Wednesday, January 24, 2007

      Last week my life was on hold because we didn’t have a car. But that turned out fine. All the Windstar needed was to have some hose reconnected, and maybe a gaket replaced. Something simple. It was a cheap repair. The mechanic said the car itself is in good shape to go many more miles. Yay! And just as I was driving it home, coming down 40th West, there was a flock of little kids crossing the street at the next intersection. It looked like Miss Nora’s preschool. It was! I remembered that they were doing their annual fieldtrip to Arctic Circle, and they had just gotten off the bus. So I joined them. I held Paige (that sober child!) and watched the kids have fun in the playland. So everything turned out fine that day.
      But now my life is on hold because of our so Dad bought a new motherboard and installed it and figured out how to get everything running again. We used it for maybe a week, and it died again. So now it’s in a repair shop. It will probably be cheaper to buy a whole new system. That’s what we should have done 14 months ago, but instead, we had one of Dad’s friends “build” us a custom system, using what we already had. Big mistake. And meanwhile, without a computer, what can I do? Right now I’m at Grandma and Grandpa’s, typing this. (They seem to be doing great, by the way.)
      Tom stayed at our house for a couple of days while he went to a conference up by the U. He says that he and Kim and the kids are on the cover of the little booklet put out by the fitness center in Kamas. Tom remembers, they were swimming in the pool, and a guy took their picture. I want to see it!
      Donna got Blizzac tires for her car, and now it chugs right up the hill to the cabin, no matter how icy it is. And with her weekly commute from the cabin to Logan and back again, it’s only a matter of time before she’s driving through a canyon in a blizzard. The tires will pay for themselves from the accident she doesn’t have.
      Vanessa has joined a quilting club, going all out with the most obsessive of hobbies. But what do you do in the winter? With a houseful of kids? She’s still running, too, of course. She’s going to be in a triathalon next summer. The Spudman. Debbie Berg was going to do it with her, but she didn’t apply in time.
      Friday night Dad and I went snowboarding with a young couple in our ward, the Davises, both of them first-timers. I guess the guy thought he was going to hop on the board and zip down the hill, and it wasn’t that easy for him. He couldn’t even get up. So I sat in the snow with him, trying to coach him. I felt terrible for him. Meanwhile, Dad came zipping by us, smirking at the poor guy. And his wife came zipping by, too. Later they took us to dinner at Applebees. The next Sunday in Church, he said it wasn’t as bad as all that. Maybe he’ll try it again. I gave him a map of Wolf Mountain, in Ogden Valley. Maybe we’ll go there.
      Yesterday I made my first trip to the cabin in 2 weeks. Everything looked fine, thanks to Donna, Bevan, and Tom. I did little odd jobs, and then I started working on the inside of the front entryway. Bevan came home while I was still working, and started fixing himself a dinner of onions, chili, and hot dogs–totally “guy” food. He hauls lots of firewood, too.
      Well, that’s it for this week. I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I’m stuck at home without a car, it’s so cold outside (maybe below zero again–who knows) and I’ve got the January blahs. But things always change. They don’t always get better, but they always change.
      The car? Our nice Windstar, with so many thousands of miles of fun on it, may be on its last legs (or wheels). Right now it has a hole in the radiator, and it’s leaking antifreeze. It’s up at Bill and Randy’s, being evaluated. If the repairs are too much, we’ll say goodbye to it and look for another minivan. Probably a Toyota or a Honda. We’re open to suggestions. John faxed us some info about car reliability, but I haven’t read over it yet.
      And Donna’s new car: two days after she bought it, she was out in the middle of nowhere (near Henefer, on I-84) when the muffler fell off. She pulled over, and luckily, two good Samaritans stopped behind her and helped her rig it up so she could at least drive it back to the dealer. First they tried to say they weren’t responsible, but eventually they put on an entire new exhaust system (charged her just $100) and everybody was satisfied. I hope that car goes many thousands of miles with no more trouble!
