Tag Archives: Jon

Ya’ Know How A Plumber’s Toilet Never Flushes?

My husband isn’t the programming kinda’ computer geek, but works in the industry.

People that know my husband associate him with computers.

People that know me, know I can’t live without a computer. We make a good couple.

computer 011

So aren’t you surprised to find a computer like this in our home? I’m not talking about the dirty screen, look down.  At the keyboard.  See?

It was one of those Slick Willy Salesmen kinda’ deals.The hubbster bought me a brand new computer for school several years ago.

The enthusiastic salesman bragged about their warranty. ”Yeah, anything happens to this, and we’ll give you another one. You can drop it or the kids can spill milk on it, and we’ll give you another one.”  He was just revving up his motor mouth.  “Yea, you could walk out into that parking lot right now, drop it in a mud puddle, drive over it with your minivan, and we’ll give you another one.”

SOLD! To the mother of six who weekly has precious items altered, broken or “borrowed.” Like a sage, he predicted the future of my spankin’ new computer, and promised protection. That warranty was my armor.  Nothing could touch me now.

I began filling up my Jiggabites, or whatever they’re called, with my grade program, my assignment sheets, and all my homeschool business. The hubbster imported all the data crucuial to running my world from the desktop. I was golden.

After a few weeks, the #5 popped off.

Just like that. Decided it didn’t like his new home and ran away with a spoon,
or single sox.  Not sure.

I’m a sport.  I can live without #5.  If the pioneers could live in dirt houses, I could live without 5.

Then the D took a dive.

Now, I do type nearly 100mph, I mean wpm, thanks to Mr. Short my Typing I teacher, but even my smokin’ speed on the keyboard shouldn’t have burned off those little keys.

When the space bar started freaking out on me I was done with my martyrdom. I drove my mini-van back to the computer store.

I found the nearest salesman and waved my keyboard in front of his face. ”I want my new computer. Look, not even a month old and the keys are popping off. My kids didn’t even have anything to do with this. Nobody dropped it or used it for a skateboard ramp.Those keys just fell off.”

“OK. We can send that in for you today to get fixed.”

“Send it in?  No.  I want my new computer today.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” he explained. “These are minor problems.  They don’t justify a whole new computer.”

“But the guy who sold this to me said if anything happens I get a whole new computer,”  I explained.

I could tell he was getting a little uncomfortable. “Well, he…ummm…ummmm… he didn’t mean it that way.  You must have misunderstood.”

“No,” I forced myself to smile at the kid who didn’t know how to correctly tie a tie,  “he promised me a new computer no matter what.  He said I could even drive over it in the parking lot and you would give me a new computer.”

I recognized the conscience squirm. He recognized his mother in me.

“I’m sorry, but he was wrong, we have to send your computer away,” he explained.

”Can’t you fix it in the store?” I asked.

“No. We don’t have technicians in the store, we send all our repairs out.”

“How long will this take?” I asked while mentally calculating how this would set back my school calendar.

“Oh, about a month.”

“A MONTH?  You want my computer for a whole month? I can’t live without it for a month!  I homeschool and all my assignments and grades are in here. Can’t you find someone to fix it locally?”


Desperate times make for desperate mothers. “Can I take it out in the parking lot and drive over it with my mini-van, bring it back to you and get a new one?”

“No,” he said.  “That kinda’ wouldn’t be right.”

“But, the guy said!”  I was doing the conscience squirm and he was staring at me like he was my mother. “It was his idea in the first place.”

He just stood there, eyes shifting around the store, looking for reinforcement.

“So you won’t give me a new computer even though my salesman promised one for anything that went wrong,” I repeated. 


“And if you send it away it will take a month?”


I walked out.

The hubbster, being the nice guy that he is, bought me a different computer from a different store.  We had wanted one for the kids,  so we figured they could live without the 5 and the D and with a jiggly space bar. 

Then, we kinda’ forgot about it.

computer 013

The thing is built like a tank, weighs enough to use for a weapon, and gave us absolutely no other problems.  The guts are great, so we keep using it for games, email and watching YouTube videos.

The other day  Boy Wonder, our 16 year old college freshman said, “Dad, did you know you could just order a new keyboard?”

“Oh?”  I could see the wheels churning.  Hubby was trying to remember why we needed a keyboard.

