Delays, delays

I was over at the garage at 5:45 this morning. The tow truck driver that saved my bacon the last time I moved was supposed to arrive at 7:30. I figured that should give me enough time the clean and sweep the garage.

At 7:15, he called to tell me that he had gotten a last minute call and would be delayed.

Not a problem…

Since I was giving my big parts bin to my mechanic, I used the extra time to transfer all of my nuts, bolts and screws into portable containers.

The tow truck arrived at 8:15. Then, because of the angle of the driveway, it took almost 45 minutes to get the T-Bird loaded on his flat-bed.

By the time he had towed and unloaded the car at my mechanics house, pushed it into place and covered it with a tarp, it was 10:00.

…about two hours behind schedule…

A guy at work had helped fabricate some parts and given me some really good advice for my T-Bird and had not asked for anything in return. Because I had said my goodbyes to everyone at work on Thursday, I know that he wasn’t expecting anything. That made it all the more important to me

So I headed over to my employer, quietly stepped into the shop, put $100 in his toolbox, told the guy who works next to him what I was doing and then slipped out the door and  headed back to the apartment to work on renting a U-Haul truck.

As I was sitting at a red light, I absent-mindedly looked around and took in my last view of the scenery and what do you think I saw?

A U-Haul rental place!

“I’d like to rent a 17 foot truck.”

“We don’t have any available right now.”

“Well, are you expecting any to be returned today?”

She asked the older woman in the office…


“Are you able to see if there is one available at another store?”

“Sure, we can do that.”

She checked her computer…

“There is one 17 footer available. It’s about 40 minutes away on the north side of the city.”

“There is only one in the whole city?”

“Right now…yes. The biggest one that we have is 15 feet.”

I decided to go with the 15′ truck. She then gave me an extra day and an extra 100 miles at no charge.

I gave her my card to pay for it.

“It’s being declined.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s being declined. It’s not going through.”

I was in disbelief. I mean we just sold our house so I KNOW that we have PLENTY of money to rent this truck!

“That’s impossible. I’ve got $***** in that account!”

As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought, “That was a dumb thing to say! I just gave her a really good reason to help herself to my account.”

She tried again…”It’s not going through.”

It is amazing how quickly the circumstances can change and make you feel like you have just entered “The Twilight Zone”!

I called my bank…

Fifteen minutes later, I actually talked to a human being.

“I am trying to rent a moving van and the girl behind the counter is saying that my card is being declined. How is that possible since I have plenty of money in the account?”

“Ummm…yes…We put a hold on your account because this purchase is being made in an unusual area.”

“What do you mean an unusual area? I have worked about a mile away from here for the past 5 years!”

“Well, it’s a big purchase.”


“I’m sorry sir. Let me put you on hold because I don’t have the authority to override it.”

Ten minutes later, he came back on…

“Have her try it again.”

She did…

“It still being declined.”

It turned out that the problem was now her computer system.

I kept the bank guy on the line with while she entered the entire transaction in her computer a second time.

She tried again…

“It went through.”

I thanked the bank guy and hung up.

It was now 1:30…and I was about 3 1/2 hours behind schedule.

She then informed me that if I took the truck now, the clock would start today. If I picked it up at 5:00, it would start tomorrow.

Even though it would mean a thirty minute drive to come back to pick the truck up, I decided to take the extra day.

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A great recovery

At 2:30 yesterday afternoon, we closed up the trailer and called ABF for pickup. We ended up using only 15′ of the trailer. And it was packed from floor to ceiling.

We have worked really hard the last two days so we are taking the rest of the afternoon off.

Tomorrow, I will tow the T-Bird to my mechanics place, rent a U-Haul truck and resume packing.


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An inspired idea!

We made a great recovery today.

We got started at 8:00 this morning.

In order to get to the stuff I want I wanted to load on the trailer first, we had to move everything out of the storage unit. We had stuff everywhere…underneath the trailer, on the grass across the driveway, covering the doors to both units on either side of our unit…

very productive day

By 4:30, we had packed 10′ of the trailer from floor to ceiling and things were looking good. But I had to call it quits because I was starting to get a headache from the heat.

