Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Labor of Love!

We've started! What previously was only a pipe dream is beginning to take three dimensional shape. The Dallas Arboretum "cottages" for the kids are off and running!

Foxworth - Galbreath kicked in some chips and provided us with the materials for both the O'Keffe House, and Seurat's Parisian Townhouse. O'Keffe is currently in production. Once the shell (part of which is seen below) is built on-site we plan to have it gunite'd with pool crete so that we can form a smooth, adobe like finish similar to what Georgia O'Keffe must have experienced as a child. And then we hide the O'Keffe picture inside for the kids to find....

My extraordinarily talented business partner Phillip McCloud really knows his way around a circular saw! Me? - well I'm good on the stupid end of the tape measure or the dumb end of a chalk box. Anyway, with his strong direction we will do some of the work ourselves and rely on a "little help from our friends" to get the component parts built in a warehouse, ahead of the on-site erection in February. We should be finished ahead of our completion date of February 19th.

It makes our heart sing when we think about all those kids crawling through these cottages! Who knows, maybe the next great Monet, or the next great world class architect may shortly be running and laughing in our Arboretum "Small Homes!" Sounds like a plan to me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blessed? Or A Blessing?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner it's awfully tempting to reflect on the multitude of blessings that the Almighty showers down upon us! Last time I checked I was not forging through the City landfill looking for my next meal; we had plenty of hot water for this morning's shower (that right there puts us in the upper 1% of the WORLD!); we have a roof over our head, and we have  a comfortable bed in which to sleep! Sure, the building business is no where near what we want it to be, but through God's infinite grace we have yet to miss a meal. We are truly blessed!

But we also pause to remember those who are a "blessing" in our lives! That list from this boy's life is wwwwaaaaaaaaay to long to count, and even longer to try to enumerate here! Just last week another of God's "blessings" dropped right in our lap.

Dale Chihuly - "Through The Looking Glass"
As outlined in my post of October 20th (For the Kids!) my business partner Phillip McCloud and I committed to build four cottages for the Dallas Arboretum in conjunction with the Dale Chihuly Glass exhibit coming in May. The Arboretum accepted the designs of four of Dallas' most talented Architects - and now we have to get them built. Ahhhhh, that's on a very modest budget! Needless to say, when we started detailing the cottage design with each of the Architects, each wanted all the bells and whistles. Ahhhhh, that's on a very modest budget! Blessing #1: it appears that Foxworth Galbraith Lumber Company, our standard lumber supplier, may kick in the materials for at least one of the cottages! Two of the Architects have relationships with other lumber suppliers so we are hopeful on that score as well. But how do you build four "cottages" of approximately 225 square feet each with nothing more than a 10' x 20' mini-warehouse space?

Blessing #2: enter Stan Goodell! Phillip used his connections in Celina to find Stan, and he very graciously offered us a 2,400 square foot warehouse for the next 90 days - FREE!! Now THAT'S a BLESSING!! Suddenly we don't have to worry about weather; and we can field a crew (many hands make lite work)! You just have to admire those who step out of nowhere and want to help, giving of themselves unselfishly, and not caring about what's in it for them! Isn't that the very definition of a "blessing?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our "Jack" Attack!

He finally has arrived! Shelby, Jake, and McCall's son/brother Jack stepped into this world Monday morning about 1:25am. Dolly and Dutch are struggling to contain their excitement!

Fortunately the Navy was gracious to Jake, granting him a couple of days to meet his son. Although he couldn't be their for the birth he was able to oversee Jack's trip from the hospital back home. Everyone is doing very well!

Even Jack's cousins are getting in the act! Rachel Ledbetter drove all the way from Monroe, Louisiana yesterday to meet Jack. Hard to know who is enjoying whom - more!

Big Sis McCall is warming up to the idea of having a little brother. She has been an enormous help to Shelby and Jake - sometimes!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Have I mentioned that I am married to Mrs. Christmas? Every year our home looks like the inside of a Christmas package - it just explodes with color and fun! This year is no exception. It's just that it happened on October 25th - a WEEK BEFORE HALLOWEEN!

If one tree is good, two is better! Ahhhhhh, but one is upside down!
But there's method to Molly's madness. You see, within a matter of moments Shelby and Jake will be having their second child, AND the Christmas rush is already on at Heart's Desire, Molly's retail store! To say that she is way out ahead of the curve is to put it mildly!

Old 'stick in the mud' Bob (Dutch to some of you) wouldn't be up for decorating that early so Molly got really smart and brought in Michael Hamilton to do the honors. Michael has a wonderful touch, and he is loads of fun, so the two of them giggled like little girls all day long while they decorated. Kind of put me in the mood!

While many will think it kind of odd that we decorated so early, I really kind of like it! Careful though - too many kind platitudes and next year Molly may start decorating for Christmas in JUNE!!