Monday, July 20, 2015

Of late

 Quayd left this morning for his Aaronic Priesthood Training Camp.  He was excited, nervous, a little anxious.   This is supposed to be a wonderful experience helping him to prepare for his mission, which amazingly, is only a year away!
Quayd APTC 2015
Grace got her first and second paycheck today!  She's slightly happy, excited, proud of herself!  She made me very proud.  When she showed them to me, after work, I said, "We'll go to the bank and open a new savings account of your very own today!"  She said, "First, tithing, Mom!"  Good girl!
Instead of going to work this morning, ZJ has been lying right here on the Lazy Boy.  She's one sick girl.  She's on anti-biotics now and hopefully, we'll see a new and improved ZJ before morning!  She's feverish, has ear aches and just plain miserable.  Sadness.  The dogs are sharing their chair with her and don't go far from her side when she's down like this.
Speaking of the dogs, they think that they are people too!
Life is good!  Live it joyfully!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

attack of the packrats

First, a serious note:  Mom's manfriend, Boyd, passed away this morning at 4:35.  Mom is doing fine.  We aren't sure when the services will be, but, we are assuming next week.  His children will plan and arrange it.  He lived a long and full life.  He'd have been 92 on Halloween.  Not sure what the future will bring for my mother.  She's lived a life full of trials and struggles and she usually brushes herself off and moves forward.  Enough said about that.  (Note:  The photo of Mom and Boyd was nine years ago.)

Carol and I went just returned from one crazy night in Idaho.  We went up yesterday morning and stopped in her childhood hometown, Rupert, to have lunch.  We ate at the Drift Inn again, outside on the patio, which was lovely.  After lunch and a stop for treats and munchies in Burley, we went on to her home.  We packed a few more things, unpacked our things, settled in for a movie and cards, then headed back to Burley for dinner.

As we were driving back from Burley to settle down for the night, she was telling me a story that was blowing my mind!  We were deep in conversation when she noticed red flashing lights in the rearview mirror.  We pulled over and the officer asked her if she knew what the speed limit was.  Carol, who's much more reserved than I am, responded and gave him her license and registration.  As he was walking back to his car, I said, "Officer, may I say something?"  I went on to tell him that Carol's husband had just passed away a few weeks ago and she was talking to me about it.  The officer, kindly, asked her, "When did he pass away?"  She responded, "June 8th" and he walked back to his car.  He returned and said, "I'm sorry about your husband.  I'm giving you a warning this time.  Take it a little slower."  She thanked him and we drove away.  We had just had a conversation ten minutes before about tender mercies and this was, indeed, one!

We got home, watched another movie and decided to get into the hottub.  Now, one thing that has been most humorous for years, and moreso lately, with every trip to Carol's Idaho home... she is horrified of mice!  HORRIFIED!  Robert's home is in the middle of nowhere.  No neighbors for miles.  Nothing but sagebrush and juniper bushes for miles.  MILES.  The home is fenced with ranch log fencing but the bottom few feet has a mesh wire fencing attached to keep rodents, rabbits and wildlife out.  There's also a cattlegaurd gated entrance.  No critters allowed!  The home is also almost sterile clean, so another reason that rodents would not be a concern inside.  EVER.

(Here's a picture of Doug and Carol walking in the front yard last fall after Robert's first surgery.)
Robert's front yard

Since Robert's death, his daughter took his two spaniel springer dogs to her home.  And somehow, we've heard, a new problem has arisen. We'd not seen any rodents, but we've seen their "calling cards" outside everywhere. So everytime we open a door to the outside or any door that's closed, we knock and rattle it to alarm any "rodents of unusual or ANY size" that we are coming!  I've been teasing Carol about it constantly.

SO. Last night... We're hottubbing.  It's almost midnight.  We're in the middle of nowhere, miles from anyone who could hear a sound!  We're gabbing about life.  My back is to the back door and the porch, Carol is facing them.  The back patio light is on.  Mid sentence, Carol SCREAMS!  LOOOOOOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, SHOOT!!! SHOOT!!! SHOOOT, SHOOOOOOT, SHOOOOOOOT!  (There may or may not have been less Os in the sentence and a few I's inserted.)  I turned to look and sitting on the step, just inches from the back door, the door that we would have to walk through to go back into the home, was a PACKRAT!!!  A HUGE, as big as my foot PLUS his several inch long tail, PACKRAT!  She was DYING!  Now, normally, a mouse would have had me flying from the hottub to the roof in a single bound.  However, this thing was so huge, I think I was in shock.  He actually had a teddy bear face, with big ears and eyes.

