Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rough Week con't.

The forces of nature haven't let up from last week. I guess I haven't learned all the lessons I need to at this time. Thank goodness Tiana hasn't had any more seizures. But she did total her car in a parking lot accident and really bruised her cheek with the impact. The car now becomes a $3,000 anchor around mom's credit neck, what a shame. Bryce is having a painful recovery from his surgery. The incision was actually horizontal across the lower part of his neck halfway around the front of his throat. He can't move his head up or down and can't ride in a car for at least 10 days. It is a strain on Marcia and the kids but they are surviving.
The stock market continues to beat up on my business and dodging one court battle found me at another lawyer's office this last week giving testimony over the 1031 loss. It was brutal to be grilled for 5 hours and I'm sick of the legal profession. On the way to Denver I accidently dropped my driver's license down the tiny slit along side the moving sidewalk and it is lost forever. I couldn't rent a car in Utah and mom had to mail me my passport so I could get back on the plane to come home this Sunday. While in Utah driving Bryce's car I hit and killed a raccoon, which ripped the tire protector off of Bryce's car and I had to get that fixed as well. I didn't have my license so I wasn't able to help Tiana with some legal issues and the week was a painful one.
Then I heard that Sean Walker's baby had some serious consequences with his birth and suddenly these last week's painful complications got put into prospective. The markets will recover, Bryce will heal, Tiana is receiving a gift of a car from a friend, I can get a new driver's license, and other than the raccoon I think we will do OK.
While in Utah I did have a great time meeting Preston VanDyke, Tiana's boyfriend, with interesting connections to mom past childhood. We also sat around one night and told a ton of funny stories that made some of the pain go away. Thank goodness for humor and laughter.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Rough Week

It has been a rough week for the family. Tiana is struggling with some mysterious seizures that has all of us worried. Bryce has ended up in the hospital with a running soccer neck injury. We’re still waiting for the outcome of this serious accident. On a lighter note, I’ve winched and wined all weekend with a very painful toothache – possible root canal and the medical community starts licking their chops at the Barrand family.
I did get in two great dives at the Aquarium, one in the big “Sea of Cortez” tank. A fish had died earlier in the week and so they close the tank to diving and apply antibiotics when a fish dies. So ours was the first dive in over 5 days and we needed to feed the Moray Eels. I’ve been attacked by all those fresh water fish in the Reservoir, and felt a little nervous, but I was freaked out by those Morays. They aren’t usually aggressive but they were hungry and even when I didn’t have any food one kept coming after me when I was cleaning the sand. They are about 5-6 ft long, thick, slimy, green, well armed with sharp teeth eating creatures. Thank goodness they are nearly blind. The folks watching thought it was so funny when I kept back peddling away from the eels.
Things got really crazy when we brought out the food. We hold the large dead mackerels in a long canister and feed the eels with tongs and no mesh gloves. The other fish in the tank haven’t eaten well either over the past week and they were all over us with the smell of food. We had 5 eels to feed. The first bite of fish goes well, and then everything falls apart. The Morey realizes that I have food and starts coming after me with jaws snapping. I have to hurry and dig down into the canister to grab another fish with those silly tongs before the Morey chomps down on my unprotected hand or arm or face. We also need to fight off the other fish in the tank from stealing the mackerel meant for the eels. It must have looked like a comedy act, with this giant green eel with jaws moving coming after me as I swam backwards trying to stuff dead fish in those teeth and avoid being bit. It was wild and I loved it. It kind of reminds me of dealing with lawyers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

You Just Never Know What Will Happen In A Week

You start just fine and it is amazing how a little lawsuit can mess up your whole week.

Yes I was sued this last week, by my own company. They are upset that so many of their reps have left over the past two months that they lashed out at me to tried to punish the other company.

It has been a nightmare week. They charged me with stealing trade secrets, identity theft, fraud, and conspiracy. The complaint was 56 pages of accusations. They had hired a huge national law firm out of Chicago charging $1,500 an hour to attack me and this other company.

My regular work stopped and I launched into overdrive to find a lawyer to represent me in time for a Friday appearance in court. There are a lot of nuts out there and it is expensive to search for a lawyer, but I found one by Wed and we rehearsed on Thurs and prepared for the hearing. Late Thursday night we heard that the two parties may have reached a settled agreement, but we would still have to appear in court. They reached an agreement when the other side realized that they had NO case against me because I hadn’t done anything wrong. I still had to pay for the lawyer.

It was a strange feeling to sit in court (like you see on TV) with a black robed judge, court reporters, and contentious lawyers. The judge read the charges of theft and fraud and I felt so embarrassed. Even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I felt that the people in the court would look at me like a thief. I felt so dirty and wanted to crawl under the bench. It isn’t how I want my name to be used. The judge then announced that there was an agreement between the parties, but I didn’t get to speak up and clear my name. I wanted to yell out, “I didn’t do anything”.

I imagined what it would be like to be brought before the bar of God and have our sins read aloud. As it says in the scriptures (Alma 12:14)

14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

The saving grace would be that Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father and a balance between Justice and Mercy will prevail. If we have repented, then that time before the judgment bar may be a sweet experience. We will realize all that our Savior has done for us personally to remove the pain and embarrassment. We will tap into an outpouring of love so monumental and realize all that we owe our Redeemer.

