Several SLAARC members were gathering at 10:30 AM this morning to unload the Field Day equipment from Steve’s trailer and store it in the South Lyon water tower. I was going to join them but decided last night to stay home and work on the design for the desk and HVAC chase covers for our motorcoach. Having played ham radio for much of the last week and a half I needed to refocus my time and attention on the interior remodeling of our bus. Besides, Brendan was bringing Madeline to our house sometime mid-to-late morning and I wanted to be home when they arrived. Today was Brendan and Shawna’s 4th wedding anniversary and they asked Linda if we would take care of Madeline for a couple of nights so they could have some time together without the constant demands of child care. Of course Linda said ‘yes.’
I had a call last night from XPO Delivery Services letting me know the new refrigerator for the bus would be delivered to Chuck Spera’s shop in Novi today between 6 and 8 PM. That meant I would have to be at the shop by 5 PM just in case they arrived early and could be there past 8 PM if they arrived late. At 7:45 AM this morning I got a call from the Lowe’s in Howell asking if XPO could deliver the refrigerator in about an hour. Sure, why not; I was still in bed but about to get up anyway and having the refrigerator delivered early would actually open up my entire day. I hurried the process along, had Linda get the receipt, grabbed my iPad, and headed for Chuck’s shop in Novi. Linda was getting ready to go for a walk as I left.
One never knows what the traffic will be like on I-96 headed into the Detroit metro area from the northwest but on this Friday, at the start of a major holiday weekend, the traffic was very light and I was able to get to Novi in the minimum legal time. Traffic headed westbound actually appeared to be heavier than the inbound traffic. I stopped at the Tim Horton’s on Beck Road just north of Grand River Avenue and got coffee which I had not taken the time to make at home before I left.
I texted Chuck to let him know that the refrigerator was being delivered this morning. He called me back to clarify where to have them set it. This would be a great weekend to do the swap as all of the other businesses around his shop building will be closed for the holiday, making it easy to get our bus in and out. But his daughter arrived last night from New York and will be visiting for a week so the refrigerator replacement will have to wait, probably until at least next weekend.
By 9:30 AM XPO had not arrived so I called Lowe’s in Howell and talked to Erica in scheduling. She said she would call the driver and see what was going on. I texted a status update to Linda and continued to wait. By 10 AM there was still no truck and no call back from Erica. At 10:20 I was dialing Lowe’s again when an Enterprise rental truck drove past the building headed east and a few minutes later went by headed west and pulled into a parking lot. Moments later my phone rang. It was the XPO truck driver. I explained where the driveway was and flagged them in. When I ordered the fridge I gave detailed special instructions on how to find the building but the driver did not bother reading them and did not bother calling me until he had failed to find the delivery location for the second time.
They backed the truck into the area in front of Chuck’s garage door, lowered the refrigerator down on their lift gate, slid a pair of lift straps under it, picked it up, and carried it into the shop. I looked it over as best I could and then signed for it. Only later did I notice a small dent towards the bottom of the door. I had an automated call later asking if I was satisfied with the delivery and indicated ‘no’, noting the arrival delay and the small ding. The message said I would hear back from someone within an hour but no one ever called. We do not plan to make an issue of the ding as we will be lucky to get it into the bus and into its alcove with no further damage. Still, it should have arrived in perfect condition and did not.
I called Linda to let her know the refrigerator had arrived and that I was getting ready to head home. She said Brendan had just arrived with Madeline. As I started to back out of my parking spot Chuck arrived so I spent about 30 minutes talking with him about the timing and approach of the refrigerator swap. I will almost certainly take our bus to his garage on a weekend. Only later did I find out that Brendan will not be available to help for the next two or three weekends. Ugh. Chuck called a friend (golf buddy) who has narrow pallets (24″) to see if he could get a 5’ long section. With the long forks set close together on his forklift we can slide the pallet over the forks and have a much more secure platform form for raising and lowering refrigerators, probably laying on their backs.
Linda called back and asked me to stop on the way home for some toddler toothpaste and a toddler toothbrush. I did not know they made such things but I found them at the CVS in Brighton. Not long after I got home Linda had lunch on the table. She heated some veggie nuggets and set them out along with baby carrots, grapes, pretzels, hummus, vegan deli slices, bread, lettuce, and onion. We all had a good lunch with lots of variety. Brendan got Madeline down for her nap at 1 PM and hung around long enough to make sure she was asleep. I took a few minutes to show him the new Yaesu radio before he headed back to Ann Arbor.
I was very tired and took a nap on the living room sofa which is especially comfortable for this purpose, better actually than for sitting on. Madeline slept until almost 4 PM. When she woke up she wanted her mommy and daddy and was a little weepy but Grandma Linda got her quickly engaged in doing things. Linda took her for a walk to see the chickens while I went downstairs to check e-mails. I responded to ones having to do with the transfer of the SLAARC website and domain name registration from GoDaddy.com to QTH.com and made mental note of others. When they got back from their walk Linda brought Madeline downstairs to see Grandpa Bruce at work in his office and ham radio shack. We told her we would help her become an amateur radio operator when she was older.
Linda decided that baking a vegan chocolate cake would be an excellent activity to do with Madeline and give us a nice treat for later. Madeline helped pour and stir ingredients. She ended up with chocolate cake batter on her face and clothes but it was worth it as she got to lick one of the spoons. (Without any animal products, especially raw eggs, vegan cake batter is perfectly safe to eat.) Linda had previously found a small baking set for Madeline that included a small bunt cake pan. Some of the batter went in there to make a little cake just for Madeline and the rest was used to make 11 cupcakes.
After the cupcakes were cooked and taken out of the oven to cool Linda made dinner. We had mock chicken strips (vegan), fresh sautéed green beans, vegan refried beans, and fresh berries leftover from earlier. When the cakes were cool enough Linda got out the powdered sugar and sifter and we dusted them. Madeline enjoyed the decorating but somehow ended up with powdered sugar in her hair, on her dress, and all over her face. I took pictures and then Linda cleaned her up while I cleaned the floor.
After dinner and dessert we played and read a bit. Linda had gotten three Sesame Street Workshop DVDs from the Howell Public Library so we all climbed up into the bed in our bedroom and watched one of them. We played along with the various activities and games and encouraged Madeline to do the same. The program ended at 8 PM which is Madeline’s bedtime. Linda helped her in the bathroom, got her into her pajamas, and helped her brush her teeth. She laid down without a fuss and drifted off to sleep. We stayed up until the last chime of the grandfather clock at 9:45 PM and then turned in for the night. We are always satisfyingly tired after a full day of Madeline.