Monday, June 21, 2010

Afternoon At Micky D's

Let me set the stage. It's Wednesday evening. The day was warm and we had worked fairly hard around the cabin. There's always much to do. I walked in to the cabin and sat in my favorite chair.

Now picture this. The chair is positioned so that by looking up I can see the edge of our loft. The loft edge is protected by wrought iron railings and looks over into the kitchen area as well as my favorite chair.

Daniel (3) and John (18 months) are up in the loft. They are lying on grandma and grandpas bed watching Barney or some such communistic, socialistic, anti-Christian (that's what people aways said about the stuff my kids watched....My Little Pony, The Smurfs....Lord, what's wrong with us?) fare on our TV.

I looked up to notice that John was standing by the railing. His sweet little cherubic face pressed up against the wrought iron. Smiling. Then I noticed that he had taken off his diaper. He's not potty trained yet. And then I started yelling. "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! as I realized that without his diaper, going commando, he had no inhibitions. He was free and there was a strange warm, liquid sensation hitting my arm.

The Perpetrator

That's right. He was expressing, either his individuality or his disdain for his grandpa. It was a perfect arch out of the loft and into the kitchen via my favorite chair. I have new appreciation for the phrase, "The Golden Arches."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daniel's Initiation

Several days ago I published the account of my hike to the Pantry with Atticus and Conrad. This past Sunday afternoon I decided it was time for Daniel to make the pilgrimage. I had preached in Pueblo that morning and the girls had stayed home with the kids. John had been sick all night keeping Jane up until 2:00 a.m. Staci has been sick ever since she got here, so Daniel and I were the only healthy ones in the bunch. When I asked him if he wanted to go for a hike he was more than eager. He just didn't realize that it's 9/10's of a mile to the Pantry.

With hiking sticks in hand (mine hand carved by Ernie Loganbill in Independence, Kansas) we set out. It was a perfect day for the adventure and we enjoyed the time together. Well, at least I did. Daniel is very quiet and I'm never sure exactly when he's really enjoying our activities. But, we walked and he was a great little trooper. Never whined or whimpered. He just walked. It was as though he was thinking, "let's get this over with."

At the Pantry we sat inside (it was only in the 50's here on Sunday) and had some drinks. His poison is chocolate milk.

As we were ready to leave the hostess asked if we would like some bread to feed the ducks at the pond. "Certainly." we said. "Gus," she yelled, "give me some duck bread."

With our well filled sack of "duck bread" we made our way to the pond and found the ducks weren't all that hungry. We fed them anyway. "Eat, duck." They were less than impressed.

As we walked home Daniel occasionally would be heard to say (under his breath) "I'm tired." "Do you want to ride on grandpa's shoulders?" "No!"

That little guy walked every step of the way. A total of 1.8 miles carrying his walking stick. Later that evening I asked if he would like to go for another walk. His response, "I would go for a 'widdle' walk."

Me too, Daniel. Just a 'widdle' walk

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And So It Begins

For the past 6 months Jane and I have been working on the idea of converting a non-usable car port into a master suite at the cabin. It would give us nice space for some of our furniture that's still in storage as well as make it possible for Jane to avoid climbing a narrow staircase to get to our current bedroom in the loft. However, El Paso County saw things differently. Since our cabin is virtually right on Fountain Creek, we're in the flood plain. That means no expansion. Well....we could convert the space into a bedroom if we put it on 6 FOOT STILTS. And you can't add space that has HEAT! Lord have mercy!!!

So it would seem that the project was ended. Oh, but not so fast.  The county will allow the car port to be converted to a GARAGE. Totally enclosed. A garage? Okay, I can play that game. So today with permit in hand (after 6 trips to the El Paso County Building Department) we have started construction on our new "garage." It's going to be terrific with cathedral windows in the gable and french doors leading out to the back patio.

You have to love bureaucracy.....don't you?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summertime blues

Colorado is one of those wonderful places where people like to spend their vacation. It started for me when just a small boy. We always vacationed in Colorado. Probably because my grandmother lived here. In fact, she lived just about 150 yards from where our cabin sits today. On the same stream. If you count that fact that her mother (my great grandmother) visited her and enjoyed this stream, my grandchildren make the 6th generation of our family to vacation or live on the banks of Fountain Creek.

