Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to get locked in a bank vault in a few easy lessons

Today I made a quick (at least that was the original plan) to the bank. I needed to retrieve my social security card from our safe deposit box so that I could complete my substitute teacher application for Birdville ISD. 
 Everything started out fine---doesn't it always? The young lady at the desk got me signed in and took me back to the vault. She unlocked the vault and we located the Dallinger treasure box which happens to be located behind the door, in the lowest row of boxes. Using both of our keys, we opened the box (no fanfare or sparkles appeared). 
I knew exactly where the treasured item was located in the box and told my young guide to wait just a minute and I'd be done and gone. She informed me that it was against policy for her to be in vault with me and ushered me across the hall to the private room. Her last words were, "Just holler when you are finished". 
I found what I needed and closed up my treasure box. The door to the vault was just slightly open so I slipped inside to put the box away.  Remember that the box is located behind the door on the bottom row.  I moved the door slightly and the momentum pulled the door closed with a thud. No worries, right? You can always get out of the room, right?  WRONG! 
I tried the door...nothing was moving.  I knocked on the glass of the response. This vault is in the furthest corner of the bank building and the only thing near it is the children's area.  No kids in the bank today.
Ahh...but I am resourceful! I have a smart phone. I was pleased to find that I actually had a signal inside the vault....not like anywhere in Illinois where AT&T apparently has no signal at any time from any place.  Located the website for the bank and mentally recorded the branch phone number.  I was reviewing my "I'm locked in your vault speech" when the phone connected to the "this number is no longer in service" recording.  WTH??? Apparently the branch has changed it's phone number but failed to update the website....either that or I failed to remember the correct number.  We will never know which it was because just at that moment, the bank security deposit princess came to check on me! Turns out, she was supposed to close the door to the vault behind her when she escorted me to the private room.  So we both made some errors in judgement!
But it had a happy ending...I was freed and not left to starve in the vault.  My friends were saved from spending their time baking cakes with files inside. DH was not required to file a missing persons report and defend himself against their " person of interest" suspicions. 
My only regret is that I failed to take a selfie and to check in on Facebook from INSIDE the vault ....add that to my bucket list! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A kid magnet

What is it about some people that make them kid magnets?  It seems that every time DH and I take Mr. Perfect somewhere, we are instantly "adopted" by random, stray children, usually little girls.  Maybe it's because DH has been told he looks like Santa and maybe it's because I am that "doughy" grandmother  but whatever the reason, we look like the Pied Piper whenever we step out in public.

Recently we stopped in at the Y pool so that Mr. Perfect could practice his skills. (No, he isnt't swimming endless laps like Unca Tim but he does need work on his "kickers".)  We had no sooner gotten into the deep water when we were befriended by two little girls.  One, aka Watch Me, just wanted an audience for her latest tricks.  The other, Chatty Cathy, had a lot to share about her favorite colors, pets, and family members.  Mr. Perfect was totally oblivious to the new additions as he practiced climbing in and out of the pool. (Elbow, elbow, tummy, knee, knee)  We were able to convince Watch Me that it was more efficient to swim without holding her nose so something positive came from this encounter...for her.  Chatty kept up a running commentary on all things important to a 5 year old until she suddenly stopped and gave me an odd look.  Then in her most concerned voice she said, "You have braces". I replied that yes, I do have braces.  Continuing in the concerned voice she asked, "what happened?"  I replied that I wanted to have a pretty smile like hers and that braces would help me to do that.   She patted my knee and "Bless your heart" which in the South and in this case meant something along the lines of....just keep believing no matter what the truth actually is.  She hung around for awhile longer and then swam off in search of other adults to chat with...preferably those with a more realistic outlook on life.

While we were "entertaining" our little entourage, where were their parents?  Chatty's mother stopped by briefly to be sure she wasn't bothering us. (What do you say to that? Yes, your kid is annoying me so please haul her off and play with her yourself?). Watch Me's parents never appeared to look up from their kindles on their shaded lounge chairs.  And that is the usual parental reaction. I find that very interesting given the over-the-top helicopter parents that are quoted in social media sharing their concerns over the world we live in where our children cannot play outside unsupervised.  I guess as long as they are in sight, the kids are safe. 

