Burglary and Finals

Since it is early, I cannot sleep, and only contract lists are in my head, I need a diversion.  A quick update is probably in order in light of the events of the week; burglary and finals!  I will rely on Amanda to place photos on the joint blog, if she hasn’t done so already.

Thursday, the last day of April, while studying parol evidence for contracts I received a phone call from our bank in Idaho, Zions Bank.  They asked me about some suspicious activity on a bank account.  I told them I could go online and take a quick look and call them back.  When I went online I noticed that Amanda’s account had been overdrawn by several hundred dollars.  We only use this account to keep some money hidden away just in case of an emergency.  Meaning, we never use it.  She confirmed her card was at home and I knew my card was at home.  Okay, maybe a little identity theft.  There was one nagging problem, these charges were not off in far away Venezuela like the previous problems.  These charges were right here in Oklahoma City!  Something really bothered me about that.  I called some friends, the Elders, and found they were only a few blocks from the house.  They called me back to confirm the back door had been kicked in.  They called 911 and I borrowed a friends car to go home.

After taking a policeman through our mostly untouched home, he began fingerprinting (after determining this was a burglary II.  I thought burglary was during the night!).  These petty thieves knew they were only going for money, credit cards, and some jewelry.  Since our neighborhood has a good number of people who walk around at all hours, anything more probably would have looked very suspicious.  No laptops, computers, books, DVDs, or anything really of value.  Pretty much just what you could fit in your pocket.  The best part is that they took our British Pound Notes and tossed them on top of the dresser.  They didn’t want foreign money they could easily convert!  Just the cards you can easily trace!  They took some of Amanda’s necklaces and rings.  They didn’t take the jewelry that had some modest value but the jewelry that wouldn’t fetch anything at a pawn shop!  These guys were real idiots.  They did leave the lights on throughout the house even out to the garage.

The story gets even better.  Within hours, two of our other banks had called us about suspicious charges and had put holds on our cards.  These thieves were out high living on the hog…at Walmart, Taco Bueno, and 7-11!  Before the cards put on holds or I canceled them, they were able to get almost $3,000 in charges on 7 different cards I had in my desk drawer.  (Mentioning they didn’t take my Omega Watch which is easily worth over $1,000 and was sitting on top of most of the long unused cards.)  These ignoramuses spent most of the money at Walmart!!!!  The store that invests so heavily in surveillance!  They visited over 4 Walmarts before the day was done, enjoyed some lunch, and filled up the car.  I don’t know what they were purchasing but it was rarely over $70 dollars a transaction.  So they must have been making repeat purchases of something because so many of the charges were identical.  I don’t know.

Luckily, Amanda and I both had our cards to one of the accounts so they could not access it.  I never got a card to our account here in OKC, so it is safe as well.  So we have access to funds as I can transfer to the accounts that we still have access to.  But I have to get new cards for all the other accounts and get the money back in them (meaning the accounts are useless until the fraud and investigations are done).  This is not to mention the needed replacement of our back door.  We have a full storage dresser keeping the door closed for the moment.

Anyhow, I should be wrapping up so I can get ready for PEC.  On another note, I discovered this week that about 8 shingles have blown off the one side of the house.  I also appear to have some warping of a board on the back roof of the house making a sort of rippling look on the roof.  Andrew assures me it has to do with moisture and no vents in the back roof.  Plus as I cut some of the branches off that were too close to the roof, I could feel how much the roof gave way under my feet bringing back the HVACer’s comments about the plywood on the roof being too thin.  This probably would explain why the rafters on the very end of the roof are sagging.  I hope to get the shingles fixed, but the DIY roof may be in need of some other serious repairs.  The sticker price I fear will be greater than what we thought would be our greatest expense, namely the plumbing.  I have a professional coming by to give us a bid on fixing the shingles, his opinion on the rest, and the back door.

Time to close.  I awoke this morning thinking of the acronymn we put together to remember interpretation of contracts.  You may find it humerous.  We found it highly usable in remembering interpretation.  LQSS2PPHVWGRR  Those are the generally available interpretation canons for a contract.  To remember the acronynm, “My LQSS 2 the Pied Piper Hitler, in his Volks Wagen, in the Great Rally Race.  We lost in the race.  To who?  Hitler, who was a pied piper, in his mass produced vehicle, the Volkswagen.  What do the letters mean.  Without explanation the list is as follows: Lists, Qualifying terms, Specification, Series, 2 Meanings in favor of non-drafter, Public Policy, Public Interest, Handwritten over printed and printed over form, Validity over invalidity, Whole document, Grammar, Redundancy, and Reasonable interpretation.  Guess I am somewhat prepared for my contracts final tomorrow.  Off to dress for a PEC where I report and nobody does anything on the information!

