July 30, 2007

'Tis the season

If you are not from Ames, you may have no idea what this title may represent. If you are from Ames, you know all too well.

Blame it on poor planning, the university schedule or whatever you want, but every year at this time our city fills with U-Huals, horse trailers, golf car trailers, busses, pick ups, vans or whatever else could be used to move young people from apartment to apartment. You see, most apartment leases in Ames run from August 1st at noon, to July 31st at noon. That leaves the people who didn't plan, out on the street for a 24 hour period. That leaves all other apartment flippers to finagle a way to move in early or shack up with a friend.

This apartment flipping or "turnover" as we in the biz call it, it the biggest headache all year long. Everyone wants to be the person who can have special privleges or doesn't want to follow the rules of the lease they signed. In this 2 or 3 day period, apartments are congested with every moving vehicle type known to man fighting for that one prime spot right in front of the entry door.

To add to the circus, most rental companies require the carpets to be "professionally" cleaned when you move out, meaning cleaning company vans flock to the buildings to throw some cleaning solution on the carpet, suck it back up and then charge you 98 dollars.

The third group of people who descend on the city this week will be those looking to furnish their houses. People moving out will leave old furniture they don't want to move on the street, by the dumpster or anywhere where they can deny it is theirs. This means you can literally deck out your entire place in one afternoon, for no cost to you. If you are in the right place at the right time, you can actually score some pretty good stuff.

So as i look out my window and watch truck after truck drive by, some with traditional tie down straps, some with more brave mattress surfers, i smile, take a trip down memory lane and give thanks that i don't have to do that this year.


For the first 28 years of my life, i never had a problem with losing keys. That was before my wedding day. In case you haven't heard the story, here it is...

Allison's brother, Jason, drove Allison's car to the church that day. He handed me the keys and thats all I remember of the exchange. Awhile later Allison's dad asked for them to put some things in the car. It was quickly discovered no one could find them anywhere. I think 15 people dug through everything i brought to the church, my backpack, clothes, truck, everything. We didn't find them and ended up driving our photographers car to the reception.

Allison's dad agreed to make two keys for us while we were on our honeymoon and we would just leave the car at the church in the mean time. Well, the last night of the honeymoon, they showed up in my backpack. Yes, the same backpack everyone had looked through so many times.

While this is a kinda funny story, it more importantly introduces a new phase of forgetfulness in my life. Ever since that time, i have been quite paranoid about losing keys. About once a week, sometimes more, i'll begin to almost panic when i can't find my keys. half the time i find them 10 minutes later somewhere crazy or sometimes in my pocket.

Today i was sitting in my truck after work in the parking lot of our apartment....looking for my apartment keys. i was digging through everything looking for them. Then Allison pulled up beside me and i figured i'd just forget about it for now and she could let us in. as i shut the door to the truck, i locked it, KNOWING i had the truck key in my pocket. when we got upstairs, i found out i had the apartment keys in my pocket but no truck key. Yes, i had locked them in the truck...with the spare set.

Luckily i had left the window down about an inch or less, so i knew i could find a way to get in. As i stood there staring at my garage full of potential jimmys, i finally grabbed a tool i thought would work, walked to my truck and in 5 seconds had the door unlocked. the tool? a 25' Stanley Fat Max Tape measure i had gotten for our wedding.

The moral of the story? Always ask for my keys when you are with me.

July 10, 2007

Goodbye Weston House

As many or all of you know Jared has a passion and gift for building things and about a year ago he decided to put his abilities to the test. This test (as I guess what I'm calling it) was to build a house. Now don't take me too literally....he didn't grab a shove, hammer, nails, some wood and start throwing things together like a mad man. But he did spend time planning, organizing, and physically adding his sweat equity into the house. It became his hobby you might say....instead of fishing or golfing most men try to do in their free time my ambitious husband worked on his house. He spent weekends and evenings working there doing odds and ends. I got to help too! (Really that exclamation point is a good one) It was great to see the progress and Jared get excited about how things were all coming together. Here are just a few pictures of the process from the very beginning to the very end.

Cool Slideshows!

As you can tell by the last picture, we sold the house. It was Jared's goal to sell the house to a family who would benefit from the large, open, and inviting floor plan (side note "floor plan" is a new word in my vocabulary. never used it until I started dating Jared), which is exactly what happened. We closed on the house June 14th. The new owners are are both ISU alumni and they have two boys and a third on the way. They were also very excited and pleased with the extra detail work and time Jared put into the house. Jared and I are both happy to sell the house to such an appreciative family. Although he is glad to sell the house, Jared has mentioned that it is a bitter sweet transition. I am extremely thankful to God that he provided this opportunity for Jared and I feel even more thankful that Jared was able to enjoy and accomplish such an impressive project without any major set backs.

July 7, 2007

One year ago.....

It doesn't seem possible that a year ago at this time i was in Africa, waking up to 30 degree temps and working all day laying block at the ministry center. It makes me think a lot my time there and the people i met. My trip there was not only a time to see more parts of the world, but also to expand my knowledge of other cultures and learn about people who have very little but seem genuinely happy.

The team i went with from my church was gone about 2 weeks. We spent the first week doing construction work at the ministry center with local African pastors and the second week going to different schools and hospitals around Zambia sharing our faith and talking about our lives and why we were there.

The top photo is my friend Todd and I with some of our fellow workers. The middle is Edwin and I - he is a pastor in Zambia and a very hard worker. The bottom picture doesn't quite show the level of enthusiasm normally shown by the kids when a balloon came there way, but it has kids in it, so that makes it interesting.