Monday, October 24, 2011

Ragnar 2011

Fun trip to Vegas to tend while Jewel ran the Ragnar Friday through Saturday with several friends from the ward, and their friends/family. The results haven't been posted, understandably, considering there were 478 teams, most of them 12 members. It was 188 miles, from Lake Mead to Desert Breeze Park in Vegas somewhere around Durango and Sahara.
(Enjoying the playground @ Desert Breeze Park.)

Saturday Hayden had a football game in Pahrump
(Working out paid off - they won!)

(Hayden, No. 37)
which was interestingly on the race route, so we got to see signs of the event, and even saw Jewel for a few seconds just before her third leg.
I snapped this next picture with my new camera, while rolling at about 15 mph. (Yes, a better camera than my former, on sale and so actually cheaper besides.) Last year Johnny and several friends started a company on the side called Petroleum Logistics, and they contributed to the team's expenses.

(Look, my new glow bracelet!)
Raygen, I must say, is amazingly cooperative in the follow-the-family gig, for a two-year-old. Part of her happy cooperation was thinking the long drive meant we must be going to "the pum-ky patch". Her biggest expressed disappointment of the weekend was at the school's fall festival where she expected to go for an actual trot with brother instead of just sit for a photo op! She kept saying, "Bye, Daddy!" but the horse didn't cooperate as she expected!

("Bye, Daddy!")

So proud of Jewel for taking this on! And wish her knees, back and toes a speedy recovery!
(The girl team segment.)

Some of the more amusing team names:

Little Red Running Hood, Agony of DeFeet, 12 Angry Birds, 24 Angry Feet, Sweaty White People, Sweaty or Not, Kickin' Asphalt, Kickin' Asphalt & Takin' Names, Saintly Sinners, Saints Running from Sinners, Cirque du Sore Legs, Slomosexuals, You Did WHAT in Vegas?, Where is Area 51?, The Ragnarcissists, The Ragnarcisists (hopefully they spelled it wrong on purpose just so they could also have the name), The Quick and the Undead, Suckers for Punishment, I B Pro Fun, Running for the HEALTH of It, Run Like the Winded, When Pigs Fly, The Aquaholics, 12 Funerals and a Wedding, Lengthen Your Stride, Running from the Rapture, Fear and Loathing in a Van, SWATT (Sprinters, Walkers And Trash Talkers), You Got Chicked, and Run, Repent, Repeat.

[The actual catch phrase for the event is "Run, Drive, Sleep?, Repeat".]

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket?

(The Culprit)

I like being old. Although memories makes me cry a lot but I only say that because crying is more "noticeable" than laughing. Meaning I'm very sure it makes me laugh just as much. If not more. I had a great childhood other than one tiny chink in the armor. It actually was a major chink but my childhood was THAT good I can call it tiny. Yes, I know, I'm bizarre and I like riddles. But that's not because I'm old. Besides that, I'm with Andrew Carnegie, who said:

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital.
The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.

I like it that I know who Andrew Carnegie is. (Without looking him up.) ;^) Now, I haven't lived long enough to remember Andrew Carnegie, but I have lived long enough to know people of his era. One thing great about the previous generations (previous to me, not necessarily you), they talked about "the olden days" and we who listened actually listened. Not so much any more. Not so much "noise" competing for attention in those days. (So I'm blaming it on the times, not the offspring.) But then those were the yes, slower, but also John/Little Nell/Fran days of guilt-tripping stories, so maybe it goes hand-in-hand.

I also remember the days when "That's Capital!" was a good thing, but nowadays we're back to Andrew's definition. So, philosophically at least, I AM concentrating my energies, thoughts and capital into the verge of ... a century-old house! Where, at this very moment, I am spending seven hundred (known) dollars on repairs to the 10-plus-year-old Peerless boiler. At least I can't blame it on the fire restoration people, who recommended moving to a forced air system with the strong cautionary of "Now is the time." But Norma, bless her conservative heart... which I could say I inherited were we actually related... passed on the chance, and less than two months later, in the dead of winter, had to replace the totally defunct boiler. With another boiler, of course, since all the fire finish work was done. (This house does not have ductwork since it warms with water rather than air.) Chances are you don't know this, because why would you?, but boilers are expensive and Nobody residentially installs them any more, even 10-plus years ago. So yes, sometimes maybe it's better to not value the past. Meaning, I could have bought a brand new condo seven years ago, instead! Ha!

