Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's that time of year when we turn the corner and begin a sprint towards summer.  Kids all seem to cram two months of activities into three weeks: soccer, baseball, choir (Maggie trip to NYC), tennis, prom, and school.  Whew.
The brood in none to happy about the stress and pressure (above).  
Things at the Shop continue to go well.  We purchased some equipment from an defunct bakery in the Quad Cities.  So Crazy Pete (above) and I went down to load it into a U-haul and bring it back.  Small problem arose when we discovered that our new 50# Hobart Mixer weighed close to 800 lbs and there was no way we'd be able to get it into the Truck.  Thank goodness for neighboring HyVee and their skiff loader.  Getting the darn thing unloaded at the shop was another adventure.

Meanwhile, travels continue to take me hither and yon.  One moment in Decorah, the next in Des Moines.  Looking ahead to Shenandoah. 

On the home front, we need more duct tape!  Hot water heater blew.... and by blew, I mean spewing water out the top like Old Faithful.  Quite the mess.  Carpet will need to be replaced before serious mold settles in. 

Three days after that... toilet on the second floor (installed by my brother-in-law) sprung a nice little leak.  Water reached the first floor, before the lead was stemmed.  So, I installed a new "throne".   Carpet may also need to be replaced, ceiling on first floor will need some paint.

The lawn mower starts but something is wrong with the choke. It's idling at a very slow rate which causes it to stall once it hits a blade of grass.  That's my next project.

And the Van finally gets a new headlamp about a month after the collision with a deer.   It's always something.  Somehow, the thought of moving back into a dorm is getting more and more attractive.

And so it goes....

Monday, April 09, 2012

Shanghai in the evening!  Back from A trip to China and the adventures were many.  The Des Moines Executive MBA students started in Shanghai to include some corporate visits and cultural activities.  From there we flew to Beijing, but were a bit stymied by the "Tomb Sweeping Holiday".   We still managed to get some cultural activities squeezed in.

Some of the highlights included the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.  The Great Wall, much like the Grand Canyon in the United States, is something that a person really needs to see in person to appreciate the magnitude and majesty of it all.  Quite amazing.  One student was a late addition, another had a kidney stone that prevented him from flying to Beijing.  We also had our bus get stuck on a village road, so we borrowed shovels from area peasants and dug piles of sand out of the way to make room for our safe passage.  This will be a story the peasants will tell for years.

Easter welcomed HRB (father-in-law) the Beck Clan, and Uncle Brinz. Even Marpy made a guest appearance.  Chaos rules the day.  

Still no news on Monty.  We are down to two leads.  After that... we'll move on with a lump in our throats and sadness in our hearts.

Soccer goes well for Ike.  He's finally feeling comfortable playing with the older kids.   Ellie is undefeated in Tennis.  Maggie is undefeated in soccer.  And Addy is simply undefeated.

Mamacita runs the shop with an iron fist, and is busy preparing for our first Advisory Board meeting, and the rest of our days are a struggle to fight through the wet paper bag we call life.  And so it goes....