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State of the Havigs Address (Fall 2011)

October 16, 2011

This year has whizzed past so quickly I can’t remember what all has happened and when.  Why am I doing this now?  Well, as fast as the year is going, I figured I’d better get it down before it’s next year and this poor neglected blog is still poor and neglected.  So, this might get a bit jumbled, but bear with me and let’s get down to brass tacks.  Except that I don’t like brass.  How about antiqued white ones or maybe cool black ones with little scrolls in ’em or something?  Those are more my speed.

Kevin–  Well, this year started with a dental adventure that culminated in the most in-depth cleaning I’ve ever heard of (complete with lasers and other cool sounding and very expensive things), two implants, four root canal/crowns, and then, if that wasn’t enough, he decided that it was time to rupture a disc in his back.  After six weeks of it going improperly diagnosed, our primary physician admitted him to the hospital for an MRI.  Guess what?  “A bulge.”  Off we were transported to Lancaster (Kevin in an ambulance since sitting sent his pain through the charts and into triple digits), where he had a cortisone shot into the bulge.  Ahem.  Didn’t work.  Didn’t do a single thing.  So, he waited a few more days and went in for a microdiscectomy.  Guess what?  The disc wasn’t just bulging… it had ruptured, and a fragment was pressing on the sciatic nerve.  Disc fragment plus sciatic nerve=Kevin dying from pain.  After surgery, we stayed 2 more days at the Lancaster hospital (and learned even more reasons to LOVE our local hospital), before he came home.  They doped him up on Dilaudid (he hates it as much as me for different reasons) and then took his regular meds once we were home.  Guess what?  Never took another one again.  Six weeks later, Kevin goes back to work on Tuesday after three months at home.  I got a taste of what retirement is going to be like, and as long as he’s not in pain or recuperating from surgery the whole time, I’m gonna like it just fine.  In April (I think) he went to the Bahamas.  No, it wasn’t an exotic trip filled with beaches lined with scantily clad women in string bikinis– not that I’m complaining.  Instead, he spent his time in the barracks when not working.  There were no cool restaurants– nothing commercial.  Just the Navy base on Andros Island and the plane ride home from the nether regions.  He’s not eager to return.  However, he does have a passport now, but no stamps and unless he’s on official government business, he can’t use it.  Sigh.

Chautona (that’d be me)–  Well, I spent the year juggling finances so that we didn’t end up deep in debt from all of the medical and dental bills this year.  Oh, no.  Kevin’s aren’t all.  Not by a long shot.  I also finished the last book in my Annals of Wynnewood trilogy, Beneath the Cloak, and launched the book on a Facebook party from Kevin’s hospital room just an hour and a half after he was admitted.  Crazy?  Yeah.  I also learned this year that I am a lot stronger than I thought, that a positive mental attitude is essential when life keeps throwing sludge at you, and that I have the world’s greatest kids.  When not writing, educating the kids, driving to doctor’s/dentist’s appointments, I’ve had a lot of fun sewing and making cards.  I keep an online “journal” of those over at my Eclectivity blog.

Challice, David, & Kids– Have had a fun year.  They’ve purchased a larger vehicle, necessary now that they’re expecting another child next May, done some work around the house, and are doing a great job raising the two darlings they already have.  Those kids are well-beloved in our house and everyone is excited to see them come through the door.  David was such a great help when things went wrong and Kevin isn’t able to do anything about it, and Challice running errands for me is worth her weight in gold.

