Monday, December 6, 2010

A Bitter Sweet Find.

Going though the last of the old pictures from my Mother's house we came across a picture of three young people in a small picture of the type you get from a photo booth. It was in a old style cardboard frame. Sharon asked "I wonder who they are? I suppose we will never know. What is written on the back?"

I dug out the magnifying glass and read;

"Bonde hair
Blue eyes
Sweetheart lips"

I said "It doesn't help. Another one for the unknown pile. Its a shame for she is so pretty." As I tossed it in the pile I noticed some printing on the back of the picture proper underneath the frame. Some had written:

girl in
Buddy Hovan


Was killed in
an auto accident
5 others in acc-
ident. All 6 dead

2.45 pm pretty

I cried. Angela (aka Buddy) Hovan!! I had just met my Father's baby sister. I could see why she was his favourite. She, her fiance, and some friends were coming from/going to Hillcrest when the brakes on the car failed. They were unable to stop or leave the road. They were hit by a train at the bottom of the hill. My Dad's family lived in the river bottom about a half mile from the crossing. It almost destroyed Dad. He filled his back pack with a few things, took his rifle, and headed into the mountains. He wandered the forests around the Pass for several weeks. When he returned he would not talk about it for years. I think I was in my teens when I first heard about her story.

Some where in the files we have a picture of the car. When I find it again I will add it to the album.

Some times family shows up in the strangest places and in the strangest ways.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It has been just about a month since the last post.

The first October we went to Cache Valley in Utah to visit Chrissy's in-laws. Sharon and I had hopes of arriving around noonish but that didn't happen. We got out of town a little later than we wanted to and then ran into some road construction in several places. We got into town about 4pm. Just in time to empty the Jeep and head to a USU/BYU football game. I gather it was an history match. USU beat BYU for the first time in years. They drubbed hem so soundly that BYU fired their defencive coach the next morning.

Saturday, Fred and Susan had tickets for conference and headed out early. Sharon and I got up early as well and headed out for a bit of shopping before the conference broadcast started on TV. Between sessions we headed out to do some research. We are thinking ahead to retirement and are planning to become gypsies. We headed out to a RV dealer and spent about an hour looking a 5th wheel trailers. The salesman who we found out was also the owner gave us some good ideas and information. The rest of the day was spent watching the afternoon session. Fred and I went to the Priesthood broadcast at their Stake Centre in the evening and afterwards the 4 of us just visited and enjoyed each others company.

Sunday was spent in front of the TV watching the last 2 sessions and visiting. Monday we all headed out. Fred and Susan are "sight seeing" in the area once a month. This month they headed out to Moab and area for a couple of days. Sharon and I headed down to the Salt Lake area to continue our research. The RV dealer we stopped into did not really impress us. A couple of times he gave us a price we could have the unit for while we were inside the trailer and walking to the next one I saw a sales poster on the nose that said the unit was on special and the price was 10 to 15,000 lower than the "best he could offer". (This week I stopped into a dealer here in town and the prices he gave we lower still on the same units.)

All in all we had 4 very relaxing days of friendship and Sonic. Sonic is Sharon's favourite drive-in just because of their lemon/lime milkshakes. They make their milkshakes with real fruit. If you have never been to one, it is an old school drive-in with a menu board, call button to order, and car hops that deliver, usually on roller skates.

The new job and the new location are going well. I like being at the booth at Costco. I know most of the customers and staff at Costco. It is just like old home week and the booth staff are great. We lost one last week. She left rather suddenly. We should have a new co-worker today. Sales are what I am supposed to be doing right now even though I would prefer to be in my wood shop making saw dust. I am going to have to get back in there on the evenings and days off. I still several things to finish off and Christmas presents to start.

It is election time in the States too. On the way down just north of Hellena we saw a set of "Burma Shave" style signs that read:

When you drive through school zones...

Drive really...


Really slow...

Let those young voters grow up...

So the can vote...

The last sign had a name and "for School Commissioner"

That man was thinking.

On a different slant just outside of Salt Lake there was a billboard for a large jewellery store advertising engagement rings followed immediately by another billboard advertising a medical centre and the "Best OB/GYN facilities in the Valley".

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Summer

It has been an interesting summer.

