Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dear Kids,
          I’m looking out the window at a giant brown moose. He’s staring in, very threateningly. I know he’s made of sheet metal, but I’m worried by that ominous glare in his eye. Oreo hates him. We have him staked to the ground, not to keep him from barging into the cabin, but to keep pranksters from carrying him off, like a garden gnome or a snowman. He’s pretty heavy, though. It would take more than one person. I bought him Thursday night at a roadside tree farm near Charleston. I had seen him a few weeks ago, but I thought he was way out of my price range. When I checked, they wanted to get rid of him, and it was a terrific bargain. There’s a little rust on his legs, from standing too near the road, and getting sprayed with ice melt, but we can fix that. Thanks to Donna, Bevan, Nicole, Alex, and Dad, for getting him here. I thought he would fit into the garage, but he’s nine feet tall, so he’s out by the dining room window. In the dark of night, with the moon shining on him, it looks like he’s coming right in.
          Last Tuesday morning, when Dad and I went down to our West Valley house, we discovered that the refrigerator wasn’t working any more. We hauled it out to the curb, since it was bulk trash day, but the city wouldn’t pick it up, because it didn’t have a freon-free tag on it. We’ll have to take it to the dump ourselves. Our house is gradually getting emptier and emptier. We’ve cleaned out closets and drawers. Every week I haul at least one box of stuff to the DI. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate. This Tuesday we’re supposed to make the final choices on our new house, sign the final papers, and pay the 30% down. After that there’s no turning back.
          I was sick last Monday, Presidents Day, so I missed out on the sledding fun. I was watching from our upstairs bedroom window, and I felt like a little kid looking out the living room window watching the rest of the family having fun. (Remember?) Later on, after the sledding, lots of kids went wild and crazy inside. So I’ve added a new rule to the list of "Cabin Rules, and it says: " No running, yelling, screaming, or roughhousing in the cabin. Go outside." "Nuff said.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dear Kids,
          It’s Sunday morning, and John’s kinds are romping around the cabin, except for Julie, who’s still asleep. Jacob was just now stung by a wasp, so we went on a rampage and killed four of them. I explained to the kids that you have to break them in half or flush them down the toilet. If you just smash them on the floor, they get up again. John is trying to figure out how they survive here in the winter. I told him good luck on that one.
          Dad has another church calling: he’s been asked to be second counselor in the Sunday School presidency. There’s an opening for ward clerk, and I was hoping Dad would be called to that, but it wasn’t to be. Still, he’s got a new title, and there isn’t much work. (Probably not any.) Besides that, Dad has applied for a job. At the fitness center there’s a sign up that says they need somebody for the front desk. It would only be two or three days a week, and the hours are very flexible. It doesn’t pay much, but I think Dad would really enjoy it. He’s used to interacting with people all day long, not just talking to me. So, he filled out their application. It’s run by the South Summit School District, and we’ve already been fingerprinted, so he’s good to go. Hopefully we’ll hear in a day or two.
          Our on-again-off-again relationship with Fieldstone Homes has gone over another bump. Two weeks ago I thought we were good to go, and we agreed on a price, but then they came back and said the developer was insisting on 3-car garages for his "premium" lots. That seemed pretty bogus for an area that’s only sold 3 lots in 7 years, and part of it has turned into a garbage dump. Besides, we don’t want a 3-car garage. The house looks way better without it–more balanced. I told them that we didn’t want the extra garage, but that our daughter was doing a fabulous landscape design that would make the site look very classy. They wanted to see the design. Donna sent it to them, and it included the .1 acre common area next to us, on the corner. I told them they would be getting at least $5,000 in free landscaping, so the developer could easily come down on his price for the lot. And by then they realized the 3-car garage wouldn’t even work there because the common area takes up part of the front of our lot. Long story short, they loved Donna’s design, and came down on their price. So we might sign papers as early as Tuesday. Thanks to Donna. Grandma Allen used to point out that in a big family, everybody can do something. It’s true with us. John takes care of our eyes, Nora cuts our hair, Donna designs our landscaping, Monica tells us what to eat . . . Dad and I are very grateful to all of you!
          I’m cooking Sunday dinner next week, on the 24th. Hopefully some of you can come.
          Love, Mom

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I have been trying to get fingerprinted so we can help with the South Summit High chess club, and we finally caught the nice district lady in her office Tuesday morning, with the machine there at the same time. She had the machine all set up, but it wasn’t working. Then Dad noticed that the cable wasn’t plugged into her laptop. So he plugged it in. It still wasn’t working, so I called Tom. (It turns out they share the machine with Wasatch). When I finally got Tom on the phone, the machine miraculously worked. Tom says that happens surprisingly often. Anyway, now our fingerprints are in the system, and this coming Friday I’m going to chess club. If they can use a second adult supervisor, I’ll persuade Dad to come, too.
          I met with Fieldstone Homes Tuesday afternoon, but we didn’t accomplish much, because they didn’t have my file, they didn’t have the cabinet information from Chris and Dick’s, and they couldn’t pull up my house plans on their computer. Do we trust these guys to build a house for us? I went over everything again with them, choosing all the options, just like I did several weeks ago. Except that they hadn’t asked before what size air conditioner we wanted. I said, "We’re at 6600 feet. Can we put the money towards another option?" It turns out, if you want to downgrade something, you don’t get much credit. It’s only when you’re upgrading that things have any value. Still, we made some progress. They were supposed to call me in a day or two with the final price for the house, but I haven’t heard anything from them yet.
          Dad and I have been walking around the track at the fitness center almost every day, and I’ve been intrigued by the climbing wall, since we’ve walked past it so many times. Saturday morning a family from our ward was climbing, and they’d just been certified. You can come any Saturday morning at 9:00 to be certified, and then you can climb from 10:00 to 2:00. So I’ll be there this coming Saturday morning. John’s family is coming, too. Does anybody else want to join us? It costs $2.50 to rent the harness, but John’s kids all have their own. You need athletic shoes, or the special ones they rent. I know I won’t be able to keep up with Aubrey, but I want to try, at least.
           I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner on the 24th. Hopefully some of you can come.
           Love, Mom

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Normally I write my weekly letter on Sunday and upload it at Church, but I’ve had bronchitis, so I’m off schedule. It hasn’t been very bad this time around, and I credit the clean air here for that. Now it’s Monday morning and Dad and I are at the Kamas Library. We’re a regular fixture here. We come 2 or 3 times a week to surf the web and pay bills and read the news. When people ask me if we have the internet, I say, "Sure! Practically everywhere we go!"
          Since my plans for Sunday dinner at the cabin have bombed out for the last two weeks, I’ve put it off until February 24. That’s the fourth week, and I’ll be back on schedule then. I hope some of you can make it!
          I have an appointment with Fieldstone Homes tomorrow morning. They’re the builders that might build us a house. Every time I think the deal is off, because I haven’t heard from them in so long, I get a phone call or an email that revives the plan. It’s like a dysfunctional relationship. But I’m still optimistic.
          Dad and I have been trying to get fingerprinted because I want to volunteer to help with the chess club at the high school here. Dad is willing to drive the kids to their tournaments. The problem is, there’s only one lady who does the fingerprinting, and there’s only one machine, and it travels around. So far there hasn’t been a day when all of us are in the same place at the same time. I’ve made countless phone calls. The school district people are all very nice, but actually getting something done is a different story altogether.
          I don’t have any real news. Maybe next week will be more exciting.
          Lots of love, Mom