Traveling Fun with Brad

This article was originally written and posted on May 29, 2019.  I’m reposting it here for your enjoyment!

My husband travels a lot.  A LOT a lot.  It is currently May, and he has already accrued 55,618 miles this year.  And that’s not including the flight he is currently on, which is coming from overseas and is scheduled to land in about an hour and a half.  We have over a million “award miles” just waiting to take our family somewhere exotic this summer (that is, if one of us gets her butt in gear and plans the trip!).

So when Brad got a phone call from American Airlines with the news that he had been granted the coveted “ConciergeKey” level by American Airlines, neither of us was surprised.  ConciergeKey is a secret level that AA doesn’t advertise, but reserves for the most frequent fliers.  We knew about it because several of Brad’s co-workers have achieved this status, but since they don’t advertise it, no one knows how to qualify.  One day, they just got the call.

There are supposedly a lot of perks for “CK” but Brad had not seen many of them – until yesterday, that is.  Yesterday, my husband and I learned there is another world that exists, and for a few brief hours, he was a part of it.

If you stand in the right place, you can see that the apartment walls don’t go to the ceiling.  I guess that’s probably a safety issue.

He had his own personal chef who wanted to make him something off the menu!

My mother had a saying when we were growing up.  When we were behaving in a way that was socially awkward, Mom would say, “We’re just country come to town!” with her best southern drawl.  Well, I’m afraid Brad was acting like “country come to town” last night, and I was experiencing it with him, virtually!

I could put more of his pictures here, but I think this video does a better job:


The Rest of the Story

Yesterday, I wrote about a Totally Blogworthy Event.  Today, I will tell you “The rest [dramatic pause] of the story”.

This morning, hubs took oldest child to school which meant the minivan sat in the garage most of the day.  Late this morning, I had a reason to walk into the garage and immediately, I noticed some things out of place.  Strange.  I had this weird feeling that something wasn’t right when [insert loud, scary scream] I see the animal, now known as the brownish-grayish cat, staring at me from atop the shelves off to my right.  Yes, you read that right – that darn cat spent the night in our garage!

The good news?  We probably don’t have a mouse problem anymore.

The bad news?  Now we have a cat problem.

I (once again) opened the garage door so the cat could escape then darted inside to figure out what to do.  I tried looking up the phone number for our new neighbors but alas, they only listed an email address.  What’s a frantic person to do? Email her of course.  But then, it dawns on me – not everybody lives and breathes by that “ding!” on the computer that says “You’ve got mail!”  That MAY just be me.  Maybe.

Next on my list of things to try – pick up the cat and carry it over to the new neighbor’s home.  I figured, what better way to meet the new neighbor than to show up with her missing cat? All I had to do was catch it, which shouldn’t be a problem since it seemed to like us, or at least our garage.

The cat had now sauntered out of the garage and was wandering around toward the yard.  I got as close as I dared than spoke to the cat.  I did, after all, grow up on a farm.  I like to think I am something of a cat whisperer.  Yeah right.  That ugly mass of gray fur hissed at me and then headed straight for me.  I couldn’t tell what it’s intentions were, exactly – UNTIL IT TRIED TO BITE ME!!!  Then I was pretty sure it was hostile.

At this point, I may or may not have stood straight up and tried to kick the ungrateful thing, yelling “GO HOME” and pointing toward the alley.  It was undaunted.  It wanted back into my garage.

There was only one thing to do – I had to go tell the neighbors.  So with a barefooted 3 year old on my hip and middle child in tow, I headed across the field to meet the neighbors.  Neighbor, along with their dog (NAMED BEVO), answered the door.  She was worried sick about the cat.  She was up all night worrying about her.  The cat had never been outside before.  (I assured her the cat spent the night inside our warm and comfy garage.)  She wanted to go after the cat, but the new baby was asleep upstairs, and her little girl was watching TV.  I offered to stay with the kids while she went, and she was very happy to go.  So she locked BEVO in the bedroom and took off across the field.

