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In my church, we have a program called “Home Teaching.” Each month teams of two very wise men are assigned to visit each family in our ward. They stop in, check on the family and give us a few words of wisdom.

Our family has great home teachers! They show up each month and have always delivered a stellar and powerful message.

Dan (on the right) is usually spot-on until last month.

Steve (on the left) is always attentive and was totally interested at the beginning of Dan’s greatly anticipated presentation. However, Dan was a little off his game.

Steve visited the Sandman while I got up and walked out to fetch my camera, not wanting to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I post this evidence for several reasons.

Dan claims his lessons are top-notch. Not always. (See photo)

Steve claims he loves Dan’s lessons. Not always. (See photo)

Michele claims I’m a lousy photographer. Not always. (See photo)

Michele is always right. But just this once, I disagree.

 

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Luckily, these are farm girls, tough as nails. They are also my nieces. Katie on the left, Kiersten on the right. Kiersten drives to school at BYU in her car.

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She got in a minor fender bender the other day.

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BYU is usually a boring and sober school and not prone to false advertising. The school recently decided to promote their Health Center and promptly ran over you-know-who’s what.

I think Kiersten ought to sue them for false advertising. Looks to me more like an Unhealthy Center.

Kiersten no longer drives to BYU in her car.

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So there’s good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad.

Yesterday in a gesture of friendship and good faith, I attempted to hug a Muslim lady.

It didn’t go well. She didn’t like it. Her husband didn’t like it. My wife didn’t like it. I ended up not liking it.

Now for the good news. You may remember a blog or two ago that recounted us taking an Afghani family to Seattle to try to help them get extricated from their nightmare with Homeland Security. The trip last week did not go well, kind of like my hug.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-afghan-idUSKBN16C0XD

So yesterday, we arose a little before 4:00 am, picked up the family in town, watched our odometer in the Honda van skip past the 250,000 mile mark and drove  to Seattle. Keeping with the Muslim theme, this was just like we had driven our van from Basin City to Mecca 207 times.

Granted, I am using Mecca, CA instead of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This is primarily because Google maps don’t list driving directions to the Middle East.

This time we didn’t try to feed them hot dogs like Michele attempted to the last time. They brought their food and we brought ours. I thought about bringing pork rinds to snack on but then rethought the menu and settled on carrots and clementines.

Once again the kids were well behaved. It was boring and uneventful which is highly unusual because we usually have a tire blow out at least every other trip we take. Since I’m an experienced tire man, I like to try to eke out every mile I can out of our inflatables before sticking new rubber on.

Our last trip to Utah featured 2 blowouts. I’m not lying. Our skinny temporary spare tire is now bald and has a good 36,000 miles on it. Most of the miles were covered traversing terrain at least 70 mph. It has been a great little tire as the spare tire manufacturer doesn’t have as much faith in it as I. They only guarantee it will last around 500 miles  at a maximum speed of 45 mph.

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So we spent the day hovering around the Homeland Security office at the King County Airport which is located at Boeing Field.

I bought the boys little super balls to entertain them. Hours were spent with crazy balls bouncing around the little cafeteria area, hallways, parking lot, Kenmore Air lobby and assorted ceilings and walls. No one kicked us out. All we got were stares from the airplane ride salesmen and glares from the Oriental cook.

Just inside the entryway, I noticed the terminal building had a good stock of rulers. Anything you needed measuring, they had the ability. In fact, if you needed to measure the inches from Boeing Field to SeaTac, they had the measuring sticks on hand.

And you don’t need money. All you need is a cordless drill and a 1/2″ socket.

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And then I turned around and saw another rack of sticks. When it comes to rulers, King County Airport can put any Staples or Office Depot to shame!

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As I looked over the inventory of wood rulers, I wondered if they had plastic yellow and red ones. I saw a sign and figured that would tell me where the colored plastic ones were. It didn’t.

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So I quit looking for yellow and red plastic rulers. And then I found this…

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I got quite a kick out of it. Some joker had stuck a picture of Martin Luther King just above King County’s name on an outside door leading to the tarmac. What an imagination!

A few minutes later I noticed a black custodian in the hallway and we struck up a nice conversation. After getting acquainted, I pointed at the door and joked about how somebody had stuck the MLK sticker just above King County. Now I was well aware that King County was formed out of territory within Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the Oregon Territory legislature, and was named after Alabama resident William R. King, who had just been elected Vice President of the United States under President Franklin Pierce. Everybody knows that!

I also knew MLK was assassinated in ’68, just before I bumped my head on a car hood and slipped into a coma that same summer. Though Marty was older than I, even he wasn’t around in 1852 when King County was named.

I think I choked when the gentleman informed me that that really was King County’s logo.

“But what about William R. King?” I asked. He said a while back the county commissioner’s decided to ax Willy R and slide Marty L into Willy’s slot.

