Christmas Morning Candids

Senna expressing his Christmas enthusiasm to everyone but especially to the camera.

I was up early (nothing new there) to prepare the Christmas goose while listening to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Dickens with a side of Christmas goose
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Sunday Afternoon Family Gaming

Sunday afternoon, once my Texas offspring recuperated from the long drive and boundless energy of the eighteen month old grandson, Derek suggested we play a game. He had brought several with him from home, a few with short play times (as little as five or ten minutes) and more complex board games that require more setup and explanation. I’d previously played Camel Up and Parade, neither of which I was in the mood for. 5-minute Dungeon I want to try before he heads back to Texas.

Derek suggested we play Pandemic, which I’ve been wanting to try for several years. While the grandson ran Royna ragged, Derek, Rachelle and I played two games of Pandemic. Kudos to my offspring for suffering through the first game and my steep learning curve.

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The Return of the Rest of the Offspring

Yesterday, while Rachelle and I braved shopping at Costco, Lowe’s and Target, my son, daughter-in-law and grandson drove safely but surprisingly quickly up I-35 from North Texas to Northeastern Kansas. They made only one stop, for gasoline at the southernmost KTA (Kansas Turnpike Authority) rest area. This is an amazing fete considering my grandson isn’t yet eighteen months old (that happens on the 9th day of Christmas next year).

Parents sleepy but Grandson wide awake last night

The consequence, however, of a baby who sleeps for about nine hours on a family road trip is predictable (see photo above). By early evening, Derek and Royna were dozing on our new sectional while Senna wanted to explore all the strange new environment of our home. Interestingly, he’s not overly interested in the Christmas tree or the presents tucked underneath. Rather, he found one of the Costco boxes to be endlessly entertaining as well as an impromptu piano lesson from Rachelle which introduced him to a new noise maker he could easily reach.

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Daughter Downloaded

My daughter landed early and safely very late Tuesday evening but didn’t step off the plane until Wednesday morning (technically a couple of minutes past midnight). Despite arriving at least fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, no gate crew could be found once the plane taxied to Terminal C. I kept my self from dozing off in the cell phone parking lot by leaving the car turned off despite temperatures in the teens. Rachelle finally called me and I navigated the surprisingly congested orange cone maze of construction that is the remaining two terminals at KCI to retrieve her before she froze to death. An uneventful drive home through Platte City and Leavenworth found us back at home by 1:30 a.m. My alarm goes off at 5:18 am.

Unsurprisingly, I ignored my alarm and slept an extra hour. I had convinced myself that Wednesday was the department gift exchange so I absolutely had to drive to work. I realized mid-morning that the gift exchange was Thursday so I could have worked from home. However, it was a mixed blessing, my absentmindedness, as it gave me the opportunity to take a late lunch and shop for my daughter at Trader Joe’s on Ward Parkway, about 10-15 minutes south of where I work. She has a corn allergy and many products at Trader Joe’s are safe for her to eat. And I found that of the two Trader Joe’s stores in the KC metro area, the one on Ward Parkway was larger and much easier to access than the one I visited last Saturday in Overland Park.

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First of December, Fifth of NoHeat

The sun returned yesterday, bringing with it a stiff south wind and pushing the day time temperature up to nearly sixty degrees. For the first time in several days, the interior of our home felt cozier for a few hours. But the sun set, the crescent moon shown briefly, and the wind continued unabated.

Several times overnight, the wind wakened me from my cocoon of quilts, throws and comforters (not to mention the four inch thick memory foam mattress topper I was stoking with my body heat). My wind chime has not ceased knelling. I gave up and pried myself from bed a few minutes past five o’clock this morning.


I surveyed the house from top to bottom using my laser thermometer, unsurprised to find the house had lost on average at least five degrees overnight thanks to the wily wind. Oddly, the garage is maintaining a temperature in the mid-fifties, but the great room, for the first time, dipped below sixty degrees in the northwest corner.

We are currently under a wind advisory until noon today.

...WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY...

* WHAT...Northwest winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* WHERE...Portions of east central and northeast Kansas and
central, north central, northwest and west central Missouri.

* WHEN...Until noon CST today.

* IMPACTS...Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects.
Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may
result.

