Urine and the Sabbath

A couple of fun things going on in my life right now.  Wednesday I will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court as a Licensed Legal Intern.  I am pretty pumped about that.  That same day I am picking up a vehicle to drive to the J. Reuben Clark National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We will be there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Sunday morning we will leave to drive back here to Oklahoma City and be ready for classes on Monday.  Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels!  Now I just have to figure out how I am going to work out Valentines Day, without me here until late at night.

School continues along and I think this definitely has to be my most boring semester.  Administration, Agency, Corporation, and Constitutional Law are all very dry.  Some of the professors don’t help the situation a whole lot either.  Administration Law holds some interest for me, probably because I am most familiar with it of all the classes.  But hands down, my favorite class of law school is Debtor and Creditor Law, aka Consumer Bankruptcy.  While the material is interesting, the professor just makes it come alive.  He is there to help us become lawyers and it is manifest.  Other professors pontificate, alienate, and other motives which make it less than the best learning atmosphere.  Professor Vaughn comes speaking to us of personal experience and walks us through the adventure of consumer law.  Oh that all professors were just as good.  After one of the classes, I told him how much I appreciated his style.  He remarked that he initially thought about how smart he could look, and how he was going to make us all grovel at his knowledge.  He then realized that benefits nobody and the best approach is to make the material come alive and to make it interesting.  Boy am I glad he does.  We have some good laughs too.  Our Con Law professor enjoys himself too, but he does all the talking and it turns into a long class period.

Some exciting news on the home.  We had some friends who replaced some appliances.  We jumped at the opportunity to replace our dishwasher with a much newer version.  It is now in place and the old one is listed on Craig’s List, ready to go out to the highest bidder.

We have a squirrel living in the attic in which he marks his territory and we live with the intoxicating smell of a dehydrated squirrel.  I loaned a book in exchange for a squirrel trap, so here is for hoping (s)he falls for peanut butter crackers.  I cannot wait to get rid of him.  I patched the hole he made several weeks ago.  I am surprised he lived this long.  Unfortunately, we have a roof leak which probably replentished him with moisture.  At least he didn’t die between our new ceilings and the old lathe and plaster ones.  Come summer time we would be enduring something far worse than the once a week or so urine smell.  I would have to rip up some of those old ceilings to find him, and in cramped spaces, I can see me vomiting over the rotting corpse of a squirrel while we are both covered in insulation, dust, and plaster.

A couple of thoughts from the Old Testament reading before I stop tonight.  I hear from time to time that the only sacrifices to the Lord were blood sacrifices.  Those individuals need to read the Old Testament a little closer.  There are flour, bread, fruits, and all sorts of other things that were part of the law of sacrifices.  “Then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord…the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine…two wave loaves” and more!  Leviticus 23:10, 13, 17.

The thing that has fascinated me about Leviticus has always been Chapter 25.  The implications of this chapter in the modern world have always made me think.  What if we did this now?  It relates particularly to the Sabbath.  Today we celebrate and honor the Sabbath Day.  Why don’t we celebrate the Sabbath Year?  Why don’t we hold Jubilee?  It would completely revolutionize our economic system and all the ways we look at our society.  I mean, if we keep the Sabbath Day now, it would revolutionize our country.

“Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.  That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.  And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, and for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall the increase thereof be meat.”  Leviticus 25:4-8.

What if we took the entire 7th year off and dedicated it unto the Lord?  Serve missions?  Focus only on our families?  Travel a little?  The possibilities are endless.  Does that mean the whole country would have to take the same year off?  I don’t know what the ancient practice was, nor do I know if we could all take it off at the same time.  A GDP of 0 for a year?  Geez could we complain?  Sunday is a day off, and the 7th entire year.  Much better deal than any of us get now.  Go to school for a year, is that upholding the Sabbath?

Ah, and then the Jubile!  “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you: and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”  Leviticus 25:10.

