Jeremy had to fly out early in the morning to Minnesota for a two-day training class for his job. Frank got up and was ready to take him to the airport at the butt crack of dawn per the previous night's agreement. But Robin came downstairs all dressed and ready to drive him herself. She claimed, "He just gave me those puppy dog eyes and said how much he was going to miss me. I decided I wanted to be with him as long as possible and kiss him good bye at the airport." Aaah. Romance after nearly six years of marriage. I am so glad to see that with my kids. Frank grumbled, "If I'd know you were going to do that, I'd have slept in!"
We got dressed and had a small, quick breakfast. Looks like Isaiah thought he should share his with Grandpa. It sorta looks like a donut...
We drove to church in two cars. It is kind of squooshy in one car with two child seats in the rear. From church we drove directly to the Penn Square Mall and had lunch at the Pepperoni Grill first thing. We were all hungry! Isaiah was asleep in his stroller while the rest of us ate. Then Frank walked Autumn a bit down the mall to see another kid riding in a Mall Racer. He asked her would she like to ride in one of those. Her eyes lit up and she gave an enthusiastic yes. It was money well spent. Robin and I got to shop while Frank zoomed her around. We traded off, but Grandpa was the main source of propulsion.
The Lego store was a huge hit. Autumn was absorbed for a good 30 minutes at their play table.
After all that time we did buy her a small set of Duplos to take home. I gave her a choice of three options. I guessed she that she would pick the one with the exotic animals as her first choice and the one with the farm animals as her second but I was very wrong.
Her first choice was the airplane - the one I would have pegged for last. Maybe she is headed to be an engineer like her mother and grandmother.
The shoe department seemed to hold a lot of allure. This is not quite the correct way to measure a shoe size but it can still bring a smile.
The clerk in the Macy's shoe department was grinning ear to ear just watching Isaiah and Autumn squealing with glee at each other.
... and Autumn making a round trip with Grandpa on the escalator in Macy's, just for the fun of it .
Monday, July 18th - shoes, quilting, glass
Monday morning, all were off to work and daycare. Frank and I decided to run some errands and minor outings. Oklahoma City has a SAS shoes store outlet near Robin and I often replace mine and Alex's worn out shoes when I am there there. SAS stands for San Antonia Shoemakers™and it is based in Texas. Historical, SAS shoes have been unavailable online and my local California mall shoe store carries the brand but has a six to eight week delivery wait. SAS takes care of their own stores first. Since Oklahoma City is near enough to the factory there are actually two SAS outlet stores in OKC. So I use the opportunity to get the sturdy shoes with a roomy toe box and well-supported insole construction, for Alex. Best of all they have Velcro closures so Alex can be independent. Frank and I had a rather comical exchange with Alex's home. We were not sure of his shoe size, so we called and had them trying to measure his foot and his shoe. Even when getting him to stand up in the correct position for sufficient window of time, the accuracy was not good enough over the phone – no surprise there. Once back in California, I located an old shoe box of his and was able to order a pair for Alex and have them shipped.
I use the women's version of Alex's shoe as a good walking shoe. I bought and paid for shoes for me at the south store closer to Robin, but the correct size had to be transferred down from the north store. It had not been transferred yet and so the store staff developed a convoluted plan where an employee from the north store would work at the south store on Tuesday and bring the correct shoes with her. After this was agreed, I changed my mind. The north store was relatively close to a quilt shop I wanted to visit, so Frank and I decided, what the heck, we'd swing by and pick up the shoes ourselves. The staff at the north store was joking what a nightmare for the accountant – shoes paid for at one store, scheduled to be transferred, picked up instead at a different store where there was no record of their purchase, and an employee whose work schedule had been modified and unmodified. It is enough to make an accountant surrender.
I can't go to Robin's without a trip to at least one of her local quilt shops. This trip I visited Quiltworks. I did fall in love with this display quilt and ordered the pattern to be mailed to me once home in California. For more about this quilt and about my purchases at the quilt store refer, to my DianeLoves2Quilt post for July 26th.
Frank visited a stamp store in Oklahoma City that he got a real kick out of. It was like a philatelic coffee klatch of about eight guys sitting around jovially shooting the breeze about stamps and life in general. He made some new friends, bought some supplements and stamps he'd been looking for, and decided to be sure to return there his next visit to OKC. The store is simply called The Alexanders.