A week or two before finals and all through the school…

I just have to take a break from my reading.  Well, I have struggled even starting.  Since I haven’t written for a long time, I thought I would send out an update!

Yesterday, I skipped all my classes!  I stayed home and decided to review, study, read, and take a nap for lunch.  It was one of the best days ever.  I did spend about 4 hours studying contracts, about 1 hour on criminal law, and about 1 hour on property.  I am feeling better about a few things.  I am amazed at how much I did learn and disappointed how many things I have forgotten.  (Forgot or forgotten?  Seraphs or Seraphim?  Broke or Broken?  I don’t know the grammatical law governing this situation!)  I also worked in the yard a little.  Cleaned up some branches, watered the front and side, and even cleaned out the heat pump.  However, the highlight of the day was the visit by the plumber and HVAC dude (is he a HVACer?  His name was Paul, I knew he was cool!)  Ultimately, I skipped school to be there for them to install our new/old bathtub and get a quote on fixing our ventilation.

The story of the HVAC turned out to be true of the rest of the home.  Whoever fixed up this house, the ultimate DIYers, didn’t do think in the proper way.  Like the bathroom, the yard, and even the sheetrock, we now have a few new items to add to the list.  Walking on top of the house, Paul mentioned that the roof moves an awful lot while walking on it wondering if there was only a single layer of plywood.  If so, we would have insulation problems.  Upon inspection inside, he confirmed we only have one layer meaning heat and cold easily travel through.  He said it wasn’t a huge concern, but just not the best way to do things.  But he openly laughed when first viewing the duct work of the home.  He first made a question like, “Is that room is the hottest when heating and the coldest when cooling?”  I assumed him it was.  He then asked about other rooms and was correct on all accounts.  He then explained to me the theories behind air movement which anyone who had taken physics would already know.  It was interesting to hear the application to duct work.  So let me do a quick explanation, but with plumbing.  If when plumbing a house we brought the water main in and then put a plug on the line.  Then we put in a line and took it to the kitchen sink.  Then one for the refrigerator feed.  Then one for the bathroom sink.  Then one for the toilet.  Then one for the bathtub and on through the house.  But we took every pipe from the same location.  It is a terrible waste of pipe to run every pipe clear back to the starting point.  Plus, we would have an issue with water pressure and possible line freezing.  Additionally, with all those pipes running to every individual thing we have that many more potential leak problems.  Well, that is what was done with the duct work for our ventilation system.  Every single hole in our ceiling for heating and air condition has its own hose that runs all the way to the fan/blower.  By the time we get to the plenum (a new vocabulary word for me, the part where the fan blows in to) we have 11 separate ducts going into the plenum!  Plumbing though, we have a pretty good idea when there is a leak.  Ductwork, people are less inclined to care if there is a lead.  Well, the kind showing of my HVACer showed the signs of leaks in every single duct both at the plenum and the exit location!  We are doing more heating and air conditioning of our attic than we are the actual house!  Oh wait, it gets better!  Every single room has the same size of ductwork!  So the big rooms are getting the same amount of air as the little rooms.  Add some physics to that, the farther rooms, regardless of size, are getting less than the closer rooms.  Hence, our bedroom and the main bath are always the best heated and cooled, and the back room is the worst (That hose actually leaves the attic, goes under the home, and then reemerges in the floor of the back room.  Anyhow, Paul suggested a complete replacement of the duct system and plenum for $1700!  Then due to the lack of plywood and tar paper on the roof, he suggests no less than a foot of insulation (which is now about 1 inch).

So, another job to be done before we insulate the attic.  Electrical work is next.  Oh, Paul the HVACer, also told me there is not enough power running to the Heat Pump and that is why when it kicks on every light in the house goes dim for a second or two.  Yea for DIYers who don’t do their homework first!

Anyhow, on to the real topic of issue.  Our bathtub is now in place and plumbed.  Amanda can now shave her legs in complete luxury!  Well, kinda.  While the faucet, spout, and shower head are all plumbed, they are still just pipes sticking out of the wall.  While she could technically get water at the tub, the pipes are just screwed in and may leak inside the wall.  We are waiting for the tile to be installed before we will put on the goodies.  So technically, all of Amanda’s luxury will be getting a bucket from the sink to shave her legs.  But at least she can drain her filty, hairy, leg water down the new drain and if she uses enough water, the new overflow!  This is a deep tub though, so she would have to do a lot of leg shavin’ to get to that point!  Our friend, Andrew Curtis, told his wife he was jealous of our new bathtub.  His wife insisted that was one of the strangest things she had heard from him (at least that week).  Next is tiling, then finish the cosmetic plumbing, then the shower-rod, then the new door & frame, and the new baseboards, and our little bathroom will be completely finished!  How is that for excitement?  Hopefully we can have the tile done by June.