Luckily for these parents, their kids are safe with us and we have accepted our roles as kid magnets.  Maybe that's why we became teachers in the first place.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Mr. Perfect and I go to the local public library every Tuesday for preschool story time. I loved doing this with AT son and Mr. Canada so I have been looking forward to introducing Mr. Perfect to the world of the public library. It has been semi-successful. I knew that I would be a harsh judge of any librarian's story time ability but I am trying to keep an open mind...and my mouth shut.
Ms Lisa is the children's librarian at our local branch and while she is quite nice, she needs a little more training in corralling the preschool audience. She does a great job with her format ....Mr. Perfect knows all of the verses of "Shake my sillies out" and "The more we get together" and will sing them at any any moment that DOES NOT occur at the library.  He's not much of a joiner in the actual story time setting.  The books that she picks out are just too long for a group setting ... She loses her audience before we get to the middle of the story.  And the crafts are not always age appropriate (toddlers and beads are not a good combination.)
But in her defense she has a tough job.  There is no age limit at this story time so she has children from 18 months to 5 years old.  I've been there and done that...a toddler usually won't sit still for a book that a 5 year old will love and understand.  Story time is held in the multi-purpose room in the library....cold tile floor and absolutely no decorations.  She has no easel, no technology and no props.  The parents stay with their children during story time which, for Ms Lisa, is a good thing.  The majority of the moms participate with their children but there is a group of young moms who seem to think this is their time to chat.  While they are busy discussing the events in the neighborhood, Ms Lisa is trying to read a story.  The moms aren't listening so their children don't either. These moms finally notice that their darlings are not paying attention so they break out the snacks and continue their conversations. So then the room becomes over-run with toddlers roaming the area clutching that new invention...squeezable tubes of fruit and vegetables.  I am not sure how I would handle this in Ms Lisa's place but I probably wouldn't have the job long!
There are a few grandparent types in attendance but these chatty moms look at us like we must be nannies. (In our neighborhood? Not likely!)  My favorite parents at story time are the young moms who have a limited command of the English language.  They absolutely love story time and do their best to keep their children attentive and respectful.  Mr, Perfect has become friendly with Alex, a very lively bilingual 3 year old.  Today Alex told Mr. Perfect that he needed to take his fingers out of his mouth. Adults have mentioned this before but never a peer... Mr. Perfect didn't know how to take this advice and seemed shocked that a short person would mention it. (He didn't remove said fingers from his mouth but the idea registered!).  When story time was over and we had picked out this week's library books, Mr. Perfect and I stopped at the puzzle center. They have a very nice collection of wooden puzzles spread out in the children's area.  We sat down to work on the insect one when Alex came running over.  I'm not sure how to describe how he squirmed onto my lap and slid Mr. Perfect off but no one was hurt in the process and MP didn't seem to mind. Alex's mother was mortified but he just looked up at her with a sweet smile and said "Abuela"  .  That pretty much confirmed it for me...Ms Lisa can keep her job...I'll just be happy being Nonie ... Or Abuela.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The case of the 60 year old metal mouth...or....There's no fool like an old fool

You see a happy Nonie.  I see one with bad teeth.
We all have some physical flaw or feature that we wish we could change. I have agonized over my crooked teeth for all of my teen and adult life.  It was easy to avoid photos until the digital age and for years I tried to convince myself that my teeth weren't really that bad...but they were and every photo showed it. My dear friends always have cameras at the ready and there is that ugly mouth in all of those memorable photos!  Since embarking on this journey, many kind friends have claimed to have never noticed this situation but they are just that...kind friends.

Believe it or not, braces actually existed during my teen years.  My parents took me to the orthodontist for that initial evaluation. I was allowed to sit in on the recommendation and financial part of the consultation and when it was over, the decision was left up to me. The orthodontist was a 45 mile trip to the big city of Peoria.  My dad worked second shift in East Peoria. My mom didn't drive. Dad would not be excited about making that trip twice in one day plus he had part-time morning jobs. My brother had his driver's license but no car.  Mom would have been forced to beg monthly rides from one relative or mass transit. Plus there was the expense....we weren't poor but there wasn't a lot left over for luxuries and Dad's medical insurance didn't include dental at the time.  So...being the "pleaser" that I was (at the time) and realizing the hardships that braces would cause my family, I opted to live with my crooked smile.  No 12 year old should be asked or allowed to make such a decision but that's just the way it was.

I probably could have had braces later...after college...but DH and I were young marrieds and moving frequently with kmart.  We would never have been in one place long enough to complete the treatment. Then the boys came along and their needs were more important.  I made sure that they were not asked to make the ortho decisions....if braces were needed, they would (and did) have them.

Then retirement arrived.  I finally had the time and the money (thank you BISD for paying me for my unused sick days) to correct this flaw.  After consulting with my regular dentist, off I went to the orthodontist.  It's been two months now and at this point, I think it was a bad decision.  I thought I was ready for the pain....some days are worse than others.  And let's not even talk about my new best friend, dental wax. IMHO the braces look worse than the crooked teeth. But the worse part and the part for which I was unprepared is the fact that I cannot eat.  Taking a bite of something like a sandwich or a burger....not gonna happen.  In addition, the lower braces changed my bite so molding compound was added to give me something to bite against but chewing is a definite issue.  The list of foods I plan to eat again when this is over grows longer daily.  I'm tired of soup, yogurt, and pasta already and I have 22 more months left.  I've been told this will improve but it hasn't yet and I miss eating meat and salads. Oh...maybe I will drop some weight this way....but probably not because ice cream is something I can actually eat!

DH has been very supportive but even the king of patience is growing annoyed with the situation.  He did not sign on for a life of pasta and soft foods.  DIL and AT son are understanding but with little miss on the way, they have other concerns and what can they do anyway other than advise me to look to the future?  Canadian son has been against the idea from the beginning, calling it nonsense. He seems to think that I should have just "let it go" a long time ago and my teeth were really not that bad. (But then again, he sees no need for furniture so how can I trust his opinion?)

