the Huber Family creative site

I’m a couple of days behind events with posting pics. On mid morning on Monday, the Traverse arrived. Happily, it arrived just a few minutes before Lori needed to, unhappily, go to the dentist for some emergency dental work.

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In a related story, at lunch today, I was talking with a sales guy about his recent move from Phoenix to Houston. To save money, his significant other made alternate arrangements to ship her vehicle at a much cheaper rate. When the truck came to pick up the car, the driver requested payment ($500.00) in cash without any receipt. The car made it intact (albeit they had to meet the driver a few miles from home at a spot convenient to him) despite fears that it was going to end upon Mexico. In our case the driver unloaded on our cul-de-sac and parked the Traverse in our driveway.

My Dad, affectionately known as Grandpa Huber, has sent us some of the pictures that he took at Danaya’s grad ceremony (and afterwards out in the church parking lot). I’ll post some of those over the next few days.
For today, here is a picture of Layne and Elissa with Grandpa and Grandma Huber.

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On Sunday morning at 9:00 am, the moving truck arrived with all of our stuff. Following are a couple of before and after pictures of the garage and the sunroom, where a lot of the stuff got stored.

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And then some after pictures. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to be able to park a vehicle in the garage after all had been unloaded.

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Of course, it will take us a while to unpack, but it is beginning to feel more like home.

Sky over Houston Sky over Houston

Last time I shared the ups and downs (literally and figuratively) of our day of moving from Calgary to Texas.

Our following days continued to be full of juxtaposition…

Good: We experienced the joys of living in a bright, open, big, empty house.

“Bad”: We…were living in a big, empty house…

Good: This was a challenge, but it’s amazing to discover what you can live without. It was also intriguing to see at work the adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” We became very inventive.

“Bad”: We had almost nothing in the kitchen.

Good: We toasted bread in our one big non-stick frying pan and saucepan that we found for under $8 each at the grocery store.

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For a week, we sautéed everything that needed to be cooked, since we had no oven pans or casserole dishes or crock pots or…

Good/”Bad” ( a matter of opinion): We had a lot of quesadillas, as they were easy to make in a frypan or in the microwave.

Good: Our window seat was such a blessing:

We ate our meals on the window seat; we had our Bible time on the window seat; when we wanted to sit down, we sat on the window seat.

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Good: Eventually we bought some patio chairs and some wooden TV trays.

The patio table came later, when our moving van arrived.

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“Bad”: We had no vehicle.

Good: We didn’t have to go anywhere!

“Bad”: Since we didn’t have a vehicle for the first while, we couldn’t go anywhere (like the pool). It was too hot to do much outside.

Good: We had exercise times to music in our big empty space.

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Very Good: After we were here a week, or so, some very generous people lent us their truck for a couple weeks. That was lovely. The children especially enjoyed the built in DVD player. ;)

The second week had some interesting experiences.

“Bad”: A couple of the children, in one of those moments you could have avoided and you later regret, bent a patio lounge chair that we had borrowed.

Good: Ben found out where the chair had been purchased.

“Bad”: He looked there and at a few other stores, and could find no replacement.

Good: We ended up just giving the owners of the chair cash…and…

(“Bad”) …their new non-folding “low-rider” lounge chair.

Good: Thankfully, the wife’s mother-in-law had just given them a chair just like it, so they still had two that folded. Whew.

Interesting: We had a bit of difficulty figuring out when the washateria (laundromat) was open. Washaterias don’t seem to be as plentiful in our neck of the woods as they are elsewhere, and the only one remotely convenient is about an 8 – 10 min. drive away. We arrived a couple of times when they were closed.

One of those times, Mikaela accompanied me. We noticed part way through the drive that the streetlights weren’t working, and that all the vehicles were stopping at every light as if it were a four-way stop. Since the roads we were traveling each had two or three lanes in each direction, and turning lanes thrown in at the intersections, this was an interesting experience. I was impressed with how orderly it all was.

Since it was a weekend, I wondered if this was because the traffic was (a bit) lighter than other times of the week, or if the power was out over a large area.

Discovering upon arrival at the washateria that it was closed, we decided to grab a few essentials at a dollar store. It, too, was closed, also earlier than I would have thought. We headed for the grocery store across the street, its parking lot full of small lakes – a result of a cloudburst earlier – and my suspicions were confirmed.