School continues to go well.  I don’t want to mention much of it since I have enough of it in my life already.  Next semester I have signed up for Income Tax Law as an elective.  I have all the required classes like Constitutional Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Legal Ethics.  So many people are migrating towards Corporations.  I need a four credit class to get my licensed legal intern so Income Tax sounded interesting.  Not really, but I need it for family law and property law.  Might as well wipe it out now.  Plus, Corporations I will have to take, so might as well delay the inevitable!

This semester has been going well.  I have slacked off a little bit.  But I have learned much.  I just slacked off on the outline side of the business.  I joined with somebody else to do it and he has been pulling more of the weight than he probably should.  In fact, most of the weight.  It will bite me in the end, I am sure.  He did better than me last semester and he will surely do much better this semester.  Just if I can ride on his coat-tails to a C+ or B- I will be happy.  I just got to be average!!!  I actually think I did well enough in Legal Writing to pull a B+ or A- so here is for hoping!  That will help my GPA as long as I don’t totally flub a class.  Property is such a comprehensive class.  Some of the finals will be over like 500 pages of material.  Property is well over 1000 pages so I have a formidable task before me.

Well, I need to get back to reading about Summary Judgment and Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law.

Oh, it looks like I have two potential internships for the summer.  I will probably do 5 weeks in Burley, Idaho for one internship and another 5 weeks in Salt Lake City, Utah for the other 5 weeks.  I don’t want to share details until they are firm.  Time to sign off, sneeze (allergies now going on 4 months!), and get back to sleep-reading.

Screwed up Family!

I know I need to give some type of an update.  But, I will have to do that later.  Until then, how about this messed up family!!

On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound of the head.  The decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide (he left a note indicating his despondency).  As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him instantly.  Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers and that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because of this.

The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife.  They were arguing and he was threatening her with the shotgun.  He was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Opus.

When confronted with this charge, the old man was adamant that he did not know that the shotgun was loaded.  The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun.  He had no intention to kill her.  That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple’s son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal incident.  It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son’s financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.

There was an exquisite twist.  Further investigation revealed that the son had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother’s death.  This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun through the ninth-story window.

The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Story told at the 1994 annual awards dinner of the American Association for Forensic Science, Don Harper Mills, President of the Association.

Spring Break? HA!

This week is our Spring Break.  Really?  What kind of sick joke is this?  Call it by its proper name: Appellate Brief Week.

We don’t have classes this week.  Which is really nice.  Some time to wind down.  Some time to relax.  Sleep in a little.  Go to school, read and research all day.  Feel exhausted.  Come home and work on the yard a few hours.  Then to sleep.  Sounds pretty much like my normal week, except no classes.

Yesterday I spent about 6 hours reading cases and trying to piece some sense into what all the U.S. Court of Appeals make of a ‘True Threat’.  In a nutshell, the Supreme Court let loose a case from Virginia a few years back that not only failed to clarify or correct the split in the circuits, it made it worse.  Each circuit literally has a slightly different twist on the doctrine of ‘True Threat’.

Anyhow, if the reading wasn’t intense enough, I have been feeling the pangs of age.  As I approach 30, my poor left eye just can’t keep up anymore.  After reading another 6 hours straight today, I called in on an optometrist.  He confirmed my fears, I have eye fatigue.  He gave me a nice prescription for a pair of reading glasses.  He suggested I wear them while I am reading to help ease the strain on my eyes.  He said the eyes were in great shape and healthy, just tired.  I now have a pair of glasses!  Well, actually, I am going to take Amanda with me probably tomorrow to pick out a pair.  I had a pair of glasses in 1997 from all the reading then.  But last time I put them on, Amanda laughed so hard she nearly wet her pants.  So I didn’t bring them to Oklahoma with me and I doubt she would let me take them to school anyway.  I will take her with me so she can make sure I can wear the glasses and still be presentable in public, or at least to stay married to her.

This week I have been attempting to get caught up on some of the spring work in the yard.  I have about 3/4 of the yard raked and dethatched.  The lawn will be aerated tomorrow.  Then I will start planting some grass seed in sections so I can keep up with it and watering.  Always more to do.

Monday was Mom’s birthday.  I wrote her a letter in response to her last one.  I must admit, I am growing a bit weary of the letters.  I made sure a few points were clear.  One, that people have names and they are to be referred to by their names in the future.  I will not allow nicknames, especially derogatory ones.  Next, she will have to treat me, our family, and my religion with respect.  I clearly manifested to her that I would no longer respond to letters that were not uplifting and building.  We will have to see how that one comes down.  For 10 years now, I have held the hope of some decency in her letters.  I believe I have been more than charitable and willing to look over the abuse that comes in an envelope.  I just don’t have the time for it anymore.