I have come very close to having the dentist remove the brackets and wires and calling a halt to the whole process.  He is very nice but determined that I should have the smile that I have always wanted so we compromised on 6 months. If I don't see improvement in 6 months and am still unable to eat like a semi-normal adult, we will revisit the removal decision. is my advice to any adult considering orthodontic braces....unless it is a health issue such as jaw or headache pain, don't do it.  I hope I feel differently about it down the road but right now I feel like you may find my withered body alongside that road...but with straight teeth.  And I want a bacon cheeseburger with fries before I am eligible for Medicare!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More learning experiences with Mr. Perfect

DIL had a business meeting out of town this week and since Athletic Trainer Son is still on driving restriction, we were lucky enough to be able to play host to Mr. Perfect for a few days.  And we all learned alot...

MP learned that if you claim to be sad when it is time for bed, Nonie will let you sleep in her bed instead of in the crib.
NONIE learned, once again, that she is a push-over.

MP learned that Nonie will not let you eat goldfish crackers for breakfast.
NONIE learned that she needs to provide a wider variety of cereal choices and that she needs to find another place to store the goldfish stash.

MP learned that if you put up enough of a fight about changing out of your pajamas, Nonie will hand you the IPad so that you can play your games.
NONIE learned, once again, that she is a push-over.

MP learned that Nonie's bed is pretty comfy.
NONIE learned that MP likes to sleep with his head pushed up against something, (usually Nonie) and that the preferred way to sleep in a big bed is horizontally.  She learned the a midnight kick to the face does hurt but does not always produce a black eye.  She also learned that a 2-year-old takes up a large amount of space in the bed.

MP learned that it is great fun to play Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed on Nonie's bed.
OPA learned that he should give careful thought to what he is teaching Mr. Perfect.

MP learned that little boys are not allowed in the sewing room (AKA the sweat shop).
NONIE learned that no sewing will occur while MP is visiting.

MP learned that it is difficult to keep the elderly entertained.
NONIE learned why God gives toddlers to younger parents.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Visit to Banff...part 2

Another bright and sunny day in Banff and it was our day to hit the slopes.  We are not skiers and both of us felt that at our ages, learning to ski might be a little difficult.  Plus we were worried about the danger to our brittle bones.  But we wanted to enjoy the snow so we did our research and discovered that some of the local ski centers offer snow tubing hills.  The photos and videos on the internet made it look like a good adventure so we decided to check it out.  Our first stop was Mount Norquay.  This tube park had 5 runs and we were really excited to give it a go.  Unfortunately it was not to be...the "magic carpet" that hauls you and your tube back up to the top of the run was broken.  They offered us the opportunity to climb back up the hill under our own power and we considered it (for about 10 seconds) until we watched a group of fit teenagers struggle up the hill pulling their tubes.  Neither of us were convinced that we could do it so we went in search of another ski resort with tubing.

We found one in Lake Louise...the Sunny Tube Park at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.  This tubing area was smaller with only two runs but the magic carpet was working and the price was right!  I was concerned that we would be the oldest folks at the tube park or at the very least, the only ones without little children.  Surprisingly everyone on the hill was our age.  Many of them were non-skiers who opted to tube while the rest of the family hit the slopes with their skis or snowboards.
We hadn't been sledding in over 20 years and it was just as much fun as I remembered...more maybe because we didn't have to climb back up the hill!  It was a blast!  And during our rides up the magic carpet, we got to watch ski school.  Little four and five year old kids learning to ski...great people watching for sure.  And the preteens trying to master their snowboarding skills were even better.  Made me wish that I was younger, in better shape and had stronger bones!

After several hours at Lake Louise, we returned to Banff and checked out Banff Upper Hot Springs.  These mineral rich pools are naturally heated to 104 degrees.  I was hoping that the atmosphere would be more grotto-like but instead, it was a large tiled swimming pool.  But no matter....the water felt great and the sensation of being in that hot water while the steam rises and the snow flurries down was something entirely new to us.  I highly recommend it!  Much better than a hot tub!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Visit to Banff....part 1

After spending a few days in Calgary, it was time for a new adventure.  DS had a business meeting for two days in Edmonton (which he assured us was scheduled after we had made our travel plans and that he had nothing to do with this scheduling).  We could have spent the time exploring Calgary on our own but when faced with the option of staying in a hotel with amenities such as beds, TV's, chairs and a hot tub or remaining in the monument to minimalism, really, was there any choice to be made?

Please do not ask us why DS chooses to live this spartan lifestyle.  We honestly do not understand it.  His mantra is "You don't own things...things own you".  Trust me, he was not raised this way.  He has purchased a mattress (finally and only because we were coming to visit) but it rests on the floor.  Living room seating options include a neck machine or one of two patio chairs (which he purchased at our insistence on Saturday).  There is internet access but no TV.  I sometimes think he is European as he purchases his food fresh daily....empty cupboards and refrigerator.  We don't fully understand what he does for a living but he is well paid.  If he could find housing in a cave or a shanty by the ocean and convince someone to pay him as well as his engineering job does, his life and lifestyle would be complete.
Gondola reaction.

So we borrowed DS's truck and headed for Banff.  Our hotel was lovely and after enjoying just sitting on the bed for awhile, we decided to do some exploring.  The first stop was the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain.  DH is wary of heights so some time was spent in deciding on seating arrangements.  I was much more concerned about the strength of the cables that held the car up.  It took 8 minutes to reach the observation platform 7,486 ft above the starting point. 

