Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Christmas miracle

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to go to the supermarket on Christmas morning. Since I had to run errands anyway, I decided to get gas and pump up my low front tire in preparation for a long day of traveling.

Someone was hogging the air machine when I pulled up to the station, so I went ahead and filled my tank. I checked my purse for spare change, knowing that this particular station doesn't give its air out for free. I know, I know... if you buy gas you are supposed to get the air for free, but I didn't feel like walking all the way across the parking lot to the cashier to get a token. Also, I'd neglected to have the pump print a receipt which I knew I would have to present in order to prove that I was an actual gas-purchasing customer, not just some floozy off the street who needed to fill her tire.

I thought I might have a quarter in my purse and it would be worth 25 cents to me not to have to stand in line just to argue with the cashier about my right as an American to free air. I zipped over to the air machine as soon as it was free and was dismayed to see that the zero cents I was currently carting around in my purse would be insufficient to feed the greedy machine. (Seventy-five cents for air! You've got to be kidding me!) Resigned, I opened my door and prepared to brave the blustery weather to claim my token from the cashier.

But then... I heard a noise. Kind of like the merry jingling of Santa's bells or a choir of heavenly hosts singing hosanas or a frosty snowman chasing laughing children down the street or chestnuts roasting on the open fire. Something CHRISTMASY!

"BrrrrrrRRRRRrrrrrrrRRRRR...." was the gentle message which vibrated into my soul. The air machine was still on! I leapt from my car, scurried around to the low tire, sprayed some cold water on my shoe (because I can never tell which one is air and which one is water), grabbed the correct nozzle, and jammed it onto my tire.

A soft whoosh of air told me that my PSI was going up, up, up, just like my Christmas spirit. And then... *clunk*. Just like that the free air was gone. "Perhaps it is enough," I mused solemnly, trying not to let my dejection show. It was, after all, Christmas, and I'd been blessed with 10 seconds of free air.

I started the car again and my dashboard readout showed me the happy news. Ten seconds had been sufficient. My tire was full again... just like my heart.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Born free

Quote of the day:

"You don't get it. Dudes like to be naked in public, but just not too close to other dudes. If we could stay far enough apart, we be in loincloths all the time."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dilemma, part 5

It's a happy dilemma this time (so stop rolling your eyes).

Last night was the Christmas recital for my five piano students. They did great and their families were so impressed with their progress since last year. I was showered with praise and also (yay!) with presents.

In previous years, the families of my students have usually given me Christmas cards with some sort of treat inside (like a gift card). The message inside is "Thank you for all your hard work. We appreciate you. Have a Merry Christmas." I've always felt like these were thank you gifts, rather than Christmas gifts. I felt a little silly trying to write a thank you card for a gift that essentially was a thank you gift. So, I would verbally express my appreciation and leave it at that.

This year, I received similar cards from a couple of the families. But in addition, one family also gave me a wrapped present. Okay, I opened it last night when I got home (even though it was a Christmas present. Don't judge me! You would have done the same!) It turned out to be a whole bunch of really cute baby clothes and a soft soft blanket.

Clearly, a thank you note is in order for the baby stuff. It's obviously beyond the scope of thank-you-for-being-a-great-teacher. So, I should send my thank you card to them along with my regular batch of Christmas thank yous, yes?

I also have a new family this year and I'm teaching both of their boys. At the end of the night, each of the boys gave me a present. These were Christmas presents (not that that stopped me from tearing them open as soon as I got home) as opposed to thank you gifts. I feel like I should send thank you notes for them as well.

So, here's the dilemma(s):

1) Two of the three families gave me Christmas gifts. If I send thank yous only to them, I feel like I'm leaving out the one family who still gave me a lovely card and a gift certificate. But I feel stupid writing a thank you card for a thank you gift. It might set off a parastoltic chain reaction of "Thank you for your thank you for your thank you for your thank you..." Should I acknowledge all the gifts in writing, regardless of their intent?

2) Should I address the thank you notes to the family or to the students? The presents from the two brothers were clearly marked "Merry Christmas, from Connor" and "Merry Christmas, from Cooper." But it is obvious that the boys had no part in selecting, purchasing, or wrapping the gifts. Do I write individual thank you notes to each of them, to set a good example? Or should I send one note to the family as a whole?

3) There is one more piano lesson before Christmas. Should I try to get something for each of the students? Should I get something for each family? It feels weird to have received this huge haul of presents, especially when you consider they are already paying me for me services.

