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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SUPREME DOUBTS

The current crop of Supremes.  Not very representative of our Nation as a whole.
I am confident (not so subtle sarcasm) that many have been waiting (with bated breath) for my reactions to the most recent Supreme Court decisions.  Not wanting to offend or disappoint, but expressing my own personal thoughts, here are some things I would offer for your perusal.  I will probably share more later.
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Cain's problem wasn't just killing his brother.  He also changed his
listening habits and followed the wrong counsel.


For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.  Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech, and his house, and all them that had covenanted with Satan; for the kept not the commandments of God, and it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them, and their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men.  And it was among the sons of men. (Moses5:51-52)


When God speaks, many put up this little message.
That's fine, but there are always consequences.
But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil – yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center. (D&C10:56)




For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.  (Mosiah 3:19)


Not a cat lover but the message is exactly
 right for Paul's words.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)



When a small group of individuals (5-6) make decisions for the general population, trying to please a tiny percentage of the citizenry, the results are bound to have negative implications for the whole.  Whether it is healthcare, marriage relations, or any other number of issues, relying on the wisdom of men most often ends badly.

Take a look at history and see how civilizations that cater to the whims of a small minority end up.  

It is not a pretty sight.

Babylon
Assyria
Egypt
Rome
Greece
Europe
Nephites
America


Let’s hope for some sensibility in the near future.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

RANDOM PICS


I was looking through my phone and found a large number of random pictures I have never shared.  Most are just spur of the moment things but some are interesting.  Hope you enjoy a view of what I like to remember.





Fremont Indian Ruins -- If you look closely you can see the writing on the walls of the canyon.


A Pretty flower on a little cactus.  Near the Fremont Indian Visitor Center.  Not quite up to AZ standards, but a sample of what beauty in the desert looks like.




Look closely in the trees.  You can see a whole flock of buzzards.
They were interesting because of their propensity to fight and tease each other.
This is in Tropic, UT.




A Play-date with the "Little's" (L to R, Emma, Tanner, Grandma, Katie).  They had a great time together.

"Little's" (Katie, Tanner) learning to play croquet.

Emma and Grandma playing croquet on a hot summer day.  They didn't care much for the rules but they had a great time hitting the balls.  And 'Poison" was the best.




Our 'rumpus' room before we started the remodel.  Notice the sad carpet and
the brick under the windows.  The back door is horrible and the walls are a
boring peach//pink shade.  We used this room for daycare for more than
30 years but have decided it needs to be something different.


One corner of the 'rumpus' room under construction. You can see that we removed the brick under the windows to give a feel of more space.  I will post completion pics when it is done.

Another corner.  Notice the old carpet that is now gone.  The step by the door will be tiled when we are finished.

The back door and pink paint are gone now (new door and new color).  When we pulled up the carpet we found a dollar bill that I had put under the pad when we put the old green carpet in.  I had written the date on it --  1996 -- 19 years ago we put that in.  I would say it REALLY needed to be replaced. 

Further efforts in the corner

Christopher and his 'cool' bike riding goggles.  He wouldn't take them off, even though they kept falling down on his face and made it harder for him to ride.  He's just cool like that.

One of our days with Brian and Paula's kids when we went to Cabela;s to see the fish.
Becca wasn't that impressed but she didn't complain.  (L to R) Benji, Chris, and Katie really liked
all the finny friends.

Grandma Grange's funeral.  All the kids around the casket (L to R -- Cindy, Teresa, Dad, Therron, Denise, and Wendy).  We miss her but are so glad she is not suffering anymore.

This was a birthday/playdate with Becca. It was pretty windy and I don't think she had much fun.
We will do better next time.

Little's sleepover.  Grandma reading just before bed
(clockwise beginning bottom left -- Emma, Ellie, Katie, Tanner, and Christoper).



That's all for now.  I may do this another day cause I still have a lot of pics on the phone.  See you next time. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

THE GREAT TRUCK VACATION

This is a brief (yes, it could have been longer) history of our most recent vacation effort.  Little went as planned but we all had a good time and came home without any broken limbs or scars.  If you aren't into reports like this, don't be afraid to skip.  


