Last week I got to meet Santa Claus…the real one who rides in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He came to the command to get his official NORAD mission brief prior to his flight Christmas Eve. He is as kind as you might imagine and very jolly. He was especially jolly after I asked him if I was allowed to be a little bit naughty for Dale’s sake. He said that since we would both be on duty Christmas Eve tracking his sleigh as part of the NORAD Tracks Santa effort, it would be okay.
Our watch was from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Mountain Time…the prime hours for Santa activity on the east coast. The watch center logged over 34,000 calls an hour during that time frame and Dale and I handled about 200 apiece! It was an honor to know we were helping Santa and it was LOTS of fun. It was pretty noisy with all those helpers on the lines, and the phones never stopped ringing. I loved the calls where you could hear the children in the background as the parents checked on Santa’s location and time to arrival in their area…and then asked if it was true that the kids needed to be in bed for Santa to stop. We, of course, told them that not only do the kids have to be in bed, but they have to be asleep, so any kids in the house had better get to bed quick. Lots of “You hear that kids?! I told you that you needed to go to bed!” My favorite call was from the young boy who, after asking where Santa was and when he would arrive in their town, wanted to be reassured that Santa would find his Dad in Bagram, Afghanistan. He said that was more important than Santa bringing presents to him. I hope he got a lot. As you can see from the photos, the operations center was busy, but festive, and outfitted with the most cutting edge technology. Only the best for Santa.
I guess Santa appreciated our work as he rewarded us well on Christmas morning. Dale and I got everything we wanted and the doggies were very happy with their haul. We headed over to our friends Bill and Cecelia’s in the afternoon for a fabulous ham dinner. The doggies came along and enjoyed it as well. Bill is a softy when it comes to doggies, and all 3 visiting dogs plus their own dog, Bonsai, were after him for treats much of the afternoon. Max hung out with Dale. Bill and Cecelia are friends from the Hawaii days. We’ve known them for 26 years and spent some holidays with them when the kids were tiny. The only downside of this was the absence of leftovers…oh, maybe that’s a good thing.
The next day I met Cecelia at the little stable where she boards her horse (pony) Willie. He is such a sweetheart! Very well behaved — even bows for treats. That is when he’s not hinting broadly that he deserves one! They are across town from us, but I hope to get out and play with Willie come springtime.
I’ve made some progress on Allen’s sweater — have figured out the shaping for the armholes and almost have the back complete. The fabric is lush, lush, lush! I’ll post a photo when the back is off the needles and blocked.
I’ll wrap up with a quick photo of Paula wearing the shawl that I knit for her. She did finally get a firm offer on her house and she’ll be closing on it on Tuesday and heading for Pensacola, FL. We’ll miss her…she was a great secretary and a real friend. I’m glad she has something from the hear to remind her of her friends back her in Colorado. I hope to see her again — Pensacola is a Navy town after all! As it turns out she’ll be working for a Captain who once worked for me and is a terrific guy. I’m glad.
Stress test and cardiac work-up tomorrow. No real reason — except that my primary care doctor wants no responsibility if I kill myself hiking and running. He says that I’m 50 now, and I need the tests. So be it. I’ll let you know how they go.