My faith in mankind has been renewed! Spent over a week trying to find someone to do my fall clean-up. (Decided against coughing up half a lung every time I attempt it - or alternatively wearing an effective particulate restrictive mask but the labor intensive resultant heavier breathing created a major not good drowning impulse as well as increased wheezing. Is definitely effective against the hacking reaction though.)
I'd called eight companies/people and one company and one person claimed they would come look it over the next Monday and give me an estimate. I left Tuesday. I'd given them my cell number and heard nary a word from those two, much less the rest I'd left messages with. Left Vegas for home shortly upon awaking the following Monday morning so I could spend as much time when I got home as possible on it before dark. Yay!! Pulled into a fully swept yard including a mowing and edging. (No edging since Grant was in charge.) Charged me $50.00 and my yard was, the Olsens/Rawlinson can verify, buried in leaves. He lives in the 6th ward and is in the YM presidency, so pretty likely he's a reliable guy. Lives across the street from Daryl and Lil Huish's house. Woo-hoo! So it was with a light heart overriding scarred lungs, I tackled the few leaves that had fallen since, and those stuck in the flower beds and by dark an hour-and-a-half later, I had it just as spiffy as the last thorough whole yard clean-up I did on October 30th. Did come inside and hack awhile as a result, though. Feeling back in control of my environment, I even emailed the agent bishop for the building next door to ask if he'd swap me cleaning up after his tree that feeds my trash on my side vs. my trees debris which lands on the church side of the fence. Plus I've been keeping the various vines off the fences. For whatever reason, the church clean-up crew would chop my grape vines down every year ... just before harvesting! Probably assumed I wasn't going to since I wait until the first freeze. So this year I have them contained on my side, away from the fence, so add that to the swap. (I've got my fingers crossed.)
So beginning with that good news, I'll now move back in time to the prior good news event. Which was Thanksgiving. Poor Grant/Ruth/girls get gypped (hopefully they think that) because I'm too tight to spend $600+ flying to visit them. I watch faithfully the airlines that fly from/to SLC/Houston. Early on when they moved there, I got great deals - a May trip and a Christmas trip. Got a great deal on a trip there last February, but for whatever reason, Thanksgiving/Christmas and a lot of the rest of the year are outrageous. I was very happy to learn that Ruth's parents and some siblings came this year, though too quick of trip I'm sure. Ruth has a sister who lives in El Paso, whom they visited on their drive back. Who'd a thunk that would ever happen! Children that far from home, two of theirs in Texas. (And Alan near Dallas and Sheryl all the way to New Hampshire!)
It's always nice to spend time at Jewel's. I drove down - cheaper, and the weather cooperated. This year she mapped it out so perfectly we were ready to sit down to eat within 10 minutes of the projected dinner hour. I copied her notes into my phone for the next time. Not that it matters though in her neck of the woods. "Scarboroughs" always come way early and munch on the veggie tray until dinner time, visiting or watching football together. They are all very kind to me and make me feel welcome. Hayden is still willing to give me his bed, which I appreciate.
Sweater from GG.
Raygen is just enough OCD and of a happy nature that she is a delight. I've not met a child that gets such a kick out of turning on the bathroom light, going potty, washing hands, drying hands, turning out the light. She has a very patient Dad who doesn't mind her stomping him to death while she climbs on his shoulders to be taken upstairs for a nap or whatever upstairs duty calls. My job this year was the pie crusts, rolls, stuffing, and a banana cream pie on Saturday. (Jewel's choice for her birthday when I'm around for it, which isn't often, due to work restraints and her choice I come for Raygen's instead.)
Turkey shirt, all ready to go to preschool.
Decorating the kids' tree.
Snacks for church, all ready to go.
Decorating the kids' tree.
Snacks for church, all ready to go.
Pleasant event before that was having Don and Lois, Janeil and Eldon for lunch the prior Saturday, and Janeil and Eldon stay over and go to church with me the next day. Didn't do too good of job cooking it, but it was edible.