I even pulled out my hooded sweater jacket from the storage cedar closet in the basement. Normally, our house is kept so warm I am comfortable in light clothes. These past few days have reminded me of growing up in an old farm house heated either by a mini-boiler under the stairs and floor radiators or a wood stove, which meant there was always a warm place to retreat to but that the bedrooms were farthest from the heat.

I opted for oatmeal with my morning tea to help stoke my internal furnace. I should probably put on a second kettle, wrap up with a mug and a good book and conserve my energy. Tomorrow the sun should return and my part for my broken furnace should arrive. I just have to survive one more day.

Not the Thanksgiving I Hoped For

A week ago I was dreaming of today, waking up in Texas, snuggling with my nearly 18 month old grandson. I woke up to something completely different and totally unexpected. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a very long post . . .


Instead of a warm home filled with happy family and the wonderful smell of baking goodness, I find myself sniffling and shivering in a cold, mostly dark, mostly empty house.

A view of my ceiling where what little heat I have in this ‘great room’ is languishing.

It all started this past Monday the 25th. I fell asleep in my recliner in my cavernous and often chilly ‘great room’ which has a nearly twenty-foot ceiling. I woke up because I was shivering, yet I could hear the furnace fan blowing. I got up and stood on the vent directly over the furnace (located underneath the entryway by the steps leading to the upstairs bedrooms). The air coming out of the vent was cold. I woke up Terry on the way downstairs to the basement, where we tried various troubleshooting techniques with the furnace but ultimately gave up. I left a voice-mail with our heating repairman and went back to sleep wrapped in a throw. I called again a few minutes after eight o’clock and they assured me someone would be over to check the furnace that morning. I made arrangements to work from home.

The repairman arrived sometime between nine and ten in the morning. I escorted them to the basement and woke Terry up to monitor them. I had many meetings and conference calls schedule, so I retreated back to the great room, which doubles as my office until I motivate myself to clean out the second guest room. After an hour or so, the repairmen left, not having found a cause but oddly the furnace began working again on its own. I returned to my conference calls, despite a scratchy throat and an increasingly congested sinus cavity. By four o’clock I could barely keep from coughing and shivering so I took some Mucinex and went up to the guest bedroom for a nap.

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The Curse of the unChristmas Spirit Lifted

Christmas trees over the entry way of the building I spend more than half my life in.

I was a bit shocked last week when I returned to work from a normal weekend to see traditional Christmas decorations in the elevator lobby, including Christmas trees and presents. The relief was palpable. If you read my last post, you’ll understand what nine years of PC purgatory looked like. The vote is still out on the winner of the worst decoration (I’m leaving the poll open until after Thanksgiving).

Have a very Merry Christmas 2019!

I’ve been sick the last couple of day, and so has my furnace. It’s having surgery right now in my basement. All of this meant we had to cancel our annual trip to visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandson for Thanksgiving. I don’t want them to get sick with whatever I’ve got and I can’t leave my house unattended with an unreliable furnace. I guess I’ll get caught up on my early winter reading.

I wish all of you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. Spend quality time with your family and friends. I’ll have to substitute a video call with my far-flung offspring.

Happy Thanksgiving!

All Hallow’s Eve

Balrogs, Dragons and Ravens, oh my!

While visiting my daughter last weekend, (see previous post), we spent part of Saturday visiting the Museum of Flight, and the rest of the day carving pumpkins, something I hadn’t done in decades. The last time I did this as a kid, was in the mid to late 70s when my grandmother spent a couple of weeks with my brother and I in October while my mom and dad were away on a trip. We did the more traditional carving of a face – eyes, nose and a mouth with jagged teeth.

Rachelle adding the finishing touches to her dragon carving Sunday morning.

Skip ahead a decade and a half in the mid 90s after I’d spawned two children of my own, both of whom were vastly more artistic than I ever dreamed of being. My daughter especially has always been good at 3D art. Thus her dragon is center stage in the photo above. My Balrog isn’t too shabby but not nearly as frightening as I’d hoped. Nic’s Raven is his nod to Poe, nevermore!

The kittens are not phased by the Balrog-to-be.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

5*11

Five 11s

Eleven 5s

A half century and a half decade.

Two score plus a half score plus a quarter score years.

I can’t and never could drive fifty-five.

20190927_062558

I was almost five when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Disappointed a woman hasn’t walked there yet.

I am starting to experience the opposite of time dilation.

Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my natal day.