Monday, August 30, 2004

Reclaiming the house

A.'s friend found a cheap* calling card to use to call Ethiopia which I finally got to work today after four tries. It was good to hear from him, he's doing well. He was all excited because he got to meet Joseph Stiglitz and had him sign his copy of Globalization and its Discontents . Stiglitz is the 2001 Nobel prize winner in economics and was at some conference that A. managed to get invited to. On top of this, we said he is trying to wrangle an invitation to some other thing tomorrow so he can meet the US ambassador to Ethiopia.

*I say cheap, but it is still like $.16 per minute. I talked until the $10 card ran out. He's still not clear where he will live, whether Addis or Awassa, but he said he's tired of living in a hotel.

R. called too. She confessed to staying up too late and that probably got her off schedule, then she got a migraine headache for two days with vomiting, etc. So she already missed the first day of class today.

D. is on the road today, sleeping at Taylor to visit his old friends in the dorm. Tomorrow a long drive to DC.

G. is working his tail off to finish the Ethnologue. It is so much work, so many minute details to have right. And so many other people want so much from him. He needs a vacation!

I've made great progress turning the house over to myself. We've made a plan to stuff everything that D. or A. own into boxes and put it into half of the larger bedroom in the apartment. We've taken their books off the shelves and put up our own books. Taken stuff to the botique, and thrown stuff away. There will still be room for a twin bed and dresser in that bedroom, but about half will be solid boxes in storage.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

He's off

--in the rain. It started raining at about 6:45 this morning, but the heaviest showers had passed by the time D. needed to put the last few things in the car. One observation: it is a lot easier to move across the country when you 1) have a completely furnished house and kitchen to move into, and 2) travel by car and not by airplane.

I managed to stash a medium-sized box of groceries in the car, which he isn't supposed to open until he gets there, so maybe he will have something to eat the first night and not have to go to the grocery store. This reminds me--I wish I had made my kids learn how to cook a bit more than I did. They all know how to clean bathrooms and vacuum and things like that, but I don't think any of them know much about cooking.

So, now it is just me and G. and the cat.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Two haircuts in two days

D. has been sporting the hippie look for college. Yesterday he decided he needed a haircut. He would keep the long look, but get it shortened so it wouldn't be in his eyes. Well, he didnt' like the way it turned out, so 24 hours later he had another haircut and is back to the clean cut look from high school. Maybe that is better since he is about to start a REAL job :-)

Tomorrow D. will pack, then on Saturday he leaves. Just today he got the official word that he has been accepted to live in the Presbyterian house This is a real blessing to have a premade community to move into with very reasonable rent, internet, and a parking spot. D. plans to drive to Washington DC via Greenville College to visit his girlfriend, then to Taylor to visit his former roommate.

We've given the blue car to friends to try out; if they want to keep it after trying it for a couple of days, we will give it to them. They have a need for local transportation, so maybe it would keep running for them for a little while.

R. back at school

We got to SNU and back safely yesterday. We got into rush hour traffic a little both going there and coming back, but not too bad. D. did half of the driving, so that was nice for me.

R. has a private room this year on the first floor of the freshman dorm. Other people on the floor are also seniors with private rooms, mostly teachers and nursing students. It will NOT be a party floor! In fact, I hope there is enough going on there so she doesn't become too lonely.

Her room has an ugly paint job--all the walls were spatter painted some years ago when that was a cool thing to do. Her door is dark purple, but at least it goes with the rug she has. We helped her get the rugs in place, picked up the little fridge from storage, assembled her desk and bookcase (I was smart and bought her those collapsible kinds, easy to move and easy to assemble). We got her TV and internet cables organized, and then we left. I would have stayed longer to help her feel more settled, but D. wanted to get home to see his girlfriend. And it is probably better if she has the chance to get herself settled without me in her way.

She emailed later and said she spent another $150 on books, and here we thought she had already bought her books! Aaargh!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Transitions are beginning

We are starting to get into the last days of having any kids home. D. and I will drive R. to SNU on Wednesday, leaving very early. We will try to get her settled into her room in the afternoon, then we'll drive back home in the late afternoon or evening. She will have a private room on the first floor of the freshman dorm this year. That will be good in some ways, but she may feel lonely too.

