Sunday, January 25, 2015

Caleb's getting a blizzard for his birthday!

Here's the forecast for Waltham:

Happy birthday . . . we think?  We hope somebody gave you a snow blower!  This forecast reminds me and Dad of January 1978,  when we were living with Claire at 40 Whitney Street in Hartford, Connecticut.  Actually, we were living here, only it was snowier then (look, Claire and Tom, it's still the same color!):

It snowed all evening and all night until Claire woke us up in the middle of the night to tell us that the roof of the Hartford Civic Center had collapsed under the weight of the snow, not long after it emptied out of people who'd been there for a UConn basketball game.

When the snow started the evening before, I was stranded at work at the Oak Hill School for the Blind.  I was expecting to have to stay there overnight, but Dad skied over from our house on Whitney Street with my skis on his back.  We skied back home through the wild blowing snow, past cars and buses stuck all kitty-corner and sideways in the drifts on Asylum Street, and then through the snowy paths of Elizabeth Park until we made it home.  The next day, we went skiing through the streets of downtown Hartford.  (All these years, I thought that all this happened in the Blizzard of 1978 -- but no -- I just looked it up, and the storm I'm describing was merely a forerunner.  The Civic Center collapsed in January 1978. The Blizzard of 1978 arrived a few weeks later, on Feb. 6-7 -- Laura's birthday-to-be!  In future, I suggest that all Murphies stay out of New England on their birthdays.)

Anyway, Caleb, we hope you have a happy birthday, historic though it may be.  This must come as quite a shock after a week in Florida.  We hope the power stays on long enough for somebody (Kate!) to make you a birthday cake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jamie visits Norwich

We met Caleb in Albany on Friday afternoon and brought Jamie back with us, bag and baggage.  He brought along a Victoria's Secret bag full of toys -- mostly trains, natch -- and some of the trains went with him everywhere all weekend, even outside to play in the snow.  (They're in the bag.)

 He brought his sled along from Waltham.  It was too cold to stay out long on Saturday, when we took these pictures, but it was warmer the next day and he had a lot of fun getting hauled around the yard and sliding down the hill in the backyard.

We built a snowman on Sunday.  He was very perplexed as to why it had a carrot for a nose and why he couldn't eat it.  (Luckily, Dad gave us two, so he ate the other one.) Update: if you enlarge the second picture, you can see the partially-eaten second carrot in his hand.

He chose to wear his train sweater two out of the three days he was here. I think he's pointing at a train on the floor to compare it to his sweater.

He wore it (under the coat) to the Train Museum, where he was enthralled by the electric trains of various sizes buzzing happily around half a dozen detailed layouts of landscapes dotted with houses, stores, trees, stores, trainyards, roundhouses, and busy model people doing busy model things.  There was a detailed layout of Norwich in the 1950s, a circus train, a fantastically detailed model of a Corvette car dealership, a big train running around the ceiling that used to be up by the ceiling at the Tops supermarket (do you remember that?  I do, sort of) and a trolley car zinging back and forth and back and forth, as well as showcases on every wall full of all kinds of toy train cars and equipment. Jamie wasn't allowed to touch the trains, but it didn't seem to bother him, and there were buttons he could push to load logs from a conveyor belt onto a train car, unload milk cans from a refrigerator car, operate carnival rides by the circus train and such.  He was enchanted for well over an hour, asked lots of questions that almost all began with "Why," talked nonstop and made a hit with the half-dozen senior citizens who belong to the Model Railroad Society, set up the layouts, run the museum and operate the trains to make small boys smile.  They told him that they used to have a Thomas engine but its motor burned out, and that fascinated and mystified him -- why did they have a Thomas train?  Why didn't they have Rosie?  Why did the motor burn out?  Why couldn't they fix it?  Why couldn't they buy a new motor?  (Couldn't find one, they said.)  Why couldn't he see it?  Why?  Why? Why?

It's officially called the Bullthistle Model Railroad Museum and it's a pretty great little place.  Jamie asked if we could go back the next day, but it's only open on Saturday afternoons.  We'll go back next time he's here on a weekend.  You should come, too.

We went to the Classic Car Museum the next day.  Dad had previously visited with Grandma Murphy, but I'd never been there before.  I was amazed by how absolutely beautiful and interesting the cars are.   There are over 160 of them -- many of them rare or unique -- as well as displays of period clothing, airplane engines and other intriguing things.  You could spend hours there.  Jamie, however, was not as interested in cars that don't move as trains that do.  He still had fun; he liked the two cars he was allowed to climb into, as well as the long broad corridors between the cars -- good for running Very Fast -- and the gift shop, where he acquired a new shiny red toy sports car.  We'll go back when he's older.  You should come too. 

Back at home, we made some playdough, and he spent a long time happily messing around with rolling pins, cookie cutters and other implements of playdough destruction.

"Grandma, I have a very important job to do."

He slept 12 hours every night without a break, wore undies successfully during the day, and was happy and cooperative all the time.  No meltdowns, no crankiness, even though he took no naps.  (We just didn't try, figuring it would be a struggle and he'd sleep better at night without them.)

However, he did get tired of having his picture taken.

On Monday, we met the Vanderhoofs for lunch and a Jamie-handoff at a friendly little restaurant in PA just a short way south of the NY border.  The nice waitress took our picture.  

Dad got Jamie to smile for the pictures by ordering him not to laugh.  (That tactic is working really well on him right now.)  Here's Jamie sassing Dad by disobeying him.

Then, off he went with Nanna and Pop-Pop.  

We had a great time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another surgery

Dad had surgery today: arthroplasty to replace the worn-out joint in his right thumb.  It was a rather cool procedure that involved removing part of the trapezium bone and inserting a small piece of tendon taken from nearby in his forearm into the space, to cushion the joint and permit comfortable movement. On Thursday, he'll get a cast to replace the bandage on his arm, and will wear that for 6 weeks or so. He was pretty uncomfortable earlier today -- after his experience and mine in November, we are not very impressed with post-surgical nursing care and pain management at Bassett --  but he's feeling good tonight.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas Part 2: Too Many Murphies

Don likes his backscratcher.

Jamie's a methodical present-opener.

 And he likes his truck.

 Grandma likes her pictures.

 Claire either likes her bag, or is too polite to say she doesn't.

Luke likes his rock troll, but doesn't get to keep it.

Michelle's having fun.

Grandma takes a walk.

What did Jason say that was so funny?  I can't remember.  Perhaps that's for the best.

As I said, too many Murphies.

Or maybe just enough.

Christmas Part 1: Playing with stuff

Playing Twixt:

Playing with blocks:

Playing poker:

Playing with a present:

Playing pool:

Playing with Christmas glasses: