Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Other Big C

 One of God’s champions was on deck at the home church and sent out a request for people to prayer for him as he prepared his message. I signed up. Frankly, this is an easy one, both for me and for God: the guy is gifted when it comes to presenting God’s word. I knew he’d be great and God would be pleased.

Then, smarty-pants here sent him a text:  showing up Sunday to see how God has answered my prayers.  It’s a drive that takes about 90 minutes; I miss my church family and long to worship with them in that warm, familiar place so I took my seat…next to his wife…and was led to God’s dais through great music and worship. Then, my friend took his place and brought the message.

Of course it was great. Well-organized, skillfully delivered. And, BOOM. A kernel just for me. That’s the OTHER Big C:  Conviction. For those of you who walk with God, it does not surprise that He tugs, nudges, smacks or flattens His children to get their attention. These days, with fewer distractions, I get the nudges most often.

Morgan’s text was I Cor. 5. Flipping through that mental file, I remembed that the Corinthian church had some major problems and Paul wrote this letter to address those problems. There’s a lot about how the church should handle members who practice various sins. The book is a 1st century National Enquirer except it was not widely published. It was in-house. And that’s where the nudge came

Morgan directed us to I Cor. 5:10  in the context of dealing with practicing sin within the fellowship….10 “But I wasn’t talking about the immoral people in the outside world by any means – or the greedy, or the swindlers, or people who worship false gods – otherwise, you would have to leave the world entirely.”

And then, he reminded us that there’s a lot of acrimony these days for Christians in the wider culture and suggested that we dial it back with the judgment statements outside of the club.

So that brought me some clarity about a situation I had found myself in a few weeks ago:
I got in a tussle with some folks on Facebook that left me sad and unsettled; I needed to find a way to avoid another incident.

Ok: Facebook….it means different things to different people. In my case, I’m able to connect with folks of so many backgrounds. There are my retired-teacher friends who are scattering farther away; there are former students from several key graduating classes…late 70’s,  mid-80’s, late ‘80’s and then recent graduates who invite me into their families and lives. Then there are my DMZ pals and others who found me through this blog or through Mike’s illness.

Some wax political. Some want me to follow some links to other’s positions. Some just want to enjoy life. And, like many, I bet, I got into the habit of ‘liking’ and posting, without too much thought.

I’m guessing some PhD candidate will study social media and its effect on discourse: what I know for sure is that a long lament of mine….that schools were moving away from literature study to embrace math and science…has implications here. We don’t take time to mull the metaphor…to stop, think, consider a word or phrase. And in social media-ville, many just put it out there without stepping back for a few thoughtful moments.

In the years before I retired, we had several incidents of kids getting off the school bus in the morning, ready to fight because of something someone had posted. I noticed that some posters complain about how mean their chosen ‘friends’ are on line. I see that quite a few of my younger friends are closing down their Facebook page. For me, mostly, it’s a place to stay connected and it’s harmless.

However, a few weeks ago, a friend posted something about ‘free will’ and ‘Christianity’ and that we are free to live as we choose.  Oh. I should have let it go but I did not. I thought I was gentle and I thought I sent a private message. Neither, it seems, was true. What followed was the slings and arrows that come to those who disagree. I should have just stopped reading but it was a little like a traffic accident…..and when someone took a direct shot at me (Obviously, Lynne has not read the book of Mark), I just HAD to defend myself.

I stepped away, beaten and sad that there are some young people out there who have been wounded by judgmental believers.

The Big C for me: step back from such forums and just become a positive poster. A little candle of God’s love without the doctrine.  So, from now on, as Morgan suggested, I will tell stories about what God has done for me and for friends. God is alive, we know. We all have stories about how He demonstrates His love and care. In my case, that’s what I’m supposed to write about.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Morsels

The Kokomo house is now on the market. I spent about nine months sorting and choosing, saving and tossing an accumulation of stuff from 40 years in that city.

At the lake, I'm almost finished finding walls and shelves for my lovelies; I've identified cubbies for storage of important papers and collectibles.

I was never much of a  saver; I found that paper could pile up to unmanageable heights so I got skilled in dealing with paper when it appears and then dealing or discarding.

However, I have saved a few special things that have meaning mostly to me. Whenever is was away overnight, I knew I would find something in my suitcase. A note from the hub. These were usually scrawled in long hand, on any scrap of paper he could find.

