s supervisor and mention that it might be good for them to update their office address on their company’s website.

It’s now eleven days later, and that website still has the wrong address. . .

I guess I’m growing up

I’m becoming more like my mom.  I can tell, because tonight, when I wanted to eat an orange, I put it in the microwave for 7 seconds to get it a little warmer and soft enough to peel!  I have not, however, reverted to microwaving my ice cream.

Cooking the carpet

One half of the playroom carpet has been draped rather unceremoniously over all the JUNK out in the shop for about a week.  Yesterday, the forecast was for warmth (40s) and sun, so Scott decided it was time to cook the carpet.

Katie and Josiah are both back in Virginia, and Andrew was gone cleaning most of the day, so it fell to the two of us to figure out what to do to get the carpet dry—and then to do it.  It went something like this.

Scott wanted to put the carpet out on Shane’s flatbed trailer, which still lives here and probably will until the hot tub is moved to the Rendezvous.  There are no pictures or video of Scott worming his way under all the tables to the far side, the two of us rolling the carpet up like a scroll and sliding it out onto the trailer—which Scott had hooked to the Durango and backed up to within a foot of the shop door.  There is also no documentation of us unrolling it and draping it over the sides, or of my singularly brilliant idea to use two old, cushion-less patio chair frames to prop the flopping sides up to get them out of the shadows.

However, by evening (and after Scott had re-positioned the trailer several times to keep it in the sun) most of the carpet was just about dry.  That is, on top.  The rubber backing was still damp in places.  Then, what to do over night?  The next day (today) was expected to be sunny again, but the trailer was too large to fit neatly into any empty building we have on site, and I didn’t want the next morning’s dew to un-do (nice pun, eh?) all our hard drying work.

Again, in a moment of sheer inspiration, I suggested we cover it with the large (massive, gargantuan) tarp and weight it down with rocks.  By flashlight last evening, Andrew and I did just that, and all is well.

Moral of the story:  Carpet can be cooked to total dryness with sunlight and wind.

Hurry up and wait. . . and wait. . . and wait

It’s 7 PM.  Josiah has been sitting (or standing, or lying, or pacing) in the Springfield airport since about noon.  His flight is currently set to leave Springfield at 8:04 PM.  Then he expects to leave Chicago at 11:10 PM, and get into Dulles at something like 2:00 AM.

It’s been a very long and very frustrating day for Our Favorite Llama, but it sure was wonderful to have him home.  I hope after all this he’s still willing to come back again.  = )

 

The not-so-friendly skies are. . .

SNOWING!!!!

Hallelujah!

Yes, I am rejoicing in the beauty of EVEN MORE snow, but I admit that it has caused some significant problems for our favorite Llama.  Actually, being of South American descent and accustomed to mountainous terrain, one would think that a llama would not be hindered by a bit of snow, and on his own, this would be entirely true.  However, sometimes even an independent llama is forced to rely on others, and in such cases the others he relies on may be influenced by the weather, thereby adversely affecting his own condition.

Such seems to be the case for Josiah.

Classes at PHC start today (Wed, Jan 8), so Jo was scheduled to fly back (Springfield to Chicago to D.C.) Tuesday morning.  On Sunday, we were notified that his Tuesday flight out of Springfield had been cancelled.  United automatically re-booked him on the very next available flight, which was Wednesday afternoon (Springfield to DENVER to D.C.).  This meant he would miss his first day of classes, and that is not a good thing.

His flight today was scheduled to leave Springfield at 1:14 PM and get in to Dulles at 8:57 PM.  Scott took him to the airport at noon, on his way to work.  At 1:15 PM, not having heard anything, I texted Jo, “You on board?”  and he replied, “Flight cancelled.”  To which I said, “You have GOT to be telling me a really bad joke!”  and he responded, “No.”