My favorite part of the letters is that I am distancing myself from her?  What?  Trying to reach out and overlooking offense after offense directed at me is distancing myself?  I feel like I have been stretching much farther than I should have for a long time.  Many individuals have attempted to persuade me to stop writing her.  Well, my attempts to bridge a very wide divide are completely unappreciated and apparently unwelcome.  From now on, letter writing will be on my terms, or there will be no more letter writing.

This is hard because it is my mother.  I grow closer and closer to all the people around me, and others in my family, and yet cannot make up any ground with her.  Honestly, I feel like I am walking the road alone.  I will expend my efforts somewhere else rather than on a selfish, bitter, arrogant, conceited, unappreciative woman who happens to be my mother.  I am reminded of D&C 64, “And ye ought to say in your hearts – let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.  We all have to cut off the offending hand at one time or another.  I gave the hand a final warning.

Am I wrong?  I don’t feel like it.  But I am interested in what you think.

Time to go off and read the Joseph Smith lesson for Sunday!

Uproaching Ides of February

Okay, okay, okay.  I know, I have not been as diligent at the blog writing.  You will have to forgive me.  There are a couple of other things in my life going on besides me sitting around pondering what to share on the blog.

We have a new missionary in the ward.  When he said he was from Minnesota, the thought crossed my mind, “Hmmm, I wonder if he is related to Anna?”  I did not ask the question as we all know the “Do you know” game in Mormonism usually comes up empty.  When it does come up with a jackpot we then communicate it, we are best friends due to others, and life moves on.  Elder Lewis come to find out is related to Ms. Anna Badger.  It was fun to talk for a little bit and chat about those people we knew in common.  Alas, he had to go back to work, I went back to my life, and hopefully somebody else knows we were talking about them!  I will say I do miss those friends who I spent so much time with.  Amanda is a great replacement, but it would be nice to catch up from time to time.

Law school continues to humble me.  I realize every day how really useless my brain and eyes are.  I have to get a full 8 hours of sleep or my eyes start to fatigue and my brain retains less.  Add to that a few interactions with friends, some class time, and the constant confusion and bedtime cannot come too soon.  In visiting with friends who have gone before, they were all in the same situation, so I don’t feel worn down in solitude.  Others have passed this way before.

This weekend Amanda and I went out with some friends to a little restaurant in Bethany.  A town a little further down Old Route 66.  We ate at the Elephant Cafe which is supposed to be known for its ‘authentic’ Thai food.  I don’t know that I have eaten authentic ‘Thai’ food, I haven’t been to Thailand or Taiwan so I have no real experience to judge.  One thing is pretty sure, if this was a cheap Chinese knockoff, I still probably wouldn’t go back.  But they have sushi.  I thought the sushi was good enough, and cheap enough, so I might venture again.  Although not likely with Ms. Anti-Sushi Wife.

I understand today there was some tornadoes here in Oklahoma City.  Apparently Chuck-e-Cheese or whatever place took a direct hit.  Hopefully nobody was hurt.  Amanda has sent a picture of what appears to be a funnel cloud from Yukon.  I forgot we lived in the Great Plains where such things happen.  I am not too worried about it, if Dorothy can live through it, why can’t I?  I lived through one in Missouri, although it never touched down, and only barely turned the sky green.  But I lived through it.  I guess this makes one for Amanda.  My wife experienced her first tornado today.  I better be careful, I may have to deal with larger ones in the progression…

Lastly, I thought I would comment on this whole ‘help the economy’, ‘bail out’, ‘save the world’ business going on in DC.  What has the world come to?  My family and I will be fitting this bill for years to come.  But I live in America, land of the free; except you have to pay taxes to help those who made poor business decisions, oh and were greedy, and pay for infrastructure (also known as health care, business, and automobiles), failed to prepare for the future, want to live on a dole, and who really don’t care or give a darn.  My favorite part about living in this country is that the easy route is the path most preferred.  So if we continue to allow these types of behavior to be rewarded, it means only more and more will jump on the bandwagon, leading us to become like the French (bitter, rude, selfish, and want everything for nothing – oh wait, perhaps this the Americans, or we hate the French because they are so much like us, and they hate us because we are becoming so much like them!).  Nevertheless, government continues to expand and grow and somebody has to pay for the most inefficient of all creatures upon the earth.

Fun Texas Case

I thought I would share this case since it was such a highlight of the week.  Too bad most cases are not this entertaining!  Don’t fall on the wrong side of the judge!