After the family left, life got back to normal. I retired to my wood shop and started to make sawdust again. About this time a friend and neighbour asked if I would refinish an old end table she had. I said I would take a look at it. I was shown this round smoker's table (like an end table but a little taller) that had this ugly blonde finish. She asked if I could just strip it and repaint it. I agreed. When I got home, I noticed a manufacturer's label and manufacturing number on the underside. I did a little research and found that it was built around 1900 in Ontario. When I stripped it, I found the most beautiful mahogany. I then proceeded to decontruct and repair it. After reassembly and six coats of varethane this is what I found.

I made arrangements to drop it off. When I walked into her house I showed her the finished table with out any explanation. She was impressed with the table I had in my hands but wanted to know where her end table was. When I told her this was it she was flabbergasted. I also showed a copy of the information I found on the company that built the table.

She had intended to put it down in the family room so the kids had something to eat off. It is now in the upstairs living room.

I was also offered a job at a new cell phone booth in the mall. I took it just to keep me occuppied and from under Sharon's feet. Since then I have been transferred to the company's booth at Costco. I am enjoying myself and enjoy working with the two young ladies that are there. So far I have made some money and received a new cell phone. A Samsung Galaxy S. I have had it for a couple of weeks and still learning how it works. You have to be smarter than your smart phone to get it to do what you want.

The other day as I was getting into my car, I noticed the swing I put up in the tree. It looked so lonely. The grass has even grown back under it. I took some pictures that I entitled "A Forgotten Friend".

That is about all for now. I am retiring to my wood shop on my days off and and in the evening to start on some projects I have put off and Santa's Christmas gifts. If any one has a request let me know and I will add them to Santa's work shop list. I am sure Santa will oblige them.

Till next time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Survival - Sort Of

This past weekend we said good bye to Chrissy and her 4 children after almost 6 weeks. It was fun and interesting to say the least living with an 8 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old, and a 9 month old after over a year with no one to trip over but Sharon. This herd was also augmented on occasion with the addition of Kimmie's 2 girls. At time the noise and activity almost became too much for this old fart to handle but a "I love you PaPa." from the older ones or a "Hey!" from the baby made it all go away. It was rather intense at times. It rained almost every day they were here and the only play area was the house. The last week was the only really sustained sunshine we had since they arrived.

The last week was an interesting one. Rainey (3 yrs) and Eliza (8 yrs) were bouncing on their bed and Rainey fell off. Eliza reach out to catch him and dislocated his elbow. A trip to the ER ensued. Chrissy has coverage by one of the largest health insurance firms in the States and was not too concerned about the possibility of the cost. When she got to the hospital she was told that they do not direct bill the insurance firms. (I am lead to understand that Alberta is the only province in the country that does not do this.) There was a $565 administration fee to register Rainey into the system that the hospital was willing to bill Chrissy and the medical fees were $200 to be paid before she left the ER. Two days later the same 2 were bouncing on the same bed and Rainey bounced off again and caught the corner of the dresser on the top of his head. Like all head wounds it bled like crazy but once we got it cleaned off it was only a small puncture. It should have had a stitch but Chrissy was not about to pay another $800 for something this minor. On Wednesday Eliza was outside with her 9 month old sister Michael and playing on the new swing I had installed on the tree in the front yard. Eliza lost her grip and fell over backward and took Mikey with her. Eliza suffered a pretty good goose egg and a health dose of feeling guilty. Mikey bumped her chin and bit her tongue. Again tongues bleed like crazy and usually look worse than they are. On closer inspection it was pretty bad. A second trip to the ER ensued. 13 stitches (the tongue was bitten through and only held in place by a couple of pieces on each side), the $565 administration fee and a whopping $1,300 medical fee. Because they had to put Mikey under they needed an anestithist, a respiratory tech, a nurse, and the doc. Next holiday, Chrissy says it would be cheaper to fly us down and rent us a car.

On Friday we drove to Great Falls to spend the day with Dian. She flew up on Thursday and spent the day with one of her friends. We shopped until I dropped, ate, lazed in the hotels hot tub, and talked. On Saturday Chrissy and the kids joined us. More shopping, eating, lazing, and now the happy noise of 4 kids. On Sunday after breakfast, Chrissy, Di, and the kids headed out on the long drive to Oklahoma and we headed home to a now way too quiet and empty house.

