For a while now I've been accusing my husband of tuning me out.
He goes along seemingly listening to me but when I finish talking, he either doesn't recall what I said or doesn't react as I expect.
I get a tad annoyed.
I don't like to have to repeat myself and when I ask him about something I told him, he acts as if he's never heard what I said or pretends and that makes it worse.
When I ask him if anyone else has this problem with him, he says no. He claims to be able to hear everyone who speaks plainly.
He tells me I mumble or talk to him when the radio is on or the TV or the dishwasher is running.
I've been concerned for a while now.
When we'd get these offers in the mail for complimentary hearing exams, I'd show them to Marc.
He wasn't interested and in fact, was a little offended as if I'm implying he's getting old.
But finally, a couple of weeks ago, he agreed to submit himself to a test (mostly so I would quit bugging him).
He realized that the lack of hearing was creating a relationship problem for us.
We signed him up.
An hour and a half later he returned, looking a tad sheepish.
"What did the doctor say," I demanded.
Marc looked at me.
"He wants you to come with me next time," he said. "He wants to hear you talk to me."
I was taken aback.
Why? Was this like going to parent-teacher conference with a child?
"It's umm, like this," he said. "He said I can hear okay...except in the range where you talk! He needs to hear you."
That explains a lot. We can fix this problem.
And I'm not crazy.
My iPhone 5s never held a charge well.
I thought it was me.
I either turned it off the wrong way too often or didn't charge it often enough properly.
I'd start off with a fully charged smartphone and very soon it read at 27 percent and then zero.
It made interviewing people on the phone very difficult.
At one point I had to ask people to contact me on my computer so we could finish a conversation.
More than once I've been in a situation where I was all alone in a dark place without a way to communicate.
It's been more than a little bothersome.
My kids thought a smartphone was just too much for a grandma to manage.
I'd send texts that never arrived.
I'd make a call and end up shouting at no one who could hear me.
But I've muddled along and fussed at Marc.
He tried to reshape my charging habits.
"Just plug it in every night and you should be fine," he'd say.
Finally the phone is almost up for renewal so we decided to see what could be done.
(I hate the buying of phones process. The lingo is so high-tech that I never know what's going on. I basically hang around while Marc negotiates and we leave with a yards-long receipt and new shiny phones.)
I hadn't completely ignored my problem. I took it in once to Verizon Wireless and waited a couple of hours to see a technician.
She crinkled her nose at me and said I should go home and run it completely down a few times and reboot. That should fix things.
I did that and nothing changed but I didn't have time to go back and waste more time so I tried to just deal.
Finally Marc had heard enough complaining. He took me and my phone to Batteries Plus to get a new battery.
The guy there opened up the phone and stopped in his tracks. "This is a used phone. The screws are out of place, a plate is missing and the battery isn't even securely connected. Take it back to your supplier," he said.
We went back to Verizon who sent us to Apple who assured us they don't sell refurbished phones.
That's good since our receipt for the phone said it is a new phone.
However, the Apple guy did say we needed a new display and he would give us one for free is we'd wait 90 minutes.
We waited and returned.
This time he said the display was fine but there were problems uncovered when they opened it up. He said without the proper new screws they couldn't put it back together.
So the guy offered me a new iPhone 5s. (They still had some of these hanging around.)
That's great. That works.
I'm happy and Marc's happy plus I feel validated.
Apple retains our business.
Never mind that we'll never know what really happened.
I had this opportunity to attend a conference for non-profit organizations and since I'm trying to help out the Timpanogos Arts Foundation these days I thought I'd go.
I also wanted to see if riding the FrontRunner up to Layton and back is a good idea.
I'm always interested in doing what I can for the environment and Marc and I ride public transit when we can.
(I've just never gone that far by myself before.)
But it's a straight shot from Lehi and I figured it would beat driving down the freeway and back, especially with some construction going on at 10600 South.
I had to leave early because I was told the conference went from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Just ask Marc, I'm a freak for being on time so I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and was waiting on the platform for the 6:08 train.
