Saturday, December 07, 2013


Many of you know that my company has been working closely with a company in India who is making a wood burning cookstove. Their stove is quite revolutionary and their sales are sky rocketing. Greenway (our Indian friends) came to us and asked if we could generate electricity from their stove. We told them "of course we could" and that was the beginning of a new friendship. 75% of the Indian people cook on wood and 75% of the people in India have cell phones and no one in India has reliable electricity. In the rural area's almost no one has electricity and cell phone users actually have to go to the corner store and pay someone to charge their phones for them. An added benefit is that the fan used to cool our thermoelectrics can also make the Greenway stove even more efficient and generate even less smoke. It is working well and we will be shipping our first stoves early next year.

I found this video that was made by Greenway for the Bank of India advertising the stove that Greenway currently sells. Our power stove will look very similar but will be slightly larger. The average Indian family cooks for about four hours a day. If they use the stove to charge a battery while they are cooking they could run lights in their home for four hours (they currently use very expensive kerosene) and charge two or three phones. We are all getting rather excited.  

This video is of a prototype that we have made. You will notice that it is powering a light and running a radio.

Many African families spend a quarter of their income on kerosene to light their homes.
Two billion people have no electricity.
Using a kerosene lamp is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.
Two thirds of the women in developing countries who have lung cancer are non-smokers.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I figured it was time to provide an update on my "the sky is falling" post. I was finally able to clean out all of the debris and poke my head into the attic to determine conclusively what the problem was. It seemed obvious that it was the roof because it had rained the night before and when I looked in the attic the roof was all wet. As it turns out it was not so simple. As I was cleaning up the mess I felt a very subtle mist on my head. When I looked to see where it was coming from I couldn't see anything so I waved my hand around until I felt the mist again. I followed the mist to it's source and low and behold it was the polybutylene plumbing. My heart sank. That is both good news and bad news. The good news is that my roof is OK and it is an easy problem to fix. The bad news is that if I have a leak here then there must be dozens of other potential leaks all getting ready to spring forth. I really should re-plumb the whole house. 

After calling my insurance company things went from bad to worse. First of all, I have a $5,000 deductible on my home owners insurance. As it turns out that doesn't really matter. They won't replace the plumbing. They will cover water damage from the leak but I can do that for a few hundred dollars and a couple of weekends. Even if I had a lower deductible it wouldn't make sense to file the claim. 

The leak was a very tiny pin hole and the water jet shooting from the pipe was so small that I couldn't see it even if I got close and looked right at it. I could only find it by feeling it on my hand. The confusing part was that the water jet shot straight up and was hitting on the roof leaving a wet spot and that is why I thought the roof was leaking. The leak has probably been going for several weeks but because it is the kids bathroom we never go in there. It just happened that we went in on the very same day the roof came down. 

So off I go to Home Depot. Half of my home comes from Home Depot but not this time. They have no fittings to repair polybutylene plumbing more commonly known as Qest plumbing. That is correct, there is no "u" in Qest. I did get a repair kit from Home Depot which they tried telling me would last decades but I didn't believe them. I just hoped it would last until I could find a more permanent solution. It is a silicone tape that you can wrap around the pipe. The tape seals onto itself making a sleeve around the pipe. It didn't stop the leak entirely but it did slow the drip down from about a drop every five seconds to a drop every thirty seconds. I went and looked at it the next morning though and the silicone wrap had swollen up like a balloon. Rather scary actually.

I phoned all over town and finally found a plumbing supply house that carries fittings that look like they may last long enough. Tonight I installed them and so far there are no leaks. I'm a little leery of repairing the bathroom with that old Qest plumbing up there but what choice do I have? I'm not about to re-plumb my house right now and my wife isn't terribly fond of the raised ceiling in the bathroom.