This Monday, I got asked if I would be the campaign manager for a friend who is running for council this fall. It has been several years since I have been involved in politics. But ever being the political animal I said yes. This should be fun.

That takes us up to date.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Intersting Spring

Since the end of April, life has been anything but boring.

May 15th my mother passed away after a brief but losing battle with an infection. She was 89 and I think she was ready to go "home". She had been basically house bound for the last 3 years and was alone in her house except for her orange cat Boxer Longtail. Dad has been gone for 11 years now and my brother Dave had been gone 7. I do miss them all.

On the 20th, Chrissy, Jacob, and their 4 arrived for the funeral on the 22nd. On the 23rd, I took Jacob to Great Falls to catch a plane home for work. He had to report back on Tuesday. Chrissy and the kids stayed. They are leaving this week end for OK. Dian is flying into Great Falls on Thursday. She has a friend coming to see her. On Friday, Sharon and I are driving down to spend Friday with her and Saturday Chrissy is joining us. Sunday she, Dian, the kids are heading for OK. Chrissy asked for help and company with the trip home. 2 or 3 days on the road with 4 kids under the age of 9, I don't blame her.

I have spent what time I could in the wood shop. The rain has put a damper on that. I like to do as much as I can outside. I have room to move the bigger rough stuff around and the shaving and dust are easier to clean up. The wind does that. Other wise I am sweeping and vacuuming daily and until I can get the old tables and shelving down the shop is crowded.

So far I have completed a cradle in cherry (Looks great but I find cherry a little difficult to work with.), made another digger (Both this and the cradle were custom orders), got most of the wood planed to thickness for the book shelves Sharon wants, laid out the plans for a quilt rack (on spec), laid out the plans for a "mail/key self" (custom order), And started to design a pedestal for a projector (custom order).

The last 5 weeks with the grandkids were interesting. There were times that I could have killed them. Well at least beat them within an inch of their young lives, but with a smile, a hug, and "I am sorwy." and all is forgiven and forgotten. It has been a real trial, especially when all 6 cousins have descended on Granma's and Papa's house, but when they are gone, I know I will miss them terribly. I really do enjoy the noise and commotion. It is usually happy noise even if it would drown out a jet at full take off power. I checked my blood pressure the other day and it was well with the norms and my heart beat was only 52. I had run out of my BP medicine a couple of days before and had just picked up the refill when I did this. I guess kids are good for your health.

Well that just about covers it. Until next posting.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It has been over a year since the last post. A lot has happened since then. Here is an over view of the events.

In January of 2009, the company I was with started a restructuring plan. They tried a "new" bonus plan that should have made everyone a good amount of coin, IF everyone bought into it. Not many did because it would require them to work for a change. In June the company returned to a bonus plan that was very similar to the old one. To help motivate those that were involved in any way with leasing (the leasing agents and the building managers) they had a contest. The top people in each group in the various districts would have a chance to win a trip to Cancun, all expenses paid. I was amazed at how many didn't buy into the new promo. I still ended up as top leaser in the company, by one contract. I won one of the trips. The last week in October, Sharon and I spent a wonderful and enjoyable time in a 4 Star resort. They took us quadding in the jungle, zip lining in the jungle canopy, and shopping in Playa del Carmen. We were treated to facials and pedicures in the spa and a 3 hour full body exfoliation and couples massage. I could very easily get used to that type of treatment and life style. The weather was fantastic. The temperature was between 24 and 28 Celsius all day long. We had a little rain the last day and a half if you could call 4 inches in 2 hours a little rain. It was like walking in a shower it was so warm. The day after we left hurricane Ida blew in. It was interesting watching the staff prepare for the storm.

3 days after we got back, the fellow that was my boss in Toronto was let go in the first round of staff cuts. Over the next 6 months over half of the people that I worked with in head office were gone. The cutbacks culminated the first of March with a total restructuring of the leasing department. All the leasing people were laid off. They tried to hire they back as contract consultants for less money. I was offered what would have worked out to about an average of $15OO a month and have to supply my own car and cover all expenses. They could hire as many "consultants" in the area as they wanted but I could not consult for any other property management company. I chose not to sign on and went on EI. After a lot of thought and talking with Sharon, I have decided to retire. I will take what EI will give me and start developing my wood working to see if I can't sell some of that. In May of 2011, I can and will take my early retirement and go from there.

