Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dear Kids,
         The party for Blake’s baby blessing started last night, here at our house, with the arrival of Paul’s family from North Salt Lake, and Vanessa’s family from Pocatello. We had fun out on the playground, while the sun set. Our rubber bark is doing great. There was a furious windstorm three or four days ago, the strongest one we’ve ever had here. (It was like a hurricane--the trees bent almost double in one direction, then about half an hour of calm, and then the wind came from the other direction, just as hard.) Bottom line: our rubber bark didn’t blow away--not a piece of it. Our pergolas were shaking back and forth, and our trees nearly snapped, but the bark stayed put.
          Oh, yes, back to the baby blessing: 9 am, Tom’s church, just east of Smiths and JR Smith elementary, on 5th north. The after party is at noon, at Tom’s house. We’re looking forward to seeing all of you who will be coming, and we’ll miss those of you who can’t be there.
          Here’s some big news: Paul landed a new job, and it’s something he’ll really enjoy–transportation. He’ll be working for Forsgren Engineering, and their office is right in downtown Salt Lake. He starts tomorrow morning. Go, Paul! He actually had two job offers at the same time, and they were both so good that he and Stefanie had to talk over the pros and cons of each one, and lay out all the details. I’m sure they’ve made the best decision!
            Remember the good old days, when smoke detectors went off with a nice beeping that annoyed the heck out of you, but that was all? We didn’t realize we had the new kind until Wednesday night. We were sound asleep when a voice started shrieking "Fire! Fire! Get out! Get out!" The alarm itself was shrieking, too. It was all over our house, since all seven smoke detectors were going off. (They’re interconnected.) We raced around the house looking for a fire, which we didn’t find. The alarms finally stopped, but I called 911 for the fire department anyway, since you hear stories of people who went back to bed and were burned up by a real fire. The nice fire department guys showed up about half an hour later. (Summit County, after all.) They went through the house and checked out everything, even testing for carbon monixide. Nothing. We finally went back to bed, but we didn’t sleep, because adrenalin was racing through us. We never found anything wrong with the smoke detectors, not even low batteries. I hope that never happens to us again.
          Otherwise, everything is great here. I love you all! Mom

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dear Kids,
          First things first: Blake’s baby blessing will be next Sunday morning at Tom’s church, which is just east of J.R. Smith Elementary, which is just past Smiths, on 5th North in Heber. Sacrament meeting is at 9 am. The after-party will be after the block, at noon, at Tom’s house, but if you want to ditch the other meetings, you can go to Tom’s house early. For food assignments, call Kim.
          We’re still having odd weather. It snowed on Monday, but it didn’t stick. Since then, the wind has been blowing furiously. Dad and I have been furiously spreading our very expensive rock over the little bit of bark that is left in our yard. It’s very satisfying to rake it into place, and know it won’t go anywhere. We’re also moving ahead with the fire pit. I put down all the pavers for the patio, and now I’m ready to put the polymer sand into the joints. When you spray it with water, it hardens up and keeps the bricks in place. Hopefully they won’t go anywhere, either. And thirdly, we got some rubber mulch for our playground. It looks like bark, but it’s made of ground up tires, dyed brown. It’s not supposed to blow away, either, but I have my doubts. We had a great adventure, getting that mulch. We were able to save $150 on delivery if we picked it up ourselves in Ogden, so we borrowed the family truck and drove up there. The mulch (50 bags of it) was packed on a giant pallet, designed to be put onto flatbeds. We unpacked it and stacked the bags in the back of the truck, and put the cargo net over it all. It weighed a ton, which is exactly the load limit of the truck. We got it all home OK. Donna’s kids helped us spread it, and Bevan, too. Thanks to all of you!
           On Monday morning, August 21 there will be a "To-tal E-clipse of the Sun" (the song from Little Shop of Horrors is running through my mind), and the center of the blackout strip runs right through Rexburg. (You can google it and find a map of the eclipse path.) Dad and I are going to be there. When else, in your life, are you going to see a total eclipse? We’ll drive up to Pocatello Sunday night and stay over at Vanessa and Trent’s, if they can accommodate us, and then drive to Rexburg Monday morning. Shall we make a big party of it? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
           So much going on! So much fun!
           Love, Mom

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to Allen and Tom for the churro party last Sunday night at the cabin! It was a blast. Thanks to Tom’s new churro maker for cranking out miles of dough! Thanks to the camp chef for keeping all that oil hot! Thanks to all of you who came. There’s nothing more wonderful than romping around outside the cabin on a pleasant summer evening.
            The wind has blown away practically all the bark I’ve spread around our trees and shrubs (not to mention the 34 tons of playground sand from two years ago) so I started looking for something more permanent–rock! When we stayed over at Nora’s last week, we looked at all the beautiful colors of rock at the Staker Parsons pit in North Salt Lake. It costs a fortune, but it doesn’t blow away. With Donna’s help, we ordered 27 tons of "purple passion." It came in a giant dump truck with a trailer (a pup), which blocked off our road while the rock was dumped. Now Dad and I are spreading it, using two wheelbarrows and every ounce of energy we have. Dad’s fitbit is going crazy. It told him he walked 17,800 feet yesterday, but it couldn’t possibly measure the workout to his arms and shoulders. Should people who are 70 do such crazy things?
          Yes, and more. We’re also working on the fire pit, to have it ready for the Fourth of July. I excavated for the patio around it, 8 inches down, and we mostly filled it with road base, which is a lot cheaper than "purple passion." We rented a compactor from Diamond Rental and Dad ran it around and around, tamping it down. Now we’re ready to put down the sand and pavers for the patio, and then put the fire pit on top. We won’t run out of work any time soon–only energy. Tina supervises us. She doesn’t use any energy at all.
          Allen finally heard from the Summit County Sherrif’s office, and they didn’t offer him job. It was my dream for him to work here! But I know how much the officers in Centerville value their sergeant, and it’s probably better for Allen to stay there. Allen said he’s at peace with it.
           Don’t forget the baby blessing in two weeks! More info next week!
           Love, Mom

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Allen and Carson showed up on our porch last night, with two goats. The four of them were on a cross-country run. The goats hadn’t been invited; they joined up when Al and Carson passed the Bushell’s home, where you turn in to go to the cabin. The goats were bleating and jumping around on our porch, and trying to butt their way into our house. Allen said they all needed water, so he and Carson got drinks inside, and we put out a bowl of water for the goats, which they guzzled. Then the four of them took off again.
          The gouge on my hand (from Tina) is slowly healing. It’s infected, in spite of all I could do. Lana Price, a lady in my piano class, told me how to trim Tina’s back claws. She said you put a pillowcase over the cat’s head, wrap it totally around the cat, and hold it secure. Another person (Dad) pulls out the legs, one at a time, and trims the claws. I’m happy to say it worked–better than we expected. I thought Tina would be mad at us forever, but she’s proud of her well-groomed toes.
           Dad and I went to Allen’s piano recital Tuesday night in Bountiful. He played very well! It was a treat to hear him. The rest of the students were less than stellar, probably because they don’t practice. His teacher seems really competent, and she plays really well, so it isn’t her fault, except for keeping such deadbeats on her roster. We enjoyed the program anyway, and then we stayed overnight at Nora’s. In the morning I hiked up the switchbacks. Thanks, Nora, for your hospitality!
           Dad is really enjoying the fitbit we gave him for his birthday. He’s always consulting it. On Sunday, during church, it sent him a message: get moving!
           Don’t forget Blake’s baby blessing on the 25th! Tom and Kim’s sacrament meeting is at 9 am, and I’ll write more information in a week or two.
           Lots of love, Mom