Remember, no Whitmer's or DeMoux's were injured seriously during the application of this vacation.



15 June 2015

This is a report on our vacation with the DeMoux clan.  The plan is to visit all the southern Utah parks (Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, etc.) for a week and then Teresa and I will mosey on down to Arizona to visit with my family.  It’s a lot of driving but the hope is it will be a good experience for all involved.

Departure was early afternoon on 14 June with intent to arrive in Bryce Canyon early evening.  For the most part, the trip was uneventful until we turned off the freeway for dinner. Our plan was to eat at Cove Fort and take the tour so the kids could get a little Church History with our trip.  As we left the freeway, there was a sudden change in the tone of my truck.  There was also a message stating “Failsafe Mode...” – I had no idea what that meant.  The truck seemed to struggle and there was some ‘burping’ and ‘heaving’ but the vehicle continued on its way.

Not exactly the same truck but pretty close.
After our dinner was eaten and the Fort was toured, we sallied back to the vehicles to continue on our little excursion.  My truck was acting oddly and there were moments when I wondered if we were going to make it, but we did finally arrive at our destination.  Having stressed muchly over the truck, my attitude was less than pleasant but that angel who resides in my life and heart patiently endured until we were able to retire to our sleeping abode.

This morning we devoured our breakfast, spent money in the gift shop, and then packed up the major part of the company for a hiking adventure.  My destination was the small town of Panguitch where I hoped to find someone with the skill to revive my ailing transport.  I limped (this is why “Failsafe Mode” was included in the price of the truck – so you could ‘limp’ to a safe place to get repaired) to the shop and was met by a very nice gentleman who immediately dropped everything and checked the codes in the computer (for those who are unaware, each modern vehicle has a built in computer to tell guys like him what they are feeling).  He discovered that there were two valve controls  that had failed – to his amazement!!  He has often seen one fail but to have both was ‘miraculous’ (or anti-so).


The location of Royal Express  in Panguitch

Sadly, the parts reside in another city/town and won’t be here until tomorrow so I am currently sitting outside the local seminary (no one is here cause school is out in Panguitch also) waiting for the ‘end of the world.’  Josh DeMoux will be coming to get me later today (after they finish some hiking) and we will continue on with our vacation.  I guess it could be worse – but I would have to really think to come up with that scenario.  At least I have my health.

But if I don’t quit eating at Arby’s that may even go away.  It has been a long day, and it’s only 2 PM.  There’s not a lot to do in Panguitch.  I have walked the depth and breadth of this little village and there is little of excitement.  While life seems slow here, I suspect I would enjoy being part of this community – it is a small town and they are generally lots of fun.  Unfortunately, my experience says that it would be difficult to find acceptance because I am not a native and I have very little to tie me to the current residents.  Still, it would be fun to have the small town experience once again.

Josh finally came to get me in the late afternoon and I was reunited with the rest of the family.  They had a wonderful day hiking the trails in Bryce Canyon and seeing all the flora and fauna.  I hope that I get a chance to see some of the sights before we leave.  I am astounded at the beauty of the landscape in this area and wonder why we haven’t been here before.  Oh, I think the family came here during the “year without a dad” in the 90’s.

bryce-canyon-6
Isn't this amazing?!!

This is now Tuesday and we found out this morning that the Ford dealer sent the parts for the truck UPS and not on the delivery truck.  They won’t be delivered until noon so we have some time on our hands.  Teresa and I are going to Panguitch to wait for word and the DeMoux’s are headed to St. George for one of their excursions.  I think they are going to the St. George Temple.  Their goal is to visit all the temples in Utah this summer.

Click to enlarge this image of the St. George Utah Mormon Temple
Probably not taken the day they went.
So, we are wandering the little town, trying to stay out of trouble.  We thought we could go to the library but it doesn’t open until 1 PM so we went to the county offices for awhile.  Then we took a walk and are now sitting on the grass of the local Church building.  It is shady and the grass is softer than the chairs at the county building so we are in good shape.  Who knows what other adventures will rise-up to greet us as we trundle through the day.  I just hope we get a vehicle really soon.

