One thing that you get when you go on a mission – especially a foreign mission – is a lot of shots. So we decided to go the the public health service and make sure that we had everything we needed for South Africa. It turned out that what you need for South Africa is what you need for Indonesia so we were current and only needed our flu shots. The mission information did mention that we would start on anti-malaria pills a couple of weeks before we go but they will give those to us at the MTC.
We checked about any language training and the MTC said that the only language that was taught to any missionaries going to Africa is French. We do not think that we will be going anywhere where French is needed so we do not have the stress of trying to learn a language while we get ready.
The Lord has already blessed us by giving us access to some folks who have or are serving in South Africa. We should be able to get most of our questions answered so we will be prepared to serve as soon as we get there. We are looking forward to information from President Mann about what we will be doing, living, etc.
The bishopric announced our call in the meetings so we got a lot of congratulations.
One of the returned Indonesian missionaries who got our e-mail about our call, wrote to say that his brother just got back from a mission to Durban and served for 8 months in the mission office. I wrote back and asked him to either give us his brother’s phone number or have him contact us. We should be able to get a lot of good information from him.
It really feels good to know where and when we are going so we can make plans. I have started a list of things we need to do before we go. I am afraid it will get longer before it gets shorter.
12 July 2008 – Saturday
Another wonderful day. I spent just a couple of hours on the yard this morning because we went over to the apartment and cleaned out the kitchens, bathrooms and the rest of the rooms. We threw away tons of old food and other trash, made a big pile for DI, and took a few things home. Brian joined us and worked really hard cleaning up and moving out the trash. We filled the two big trash containers and a dozen more 55 gallon trash bags with junk and debris. I also pulled a lot of weeds but need to come back with Round-up to kill others. Thomas joined us about the time we were finishing up and continued working after we left.
We had lunch and relaxed for a while before heading off to do some errands. We stopped and tried to buy a game to take to Cedar City but it still had not come in. Next we went to LoweÃ¢Â€Â™s where I got a sprinkler for the apartment – ours disappeared while we were gone. Then it was to AlbertsonÃ¢Â€Â™s where Mary needed a few things – including a newspaper. Finally we went to the apartment where I hooked up the new sprinkler and we sat and watched it water for 20 minutes. I got Thomas – he was napping at home – and asked him to continue to give the very brown lawn a good soak. I certainly hope he works out as a manager. We will come back next Saturday and start the cleaning up and painting that needs to be done.
When we got home I started reading but felt like I was wasting time so I decided to visit the Watkins. As I walked there I ran into Dan Purser, Brandon Hollingshead, Kevin Gardner, Tom and Mariyln, and Don Bradley. I stopped and talked to each of them for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. I really enjoy doing this and I learn a lot about what is going on in their lives. I was especially glad to talk to Don because we had not really talked to him since Elaine died. Before we left I had gone over to their house a number of times to talk to her because she was not able to get to church.
I finally made it the Watkins and had a very nice visit there. Verla is feeling much better than when we left – however she is going to need to have the battery in her pacemaker replaced earlier than was expected but she does not seem to be worried about it. NormÃ¢Â€Â™s eyesight is not getting any worse but his hearing seems to be slipping a little.
I really enjoyed the chance to talk to so many folks in the couple of hours I was out. In fact I enjoyed it so much I decided to talk another walk and just see who was out. This time I talked to Loren Anderson, Jared Toone, the Don Petersens, Will Grace, and the Hansens. I had forgotten that the Toones had moved in about 6 months before we left on our mission. I was rather embarrassed. I did not talk to as many folks and our conversations were much shorter but it was still great to spend some time with them and learn a little about how their families were doing.
When I got home this time, Mary made tuna salads and we ate while watching one of the home improvement/home buying shows that we seem to really like. Then I checked the lighting before coming up and catching up this journal.
It was a great day and the Lord really blessed me as I visited with all the great people I saw today.
11 July 2008 – Friday
I did not do a lot in the yard today. Mainly I put in the other 12 volt lighting system around the lower patio. It went much faster than the one I did down by pond yesterday. In the evening as I looked at how much it adds to the night time look, I decided I would get more for other parts of the yard.
Steve Gibson had invited me to go to lunch with him and I chose to go to ApplebeeÃ¢Â€Â™s so I could have their grilled chicken oriental salad that I have been looking forward since we got back. We had a good time talking about our mission and a new book Steve is working on to help people with less education start their own business. So I had a great meal – the salad was as good as I remembered it – and good company. It is hard to ask for more. While I was at lunch with Steve, Mary went out and did a lot of errands that really needed to be done. She had lunch at The Bamboo Hut – they have won-tons that she really likes.
After blowing all of our money for lunch on Wednesday we had a very inexpensive date night. Since we needed to go to Costco we had dinner there – Polish Dogs and Churros for $5. Then it was to the dollar show to see Ã¢Â€Â˜What happens in VegasÃ¢Â€Â™ – a movie Mary really wanted to see. It was very predictable but still fun. The language could have been toned down without affecting the movie. It is a shame that some people think that ugly language is necessary to sell a movie.