The average American High School student will only work on a math problem for two minutes before they give up and ask for help. A Chinese student will work on it for over an hour.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Running In The Rain

I recently started running again. I love to run and I really need to get rid of at least fifteen pounds but I love to eat so it just makes sense. Yes, I know that 80% of losing weight has to do with what you eat and only 20% is exercise but I'll take that 20%.The problem is that I have a really hard time staying motivated if I am not signed up for a race. I've decided that I am going to run a half marathon. I haven't signed up yet or anything but just telling myself that I am running one seems to have given me the motivation that I need. I'm loving it. As it turns out there is a half marathon at Christmas time that I think I will run but whether I do or not it feels good to be moving again. I would actually rather do a full marathon but I just don't have the time it take to train for one. Right now I'm running two hours every Saturday but a full marathon takes four hours every Saturday.

Yesterday I headed out for a 9 mile run and I decided to run up through the Santa Luz area. That is one of the problems with running the longer distances. Where do you run? After a while you run out of new places to go. I've never done Santa Luz before though so off I went. If you look at my map you can see that the five mile mark is about as far from home as I could get and once I got there it started to rain. I was running across a golf course and saw a rain bow in the distance. I thought. Oh what a pretty rain bow. Little did I realize that it was coming my way. As the rain started coming down harder and harder I started thinking about who I knew that lived in the area. I was about ready to head for the Walton's when I spotted a bathroom. It had a covered entrance so I took cover there. 

I got a nice picture of the rainbow. After about five minutes the rain tapered off and I continued on home. I'm getting a lot better at this running thing. For the first three or four miles I was able to maintain close to a nine minute mile. I know that isn't too impressive for some of you but for me it is better than I have ever done before. Maybe it is time to sign up for that half marathon.

A recent survey of America's eleven most popular religions found that they divided roughly into two main categories. The religions with the most successful followers were the least devoted to their religions and the religions with the most devoted followers were the least successful. The one anomaly was the Mormons. They were among the most successful and among the most devoted ranking them far ahead of the next highest ranked religion. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

When it rains it pours (and leaks)

Friday night Lisa and I were sitting watching TV when it started raining outside. Lisa thought it was coming down really hard but I didn't think much of it. Saturday morning we were getting some of the bedrooms ready for guests when I went in the kids bathroom (we never go into that bathroom any more) and I saw that the ceiling was sagging and there was water dripping from the sagging part. I knew right away that our roof was leaking but I was very confused that we could have such a big leak when we have never had a hint of a problem before. I went up on the roof and never saw anything obvious like broken tiles or anything so then I climbed into the attic to get a better idea of where the problem was. I could see where it was leaking so I went back up on the roof and there was still no way for it to leak unless the wind was blowing in just the right way. The wind had to blow the rain up under the tiles on the peak of the roof. 

There wasn't much I could do at the time so I decided there was no immediate emergency and I would call the insurance company on Monday crossing my fingers that they would cover this. 

I worked in the yard for a few hours and decided to go on a run. I was four miles out when  I got a text from Lisa. I could read her panic in the text. Apparently she had been working in the bathroom and the timer on the washer or dryer went off. She ran downstairs and as she was in the laundry room she heard a huge bang from upstairs. When our kids were home that would not have been unusual but since she was the only person in the house she was quite worried. She ran upstairs to see what was going on and the pictures show what she found. 

I'm just glad that the timer went off when it did. That would have hurt my darlings head. She decided that she wasn't going in there and went back downstairs when she heard an even bigger bang. I guess the ceiling hadn't completely come down but this time it did.

I'm not looking forward to fixing this. I really hope the insurance covers it. 

To make matters even worse, I found two new problems while I was in the attic. My house has the infamous plastic plumbing. This plumbing is notorious for springing leaks and flooding peoples houses. They did a recall on the worst kind of plumbing and had to re-plumb everyone's houses. The kind I have also had a recall that if I sprung a leak within the first 15 years they also had to re-plumb the house. When my fifteen years was about up I was sorely tempted to poke a hole in my water line but I was good. Well when I was in the attic I saw calcium carbonate deposits on a water line. A sure indication that I'm about ready to spring a leak. I guess I better take care of that before Alex's ceiling comes down. 
My other surprise I found in the attic was that: I think I saw termite poop. I looked above where the poop was and noticed a few tiny holes in the rafter. It looks very localized so hopefully I can treat it myself. 

