Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Useful Info

To follow up the flat-tire story, I thought it would be helpful for my Dallas readers to have the Courtesy Patrol number:

214-320-4444
M-F 5am-9:30pm
S-S 11am-8:00pm

They don't give out ETAs when you call, but they dispatch someone as fast as they can. Like I said in my earlier post, Mr. Hunter was there within 10 minutes. Your tax dollars at work!

If you live elsewhere, maybe it's worth a little research to find a similar program in your city.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hooray for Steve Hunter!

Friday was the first day of summer break for my new student and all his school-going friends. My pal Sandi and I carpooled to the Dallas Zoo with our combined four children to help them celebrate. One missed exit and a flat tire later, we were stuck on the shoulder of the I 45 bridge just south of downtown Dallas. As we rattled to a stop, Sandi and I just looked at each other. Now what? She asked if I knew how to change a tire and was pleasantly surprised to hear me say "Yes."

I have to confess. I know how to change a tire, but it's all theory. I've never actually had to do the whole job. Every time, some nice person has come along to help me finish the hard part. But I am confident that if I had enough time, I could do it. My step-father taught me Basic Car Care 101 in the driveway of our home, the day after purchasing my first car (18 years ago!). He removed the tire, replaced it, then stepped back and coached me as I did it all. So thanks to him, I have the confidence to change a tire. Thanks to many kind, helpful strangers, I've never had to trust my "ability."

And yes, after I located the jack and lug wrench and began to crank the van up, along comes a stranger. We knew other help was coming, so he didn't stay long. The kids did great. The older ones prayed with Sandi inside the van. Me, I kept watching for cars to hit us from behind. At one point I put my hand on the railing and looked down, only to feel my stomach slither into my throat. Nope, couldn't jump if a car swerved too close. I was never so glad to see a truck with flashing blue and red lights pull up behind us. Steve Hunter, Dallas Courtesy Patrol officer extraordinaire, had arrived.

I had the Courtesy Patrol's number in my palm pilot and had called them (I love cell phones!) immediately after we stopped on the bridge. Mr. Hunter arrived within 10 minutes, no kidding. He changed the tire for us, then jumped the dead battery we'd run down keeping the kids cooled off. What a guy! Sandi's husband, Gary, had also come to help, hauling away stuff from the back of the van that might hinder the tire-removal process. We were back on track within the hour.

Oh, and the zoo was fun, too. Really!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Ring

Back in early April, I was visiting my parent in Baton Rouge (this was several weeks before my step-father passed away--more on that another time) when my aunt Eileen and her younger daughter came over to meet Maggie and play with Jack (my 2-year-old). Kimberly, my cousin, wasn't much of a baby person, but she had a great time with Jack, who is one bundle of energy. He bounced between toys and people like he was on a pogo stick. Eileen sat on a chair in the den, holding baby Maggie on her lap. I saw that she was wearing the diamond ring she had inherited from my grandmother.

The story behind the ring bears witness to the insanely organized system my grandparents worked out of how each child would inherit their assets. Grandma knew that five girls dividing up their mother's jewelry box wouldn't be a pretty sight. Who gets what? There's only one huge diamond wedding ring. There are only so many pearls or earrings, etc. In the spirit of Vegas, my grandparents set up the Lottery System. Each girl, in order of birth, drew a package of jewelry, sort of a "name in a hat" scenario where they didn't know what each package held until it was all over. Each package was worth the same monetary amount, the appraised value of the diamond wedding ring, but one might include cash plus some pearls, another would have diamonds, bracelets, and cash, etc. So Eileen, who as you can see drew the package that held the ring, received ONLY the ring--no cash or other jewelry included.

Does she mind? Not a bit. She wears that ring proudly, despite the early teasing she endured from her sisters. The ring isn't so much ostentatious as it is impressive--my grandfather had good taste, and my grandmother reaped the benefits. Now Eileen's two daughters are trying to figure out who's going to get it from her!

So Eileen's wearing the ring as Jack plays around her feet. Being a new two-year-old, he's beginning to learn many words. They aren't always in English, of course, but most of them are legible. As he moved from toy to toy, he would point to one and tell Kimberly what it was. "Ball" or "rrrrr" (his word for car), or "wah" (water). When the dachsund jumped into my lap, he pointed and said, "dog-dog." Sometimes we didn't know what he was trying to tell us. But as he passed by Great-aunt Eileen, he stopped, pointed at her ring, and loudly and clearly exclaimed, "ROCK!"

Silence reigned for two heart-beats, then hilarity. Eileen almost fell out of her chair she was laughing so hard. Jack's pronouncement couldn't have been more true. Leave it to a toddler to call a rock a rock. I know it's only been a couple of months, but we've had lots of family time since then, and I can tell you that Rock is now everyone's affectionate term for the ring.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Dogfight Results
Hi, I'm Kaiser. I'm wearing this stupid conehead because I wouldn't stop trying to lick my stitches. I don't know why my people don't like me doing that. I'm itchy!
All 15 stitches, right across my backside.

But I'm fine. I'm still jumping up on the couch, trying to snuggle into someone's lap. I'm a tough dog. (Would someone please tell my people that?)