Please note: I'm not trying to get out of writing thank you notes. I love to get thank yous in the mail and I have no problem sending them to others. I just want to do it appropriately.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open mic

At my last doctor appointment, I was advised that the time has come to up my office visits from once a month to every two weeks. Based on past experiences, I am thrilled to have this opportunity. So, I know that this every-two-weeks things means the end is quickly drawing near.
(Not that I would know when exactly the end will be because I am Mrs. RottenMotherAlready.)

I guess I'd better start getting ready.

So, all you pregnancy-gurus out there (you know who you are), tell me about childbirthing classes. Do I need them? What would you recommend? The hospital offers Lamaze classes but there are private instructors in town that offer other methods, for a price. I'm not planning to try a natural or low-med birth or anything crazy like that, so would it still be of value to take classes?

I've been told I have a low pain-tolerance so I'm open to anything that minimizes the pain.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Degrees of separation

My husband was born in Wisconsin. My college roommate was from Wisconsin. I've never been to Wisconsin or anywhere near it, really. Apparently, it's a very, very small place.

Last winter, my mother-in-law and I were chatting as we drove through the dreary Nevada wastelands to get to the dreary wastelands of Utah. I mentioned that my college roommate was from a little town in Wisconsin called Grafton and asked if she had ever heard of it.

"Nope. Doesn't ring a bell. Must be a very small town."

"I think so. But I understand the ward and stake boundaries out there are huge, so I thought maybe it would have been in your stake or something. It didn't look like it was too far from where you guys lived when Brett was born."

"That's true. But I don't think I've heard of it."

We drove on through the unchanging scenery, each lost in our own thoughts.

"Wait!" she cries, causing me to almost veer off the freeway. "Did you say 'Grafton'?"

"Yes. So you've heard of it?"

"Of course, it wasn't too far from where we lived when Brett was born! They were in our ward! I thought you said 'Brafton' at first."

"Well, my roommate was Miranda. Miranda M******. But everyone called her Mandy. She about my age so she would have been a baby when you guys were there. I think her dad was Mike M*******."

"Oh oh! I do remember them! Mike was a big, big guy, if I remember right."

"Yeah! He came to visit Mandy while we were in school and I remember he filled up the whole doorway to our room. Wow. It's a small world. Who would have thought that you were in the same ward with my college roommate's parents when my husband was born?"

Amazing, right? It gets better.

At Sunday dinner last week, the talk turned to delivering babies and the relative merits of taking pictures or video of your offspring being born and the appropriateness of sharing such a record with others. My father-in-law remembered that once in his was a member had brought photos of his wife giving birth to church and had shared them freely with others.

"It was certainly... out of the ordinary," he admitted. "Do you remember who that was?" he asked my mother-in-law. "Was it when we lived in Chicago? Or no... It think it was Wisconsin. Yeah, it was, uhhh... I don't remember his name. But they were related to the J***** family."

"Hey, I know some people named J*****," I chimed in unhelpfully. "But they lived in Provo. They were my roommate's cousins and they used to store her stuff for her in when she went home for the summer. As a matter of fact, mom actually knew my roommate's family when you guys lived in Wisconsin. The M******* family. Come to think of it, my roommate's mom's maiden name must have been J*****, because it was Mandy's aunt and uncle."

"Yup. That's it."


"M*******. That was the guy's name. Mike M*******. He's a really big guy. Very tall, just massive."

"How funny! That's my roommate's dad! I can't believe you knew him!"

"He was a great guy. We went hunting a few times together. Anyway, yeah, he was the one who brought the pictures of his wife giving birth to church."

"No kidding. It makes sense though. I mean, he is a photographer by trade so it's understandable that he'd want to capture and share the moment on film. It's so weird that we can be thousands of miles away and yet still so connected. I only know one family from Wisconsin and they happen to be people you also know. AND you've seen pictures of..."

My voice trailed off. "It just occurred to me," I finally was able to continue, "Those pictures... that baby... That was my roommate. Being born."

So there you have it. My father-in-law not only knows the parents of my college roommate, but has seen pictures of her birth.

Now, if only we could fit Kevin Bacon in this story somewhere...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane

We were having a Christmas-themed sharing time on Sunday. The teacher asked the kids what the Wise Men saw waaaay up in the sky on the night that Jesus was born. One enthusiastic boy cried out:

"Harry Potter!"

It wasn't one of my Sunbeams this time, though. Phew.

Friday, December 5, 2008

COD is not just a tasty fish

I got a call from a vendor this morning...

Her: *curtly* I'm calling about such-and-such a shipment. We haven't gotten paid for it. Can you tell me when to expect payment?

Me: Hmmm... that doesn't sound familiar. I don't think the invoice has come across my desk yet. Can you tell me when it was sent?