I don't know why, but I'm certain that this was one of those tender mercies in life because, I was as calm and cool as could be. I said, "Carol, it's okay.  He's as afraid of us as we are of him.  We're a thousand times bigger than him."  She's still saying, "I'm dying!   SHOOT!  I'm sick.  What are we gonna do?  We're never getting out of this hottub."  Really, I'm confessing, his size was alarming, but he was just sitting there staring at us.  So, I said, "Let's both splash a wave of water at him and he'll leave."  We did. He bolted down between the concrete porch step and the vinyl fence.  RELIEF!  For about 30 seconds.  We were gathering our bearings and trying to make a plan for what to do next.  All of a sudden, we see these cute little ears and big eyes pop up over the edge of the step again.  Then, he climbed right back up there on the step, no fear, and just stared at us.  Carol was dying.  I'm sitting there praying, "Please give me courage because at this point, Carol's not ever getting out of this water."  She's saying, "Oh, no!  What if he climbs in here?!  Move the steps!"  (Can you say Lucy and Ethel?)

I had this wave of insanity or courage come over me and said, "Okay.  Watch.  He's scared."  I stood up and leaned over the edge of the hottub.  He didn't move!  I stood up completely and made little noises.  Carol's saying, "Don't call it here!!!"  We were half laughing, half in tears.  So, I slid my leg over the edge and stepped out onto the hottub steps.  He still sat there.  I took two steps toward him and he still didn't move.  FINALLY, as I took the next step, he slid down out of sight again.  I couldn't get back into the water quick enough!

Carol said, "We're not closing the hottub.  We've got to get out of here and run into the house.  The hottub can stay open, I don't care.  I'm never coming out here again!"  She even said, "I'll give you a hundred dollars to close it!  I'm not doing it!"  We were laughing and teasing and both dying all at the same time.  So, we decided to make a run for it.  We stood up, grabbed our towels and raced to the door and inside, screaming, "Shut the door, shut the door, shut the door!  FAST!"  We were both horrified that he'd climb up and race inside when we opened the door.  Then we BOTH would have spent the night back in the hottub until someone came looking for us.

We got inside and were just dying.  You can't just leave a hottub open overnight for multiple reasons.  So, I said that I'd shower, get dressed, put my shoes on and then go outside around through the side garage and out to the back patio (about 60 feet) to shut it.  Carol stood at the back door of the patio near the hottub, watching through the window as I, loudly, raced to the hottub, shut the cover, latched it down and came running back around the garage door and inside  All the while, through the closed door, she was singing so loudly that I could hear her through the glass, "Did you ever know that you're my hero?!"  We were laughing so hard!

I raced inside to the kitchen sink, washed my hands and, for some reason, walked to another exiting door, which has a huge window in it, flipped on the light to see the front side of the house.  On the porch, right there inches away, on the other side of the door, was a darker and even larger PACKRAT!!!  It jumped up on the front rock wall of the house and raced along it, making a stop at the bbq grill and then, just standing there, looking at us.  We. WERE. DYING!!!!  There's more than one!  What if they have friends and cousins!?!?!

We raced into the bedroom, turned our movie on and, literally, for the rest of the night, at every sound, said, "What was that!?"  It was really creepy.  I was pretty astonished that I'd been brave enough to go outside in it, but one of us had to!  We then talked about our fears.  I've got such a freakish obsession with flies.  I told Carol that I would have gone out and picked that PackRat up and carried it away to the trash with my bare hands before I'd touch a fly strip.  EEEEWWWWWW!  I hate them!  I'm not a fan of mice either.  I've literally slept on top of a card table the one time we ever had a mouse in the loft at the ranch.  But, this was no tiny little mouse. He was, literally, bigger than the six week old kitten that Alan and Jill had shown us the night before.  While we were watching one of our alltime favorite movies, "Seems Like Old Times", I decided to google and read about packrats, hoping that I would read that they hate humans and would never go near them or that they don't like coming inside when people are there.  Instead I read that they are curious and love going inside.  EEEEEWWWWWW!!!  So, I kept telling myself, all night long, that he was more like a dog or cat than a mouse.  I was mostly concerned because of their lack of fear when they saw us.  Evidently, they are considering Robert's yard their territory, not ours!  EEEEWWWWWW!  Did I mention  EEEEEWWWWWWWWW?!!?!?!?