When my son finally agreed, we looked around and saw all of the stuff that had to be put  back into the unit!

It took us an hour to shove it all back in.

After we ate dinner, we were sitting and talking in my apartment with that fresh in our memories. We were both in agreement that there was no way that all of that stuff would fit in the trailer’s remaining 16′.

The way I figured it, we were going to be about 3′ short.

It then dawned on me that I was going to have to rent a truck in addition to the trailer.

We went online and started looking at pricing.

A 10′ truck was going to cost $578. A 17′ truck would cost $629.

Then I had a thought, “Wait a minute…Why should I rent a truck for that final 3 feet? I should pack the truck full and save money on the trailer (they charge by the foot).”

We then figured that a 17′ U-Haul truck should hold about 10 feet worth of space on the trailer. 10′ of trailer space at $92/foot…the difference should more than cover the gas to get there.

I am so smart!…

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ABF drops the ball

Well, my move to Colorado is not off to a very good start!

The day started off well. I was up at 5:30 to resume packing up stuff in my apartment.

At 8:30, I headed to the KCI airport to pick my son up. He had decided to take a week’s vacation to help me move! We dropped his luggage off at my apartment, ate a quick breakfast and headed over to my mechanic’s shop. He had agreed to lend me his pickup truck for the weekend.

When we got there, he was unloading it so we hopped out to help him. 20 minutes later, I got into the truck and realized that I had left my phone in my car. No big, right…


I picked it up and saw that I had missed a call. The ABF driver had called and left a message telling me that he was already at the storage facility ready to drop off the trailer!

What??? No warning call to let me know that he was on the way! Even if I had answered the call, I was still 20 minutes away.


I called the number back. It was the driver’s personal cell phone…

No answer…

I left a message and headed straight for the storage facility. By the time we got there, he was gone.

But, he had told the facility manager that he was going to get a bite to eat and be right back…

OK. That’s fine. That’s why I like this company.

An hour later, we were still waiting.

How long does it take to “get a bite to eat”?

I called ABF. I was connected to dispatch. When I asked  where the trailer was, I was told, “I told him to bring the trailer back.”

You guessed it…I argued, but to no avail. In fact, he even threatened that they could charge me an extra fee! 

He said they would deliver the trailer between 1:00-5:00 P.M.

“Are you going to call me when the truck is on the way this time or am I supposed to sit at the facility all afternoon waiting?”

“We’ll call you. But if you don’t answer, we’re going to turn around and come back.”

At 4:15, I started to get nervous. I checked my phone…No, I had not missed another call.

I called the ABF dispatch…

“It’s going to be between 5:00-5:30.”

We arrived at the storage facility at 4:55. There was no way I was going to let this greased pig escape again.

At 5:35, I called the ABF dispatch…

“I called at 4:15 and was told  5:00-5:30. I have been at the facility since 4:55 and the truck isn’t here.”

Now it was going to be 6:30.

We went and got a “quick bite to eat.”

At 6:15, I still had not received a call…

Now it was going to be 7:30!

We headed back to the storage facility at 7:15.

At 7:35, I called the ABF dispatch…

It was a new guy. I let him have it. He apologized profusely and told me that the truck was in fact on the way.

It arrived at 8:05.

At 8:15 P.M., we headed home having loaded exactly nothing!

Not quite the way that I had planned it!

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How to find a great realtor

As a public service, I thought it would be good to share with you the steps that I took to find a good realtor.

Step 1: Lose weight

My wife has been in California since last August taking care of her parents. That means that I have had to fend for myself in the kitchen. Since I still have all of my own responsibilities, and I now have to do my own laundry and all of the housework, I have had to apply Lean Manufacturing principles in the kitchen. That means that I am eating just the basics.

Breakfast consists of eggs in one form or another or my proprietary greek yoghurt concoction. Lunch is either a ham and cheese sandwich, a tuna sandwich or leftovers. For dinner I rotate between homemade chili (using Carroll Shelby’s ingredients!), a loaded baked potato (with steamed broccoli covered in chili), sirloin burgers, beef and bean burritos or Costco’s rotisserie chicken and pre-packaged salads.

