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Betsy's Journal

May 17, 2012 - Welcome to Betsyville - where nothing is simple!!!!

For the past couple of months my life has been overwhelmed with trying to get Grace and Aaron and Scarlett moved out to Idaho. I also got my June book edited and turned back in and I’m close to finishing another one that will come out next spring. We’re inventorying all the books in the library at work and so literally every minute is invested in something – occasionally even sleep!!

So the last weekend in April Grace had a yard sale. They made about $700 which we were very pleased about. That same weekend Tommy told me that he was thinking about driving out to Idaho the first weekend in May. He’s been dating a student at BYU-I and he wanted to see her. Besides he had time on his hands and thought we could use an extra driver. His part time job (until his real one with EFY starts in June) is only Weds thru Friday. So he bought himself a one-way ticket back from Salt Lake on the same flight with Aaron’s mom, Pam, and me. Then on Monday he realized he had poison ivy. He didn’t want to get into the car and drive across the country with poison ivy so he went to the doctor on Tuesday and got a steroid shot and some steroid pills.

On Wednesday Grace and Aaron got their moving truck. Clay helped them load some of the heavy pieces after football practice. Then I kept Scarlett while Aaron took an exam and Grace continued loading. Tommy came home from work and said he was having an allergic reaction to the steroid pills. I told him to start taking a lower dose and try to ease off them quicker – but he eventually had to stop taking them altogether.

On Thursday we helped Grace and Aaron finish loading the truck. Tommy was still struggling to get over the allergy to the steroids. The Avengers was coming out that night and even though we were leaving for Idaho the next morning – the boys were determined to go to the premiere at midnight. So they bought tickets and went out to eat at 9:30 and were planning to wait for the movie to start. But Tommy called me and said he had thrown up in the bathroom at the restaurant and was going to have to come home. Thank goodness Aaron was able to take Clay to the midnight movie or I think he would have died. He said it was amazing - it blew his mind and changed his life. 


Tommy came home and threw up for a couple of hours. I meant to go to bed early but I hadn’t packed for myself at all and still had laundry. And once Tommy was home and sick I wanted to wait up with him. So basically I didn’t go to bed at all that night. I thought Tommy wasn’t going to be able to go to Idaho. He hadn’t told his girlfriend he was coming – he wanted to surprise her. And his ticket was on Southwest airlines and they won’t give you a refund but they will let you use the credit toward another ticket. So I thought he could just go out another time.

Tommy started feeling a little better and he really wanted to go, so he got up and took a shower and said he thought he could make it. So we left about 4:00 am. Grace was driving the truck with Tommy riding in the passenger seat. I was driving their car with Pam beside me and Aaron and Scarlett in the backseat. We made pretty good time – considering that the truck can’t go very fast (70 max). We had hotel reservations in Lincoln, Nebraska and arrived there at 8:30 that night. Tommy was feeling good and got some McDonalds for dinner (big mistake). We slept until 5:30 the next morning and left at 6:00. Aaron was driving the truck with Pam riding with him. I was driving the car with Tommy in the seat beside me and Grace and Scarlett in the backseat. Butch called and said Clay had thrown up that morning so we knew we were dealing with a stomach virus of some kind and were afraid that we would all catch it! Tommy wasn’t feeling well by mid-morning – having over eaten the night before on a delicate stomach. I gave him some Benadryl – in case it was still the allergy to the steroids – and an anti-nausea pill.


Around 11:00 we switched drivers. Pam was driving the car and Grace the truck with me in the passenger seat with her. Our plan was for me and Aaron to get a little rest and take back over driving the last leg into Rexburg. I had been asleep for about 45 minutes when Grace pulled the car over. I asked her what was wrong (afraid it was car or truck trouble). She said she didn’t know – but the car had pulled over. I was trying to get my shoes on to go see what was the matter when Pam came running up to the car and said Tommy had a seizure and needed to go to the hospital (she’s a nurse). Well, that was scary. I went back and determined that he didn't have a seizure, he passed out for a few seconds because his stomach was hurting so bad (he passes out easily and gets stiff like a seizure for a few seconds - it's a weird family trait). So we got off at the next exit (Kimball, Nebraska). Pam pulled into a convenience store and Tommy went into their only bathroom to be sick. A whole motorcycle gang pulled up there while we were waiting and lined up outside the bathroom door. Then two vans full of soldiers came and were waiting for the bathroom too. So we moved Tommy to the Pizza Hut across the street where he stayed in their bathroom. Pam ordered a pizza while we waited and they ate. I was afraid to eat anything because I was sure I was about to have the same stomach virus Tommy had. Finally we left Kimball an hour and a half later. 