Which brings up another fond memory which I'll get to in just a second. After I point out the fact that these days there are only two HVAC companies in the county who know enough to be considered professionals in the residential boiler field and therefore have high ratings.

So my last fond memory of the day (and fond memories often start out bad), is back when the boiler died. Kinda like Miss American Pie. We're talking, the former boiler, died. Norma had just finished The Project of putting this otherwise condemned house back together and she was pleased. She would bring it up often, because she wanted us to "notice" and confirm the pleasure she felt. (And I'm grateful she got to enjoy almost four years in it before she died.) She did NOT want her legacy to be having burned down the house that Grandpa (Niels) built, and her son told me she donated even her wedding ring to the project. If I got the dumbed down version of things correctly, the kind of insurance she had was not replacement value but actual value, so the more that was cataloged and contributed to the pile that went to the dump, the better. So, say the value of a 20-year-old sofa (the kind not destined to reach antique status) instead of the value of obtaining a similar replacement sofa. Now, she could have used some of the money towards replacing her wedding ring, for example, but instead, she sunk it all into The Project. So when she suddenly had a huge bill to face that was a relative of The Project, she called and asked me if any of we three daughters had anything left of our Dad's inheritance we could contribute to The Project. We didn't. (This was 14+ years down the road of his passing.) Well, Janeil and I did have some stock left. (Which four years later I cashed in 2/3rds of mine to pay Janeil and Lois off to acquire ... The Project ... and also paid a "capital" of another kind in the process. What was I thinking!) ;^)

My first reaction was annoyance. Norma may not have re-read her trust papers since Daddy died, but I certainly had! She was to keep the place in working order out of her own pocket. But because she was the matriarch of our family (yes, she was, even though we weren't blood related), I tried to hide that reaction. (And we'd had "practice" doing exactly that a couple of years earlier when she asked us to paint it for her, as Grant, The Painter, I'm sure well remembers.) I told her I'd talk it over with my sisters. Janeil, who luckily had a spouse who was on the same budgeting page as she was, said she'd fork it over and Lois and I could pay her back. Before I passed that message along, I asked Grant what he thought of it. Grant, as most everyone who knows us, knows, is the smarty pants of the family. He's also humble. Well, I suppose I can't speak for the humbleness part now, Ruth would have to reconfirm that, but back in that day he was our go-to person on the right thing to do. And, as usual, he deflated my haughty balloon rapidly with this 'point': "Mom (pause), do you expect/want to be friends with Norma in the hereafter?"

So I called Norma and said we'd cover the bill. (It was over $3,000.) And as happens often, when you heart is softened, the actual thorn is removed from your side. PTL! Literally. She said she'd talked to her sons (those same sons who mucked out the garage one winter day, with sweat pouring down their bodies), and they told her heating systems only last about 20 years, and her heating system had way more than beat the odds, so they thought she should cover it. (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that none of them had yet read the trust.) Matriarch that she was, she insisted, and so the current boiler was hatched from her pocketbook instead of Janeil's. (And I have no idea how the thing got squeezed into that room! Just the subsequent water heater was an 8 out of 10 in difficulty, per that repairman!) I note on the invoice that she asked and got a $155 discount for being a senior citizen! Heck I should have tried that! Still could.... Naw, I don't have the guts, non-matriarch that I am.

Now I must add (and yes, I know you two people who read this have long gone awol), boilers, other than dollar-wise, are great. And that's why it was picked by Daddy in the first place. Since for him, expense never was the issue and he loved radiant heat (what we had in our growing-up house). Totally silent except for expansion sounds as the vents heat up (which the first winter would wake me up but soon turned into the confirming lull of comfort), moist air which is a plus in any winter, and it truly does last longer and require less maintenance expense than a forced air system. Barring the return of some thorn in the side or another, like the circulating pump I am currently replacing....

P.S. My new home teacher grew up in the house I grew up in and attests to the fact that the radiant heat in the basement floor, as well as the rest of the system, is still functioning!

P.P.S. The Otis Elevator is dead. :^( A story/repair? of another day. (It makes a fine closet, and wiggle-room for furnace-room repair men. So at least I can lay claim to having the sense to park it up instead of down.)