Thursday, October 30, 2008

We Didn't Want That House Anyway!

It is only the most impressive "grandma" home I have ever seen. A place that all of my children, grandchildren, friends and relatives can comfortably fit to visit, even all at the same time. Of course the old wiring would have made it impossible for them to plug in and use their hair dryers because it did not have enough amplicity (or some kind of electrical word and means not enough amps). Flushing the toilet might also be entertaining with the fountains of water splurting out of the old pipes and washing down the walls. In fact we might all be washed away by the rain cascading past the crumbled sheathing that is suppose to support the roofing shingles. The columns in the entry stand like sentinels guarding the dry rot and decay that lurk beneath intricate floorboard patterns created by some long gone craftsman. I loved that house and now I must let it go and get on with my dream of retiring in warm, sunny Florida. It isn't all bad, is it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Love This House

This is the coolest house I have ever seen. It is out in the Ohio hills but in a small community. It was built in 1936 for an executive of a coal mine or a tile making factory (or whatever it is called where they make bricks and pretty tiles for flooring and stuff). The floors in the parlor and living room are hardwood and form a gorgeous pattern. We learned this when the realtor was showing us the house and we were standing in front of the ornate fireplace in the front parlor staring at the stained, smelly and dingy carpet. "Bet that the floor under this is hardwood", I said, conversationally to the realtor, Joe. "I'll just pull this corner up a little so we can see." (Gasping noises as I get my first glimpse of beautifully preserved wooden flooring creating an intriguing pattern on what is just a small area of the floor.) "How about you giving me a hand to pull this back a little farther?" When the carpet is pulled up halfway across the room I let Joe stop tugging and we just stand and stare at the beautiful pattern of squares created by thin strips of wood in almost pristine condition since the ugly carpet served to protect it for umpteen years. I love this house. It is the home that I want to spend my final years in, no matter how long they may last. I don't care if it gets cold in the winter. I love the change of seasons and I'm tired of being hot in Florida. So today we contacted our realtor, Joe, and we are going to make an offer. Whoopee!!! Here we go again. If you want to see my house here is the web address

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Am I My Brother's Keeper?"

What causes 5 lovely young women to sneak out in the middle of the night and go skinny dipping in the scummy water of an abandoned pool? Why would they do such a thing? Yes, there were boys involved, and it was a good thing, or one of our girls would not have made it over the top of the pool fence on which she became stuck. Why would a girl who had approval to go to a conference in Peru risk such a thing? Yes, she lost the privilege of a lifetime experience for an hour of childish behavior, but she knew that it was possible that she would lose her trip before she snuck out. Maybe she did not feel that she was worthy of such a fantastic experience or she was scared of moving out into the darkness. Who knows what teen age girls are thinking? Or if they even do think before they act. It is sad that these little girls do not get to be little girls but their lives are such that they must learn to be responsible for themselves and each other in order to survive. If one of the more responsible girls had refused to go and had told the others not to go then some of them may have stayed home and been safe and not in trouble. The risk of someone being hurt and the home being sued or losing its accreditation and closing down, (which would force all of the children here to find another place to live) that is a real concern but not at 2:30 am when you are 15 or 16 years old and your buddies want you to sneak out with them. Are they their brother's (sister's) keeper? You bet they should be. What will the home say when another sneaky girl wants to travel to Japan next summer? The girls who really want to succeed now will have to accomplish all sorts of good acts all winter in order to regain their special previleges. One of those acts will be to teach themselves and others how to look out for their sisters by saying, "I am not going, you should not be going and don't ask me again because I will not ever go." Then they will truly be their brothers (sister's) keeper.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Yesterday Bill received an excited call from his cousin, Carolyn, in Ohio. Carolyn had taken one of Bill's stabiles to an art gallery in Nelsonville, Ohio to see if they would be interested in selling them. It was an example of his craft that he had given to Carolyn as a gift. The owner of the gallery, Gayla, kept Carolyn's stabile and wanted more. She thinks that they are a hot item for Christmas sales. Bill is ecstatic and has been working every minute to finish several to ship to Ohio tomorrow. Gayla's enthusiasm confirms that Bill creates art worth selling. I always knew of his talents but it is special for him to have an artist appreciate what he sees when he attaches wire, jewels and fishing lures into objects that twist and shine. He is now ready to step out of his little circle of light and into the darkness knowing that there will be a steady glow to guide him. President Monson reiterated today in Conference that we need to go out and live our lives to the fullest by stepping out of the light into the dark. So we shall step.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day By Day

I toil in a children's home with 7 teen age girls and that's how I get through my challenge - day by day. Yesterday 2 of our girls brought up the subject of abused women and how they cope and why they stay in an abusive situation. One girl's mother had been hit by her boyfriend and when this girl's brother hit the man this 16 year old boy was taken to jail because the mother was afraid of what the big man would do if she said that he had hit her. Why do women stay with abusive men? Why does one of our girls have a mother and a grandmother who lived for many many years with an abuse man? I want to help our girls learn from these stories so they don't continue the cycle as they grow up. After disclosing to them that our daughter lived with an abusive man and had 3 children by him they said that they would not want a man to treat them mean. "Ms. Sylvia", they said, "What would you do? I told them that if Mr. Bill ever hit me I would tell him, "you better never go to sleep".
Later, the girls decided to cook steak for dinner. They grilled the steaks, made microwave baked potatoes, a very tasty salad (by a girl who has never created anything that others could eat) and fried onions as a condiment. After a flour fight they deep fried fry bread. The kitchen was really a disaster by then. One of the girls came and stood inside our apartment door and Bill told her, "Stop! Stop right there, you are making white footprints on our carpet". It is amazing what they will do when they are really bored. I love these girls but it is a long 3 weeks and the only way to get it done is day by day.