Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Kids,
          It’s winter here at the cabin. We have a fire crackling in the stove. (Thanks, Donna and Bevan, for all the firewood!) We’ve already had our first blizzard, and naturally, I was driving over Parley’s Summit when it struck. Thankfully Dad had put the Blizzak tires on the Sienna the day before. We’ve had our first power outage here at the cabin, but I already know the number to call to report it. ( Last year, I practically had the number memorized.) I made a special heated kitty house for the cats, big enough for two, but they’re having more fun fighting over it than sharing it. One will sit just inside, blocking the entrance, and the other one will finally settle on the roof, where there’s another blanket. Dad thought I should make a second kitty house, but that would ruin the fun for them.
          Yesterday Dad and I were in Heber, and Tom took us on a tour through the house they’re going to buy. It’s very nice! The layout reminds me of Nora and James’s house, but the basement is unfinished. Naturally, Tom and Dad and I looked over the basement very carefully. We’ve already volunteered to help Tom finish it. I only wish Dad and I could find a house that perfect to buy for ourselves, here in Kamas Valley. I love it here at the cabin, but we need a real house where I can get back to doing some real work. (Yard work and remodeling don’t count.) (Piano teaching and family history printing do count.)
          Dad and I went to our ward’s trunk or treat last night. I dressed up like a witch and Dad was a vampire. It’s funny, back in 5th Ward we never went to trunk or treat, because I figured the kids could just as easily walk around our neighborhood Halloween night and collect their candy. Here it makes more sense, because our ward is spread from one end of the valley to the other. (I drive 17 miles to do my visiting teaching.) It was fun seeing all the kids (and some other grownups) in their costumes, and the whole thing was over with in about 20 minutes. Not counting the supper beforehand, of course.
          I just checked the calendar, and Thanksgiving is only 3 1/2 weeks away! Crazy! I will be cooking a turkey here at the cabin, of course, and whoever comes, comes. I’ll be anxious to give out food assignments, of course, so let me know what your plans are. If the snow isn’t too deep, some of us can hike the big loop.
          So much fun! Love to all! Mom

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dear Kids,
          Everybody is on the move. Well, it seems like everybody. Tom and Kim are going to buy a house about two streets north of where they live now, on the corner of 720 East. Dad and I haven’t seen it yet, but you can be sure the next time we go to Heber we’ll want to have a look at it! John has been talking again about building their dream house. James has applied for a job in Logan, and hasn’t heard anything about it yet, but Nora has pointed out they they’ve lived in West Jordan ever since they were married, more than fourteen years ago, and a change would be good. Her calling as Young Women president is dragging her down, and that would be a convenient way to get out of it. Seth has applied for a fellowship at the University of Utah, and if he gets it, the Thackersons will probably have their free year at the cabin, starting in July. We’ve heard a rumor that Neil has also applied for a job at the U, but I don’t know anything more than that. Maybe it’s only a rumor. Meanwhile, Dad and I have a probable buyer for our house in Salt Lake. It’s in the early stages now, so I’ll let you know if and when it’s more definite. They are the absolute best people we could possibly sell the house to. And now Dad and I find ourselves in exactly the same state we were in back in 1976. What house are we going to live in? What will Dad’s job be? We have enough money that he doesn’t have to work, but he’ll be a lot happier if he has something to get up and go do, where he’s hopefully driving and getting people where they need to go. That’s what he’s done for almost 37 years, and he’s enjoyed it very much. It would be ideal if something could work out at for him at Deer Valley.
          We’ve had a long, mild fall here at the cabin, and my projects have gotten a lot farther than I expected them to. I’m almost done with the deck in back. My ring of rocks (my "planter") out in front is done, and Donna arranged for me to get 12 yards of sifted topsoil to fill it. (I’m going to need more, however, because I want to mound it up in the middle.) Meanwhile, Xena considers it a giant 25-foot litter box. She’s very pleased. The deer have walked thorough it. I’m looking for a life-sized moose or elk to put in the middle. There was a roadside display down in Heber, but I missed it because we were gone to Boise. If any of you see one of those displays anywhere, please call me! I could buy a life-sized bronze moose from Luna Bronze, across from John’s office, but it would cost $70,000. That’s a little steep.
          There’s a magpie out on the top of the swingset, surveying his territory, looking very arrogant. He’s probably one of those three ungrateful wretches that I rescued in the greenhouse. All the quality birds have flown south for the winter.
          Love you all! Mom