So the thought comes, how in the world shall I ever make it through that year?  How in the world can I afford to do what is being asked for me.  To save up, prepare, and to endure that 7th year.  Well, the Lord has an answer for us.  “Then I will command my blessings upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.”  Leviticus 25:21.  How is that for a blessing.  Not only will we have enough for that one year, but we will have enough for 3 years.  Talk about a great return.  Some of that would have to go to restarting that new year, but wow, there will still be plenty left over.

Anyhow, I won’t go on anymore, but there is an economic system in Leviticus 25!  What if we were to live it today?  How fundamentally different would we be.  Forgiving everyone’s debts every 7 years would be beautiful.  No more house payment.  No usury.  It even talks about the suburbs in Leviticus 25:34!

There are many great things in the Old Testament.  Unfortunately we are all too smart and intelligent to consider giving another chance to the Spirit of the old ways.  We are more knowledgeable today, things are different.  So far, I doubt that, especially when I see our pride in knowing things are certainly different for us now when we seem to keep falling to the same old sins.

Construction again

Amanda has announced that we have started our next project on the house.  Even before the last one was completed.  As most already know, we had our home broken into the last day of April.  I finally replaced the double doors this past week and a half.  But before I could get the trim put up, Amanda let me know not to put it up because she was going to paint the room.  I am okay with that, just wanted to get the bathroom finished before we started another room.  She hasn’t let me know the color yet, but I started scraping the walls last night of the strange plaster leaf patters found throughout the room. We can start sanding the walls down tonight and hopefully have the patching and priming done on Friday.  Then Amanda and paint her little heart’s content on Saturday and Monday.  This room just happens to be a pain because we had to seal it from the rest of the kitchen, and the little utility closet, and now to cover the refrigerator (have you ever thought of what a strange name that is?  Frigid-cold.  Refrig?  Was it cold before?  rator makes some sense, it seems to denote a motor is involved.  Probably just some marketing name that stuck).

The replacement back patio french doors turned out to be an episode in and of itself.  When I went to Lowe’s, I told them what I wanted and made sure to emphasize I needed it in 60 inch, not the usual 72 inch.  We loaded the doors into the truck and drove home.  A good friend came over and we carried the doors around back (heavy thing!) and I had a 72 inch set of french doors.  Darn it!  We then had to reload them, take them back, go through the whole process of return, and then waiting for them to get the hyster to pull the doors we need off the second tier of shelving.  We made it back home with the much lighter doors.  However, the eave is pretty low on the back so I had to lose the molding off the outside top of the door.  It was a very, very tight fit, but we got the doors in.  It then took us the next 4 hours to get the doors level and to close right.  In the end, I had to have another friend come over that weekend and help level them out some more.  We finally came to the conclusion the door is warped.  I am hoping the door will warp back to where it needs because I most surely am not taking the entire door set back to Lowe’s for a new set to do the whole thing all over again!

I caulked the sides and just need to finish trimming the outside after we get the security people over to install the new sensor (which I broke on the old door).  If it is not one thing, it is another.

We have been getting some estimates on the tiling of the bathroom.  We have some as high as $700 and some as low as $350.  Those are both just for the labour.  I really don’t want to have to rent/buy a saw and go through the chores of the tiling business just to screw it up and start over.  I would like to watch someone do it and then I will venture in the future.  I guess I could always go do the DIY class somewhere, but school starts in a few weeks.  I don’t have time.  I don’t think the supplies will cost more than $300 for our little shower.  We will do it in the next month.

Then starts the dreaded school!  Just thinking about it makes my stomach sick.  The long, long hours of slaving over books doesn’t seem all that exciting.  I do find it very mentally stimulating and exciting learning the new things, but it wears on you after the first month.  Then it is just enduring because you realize nothing else in your life is being accomplished.  Like the at favorite book, wanting to watch a movie, or even just eating out once and a while.  Nope, you are a slave to the law library.  To such a degree that you have to wear your reading glasses by the end of the semester and you cannot seem to get the right words to come out of your mouth.  You are thinking the right word, but a different word emerges.  Hopefully not to anyone’s embarrassment.  I am taking more credits this coming semester than I ever have and I fear that after having the entire summer off.  Some people have kept the pace to some degree over the summer, but I have been completely involved in other pursuits in the evenings.  As long as everyone realizes that I am Mr. Anti-Social during school, and all will be fine.