After many hours of waiting, gawking, sitting, and fretting we received the phone call that we had anticipated.  Despite the best efforts of Royal Express Automotive, the truck is not in working order.  And the problems have exceeded the abilities of our friends in the fix-it business (a side-note: they refused any payment because they could not fix the problem.  Not your usual business strategy).  The only option left is to take the truck to a Ford dealer and let them have a crack at the problem. We considered trying to get to Salt Lake but multiple opinions suggested we had already pushed our luck for further damage.  So, we are now sitting under a tree at one of the Churches in Panguitch, waiting for a tow truck to deliver us to Jorgensen Ford in Richfield, Utah.

Map of Utah . net Presents the best map of Utah
It's in the upper right corner. 

We have read and heard of these kind of experiences over the years but, until this week, nothing remotely like this has been our lot to endure.  Actually, in the whole realm of endurance this is not a very large burden to accept.  Sure, its going to cost us a lot of money and our vacation is probably over, but we have had the chance to visit a quaint little town not known to us before.  And our kids have learned that we are not quitters or whiners when things get tough.  And maybe more importantly, Teresa and I have dealt with a very trying circumstance without rancor or blame – in fact, it has been delightful to have her with me (I hope she feels the same) while we have worked through all the excitement.  And decades from now we will always have the “Great Truck Vacation” to use as a benchmark for excitement.

We have not been able to contact the DeMoux’s (they are still in St. George) so I don’t know how we will get all our stuff home (their Suburban isn’t large enough to carry all our stuff along with theirs and the kids).  Maybe we will get lucky and the truck can be fixed fast and we can come back and help with the return trip.  They were planning to take the trailer home while we went on to AZ so that part won’t be a problem.  Worse for worse, we will just tie stuff on top of the vehicles and trailer and get it home that way.

It is now Tuesday night and we have completed a very long day.  After trudging through all that is recorded above, our tow truck arrived and carried us to the mighty city of Richfield.  There we found Jorgensen Ford – closed for the day.  But we were expecting that so no disappointment beyond the load we already carried. 

BTW, towing is not really towing anymore.  Our truck was loaded onto the bed of a large flat-bed diesel without any tow ropes, cables, or chains.  AND, towing (as it is) is very expensive.  The total cost of our experience was well over $400, but our insurance paid $150 (yea!! ;-().  The driver was nice enough but the expense made things a little discouraging.

With no other options, we checked into a motel and had dinner at a little Mexican restaurant.  The food was adequate but the tiredness of the day has now taken its toll and we are frazzled.  I feel especially bad for Teresa because her feet and legs are so uncomfortable.  I truly hope that our experience tomorrow ends with better results than the previous two.  If things continue in this vein, we may just decide to abandon the whole vacation thing and go home to lick our wounds.  More later!!

It’s Wednesday morning and our truck is with the ‘doctors’. We are hoping for some positive results but recent history is not indicative of such a future.  It’s tough just sitting and waiting but that’s about all we can do for now.  We sure hope Josh and Melissa are having a good time with the kids.

The kids did, finally, get in touch and they are having a great vacation.  All of Wednesday was spent wandering, reading in the library, and waiting for word.  About 3 PM we got a call from the Ford Dealer and were told that they have determined the problem. 

 When they ran diagnostics there were a multitude of codes that came up on the computer. By carefully replacing each item, they were finally able to see that something odd was happening.  That led them to consider some of the wiring in the system – and VOILA, that is where the problem was found.  Some of the wires connected to part of the exhaust system were worn through the insulation and the wires were making intermittent contact with other wires and parts to cause the weird error codes.  We were very relieved to hear that they had found a cause!!

Now we have to wait for the parts to come in from the warehouse.  The delivery is supposed to be here on Thursday at 1 PM and repairs should be completed by late afternoon.  Our prayers are that this will be the one time when the estimate is correct.  The cost is estimated to be about $660 but I don’t know if that includes labor.  Whatever it takes, I am sincerely ready to get on the road and out of the situation we have had for this week.