The views were amazing!  And it was cold!  But shortly after we arrived at the observation platform, the sun came through the clouds, the wind died down and it became surprisingly warm.

That's Banff down there   

The observation platform includes a cafe, a more upscale restaurant and of course, beautiful views.  We had hoped to see some wildlife but apparently the animals were all in hibernation...or they just didn't want to come out to visit.

The observation platform is not the peak of Sulphur Mountain.  The peak can be reached by climbing a boardwalk trail.  As I mentioned, DH is not a fan of heights but I had a plan.  The weather was beautiful and I kept climbing up the boardwalk...DH was following along enjoying the mountain views.  My plan was working superbly until DH caught sight of a movement in the trees near the boardwalk.  It was a white rabbit...the camouflage was amazing!  DH spent a loooonnnnggg time trying to get the perfect photo. 

Can you see the bunny?
Not being as patient as he, (surprised?) I moved further and further along the boardwalk .  When he realized that I had moved on without him, he remembered that he really had no plans to climb the rest of the way.  But I was committed and I trudged on.  The peak of the mountain is 1 meter beyond the observation platform.
The Boardwalk

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More random observations from Canada

8). Canadians do not take pride in the cleanliness of their vehicles. Or maybe it's the other way around...a dirty car Is a loved car. Whatever.....there are no shiny clean cars in Calgary or banff. In fact I am fairly certain that no cars are washed between the first snowfall and Easter!  Maybe it's a religious thing!

9). The highway departments do an awesome job of cleaning the streets of snow.  I'm not sure what they use for ice melting but it must not be salt.  There are no rusted out vehicles like we were used to seeing in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.  But maybe the rust is hidden under the grime.  Must return in the summer to check that out!

10). Canadians love security. Getting into and out of DS's condo is a technology marvel.  You need an opener for the parking lot....a key to get into the parking area to get to your electronic scanner to get into the surveillance of the front electronic scanner to make the elevator move.  I am so relieved to be free from the worry that someone might break in and rob him.  Wait! He doesn't have anything so he might as well leave everything unlocked!   But on the other hand, the windows have no locks or screens. Luckily his nothingness is safe as he lives on the second floor.

11). We aren't exactly certain what it is that DS does but the office is equally well protected.  No one can just drop in for a visit! Scanners everywhere.

12). Calgary is very expensive.  Since our money is literally no good here (unless we go to the currency exchange) we are putting everything on our one international credit card.  I'm fairly certain that we are in for a shock when we check that bill.....but think of the miles!

13). By and large Canadians are very polite people.  They are very friendly.  They also wait for the walk signal at the corners....even if there is no traffic in sight! Picture a Texan doing that!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Random observations about Canada and Canadians

1). Calgary is smaller than I expected. 
2).  March is not the best time to visit. The snow is melting and everything is brown and dirty.
3). Canadians love their dogs. And they prefer big dogs. When we walked around Calgary we seemed to be the only ones without a large dog. Apparently dogs are not allowed on the pub patios so the owners tie them up to the railing and the dogs wait patiently on the sidewalks. Nice owners provide a bucket with water....or maybe the pubs do.  Idk.
4). Calgarians (or maybe it's calgary-ites) are much more healthy looking than average folks. They walk everywhere.  Fewer chubby folks, also. We had dinner with Tim's two friends (he has only two friends here...they call themselves the wolf pack.) who had just returned from a trip to Columbus Ohio. They both commented on how many overweight people they saw there. It made me look around and realize that DH and I are definitely in the minority here!  Canadians need to eat more poutine!
5). Canadians also like their beer...but that's okay with us.
6). Temps in the 40's call for breaking out the shorts and flip flops.  I guess it is all relative but while I huddle in my hoodie wishing that I had remembered my gloves, these people are filling up the patios soaking up the sun.  Haven't seen any apartment complexes with pools but there are lots of tanning parlors.
7). Convenience stores and gas stations are few and far between. 

Stay tuned for our report on our visit to Banff and more random observations.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Progress....or....the retreat of the spider monkey

Minky monkey blankie
Tuesdays with Nonie saw a big leap forward toward the end of the spider monkey.  Mr. Perfect had spent the night and we needed to get ready for our weekly visit to Aqua Kids.  (At this point, we didn't know that class had been cancelled for that day.)  He was sitting on the bed engrossed in his Old BicDonald book (that's what he calls it) so I asked if he could stay there while I got dressed to go to the pool.  "Yes, Nonie."  While I was changing, I heard him hop down off the bed and head toward the living room.  I peeked out to make sure that he was heading in the right direction and not taking a detour into the sewing room (AKA the sweat shop...very dangerous in there!)  There he was....struggling down the hall with his minkey monkey blankie.  He seemed to have everything under control considering the size and weight of this particular blankie. A few minutes later I heard him huffing and puffing like he was really working hard on something so I went to check on him.  Mr. Perfect was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.  While strolling by he had noticed his swim diaper, swim suit and towel on the kitchen table.  With no help from me (and without the distraction of the IPad), he had taken off his shoes, pants and pull-up (which he tossed across the room...thank goodness it was a dry one!) and  had put on his swim diaper (inside out) and was struggling in to his Spiderman swim suit.  Wait!  How can this be?  Where is the spider monkey?  Could this really be happening?  Maybe we are past that phase and can now add library storytime to our Tuesday schedule.  (Remember?  I didn't want to change him at the pool for fear that they would call CPS on the grandmother causing this reaction to a simple change of clothes.)  If the spider monkey is truly gone, we can go to the library and then venture to the pool....fingers crossed!
No Tuesdays with Nonie next week as DH and I are traveling to the great white north (Canada) to see Mechanical Engineer/Strength Coach son.  Stay tuned for bulletins from Calgary.  I have all ready prepared to start a black market operation as I understand that Propel water flavoring and Payday candy bars are not available in the land to the north.  I've been asked to bring those items with me so I stopped by Kroger today and cleaned that store out of both requested's not as bad as it sounds...they only had 7 Paydays in stock!  Now the big decision is....what is ME/SC son willing to pay for them.....hmmm....I see Canadian Loonies in my future (Google that one, friends!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The teacher becomes the student!