I was incredulous. Oh, well. At least liberal King County is consistent in the way they think.

I googled it and he had his facts right. The guy that stuck the picture on the door was not a joker. He was a King County commissioner.

So that got me to thinking. I live in Franklin County. I think our commissioners should take Benjamin Franklin’s picture off the county logo and stick Aretha Franklin’s photo on it. While they are at it, they can make one of Aretha’s tunes the official county song. How about Who’s Zoomin Who?

We’ll show King County that they aren’t the only ones who can go berserk.

So long day short, after many hours of questioning by two Homeland Security guys who were actually packing guns, the door opened. This was the same door that I had eavesdropped from periodically through the day and heard stuff like:

  • “We understand you lost your cell phone in Afghanistan. We want to know the details.” They then spent a good hour asking him what numbers were in his phone.
  • “Where did you dump your garbage?” A good 30 minutes was spent on this subject.
  • “We understand that masked men carrying automatic weapons shot at your vehicle which resulted in you going off a cliff and wrecking. The Army has sent us statements that these men were the Taliban. We find it very suspicious that you were able to escape alive. Very suspicious. Can you tell us how that happened?”

After the door opened, we were relieved to hear one of the HS guys say “Welcome to the United States.” It was kind of cool until you thought about the real situation (outlined in a prior blog post) and realized his entire journey with Homeland Security had been totally uncalled for.

We said goodbye to Talia, the attorney who flew up from LA for the second time in a week. (They hadn’t allowed her into the interrogation throughout the entire time.) She does immigration cases full time and said she had never had an experience like this one. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us. It was nice to be able to help.

We rode home from Seattle. As we helped them out of the van, everyone’s spirits were high. I guess the euphoria went to my head and after assisting the little boys out, I figured I would give their mother a little friendly hug. Didn’t happen. Wasn’t a good move.

Oh, well. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

 

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We had a nasty winter this year.  Because of snow and ice, my brother Brent’s garbage truck couldn’t make it up the hill to his house. Brent decided to ice mail his trash down the hill. His wife Kashann videoed and narrated the unexpected speed and fun.

 

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Midnight Saturday night moon light presented me with a big problem.

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As we drove home late last Saturday night I saw the moonlit glint of a row of freshly-planted galvanized fence posts appear. These posts were between lots owned by me and my longtime adjoining neighbor in the Basin City Industrial Park area.

Or I should say they were supposed to be between the two lots.  I was instantly pretty sure they were 10 or 12 feet inside my lot, even in the darkness. 20 or 30 years ago I kinda knew where I thought the boundary was, somewhere close to the power pole shown in the foreground.

I was filled with dread. This neighbor speaks poquito English, is almost as old as I and is even balder. Just like me, he tries to do a lot of the work by himself. I knew if his new metal posts were cemented in the wrong spot, he was going to have to dig them all up, dig new holes in the correct spots and replant the posts. Not an easy job.

I’ve never locked horns with this guy but I figured this was about to change. I almost hoped I was wrong in my assumption of the property line just so I could avoid the confrontation.

But it wasn’t something I could overlook. I grabbed my long-distance tape and my short-fused wife and we went a’measuring.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’m actually the dynamite stick with the once-in-a-while short fuse. She’s the being with the longer fuse and even far longer long-suffering.)

Michele struggles just a bit when it comes to doing man-jobs that she has never done before but when I absolutely insist, she unwillingly tries to assist.  This is especially true when doing man-jobs in the dark.

I’ll skip the hilarious and vexing property-surveying exercise we experienced that night. But at this point I’m wondering if the after-hours survey party has anything to do with the late and cold dinners I’ve had every night since.

Bottom line, his posts were in the wrong place. All 24 of them. The correct line is shown in yellow in the picture above.

If I didn’t set things straight immediately and left the poles in place, at some future date he would assume ownership of the extended ground his fence was marking.

The land isn’t worth that much right now but if MicroSoft or General Motors moved in and started buying up ground, I would be out a bundle. I did some quick calculations and figured out that this little slice of soon-to-be-disputed ground would be worth approximately 2.3 billion dollars.

This was the point when it dawned on me that I absolutely had to talk to him. I feared his reaction because of the great amount of extra work this was going to saddle him with. I worried about my personal safety and thought about at least taking my paintball gun with me.

To my surprise,  he was fine. Agreeable. Amiable. He said he had gone by the stakes the old owner of the property had planted before he bought it.

He helped me measure both ends of the property and happily drove stakes into the new boundaries. I apologized about all the wasted work I was causing him but he kept saying “No problemo. It’s ok.”

He was fine with the 2 or 3 days of hard labor I had just handed him. Because of MicroSoft and General Motors, I was very grateful he was so agreeable.

Many people, myself included, would have responded on a bright red scale far in excess of what he did. Santiago is a fine human being, a fine man and a good example. I would do well to be more like Santiago.

I just hope my measurements are right.

 

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