How I saved Christmas (for the second time)

(Picture is of Ann & Paul Checketts with some of their grandkids.)

About 8 years ago, I began making a yearly trek out to Utah to spend
Christmas with the Checketts family. Christmas has always been a
really stressful time for me. There were a lot of difficult things
that happened when I was a kid, and I used to get really stressed out
around Christmas time. Going to Utah allows me to get away from that
stress and just relax and have fun.

The Checketts family are LDS and for almost the past 17 years, they’ve
had a son (or their one daughter) on a mission. This year, in addition
to having a son on a mission, they are on a mission on the island of
Cyprus. Younger missionaries get to call home twice a year. Most
usually call (or get called by their parents) on mother’s day and
Christmas day. Older missionaries, like Ann & Paul, get to talk to
their families as much as they want really. Paul & Ann use Skype to
keep up with their kids and grandkids.

Several years ago, when one of their sons Josh was on his mission in
the Phillipines, the Checketts were trying to call him with a phone
card to save money. It was not working, and Ann was starting to get
worried that she wouldn’t be able to talk to her son. Turns out,
someone had written the phone number incorrectly. We had to take it
step-by-step and get the phone number correct before we could get the
phone card to work. I’m normally not very functional on an early
morning, but had already consumed a lot of sugar and was able to find
the solution.

On Christmas morning 2009, I was staying with one of Ann & Paul’s
son’s, his wife and their 10-month-old son. We were the first to
Skype-chat with Ann and Paul that morning and then they were going to
Skype with the rest of the kids and grandkids. We loaded up Kory’s
laptop and connected with Ann & Paul. But, instead of Ann & Paul,
their video was showing a giant white cat. The funniest thing ever was
that every time Ann talked, the cat’s lips and eyes moved. I was
laughing so hard I thought I was going to pass out. Ann & Paul had let
someone use their computer the night before and they had obviously
done something wrong. Now, Ann & Paul are not super tech-friendly.
They can usually make things work, but they didn’t even know what
their friend had done — or how to fix it. Thankfully, I have a
similar laptop to them and brought that out. I was able to quickly
find out that the problem wasn’t with Skype but with Dell Webcam
settings and then walk them through where to fix it. (Or, I was able
to tell them the setting that was messed up and then told them to just
start clicking buttons until they got video back instead of the cat.)

Because we were the first to talk to Ann & Paul that day, they were
able to have the video fixed to talk with all their other kids and
grandkids. And, that’s how I saved Christmas (for the second time).

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