It was still light when we got home so I went out and enjoyed reading under the oaks. It is so peaceful and beautiful there. I feel like I am living in a private park with fountains and fauna. I forgot to mention that earlier in the day as I was walking through the yard, there was a doe standing in the TurleyÃ¢Â€Â™s yard and we stared at each other for a while. I did not come in until it was too dark to read.
It was such a nice day that I was uncomfortable about having this many blessings when so much of the world must struggle day to day to just feed their family. Steve quest to help others become self-sufficient and break the cycle of poverty that has gripped their family for generations seems to me to be very important and satifying.
10 July 2008 – Thursday
I spent the morning putting in some 12 volt lighting down by the new pond and along the path. I used some lighting that I bought as a close-out 2 or 3 years ago at LoweÃ¢Â€Â™s. It is high quality all metal lamps from MalibuÃ¢Â€Â™s architectural selection. I bought two complete sets of 10 lights each for just $15 a set. The great part of this was that I was able to use the spotlights to light up the yard art lanterns that Mike and Cindy gave us 5 or 6 years ago. I have been trying to come up with a way to light them since I got them and this seemed to work. When the sun went down I went out and looked and while they do not give off a lot of light they look good.
The morning just rushed by and before I knew it, it was time to take my bath so we could go to the 7th Ave apartments and see what they looked like. Thomas – the man who called earlier in the week met us there. At first we could not get in because none of the keys we had worked, but Thomas crawled in through a window and let us in. The guys left a lot of mess in the kitchens – food, unwashed dishes, etc. but it was not as bad as it could have been. It is going to take a good day to clean up and throw out everything but there we are not going to need to do as much painting as I thought.
We will probably hire Thomas to manage the apartments for about $150 a month including keeping up the yard. Even then if we can get $1400 or so rent plus utilities we will be cash positive for the first time since Daniel ran the place. We are going back on Saturday morning to start the clean-up.
The rest of the day was quiet and peaceful. I read, sent some e-mail, and had dinner. After dinner I went over to the Berges to say thank-you for taking care of our Geraniums while we were gone. We had a great time talking about yard and service at the MTC. They are good couple and we should do things with them.
09 July 2008 – Wednesday
Worked in the yard – mainly pruning and weeding – until it was time to get cleaned up so we could go to SL to pick up the boxes from Indonesia. Before we went to CindyÃ¢Â€Â™s we stopped at Little America and had a nice lunch. As I paid the bill I realized that it was 2/3 of a monthÃ¢Â€Â™s wages for some members in Central Java. Serving there has given me a different perspective on the cost of things – at least things that are not really needed. We could have had a very nice lunch in Indonesia for 20% of what we spent today. We could have had filling lunch for half of what I tipped the waitress.
After lunch we went over to CindyÃ¢Â€Â™s. I walked around the yard and noticed all the great plants that they have. I am jealous of their lavender plants. They are much better looking than mine. We had a nice talk until it was time to go see Ã¢Â€Â˜WalleÃ¢Â€Â™ with them. It was an interesting movie with a great story and little dialogue. I enjoyed it but wondered how young children and teenagers would think it was worth watching.
We left for home right from the Gateway Mall and made decent time even with the start of rush hour traffic. I took a book out and just sat under the oaks reading until the light started to fade.
It was a nice day but I need to get busy doing something spiritual. I am becoming too comfortable just doing what I want and avoiding responsibilities.
08 July 2008 – Tuesday
As usual I spent the morning working on the yard. Each day I find more to do, more to clean, more to prune, more to weed. Today was spent mainly on the North hill – major work that took hours but when I was done it looked really good. At least Mary can see what I have been doing.
When I get really tired I take a break and read under the oaks. It is so peaceful and quiet. It is like I have a private park with only the sound of the water feature breaking the stillness. Birds fly in and out of view. If the wind comes up some of the bells and wind chimes can be heard.
I spend one of my breaks reading from the SS lesson from Alma. I have not been spending any time reading the scriptures and that is not good. Hopefully I will make time each day for doing this. Another break is used doing some things for the HP group.
One thing happened that I count as a blessing. I got a call from a man who manages some of the apartments near ours on 7th. He called to say he had mowed our lawns and done some clean-up. I asked him if he was interested in managing our apartments when we go on a mission and he said he was. He thinks we can get about $700 per apartment plus utilities if we rent to couples. If we could do that, even if I pay him 10% for managing and taking care of problems, we will do better than we have over the last three years. It would be great to get this worry off our minds while we are away. We will meet with him on Thursday and walk through the apartments.
Since I work on the yard all morning and part of the afternoon, I have not been taking my bath until about 3:00. This makes for a rather strange day but it works for me.
Mary spent much of the day getting things ready so we can do our taxes and doing some genealogical indexing. She fixed a great dinner – eggs, bacon, biscuits, and gravy which we eat outside. After dinner I head for LoweÃ¢Â€Â™s to get the things I need to work on the sprinkler system. For once I can get everything I need in one trip – I hope.
We watch some TV together – it is great to have TIVO again. We get to watch three shows in two hours or so.Â Now I am working on this journal – I am behind, while Mary is doing our last report for the ERS Jakarta. Next month it will be up to the Rebers to get it done.