Today it was Mr. Perfect's turn to be the learner. He discovered what happens when you push the gray button on the front of the refrigerator. He knows that water comes out of that spot and he is just tall enough to reach it but he forgot an important element....the cup.  The angle was perfect and he took a stream of cold water right to his perfect face.  It was a moment that needed to be recorded on video. The look of absolute shock and awe was priceless. Of course, I never expected him to try this experiment so I was not ready with a camera.  When he recovered he insisted that his clothes were now dirty and needed to be changed immediately. He was quite upset that Donald and Mickey had to be exchanged for his big brother shirt but neither did he want to wear wet clothes. Such a dilemma.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's all Opa's fault

Had a little excitement during Tuesdays with Nonie this week.  Mr. Perfect sustained his first injury on our watch....and it wasn't my fault!  DH will probably not be pleased that I am sharing this incident with the world but since my blog world consists of 11 subscribers, it's not a very large world.  My FB shares are not always widely read so I'm not too worried.

It's a girl!
We spent Sunday celebrating the gender reveal for Mr. Perfect's sibling.  We are thrilled that the new baby is a girl so we will now have a Miss Perfect to go with Mr. Perfect instead of Mr. Perfect Too.
(We know in advance that she will be just a perfect as her older brother!)  Mr. Perfect felt a little warm to me on Sunday but I attributed it to the excitement of having so many of his favorite people in the same place at the same time. (Unca Tim and G&G were there via the magic of Hangouts and Skpe.)

Virtual fist bump!
I, of course, was wrong.  Later in the evening it became clear that this was a stomach bug issue. (We are certain that the puking and pooping were not his comments on having a sister instead of a brother!)  He kept Mom and Dad up most of the night.  Mom was off on Monday due to President's Day so that was good but he still did not allow her (and therefore, his sister) to get any rest.  Since Tuesday is our regular day together, we picked him up on Monday evening for a pre-Tuesdays with Nonie sleepover.

When he got up on Tuesday morning, I asked him how he felt.  He responded with "Much better, thank   you!" (See how perfect he is?)  We had a great day.....swimming lessons (he had been fever free for 24 hours and there is a lot of chlorine in that pool anyway!)...chicken and fa fries for lunch.....shape puzzles on the IPad....a shorter nap than usual...Elmo's World on TV and a stroll to the park to enjoy the beautiful day.  He wanted to go for a walk but thought that Nonie should carry him so we compromised on the stroller.

Mom had to pick Dad up for work so Opa got to spend some time with Mr. Perfect, also.  It was still light out and there was plenty of time before dinner so Opa took him out for another stroll around the neighborhood.  (Mr. Perfect especially likes hitting the bumps on the cracked sidewalks in the neighborhood if accompanied by a "bump bump" sound effect.)  They hadn't been gone long when there they were....back home.  Mr. Perfect came in and rushed to Nonie.  Then I saw it....Mr. Perfect had been damaged!  Apparently Opa decided that it wasn't necessary to use the seat belt on the stroller and Mr. Perfect decided to test the laws of physics and stuck his foot down to meet the sidewalk.....face plant on the cement.  His forehead and nose are scraped bright red!  No bump and thank goodness, his teeth are all still there!  But I can only imagine what the day care providers had to say!  Mom and Dad took it well..maybe Dad remembers the time I dropped him on his face in the kitchen when he was about this age.  There was tooth damage to that one so it was worse.

Naturally Opa feels awful about damaging this perfect boy but I am sure this will not be the only accident that will result in bumps and bruises.  I just hope it's not on our watch next time!  (And, in case you wondered, he is still perfect!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tuesdays with nonie ....part 3

