Little Goldie Update

Little Miss Goldie is a tired doggie tonight, but she was certainly a hit at her first adoption booth earlier today.

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Though a little nervous, she really worked the crowd of people, greeting everyone who came by and usually receiving pats and affection for her troubles. Her section on the webpage (she is third from the top) has been updated with some of the newer photos we took just yesterday, and I do not think it will be long before she has someone come along who falls in love with her.

Until that time, we continue to enjoy her presence very much.

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3/31 Update: Goldie’s new owner picked her up this evening. She is renaming her “Grace”…and we hope they will be very happy together.

New Houseguest

After we lost Sid, it felt pretty empty around here. Well, animal-wise, at least; it’s still pretty full of people! But truth be told, Sid had been sick for a long time, and so through no fault of his own, we have not had a dog to actually play with and love on much for quite a while now. Just a little bit before Jay lost his job we began kicking around the idea of looking for another dog. Not a puppy; as I’ve mentioned before, I still have Josiah to train! We were hoping to find a young adult, hopefully a rescue dog of some kind who hopefully needed us as much as we needed him. And who would behave nicely with young children in the home. We applied with a local Lab Rescue Organization, and also visited with the Dallas Humane Society and were quickly reminded that there are way more doggies in Dallas than homes to care for them. Sad.

After the news about Jay’s job, we didn’t feel it prudent to run right out and adopt a dog, though of course doing so would be a much more economical decision than buying a purebred puppy. Still, until we have a sense of just how little we can live on a month, we couldn’t consciously add more expenses to the bottom line. At least not just yet. The irony here of course is that we have probably never been home so much in our lives as we are right now. In an effort to quench spending, we don’t eat out, we don’t shop, we don’t seek out activities which cost money. So…of all the times to assimilate a new dog into the family, now would be ideal, were it not for the money thing. Which is of course the main thing.

Well, so we began offering to babysit dogs for family and friends. We know we can usually count on Cousin Daisy, the Golden Retriever, to come visit when her people go out of town, but Peter and company had no travel plans in the foreseeable future. When Sandra and Keith came and brought us supper last week (thanks again, Guys!) we begged them to bring Bailey (Sandra’s lab mix) along. My children entertained her by playing a lovely game of dress-up. I don’t know how much Bailey liked it, but she was nice about it all the same.

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We offered to watch some friends’ chihuahuas for them some time, but they sort of balked – something about their little doggies being rather terrified of children. Wonder why they thought it wasn’t a good idea for us to help out there??

Then last week we were very excited because we had finally found some other friends who agreed to let us care for their Bichon for a week while they traveled out of state. This dog was great with kids – he is from a family with five and Jonathan, who ADORES little dogs, was especially thrilled about this arrangement. And then sadly I had to rescind our offer to help out because after looking at our picket fence I determined the tiny Bichon could easily get himself into serious trouble if he wiggled out through the fence pickets and into the alley.

But…it turns out there was a doggie who needed us badly, at least for a time. We stayed in touch with the nice people at Lone Star Labs, and they told us about Goldie, a 2 year old girl who was in need of a foster home now that she had completed her stay at the vet’s. (Immediately after a dog is rescued, the animal goes to the vet for the works and to stay for a period of time to make certain there are no issues. Then the dog stays in a foster home next, so their personality and behavior can be observed in a home setting, before they are adopted to a new family) There were other people who were happy to foster Goldie, but she needed a home with no other dogs present (none of which were available) since she was recovering from a little illness which could be contagious to other canines though it would not affect humans. We gladly accepted (well, Abigail and I gladly accepted, Jay did it to humor us girls) and a couple days ago Goldie came to stay at House of Horne.

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So, we are officially a lab foster family, and will care for Goldie until someone comes along who would like to adopt her. The LSL folks take care of all expenses and provide crate, toys, food, etc as well as round the clock advice/support as needed. We supply the TLC, and in return we have a furry friend to keep us company for a little while.

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Goldie has done pretty well so far, though like many fosters she has her little quirks. When we agreed to keep her, no one was absolutely certain she was even housebroken, though thankfully we have been pleasantly surprised on that front. She can even tell us when she needs to go outside, and has had no troubles in the house.