Probably time to sign out.  I would offer some political advice, but I am so far removed from the political situation now that it was be the same as a sports enthusiast at the television.  One thing is for sure, if I personally spent like the government, I would have lost all credit and probably even thrown in jail.  Funny what government can get away with.  Hopefully all the states will finally stand up and take their position as opposition to the Federal Government.  I don’t care who the President is.  Our current man isn’t any better than the last with fiscal responsibility.  Both are cowards and weak at determining what really is the future of our nation.  It would be great if we could have a California situation with the national government.

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.

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.

Season’s Greetings

A few notes on the life of the Ross Family in preparation for Christmas 2008.

All the presents are wrapped and to be found under the tree.  The presents have been there for a couple of weeks so we have avoided the last minute panic.  Well, almost.  Amanda has a present she ordered for me several weeks which has to arrive.  But that is ultimately out of our hands.  We are ready and awaiting for Christmas morning to dawn.

Christmas should be interesting.  We have invited over the missionaries, Elder Martin from Bountiful and Elder Clark from Spring City, for Christmas lunch.  Ultimately it is for the use of our mobile phones.  They both have about an hour in which to speak and with two cell phones, they can both make their calls at the same time.  We don’t mind, we have racked up over 1000 rollover minutes.

We have the Institute missionary couple over for dinner on Sunday.  Elder and Sister Twiss are from St. George.  They will be joining us for dinner.  I invited them.  Neither Amanda and I remembered we already had Elder Martin and Elder Clark for dinner that same day.  Now we will have 4 full time missionaries at our dinner on Sunday!  We need the blessings.  We have determined to feed them curry, rice, and pompadoms.  Amanda is going to make some Naan Bread as well and I will make an English Trifle.  Should be fun!  To add to it all, Amanda and I have both been asked to speak in Sacrament on Sunday.  It is going to be a full day!  We are both speaking on goals.  We have known about this for more than two months.  I am going to dedicate the week to writing that talk and working on family history for my kind patron.  I hope to put in a good 40 hours over the next few weeks.  Hopefully that will pay for next semester’s law books and some other bills.

We took our beloved Rhonda in today.  For those who are not aware, that is the name of our little Camry.  Not long after I purchased her, somebody asked what her name was.  I stated I did not know.  The classic Beach Boys Song, Help me Rhonda, came on right after that.  Since I have a long history with the song, I thought it would be perfect.  Anyhow, we took her in for an oil change this morning.  She has been making some strange noise on the passenger side of the car in the rear wheel and some in the front wheel.  I was hoping it would be a small, easy job.  But alas, my fears were realized.  Both shock absorbers on that side of the car have started leaking.  Upon further inspection, all four shock absorbers need replaced.  Seeing how they are all inside MacPherson Struts, that puts at about $1600 to replace all four!  The one is leaking bad enough they suggested replacement within the next 6 months.  To add to that, they were kind enough to point out where one of my engine mounts have cracked.  Well, I have another $400 in replacing my engine mounts to look forward to.  I can break the forward and rear struts into two visits.  The engine mounts will probably last me another 9 months, they will have to.  It is still cheaper than purchasing a new car.  Additionally, the engine and body are in great shape.  Hopefully we can still get another 150,000-250,000 miles out of her.  I sure hope so!

Some more news on our little abode.  The weather has turned particularly cold the past week.  Our poor little furnace just can’t seem to keep up with it.  Amanda and I have accepted we will probably have little communication from our feet in the upcoming months.  The floors just don’t seem to want to stay warm.  I will look forward to insulating the attic and hopefully the walls this summer.  It will surely help with air conditioning as well.  Our poor air conditioning unit on the warmest days struggled to keep the house below 80.  We normally set the air conditioning at 75.  Some days it got as warm as 83 in the house.  It just couldn’t keep up.  We have the heat set at 72 but our feet don’t really gain their feeling back as it seems the lower portions of each room never warm.