We finally fell asleep with the movie on and my Mom called at 4:45 to tell us that Boyd has died.  We were both awake, listening to all the sounds and hoping that the rats had gone to visit relatives somewhere far away instead of inviting them to come and check out the treats that the two crazy ladies had brought in last night.  We saw no evidence of them having been inside the home, but without dogs there, they are having a hayday!  EEEWWWWWWW!

My mind was just reeling after Mom's call.  I thought about Boyd, about my mother, about our unwanted houseguests and finally said, "Carol?  Tell me a story."  She'd been trying to fall back to sleep after Mom's call, but I would say something every few minutes.  Finally, she said, "A story?  I'll tell you a story.  Once upon a time, there were two crazy ladies who were awake at 5:30 in the morning.   So, they rolled over and went back to sleep.  Goodnight."  Laughing took the edge away and we did go back to sleep until 7:30 or so.

We left this morning, to come home, and were both jumpy, worrying that an unwanted visitor had climbed into the car while we were loading it up.  We took turns keeping watch so that they couldn't get in... not that we would have known what to do to stop them.  I've had the "creepy crawlies" all day, but I've laughed.  ALL day.  And I told Carol, last night, I could just imagine Robert laughing so so hard at the two of us freaking out in the hottub.  I'm certain of it!  We always make the best of our time together.

Life is crazy, insane and apparently, with a variety of packrats, but good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Camp Girls

I just dropped ZJ off at the Stake Center for Young Women Girls Camp.  The girls completely packed themselves, including doing their laundry.  They are growing up too fast!  ZJ was already missing Grace, who, as a fifth year leader,  left yesterday, to help decorate and set up.  It will be a sweet reunion for them.  They are excited for this new adventure.

It was not a happy thing to find out that the old ward girls were going to Heber, a camp with cabins for all of the girls that every girl dreams of attending once in their life, and to know that they were not going to be a part of it.  (Grace went her first year, but Zee has never been.)  For four months, we heard, "Can't we go to camp with the Old Ward too?"  BUT... we felt strongly that they needed the experience of camp with the girls in the new ward, so that they would be able to bond and make connections here.  There's something about YW Camp that unites their hearts for years to come! 

Grace was called to serve as the Laurel President (for the 16-17 year old girls) and ZJ was called to serve as the MIA Maid President (for the 14-15 year old girls) last Sunday.  We are happy to see them excited to serve diligently in this capacity for the time. I hope that Camp is a wonderful new beginning for them where they will connect with the rest of the girls in the new ward It's hard to imagine that Grace has less than a year and a half left in Young Womens!  Time is just moving too too fast!

A few weeks ago, someone asked me if I was getting "excited to finally have empty nest in the next few years."  Heck no!!!  I'm not even excited.  I love the busyness of having kids in the home, I love the fun we have together, I love watching them making good choices in life.  It's not always perfectly wonderful, but I love the energy of being a busy mom, caring for a family, watching them have successes and offering them as much as we have to give.  So, no!  I'm not ready.

Mom just called as I was typing that last paragraph.  Boyd made it through the night but he's passing.  He's very near the end.  The nurse just came in and said that he is doing the "death rattle" and it won't be long.  Ninety-two years is a good long life.

Last night, I got a text that our old neighbors home was on fire and having multiple (about fifteen) explosions.  When we went to pick Quayd up, we went buy.  There were about 25 emergency vehicles lining the streets.  We went to offer them any assistance that they needed.  They are not LDS and therefore, didn't really know many people in the neighborhood.  They've always kept to themselves, but they had a beautiful daughter who was Quayd's age and played with the kids when they were younger.  We'd gotten to know them through the years and really enjoyed our visits with them.  We also exchanged  lots of treats through the years.  My heart went out to them.  We heard from several of the neighbors who were lining the streets that they didn't even know their names.  So, it will be a good opportunity for the neighbors to get to know them and hopefully help them through this mess.  When we left, there were no windows left, the entire home had been flooded with water and there was much smoke damage.  Most of the garage and attic were totaled.   Fire and water... wow, there's nothing worse.

We had Alan and Jill over for a quick dinner, then following our stop at the old neighborhood, we went to their place for a bit.  They are storing our pop-up trailer and we needed more sleeping bags for the kids.  Quayd was excited to climb Uncle Alan's Rock Wall.  My kids would move our home right into their back yard just to be close to them.  Never a dull moment when Uncle Alan and Aunt Jill are around.

