Monday, April 30, 2012

South Rim, here we come!

I'm getting excited.  Really, really excited.  This weekend we are hitting the trail again, and hopefully getting out of the big hole with no broken bones this go around.  But unlike the picture below (taken last September on our annual Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike), there will only be 3 of us making the journey this weekend. 

By the way, I love this picture. It makes me happy just thinking about all these amazing people, about half of which I'm related to, and what a memorable experience we shared last year. What a group! We went from 10 of us the year before (9 hikers and 1 driver) to 28 in 2011 (25 hikers and 3 drivers). Our 2012 crew is even bigger! It seems that the madness has become contagious.

Everyone else has bailed for one reason or another, or said they wanted to go but just couldn't make it work, yada, yada, yada.  And that's OK.   I've kinda figured out that extreme hiking isn't really for everyone.  Not everyone gets excited about 8 hours of hiking one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Not everyone feels the urge to push and train and climb and sweat and work and call it "fun" once they've conquered 9,000 feet of elevation change and are completly exhausted, sitting on the top of the world's largest hole licking the most delicious chocolate ice cream cone known to man.  I get it.  I guess.

And just like with anything, if you're not really committed to something, other things will take priority. That's just how life goes. Like every good family I know, our house is in full drive mode just about every day.  We're busy.  So busy.  We work hard and play hard.  I'm pretty sure I like it that way.  I'm hoping it's the recipe for good kids.  I know it's the recipe for a good marriage. our house, I've long since learned that there will always, always be something else to do, someplace else to go, something else to fill the calendar.  So we schedule early and do our best to make it happen.  It's important to us.   

Ryan, Barrett and I are going to rock it.   What a cool thing to do together. And what an awesome thing for our 13-year old to accomplish at her age.  Sure, she's a little nervous, but that's OK.  She'll be great.

The North Rim isn't even open for the season yet, and the Rim to Rim  hike certainly does pose some transportation challenges since it's a 4+ hour drive from the North to the South via car.  So this weekend we are just doing a South Rim hike:  South Kaibab to Bright Angel.  16.5 miles.  The NPS website says it's 7 miles from  South Kaibab down the canyon, across the Colorado River to Bright Angel Campground.  Then it's 9.5 miles to the top of Bright Angel.  I've read a few bloggers who wrote up their adventure, and most say it's more like 17 - 17.5 miles.  Who knows.  I'm sure the NPS has it figured out after all these years.  I just know it's about 7+ miles shorter than the Rim to Rim, so I am hoping that it will be a good experience for Barrett.  She's been a rockstar on our training hikes.  Hopefully she enjoys it and still wants to rock the Rim to Rim with us in September.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Go and Do

Sometimes it's important to write it down.  Today I feel strongly about it.  So here it goes.

Last Monday morning, 4/16, I woke up for my early morning run as usual.  I hardly thought about the run or the weather or the music or anything common, as I was so preoccupied with a dream I had the night before.  Actually, I think the best way to describe it was that I felt frustrated that I could not remember all the details and I was, for some reason, struggling hard to recreate the fragmented bits and pieces.  Nonetheless, the feelings and impressions I had were undeniable.

After the run, the hustle and bustle of the morning routine kicked in as Ryan and I worked in tandem to get our 4 peeps off to school with cute hair, ironed clothes, full bellies, signed planners, and something healthy in the lunch bags.  Then it was a rush to shower up and get ready for work while Ryan went for his run.  As I stood in my bathroom curling my hair and doing my makeup, those strong impressions kept coming back.  Finally, Ryan got home just as I was about to head out the door, and I had a couple minutes alone with him. 

I told him about my dream and that I had such a strong impression that we needed to get our water storage supply in order.  It was an unmistakable prompting and his immediate reaction was, "I'll go today."  No hesitation.  He concurred that when inspiration like that hits, just obey, don't question.  I felt a sudden peace.

Not an hour later, I got a call at the office from Ryan telling me he was at Fry's buying $100 in bottled water.  My first thought was, "Wow, that was fast."  And then he said, "After I ate breakfast this morning, I came upstairs to brush my teeth and the water was all cloudy.  I turned on all the faucets and let it run, but it didn't clear up.  What if the water supply is contaminated or something?  And I couldn't help but think about your dream.  So I am here."

Just wait - it gets better...

The week passed and we had intermittent cloudy water a few times, but it would clear up.  Then this weekend and this morning it seemed especially bad.  The girls were freaking out about brushing their teeth with it today so they used bottled water instead. 

Well, Ryan left for his run this morning out the back Arcadia door, and when he came back he yelled for me to come outside.  When I got out there, our back patio was getting flooded with water coming up from a hole in the patio.  The sprinklers were on in the yard so we weren't sure if there was some connection.  But it was flooding bad and looked like a spring had erupted under our house.

