Month: June 2005

Fireworks!

You can’t light fireworks in St. Louis County, but down south here in Jefferson County anything is game!

We lit up the neighborhood tonight and had fun blowing up old toys.

Annie, of course, is nearly at the point of nervous breakdown with all the noise and lights and everyone, except her, outside.

Roe Family Reunion

Yesterday was the annual Roe Family Reunion, held this year at Pere Marquette State Park. We all had fun catching up with each other and playing “Washers.”

I forgot to get my camera out at the beginning, so I made up this picture with what I had. You get the idea.

Click here (or on the photo) for more pictures. If you want the full resolution original, send me an email (use the “Contact” link above) and I’ll send it to you.

You know you are a geek when:
At the family reunion you brag about your Google ranking.

(I humbly admit to doing this yesterday and got home to find I was wrong. Google does not list this blog under “Jerry” anywhere in the first ten pages!)

Grandma Brown passed away.

A few weeks ago Grandma Brown (Linda, Cathy’s stepmom’s, mother) became seriously ill and entered the ICU. It looked like she was pulling out of it, but this morning she went to be with the Lord.

For the short while we knew her she treated us like we were her own, and we came to love her. She also became very good friends with Cathy’s paternal grandmother who lived across the hall from her in their retirement center. She is much better now in heaven, but we all grieve her loss.

Escalation

A wise man once said “Sport is a metaphor for war.”

Water fights with cups and hoses are fun, but water fights with projectiles, water balloons, are funner.

Andrew and his cousin rode their bikes up to Walgreens and bought water balloon kits, complete with a hose adapter to make loading the ammunition easier.

Rather than just throwing the water balloons, they used lacrosse sticks to launch them. Pretty cool.

This was round #2. I wonder what will happen if they discover catapult water balloon launchers.

Father’s Day

We had so much food left over from last night’s open house we just decided to have it for Father’s Day dinner. In honor of the occasion, Andrew and Audrey made us some headgear.

They also decided to be good for the day and share with each other. Click here to see a 15 second video of the results.

Andrew and Audrey learn the value of sharing.

To end the day we drove to Holiday Shores, Illinois and saw Cathy’s father, George. He took us out on his pontoon boat to do some fishing and enjoy the lake.

Father's Day boat ride on Holiday Shores Lake

All in all, a nice Father’s Day.

American mail

Oh, man, I can’t believe how much mail happens here in America! I have not lived here for two years, yet Dad delivered 15 pounds of mail addressed to me when we arrived. In the week that we’ve been here I have continued receiving mail, too.

In Budapest I *might* get one letter a week. We only get three bills each month, as our landlord pays most of our utilities for us. I even quit using my desk because there was no need to sit down and process paper anymore.

I thought the advent of email was supposed to reduce postal mail!

A trip back to my old school

This morning I stopped by my old school, Westminster Christian Academy, for an alumni breakfast. Now that there are 1800 alumni of the school, I wondered if I would know any of them. I knew three.

One was Jack Oliver, local boy who made good. He was the featured speaker, and it was fun hearing his insights into Washington. He was the Republican National Committee Deputy Chairman and the Finance Director (i.e., fund raiser) for both George W’s campaigns. Each of those campaigns broke records for amount of money raised. I remember him as the freshman (when I was a senior) who liked the Stray Cats and did dishes with me during study hall in the cafeteria after lunch.

It was also my pleasure to visit several favorite teachers while I was there. When I was in their classes I don’t think I realized the influence they had on me, but as I look back from 20 years they were a significant part of growing up.

And regardless of how long it’s been for me, it’s always a bit weird going back to high school.

American Honesty

After living in a constant state of high alert for burglary for two years, the environment here stands in sharp contrast. People leave their doors open sometimes while they’re gone. My brother in law leaves his expensive fishing poles sitting in their driveway (in the boat) every night. I’m looking out a window where I see a bike sitting in the neighbor’s lawn, the owner long gone. And none of it is stolen.

Americans pay their taxes, and you can send a bank check through the US Mail. Sometimes you don’t realize the pressure you’re under until it’s gone. Not worrying about someone stealing your stuff is a nice thing!

It’s good to be around friends and family again.

The last five days have been filled seeing friends and family and meeting new friends who might join us in our ministry. It has been good to reconnect!

Two years goes by quickly, and our last visit here doesn’t seem any longer ago than most of our other trips to St. Louis. Rather than being like an oasis in a desert, this trip has been more like a visit to one of the places we live. Every place has things we like and don’t like, but we’re enjoying lots of our “likes” right now!

Cathy and I came back last night from meeting some friends to find Andrew, Audrey, their cousin, Amanda, and another friend in a huge water fight – led by their Uncle Matt! Clearly jet lag has worn off for them.

Today they visited the St. Louis City Museum and The Spaghetti Factory, two of the things they have looked forward to for a while.

How to make dial up Internet access fast

1. Spend five years with high speed “always on” Internet access.
2. Take high speed Internet access away for a week when you really need it.
3. Setup a dial up Internet account – and it will seem fast.

It’s been a week since I could connect my laptop to the Internet. I never expected it to be this hard, but all the options I used in the past fell through.

Today I signed up with Earthlink and am back on again!

Of course, this means I have to deal with the pile of email now.

Squirrel!

Andrew wanted to catch one of the squirrels in Grandma’s back yard, so she got out her trap and before long we had one!

