Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dessert With Dustin (Smiley & Family)

Friday was a very special reunion and grand finale for the Smiley Family.

As I posted last week, Sarah Smiley's husband returned from his 13 month military deployment to Africa.  While away, Sarah had a guest over each week to help fill in that void Dustin's empty seat at supper time left.  

At this event, all of those guests were invited to a big grand finale and have dessert with Dustin.

The event was scheduled for 7pm and R2-D2 and I arrived extra early since I wasn't sure about the handicap access to the building.  It turns out, no one else was sure either!  It took about 25 minutes to sort out how we could enter the building and then join the festivities.  Once I had R2's computer booted up, done a safety check, we were set to take the elevator the main floor.

Guests filtered in while R2-D2 and I worked our way into the common area.  A camera crew was on-site and asked about doing an interview.  Without revealing too much, they are from a national talk show and asked about our experience Dining with the Smileys.

Interview completed, we set about mingling...and with an R2-D2 at your side, its rare you are alone for long!  There were so many fascinating people at this event, its hard to hone in on any one.  The kids were happy to see R2 again, the adults who had heard of this droid were dropping their jaws at R2's size, lights and sounds.  

One of the highlights for me was meeting Senator Susan Collins in person.  She came right up to R2-D2, had her hand on the dome and just beamed a huge smile.

Senator Susan Collins and R2-D2
 The political spectrum was made more interesting with Congressman Mike Michaud and former Governor John Baldacci.

Local radio personality Ric Tyler was the emcee for the evening's speakers.  After which, Dustin Smiley took to the podium and thanked all of the Dinner With The Smiley's guests for being a part of their family.

As things were wrapping up, R2 and I spent the rest of our time chatting with guests, answering the many questions about R2.  

To see more pictures of the event, please click HERE to see the wonderful pictures Andrea Hand took.

I didn't have a chance to speak to Sarah or Dustin before it was time for us to leave.  We did, however, spend a lot of time with their sons, especially Lindell. With desserts being on the menu, everyone got to treat themselves to a sugar high!  =)

Sarah Smiley's next book details all of the dinners and will be released next year.  More information is on


From an R2 technical point of view, R2-D2 worked very well.  The battery life was superb, with the only "limit" I run into is that of the netbook's battery life of 3.5 hours.  The electronics battery and foot motor battery packs could have gone on for much, much longer.

The only problem I ran into was R2's dome motor.  In my hurry to move everything from the old frame to the new one, I didn't notice that the dome drive wheel wasn't set right.  The motor fits into a motor mount and depending on how to install this in the frame, it either sits far to the left or right side.  Once I reversed how it was set, the dome drive wheel now makes contact and can move the dome around.  I also had to adjust the mounting screws a bit, since they would make contact with the dome plate.

So far, R2 is working very well in the new frame.  There's some shoulder play I am working on resolving and still refining a few more things.....which, for me, is normal with R2!