I wasn’t there long enough to take pictures with my cellphone, but I totally wish I had.  Her house was BEAUTIFUL!!!  Stunning.  And – here’s the shocker – clean.  I mean, they just moved in like a month or so ago – and then HAD A BABY – and there was no clutter anywhere.  There were not even any dirty dishes present on the kitchen counter.  What kind of crazy mixed up place is this? I wondered.  That’s about how long I had to contemplate, since immediately after arriving at this stranger’s home, my 3 year old declared he needed to go potty.  I figured he just wanted to snoop around her house but I also figured that between that and wetting all over her brand new couches, a little snooping was in order.

While youngest child was in the bathroom, the baby woke up.  Funny thing was that I could hear him on the baby monitor but had no earthly idea where he was.

I tried asking the little girl but all she knew was “Baby crying.  Baby crying.”  Yeah, kid, I got that.

I tried to imagine which would be worse – the neighbor coming home to find me wandering aimlessly around her house or coming home to me sitting on the couch, listening to the baby on the monitor.  I decided to at least try to appear attentive.  I went up the stairs and there he was, the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes on, lying in the most beautiful crib I have ever seen.  In a fabulous house.  With no clutter.  Yeah, I’m not jealous or anything.

So down I came with the baby in my arms when I saw my youngest, pants and underwear down around his ankles, waddling back from the bathroom.  Having faced this scenario before, I was actually able to lean over and help him pull up his pants without ever putting the baby down.  We were just snapping up when new neighbor got home, kitty in arms.  She was ever so grateful and as I wanted to leave her with those warm fuzzy feelings about us, I exited quickly, yelling back over my shoulder something about how beautiful their house was blah blah blah.

She actually wrote me a really nice email tonight.  I believe we made a new friend today.

That is, assuming her cat didn’t eat any of that rat poison in our garage.

Totally Blogworthy Event

A few days ago, I saw this nasty rat run out of the garage so I called the pest control guy to come eliminate the problem.  He came yesterday morning and made me feel much better by telling me I do not appear to have any in the attics or the house – just the garage.  Whew!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to get our oldest child from school in the pouring rain and when I came home, opened and closed the garage door quickly since the temperature was dropping.  We all paraded into the house and didn’t leave again for several hours.  All I can figure is that it was when we got home from picking him up that the animal got in the garage.

So when Daddy called and asked if we wanted to eat dinner at Double Dave’s we were IN!  The boys paraded out into the garage (as normal).  The scene is still clearly in my mind.  Middle child was standing by the car, oldest was by the door to the house and youngest was standing on the stool by the button to the garage door, just about to open it (waiting on my permission).  The door to the house was open and middle said, in a normal-sounding voice “Mommy, look – an animal!”  All I could see was gray fur.  And the size?  Bigger than a rodent.  Then it turned and I saw a long tail.  Oldest said “It’s a cat!” and that’s when I said, probably not as calmly as I should have “EVERYONE GET INSIDE!  NOW!  MIDDLE CHILD, GET OVER HERE NOW!”

The boys ran into the house while I slammed the door, then thought twice and cracked the door open just enough to press the garage door opener.  I figured that the animal would run out.  Beyond that?  No plan.  So I called Hubs.  His answer?  Get the PLASTIC SWORD off the island and check out the garage.  Great.  I’m now headed out into the garage to face what could potentially be one of the ROUS’s (for those of you who haven’t seen The Princess Bride, shame on you!  Also, that stands for Rodents of Unusual Size).

As I beat around the garage with my plastic sword, nothing emerged so I was cautiously optimistic.  I got the boys into the car quickly, then wheeled out into the alley, shutting the garage door as we left.  At this point, oldest child yells “WATCH OUT MOMMY THERE ARE PEOPLE BACK HERE.”  As if my nerves weren’t already frazzled enough.

After slamming on the brakes and losing all 18 tubes of lipstick when my purse fell over, I saw a man and his little girl at the other end of the alley.  ‘I dumped my purse out for this? ‘ was my first thought.  My second was ‘Maybe they’re out looking for their missing gray cat, the one that’s been in my garage the last few hours.’ Hey, at least I got there, okay?!!

I rolled down my window and watched the look of astonishment on the man’s face as I described the incident in my garage.

