I didn't get a chance to ride the bicycle that my father gave me. The vehicular gate to the parking area of the apartment complex in which I live was mysteriously disabled; and a few days later, on 25 November, exactly one thing was stolen — that bicycle. Whoever stole it came prepared with something that could cut through a heavy-duty security cable.
I learned of the theft on the morning of 26 November, as I was packing my car for a trip to visit my parents. The complex manager promised to review the video recorded by the security cameræ. Since the bicycle wasn't visible from the street and the thief or thieves were prepared with cable cutters, I'm pretty sure that the theft was by a party including someone who had been on the property earlier, and that said person or persons had disabled the gate. He, she, or they were probably attendant to the position of the security cameræ.
As unhappy as I was, I considered not travelling, but I knew that I would make my parents very sad if I didn't come. So I went ahead.
On top of ordinary reasons for visiting them, I had been asked to help them get their computers up-graded from Windows XP SPs 1 or 2 to SP3. Although SP3 installed without difficulty on my Windows partition, the installation aborted on each of their machines. Well, we have SP3 on their machines now, but the processes have been trips through mine-fields, with many explosions.
We ultimately resorted to formatting the principal hard drive of my father's desk-top computer, and installing everything from scratch except in-so-far as we have over-written much of the new contents of the Application Data folder with the old contents. It seems to be in reasonably good shape now.
Things went smoother with respect to my mother's lap-top computer, but (at this stage) the OS knows that the built-in sound card is some sort of audio device, but does not recognize it as a Playback or Recording device. In fact, the OS likewise cannot tell what sort of audio device a SoundBlaster PCMCIA card is. I've tried many things, and visited many sites looking for a fix, but have so far failed.
As I've fought with the computers, my mother has repeatedly acted as if my father has been pushing me too hard to solve the problems, while actually my father has at various stages pushed me to quit working the problems hours before I would normally want to stop. I greatly wish that neither would act this way.
Also making me unhappy is the reduced opportunity to talk with the Woman of Interest. My parents are Morning People, and operating on something like their schedule greatly reduces my window of opportunity to speak to her. Then, because I use a head-set, people don't have a good visual cue that I'm using the phone. People have a propensity to start talking to me without first listening to whether I'm in conversation. And, finally, a fair amount of my normal telephone interaction with the Woman of Interest involves one or both of us being relatively quiet for extended periods. (We have
unlimited connection time within the Sprint PCS network, and so leave the connection in place and interact as if separated by a room partition.)
My brother and his long-time girl-friend also came for Thanksgiving, but left on the week-end. Yester-day, they got a quick
civil marriage. Later, they will have a bigger ceremony to which they can invite friends and family. What precipitated the marriage seems to have been that my brother was offered a job in Tucson shortly after being laid-off from his job in Austin. I think that his girl-friend reälized that she should seal-the-deal. (Yes, she seems to have been the one most reluctant to commit.) My parents and I really like her.
With my brother moving to Tucson, my father is now speaking wishfully of my moving here as well. But he does understand that I would much rather live in or near the forests of the Pacific Northwest than in the Arizona desert.
Yester-day, my cousin Lyn (a really nice guy, who suffered some sort of in utero cerebral damage) came to visit my mother. I tagged along as they ran errands yester-day, and to-day as they went to Sweetwater Wetlands and to Tohono Chul Park.
 Actually, we're limited to 44640 minutes per month (or sometimes as few as 40320 minutes). Perhaps not enough if one loves eight days a week.