Update After My Hiatus

I’ve been on a hiatus and think I should give an update on life.  With nothing really going on I just haven’t found anything to write about.   Of course things have happened, but they all seem so small and insignificant at the time that they don’t seem worth mentioning.  It is only in the accumulation of seemingly insignificant changes that the scope of the change becomes apparent.


Things aren’t moving as quickly as I’d like, but they are moving about as quickly as they could possibly move.  We finished the wiring/plumbing/etc last week; HVAC was installed last week, and the sheetrock was hung this week.  The sheetrock mudders will be in on Monday.   By the end of the week we should be able to paint.

While the sheetrock was going up this week we were working on the deck that is going out the south side of the great room (going to have to stop calling it that because now it is a collection of small rooms that are no greater than any other rooms).   We have the supports up and joists up.  We don’t have any decking or railing on yet.  That might happen this week while the mudders have us out of the place again this week.

As soon as we can get back in we will paint just as quickly as possible and then get to finishing the bathroom and working on flooring.

I will try to get some video edited of what the space looks like out to you soon!


We have accepted (grudgingly) that we won’t be moving back to MO anytime soon.  This is sad.  We don’t want to lose the property though just in case we ever do find a way to get back there.

Even though we are way under water on the mortgage for a house that no longer exists, we have still been making the payments.   I’ve tried reaching the bank to see if we can work something out but they refuse to speak to me.  If nothing else I’d like to get approval to lower my payments since there is no insurance on the property (why would there be?) and the taxes are going to be MUCH lower now with no home.

We have sold our cattle.  They have been at a neighbors house since the fire and he took care of them over the winter.  I had him haul them to auction this week and should get a check for them soon.  That will help out a lot of things!

We haven’t decided how/when we are going to collect the rest of our things.  I think it is feasible to have everything loaded into my storage unit and then ship the entire thing here to Utah, but I don’t have a good way of getting it all loaded.  I could ask friends/neighbors to do it for me, but that seems like a big ask.   Maybe my Dad goes back and does it with help.  May I have to do it?  Still undecided.


Everyone is fine.  Caitlin (15) and Joshua (13) had birthdays.  Everyone is healthy and enjoying the summer.  They’d like to not be working at my parents so much, but it hasn’t been bad.  With frequent (near daily) trips to the pool or the new splash pad in Bluffdale they are all getting out a lot.  They’ve done some hiking and sports too.

I think everyone is apprehensive about the move.  We know my parents place won’t be done.  We only have 2 weeks from today, so I don’t even know what state of cleanliness it will be in.   But school is starting, so we will move in regardless and make the best of it.   Maybe with school starting it will help make things easier for Julie and I to get things into a more livable condition.


I’m surviving.  I’m still going to all my regular appointments (several a week) and getting by.

I have started and completed the beginners portion of Canines with a Cause.  I still don’t have my own dog but have been working with their dogs.  The first part of the intermediate class that begins in a few weeks will be looking for my own dog.  The timing is working out fine since I couldn’t have my own here at the Penrod’s, but can have one as soon as we move.   This will go a LONG way to helping my anxiety and will hopefully be beneficial in dealing with nightmares too.

Julie is still crazy!


You haven’t seen any running logs since the pool opened because we stopped running.  We have instead been swimming.  I have the kids do laps each time we show up to keep them doing some cardio, then they are free to go play (which rarely includes actual swimming).

My exercise has been fine, but hasn’t resulted in any weight loss.  I think it has trimmed up my waist a little bit (several people have mentioned it), but my actual weight hasn’t gone down.  Perhaps with time.

Book Review: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Book Review:

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Book Three in the Song of the Lioness Series) by Tamora Pierce

I actually finished this one weeks ago.  However, my full time construction job on top of motherhood leaves me very little computer time.  But here is my review of the third book in this saga. (And I mean that in the sense that the series is becoming a little long winded with only a few dramatic events.)


Now that she has won her knighthood and defeated the sorcerer who threatened the peace of the kingdom, Sir Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the deserts of Tortall.  She defeats a band of robbers but breaks her sword irreparably.  In a strange twist of fate she is adopted by the desert Bazhir tribe, the Bloody Hawk, and becomes their Shaman.  And this is where the majority of the book takes place.

As Shaman, Alanna improves her own magic skills and trains apprentices, two girls and a boy.  Alanna spends much of her knighthood defending the rights of women in a male dominated culture, as opposed to seeking out adventure.  There is not a distinct antagonist in this book.  Instead, this books seems to be a sort of coming of age story for Alanna.  She continues her search for love and acceptance, while turning down a marriage proposal, and mastering her Gift.