Here's one.  I have a few.
Lucky lady, me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Gift from a Friend

 This past year has been filled with adventure, purposeful work and much joy. Plus, every so often, here comes an unexpected gift from a friend.

**Mike's and my friend Linda asked me, almost a year ago, if she could make me a quilt. Why sure.

But wait. Did I have some piece of clothing of Mike's that she could incorporate? Actually, I did. Anybody who saw Mike professionally probably saw, if they were undistracted, his familiar blue and white striped shirt. It was his favorite part of his lawyer costume and he had several so the laundress could keep his closet stocked without missing any sleep.

At the time that Linda asked, I was in the middle of the initial purge from the homestead. Most of the casual summer wear had found its way to various donation locations as, well, it was summer and why not get the T-shirts to those who could enjoy them?

In the main closet, I found one of these dress shirts so I handed it to the quilter.

Over the past months, I've received quilt updates, some with technical quilter language that, frankly, I didn't understand but I DID know that much work and care was happening across town and then to a quilter buddy's house where some much more technical equipment resides.

Anyway, then Linda and I tried to coordinate the hand off....she's been traveling and, well, I've been flitting about a lot but we found that we were both in the state for the 4th of July.

Linda drove up to the lake and brought me the quilt. What can I say? It's lovely. It's warm...so good that it's practical; it's washable...again, so good that my friends understand me; ...and even I can tell that it took a lot of time, labor and love. The segments of shirt are incorporated in a subtle manner and perhaps you'd have to know what you were looking at.

I know. Thank you, my friend.









** OK, all you grammarians/punctuation experts. I THINK is this correct.  If not, I'm confident that I will hear from you shortly so I can correct and NOT be responsible for further destruction of the language.     lbol6666@aol.com   Thanks

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/marks.htm

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wisconsin Roadtrip Redux

I have reasons to be driving in northern Wisconsin. On any map, it looks like just a little hop but that’s no accurate. I’ve logged about 1500 miles in the last week.

My route has taken me away from those interstate highways, with their familiar and comfortable blue signage and understandable clover leaves. This time, I’m navigating on state roads and county roads and seeing a lot of the state. Where my part of Indiana is all flat and corn, here the fields rise in gentle, rolling hills and there’s much green everywhere. Tucked in, here and there, are picturesque farms with red barns and silver silos.

I have a loose agenda so the drive has been a leisurely trek with a few pull-offs just for fun. I arrived in All-Lakes-All-Over-The-Place, where the gas stations sell more bait than junk food. I also found Campfire Giant Roasters, tennis-ball sized marshmallows. I had never seen them before but up here, they tell me, they are a staple. A friend told me that if I saw ‘cheese curds’ for sale, I must get some. “You’ll like them,” she said. And she was right. My further route is along Dirt Road X which winds all over and around the lakes. It’s nice to take my time and not need to rush. I can’t help but remember that last time I drove so much through the Dairy State, Cheese State, Brew State, among others

Way back in the early 90’s, the hub and his dad purchased some sort of teeny airplane. A single seater. Fixed landing gear. And apparently to them, really cool. However, before the ink was dry on the payment check, someone…no one ever manned up here…set it down a little hard and the landing gear punched through the wings. What a mess. Some quick research, I was told, found the only two places in the United States that could mend the wings: waaaaaaaay down in south Texas and ‘just outside of Minneapolis.’  It was further determined that one could crate up the plane and ship it…of course THEN you risked it shifting and becoming unrepairable…or you could drive it yourself to the airport with the skilled technician.

It was then decided that the hub would rent a truck, load up the plane, and drive it. He said, “Don’t worry about it. YOU don’t have to do anything. My brother and I are leaving Friday and will be back Sunday night. YOU don’t have to do anything. I’m just telling you so you’ll know.” And did I mention: YOU don’t have to do anything.

I believe he forgot to run it by his brother. So, when I got home from school, in the driveway was a truck and a foot tapping attorney. “Where have you been?” as I was late. The quick version was that I needed to suit up for a long haul and we needed to get on the road.

Our transport was the smallest diesel you can drive without a special license. The hub announced that he would do all the driving and I was coming along for company. Oh, ok.