The City Library is our current abode.  We have found that people don’t look at us too funny like at other places.  Hopefully this is the last time we will visit this place for some time.  But if not, at least they were nice to us.  I have read almost ½ of a very large book in the time we have been here – but I really don’t want to buy it to finish.  Maybe the library will have it at home.!?
Woohoo, we just got the call saying our truck is ready to go.  I can’t tell you how excited we are to be free once again.  Provided we actually do get out of town.

richfield radio utah richfield utah
An old historic library in Richfield, UT
(no snow when we were there)
We are free.  It only cost us $629 to purchase the freedom for the truck and its occupants.  We have escaped the forced imprisonment caused by the foibles of the truck.  The part that failed was a sensor that was on the exhaust manifold.  Somehow the connection succumbed to heat and exposed wires to the elements.  That exposure eventually eroded the insulation on the wires and allowed said wires to short together, causing random errors in the computer system of the truck.  It’s a wonder the technicians were able to find this failure but we are grateful for their efforts.  We are now ready to end the ‘joy’ that has been our 2015 vacation and return to the drudgery of normal life.  Tomorrow we will pack up all our stuff and that of the DeMoux’s and point our caravan towards the city to the north.

This has been a truly interesting experience.  We have been blessed in many ways and we are grateful for the protection we have received.  Though we exceeded some of our monetary allotments, we are still in a place where we can absorb the losses and move forward.  Amazingly, there have been no major meltdowns during this whole thing and we feel blessed to have had some amazing people help us through numerous challenges.  A big hand goes out to Josh and Melissa for being very workable with our ‘phantom vacation.’  They were left completely alone and still tried to do all they could to help our circumstances.  We are very blessed to have such good children and grandchildren.

As I sign off, I offer my thanks to a loving Heavenly Father who guided us and blessed us all the way through the challenges we encountered.  In the eternal scheme of things, this was pretty small.  But to us it was a great learning opportunity.

Oh, and I learned that you don’t eat a whole pint of Talenti gelato just before you go to bed.  Bodies as old as mine are not equipped for so much goodness.

Postscript:
I thought we were through with the adventures of vacationing but I was mistaken.  Two more significant experiences should be included in the records of this trip.

1. While we were taking down the trailer and getting ready to depart, I was preparing to slide the beds back into the body of the trailer.  The supports were removed and then I was distracted by a need in another area of the camp.  While I was occupied, Teresa went to pull down the bar that holds up the end of the tent.  As she climbed up on the bed, it collapsed and the rails were bent.  She was very shocked and embarrassed but it wasn’t her fault.  It took a fair amount of time to get things in a place where we could get the beds retracted and the top down on the trailer.  I feel bad for Teresa because she had NO idea I had been working there and she was just trying to help.

2. On the drive home, we stopped at the Fremont Indian Visitor Center on I-70 to eat our lunch.  It is a nice place and there are some interesting exhibits.  When it was time to go we all piled in and rejoined our fellow travelers on the freeway.  Some time after connecting with I-15 we were passing a large truck when a gust of wind or turbulence from the truck started the trailer shimmying from side-to-side in a very dangerous way.  I was able to get things settled down but as we got to the bottom of the hill I saw an explosion of rubber from the right side of the trailer.  Quickly stopping, we discovered that the tire on that side was completely shredded.  It looked like a small piece of rubber had come off initially and bent a piece of angle iron so that it contacted the tire.  Then the speed of our travel demolished the tire. We did have a spare but it needed a little (or a lot) of air.  Fortunately we had one of those portable pump things that did the trick.  It took a little time to get things back in order, but we were soon on our way.

There!! Now the trip is done.  We are back to normal life mode and hope that you are having a good summer yourself.  See you next time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

FAILSAFE

As people go, I have always considered myself a fairly intelligent individual.  Given enough time, I can generally figure out things and come to good conclusions relating to complex scenarios.  But this past weekend I encountered something that threw me for a loop and left me feeling a little ‘dumb.’