Volunteers moved the too-heavy-for-me couch so the table could be in the alcove.
Enjoying better access to the windows.
First blossom on the Christmas cactus.
Thanks for the suggestion on this plant, Janeil.
Eldon put up three coat hooks for me. One of them is in the spot in the hall where there was a coat hook before the fire. Daddy kept his Pendleton sweater there (which I bought in Pendleton passing through years before, for his birthday or Christmas). Norma kept it there after he died. Awhile later, seems like maybe a year, she told me it didn't smell like him any more, which made her sad, but she still kept it hanging there.
Original kitchen light.
"Hall" light with the same fixture, new glass.
Now you'd have to be almost 68 years old, live alone, be a tightwad, live in an old family house, treasure it beyond measure, and you'd understand how pleasing all that is to me. Next job sometime this winter I hope to get the last of my rippling carpets restretched (poor choice in carpet beater cleaner people).
Pleasant event before that was driving to Vegas to tend while Jewel ran Ragnar. She ran 26.5 miles if I remember correctly, in three stints. Got a second medal for running two Ragnars in one year, Wasatch Back and Vegas ("Saints & Sinners"). A couple of tech guys from work also ran both and high-fived me when I congratulated them after I got back home. The kids were easy, mostly because Johnny put himself on call one of the days, after he got back from going out in the middle of the night, spent several hours volunteer car parking for the event.
Church those three Sundays was extra good. The Ragnar one their former bishop subbed for Sunday School and was excellent. Then Janeil and Eldon at my ward, perfectly comfortable contributing to our Sunday School, which was fun for me. I felt a lot more at home there, having them with me. Eldon remarked to the teacher, also a PG old timer, that she should remember his name as the Olsens were as "known" as Fugals, and Janeil added that both families came over on the same ship in 1868 (The Emerald Isle). Lots of people recognized Janeil. She visited some with Jessie and Bob, and shed a few tears when we left. I asked if it was because of Jessie getting old or Jessie having big health problems. (Parkinsons and Leukemia.) She said it was because she knew she wouldn't get to see her again in this life. I visited Blake's wife later that day and she confirmed that the doctor said it's time for family to come spend time with her. Then this last Sunday Jewel's current bishop's wife gave the R.S. lesson and it was superb. She taught the marriage class back when Johnny came to church and he confirmed what a gifted teacher she is. It was L. Tom Perry's conference talk about secularism. I was grateful to be there. L. Tom Perry is so "grandfatherly" I really hadn't grasp his serious message. She talked about going to the dump and trying to isolate the smells - not possible. But if you walk into a museum and see a piece of paper on the floor you recognize it as trash immediately. Meaning, keep your life clean so you readily recognize what's trash. She talked about arming our children against secularism so that when they're in school the opposition will be like water running of a duck's back. She said to reinforce daily, not just FHE. Said to put a prophet or temple or "Return with Honor" picture/plaque by the front door and draw attention to using them as reminders every time anyone leaves home. She talked about Gerald Lund, a confirming testimony experience he had while getting his PhD at Pepperdine, hearing the professor's reference to a bible quote which was totally inaccurate given what he knew the Book of Mormon added to its understanding. Loved every minute of all three meetings.
I am grateful to live in this time, in this house, in this town, in this ward, and I know that God loves me and watches over me and kindly and generously and patiently provides me growing opportunities that often I don't take advantage of nor even recognize. I'm grateful for the atonement in my life, both for the final outcome, and for the spiritual witness of it that I have been blessed with. I love being able to sit with Jewel in church and talk about church stuff and feel of her sweet spirit which she exudes courtesy of her faithfulness. I have fond memories of the same over the years with Grant. My prayer is that they can endure to the end and my hope that I can too. And that they are blessed to bring their families along with them in the journey. Life IS hard ... and then you die, but as Daddy quoted, "why fear death - it's life's greatest adventure." I need to better prepare myself to be of more use in that hereafter, "to go no more out" after hopefully landing in a place where I can associate with my family and with my Dad and Mom, and Norma, other loved ones, and our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Father.