Thursday, December 29, 2005


Last week we began going through the laundry list of things the building inspector had noted about our house.

I repaired the cracked PVC pipe under the kitchen sink and replaced the sprayer, too. I put new batteries in the smoke detectors, called the gas company and they tightened the connection behind the stove, repairing the "miniscule" leak they found in the coupling. Dad and I glazed several window panes. The weather cooperated and I was able to paint the base of the pillars on the front porch. I even borrowed a "knee-kicker" and got the carpet laying close to the basement wall again.

And I painted.

The kitchen. The master bedroom. The back room.

As I painted I wondered.

The Building Inspection Report included a suggestion to hire a building engineer to do a structural analysis to determine if the foundation had shifted and whether the building is stable.

The buyers were scared off.

Our house was built in 1938 as a workshop. Later, three rooms were added on the east making it a small home. Later still, the basement was excavated (after the house was built!), adding two more bedrooms.

In December 2005 a building inspector comes along and wonders: "The floors are crooked, the walls aren't plumb or square and there is a crack in the kitchen ceiling. The foundation must be unstable."

So, I paint.

And as I paint, thoughts run through my mind: Is the house really unstable? As I cover each crack with a fresh coat of paint, am I hiding proof that the house should be condemned? Is my paint making me a liar?

The realtor had spoken with an engineering firm. They would do a study for $750, if requested, but if the house has been occupied for 10 years with no sign of shifting, then the house is stable.

I am not a Structural Engineer. I DO NOT know whether the building has shifted in the ten years we've lived in it. We've lived with the crooked floors and out-of-plumb walls the whole time, but is the building stable?

Then I saw it.

The joint between the back wall and the kitchen cabinets. The obvious tilt of the wall.

I remember distinctly filling that crack between the wall and the cabinet with caulk 10 years ago. We caulked LOTS of cracks as we made the house more livable after it had been "remodeled". That kitchen crack was memorable. It took a lot of caulk.

My ten-year-old job filling the crack was undisturbed.

No stretching, no cracking.

There had been no movement of the house during the 10 years we'd lived there and I had easy to point-out proof.


I'm not a liar.

I can offer my home for purchase with a clear conscience.

Now we just need to find folks who will fall in love with its character like we did.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


From A Bear Named Boy™

You said your birthday is - / - / 1959
which means you are 46 years old and about:

42 years 3 months younger than Walter Cronkite, age 89
37 years 7 months younger than Nancy Reagan, age 84
34 years 8 months younger than George Herbert Bush, age 81
27 years 5 months younger than Barbara Walters, age 74
25 years 3 months younger than Larry King, age 72
19 years 0 months younger than Ted Koppel, age 65
15 years 7 months younger than Geraldo Rivera, age 62
12 years 7 months younger than George W. Bush, age 59
7 years 7 months younger than Jesse Ventura, age 54
3 years 4 months younger than Bill Gates, age 50
1 year 6 months older than Cal Ripken Jr., age 45
7 years 4 months older than Mike Tyson, age 39
16 years 10 months older than Tiger Woods, age 29
23 years 4 months older than Prince William, age 23

and that you were:

42 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
40 years old on the first day of Y2K
38 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
36 years old at the time of Oklahoma City bombing
35 years old when O. J. Simpson was charged with murder
34 years old at the time of the
93 bombing of the World Trade Center
31 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
30 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
26 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
24 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
24 years old during Sally Ride's travel in space
22 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
20 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
17 years old on the U.S.'s bicentennial Fourth of July
15 years old when President Nixon left office
13 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
10 years old at the time the first man stepped on the moon
9 years old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated
6 years old during the Watts riot
4 years old at the time President Kennedy was assassinated
not yet 1 year old when Hawaii was admitted as 50th of the United States

[Top 40] you are 46 years old and about:

26 years 0 months younger than Yoko Ono, age 72
17 years 9 months younger than Bob Dylan, age 64
15 years 7 months younger than Mick Jagger, age 62
13 years 11 months younger than Eric Clapton, age 60
10 years 9 months younger than Stevie Nicks, age 57
3 years 4 months younger than David Lee Roth, age 50
0 years 6 months younger than Madonna, age 47
3 years 1 month older than Jon Bon Jovi, age 43
8 years 1 month older than Billy Corgan, age 38
11 years 1 month older than Mariah Carey, age 35
15 years 4 months older than Alanis Morissette, age 31
22 years 10 months older than Britney Spears, age 24

and when these songs were topping the charts
and these events occurred your age was:

The Twist, Chubby Checker: 1
Big Bad John, Jimmy Dean: 2
Sherry, The 4 Seasons: 3
The Beatles first appear live on The Ed Sullivan Show: 4
Downtown, Petula Clark: 5
The 8 track tape player first offered in 1966 Fords: 6
To Sir with Love, Lulu: 8
Hey Jude, The Beatles: 9
Woodstock Music Festival: 10
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin: 12
ABC TV premieres In Concert: 13
Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce: 14
I Shot the Sheriff, Eric Clapton: 15
Silly Love Songs, Wings: 17
Elvis Presley Dies: 18
Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, Rod Stewart: 20
Another Brick in the Wall, Pink Floyd: 21
John Lennon is shot to death: 21
MTV makes its debut: 22
Who Can it be Now, Men at Work: 23
The recording of We Are The World: 25
Walk Like an Egyptian, Bangles: 27
Didn't We Almost have it all, Whitney Houston: 28
Back In The U.S.S.R. is released exclusively in Russia: 29
Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor: 31
Emotions, Mariah Carey: 32
Fleetwood Mac perform at Bill Clinton's inauguration: 33
The Sign, Ace Of Base: 35
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens: 36

[TV] you are 46 years old and about:

32 years 8 months younger than Andy Griffith, age 79
29 years 3 months younger than Dick Clark, age 76
27 years 11 months younger than Leonard Nimoy, age 74
25 years 10 months younger than Carol Burnett, age 72
23 years 1 month younger than Alan Alda, age 69
21 years 7 months younger than Bill Cosby, age 68
16 years 3 months younger than Linda Evans, age 63
14 years 1 month younger than Tom Selleck, age 60
11 years 2 months younger than Ted Danson, age 57
8 years 10 months younger than Jay Leno, age 55
5 years 1 month younger than Oprah Winfrey, age 51
4 years 0 months younger than Kelsey Grammer, age 50
0 years 9 months younger than Drew Carey, age 47
2 years 4 months older than Michael J. Fox, age 44
5 years 9 months older than Calista Flockhart, age 41
10 years 0 months older than Jennifer Aniston, age 36
13 years 10 months older than Alyssa Milano, age 33
18 years 9 months older than Colin Hanks, age 28
24 years 6 months older than Mila Kunis, age 22
32 years 4 months older than Madylin Sweeten, age 14

and that you were:

3 years old at the time Beverly Hillbillies first aired
5 years old when the Addams Family first appeared on TV
7 years old at the time the first Star Trek episode was televised
11 years old when All in the Family was first shown
13 years old at the time the TV series M*A*S*H began
16 years old when Saturday Night Live first aired
19 years old when CBS introduced Dallas
21 years old during the first airing of Hill Street Blues
23 years old at the time the first Cheers episode was televised
27 years old when L.A. Law was first aired on TV
28 years old at the time the series Married with Children began
31 years old when Seinfeld was first televised
32 years old in the month Home Improvement began
35 years old at the time the TV series Friends began
37 years old when Everybody Loves Raymond first aired
40 years old when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire began in the US

[Movies] you are 46 years old and about:

40 years 0 months younger than Zsa Zsa Gabor, age 86
28 years 8 months younger than Clint Eastwood, age 75
26 years 0 months younger than Kim Novak, age 72
23 years 0 months younger than Burt Reynolds, age 69
19 years 0 months younger than Nick Nolte, age 65
17 years 10 months younger than Ann-Margret, age 64
11 years 11 months younger than Billy Crystal, age 58
9 years 3 months younger than Whoopi Goldberg, age 56
6 years 7 months younger than Robin Williams, age 53
2 years 7 months younger than Tom Hanks, age 49
0 years 3 months younger than Jamie Lee Curtis, age 47
2 years 2 months older than Eddie Murphy, age 44
11 years 5 months older than Jennifer Lopez, age 35
20 years 0 months older than Jennifer Love Hewitt, age 26
29 years 2 months older than Haley Joel Osment, age 17

and when these movies were released in the U.S. your age was:

West Side Story: 2
The Sound of Music: 6
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: 8
Midnight Cowboy: 10
The Godfather: 13
American Graffiti: 14
Jaws: 16
Star Wars: 18
Animal House: 19
Star Trek: The Motion Picture: 20
ET: 23
The Terminator: 25
Top Gun: 27
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: 28
Steel Magnolias: 30
Home Alone: 31
Wayne's World: 32
Jurassic Park: 34
Forrest Gump: 35
Fargo: 37
Saving Private Ryan: 39
Toy Story 2: 40

Monday, December 19, 2005


For a week I've been thinking about it.

What makes up me?

My economic identity is in jeopardy. No Question.

I've done all that I can to forestall the firestorm: Fraud Alerts have been issued to the three majors; the police report has been filed; the forms canceling our passports have been submitted.

Still, who am I?

When somebody uses my birth certificate or Social Security card to establish a fraudulent credit account it's called Identity Theft. That is a popular term, right now.

I am not my credit report.

The Adversary would like us all to focus our attention on his false facade of reality. My economic identity is part of that facade. I can expend energy and time worrying about what might happen. I am more concerned, presently, with spiritual preparation for the future.

I've paid the worldly dues to "protect my good name," but I refuse to let circumstance shift my focus from becoming a better husband, father and son, to undue worry about things that might or might not happen to an economic identity.

There is only time enough left to repent, forgive and be thankful. So that's what I aim to do.


"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" ~ Albert Einstein

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where are they now?

Check out this report about Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter. Don't mind the commercial, the story is worth it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


The first clue was the difficulty I had using my key in the driver's side door.

The second clue was all the stuff sitting on the driver's seat: gloves, Brillo pad, sunglasses.

I unlocked the passenger side, unlocked all the doors, moved the stuff from my seat with a curious non-thought and got on my way. I didn't think twice because I was late to be at the hospital when my 3-month-old grand son was having his first procedure to repair his cleft palate. As it was, I arrived just after they brought him to the recovery room.

They were giving my son and daughter-in-law instructions. I was told the doctors felt Gideon, my grandson, might have a genetic problem, Cri Du Chat (Cry of the Cat) and they drew blood to test for it. As it is he has to wear arm restraints as he is treated for his cleft. He had a bad day and let us know it, in his own quiet way.

Released, we went to our cars. I got in by unlocking the passenger side first, again.

As I drove away, I heard a door wasn't closed all the way. Thinking it was the passenger door, I reclosed it. The rushing air continued and as I looked for the source, I saw the back of the Jimmy was empty. The rear passenger-side door was a little open.

She had spent the day with her sister cleaning our empty house yesterday. They had loaded the 72-hour emergency kit in the rear of the Jimmy last thing. When we took the kids to Chuck-a-Rama for dinner, we had installed a car seat for Gideon's older brother. He'll stay with us for a few days. One of the reasons for our move into to city...

When I installed the car seat, I had to move the 72 hour emergency stuff around to put up the passenger seat backs. It was all in there when we parked the car and went in to bed.

The Thieves left the box of cleaning supplies, the cords for charging the cell phones, the CDs, Fritos, and gloves.

They took:
* 1 Sleeping Bag
* 1 8-man tent
* 2 1-person 72-hour kits
* A well-stocked First Aid case
* A well-stocked Hygiene case
* My Community Emergency ResponseTeam (CERT) bag

The CERT bag contained a change of clothes, gloves, goggles, an all-in-one tool, a knife, First Aid book, a clipboard, a pen, and our personal records, including: our passports, birth certificates and insurance papers.

I called her, then I called the police.

They filed a report. They won't be out to talk to us further. If I remember more, I should call them back and refer to our case number.

When I arrived home, I called our insurance agent. He took my information. He changed our address. We have a $500 deductible on our lost property. The claims adjuster will contact us. Oh yeah, he told me that I had been released from my calling last Sunday.