Teresa and I decided to join the DeMoux’s for a run down to southern Utah and the National Parks.  It’s been a long time since we visited Bryce’s, Zion’s, and some of the other locations so it felt like a good idea.

So off we went to explore.

After our first few hours on the road, we determined to stop at Cove Fort to eat our dinner and stretch the legs.  As we pulled off  the freeway there was a sudden change in the tone of my truck engine.  It seemed to rumble a little more and the power felt like it was reduced.  I didn’t think a whole lot about it at first, but then there was an unexpected message on the notification screen in the dash.  These ominous words appeared:

FAILSAFE MODE

I had no idea what my truck was trying to say!!

All I could do was continue to Cove Fort and park.

I was very confused.

Unfortunately, my owners manual was not in the truck – I guess I left it at home.  And there was no Internet access for me to look on-line to see what others had to say.

I was stuck.

After dinner, we got back in the vehicles and continued to our destination – Tropic, Utah.

There I DID have Internet and was quickly able to find that FAILSAFE MODE is often called LIMP MODE.

Apparently when modern, computer controlled vehicles encounter problems that can cause damage to the engine, transmission, or other major system they revert to this mode in order  to protect what is left of functionality.

Essentially, it provides a safe way to get to a place where someone with the proper training can take a look at the problems and offer assistance.

Well, it worked.

We got to a shop near Tropic and they discovered that we were in deep trouble.  No one, not even those who are supposed to know, could figure out what was wrong.  For all intents and purposes, we were stranded!!

Eventually we found our way to a Ford Dealer and they were able to discover the trouble – after three days!!

And Many Dollars!!

What a wonderful vacation.

NOT!!

But we have endured and won this little battle.

I just wish I felt a little smarter rather than less capable.

But I DO know what FAILSAFE MODE means.

Friday, May 29, 2015

NEW STUFF

Recently I was upgraded in my work instruments.

OK, I still have the same voice and my brain, though deteriorating somewhat is still reasonably useful, but there are other things that can be replaced when defective or past their useful limit.

My computer is an essential part of teaching and it has come time to change things out.

The laptop I have used for the past three years is on its last leg and some days I wonder about that one.  Startup can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 hours – and I don’t know why.  We have deleted lots of stuff and checked the memory but it is still unstable and very frustrating.

Really slow Lenovo -- Never has worked very well
and its not user problems!!!



My options for replacement were as follows:

1. A brand new laptop of the same brand as the old one.

2. A MacBook Pro with shiny new cover.
So Pretty, but very deceiving.
3. A desktop computer with a brand spanking new iPad Air2

I have the black version.










Option #1 was immediately thrown out because of past experience.


Option #2 was very intriguing and almost became my choice.  But I considered the learning curve and the current state of affairs in my head and determined that this was not the time to start all over again.  As I counseled with friends and family it became clear that I PROBABLY could change over to the MacBook but there was also the possibility that my brain would explode and then my wife would be left to fend for herself.


Option #3 then became the obvious choice.  So far, at least half of the decision has been positive.  The new iPad came last week and it has been a delight to use.  In fact, I am currently typing this posting from that unit.  The Air 2 is much lighter and clearer than my old iPad and has some other benefits over a laptop.


Now, if I could just get the desktop to arrive and be usable.


It did arrive at my office but at the exact same time it showed up I received an email from our tech people forbidding me to open the box.  Seems the vendor had imaged the computer with the wrong software and if the box was opened we would be stuck with the unusable computer.  So I am patiently (not so much) waiting for the arrival of the old, but properly imaged, device that is to sit on my desk for the next three years.

Belkin QODE Ultimate keyboard cover and case
In the meantime, I am NOT handcuffed because I still have my new iPad with a very functional keyboard (purchased separately) to keep me connected with the world.



At this moment, I am feeling pretty good about the arrangements.  Let’s hope I feel the same next year.

