Thursday, August 30, 2012

stuff going on around here

A dead cat washed up in our irrigation pipe in our front yard today. Gross (and sad, but mostly gross). Dealing with a dead wet cat makes me tear up a little and throw up a little. A big, dead, wet, stiff cat is very heavy and awkward on the end of a shovel. Weirdly, I am familiar with the dead animal pickup service that the city offers. Other odd incidents regarding our irrigation, we had ducks swim in our  irrigation once and years ago we had a catfish (I think) swim into our yard with the irrigation. Imagine its surprise to find himself in the middle of a lawn on a hot summer afternoon.

Rachel was in a car accident last week. Thankfully, everyone involved was fine. Hers was an old, inexpensive car. It's the kind of car you bandage and wire together to get you through college until you can get a decent nice car. It has served her well in the past few years. Four months before graduation, it is totaled.  Weirdly, our family knows the numbers of the towing company, and the auto body shop and the insurance company. I think those numbers are on speed dial. She had the car towed, insurance called, and got a ride home before she even told me what happened.

Brady is still car-less. He devised a system of getting through this semester without the financial burden of a car. He's not loving it, but he is willing to do it to avoid any debt. (yay). Anyway, he is determined to get through school as efficiently as possible and not lose credits transferring schools or having to retake anything.  One of the classes he has to take was cancelled so he had to pick it up at a different college - a different college that is 16.95 miles from the one he is attending. (how awesome is mapquest that I can find out that information in 60 seconds without even knowing the address of either college?) The logistics of this semester are going to be crazy.

Rachel bought a used car from Craig's List yesterday. It seems to be in really nice shape. She's hoping to have a car to last her through the end of her schooling, through student teaching and through the first bit of her real income-earning career. She and Dave both felt like it was a good buy. It has reasonable mileage for the how old the car is. She took it out to the MVD today to get the title transferred and they said there was a discrepancy on the mileage by almost double! That changes everything. Was there fraud? Was there an error? Is it still in as good of shape as they thought? So frustrating.

Roxanne owns her own house now.  She bought a house a couple of years ago with the banker telling her she had everything in order to purchase a house. After MONTHS of looking for houses and investing a ton of time and effort, she found the perfect house to use for a rental (she lives there and rents out the other bedrooms). Then at the last minute, she was told she couldn't finance it under her own name. In fact, her name couldn't even be listed on the financing. (Yes, we asked about this from the beginning with the assurance that it she could).  Dave and I helped her with the financing against every belief that we had about financing things for our children. I have got to say that she has been a perfect financial partner through this and has now qualified to finance her own house under her own name. It was very frustrating because of course there are all kinds of fees involved in financial transactions. And she is buying the house that was already hers!

Dave and I have been looking into investing in a vacation home over in California.  It was a cabin we saw and immediately felt like it would be a good financial investment and a cabin that we could enjoy for ourselves and the family.  We saw it in March and made an offer soon after.  It has been a complicated transaction ever since.  We have had to jump through so many hoops! I didn't know there were so many hoops available to have to jump through.  I think they even made some up for fun. I thought we were done and things were being finalized, but we have come up against a problem that could possibly be a deal-breaker. There have been so many problems, our love for this project has dimmed a bit over the months.

Dave is doing a fire sprinkler installation job that is about to put him in the looney bin.  It is for a company that is beyond - way beyond - reasonable in their safety efforts.  I suppose it serves the company well, because it is a gigantic corporation, but he is doing a 2 or 3 week installation job and he and Brady both have to attend 10 hours of safety training. They have to have a written plan sheet turned in at the beginning of each day. I think it is so specific that if they plan to take off their gloves at 10:15, it better be written on their plan. He can't carry any object over 8 feet long without a second person helping. Dave works alone a lot so this is problematic.  He is supposed to have a bell on his truck if he puts it in reverse, a yellow light on top etc.  It would take our truck out of service for a couple of days to comply, therefore he can't take his truck on the premises. Our truck is our business. If the truck is out of service, we have no income. Dave is trained, certified and licensed in every aspect of his business, but this over-the-top, yellow-reflective-tape-vest-wearing business is making him crazy. He will be so glad to get through this.

