Our great time with our kids in Washington was drawing to a close, so we had a little mini-Christmas celebration with them before we left. Sunday was our early Christmas – we were to have all the great Christmas food, and even open some presents. So “Christmas Eve”, Saturday afternoon, we hiked to the top of Mt Badger, all of 1,500 feet. It felt a lot higher than that – I think I’m out of shape! The view from the top was nice, and it got dark just as we got back down… in time to show off someone’s extravagant Christmas lights. Clever computerized lights synchronized to music that you could hear on your car’s FM radio. Probably the most elaborate setup I’ve seen on a private home.
First thing in the morning we all checked out our Christmas Stockings… there was a new one in the group, with the initial E identifying it. The grandkids wondered a bit about whose that could be… maybe the dog? Hunter? Why would his stocking have an E on it?? When Ashlyn emptied her stocking she found nothing but paper and rocks! She looked close to tears! And Bryan had the same fate! In fact, all of us got nothing but rocks in our socks! Then we discussed why that might be… and the grandkids came up with the fact that we are all sinners, and deserve nothing. Then after a few wrong guesses, Ashlyn figured out that the E stood for Emmanuel, God with us. That stocking was full of yummy treasures, which were shared around the room… There was even more hidden around the corner. The point was rather eloquently made that God gives us far better than we deserve, and there is plenty for all.
I bought myself a Christmas present – a toy I’ve been lusting after for a long time – my first drone. So here are a few shots of my first attempts at flying video. The fun part is watching Bryan- he was so excited I thought he’d have a stroke! I first tried tracking Karen and her van, then Bryan wanted to be tracked. He couldn’t hold still and ran all over the place. Lots of fun! Warning: don’t feel like you have to watch the following video unless you like drones or like watching grandsons acting silly!
Unfortunately, later that day sickness arrived, and messed up most of our plans. Somewhere between a third and half of the kids in school were out sick, and our house wasn’t exempt. Ashlyn was hit pretty hard, and didn’t go back to school till Friday. Karen was hit slightly more gently, but still out for the week, requiring substitute teachers for her class. Cherryl and I belatedly got our flu shots and avoided the plague.
We were looking forward to the grandkids’ Christmas program Tuesday night, and it was fun even with a good portion of the students absent. (There were 8 shepherds and 1 sheep!) Poor Ashlyn was one who had to stay home, as did her mother.
One of the teachers posted this cartoon in his room… I love it!
The next morning we set out for Lincoln to spend the weekend with Cherryl’s sister and mother. We were going to spread the trip out over 3 days, and the first day we made it to Salt Lake City uneventfully. The next day took us to Cheyanne, Wyoming. It was very cold and windy!
Friday morning I saw a couple of interesting cars from our hotel window. Sometimes when a car manufacturer wants to road test a new model, and not let anyone see what it really looks like, they tack on lots of extra bumps and bulges, fake grilles, and a very strange squiggly paint job to disguise the car. There were two of these just outside our window. The drivers started them up, so I had to go down and chat with them. As I expected, they would not tell me what the cars really were. There were so many bumps attached to the cars it reminded me of the climbing walls we’d done in Washington! I was surprised that the entire interior was draped in black cloth, so you couldn’t get any clues there either. A tiny slit in the drape let the driver see a part of the instrument panel, but even the center of the steering wheel was covered. I could see two grab handles on the center console, and said it looked like the Porsche Cayenne. The driver just scoffed. The only other hint I got was the windshield wipers – a fancy wiper mechanism I’ve only seen on Mercedes and Porsche. I asked him if there were only these two cars on this test, and he said they had another at the other end of the lot. He said they’d driven from Southern California, up to Wyoming and would go from there to Nebraska and Minnesota. Then fly home for Christmas, and then start over with more cars. As they drove off, I saw the third car – an unadorned Mercedes wagon. Were these future Mercedes? Or did Porsche use a Mercedes wagon as a decoy? Am I the only one crazy enough to care??
So after breakfast, we loaded the Jeep, and didn’t start it. Sigh. Sounded like the battery had died. Maybe it didn’t like the cold any more than we did. The hotel staff were happy to help me jump start it, but I had to empty the back of the Jeep to get at the cables. Ok, but not really… because that didn’t do it. We called AAA, and in only 38 minutes they had a nice guy and a beautiful big truck to help us out. He tried his battery booster gadget, and that didn’t do it, so we pushed the car out to where we could jump straight from the truck’s system. No dice. We concluded that the starter had perished, and we would need a tow. But our nice tow driver said we had another problem – his winch cable broke last night and he couldn’t tow us. They’d figured it would just be a jump start, or they would have sent a different truck. So we waited for a second truck, and called around to see who was still open and able to replace our starter. One place said they would try to work us in today or maybe tomorrow…
Cherryl had a new friend keep her company in the repair shop…
But we were fixed up by 2:30, and then on the road again! So I am trying something new… posting this at 75 mph (or so…) as Cherryl drives. We should be in Lincoln in a couple of hours… only 7 hours behind our projection!