On a good note, I ripped out much of the lathe, plaster, and sheetrock from two walls of the main bathroom this past week.  Now we are ready to start looking at installing the new sheetrock.  I still need to pull off the top layer of rotten wood on the floor.  We have a company coming tomorrow to give us an estimate on installing the new tub and gear with it.  I am looking forward to it.  Their ideas and products will determine whether I pull out the dividing wall of the bathroom.  Hopefully we can pull out the wall to really open up the room.  It just depends if we can get a product to enclose the shower/tub without requiring a wall.  Then I can determine whether I need to rip the rest of the sheetrock off that wall so we can do the whole thing at once.  (That remaining portion still has the lathe under the sheetrock so it would need to be pulled out to make it all level.)

The plumber came last week and finished most of the plumbing job.  We are going to wait until spring to replace the outside spigots and redo the gas line.  He will also come back to hook up our new bathtub and shower.  That job is mostly done.  I am glad.  What next?  We will see.  We have electrical work before we insulate.

A little update about finals and school.  I have never experienced anything quite like finals in my life.  As I have written previously, it was nothing like I had experienced.  The actual examinations, the three hours of finals, was really nothing new.  As I have written, it reminded quite a bit of some of my exams at Utah State.  However, the studying and understanding everything in such a way as to be able to explain it under a new set of facts and apply it to the situation was new.  Anyhow, I feel I have been successful.  Contracts was done and left me with no surprises.  I feel like I nailed the first question squarely on the head.  The rest I feel I did a good job on, but not excellent.  I expect I did at least average and can hope I at least made the C range.  I am hoping I made it into B or even possible A territory.  Torts came next.  Boy, that one was a bear!  Four hours of exam, three questions.  It just about killed me.  I had a headache and my left eye ached very badly after such intense attention for 4 hours.  My eye pain was enough I am considering going to the eye doctor for fear of eye fatigue.  But after the exam, I again felt I did well.  Nothing was new and I felt I did a good job of covering each of the issues and explaining the reasoning on the outcome I was predicting.  I am confident enough in Torts to hope I am comfortably in the B range.  Lastly, we have Civil Procedure.  This is the one that was so simple it is frightening.  Honestly, it didn’t seem very challenging.  If that is the case, if all excel on it, we all get C’s!  I have yet to hear of anyone who thinks it was not easy.  What is more, I analyzed the right method on the first question, but I took the wrong line of thinking with relation to how I got there.  I covered all the material but two sentences segue was wrong and I am hoping it doesn’t penalize me.  The same for another question, I made a comment as if the judgment was a default judgment.  I knew it wasn’t but that comment could hurt me.  Therefore, if the exam was that simple, my mistakes could put me in the C- range, or even D!  I surely hope not.  I feel like I really mastered the information, but my mistakes under pressure might be what cost me the points.  I can hope!  Too bad I cannot amend my final answer like you can a pleading in the real world.  Oh well, I am confident I am at least average and will not flunk out after my first semester.  There is still hope I can pull a B out of Legal Writing and Analysis.  I doubt I or anyone I am close friends with will pull an A in any of the classes.  Hopefully I will be surprised.  We made an agreement with some of us.  If anyone gets an A, we are going out for sushi.  If a B, then we will just go out to eat.

Anyhow, we are happy.  We were planning on going out to Idaho/Utah beginning in 2009.  However, with costs, time away from potential work, and now needed car work, I doubt we will make it.  I would like to finish as much of the bathroom before school starts again as I can.  Plus, there is always other things to work on.  Plus I can do family history to make sure some money continues to come in while Amanda is off work.

Time to sign off.  We will see what this coming week holds for us.

Family History Haunting

Life continues to go well for Amanda and me.  Another week has flown by with little more than a blink.  It is alarming how quickly they seem to be going.  There are a couple of notes to make besides that of school and work.

I received an e-mail this morning letting me know we now have well over a foot of snow at the homestead in Idaho!  How exciting is that?  We are still in the 80’s here.

Amanda and I have organized a Halloween Party on the 25th of October.  We are pretty excited to have a little get together of about 25-30 here at our home.  We are really looking forward to it.  We are even going to get our sewer half of our plumbing done before then so we have our main bathroom’s sink and toilet available.  Baby steps!  Hopefully they won’t look behind the shower curtain to see the missing bathtub and rotten floor.  One of the guys at school has joked about coming as Mom.  It will be the 10th anniversary.