This, combined with the skim milk coming out of my bathroom as I brushed my teeth kicked me over the edge and I called the City of Mesa.  After waiting on hold forever, I finally got through and talked to 3 people before I finally got the city cell phone number of the water inspector for the Water Quality division.  Amazingly, he answered right away.  His name is Jeff and he was very kind.

I told him about my milk water and he explained the following:
  • Last Sunday night, 4/15/12, the main water plant at Lindsay and McDowell which serves our area went down.  They have been working to repair it all week.  (This was the night I had the dream).
  • In the interim, the City is running water from the reserve wells in order to "not run out of water to serve the residents."  Yes, he said that.  I wrote it down.
  • As the wells are used so seldom, there is a lot of air in the lines, which is causing the water to appear "milky" looking when it comes out of the tap.  He advised for us to fill a clear glass and watch the water clear from the bottom up as the air evaporates out of the water.
  • He assured me that there was no issue with the quality, just excess air.  I grilled him here, and he stuck to his guns.  No issues he says.
  • When I asked him how long this would go on, he said that they were hoping to have the water plant repaired by yesterday, but they've been running into problems and the latest estimate is that they will still be tapping into the reserve wells for another week.  They hope to have it back up by Friday.
And what if it's not?  Hmmm...

Well, our under-house spring is yet to be resolved, but we are praying it's just an irrigation pipe that burst.  Our guy will be out today to check it out.  But at least now our water storage is in order again and, if nothing else, we'll be blessed for our obedience and prepared for the hot summer.  I am grateful for the inspiration that comes when we need it, and even more grateful that I heard the prompting.  I am certain that inspiration and promptings come more often than we recognize and certainly more often than we heed.  I hope to do a better job recognizing that and being ready to "go and do." 

One more thought...

Thanks to my Uncle Dale for his short and sweet testimony yesterday during stake conference.  The reminder that we need to be "goers and doers" was a good one for me.  By the way, that was the best stake conference I have ever attended.  Ever.   What a great spiritual boost for me.  And I was so grateful that our family accepted our stake president's challenge from last stake conference to read the BOM before this conference.  We finished as a family on Friday night, and I finished my personal reading on Saturday.  Without a doubt that was the best BOM reading experience I've had.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Our Happy Easter Pics

Somehow the Easter Bunny just knows to make a special stop by the Brown house on Saturday morning during his last minute rounds of prep for the big drops on Sunday.  But we like it that way.  The littles were concerned that he might not remember (even though he's been coming to our pad on Saturday for years) and urged me to send him an email.  Unfortunately, I told them I wasn't sure he was that techno-savvy, but hoped that he'd find his way back to our house this year.  

The kids woke up early on Saturday, pretty weary-eyed from a long week of late night ball games and too many shortened nights of sleep.  Since Buddy Boy had a game at 8:00 and the hidden eggs just apparently could not wait until later, they were all up at 6:30 scrambling to see how much hidden loot they could discover and pile into their baskets.   

The big bunny man must have seen some economic recovery during the past year, since he filled our kids' eggs with a bunch of quarters and chocolate eggs.  Jackpot.  I think Afty's haul topped the list at nine dollars and change.  Not bad for 15 minutes of work (if you can call it that).

The rest of our Easter Saturday was fantastic.  After Easton's ball game and a few chores, the kids went swimming in the ice pool while dad and I enjoyed a little sunshine and reading.  Us oldies weren't quite ready for the chilly plunge.  Let's give it another month.  The Brown/Hawk extended family Easter get together followed that afternoon out in Queen Creek with lots of cousin time, swimming, another egg hunt, early dinner and good times all the way around.  It was great seeing Ryan's Great Uncle Keith, even though it's so hard to see him getting so old and now largely unable to speak.  I have such a soft spot in my heart for him.  I've always loved him a little extra.

Ryan and I took off from the family shindig a little early to head to the Sun's game with some friends from my office.   We had the suite that night, which is always nice, but truth be told...after sitting in Francis' floor sits a handful of times, nothing else really compares.  Of course we still had a great night and enjoyed the company and free eats.  Plus, the Suns beat the Lakers by a landslide.

Easter Sunday began with 9:00am church, which was nice.  My mom and I sang in the choir and Barrett sang with the YW.  The program was great and the kids and Ry indulged me with a few pics afterwards.  Aren't they so beautiful?

We finished out the day with late lunch at my folks' house with all the Teeples clan, followed by dinner at Morgan & Jessie's with Ryan's fam.  Lots of fam.  Lots of food.  Great day.