Category Archives: Mom

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 1 The Surrogates

So I think I can be a little freer with the experience of house buying that I have been enduring.

I guess the most important news is that I am officially going through the process of buying a house now. I would like to at least go through the process of how I came to where I am today to update people that may have very unintentionally fallen out of the loop. I have gotten very busy with the process, work and Jaycee functions. Plus, there was Symposium and helping Derrick and Jen move. You could say that my plate has been more than full. It has been overflowing with crawdads, honey.

To start at the beginning of finding this house you have to go back to December 30 or 31. I can’t remember which.

I joined my Mom, Teresa and Ernie for lunch. When I got back to the office my phone rang and it was my Aunt/Realtor Lori. One of the great parts about this process is that now I can recommend Lori as a Realtor to anybody and include the phrase, “And not just because she is my Aunt.”

Lori was going to look at a new listing that had just went on the market. It was on Garst, which is to say that it is in a good neighborhood. She told me that the house was a foreclosure and I know from the time that Carla spent as a Realtor that meant two things. You could buy the house cheap and that is was probably trashed.

I work for a living, which is to say that I haven’t figured out a way for the Computer Mine to pay me for not being here yet, so I had to decline checking out this house on Garst. I did mention that there was a house on Union and a house on Aldrich that I was interested in seeing. We set up an appointment to see those houses on Saturday.

Then I remembered that somebody that has so many crawdads on their plate should use a surrogate. So I called Teresa and asked if she and Mom could swing by and check out the house on Garst to see if it was even worth viewing.

She agreed to do just such a thing.

About 45 minutes later I got a text message that said, “Garst house is disgusting.”

I called her back to find out what disgusting might mean. Did it mean saloon doors between the dining room and the kitchen? I can change ugly.

Disgusting ended up meaning covered in mold.

Well you can’t just take mold down and store it in the basement, so the house on Garst was eliminated from contention.

But Teresa told me that they had went over and checked out the house on Union that I wanted to see.

Earlier that week I had told my Mom about how I had high hopes about a house on Union, but last time I had gotten my hopes up real high for a house they were dashed by bulging basement walls.

She had mentioned the house to Lori and they had went over and checked out the house.

Teresa recommended that I check out this house on Union.

Thanksgiving

I started Thanksgiving by helping serve the free Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom, Teresa and Logan. I was given the extremely important duty of collecting trays.

After my shift concluded I talked dogs with Karma’s former vet Jordan and his family. Even though I know when I get a dog again it will be a Golden Retriever, I was told by one of Jordan’s daughters to look into Bulgarian Mountain Dogs.

I really had no intention of doing this, but I was told (incorrectly) that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do such a thing.

So enjoy this little tidbit from Wikipedia about Bulgarian Mountain Dogs (AKA Caucasian Shepherd Dog):

Powerful and massive, the Caucasian Ovcharka can be a difficult breed for an inexperienced owner, because it respects and obeys only those that it deems superior to itself. They are good with children, but will not see them as their masters. The dog develops a strong bond with its owner but will rarely be submissive; this is truly a thinking dog which relies on its own instincts, sometimes even disregarding its master’s directions. A breed with a very quick reaction time and fast protection reflexes, it has even been unfairly described by some as somewhat of a “loose cannon”. With proper care, handling and training, this is a well-behaved and obedient family companion.

I have no doubt that such a dog would see me as being superior, but Golden Retrievers are where it is at.

I concluded my Thanksgiving by eating a wonderful dinner and dominating my family in Rack Rummy.

Here are some pictures from the day.


IMAGES LOST

If you break it down, I had 6 Thanksgivings to attend this week. That is a lot of good and unhealthy eating.

Too Crafty?

Teresa’s latest project was too make individualized Christmas booklets for all the members of the family. Well, not for me, but for the other members of the family.


IMAGE LOST

I spent a fair amount of Thanksgiving trying to explain that I don’t really care what I get for Christmas. I’m the easiest person in the world to shop for because I like everything and I get too much as it is.

But the actual truth is that what I would really like for Christmas is to find somebody that can challenge me at the game of Rack Rummy.

The Shannon After

Shannon had over a foot of hair cut off her head last Thursday. On Sunday I was able to document this joyous hair loss, but the day was not completely happy.


Shannon After

In the picture above you should try to look past Shannon. You may notice something. Shannon appears to be standing on an abandoned railroad bridge.