The unintended consequence of this is that I have lost a decent amount of fat around my mid-section. I am actually starting to see the first signs that I actually have abdominal muscles!

Step 2:  Buy new underwear

For quite some time now, I had been growing increasingly frustrated with my old underwear. They were no longer doing a very good job of keeping everything in its proper place. But, like any red blooded male, I continued to stick with them.

But, my recent fat loss, gave me a whole new perspective on this ongoing problem…

Since I need new underwear anyway…and my wife had been telling me to get new ones…I think I can now fit into a medium size! Ummm…just so no one misunderstands, I’m referring to the waist!

Needless to say, I was excited when I headed off to the store. I mean how often does a middle aged man buy smaller size pants? I was no longer just “thinking outside of the box”. I was ready to actually jump out of it!

Once I got to the store, I thought, “Wow! Things have surely changed since the last time that I bought…”

Boxers (which I never understood), briefs, boxer/briefs (mid-thigh & knee length), thongs, etc.

After looking in several stores, I had begun to settle on the mid-thigh boxer/brief style. My final stop was the local Target store. As I was analyzing their various offerings, a guy from church literally bumped into me. We began talking. When I told him that I was ready to put my house up for sale, he encouraged me to talk to his realtor. She had just helped him sell two rental homes and “was a real go-getter.”

Step 3:  Put two and two together

About a week later, my brother called. He has been in the mortgage business for quite awhile. I told him that we were getting ready to put our house up for sale.

“Lord (he used my real name instead), you’ve got to get a good realtor. It makes all of the difference.”

I really didn’t want to hear this because I was already less than thrilled with the realtor I was talking with. She was our realtor when we bought the house. But when I told her what we wanted to net out of the sale, she basically told us that we were dreaming. She would reluctantly be willing to list the house at the price! Nothing impressed her…the hardwood floors, the built-in bookcases, the insulated attic over the master bedroom… When I told her how energy efficient the home was, she said that no one really cares about that!

“You need someone who will really work. You need a real go-getter.”


wait a minute…

I’ve heard that before…

the guy from church…

in the underwear department at Target.…

That Sunday after church, he gave me her number. I called and scheduled an appointment.

Well, Bunch and I met with her today. When she walked in, she was completely taken with the house. She seemed to genuinely appreciate every improvement that we had made and wrote it all down. She was especially impressed by the steps I had taken to make it more energy efficient!

“You know, people are really looking for that.”

I told her what we hoped to net out of the sale.

“That shouldn’t be a problem.”

She then suggested that we list the house higher than we were originally thinking and 8% higher than the price that our realtor would reluctantly list it for!

Where do I sign?

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7 years ago today…

On September 10th, 2006, my wife and I decided to get our Northridge, CA house ready to sell and move to Kansas City.

On Sunday night, August 12th, 2007, I loaded up our Ford F-150 SuperCrew and headed for Kansas with my wife and our two youngest children. We arrived on Tuesday evening.

In the next three days, I found them a place to live, bought furniture, enrolled the children in two different schools and got my son signed up for the football team.

On Saturday, I flew back to Los Angeles because I had to finish getting our house ready to sell while our oldest daughter finished her last semester as an undergrad at California State University at Northridge.

On December 21st, 2007, she and I packed up her stuff, loaded her Nissan Maxima and once again I headed off to Kansas City so that she could spend one last month with her mother and siblings before moving to Texas to enter the Executive Development Program at Neiman-Marcus.

I flew back to Los Angeles on Christmas Day, 2007,

…and found myself all alone.

Now I had been contemplating writing a blog since the late 90’s. I thought that it would be a great way to record and preserve our family’s history and that other families might benefit from reading our stories. But with a wife, four children, a very extensive D-I-Y remodel of our house and a very demanding job, who had time to write?

But now I didn’t have a wife to argue, er, I mean talk with…

and all of the children were gone…

and the house was finished and regularly being shown to prospective buyers…


I still had a very demanding job…

And now I had to do all of the cooking, cleaning and laundry!

…And I had to finally start getting my body back in shape!

On Friday, January 18th, 2008, less than a month later, all of that changed when, for the first time in my life, I was laid off from my job.