I went to another little auction yesterday up in Guthrie.  If you wouldn’t believe it, I found another couple of steals.  I came home with some Shakespeare volumes (from 1881!) and about 150 other books for $2.50.  Some of the other books included a Hemingway set of 3, a Dickens set of 4, and 1930’s Treasure Island, and other random interesting books.  Looking online, I could make over $100 for my $2.50.  However, most of the volumes I could sell I wanted for my own collection.  We kept about 20.  The other 100+ will be going to the thrift store.  I did find a little hall table for $2.50.  We will have to sand it down and clean it up, but Amanda has already declared she loves it.  I walked away with a bow saw, a water cooler, and other little random things.  It was worth it.  Holt, from school also went, and he picked up some great deals too.

Today was a busy day.  We didn’t set our clocks for getting up so we missed the first 15 minutes of church.  We missed Amanda being sustained on the Enrichment Committee.  We also missed the Sacrament.  I am feeling a bit inactive since we have now missed it for two weeks.  Apostasy setting in!  I made up for it after church.  I went with the missionaries and we tried to find about 15 lost sheep for more than 3 hours.  We were able to locate some good information.  I was happy to report about 15 individuals to the Elder’s Quorum President with address updates for at least 8 of them.  Most of them are not in our ward so they will have to be sent elsewhere.

I haven’t told anyone, but I have been asked to teach some of the family history classes for the new FamilySearch.  My first class was on Friday night.  There were about 50 people there.  I was slightly deceived on what I was teaching.  I thought I was teaching a small number of family history consultants for the Oklahoma City Stake.  Nope.  I was teaching Family History Stake Directors for the entire Oklahoma City Temple District.  There were individuals there from Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  All over the temple district!  The class was apparently such a success they delayed my teaching the second class for a week.  Rather than teaching the second lesson this coming Friday, I am now re-teaching the first lesson with the entire Stake’s Membership invited.  Yikes!!  Meaning, we are setting up the cultural hall for the lessons!!  So much for keeping under the radar for callings in Oklahoma City.  Here I am teaching all who choose to attend from the entire stake.  Not to mention with the temple district’s consultants invited to come back for the second lesson and third lessons.  The funny part was my Bishopric told me they would let me coast a little since I am in law school.  They just wanted me to help with lost sheep and Home Teaching where needed.  Somehow I ended up with a class teaching a stake??  Oddly, it isn’t even a calling, I was just asked to teach the class.  This family history thing is haunting me!  It just won’t leave me alone!

Time to sign off.  I need to read a little bit for my torts class tomorrow.  Yeah for negligence.

Starting in Earnest

What little tidbits could I update you on this day?  What has been happening in life?

I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the year.  I was a few days ahead of schedule and pretty excited about that.  I have dedicated myself to answering the questions about LDS doctrine from Lee the Lowe’s Delivery Man.  I just haven’t had time to respond, plus I have been doing some research.  If you want to help, I posted the questions on an earlier post a week or so ago.

In church, oddly enough, I saw a lady walking out of the chapel about midway through the Sunday School lesson.  My first thought, “She reminds me of a Wall”.  I quickly dismissed it as I am in Oklahoma City and surely a Wall would not be here.  After Sunday School as we were walking out, I looked at this lady sitting in a pew near the back.  We looked at each other I am sure with the same degree of puzzlement.  She made the comment, “I heard you reading and thought that sounds like Paul Ross.”  I commented about seeing her facial silhouette as she was walking out and thinking she reminded me of a Wall.  Sure enough, it was Luann Wall who I graduated high school with.  Who would ever have thought.  Right before we left to drive out here we were visiting friends.  One of the friends said he was going to see Rick and Kathy Wall and I asked him to tell them hello for me.  Since Luann has a twin sister, I sheepishly asked which one she was.  Erika, her sister, had been in my stake at Utah State.  Since I was in a Stake Calling then, I would see her regularly in the halls of when I attended that ward.  Luann told me who she was and then I went to call her Leann later.  I am such an idiot.  Anyhow, exciting days.  I have a girl from high school, whose ward I attended in Acequia, and who I had a definite interest in for a good while in about junior high.  Her husband is in the Air Force and is based here.  We have agreed to do dinner when her husband is back in town.  Oddly, the thing that bothers me is this; after serving in England and living all over the country, she recognized my voice.  I doubt it was my accent as it is has been mutilated by cultures.  What was it that was so distinctive that Luann Wall thought across the chapel, “That sounds like Paul Ross?”