Melanie has left for college. Our house is quiet and boring. She is absolutely loving life, but on this end, here is my dilemma . . . Who is going to do the business filing????? Seriously, that is a big concern. She has been a great office help for the last couple of years - organizing the business receipts and filing invoices. Roxanne did it before her. Oh, and the lawn work - who is going to mow the lawn?? I realize Rachel and Brady are here.  Rachel showed me her schedule for this semester. I'm worried for her. I'm not sure she has time to actually eat, sleep or shower.  Brady is usually willing to do yard work. He has always been willing since he was little, but his schedule is crazy too. I'm hoping between him and I we can keep up with the yard. I didn't realize how much I relied on Melanie - "Melanie, bookclub is in 45 minutes. Can you help me with the refreshments and then make sure the bathroom is wiped up?" "Melanie, the missionaries are coming for dinner in an hour. Can you make some biscuits? finish the dessert? set the table? mix up the juice? make a salad? fill the dishwasher? sweep the dining room? warm up the green beans?" Well, maybe I didn't ask her all those things at once, but many of them. She actually enjoys helping around the house. Before she left home, she said she might miss taking care of things around the house.  I didn't tell her she would soon be tired of cooking for herself and cleaning up after herself  day after day after day after day for the rest of her life.

Our blender and our weed eater broke last week. The motors for both were still working fine, just a plastic connection piece on the blender and the bottom cover on the weed eater broke. By the way, why are parts of equipment that are connected to fast spinning motors made of plastic? Anyway, I was able to do some research and buy the parts for a very reasonable price and have them shipped to my door. I kind of like having things delivered to my door. I feel like it's Christmas when the mailman or the UPS man come to my door with a box.

With the kids' car issues this week, we have been sharing 2 vehicles between 4 people.  Actually, Dave's schedule has been busier than normal, so Rachel, Brady and I have been sharing one vehicle, and it's an old mini-van. You can imagine how much Brady enjoys driving it. With their busy schedules, guess who goes without transportation most of the week?

So that is our life right now. It's been a busy and frustrating couple of weeks. I know the stupid things in life are ever-present. I tend not to blog about life's troubles too much. I decided not to post pictures of the dead cat, the smashed car, or the 23 year old driving his mom's mini-van.  I know there a whole lot of worse things than a broken blender. I'll end this post with something pleasant. Suzanne and I and a new friend Abby went hiking up in Sedona last Saturday. Can you believe this is Arizona in August? Such a pleasant day:

things that bug me

Melanie and I started in on all the things that bugged us recently.  I was surprised how easily our list evolved and how long it was.  I won't list all the things that bug us, because honestly, some of them were people, not things (it was just one of those days).  Melanie and I have a pact that we can safely "vent" when we drive in the car.  What is said in the car, stays in the car.  So that day, we were certainly venting.  But except for the things that won't be repeated , here is our list. Some of these things are Melanie's. I will say she is weirder than me in some aspects. 

Things that bug us:

Self check out. Once in a while it is convenient, but it is hard to keep my purse/wallet safe while I am busy checking and bagging my merchandise.  AND , if I have to work like I'm an employee of the store, what is the benefit to me? I need a discount for my efforts.

Stupid notices: (this one is actually taken from a government form I receive every month)
Payment is due on the 20th of the month. We will accept the return and payment as timely if postmarked by the 25th of the month or walked in to one of our offices by the second to the last business day of the month.
(so, is it actually due on the 20th? the 25th? or the second to the last day of the month?)

Radio advertisements that use the sound of honking horns in their ads. I try to pay attention to sounds around me while I drive and the sound of a car horn is meant to get your attention to possible danger or harm.  It shouldn't be sounding from the radio speakers.

Toilet papers rolls put on backwards.  I don't care if I am at someone else's house, I will replace the roll so it properly unrolls from the top and front.

A wrinkle in my sock, inside my shoe.

Product packaging that takes a box cutter and pliers to open.

The crying baby in the "silence is golden" message before a movie begins in the theaters.

A half empty egg carton in the fridge that is unbalanced.  The eggs need to be distributed so the weight is even when you pick up the carton.

When my eye twitches.

Food containers with the safety seal only halfway removed.

Bubbles (from someone else's use) on a bar of soap that I'm about to use.

Having to battle the insurance company, the IRS, or city hall.

Having multiple items in my work "to do" list that I really don't know how to do. I work alone in this office, there's no one to ask questions and I'm really not a good problem solver.

Endless menu options when you are trying to get to a customer service rep on the phone.

Getting cut off after being on hold FOREVER.

But then there are things that bring a little joy into our lives too, little bits of happiness:

Big chunks of granola in the cereal.

A really good logo design on a package.

Creamy peanut butter.

Scissors gliding across wrapping paper without actually cutting.

The different designs of the logo on the Google face page.

Movie previews at the theater.

Emptying out the hole puncher.

Unexpected messages from a friend on Facebook.

A clean car (especially if someone else cleaned it).

Real mail from a real person in the mailbox.

A Saturday morning with nothing on the "to do" list.

When TIVO records a suggested program and you find out you like it.


The first pleasant weather day after a long hot summer.

A customer service representative that calls you back after getting disconnected and apologizes!