Of course, I will let you know. :-)


Ran into a problem with this post.  I guess Apple and Google really don't like one another.  Blogger doesn't have the option to download pictures from an iPad so I will have to go to my computer to put in the ones I wanted.  But that means I have to wait for the laptop to stop whatever it is secretly doing so I can access the drive. Who knows how long that will take.  If you don't see pics soon you know who to blame.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SCOUTING AND FATE

A recent article in the Deseret News indicates that a change is likely coming for leadership opportunities in the Boy Scout program.  Despite reluctance from many of the sponsoring organizations, the National leadership seems bent on allowing openly gay men (and I presume women) to become leaders in the local units of the organization.


Scouting has been a part of my life since I was a boy.  It has been part of the LDS Church Young Men activities for much longer than that.  My life is better because of the things I learned and practiced as both a Scout and a leader of young men in Scouting.  All of my sons are Eagle Scouts and I truly believe that, despite some thoughts to the contrary, this particular award is one of the defining achievements of their young lives.

But (you knew that was coming didn’t you) as an organization, the BSA has marched down paths that seem counterproductive to their survival – and frankly, to their stated mission.  This current issue with gay leadership is not the only reason for their struggle.  Financial decisions on the local and regional level have alienated parents and donors to the program.  A lack of support for local and regional units in the face of civil suits has left a bitter taste in some mouths.  And a number of other issues in recent history have alienated former members and advocates to the point that they have ceased or greatly reduced supporting the BSA (judged by my experience with fundraising efforts in my local area).

With this new, expected change, I believe that many sponsoring organizations will finally feel the need to divorce themselves from an effective,  long-time source of training for young men.  Groups, especially many of those connected with religious entities, will likely determine that having their youth led by those who practice behavior opposed to their moral code creates too great a risk and will cease support for the Boy Scouts of America.

What a loss this will be for the young men who grow up in the aftermath of so much confusion.  They deserve better.

Things just can’t be easy in this ‘ole world. 

I’m sorry for what seems to be coming but I expect that this is just the first of many losses we will incur as the world changes.

BTW, for those who know, I am a Beaver. 


I will miss having that mean something.


P.S. I hope I am way off with these thoughts.  Scouting is a good thing for all involved. 


We can only hope.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CONTRACTING

I’m not a contractor but sometimes our projects give me the feel of what it might be like.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, you guessed right.  We are in remodeling mode once again at our house.
 
Tools of the trade.


The forewoman has laid out plans for our abode that are ambitious and exciting.  They are also somewhat daunting.  But we are experienced and willing to take on new challenges, so here we go again.


The last year of Teresa’s income from daycare was put away in a special fund, earmarked for upgrading areas of weakness/disaster in our home.  After 30+ years the need was great and could no longer be ignored.


Things started with the Living Room.  Much discussion finally resulted in resurfacing the hardwood floors instead of replacing them with carpet.  Most of the winter was spent with different iterations of what we wanted to accomplish but the end result is a very nice room with a totally different atmosphere than previously felt.  The defining touch was crown molding that covered up many old scars from failed attempts in the past.


Our present focus is the ‘RUMPUS ROOM’ (not really sure what that means but that’s what we call it).  The sheer size of the project (29’ x 14’) has caused some distress but we are not to be denied.  The old brick that was on the south side of the room has been removed (why the previous owners put it there, we will never know) and the ceiling is being redone to eliminate many of the lumps from poor texturing.  We just ordered carpet for the floors and a new back door will be installed in a couple of weeks.  Already, without the fancy things to come, we can feel a difference in the room and are anxious for the continued improvement.


Further improvements will include tile on the entry landing and new paint on the walls.  The intent is to make this a pleasant gathering place for family and friends in contrast to its previous designation as ‘daycare assembly room’. 


Next on the list will be a battle with the upstairs rooms.  Primary changes there will be paint and carpet, but again, the difference will be pleasant and appealing.  If dollars hold out, new blinds are also a possibility.


Oh, and I forgot about the kitchen.  The plan is to change out some of the appliances (our current stove only has one working burner – well another one will heat up but it rocks back and forth and is not very safe. And the oven heats up to whatever temperature it desires, without regard to how much it affects our meals)


The refrigerator is 1980’s vintage and is on its last leg. Maybe something with water and ice in the door (not required but sorely desired)

This might actually look better than our current model.
We thought we might get new cupboards but the money seems to be disappearing faster than planned.  My guess is that we will probably just paint or stain the current cabinets and make do with that until “our ship comes in.”


