Monday, March 19, 2007

A Visit Home

So I went home for the weekend, and anyone who knows me knows I always come back with stories about the little ones -- my four year old niece and six month old nephew.

My grandmother's older sister passed away in January and her only son lives quite a distance away, so he asked if someone would be willing to live in the house to take care of it for awhile until he decides what he wants to do with it. So last month, my sister and her little girl moved in. Living in an old house that has belonged to a woman in her 90s for decades has had its interesting moments. One such moment occurred this weekend.

My sister had found a box in the closet that had been mailed to our great-aunt but never opened. On it was a post-it note saying "Do not open. Return to sender." Since she's now been gone for a couple of months, my sister questioned what to do with the box. We had no idea what might be in it nor why she wanted it returned. Finally my sister decided to just open the box. "I might want whatever it is!" she declared. And so she opened it, only to discover a very useful item -- a package of adult diapers. :)

My niece immediately took the letter off the box and walked off with it. When she returned, we discovered she had written all over it. On one side of the envelope, she had written her name in the upper left corner, and MELEMEN in the middle. The other side read: "THK YU FR G US OER MEL. LOVE, (her name)"

Translation for those not accustomed to reading children's spelling: Thank you for giving us our mail. Melemen is mailman, of course. We were so impressed. Keep in mind this child is only four years old, and has NOT been formally taught to read or spell at all. She's always asking questions, "How do you spell..." "What sound does this letter make?" "What letter makes this sound?" etc. and of course we answer and play little games with her off and on for fun, like, "What letter does cat start with?" or "Can you think of words that start with M?" but we've never sat down with her and actually worked on teaching her to read or write. So there is Little Girl Story #1.

Little Girl Story #2. This is very sweet. Several members of the extended family were at my grandmother's house, and Baby Boy started crying. His mother took him into the next room to try and settle him down. Little Girl wandered in there too, but as we were all conversing, we didn't even notice, until she returned and announced, "Okay, everybody, I got him settled down." How we laughed. :) When asked how she settled him down, she said matter-of-factly, "I sang him a lullaby."

"Sing it to us," my aunt said, and Little Girl sang the following to the tune of Brahm's Lullaby so sweetly. I used initials (Baby Boy and Little Girl) where she sang names.

"Lullaby, and good night,
Go to sleep little BB,
LG loves you, yes she does,
You were sent from heaven above.
Go to sleep, go to sleep,
LG loves you so much."

Now does it get much sweeter than that?

So Little Girl is as sweet and clever as always, and Baby Boy is now sitting up and attempting to crawl by laying on his tummy, then lifting his belly up with only his hands and toes on the ground, almost like he's doing pushups. :) He actually is able to scoot himself forward a few inches doing this. No small feat, considering this is now a TWENTY pound baby!!!!!!! Amazingly enough, he refuses to eat food. They've tried most babies' favorites -- butternut squash, carrots, bananas, but he just spits it out -- yuck! Only milk for this baby!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


It's been an extremely busy couple of weeks, so that's why the blog has been so neglected lately. But I have returned, with little bits to say on the following topics:

1. Sudoku. I learned several things about Sudoku following my last post. When questioned further by one reader of this blog over how I solved the Sudoku puzzles, apparently I was doing them incorrectly. Silly me, to apply common LOGIC to come up with the solutions -- time consuming, but correct. Didn't I know I'm just supposed to make guesses until I get it figured out? Uh, okay, so now I know why Sudoku keeps people occupied, if other people are just making guesses as to numbers and having to change them several times along the way when it doesn't work out. Sounds like a big mess to me, but what do I know? :)

2. Sudoku again. Although time-consuming, my method of solving Sudoku puzzles serves one great purpose. When one is trapped in an airport for over EIGHT hours, time-consuming Sudoku puzzles become quite welcome.

3. Airline security. Okay, I'm all for increased security, and tight airline regulations, and all of that, but I arrived (after several minor mishaps including a late start and getting lost...) at the gate at 6:45 am for a 7:30 am flight. Now mind you, on the flight back I was supposed to have a layover of 37 minutes. In that 37 minutes, they had to get my luggage off the first plane and onto the next. So if they can do that in 37 minutes, then why exactly is it that they can't get my luggage from the gate onto the plane in 45? Yep, they absolutely refused to let me on the plane. Oh, I could get on WITHOUT the luggage, but a week in Florida with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back just wasn't all that appealing somehow... so I spent the next eight hours in the airport waiting on the next flight out. Did I mention it was a LONG day?

