Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another update post

I haven't forgotten about this blog...I've just been insanely busy!

Since my last post, things have continued. My son's metal building was stolen. What kind of person steals from someone whose house just burned down? We know who took it, where it is, and the sheriff's office has been been appropriately notified. All I can say at this point about that.

Patrick is back at work after the accident, and Beaux has started truck driving school in San Antonio. When Patrick gets back in town, we're going to cut up the trailer frame to sell for scrap. The money from that will pay for cleaning up the rest of the site, so it will be worth the time and effort. I'm hoping their lives start coming back together.

Kyle and Matthew should both be back from their deployments in another week or so. One is in Baghdad, and the other is in Kyrgyzstan. Dusty and Aerro will be happy, I'm sure!

We're just trying to hold the whole thing together, and babysit dogs. More when it happens....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

When it rains, it pours!

We had a bit more excitement the other day. Patrick had gone off to work, and was somewhere in South Texas with his crew, at 3am, when the right front tire on their company truck blew!

This was a big, not-quite-a-semi, crew truck, loaded with oil, and pulling a trailer full of tools and parts. Patrick was driving, and as he tried to get slowed down, the right wheel rim made contact with the shoulder of the road and off they went.

They went down the hill and into a mesquite thicket, missing the first large tree, and using several small trees as brakes, before finally hitting and stopping against another large tree.

A large tree branch came in through the windshield, and went out through another window without hitting anybody!

Everyone got away with nothing more than a few bruises, though the truck was totalled. It seems our boys are being watched over, and we are grateful for the blessings we are receiving.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The update

Now that the initial shock of the boy's trailer fire is over, I thought I'd pass on a couple of update things.

Members of the church have been incredibly generous with offers of clothes, furniture, etc. We are grateful for them, and for all the blessings in our lives.

The Red Cross initially gave the boys hygene kits and a prepaid credit card to use for clothes. This allowed them to go get socks, underwear, and so on so they could take showers and put on clean clothes. You would be amazed at how important something as small as the ability to take a shower and put on clean socks can be.

A couple of the furniture stores here in town will donate furniture (a houseful, apparently) once they see the official fire report. It just happens that the incident commander at the fire lives right down the road from the trailer, and he has the report waiting for Beaux to pick up.

It is highly possible that it will be worth it to someone Beaux knows to clean up the site for the price of the metal. Apparently, the twelve inch, seventy foot long I-beams under the trailer are worth several thousand dollars, and the metal from the roof is worth a couple thousand more.

Beaux used to work for a guy who runs a construction company, and had once told Beaux he would build him a house at "cost". He has just reiterated that offer to Beaux. The loan officer at the credit union is very interested in the prospect, and may be willing to finance the deal, rolling the original loan on the land in, and so on.

Patrick, for some unexplained reason, was overpaid several hundred dollars after his last trip. When he went to his boss about it, he was told not to worry about it. He was also told he was going to get at least one more check that would be too much. This happened before the fire. The extra money will certainly come in handy.

We were able to get a replacement key (and a spare) for Beaux' truck, and he is in the process of rebuilding his wallet.

Patrick was very lucky to have grabbed his wallet and keys on his way out of the house. We also found Patrick's brand new glasses, in their case, undamaged! The case was singed, but it had been inside his trip bag, and being metal, had protected the glasses. Patrick was also able to find some pictures that weren't destroyed.

The one group I'm not impressed with is Direct TV. When Patrick contacted them about the fire, they told him he would have to pay them for the DVR that got burned up, and he is going to have to pay them to turn off the contract. Maybe if he gave them the DVR back....

I was able to get some pictures off Patrick's cell phone from just about the time they got the fire put out. They are below...

This was taken from behind the fire trucks. Patrick's truck is on the right, and Beaux' is just visible in the glare from the lights. Patrick had to tow Beaux' truck (it's an automatic) backwards across the road. The transmission and gear box weren't damaged!

Firemen digging through the rubble

Firemen looking at the debris. There were firemen and engines from three different volunteer fire departments!

Firemen and neighbors looking at bits of stuff. In the foreground is a large piece of the metal roof. The firemen used hooks and just pulled it off at some point.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trailer fire

At 4:45 this morning, our phone rang. It was one of our sons telling us that they had all gotten out alright, but the trailer was a total loss. It appears the fire might have started from faulty wiring.

Now that we were wide awake, we threw on our clothes and headed down to where the boys live. we saw the glow in the sky from a couple of miles away, and there were plenty of emergency vehicles around. I think 3 volunteer fire departments ultimately responded.

The trailer was a total loss, and the boys lost everything, but everyone there (there were a couple of friends visiting) got out alright. We are incredibly grateful for that blessing. The Red Cross gave the boys a $300 prepaid credit card and referrals to the various thrift stores in town.

Trish and I went back down this evening, and took some pictures. Here they are:

There was a trailer here last night...

Part of the roof is in the front.

This was the living room. The bricks that were under the wood stove are still smoking.

Part of a pair of jeans. The boys lost all their stuff...

This is "Killer" the lawnmower

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Catching up

I've been off doing stuff, and haven't had time to make an entry for a week or so.

I went to the San Angelo Tea Party last night, and thought it was pretty interesting. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera, since we were only planning on stopping by on the way to another place we needed to be. It appeared to me that there were possibly 1000 people gathered around the courthouse steps, many with signs and posters proclaiming their dissatisfaction with current government policies and spending. Lots of patriotic songs, lots of flags, a public opening prayer...right there on the courthouse steps! I was happy to note that the organizers were careful to state that this was a bi-partisan rally, and that anyone who wanted to see "change" (like we need more of that) was welcome.

The local Democrat club set up what was billed as a counter protest, but they only mustered about 25 people, who made sure to stay quite a distance away.

I really wish Trish and I could have stayed longer, but she had cub scouts, and I needed to be with our church youth.

Speaking of, the other news is that I am our Ward Bishop. I was called and set apart about a month ago. For those reading who might not know, a Mormon Bishop is roughly equivalent to a Catholic parish priest or a protestant pastor. I have responsibility for something like 4050 square miles, and all the church members, and those who are not, within those boundries. as you might imagine, I seem to be quite busy all of a suddden, and the next five-odd years will be interesting.

I'm still working on the bathroom, though somewhat slowly. We got the ceiling up, and now am about to start ripping out the floor. There will be pictures coming as I progress....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

N Scale Progress

It appears some guys have been pretty busy down at the depot (I've been tied up with some other stuff). They have researched some landmarks around Coleman and Echo Texas, and have come up with what looks like a workable track plan.

This is the left side of the layout. Coleman will be on the right (front), San Angelo Junction will be further back (at the Y), and Echo will off to the left. The track is just tacked down to see if the plan will be workable, and it looks pretty good.

In the back of this picture, you can see the 16" wide connector that joins the two parts of the layout together.

The DCC and DC power systems will be mounted under the connector piece along with a computer for central control. We will use straight DC power for normal display operations, and will switch to the DCC power for when we want to conduct operations.

There is track down on the other side as well, but it's got too much stuff piled on top for a good picture right now. The roundhouse tracks are actually under the boxes!

More as it happens...