We were experiencing what we would soon realize was a common phenomena here: power outages due to wind, rain, etc.

It was a bit of a trip to shop in dark grocery aisles, employees patrolling those aisles with flashlights to help customers find what they wanted. This store must have had a generator, as a few lights over the check-out stands were working, as well as a few of the computers. They were, however, starting to block off the aisles with shopping carts as we left, and presumably closing.

Good: We now have a beautiful Samsung washer and dryer set:

Doubly good: The set was on sale.

“Bad”: Our helpful Home Depot sales person discovered that we couldn’t get the dryer till October-ish. This was Very Bad. Indeed, it was unacceptable.

Good: He sold us the floor model, with the washing machine set to arrive in a week’s time.

“Bad”: We got a call from Samsung almost a week later that our machine wouldn’t arrive until September or so. Very Bad and Not Good again. Hold that thought…

“Bad”: In the midst of all this, the borrowed vehicle had a battery problem, and no longer would start. Ben boosted it, but we couldn’t use it. Doing laundry was getting a little dicey, and we only had available that we had brought in our suitcases. Looking (and smelling) grim, folks…

Good: One day, before I realized the borrowed truck was dead, I got our laundry ready to go.

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Good: My new friend, Pam, called with the lovely news that she was going to bring a meal over at 10 AM, so I decided to wait to head out to the washateria till after that.

Good: I tackled one of my projects for the day: changing some burnt out light bulbs. I got the ladder (we had no furniture, and almost nothing in the kitchen, but we had a ladder, a lawn mower, and a weed whipper!) and got down several of the dead bulbs so I could take them with me to Lowes to buy replacements.

Good: I set them carefully at the back of the counter, behind something, so they wouldn’t roll off or be fiddled with by little people.

Pam called to say she wouldn’t be here till closer to lunch time.

“Bad”: While I was trying to decide whether to quickly head out to do laundry or wait till after Pam came, I was washing up a few dishes, and the kitchen faucet started to spray and leak everywhere.

“Bad”: I screamed.

Good: I turned it off and stood there, wet, wondering what to do. I mopped up the gallons (well, not quite) of water and decided to do the dishes in the laundry room sink. Shades of kitchen renovations.

“Bad”: Ewww. Look at that sink. Covered in paint stains, like any good homeschooler’s laundry room sink should be (the owners we are leasing from are a homeschooling family as well).

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Good: I set myself up to enjoy my sink-cleaning/dish-washing experience with some good music (oh, yeah – we had an iron, too).

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Good: I scrubbed the sink.

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“Bad”: I heard the sound of a million (well…) tinkling shards of glass on our lovely tile floor.

“Bad”: I hadn’t hidden the light bulbs from our older children.

Good: We swept up (and swept up, and swept up…oh, look at that: we had a broom, too!)

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Good: I went back to the excitement of dish-washing.

“Bad”: I broke one of our two stoneware bowls (from the thrift store).

This is the other one.

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“Bad”: I found out that one of our toilets was clogged.

“Bad”: I had no plunger. Sigh.

Good: Ben brought home a plumbing snake that evening.

Good: After finally cleaning up and sweeping up and visiting with our new friends who brought a delicious meal, I lugged our grocery bags of laundry out to the borrowed truck to head to the washateria.

“Bad”: Then I discovered that the truck was dead. It took several days to make it to the washateria.

We really needed a washing machine.

Soooooo…

Good: Ben talked to our helpful Home Depot sales person again, and told him about Samsung’s call to us, and that our washing machine wasn’t going to get to us until September or October some time. He scoffed and ranted at Samsung a bit, and then…

Very Good: …proceeded to sell us the washing machine floor model to us, as well…

Very, Very Good: …at a (small, IMHO) discount. Yay!

Very, Very, Very Good: We did laundry at last.

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;). Hope you’re getting a kick out of reading about all our little opportunities for problem solving and “giving thanks in all things”!

The house that we are renting is in a community called “Coles Crossing”. Each of the communities down here has an HOA (Home Owners Association) that provides services to the community, and each homeowner pays HOA fees annually (or maybe monthly). The HOA fees cover community maintenance and upkeep, garbage pickup (twice a week!), and community facilities.