Since I’m not great at using quotation marks, here’s the gist of the conversation:

Yes, it was their cat!  He was out looking for it, as a matter of fact!  Well, actually it was his wife’s cat, and you shouldn’t let your kids too close to it because it is, in fact, a pretty unfriendly cat.  Thank you and I’ll walk down the alley toward your house and look for it.

In retrospect, I should have given him my phone number.  Or perhaps my name.  But I was too busy telling this total stranger about how I thought his gray cat was a ROUS.  No, I didn’t really use the acronym but I did in fact tell him that I thought his cat was a large rat.  He didn’t laugh.  But then again, he appeared to be a Longhorn.  Which totally explains everything. (Sorry Cathy – couldn’t pass it up!)

when it rains, it pours

when it rains, it pours

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See? The pool is also trying bankrupt us!

It’s not actually raining here. In fact, it hasn’t rained here in such a long time that when Brad was in Alabama this week and a storm passed through, he couldn’t figure out what was causing all that banging outside.

(Side note: You might be in a drought if you don’t recognize thunder when you hear it.)

But it’s raining in the whole “Murphy’s Law” sense.  I feel like we are in some kind of a “If something can go wrong, it will” loop.

I blame the pool.  It all started about the time the pool was finished, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

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Early this summer, we learned that Peter had a wisdom tooth coming in at an angle, growing over one of his back molars and preventing it from emerging.  Our orthodontist told us we would have to have his wisdom teeth pulled, then attach a bracket to the stunted tooth in the hopes it will eventually emerge.  We also learned at that time that he needed braces.  Again.  He has a cross-over under whatever bite.  I’ve stopped listening and just smile and nod.  Then pay obscene amounts of money.

You know what’s ridiculous?  Dental insurance.  It pays for about a fourth of the braces, but only once.  So on the second round, we got no help at all.  And his wisdom teeth?  We got some ridiculous discount, like 10% or something.  That’s not even considered a real sale at Macy’s.  If it’s not at least 25% off, then I won’t bother.  Also, why isn’t the removal of wisdom teeth considered a medical issue?  At least then, it would have counted toward our deductible.

He was healed by the time summer band started, but wearing braces really messed with his ombeshure ombasure ombisure ombishure ability to play his instrument.

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School started, as did the work on our driveway gate.  We had to park in front of the house once the track was removed.  It was annoying but gate guy (the boys call him “late guy”) assured us it would only be for a week, maybe two.  That was two months ago.  They took the track off, wired the gate up, and removed the motor.  And we haven’t seen them since.  He texts us if we pester him and usually his excuses have to do with his infant daughter who is fighting for her life in the NICU.  And truthfully, if that’s what’s happening, I could understand being unavailable part of the time.  But the man’s got to make a living, right?

Personally, I don’t blame gate guy.  I think the pool orchestrated all of this. Somehow.

Meanwhile, because the pool won’t let us park in the garage, my car has gotten a flat, then the alternator went out. And because my car was getting a new alternator, we drove to Peter’s first football game in Brad’s car.  In his rush to get us to the game on time, Brad rear-ended another car.  While his car was in the shop getting a new hood, he drove a rental.  On the way to pick his car back up in said rental, he got a ticket for speeding.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking there’s no way the pool could have done all of this.  Well, let me just say that stranger things have happened.  Not to me personally, but I’ve seen some pretty strange things on TV and the internet.  And we all know that everything you read on the internet is true.

But the pool was not done with us – not by a long shot.  This week, it’s really started to pull out the big guns.

It started with Brad’s bad back.  After working to load instruments a few weeks in a row, Brad’s back started to spasm.  It was so bad last week, he went to the doctor and was promptly sent to bed for a week.  Then about the middle of the week, Peter started coughing.  He’s been fighting that cough ever since.  He’s better but still not well.  He spent the beginning of the week in bed with a fever and cough.

Then on Wednesday of this week, I walked into my laundry room and notice something wet on the floor.  I opened the freezer and water poured out.

You know what you don’t expect to see when you open your freezer?  Water.

