Saturday, January 11, 2014

So No Snow Isn't Always Good

Dean can sometimes be as hard to buy gifts for as my father who refuses to give me any birthday or Christmas gift ideas.  Not even a hint.  I’ve thought now and then I should buy Dad his own personal on-call computer technician (do they have those?) but what fun would it be for Dad to watch somebody else reload all his programs and data after he “pushed the wrong button …. again.” If he wasn’t spending eight or nine hours fixing his computer he’d just have to find something else to do anyway. 

Actually, Dean can be harder to buy gifts for than my father.  I can always fall back on chocolate or a Pendleton shirt for my dad but what do I get a husband who has so much already?  What could I give him that he would value as much as his boxes of empty beer cans, zip lock bags of dog fur, containers of wine corks, bins of broken trophy bits and pieces, cans of bent nails, the guts of a piano, a cookie jar filled with used staples and oh, so, so much more?  Finding the gift that will elicit an ahhh…….that’s perfect. I didn’t even know I wanted that response is almost as hard for me as finding one of my eight pairs of reading glasses.  

This December I accidentally stumbled upon the solution to my gift-buying dilemma.  Travel.  But not just any travel.  Travel during inclement weather.  Blizzards and ice-coated interstates worked for me but I’m sure winds strong enough to tip over a semi, dust storms or torrential rain would work just as well. We experienced a bit of weather when we flew down to Tucson to see Abby and Jorge for Thanksgiving.  (Oh, did I forget to tell you they are here in the U.S. now?  Hmmmm…..if only I would blog more……)

Even though it rained the first two days (watch how the weather and travel is beginning to factor in) it was good to be warm since we’d already experienced three snowstorms in Wyoming in October.  

We even took a couple of days and traveled to Yuma to see our good friends John and Deirdre. 

As you can see from the photo above, Dean likes rocks.  The whole time we were in Arizona I was on the lookout for a Christmas gift for him.  A really pretty rock would have been a great gift idea but the last time he tried to carry rocks onto a plane he had to leave them with the security folks because apparently rocks can be considered a weapon and this year TSA wasn’t on my Christmas list.  When it was time to leave Arizona, I not only had no Christmas gift for Dean, I had no idea of what to buy.   But that was soon to change. 

As we sat in the airport waiting for our flight back to Billings, a voice told us our flight was going to be delayed, or cancelled, or we were going to be re-routed en route because of weather in Billings. (Pay attention, weather is becoming more important in the gift buying endeavor). The flight wasn’t cancelled, it wasn’t even delayed, and when we landed in a blizzard we knew we hadn’t been rerouted.  I was so proud of myself because I had planned ahead and put the parking lot number and section in my phone so we could quickly get to our car and head out on the two hour drive back to Sheridan.  I should have noted the physical location of our car instead though because the parking lot markers were completely covered in snow.  We had no idea where our car was.  Dragging our bag through eight inches of blowing snow, in sub-zero temperatures, we began the search.   No luck.  We split up.  That was a mistake.  Blowing snow muffled all my cries of “where are you!?  Did you find it?  I can’t find it!  Where are you?!”  Cell phone!  I called Dean and incredibly, he answered.  He had found the car, scraped it and had it warming up by the time I found him, my hair stiff with snow and my toes aching with cold.  It had been almost 30 minutes since we walked out of the airport.  

It was dark, snowing hard, blowing, and colder than a well digger's boots (as my mom liked to say) but Dean still wanted to drive to Sheridan.  I said no.  He really wanted to drive to Sheridan.  I said no.  At some point during the discussion we called Leslie and she said, “What would you tell Ryan and me if we told you we were going to drive on icy roads with blowing snow?”  We stayed.  Ryan’s sister and husband graciously welcomed us into their home, late in the evening, with only a 20 minute notice.  We walked in, dripping with melted snow, to the inviting sound of Christmas music filling the rooms, sparkling lights, a warm cup of tea and a cozy bed.  The next morning, warm muffin in hand, we headed for Sheridan – still over icy roads with some blowing snow but at least it was light enough we would be able to see what was coming at us if we slid off the road. 

Sit up straight and focus now.  This is where the weather solves my gift-buying dilemma.  Music.  That was my answer.  The music in Michelle and Jacob’s house had great sound, AND I saw Jacob change the song by just a touch on his iPad.  Turns out the music came from Sonos* speakersDean loves music almost as much as rocks and used staples.  My gift buying dilemma had been solved.  If we hadn’t flown into a blizzard and been forced to spend the night I would have never found this perfect gift. 

The cool thing about this system is you can have a speaker in each room of your house and you can play something different on each speaker.  Really!  Dean can play his favorite 300 songs in one room and he won’t have to listen to me play Mumford and Sons for six hours straight in another room.  And it’s easy to use.  For a guy who only learned how to turn his phone off and on a month earlier, Dean picked it up really quickly.  He only had to be shown a couple of times how to open the app and load a song or find a radio station.

But you know what the absolute best thing about it is?  I can turn down the sound on his speaker whenever I want to.  I don’t even have to sneak over to the stereo when he’s not looking to do it.  All I have to do is pick up my phone, tap the Sonos app and move the sound bar.  THAT was worth flying into a blizzard, dragging a suitcase through snow in a parking lot with sub-zero wind chills and driving home on icy roads!  Oh, what a feeling of power. 

*Feel free to use my awesome and amazing gift idea for your special someone.  And if you’re feeling a little charitable, let me know and I’ll send you a referral link.  Enough referrals will get me a free speaker.  And if we send each other enough referral links we can all have speakers EVERYWHERE!



Jerry said...

Keeps my mind sharp (I think), although chocolate helps

Abby said...

I can't wait to see the battle between your phone and Dad's ability to find the volume on the speaker.

Great photo with the MacDonald's!

Leslie said...

I just read this, I'm behind! I love the photos and I can't say more good things about Sonos!