Today as we woke up it was cold. Not cool. Cold. It has yet to break the 50 degree barrier and so we've got a fire burning in the fireplace. A light misty rain has fallen off and on so Staci's boys have been held captive in the cabin. That means that in a dwelling of about 1000 square feet there are five individuals and more toys than you can imagine. And they are all over the floor. But, the smell of the fire and the excitement of their laughter makes it a great environment. In fact, it's SO great that I've personally adjourned to my office in the garage just to let the other four enjoy the environment without my interference.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to preach in Pueblo at First Church of the Nazarene and I'm looking forward to the journey and the opportunity to make new friends there. Meanwhile, I think I'll just linger here in the garage/office for a bit longer. Let's early can we put those boys to bed?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Morning Sick In Seattle

That's right. Morning sickness. Oh, not me. Mercy.'s our daughter, Staci. Let me start this narrative a few weeks ago. Staci's husband is a pilot in the Air Force flying the C-17. He was deployed for a few months and since that left Staci at home with two boys (Daniel is three, John is a year and a half), we thought she might need some help. We decided to fly out for a few days.

She did, indeed, need help. Daniel is filled with "why" questions and little John is at the climbing stage. He climbs on everything. We came down the stairs one day to find he had climbed on to the bar stools and then on to the counter top. He greeted us with a huge smile as if to say, "look what I've done."

What a joy to take those two little guys to McDonald's in the morning and watch them crawl on the equipment in the play room. They love chocolate milk as much as the other two grandsons. They would run and play and then hurry to the table for a quick pull on the straw for energy.

While there I kept teasing Staci about the fact that she and Josh have planned to have a third child, and soon. "Staci, what are you thinking? These two are more than a normal human being can keep up with." We laughed together and the teasing continued all week.

As the week wore on I realized how weary she was and I asked Jane if she would consider staying another week. She was willing. I flew home.

Staci continued to show signs of fatigue. Finally she confessed to her mother that she was pregnant.

Life has been a blur since then and tonight Jane is packing for another trip to Seattle to help a daughter who is seriously ill with morning sickness that's lasting all day and trying to keep up with two busy boys.

Who knows, she may even come home with Jane and give grandpa the opportunity to spend an afternoon with all four grandsons fishing in the backyard.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Project With A Purpose

It's been a year and a half since I resigned from Denver First Church of the Nazarene. I was Senior Pastor there for over 15 years. It was demanding enough that it kept this country boy busy.

After 39 years as a pastor it's been a bit of challenge to figure out what to do at times. Sure, I still preach most Sundays and I truly enjoy that privilege, but through the week I've been a bit bored. On occasion I've even teased Jane that I haven't had a purpose.

I've spent some time on Craigslist looking for some old car to restore/rebuild/or hot rod. Last fall I found a 1935 Chevrolet pickup truck that looked like a worthy candidate for my "purpose" but I couldn't get the owner to agree with me on the value of the vehicle.

This weekend I browsed Craigslist again and found a 1935 Ford pickup with a flathead V-8. It's in rough shape, as you can tell, but as of 1:00 p.m. today.....she's all mine.  I think THIS should give me a sense of purpose. I've been subscribing to car magazines for years. I've watched every episode of "Overhaulin'" for the past five years. I've tivoed the Saturday morning car shows for the past six months. I know the hosts by name. Car Crazy and My Classic Car are two more of the "must see" items on my viewing agenda. I've even subscribed to Hot Rod Magazines DVD series on how to restore a car. No more excuses now.

Do you know that via the World Wide Web you can find instructions on how to do anything from rebuilding a flathead to installing hydralic brakes? My problem is that there's usually a break down somewhere between the printed instructions and the end of the wrench I'm using.

You see, I'm an instant gratification kind of a guy. I don't want to spend five years rebuilding this vehicle. I want to drive it to the Show and Shine at Denver First Church on June 13th.....THIS YEAR. I won't make it.

I borrowed a large trailer from the Morans and tomorrow I hit the highway up to Denver to pick up this pickup. I'll bring it home, park it in the drive way while I do the autopsy and, no doubt, worry my neighbors sick. "There goes the neighborhood."