Flotsam, Jetsam, and Detritus

September 24, 2016

And junk. And stuff. And odds and ends.

Rachel’s townhouse is now empty.  On Thursday she and I spent 3 hours with the boss at Property Management Unlimited going over a very long contract, giving them management of her property. They agree to find and vet a renter, take care of the financial transactions, and keep the place maintained. For a fee, of course. The housing market in south Dallas is pretty tight right now, so we are expecting it won’t take too long to find a renter.  And really hoping this is the case for cash flow reasons, since it has already been vacant for one month.

Gary and I took Friday morning off work to go back and finish–wow, so many little things to do, I wonder if it will ever be finished. We cleaned the carpets on the stairs, replaced the pull chain on the fan, added lightbulbs, discovered there were no batteries in the smoke detectors, and loaded up the Scion truck with more stuff to take out. Then I went back after lunch and did more touch up painting inside, a bit more cleaning, and then tackled the garage closet. And another load to our house.  At least the weather has cooled down–it is only in the high 90s now.

So Rachel’s house is empty but ours is full. It is going to take some doing to sort through all this stuff and find places for it all: boutique, furniture co-op, garage sale, lawnmower shed, under someone’s bed, and so on.


Rachel went back inside one last time to “say good-bye.”  Yes, she still owns it, but turning the keys over to a management company felt a lot different than renting it to her friends.  She cried a little, and I was sad for her, but we hope that eventually this can be a small source of income for her.  She is now trying to learn a new trick–referring to 718 Carriage way as “my business” rather than “my house.”



September 19, 2016

We took the day off work to empty Rachel’s townhouse. We started the day with two hours of work in the back yard. Yes, it reached 100 degrees.  We took one more load to the storage unit before lunch at McDonalds.

In the afternoon we got 1 hour of help from two MK boys to load furniture into a friend’s truck (use of the truck was in exchange for some cake I made for their family and Andrew sent some funds to pay the MK laborers).

Three truckloads out, half to the warehouse and half to our house which now looks like a warehouse.  We’ll throw out some of our current furniture on Oct 1 when the city picks up bulky trash, and Rachel will organize a garage sale to hopefully get rid of some things.








Our Father Who Aren’t In Heaven

September 18, 2016

I was thinking about having a little lesson for my Sunday School class about language change. So we used the Lord’s prayer as a starting place–after all, we recite it each Sunday in church and the kids pretty much have it memorized

“Our Father who art in heaven”–what does that mean, I asked.

“God is on earth but not in heaven,” one of them replied.

“No, no, it means the opposite of that,” I replied.

“But it says ‘aren’t in heaven,'” she countered.


Next line: Hallowed be thy name.

“Hollywood?” another one of them asked.

“No, ‘hallowed’ means ‘holy,’ I said

And so on…

Then in church we sang:

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come,
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

I guess it is no wonder kids tune out at church…everyone there speaks a foreign language.

Cake with Old Friends for New Baby

September 14, 2016





Last Sunday we attended a baby shower for Seth and Julia Fairbanks Rivers who are expecting a boy in the near future.  Emily asked me to make a cake and cupcakes for the occasion and gave me a rather unusual color palette to work with.  I bought a baby blanket from the registry to show the colors and then packed it back up into  a gift bag.  Our Ethnologue intern made the animal figures with just a little of my fiddling with them.  Rachel helped make the cake batter, filling and frosting.  Lots of compliments.

One nice part of this shower was seeing a number of old friends from our days at Kimball–some of you reading this will recognize a few of them including 99-year-old Maude (sorry some of these photos are blurry–I forgot my camera and just used by cell phone:








September 13, 2016

So you remember this cake? And the toy that went with it?


If you look it up, it says age 8 and up, but Micah has mastered the R2-D2 Bop-It. David says he got up to 50 and Emma made it to 26. Here’s a video sample:

Busy Week

September 12, 2016

It seems I was too busy the past week to post much, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. Here are a few more photos of the end of our time with Andrew, Laura, and Isabella.

You know how hard it is to get a decent posed family photo… (at least I seemed to get photos of photos appropriately).  Treezer, if you are reading this, remember the photo blanket you made us?  Bella wanted to take it home because it had her Ethiopian friends on it!









Bella got registered for school just two days ahead.  She started 3rd grade the same day Micah started Kindergarten.  I love these first day photos!


And More Stuff

September 5, 2016

Today was Labor Day and yes, we did labor. Our babysitting chores did not end until 1pm, so that kept us all busy. It took at least two of us at a time to keep an eye on him, giving the third person a little break. He had fun when I invented a poor man’s Slip ‘n Slide with our camping tarp and our garden hose that is full of holes. That kept him happy for 30 minutes.  No photos, because we aren’t supposed to post photos of him since he is still in the foster system.