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dear Kids,
         Dad and I had a great time in Boise. I had fun going over Katie’s life story with her. We had practically the same childhood, so that was really interesting. Our teen years couldn’t have been more different, so that was even more interesting. Dad and I left for home Thursday morning, very reluctantly. It was so warm there! Here at the cabin, it’s practically winter. There was snow on the mountains yesterday morning. It has rained a ton here, with some snow, which didn’t stick, but our deck project has come to a standstill because it’s so muddy. The deer go back and forth and back and forth, clueless about where they’ll hole up for the winter. There were a lot of gunshots yesterday, because of the elk hunt. The deer know they’re next.
          John cleaned our carpets Friday night with his magnificent machine. Dad helped him, and I holed up in the bunkhouse, where I stayed until 1 am. John and Dad were both asleep then, and the carpets were still damp, but there was a roaring fire going and it was 80 in the kitchen. By morning, everything was nearly dry. Nothing eats humidity like a wood-burning stove. John’s machine cleans so well that the carpets look practically new. He said he’s going to send Jacob and Aaron out to clean people’s carpets when they get a little older. They won’t charge much. Sounds like a great deal for everybody.
          Dad’s still very excited about his retirement, and he’s learning all about Medicare and Social Security. Yesterday we drove through Wild Willow, the subdivision by our church, and he showed me exactly which houses he liked. None of them are for sale right now, but I’m sure the right house will appear when we’re ready for it. Dad is especially excited that he only has 11 more weeks to work. He has always loved bus driving, but he’s looking forward to the change. Naturally I’m not going to let him slow down. After our trip to Hawaii, I’m thinking he could work for Deer Valley, because of our great connections there. I think he can choose his own days, so we can keep up with chess club and the piano classes on Wednesdays. Dad’s last day of work will be Friday, January 4th, and I think we’ll have his retirement party that night. Everyone who’s family, even remotely, is invited. We’ll let you know the time and place when we decide for sure. And of course we’ll pick up the tab. Dad’s retirement bonus will easily cover it.
          As most of you have noticed, I’ve started sending birthday presents through Amazon, because we’re not close enough to visit grandkids personally on their birthdays. (Not to mention that there are a heck of a lot of birthdays now.) Sometimes I get behind, because I forget to look at my chart. The disadvantage of sending presents, instead of giving them, is that I don’t always know that they arrived. I only assume it. If you could have your kids acknowledge their presents by a phone call, or a card, or a facebook message (though your account, of course) I would feel a lot better about it. Have them tell me they like the present, even if they don’t. It’s good training.
          Ah, life! Isn’t it fun! Love, Mom

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I are having a great time here in Boise, visiting with Katie and working on her life story, talking to Heather and Carly, admiring Hadley and Carly’s cat Louie–it’s been lots of fun so far. We’re staying with Katie in the very nice one-room apartment that she moved into just a few weeks ago. Needless to stay, we stayed up late watching a movie and slept in late this morning. Today we’re going shopping, and then we’re going back to Heather’s house to work on the life story some more. Heather has the best computer set-up, so we’re doing everything there. The climate here is very mild, and it’s lots warmer than Kamas Valley. There are still flowers blooming! There’s lots of smoke residue from all the fires, though, and I’m using my medications and nebulizer full force.
         Some of you might not have heard Dad’s big announcement: He’s going to retire January 4th! We moved up the date when we realized there was no good reason to wait until May. And, get this, Dad and I are going to Hawaii to celebrate! He’ll be having a family retirement party too, but we haven’t set the date yet. We’re thinking we might all meet at Golden Corral or someplace where we can eat as much as we want and have our own banquet room, where we can tell stories and celebrate Dad’s 37 years of perfect driving for UTA. We’ll let you know more when the time gets closer.
         Conference weekend was great, and thanks to all of you who came to the cabin! The talks were very inspiring, and we were delighted with the announcement that missionaries can go out at a younger age now. Especially the girls! Some of the grand kids could be on missions lots sooner than we expected! I wish I could have gone when I was 19. I wouldn’t have been so cynical and worn out when I got home.
          Conference weekend was also great because we got to try out the cabin’s new kitchen. Even though the stove hasn’t been put back in, and we don’t have a dishwasher yet, we were able to fix lots of food on the new counter tops. I can see it’s all going to work very well.
          Life is good! I love you all! Mom