I would rather read about court cases than experience them first hand and have to pay all the legal costs. Life moves on.

Saturday somewhat made up for the misery of the previous week. Mom and I went on a 2 hour bike ride. And in the late afternoon took “Thomas” crazed Jensen to see the real live Thomas at the Colorado Train Museum. He was in a daze as he crawled over, in, out, and through all these trains on display. For the finale we got to ride on Thomas as he circled the yard three times. I’ve never seen Jensen so calm and excited at the same time. It was a great Grandparent event.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Return to Reality

The mystery tours have ended and it is a happy/sad return to real life with real dirty jobs. So instead of spending my Saturday scuba diving with Don, visiting historic Boston with Celeste, biking with Bryce, listening to Tiana, or hiking around Breckenridge with Danica I donned rubber gloves and was applying chlorine cleanser to my shower in Highlands Ranch. Windex on the mirrors and Soft Scrub on the sink – this is just too much reality. So I took my frustration out on the weeds in the backyard. After an hour or so out in the fresh air, under a perfect blue sky, with the sun in my face I could take joy in the common labors required in life. There must be opposition in all things; by cleaning the toilet I value spending time with kids and grandkids more intently. It has been a great summer.

I can’t claim that the weekend was total drudgery. Mom and I took off late afternoon Saturday with our new bikes and we rode from Kohl’s all the way up to the bluffs behind McArthur Ranch. It was a great ride and I was actually able to peddle all the way to the top without stopping. I was determined not to get off and walk. We were rewarded at the summit with an incredible view all the way from Pike’s Peak on the south to Mt. Evans in the north, just at the right time for that magnificent orange sky that prevails over the Rockies. The 3-D layered mountains with varying shades of deep blue provided the jagged foundation for a breathtaking sight. I say breathtaking sight because it was hard work to reach the top and we both were panting for a while. Mom and I reacted differently to sitting at the top; I was thinking, “the ride down is going to be a blast” and mom was thinking, “I want to build a house right here to catch the view”.

We returned to our home ward for the first time in over a month and the bishop had to re-introduce himself to us. Now things seem back to normal and life can continue.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Magical Mystery Trip Part V - Was that a speeding rocket or some old, balding, fat guy on a mountain bike?

Our last week of travels for a while. It seems like I have lived more out of my suitcase than out of our bedroom dresser over the past month. It is really hard on church attendance. We haven’t been to the home ward during the whole month. Well it is drawing to a close this weekend.
During the week I took a short trip down to Phoenix on a business trip and it was quick and interesting. It is a new opportunity in a field where I know very little but it could be profitable if it works out. I would be working closely with another agency in town to provide health and group life insurance to law firms. The group in Phoenix are all members of the church and it was interesting for all of us out of town participants to be taken to a real fantastic but casual family BBQ place that serves milk and pop instead of the typical high brow snooty place where everyone drinks. It was probably the best BBQ I ever had. The class was such new information that my head hurt but learning something new keeps us all young or so confused we think we are young.
We celebrated the Labor Day Holiday by meeting Dave and Danica up in Breckenridge for the weekend. It didn’t quite turn out like we thought. After my Saturday morning visit to the feeding frenzy at the Aquarium where I got bit several times in the Reservoir and mom’s happy event of the week (horse back riding) – we raced up the to mountains to meet up with Dave and Danica. They threw us the room key, said the kids were sleeping and they would see us in the morning. It had been arranged for us to watch Jensen and Lily all night. Funny thing – Jensen has to have the light on in order to go to sleep and Lily is normal and has to have it quiet and dark. Tell me how you do that in an 8 X 10 motel room. I don’t remember that question in grandpa school. Did I ever tell you that Lily’s yell is amplified many times over in a small space and Jensen rolls his body around making funny noises for many hours after he goes to bed? It doesn’t matter and they are cute kids and that is what grandparents are for – to see Jensen play with his new Thomas the Train set for 2 hours was heaven.
We went to church the next morning and mom had left her make-up home and so didn’t want to see anybody she knew. Well as luck would have it we met up with a whole bunch of people we know from the stake and our temple work and mom was dying inside without any mascara. Is buying mascara on Sunday really an “ox in the mire” situation. The look on mom’s face said yes.
We found a new burger place in Breck that is even better than Eric’s Downstairs; it is Empire Burger and they have a killer Bacon Guacamole Burger. Mom also found a nifty windmill for the front yard at the Breckenridge Arts Festival. Thank goodness it didn’t fit in the Lexus. But she found two mountain bikes that we could squeeze in and bring home, so launches our new together hobby – mountain bike riding. The guys in the bike shop had smiles on their faces as they unloaded a couple of this year’s bikes on these two daffy lowlands who were confused by road bikes vs. mountain bikes, where the rear suspension sits, and which way the seat is suppose to face.
The next morning dawned and we had a magnificent adventure out mountain biking on road bike paths. We will figure out which paths are which as soon as we learn to shift gears – first things first. We hope our investment will pay off and this will launch us into exploring many wonderful and beautiful spots in our great state as soon as I learn to use the back brake first especially when going down hill. Ouch!!!