On his way home after the stamp store, Frank picked up a repaired window. The previous week Frank and Jeremy had been inspecting a window in Autumn's room that had fogged up due to loss of vacuum between the double panes. In trying see how to remove it, Frank and Jeremy had broken it and had to find place that did quick turnaround service. Frank called the shop and learned happily that it was ready to be picked up, so he did. That meant he and Jeremy could install it the next morning – before we left for the airport. These pre-airport projects are getting to be a tradition. Last visit I was pacing, suitcases packed and nervously looking at my watch, while they were installing a cat door!
Once back to home base, Frank worked on some mini-projects around the house. This outlet plate under the kitchen counter had been crooked since it had been mounted at a different level than the paneling. It was a minor cosmetic quirk but one that had been bothering Frank, Robin, and Jeremy for years. Frank chipped away at it and fixed it. I couldn't catch photo of him in action but Isaiah periodically crawled over to "help" Grandpa.
I busied myself about the house, washing the Gymboree clothes from Friday's purchase, and doing the bulk of our packing for our return the next day. I made a big batch of sloppy joe for dinner and to leave behind a few meals for them in the freezer. I also started reading the book I had been saving for our return flight.
We were lucky that the repairman for some air conditioning ductwork made his return visit on Tuesday while we were still here in the day time hours when Robin and Jeremy had to be at work. He had totally botched up the job the previous week when we had stayed in to accommodate the appointment time. He was supposed to reconnect a duct and, when he left, there was no airflow from the register and the duct was totally stuffed inside with insulation. Frank, furious, had called the company, leaving repeated messages and being called back, not by a knowledgable technician, but by some clueless administrative staff. At one point the clerk on the phone said, "Sir, there is no need to yell at me." Frank's retort was a classic. "Well, I am from California and we are not as nice as the people from Oklahoma." He further iterated his frustrations and demanded that the company address the issue immediately! Apparently being Californian not-so-nice works! It had taken two attempts but at least we were able to successfully check another item off their "To-Do" list before we left.
Wednesday, July 20th - home and SWA debacle
The morning we were leaving, I braided Autumn's hair for the final time this visit. This time she requested Anna (not Elsa) braids from Frozen. Here she is hamming it up saying "Cheese," so I could take a photo.
Isn't this a priceless photo? Autumn asked to wear the flower so I do not know why the glum face. Maybe because Grandma and Grandpa were leaving?
Lots of people at Southwest Airlines' terminals all across the country had similarly glum faces that day. A power outage glitch in Dallas had caused all of Southwest Airlines' servers to shut down. All flights to all 90 cities they served were shut down. We were somewhat fortunate, or unfortunate, depending if you are a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person. We had completed the first leg of our journey, from Oklahoma City to Denver, and were just about to board the plane for our second leg, the Denver to Oakland flight, when the outrage occurred. Consequently when services resumed, we were one of the first SWA flights depart from Denver. We had a different plane leaving from a different gate but, all in all, we accumulated only a two hour delay. A lot of processes needed to be completed manually and so delays and missed connections accumulated. Some people's flights were cancelled entirely and they had 12 or so hour delays.
It is amazing how insidious the impact of that glitch was. Many of the features we take for granted, behind the scenes type operations, were affected. None of the terminal signage announcing what flight was leaving from which gate was correct. People had to listen to learn what gate was their new assignment. Paper boarding passes were golden. People who were relying on the boarding pass on their cell phone were instructed over the PA system to take a screen shot of the boarding pass if they had downloaded it to their phone. Once the servers were up again, records of all boarding passes for flights that were supposed to have left would be obliterated. Our plane had to be fueled to a corrected amount since it had been intended to go to a different destination. Our luggage had to be moved. All weights and measures and their corrections had to be made and entered in the proper paperwork manually. Our flight crew was within four minutes of being pulled from service because they were reaching their maximum allowed work time. We waited for paperwork for that variance otherwise we would have needed to wait for a different flight crew to arrive from another destination. See the Catch 22 here? How late would that new flight crew have been arriving from who knows where and how close to their work time limit?
All that, and we were only two hours late. We were lucky. This is what the scene looked like at the Oakland airport when we deplaned. It was pretty much solidly packed with travelers. With the SWA website down, people could not check their flight status and adjust the time they came to the airport. It was a true logjam of traveler bodies.
Frank and I went to collect our luggage. It had come intact and on our flight with us! Here is the SWA storage area for the unclaimed or misdirected baggage of the less fortunate travelers.
Frank and I had just come off a high from seeing Robin, Jeremy, Autumn, and Isaiah and I had a pretty decent book to read and so all was good. We found the car easily in the parking lot, its battery started, and we drove home with a sighs of both relief and contentment. The trip was an A+ for visiting, resting, and accomplishments.