      Meanwhile, it’s so cold, who can stand it? Last Thursday night Nora and I were going to drive to Pocatello to go snowboarding with Vanessa on Friday, and we were so excited, but Nora’s kids were sick, and it was snowing. So we cancelled. Which was good, because Friday morning, it was 8 below in Pocatello, with a wind chill taking it down to -21. Who knows how cold it would have been up on the mountain! We’re hoping to reschedule. When it’s warmer. Above zero would be nice.
      Monica says people are even complaining about the cold in Tucson! In the daytime, it only gets up to 50, and it’s down around 30 at night! Poor babies. Ramona is still exploring her new territory. There are neighbor cats she looks at through the window. Monica’s doing great, too. Her daytime job is going so well (she even got raise!) that she’s quitting her nighttime restaurant job. What a normal life, only working 40 hours a week, instead of 60! She’s busy with wedding plans, too. She’s seeing a dressmaker this week about making her wedding dress. She wants something in between the skanky spaghetti-strap look, and the totally covered Celestial Elegance look. She promises her dress will be modest and classy.
      I just had our piano tuned yesterday, for the second time in a month. The first time, I answered a flyer that was left at our door. I called, and the guy said he could come that very day. I should have been suspicious. He arrived with his box of tools, and got to work on the piano. I could see right away that he wasn’t sure what he was doing, but it was three days before Christmas, and he looked like he really needed the money. (He looked like he might have been living at the homeless shelter.) So I let him finish, and paid him in cash (didn’t want him to have our checking account number.) The piano sounded awful, so I had to call our regular tuner, the Steinway guy (he works on high-end pianos, like Marla’s) and he was able to get it sounding good again. It cost a lot, for both tunings, so hopefully I learned a valuable lesson. Or at least, I played Sub-for-Santa for a guy down on his luck.
      Whenever I talk to Allen, I bring up the plan for the bike trip to Wendover. He thinks we need to do a shorter ride, first. (I think he wants me to see my limitations.)(Like the penguin trying to fly, in the despair poster.) So we’ve been talking about a bike trip to Antelope Island, riding across the causeway first, and then maybe around the island, if that’s where the road goes. Has anybody been there? Does anybody want to come along? It will probably be a Saturday in early spring, when the weather warms up. Let me know if you’re interested. I wish I could hop on my bike right now and go to the library. Too bad it’s so cold. Maybe Bill or Randy will call and say they fixed the Windstar, and it didn’t cost very much. I can dream.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dear Kids
      Yay, it’s snowing again! Just like last time I wrote. Which was the last time it snowed. But I’m hoping this storm moves out fast, because Nora and I want to drive to Pocatello tonight, and go snowboarding tomorrow with Vanessa. But Nora says she won’t drive there with three kids, if it’s still snowing. She wondered, is she getting old, or what? If it were just herself, she said, nothing would stop her, but she doesn’t want to risk it with her kids.
     Last Friday Paul and I went snowboarding at Wolf Mountain, in Ogden Valley, and had a great time. They’d just had their first big snow of the year, and they hadn’t even groomed the trails on their mountain, but the bunny hill was enough terrain for me. I did try one run down the real mountain, in the deep snow, and fell down about 20 times. Paul did it over and over again. We both had lots of fun.
     Now Paul’s back at school, back to the grind. We drove him to Price Sunday night, where we had dinner with Tom and Kim and their family. Little Ali is putting on weight, and looking cute. Emma and Bentley were all over the place. Like always. Bentley was riding Paul like a horse. Tom and Kim are packing up their stuff, because they have to be out of their house in March. Kim and the kids are moving in with the Bentleys. It should be wild.
     Donna, too, is back to the grind. She took off for Logan Tuesday in her new car (a 98 Honda Civic, looks black to me, but she says it’s green), ready for her new life as a vagabond. She spent her first night in the Landscape Architecture Studio, on the couch, in her sleeping bag. She said it was plenty comfortable. They have a big-screen TV with a DVD player, a refrigerator, a freezer, and a microwave. When she called me the next morning, she was on her way to the gym, to shower. Of course she only has to do that for 2 days, and then she’ll drive back to the cabin. And then do it again next week. Remember when Monica was a vagabond, her last semester at USU? You kids are so adventurous! When I was a college student, I never even dared sleep over in the library.