What gives you a little bit of joy?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We just got back from a couple of reunions in Utah and Idaho. Someone mentioned to me that they've never heard of anyone going to Idaho except for family reunions. I think that might be true. That's about the only reason we have ever had for going too.
Anyway, we had quite a reunion of cousins.  Our kids' cousins (Hale side) live all over the country - Wisconsin, Florida, Utah, South Carolina, Washington, Illinois, Washington DC, New Mexico, Idaho and Arizona.  17 cousins, 10 states. They are following the pattern of their parents. Five boys in Dave's family. Five different states. Go figure.
My side of the family have stayed a little closer - Arizona mostly except for one sister that escaped to Hawaii, one to Oklahoma, and one niece that somehow transplanted herself in Ohio.
I've given my kids a rule to live by. As they move away and start their own life, I would prefer they just stay in Arizona. If not Arizona, then a state that touches Arizona. I'm not sure I can enforce that rule, but it's my rule nevertheless.
I had so much fun watching all the cousins get to know each other again.  They are all adults now so the dynamics of our reunion were a bit different.  There are a few teensy people in the mix now, I'm assuming in the coming years, there will be a great population of little people.
My sister married a Hawaiian. I love their kids. We got to see them a couple years ago. Obviously, there is very little physical resemblance to each other:
Dave's brother married a Korean. I love their kids too. Obviously, there is very little physical resemblance to their kids either:
Obviously this is an old picture of Stephanie and Rachel. (Stephanie, I hope you share some of your recent wedding photos with us!)
However, there are some family genes that are pretty strong and some of the cousins could be brothers:
Unrelated to our reunion, but I was downloading photos from a another road trip Dave and Brady took this week, and I do believe there is another look-alike:
Another fun aspect of our reunion, is that many of my nephews have recently married and I had so much fun getting to know their wives. Speaking of looking alike, one of the girls that married into the family looks a lot like Roxanne to me (size, height etc) I kept confusing them in the group. Seriously, glance at this picture real quick and you can see Roxanne and Brady, right?
There are some other new cousins that were not confused at all.  Seriously, I LOVE these girls!
We went to another reunion in Utah, and all the cousins (ALL of them, look at the age range) played together. One of the games they played was "Lifeguards and Sharks", funniest game ever.
I guess what I love about cousins is that there are no age barriers. Cousins are built in friends of all ages.
Even the cousins' kids loved our kids. Nathan wanted Roxanne to play with him all weekend.
 We were missing a few family members. It's just a sad fact of life that as families grow and spread out, it is almost impossible for everyone to get together at the same time. It was still a great trip to spend a time in this beautiful yard and with some amazing people.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

overheard on a roadtrip

"Will the glare of the computer screen bother you while you drive?"
"Nothing bothers me - I have a cape on!"
(Dave had a towel around his shoulders soothing his sunburn)

"What's that Capital looking building?"
(um . . . the Capital, perhaps?)

"You and Roxanne carry such big purses. What do you keep in there? If I had one that big, I'd keep a Rotisserie chicken in mine. I'm so hungry, that's all I'm thinking about."

"Have you ever been to Lake Pleasant before?"
"Yeah, a few times, . . . tubing. I think that's my best sport - holding on for dear life."

"Do they grow buckwheat around here?"
"No, I've never seen it grow."
"Then where did Brent get it for the pancakes?"
"Well, he probably went to the store and bought it."
"I was startled by how dark the pancakes were. I thought, Awesome - Chocolate Pancakes!"

"I got my survival bracelet on in case we break down on the way home."
"So . . .  like if we need to pull our car up a cliff ??"

"Does anyone have a trashbag?"
"What? How do you have trash? We just turned the car on! We haven't even left the parking lot!"

"Why are they coming to a hotel when they have a hotel on the back of their truck?"

Conversation about the "awkward gene" running through the Hale line.
Then stories starting flowing about marriage proposals and engagement stories.
"I think that line of stories just solidified my point about the 'awkward gene' ! "

Trying to find an act for the family talent show, considering Jimmy Fallon's "History of Rap"
"Wait - do our parents know rap? Will this be funny to anyone?"

"It's a video . . .  'askin all them questions' . . . "
"Asking all those questions?"
"NO! . . . Askin' . . . Put some 'hood' into it, Roxanne!"

We weren't sure whether the Parlor was temporary, or the tattoos were temporary:

"I don't think Ben is really a Hale. He doesn't snore!"

Story told of creepiest statement ever made and worst testimony ever, all in one story.
(sorry, can't share it here)

"Your Grandpa is like the Ward Mascot."

"I think Dad has ADD. He said, 'do you want lunch?' then the car screeched into a parking lot, and he says 'we're here', all in about 2 seconds."

Singing: "I whip my hair back and forth"
"You shouldn't do that. You hurt yourself last time."
"But I have perfect whipping hair!"

Movie quotes thrown into conversations all day - points given if you know the movie. Ben was good at throwing out quotes. We were terrible about guessing the movie.