I am having trouble writing about October and am experiencing an antipathy to analyzing why and even more so thinking, writing or talking about my thoughts and feelings. So perhaps I will pull myself away from obsessive Internet surfing of political blogs and diesel engine repair forums and just start at the beginning of the month and go from there.
October 1st we joined a gym. When Juanita mentioned that in an e-mail to our daughters one of them replied "I read that and then scrolled down to find the punchline." The gym was an alternative to Gold's Gym which did not offer a monthly rate unless you were an AARP member and even then wanted $75 each as a one-time membership set-up fee transferable only to the Gold's Gyms in this area of Texas. So we joined one on the way home from the warehouse. The doors were wide open and the guy claimed he had just paid his power bill and would "soon" have air conditioning again. "Soon" is apparently over a month. The bitterness of poor quality eventually trumps the sweetness of low price: broken equipment, elusive personal trainers, blaring, bad rock music, TV's not viewable from exercise stations. We paid for a month and used it fairly often considering working all day in plus 90 degree humid heat and then exercising in hotter. I can come up with excuses for not using it more often, but objective evaluation indicates it is hard to exercise regularly and if you want to succeed at doing it regularly you should stack the deck better in your favour and choose a place you don't mind being in once you get there. Getting there is half the battle. We'll try something else in November. I don't know what.
We worked every day on various Way of the Cross projects. We were here as SOWERS but as the only SOWERS on the site we joined up with the WOTC staff and worked alongside them pretty much on their schedule. Juanita worked mostly at the warehouse with Martha Kroeger, sorting material to be used in gift bags to be handed out during outreach at the Celebrate Jesus Festival scheduled for November. Paul worked mostly with Byron Kroeger building flag stands and repairing an inflatable slide for the Celebrate Jesus Festival, helping plant a garden at the WOTC Training Center and build a sprinkler system for it (picture way below) as well as beginning roof repairs and performing other repairs that came up.
On October 11th we received the devastating news that our daughter Rebekah, in Edmonton, had gone into labour. Twin boys (Manoah Levi and Larkon Joel) were delivered but were too premature to survive. Her husband Nick was on night shift in Fort MacMurray and by the time he got the news and traveled to Edmonton it was too late to be there at the birth. Please pray for them. We started to prepare to return to Canada for the burial service, but, with Becky, decided that was not the best plan. We give thanks to all for the kind e-mails and personal condolences and thanks to God for the treasures in heaven waiting.
Moving on before my keyboard is at risk getting soggy.
Juanita and I took kayak lessons on South Padre Island from UB Captain. The wind came up before we could complete our lessons so the owner/instructor will finish up the lessons during some future weekend and then we will have the use of a couple of kayaks for the rest of that day. We had penciled it in for each of the last two Fridays or Saturdays, but all were too windy.
After the class room training the big emphasis of the on-the-water training was getting back in the kayak after it dumped you. These are sit-on-top kayaks so you don't eskimo roll them to right yourself. When they tip you are swimming. Deep water re-entry is learnable. I'm not sure I could do it if I weighed what I did before retirement, but we both quickly learned how. The process, however, is not without its hazards. Kayaks come with all sorts of catches, clips and other appendages. The resulting bruises from heaving your body out of the water and across the midships are spectacular. They are mostly faded now. It must be about time to go through that again. The final lesson will include a couple of re-entries to ensure that we have more rotten spots.
One of my defenses against thinking has been incessant reading of political blogs about the presidential election. Another has been reading diesel motor repair forums to discover the causes of some maybe minor, but potentially high cost problems with our truck. I have replaced the harmonic damper, the viscous fan drive, the fan pulley, an idler pulley, the fuel filter and the fuel pressure controller (MIPROP or FCA). Some of those jobs were frustrating and annoying, but I am starting to feel comforatble working on the diesel and mentally prepared to try things that would be uncontemplatable a month ago. Even so will probably have somebody else install new injectors if the dealer diagnostics take us down that expensive, likely path.
October 26th Nick and Rebekah took possession of a large home in Edmonton. After years of saving they were able pay cash for the home and to move out of their two bedroom apartment. The house was purchased in anticipation of the twins arrival next year. Words fail.
October 28th WOTC hosted an interdemoninational prayer meeting in the evening in the La Feria high school football stadium. Close to 300 people showed up from various churches in the valley. We did a prayer walk (picture below), various pastors led in prayer and then we broke into small groups for prayer.
October 31 a few WOTC staffers set up a portable stage, some games and a space shuttle replica for an outreach on a vacant lot near the WOTC staff motel. We showed up briefly, but they had lots of help so we took our carnal selves to dinner at a local steak house where we used our half price coupon that arrived in the in-box. The staffers were rewarded with over 20 decisions.
The focus of the month for WOTC (Way of the Cross) staffers and by extension, Juanita and I, as SOWERS serving at WOTC, is preparing for the Celebrate Jesus Festival to be held at the livestock show grounds at Mercedes, Texas. The CJF is organized by WOTC and attended by close to 200 churches reaching out to the thousands of people who show up for the free food, games and clothing.
Byron Kroeger and I repaired and cleaned the slide, one of the three inflatables to be used at the event. The inflatable obstacle course had been cleaned and repaired before being stored following the last use. The bouncy castle will come ready-to-use, donated for the day by a third party. The repairs took a few days of work with a sewing awl. A lot of the work involved laying on one's back inside while the man watch checked that you hadn't succumbed to the plus 100 degree heat and 100 percent relative humidity inside the partially inflated bag. I spent more time man-watching than sewing although I did some of that when it was only about 90 degrees inside.
It had been around twenty months since we had last been in "The Valley". A few businesses have gone, including Camping World in Mission and a few new ones arrived including Bass Pro in Harlingen and Costco in Pharr.
While browsing the new Bass Pro we discovered some animal slippers. Knowing that our grandson Ezekial had worn out a pair that he was quite attached to we checked with his mother Becky. Juanita being more transparent than I am advised her that these were not just any animal slippers. They were talking animal slippers.
Aw. I thought that was a need-to-know spec that she didn't need to know. Oh well, probably would have been a bad idea. Especially after the Dorothy the (singing) Dinosaur that Juanita discovered at the thrift store this summer that she loaned Zeke and that Zeke was unwilling to part with despite its repetitive, parentally annoying jingle.