Wondering what to do about our passports, I contacted an Identity-Theft Company, signed-up for their service and contacted their lawyers. The lawyers will call back with advice this afternoon.

We'd stored the emergency supplies in the back of our truck since last spring, parked on our driveway every night.

The stuff will be replaced. We'll be alert for credit and strange identity activity.

It'll be a while before I feel at home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


A trip back in time, from my other journal, Sunday, 20 Sep 1987:

The dance went well, but there was too much "intermission". After the Ball I took Chris C. home and we passed a yellow car going the other way. After I dropped Chris off, I was going around the Bluff Woods curve and saw the yellow car perpendicular to the road with its front end in the ditch. I asked if the girl needed help and got out to push; I couldn't budge it, so I went back and got Chris to help push, and to be "chaperone" if I needed to take the girl, Laurie S., anywhere to get help. Well, Chris and I were able to rock the car but it still was stuck. So I told Laurie that I'd go try to find the sheriff, he'd be able to help. I said, "We'll be back as soon as possible." She answered, "Don't take too long." As if it were my fault she was still stuck. Well, as I drove down Warsaw Street to look for the cop I saw Justin S., and Jared and Jason H. I picked them up and took them to the place where the girl was waiting. As I got out of the car I put on my hazard lights. Well, we got the car out of the ditch, and she drove off. I was finally able to get home to bed after I took Chris and the other boys home.

At about 5:30 am my daughter fell out of bed screaming, my wife yelled and I went in to comfort our daughter. She was startled by flashing yellow lights in the front room. Of course, I realized I'd forgotten to turn off the hazard lights when I'd gotten home. Well, I went out to turn them off, and, of course, the battery had about completely discharged, so the car wouldn't start. We went back in to bed.

We woke up at 8:51 and I said to her, "We've got 9 minutes to get to the Church." Of course, I realized I'd have to get a jump to start the car. I hurried into my clothes and let her take care of the kids. We had to get to church quick 'cause the Primary was giving the Sacrament Presentation and our son had a part to give. I hurried outside to try the car on the off-chance that it might start up anyway. It didn't. So I went to Jim C.'s to see if he could help me but he wasn't home. I looked around and saw the barber pole at Larry D.'s was on. So I went down to his barbershop and asked if he could help jump-start my car. He could and did and I left the car on to charge the battery. Finally she and the kids were ready, and I figured we could still get to church before the Primary Presentation started if they’d taken extra time to pass the sacrament. As we drove through town it looked awful busy for a Sunday morning. Then I realized that the SS. Peter and Paul School was holding their Annual Rummage Sale. I said, “I thought they always hold their rummage sale on Saturdays?” Well, they did and they still do. Suddenly we realized it was Saturday.

The Friday night dance (aren’t dances usually held on Saturday?) and post-dance activities, the mid-night awakenings had all confused us. What a relief it was to realize that we had an extra day to prepare for the Sabbath, and that we weren’t really late for the Presentation. Anyway it took about a half-hour to get over the feeling that it was Sunday, and get ready to go to work.

We had a pretty good day. I made 4 batches of fudge. After work we went bowling. She scored a 47 and 70 and I scored 87 and 150. The kids never hit a pin. I was really surprised, but the lane had a really bad hook no matter how straight they rolled the ball.

We were almost late for Church this morning, but we got here before the Prelude music was over. Our son said his part real well even though he was pretending to be a Star B.

The Sacrament Presentation went real well. All the kids sang and spoke well. They were even pretty reverent.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Deer

She called shortly after I posted the previous entry.

Thank Heavens.

The deer in this case is a sister-in-law who just learned some bad news:
Yesterday we went to see a perinatologist because they were a little concerned about our baby being small. We had another ultrasound and the Dr said that there are several things wrong with Her. The Dr. thinks she probably has Trisomy 18, which is a chromosomal disorder, like downs syndrome, but more severe and more rare. If she has it, then she's likely to be stillborn or only survive for the first few months. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for Her. Thanks for your support and love.

I'm thankful for the renewed paths of communication, and have offered up prayers in behalf of my unborn niece and her parents.