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She is a smart, attentive doggie who is deeply in love with Jay, which is ironic considering he was the least enthusiastic about her in the first place. She knows some commands and we are teaching her a few more. If Jay has a week or two with her he will likely have her catching the frisbee like a pro. She loves to play fetch and likes to play with him best of all.

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We’ve had to help her learn not to cry and bark in her crate at night, but she goes in obediently even though it’s obvious she doesn’t care for it at all. We tried to get her to sleep in Abigail’s room but she refused; turns out she couldn’t stand to be away from Jay. Silly dog.

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Well, silly or not, we are glad to have her here. And will be happy when her forever people come along to take her home to be a part of their family. And then, well, we will just see….

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Mortgage Madness

Anyone following the mortgage/financial crisis we are in should probably read this:  How to Get an “Iffy” loan approved at JPM Chase.

To summarize. The mess we are in, that the federal government is now bailing banks out of left and right at great cost to everyone else, was not some random business cycle. It was fraud.

A bit of good news

First off, thanks to everybody who has been checking in on Tricia and I, expressing sympathy, and praying for us. Tomorrow will be three weeks since the layoff (really only about 2.5 weeks since I began the job search in earnest) and I had some good news to report. We’ll get to that in a moment.

I have continued to find this whole process of finding a job extremely time-consuming. However, with the kids on spring break last week through this Monday, I did largely take a break from it Friday morning until Monday evening. Instead, I built a picnic table with the kids on Friday (still have to finish the sanding and sealing), and then we all went to the Arboretum on Monday. Our family was treated to free parking and passes courtesy of a wonderful neighbor who loaned us his season pass (good for up to a family of six… just right). Oh yeah. There was also the small matter of the lake.

I’ve actually felt pretty good this past week. I don’t really notice intense, almost dizzy bouts of panic like I did that first week. However, my body is sending different sorts of signals. As I previously mentioned, I had my first real migraine in a couple years a bit over a week ago, and it was huge. Then I had a smaller one a couple days later. And I can’t seem to sleep very much, which is making me feel more and more fatigued. So I figure I’m still not yet “anxious for nothing”, and there’s more to learn from this whole experience.

I’m on my, oh, I don’t know, let’s say eighth version of my resume. I’ve been focusing on patiently working connections rather than simply submitting my resume via job posts. And that brings us to our good news. I had spotted a job at TI that looked interesting, and then ended up making a connection with the husband of a former colleague who was in that very group and knew the hiring manager.

Which led to my first interview yesterday. A phone interview, but an interview all the same. It went well, which was gratifying. I was startled by how nervous I felt. Normally, I’m fairly confident and have a decent track record in interviews. But yesterday I was feeling more like a guy who couldn’t keep a job and a lot less like the up-and-coming leader I’ve felt like in previous interviews. So I spent the final few minutes before the phone rang on my knees praying, which was probably a good thing to do even if I hadn’t gotten a bit wobbly in the legs.

Success in a job search feels very binary. You succeed when you get a job. But large goals are so much easier to manage if broken into a series of smaller steps with attendant celebrations (or recriminations). So I’m celebrating the interview and wanted to publicly acknowledge my thanks to God for his provision.

Christ Is Risen!

He is risen indeed! Happy Easter!

Here is some of the music we will be listening to around our house today after our morning of worship. The lyrics from Handel’s Messiah (and Scripture!) are even more beautiful when sung….may all of you enjoy a blessed and joyous Easter Sunday!

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth.
And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
Job 19:25-26

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
I Corinthians 15:20-22

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:51-57

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.
Amen.
Revelation 5:12-14

Our New Picnic Table

Late this winter, before all the layoff business, Jay made a promise to build us a picnic table for eating on the deck. But with the loss of his job we instituted a “no unnecessary spending” policy and try as we might, we could not justify the expense of the materials for the longed-for table, no matter how practical, and inexpensive a solution it was. However, certain folks in the house were still hoarding some Visa bucks they’d received as Christmas money, and after very careful consideration felt the picnic table was the most worthwhile cause they could come up with just now to use their money on. So yesterday morning Jay went on his way to Home Depot to gather all the wood and hardware necessary for his creation.