KENT, District Judge.

This is a breach of contract case based on an insurance contract entered into by Plaintiff and Defendant. Now before the Court is Defendant’s October 11, 1996 Motion to Transfer Venue from the Galveston Division to the Houston Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.
[1] Headnote Citing References[2] Headnote Citing References Section 1404(a) provides: “For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The defendant bears the burden of demonstrating to the District Court that it should, in its sound discretion, decide to transfer the action. Peteet v. Dow Chemical Co., 868 F.2d 1428, 1436 (5th Cir.) (holding that the decision whether to transfer rests with the sound discretion of the District Court), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 935, 110 S.Ct. 328, 107 L.Ed.2d 318 (1989); Time, Inc. v. Manning, 366 F.2d 690, 698 (5th Cir.1966) (holding that the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the action should be transferred). The Court weighs the following factors to decide whether a transfer is warranted: the availability and convenience of witnesses and parties, the location of counsel, the location of books and records, the cost of obtaining attendance of witnesses and other trial expenses, the place of the alleged wrong, the possibility of delay and prejudice if transfer is granted, and the plaintiff’s choice of forum, which is generally entitled to great deference. E.g., Dupre v. Spanier Marine Corp., 810 F.Supp. 823, 825 (S.D.Tex.1993); Continental Airlines v. American Airlines, 805 F.Supp. 1392, 1395-96 (S.D.Tex.1992) (discussing the importance of the plaintiff’s choice of forum in light of the policies underlying § 1404(a)).
[3] Headnote Citing References Defendant’s request for a transfer of venue is centered around the fact that Galveston does not have a commercial airport into which Defendant’s employees and corporate*784 representatives may fly and out of which they may be expediently whisked to the federal courthouse in Galveston. Rather, Defendant contends that it will be faced with the huge “inconvenience” of flying into Houston and driving less than forty miles to the Galveston courthouse, an act that will “encumber” it with “unnecessary driving time and expenses.” The Court certainly does not wish to encumber any litigant with such an onerous burden. The Court, being somewhat familiar with the Northeast, notes that perceptions about travel are different in that part of the country than they are in Texas. A litigant in that part of the country could cross several states in a few hours and might be shocked at having to travel fifty miles to try a case, but in this vast state of Texas, such a travel distance would not be viewed with any surprise or consternation. FN1 Defendant should be assured that it is not embarking on a three-week-long trip via covered wagons when it travels to Galveston. Rather, Defendant will be pleased to discover that the highway is paved and lighted all the way to Galveston, and thanks to the efforts of this Court’s predecessor, Judge Roy Bean, the trip should be free of rustlers, hooligans, or vicious varmints of unsavory kind. Moreover, the speed limit was recently increased to seventy miles per hour on most of the road leading to Galveston, so Defendant should be able to hurtle to justice at lightning speed. To assuage Defendant’s worries about the inconvenience of the drive, the Court notes that Houston’s Hobby Airport is located about equal drivetime from downtown Houston and the Galveston courthouse. Defendant will likely find it an easy, traffic-free ride to Galveston as compared to a congested, construction-riddled drive to downtown Houston. The Court notes that any inconvenience suffered in having to drive to Galveston may likely be offset by the peacefulness of the ride and the scenic beauty of the sunny isle.

FN1. “The sun is ‘rize, the sun is set, and we is still in Texas yet!”

[4] Headnote Citing References The convenience of the witnesses and the parties is generally a primary concern of this Court when considering transfer motions. However, vague statements about the convenience of unknown and unnamed witnesses is insufficient to convince this Court that the convenience of the witnesses and the parties would be best served by transferring venue. See Dupre, 810 F.Supp. at 823 (to support a transfer of venue, the moving party cannot merely allege that certain key witnesses are not available or are inconveniently located, but must specifically identify the key witnesses and outline the substance of their testimony). In the Court’s view, even if all the witnesses, documents, and evidence relevant to this case were located within walking distance of the Houston Division courthouse, the inconvenience caused by retaining the case in this Court would be minimal at best in this age of convenient travel, communication, discovery, and trial testimony preservation. The Galveston Division courthouse is only about fifty miles from the Houston Division courthouse. “[I]t is not as if the key witnesses will be asked to travel to the wilds of Alaska or the furthest reaches on the Continental United States.” Continental Airlines, 805 F.Supp. at 1397.
As to Defendant’s argument that Houston might also be a more convenient forum for Plaintiff, the Court notes that Plaintiff picked Galveston as her forum of choice even though she resides in San Antonio. Defendant argues that flight travel is available between Houston and San Antonio but is not available between Galveston and San Antonio, again because of the absence of a commercial airport. Alas, this Court’s kingdom for a commercial airport! FN2 The Court is unpersuaded by this argument because it is not this Court’s concern how Plaintiff gets here, whether it be by plane, train, automobile, horseback, foot, or on the back of a huge Texas jackrabbit, as long as Plaintiff is here at the proper date and time. Thus, the Court declines to disturb the forum chosen by the Plaintiff and introduce the likelihood of delay inherent in any transfer simply to *785 avoid the insignificant inconvenience that Defendant may suffer by litigating this matter in Galveston rather than Houston. See United Sonics, Inc. v. Shock, 661 F.Supp. 681, 683 (W.D.Tex.1986) (plaintiff’s choice of forum is “most influential and should rarely be disturbed unless the balance is strongly in defendant’s favor”); Dupre, 810 F.Supp. at 828 (a prompt trial “is not without relevance to the convenience of parties and witnesses and the interest of justice”).