It came. I tapped on with my FarePay card. I got on and congratulated myself for my ingenuity.
I watched the landscape go by.
After about an hour or so, I got off at the Layton station.
I looked around and headed in the direction I figured was towards the Davis Convention Center.
The bus driver honked a little as I strode off.
I thought he was honking goodbye.
In a little while I realized he was trying to tell me I was headed the wrong way.
After a few minutes of trying to come around the Hilton hotel I back tracked and took the right road.
I was at the convention in plenty of time.
Later that day, I decided to figure out how to get back home.
I knew the general direction back to the bus stop but realized I didn't know when it came or when the train left the Layton station.
I walked to the stop and studied the sign. I walked across the road, thinking I needed to catch the bus going back.
I waited a while. A maid leaving work at the hotel shouted at me: "It comes at 3:24!"
I checked my watch.
I couldn't check my phone because my battery was nearly dead.
I waited some more then decided to call UTA with my final bit of phone power.
I punched in the number of the stop and the bus.
"The next bus comes at 3:18," said the automated voice.
It was 3:25 now and raining. 3:35. I knew the train left every half hour and I'd just missed one.
I looked around, trying to think what to do. Call Marc and have him drive up to get me? Go to the hotel and make some calls?
Then came a bus. I climbed aboard and asked the driver, "Does this take me to the Layton station?"
"Yes, but you won't make it. Go across the road and take the bus to Clearfield," he said.
I must have looked dismayed.
"It's all right. He'll be along soon," said the driver.
Long story short, the other bus came in another 10 minutes and it took me to the Clearfield station and I eventually got home to Lehi about 5 p.m.
I'm fine and it only cost me $5 to go all that way.
It's an interesting way to travel and it works for the experienced rider.
But I'm not sure I'd recommend it for the faint-hearted or the weary.
The 2017 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is over and I'm sad.
I've just started to expect to spend my days listening to stories about Esther Agra trying to wiggle out of a speeding ticket with an innocent grin and the excuse that she doesn't speak the English and about Bil Lepp trying to stay atop Diablo the devil horse.
My face hurts from laughing.
I find myself going around with images burned in my brain of Ed Stivender as a dancing man and Sam Payne trying to impress the girl in Camelot with his Lancelot song.
It's magical and real.
I've gone to some of the festival every year for nearly the last 30 years and usually written a section cover story about one or two of the storytellers.
I've seen the festival grow from an event held in Karen Ashton's backyard in Orem to an event attended by thousands.
I've become a serious fan of tellers like Carmen Agra Deedy (with the Cuban fast talking speeding mother) and Donald Davis who makes a trip down the Grand Canyon on a mule an unforgettable terror ride.
My grandchildren all know the stories I have on tape.
They know Davis by sight and sound.
(This year when the teacher in his story caught and killed a mouse, they all gasped. He had them immersed in the story of Miss Daisy and their adventures as they traveled the world in her fourth grade class. They also knew not to cross a teacher who wasn't afraid of a mouse.)
There's no real way to tell non-believers about the storytelling festival.
I heard a guy trying to describe it to his friend over the phone.
"Yes, they tell stories but it's more than that," he said, clearly having trouble conveying what it means to hear stories that move you, make you laugh and make you cry.
I can listen to Carmen Deedy talk about babysitting her grandson and I know why she crawls up in the crib with him and then can't get out.
I hear the funny, small voice Catherine Conant uses when she tells the police officer she is the daughter of the guy who sold him his house and I travel back in time to when I sped in my father's Impala between Idaho Falls and Pocatello.
Their stories bond us.
We who are listening travel through time to when we were kids and when we were in trouble or in love or simply growing up.
We've all been there and it's sweet to go there again.
For a good one of Donald check You Tube.
The little girl on the You Tube video makes the trick look easy.
She lights a match, drops it into a bottle, caps the bottle with a boiled egg and woosh! The egg is sucked into the bottle.
"It's working! It's working!" cries the child as the egg wiggles and starts to sink.
Looked doable to me.
So I boiled an egg, got a bottle and invited my granddaughter over to try to make some magic with me.