This week Tuesdays with Nonie became Tuesday with Nonie and Opa as DH's school was cancelled due to bad weather. (Actually, there was no bad weather....just a forecast for icy roadways and his district made the decision too early)
I was excited about this development because DH has been missing out on our adventures and was getting a little jealous. Plus he could finally experience the joy of getting the spider monkey into the dreaded swim diaper and swim suit. 
We played through the morning and it was time to get ready for swim lessons. we go....We had been playing with a cool shapes puzzle app on the IPad when it was time to change.  Since he was in control of the IPad, I let Mr. Perfect carry it to the bedroom to change. He was absorbed in his shape puzzle and didn't even notice that he was being stuffed into the hated swim diaper! He didn't fuss about changing his clothes at all!! Where is the justice in that? DH didn't get to witness a full on spider monkey episode!  But in the interest of using these Tuesdays as learning experiences, I can now say that I learned that changing ones clothes is an acceptable activity as long as there is technology available for use.
Opa got in the pool with Mr. Perfect and that was OK, too.  He smiled and seemed to enjoy his time in the water.  I learned that it doesn't matter who takes Mr. Perfect for his swim lesson as long as there are the usual songs and games.  He still will not "use his kickers" but he doesn't mind going underwater. 
And once again I learned that swimming lessons result in long naps....for both Mr. Perfect and his Opa!  DH claims that his recliner has magical sleep inducing powers and he just might be right.  They certainly kicked in on Tuesday.  I'll give it a try some chilly afternoon and report my findings later.
Cannot wait to see what I will learn next week.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Schooled by an 86 year old

My sewing sister and fitness buddy, SLC, have joined the Silver Sneakers II fitness class at the y.  In an earlier post I expressed concern about group fitness classes and the territorial demeanor of some class members. I was pleasantly surprised to be warmly welcomed by this senior group although I do feel a bit "young" to be in this class. Some of the exercises are similar to those done by nursing home residents but I guess I should just look at it as preparation for my golden years in a "home".  
There is a gentleman in the class who likes to sing along with the music and has a great voice but I'm already tired of his routine and it's only been a couple of weeks.  But then again it might be fun to go to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar with him....I need to find out if he enjoys an adult beverage and can stay awake past 10.  He reminds me of my father-in-law in that he always has a smart come-back for just about anything. 
I've discovered that I am fortunate to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.  I can do that but I cannot do a movement with my left arm while my right leg is doing something else.  Such as, kick your right leg forward while you left arm is swinging back.  Just not happening for me.  It's a brain thing!
At our first class we met Mary Lou who is 86 and the darling of the group.  She was very sweet and welcoming on that first day.  Today was another story.  SLC was finishing up her treadmill time so I went on into the classroom and got out our carpet squares and chairs so that we would be ready when class started.  I was all set up in the second from the back row and went to get the hand weights and resistance bands that we would need.  When I came back, Mary Lou was standing at my chair, looking down at my iPod and headphones, wondering aloud who had left their stuff on HER chair.  I explained that these were my things.  To which she said, "Do you know how old I am?" "Yes, m'am. You told me last week that you are 86." "That's right and this is my spot. You don't need to move but this is my spot!" Needless to say, I moved. She said, "that's so sweet of you to move. You really don't have to." I told that yes, I did because I was a little afraid of her.  She said, " should be!"  I will defer to my elders and you can be certain that I will not be setting up in the second row from the back again!  Now I just need to figure out where the sing-along guy always stands so I can avoid that spot, too.
Oh....and there were no announcements about any regulars being in the hospital and no cards to sign this week.  Plus the "watchers" haven't had to correct me lately so I must be doing better.  And I actually broke out in a sweat today during the workout but that might have been because the other ladies thought the room was too cold and demanded that the fans be turned off.  Those bird-like ladies just need a little more meat on their frail little I have!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Resolution update...Group Fitness Class

January 16, 2014
One of my resolutions this year was to take a group fitness class. Today was the day for that. I coerced my friend, SLC, to join me. We decided to join the Basic Step class. Remember, I was concerned about taking someone's place. Well that was not a problem...the instructor was very nice and there were no space issues.  We honestly tried to be successful but the pace of the class was just too much for us. And I could not follow the instructions....who would expect that I would have difficulty following directions? We gave it a shot but that class was just not for us beginners. But we are not finished with this challenge. Next week we are stepping it back and joining the Silver Sneakers class. I've been told that it is a good workout so let's see if I can keep up with the other seniors.
January 22, 2014
SLC and I checked out the Silver Sneakers II class at the Y today.  Hey....we are young Silver Sneakers....we don't need the beginning class.  It's a full class....both men and women "of a certain age".  I knew right away that this class was going to be much different than our Basic Step classes.  The men in the group started right in, carrying chairs (yes, I said chairs) and carpet squares and setting up the room.  (Gentlemen do still exist!)  Since I was clueless as to what to do, SLC got me outfitted with my exercise bands, my Silver Sneakers official ball and led me over the weights.  I went with the 4 lb weights when a little  Oriental woman raised her eyebrows at me while I was reaching for the 5 pounders.  The other, more experienced class members came up and started to introduce themselves and (covertly) question our ages and ability to keep up.  Our new friend, Margo, introduced us to a very sweet lady in front of us (cannot remember her name....I'm old enough to be in the senior fitness class so I am allowed a memory lapse or six.) who is 86 years old and has survived two heart surgeries.  Margo told us to just watch this lady and we would be just fine.  In addition to being 86 years old, this sweet lady has been taking this class for 10 years.  She invited us to join them for coffee before class because we could learn a lot about insurance and taxes from this group.  (I'm not sure what insurance and taxes has to do with fitness but......)
The music is good....mostly disco and things I actually have heard in my younger days.  The instructor is perky.  The class members all know each other and the class started with announcements about who was in the hospital and who has rejoined the group after a hospital stay.  (That, my folks, is my future!)  All of the aerobic moves can be adjusted to your fitness level and some class members (not me) actually used the chairs the entire time.  (There were some exercises done sitting in the chair but the chairs are actually used more for balance.)  There were lots of balance exercises which I really need.  They even have two ladies whose job it is to keep an eye on everyone and make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.  (I also think that they might be the ones trained in CPR and be the designated "catcher" if someone goes down mid-class.  They station themselves near the door to quickly summon aid!)
So...the verdict.....I think that SLC and I are really too young for this class.  (I've already picked out the guy most like my father-in-law....chatting with the ladies and generally joking around!)  But, that being said, any form of exercise is better than nothing so I plan to make this a part of my weekly schedule.  In time, I hope that I can progress to a younger class but who knows, I might be the 86 year old who has been coming for 26 years in the future!  Maybe I can be one of the first responders!  You know how I like to make sure that everyone is doing the right moves!
An ending note on Tuesdays with Nonie.....Mr. Perfect still does not want to put on that swim diaper and swim suit.  But he likes the songs that we sing and sang all the way home from lessons.  He was able to tell Mommy all about what we did so maybe we are making progress even though he really is not a big fan of the water.  I would like to add library story time to our perfectly in to the schedule....but that would mean changing clothes at the pool and I am not ready to share the spider monkey wrestling bout with any other parents.  Stay tuned for updates next week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesdays with Nonie...the return of the spider monkey