I give Book Three 3 out of 12 buttered rolls.  This could be the “Empire Strikes Back” installment of this series but really, I was left totally underwhelmed.  There is so much drama.  I’m talking femi-nazi, “Girls can do anything boys can do,” “A family will kill my career,” “Anyone who supports a patriarchal society is enslaving women,” type feminism.  It got old, and without a specific antagonist or quest to focus on, it got old fast.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like the idea of a female heroine.  I encourage my daughters to be anything they want to be.  But between the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life drama and the men-hate-strong-women femi-nazi propaganda, I am left hoping there is a “Return of the Jedi” finish to this series.  Here’s hoping for the best.


What Is That? – Photo Edition

“What is that?” is the most common question the kids have asked while cleaning?  This is the fourth installment and is the first photo edition.  You can read the first three here and here, and here.

These pictures are from all over the house (Great Room, garage, basement, and main living area).

What Is That?

A mouse skeleton we found in some old insulation

Mouse Skeleton

A really old pair of snow shoes (possibly made by my Mom’s Dad?)

Old Snow Shoes

Two sets of deer horns from deer my Dad killed

2 sets of deer horns

Some type of shell my mother kept

Two old large pipe cutters

Old pipe cutters

An old oil lantern (antique?) of unknown functionality

Old oil lantern

The Kawasaki motorcycle that I jumped into the canal behind my house



A bathroom sink of unknown origin

The Husqvarna motorcycle my Dad used to race up Widowmaker

A big pile of staples we found on the garage floor in a mess of spiderwebs

Three broken weed eaters (we threw others away before I can grab pics)

The tire from my Dad’s first car?

The watering jug that time forgot

An elk horn that my sons want to turn into a weapon (like a Klingon Bat’ leth)

A pair of chest waders that I wouldn’t trust to cross a rain gutter

A box of glass jars (this was repeated ad nauseam)

Roller skates that (hopefully) belonged to my sister

A gallon jar of brown sugar from the 20th century (does it ever go bad?)

A Kerosene heater we (only occasionally) used while I was growing up

A can green paint (I think 1963 is a code for the color, but could the purchase date)

A Garbage Can that is just happy that it can be helpful (unlike the kids)

a SMALL sampling of various tools

A canteen I’m going to pretend was Grandpa’s WWII companion (possible!)

A ceramic chicken that now greets us at the door each day

A really old fire extinguisher that I think Mom wants to turn into a lamp

And finally, my favorite find to date, a Yahtzee score card used by my good friend Darby Golub (circa 1985-88?).  There was a time we spent every waking moment together.  Darby was killed just a week after I got home from my mission and I never got to see him.   I still have the program from his funeral in my personal hymnal.  This find is special to me.   RIP my friend!

At this point we really have transitioned from cleaning/organizing to construction.  So don’t expect another installment of What Is That? anytime soon… but more will come at some point.  We WILL finish cleaning out the basement AND the garage… And I’m sure that there are a ton of gems to be found in those places!

Scouting – Raising and Training Young Men

This is content first appeared on my Facebook page regarding my Scout, Joshua, and his most recent camping adventure.  I’m reposting it here for saving.

Scout Camp 7/14/17-7/15/17

Joshua and his scout troop had a local campout last night. Josh came home exhausted and said it was great, and said the boys were up almost all night.

I later heard that some of the other parents were angry that their son had stayed up late and were subsequently tired all day today. Apparently this anger was directed at the Scoutmaster. If true, I think that it is misplaced.

I’ll talk in generalities because I don’t know which parents/child this story refers to. Those names weren’t part of the telling that I heard. and it doesn’t really matter. Regardless, having been a 12-13 yr old scout, and having a 12 yr old son right now, in my opinion if blame is to be had for lack of sleep on the scouts part (including my own scout) the blame rests with the SCOUT.

Scouting and responsibility

As my scout relayed it to me, they were told of the curfew, and they were called in from their playing and told that they were past their curfew. Unless you think that a Scoutmaster should be tucking them all into bed, then I think he did his job just fine. The entire program is designed for the boys to be in charge and making the decisions.

I know not everyone parents the same, but I expect my Scout to be trained how to think and act for himself. To learn the relationship between responsibility and consequences. A Scoutmaster isn’t a babysitter, and Scouts aren’t babies. They should be allowed to make choices and be held accountable for them – good and bad.

If your scout is informed, and reminded, but chooses to ignore, then it is on them! Unless their behavior is in someway immoral or injurious, I would want a Scoutmaster to let the Scouts make their own decisions and live with the consequences. Staying up late isn’t injurious, and isn’t in any way immoral or inherently bad/wrong. So give the boys responsibilities and let them THEM be held accountable.

That seems like a good way to help these men who are young turn into men who are great! And I think our Scoutmaster is doing a GREAT job of helping make that happen.

Thanks Gregory Robert Adams!

This post got nothing but positive comments and “likes” on Facebook.  I hope that is an indication that others are trying to raise their sons with the same sense of responsibility that I’m trying to raise mine with.

I hope it didn’t bring any embarrassment to our great Scoutmaster Greg.  He does a great job with our boys.  I know that my son for one really thinks highly of him.