Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daring Rescue at Sea

Sunday was our "Second Annual Neighborhood Pontoon Party" and we all had high hopes for a day of fun. Like the fateful trip the passengers took on the Minnow, ours was to be a three-hour tour. (A three-hour tour.)

As you may recall on their voyage, "The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed..."  In our case, it began gently sprinkling and gradually turned into a light rain.  The weather didn't dampen our spirits though - largely because our spirits were in coolers.

Then...disaster!  Overboard and into the murky waters of Lake Wylie!  Tension was high.  Someone turned off the party music.  Our Skipper (brave and sure) maneuvered the behemoth boat around with precision and speed - which is difficult in a pontoon - and, just at the perfect moment, The Mate (a mighty sailing man) leaned far, far out over the water, reaching farther than he'd ever reached before. He finally grasped ...

...Keith's hat.  Waterlogged, but otherwise okay. 

The men were jubilant!  The Captain and The First Mate high fived each other.

The Captain and The First Mate
Music blared again, spirits lifted, the women danced, the men smiled.  And then...the unthinkable.  The angry wind whipped and Mary's yellow ball cap was airborne.

If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the yellow cap would be lost.  (The yellow cap would be lost.)  The men ignored Sweet Mary's protests and, with a battle cry of "No hats left behind," they sprang into action.  Again, for the second time in mere minutes, they executed another successful rescue mission.
Jerry, the HERO!

The big reach

During the debriefing, someone remembered hearing Jerry remark, "We train for this all year but we hope we never have to use it."

If any ship I'm ever on "sets ground on an unchartered desert isle," I could do worse than having these guys with me.    

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Best Year

On Wednesday mornings I travel to the city to attend a class called "Living your Best Year."  This is a big deal for me.  My mind doesn't function at its peak in the morning and I don't enjoy driving in commuter traffic.  Nonetheless, yesterday I got up, got dressed, and started to drag myself out to the street where my car was parked.  Halfway up the hill, I realized I'd left my book behind so I went back and fetched it.  Then, as I entered the car, a button on my shirt got entangled in the seat belt latch.  The clock was ticking as I attempted to free myself and ultimately succeeded.  As I pulled out onto the street, I looked at the dashboard and saw a light pop on.  The illuminated icon looked like a laurel wreath surrounding an exclamation mark.

Of course I had no idea what the light meant, so I pulled over, got out my owner's manual and looked it up.  It took a while but I found out that this is the symbol for low tire pressure.  It seems like there could have been a more obvious icon for that, but the people who design dashboards don't appear to be concerned about being user-friendly any more than those who write owners' manuals care about clarity.

What to do?  I walked around the car and looked at the tires.  None was flat, but they all looked low,
especially the front ones.  I kicked them for good measure.  I'm not sure what I expected to happen but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  I decided it would be safe to drive to the closest gas station and put air in them.

At the gas station, I found the air machine and it cost a dollar. "Quarters only." There's something annoying about the concept of paying for air, but I went inside and got change.  Back at the car, I sat inside, reading the manual trying to figure out how much pressure the tires needed.  After extensive reading, all I found was that the pressure should be indicated on the tire.  I crawled around, looking. [Did I mention I was wearing white pants? My mom always said white pants after Labor Day are a poor wardrobe choice and I see now that she was right.]  The tire pressure was, indeed, embedded on the side of the tire.  It was then that I realized how handy a tire gauge might have been.

By now, I was truly hoping a guy would come to my rescue.  As soon the thought materialized, I told myself that this sounded pretty sexist.  Although, in my experience, guys are generally more knowledgeable than gals on car-related issues, I decided to amend my wish anyway.  I didn't really care the gender of my rescuer.  A man, a women -- if a magical goat came along with an air pressure gauge, I'd take it.

No knight in shining armor arrived.  No powder-puff mechanic materialized.  No pixies, car fairies, no unicorns.  It was going to be up to me.  I crawled around some more, unscrewed the little nozzle caps, inserted the quarters into the air machine and blindly put air into each tire.  Nothing exploded so I took that as a good sign.  I turned the car on, saw that the light was still lit up and formed Plan B.

Plan B:  Drive my car to a nearby auto repair shop where the guys are professional, knowledgeable and, best of all, nice.  Go inside and throw myself on their mercy.

The young guy behind the desk got up, went out and put air in my tires.  He said that on cool days the air pressure goes down a little and that there probably wasn't even anything wrong.  Furthermore, you have to drive a little while for the dashboard light to go off.  All great information that I could use on the spot.  It was a wonderful experience and I was grateful.

When I asked him what I owed him, he said, "Nothing.  Air is free."

I finally arrived at my class.  My white pants were grimy and I was almost an hour late but I was floating on air.  Turns out,  I had learned a valuable lesson:  We don't have to live our best lives alone.  We can call in the A-Team to give us a hand whenever we want.  And, when you figure out who the good guys are, air is free.  I like that.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Brody and his Grampy are best buds and they started playing as soon as their family arrived at our house for the weekend.  When mid-afternoon came, our daughter asked her father if he'd put her son down for a nap. Brody was clearly tired and we thought he'd fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. 

Obediently both guys went to the bedroom and lay down.  Fortunately, they left the door open just a crack so I was able to observe them.  A short time later I heard a thumping noise.  I looked in.  The guys were lying side-by-side and Brody just kind of rhythmically kicking Jerry's shoulder.  

A few minutes later, I heard the sweet sound of a two-year old singing.  I couldn't resist taking another quick peek.  Brody was sitting up but Jerry hadn't moved a muscle since the last time I'd seen him. 

The third time I checked on the guys, Brody was riding his Grandfather like a horse.  

Somebody had fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.  It just wasn't Brody. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

As long as I live, I will never understand how men think.  As Jerry and Brody were going in to bed, I told Jerry to remember to take the shams off the pillows.  As you can see, he did.

Finally, they're BOTH napping!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A High-Altitude Revelation

We were in Salt Lake City.  We'd ridden the train to the heart of the downtown. Now we are hiking up the canyon to the foothills of the mountains.  Our destination is a couple of miles away.  It's high altitude.  I'm looking down, watching my step, sweating, panting.  Then I look up, see the back of my husband, and break out in a huge smile.

 Jerry, carrying his backpack and dragging my suitcase.
It has just occurred to me that I have my own personal sherpa.  Just like all those climbers who "do Everest," I could never have done it without him. (I still could have used a canister of supplemental oxygen though...)

Here's a couple of other photos of a day in the life of my sherpa:

My Shopping Sherpa  (Great legs, right?)

My Garden Sherpa at work
From now on whenever people wonder why I am forever and always trying to pair up my single friends, explaining will be simple:  Every girl needs a sherpa.