We made it about an hour and had to pull over again at an exit. This time Grace was smart and sent Aaron and Pam on in the truck. We were there for at least an hour and a half. The had the cleanest restrooms on I-80 according to their signs, which was very important since Tommy was lying on the floor part of the time. I kept going and checking on him from the door and he always said he was all right but didn’t come out. Grace bought him some Pepto Bismal and some Imodium but he wouldn’t come out long enough to take any. I didn't know what to do. Should I get a hotel room in that little town and try to find a doctor that would take our insurance or what? While we were waiting a truck driver walked past us wearing a kilt – it was just that kind of day.


Finally Tommy was able to leave the bathroom and we gave him some medicine and proceeded on. We had to stop a couple more times but we didn’t have another long stop. We were an hour behind Aaron and Pam so we decided to go the mountain way through northern Wyoming and into Idaho that is supposed to save 40 minutes. The road was winding and it was dark and the mountains were scary and we went through a 100 little towns where the speed limit dropped down as low as 20 mph. I was used to driving 75 on the interstate and we were trying to catch up with Aaron, so I was going a little too fast and I got pulled over by a policeman. He not only gave me a ticket for speeding but also gave me one for wearing my seatbelt wrong - I had the shoulder strap tucked under my left arm. So that was bad. Aaron and Pam stopped at Little America (which Aaron highly recommends) so they lost their lead on us and were now 30 minutes behind us.


Just as we arrived in Rexburg – about 10:30 it started raining. And it rarely rains in Rexburg. We had planned to unload the truck that night but obviously we couldn’t do it in the dark AND the rain. So we went to Laura’s and Pam got a hotel room for her and Grace and Aaron. Tommy slept in Laura’s ‘toy’ room and I slept on the floor in Harrison and Atticus’s room. Then on Sunday after church we unloaded the truck. It was so nice because as other people who live in their apartment complex would get home from church they would come over and help. So we got their stuff moved in pretty quick. We had bbq sandwiches for lunch at Laura’s. Tommy’s girlfriend came over to eat with us (although she is tiny and doesn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive). Then we went to work at Grace’s apartment. Pam worked on the kitchen, Laura did the bathroom (scrubbed it down and then ironed the shower curtain, etc.). Scarlett fell asleep while I was holding her and I didn’t have anywhere to put her down so I sat on the couch and held her. People probably thought I was lazy but I didn’t care. Grace and Emily worked on Scarlett’s room while Tommy took out trash and empty boxes, etc. Aaron got his television set up and all his DVDs organized in their shelves but didn’t get to the bed so they had to sleep on the mattress on the floor that night. We went back to Laura’s for dinner and we played a board game. I felt like everyone needed a little relaxation after the long drive but finally Pam said she didn’t know why we were sitting around playing a game when that apartment looked like it did. So we ended for the night.


On Monday Aaron got the bed together and Grace got Scarlett’s room finished – it looks so cute. The girls all went shopping together for groceries while I babysat. Then we went to a nature park near Laura’s house that was very nice. We fixed hot dogs at Laura’s for dinner. Pam had a headache so she didn’t come and Tommy and Brittany were going out to dinner and to see the Avengers movie he missed in Alabama – so they didn’t eat with us. At the end of the evening I said goodbye to Grace and Scarlett since we were leaving early the next morning. It was pretty sad. Fortunately I’m going back at the end of July for a week to babysit Laura’s kids while they chaperone a Pioneer Trek so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.


The next morning I got everyone up an hour early because my phone was still on Alabama time. Tommy told me his poison ivy was back – worse than it was at the beginning I guess because he stopped taking the steroids. And that the brakes on Emily’s car were acting funny. We had just gotten the pads and rotors replaced before she came back to school – but she took it in after we left and it’s now fixed for $140.