We talked on the phone, and he said that maybe he’d just live in the airport and not go back to school.  There was a LONG line of folks at the United counter trying to leave Springfield, and I wasn’t sure what to say to him.  All I would have known to do would have been to stand in line and pray for favor when I got to the counter.  I asked how many people were in line ahead of him, and he said that he wasn’t in the line.  Hmmm. . .

Me:  Well, if you’re not in the line, it’s not likely that you will get a seat on a flight.

Jo:  That’s true.  Maybe I should start driving.

At which point, I didn’t know what else to say, and since he said his phone (which he had just  charged this morning) was nearly dead, we hung up.

Shortly thereafter, Jo texted me, asking me to see if there were any other flights to Denver today.  (There were, but all arriving Denver after his Denver-to-D.C. flight left.)  Then, were there any flights out of St. Louis or some other airport?  Well, yes.  But the only ones out of St. Louis today departed in less than the five or so hours it would take me to get him there.  And they all cost well over $1000.

There were flights out of St. Louis on Friday that could eventually get him to Dulles – either directly, or through Chicago, or through Newark, New Joisey.  And they departed St. Louis at a variety of times on Friday, including, but not limited to 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 1:00 PM, and they got into Dulles at times ranging from 11:00 AM to midnight.

While I was trying to figure out how to get United to shift Jo to a St. Louis flight at no charge to us, I got a text from a friend at church who said, “It’s snowing again!”  And sure enough, it was!  In fact, it’s been snowing steadily here for the past two hours.  = )  This could be a problem.  When Andrew and I had watched the weather at noon, the forecast was for pretty slick roads tonight and tomorrow.  Would it really be smart for me to drive Josiah to St. Louis this evening or during the night in a snowstorm?  That could result in a Snaystorm Surprise!  While I am TOTALLY loving the “big white snayflakes falling down and making everything green,” I don’t want to endanger any of us.

As I meditated on this latest conundrum, I got an email from Scott, an automated email from United, which he had received because he had booked Jo’s flight, and which he had forwarded to both Jo and me.  Jo, of course, had not seen it, because he was standing in a line with an estimated 30 now-stranded people in front of him, and so couldn’t very well get online.  He has a couple computers with him, but no smartphone.  Actually, I don’t know how many computers he took.  While he was home he claimed to have six in his room, although I only saw five.  No telling how many he took, but I’m pretty sure it was at least two in his laptop bag, and maybe more in his checked bag(s)?  Speaking of which, if his big bag was checked through to Dulled via Denver, I wonder when it will arrive in Dulles and how he will obtain it. . . .

Anyway, the email from United read as follows:

“Flight UA6068 8JAN from SGF to DEN is cancelled.  You are now confirmed on UA5260 8JAN departing 6:49 pm, SGF to IAD via ORD. The flight is now estimated to arrive IAD at 11:50 pm.”

So it seems that while Josiah stood in line – and he texted me that one customer thirty customers ahead of him in the line had been standing at the counter, talking to the agent, for FORTY MINUTES – United’s system had automatically booked him on a flight that, if the stars all line up and Scott holds his mouth right, will get him at least as far as the Dulles airport while it’s still called today.

It’s now about 4:30 and I just asked Jo what’s up and how’s he doing.  His reply:  “Still over an hour to wait.  Sleeping.”

These are the challenges, not of the Starship Enterprise, but of the far-flung and dependent-on-air-travel Team Roberts.

But it’s SNOWING, and I am so glad!

New standard

Our family is nothing if not creative in getting things done.

Before Christmas, when I asked the boys to do the pretzel dipping for me, they started out in the usual way, using forks, but Josiah quickly deemed that process excessively inefficient.  He was sure there had to be a better way.  He needed some pincer-type thing that would grip the pretzels better.  The light bulb came on, and he went to the junk drawer.  Well-cleaned needle-nose pliers were just the ticket, and even though Andrew initially scoffed, he later came and asked me for needle-nose pliers.  (At the time I didn’t know why and didn’t ask.)

I am quite sure that from here on out, all dipping of pretzels in almond bark will involve needle-nose pliers.

 


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