Today was episode two in the ongoing saga of Tuesdays with Nonie. 
I am not sure what it is about Tuesdays and traffic but I got caught up in it again today.  DIL is under the weather so I was to pick up Mr. Perfect at home.  What is usually a 25 minute drive turned into a 50 minute ordeal this morning.  I debated going the "long way" but since traffic was moving at that point, I decided to just go with the usual route.  And of course, no sooner had I made that decision than traffic slowed to a crawl.  Now, I am sure that there are more than two ways to get to DS#1 and DIL's house but I'm not good with directions and Gabbie, our trusty GPS, was home probably offering home invaders directions from the living room to the kitchen.  The big flashing TxDOT sign declared that there was an accident ahead and to expect delays.  When I finally reached the bottleneck, there was nothing police, no wrecked cars, no ambulances, no bodies by the side of the road....nothing! I have absolutely no clue what caused this major delay because there certainly was nothing to look at.
Finally got home with Mr. Perfect and my weekly lessons commenced.  Today I learned that:
1)  The idea of swimming lessons was no more appealing this week than it was last week.  I started with the happy...."It's Swimming Lesson Day!  I'm so excited!" and was met with a firm "NO!"  I decided that since the weather was much nicer this week, we would do the changing from clothes to swim stuff here at home.  This week's spider monkey problem was not the shirt....or the socks..or the shoes.  It was the pants and the Superman Pull-Ups.  I swear that I no sooner got his legs into the swim diaper before I saw it go sailing across the room as he kicked it off.  Finally succeed with the swim diaper (don't ask how many times it went on and came off but that little monkey is fast!) only to repeat the whole process with the swim trunks.  And then was over.  He allowed me to put on the swim shirt and helped to pack the backpack but insisted that he carry his own towel.  I learned that perseverance pays off.
2)  I learned that seeing Unca Tim on the IPad via Hangouts is not the same as seeing him in person.  Even though we did a quick connection before we started the swim apparel war and got in our minimum daily requirements of fist bumps, Mr. Perfect still had to check Unca Tim's room to be sure he wasn't just taking a nap.  On a more positive note, when we connected during lunch so that Unca Tim could get a lesson report, Mr. Perfect did tell him several things that happened at the pool.
3) I learned that all swim instructors are not created equal.  On the way to lessons, I told Mr. Perfect that we were on our way to swim with Ms. Madison and was informed...."No, Unca Tim takes me swimming!"  Not long distance, he doesn't!
4) I learned that apple juice tastes differently in a different cup.  Mr. Perfect tried his AJ in his blue sippy cup with the reclosable lid  and told me that he didn't like it.  I poured more juice in the green cup and it was fine.  Then he told me to put the juice from the blue cup into the green cup, watched me do this and drank it all.  I guess green plastic tastes better than blue.  Who knew?
5) I learned that not just any quilt will do for naptime.  We didn't have our Nonie blankie (He is the ONLY one allowed to refer to a quilt as a blankie!) and had to audition several quilts until we found one that Mr. Perfect deemed worthy as a nap companion.  It was a four season wallhanging that I made years ago and is now referred to as the tree blankie.  I'm just glad that we found one that would work.
6) I learned that a thirty minute swim lesson results in a long nap...not for me...for Mr. Perfect.  Of course the whole spider monkey thing might have added to the exhaustion.  I just hope that DIL isn't suffering with a toddler who refuses to go to bed because he had a great nap!