Without a doubt, it is a busy time at the Whitmer home. but, the boss is kind and sensitive to the failings of her workers so, for the most part, the whole experience is enjoyable.  Having done this several times before, it seems things are going much better than expected (I realize that I have just jinxed everything planned but I can’t stop myself).


It helps that we are a little more patient and willing to take our time – but that also can be hard when we want things done now!!  Patience is built with little (and big) projects like this. J



I will see if I can dig up some photos of the progress but I’m not guaranteeing anything.  Further updates may be offered if I remember.  Until then, happy remodeling to one and all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LIKE HAVING A DISEASE

We have lived in our house for more than 30 years and there have been a lot of changes to the appearance and setup.  In the early days, we would decide we wanted to change things but were unsure what to do.  Teresa’s dad was very helpful in giving us direction (and free labor) and over the years we developed skills that allowed us to do much of the work ourselves.

Teresa and Hayden are digging in the 'crypt' -- another project


Teresa is patient and stubborn and she eventually learned how to ‘mud’ and sand sheetrock so it looked nice after painting.   My talents were developed in electrical installation (with a few ‘shocking’ mishaps) and plumbing (not my favorite, but I can do it).  Between us we could ‘wrangle’ most other parts of construction and complete a project that looked at least passable (yes, there were times when we had to seek out professional help but they were few and generally secret).


In all this learning we discovered one great truth when it comes to remodeling/construction.


No matter how much you plan, prepare, save, and scheme there will always be more than you expected to any project.


Here’s a modern day example:

We are currently redoing what Teresa calls the ‘RUMPUS ROOM’ on the southern side of the house.  This is a large room, 29’x14’, that was used as a daycare for 30 or so years.  With no daycare we decided to make it more comfortable and appealing.  Our plan was to do some repairs on the walls, fix a couple of things in the ceiling (cracks in sheetrock mud – early Whitmer effort before we got better) and upgrade paint and carpet.


What we will end up doing is:


1.      Scrape all the texture off the ceiling and replace it with better texture

2.     Take all the sheetrock off the south walls and rewire the electrical

3.     Replace the insulation on that same wall (an outside wall)

4.     Replace all the moldings and sills for the windows

5.     Take out all the brick that covered the south walls (who knows why the former owners put it there)

6.     Put in two new ceiling fans to replace the one that never really helped such a big room

7.     Remove some random wiring that we found inside the walls – can’t figure out where it is going or why it was there

8.     Replace the back door and side windows so we can stop the wind from coming in through the cracks

9.     Level the floor on the south side so it doesn't leave a dip in the new carpet (where the brick used to be)

10.  Replace all the carpet

11.   Paint all the walls a pleasant color that will let us sit in peace as we slowly devolve into madness and advanced age

12.  Maybe more, if we find something else that needs fixing


Many years ago, while doing another project like this, we were bemoaning the fact that there was more to the work than anticipated.  Upon reflection, we decided that remodeling work is like trying to rid the body of dangerous foreign substance.  Every time you open up one job, you find two or three or seven others that need attention before they grow to something more unpleasant.


Since those early days we have prepared differently. Each project is expected to be more than we planned.

We are confident that construction work on an existing home will always reveal more defects than we considered in the planning.

There will be extra time and money spent to control the spread of problems.

We don’t like it, but we accept the need to take out the bad, repair the remaining structure, and move forward. It’s the only way to continue living in our home with any confidence.


And that is why I say remodeling is LIKE HAVING A DISEASE!!




Disclaimer: I have never had a difficult disease and hope to avoid that experience.  I am confident that the true nature of these afflictions are much more devastating than repairing/remodeling a home.  The examples given are not meant to offend or detract from the seriousness of maladies that have been part of many of my friend’s lives.  May you all battle on and know I love you in your times of need.