Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend with friends...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Seems like life isn't overly interesting lately, just the same-old, same-old. But this weekend we had some fun that I wanted to share...

We had a fantastic weekend with our friends Nicole and Levi. The dads in both of our families are away on military business right now, so we decided to make our own fun this weekend. The sun is finally back out on a more regular basis, so we're taking advantage of it...

Yesterday we went to Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. It's the local waterpark, just down the street from us. We got annual passes because truthfully, I'm pretty tired of having a pound or more of sand in the car at any given moment. I miss the smell of a chlorinated pool. The ocean is beautiful and I love it, too, but this is a nice break when we need it.

Hawaiian Waters is a nice park - for my fellow Ohioans it's very much like Wyandot Lake, but it only has water attractions, no "rides". It's small, but never very crowded. The only downside is that the water is FREEZING!! Why they don't heat the water, even a little, I will never understand. So, even though it was sunny yesterday, the water temp was way too cold to bear. We left after only 2 hours.

Last night the girls and I watched a favorite movie of mine, "Summer Magic" with Hayley Mills. I don't think the girls liked it like I wish they would. We didn't even make it all the way through before Abby fell asleep and Alex was nodding off. (As an aside, Jon wasn't enjoying the movie because he is in Germany TDY. Lucky dog!!)

Today Nicole and Levi rode with us to Haleiwa, an historic town on O'ahu's North Shore. We window shopped in the North Shore MarketPlace and had a great Mexican lunch. (I know, Mexican in Hawaii. Sounds weird.) It was tasty! We laughed and had a nice time. Nicole is a great conversationalist, and I really feel that whenever I spend time with her, I get to know her a little better. I really enjoy her company.
We took some pictures that I thought were sweet, so I wanted to share.

Thanks Nicole and Levi. You mean the world to the Heffner family, and I hope that this weekend is just one of many fun times we'll have together!

(l to r) Alex, Levi and Abby. Nicole is holding Levi up from behind
since there weren't enough holes for all of them to look through.)

Alex, Levi, Alissa and Abby outside the "Oceans in Glass" store in Haleiwa.
These kids get along so well, Levi and his parents are like an extension of our own family.

The kids in the car - such cuties!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

To all of you - those we love and miss, those we have just met, and those who we see everyday and mean the world to us:

We love you!
Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Alissa is now a blogger!

Alissa has decided to start her own blog.  (I get the feeling that she doesn't always like the way I tell the stories that have her in them.)

Plus, she was so super excited about this Jorge Garcia photo that she wanted to share her excitement in her own way.

Take a second to visit her blog (her Jorge Garcia post already has more comments than mine!) and let her know what you think, what topics you want her to cover, etc.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jorge Garcia is the nicest celebrity on the planet!

When Alissa got elected Class President for next year, I wrote a short letter to Jorge Garcia ("Hurley" from LOST). I explained that we lived on O'ahu and that my daughter really liked LOST and his work on the show, and that she had just been elected Class President. I asked him, as a favor, to send her an autographed picture.

If you get a chance, read Jorge's blog here. He seems like a truly awesome human being!
Anyway, today as we were leaving to go to the store, I remembered to get the mail from the mailbox. (Some days it sits in there until well after dark, and I remember that I forgot to go get it.) There was an envelope in there for Alissa, which contained:

It says "To Alissa - Congratulations Class President! All my best, Jorge Garcia."

He didn't send her a stamped picture, or a generic "Jorge Garcia". He let her know that he'd taken the time to read my letter and that he cared about her as a fan.

We both cried like babies in the car, at the incredible effect this piece of paper had on us.

Thank you, Jorge!!

When life gives you lemons, you can do one of 2 things...

You can either get really, really upset (which I've found does not help the situation at all, even though I do it time after time), or you can just accept that something unpleasant has happened and ask for help.

Help from anyone - friends, family, strangers, the US Army, and God.

Why am I telling you this?

Over the weekend our landlord came by "to talk to us briefly". Seems that he hasn't had any income for 6 months and can't afford this house, that we're currently living in, anymore. (At that moment, I said a silent prayer that I have a job, a great job, and wished for that to never change.)

He's decided to put the house up for sale - a short sale. At a very, very cheap price at that. (So cheap we have even toyed with the idea of buying it ourselves and renting it out when we move...) He just needs to get out of this money pit - like many, many landlords here on the island, he bought at a high price, with 100% financing, and an ARM mortgage.

So, you will recall that we just went through this 7 months ago with the house we lived in down the street. (Well, that ended up being a foreclosure, but the circumstances felt the same...) When that happened, I cried for a whole day. It didn't help, and truthfully, crying about it didn't even make me feel better - it just made my face swollen and a lot of people worried that I may have had a mini-breakdown. Instead, I prayed. We have WONDERFUL friends who offered to help, and we found a new place and moved to it in a matter of just a couple of days.

It all worked out. Beautifully.

So, when we got this news over the weekend, I just decided that I wasn't going to get upset about it. After all, it isn't my mortgage that is getting behind. We're just in the wrong place at the wrong time (again).

So I prayed. Again.

And yesterday, two things happened.

(1) Jon and I went to see a lawyer at Ft. Shafter to find out how this affects us. We were pleasantly surprised that any new owner cannot force us out easily. Per Hawaii LAW, they are bound to honor our lease. If they decide to end the lease with us, we have recourse - they pay us for the move and for the equivalent of 2 months' rent. We have a copy of the bylaw that states this.

(2) A realtor for our current landlord called me yesterday to say that there may already be a buyer - a man and his wife, both doctors, who want to buy the house as an investment and are happy that there are already renters here with another 18 months on their lease. They want to come by today to see the inside, check out the layout, etc.

Yay! (Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself...)

The power of prayer, and "giving it up to God", continually amazes and astounds me.

If they decide not to buy the house, and it doesn't sell and goes into foreclosure, well, we've already been there and done that. We know what our options are there, and we have recourse in that scenario, too.

So, where does this leave us? Well, Jon and I feel good that we're in a good place either way. The Army lawyer told us that too, in those exact words.

Which is a good thing, because we're still dealing with the aftermath of the last move, just 7 short months ago. Army bureaucracy has kept us from an entitlement (read:: monetary compensation) for that move, and Jon had to get his boss's boss involved just to keep the ball rolling. We, unfortunately, were guinea pigs for a new Department of Defense regulation regarding asisstance to renters due to foreclosure. We're teaching the Army how to handle situations like us. And, so far they have stumbled the entire way.

If you are in the military and find yourself in a similar situation, contact me. I can tell you exactly how to dodge these bullets.

Will keep you posted on the sale, etc.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!