FN2. Defendant will again be pleased to know that regular limousine service is available from Hobby Airport, even to the steps of this humble courthouse, which has got lights, indoor plummin’, ‘lectric doors, and all sorts of new stuff, almost like them big courthouses back East.

For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s Motion to Transfer is hereby DENIED. The parties are ORDERED to bear their own taxable costs and expenses incurred herein to date. The parties are also ORDERED to file nothing further on this issue in this Court, including motions to reconsider and the like. Instead, the parties are instructed to seek any further relief to which they feel themselves entitled in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as may be appropriate in due course.

Smith v. Colonial Penn Ins. Co.
943 F.Supp. 782

Second Semester

Monday starts the new semester.  What in the world will school hold in store this semester?  I must confess, I feel some anxiety in starting again.  I feel comfortable with what happened last semester.  I have learned my lessons and just need to be diligent in implementing the changes.  Ultimately education is about time and review.  Making sure I incorporate that understanding into my studies should make me more successful.

Torts is a thing of the past, unless I decide to further that line in the 2nd and 3rd years.  Unfortunately, contracts starts again on Tuesday.  I don’t think it is so much the subject, as exciting as contracts sound, it is more the professor.  However, he looks past my idiosyncrasies, if he knows them.  Legal Writing and Analysis I really like but it is diminished to one less credit hour.  As much as I like it though, I feel it takes too much of a back seat with all the other classes.  I hope to rectify that this semester as well.  Hopefully I can deal with that appropriately too.

Civil Procedure is the old stand by.  I really enjoy Civil Procedure and the professor makes much of the experience.  I am really looking forward to more of it this semester.

This semester adds two new classes.  Property, which sounds dry anyhow, and everyone assures me it is.  The second is Criminal Procedure which sounds fascinating.  Now I have two dry classes, one that I really like but just consumes loads of time in writing, and the other two I am looking forward to.  Hopefully I can maintain optimism throughout the semester accordingly!

In other news, I have spent the week working on the bathroom.  I am happy to say I have replaced the floor, ripped out the divider wall, tore all the walls down to the studs, and have sheetrocked the entire bathroom.  The plumber came in and installed the shower and replaced the ventilation pipe behind the toilet.  I did not do this myself.  I am happy my good friends Brian Peters and Andrew Curtis came to help.  Some of it just cannot be done by yourself.  Some of it we worked through and we are learning more and more.  Tomorrow we start the mudding process in preparation for plastering.  Mudding and taping I have done before.  I have never plastered.  We have to plaster to make the walls match the two walls I did not replace.  Besides, who doesn’t like that textured look?  From what I have read online, plastering takes a day or two, so it won’t be finished this weekend.

After removing the divider wall, I have discovered this country does not have two sided tubs!!  I had them in two of my missionary flats and never considered they were not available in this country.  Geez!  I might end up building a pony wall at the end of the toilet.  However, due to space problems, I don’t like that option.  We will have to see.  I hope to have a functioning shower in place for when Don and Lolane Andra stay with us in February.  I think that is a good goal.  Even if there is not floor covering or painted walls by that time.

We also had an electrician come and look at the home.  To fix everything the inspection said needed to be done, we will be out about $2,500.  That will consolidate the two breaker panels, close all the junction boxes, get all the wire off the ground in the crawl space, find and remove the useless wires laying in the attic, and secure all wires throughout the home properly.  We have wires laying all over under the house and in the attic.  We don’t know which are hot, which are not, and where they go.  Plus they should be secured properly, not just laying around.  This $2,500 itself will increase the value of our home at least that.  We will get a return on that investment.  He also gave us an estimate for about another $1,000 for fixing plugs that don’t work, putting in switches where they should be, and miscellaneous items.