We headed north and hit Chicago rush hour on a Friday night, in the rain. Trucks DO get a special lane through the toll booths but it took about 2 hours to drive 40 miles. Once we escaped, we headed to the Wisconsin State Line. When it was time for gas..diesel, we turned into a truck stop fueling place, complete with showers and gambling machines. It was bright and clean and had only one restroom marked TRUCKER. Mike stool guard as I entered and utilized the facility. About midnight, with Mike showing no sign of stopping, I asserted that I would be a much better companion if I had a few hours to sleep so with a grimace on his part, we pulled into a small roadside hotel near Eau Claire.

The next morning we were off again, headed to Minneapolis and “right beyond it.” It was a bright and sunny Saturday and, coincidentally, Tennessee Ernie Ford passed away the day before. So, almost every radio station was playing tribute songs. And, in those days before CDs and MP3, I wanted the radio to break up monotony. Alas, on this rental truck, the radio was stuck in the SEARCH mode, so every 10 seconds, the station would switch and we’d hear another snippet of Ernie. Or polka music. There’s ALWAYS polka music wherever you go.

We drove through Minneapolis and just beyond. We drove some more. And then some more. When we saw the sign for Fargo, North Dakota, 45 miles, Mike announced that we had arrived.

We found the airport where several large Norwegians stepped forward to view our truck’s contents. They did not, by the way, help unload our load. Some low level discussions and some exchanging of cash and we were off on the return trip. We arrived back in Kokomo Sunday night, a bit road weary and in need of a bath.

When repair was completed, Mike and his dad flew up there and both flew back, wingmen once again.

I did not get to enjoy Wisconsin slow scenery on that trip so this time, I’m all about seeing the sights. All over, it's gorgeous and green.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Victim of my Devices

The other day, I sat pecking on my laptop as my tablet streamed live TV.  My cell phone rang and as I answered it, I glanced over my stuff and felt all 21st century and a bit overwhelmed.

As one of those antiques who remembers 3 television stations, party lines, and shut downs at midnight, my travel through technology has been an adventure.

It was handy to be a teacher when computers invaded society. During my second year, I was housed, temporarily, in the new COMPUTER ROOM of the remodeled high school. It was an oversized classroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, many electrical outlets and lots of small, red, blinking lights. I believe we were expecting to automate the reading of ‘key punch’ cards that we filed manually at that time. At any rate, the school folks expected huge machines, walls of them, to bring the school up to date.

Those machines never appeared; the lights remained and my students liked the d├ęcor.

About 10 years later, I sat at my first word-processor, typed something on a keyboard that appeared on a screen. THEN, as directed, I hit the PRINT SCREEN button, heard a CLICK hooozze, and turned to the right as my typing started to print out on a separate device. I believe I sat transfixed until the document was complete. Amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

At that time, the school purchased whole rooms of word processing machines and started requiring all students to learn them. And then, that requirement became an amusement as students started owning their own devices at home.

As for me, I recovered from the thrill of the over-there printer but continued to learn and then purchased my own computer for our home. It sat on a large desk in the corner of our bedroom, tethered to a phone hook-up (‘land line’). I needed a crib sheet of basic DOS commands to make the computer work. I asked, looking for an answer I could understand, what DOS was. Yeah, Disk Operating System. But what IS that? Never got a satisfactory answer but I could follow my notes   C:/bitmax/run    (something like that)

My father-in-law, who was always in front of technology, could sit at my computer, punch in a few commands (didn’t need notes!) and the screen would fill with scrolling coded phrases of the contents of my computer. Whew!

Into the 90s and the Office Stuff: schools wanted kids to learn OFFICE. Logic: they will be able to get jobs. So, although I was not expected to train anyone, I WAS expected to be at least marginally familiar with WORD, EXCEL, and POWERPOINT. A bright someone created step-by-step instructions for use during training that could teach a 4th grader. Some began with:

“Sit down, adjust seat for comfort, locate power button and turn on computer.” And then pictures of what screens should look like at various stages of the program.

Although I could and still can maneuver through Office, as I use WORD regularly, that is my go-to program. I spent 10 years writing a weekly newspaper column using Microsoft Works and could navigate without checking the booklet. Then WORD replaced WORKS and I had to renew my education for a while.