     Since it’s January, I’ve been hit with the remodeling bug. I’m getting new carpet for the living room (it’s the fourth incarnation, since we moved in,) and right now, I’m painting the walls. I bought brown paint, but I couldn’t quite do it. I hate dark colors. So I kept diluting the paint with white, until it ended up sort of beige. I really liked the old color better, but I need a change. Dad said he didn’t understand that. Why didn’t I just keep the old color? But then he caught on–his favorite bus run is Ogden, but after a few months, he always wants something new.
      Dad’s major preoccupation these days is the computer. It’s been down for weeks. He bought a new motherboard, and installed it, but can’t find the magic commands to get it up and running. I’m still using the laptop.
     New baby announcements: Adrien Webb, in August. Amy Anson, too. Bonnie filled me in, when I called her yesterday. She said they’re looking forward to Amy’s baby, since all the other grandchildren born recently have been out of town. She wants a baby to hold and play with..
     Jana McGettigan had surgery for breast cancer last Friday. She first had the cancer six years ago, and she had surgery then, too. But this time she’s also going to have the radiation and chemo. She’ll be pretty sick for about six months, and then hopefully have a normal life. I’ve gotta admire her guts. Of course, her kids are young, and they need her. Glen, too. Maybe you can remember her in your prayers.
     Life is good. I love you all! Mom

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Yay, it’s snowing! The ground has been pretty bare for the last week or so. The resorts have been doing OK, but they could use more snow. Especially since I want to go snowboarding tomorrow. Paul and I are probably going to Wolf Mountain, the place by Wolf Creek Condominiums (you remember those from the family reunions!) where an all-day pass is only $22, and they give a senior citizen discount if you’re over 55. (Me). It’s not a fancy place (old barn for a lodge) but you can have a lot of fun there. Next week, Nora and I are going to drive to Pocatello and snowboard with Vanessa at Pebble Creek. (Vanessa’s going to find somebody to tend the 6 kids.)(Probably more than one person.) That’s going to be fun, too. I love winter now. I used to hate it. I’d sit on the heater and read books, waiting for spring. Or pound in the basement. It’s all different now.
     Paul has been keeping busy with temp jobs, which he does in between working sudoku puzzles. And watching bowl games. So far this week he’s watched the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. He explained to me how they spread them out now, so they’re not all played on New Year’s Day. Very Smart. People like Paul are hooked. But today Paul’s at work, at MyGrant Windows, where they deal in car windshields. (It probably used to be called “Migrant Windows,” back when they used to hire illegals.) Anyway, Paul spends his time sweeping floors and tearing apart wood pallets with a sawzall.
     To celebrate New Year’s Day, Dad and Paul and I drove to American Fork to get some cabin firewood from Bevan’s neighbor. The guy had bits and pieces and some pretty nice logs, which we loaded in the truck. Then we drove to Heber and visited John and Heather and their kids. Then we drove to the cabin and unloaded the wood, and just lazed around for the rest of the day. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to not work so hard at the cabin this year. I’m off to a good start.
     Yesterday I visited Grandma and Grandpa in Orem. I hadn’t been for a month or so, except for our Christmas Eve visit, so it was fun to get back into the swing of things. I had brought the movie “Just Like Heaven” (edited by me, since Cleanflicks is out of business) and they thought it was great. John Heder, aka Napoleon Dynamite, is really funny as a psychic. Same type of character. Grandma and I got back to work on our family history project, too–scanning pictures of ancestors for the next edition of our ancestor books. Hopefully we’ll have at least one of them done by Christmas.
     I was changing the sheets on Paul’s bed (down in the cave) when I noticed one of the springs had popped out. Just like in the cartoons–boiinngg!! I said to Paul, “Didn’t it hurt?” He said after his mission, he could sleep on anything. I tore the mattress apart, so we could put it out with the bulk trash, and now Paul’s sleeping in the guest room. He says he has to watch the bed-making video now, so he’ll know how to put the bed back together when he leaves for school.
     Gotta go! Life is good! Love, Mom