In May of 2009 our baby, Dian, married a young fellow from Arizona. She and David were sealed in the Bountiful, Utah temple on 13 May. David Adam Stewart is a good kid. She met him in the summer of 2008 when she was down there selling pest control. They moved to Thacher in the south east corner of Arizona. He works for the Morensey Copper mine a heavy duty mechanic. In August, Sharon and I drove down to Arizona to visit and to start the first of the "take a grandchild on holidays" tradition that was a part of our girls lives when they were growing up. My parents took or tried to take one of the girls for a week in rotation every year. Eliza is old enough to take so we spent a week with her travelling with Auntie Di and Uncle David. We went to the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, and areas around Thacher. Di met Chrissy half way between Oklahoma and Arizona to pick her up and returned her home and spent time with Chrissy, Jacob, And their family.

On September 18, 2009, Chrissy and Jacob had their 4th. A beautiful little girl. They named her Michael Amelia. The last week of November, Sharon and I flew to Oklahoma to partake in 2 weeks of family. It was a busy 2 weeks. Jacob was promoted, Eliza was baptized, and Michael was blessed. Fred and Susan, Jacob's parents were there as well. I got the tour of Fort Sill. We spent a day in Oklahoma City and went to the Federal Building Bombing Memorial. I made Michael a cradle like I made Oryn, Kimmie's little one. To transport it I also made a solid oak carrying case. When our luggage finally arrived in Oklahoma (We were there a day before it arrived and we only had 1 transfer. Our trip home from Cancun we had 2 and an airline change and our luggage arrived when we did. Go figure.) the case was destroyed. I managed to repair it but it is not the best.

In January, Kimmie and Scott announced that they were opening their second store. It is going to be on the south side of town in the College Plaza. They were expecting a late May opening but have been informed by the contractor that he will be done the week of the 3rd and the company has asked if they could open on the 10th. That is just less than 1 year after the opening of their first location.

The first weekend in March Sharon, Kimmie, Makynna, and I drove down to Great Falls, Montana to meet Dian. She flew in from Arizona. Kimmie and Makynna drove down in the morning and picked her up at the airport and then spent the day shopping. We went down later in the day after Sharon got off work and met them. After we had supper Kimmie and Makynna returned home and Dian, Sharon, and I continued on down to Logan, Utah. Jacob's parents are retiring to Smithfield just north of Logan and their first container load of furniture and stuff was arriving. Chrissy and Jacob were coming up to help and we came too. Also it gave us an excuse to spend some time with them. It was too bad Kimmie and Scott couldn't come but business comes first and usually at the most inconvenient times. We had a good time and got to renew some family friendships that distance has made hard to keep.

This past weekend, Kimmy, Sharon, and I went to Great Falls to meet Dian and David. Dian was returning her car to Canada and giving it to me. It would cost more than the car was worth to import it to the States. We all spent Saturday together and then Kimmie drove the Jeep back. Sunday we put the other 2 on a plane home and then we drove the VW home ourselves.

Last Monday, I got a call from the ward exec. sec. to set an appointment with the Bishop. He wants to advance me to a high priest. This week I met with Pres Low and he made it official. Some time in the next week or 2 when we can arrange it, I will be presented to the ward and ordained. I just have to decide who I want to do the ordination.

Yesterday at karatedo training, Hanshi told me that on 15 May he is going to test me for my 4th degree black. Now all I need to do is relearn about a bazillion katas. Oh well with out a few little challenges life would be boring.

My family is growing up too fast. Makynna started play school this year and is thoroughly enjoying school. She is registered in kindergarten for next year and starts school in earnest. Oryn is coming into to her own and has become her own little person. She is very vocal and is not afraid to let the world know her opinions. Eliza is in Grade 2 and baptized. Daniel is in kindergarten and becoming quite the young man. Rainey is like Oryn and is letting the world know that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Michael is crawling and trying to walk.

It really has been a long time since I wrote. It is now time to re-prioritize my time and make a commitment to up date more regularily. I will try of weekly at least. Until next time.