Friday, March 28, 2014

Give the girl a big kiss

I learned something new at the doctor's office yesterday.
It started with a phone call from Mia's other grandma just as I was getting out my paints.
Seems our adorable, ever curious 2-year-old had pushed a tiny, plastic, purple flower up into her nose and it wouldn't come back out.
Her grandma — who is taking the front end of the babysitting stint while Kari and Wade are in Hawaii — was worried.
"I don't think this is an emergency," she said. "But I think we might want to get her to a doctor."
I went into flying mode.
Since we live only a few minutes away from the girls, I know the way to their doctor and they know me at the office.
They didn't even blink when I announced I was bringing in a granddaughter with something up her nose.
I explained the situation and showed them the unhappy little girl.
(She actually was fairly calm and headed right for the Kid's Corner and the toys. She didn't get unhappy until they called her name and took her away from the toys.)
We went into the exam room.
There the doctor checked her out and verified that, yes, indeed, there was a tiny toy up inside her left nostril.
He thought over his options.
"I can try and get it out with some suction but there's something else I want to try first," he said. "You'll think it's a little strange."
He was looking at me.
"You'll need to do this because she knows you and she's less likely to fight you," he said.
OK. I remembered when her big sister did this with a little pink ball and it involved some screaming and wrestling. I wanted to watch somebody else do whatever had to be done.
"You need to pinch her other nostril shut and give her a big kiss, blowing a puff of air into her mouth when you kiss her. Sometimes that will push it right out," he explained.
Hmm. OK again.
I moved over to Mia who was laying there on the table all quiet.
I could do this.
I pinched her nose, I leaned down. I kissed her and puffed.
Nothing except she did taste like the chocolate cookie I'd given her on the way over.
"Try again, only seal her mouth with yours," said the doctor.
I did it again, puffing harder.
This time, a sliver of purple flower showed and I grabbed it, pulling out the offending toy to cheers from the nurses and the doctor.
Mia grinned and moved to hop off the table.
"That worked!" I said in surprise to the doctor, grateful that I could report to Mia's mom, dad and grandma that she was just fine.
"Yeah. It does sometimes. Great for when you get something like a popcorn kernel or something light up in there," he said.
Good to know given that we have a lot of little grandkids yet to try out what might fit in their noses.
Kind of like CPR for kids who inhale toys.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making a wise choice

At our house, we have one registered Republican and one registered Democrat — both with pretty strong views on politics.
Marc, like his father, is a Democrat and not afraid to shout it out.
I, like my mother, am a Republican because I always thought that was the right thing to be.
I grew up in a household where Republicans were just accepted as the party that good people supported.
For many years, I thought a Democrat was synonymous with a villian.
Thus, we've had many a discussion in our kitchen about socialism (which I think Democrats invented and support) and liberals (which Marc believes are a good thing if you're a thinking, sober voter.)
So when it became clear that we were expected to attend voter caucuses this year it got interesting at our house.
Marc was headed to the Democratic one but felt like it was going to be a waste of his time since no one else in Utah seems to be a Democrat.
I was headed to the Republican caucus but unsure of what I would be getting into.
Marc has been before and even been a delegate.
But I still didn't see what I could accomplish.
My views are admittedly more liberal than most standard issue Republicans, especially in Utah.
Marc went off to his and came back elected as precinct chair and appointed to be a delegate.
But he said the caucus was poorly organized, poorly attended and it was hard to tell where to go.
In contrast, we got this detailed note on our door advising us about the Republican Neighborhood Caucus.
It listed where, when and how with phone numbers to call with questions.
We were told we could file for office in advance, skip waiting in the check-in line and pre-register online.
We were told we could even register at the door and send in our ballots without attending the meeting.
It was informative and it promised refreshments.
It provided a stark contrast to the Democratic preparation and I like cookies.
I think I'll stick with the Republicans.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Know the territory

So the guy lecturing to us was from out of town.
He really had no way of knowing whom he was talking to other than he was speaking for the Utah Library Association to a roomful of library directors and library board members at a Trustee Training event.
He was actually pretty good at discussing the topic and at helping us all realize we have to bring more to the table as trustees.
We need to communicate our love for libraries and market what a library brings to a community.
We need to come prepared to discuss agenda topics and make sound decisions without a lot of dilly-dallying.
We were interested in what he had to say.
And we listened when he told us to take our opportunities when they came around.
We were attentive.
Sometimes we even answered his questions.
But when he asked us if we like Nebraska, there wasn't a swift response.
There was a thunderous quiet.
When he asked if anybody has seen the movie, "Nebraska," he really showed he was clueless.
He was pretty surprised that no one raised their hand.
"Really?" he said, "Nobody here has seen the movie? It's a pretty good movie!"
We all just sort of sat there taken by surprise.
He apparently lives in Nebraska and thinks it's a great place.
He wanted us to share our opinions but we were instead a totally silent group.
I don't think any of us really disagreed with his opinions on the state but seeing the movie is another thing entirely.
I wanted to explain the obvious to this guy.
I don't think he put it together.
He was in Utah.
We are pretty much Mormons here and we don't go to see R-rated movies.
If we do, we're probably not going to admit to it in public.
My heck.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Desktop Explosion