“For our kids’ computer,” Boy Wonder explained.  “I can just order a new keyboard.”

Hubbster and I exchanged “OH, DUH” looks and told him to order away. Why did it take so long to figure this out?

The computer-Geek hubbster and I are in  good company, with our policy of using broken things.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

The Lord accepts brokenness as a sacrifice we lay on His altar, and allow Him to alter. Then He uses brokenness to display His glory through healing.

“Somehow You use broken things”

When tender hearts hold broken dreams,
Somehow You use broken things,
To teach those tender hearts to sing,
Of everlasting love.
When all around is cold & gray,
The ice soon melts, the gray soon fades,
Your Spirit takes them all away,
In everlasting love.
I can’t repay your love,
That’s understood.
I’ll try each day, my Lord,
To do all I know I should.
When days are filled with trials and tests,
You turn those troubled times to rest,
Through it all my life is blessed,
With everlasting love.

What do you have that is broken? 

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

I know how to get it fixed.

What Do YOU Hang On Your Christmas Tree?

A Christmas tree has many cherished functions during the holiday season.

The lights add a shimmering glow to the room,
matching the expectation of the celebration ahead.
Presents chosen with love
are nestled beneath the pine scented boughs.
Ornaments rich with memories hang from the branches,
marking Christmases past, but leaving room for future memories.

The scent, the sights, the feel of a Christmas tree are deeply
etched into our hearts and minds.

My kids added one more cherished function for our Christmas tree.

They simply continue to amaze me.

Remind me not to ask the kids to
"quickly pick up the living room"
during the season of the tree.

Remind me not to ask when I’m not in the room and don’t specify
to pick up the living room.

Christmas Decorating 047

My Amazing Grace decided each branch worked like a shelf.

They picked up the living room very quickly.

I walked in, rolled my eyes,
grunted in a motherly fashion,
and demanded someone take a picture
while I went down to do yet another load of laundry.

Not sure what happened when I was in the basement,

Christmas Decorating 050

but the pictures on the camera
told a story their lips didn’t.

Christmas Decorating 051

But, it musta’ been funny.

See what a Mom misses when she’s always working?

Many years ago, some dear friends of ours shared their
convictions on why they don’t have a Christmas tree.

It was a pleasant conversation,
but all I remember is something about
German soldiers hanging guts on a tree.

Maybe I wasn’t listening very well.

We made our decision to have a tree
based on American  tradition,
not our faith.

We understand the tree really doesn’t have anything to do
with the Lord Jesus.

But we found a way to let our
love for the American traditions
and our love for the Lord Jesus
live together in our home.

Our dear friends don’t know what they’re missing.

Not only are they missing that wonderful pine scent,
their kids can’t clean up the living room in less than 5 minutes.


(Reblogged from Christmas 2011.  The kids haven’t done anything exciting this year.)

Building the Redneck Grill

My hubby and I are a little bit Redneck,  a little bit City Slicker.

We grew up in the Midwest,
and always pictured owning a farmstead.
Ya’ know, have a garden, the pig, chicken and cow, kinda’ life.

The Lord has a sense of humor,
and moved us to a big city in the Pacific Northwest.

So, I coined the term City-Slicking Redneck.
We’re trying to embrace the best of both worlds in our life.

In our city life, our second story deck overlooks
the yards of four neighbors.

Some have kids, some don’t. Nobody has as many kids as we do.

I can’t say I would want to live next to a family with six kids,
so it’s a challenge for us to dwell together in unity in cramped spaces.
(OK, two have moved out, but we’re still noisy!)

august 2012 096

I wanted to create a place on the ground level where we could hang as a family,
but not be on stage for the neighborhood.

We needed to relax and stare at a fire for hours.

We’re kinda’ loud. I needed to muffle the noise, too.

Plus, this is kinda’ ugly, doncha’ think?

I’d been dreaming for awhile,
inspired by Donna of Funky Junk Interiors.

She’s amazing.

Read her blog, and she’ll have ya’ wanting to pick garbage out of
your neighbors’ dumpsters.

Labor Day Weekend 003

Or just ask your neighbors for their garbage.

I stopped at a garage sale, and a neighbor had about six
fence panels propped up against his house.
He was going to burn them for firewood.


I offered to buy them.
He offered to give them to me.
We had to rent a pick-up from U-Haul,
because, ya’ know, city slickers don’t usually drive pick-ups.
They sell them for something that gets good mileage
and is comfortable for the long commute.