The motor must have gone out during the night because everything was half thawed.  I spent the next few hours moving everything from the fridge/freezer to the other one in the kitchen (yes, we have two), then began cleaning up the rather considerable mess.  I’m still trying to get everything dry and clean in the laundry room, plus now we have to figure out what we’re going to do with it.  We only kept it because it was in our old house and we had space for it in the laundry room.  Do we need it?  Not really.  Do we use it?  Yeah, a lot.

If you see this wallet, please return to ME!

But the pool was not done with me yet.  On Thursday, I took the boys to school and was taking Snickers to doggy daycare.  I stopped at CVS to buy Peter some cough medicine.  I paid for it…and that’s the last time I saw my wallet.  Did I leave it on the counter?  If so, someone took it because the employees at CVS, along with yours truly, have searched the parking lot and the store for it.  In fact, I’ve searched every place I stopped after that, along with my house, my car – everywhere it could have ended up after I walked out of CVS.

[Side note: when someone tells you they lost their wallet, don’t ask them if they’ve checked their purse.  Or their car.  Or their house.  It will just annoy them.  A lot.]

I’ve finally had to accept that my wallet is well and truly lost.  And so I spent the day yesterday – and I do mean the entire day – canceling credit cards, closing our bank account (I had one stupid check blank in my wallet) and filing a police report (necessary for getting a replacement driver’s license).  I have set aside Monday and possibly Tuesday of next week for waiting in line at the DMV to get a new license.

[Side note#2: why can you renew your license, change your address or even your name on your license online, but if you need a replacement – or change your gender – you have to go to the physical DMV office?  So is it going to be me and a bunch of transvestites waiting in line?  Also, why are there multiple DMV offices that will gladly take your money for title and registration of a vehicle, but won’t give you a replacement driver’s license?  There is only one DMV in our area that will issue a new license and it’s way the heck down in Southeast Plano.  That’s seriously whacked.  (Apparently when I’m upset, I start to sound like I’m in a gang.)]

Yesterday was also the day the new gate guy – the one we are going to have to pay to fix what the old gate guy is obviously never going to fix – was supposed to come by and give us a bid on finishing the gate.  He never came and has not responded to my texts.

I blame the pool.

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Samuel’s Binary Thing

Samuel’s Binary Thing

This morning on the way to school, Samuel told me he has been working on a…machine?…contraption?…device?  Whatever. Samuel has been designing a thing in Minecraft that will convert numbers into binary.

(I kid you not. He’s 13, and this is what he did for fun all weekend.)

So, he is explaining this to me, and I’m trying – really trying – to grasp this thing he’s describing. But he just keeps talking about how binary is so simple because you know how our number system is 10-based? Well, binary is just 2-based and once he got that, it all made sense and so all he had to do is use multiples of 2 (and here he stopped to count into THE THOUSANDS – not by 2’s but 2 to the 2nd power, 3rd power, 4th power, etc.).

And at this point, he just lost me. I mean, I did the mom thing and said things like, “Wow! Did you figure this out all by yourself? How did you learn all this?” and “You’re amazing! I can’t believe you did that!”.

But then I made a slight…miscalculation (HA! See what I did there?). In an attempt to relate to what he was saying, I told him that binary just didn’t make any sense to me. Then I proceeded to tell him the story of how just yesterday, I was trying to get my computer to recognize my mouse, but for some reason, it just wasn’t connecting. I kept turning the mouse off and back on, but it still wouldn’t work. And then I looked at the on/off switch and realized that the “0” meant “off” and the “1” meant on. I had reversed it in my mind, so I was flipping it on then back off. (Because, let’s just be honest here – who thought putting a “1” and a “0” on a switch was a good idea? Would it have been so much more work to add a few extra letters??? But I digress.)

When I finished my story, he said nothing for a few beats, then finally said, “I…I…really just don’t know what to say to you right now.”

It reminded me of that scene in Joe Versus the Volcano where Meg Ryan looks at Tom Hanks and says, “I have no response to that”.

Yeah, I always knew this day was coming. My kids are taller than me, better looking than me, and now it’s official – they are all smarter than me.

Oh well, I still have the dog.

(P.S. After school today, I told Samuel I wrote this article about him, which prompted another discussion of “0” and “1.” Did you know that the symbol that represents “power” on most devices is actually a “0” and “1” overlapped?)