Thursday, March 27, 2008

Whatever- My Washing Machine

R.I.P. , Front Loader

For awhile now, my washing machine has been making LOUD noise during the spin cycle. I put up with it for awhile, not wanting to incur repair expense. Last week though, a load was still running while we were eating dinner in the kitchen, preventing us from having any conversation, unless we were willing to scream at each other. So Rich asked me to get it fixed.

Today, the Sears Repairman paid us a visit. Why is it that when they say they will come between 1-5 they come at 4:45? Logic dictates that somebody must get the 1:00 visit - I wonder why it is never me.

So, I told the repairman the problem, and he spent a little time on his computer punching in some kind of information. He then gave me a print out of my repair quote...$980! WHAT A JOKE!!! All I could do was laugh, though it really wasn't very funny at all. I mean, c'mon, the washer only cost $750 so I was obviously not going to repair it. So I thanked him for the sad diagnosis and asked him how long he thought my washer would last in the condition it is in. He said, once it starts making that noise, it may make it another 2 weeks or so (incidentally, it's been making that noise for 6 months and working just fine. It's just LOUD.)

After he left, I looked up my paperwork on the purchase of the washer. We bought it in early 2004. Yes, do the math - it is 4 years old. Nice. I had my last washer 16 years and I only replaced it because the dryer went out and decided to get a new and updated "matching set." It never had a single repair and I ditched it! So now, my 4 year old washer needs to be replaced. Beautiful.

Incidentally, the repairman told me that he repairs front loading washers ALL THE TIME. He said they are a piece of junk compared to top loaders. He said he rarely repairs the top loaders. So, my front loader, which I bought because it was easy on my back, and conserves energy, water, and laundry soap is just about history. And one more thing - I had to pay the Sears guy $65 for his kind visit.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Goodbye, 1661 Capistrano

1661 Capistrano Avenue in Glendale is a special place. It sits very stately on a corner in one of the most desired and charming neighborhoods imaginable in Southern California. Frank and Dottie Harasick (Rich's parents) had been married just a few years when they bought this little cabin home over 60 years ago. They soon remodeled and expanded it to make room for children, and they had three: Jamee was born in 1956, Kristen in 1959, and Rich in 1961. They were all raised here in this one place, and as the years went on, eventually moved out and onto a life of their own. The grandchildren then started to come around: Jordan (1984), Amy (1986), Brady (1989), Drew (1991), Kyle (1992), and Emma (1993). As empty nesters, Frank and Dottie enjoyed hosting many holidays and family events here, and all of us have many good memories of so much time spent here. From our photo collection, there is the shot of Rich riding his tricycle circa age 3, him climbing a tree as a young boy, and posing before the senior prom (ruffled shirt/brown tuxedo). There is the picture of him standing proudly besides his 1960's VW bug, and then later standing up inside the jeep we had when first married (also wearing a tux for some event). Then there are the precious photos of our children there with their grandparents: lean and lanky Brady playing basketball in the driveway, pudgy toddler Drew picking tomatoes in the garden with Papa, and little Emma running around the spacious park-like yard in a summer dress. There are tons of holiday photos of kids opening Christmas stockings and opening plastic Easter eggs full of goodies. Much took place at 1661 Capistrano.

In 1998, Frank passed away; Dottie continued to live here on her own quite independently for over 9 more years. Dottie and Frank were true sweethearts, and she was, understandably, never the same without him. But, she loved her home and desired to stay in it. Then, last summer, after a brief illness, she passed away as well, leaving the house to her three children. It was agreed that it would be sold, and we all spent many months going through a house full of things - some that had been there for 60 years. Decisions were made, possessions were divided, and slowly but surely the house was cleaned out, cleaned up, and readied for sale.

We recently listed and sold the house. A very eager buyer came forward after the house was on the market just a few short days. The offer was solid and the house is scheduled to close escrow this Thursday, March 27, on interestingly what would have been Dottie's 86th birthday.

So, last week, we made one last trip to the house to retrieve last items and to share lunch together with some family. We took pictures and shared both laughs and tears. It was an emotional time. I have to say, that I got very choked up upon finding my husband sitting alone on the wood floor in his empty old bedroom, for the last time. He was just looking around at the barren walls, and I wondered how he felt. He had spent his whole childhood in this little back bedroom, complete with green/metallic striped wallpaper and shag carpet. In later years it had been a storage room for extra furniture, and in more recent years, transformed into a neat and tidy little guest room, but it will always be Rich's bedroom to him. It was definitely the end of the Harasick family's time in this house, and it was profound to see him in his room for the last time.

Below are some photos of our day. As you can see, the grandkids are pretty grown up now.

1661 Capistrano no longer belongs to us, but the memories we have will always live in our hearts.

Mickelson clan L to R: David, Lindsey(Jordan's wife), Amy, Jordan, Kyle, Kristen

Harasick Fam

Grandkids L to R: Jordan, Emma, Drew, Amy, Kyle

Amy Leigh and Emma Leigh - same gene pool?

Rich - last time in his room.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Earthly Treasure

The Bible does say, "where your treasure is, there your heart is also." But, if your treasure is a collection of books that help you understand the Bible, then is your heart in the right place?

This bookshelf is my treasure. I am delighted that during the Shepherds' Conference, they had a special rate (35% off) on John MacArthur's New Testament Commentaries. We were able to complete our set and now have every one! I am so excited. If I could have no other books besides the Bible, I would choose these and forget everything else out there.