So as you can imagine, Saturday wasn't the best day for me. Tomorrow I talk to the insurance company so let's hope they will cover this.

From when the cotton is grown until they are thrown in the trash, a pair of blue jeans consumes 3,480 liters of water.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. There is no reason to wait until November because the growing season in Canada is so short that the crops are all in and the snow is flying by October. Kira realized that she would be able to take a trip over her Thanksgiving weekend and suggested tht we could traveling to Utah to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. After all, we do have three kids living in Utah and with Kira there we could have four of our six kids together for the weekend. We were hopeful for a while that we might get Ben and Sharley to make the trip out from Colorado but that didn't work out.

So Thursday I left work a bit early and we headed up the I-15. We drove through the night and arrived at the Sanchez's at about 6:00AM. We didn't want to miss any of the fun. I love the Sanchez family and they are so good to us. I really hope we don't push their hospitality too far and have them ban us sometime but they are always so willing to open up their home to us for all kinds of family activities. 

After visiting for a bit Lisa and I slept for an hour or two and then we headed out to pick up Alex at the U. Alycia took the day off to be with us and she met us at the Sanchez's before we left. 

We spent some time at the U letting Alycia reminisce a bit and Lisa bought some shirts at the book store and then we went to see Kira at Alex's apartment. She arrived Friday late so we let her sleep in but she was up and waiting for us. We then headed down to Temple Square. After lunch at the cafeteria in the Joseph Smith building we headed to City Creek Mall.
We let Kira plan the entire weekend and Friday was the day we spent in Salt Lake City.  We spent most of the day at the City Creek Mall. Of course I can only spend so much time in a store and I start getting claustrophobic so I went and sat by the creek visiting with Cameron. We had a good chat until Alycia came and visited with me. She just had to see how Cameron likes lemons. I think he actually enjoyed it. At least he kept coming back for more. Alycia and I had a good visit.

I also got to spend some time visiting with Kira. I was in my seventh heaven. We then wandered around temple square for a bit. Kira showed us where Justin proposed to her and then Mom really wanted to give us a quick tour of the genealogy library where she has been spending a LOT of time lately. She has some of her genealogy lines now traced back to the 1400's or maybe even earlier. She's really turned into a genealogy wizard. She's making me want to get into it.

Friday night Kira stayed with Alycia and Trevor and we then spent the day in Provo. Alycia and Sam had to work but Sarah joined us. It was quite fun to watch Kira get all excited about places where she used to hang out. Perhaps the oddest thing was when we showed us her old reed room. It was no more than a closet with no windows and only room for two chairs to squeeze into it. She spent hours upon hours in that room making reeds for her Oboe and she nearly glowed as she showed it to us. 

I also spent a year at the Y before my mission. It has changed a lot since I attended there but I still got a bit nostalgic as I wandered past the buildings where I used to attend classes. Mostly the Engineering building which is now called something else and the Eyring Science Center. 

Trevor and Sam joined us for lunch at the BYU Creamery. That place is really good and we can't go there without buying a ton of BYU Chocolate milk and cheese curds. We then went and picked up food for Thanksgiving dinner. The original plan was to be true to the holiday and have Thanksgiving dinner on Monday but Wendy had to work and Sarah and Sam had classes so we had it on Sunday instead. That also made it easier on Sanchez's I think too. Saturday night Kira spent at Sarah and Sams. 

Sunday we went to church with the Sanchez's and then the kids started showing up with delicious food and Thanksgiving dinner was served. I can't beleive that we had all the kids together for the only time during the entire weekend and no one took a single picture of us together. Bummer. Just for the record, there was Mom and I, Kira and Cameron, Alycia and Trevor, Alex and Wendy, Sarah and Sam, Molly, Laurel, Ellie and Tessy. It was  ton of fun. Mahonry took Whitney and Brianna to New York City for a fun trip. We saw him for a few minutes Friday morning before he left for the airport and we went to bed. 