Later, as I would supervise my students as they composed in writing labs, I saw them using different keys and commands to accomplish what I would do. I asked someone to show me a few….that right click on the mouse can get some things done faster than taking my arrow up to the banner at the top and dropping down…too technical for you?...and kids are all about fast. I find, that for now, I like the way I use the program.

Side note and one I’ve shared with my teenage students, this after asking, “Has anyone ever tried to teach Gramma how to use her computer?”  This always creates heavy sighs, nods, pained laughter from the kids. I tell them, then, that they have nibbled at the wafer of patience (English teacher, all about metaphors), and that the way to curb their frustrations is to remember to teach her ONE way to do something. Not three. Not the fun, fast way. Not the cool way. The SIMPLEST, the MOST VISUAL, and JUST ONE.

As a Gramma/student, when the teacher begins with, “You can do it this way, and that way and then…” I feel my eyelids curl. So, one way, ok?

Several times in the last 15 years, I have announced that I am DONE with Upgrades. I’ll just muddle through the rest of my life with my vintage computer with the floppy disk drive.

What? They don’t use them anymore? Flashdrive? Cloud? Huh?

At our house, we cleaved to our landline and figured we would not ‘do’ cell. I mean, why? And then we found out why. Mike could drive to Wabash while dictating AND communicating with the office. How many times had he driven 50 miles to Indianapolis, parked and entered the courthouse, only to find out that the case had been canceled, rescheduled, something? Now his assistants could alert him and he could save time and money and get on with the next case.

Me? I found the cell phone a convenience but never carried it with me. My kids would say, “Mom, I called you. Where is your cell phone?”

“In the car.”

Long, sighing pauses.

Eventually, that little, bright blue flip phone found its way into my purse but it was still an afterthought. Upgrade? Nah. Why?

Then, at one of Mike’s birthday parties, my pastor led me astray: I announced that I was going no farther with cell phones. He dipped his head (tall guy), smiled slyly, and said, “I think you will. Check this out.”

At which he fired up his phone, touched a few buttons, and up came a live link up with a most adorable grandson. His eyes were on his phone. “How you doin’, buddy?”

“Hi Gandar.”

“Gotta go. See you soon. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Then, he turned his smile at me and said, “Huh?”

So, with grandsons 1100 miles away, my tempter swayed me to a smart phone and now it’s invaluable.

I think some of us, the 3 channel folks, struggle with trying to UNDERSTAND how it all works. As that is beyond most of us, we use but we are wary. Then, we keep hearing all warnings about how others can get to our stuff and all.

My stuff is pretty boring but I don’t want strangers into it. I’m betting that if ‘someone’ ventured ‘in’ he would quickly see that there’s nothing ‘there.’

I HAVE had a few interesting adventures while strolling through the internet. Once, when a student asked me how to find a graphic for his poem about Little Red Riding Hood, I sat down among my students and typed LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD into the search line. (This was JUST before I learned about Google Image.) When I hit ENTER, I observed my screen filing with pornographic images, in strips of pictures. I tried to stop it….hitting random keys…as my crowd of freshmen gathered and giggled.

When the computer was done belching the images, I called to computer people to report this as we had been warned that anything we viewed on school computers was public property and could be linked to us. The computer guy laughed also and then told me about Google Image. Day saved.

I’ve also endured e-mails that contain ‘tone,’ amazed at how words on a screen can convey emotion. One time, I opened a message from a parent. It was in ALL CAPS and BOLD RED. She was unhappy with me. I remember leaning away from the screen like I had been punched.

Email, by its nature, is abrupt and to-the-point. When the reader has context, it doesn’t matter but many writers don’t establish that context. Personally, after the RED CAP caper, I started always beginning emails with a salutation.  Hi.  Dear…  Something. It softens the blow if a blow is, in fact, to be delivered. Also, on those occasions, rare now, that might ramp up the emotion, I always save and think before I send. Sometimes, a cooler head should run the SEND button.

My newest device is a SURFACE, a tablet which I bought as a lighter writing device. It’s pretty neat and does travel well. But it’s a curiosity to me. The salesman demonstrated all sorts of touch, move, enlarge, swipe things that I don’t use and don’t understand. But sometimes, I touch something and then what I’m working on goes somewhere. I’m learning how to find my stuff but I end up swiping through all sorts of things I don’t use.

There are some lovely perks that I, again, don’t understand. If I close the tablet onto the Velcro-snapped keyboard, it shuts down. Usually. But yesterday, I discovered something new.

