Saturday, May 29, 2010

What you see

The last two posts I didn't include pictures because, well, I didn't take any of the airplane messes.  But I did take lots of pictures of my grandboys.

Getting to know Coby Dean

Kelly said our main assignment was to keep Carter and Cohen busy.  When we got to Tracee's we noticed that she needed some fixes to a closet so we were off to Lowe's and took the boys with us.  Now in my time I would have NEVER taken two little boys shopping anywhere with me, and most of all not to Lowe's.  But then "back then" there wasn't a Lowe's, and I wouldn't have had a fun Grandpa with me.

Tractor Races

Barnes and Noble for a book

We must have done a good job cuz they didn't last long once we got them in the car.

Coby hanging with Grandpa

Today's activity:  a train ride to Glenwood Springs.

Kelly decided to go at the last minute, since she'd never taken the train through Glenwood Canyon.  It's fuzzy cuz American trains just aren't as smooth as German trains.  Jenny was hogging the baby and it was the only way I could get a picture of Coby on his first train ride.

Aunt Tracee provided the games.  Here's Cohen trying to break into "Pass the Pigs."

Cohen, nearly asleep at the window.

Now just where was that ice cream parlor?

Garret, Jenny and Carter

And all this time I thought Glenwood Springs was famous for it's springs.

Speaking of which - View of the hot springs and Hotel Colorado from the train station.

A guy's gotta do something while waiting for a train.....

And here it is now!

We're proud of all of our sons-in-law, even Kevin (in costume for a part in Carter's birthday party).

Who knew?   A campfire in the back yard for a Sunday afternoon wiener roast!

Coby chillin' with Grandpa.

Walking Trooper.  And Carter.

And Cohen.

And a break to climb trees.

Took Coby to the park.

And Cohen.

And Carter.

Then to Uncle Rob's to play with his Hotwheels.

Playing Chutes and Ladders with Carter.

"Da train, da train!!

The parting shots

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strange trip deuxième partie

Normally I wouldn't post all this nonsense about plane delays and volcanic ash.  But it just seems like this trip had more than it's fair share of quirks and kinks.  The outward bound leg was one delay and change after another, audio systems that didn't work, and yet we reached our destination late but in one piece and happy.  The return trip was almost a carbon copy of it.

Because we purchased our tickets separately this time (Bob wasn't sure he could go with me this trip until the last minute), our seats were not together, and even though I tried and tried to manipulate that circumstance on the Delta website, it could not be done.  Not only were we not seated together, but in 3 of the 4 legs Bob didn't even have a seat.  So each time we arrived at a departure gate we had that detail to take care of.  

We arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City, turned in the rental car and checked in - no problem there.  Had breakfast at Sbarro - who knew??  When the gate agent arrived as our gate we got our seats.  We have become pretty accustomed to sitting in the tail of the plane, and this time was no different.  I'm actually starting to prefer it back there - last to board, closer to the lavs......  We departed on time.  I dug out my itinerary and had no sooner remarked about the comfortable time we had between flights when "this is your captain speaking" announced that Atlanta was closed and that we would have to circle for a couple of hours, or until we ran out of gas in which case we would refuel in Savanna.  We had visions of spending the night in Atlanta as we watched the little trip map on the monitor trace a pattern round and round and round Columbus, GA.  

Just in the nick of time the skies opened and we landed in Atlanta.  At 4:35 PM.  Our flight to Frankfurt was scheduled to depart at 4:40 PM.  Yikes.  I quick look at the terminal monitor showed that it too had been delayed to 4:50.  We moved as fast as the trains would go from terminal A to terminal E (could they get any further away??) and in true "Home Alone" fashion got there as the doors were closing.  Now remember Bob didn't have a seat.  The agents at the gate were on top of that and as soon as they had our names they not only had a seat for Bob, but a seat with me, and this time it wasn't in the boot.  And just like the Frankfurt to Atlanta flight, there were scads of empty seats and we spread out on our row and had a better than usual flight.  No more severe storm delays, no volcanic ash polluting the Atlantic  air routes.  Smooth sailing.

And then it occurred to us that if we had to scurry like mice to make the flight that it was just possible, no, it was probable that our luggage didn't make it.  Sure 'nuf.  No bags in Frankfurt.  They were located in Atlanta and would come the next day on the same flight number.  I stayed home from church anticipating a phone call or delivery, but there was nothing until about 6:00 PM.  

Now all is safely gathered in.  I'm not feeling too jet lagged (although I just had a great nap and several other snoozes during the day).  Back to seminary tomorrow morning.

The other tale of woe is getting Bob's van out of the body shop.  We left it there during the trip to get a little fender bender repaired and arrived just as the gates slid shut on Saturday.  It is a German holiday tomorrow (Day of Pentecost) so we might not be able to get the van until Tuesday.  With his early morning practices and seminary that is a problem.  Not impossible, but cumbersome and a bit inconvenient.  Not nearly as problematic as missed flights, volcanic ash, and delayed baggage.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lately it appears to me....

....What a l-o-n-g strange trip it's been!

Trips to the states are never fun.  I mean once you get there it's usually rewarding, but the travel itself is brutal.  This time is no exception, and we will add some quirks popped up that made it even more interesting.