All in all, it was another informative Tuesday.  Who says you can't teach a retiree some new tricks?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesdays with Nonie OR What I learned from a 30 month old today

Today began our weekly Nonie and Mr. Perfect adventure Tuesdays.  (Mr. Perfect is aka The Most Perfect Grandchild in the World.)  Because it is important to us that Mr. Perfect learn to swim, or at least be comfortable in the water, we decided to sign him up for a Water Babies class at our local Aqua Kids.  Since he is under 3 years of age, this is an adult/child activity.  Mr. Perfect's parents would have signed him up but this swim center is closer to us and since they both work and I do not, (yippee) it seemed easier for me to be the responsible adult in this activity.  I picked him up from DIL's office and we spent the morning playing before our class.
I learned a few important lessons from Mr. Perfect today.
1) When he looks at you and using his most stern voice says, "Dummy" he is not making a comment about your intelligence (or lack thereof).  He is merely asking that you read his new book, Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb.  It includes the refrain, "Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum" and is therefore referred to as the dummy book.
2) It takes 2 Lego people and 7 rubber ducks to convince him that we need to put our coats on and get in the car for the trip to swimming lessons.
3) Shoes and socks are some of life's great mysteries.  Mr. Perfect insists that he keep his shoes and socks on in the house but the minute that he is strapped into his carseat, they must be removed.  At least he has recently begun to tuck the socks into the shoes so the hunts for the missing Frankenstein socks are becoming fewer and less traumatic.  And he no longer flings the shoes into the way back of the Honda so I don't need to climb all the way in to the car to retrieve them.
4)  Trying to get a toddler out of his shirt when he does not want to be out of his shirt is a little like wrestling a spider least, I think that it would be similar.  I've never actually wrestled a spider monkey. Next week, I am asking Mom to pack an extra shirt so we do not have a repeat episode and and he can swim in his shirt.  Getting in the pool is non-negotiable.
5) Having someone softly sing the ABC song in your ear makes is much easier to attempt to float on your back.
6) It is absolutely necessary to search for Unca Tim all over the house even though you have been told over and over that he is not home.  You never know, that rascal Tim might actually be hiding under the bed.  And when your Nonie makes a 30 second HangOuts connection with said Unca, all is right with the world. And "Unca Tim's in tree" which is Mr. Perfect speak for "Uncle Tim is in Calgary" is the appropriate explanation.
7) All good things come to those who cooperate in swimming lessons.  There will always be a stop for "bites" on the way home and "fa fries" can be on the menu if you ask nicely.  And did you know that white cream gravy mixed with ketchup makes a tasty dipping sauce of chicken strips, fa fries and bread?
8) Whatever Nonie is drinking is infinitely more desirable than what is in the Mickey Mouse sippy cup.  Thanks goodness, I don't drink adult beverages during the day...usually.
So, all in all, it was an enlightening day.....the first of many Tuesdays with least I hope so.  And I hope that this "elderly" adult can keep up with the spider monkey speed and agility of Mr. Perfect.  I think I need to work out more....I am exhausted!

Monday, January 6, 2014


The new year is begun and it's past time for my resolutions. 
Like 75% of the rest of the world, I want to improve my health and fitness in 2014.  DH and I hate this time of the year at the Y because of all of those other resolution makers!  It will be a crowded mess until mid-February.  About that time, the crowds will fall off because most of us only keep these resolutions for about 6 weeks.  These crowds will have one benefit for us long-time members.  I don't usually participate in the fitness classes because the classes are filled with members who have been in these classes for years....literally.  They all have "their" spaces in the room and woe unto those who stand in their space.  They all know what the instructor expects them to do and understand all of the shouted instructions.  "Oh, just tell the instructor that you are new to the class (like she wouldn't notice?) and she will make sure you know what to do," is the advice from the Y administrators.  These bosses obviously have not been in the classes because they have no idea about the wrath of the regulars.  But there are a few brave souls with new resolutions who will attempt to join these classes and be unaware of the importance of a particular space.  My plan is to follow a few of these newbies (their new Christmas gift/workout clothes give them away every time) in to the classroom and hide out behind them.  The regulars wouldn't dare attack a GROUP of newcomers and we can take up several of these special spots.  So that's one resolution...Take a group fitness class at the Y and live to tell about it.
I also want to improve my quilting skills.  I am happy with my piecing skills but my machine quilting leaves much to be desired.  Oh, I'm OK with a straight line but anything else is a mess.  When I quilt for a customer, I do the quilt design and construction and sub-contract to a professional longarm quilter for the actual quilting.  (I do tell the customer so this is no bait and switch scam.) I would like to be able to quilt commissioned quilts but it's difficult on a home sewing machine.  It can be done and skillfully by many but not by me.  I have considered purchasing a longarm machine but the cost ($10-25K) is prohibitive as is the space needed.  So here is my improve my machine quilting skills on my home machine and to take a class or two on longarm quilting with the plans to rent time on these machines at local quilt shops.
And finally, when I retired I promised myself to organize several areas of our home including the sewing room, the linen closet, the pantry and the kitchenware storage.'s been 6 months now and I have "straightened" the sewing room but it is by no means reorganized and none of the other areas have even been touched.  I could promise myself that I would tackle one of these areas each week until they have all been de-cluttered but my weeks are fairly busy....there are those visits to the Y, my Friday sew day with my sewing sisters, my weekly visit with Transplant Sue, my Tuesdays with Ben (we start Nonie and me swimming lessons tomorrow) not to mention the time devoted to Facebook and email.  So my resolution is the reorganize something once a month.
So there they are...only 3 resolutions and nothing earth shattering.  And if I don't follow through no one will be harmed....except for me, of course.  Being able to actually find something in the closet that fits would be nice.