The rest of Sunday we just visited, played pool and enjoyed each others company. Finally everyone left and we went to bed. Kira spent Sunday night with us at the Sanchez's. She really managed to spread herself around this weekend.  

Monday we picked Sarah up from her class at UVU and went for a drive through the mountains to enjoy the many cool colors that we just don't get in San Diego (that is a small price to pay for our eternal summer) and they really were beautiful. It actually snowed for about ten minutes during our drive. It wasn't much more than a few flurries but it just proved to me that it was cold up there. Sam was supposed to be in classes all day long but he decided to ditch them and join us for the day. It was good to have a bit more time with him. I just hope he doesn't get in trouble for missing his classes. After our drive through the hills we stopped by Alycia's work to see where she spends her days and then it was off to Salt Lake again to drop Kira off  

I'm glad we went up there because we got to spend a little more time with Wendy than we did earlier. We considered leaving for San Diego Monday evening but finally decided there was no one there to rush back for, not even our cat anymore :( so we drove back to Sanchez's and left Tuesday morning after a relaxing breakfast.  

It was a very fun weekend and I'm glad Kira suggested it.

Salt Lake City is the only State Capital with three words in its name
The term "seventh heaven" is from Islamic doctrine which teaches about 
seven heavens with the seventh heaven being the highest

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


In Alberta you could legally ride a motorbike when you were 14 years old as long as it wasn't bigger than 100cc's. I really wanted to get one but my Dad finally talked me out of it. He convinced me to save my money and buy a car when I was 16. Of course, when I turned 16 he talked me out of that as well but that is a different story. The point of this story is that I've wanted a motor bike as long as I can remember. That dream remained in the back of my mind until I was about thirty. One time we were in Taber visiting Patsy and LeRon Litchfield. We visited them often in those days. In his back yard he had an old Honda Supersport that hadn't been moved in years. I'd seen it there for some time but this time I asked him how much he wanted for  it. He said a hundred bucks but what ever it cost to get it running I could deduct from the $100. It cost me a few hundred dollars to get it running so I never actually paid LeRon anything for it but thinking back I really should have. It was a very fun bike and I rode it to work as often as I could. The problem is, in Canada that isn't very often. Between winter, rain and snow there isn't much time left. When we moved to the States we sadly left the bike behind and once again my dream of riding a bike was relegated to the back of my mind.

Four or five years ago Ben and Sharley moved to Orange County to go to school. Since Ben went to Fullerton and Sharley went to Long Beach they really had to have two vehicles. Ben decided to buy a motorcycle. This is Southern California after all. We only have a dozen days of bad weather a year and we never get snow so it is ideal weather for a bike. We looked up a bike on Craigslist and Ben and I went and bought it. I was really jealous. That sort of moved my dream of riding a bike back to the front part of my mind but I have resisted the urge. At least I did until Ben moved to Denver. He gets a company paid truck and with winters and all he didn't see himself riding his bike much. When he told me he was going to sell his bike I promptly told him that I wanted first dibs. He gave me the friends and family deal and I am now the proud owner of a new motorcycle. 

I love my bike. I ride it every day except Thursdays when I serve at the temple. Thursdays used to be my favorite day of the week but now when I climb into my truck on Thursday morning instead of hop on my bike it puts a bit of a downer on the whole day. I need to figure out a good way of packing my suit into my back pack.
Let me share with some of the reasons why I love my bike so much:

1) I love the shiny chrome mufflers, pipes and headers. Especially when I wash them.

2) I have always loved driving with my window down. I love to hold my arm out the window and let the wind blow over it. On my motor bike I essentially hang my entire body out in the wind. I love the sensation.

3) I love stopping at an intersection and standing in the middle of the road. It sounds dumb but I love it.

4) I love when the traffic is at a stand still and I can zip between the two lanes of traffic right up to the stop light. 