I had searched for “All the Poor and Powerful” on YouTube. Up came the most delightful video of All the Sons and Daughters AND several small children performing this wonderful, worshipful song. I believe…but am not sure…that the site is WorshipMob. Or WorshipMob Channel. Or WorshipMob something.

Anyway, I sat through the 5 minute video, enchanted. So I fired it up again. About half way through the second time, I had to move on, so I closed the tablet. The song continued. On to the finish, 3 minutes later. Huh. THAT has never happened before. My Surface salesman might offer an explanation…he’s my go-to guy… but I chalked it up to a blessing. This is better for me on many levels. I wouldn’t understand what I ‘did’ to keep the music going.

Then, this morning, as I ventured into the internet to research something important but tedious, the site reactivated and played the song again. Ok THAT’s a major blessing.

I can abide victimization of devices and the muddle of my understanding: I don’t want to know ‘how’ it happens. I will smile and feel hugged, once again.

 

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

....and Lynne

Mike and I had separate circles of acquaintances. Mike’s was the legal community, in Kokomo and in the many other counties where he represented clients. Some were friends. Most were adversarial colleagues. But they were HIS: I met a few from time to time but I’d bet most wouldn’t recognize me just walking down the street.

My circle was at school: I was a fixture at Kokomo High School for 40 years. I cherish the friendships between teachers, and custodians, and administrative assistants, and even some administrators. Some had seen photos of the hub: few would recognize him just walking down the halls.

Then, there were those who knew us both professionally: students’ parents would hire Mike; former students would hire Mike. And, at home I would talk about students, problems I had with them, funny things that had happened in class. Mike never named his clients: clients need to be free to tell their lawyer anything; I certainly did not need to know backstories on my students unless they came to me through school channels.

All too often, some student would say that his mom or dad or uncle had hired my husband and I could be honestly surprised. If comment seemed required, I would say, “I hope he was pleased.” And then I would get either a nod or some version of what an overpaid SOB that lawyer was. I think my favorite was, “It must be nice, just sitting at a desk, with people throwing money at you.”

Rarely did these worlds meet. Rarely but not never: I had one rather dramatic episode where, in a parent conference, an angry father lunged over the desk at me and had to be restrained. (Thank you, large-chested principal who was in attendance.) No, I’m not kidding. Dad claimed that I had lost his son’s project, just like I had lost an older son’s project AND his wife’s project 20 years before.

For the record, when a student fails to turn in an important assignment, the go-to explanation is THE TEACHER LOST IT. As I never took big-point projects out of my room, not ever, and when accused I would scour every corner, I knew I had not done this; I still remain flummoxed that the mom had been doing a slow burn for so many years and had been serving me up at the dinner table. “We warned our kids about you.”  Sigh.

That particular, rather nasty encounter had shaken me... overt threats of physical violence will do that...and I took it home. Because the names didn’t match, it took a few minutes for Mike to give me a possible explanation: he had represented a relative who ran out of money and so had paid his fee with his custom, tricked out, very nice motorcycle. He and his attorney had signed an agreement that the fee would be paid within the year. The client had some expectation of finding money to pay the fee and planned to pay but after 2 years and several contacts, Mike sold the bike. His former client and his extended family were not pleased. Somehow, they figured I had something to do with this: those Bolingers just sit at home plotting how to ruin our lives.

And, in our small town, there may have been other classroom problems that connected with Mike’s practice but none come to mind. So, the point is that we had a circle of friends who knew one of us.

But, of course, there were the Mike and Lynne’s friends. Family, of course. Friends at church. Friends in the neighborhoods. And during the last 4 years of our marriage, that group grew. And grew close to us.

And, here’s what’s hard right now, hard for me but something with which I must deal: when I come upon friends who loved Mike as part of Mike and Lynne…..I sense a sadness, perhaps a renewal of grief on their part. I am the reminder of what is now lost.

Among strangers, I’m just that tall lady. But even among school friends who did not know Mike, I’m his widow….

This may be one reason that I’m sad when I revisit the places we shared and see it in the eyes of those who loved him. It’s part of the process, difficult for all of us.

