Monday, July 30, 2012

Hola Elder

Dear Family,

So this past week we made three hospital visits, I gave two blessings, and we saw one person die.

Long story behind that last one right there. In short, let's just say that it put us in a pensive mood for the rest of the day, and that the ward has done a good job with the whole "mourning with those that mourn" part of the baptismal covenant.

Curiously, later that day we taught one of the better Plan of Salvation lessons in my mission to a friend of one of the members in the ward, only to be unable to set up a return appointment to any (any) degree of specificity.

Tuesday was the first time I mowed a lawn as a missionary. I don't know how I got away with not doing that for so long.

One Friday we cleared some space out for a shed in somebody's backyard. This entailed the ripping out of some seriously overgrown tomato cage thingies (curiously, without a single tomato to be found), killing a domesticated cactus with a machete (yes really), felling a tree with a chainsaw (my role here was to hold the limbs in place so they wouldn't sprout wings and fly away after being cut off by the member with the chainsaw (don't worry it was perfectly safe)), and removing the remaining stumps (decidedly less awesome than any of the previous activities). Our reward was a Costco pizza (curiously, the next day our dinner was also Costco pizza (from somebody else)).

Yesterday we brought a member with us who is a WWII buff (it's quite literally his job) to a lesson with an investigator who is also a WWII buff. It was a good conversation for the two of them, but they hit off so well that it was really difficult for us to switch the conversation towards religion. The way we finally got the subject on track was when we asked where the investigator's 1948 edition of the Book of Mormon was at (he got it from his dad, who got it from some missionaries while being stationed in post-WWII Japan). After that things were more on topic.

Elder West

P.S. Elder Halvorsen has been telling me about how the band he used to be in, Plaidipus Rex, is becoming famous in the ward he is serving in. Apparently a good portion of the ward is fans of it on Facebook. Also, he related to me the entire history of the band, the hundredth part of which cannot be contained on these plates.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Backyard Math

We've had a few additions and subtractions for the backyard so far this week:

Add 7/8 of a wall + 1 bucket of pebbles...
...subtract eleventy million weeds and a boatload of grass from the lilac border...
...and finally subtract 1 safety board from the sliding door.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Counting today...

...we've got less than 20 days before David and Xuehui's wedding.  

It's been over a week since I posted any pictures of our yard/deck/patio 'progress'. So here's a wrap-up of The Good the Bad and the Extremely Frustrating Not so Nice.
With all rain we've been having, our lawn is staying quite green! Win!

The front deck looks nearly done...if you don't notice how the railing are improperly installed and will have to be tweaked (put in a half-nelson and pinned to the mat) before they will pass inspection. I threatened Steve with bodily harm suggested to Steve that he not touch the railings before the back deck is finished.

Back stairs...cut, but not screwed down. Always a bridesmaid...
Hmm...note to self, take a machete to the tomato plants.

Back deck. The rain proofing has had plenty of rain trials, works fine.  I need it covered with decking a week ago asap.

Steve tidied up the patio before leaving for scout camp...for the week.   Did I mention he'll be gone for a whole week!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Deck Fairies

We really wanted to hire my dad to help us build our new deck this summer.  He would have done an awesome job - but since we haven't been able to get that coordinated, we hired Delvin Tapasoa to give us a jump start.

Just a reminder of how it looked a couple of weeks ago - before we left on vacation.

Before we unloaded anything (or more importantly, went to the euphemism), Steve and I dashed out to the back yard to see what the deck fairies had accomplished in our absence.  More than a little fabulousness.
The view from above.  We're adding an under deck drainage system so that the patio under the deck will remain usable during the rainy season.
As an added bonus, the stringers were attached to the frame on the front of the house.  Steve built the frame by himself, and boy howdy, that thing could fly if needed.
There's still a ton to do...not the least of which is to figure out exactly how and where the stupid railings will go...but at least we have something to attach them to when we do.