5) I love leaning into a tight curve and looking down at the asphalt which seems very close to my face. 

6) I love taking off from an intersection when the light turns green and flying through all six gears in a matter of seconds. I know the feel of my bike so well now that I don't even use the clutch.

7) I love the acceleration. When I crank that throttle I take off so fast that I'm hanging on for dear life. And then when the engine speed hits its sweet spot it very suddenly takes off even faster as if I had been sitting still. What a rush.

8) I love the visibility. On my bike I can see over the top of most cars and when I look around there are NO blind spots. I can see everything.

9) I love spending $10 to fill my tank every other week.

10) I love putting smart-alec rich boys in their place. One time I was lane sharing at a stop light and some idiot in a sports car convertible saw me and tried to pull into the gap and cut me off. I managed to squeeze past him and ended up next to him at the red light. Since he was in a convertible we were only a few feet away glaring at each other. He actually started revving his engine and nudging into the intersection. I took off so fast that I lifted my front tire. It rather startled me but I left that fancy sports car way behind in my dust. 

11) On a crisp sunny morning (pretty much every morning here in San Diego) I love the sun on my face as I ride down the street.

12) I love parking in very tiny parking spaces.

13) I love the smell of the garage about half an hour after I park my bike in there. The smell of a hot engine is wonderful.

14) I love how I am now so familiar with my bike that it feels like an extension of my body.

15) I love that my bike is a Vulcan. That's right, it is a Kawasaki, Vulcan. What better bike for someone like me?

There is one down side to riding a motorbike however. Here in San Diego, when a small side road enters a very busy street the light is always red for the side street (and green for the main road) unless a car comes to the intersection. The problem is that the sensors in the asphalt can't detect my motorbike so if there is no car at the light  I have to sit there until a car pulls up behind me. There is one intersection like this on my normal route to work and one on my way home. Normally there is enough traffic that I don't have to wait but every once in a while I'm sitting at a red light patiently waiting for another car to come.

It is very difficult for me to spend money on a big ticket item without properly justifying it. The way I figure it, I save more than $2 every time I drive my bike to work. Much more when the price of gas shoots up as it often does here. In the time I've had my bike I've saved over $200 and the bike will be paid off in a little over a year. What more can you ask for? Save money and enjoy a sensational ride all at the same time.

Motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in an accident than someone in a car.
Cars are 6 times more likely to get in an accident than a motorcycle.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

General Conference

Twice a year our church has a general conference. Back in the old days all of the members would go to the Tabernacle and meet together. Today with 15 million members spread all over the world that is no longer possible. Fortunately technology has advanced along with the church and 97% of the members world wide are able to watch conference in their own language either on their TV's or on the internet. 

It is a wonderful weekend that consists of four two hour sessions. Two on Saturday and two on Sunday along with a priesthood session on Saturday evening. Let me share with you just a few of my favorite quotes. Forgive me if I don't get them word perfect but I'm not going to go back and check if I scribbled them down correctly. 

We gather to hear the words of the Lord and then return to our homes to live them.
Robert D Hales

The past is to be learned from, not lived in.
Edward Dube

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf

The diversity of our members is one of our strengths.
Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf

To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.     Peters response to the Lord when the apostles were asked if they too would leave. (Asked at a time when many of the Lords followers were offended and leaving him)

If we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship between children and their mothers we will come to regret it.
Gene R Cook

A man may open the drapes to allow the sunshine into the room but he does not own the sunshine nor the light and warmth that it brings. 
Neil L Anderson

We must align our will with Gods and then he can bless us like he wants to.
Terence Vinson

Freedom from self slavery is true liberation.
Russel M Nielsen

If anyone wants to watch any of these conference talks just go to the link below.