Like a stau on the way to the airport.  Anxiety causing, but not devastating.  We still were there in plenty of time for breakfast, and a stroll to the gate.  Terminal 2 in Frankfurt is by nature less crowded and frustrating than Terminal 1, but yesterday it was really quiet.  I mean very really quiet.  No lines to speak of, even at McDonalds.  We got a seat by the window in the food court, NO LINE - NO ONE - at passport clearance.  Spooky.

(About this time you are probably thinking, "Hey, where's the pictures?"  Most bloggers would have had all kinds of pictures to post.  I didn't take any.  Just imagine a quiet, uncrowded airport.)

9:30 AM was departure time, and by 9:45 there didn't seem to be any indication of boarding taking place.  A nice gate agent was circulating the waiting area and flirting with all the babies and toddlers.  A man we called "First Class Guy" was waving his don't-you-know-who-I-am-? fist when there was only one line through the security check point and wanted cuts.  He also was frustrated at the gate when he had to wait behind 3-4 people to show his boarding pass.  He got his special treatment, alright:  a personal search of his carry-on at the gate, and it wasn't private.  **giggle**

As soon as we were finally boarded, seated, and pushed away from the gate, "this is your captain speaking" explained that due to volcanic ash the transatlantic air routes were crowded and that our turn would be in 90 minutes.  We taxied away from the gate, parked, and turned off the engines.  Crew served water, and turned on the entertainment systems for us.  And we waited.  The captain also announced that yesterday the wait had been four hours.  I guess that was supposed to make us feel better. 

The really good news of the day was that the flight wasn't full so we had extra seats to spread out in.  It made a difference.

No sooner had we commented on how the time we had between flights in Atlanta was more than adequate than we got the "90 minutes till our turn" announcement.  We would miss our connection in Atlanta.  No doubt.  But to Atlanta's credit they were ready for us.  They had a special line for missed flights with a gadget that scanned your boarding pass, rebooked you, and printed a new one.  Even redirected luggage.  We wouldn't be able to leave until 9:30 PM, but we were happy we had a flight.  There was one young mother on our flight with a baby trying to get to San Juan, Porto Rico who couldn't get a flight for two days!

Domestic flights are 60 times worse than international.  International may be long, but at least you are well cared for.  As we were boarding the gate attendant announced that they had downsized the plane so things would be snug.  The PA system on the plane was weak and the sound for the movie and other audio/video presentations didn't work (they announced this as they were selling headsets for $2.00 - they are free on international fights).  Every child on the plane screamed.  We put on our noise reducing headsets and slept.  Or tried to.

The Europeans like to applaud when planes land.  That seemed to be the general sentiment as we landed at last in Salt Lake City at 11:35 PM.  The flight attendant who was sitting just across the isle from me said that they had just barely received the gate assignment.  We pulled up, parked, engines turned off and then came a long, eerie silence.  No one spoke, no one moved.  It took longer to unload the much larger plane in Atlanta than this smaller MD whatever-it-was in SLC.

Our luggage must have taken an earlier flight because it was waiting for us.  The rental car was waiting for us.  The bed in our hotel was very comfy.  Now we hit the road for Grand Junction.  When I get back to Germany perhaps I'll look up the Grateful Dead  version of the song and embed it on the blog.

Off to see the new grandboy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

Bob's mother, Mary Petzold, does a lovely rendition of this sweet little song by satirist Tom Lehrer.  I heard it the other day on the radio and I just had to look it up, especially since we think we have won a battle with the birds up in the high beams of our house.  They have left piles and piles of poop on our driveway, but a super-soaker and ammonia water seem to have done the trick.  Anyway, hope you enjoy it.     --BC 


Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don't you? 'course you do.
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me,
And makes ev'ry sunday a treat for me.

All the world seems in tune
On a spring afternoon,
When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
Ev'ry sunday you'll see
My sweetheart and me,
As we poison the pigeons in the park.

When they see us coming, the birdies all try an' hide,
But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide.
The sun's shining bright,
Ev'rything seems all right,
When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.


We've gained notoriety,
And caused much anxiety
In the audubon society
With our games.
They call it impiety,
And lack of propriety,
And quite a variety
Of unpleasant names.
But it's not against any religion
To want to dispose of a pigeon.

So if sunday you're free,
Why don't you come with me,
And we'll poison the pigeons in the park.
And maybe we'll do
In a squirrel or two,
While we're poisoning pigeons in the park.

We'll murder them all amid laughter and merriment.
Except for the few we take home to experiment.
My pulse will be quickenin'
With each drop of strychnine
We feed to a pigeon.
It just takes a smidgin!
To poison a pigeon in the park.

Elder Holland's Testimony

I love, LOVE this witness.  I know it's true.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cowboy Logic

Couldn't resist posting this story.  Enjoy!


A Cowboy from Laramie , Wyoming , walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Paris for an international rodeo for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of  the bank. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the Cowboy handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank.

The Cowboy produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest.

Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the Cowboy from Wyoming for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's private underground garage and parked it.

Two weeks later, the Cowboy returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that you are a
highly sophisticated investor and multimillionaire with real estate and financial interests all over the world. Your investments include a large number of wind turbines around Laramie, Wyoming.  What puzzles us is - why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"  

The good 'ole Wyoming boy replied, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?"

Don't mess with Cowboys.