Friday, June 29, 2012

Let's get this done ASAP

It's official, after eight counter offers we've got our (hopefully) forever house under contract.  Yes, you read that right.  It took eight counter offers (over the course of 10 weeks) to come to a price both sides could agree on. 

During this time, we've been cleaning our house, putting things in storage, and generally just getting it ready to go on the market.  I've been wondering if all those late nights and storage rental costs were going to be well spent, and it turns out they were.
The less time I see this sign in the yard, the happier I will be.
Our house went on the market Wednesday morning.  We spent about an hour Tuesday night doing some last minute rearranging of the furniture (more on that to come later) and figured we'd have time over the weekend to do another thourough cleaning. 

Thursday, we received notice about noon we had a showing that night at 6:30.  We also found out someone else drove by and called in about it and a third person wants to see it Friday.

So much for cleaning this weekend!

Back to Thursday,  We busted our humps getting the last remaining details ready, which included me doing some yard work when it was 108.  At least it was a dry heat.  HA!  Once it gets over 100, I don't care if it's dry or not, it's still hot.

Our listing agreement says no visits during naptime and people must be out of the house by 7.  Our first showing was going to throw our schedule off.

Julia made a call and our friends graciously allowed us to bring our girls, and my parents who were in for the day, over to their house to swim, take a bath (just the girls - I assume my parents showered at their hotel), eat, and hang out.

I'm sure we could've gone swimming at the neighbor's, but we decided against asking them.

As we were headed home to put the girls down at about 7:10, I got a phone call from our relator.  The people were running behind schedule and wanted to see if they could come around 7:30 instead.  We hesitantly agreed, but said they had to be sure they would be there at that time. 

They couldn't, so they said they'd reschedule.

I know if we want to sell the house quickly, we need to be as flexible as possible.  We don't mind that to a certain extent.  It is difficult, however, not to be upset when you do everything you can and nobody walks through the house.

I was a bit frustrated we had to do everything we did to accomodate a showing that never happened. On the other hand, I was very pleased the girls took the change of schedule in stride and that we got to hang out with friends during the week - a rarity.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One of God's greatest gifts

I realize some of you are finishing the title statement as Garth Brooks would have, by saying:

"is unanswered prayers".


That may be true, but I have another way to finish that statement for you to ponder:

"is death".


Let me explain.

I have never dealt well with death.  Every single time I go to a visitation, whether it was for my grandma, great-grandma, or even just to support a friend who lost a loved one, I bawl my eyes out.  Even when I just hear about someone losing a loved one it chokes me up.

I put myself through the emotional wringer by reminding myself: I'll never see her again; she'll never get to see my kids grow up; he has no more time with his father; we didn't have the chance to talk about _____; I'll never get to hear the wealth of knowledge and history she has; and so on.

My last living grandparent passed away early this morning after a battle with cancer.  Last year it claimed her leg.  Last week, we were planning a date a few weeks out to take the girls to see her one last time as we were told she only had months to live. 

Yesterday morning, plans were changed, and I was trying to find a day in the next few weeks to go as her prognosis changed to having a few weeks left.  Yesterday afternoon, when that time frame dropped to days, I was looking to find a time this weekend to drive up.  Last night, we were informed she had only hours left, if that. 

As I lay in bed around 12:15 I was praying for God to end her suffering and bring her to Him.  Fifteen minutes later, she passed peacefully with my own mother at her side.

As much as it hurts me to know she is gone, I will gladly take that answered prayer.  Her pain is gone and I should celebrate that.  Her suffering is gone and I should celebrate that.  She is reunited with the Lord and I should celebrate that.  For the rest of time, she will never know pain or sorrow, only joy and celebration, and I should celebrate that.

So back to the whole thing about death being a gift.  God gave us the gift of death so we can be reunited with Him.  If it weren't for death, we'd suffer an eternity away from Him.  The pain of death is only for those who live.  The joy of death is for those who pass.

One more time:  God gave us the gift of death so we can be reunited with Him.

We should be celebrating her life and the life of Christ.  He died so that we may live.  He defeated death, so that we may be with the Lord forever.

It is difficult to praise the Lord when things don't go your way, but it's at these times we need to do exactly that.  We need to pray that the Lord will use the bad times in our lives to bring us, and others, closer to Him. 

We need death.

We need it not only to reunite us with our Lord, but to remind us to reach out to those we care the most about and ensure they are trusting in Jesus for their salvation.  We need death to spread the gospel.  We need it to remind us there is nothing on this earth that will fill the void in our hearts except for God.

We need death.

I'm still sad.  I'm still crying and thinking about her.  This time, however, instead of tears of sorrow I have tears of joy (mostly).  I know I might still be a mess at the visitation and burial, but I also know the Lord will be with me and help me get through it. 

Rest in peace grandma.  We miss you.  We love you.  We celebrate your life.  We praise God.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Throw your hands in the air...

and wave them like you just don't care!

To my beautiful little girls,

Someday, I hope you see this and remember something I'm trying to teach you.  Be yourself.  Have fun.  Only be concerned with what God thinks, not what people think.  Do that, and you'll be fine.


All my love,

Papa

Monday, June 11, 2012

What would Jesus do and what would I do?

So I came across an article about a father who caught another male (I can't bring myself to call the attacker of a four year old a man, so I'll go with male) sexually assaulting his four year old daughter.  The father struck him in the head until he stopped.  The attacker died.  You can read the full story here.