It was actually pretty humorous the night the electrician came.  The plumber was working in the bathroom.  The nurse was in the kitchen filling out paperwork for life insurance.  I was trying to coordinate everything.  Andrew had just left from helping and I was putting things away.  I ended up giving the plumber and electrician a tour of the attic for everything that needed to be fixed up there and Amanda was calling for me to have my blood drawn.  It was pretty hectic.

Anyhow, life continues on in the Ross household.  I have been pretty busy outside of school.  Oh, I pruned all the trees and keep building up the compost pile with leaves and flowerbed scraps.

The ward and missionaries have kept me busy.  We organized the ward mission over the past two weeks.  We secured permission from the Mission President for exchanges in the ward.  We organized the Elders and High Priests to go on the exchanges and who they would be meeting.  We organized the goals for the entire ward and how we are going to achieve them this week.  Additionally, we are jumping on the new member discussions for the new members who have been neglected in the past.  Hopefully we have the ball rolling in such a way that things will work since I will be MIA during the semester.  Hopefully everything I can take care of through e-mail.  Sunday will still be busy, especially since we will be meeting in a school for the entire year of 2009.

Time to sign off.  Amanda and I have renewed our goal for the year for reading the scriptures.  We decided to start with the Doctrine and Covenants to be on for Sunday School.  When we finish D&C we will start the Book of Mormon.  Ultimately on that schedule of one chapter a day, we have about 20 chapters left over at the end of the year.  We will have to read two chapters a day for the last 10 days of the year and we will complete the goal proper.

2008 in Review

This morning while everyone sleeps, I thought I would give a quick year in review.  Wow, what a year.  Probably the best year of my life.  I hope I can continue to say that every year!

One year ago, it was the first day of being laid off in my life.  Good ole Bank of America laid off the entire Wholesale Division.  My life as a underwriter came to an end as the mortgage industry was obviously in signs of trouble.  I decided to leave the entire industry.  Boy, am I glad I did!  1 January 2008 brought a month of trying, scrambling to find out what to do.  I had severance for a year and my job working professionally as a genealogist.  That carried us through.  I have been doing genealogy for the same family over the Christmas Break to supplement our income.  That is certainly a great blessing.  I know it is a blessing to their family and those who have gone on before as well.  I have probably added more than 2 or 3 generations on each of their family lines.

The first week or two of January I received an offer for employment in Pasco, Washington covering the states of Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming for Inlande Environmental Resources.  I would be making more than 10K more, have my own vehicle, card, and a whole lot more.  The only downside is I would be in Idaho most of the time while Amanda would remain in Virginia to finish her education.  We decided it was a great offer, much better than our options in Virginia, and could help open doors for the future.  The end of January, Brad Hales flew out, and we made a cross country trek in my pickup.  Brad has always been a very generous, kind friend.  Who would have thought a mission to England would have such long lasting repercussions?

February through June found me working for IER working with existing customers and making new sales.  The only big contract I found was with J.B. Swift in Hyrum, Utah.  It was 2 or 3 truckloads a month at present.  They were having so many problems with Thatcher Chemical that it was a fairly easy sell.  Honestly, I was just at the right place at the right time.  I really don’t think I personally did anything that really made the sale but it made me a favorite with the bosses.  We opened quite a few doors.  The big thing I enjoyed was the travel.  Salem, Portland, The Dalles, Weston, Pendleton, Gresham, and more in Oregon.  Toppenish, Yakima, Zillah, Sunnyside, Grandview, Pasco, Kennewick, Wenatchee, and Colfax Washington.  Wenatchee was another example of just being in the right place at the right time.  We were solving a foaming problem with apple concentrate waste.  We just had the right chemical but became known as the defoaming expert!  I also traveled all over Utah, Vernal being the most exotic visit.  I sure enjoyed Inlande Environmental.  They were really good to me and I enjoyed working for them.

May rolled around and I decided to accept an opening at Oklahoma City University for Law School.  I announced it to my bosses and they were more than accepting.  They knew when they interviewed me for the job I was seriously considering law school.  They were so good to me!  In fact, they let me keep my salary through to August while Amanda and I took our trip to Europe and here to Oklahoma City.  Amanda also graduated in May.  Amanda’s parents and I flew out for the big occasion.  We sure had quite a bit of fun!  During the time there we packed everything to move all our stuff to Oklahoma City.  We did a little sight-seeing as well.  Monticello was probably my favorite place to visit and I was fortunate everyone else wanted to go as well.  In the end, I flew back to work in Idaho and Amanda with the in-laws drove to Oklahoma City in a moving truck, and from there to Kaysville in the car.

