a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, June 23, 2016

a lost child

I don't know about you, I'm sure you are the same way I am, but I tend to people watch and I'm always on the lookout to see if I can help someone, either by opening a door, taking their cart back for them, letting them go first in line, etc.  I also watch out for kids, especially little ones. If I see a little one without a parent apparent, I start looking around and can usually spot the parent within a second or two making their way over to their child.

Tonight, however, was different.  

We ran a quick errand to deposit a check and were coming back home when we turned on a street that would eventually take us to our home (it weaves back and forth through neighborhoods).  I saw a young child, let's say no more than 3 years old, more than likely just shy of 3 years old.  He was walking down the sidewalk with just a diaper on.  Barefoot.  Mind you, the sun was going down, but the day had been a hot one at close to 110 degrees. 

There was no one with him.

As we were driving away from the way he was walking, I told hubby to turn around. I rolled down my window and asked the him "where is home?" He kind of pointed behind him.  I said "go home, you need to go home." He kind of looked at me, but stopped walking and then turned around. 

Meanwhile, we saw a man carrying groceries out of his car at a house close to where we were so I asked him if he knew who the child belonged to.  He said "no."  I told hubby then to "call the police" which he started doing.  The child had been on the sidewalk but had ventured now onto a street, albeit a residential street, but one short block over was a major road.  We kind of moved the car to block him so he had to go back onto the sidewalk. While we were doing that, another car stopped and a guy got out and was trying to help too, but left after we said we were calling the police.

The police showed up about 10-12 minutes later.  Mind you, this was now close to 15 minutes since we determined no one at that point was looking for the kid.  Of course we had decided to stick around until the police showed up, always keeping an eye on the child, but I never approached him, always stayed in the car, but if I thought he was going to be in any danger, like start running or something, I would have detained him somehow especially because we were close to that major street.

The police arrived and started talking to him and I guess after a few minutes determined they were probably going to have to take him back to the station because they picked him up, he was crying by then, and put him in the back of one of the cars that had arrived. Meanwhile, frantically running down the street we saw a young woman who we eventually figured was the mother because after she reunited with him, he stopped crying and she walked back to her house a block up the street from where we had found him and the police car followed her.  The other police car said we could go, so we left.

We got home and just settled in when hubby's cell phone rang and it was the police asking us to come back since they had a few questions. We went back to where they were at and they wanted to hear "our side" of events, asking if he had crossed the road, what he was doing, etc. 

I fear someone is going to be charged for something, like child endangerment, etc. 

Anyone would have helped. We were just the ones God chose to do his work through this evening.  We were right where he wanted us to be.

I know I'll say a prayer for that mother tonight.  I was (am) a helicopter parent, my kids were rarely out of my sight.  I can imagine her horror when she realized he was missing. I'm thankful it was an outcome like this and not something else that could have happened.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

just in time

for the next heatwave to descend on us (actually a good portion of the Southwest) Sunday and Monday. 

This was the pool this morning from one angle.


and then from another angle


this was the pool 2 weeks ago when we had the temps close to 116


As you all might remember, we bought the house "as is" and it needed work. Our first project was the roof. The second project was the brick wall that replaced the wooden fence that had been there since the house was built in 1978.

The third project was the pool. As you can see, it had a diving board and I said to my hubby "that's the first thing that is going to go." Which is what I said at every house we looked at with a pool that had a diving board. I consider them unsafe (and your home insurance is more if you have a diving board). 

When we bought the house, the pool was full.  It was actually a working functioning pool though we never swam in it because it was still spring like weather. 

The pool needed to be updated. New plaster (actually we went with pebbletec), new tile, the patio had cracks in it and needed to be redone, and of course the diving board had to be removed.

When I started looking for companies to do the work, it was the start of May and by the time we finalized who we were going with, it was right around Mother's Day. Then we had to be put on their schedule to begin work which was roughly 2 weeks from that time. The final anticipation for the pool to be completed was 2 to 3-1/2 weeks, not that they worked every day on it but they had different crews that came in and we had to wait for the next crew to come.  All in all, it was just a few days more than 4 weeks, but it was worth the wait, except for that super hot weekend we had two weeks ago.