One of those facilities that we have available to us is the outdoor community swimming pool. Although the pool is at the other end of the community (i.e. not within walking distance), it is pretty fun. There is one large area that is shallow water – with a number of different channels and pool areas to play in.

There is also a fairly deep pool that it connects to. Following are some pictures that Lori took on our first trip (and as a bonus, since Lori had the camera, you are seeing pictures of Ben, which doesn’t happen often). I tried “enhancing” the pictures, but I’m still as chubby as ever, sorry about that.

picture of the amazing Ben
Ben in the mushroom waterfall

 

Brock the swimming man
Brock, Ben, and Davison hanging on to the edge of the deep pool

 

picture of Dad and Brock at the pool
Ben hanging out in the really shallow wading pool

picture of Brock at the swimming poolBrock on one of the fountains.

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The other day, we were gathering all our dirty clothes and linens to take to the laundromat.

Brock, with a contemplative look on his face, came and found me and asked, “Are we taking our laundry to the laundromat?”

“Yes, we are Sweetie,” I answered, “since we don’t have a washer and dryer, yet.”

He looked even more contemplative. “Are we taking our clothes to Calgary?”

This was a surprising question, as the only times we go to a laundromat are when we are on vacation, which is not usually in Calgary. ;)

But, I said, “Well, no, Honey. We’re going to a laundromat in Houston.”

Brock considered this last bit of news for a moment.

Then he looked up at me with a “light bulb” look in his eyes. “So there’s s laundromat in Calgary AND Houston?!”

I tried to reflect in my face the solemnity of the discovery.

“There’s a laundromat in EVERY city,” I informed him.

He looked at me a moment more, and then ran off to play.

Homeschooling in July. In Houston.

Heidi in contemplation
Heidi in contemplation

“I enjoyed the lift-off, pop, and snacks. I would have preferred a whole can of pop, rather than just a little bit in a glass.”

“The swimming pool in our area is pretty big and fun. But I didn’t like it when the lifeguards blew their whistles and said, “Don’t swim (She realized later that they said, “Adult swim!”)!” All the kids had to get out for 10 minutes. That was just annoying.” ;)

“I like the little green lizards here, our big empty house, and air conditioning.”

We arrived in Houston on a Saturday evening.  Two days later, on Monday evening, a message was left on my work cellphone voicemail.  On Thursday evening, I finally realized that I had some voicemail on the phone and worked my way through it.  The message from Monday was from a local family, of whom I had met the father, Doug, three times – once at church and then twice at a Men’s BIble Study, when I was down here in June.

The voicemail message from Doug’s wife, Michelle, is that they currently had an extra vehicle and were offering it to us for our use until our Traverse arrived (on a truck that is currently somewhere in North Dakota or Nebraska).  The vehicle in question was their big diesel Ford Excusion, which seats 8 people.  Here are a couple of pictures of it.

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It’s a large truck with tinted windows (looking like the special police squad vehicles in Calgary).  When you are driving it, you feel invincible.

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We were able to all pile in on Sunday morning, and head to church together.  I’ll put together a post about church on Sunday.  The church in question is about a 30 minute drive away, so it would not have worked to ferry people in our smaller vehicle.

Another excellent thing about having the second vehicle is that it gives Lori some wheels during the day, while I have our other vehicle at work.  She has taken the kids to the community pool for swimming in it during the day.

It sure has been a blessing, so many thanks to Doug and Michelle for their unhesitating generosity.

During the last week of June, we celebrated Danaya’s Grade 12 graduation. The grad ceremony was on Thursday evening. On the evening before, we had a grad dinner at one hosted by one of the grad families. There were a number of families that had gotten together and planned (over a period of months via weekly planning meetings) a joint grad ceremony for their home-schooled graduating young adults. The Davidson family hosted the grad dinner on the Wednesday evening (that being 3 weeks ago today), they did a fantastic job, and the food was amazingly good.

Before the meal, there was a picture taking time with the grads. I haven’t seen any of the pictures taken by one of the better cameras present, but thought I would post a couple that I took with my cell phone. In the picture below, from left to right are Danaya, Mark, Michael, and Xavier.

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There were also some less formal pictures taken. Here is one of them…

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