Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Week

From the whirlwind of last weekend the kids have slowly begun to drive or fly off into the future leaving behind traces of their adult spirits and the sweet sounds of their toddler and baby laughs and cries. They also left a few errant socks and dirty diapers. I view it as a pay day from being blessed as parents with incredible children. I loved raising infants, playing with kids, and trying to keep up with teenagers as the family aged, but to have healthy, stable, and spiritual adult children is the absolute best thing in the world. I didn’t even mind the mostly gentle teasing of how goofy or clumsy I am. I best loved the quiet conversations related to politics, raising the next generation, and even intense discussions of family struggles. It is the mixed salad of personalities, and choices, and feelings, and ideas, and habits brought together under the roof of ultimate love and caring that makes for a dynamic and fun family. And we have it in spades. I’m so thankful for the blessings of the gospel that have so enriched our lives and built this structure of home.
The intense activity of kids arriving started with Don’s April 2nd appearance, and will come to an end today as Don leaves for the base at 29 Palms. Thanks goodness Dave and Danica will stay in the area for a while, because amid the mess and noise I loved everyone around and have a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

Tiana was slowly returning to the real world by the day, but would retreat to thoughts of the mission by talking with an elder recently released from West Virginia at night. She is now in Salt Lake to visit with him in person. She is also there to find a place to live, get a job, sign up for school and move on to the next phase of life. It was great as she drove off alone to Utah and stake her claim to her new future armed with experience and the spirit from her mission. It might be rough for a while but she is prepared with some impressive weapons of self confidence developed over the last few years.
Don is planning on driving all night to arrive at his sister’s place in Southern Utah tomorrow morning and then finish the trip to 29 Palms. He is packing his new car and lots of rest from 30 days of visiting friends and family. We didn’t get enough racquetball in because of his broken knuckle and he said he will ‘tough it out” to keep from telling anyone on base.
I had an interesting appointment this week. It was basically a job interview to work with a large national company that uses life insurance to help with charitable giving. It could mean a ton of new business and we will see how it goes. Yesterday we worked outside with Dave to repair the falling wall on the side yard and it snowed on us. I thought about you and wondered if it was still cold and snowy in Canada.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lots of action and very little progress

It feels so weird not to address this to all three kids, but Don is safely back home with all his body parts. He is one happy kid to have us replace his hard nosed sergeants. We let him shower daily as opposed to once every month or two as he did in Iraq. It is nice to start the tidal wave of returning family in April with Don’s safe and happy return. I can’t wait to hear his talk next week.
It has been a fairly active week of odds and ends that makes me feel I’ve been really busy but didn’t accomplish much of anything. On Monday my new partner, Dennis Graves, and I met to hash out our deal. We met months ago in the temple and finally figured out a way that will allow him to serve the Lord on a mission. Then he will repay the favor when we want to go on our mission. Good things happen in the temple. Mom also came over because they offered to feed us and I didn’t have to buy anything and Mom didn’t have to prepare anything. They made the mistake of teaching us a new card game and the women took on the men and thoroughly kicked out butts. It was embarrassing.
Tuesday was move day as I borrowed a truck and began moving my office to the Tech Center. I’ve been in that office with Scott for 3.5 years and it is weird to move away and I feel rather lonely. The phone and internet didn’t work; and there wasn’t anyone around to talk to. The office was full of boxes and papers and I couldn’t find anything to work from and I thought it can only get better from here. I keep asking myself, “What in the world am I doing?, Will I make it here?, Is this the right thing to do?” I need a mentor.
Wednesday was a great day, because Don came home to a crowd at the airport Linda had arranged. We got special permission to greet Don at the gate and he was surprised and pleased. There were ribbons, banners, balloons, and lots of people taking pictures. All that was missing were the pretty girls wanting to kiss Don. He didn’t waste much time; I handed him off to mom and within an hour Don was the proud owner of a new used car. And mom still had enough time to make it to the temple. We even got to work the veil together. Only one little problem, I made her nervous and she didn’t give the right instructions to the patron and it was hard not to laugh. Then as I reached out during the ceremony I placed my hand on the lady’s shoulder or so I thought. The lady happened to be very short and I had my hand on her head. It felt funny for a shoulder so I felt around and couldn’t find her head. Then I got completely lost and missed a huge part. At that point all three of us broke out in laughter and struggle through the rest of the ordinance. I’ve learned not to work with mom across the veil.
On Thursday I tried to organize my office and finally get some work done. Through all of this crazy week we had been trading bids with this couple selling their house. We really liked the house and really only had two criteria. Mom wanted a view, and granite countertops, and a view, and a three car garage, and a view, and a finished basement, and a view, and a nice study, and a view. I wanted it to be a great deal. On Thursday we settled on a price and the new house was going to be ours. That night I reviewed the comps and there was a problem. The house was everything mom wanted but was a terrible deal and bless mom’s heart she said she would give up the house because he didn’t meet both of our criteria. That was a very difficult decision for her because she loved the new place, and we backed out of the deal. I love mom for giving up on something that important to please me…Thank you Mom.
Friday I went to Ft. Collins and signed a large contract. It was a good to have at least one day during the week to work. We had dinner with the Rodel’s and found out why we weren’t supposed to buy the house. We are going to buy a house in Branson, MO for investment. Rick is the head of a development firm there and has the perfect family resort type home that will be a great deal and provide extra income. We will be able to have our family vacations there. There is a huge lake for swimming, boating, fishing, etc., woods for hiking, shopping, entertainment, biking, tons of outdoor activities and the area is booming. I was thinking of buying there a year ago but didn’t have the information we need, but now we do. So what if it is humid and buggy, we’ll love it.
I finally saw Don again Saturday night. After he bought his car he has been fixing it up and he finally broke the bank with the purchase of a huge stereo system for the vehicle. The rear of the car rides lower because of the weight of the subwoofer. The box takes up most of the trunk – but it puts out a sweet sound. Talk radio will never sound so good. I also had a relaxing stint at the aquarium Saturday morning and found a couple of shark’s teeth.
Yes we have been listening to conference and even though I missed President Hinckley it was a great conference. There was about a dozen times my spirit was tweaked and I thought to myself, wow what a cool inspiration, or I need to do better at that. I love the Savior and listening to the general authorities ends a crazy week on a good note.