The Common Mommy Denominator

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Marine in the Grocery Store

With Memorial Day creeping slowly toward us, I wanted to share an experience I had at the grocery store yesterday.

I took my daughter to the store to do our usual shopping, and as we ambled down the first aisle an elderly gentleman – spry and active as someone 50 years his junior – commented on my daughter’s “adorable blonde head”. I noticed the Veteran’s pin on his hat right away and lately have been enjoying reading Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation – a nonfiction book about those who lived through and fought in WWII – so rather than just thank him for his compliment and moved on, I asked him about his service record. I’d like to tell you what he shared with me in the five or so minutes we stood there chatting.

This gentleman turned 16 in 1944. He immediately signed up for active duty in the military – he became a Marine – and lied about his age to do so. He was found out just before he was supposed to ship out to the South Pacific and was kept in the states, to his great dismay. Boot camp had made him a man, he said, and he was ready to prove himself to God and country...but as he turned 17, the war was ending, and he had a decision to make. He wanted to serve. “Stick around, Corporal” said the Marines. “You’ll be shipping out sooner than you think.”

A few years later he went to Korea. He says it was there that he was REALLY made a man; he’d been wrong the first time. He was fascinated by the people and culture, fought with everything in him, and said he nearly froze to death every night every winter. When his service was complete, he had a decision to make. He still wanted to serve...but he wanted to serve somewhere a little warmer. “Stick around, Sergeant,” said the Marines. “You’ll be shipping out sooner than you think...and it’ll be warm there.”

And he did. And then he served in Vietnam. Still he was fascinated by the people and culture, fought with everything in him – and bolstered the morale of many a man who learned he had fought in, survived, and returned from Korea only to lead them now – and said he practically baked in his skin and took a shower in his clothes just walking outside every day he served there. When his service was complete, he had a decision to make, and he served until 1973 when finally he retired.

Twenty years later the US became involved in Desert Storm, and he called up the Marines, offering his services and citing former military service. They asked where he had served, and when they found it he was just a little older than their average active-duty corpsman, they politely declined his help. He was disappointed. “I could have at least sat behind a desk in Afghanistan or Saudi and done paperwork,” he reflected sadly. “They can always use someone with a little experience...but I suppose it is your generation’s turn to protect this great nation of ours.”

Indeed, sir. You have served honorably and valiantly in the defense of these United States to ensure my freedom, and God bless you for it. It is our turn. We must overcome our entitlement attitudes and see this country for what it is...for what it was intended to actively contribute to it and to make it even better if it is within our power to do so.

That gentleman made me proud to be an American, proud of our servicemen and women, proud to be a conservative who values our country’s Constitution and wishes to take personal responsibility for my life instead of letting my government grow so big that it makes my decisions for me. Memorial Day will take on new, extra, and a profound meaning for me this year, thanks to this aged Marine and those who fought – some who died – as he served. God bless him, God bless them all, God bless our country, and God bless us as we face the challenge of protecting this, our beloved country, from foes both foreign and domestic.

Much love,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


So, I'd spend a few pages explaining our home-buying situation, but suffice it to say that we are finally in escrow on a beautiful home in Lake Elsinore and are hoping to close by the end of the month of April. Long story short, the one we wanted that we waited 4 months didn't (SHORT SALE) work out, but right about the time we started looking again, up popped this house with a floorplan we'd already walked through and just had really crappy pictures up for MLS (which works in our favor). It was (IS...this is our soon-to-be-home!) a short sale, but was already in escrow...the buyers just couldn't close the loan in time. Enter our fabulous realtor (and bishop, which is awesome!) who steps in to say "We can do it!" and BAM!, bank says sure, but we have to close by May 10th. Our loan guy says "Great!" and we say "April 30th?" to which he says "I'm on it!" we are, Lord willing 23 days before we move into our (almost dream!) home, unless we get delayed by up to 10 days, in which case we'll be there in a month!

Maybe that WAS a long story. At least it wasn't multi-paragraph, right?

So now you want the details...the specs. Here we go: built in '06, 3 homes from the end of a cul-de-sac on a quiet little hill in a first-division home in a beautiful tract in Elsinore JUST off the 74 (Jason's commute route) and about an hour from Nona/Papa and Tee/Boo. 2643 sq ft, 4 bed, 2 1/2 bath with a very large upstairs bonus room, 3 car garage w/ epoxy flooring, on an almost 8000 sq ft lot. The backyard is unlandscaped (which is fine, because we want to put in a patio/bbq/firepit/garden/a bunch of fake grass for a tax credit!) and the home has an already-installed alarm system (which will end up being about $10/mo), a pretty front porch, an island kitchen with granite countertops and walk-in pantry, a huge 5 burner gass range and double ovens, a fireplace in the family room, a giant under-stair storage closet, custom wood blinds throughout (and tons of natural light!), double doors on the master bedroom, a seperate tub and shower in the master with double silkstone sinks and a water closet, plus a walk-in master closet. Like Katrina said, we didn't compromise on features we wanted, and like Audrey said, I took a good look at the house to see how easy or difficult it would be to maintain. Thank you both. :)

So...that's really all there is to say about the house. I'm guessing you'd just rather see pictures.

Keep in mind I don't like their paint - actually, the paint is fine, it's just that I hate the accent walls - and the carpet, while unspotted and pretty, needs a deep-clean...but all around, we love it and we'll change it if and when we have the time...and the money, which is really the issue. :) We WILL, however, "earn" the $8k first time homebuyer tax credit, so maybe we can pour a concrete patio and get a really "cool" (yup, I'm lame) fridge after all.

Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, advice, and encouragement, friends! We appreciate you pulling for us, and we're glad to say it has (or is about to) all paid off...and will pay off for you, too, next time you want to come visit SoCal and need a free hotel!

PS...T&M thank you too...because they will very soon have their very own rooms, window seats and all!!!!!