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The edge of the continent

Early evening, cruising over an endless carpet of cotton topped clouds unbroken from Chicago, I saw him, Mt. Rainier, unaffected by mere clouds, unimpressed by mere man’s noisy jets, regally challenging anyone and everything to top him. This was not my first sight of him.  But the sight of the peak ruling the sky isn’t old yet.

Raised amid cornfields on all sides, I moved to a state sporting more than its share of lakes and snow, and am currently surrounded by tree covered hills and softly rolling mountains.  It’s all beautiful.  But I always wanted to sleep next to and wake up to the sound of the Pacific.  Last weekend, my daughter booked us a room on the Oregon coast with only a sidewalk and a few yards of sand between us and surf.  I am a displaced beach bumette.

Those who live near enough to the ocean to spend a random Saturday on the beach or drive by it every day, try to imagine when you kicked your first wave, the first time you just thought it was ankle deep.  This was not my first trip to the Pacific or the Atlantic.  It was the first time I was there long enough to watch the sunset paint the underside of a day long cloud bank, spilling color on the breaking waves making it shimmer all the way to where water and sky meet, be lulled to sleep by its whispers and hums, and gaze at it from a balcony in early light wrapped in a blanket.  I was on the edge of a continent touching the edge of the greatest sea on earth.  Li’l ol’ me.

Seaside.  We walked the sand, kicked the waves, took pictures (to be posted but it’s midnight now and it won’t be tonight) enjoyed way overpriced and insanely wonderful seafood followed by arcade mania.  Before heading back to Seattle, we made one more short trip down the road to Cannon Beach to walk the sand again to Haystack Rock, buy a piece of pottery, home made fudge, fresh salt water taffy, grab a designer coffee and check out a kite store. The city is remodeled for tourists and it’s working.

Thanks, BB, for the girl talk and the beach.

As soon as I find that little camera cord …

Since the SD card I used in the camera this weekend is the weird one that won’t function simply by inserting it into the slotty thing, I need the cord to connect from the camera to the laptop.  It’s 8:45, I’ve been up since 5:02, worked two extra hours and am in no way excited about digging around for a connecting cord.  Besides, Fringe is coming on.

We spent 4 short days with our Seattle kids, daughter and son-in-law.  If I could retrieve it, a picture would go here.

We played games, went to a movie, shopped, shot fireworks, ate at a way cool restaurant on a bluff, talked, grilled, celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, grilled some more, shot off fireworks, laughed, went to Ripley’s Acquarium in Gatlinburg, ate carmel corn, played mini-golf, and watched a couple of  movies at home.  All that took 4 whole days to pack it in but we managed.

Tuesday morning came all too soon and early too.  So did clock in time at work.

Our workload is heavy if not heavier than it was before they cut staff.  Now they have to kick in with the overtime, begging for it in fact.  After 3 weeks of  “thou shalt not clock in earlier than your appointed time, nor shalt thou clock out later than your appointed time, not one minute!”  So much for cutting expenses.  Speaking of cutting expenses, I headed for the kitchen for my coffee and saw a monstrous machine that actually requires MONEY, 50 cents to be exact.  HAH!  I went to Wally’s and got an air pot!  Too bad, so sad.  They’re not getting my 50 cents a cup.  I figure it will take a couple of weeks, then my coffee is freeee, freeee, I tell you! And mine, miiiine….

I miss my kids.  We’re scheduled to fly out there the first full week of June for a combination trade show for Honey and the rest of the week with the kids.  They want to take us to Seaside for a couple days of fun on the beach.  In the meantime, that feels like a long time away.

Gotta run.  Fringe is on.  There’s a heavily clawed mysterious people eater on the loose and I have to concentrate on the plot.  I hope I’m not so tired I fall asleep in the middle and dream about it.

Good, good weekend, part one

It was a healing weekend after last week’s fun.  I was determined to buy the grandsons the Star Wars Clone voice synthesizer helmets.  I knew in the first place that the 5 yr old would love it.  I also knew the 2 year old wants everything the 5 year old has.  Property ownership has no boundaries for a 2 year old.  In spite of the manufacturer’s suggestion of 5+ , the 2 year old is getting his own.

Their dad pointed out that he doesn’t want to get into a pattern of duplicate gifting.  However … in this case … the probability of duplication is directly correlated to the toy’s level of cool.

The 2 year old is getting his own.  If it’s a bust, and the kid totally hates it, they have the receipt to exchange it.

Getting the helmets to them was trickier.

Black Friday is not on my plate.  I had to work anyway.  Since Wally’s is across the street, I can get what I need on lunch break.  That day I figured I’d push my way through the toy section to see if they were on sale.  First there weren’t crowds at 3pm.  Second, they were not marked down.  Sigh.  I put them in the cart anyway.  As soon as I put them in the back seat I thought of the shipping efforts.  That’s the first thing out of Honey’s mouth was his concern over shipping costs.  Okay, I’ll return them and go through Amazon.

Did you know Amazon doesn’t offer free super saving shipping options on toys?  I clicked my way through the process and was poised over the last key when I thought about going online with Target or Wally’s, pay for them and have the parents pick them up.  It didn’t take long to see that the online Target experience was going nowhere so I called the number.

(dial, dial, dial) Target Customer Service. How may I help you?