My husband misses owning a pick-up.
I miss owning a pick-up.
My teenage son, who is learning to drive, would love to drive a pick-up.

It  was absolutely humiliating to drive one
with an orange logo, but at least I got my coveted gray wood.

august 2012 102

That same teenage son, Jon, helped me build my dream place.
He’s so nice, I’m thinking of keeping him.

august 2012 100

My grandson, Brayden, is learning to use a hammer,
so he can help me with projects some day, too.

I’d like to keep him, but his mommy wouldn’t like that.

Labor Day Weekend 007


Doesn’t that just hold such promise?
It’s a blank slate,
waiting to be decorated with stuff that’s


Labor Day Weekend 010

I hung up roasting sticks on a red rake head I’ve saved through three moves.
(The hubbster has finally stopped asking that silly question,
”Why do we need this?”
It took awhile, but he finally gets it.)

Blogging Pics 082

I moved in the fire pit and the lawn chairs.
Throw in one grilling Redneck and you have
The Redneck Grill
open for business.

We cooked many a meal,
ate too many S’mores,
shared many laughs.

Our summer ended with a burn ban because of dryness,
which was followed by the onset of the rainy season.


I’m anxious to get out and finish creating
our backyard retreat,
our haven of rest,
the place we step back from the City Slicking life
and relax with our Redneck roots.

The Queen of Peekless Packages

When it comes to wrapping presents  I have to boast.
I am Queen of Peekless Packages
I wrap so my kids can’t guess what is inside by shaking, unwrapping, smelling or feeling.
Unfortunately, that’s because when I was a young girl,
I was the Princess of Peeking. 
One year, I totally ruined Christmas for myself because I had  peeked into each package.

I begin my plot in the Fall, saving boxes for wrapping.
By mid-December, I had two cupboards in the garage filled with boxes.
I save all sizes, so that every item is in a box.
Things like CD’s, books and clothing are too easily identified if you wrap them as they are.
One little fingernail slice through the paper, and you know exactly what you’re getting.

Then, I implement my best trickster techniques. 
If it’s something noisy, like Legos, I actually open the cellophane packages
and put the legos in ziploc bags, adding something to muffle the noise.

If it is something quiet, like a sweater, I may add marbles or legos
to the box to give more appeal when the kids are shaking the box.

I rub the tape with my fingernails until it is so securely attached to the paper,
it cannot peal off without tearing the paper.

If the wrapping paper is see through, I wrap the package first in newspaper.

Some years, I develope a coded and put a number or a symbol on the packages instead of their names.
A few years, I just didn’t put any names on the biggest gifts.
This backfired on me last year when I forgot what was in a few of the  packages and who they were for.
My hubby and I had to conference in the kitchen to ensure we correctly distributed the gifts.
This year I tagged ALL the presents with names.

If it is a very large present, I may hide it in the attic and
wrap a note telling where to find the present in a very tiny box.
If it is a tiny present, I may wrap it in a big box.
I love the suspense, knowing I have really fooled my kids and kept their gifts a surprise.

When I was bragging about this  a few years ago, my oldest, Jana admitted to me,
“Mom, we don’t peek –  we don’t even want to peek.”

“You don’t?  Why not?”

“It ruins the surprise of Christmas.”


I asked the other kids if they ever peeked at their presents.

They have shook them until the cows come home.
They have held them up to the light to see through the cheap wrapping paper I buy.
They have squished and poked and prodded and smelled.
But, they never have peeked.

Jon confessed to opening the package enough to see the back of the box was red.

Bethany admitted she shook a package until she was convinced she was getting a fossil for Christmas.
She doesn’t remember what the gift was, just the surprise that it wasn’t a fossil.
She did admit to peeking at her siblings’ presents.

But, nobody has peeked at their own presents,
or so they claim.
(I’ve heard from older parents, sometimes it takes decades for the truth to come out.)

Nobody has opened a package and rewrapped it, like I did.

Nobody opened just one end of the package to see what was inside, like I did.

Nobody has “accidentally” poked a hole in a package to peek through, like I did.

Nobody has peeked in closets, under beds, and in all hiding places to peek at the presents before they were wrapped, like I did.

I am the best wrapper, because I was the worst peeker.

