June highlights

Monday, June 30th, 2003
Although finances have been rough, we set a side a bank to collect loose change, birthday money, etc., so that we could eventually buy annual passes to Disneyland.  In an attempt to make some money for this bank, Kathy and the girls did a thorough house/attic/garage cleaning, and came up with a great many items to get rid of.  We set up a booth at the annual Pine Mountain garage sale.  Amy and Wendy were a big hit with their lemonade stand on the hot (very hot) day.  When the folks learned that the girls were trying to earn money to go to Disneyland, they were very generous with their lemonade purchases.  Eric and the girls gave Kathy a home organ for her birthday.  Emily has especially become quite good at playing the "Veggie Tales" theme.  We combined a business trip with a trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.  What a fascinating experience.  Even Emily and Kelly were excited about being there.  Business temporarily picked up for Eric this month.  Living so far from our church makes attending special events difficult.  Eric and Kathy were delighted to be able to go to a class called "Contagious Christians."  Eric attended a HERO robot meeting, and made some progress getting his robot's arm repaired.  We took a hike to the local waterfall with our friends the Gilardone and Steele families.

Music to our ears

Monday, June 16th, 2003
Tonight, the girls and I purchased a console organ for Kathy's birthday.  The deal was too good to pass up:  The organist of the local church passed away a few years ago, and her husband decided to sell her console organ along with her entire music library -- all for $300.  I had known the woman and her husband from my time serving at the church many years ago, and she was very fond of Amy & Wendy.  Kathy and I discussed the organ and she said that she would like to have it for the girls to learn to play, but that it should be presented as "Mom's organ."  
Image:Music to our ears
All I needed to do now, was to convince my children that it would be worth "borrowing" $300 from our savings towards a future trip to Disneyland to buy the organ.  They were unimpressed with the idea.  I finally convinced Amy and Wendy to  go with me to check out the organ -- just to "look" at it.  Well, they came along, arms folded, unsure of the wisdom of this purchase vs the potential future fun of going to Disneyland at the end of the year.  The elderly man who owned the organ told us all about it; the girls remained unconvinced.  Then he offered to allow them to "test" the organ themselves; they sat down, and played a duet of "heart and soul."  Moments later, it was all over; we were the proud owners of a console organ.  (I will spare you the details of all I learned about how [not] to move an organ.)

So now, we have this beautiful console organ sitting in our living room.  We have managed to play the National Anthem, Take me out to the ball game, a few hymns, and other classics.  Kathy wants to be able to play the song from Swiss Family Robinson  for the girls, and I envision myself playing Phantom of the Opera.  I have been able to figure out what the two keyboards, the bass pedals, and most of the top two rows of switches and levers do -- at least functionally -- but I am clueless on some of the other controls.  Fortunately, the organ can also be controlled by a computer through a MIDI interface, so I know I can make it work that way.  I am sure that there are books or places to get started learning, and I will start researching these shortly.