After working very hard for the previous 11 years, I suddenly had some free time on my hands. And since I wasn’t quite mentally prepared to update my resume and begin looking for a new job, I decided that I should probably just dive in and start writing about the event.

So I did…on this blog!

Seven years ago today I started this blog!

As I write this I am struck by how similar my circumstances are.

My wife and I took a very brief trip to California to see her parents over the July 4th weekend. By the end of the next week, their situation had changed dramatically enough that it became very obvious that they needed care. So my wife quit her nursing job and, of all days, on August 12th, 2014 moved back to California to take care of her aging parents.

On the same day our youngest child moved out of our home to embark on her career as a manager for the Bonefish Grill. She now lives in Texas with her oldest sister who still work for Neiman-Marcus.

And once again, I am lagging behind getting our house ready for sale.

The more things change…

Does this mean that God has another surprise in store for me? Does it mean that I will resume writing on this blog?

At this time, only He knows…

and He’s not telling.

So stay tuned…

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A birthday letter to my firstborn

Dear Bean,

When I awoke this morning and remembered that today was your birthday, scenes from the past floated across the screen of my mind. Although it lasted just a few minutes, what I saw this morning has dramatically changed my perspective on our lives.

 I believe that your mother and I learned of your conception on Sunday afternoon, June 1, 1986. I conclude that because I recorded the event in my “Family History-1986” file under the month of June.

I deduce that exact date because I have an entry in my prayer records on June 2nd where the Lord promised, “I will teach you to be a father.” That would not have meant much to me unless I had recently learned that I was going to become one!

While I usually have to take a moment to remember what I did last weekend, I remember the moment that we learned of your existence quite well.

It was around 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon. Mom, being now several weeks past her normal cycle, stepped into the small master bath to take her first pregnancy test.

I was laying on our brass bed in the master bedroom at our house in Mar Vista, CA wearing straight legged blue jeans, a red short-sleeved pullover shirt with a white collar, a brown belt and my favorite brown shoes.

When she said, “It ‘s positive…I’m pregnant,” it felt like a bomb exploded above me, releasing an avalanche of responsibility down on me.

In an instant, everything changed.

My mind raced…

“…She’s not going to be able to work!

“…That means that I have to graduate quickly!

“…But how am I going to do that? I still have 60 more credit hours to complete!”

“…This wasn’t supposed to happen!…at least not this soon!”

Just a few months earlier in January on a nationwide satellite prayer meeting, the leader of our international ministry had forcefully encouraged all of the new young couples who were called to the ministry to wait at least two years before having children!

I didn’t want to call our pastor because, like many other young couples in our church at that time, we had decided to use natural family planning as our method of birth control. However, unlike the other couples, my wife was already pregnant before our third month anniversary!

I suppose that is what I get for expecting your mother to follow directions…

And lastly, I knew that neither of our parents would be thrilled with the news because I had just gone back to UCLA after a 2 1/2 year break and was within a week of completing my first quarter!

I knew of nowhere else to go so I turned to the Scriptures:

Psa 127:3 Behold, children are an heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is his reward.

I was overwhelmed…

 “That has to be true…

“God cannot lie…

“Children are a blessing…

“That has to be true!…

“Children are a blessing…”

And so I spent the rest of the evening confessing the Word hoping that some small bit of faith would enter my heart while your mother and I went and played tennis for the very first time.

Looking back now after this morning, it is easy to see that it truly was the goodness of God to give you to us so early in our marriage.

First, God used your arrival to speed my life up…

I immediately decided to attend both sessions of summer school. I went from being a 26 1/2 year old student with 5 quarters of school remaining to completing those 60 units and graduating in one year!

For the next six months, I continued working my 24 hour per week part-time job.

Then, despite the heavy academic load and work schedule, I became fruitful enough in campus ministry that the ministry’s international leader (the same one on the satellite broadcast back in January) told our pastor that I should quit my part-time job, raise financial support and become the director of UCLA’s campus ministry.

We did so well at raising support that I became the West Coast Regional Director for our ministry’s Partnership Development program. In fact, I had to fly back from helping teach at a national training event in Texas and drive directly to campus in order to attend my graduation ceremony!