Morgann– Oh, she had an eventful year.  The awards she earned up at the college were only surpassed by the education she received.  She worked hard, got several scholarships, finally chose UC Irvine as her transfer school, and then just before graduation– had her wisdom teeth and another bad tooth pulled.  OUCH.  After an attempt at wearing contact lenses, she has chosen to stick with glasses for now.  She finished her first quarter at UCI this summer and did extremely well.  She’s now into her next quarter at UCI and has a job with campus security.  Morgann.  Security.  Little miss mercy is now in charge of enforcing “laws.”  I giggle.  Then again, she’s great with children, keeps the darlings in line, and well, that’s a lot like policing a college campus– particularly when your habit is to call everyone you know, “child.”  So, maybe it works.  Morgann enjoyed the highlights of having her first car accident (barely rolling into another car at a parking garage.  She actually popped the poor guy’s light out.  Didn’t break it… no, that’d be too exciting.  She just popped it out.  Our insurance went through the roof!  A whole dollar more per month.  What will we do with that girl?)  She, Amy, and I all went to Lancaster for the opening of The Deathley Hallows part 2.  There, she was manhandled by a security guy who thought she shouldn’t be away from an adult.  I guess 21 isn’t adult anymore.  Whatever.  The things that have happened to her since being at college would fill many blogs.  Let’s just say she leads an epic life and leave it at that.

Braelyn– After four years at her favorite job, the company was sold.  She worked for the new owners for three months before they moved the production to Tennessee.  Gulp.  Yeah.  Unemployment.  During that time, on the way back from Kevin getting his final implants, she called to inform us that some guy had hit her car.  2500.00 worth of damage.  OUCH.  It took the insurance company (his not ours) almost two weeks to get to it, but once they did, ten days later (thank you Lord for rental cars), she had a nice new car… in certain sections.  Snort.  The day before her Phi Theta Kappa induction dinner at the college (honor society for community colleges), she had her wisdom teeth removed.  Enjoy the videos of her and Morgann-– yes, we did them on the same day.  Snort.  She was a bit swollen at the dinner and talked a little funny, but it wasn’t too bad.  She’s had quite a few photo shoots this year– great ones– but the big trip she’d planned this summer failed when she lost her job.  Couldn’t really afford it then.  She’s taking a larger load of classes this semester and has discovered that she does NOT like it.  All she wants is a nice job packing for some company somewhere.  She and I are now working on a costume for a costume party.  It’s amazing.  Can’t wait to show off pictures.  She keeps telling me the party will be here in a blink of an eye, so I just said, “Well, don’t blink!”

Kaylene-  Never one to have too many papers, Kaylene decided she’d had enough and quit her route this year. After three years of nannying one little boy, she had the summer off.  I don’t think she quite knew what to do with herself.  However, it was probably good for her.  Taught her to appreciate her work even more… and of course, she missed the little tyke.  She spent a week watching three children while their parents were in Chicago.  That was a lot of fun.  She’s such a capable girl.  No, she’s still not taking classes at the college.  Not sure if she will when she can, but since the state of California refuses to acknowledge her existence with a Birth Certificate, she can’t get a social security number and without one of those nine-digit jobbies, she can’t go to school up there.  Grr.  Oh, well.  Braelyn and she are on a mission to get the courts to do what CA won’t do.  They’ve filed the paperwork (including a waiver of fees form– she’s hoping they’ll take pity) and next week some time she should get a court date.  Our friend Teresa (who saw every nasty bit of it and heard every wail out of me) promised to go to court with her and testify that she does indeed exist, she is the same kid who was there that  morning, and even said she’d give full testimony of everything she saw–complete with sound effects– if that would help.  We’re all praying it isn’t necessary.  Well, except for Teresa.  I think she’s rather looking forward to it.  She also went rapelling with Braelyn for the first time recently.  I think she liked it. She did not like the resulting sunburn.  Just sayin’.  She and Jenna went to the Harvest Crusade this spring and enjoyed that as well as a day at the beach.  WOOT.  Oh, I forgot.  She also went to a youth retreat up at Rim of the World near Crestline.  Ok.  It’s just sad when my kids go to places I would want to go if my friends hadn’t moved from there.  I am working on her costume for the same party Braelyn is attending.  Regency gown.  So pretty.