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He (and his trusty assistant, Nicolas) worked many long hours yesterday and today,

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and just before dark this evening, the table was finished.

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Finished except for a coat of protective stain/sealant to hopefully help it last through many ridiculously hot Texas summers.

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We celebrated the table being finished…

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by eating our colored Easter Eggs on it this evening

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just before putting the children to bed for the night.

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What a wonderful table!!

Sometimes being wrong is best

Regarding that lake. To review. I took a shower that was lukewarm. I looked under the house and saw several inches of standing water as far as the eye could see (which was, admittedly, fairly limited given it is a crawlspace with ducts throughout). I checked the water meter, and there were no leaks. So I reached the tentative, and admittedly impossible, conclusion that we were leaking hot water, but only when the water was running.

We had a plumber come by the next day. Turns out the number one cause of death for plumbers is electrocution, so he would not go under the house with all the water there. But he also said it was too shallow and dispersed to pump out. And he said my hot water leak hypothesis was impossible. Instead we had a broken cartridge in our shower faucet and an unrelated incursion of water from the recent rains.

Our shower faucet is of the unknown variety, so I headed to Teter’s Faucet and ordered a new one. Then I jammed a screwdriver in the old one and broke it further before putting the whole thing back together. Now it is biased toward hot water instead of cold water as we await the arrival of our new cartridge… much better for showers.

About the water. It’s actually very good news. We already knew we had a moisture problem under the house (due to the cupping of our wood floors), and we knew roughly how much it will cost to fix (installing powered fan vents). We just didn’t know how bad it could actually get after 7 inches of rain. What does all this mean? That no new expenses were introduced into the mix. If we spend money to control the moisture under the house, it isn’t a repair, and was already known.

But what to do in the interim when we can’t spend the money? And how do we lose the water so someone is willing to wire up electric fans under the house? I had this vision of using these, attached to a fan sitting at the entrance to the crawlspace, and venting the moist air out a window. Then my brother-in-law Peter asked, “Why don’t you just turn the fan facing down?” Yes, well, why not indeed.

So, here’s what my plywood-form-with-weatherproofing-and-big-fan looks like. It works amazingly. We just opened a window and closed the door to the room. Two days later, there is no visible water under the house, and the dirt looks less like mud and more like, well, dirt.

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What to do When You Have a Lake Under Your House…

Both Jay and Tricia have learned the hard way that getting into a lukewarm shower first thing in the morning is a bad thing. Assume the worst if you plunk your half asleep self under that stream of water only to be startled fully – and unpleasantly – awake by water that is nowhere near hot enough to be approved for a morning shower. This happened to us again, today. Ugh.

So, in order to add some humor to what we are not finding a humorous situation (let’s just say we had other good uses for that $1000 deductible we’re going to get to throw out the window now)…here are a few things perhaps we can do to make good use of the lake that is now underneath our house (a pier and beam) after a pipe or something burst, thereby flooding our crawl space with several inches of water:

* buy a few goldfish, and maybe a turtle or two and tell the kids they have the biggest fish tank in the neighborhood

* pretend we got to get away to the lake for spring break after all: just throw a rubber dingy and an oar down there and paddle, paddle, paddle our way to fun times

* Jay and the kids would have also loved to go fishing over spring break – well, now they can! we just pull out the fishing poles and let the kids fish through the crawl space for fun!

* view it as a wonderful learning opportunity for my little scholars – a nature study right under our house! chances to observe flora and fauna of the aquatic variety (think algae and frogs?), maybe even earn extra school credit!

* instant swimming! the kids keep asking me when the neighborhood pool will open up, and I have grown tired of saying “two months still to go, guys!”. well, now they can suit up and have themselves a little swim and not even leave the house! and no entry fee to boot!

Note: I must credit Aunt Sandra with providing inspiration for this post. Thanks!

Poor Little Knight…

He seems to have left most of his costume behind.

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