The first part was the chipping out of the plaster. The workmen arrived at 6:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning and chipping out plaster involves jack hammers and lots of noisy work. I felt so bad for our neighbors. I knew the workers were coming that day, I just assumed it would be later, not at 6:15 a.m. I did check. Phoenix has an ordinance that you can begin work like that at 6 a.m. from the dates of May 1st through September 30th (in an attempt to "beat the heat"). If I had known they were coming that early, I would have let our neighbors know.

The second part was getting all new piping and plumbing for the pool pump, etc. Then the deck was completed, the tile work (which I thought would take 4 days and hubby thought 2 days, but actually only took them 1-1/2  hours). The last part of the job was pouring the pebbletec in which comprises the bottom and sides of the pool below the tile.

Then the fun part began. Filling in the pool. They set it to start filling in Friday afternoon with hopes that it would be done by Monday morning so that the pool guy could come out and add the chemicals and restart the pump. The guy who did our estimate and was in charge of the project and kept me informed of when workers were coming, etc., said it should take 30 hours to fill the pool.  The capacity of the pool was 22,000 gallons.

Ours took 84 hours. Why? We have TERRIBLY LOW water pressure. It was so bad that we had to reduce the water going into the pool just so we would have water pressure to take a shower, otherwise it was just a trickle coming from the shower heads.

Tuesday morning I woke up around 5:30 a.m. and looked outside and said "we did it!" We knew it would be sometime Tuesday by how much the water was the night before. 

It was a joyful relief to turn the water finally off after running for 84 hours straight.  The pool guy then came later that morning and got everything up and running.  We haven't been in it yet but plan to do so definitely by this weekend. (I had to buy a bathing suit, hadn't had one in 10 years, boy have the prices gone up!!!!)

I thought it would cost several hundred dollars to refill the pool, but water is cheap in Phoenix. Our billing cycle ended June 13th (Monday) and by then the water had been on roughly 60 hours. The charge then for water was only $56 and that included the water we had used for the month for daily showers, dishwasher, laundry, etc. 

We'll get a little relief in the pool during the hot weather. From what I understand sometimes the water can get so warm it isn't too refreshing, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

In the meantime.........I'll let you know how 120 degrees feels like as is predicted for Monday........

and yes I told hubby that this will be probably the hottest summer ever recorded in Phoenix, sorry Myra!

We tend to bring the extremes to places when we move some place new......

Sunday, June 12, 2016

No I don't have an injured arm

So tonight we had the little one as son was at work and daughter in law would be off work in a few hours.

We decided to go out to dinner. We had success the week before when celebrating hubby's birthday. The little one was no problem and it was an enjoyable evening.

We decided tonight to go to Red Robin where son works, unannounced. He had no idea we would be there.

We got there just fine. The little one fell asleep on the way over and was just waking up when we got there. He was content in his car seat.

We checked in at the hostess booth. She asked us if we wanted a sling. I'm thinking "I didn't injure my arm, I don't need one."

I look at hubby. He looks at me. We look clueless at the hostess. She explains what one is. Her helper gets one and shows us what it is. Basically a holder of a car seat at our level so we can keep track of the little one at the comfort of our table. Light bulbs go on in both my brain and hubby's and we think "yes, great idea.". We say "yes" to the sling and get seated. I say "sorry we are new to this" (truly we are new to all of this).

We have a delightful dinner. Hubby informs waitress who the baby belongs to (son cooking in the kitchen). A little bit later we take a picture of the little one with evidence he is there at Red Robin and text it to son, but in the meantime son on a little break comes out to say "hi" as waitress  told him we were there. 

We had the best of salads. I had the avo cobbo, hubby had the insane romaine. I feed the little one, held him (made an incredible mess trying to eat my salad while holding him but we left a great tip.)

It was a success.

And we are learning the lingo of baby hood. A sling was to support an injured arm. Who knew it was also to help support a car seat??