4. Perceptions of rudeness. While waiting to board my flight, FINALLY after the all-day wait, a man walked up to the desk and said that his 9 year old son was seated in a different section of the plane from the other three members of the family, and was there any way this could be changed? The airline ladies assured him that they would take care of it, but they had several other families whose seats were split up too that they were trying to get seated together, and they were going to have to work with it for awhile to get everything straightened out. The man said that his son was really worried and upset over having to sit by himself, and the airline ladies again promised him that he needn't worry, they would get it fixed so their family was seated together. A little while later, they called the man up again and said they were trying to get this fixed, but only found three passengers with their last name, and didn't he say there were four of them? Did one of them have a different last name? The man said no, and named each of them. The ladies looked and looked but could only find tickets for three. Finally the man said, "Well, he doesn't have a ticket, he's going to sit on our lap", pointing to a little boy in a stroller. Now I work with children for a living so I'm a pretty good guesser of ages, and this boy looked like an almost three year old to me. MAYBE he was big for his age, but I don't know... So when asked by the airline lady how old this child was, the man answered that he was 2. "Sir, he has to have a ticket if he's 2," the lady replied, very nicely. "What!?" the man gasped. "They told me on the phone that I didn't need one for a two year old." "Oh, no," says the lady, "UNDER two is free if he sits on your lap, but a two year old needs a ticket." The man calls his wife over, "We have a problem. They're not going to let HIM on the plane with us!" It was all I could do not to burst out laughing at the idea of the three of them flying off to Florida and leaving their two year old in the airport alone for the week. The airline lady quickly said, "Sir, we didn't say that, we don't have the authority to override this but we have a supervisor coming, and it will be his decision how to handle this situation." The man was belligerent and kept arguing that the child had JUST TURNED two, and he was TOLD he didn't need a ticket. He also said, if I didn't TELL you he was two, you wouldn't have known and would have just let us by. The lady said, "No, he DOES look over two to me, that's why we were trying and trying to find his ticket and couldn't figure out why he didn't have one!" The ladies were very kind and patient with him, and kept telling him that the supervisor would deal with it, please calm down, they simply did not have the authority to make that decision themselves. Finally the supervisor came, instructed them that in the future, they MUST buy a ticket for this child, but he would override it this time. So the man finally settled down. A few minutes later, his wife asked him if he would ask the ladies at the desk for help with something, and he kind of shook his head and said wait till we're on the plane and we'll ask one of the flight attendants. She said, but we need this taken care of now, and he muttered, "I don't want to ask THEM for anything." She said, "Why?" and he said, "Because they were just SO RUDE to me." HA! Who was the rude one, I ask you!?

5. Disney and the handicapped. I use this politically incorrect term because the handicapped person I went with uses the term to describe herself, so why shouldn't I? Disney has always catered so well to the handicapped. Going to Disney with a handicapped person definitely has its advantages, especially during the busier seasons. But Disney is losing their touch. The old rides, such as the Jungle Cruise and the Fantasyland dark rides, are still kind to the handicapped, allowing them to come in the exit doors and board the ride with only a brief waiting period. But the newer rides are another story. They're making the lineups handicapped-accessible, which should be a good thing, but it's not. I know that there are people who take advantage of Disney's accommodation of the handicapped, and will put a perfectly normal healthy person in a rented wheelchair for the day so they can skip the lines. I agree something needs to change to prevent such things from happening. But I don't agree that making all the lineups handicapped-accessible so there is no advantage to being wheelchair-bound is the answer. Some people may feel it's unfair for the handicapped to move straight to the front of the lines, but let those complainers BE handicapped for just a DAY, and I'm sure they would gladly stand in line at Disney World in exchange for the full use of their legs. Doing Disney in a wheelchair is really hard on people, and not having to wait in long lines on top of dealing with their various disabilities makes Disney an enjoyable place for the handicapped to spend a day rather than a miserable one. Of course, those lineups designed for wheelchairs didn't take into account people in large scooters, for which the turns in the lineups are just barely wide enough, making it a huge hassle for the person confined to the scooter to try to steer through, especially with crowds of people pushing up against it. Another accessible thing Disney has done with some new rides is that they have made handicapped-accessible CARS that a wheelchair or scooter can be pushed right into. Now this is very nice for someone who is unable to transfer. But most people who show up at Disney in a scooter or wheelchair are able to get in and out and take a few steps on their own or with assistance. We waited for ten minutes in rides that were walk-ons for everyone else because they made us sit and wait for the handicapped car to come around, when we could just as easily have taken a regular car and she could have transferred from her scooter into the ride just like she does on every other ride. Why must we wait just because there is a wheelchair car? So while Disney is probably applauding themselves for their efforts in making their rides handicapped-accessible, their efforts actually are making things harder on the majority of the handicapped people this is intended to serve.

6. Florida weather. Okay, so it was sunny and hot the first two days I was there, but the rest of the trip was really rather cool. Upper 60s. Most days were sunny, and the pool was heated so high that the water was almost as warm as bathwater, making swimming possible even on the cool days, so I really can't complain. But I didn't go to Florida for 60s weather!! It shot up to 80s again the day after I left. Of course, my first day home, we got six inches of snow, and the next day the temperature dropped to eight degrees again. That was my welcome home present, and made the sunny 60s look pretty good.

7. Crocs. After reading all the fuss about these odd ugly shoes on the Disboards, I was intrigued, but not enough to actually purchase a pair. But when these ugly shoes came out with Mickey-shaped holes, I was hooked. I had to own a pair. So are these shoes really as comfortable and easy to walk in as everyone claims? I say no. They're okay, they aren't UNcomfortable, but I'm not seeing them as being any MORE comfortable than a typical athletic shoe, which is just about all I ever wear anyway. My narrow feet may have something to do with it. My friend demonstrated how her Crocs would not come off her feet, by pushing the backs toward the front so there was nothing on the heels, and then kicking her feet into the air. The shoes stayed firmly on her feet. She couldn't kick them off if she wanted to. I tried it, and they go flying. I can't even walk without them flying off if I have the back strap pushed forward like that. Fortunately, they stay on my feet just fine as long as the strap is in the back against my heel. It's got to be those narrow feet.

I'll close for now... but stay tuned for more, now that I'm officially back. :)