Lani's household consists of Steve, the long-suffering coding genius and computer security guru; Jim, Lani's tall, red-headed and handsome son, currently finishing his second year of college; Hunter, Jasmine, Himari, Chenault, the miraculous Onyx and the even more miraculous Resk, undisputed feline rulers of the house; and Jesse, the man-hating green-cheeked conure.
Ann's household consists of Don, who is not just a computer genius but a pilot, a builder, and a damn good father; their son Steve, the marathon-running, college-bound, funniest teenager I know; and wonder dog Tater.
Other family members are Laurie, Lani's beautiful daughter who teaches at elementary levels; her handsome son Alex, aka Alexander the Great; Mary and Bo, a/k/a Mom and Dad, and Bud and Ann, Steve's patient and wonderful parents.
I am in London, my next-to-last stop on this business trip. Every single bed I've had on this trip, whether at a hotel or at my friend's house, has come equipped with a duvet instead of a sheet and a blanket. Let me just go on record saying that I hate duvet covers. The only way they work is if the room is really cold. Really cold. Otherwise I wake up hot, and then having no cover is too cold, but the duvet cover is too hot . . . not good for a restful night's sleep!
So, last night when I arrived in London at the hotel, I checked and of course it was the dreaded duvet cover. I called housekeeping and asked for a sheet and a blanket. They acted as though I had lost my mind, but they arrived with the sheet and blanket, I remade the bed, and I slept well. I left this morning to go to work and when I returned this evening and went to get in bed I realized I have no sheet. No blanket. I'm back to the duvet.
Why? If I wanted it last night, wouldn't it stand to reason I would want it tonight too?
So now I'm waiting for the sheet and blanket. Again. Sigh.
News from the top of the mountain (posted by Lani)
Back here on top of the mountain, here's what's going on: Yep, our first snow of the season, or at least the first snow that stuck. We've had more since then, but the first one is Special. And isn't the stellar jay gorgeous in the pines? They're noisy, greedy, bad-tempered birds but I'm fond of them anyway.
We've had a gracious plenty of wildlife this week; deer and foxes and bears, oh my! These are my favorite pictures; I had put Pip's bed outside to air, and when I looked up from work a bit later there was one of our foxes, reclining in majestic splendor on his new bed.
He got up when I moved to snap a picture, sadly; I really wanted the curled-up-cozy-fox shot! The deer have been wandering through the yard on a regular basis, the chipmunks are frantically gathering every last bit of food they can find in preparation for the winter, and the bear has dropped a couple of times to prowl up on our back deck, checking to see whether we had left hummingbird feeders or any other bear treats around. I still haven't managed to get a picture of him, damnit; whenever we see him the camera is at the other end of the house.
I'm working again, and enjoying my new work-from-home job doing email support for a large electronics retailer. Let me tell you, it's a treat to be sitting at "work" and get to take pictures like the one above of the fox. I have to say, though, I never had quite the same challenges when I was working in an office ... for instance, somehow my monitor keeps getting readjusted. I can't imagine how, can you? Oh yeah, and by the way, Annie? Nyaaah nyaaah! I told ya my Dishrag Tag team would beat yours! Rematch next year, for sure, it was a lot of fun.
What Ann didn't say in her post below was that Steve hadn't signed up for the marathon in time to get his own slot, and so he had to purchase a "bib" (a number and a slot so that he could run). That slot wasn't in his age group --- but if it had been, he would have come in ... are you ready for this? I wasn't. If he had been running under his own name and age, he would have come in 10th in his age group. TENTH. In his first marathon ever. I'm speechless, so it's a damn good thing I can type. What an absolutely amazing achievement.
Congratulations, nephew Steve. You rock in all sorts of ways, but this particular way is now officially public.
Can I just say WOW. Steve totally rocked his first ever marathon!! I signed us all up for updates at the quarter, half, three quarters and finish. When Don and I got the update on his first quarter it showed that he was running a pace that would have him finishing in 3:26:14, I was floored! He told me yesterday he'd be happy with anything under 4:30 . . . well, 3:26 is under 4:30, I guess!
We got a very nice offer from someone I work with who lives on the marathon route for us to come to their place to watch. Her condo is perfectly situated, the race goes up one side of her block, and then returns on the other side two miles later. So after we dropped Steve off this morning, we went to Kara's and waited for them to come by. Here's the view from her balcony once the race was in full swing. That's a lot of runners!!
There was a Gatorade/Water stop right beneath her condo, so here is the view straight down. All the green - Gatorade cups.
Now to the fun stuff. Here Steve is at 14 miles, running easy and having fun.
And at 16 miles, bopping to the drummers and still running easy.
Apparently, at 20 it got to be not so easy anymore, and he found a Nike Pace Runner who was targeting a 3:30 finish time and told him he needed help. According to Steve, this volunteer talked him through the last 6.2 miles. And he did it - look at his medal!
I think we've found Steve's event. I'm looking forward to more cities, and watching Steve run in more marathons. Right now, he's asleep and I'm sure he'll stay that way. His heart rate was still up around 120 three hours after the race was finished, so he needs to rest and recuperate.
What a day. Talk about digging deep, setting goals and working hard for them, not giving up . . . Don and I both have had our emotional moments today, knowing how much this means to Steve and how hard it was to accomplish. This was his idea, he trained all by himself, and to have him do so well is just - well, I'm so proud I think I might burst!
As you might imagine, in over a month a lot has happened! I'll start with Steve.
When we dropped Steve off at school, Don arranged with Steve that morning so that when Steve was ready for us to leave, he could give Don a signal. I didn't know he was doing it, but it worked beautifully. Instead of Steve being irritated because I was having a hard time leaving, (imagine that!) he gave Don the signal and when we left he was happy and excited. Good job, Don! Here are he and Don as we are leaving.
He seems to be doing great, he told me that if he had known it was going to be like this that he would have wanted to go in 9th grade. I'm going this week to see him, it's Family Weekend so I'll fly tomorrow night and spend the day at the school on Friday going to class with him and attending parent teacher conferences. That night they have a dinner at the school, and then we both fly home on Saturday. He'll return to school on Wednesday, so we have a few days to visit.
This past month, we went to visit one of Don's best friends, Mike, and his wife Michelle. We really enjoyed the visit, and they had just gotten a new dog, Missy. Look at this face - isn't she a doll? I fell in love!
I visited with Mom and Dad this weekend, and found a few pictures on Mom's camera from Steve's visit to them late this summer. Here is my favorite of Steve and Alex, and also one of Dad, Laura and Alex.
Well, if I have to condense a month into a few words, that's about it. What's up at the top of the mountain?