When a new dress color or design is introduced, the Tabernacle Choir orders 2,000 yards of fabric direct from the factory. The most recent addition to the wardrobe was what they call the “rose” dress. The committee used 1,100 yards of fabric for the dresses and put the rest on the shelf for future needs. Each woman is measured for her dress, and each pattern is adjusted for fit - neckline, sleeve, front, back, length. Each dress is then made to fit. The process takes about five months.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Simi Valley

 Last weekend Lisa and I went to Simi Valley to visit our good friends (and also Lisa's cousin) Thomas and Vicky McCormack. We used to go and visit them quite often but as the kids got older our lives got more complicated and we just didn't make it up there as often. We drove up Friday night and Saturday morning I went for an early morning run in the hills north of Simi Valley. Vicky and Thomas live in that neighborhood near the freeway. 

When I say I "ran" through the hills that may be a bit of an exaggeration since those hills are steep. In some places it may be more accurate to say that I "climbed" through the hills.  The hills are beautiful and I loved running through the rocks and trees etc.

After I got back and showered we headed out to see the Reagan library. I've always wanted to go but never had the opportunity. This was the opportunity since it is right outside of Simi Valley. 

I learned something new this weekend. A presidential library isn't a library at all. It is actually a museum. The museum was pretty cool. They had a Lincoln exhibit there and I learned a whole lot of stuff about Abraham Lincoln that I didn't know. 

In addition to the history of Lincoln and Reagan the the "library" also had several other interesting things. First of all, Ronald Reagan is actually buried there. That was pretty cool. 

Another interesting item is a section of the Berlin wall. The coolest exhibit that have however is the Airforce 1. I didn't know this but up until Reagan the airforce 1 was a Boeing 707. Reagan ordered a new one that was a 747 but it didn't arrive until Bush was president. When it came Bush gave the old one to the Reagan library. I actually got to walk through it and everything. Very cool. It was interesting to see the old equipment they had in there. Laptops that were about two inches thick and a VHS player. You don't realize how much technology has improved until you go back twenty years and take a look. That stuff was state of the art back then. 

After the library we went out of Italian food. We then spent the night with the McCormacks and went to church with them the next morning. It was cool to the Stevensons there. They used to live in our ward. Now they live in Simi Valley.  

One of the three surviving hats that Lincoln owned.

10 Weird Coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
1. Both presidents were elected to the House of Representatives in ‘46:
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
2. Lincoln and Kennedy’s name each contain seven letters in their name.
3. Both presidents were elected to the presidency in ‘60 and inaugurated in ‘61:
Lincoln won the election in 1860 and his inauguration was held on March 4, 1861.
Kennedy won the election in 1960 and his inauguration was held on January 20, 1961.
4. Both defeated an incumbent vice president for the presidency:
Lincoln defeated Vice President John C. Breckenridge.
Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard Nixon.
5. Both their vice presidents and successors were Southern Democrats named Johnson.
6. Both Johnsons’ were born in ‘08:
Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808.
Lyndon Johnson was born on August 27, 1908.
7. Both men were shot in the back of the head and in the presence of their wives.
8. Both presidents were shot on a Friday.
9. Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford.
10. Both John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were killed and never faced trials.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Serene Week

Brandon, Ben and Sharley flew home the Monday after the wedding. Once again, I was up at 4:30 and my poor sleep deprived body was crying to go back to bed but I wasn't going to miss a minute with my kids.

Serene and the girls however stayed until the end of the week. It was wonderful to have them for an entire week with no distractions. Lisa played a lot with them daily going to museums at Balboa park and other stuff but unfortunately I had to work. Sydney kept telling me that she wanted to climb up Black Mountain so Friday morning I went into work late and Lisa and I hiked up Black Mountain with Sydney and Haley. They were so excited.

As we were driving to the tail head I was rather confused when Sydney kept talking about how we would have to go on our hands and knees. I finally realized that she thought we would be scaling some cliffs. I hope she wasn't disappointed to learn that we would be able to walk on a trail all the way to the top. 

So we reached the trail and started walking and immediately Haley was complaining because she was too tired to walk. She then decided that rather than walk to the top she would be an Eagle and she would fly to the top. Of course Sydney couldn't be out done so she started to fly as well. I was surprised by how long that lasted. It is a two mile hike up Black Mountain and I think they flew for the first half mile. They eventually had to come down and get a drink of water but then they were off again. I'm not sure where the Vulture came from but they would switch back and forth between being an Eagle and being a Vulture. 