Later they let him go again since we had enough to eat for dinner.

Things I see when I’m home

This morning I returned to an old running path across the street in the woods and down the ravine. All of the woods leading down the ravine have been developed into houses, and the bottom of the ravine is now a paved walking path!

It smelled the same, though, and that was the best part. Every place has its own unique smell, and these woods in summer have a sweet, humid river bottom smell that I love.

Paved Trail

Celebrity sighting!

Deplaning at Lambert International Airport, we noticed someone familiar, Lisa Williams, waiting for our flight. Lisa is our favorite radio DJ from Z88 in Orlando (which we listen to in Budapest over the Internet), but we had never met her before. Cathy introduced herself, and we all talked around the luggage carousel as we waited for bags that never appeared. After a trip to the Baggage Claim office together we felt like friends by the time we departed. Lisa turned out to be as much of a pleasure in person as she is on the radio, an encouraging breath of fresh air!

After frustrating French security agents, OJ Simpson races through Charles De Gaulle Airport, 2 extra segments on the journey, and an unexpected overnight layover in Cincinnati, this was DEFINITELY the brightest spot on our trip!

But if that wasn’t enough we also got to meet Momma! She was every bit as sweet as her daughter.

Back to the land of pickup trucks and SUV’s

I’ve been looking forward to seeing what things seemed interesting about the U.S. after having lived in Hungary for two years. Here’s my list so far.

* English and loud Americans. – You can generally hear an American if you are within 30 feet of one, our family included. When no one else speaks English around you, it creates a sense of privacy (real or imagined), and you begin thinking no one can hear you because they all speak a different language. It’s weird hearing everyone else’s conversations again.

* white tennis shoes, white socks, and shorts on normal, grown men.

* The Missouri National Guard – there they were sitting out near Lambert Field when we landed, 8 F-15’s. My home state has an air force? I forgot about that. In Eastern Europe if you control an army you can get your own country. I think that’s how Moldova came into being.

* Paranoid security at airports – While the French had the wackiest rules on this journey, no skateboards in the cabin without a plastic bag, they also showed the most trust in their travelers. Each passenger received a serrated metal knife to use with lunch! Compared to U.S. security, where we nearly had to undress for them (take off shoes, belts, jackets, etc.), this seemed rather lax.

* wide roads – man there’s a lot of concrete around here!

* Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew – ah!!

Not Paris, but Cincinnati

When we left Budapest we thought we might spend the day in Paris, given our tight connection time at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Instead we spent a night in Cincinnati.

We were even late to the gate in Paris, thanks to a newly created rule that required us to put Andrew’s skateboard in a plastic bag before boarding!

On our way from Cincinnati to St. Louis, the third leg of our journey, we were diverted to Evansville, Indiana due to bad weather in St. Louis. After refueling in Evansville, they determined the weather wasn’t clearing in St. Louis and sent us back to Cincinnati where we spent the night.

We finally made it to our destination, St. Louis, this afternoon.

T minus 5 and counting

Five hours until we wake up and start our journey to St. Louis. We fly on Air Chance (Air France) and go through Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, easily the most confusing and frustrating in the world.

On Monday the Seelys took an itinerary similar to ours through CDG and missed their connection. This resulted in a surprise one day stay in Paris for the whole family. Not bad actually.

I’m hoping for the same, as long as our luggage makes the flight and we don’t. I wouldn’t want to haul all 8 of the bags we are carrying (4 for a friend) around Paris.

Annie is coming with us, too.

Van breakdown results in faster arrival!

On the way to pick up our visas at the Hungarian Immigration Office this morning, our van overheated. We were only ten minutes from home and had most of the trip ahead of us, so we had no other choice than to pull over and call City Taxi.

They arrived in less than 5 minutes, and our driver found a shorter route to the Immigration Office than we had planned. We arrived just a few minutes late for our appointment and figured we made it sooner than if our van hadn’t broken down!

One of us has a problem.

For the last several months, Annie has had an unusual attraction to our back yard. We put her out on the leash, and she stays out happily for long stretches. We began to wonder about her since she normally doesn’t like being out so long, and today we found out why.

I left the back door cracked open for just a minute, and Annie quickly sneaked out. Soon I heard our neighbor talking to Annie from inside her house. I arrived at her back door to see Annie convulsively inhaling their cat’s food while their cat, Bili, stood by, helplessly watching. I wasn’t sure if she was eating it or snorting it. The result was the same. She trembled from the rush of all that forbidden food through her mouth in such a short time.

It was then I realized Annie has a problem. She is addicted to cat food.

Could this be it?

We left Paris last week knowing that if things would ever develop for a Russian language evangelistic web ministry they would be developed by God’s arrangement. Three factors need to come together in order for this to happen: funding, a leader, and an effective evangelistic website.

Yesterday the third piece of the puzzle may have come into the picture; the leader. We have already written a proposal for funding and await the Foundation’s decision later this month. We began negotiations with an effective evangelistic website, connaitredieu.com, and we will continue forming that relationship. Now we may have met the ministry leader, too.

We spent the last two days talking with Alex, the publisher of a Russian Christian magazine, who is putting together a Russian Christian web portal site. He also wants to build an evangelistic website and may be willing to lead an effort to create a ministry around it.

Time will tell if this triperspectival arrangment comes to fruition, but we are excited in the mean time!