Happy me
I now have a semi-professional cubbyhole to call my own.
I've been working on a Walmart special since I set up my little office and it's worked OK. But after I bought a real office chair last year, the tiny pressboard desk I bought years ago for a child has seemed inadequate.
It wobbled when I moved in too closely. It couldn't bear much weight.
There was no desk drawer, just a small cupboard space where I could put paper.
When I had a phone interview I had to move to the kitchen table so I had room to put down a writing pad.
Papers and notes were often flying.
I was kind of teetering on the brink of disaster most of the time since this room is also one of the playrooms for the grandchildren. You never knew what could get covered in hot pink marker.
An explosion out of the box
I mentioned to Marc that I might like to replace my $5 desk in the coming year, maybe with an antique rolltop or some such kind of furniture.
Bless his heart, he immediately seized upon the opportunity to help me find what I wanted.
We went out. We saw this cute little hutch/computer desk that was on sale and I fell in love.
A foolproof process
We bought it and then realized it came in parts in a big box with an instruction sheet detailing the 34 steps it would take to put it together.
It was a kind of Chinese Lego project where you can't really see where you are going until you're done and the picture didn't match the finished product.
For me, it was a nail-biter series of days filled with impatience watching Marc sort out the pieces, pound in nails and screw in 50 little tacks.
I gave away my existing workspace and worked wherever.
Meanwhile, Marc slaved.
He did it!
(To his credit, he only lost his temper once during the process when we discovered a broken and blistered top rail that I had to take back to the store — in Draper, but that's another blog.)
He'd go to his paying job and then come home to work on his knees in the playroom, sweating and huffing as these odd bits came together to form an actual piece of nice furniture.
It's beautiful and it defines my writing space.
It's peaceful and I'm pleased. I can be productive here.
Now I just need some chocolate and a little Il Divo in the background.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's not like I do sarcasm

One of my sweet young granddaughters recently had a Parent-Teacher Conference interview.
She got good marks for her reading skill and comprehension and scored well on the test that determines if she's ready for the next grade level.
She's doing OK in math.
She's great in art.
In fact, the only thing the teacher suggested she work on is her behavior in class.
Seems she likes to make sarcastic remarks and make everybody laugh.
Sometimes her humor is misunderstood and she hurts feelings.
I listened to her mother talk about what the teacher said and felt a little responsible.
I harked back to the days when my teachers were telling my parents that "Shari (my nickname then) really likes to talk and she thinks she's funny. She disrupts the class."
I wondered if I'm setting a poor example for this young girl.
Because, you know, it's not like I do and say sarcastic things out of a desire to be mean.
It's just a natural way of thinking and talking for me.
I automatically make a joke about everything.
It can be problematical.
And I don't want my grandchild to think she can be naughty.
On the other hand, I like that she's unafraid to speak up, willing to say what she thinks.
In the long run, I think she'll get further in this world if she's fairly unabashed.
She'll be a leader.
She'll be self-confident.
Or maybe she'll always be in trouble, like I am.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Remote access

We have had a problem with our fancy, big screen television for a while now.
The kid with unique skills
It takes all four remotes, a cuss word or two and turning it off and on again at least once to get it to come on.
The Google application won't work.
The Satellite has to be persuaded to operate.
If there's a disc in the player, it defaults to the player no matter what we say.
We haven't been able to figure out what's wrong.
Marc has changed the batteries in the "universal" remote. He's looked for answers in the instruction manuals.
I've tried to learn the proper sequence of buttons. I tap my heels together and purse my lips every time I want to see my favorite show. I hold my breath.
We have started just leaving the dang thing on once we get it going so we don't have to go through the hassle more than once a day.
It's been a trial.
I, of course, think my husband has somehow made it more complicated than it has to be.
He thinks I've messed it up when I've tried pushing all of the buttons, hard, multiple times trying to find the sweet spot.
However, just this week we had our little 18-month-old granddaughter visiting from California.
She's a precious and tiny girl who understands the value in a remote.
She started picking them up and carting them around.
We didn't stop her because we figured what harm could she do?
She pushed a few buttons.
Suddenly the TV came on, clearly and without any fuss.
We all looked at her.
"Claire!" I said, "How did you do that? Can you do that again?"
She grinned at me.
She's really a cutie pie with big eyes and a sweet, toothy smile.
Unfortunately she can't talk and I bet by the time she can, she won't remember how she did it.