Law school is providing some interesting a quick insight into myself.  I can be diligent in studying.  I always knew that.  I still have the old struggle of getting the ball rolling.  I am easily distracted.  Once I get down and dirty, I roll in it for hours at a time.  But somehow, maybe it is the age and bad knee, I just struggle getting down into the mire.  Perhaps it is too long away, but I always had this problem before.  Now is the chance to conquer it.  After all, I am making the decision to pass the bar now.  Every decision of every day is determining that passing rate a little more.

This evening we had a foundation man and a plumber here to crawl with me in our dank crawlspace.  One finds a quick brotherhood in dark spider infested places.  We got our lowest bid yet for the work on the foundation.  All cracks fixed with mortar, more joists to support a sagging bathroom and utility room, and some quality piers.  All for roughly $1900.  The plumber told us a rough estimate for the materials alone would be about $1000.  We have to pull most of the plumbing out for the foundation men since the joist in need of reinforcement is in the plumbing heart of the home.  I am pretty excited to get all the work done.  He said we could pay him as we have the money for the labor.  For which I am glad to hear.  We can pay for the materials up front and then probably pay him the rest within a week or two.  We have one more plumber to come and give us a bid.  He was supposed to come tonight but did not show.  Guess he wasn’t all that interested in the job.

In other conversation with the foundation and plumber men.  Mr. Foundation emphasized getting gutters on the house and getting water away from the home.  That is certainly on the plans.  He emphasized sooner than later.  He will just have to wait until we can afford it.  I have no idea how much new gutters and drip caps will be (which I found climbing on the house to actually be missing in some places!).  What is worse, I have a few eaves that the wood is rotten and it will need to be replaced to even put on a gutter!  Ugh.  One thing after another.  The plumber was kind enough to point out that it was as hot and steamy as a sauna under the house.  That happens to be from the fact Amanda was doing laundry and our dryer vent goes below the house.  Not out, under.  He attributed the dryer vent to the destroyed floor joist right next to the vent.  Since I told him I wanted a spigot the back of the house, when he makes the hole in the foundation to just put in the vent and duct as well.  Two stones killed with one bird there!  The plumber said he could solve my freezing pipe problem as well.  Oh, he even will install the new bathroom tub, to boot!  We will have a new house here.  Now we just have to get an electrician in here to take a look at things too.  I have found more wires laying on the ground under the house, none of which I dare play with too much.  Some of them have connections held together by electrical tape.  We will be poor when we are done, but hey our house will supposedly be worth more!

It’s Sprinky, such a wonderful toy!

I have uploaded about a dozen new Jonas photographs.  They are from the cousins in Washington State.  They have been sitting in my e-mail for months now and I finally pulled them out, cataloged them, and posted them!  I still have not named the rest of the European Trip photos.

I have to mention my new toy.  Yesterday at Ace Hardware, my favorite place in Oklahoma City, I was looking at sprinklers.  I was going to reseed some of the front and side lawns and knew I would need a good sprinkler.  I don’t know what overcame me, I just had to!

All those lawns I sprayed, I saw this certain type of sprinkler.  I always thought they were really cool and wanted one.  Additionally, if I ever had a sprinkler catch my hose or have problems, it was typically this same sprinkler.  It was a love/hate relationship.  My Grandma had one until she got a sprinkler system.  He is one of those fancy little sprinklers that look like a miniature tractor.  Their front wheel goes over the hose and the hose is a track for the sprinkler to follow.  Then the water going through the sprinkler turn the little transmission so that the wheels propel it forward and it also pulls its hose behind it.  They have been around since the early 60’s and I think they are ingenious!  With the new lawn, I would have to keep it moist for the seed to germinate and I didn’t want to keep moving the sprinkler.  I broke down and purchased it.

