Saturday, September 25, 2010

Never Cry Wolf

About 8 years ago, two smoke alarms went off in the middle of the night.  Brent was traveling for work, so it was just me and the young'uns.  No signs of fire or smoke. I pulled the 2 problematic detectors out of the ceilings for the night.  They began chirping on the kitchen table.  I removed their batteries.  They kept chirping.  I was about to throw them off the deck into the field, but then settled on wrapping them in towels and stuffing them in a drawer.  I accused them of being possessed.

Last night, at 12:30am, it happened again.  What a way to wake up.  I grabbed a chair and began yanking the hallway one closest to us out of the ceiling, but we could clearly hear another one going off in the basement.  I didn't even suspect a possible fire, I just wanted the damn thing out and a chance to regain my hearing.  Brent hollered from the bedroom, "Don't you think you ought to check out the basement?"  My first thought was, "One of us is standing on a kitchen chair in her undies trying to get this stupid thing to quiet, and one of us still in the bed!!!!"  I thought better of replying with sass (I saved that for today's post), and ran downstairs.  No sign of smoke or fire.  I pulled the basement detector out of the ceiling and put them both on the kitchen counter.  Back in bed, I hear the chirping.  Deja vu.  Yank out the batteries.  Still chirping.  How are these things making noise?  No electricity.  No batteries.  What is living inside of them?  I pressed some buttons which must have reset them.

Back to bed, and now my alertness and hearing are hypersensitive - the neighbor boy out late with a friend, the dog barking because of the neighbor boy, creaks in the house.  Each noise makes me startle, worrying that one of the 5 remaining smoke detectors might decide to cry wolf.

Three Truths About Smoke Detectors:
1)   They can save lives.
2)   If they are going to malfunction, it will always happen in the middle of the night.
3)   As deafeningly loud as they are, they still don't wake up my children.  How is this possible?  (Oli did wake up this time - but none of the kids woke 8 years ago!)

If we ever have a real fire, we're in trouble.  I won't even suspect fire, and the kids won't even wake up!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Letter

VaLene O. Hulme
1786 S. Nevada Ave.
Provo, UT 84606
Home 801 375-7221
Cell 801 319-2351
September 22, 2010
Person(s) in Charge of Visa Problems
Missionary Travel
50 E. North Temple St. Rm 1442
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5261
Dear Person(s) in Charge of Visa Problems,
My son, Elder Alexander Hulme, was called to the West Indies/Suriname Dutch-speaking mission.  He reported to the Provo MTC on March 24, 2010.  When the four Elders were preparing to depart for Suriname on May 25, 2010, only one Elder received his Visa.  Fortunately, my son has had a very positive experience learning and serving in the Birmingham, Alabama mission for the past 3+ months.
As a parent, I was hoping for some information about the Visa issues.  I am unaware of the scope of Visa problems - that is, I don’t know how many you must deal with at any given time, so perhaps sending information to the families is not a reasonable option.  However, with no information given to us, it is natural to wonder if perhaps my son’s Visa problems have fallen through the cracks and been ignored.  I very much doubt that this is the case, but I really felt I needed to check.
Would it be possible to provide updates to families who are in this situation?  I would love to have some or all of these questions addressed:
1) Is it typical for the West Indies missionaries to have Visa problems?  If so, how long does it typically take for a missionary’s Visa to arrive?
2) Is it common for a missionary to serve his/her entire mission in the temporarily-reassigned location?
3) Can anyone explain the root of the Visa problem?
4) What steps are being taken to acquire the necessary Visas?
I would be so grateful for any information at all, either by paper mail or e-mail.  I’m certain other families would appreciate some sort of communication as well.  Thank you for your time and all your hard work to sustain and benefit the missionary program.
VaLene O. Hulme

I was very tempted to add:
P.S.  If you need a qualified letter-writer, I am available for part-time work.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's that time of year...

14-16 cups peeled, squeezed tomatoes, strained well in a colander
2-3 cups diced red onion
Assorted garden peppers  (include 1-2 chipotle peppers from a can for a rich, smokey flavor)
(1 chipotle, 1 bell, 1 jalapeno, 1 unidentified long skinny pepper)
6-9  cloves garlic, minced or blended with some tomato
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 TB Kosher salt
2/3 cup vinegar
2 limes, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1 bell pepper, finely diced
Tomato sauce, canned (optional)

After squeezing the tomatoes, stir them around in a colander to drain out most of the juice.  Most of the tomatoes get slightly blended in the blender.  However, I dice the Romas without blending them, or skinning them to keep some nice chunks in the salsa.  I always blend my peppers with some tomato, then add a little at a time for desired heat.  If the salsa needs more substance, add some tomato sauce.