Sunday, May 23, 2010

Great Grand Kids

This article is not about greatgrandkids, but rather, about my great grand kids. Each one of them is special and ads something important to my life. I love them all and sense their love for me.

Victoria is so special being my oldest granddaughter. She is the daughter of Rana, my old child. She is a good looking kid who is smart as a tack (when she wants to be), and is growing up so fast. she's the one who climbs on roofs, up tall trees, is an expert on the pogo stick, and when she puts her mind to it, writes excellent stories. She's a swell kid.

Lane is my oldest grandson and is Victoria's brother. He is a special boy who has been challenged with his vision but has never used it, or lack of it, as an excuse. He likes to make friends and really likes the science projects. This summer he will spend some time with me and we will go fishing. He's a great kid.

Amber is Nik and Amy's oldest daughter. And I have noticed lately that she has gotten really tall. She is always excited to see her grandfather and I am excited to see her. Amber loves to shop, and play with her Webkins. and she also likes to shop and play computer games. I noticed that she now also likes to spend a lot of time on the phone with her friends. Did I mention she likes to shop?

Julia, is the middle child belonging to Nik and Amy. She's a little sweetheart and gives the sweetest and longest hugs. I hope she never outgrows that, because grandpas need hugs. She is an excellent ready and is very good at art. She is also terrific at sales. She sells lots of lemonade and Girl Scout cookies. Her smile is very winsome.

Cade is the youngest child belonging to Nik and Amy. I have never seen such a happy=go-lucky child. He seems well adjusted at everything. He went from cars to legos. He rides his bike, skateboard, and scooter. He's a pretty good at math. I think the girls will be fighting over him.

Archie is the only child belonging to Ron and Sonia. He's a cute kid with very blonde hair and a winsome smile. He loves Batman and all those guys, loves to play with his Wi, and sword fights with Grandpa when he visits. He's also quite a talker on the phone.

All of these kids add an important dimension to my life and I think the world of each one. Each grandkid his uniquely different and has great potential. I am very blessed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Maple Drive?

Business has picked up and is very steady now. As i am doing a lot more of the work myself it gets harder to schedule appointments to do the estimates. Today while doing a job I got a call to do a FREE estimate on a roof repair. I asked the lady her address and she said Maple drive. So I plugged Maple drive into my GPS and was on my way. When I arrived at Maple Drive, her address was no where to be found. In fact, I found myself in a trailer court.

So I called the lady to confirm the address. She said, "No, not Maple Drive, Nagel Drive." Then she said, "A lot of people think I say that." So now I am wondering how many people she called to her house on appointments ended up in a trailer court. It might help if she spelled it out when giving her address. I really needed a Starbucks after that one.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Going Solo

This will be a first for me. I'm flying solo! Well, actually I am flying with about 300 others, I'm not piloting and I'm not in business class. And, well, I have flown alone before. It's just that I haven't flown alone overseas. And, I have never flown on Turkish Airlines. That's right! I'm going to Turkey. It requires the passport and the visa and all that good stuff. And it also requires a Visa, credit card.... the best way to pay for things there.

I'm going to the city of Constantinople. Istanbul, one of the most historic cities in the world. No longer the capital of Turkey it is yet by far the largest and most historic city in all that region. Off shore are the islands that make up part of Greece. There are hundreds of mosques, churches, pavilions, museums and other historic sites. Many of the hotels are renovated historic buildings. I am staying at one of them, the Antis Hotel Istanbul, which is in the Sultanahmet district. Istanbul lies on the north side of the Sea of Marmara and on the south side of the Black Sea. Hot and sticky in the summer. I'm bringing my nifty little camera and an open mind.

I don't expect to find a Starbucks but I am expecting to find some Turkish coffee, and who knows..... a Turkish bath. And I suppose I will dry off with Turkish towels. And guess what? They speak Turkish, which consists of a lot of syllables that only they can enunciate. But something tells me there are plenty of people that speak English, also. Just in case, I am going to make a few flash cards that have the address to my hotel. I'm sure the taxi driver can find it.
I'm getting excited about this trip.

I'm traveling light. I am taking only a carry on. There is only a two hour layover in Chicago, then straight to Istanbul. Can't afford to lose luggage. That's a vacation spoiler. I'll be there only 6 nights, not nearly enough, but maybe enough to entice me to return.

Does Turkish coffee keep your eyes open at night?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Her father told her who she had to marry. She did under protest, lived with him for several years and had two children. The husband verbally abused her, beat her and berated her in front of her children. She could never do anything right to please him. One day she heard the children talking and one asked the other, "Why doesn't daddy kiss mommy like other husbands do?" The reply from the older child was, "Maybe it's because he doesn't like us." That was the day the woman decided she needed to do something.

She left her home country of Iraq and settled in Jordan where she was able to work. She divorced her husband and settled into a contented life. Her parents paid a visit and tried to persuade her to move back to Iraq. She refused. When it came time for her to renew her visa she couldn't find her passport. As it turned out her father had stolen it and she was deported to Iraq. She was absolutely crushed.

But over time she obtained a new passport, and once again began to plot where she would go. She was hoping to immigrate to Europe or the United States, but she was turned down several times because she is Iraqi. The West doesn't want immigrants from the Middle East after terrorists brought down the New York Trade Center. She wants to flee, but there is no where to go. She wants to go to a place where her family cannot find her, and where they cannot go. She fears that if she leaves Iraq again that her family will try to hunt her down and possibly kidnap her children, or even kill her.