Upon returning home, I announced my new purchase.  As I was a bit sheepish about the whole thing Amanda asked how much he cost.  She then emphasized the point we will have to go without food for an entire week to pay for my indulgence.  In the process of our laughter, I slipped and called it a sprinky instead of a sprinkler.  Well, that is his new name.  Every time I see him wandering the yard doing his job, I laugh and think of his name.  Yep, if only purchasing a car these days brought about the same passion.  Sprinky might as well be my pet.  Since he is a bit more expensive and novel, Ace warned me about this, he tends to walk off.  Therefore, with great pride, at the end of his watering day, I unhook him and put him in the garage on the bench, right next to the pickup.  I am retaining some of those itty bitty farming roots; parking my tractor in the shed at night!  Perhaps one day I will even pull out some wax for him…

As I crawled out of the crawl space, I saw him sitting there waiting patiently.  I had to turn him off to enter the crawl space.  The song came for the Slinky commercials.  “It’s Slinky, it’s Slinky, it’s such a wonderful toy…”  Well change the name to Sprinky and it works perfectly.  Now as I wander my little piece of ground, I either sing the Slinky song or the portion of “Give Said the Little Stream” where it might apply to some small part, “I’m small I know but wherever I go, The grass grows greener still.”  The first would be about him, the second would be his theme song.  (I am laughing so hard I am crying!  This is hilarious!)

On a more somber note, I have inspected the underbelly of my home.  The ruling has been pronounced.  The plumbing has to be replaced.  One bathroom has to completely be avoided because any flow of water in the bathroom creates a flow under the home.  Additionally, I have two floor joists that have twisted off their piers and a structural/foundation company has to come in and place a joist beside them to lift the home back up.  Just happens to be, those two joists are beneath the other bathroom, utility closet, and hot water heater.  All the plumbing there has to be moved to allow for the floor joists.  Besides, what is present is a patchwork of 70 years of plumbing.  I would do it myself but I have lead sewer pipes, copper running pipes, PVC for the main bathroom, and this hosing stuff for the utility closet.  With such a mess and having to move it, might as well rip it out and start over.  What is even worse, I have pipes still connected to other pipes that are so corroded they are sawed off, but still connected to water pressure!  Did I mention our cold and hot water to the washer leaks so bad the pipe looks like a rust pillar?

The next pronouncement is more happy.  The termite damage as a whole can be confined to two parallel boards in the subfloor of the home.  My impression was I had whole floor joists that were missing from termites.  Not true!  I have termite damage in the subfloor, very little in the hard wood floors, and in the 2X4’s at the base of the NW and SE corners of the home.  We will start a termite treatment and all should be well.  While I do have sagging in the NW corner of the home it is not from termites.  So when I have the floor joists fixed, they will also jack up the NW corner of the home and we will be good to go.  The sagging that was experienced in the home is from poor construction, not termites.  Initially there were 20 foot expanses of floor with only a 2X6.  No wonder the rooms were all sagging!  As part of the closing, those sagging floors were fixed.  Why the twisted beams were not corrected, as per the contract, will be discussed with the owner of the company this coming Monday.  I do have another company coming in to give us a bid for the remainder of the work, as well as plumbers for the plumbing.  All in all, our little home’s underbelly should be good to go after about $5,000.  That hurts, I don’t like it, but it has to be done.

The part that will hurt the worst is the home was redecorated with the sagging foundation and floors.  Jacking up those two parts of the home will definitely show some cracking and need fixed, as will replacing our plumbing in the walls.  Those expenses I can fix and pay for later.  I am sure the tile floor in the bathroom will need serious fixing as well as the new shower and sink in that bathroom.

Anyhow, enough of our home woes.  This home will be set for the millennium when I am done with it.  Now, like waiting for water to boil, just waiting for that grass to grow with Sprinky’s tender care.