Tuesday, June 28, 2011

They Touched My Heart - A Birthday/Anniversary to Remember

Angela and Audra threw me a surprise birthday on Saturday. Oh, yes, I had an inkling something was afoot, but I wasn't sure when, what, or where much less that it was to be a surprise party. They'd arranged for friends to take me off to see art galleries in a nearby town. One even convinced me she had a dinner party to go to later, so I was sure nothing was going on that day. Cars were parked well away from our home, so I had no suspisions until I opened the door. I confess to being totally surprised to see so many good friends inside.

My feet hadn't crossed the threshold before Angela presented me with a full-sized, blown-up version of a walker, complete with many well-known saying about the aged. Before I could move into the room, I had to first maneuver through a trail of orange cones - to prove I could get along with my new contraption. The livingroom was decorated in my favorite sea-green. I was quickly turned around to view the dining room table, very modern, of course, to see not a birthday cake, but a perfect replication of our wedding cake! Angela had had it made to specs, thanks to pictures from our album, and yes, it cost her a small fortune (but it was soooo yummy). There were three layers instead of four - lemon, chocolate, and spice. They were all good, but the spice was wonderful, to die for, and the flavors matched our original. Only the white cake layer was missing, but from the way folks chowed down on what was there, the one exception wasn't missed. You see, our 45th wedding anniversary is a month away, and Angela decided to combine wedding and birthday. They also served a delicious meal.

Audra, not to be out done, had compiled a video using pictures from our various family albums following me from birth to grandma. It was great fun to see all the old pictures, not to mention noting how thin I used to be. There were lots of questions and comments of course and a few laughs as well. Everyone oh'd and ah'd over the wedding pictures and the sailboat we lived and traveled on for two years.

The grandchildren and doggies were well mannered and adorable. Brooke, the four year old spoke with the adults using all her three and four syllable words, and the two year old Bree entertained everyone with her delightful smile and descriptions of how she helped put up the decorations. As for the doggies, there wasn't a bark or growl, an underfoot toy, or a anything beyond lots of tailwagging and puppy kisses.

When I stood to give my little speech, there wasn't a person in the room that I didn't have a short story about. All mean a great deal to me, and they had given special parts of themselves and helped me along the way over the years. All of them had welcomed Angela into their lives without hesitation.

Angela and Audra had pulled off their first surprise party and touched my heart in ways they can't imagine. Angela's loving thoughtfulness about the cake, and Audra's time and effort producing the powerpoint life review were remarkable. They touched my heart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Up and Over

This was a I'm Glad It Wasn't Me day.You see, we were busy loading up the RV when Angela put the tow dolly on the back of the coach. Every thing was going just fine until she decided to load-up the car without ole vigillant eyes, me. Oh, she's put the car on alaone before, and she's even winched up smashed up race cars into place. I knew this was nothing particularly new. But, since we've had this rig, I'm usually out there giving the Left - Right - Move-up and Stop signals. Not this time, though. So, you can guess what happened. She went right up, over, and off without stopping. She came into the coach with a rather sheepish grin and said, "I, uhm, need your help outside."

That was putting it mildly. When I got outside, I couldn't stop laughing. There was my car (of course) straddling the tow dolly. The front wheels were not quite on the ground because the automobile was resting on its frame. "Now what do we do?" I asked.

"Well, the first thing we are going to try is to jack up."

"Uhm-huh," I said doubtfully. "Even once it's up, you have to get the wheels in place. So, we're going to be using lumber to make a ramp, right." She nodded, and we proceeded to raise the car, place lots of 4x4s and 2x4s beneath the wheels followed by a long piece so she could drive back into place. Naturally, we didn't have exactly matching piles of wood, but we managed.

I held my breath as she took her seat and grabbed the wheel. The engine started and ever so slowly, she backed squarely into the sweet spot. I motioned STOP, and it was done. We both let out a looong breath.

"Boy, it was a good thing you weren't driving when this happened," she said as she climbed out of the car.

"Me too," I said, laughed, and then gave her a kiss. "But I get to tell everyone."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Crappy Weekend

Okay, I confess that it wasn't all crappy, but . . .

You see, it all started durring a lovely RV outing. We had a wonderful time with everyone in our delightful RVing Women's group. The food, conversations, and doggies and kitties were great, but Saturday was very wet. I love my dogs, but neither wet fur and muddy feet, nor removing stickers are high on my Fun Monitor. After a riotious Trailer Trash dinner with the group, we returned to our coach to prepare for a quiet, dry, peaceful night. Angela went out to dump the tanks while I took the puppies for a walk. When I returned, Angela was still outside. I opened a window and asked, "Need help?"

"Nope," came the reply. Ten minutes later, however, she said, "Okay, I need you outside."

That did not bode well. First of all, it was raining madly, and it was 11:30, well passed Angela's bedtime.

"It seems the RV park's sewer hook up for our rig is backed-up or blocked," Angela said. "The rain could be the cause, but if that was so, the whole park would be in trouble. So, that means we're stuck with the problem. Of course, the office is closed too."

She didn't have to tell me that meant we really had a problem. What were we going to do with a sewage hose full of well, sewage? The good news was that the park link in the spot next to us was working. But, it was 40 feet away. Fortunately, we carry extra sewage hose for this sort of problem. Unfortuately, we usually know about the issue before we are hooked up for two days and can make the alterations before any thing fills the hose.

I could see by Angela's bussling around, getting out hoses, and thoughtful expression that it was going to be me holding our 'difficulty" for this switcheroo. I had visions of spending all day Sunday cleaning up a huge, smelly, yucky mess, even though it was not technically our fault.

With a great deal of care, Angela removed the sewage line from our rig and with much trepidation coaxed a bit more sewage into the park's input, unhooked it, and dripped more yuck into the near overflowing gap. Then, with a towel wrapped around it, just for me, she handed me that end too. Now, a 20' long 3" diameter hose filled with gunk is heavy, and rain was rapidly dropping into the upturned ends - splash, splash, splash - as I stood there with my hands full and my nose turned away.

She gingerly put extensions on each connection, hooked up to the rig, and then we inched our way over toward the new hole. She connected it slowly, but nothing happened! Dang. Okay, worse than Dang. You see, the new receptical was ever so slightly uphill. We have an 8 foot declining contraption to help with that, BUT, we now had 60 feet of hose slanting the wrong direction. It was not going to drain.

After the cloud of blue words dissipated, we got down to pulling lumber out of the rig's storage areas, looking for rocks, sticks and anything else we could use to overcome the problem.

It took half an hour more, but in the end, sewage was flowing, we'd had a nice warm shower and a few laughs. We crawled into bed and I said, "I'm so glad you thought of that towel."

Yes, it's a great thing to be married to a T.