Second, I have come to believe that God sent you and your brother and sisters to save our marriage.

Although your mother and I were both highly regarded followers of Christ, neither one of us were ready to be a husband or a wife. Our forays into sin had left both of our souls wounded, gnarled and twisted.

God, in His wisdom, saw that and mercifully sent you to us to occupy us with the new responsibility of being parents.

At that time in our life, those roles fit us better. I was better at being a father than a husband and she was better at being a mother than a wife.

Those years bought your mother and I enough time to heal and mature sufficiently so that we could prosper as husband and wife.

He was also merciful in giving us an easy first child…

I don’t mean that in the way you might think. I mean that we didn’t need very much discernment with you. It was easy for us to tell when you were ‘being bad’ and how we should handle it. God used you to gently start developing our philosophy of parenting and family.

Although we will likely never know with certainty, it is quite possible that you were conceived on your mother’s birthday.

I don’t say that because of any vivid memories of that evening!

I say that because, if my math is correct, you were born 289 days or 41+ weeks later and both Mom and I vaguely recall that you were a little late.

Also, now that I understand how “natural family planning” was supposed to work, I would bet good money that our charts would verify that your mother was a very fertile field right around that time!

And lastly, your mother took the pregnancy test about 7-8 weeks after her previous cycle.

If it is true, you were God’s birthday present to her that year. I had the pleasant task of being the delivery man!

I have told you many times that you were an ideal firstborn child for us. Tonight I tell you that you were a well-timed child and I am so glad that God interrupted our plans and sent you and your brother and sisters when He did.

Happy Birthday!



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Ambushed by my mother-in-law!

One of the signs that you are starting to get a little “long in the tooth” is that you and your friends spend a great deal of time conversing about your various ailments.

I hope this post is not a sign of things to come, but…

I am 54 years old…and had my first colonoscopy this morning.

For my younger readers who might not know what that is, how shall I say this…It’s a video tour of your colon.

No, I am not kidding. My doctor gave me pictures to take home!

No, I will not post them!!!

If you are thinking, “But isn’t there…like…umm…you know…’stuff’ in there?”

No, there isn’t. They take care of that the night before. You know how Hollywood celebrities go on a radical diet before shooting a movie? Well, it’s kind of like that. The doctor prescribes this liquid, you drink it and then spend pretty much the whole night on the toilet getting ready for your time ‘before the camera’.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired when I got home this morning. In fact, I was too tired to want to do much of anything…no Internet, no serious reading…

As I laid down in bed, I saw a book that my mother-in-law had given us about 10 years ago called The Maker’s Diet. The only reason that I picked it up at all was so that I could read a few pages just to make sure that I did not want to read it. Then I could put it in the Goodwill/For Sale box with a clean conscience. (I really like books!)

The first chapter tells the author’s incredible battle against various mysterious ailments and all of the “natural”, “homeopathic” and “alternative” health remedies that he tried. Many of them I had heard of but there were quite a few that even my open and curious mind had never heard of. I was hooked…and I am glad about it! Sixty pages later, I finally put it down so I could go to sleep!

And talk about great timing…

In the days leading up to the colonoscopy, I had been thinking that if my intestine was going to be completely cleaned out, I should probably take some steps to rebuild my intestinal flora.

In fact, the first thing I did when we got home this morning was drink my first bottle of Lifeway kefir and take my first probiotic pill.

Guess what chapter three was about?

You guessed it…the importance of intestinal flora! I am so glad I picked this book up at this time! Stay tuned…

Oh, I almost forgot, the doc gave me a clean bill of health. No sign of cancer!

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Impacted by a young woman’s life

ML’s  party

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Playing bumper cars with a deer

As I was getting ready to go workout after work, I received this text from my son: “Well, I decided to play bumper cars with a deer.” I called him and heard the following…’I was peacefully driving down a highway when this deer came out of nowhere, ran down a steep embankment, crashed into my car, tumbled 2-3 times, got up and ran right back to where he had come from!” The front right fender was dented badly enough that it was rubbing against the tire. As he began to straighten it, he said, “This wasn’t what I planned to do tonight.” He groaned, “I don’t have time for this!”
That is exactly why I drive the exactly why I drive

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