We came home and daughter in law arrived soon after. We had a salad we had bought for another day for a meal that I offered to her. We opened a bottle of wine and just talked and she ate and at the end of the evening the "baby whisperer" settled him and put him to sleep. I would like to say I was that baby whisperer......but I wasn't.......but he is that is......he truly is amazing......(thank you hubby).

I am so blessed.....really.....truly a blessing to have my daughter in law in our lives and that sweet little one..... I don't deserve it, but  I am so thankful.....

Thursday, June 9, 2016

We survived and I think we thrived

We survived the first (of many I am sure) HOT weekends here in Phoenix. Saturday's and Sunday's forecast were to be record breaking, 115 or 116 forecasted for Saturday with just a touch cooler on Sunday at possibly 113 degrees.

I have to tell you before we moved down here I had two concerns. How would we handle the extreme heat and tied in with it, how expensive would those electric bills be.  I am not used to air conditioning going on in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours and we aren't extravagant with what we set the thermostat at (77-79 degrees depending). But if you consider that our backyard temperature one point last weekend was 118 degrees, the inside temp was 40 degrees cooler.  Sounds weird, doesn't it, but its the truth.

I won't lie and say it wasn't hot because it was HOT.  But we planned accordingly. Shifted schedules around so we weren't out in the middle of the days when it was the warmest.  We vegged a lot and hydrated a lot and I tried not to cringe every time the air conditioner came on. You must remember, I lived in San Diego area where San Diego Gas and Electric was the 2nd highest utility company in the country (Southern Edison up the way in Temecula and other areas of Southern California was #1).

I thought a lot about my neighbors across the street. They diligently worked Saturday when it was close to 116 degrees. They weren't home until close to 7 p.m. Thankfully they didn't work the following day and one time when I peeked out the window, I did see pizzas being delivered to them. I thought of so many others out there working in the heat. The firefighters fighting a blaze. They said on the news, when interviewed, that they accommodate to the heat. Instead of working a 20-30 minute shift fighting a fire, they reduce it to 15-20 minutes to get some relief. I think of the postal service worker who delivers our mail, driving from mailbox to mailbox, getting out and putting the mail into our mail boxes. So many more out there doing the best they can dealing with the heat.

We had the little one Friday and Saturday evenings. Daughter in law went to San Diego to visit her niece to celebrate the niece's birthday. Son worked Friday and Saturday. We braved the elements, waited for the sun to go down, strapped little one in with his car seat and ventured out to the local mall to stroll leisurely in there in his stroller enjoying the cool air and the sites. He seemed to enjoy it.

We are in a desert. A desert is hot in the summer. We chose to relocate to a desert (what were we thinking????) But the time spent with the little one and the bonding we have done and will continue to do is pretty much worth it.

Just remind me of that.....when we get that next electric bill.......

Monday, May 30, 2016

Guest Post with Chrys Fey with a Giveaway

I am happy to host Chrys Fey on my blog today whose blog is Write With Fey. She is current doing a blog tour for her latest book Seismic Crimes.  Her guest post is below, but I wanted to give a brief review of her book here on my blog.

Seismic Crimes is actually the second book in her disaster crimes series. The first one is called Hurricane Crimes.  I read that one shortly before Seismic Crimes and was disappointed that it was a relatively short book (more the length of a long short story). I wanted to read more about the main characters in the book, Beth and Donovan.

Beth and Donovan meet during a hurricane in Florida.  The town she lives is is recommended to evacuate, but for a variety of reasons she is not able to. She prepares her house for the approaching hurricane in hopes to try to weather the storm when she looks outside and sees a car careening down the street and it hits into a tree. Concerned, she goes to see if she can offer help and meets Donovan, who she aids in his injuries and has him come into her house. She sees that he is wanted for the murder of his brother, but after he tells is side of the story, she starts to believe he is not the murderer the press is making him out to believe.

That story ends with them being able to find and kill one of his brother's murderers but the second one is still on the loose.