My favorite park in Ames is Brookside Park. I don’t believe I would be talking out of turn if I were to guess that it is also Shannon’s favorite park. We met at the park and walked to this bridge despite the cold temperatures.

The previous Saturday we met there to take her before pictures. We talked about going to this bridge on that day because she was curious about it. She had heard a wildly inaccurate characterization of the bridge from Becky. Becky and I had walked across the bridge one night after a Jaycees meeting.

On that Saturday there must have been about 20 people just hanging out on the bridge. I thought we should give the bridge another try, but it did not end up to be one of my better ideas.


Shannon After

If you take you gaze downward you might notice a few things about Shannon. I mentioned it was cold. The proof can be found in the coat/scarf combination that she was wearing. Although it is stylish, the gloves she is wearing are not for fashion purposes. Shannon was cold.

The particularly observant might notice a couple of other things. In her gloved hands Shannon appears to be holding a bag. The bag contains the hair that Shannon parted with so that she could make a donation to Locks of Love.

If you know this bridge very well, you might be able to gather from the trees behind Shannon, she is standing over water.

I’m sure you can see what is coming, but on this day I did not. When Shannon reached into the bag to pull out her former hair to pose for a picture with it, one of the 8 braids (I have no clue if that is the right word) escaped her stylishly gloved, but frozen hands.

It fell between two railroad ties and into the ice cold stream below.


Shannon After
The lost hair.

It was a heart breaker. I didn’t think Shannon would want this to be documented, but she insisted that it be documented.

We managed to get the rest of her former hair put away and left that cursed bridge.

Once we got to dryish land we took some pictures of the her and her former hair.


Shannon After
That is lots of hair.

Shannon After
I repeat. That is lots of hair.

The lost hair didn’t take off down the stream immediately. There was some time where it seemed like it might possibly wash near enough to the bank that we could get to it with out descending deep into the near freezing water.


Shannon After
Shannon watching the hair float away.

But it was not to be.

The day was not a complete loss though. There are still 7 locks to be sent to Locks of Love. A wonderful donation.


Shannon After
Plus, Shannon does have a great new hair cut!

I also gave this beanie to Shannon. I hate to part with anything that Teresa makes, but I don’t think the colors are for me. Everybody seems to say that the hat looks better on her than me any way. It is probably because it is hard for me to give the badass vibe that I normally emanate when I’m wearing that beanie.

After the photo shoot Shannon helped me to write a CPG for the Ames Jaycee website that I redesigned. I won’t bore you with the details, if you aren’t a Jaycee you really wouldn’t be that interested.

Then we joined my Mom, Carla and Teresa for supper at Jeff’s Pizza. If I haven’t written about it before, I love Jeff’s Pizza. I’m a particularly large fan of their Gyro Guy pizza and their Clones. Clones are pizza rolls and they are fantastic. Better than Gumby’s used to make before Gumby’s went terribly downhill.

The meal was pleasant despite the fact that the large amount of females at the table insisted on ordering a Chicken Alfredo pizza. I’m going to tell you flat out, chicken does not belong on a pizza. Even the gourmet pizza wizards at Jeff’s Pizza could not sway my opinion. I will freely confess that their Chicken Alfredo pizza was the best chicken pizza I have had to date, but it still wasn’t a pizza I would want to sit down and take to town.

Thankfully, we ordered a Gyro Guy pizza as well, so I didn’t wither away.

The conversation was relatively polite until it inevitably turned into gossip hour about my friends. I was able to put the smack down on that though. We gossiped about Teresa’s friends instead.

Truth be known, I don’t gossip.

After dinner Shannon and I went to Stephens to see the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. It was the first professional symphony orchestra concert I have ever attended. They played 3 pieces of music including a piece by Bernstein and a piece by Copland.

The lights never fully dimmed. This was something I wasn’t expecting. Another thing I found odd was that they opened the show by playing the Star Spangled Banner. I’ve gotten to the point where I only hear the National Anthem at sporting events, so that was a nice little surprise. They followed the Star Spangled Banner with the playing of what I’m going to assume was the Israeli National Anthem.

They concluded the show by playing two encores. Before the encores the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra spoke to the crowd and praised people from Iowa. I guess that was the classical music equivalent of “You rock Ames, Iowa! We wish we could take you with us.”

It was a very enjoyable show. I will gladly go see a Symphony Orchestra concert again in the future.