These commentaries have been my favorites since my conversion. Long before the days of The MacArthur Study Bible, Rich and I used these to deepen our understanding of Scripture in our personal study times. And now, even though I do read out of my study Bible, I still use the commentaries almost every time I am in the Word. They have been a treasure to me, and I have grown much as a result of using them.

So, if you are feeling like your study times need some better structure, or you want to dig deeper into Scripture, I wholeheartedly recommend these commentaries to you. I love knowing that I can have complete trust in the source (my pastor of 24 years) and they are written in such an understandable manner. I have just begun 1 Corinthians, and Rich is in Romans, so that is why you may have noticed those volumes missing on the shelf! Note - the book on the far right is a neat treasure too. It contains all the New Testament notes that are found in the MacArthur Study bible - all in one volume.

By the way, Click Here to see a ton of captivating photos from the Shepherds' Conference by the wonderful photographer Lukas Van Dyke.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whatever - Hand Washing Help

I kid you not; this sign is displayed on the wall above the sink inside the ladies' restroom at Disneyland:

It's a good thing they put that there. Washing your hands is a really confusing three-step process and it's hard to remember what order to do it in. I really hate it when I wet my hands after drying them. They really should make these signs mandatory in all restrooms to help us out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shepherds' Conference and New York

It was Tuesday, a day before Shepherds' Conference was about to begin when my husband dropped a huge bomb on me! You see, we have a trip planned in early April to take our kids to New York. It all started with my dad desiring to take Drew to Washington D.C. We figured, with one airfare taken care of, why don't the three of us go to New York and have Drew take a train over to us when his D.C. trip concludes. This plan was going along all well and good, until Rich announced that his work was sending him to New York on business - and that he was scheduled to fly out just 3 days after we were scheduled to return! What are the odds? He has never been sent anywhere east of Texas on business...and the timing! This sparked the benign idea to extend our trip... So, after a little thought, we decided to stay a couple of more days in New York, then go visit Philadelphia for a couple days, then return to New York for Rich's business portion. While this sounded simple enough to me, I had another thing coming!

So, smack dab in the middle of a much coveted rest period I had during the conference, I had to go down to Burbank airport to change all our tickets. Since we already had our paper tickets, this was the only way United could deal with it. Don't ask me why they want to tie up two out of three of their agents for 1 hour to work out my new itinerary when one person could have done it over the phone much quicker. Whatever.... it's done.

So, now I had to move onto the hotel. Wouldn't you know our the hotel we had our reservations at had no rooms available to extend our stay for two more days (well, OK they did, but it would have been $750/night - no thanks). So, I spent an entire morning researching new hotels. I am very meticulous - comparing all my travel books and extensively reading online reviews. So, just when I had it narrowed down to four choices and sent an email to my Aunt (my travel agent), and just when she had emailed me back with my reservation, Drew busted into the room and enthusiastically declared, "The Dempseys are going to be in New York at the same time as us!!!" The Dempseys are longtime dear friends of ours, and their kids are some of our kids' best friends. So, I immediately called Kari and confirmed this was indeed true. Isn't that so random...first, Rich on business and now the Dempseys - all at the same time. It didn't take us long to decide that it would be convenient and fun to stay at the same hotel as them. So, we changed our reservation AGAIN. The kids are extremely ecstatic - it will be so fun to tour around with them and everyone knows when you are with the Dempseys there are always PERKS. Rick works for Disney and will be securing us some pretty sweet theater tickets to the Little Mermaid, as well as getting us tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert that just happens to be in town on the Sunday night we are there. So the WOW factor on an already exciting adventure went way up! Today I finally concluded the Pennsylvania portion, renting our car from NYC (it wasn't easy - get the car at our hotel and return to the airport) and securing our hotel there. We are excited to see the Liberty Bell, Gettysburg, and the historic city in general. We even plan to hit New Jersey on the way for breakfast, taking a recommendation from Guy Fieri and our favorite show of his, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Rich is so into that show, I think he would drive hundreds of miles just to eat at one of Guy's spots.

So, what still remains before we go is the overwhelming task of laying down some more meal choices for New York. I realize most people would just play it by ear, but we foodies live a lot differently. It's actually very stressful!! (I know, get a REAL problem, you're thinking.) We do have reservations for two dinners, but there are still 3 more, plus plans for breakfasts and lunches. New York has thousands of restaurants, and it is so difficult to choose. We really enjoy the classic, quintessential spots in a city like this and it takes a lot of legwork to narrow it down. We still also need to lay out a logical itinerary, but my husband is a genius and I know he will work it all out for us. Tune in next month to see us live blogging daily (hopefully) from NY!

Back to the Shepherds' Conference...if I could sum it all up in one word it would be BLESSING.
It was a BLESSING to have such wonderful men stay with us and to serve them. It was a BLESSING to volunteer at the conference - especially with Drew and Emma. What an incredible joy it is to see your children sincerely enjoy serving. Emma worked very hard in food services from 12-9 every day, as well as working the registration Wednesday morning. Watching her interact so graciously with people made me realize what a special young lady she is becoming. Drew also had a shift everyday in the bookstore. After working around the books, he asked if we would allow him to purchase some. What kind of a question is that? CARTE BLANCHE KID!! So, it was a joy to see him select three great books to challenge him spritually. At the end of the conference, we were all worn out but also sad to see it end. I equate it to the way you feel after a long day at Disneyland - you're sorry to go but your puppies are screaming! In the end, the biggest blessing was remembering that we get to attend Grace Church every Sunday! How amazing is that?