Seismic Crimes begins where basically Hurricane Crimes ends. It gives a little background in case one didn't read the first book in the series. Donovan is on a mission to find the second killer of his brother, and Beth is on a mission to be with him, them having fallen in love over the short course of the first book. Their search for the killer finds them in San Francisco, where in the midst of the search a terrible devastating earthquake occurs. Won't spoil the rest of the book but basically all ends well, except for an ominous phone call Beth gets at the very end of the book.

My take, I liked both books; I enjoyed that Seismic Crimes was longer and went into more character description; got to know Donovan and Beth more in the second book. Chrys writes very descriptively and I felt I was there during the earthquake with the ground shaking. I would definitely recommend both books. They are romance based books and I will give the caveat that there are some lovemaking scenes in the book.  I look forward to wherever the series goes next in Chrys' writings with disaster and will definitely read what is next to keep up with the doings of Beth and Donovan.

And without further ado, please welcome Chrys to my blog and enjoy her recipe shared here, the excerpt from her book, and enter the giveaway she is hosting.



Snow Ball Cookie Recipe + Seismic Crimes Excerpt


Snow Ball Cookies

Need:
1 Cup Soft Butter
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 ¼ Cup Flour
½ Cup Chopped Pecans

Steps:
1. Combine all wet ingredients with the sugar.
2. Add flour and pecans. Mix Well.
3. Form 1-inch big balls and place on a cookie sheet. Note: Dough is thick.
4, Bake for 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees.
5. Cool then roll in powdered sugar.


EXCERPT:

Warmth spread through him as he watched Beth exchange hugs with them.

“Oh, Beth, we’re so happy you came,” his mom said. “I brought cookies. They’re in the car.”
“I can never pass up cookies,” Beth said.

In the backseat of his mom’s van, she cracked open a red and gold tin canister. The aroma of the snowball cookies Donovan grew up eating wafted out and touched his nose. Beth selected a cookie on top, bit into it, and let out a content moan. “These cookies are delicious.”

“I’ll have to give you the recipe. They’re easy to make,” his mom said.

“That would be great. Thank you.”

Grandma turned in her seat and held out a thermos.

“Don’t forget the hot chocolate. It’s the real stuff, too, none of that instant crap from a package.”

Donovan took the thermos, unscrewed the cap, and gave it to Beth. She took a sip.

“Wow. Can I take the two of you home with me?”

Laughter filled the van.

Seeing Beth getting along so well with the two other women he loved brought up a surge of emotions he couldn’t tamp down. Didn’t want to tamp down. As it consumed him, he had the urge to show her how much she meant to him. And he didn’t care who saw it either.

Title: Seismic Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital and Print
Page Count: 282


DIGITAL LINKS:

PRINT LINKS:

BLURB:

An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?


HURRICANE CRIMES 99¢ SALE!


DIGITAL LINKS:
Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO 





GIVEAWAY: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 27, 2016

They fascinate me

I don't think this post will make much sense or come to any conclusions, but they do fascinate me. 

Who are "they?"  My across the street neighbors.

Little background.  Since I work at home and glued to the computer screen for 8 hours, hubby "insists" that I have at least a window to look outside of instead of just looking at 4 bare walls.  Every house we looked at we would consider where I would set up my work station which is just basically a computer desk with a computer on it; not too much needed.

It got so bad that our realtor would look at houses and herself comment where I would work and some houses were eliminated because there just wasn't a good work area for me.

I hit the jackpot here.  The way the rooms are lined up (yes I still need to take pictures), the front room actually is the best room for my work station and printer, file cabinet, etc., so we call in the "office room." (Brilliant name for it, don't you think?)

My work station faces right out the front window so I see all the gatherings of the house across the street and a little to the house left of them, my right, and I know things about that house, but I'll save that for another day.  

The people across the street are a Hispanic family (nothing against them, just for reference sake). I think there may be 3 generations living there, mom/dad, daughter and daughter's daughter. That's what I've put together with who leaves together and comes back together. Daughter's daughter is school age, I'm thinking 4th/5th grade.