My move to the lake and San Antonio, I have opportunities to make new friends and find new avenues. But I will miss the dear friends of Mike and Lynne as we navigate a new relationship.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Felt like Mary and Joseph

I am a blend of World Traveler/Small Town Gal

This year, I have been able to visit with about 20 people who came to us through our blog. I wanted to meet with them, match faces with names, and take them (and family) out to dinner to thank them. I know that this plan, from several Internet savvy friends, sounds a bit odd or even scary. In actuality, it has been glorious.

But all this travel presents different challenges for me. I guess I had lost track of how many miles I've covered. For our recent sisters/nieces trip, I had purchased a portable clothes steamer as my sister gave me a blouse that wrinkles when you look at it. My niece Sarah, who travels for business, liked the steamer. I said, "When this trip is over, you can have this. I don't travel much."

At which, she stared at me like I had giant asparagus growing out of my ears. "What?" she said. "You travel a lot, Aunt Lynne."

Oh. I guess she's right. The family has been keeping tabs. She can still have the steamer. But, this year has been unusual for me in many ways: traveling is just one part of my adventure.

I remain, still and probably always, a bit of a small-town gal. I can remember when it was routine that you could return merchandise without a receipt in my town. The first time Target got all receipt-requirement on me, I swore I'd never shop there again. Got over it, by the way. You can still shop, in Kokomo and Warsaw, without fretting over receipts. I like that. Simplifies my life.

Mike and I traveled a bit but our trips were habitual and simple. We learned that if we could flash a credit card and some ID, the airline and hotel could locate our reservations. But, this week, I needed some big city skills and I crashed and burned.

My week began with a flight from Anchorage to Los Angeles. I spent a long weekend with Gwen, a friend I met on the Dennis Miller Zone message board; our friendship grew through her following our blog. She had taken me visiting her beloved Alaska, showing me sights and sites that she knew Mike would have loved. She was so right.

I had booked a non-stop flight to LAX and when I checked in, I found that I could upgrade to the last 1st class seat for $50. That meant a much nicer seat, a meal, and a really fun video player. I savored that God hug and enjoyed the flight.

At the big airport, my next task was to get to the LAX Marriott where I had a reservation. This meant that I sat under a red sign, "Hotel Shuttles," waiting for my ride. We loaded up in a crowd. We rode to the hotel. We disembarked, We filed to the line to check in.

By now, whatever time zone I'm on, I envisioned a hot cut of tea and a soft bed.

It took about 30 minutes to get to the agent. She asked me the golden question, "Do you have your confirmation number?"

I had several numbers. I had several cryptic codes for...I'm not sure... airlines? I had no reservation number. And apparently, I had no reservation. And, as it is always the case, there were no vacancies here. Nor anywhere in the LAX area. Something about a convention. A nice lady named Misty was oh so sorry but could only direct me to a hotel 20 miles away. Sigh. I was not alone. Several other people had missed connecting flights.

Then a nice young man announced, "No problem, folks. There are rooms at the Courtyard. Get in the shuttle and go there." We who were without rooms smiled, and boarded the bus. On to the next hotel, out and into the line. The couple in front of me were checking in when THAT agent said, "I'm glad I was able to give you our last room."

"NO!" I expressed my displeasure. "They told us you had rooms."

"We did. These people got the last one."

By the way, having bonded, that couple offered, as sincerely as they could to a stranger, that I could grab a cot in their room. I deferred.

Now, I'm trying to remember that all things happen for a reason. For some reason, I was not at my final stop.  Tick Tick: 2 hours since I landed.

I was tired. I was stressed. I wanted to sink to the floor and just cry. I looked down at the floor tile. I knew that would not be a solution.  So, I asked this agent to call a cab. He said it would take about 30 minutes.

Numb now. But the cab came right away, driven by Si, a very nice young man, who loaded up my suitcase and set his GPS for the hotel in Long Beach. $70 later, we turned into its parking lot.

I was dragging that purple wheeled suitcase by now. A smiling man greet with, "Are you checking in, Miss?" I nodded.

I did NOT say out loud: I hope I am. If you have no rooms, I will be parking one of those couches over there. Or their stable out back.

They DID have a room, a very nice room I bet. So, after negotiating past the drunk guy who wanted to buy me a drink (I'm a doctor! I have a Porche!"), I found my way to the 5th floor and my room.

Joseph and Mary had to settle for the stable and, face it, they had that 'baby is coming' thing. I made a cup of tea and crashed.