07 July 2008 – Monday
Another busy morning and early afternoon working on the yard. The first thing I did was go over to the Creers and cleaned up the morning glory that grew in the week that we were gone. It is amazing how fast it grows. It took me a good 45 minutes to clean up just the area I worked on a couple of weeks ago. I decided to see if Round-up did anything to stop itÃ¢Â€Â™s growth. The area is such that there are some large open spaces so I can spray the MG without damaging any of the other plants. Lynn Wardle worked on another area last week and it looks much better also. Hopefully in a month or so the front yard will look much better.
I plant most of the plants we got from Oregon. Most go on the North hill where they can be seen from the kitchen and bedroom, but I put a few in pots around the front door. The Berges returned our geraniums while we were in Oregon. They look great and I must go up and thank them.
Note – I just looked at my hands and between the dry climate and working out in the dirt, they look like old manÃ¢Â€Â™s hands again. I guess it is time to go back to Indonesia.
I spent part of the day dividing hostas. They can be divided about every 2-3 years. I am not dividing all of them – I want some to grow into huge mounds. That is what they do at the hosta nursery we went to and they look great. The large and extra large leaf ones are especially impressive.
We got a great surprise when Cindy and Krista stopped by on their way home from California. They seem to have a great time there. Cindy went to the big book fair and they also went to Disneyland. Mike and Tyler joined them later.
In the afternoon I went to Lowes and Costco before taking Mary to dinner at CafÃ© Rio. I really wanted to gorge myself on one of their salads so I did not eat any lunch. We went early enough that we did not have to wait in line and the food was as good as I remembered. I wonder how it would go in Indonesia?
So it was a busy day and a lot got done.
04 July 2008 – Friday
For me it was a really laid back 4th.Â Somehow I managed to miss the big parade. The rest of the family left me reading in the hammock while they went. I did not realize that I had missed it until they got home. Bummer.
The rest of the day continued to be quiet with everyone reading, the kids watching TV, napping and not doing much. Tom worked some on the office – he tore out the last room that is going to be remodeled.
In the evening we all went to the highschool and watched the fireworks. I tried to take pictures but only a couple of them came out well. I have been very lax about taking pictures since I got home. There was one little scare when Shauna realized that Kelli was not following her. She quickly found her but it was tense for a while because it was quite dark and a large crowd.
Mary was a trooper and walked to and from the fireworks.
05 July 2008 – Saturday
We went to Salem so we could go to the FarmerÃ¢Â€Â™s Market. Even knowing about where it took us a number of tries to actually find it. We did get to see more of Salem than we usually do but I think we could have done without the experience. It is a nice market but we were not really into buying much. I bought one plant – I should have bought a couple bells but didnÃ¢Â€Â™t – and we got a couple of other small things. I did not think that there were as many interesting things as usual but perhaps because we already had so much to take home, I was not really looking closely.
Back home we had another quiet day. TaylorÃ¢Â€Â™s ankle continued to hurt but she did not think it was really bad. As the day wound down I started packing the car and by the time we were getting ready for bed it was 95% of it was packed. All we had to do was throw in a few things we needed for the night and we would be ready to take off tomorrow morning. We said goodbye to everyone before going to bed – we told them they did not need to get up to see us off at 4:30 in the morning.
It has been a great trip and it was fun to be with Tom and his family. William and Kelli are growing up very fast. ShaunaÃ¢Â€Â™s business is doing great and Tom has become very good at building things for the office and home.
We did not do as many things as we sometimes do when we visit but I think we both enjoyed just relaxing and not having any real responsibilities or plans. The next time we come we will do more traveling and sight seeing but this time it was just relaxing and getting our dental papers filled out. Shauna says that I will need more work when we come back in August or September.
06 July 2008 – Sunday
The trip home was interrupted by me getting a speeding ticket – and expensive one – about 2/3 of the way across Oregon. We had also got stopped not far from TomÃ¢Â€Â™s house by a policeman because one of our tail lights was not working. I should have realized that was an omen and been more careful the rest of the trip. But other than that the trip went quickly and without further trouble. The car got about 28 miles per gallon even at freeway speeds.
It was great to visit the Oregon Piers but it was also wonderful to get home.
3 July 2008 – Thursday
Today was my dentist day. I had my teeth cleaned and then Shauna put me to sleep so she could take care of all my problems. I woke up some 7 hours later remembering nothing about what went on. I am told that with TomÃ¢Â€Â™s help I walked from the office to the house and carried on a conversation, but I did not remember any of it. The nice thing is that by the time I woke up my mouth hardly hurt at all.
When I did wake up, I had a bowl of cereal and went right back to bed.
I should mention that in the morning I took a nice long walk while it was still cool. I love looking at all the plants and flowers that grow so well here. I almost want to move here just so I could enjoy gardening almost 12 months out of the year.
William and I had a good time playing with his cars. He is a very sharp young man and if you take the time to talk to him, he can clearly talk back. We shared eating Cheetos together – he brought them to me and was happy to sit next to me and eat.