Friday, March 27, 2009
Hans, our youngest son, had just finished dead last in his first Pinewood Derby. He wasn' t upset, exactly (he always has a good spirit about him), but we could tell he was a little disappointed. That year his dad helped him.
This year, he asked his stepdad to help. The pressure was on!
On to 2009. Two weeks ago, Hans was surfing the net for Pinewood Derby racer styles and came across a racing carrot! He loved it and decided that was the style for him.
So last Saturday, in preparation for the this year's race, Hans and I gathered our pine block, wheels, and axles, and headed to the home (and shop) of our good friend, Jeff Dahl. Jeff and I walked Hans through the initial phase of shaping. We had Hans draw the pencil outlines, taught him to use a bandsaw, and then he cut the basic outline. He and I then whittled it into carrot shape, sanded it down, and - voila! - a carrot appeared. The best part is that Hans did almost all of this himself.
We then brought it home for painting. Hans did all of that, too, but Ellie made a really fun and cute rabbit out of clay looking as though it were hanging on for dear life to something going really fast! It was extremely creative (we have very talented children). She baked it in the oven and then glued it on the back of the carrot. At about that same time we happened to run into our next door neighbor, Rod Farrington, who, unbeknownst to us, was a Pinewood Derby expert. Even more coincidentally, his brother Mark actually created some years ago a Pinewood Derby instructional video that was commercially available for sale!
Well, Rod's eyes lit up when he saw our carrot. He thought it was great and wanted to help. But all we had left to do were the most important parts - the weighting and the wheels.
Rod gave us lots of advice and we put together a final version that was real nice looking and perfectly weighted - but didn't roll straight! We then went down to his brother Mark's shop (he lives only a couple of miles away) and added Mark's expertise to the mix. The long and short of all of this is that we started over again! We got a new block and Hans once again did all the cutting and painting but this time we cut out better axles for the wheels, making the racer roll straight. By the time we were done with version two, it was a lean, mean racing carrot machine!
Last night was the race.
You could cut the tension with a knife. (not really)
The boys were ready for blood! (just kidding)
All the other dads were worse than Little League dads. (not so much)
The Carrot took second in its first two heats. Hans was pleased, but the competitive bug had overtaken him!
We added some strategic graphite to the wheels and a little to the bottom of the body so it would glide without resistance when it rode atop the racetrack's wooden guides.
Race after race, each boy complained when they were put in the same heat as the now nefarious carrot. Even some dads began to question the tactics of this virgin Pinewood Derby dad.
But everything we did was legal and by the book!
Finally, after the cumulative times had all been calculated, Hans took FIRST PLACE!
Needless to say, Hans was very happy. Ellie was almost as thrilled, since her rabbit strode the crest of the winner. In fact we all shared in the victory and the fun.
There was a wonderful spirit there and some good natured teasing with the other dads.
It was GREAT!
Get ready NASCAR!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
At the same time I was able to land a brand new client, renew another one, and place myself in a good position to pick up two or three more in the next few months.
The day after the session ended Trish and I attended Carl Paulsen's birthday party at his and Carol Jean's home. We had a nice dinner, great conversation, and Stewart paid a very moving tribute to his Dad. It was great to see all of them. They are such a wonderful family. I am proud and honored to be part of them.
The next morning Trish and I went to Las Vegas where we stayed in our Westgate timeshare. On the way down we spent the night at the home of my cousins Kenneth and Becky Gull in St. George. We are not, of course, gamblers, so one could ask why did we go to Las Vegas? Well, it was cheap. It was also warm (70 degrees every day we were there). And we got to sit by a pool each day.
For Family Home Evening :) we saw the show "Love" with Cirque du Soleil and featuring Beatles music. We loved it! What a great soundtrack. And those acrobats of Cirque are simply amazing! The next day we toured the new Westgate Towers on the Strip and upgraded our timeshare, buying more space and shifting from Park City to Orlando. Then they gave us a ride back to our resort in a stretch limo (a first for both of us).
Monday, March 9, 2009
There are 19,000 youth in the temple district. Each stake will have 5-10 minutes on stage. That's it. Even so, it will be a wonderful experience for our youth.
We attended the First Birthday party for Keaton Riggs yesterday at Micah and Amanda's. It was really fun. Keaton was head first into the cake. What a cute little guy! They have done a wonderful job with their home. The basement is a great family room for all occasions. Robin arrived late to the party, having attended the annual meeting of his High Priests Quorum. The subject of the meeting was temple work, very timely, given that we are all so involved in the dedication coming up on March 20-22. At the meeting, Bishop Hill told him that he was where he needed to be - in a place where he can continue to strengthen his spiritual armor on behalf of his family. It was a very insightful comment.