A big first for the year.  We purchased our first home!  A quaint little 30’s home near 23rd Street NW in Oklahoma City.  A wonderful little home with plenty of things to keep me busy but still liveable.

June rolled around and then Amanda and I went on our very expensive weight loss program.  I can boast losing about 20 pounds running around Europe.  We spent six weeks in Europe.  Many, many firsts for both of us.  We visited friends in Belgium and they were very kind to treat us.  Primarily, it was perfect for getting over jet lag!  We then went crazy in traveling for the next 6 weeks.  About 4 days in Belgium.  We attended a Stake Conference in Antwerp and attended dedicatory prayers in Dutch.  That prepared us for Brugge, and where we spent our next few days in Amsterdam.  We saw the sights and even made a trip to Den Haag.  Off we shot across The Netherlands, across Germany to Berlin, and down to an ancestral home in Dresden.  I still think Dresden was probably my favorite place.  Even better than Vianden or the rest of Luxembourg.  Dresden is also near to Meissen which was another ancestral home.  I would love to spend a week in Dresden.  We shot across Germany through Leipzig down to Augsburg.  There we were based to hit Munchen, Dachau, and Fussen for Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.  Then we headed off to visit Stuttgart with Neuffen and Holzgerlingen (ancestral towns) before heading to Salzburg.  Salzburg was definitely another favorite.  Gorgeous town.  Then off to sweltering Venice via Innsbruck.  There we spent time in a very different culture and climate in a city on the water with no water to drink!  After Venice, up through Padua to Zurich and down to Bern.  Bern was definitely another favorite.  I really wish we could have spent some good quality time there.  Then off through Lausanne and Geneva for a few wonderful, long, unorganized days in Paris.  If there was ever a point Amanda and I were getting tired it was in Paris.  More with each other than with the city.  But we really enjoyed Paris nevertheless.  If we had been stuck in Amsterdam during this time, we may have been in marital breakdown, but Paris made it bearable.  After Paris, we headed back to Belgium for a day or two before flying off to Prestwick, Scotland.

We then were in a car for the next 3 weeks!  That day we made our way through Glasgow before ending in Edinburgh for some wonderful times there.  We really liked that city.  I could certainly feel we were back in the United Kingdom.  There is a flavor in the air that reeks of Britain.  From there we worked our way down through Manchester, Liverpool, Northern Wales, Birmingham, Bath, Dorset, and finally to London.  In the UK we spent two weeks of it in the old stomping grounds of the England Manchester Mission.  We visited loads of people I knew and tried to balance that with seeing the sites for Amanda.  I think we did a good job.  We also caught up with some long time friends, the Gores and the Byroms.  We also met up with my old missionary companion Elder Gheorghe Simion and his wife who now live in Liverpool.  After the mission we visited ancestral homes near Birmingham, even stumbling on a cemetery in Halesowen with plenty of ‘my’ Coley line.  It was fun.  Bath was quite a bit of fun crashing that night with a cousin in Milton Abbas, a gorgous little Dorset town.  They treated us very, very well.  Then off to London crashing with the Jeppesen’s in Weybridge.  We spent our remaining time with them in their posh house until we flew out.  All in all, we loved our entire trip.  Paris could have used a bit more planning, but the trip as a whole was utterly marvelous.  We feel very, very blessed to have been able to take the trip.

We landed in Utah and the gears started grinding in different ways.  I tried to make sure everything was a successful transition for IER and we headed out for Oklahoma City.  We arrived here the very last week of July.  Before August had arrived we had moved all our possessions into the home and started setting up for the next few years.  I went to work on the yard, Amanda went to work on the inside.  We came to know our ward, get lined up for school, Amanda a dental hygiene license, and job.  Everything fell into place within a month.  I was rolling with law school and Amanda had a job blocks from home.

The rest of the year was fairly uneventful.  I sat trying to recoup some of my weight lost in Europe (I have been unsuccessful, not that I really want it back) in the law school library.  I picked up squash here again.  Amanda works her days away.  I am slowly remodeling a bathroom with all that extra time.  Amanda took up sewing our Halloween costumes and organizing Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then the year was over!

All in all, what a year!  I feel highly blessed of heaven.  Who could ask for anything more?  We have started paying off student loans for Amanda.  We are also paying for some work done on the house and what little remains of our trip to Europe.  We paid off the washer and dryer, now the refrigerator next.  Then we can start socking it away for retirement (since our retirement took quite a hit in October and since!).  Plus there will be plenty more to do to the house if we should really want to invest.  But all in all, God has been very good to us.  May he continue to light our paths and may we continue to do what is needed to bring down the extra blessings!  I am looking forward to 2009, although I think it will be much less eventful than 2008.  But hey, who knows?