D.'s housing in DC still isn't 100% finalized, so we hope it gets finalized this week. He may leave as soon as Saturday, or maybe Sunday, or maybe Monday. Still trying to figure it out. He will be driving to DC with our "new" car. He hopes to move in on Sept. 1 and start his job on Sept. 2.

We've heard only a little from A. this week. I got a lead on a cheap phone card to Ethiopia, and I tried to used it, but without success so far. I will probably try again during the week.

I took R. shopping the other day. She found a few things, but still has more to go. I sewed her a pair of black dress slacks yesterday and finished them today, then made a long black skirt out of the remaining fabric. So new pants and skirt for $6 (plus 8-9 hours of my free time).

Tomorrow will be R's last day to work. She already doesn't want to go, but she needs to make a bit more $ if she can. Tuesday we will spend most of the day packing.

One of the transitions for R. has been health insurance. She got kicked off ours, so we have to pay this COBRA premium to keep her on. We tried to get her medication today at the pharmacy and they had already pulled her off the plan :-( So tomorrow I need to call and see what's up about that.

G. has been working his tail off to get the next edition of the Ethnologue out the door. He worked 7 hours at the office on Saturday, then came home and mowed all the lawns. He has been working lots of extra hours to pull this huge project to completion.

Monday, August 16, 2004

How did D. do on his test?

Everyone is asking me (all three of you). Well, he was gone from the house over 12 hours, and came home with a fried brain. Today he slept until 2pm to recover. He said it was harder than he was expecting, but he did finish all the questions, so that is a good sign. It will be 6-8 weeks before he learns his score.

I made progress today getting the "new" car paperwork taken care of. It is a '93 Nissan Maxima. I got it insured and inspected. Tomorrow I hope to get the title transferred.

I think we came to the conclusion that David will take this new car to Washington DC with him. He won't need it to get to work, but he would need it for other things. The fact that he will have a free parking place helped make the decision. He will have to pay the insurance, but it will be reasonable if we keep him on our policy. We will have a mechanic check the car over carefully just to make sure everything is good. I let Rachel drive it today for a short trip. She did just fine, but said the visiblity isn't as good as the old Reliant. Speaking fo the Reliant, I'm going to try to sell it for $500.00

Well, I talk like the decision has been made about D.'s housing, but actually it hasn't yet been finalized. I think tomorrow he will have a phone interview with the director of the program and if he is accepted, then he can finalize plans. If all works out, he will leave Dallas on August 30.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

David is off taking the MCAT at the moment. I hope stays awake. It lasts for 7 hours! How well he does may determine whether he would be accepted into the MD/PhD program that he wants.

We've heard from A. a couple times this week. He's met his first people dying of AIDS.

R. wants me to take her shopping today or sometime soon. But I told her I wouldn't take her until she finishes her homework. Yes, she had 6 or 8 little assignments for her education portfolio to do over the summer and she still hasn't gotten them all done. I think she has two left to go. She has received all the books she ordered from, but I think there are one or two more texts she will need to buy at the college bookstore.

G. has been working so hard at the office to finish getting the Ethnologue ready for the next edition. What a lot of work. Last night and this morning he's been on the phone with a guy at Microsoft (who used to work with us at the Center) about finalizing the set of three-letter codes that are on their way to becoming an ISO standard.

I'm probably going to go back to the office today to work on R. and Steven's scanning project. One more week of that before they go back to college.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Update, not much happening

We are still trying to get our new car into our name, insurance, etc. I've made some steps in that direction, but still more to go. Will try again next week.

R.'s job continues to keep me busier than I want, but if we keep it up, she will make enough for one out of ten college payments. Ugh. Tonight she goes to church to babysit, as she has for the last several Thursday nights. Next Thursday will be her last time. It has been another avenue for her to get to know some people at church. And she LOVES babies.

D. is getting pretty stressed out about the upcoming test on Saturday, though he probably wouldn't admit to it.

We got email from A. today. He sounded a bit overwhelmed, having seen his first group of people dying from AIDS while trying to formulate a plan for offering jobs as an alternative occupation to commercial sex workers.

G. has had a "bad" day with Cocoon (some kind of computer programming environment, I think). Our adult Bible study is not meeting tonight so he can do the preparations for our last college Bible study, which is tomorrow night.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Weekend is over

and we're back to work. I worked more than 8 hours today trying to get caught up with the scanning project and keep R. working. R. wasn't feeling so well, so she only worked about 3 hours today. She and Steven still haven't gotten paid; this seems to be taking longer than it should.

