Thursday, January 2, 2020

A Good Day


It is early December.  We just got back from Arizona last week so that we could participate in our oldest grandson’s 13th birthday party.  The party was for Carson, the subject of my first children’s book Carson And His Shaky Paws Grampa (he was seven when the book was written).  Where has the time gone?

Linda and I have been working on getting our Colorado home ready inside and out for Christmas.  We have lots of decorations, some of which we have had for many years from the time when our boys (now in their 40’s) were growing up.  I took care of the outside lights and Linda did most of the inside.  Last night we worked together on decorating the tree.  We take our time doing this so we can enjoy the memories associated with the ornaments.  Some of them the boys actually made when they were little, some are associated with family vacations, some feature our favorite sports teams, some are in memory of family members no longer with us, and many are connected to our grandchildren (we have six-3 of each ages 9-13).  Places of honor on the tree are reserved for themes that we value like faith, peace, love, family, and hope.

All this was happening in a context of memory “events” that had been increasing in frequency.   I have not been able to keep track of what is on our schedule each day or even what day it is many times.  I seem incapable of remembering names of people unless I know them very well and have frequent contact.  Complex problem solving has been an ongoing problem.  There are many examples, but I can’t remember what they are.  This is frustrating and, sometimes, very discouraging for me.  I can tell that Linda is concerned as well.  This is especially hard to deal with at this time of year when we want to enjoy “living in the moment”.

This sets the scene for what happened earlier yesterday.  I had ordered one of the new “Echo” products from Amazon.  We heard about it from friends and got to see and hear one in action during Carson’s birthday party (my older son, Kevin, had ordered one).  It was very unlike me to take this leap as I have avoiding getting involved with any of the latest technology gadgets (we still use the old style flip cellular phone).  In this case, I was captivated by the ability to access any music I wanted so quickly and easily.  To make a long story shorter, I was actually able to get it set up and operating (we got a 30-day Amazon Prime trial that gave us access to lots of music, movies, and much more that I will try to absorb some other time).  I did run into a problem.  In order to hear music, you have to say “Alexa, play ____________”.  It works beautifully, but I kept forgetting what her (Alexa) name was.  I have since come up with an association that helps me remember.

Another challenge was facing me.  We had been watching movies on our 55” Visio TV home theater system the previous night when the sound went out on the sound bar.  Linda and I had tried everything we could think of to fix it to no avail.  So I called Vizio customer service to see if they could help.  It took patience on the part of the rep and perseverance at my end, but he was able to talk me through the steps to reset the sound bar and IT WORKED!  At this point, I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

With a new sense of self-confidence, I drove to our local Ace Hardware to see if I could find a string of lights to replace a defective one that I had put over the garage door.  Not a big deal but I certainly got “sticker shock” from the cost of the LED products!  Anyway, I had to get the right length and pick the right intensity to match my other conventional lights.  I put it up when I got home and it was perfect.  In fact, when I looked at the whole set-up (including a lighted garland over the front door, two wreaths and a lighted garland on the front window, the new lights over the garage door, and our 12” blue spruce with a combination of white and colored lights, it looked really good!  In fact, I think it is the best I have ever done at this house.

That evening, when Linda and I finished decorating the tree, I built a fire in our (real wood burning) fireplace and we had a glass of wine.  After a while, things took a romantic turn right there by the fireplace with Alexa playing Enya tunes in the background.  It was a good day.

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