Anyway, we took the car back to Emily and she drove us to Grace’s. I thought they were running late but when I realized I was an hour ahead – I apologized to everyone and told them to take their time. We didn’t go in – just waited in the car so we didn’t interrupt Pam saying her goodbyes. Then Aaron drove us to the Salt Lake Airport. Tommy left some papers relating to his summer job in his Provo apartment so one of his roommates was bringing them up to him. The roommate came but forgot to bring the papers – so he’s supposed to mail them. Then Pam realized she didn’t have her driver’s license (it was on her dresser at home – she had cashed a check right before she left and the license was in the envelope her cash had been in). I didn’t know if they would let her on the plane but she had a Cosco card with her picture on it so they accepted that and several credit cards with her name on them. We went to our gate and waited for our plane to board.


We flew from Salt Lake to Albuquerque where we stopped but didn’t get off. Then we flew to Love Field in Dallas. Our plane was supposed to leave at 6:10 but they informed us it had been delayed and would now leave at 8:35. We were not happy. So we sat around the airport for over two hours. While we were there Grace called to say she thought someone had stolen her identity! She got an email from Travelocity saying the plane ticket she bought was confirmed – but she didn’t buy a plane ticket. She had called and canceled the ticket and was making some other calls to her bank, etc. and I told her to call the police and ask them what she should do (they had her come in today and fill out an Identity Theft Kit – so hopefully that’s all okay now). But it was very stressful. So finally we left Dallas. The flight was very bumpy but we made it to Birmingham about 9:45 – just as it started to pour down rain. We took Pam home and finally I was back in my own home for a few hours.


Then I had to get up and go to work today. Every year the librarian rewards the children who read the most books with a trip to a Barons’ baseball game. That was today and I had to go to help her with the kids. It was still pouring rain and cold. We sat in the rain for a couple of hours until the weather finally cleared and they were able to play baseball. We had to leave after a couple of innings so we could get back to school before the buses came.


So I'm tired and missing Grace and Aaron and SCARLETT!!!!  But I'm so thankful that with al our problems we didn’t have any major ones. The cars did fine and not a single one of us got sick during the drive besides Tommy. Now I wonder what tomorrow holds...