She was really nice and did everything she could to be helpful.  The outcome was less satisfactory.  They wouldn’t take my card number over the phone.  They would hold the merchandise for no more than 24 hours.  The south branch had none in stock but the north branch did.  The son couldn’t pick up anything when I called him as he was dashing through the snow to ring the Salvation Army bell for a couple of hours before he had to go to work.  The mommy was sitting under the 2 year old who had pink eye.  Glack!  Not the dreaded pink eye! So she wasn’t running any errands either.

After a few more phone calls, it was determined that not only would Target not take my Visa from me over the phone, they would not accept it from the son even with the 3 digit security number on the back even if he identified himself and had me on the phone with him.  You know, they and several thousand other people see him on television every night.  Being that recognizable and so easily found, he’s not likely to commit credit card fraud or identity theft  with his mother’s Visa card!

I told the nice girl how much I appreciated her efforts but that she should inform her superiors that I was one Amazon click away from not getting anything from Target.  Good grief.

Daddy picked up and paid for the helmets the next morning after dropping off the 5 yr old at kindergarten and the check is in the mail.  Really.

Tune in again soon for The Long Distance Nanny’s Adventure of the Plaid Flannel Pajamas.

Sprinklers, squirt guns, shrimp, bees, birthdays, and bears

They left after lunch on Thursday.  Drew’s tummy was upset and remained so throughout the return trip.  I wonder if it was from filling the squirt gun with the pool water that was exposed to the 90+ degrees hot sun since Saturday afternoon and squirting it into his mouth Tuesday night? He’s ok now.

Friday I went to work to buy back the 8 hours vacation I’d reserved for resting up but instead decided to use it later in the year.  I think we’ll tack it onto the October trip.

Today was a lazy one.  I ran towels and sheets through the laundry, did a little online research and mulled over what to blog while I was looking into motionless corners recently inhabited by family.

One of the first discoveries upon landing at Pop and Nan’s was the sofa.  No one told the boys it was a dual recliner or how to operate it.  They found the handles right away all by themselves. Foot rests flew outward repeatedly and boys giggled for hours.  Who needs toys?

They saw the pool right away, but didn’t jump in without a little coaxing. However, the bigger hit was the wiggle sprinkler.  The pool served as an easy source for filling the squirt guns, generously used by one and all on one and all.  If Owen wasn’t part of the water world festivities, he could be found playing with the Leapster, officially Drew’s but if Drew is busy elsewhere, what the hey?

In between Leapster, the foot rests, and the sprinkler, they would lay over the floor vents.  In short, they were in constant motion.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a hummingbird hovering over the flowers on the back porch.  Poor baby, he needs a feeder so he can invite his friends to party with him.  So buy a feeder I did.  Little did I know it would take about 20 minutes for the honey bees to carpet the thing in three layers, rudely pushing and shoving their way to the sweet solution.  On the day before our family was to arrive it was apparent the feeder had to be moved as the bees were making themselves way too much at home on the deck.  Moving it worked for the most part but there were just enough stragglers to spook small children making one of them run for cover several times.  No amount of bee-havior techniques and internet education could dissuade him from shouting “BEEEEEE” and dashing into the house.

Monday the men took down a dead tree, Tuesday said men went fishing while the girls set up for the shrimp boil with friends, and Wednesday we went to Gatlinburg’s Aquarium then to Laurel Falls in the National Park on a hike.  Nanny huffed, puffed, and over heated but survived, vowing to get more exercise.  And that was less than a tenth into the 1.3 mile incline.  We’d bear-ly begun when we reached a group of about 25 people staring down the slope and shhh-ing us.  Black bears.  A mom and two cubs trying to mind their own business on the way up the mountain through a group of pesky albeit otherwise tasty humans.  They’d apparently had lunch already.  I’d seen a bear from the inside of a car about 15 years ago in the Sierras with my sister, but not in the open with no way to run.  As it was, with two forestry men there to control the people, some of whom could have been stupid enough to think this was Yogi and BooBoo, the only thing that came of it was pictures and ten Nanny finger dents in Drew’s shoulders.

Wednesday night I baked cupcakes and set up a dual birthday celebration.  Owen was two on July 24th and Drew will be 5 on August 15th.  Gifts were 2 Cars cars each, Matchbox size, and balloons.  Owen couldn’t wait for the birthday song, grabbed a cupcake and proceeded to chow the cake and a chunk of the foil cup (gag, choke).  And since the family dog, Duncan wasn’t around, industrious little Owen obligingly took care of the crumbs on the floor.

Thursday at 1:00 they were gone.  The sofa is silent, the AC vents are undisturbed, the bees forlornly float about looking for Drew, the squirt guns lay empty, no race track swoops from the top of the front door, Bullwinkle rests in his case. A few more parting pic-shots…..

Julie called from the house this afternoon.  All are well, the adults are tired, she’s unpacking, Randy had to go to work, Drew is running off two days of confinement in his kid seat, and the garden exploded with produce in their absence, now demanding a harvest.

What do you want to bet Owen is taking advantage of Drew’s preoccupation and is playing with the Leapster?

Bigger fish to fry

Despite Nancy Pelosi’s tap dance all over the faces of congress and ultimately us by not allowing a vote on a drill bill and actually turning off the lights, C-Span cameras, and microphones and telling the press to leave  so no one would hear or see the Republicans debate the issue, I have more important things to take care of one of which could be my blood pressure.  Continue reading