The inevitable finally happened though and before long the little eagle (Hayley) made a crash landing and skinned her knee. After that I had to carry her on my shoulders. So much for flying. They did make it a full mile though before I had to carry anyone and Sydney hiked the whole way. The last mile can get fairly steep in places too. 

Even though Black Mountain is scarcely more than a big hill, the view from the top is rather nice. If you look closely in the picture you can actually see the ocean from the top. The hike down was a whole lot faster than the hike up and then it was time to say goodbye to my darling little granddaughters. Serene and her girls flew out on Friday. It really stinks that my grand-kids all live so far away from me. I don't think I get to see them again for at least another six months. 

Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Day After

The day after the wedding was another rough morning. We now had all six of our children at home, all six of their spouses and all six of our grandchildren. Who knows if this will ever happen again and it is surely not going to happen for several years so of course we need to have family pictures taken. Without torturing you with all of the scheduling conflicts let me just say that the only time available was 8:00 AM on Saturday. We had to hurry because Alex and Wendy had a plane to catch for their honeymoon in Hawaii.

As you can imagine, it was another morning not too unlike the morning of the wedding. After some yelling and screaming we got everyone out the door and in a car and we arrived at the beach pretty much on time. As soon as the family pictures were done and Alycia and Trevors pictures were taken, Trevor took the newly weds off to the airport while the rest of us did individual families and of course the grandparent pictures. It was a beautiful morning at the cove so you can be expecting some new family pictures on the blog in the not too distant future.

After recovering at the house for a bit we ended up at the beach with the kids. It was even more fun because we met up with the Kooymans and the Sanchez's. After we were all thoroughly exhausted (it is funny how spending a day outside can sap all of ones energy) it was back to the house and more games. We played a new game this time called Avalon. It is a lot of fun but we tended to get a bit more riled up than usual. Alycia thought it was all so funny she actually video taped us and put together a short (15 second) video clip. Before you watch the video let me tell you what to watch for. At the beginning you need to watch Sharley ready to take Brandon by the throat and strangle him. At the end you need to watch Justin simulating a venomous animal with fangs spitting poison.  

As usual we played games way into the night but we knocked off a bit earlier than usual because Justin, Kira and Grandma had early morning flights requiring that we get up at 4:30. Normally that wouldn't have stopped us but once Justin landed he had a fourteen hour drive to make and we really didn't want to lose that lovely family in one of those mountain valley's in British Columbia. 

Sunday morning was quite eventful. Let me see if I can tell the story without getting too lost. Grandma and I went to airport first in Justin's rental car. The plan was to drop grandma off and then drop off the rental car, take a shuttle back to the airport to meet up with Kira and Justin. Because our van is the only vehicle that can accommodate Evans wheel chair they had to use our van. Well that was the plan. Grandma was a bit slower than I had planned so we got left late. Traffic was ok (after all it was 5:00) but when we got to the airport Grandma got the airlines mixed up and we went to the wrong airline. After waiting in line for a while they told us that we were at the wrong airline so it was off to the correct airline where we waited in another line. When we finally got to the counter the guy told us that we had missed our flight by less than five minutes. The plane was still right there but now days they won't board you if you're not there 30 minutes early and he told us they sometimes cut you off at 45 minutes. After staring at his computer screen for a long time he finally told us that we were out of luck and had to come back tomorrow. 

Grandma was very upset and the ticket agent was a kind fellow so he went back into his computer and by overriding the computer and doing things manually he got her on a flight through Houston that got her in at 10:00 at night. It was going to be a very long day for Grandma.

