Thursday, December 29, 2016

that hour we spent talking to dish network

Jack and I just spent the last hour on the phone with Dish Network.

Waste of time?  I don't know.

What are you supposed to do when your local NBC affiliate suddenly goes off the air because it can't reach an agreement with your tv provider so you realize you aren't going to get to watch the last week of football before the playoffs.  And if it goes anything like the last time this happened when Fox 13 couldn't come to terms with Dish and went off the air for weeks and only just resolved it all barely in time for the start of the football season--well, it seems likely we won't see the playoffs (playoffs!) or the super bowl and, well, it was concerning.

And since Jack had surgery on his thumb this afternoon and was a little medicated, it seemed like as good a time as any to tell Dish we either wanted our local NBC affiliate back or we wanted out of our contract.  And of course, they insisted they were working on the affiliate issue 24/7--seriously? 24/7?--and there wasn't any way they could waive the early termination fee, which, wait, there's nobody at Dish who can waive the fee and let us out of the contract?  Well then we need to talk to your supervisor.  So that was the story, one supervisor after another until we were talking to the secretary to the president of Dish.  Seriously?  And they all had the same script.  Which is, I'm just gonna say, really frustrating.

Pretty early on in the call, Jack realized Dish wasn't going to let him out and he didn't really want to change providers because we like those Dish hoppers. 

After an hour it was time for another pain pill for Jack.  And by then, the secretary to the president had set us up for half price HBO and Showtime and a $20 discount for some number of months that added up to more than the early termination fee. 

So we're still with Dish.  Paying $35 less per month for some amount of time.  And according to Jack's surgeon, in three months he'll be so glad he had the surgery.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

the time when piano music returned

A few weeks ago, I told Jack I missed having a piano in the house.

When Stuart was in fifth grade, we went to the music store one night to rent a trumpet for him to learn to play in the grade school band.  We left a few hours later with a rental trumpet and a few days later a lovely piano was delivered to our house.  I was so excited to have a piano in our home remembering the joy I'd felt as a kid after hours of practicing and developing a love for sonatinas.

That night was a turning point for our family.  We changed from being a family who listened to music to being a family who played music.  Created music.  Loved music even more.

The kids all took piano lessons in addition to learning to play various instruments.  I remember hearing mothers complain that their kids wouldn't practice their piano lessons.  That was not a problem we had.  Our kids loved to play and if anything, there were quarrels over whose turn it was to play the piano. 

There was always piano music in the background of our lives.  It was a sweet gift.  A blessing to see and hear my children creating and enjoying something so beautiful.

When Stuart graduated from college, we gave him our piano as a graduation gift.  It seemed fitting to have the music continue in his home.  I was pleased when Jessie and Cory bought a piano for their home and when Herschel and Whitney inherited a piano from her grandmother. 

But there was no piano music in our home. 

Until last week.  Last week one night, on the way home from work, Jack made a turn from our normal commute and drove to the piano store.  The same company who had sold us our first piano.   We went inside, me unable to stop smiling.  We discussed the pros and cons of upright bersus baby grand, looked around and found a used upright piano that had just come into the store the night before.  The previous owner had signed the bill of sale and left as we walked in. 

It was, obviously, meant to be ours.  And now it is.

It was delivered on December 22.  Stu and his girls came over to check it out.  As I finished wrapping the last of the Christmas gifts in my bedroom, I heard the familiar sound of him playing some of his favorite memorized pieces.  I will easily admit to finding tears in my eyes in that moment.  And again when Stu brought me a copy of my favorite book of sonatinas--the book from my teenage years that I had played over and over again.

And now the piano music is back in our home again.

Monday, December 26, 2016

this christmas memory i want to remember

I want to remember this afternoon.

I had this idea that maybe if I bought four tickets for the matinee performance of The Nutcracker at Ballet West on the day after Christmas, and had Jack give one to my mom for Christmas, along with an invitation to lunch at Siegfried's, the German deli right next door to the theater, then maybe she would agree to join us--Jack, Jr, and me. 

Since my dad died, she hasn't wanted to go out much, other than to church on Sundays and frequently, Sunday dinner at my house.  I hoped she might come with us, and for a couple of hours, be able to simply enjoy herself.

So Jack gave her the ticket yesterday along with a hand-printed note, inviting her to lunch at Siegfried's at noon.  She agreed to go.

We picked her up at noon in Jr's car.  He drove us to the door of Siegfried's and she and I went in to get in the line while Jr and Jack parked the car.  She immediately asked if I wanted to share a reuben sandwich, which, hello, of course.  Siegfried's also has amazing fried potatoes and mom added a piece of apple streudel that we all shared.

Lunch was tasty.

We finished in plenty of time to walk the short distance to the theater.  We rode the elevator to the mezzanine and found our seats.  As we settled in, mom leaned over and said to me, "You done good, kid."  And then we were transported to the beauty and strength and grace that is ballet.

It could not have been a better afternoon.