Coming to Christmas


I had Friday (12/23) off, but it was not a great vacation day. Tom, who did not have school, got us before 7 AM. Yet another time, we were sleeping in shifts. Mia took first shift with Tom, but when I got up about 8:30 it was definitely time for me to take over. Tom was being very difficult and Mia had to leave the house. After a while I persuaded Tom to go on a car ride; a change of scene would be good for both of us. It would, with a little effort, use up a lot of the clock and let Mia get home and rest.

Where to go? I have a favorite destination for this situation, the campus of Carleton College. Tom likes to wander around it, and has a couple favorite spots he likes to visit. It is also a relatively safe place to take him–not much automobile traffic, and rarely having large and dense crowds of people. Since I am perfectly familiar with it (class of ’72), it gives me a chance to drop my guard slightly and relax with my memories.

We parked at the lot just east of the Chapel. I got out and stretched. The sun was out and the campus was beautiful in the light. It was also warm enough that normal human beings could actually relax and enjoy the beauty. Alas, this day Tom did not want to take a walk. He got out of the car, stood up in the parking lot, looked around, looked at me, and got back in. However, even being there for a few minutes was good for me. As always, I felt I had once again been able to walk on holy ground, or at least holy snow. Back into the car. I took a somewhat roundabout route so I could see more of the campus, then headed north.

I thought about taking Highway 3–the slow and (sometimes) scenic route, but ended up going back on 35. This allowed me to stop at Woodcraft in Bloomtington, my favorite local source for new woodworking tools. Nothing there to interest me, which was just as well, since it is not a discount supplier. However, the stop added a noticeable chunk of time to the trip, which was desirable under the circumstances. When I got home Mia was ready to take over again and let me have a nap. Eventually one of the aides arrived, as scheduled, to take over the watch on Tom and we could both relax.

Late in the day James, Mia, and I went to the Roseville Barnes and Noble for last-minute Christmas shopping. James found gifts for Mia (with her elsewhere in the large store) and Tom without requiring a lot of prodding from me. I found another gift for Mia, and a couple things for myself. An unexpected bonus was a brief meeting with a Carleton friend in the checkout line–someone I have known for over 35 years. We keep in touch, but do not see each other nearly as we should.

Saturday, Christmas Eve, again started too early because of Tom. Still, I was able to see, and tape, the latest episode of The Woodwright’s Shop while Mia and I kept Tom content. After the aide came I went to the Health Club for a workout.

Upon coming home I thought I would take a few minutes working on the home LAN. Everything went well until I realized I needed the MAC (network hardware) address of James’s laptop. I asked him for permission to look at his computer. He said it was OK, but the machine had been kind of buggy lately. After a very frustrating half hour or so I informed him that the laptop was terminally infected with spyware–it was so locked up that I could not get the anti-spyware program to work. I could not even get Internet Explorer to work. In the course of playing around on the ‘Net, and going to sites that Mia and I really do not want to know about, he had completely neglected his antivirus and antispyware programs. So I told him I would have to reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows–fortunately I still had the documentation and CD’s. He looked shocked when I told him he would lose everything he had saved, but after a moment’s hesitation took it like a man and told me to go ahead. After all, there was no alternative. So I went ahead with the work. After some difficulty getting the beast to reboot (it was that locked up) I was able to start the reformatting and reinstallation process. This took the rest of the afternoon and evening, although I was able to fit in Church, dinner, and wrapping presents around the software work.

I wondered whether I should have taken so much time about a computer issue on Christmas Eve, but the next day I found I was justified. Tom’s presents included a tape and a computer game that he wanted to play on the upstairs television complex. James got a DVD that he wanted to watch. Since I had restored his computer, he could use the DVD drive on that machine, keeping the family peace. As mia_mcdavid has written, we had a good Christmas.

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