The friends who are giving us their car came by tonight with the title and the papers. I'll need to work on getting that process finalized soon. D. has basically taken ownership of the car.

D. drove to Plano today to figure out where the place is he has to go early Saturday to take the MCAT. Probably that was a good idea, so he won't have that stress on test day. It will be a long day, the test is 7 hours long.

G. is happy that Monday night football started today. Can't say that the rest of us are.

R.'s books that she ordered have been arriving in the mail. She says it's like Christmas in August.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Catching up

We haven't been getting a lot of emails from A., but we did get one this week with a phone number. So I got brave and tried it. Sure enough, he answered. And the connection was good, aside from that annoying delay one often gets with overseas calls. That's the good news. The bad news was that it cost $.92/minute to call. I'll need to see if I can find a cheaper way.

He said he was doing ok, except for his first case of bad diarrhea. He thought the church leaders were planning to drive him to Awassa next Tuesday. We think that is where he will be living eventually. Two other colleagues whom he knew in El Salvador, are joining his team today, so he will be happy to work with some old friends, and maybe speak a little Spanish.

R.'s scanning job continues to plug along. I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up with her and Steven. I may need to go to work today to try to catch up. She ordered most of her school books on this week. Today she and D. are with the church singles' group for a day at Lake Waxahachie, hosted by folks in our adult Bible study. I hope no one drowns.

D.'s organic chemistry class finished on Thursday. He takes the MCAT a week from today. He got an "out of the blue" offer for possible housing in Washington DC, at kind of Christian fraternity attached to the Presbyterian church He is not crazy that he has to fill out yet another application with references, but it does seem like the Lord may have dropped this opportunity into his lap. He would be living in a house with a number of others who all have full-time jobs in the DC area, they meet weekly for Bible study, once every two weeks for mentoring, and perform some kind of community service.

My mom got her computer running again after it was down for a while. I asked her how she got it going and she said, "I wiggled a bunch of wires and banged on it."

Last night our college Bible study met for the next-to-last time. The kids made homemade pizza after the study. I've got photos of it on my website

Monday, August 02, 2004

It's Monday

Not many Mondays left in the summer. I spent a full day at the office, most of which was spent helping R. and Steven earn their money. R. helped make dinner, such as it was. I updated a couple things on my website, then did a bit more cleaning in A.'s room, packing stuff away.

We haven't heard any more from A.--I hope he is OK.

David replaced the wiper blades on the blue car, and a tail light bulb in the "new" Maxima. I did tell you we've been given a new car, didn't I? We decided to take the car, but haven't decided what we will do with it or with the blue car. And speaking of cars, the van seems to be leaking oil more than a little--I don't think that is a good sign.

Tonight R. is finally spending her $25 gift certificate to that she got from Burts for Christmas. She hasn't bought many things online, so she's having fun with it. She's buying school books since she didn't get around to buying children's books.

I'm opening A.'s mail while he is away. Today he got his first paycheck stub and his first loan repayment bill. Guess which one was twice a big as the other?? Hopefully, that loan repayment program really works!

I "bought" Gary a present today. Really, I bought it with department money, since it was a business expense. I got him a 128 MB jump/thumb/flash drive. He will find this very useful as he tries to keep his computer at home and his computer at work synchronized with each other.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Hot weather is back

It was cool most of last week because we had so much rain. I think we had around 10" in a couple days, but some nearby places had over 12". There was serious flooding that cause a number of deaths in the area. But now the hot weather of summer is back. Tomorrow R. and I will go back to swimming during lunch hour.

I finished mailing out the last of my newsletters today. It seems to take me several days to get the paper ones mailed, especially with updating my mailing list with address changes, etc. Always a nice feeling to get that done. About half of our list is done by email now, which saves us considerable $$ on printing and postage costs.

Today at church we had a nice change. Instead of a sermon, we had a report from a Wycliffe family about the dedication of the NT they started over 30 years ago. Another Wycliffe couple finished the work, but this original couple were able to attend the dedication in Papua New Guinea. It was a missions success story, and it was inspiring. 30 years ago they were a completely unreached tribe, and now they are sending missionaries to the villages down the river.

We haven't heard from A. in several days. Hope he is doing OK.