Adell was interested and since she had a magic birthday party coming up, it seemed like a good idea to try it out.
We were truly innocents.
Turns out it matters whether your egg is sufficiently boiled and peeled.
The bottle opening has to be just right, not too small and not too large.
The bottle had to be completely dry.
At first we tried a glass bottle (actually a vase) but it didn't provide the sufficient volume of displaced air.
We tried a larger plastic bottle which worked once but the next time, the bottle sank in on itself with the egg inside.
We learned to light paper to drop into the bottle with enough paper burning to suck up the oxygen in the bottle.
We learned to do this without burning our fingers.
We had two successful tries with one egg completely sucked in and another sucked halfway before we assumed it was done. Then with a whoop, the rest went in.
We think we've got it down now.
It's just a little hard to count on it and I've gone through more than a few eggs in our attempts.
I've also dug out a few destroyed eggs so I could reuse the bottle.
The magic party is tomorrow and I'm holding my breath.
Anybody know a spell that guarantees a success?
The last time we were at the Space Center Marc launched an authorized probe.
I was in the control center watching the background action when the guys in charge noticed it.
They were curious about why he would launch one when the captain hadn't asked for it.
I've been teasing him since then.
He's always liked buttons and dials and knobs. He plays with whatever there is on the car dash.
I think it's one reason he likes computers and iPhones. There's always something to push or turn.
Put him in front of a panel with options and he can't help himself.
So when I was assigned to be science officer in charge of probes and interior scans, I found it challenging but I figured I could behave myself.
I sat next to Marc.
He showed me the probes.
They were cool.
I could send out a scientific probe, a defensive probe or one that simply gathered general information from space.
I could collect chemical data, take a soil sample, blow up things.
I had no idea.
I tried to interest our captain in my probes.
"Not now," he said as he had his hands full with things that mattered more.
I bided my time as others on the bridge rushed around protecting the bridge, firing phasers and torpedoes, talking to aliens and the onboard computer.
"Would you like me to launch a probe?" I asked a couple times. "How about now?"
When I was waiting for permission, I tried launching one just so I would know how to do that when the time came. (It takes time to put the proper probe together and I wanted to be ready.)
We were in the middle of a crisis when the computer said, "Someone has launched a probe that has damaged the station wall. The damage will need to be repaired.")
Then one of the crew came over to tell me I owed 10,000 kronar for the damages.
I was mortified.
Marc started laughing.
One granddaughter wrote in her log about grandma being the one who launched a probe. She thinks it's pretty funny.
I think I understand things a little better now.
We love the quail who live in and around our house.
I like the bobbing heads and the little flippy feathers on the male's heads. I find them a fun kind of bird.
We do our best to protect them from roaming cats and dive bombing hawks.
Every year we delight when the baby quail hatch and we come upon a mother quail scrambling to get her little family back in under the bushes where they apparently roost.
We find them on the sidewalk in the mornings and out back in the herb plants in the evenings.
We try not to upset or harass them.
This year, however, we kept surprising them when we came out of our garage.
When the garage door would go up, they would panic.
One day, they scurried about and several of the nine chicks ran back into the garage, behind our garbage can.
I worried about them getting stuck inside and not being able to figure out how to get out.
So when I returned from an errand, I pulled the garage can out.
Sure enough, there was a frantic little chick back there trying to hide.
He went behind a piece of cardboard I had behind the can.
I moved the cardboard and he ran out, fortunately toward the open door and freedom.
I thought he was the only one.
But the next day, Marc found a lifeless baby bird on the cement, then another.
I guess they had hidden deeper inside and died for lack of food and water.
Then I found some fluff and tiny feathers on the walk.
We're assuming a hawk had a snack.
Now when I see the mother quail I can only count two chicks. Who knows what happened to the other four?
Life in our yard is obviously a dangerous life for a quail.
I'm not sure how to protect them, how to ensure they live long enough to grow up.
At this juncture, I can only cross my fingers and consider posting "No Trespassing" signs around our yard.
Maybe I should buy a BB gun and fence off the garage door.