January 23, 2012 - Time Keeps FLYING!!!!
I don't know what happened to 2011 - it seemed to just disappear. And 2012 is off to a quick start too! We welcomed in the new year at Smith Lake. We rented a nice house with plenty of room so all of us could be togther for a few days. The grandchildren loved playing with each other. Banx was hugging Harrison and his mother told him to let go. He said, "But I LOVE him!" Harrison was running around the island in the kitchen and his mother told him to stop. He said, "But I'm really SUPER fast!" Andie brought her tricycle and was very nice to share it with her cousins. As she would take off down the driveway with either Banx or Harrison riding on the back she'd say, "I'm going to college like Emily!" I told Abbie that I was so happy to have everyone together but hated that we weren't in Nauvoo (where we've gathered for the past two years). She said, "Let's pretend like we're there!" Atticus and Scarlett and Thad don't say much but they give lots of sweet kisses. I enjoyed every minute of their company.
My children and their spouses had a good time together too. They flew kites and watched ballgames and played charades and set off fireworks and made gingerbread houses and ATE. My father came and visited with us for awhile on Sunday and brought lots of University of Alabama memorobila. It was wonderful - but like Harrison - it went by SUPER fast. Laura and Harrison and Emily and I went down to see my grandmother at Extendicare one day while they were here. Then they went home and Tommy went back to BYU and school started here. I'm sorry it's over but so thankful we had the chance to be together for a little while. I am related to some really great folks!!!
December 19, 2011 - Miracle!!!
Last week Jamie and Paris took the boys and went out to eat. Banx is doing great with potty-training so while they were there Jamie had to take him to the bathroom. On the way back to their table from the bathroom Banx fell, hit a corner of the wall, and split his forehead open. They picked him up and ran out intending to go to the hospital. But then Jamie saw what we call a Doc-in-the-Box facility right across the street from the restaurant. He'd been there years before when he cut his hand working construction - so he knew they did stitches. And he knew that the co-pay for a visit there would be $40 instead of the $300 they were going to have to pay at the emergency room. And it would probably take much less time. So they decided to try it. They were afraid it might be closed, but were thrilled to see a lot of cars parked around it. Jamie dropped Paris and Banx off at the front door and went to park. The front door was locked - but Paris could see people in the far back. She knocked and got no response. So she rattled the door until someone came. They were closed and having their Christmas party (hence all the cars). But instead of sending them down to the hospital (which no one could have blamed them if they had) they let them in. Then some of the nurses played with Thad while Jamie and Paris supported Banx through the process of having 3 staples put in his forhead. Everyone was so nice to them and after the cut was treated - offered them cake and ice cream from their party! Now that's what I call Christmas spirit!!!
December 10, 2011 - Human Nature versus Miracles
I like to get a good deal as well as the next person.Coupons and discounts and bargains are fun. But I think we have to be careful because sometimes a 'deal' for us comes at a price for someone else. I'll use two personal experiences as examples.
A couple of years ago - right at Christmas time - Grace and Aaron were living in an apartment and they had to pay their rent with a money order. Aaron went to Walmart and paid cash for a money order. He was in a hurry to get to the rent office before they closed so he didn't take the time to write the name of the apartment complex on the money order while still in Walmart. And he put the receipt in the envelope with the money order. It was cold and raining, so he rushed out to his car and drove home. He stopped at the office to pay the rent and when he got out of the car he had the envelope in his pants pocket. But somewhere between his car and the office, it fell out. By the time he got into the office - realized he didn't have the envelope and went back out to look for it - the envelope and the money order were gone. He said another guy was getting out of his car at the same time and he figures the guy saw him drop the envelope and picked it up. Then instead of giving it to Aaron - he kept it. And since the receipt was in the envelope - there was no way to cancel it. Of course we were all sick about it. They had to pay a late fee since they didn't get the rent there on time. Aaron's mother loaned him the money to pay the rent and then they paid her back with Grace's Christmas bonus. Grace said for weeks after that when driving through the apartment complex she would look at each door and wonder if the person who stole the money lived there. Even though it was a bad experience, it's in the past. It was just money and we have all moved on. But I wonder sometimes what the guy who took their money did with it. And I wonder how different things would have been if he would have given the money order back to Aaron. If he could have been a part of a Christmas miracle instead of a little Christmas tragedy.
Another story. Emily is leaving Rexburg after the Fall term and she won't be going back until the Spring term. Almost two years ago she bought a 1988 Honda Accord with a lot of miles on it. The car is nothing to look at and it's a stick shift - but overall it has been a good dependable car for her. Since Andy has a newer, somewhat nicer car that she will inherit while he's on his mission, she decided to sell her car. She's been living on about $50 a week since September so the prospect of having a lot of money all at once was wonderful. She has been dreaming of all the things she would do with the money - rent a storage room to store her stuff until Spring, buy a few new clothes including a heavy coat, and buy lots of Christmas presents. She was asking $650 - which was below the blue book value - and hoping for a quick sale. Yesterday a man came to see it. He test drove it and then proceeded to tell her what an awful car it was. Finally he said he would not pay one penny more than $500 for it. She needed the money and so she took the $500. Maybe the car wasn't worth any more than that or maybe the man couldn't afford more than that. If he couldn't afford more, I wish he had said that so she could have gone away from the experience feeling like she helped someone. If the car wasn't worth more, I wish he had just said that - in a nice way. But I'm afraid that he saw an opportunity to take advantage and probably drove away proud of himself for getting such a good deal. Emily still has enough money to accomplish most of the things on her dream list, but it could have been such a different experience for her if the 'buyer' had used a different approach. Emily could have concentrated on the miracle of having $500 instead of feeling like she'd been cheated.
Praying that miracles will overcome human nature in your life this Christmas season!!!! 