I'm heading to Idaho with Carol this morning for a short trip.  Quayd and Doug will be busy doing their thing and I'll be back tomorrow.  Crazy life we are living, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I really should take a quick nap before she gets here since I didn't sleep much last night.  The thunderstorm kept me awake wondering if Grace was in the tent or if they brought the girls into the cabin.  But, like I always say, I'll sleep when I'm dead!  Life is too good to miss a minute of it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My heart

I've had issues continually with my internet for the past two weeks.  I'm hoping that it's been resolved, but this still leaves me with the issues of Typepad.  I have loved Typepad over the past ten years.  However, they have made changes in their formatting and publishing process.  The issues of the photo size is making me insane.  This is my journal.  I stopped scrapbooking when I knew that I had another avenue to use for journaling that included my photos.  Now, I get thumbnail size pictures and I've tried their new procedure for photos in each entry.  It's a several step process rather than the old three steps.  And then they are still small.  I'm more than frustrated.  I'm seriously thinking about other alternatives.  My goal is to make a decision before my bloggiversary in August.  As of today, I'm going to try posting my blogs on two locations to see if I can make the adjustment.  I really don't want to move, but I really don't like what I've got right now.  I'll share more later.

Mom called this morning and left a message that Boyd, her manfriend/partner of the past twenty years, is dying.  He's been on Hospice for the past month.  When she arrived at the assisted care residence this morning, she was told that he probably will not make it through the day.  We will attend his funeral, which will be in SLC, I'm assuming.  It will be strange to think of Mom without Boyd, especially for our kids.  This has been a rash of deaths in our family.  Grace said as we were driving her to the Stake Center for camp, "Enough with all this death and funerals already!"
The girls are going to YW Camp this week. Grace left today because she's a leader this year.  ZJ will go in the morning. It's going to be an insane rest of the week.

     Tuesday -  Tina's funeral.  Grace off to Camp, Doug's summer work party, Ward/Neighborhood Party, make a trip to Alan and Jill's for a few items from our camp trailer, which is living at their home now
Wednesday - Drop ZJ off at camp.  Take Quayd to work, Head to Idaho with Carol for one last trip
Thursday - Home from Idaho, Church Meeting,  Somewhere in the middle, prepare two lessons, clean house and catch up on laundry.
Friday - Float the Onieda Narrows with YSA ward, study both lessons some more
Saturday - Pick up the girls, Teach Strengthening the Family class, help Quayd prepare to leave for Aaronic Priesthood Training Camp (he'll be gone all next week), possible funeral for Boyd
Sunday - Doug will be sustained and set apart as Bishop Counselor in YSA ward, ZJ speaks in our Sacrament Meeting, I teach Relief Society in our Home Ward
As usual, when it rains, it pours!
 The girls and I attended our friend, Tina's funeral today.  Each of her six children and three of their spouses took five to seven minutes to share their thoughts about their mother.  It was a touching and beautiful tribute to Tina, who was such a remarkable woman.  I wept almost non-stop from the moment I walked into the chapel.  Tina was such an exemplary woman to all who knew her.  Her children, all grown, were so impressive as they shared the lessons learned from their wonderful mother.  She will be sorely missed.  It was just a beautiful service, filled with my own emotions, as well as emotions for their family.  
It was so good to see old friends and neighbors.  It was like coming home.  It was my first time back in the chapel since we moved.  I didn't even realize how much I missed it.  We sat with Stott and Wendy, which felt just right and normal.  Oh, my.  It was an emotional afternoon.  A real reminder of how blessed we were to live among such good people for so many years.  We have no regrets for making the move.  It was the right thing for our family at this time, we feel confident of that.  But, we love those people and miss them immensely.  There were lots of hugs and lots of selfish tears, as well.  I came home and bawled as I told Doug about a hug from friend, Trish, that just melted my heart and the kind words of friends, Kathy and Kim, that were so touching, I could not even repeat them. 
{{{{{deep sigh}}}}}  How blessed we are to have so many great people in our lives!
Life is good.  Busy.  Crazy.  Sometimes painful.  Most of the time joyful.  But, oh so good.

moving here?

I'm testing this new blog out, after having months of issues with my previous blog home of ten years.  I will need to see photos, fonts, advertising (lack of!) and backgrounds.  I need it to be simple so that I don't have to spend hours putting photos in.  It's time for a change.  Let's see how this looks.  Just playing...

Doug's latest excitement... being called to a YSA Bishopric.

Fireworks at Danny's.
A view from my backyard, looking into the family room.

Two of my favorite girls in the world.

Now, let's see how this works.