Her: According to UPS, it arrived at your store C.O.D. on December 2nd. So-and-so signed for it. When will we be receiving payment?

Me: You sent it C.O.D. with UPS?

Her: That's right. So, when can I expect a check?

Me: *blink* *blink* Well, if it was sent C.O.D., without knowing anything about it, I would have to assume that you've already been paid. It was delivered C.O.D. by UPS on the 2nd?

Her: *impatiently* Yes. I have the tracking record right here. So, you've sent a check?

Me: Noooo... UPS would have collected it upon delivery.

Her: What do you mean?

Me: Well, if it was sent C.O.D....

Her: That's right. Collect. On. Delivery. C.O.D.

Me: Yes. That's right. So we would have had to pay for it in order for UPS to deliver it. Collect. On. Delivery. C.O.D.

Her: Ma'am, I'm not seeing what that has to do with you sending me a check for the shipment.

Me: Well, if we paid for it when it was delivered, I don't want to send you another check and pay for it twice.

Her: Why would you have paid for it when it was delivered?

Me: Because, according to you, it was sent C.O.D.

Her: I don't understand. Hold on...

At this point I can hear her talking to someone in the background...

Her: Hey Gary, that thing was sent C.O.D., right?

Gary: Yup. What's the problem? When are they going to pay for it?

A different voice is heard in the background...

DV: Hey, you two! C.O.D. means that...*garbled sounds as the phone is now being covered*

Her: *back on the line* Uh, ma'am? I guess... the uhhh, shipment wasn't sent C.O.D. It was sent, uhhh... whatever the opposite of C.O.D is...

Naming fail

I was driving behind a van this morning that had the company name emblazoned across the rear doors. The name of the company was:

"WTF Plumbing"

WTF, indeed. I wish I had my camera.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Waterslides and whirlpools

I like to sleep. When I sleep, I tend to dream. A lot. And unlike many people, I remember a good portion of my dreams. This provides hours of weekly entertainment for my husband, whose absolute mostest favorite thing in the entire world is hearing about my dreams. I know he loves it due to the glassy-eyed look he gets within the first three seconds after hearing the words, "So, I had this dream last night..."

But it occurs to me that the entire world (all of whom read my blog, mind you) might not enjoy hearing about the random crap my brain spews forth during my downtime, so I generally refrain from posting about it.

I'll bet you didn't know though, that I am a hack dream analyzer. It's true. I've read (okay, own) two books on the subject. With these credentials, I can certify that 98% of what I dream about is just loose wiring in my brain. Inner crapola. But I have been able to identify a few recurring dreams, the themes of which should be easily identifiable to even the novice dream-ologist.

Recurring dream #1: I'm being thwarted in my efforts to communicate with someone. Usually it's because they are refusing to listen. I start screaming and shouting and throwing things around. Sometimes I threaten them with bodily harm, to no avail. In the end, I am never able to get my point across.

Ooooohhhh...mysterious, I know. Whatever could it mean?

Recurring dream #2: I am unprepared for something. Most recently, I dreamed that I'd been asked to give a talk in church but didn't know about it until I got there. I've also been unprepared for tests in school, late for important meetings at work, still packing my bags when my plane is leaving, and enrolled in classes which I never attended and never completed any assignments.

I'm just a hack, but I sense a theme of "unpreparedness" in these dreams.

Recurring dream #3: Waterslides. I dream about waterslides ALL THE TIME. I kid you not. It's not uncommon for me to have a waterslide dream twice a week. As far as I can tell, there are no other common elements to these dreams. The settings and characters vary. The emotions range from misery to glee. Sometimes I work at a waterslide park. Sometimes I am hiking in the forest and just happen to come across a waterslide coming down the side of the mountain. Sometimes I'm riding the slide, sometimes it's just there.

"They" say that water in dreams is significant. Whether the water is clean or dirty, calm or tempestuous is supposed to be symbolic. Are you drowning or in a boat? Are you afraid of the water or happy to be near it? It's a subject ripe for analysis.

But I've not been able to find one scrap of information specifically about waterslide dreams. Does no one else dream of this on a regular basis? Why are you holding out on me, internet? Why? I need to know!

In the last couple of weeks a new angle has cropped up in the waterslide dreams. The waterslides are now usually a series of interconnected spas or hottubs or whirpools. Sometimes the jets are on, sometimes the water is still. Sometimes it's warm, sometimes not so much. But now my waterslides have multiple landings, all of which are some sort of jacuzzi tub.

What do you think? Feel free to poke around in my psyche for a bit. I'm stumped.