November 24, 2011 - No promises!!!
My new goal is to post every week. But I know myself (and my life) well enough not to promise! 
The year is almost gone and I have no idea where it went! Since it's been a year since I posted - I'm going to run through the highlights. In February we were able to have the whole family together for a few days in Nauvoo, Illinois. 
We were able to participate in the commemorative walk to the River representing our pioneer ancestors and it was fun to be together - although it almost got cancelled before it even started because of weather. Most people would be nervous about trying gather 20 people from Idaho, Utah, Alabama and Mississippi in Nauvoo in February because of possible weather problems. But I am an optimist (and we had done it for the past 2 years without any problems). So we invested a small fortune in plane tickets and rented the Hyrum Smith Farmhouse and rented vans and bought groceries and then - the worst blizzard in a long time (maybe FOREVER) hit. It was predicted to really hit the St. Louis area - which was where we were flying our college kids in, thinking we could save them a lot of travel time by picking them up on our way through. So we changed their plane tickets to Birmingham which meant they missed an extra day of school, had to fly all the way here from Salt Lake, and then drive all the way to Nauvoo. Laura and Josh were leaving from Idaho and they were behind the storm. Our hope was that they could stay that way and follow it into Nauvoo. So after some soul searching and discussion and tears and praying - we decided to delay one day (not really a choice since the interstates were closed) and then head out and hope we made it. My prayer was that the St. Louis area might be spared so that we could travel through. I knew that 20 people and their vacation plans were not the most important consideration for the Lord. People died in the blizzard. But it was very important to us and for our family. Vacation days had been taken, school excuses given, money spent - if we didn't go now, we couldn't go. As we were packing to leave we saw a weather report from St. Louis. The reporter was standing in about a foot of snow, the night was clear and calm behind her. And she said that while St. Louis had been predicted to bear the major brunt of the storm, it had been amazingly spared and most major roads were open. I'm sure many people prayed during that storm, but when she said those words I knew the Lord had heard and answered my prayer. My husband looked at me and said, "You got your miracle." So we all headed out and all had our share of scares and adventures - but finally we all made it to Nauvoo. Because of the snow we had to make some alterations to our schedule. The kids got to walk out on the frozen river and they got to go sledding (Alabama-style with tubes). The snow and the cold and even the adversity we faced just getting there made the walk to the river, thinking of our ancestors and all the other pioneers who made the original trip, extra special.
In March we were able to rent a house on Smith Lake during spring break and all our 'local' children and grandchildren were able to spend at least part of the week with us there. With every spare minute I had to be working on the re-write of Proceed with Caution - a semi-sequel to the Duty Series. I should have enjoyed the vacation more and written the book less because when I submitted it - the readers weren't thrilled with it (for the second time) and I was told they were going to shelve it and for me to start working on something else. I had an idea for the 3rd Kennedy Murder book - but it is very hard for me to shift gears like that. And my confidence was shaken - I'll admit. I wondered if I had finally reached the end of what had been a wonderful and wild book-writing ride. 
In May Andy graduated from McAdory High School and had been accepted to BYU-Idaho, so he was working 2 jobs and preparing for that.
As soon as school ended for the summer Cathy and her family moved to Mississippi. I had been promising my grandmother for weeks that I would come to Headland and bring Grace and Scarlett with me. So in the middle of June we went down and visited for a few days. Then on June 28th Thad was born. 
 Two weeks later I was at Jamie and Paris's house babysitting when I got the call from my father saying that my grandmother - who was 91 years old at the time - had been taken to the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. She spent the next two months in either the hospital or an extended-care facility. There were times when I thought she was not going to survive the ordeal and there were times when I thought she might never see her home again. But she fought a difficult battle and is now home and doing almost everything she was able to do before the surgery. She turned 92 in September and is unquestionably one of the greatest blessings in my life. The only good thing about her ordeal is that it gave me a lot of opportunities to be in her company and I treasure every moment.
 I'm sure that I am forgetting some important things that have happened. My job changed at school - I am now the Library Aide and loving that. 
In October Andy submitted his mission papers and got a call to the North Carolina Raleigh Mission. We are all so excited for him and the people he will meet and serve! He reports to the MTC on February 15th.
And somewhere in the middle of my duties and opportunities as wife, mother, and granddaughter - I have been trying to write a book. It seemed that the harder I worked the farther I got from being finished. I just couldn't settle on some of the major aspects of the plot. But finally - at long last - I completed the manuscript I am calling Murder by Association. I submitted it to my editor at Covenant this past Tuesday (and I will give more updates on how it is received by the 'test readers' and whether or not it will be coming out in the spring/summer!) Then I had a root-canal on Weds...and I'm fixing Thanksgiving dinner today (in between website posts...) Tomorrow I'll be babysitting for my children who plan to be out all night tonight getting Black Friday deals... But on Sat I plan to start working on Proceed with Caution again and hopefully can get it reworked so that it can come out next fall. We'll see.
Thanks to all of you who read my books and care about me and my life! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!