Now I was panicking about Kira and Justin. There was no way I was going to get his car back in time but then I got a text from them that there was an accident on the freeway and they were at a stand still in danger of missing their flight. I now had plenty of time to return the car. While waiting I prepped the guys at the counter and met Kira and Justin at the curb. Kira ran right into the counter where I had explained everything and I helped Justin unload bags and kids. Grandma missed her flight by 5 minutes and Kira made hers by 5 minutes. I am so glad that they made their flight.

Contrary to popular belief, children don't learn new languages any faster than adults do.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Wedding Day

Friday was the wedding day. Everyone woke up early and the house was a mass of confusion. In the end careful planning and clearly defined schedules and assignments ensured that everyone had a car when they needed it and everyone was at the temple relatively on time.  Alex and Wendy and parents first, siblings next and children and grandmother later. Of course once we entered the beautiful temple all of the stress and anxiety was gone and we were able to enjoy the spirit of this blessed event. 

Dan Northcutt was our stake president several years ago and he is now a sealer at the temple so we asked him if he would preform the ceremony. He did a great job. It was a beautiful ceremony. Everyone then rushed outside to begin the long wait in the hot sun waiting for the happy couple to come out. 

I know I usually come from these weddings with a ton of my own pictures but for the last few weddings I've just wanted to bask in the moment and so I have taken very few pictures. That means that for this posting you're stuck with the few pictures I was able to gather. Sorry, I will post another entry when we get the official pictures back. 
I do want to share the video that Chris McClain took. This was a very low budget wedding but the one thing we have decided that we will spend money on is the video. Once the wedding is over all you have left are the pictures and the video and of those two I've found that you watch the video ten times for every time you go back and look at the pictures. With Alycia's wedding we lucked out and found a great videographer. We have used him for every wedding since then.  It will take a long time before we get the final video from the wedding but he took Alex and Wendy for a couple of hours on Thursday and made a teaser to show at the wedding. It was kind of cool because with a temple wedding no one gets to see the moment that Alex see's Wendy in her wedding dress for the first time. This video captures that moment. I love the video and can't wait to see the full video.

Following the wedding Lisa and I rushed home, loaded up the cars and headed to the venue. The reception was held at David Stones home. He has a beautiful yard that he lets people use for weddings and his place is stunning. The only decoration we needed to do was the table settings. He has a Koi Pond, Gazebo, dance floor, beautiful lights and a stunning view. You couldn't ask for anything more. 

 The reception was a blast. Molly Sanchez spent all day cooking the food and it was delicious. Lilly Greenlaw (a friend of Lisa's) worked with Lisa and Kira do the flowers.

I had two jobs to do and I managed to pull them both off but one created some panic and I had to pull in some major help. My first job was the chandelier over the sweetheart table. I don't know if you can see it above Alex and Wendy in the picture but it is several baby-food jars hanging from chains with candles in them. It actually turned out quite well if you ask me.

My second job was to have the table and screen set up to show the video. I was good and had everything ready to go but I didn't actually try it out to see if it worked. Yes, you're way ahead of me. As we were setting up for the reception I set up the screen, ran the extension cords had the table and the equipment all set up, pulled up the video on the laptop and then I went to plug in the projector. The plug was a European plug and there was no adapter to plug into and American receptacle. After about ten panicked phone calls I finally got a hold of Lee Evans. Lee can fix anything remotely related to computers. He actually loaded up his own personal equipment, drove on over to the reception and set up his own equipment to show the video. I owe him big time.

Lisa suggested to Alex that it would be cool if he and his groomsmen performed a dance for Wendy. It was touch and go if it was actually going to happen but in the end they all got together and practiced after the family dinner the night before the wedding. It turned out really cool. Our videographer captured it for posterity.

After everyone had fully belly's and the toasts and thank you's were over, the party began in earnest. The dance floor was packed up until we finally had to shut down the DJ. We only paid him until 9:30 but it looked like he was prepared to go on all night. We have also used him for our last three weddings too so perhaps he was giving us a bonus.

Lisa had previously given everyone a clean up assignment so the clean up went very quickly as well. We all managed to get home at a reasonable time and then we still played late into the night. It was a wonderful day.

Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States!