The menfolk are gardeners.  When I say menfolk, I mean there are other men that don't live there, but show up in the mornings and gather things together and start out on their day's work. They start showing up at about 6:15 a.m. and oftentimes don't come back until after 6:30 p.m. I figure they must have a business and everyone works for the business and group at this house to get equipment, ride together, etc. They are masterful in parking their cars/trucks of the workers in the driveway or under their carports and then have things moved around by the end of the day in order to go home.

You might think I'm spying on them, and really I'm not (maybe just a little) but I'm on the computer that early because hubby leaves for work around 6:30 a.m.  I don't start my workday until 9:30 a.m. and finish up at 6 p.m.  

Throughout the day I see the comings and goings of the ladyfolk (I don't think that's a word, spell checker doesn't like it). The older lady there goes to work about 6:40 a.m. and comes home around 2:20 p.m.  She is wearing a shirt, slacks, and an apron. The daughter comes and goes at erratic schedules and I think last week she was going on job interviews because I saw her more dressed up than normal for a few days. The younger daughter (or her daughter, like I said, I'm still trying to piece this together) leaves for school around 7:15 and gets home varying times as the schedule changes throughout the week. Rarely will she walk to school but I've seen her walk home a couple of times.

The menfolk are hard workers. They oftentimes work Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. They have the only green grass on our block and water it daily (and cut it weekly). They also have a pool in their backyard (I saw the pool cleaning guy come by a few times). 

Do you think I'm stalking them? Honestly I'm not. Its just I'm "chained" to the computer for that work schedule and the window happens to just be right by my work station. Only thing we did wrong. My monitor is right smack in the middle of the view across the way so sometimes I have to lean to the right or the left as I check them out. 

Okay, so maybe I am a bit stalking them. 

And again, they fascinate me.

For whatever reason, I don't know.

Maybe its because I'm stuck to the computer desk 8 hours out of a day with just a front window to give me a little diversion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

that moment

when you know you bonded with your grandchild




He still looks like a lot of newborn babies so I'll post his picture. When he starts becoming more distinct looking, I'll stop.

The young family have been coming over pretty much every weekend since we moved down here for dinner Sunday nights. A few weeks ago daughter in law went back to work and it created a gap in their schedules on Saturday when son had to be at work and daughter in law was still working so I offered to cover that gap (a few hours). 

We're getting to know each other, little one and me. I'm recognizing his cries, attention versus hungry versus tired. 

This past Saturday afternoon I put him in his swing for a bit and I was cooing and smiling, he was cooing and smiling back and it hit me "we have bonded." He is comfortable in my arms, I am comfortable with him in my arms. 

I knew we didn't have to be down here at the moment of his birth, but I knew for us to have a close relationship we needed to be down here by the time he was three or four months old. We moved when he was 6 weeks old; he recently turned 3 months old a few days ago.

I never thought I would be a grandparent. I know some people look forward eagerly to that day. I know a couple that was at the baby's shower that every other word to their adult daughter was basically "when are you going to have a child so we can be grandparents."

I never "pressured" son to have a child. In fact I went the other way. He would have friends that had children and I would say "you still have plenty of time." I figured it would happen after he was 30 years old. He turned 27 in March.

I am sorry that there are those that want to be grandparents and things turned out differently than they expected or they are still waiting for that day. I hope that day does happen down the road. 

Its an incredible type of joy. 

I started praying for him after I knew he was on his way and before I knew he was a "he". I prayed for a healthy baby, a safe delivery. Now for his health and also that he would come to know Jesus as a young one and be used mightily for God and his kingdom. In the Bible, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. That was my prayer too. Not sure if it was answered, but it was prayed.

He is healthy. He is doing things at an advanced age. He is loved. He is well cared for. 

I started telling him about Jesus the other day. It is my intent to continue to do so all the days I am able to do so.

Jesus loves all the little children.

Jesus loves this little guy.

Just like I love this little guy.....

but he loves him so much more

if that is even imaginable

but it is.......