Nolan-  After seven or so years of carrying papers, Nolan gave up his newspaper empire this January and has been doing odd jobs for people since.  He’s managed to keep himself in spending money and also managed to raise 750.00 for a trip to Chicago for the “Jesus Culture Awakening” thing there.  He had a blast.  We had a whole lot of fun making sure they’d let him on the planes without ID (if Kaylene’s birth certificate comes through, Nolan is next!!!), but once we were sure, off he went.  He’s been working on learning more guitar, he runs the sound system at church quite a bit, and is becoming more and more artistic every day.  In the past few months, he’s decided he wants to graduate this year, so he’s working like a dog (or so he claims) to do it.  When I see the work, I issue the diploma.  It’s as simple as that.  He has turned into his mother in that he is the ultimate night owl these days.  He also went to the youth retreat with Kaylene and Jenna.  Oh, and I believe he and Kaylene both have been to Disneyland at least once or twice this year.  It’s such a forgettable place for me.

Jenna-  When Nolan quit doing his routes, Jenna took over some, Andra took over others, and voila.  More money for Jenna.  Her bank account is growing rapidly.  She went with Kaylene to the Harvest Crusade and with Nolan and Kaylene to the youth retreat.  Had a blast from what I can tell.  She also had the worst sunburn I’ve ever seen on her!  EEK.  She’s been a lifesaver this year.  When I decided to start hanging clothes to try to reduce our 331 dollar a month electric bill (it went up by over 1/3 with no increase in usage!!!), Jenna never hesitated to do it as well.  I was trying to do all the hanging myself, but Jenna has almost taken it over completely.  I need to have her remind me to go out and do it– just as soon as my shoulder stops hurting!  She is amazingly helpful, never complains, and when things are overwhelming, she seems to have a sixth sense about it.  She and Andra played volleyball this spring.  Jenna was getting pretty good at it!

Andra-  Andra added routes this year.  She’s making a little money, enjoying it, and it’s helping her overcome a bit of her blonde tendencies… I think.  Her school load is doubling this year which isn’t something she anticipated or wanted, but she’ll do it.  Not that she has much choice.  Andra rises to occasions once she realizes that there’s nothing she can do about it.  She’s the “go-to” gal for cooking around here.  If kids are hungry and want something, they ask her.  She and Ethan enjoy walking with their friends to the gym for volleyball and then over to the soccer fields to watch friends practice/play.  She also played volleyball on a team and definitely enjoyed it.  By the end of the season, she’d managed to become one of the few girls on her team that didn’t cringe at an oncoming ball.  WHEW!  She had a blast yesterday.  We had a bowling party for her birthday– and of course, no one remembered to bring the camera.

Ethan-  Our youngest dude is about to start his first paper route.  He’s looking forward to a chance to make a few dollars.  Around the house, he’s a strong, silent worker.  You don’t have to ask him to do things.  He just gets up, cleans up the living room, does his work, does his schoolwork, and then hunkers down into a project, a TV show, or a video game.  He enjoys video games more than the other kids did.  I think that’s fine.  He doesn’t live them.  That’s what matters.  He still comes up with amazing things to build out of nothingness.  It’s incredible.  Before the pool sprouted a leak about the time Kevin’s back went down, he enjoyed swimming with the neighbor kids.  Many Saturdays, a friend of his comes over to play games with him.  His schoolwork is also increasing this year, but he doesn’t seem to notice or care.  He’s kind of a “go with the flow” kid.

Lorna-  Wow.  She’s changed so much this year.  Lorna has learned to turn her scribbles into pictures, her coloring in books into art, and is reading quite well.  It hasn’t occurred to her that the words in the reading book are the same ones outside it, but once in a while I see glimpses of “wait a minute!  I know that… it’s…”  We’ll see.    I expect by Christmas to find her sitting on the couch with her early readers reading for the fun of it.  She’s that kind of kid.  Her math has increased to place value and she loves to copy everything.  We find notes with the words from pamphlets, boxes, cans, newspapers… you name it, she copies it onto everything.  She was crushed when the pool died, but rallied.  She now “sprays herself with the hose” and “waters the concrete.”  Ok, then.  She enjoys going on walks with Daddy (and has been his companion while laid up) and playing with Sergeant.  Sergeant loves her too.

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