So the night ended on a high after the low of losing the hair. An excellent day at the aggregate level!

Kalona (Part 1)

Some pictures from the trip to Kalona.


Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

The beginning of the trip was a little bit sad. It turns out that one of my favorite restaurants, The Kalona Cupboard, has went out of business. We tried out The Parlor Cafe, but it was not anywhere near as good as The Kalona Cupboard. In fact, they microwaved everything. I mean everything.

If you don’t know, I have a pretty big prejudice against food made in the microwave.

On top of that, the “chef” (who both took your order, microwaved it and put it on your plate) asked me if I was an Iowa State fan.

“Yes.”

“How much did you guys lose by last week?”

Iowa fans. God love them, if there is any room left for how much they already love themselves.

After the disappointment of the Cupboard closing and the poor food from the Microwave Cafe, we at least found Yotty’s Ice Cream Shop. It was excellent.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I thought I would celebrate my Mom’s birthday by posting some pictures of her from the 1970s.


Mom
I think that might be our old milk truck in the background!

Mom
With the best child.

Mom
With the middle child.

Mom
Out at McHose Park.

Mom
Out at the old house on W. 15th Street.

Mom
On King.

Mom
Doing something to a bird.

Mom
On a tractor.

Mom
On W. 15th Street.

Mom
Swanky lawn ornaments, At least I don’t think that is really Quakers.

Mom
Doing Dishes.

Mom
With Grandma Bennett. Perhaps the only known picture in existence of Mom drinking.*

Mom
Christmas with Dad, Carla and Teresa

Mom
With the eldest child.

While I was going through this album I found a picture of our crazy old neighbor lady that wanted to push me down a well. I’ll have to post her picture in the future.

* I also considered: “I’m Teresa – Look at me! I have to force my way into the picture!”

Selected Pictures

This year I took a different route selecting pictures for the Photo Contest. I put together 20 pictures and then had certain people select and name 1 picture from that list. I then entered those pictures.

I liked the way this process worked out. I will do it again in the future, with only a slight tweak here and there.

These are the pictures that were entered:


07-07-08
15 Minutes

This picture was selected by Shannon. The picture was part of my experimentation with light painting. This is an experiment that I need to start back up again. The name comes from the flower being in the spotlight.


Iowa State Fair - 2008
Soaking up the Rays

This picture was selected by Teresa. This picture was taken at the State Fair.


Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Grains and Creases

This picture was selected by Jay. This picture was taken of wooden praying hands outside of a Baptist church in Paducah, Kentucky.


06-10-08
Deity Saturation

This picture was selected by my Mom. This picture was taken north of Boone. I actually named this picture. It comes from the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “Nature is saturated with deity.”


Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2008
“The Last Dragon”

I picked this picture because one person I asked to pick a picture never made a choice. I really can’t remember what I named this picture, but it might have been named after the classic 80s kung fu flick Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon. It is also possible that I named it “Jay LeRoy”. This picture was taken while I was sitting on my back on the sidewalk in front of the basilica in Dyersville. There has been a glow effect thrown onto this picture.


Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2008
The Last Refuge

I also picked this picture because I needed to switch out another picture that didn’t print very well. This picture was originally in color, but I switched it to black and white because I wanted to enter more than 1 black and white picture. The name of this picture comes from the Samuel Johnson quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” This picture was taken at ground zero of the Ames fireworks show. This picture did get 3rd Place in the Black and White division. One more ribbon for the trunk.

I am currently taking application for photo selectors for next year.

State Fair Olla Podrida

A random selection of pictures from my trip to the State Fair with my Mom, Jay and Teresa.


Iowa State Fair - 2008
Ran into Jeff and Yin on the shuttle to the Fair.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
My new favorite hat.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
My favorite State Fair Food. (I firmly believe that “food on a stick” is for tourists.)

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Pioneer Hall

Iowa State Fair - 2008
My favorite State Fair dessert.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
You get to put on your own syrup! As much as you want!

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Super Bull

Iowa State Fair - 2008
2nd Largest Boar

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Goat

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Cow nose.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Mom in Family Center

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Mom in the Family Center

Iowa State Fair - 2008
This is a cake.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Also a cake.

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Family Photo

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Bridge

Iowa State Fair - 2008
Elvis Impersonator

I didn’t take as many pictures as usual, but I did take more flower pictures than normal.