Monthly Archives: November 2012

A great way to spend 26 hours straight without sleep

Being awake for 26 hours straight is usually not something you look forward to.   If at the end of the wait you end up with your first grandchild, then I would have gladly gone another 28 hours.   One year ago on November 20, 2011, my granddaughter Chloe Angeline Harlow was born.

The year that followed has been nothing short of magnificent.   Chloe is a sweet, precious young girl with a smile that will melt anyone’s heart.   I watched her as she took the little steps in growing up that I saw her mom and aunt take when they were babies.   I certainly wish I was not so far away.  I live 84.2 miles away from her, and the trip from San Antonio to Round Rock can take much longer because of Austin traffic.    My work schedule does not allow me to go up to see her as often as I wish I could.  That is probably a good thing, because I am sure that her mom and dad would be tired of seeing me at their door every day trying to sneak in some Chloe time.

Having a grandchild is certainly quite different from having your own children.    Although I love my kids with the very fiber of my soul, there is an extra dimension of love and caring that I hold for that little girl. I want to hold on to her and never let her go.    Because I live away from her, it takes her a while to get to recognize me each time I see her.    It takes quite a bit of will on my part not to break down each time that she is hesitant when I first arrive.    Once she sees me for a while, though, her sweet little spirit jumps out at me and turns me into a big tub of goo.

Her middle name is special to me too.   My mom’s name was Evangelina and Chloe’s middle name was meant as a tribute to her great-grandma that she never got to meet.    I just know that my mom would have melted around Chloe.

Anyway, back to the 26 hour wait.   I was in the middle of a weekend training event for Boy Scouts that I do once a year.   Jessica told me that she was going to be induced on Friday morning at 5, so I made arrangements to leave the training course to drive to Austin.   We left for Austin at about 3 a.m.   When we arrived at the hospital, we asked for directions to Jessica’s room.    To our surprise they said that there was no one in the hospital by that name.

After freaking out for a little bit, I called my daughter and she told us that she had sent us a message at about 4 a.m. that the hospital was overbooked with natural deliveries and that she should stand by at home until they called her.   My wife and I had breakfast and headed to their house.    My son-in-law called repeatedly and was told to stand by.   After a few more hours of delay, I got on the phone with the charge nurse (pretending to be my son-in-law) and used a few choice words about having to wait around.  An hour later, the call came.

We all headed to the hospital at about 6 to start this adventure.  The doctor came in, ordered the pitocin, and we waited.   And waited.   And waited.   They brought the medication in to her room, but no one ever bothered to hook her up to the IV drip.   When the doctor came back in to see how Jessica was progressing she was quite surprised that it had not been taken care of.    Boy was she mad!!!

So after several hours of waiting to get in, and a few more waiting to get medicated, the process began.  By this time a lot of family had gathered and we were taking turns in and out of her room.    When the pitocin kicked in, we got thrown out of the room.

At 3 in the morning, her mom came out and told us that Chloe was here and was just a beautiful child.  I had to agree.  My life has never been the same since.

After hanging around for a while, my wife and I drove back to San Antonio, straight to the Scout training site where I was scheduled to do a presentation at 9 a.m. After the presentation I took a short nap, but I don’t remember much about the rest of that day except that anyone that came within a few feet of me had to endure me showing the pictures of my granddaughter on my phone.

Every grandparent thinks that their grandchildren are the best and I am no exception.   I am proud that I have a grandson (with my stepson JJ) that considers me to be his grandpa.  Now I have a little girl that already has me wrapped around her little finger.    What a great way to spend 26 hours.Image

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I’ve got a tortilla, I don’t need a fork!

I made a great friend when I was in law school in late 1977.  We were from totally different parts of the country, I was from El Paso and Jacob was from New Jersey.   We tried to teach each other things about each others experiences, backgrounds and cultures that we were unaware of.      Jacob taught me about pastrami on rye, bagels, and the traditions of Passover.  I explained menudo, cumbias, and fajitas.

Some of our journeys were to the little Mexican restaurants that used to exist in East Austin (before the gentrification of the area).  We used to be able to eat lunch for about $3 with some of the largest plates I have ever seen in my life.

One of the times that we were feasting on the fabulous menus that were available we showed up during a very busy lunch time.   We walked into the restaurant and Tenchita, the waitress, told us to find a table and she would be with us as soon as she could.    She brought out our lemonades and the large combo plate that we usually ordered.   About five minutes into the meal I dropped my fork on the floor. Jacob frantically tried to get our waitress’ attention to no avail.  I just casually kept eating using bits of my tortilla to scoop up my food.

Jacob just stared at me as I continued to eat, and told me that I should just wait until I could get a clean fork to finish my meal.  My response?  “I have  a tortilla, I don’t need a fork!”

Needless to say I was able to finish my meal without the need to resort to the use of my utensils.  In fact, I cleaned the plate completely.    Jacob was just amazed!  “How did you know to do that? ” he asked.   At that point I realized I could not answer the question.  It was something that I had always done.  It was part of my Mexican DNA.

I learned it through osmosis,  I guess.  I know I had seen my grandfather do it, and I know that a lot of my friends ate that way too.  Some things aren’t taught, but are learned just by hanging around.