Since kids always love to do the opposite of what their parents do, then it is still useful for me to be the
Queen of Peekless Packages,
because all my grandkids will probably be peekers.

So….were you naughty and or nice?
Did you peek?
Anybody have any Anti-Peek-Techniques that I missed?

Shooting Elk out of Season

We were enjoying a beautiful, scenic drive down Crystal mountain when we spotted an adventure prancing on the side of the road. Being law-abiding citizens, we would never poach, however, we couldn’t resist the temptation, when we drove by this herd of elk,


to shoot out of season – with my camera, of course.

My husband was just amazed. He spent five days during elk hunting season hiking the hills an hour away and only saw four elk. We were giddy with excitement to quietly walk among these creatures, being a part of their world for about an hour.
The elk were so tame we could walk up and ask them to “say cheese!”

So, what do you do when you see a herd of elk? You pose with them.

Other people may have cherished family photos of their children with Mickey and Minny at Disney World, we have Erma the Elk. She was one of our favorites as she daintily crossed the bridge, like a Billy Goat Gruff.

You also see how close you can get to them without spooking them.

Jon wanted to get closer, but we were spooked. We wanted to respect their space and their instinct. After all, they are still wild animals.

But, then again, that’s what people say about my kids.

You can also call them. Can’t you hear Beka coaxing, “Here, Elk! Here Elk!”

Oh, nice profile. This was an amazing moment.

I wonder what this gal told the rest of the herd about us.

It got even more amazing.

Scott knew that elk are curious animals – he wanted to see just how curious. This is how curious. His fingers and our window got totally slobbered on while this elk tried to figure out what this green thing was. Don’t worry, no elk were harmed in the shooting of this picture. And, we still have the cap safely in the Jeep.

Nice garland of greenery. This must be the Christmas look.

Smug little booger.
I am convinced that not only can they read signs, they can read a calendar.
They KNOW it is not hunting season.

A neighbor playing Doctor Doolittle with the elk.

It was a few touchy-feely moments as she let the elk lick her hand.
She was probably elated. We were a little nervous.

When this woman reached up to pat the elk on the head, she got a light head butt. She tried to contact the animal one more time and it raised its left front paw at her. I don’t think she was reading the signals right, and we were thankful when she finally walked away. We weren’t sure what we would be able to do to help her if the elk attacked.

We always enjoy the Lord’s creation, but this was a special experience for us. Elk are magnificent creatures, I know that is cliche, but they are indescribable.
We enjoyed seeing them in a wilderness surrounding-
hearing them, watching them and walking among them at such a close range.

Elk aren’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, but in Psalm 50:10 it says,
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”
The Lord goes on to tell us that he owns everything and he doesn’t need or ask anything from us except
v. 14 to offer Him thanksgiving
v. 15 to call on Him in times of troubles
v. 23 to offer praise to glorify Him
v. 23 to show the salvation of God.

All around us, in creation, we see the handiwork of God. We are cautioned in Romans chapter 1 to worship the CREATOR, instead of only His Creation.

These majestically created animals are only a reminder of the Majesty of the Creator.

We Just Wanted To Go to McDonalds!

It was just an improptu trip to McDonalds with two buddies who wanted to eat some greasy fries and shoot some hoops in the new playland. It was our last day of Christmas vacation – yes CHRISTmas vacation, not Winter Break – and they wanted to celebrate a little. They even dressed in their basketball shorts to make a more memorable occasion.
Nice timing, boys!

Nice face!
I think he wants to be the new spokesperson for Jack in the Box.

Rare footage of the ball actually sticking in the net.
I wonder if the newspapers are interested in this photo?

We step outside to winter – again!
In one and a half hours, the ground,
foliage and cars were all covered with snow.

They’re too proud to admit their skinny, chicken legs are freezing.
So much for wearing shorts for a memorable experience!
I think they both had goose bumps – or would that be chicken bumps? – on their legs.

McDonalds may want this pic for next year’s calendar.

The yard was GREEN when we left for McDonalds.
Since we, midwest natives, left all our snow shovels on the curb when we left Minnesota five years ago, Scott is trying to sweep the snow off the stairs with a dollar-store broom with only half a handle. Apparently, it wasn’t too sturdy of a sword during one of summer’s battles. 

Home, Snowy, Home.

Since it is all white again, do we get to celebrate Christmas again?