The traditions and customs of Iraq, and other mid-east countries have created a prison for the women who live there. It is a prison with no bars but with borders. But they are borders that are hard to escape for those who desire to be free.

I pieced this story together from several news items that I have read over the past several months for the purpose of showing us how well off we are in this nation where we enjoy the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let us never forget the blood of Americans that has been shed for our freedom. And we must keep in mind that we must have a solid defense system that will turn back any enemy if we expect to remain free.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Every Last Dollar

As most of you know, I do home repairs. I used to do all the repairs myself but the last couple of years I have hired contractors to do a lot of the repairs. I've done this partly because there is more work than I can handle alone and partly because I cam getting lazy. The trouble is, that having other contractors do part of the work cuts down on the profit margin. Sometimes it even erases it.

It seems like other contractors don't put forth the same effort as I do when performing a job.... meaning that I may do a certain job in 4 hours while it takes my contractor 6 or 7. If I bid the job on the time it takes my contractors, I would not be awarded the job. But to expect my contractors to do the job in the same amount of time it takes me means that I don't have any contractors.

There have been several jobs where the contractors have used up every single dollar available for the job. One would think that they would appreciate their source of income, but that is hardly so. I do the advertising, get the contract, give out the work. In essence, I take all the risk.

So, in solving this problem I have decided I will focus on the smaller jobs that I can do alone. That is the difference between 70% profits on the job versus 10%. And there is a whole lot less risk. But there is a lot more physical tiredness. At any rate, a Starbuck Coffee should perk me up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How's the Weather?

How's the weather? That is probably one of the most commonly asked questions unless you live in Hawaii, where the weather is virtually the same every day. In fact, they don't even have news weather and sports. It's just news and sports. And when we do ask the question, do we really want an answer. Well, sometimes. When we run off to Arizona in the winter and we know that every one in Colorado is getting socked with a winter storm, we like to call relatives and ask, "How's the weather?" Then we sit and gloat while they are telling us they had a heart attack shoveling out.

But this year, asking how the weather is really means something. There is no sense to this cycle of 80 F one day and waking up to heavy snow the next. Back and forth. And in the mountains they are still chaining up. There might be something to that saying this year, that if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes, it will change. You'd think the weather was invented by the Colorado Rockies. Which team will show up tonight. We know for sure it wont be the Nuggets or the Avalanche.

So, how is the weather where you live? Are you sure?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chaw, Chaw, Chaw

The guy's name was Terry. He and his family had just moved to our town from another town and they attended our church.... for a visit. No matter what anyone else may say, i was not that bad of a pastor. I did my pastoral duty and went to his house for a visit. It's amazing what can happen when you don't announce that you are coming.

For some reason I drove down the alley behind their house, and there was Terry standing in the back yard looking busy about cleaning things up. So I pulled up, jumped out of my car and called out to him. He smiled and waved and i walked over to him. Told him that I appreciated seeing him and his family in church. We talked for a while and I left.

Sure enough they became regulars in church. They were a delightful family and I heard later that the daughter, Robin, had gone on to Bible College.

Then one day, Terry told me about it. He said, "Pastor, remember the day that you came up the alley and jumped out of your car, and we talked for a while?" I said, "yes, what about it?" He said that was the best day of my life. that was the day that I realized that I wasn't right with God the way I should be."

He went on to tell the story that when I drove up he had just taken a big chew of tobacco. Not wanting me to see he had it, he swallowed it. That night he was terribly sick, and throwing up. He said, I can hide it from the pastor, but not from God. That night he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

I helped to save a soul and didn't even know it. In a way I still wish I didn't because I really don't want any credit. But it was exciting to hear about it. It's the first time I ever heard about tobacco having a role in saving a soul. One-two-three, Chaw, chaw chaw.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You Don't Know Jack!

I am trying to figure out a good reason for a single person with one kid, a freshman in college, to buy a two story single family house. Lot's of yard upkeep, lots of snow to shovel, needs painting, and fence repair. Oh, and the roof and siding need repair also.

Yesterday I was helping this neighbor. I fixed the fence, rerouted her sump pump drainage, and rerouted some drainage. That's when I pointed out some other repairs that she needed. I asked her why she bought this house. And she said it was because of Jack. Jack! Who's Jack? Well, it turns out that Jack is her big golden lab.

She said that apartment buildings, rentals, and town homes would not allow her to bring Jack, so she ended up buying this single family home..... which she might be stuck in for a while until housing prices recover. Now I've heard of doing a lot of things for a dog, but it seems to me that a good house for a dog is a dog house. And, it seems to me that Jack is a little decrepit.

As I was doing repairs she said, "Jack is going away next fall." " He belongs to my son and my son wants to take him with him to college." So, now this lady will be rattling around this big house, and even Jack won't be there. But all the damage he caused will be. Now, I admit that I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer..... but am I missing something (other than a few marbles)?

Now, look folks, I don't mind helping the neighbor. I actually shovel her walk, edge her lawn, and give her free advice. I do the same for the neighbor on the other side. But somewhere along the line you would think these single women, rattling around in three bedroom, 2 story houses would eventually figure things out, like..... maybe a smaller place in an HOA might solve a lot of their problems. And, shoot.... I come home tired, too!

When Jack finally kicks the old bucket, will he be cremated and put in a box on the mantle. I bet there are a lot of wives that wouldn't even do that for their husbands.