In the afternoon Rachel and I returned to her house and went through more boxes. In fact, we got through all of her personal stuff, and repacked it for the storage unit. We ended up with 6 more boxes of books to go to Half Price Books, 6 more bags of trash, and some more for the paper recycling. Late this evening Gary took 12 boxes, 6 of which was her Christmas stuff, to the storage unit.  One thing we found, but haven’t told David yet, is a blue suitcase full of his baseball cards and a big binder of them that are his.

We still have several more days’ worth of work to do, but each day there has been progress on cleaning things out and consolidating things.  I wish we had a handyman around to do a few little things too–the people door to the garage needs to be replaced as do a couple of outside light fixtures that have motion sensors in them.

We got a call from Andrew today. They are busy busy trying to move into their house. They sure wish they had the stuff that is packed away in Sun City, but not sure when they can get it shipped.  Bella starts school on Wednesday.  Turns out that one place they might get after-school care for Bella is at the Lutheran church next door.  And I do mean next door–the church parking lot butts up to their yard. Andrew taught his two classes for the first time on Friday and seemed to think one went better than the other.  I guess we’ll hear more about that once they get settled.  Always so much to do to get moved in and settled.

Still Dealing with Stuff

September 4, 2016

The bad news is that we do not yet have a renter for Rachel’s house, and we really need one. Please pray with us for a good solution.

The good news is that since there are not renters yet, we have been able to work some each day at her house to clean and remove stuff in an orderly fashion.

Don’t tell Andrew, but I did scrounge a thing or two out of his throwaway pile. For instance, a HS tuba player at church was happy to get a stack of Andrew’s old music today, including something the young man was going to have to buy. Also, I took two boxes of Andrew’s books to Half Price Books and came away $22 richer, about $.50 per book. My riches didn’t last long, however, since I immediately went next door and bought a Christian trivia game for use in my Sunday School class. We still have two more boxes of books to take there, hopefully some time this week.  We also have the stuff shown below to shred, but it may end up in a fire in our fire pit instead (no I probably won’t use gasoline on it…the gas can is there because we need more mower gas).🙂


Meanwhile, we are supporting Rachel as she goes through her boxes. She is throwing some stuff away, and gathering a bit more for an online garage sale. She and Gary filled her little Scion with a load of her stuff and took it to the storage unit, with still more to go.


In other news, Rachel and I agreed to help out a friend of Rachel’s with babysitting one of her foster children for one or two nights. He is two and a half, quite verbal, and seems to love Gary (all little kids seem to like Gary!). He loves to eat, and to butter his own toast.


He also is quicker than greased lightning and does that thing like David and Sarah’s dog Mali–run faster when you chase him. At McDonald’s today he took off thru the play area, thru the seating area, out the door and was just a few feet away from traffic when I caught up with him enough to grab his hair and pull him to the ground. However, that sent me sprawling. Watching a woman of my age and girth, dressed in her Sunday finest, run and fall flat into the drive-thru lane is not a pretty sight–but the kind woman who got out of her car to help me pretended not to notice!  Gary rescued the child, Rachel rescued my purse, and eventually we made it safely home. I ended up with several scrapes and bruises, but no broken bones.


September 1, 2016

Andrew sent a photo today of the moving van that arrived at their house. Yay! They plan to sleep there tonight.


Tonight we did some moving of our own. For the last three nights we have hauled stuff to the paper recycling bin and the boutique and the trash. Tonight we loaded all of Andrew and Laura’s remaining boxes into Rachel’s little Scion panel van and took stuff to the storage unit.  One of her garage tables will provide some structural support for stacking more boxes on top.


If you are a person who reads finds this blog via an email, you might not have seen the photos in yesterday’s post.  To solve that, click on the title of the post and that will take you to the real location of the post and you can then see the whole thing.

Andrew, Laura, and Bella Came to Visit

August 31, 2016

It has been a busy week. Due to the delays in closing on their new house, Andrew and family came to Dallas for a visit. First Bella and Laura came while Andrew was at orientation for his new job. Then he came out here too. Their main job while here was to sort through their stuff that had been in storage at Rachel’s townhouse.  Oh, and Gary came home from two weeks in Thailand on the same day that Andrew arrived, but at different airports!

The Lord really worked out the timing of all this rather nicely, first for them to come at all, and then to come just as Rachel’s renters were moving out. That meant a big air conditioned place to work which was very helpful.  The time with them was intense, but we are always happy to have our distant kids visit.  Today, finally, they closed on their house.  Andrew teaches his first class on Friday.

We did some fun things together too, as you will see in the little photo album below. This is made with some new software, and I’m not sure how it will work in this blog. Please try it out and let me know if you can see the photos and captions clearly.  The program called is called Sway.  Use the mouse wheel to scroll thru the entire album in smaller size inside the blog.  Or click on the middle button at the top to expand to full screen, which is the best idea.  I hope you can get it to work!