The main question surrounding this now is whether or not the father will be charged with a crime.

I pray I'm never in this situation, but I also wonder what I would do if I were. 

I'm not a violent person, but I am protective.  Whether it's myself, my property, my family, or anything else I'm strongly attached to, I will defend it.  I also don't have a short fuse.  It takes a lot to get me fired up, but even then, I'm more likely to talk through something than take to physical altercations.

Speaking as a man trying (and failing every day) to follow the path of Christ, I'd like to think I'd have the self control to put an end to the situation without putting an end to the male's life.

Speaking as the sinful man I am, I imagine I would act as judge and executioner in a very short period of time.

Obviously, in the heat of the moment you don't have time to think about all the negative consequences of your actions.   

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about the possibility of his daughter growing up without him as he spent time in jail. 

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about the regret he would be carrying around with him for the rest of his life, knowing he took another life.

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about what impact his actions would have on those people in the attacker's life.

I'm sure he wasn't thinking about any of that as he saw his daughter being attacked.

In fact, I'm almost certain he stopped thinking about anything as the urge to protect his daughter became the only thing on his mind.

Even now, I don't know if it does any good to think about it and what I may or may not do.  You can think about every possible scenario and outcome that may happen to you in life, but when it comes down to it, there are some things you can't practice or prepare for.

For the guys out there, what do you think you'd do?

For everyone, should the father be charged with a crime?

Friday, June 8, 2012

A week away from home

I've been gone for a week, which is why I haven't posted much.  Here are a few observations from the week on the road:

Most shower heads hit me right about chest high - that's where they come out of the wall.  One hotel shower this week was actually about seven feet high.  It was wonderful, but I'm guessing not many people could take advantage of the adjustable flows as the control for it was another six inches higher. 
This is the typical shower head placement from above, and the shower curtain height from below.
I'm sure housekeeping didn't like all the water on the floor of the bathroom, but if you're going to install the shower head that high, you probably ought to go ahead and raise the level of the shower curtain to greater than five feet six inches.  If I can look out over the curtain, it's probably not a good thing.

If you are driving a shuttle, and looking for tips, I have one for you.  You didn't help the 65 year old woman load her large suitcase onto the shuttle, so I did.  Don't stand there with your hand out when I get off.  I should've taken money out of your jar and slapped you when you looked annoyed (with your hand outstretched and palm up) as I walked past you.

Ever wonder why some companies are not as profitable as they could be?  Here's a perfect example.  My co-worker and I had a few drinks and an appetizer at the restaurant in the hotel.  I had them charge the bill to my room on two different nights.  When I went to checkout, only the second night appeared on the bill.  Also, the soda and water I had charged directly to the room from the lobby didn't make it onto the bill.  I informed the front desk they were missing those two charges and they said "looks like you got free drinks".  I feel good that I tried to pay for the services I used, but I wonder how often this happens and how many times a $50 bill just gets written off.

Hotel beds are almost always too short.

Even sleeping diagonally I didn't have room to stretch out.
Toddlers change so much more when you're gone for a few days than they would have had you been there.

Even when I try to schedule a time to talk with Julia, something comes up on one end so we end up talking in the wee hours of the morning.  We're then both exhausted the next day with no chance to nap.

Coming home takes twice as long as it does to get there. 

The time away lasts twice as long as the time at home does.

It's impossible to eat healthy on the road and the "gyms" hotels advertise rarely live up to their billing.  I wouldn't necessarily consider an 8X8 room with a treadmill, one five pound dumbbell and a set of 10 pound ones a "workout facility".  Oh, and it is tough to swim laps in a 10X10 pool.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sharing makes sister happy

Both girls still have a bink with them when they sleep, though Brynne has one with her about 60% of the time she's awake.  She will chew on that thing fiercely, putting holes in it in less than a week.

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, I noticed the tip of it was almost chewed off.  We've run through our supply so had no reservists to call into active duty.  I had three options: let it go, and hope she didn't chew it off in the middle of the night which could lead to a choking hazard; take it away, and be subjected to long bouts of screaming; or tear off the end and see what happened.

I chose to tear off the end.

Bad decision.

She immediately started sobbing and wailing.  "PINK BINK BOO BOO!"  I carried her into bed, fighting her the whole way as she thrashed about.  I set her down, and she stood right up, continuing to let me know what was wrong.  Julia called for me to bring the bink back.

As I entered the changing room, she was smiling.  Hadley was sitting there holding her own green bink, saying "Geen bink, Bynne."

I exchanged binks with her, took the green one to Brynne, and the world was once again right. 

Hadley took the pink bink to bed and just held it in her hand as she usually does with the green one.

Both girls dropped off to sleep with no fussing and the slept soundly.

Everything was wonderful - until this morning.

When I got them out of bed and turned on the lights, Brynne erupted.  In the dark room she had not realized the switcharoo, or had forgotten about it.  As soon as she saw herself holding the green bink, she wanted her pink one. 

Hadley swapped with her gladly.  But then she noticed the damaged pink bink in her hand and went ape shit.

I assured her the situation would be rectified before bed tonight, and that seemed to appease her a bit, but not completely.

Looks like I'm off to Target today to get another replacement, and a back up or twelve.  Someday soon she'll be done with them, but until that day comes, we'll keep replacing the destroyed binks as necessary.