Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My ride in the back of a State Troupers car: by Melissa Gafford

While this makes for a very interesting title, it's not the best place to start my story so I'll back up and start at the beginning.

This afternoon David and I went out to lunch before loading up the truck for him to make his first of many journeys up to Minnesota. The whole drive out he kept commenting on how the truck felt funny and the steering was weird. (We'd taken the truck in to get new brakes, etc. last week and this was really the first that we'd driven it since getting it home.) On our way home our plans for the day were abruptly changed when the tie rod broke, making it completely impossible to steer the truck and our two front tires were pointed in opposite directions. David turned on the flashers and hopped out thinking we'd just dropped a tire or something and within a minute a state trouper pulled up behind us to give us assistance. That was where we spent the next 45 minutes as we waited for the tow truck, backing up traffic on Schoenner Rd., David out shooting the breeze talking recipes and restaurants with our new lady officer friend. The tow truck finally arrived and David rode along to go back to the Ford service station (where we'd been last week), while the officer offered to drive me home to pick up our other car and meet David. But of course, the only available seat was in the back. I had my camera in my purse and really wanted to have David take a picture but figured it probably wouldn't be appropriate so I decided against it. She took me home, I got the car and met David as we had planned. That was where we spent the next hour as we waited to see if the service department was going to take responsibility for what had just happened or whether we were going to be responsible for another huge repair bill. Fortunately they took the blame and the bill (both for repairs and towing), but had to get the part from another place so we went back home for a few hours to wait until they called us around 5:30 to tell us it was ready.

As much of a pain as this experience was, we couldn't have been more thankful. We went through a whole series of "what if's" and "coulda been's" this afternoon and came to the conclusion that this was the absolute best possible scenario aside from nothing being wrong with the truck in the first place.

Option #1: We had considered David taking the car and leaving me the truck. Let me just tell you how horrible that would have been for me if that had happened when I was on my own with my husband out of state! Not good.

Option #2: We were going to take the car to lunch but decided the truck needed gas so we changed our minds. If we'd taken the car instead, David would have discovered this problem going 70 mph on 696, probably resulting in a rolled Expedition and a collision with other vehicles. Not to mention all of the guitars, amps, etc that would have been packed in the back of the truck!

There are just so many other little scenarios like that that would have made such a difference in how this played out. God allowed an inconvenience, but he prevented a complete disaster. Having that perspective helped us get through the inconvenience a lot better.

That, and I also got to take my first (and hopefully last) trip in the back of a State Trouper's car. What a day!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

To boldly go where Melissa has never gone before

David and I had the opportunity to get away this weekend to go explore Minnesota. I had never been before and David hadn't been there since he was a kid. We had a chance to catch up with our good friends from college, Dan and Angie Leverence, who gave us a very thorough tour of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota. Here you can see us all in front of the Minnehaha falls (I don't really know if that's the way it's spelled, but I was pretty sure it wasn't "mini ha-ha").

We also had the chance to visit Five Oaks Community Church in Woodbury, Minnesota (just east of St. Paul). We heard they had just hired a new Worship director and we decided to go check him out. He did an awesome job and now I'm pretty sure I've got a thing for Five Oaks' new worship leader....

Get it?

Check it out at
  • Five Oaks Church
  • Monday, May 22, 2006

    Rest In Peace

    Farwell, Alias. Thank you for 5 great seasons. (Well really just 4 great seasons and 1 that redeemed itself by the end...) It's been a fun and intense ride.

    The Highlights

    Up until now our excuse for not blogging has been that we've had nothing worth blogging about. My camera begs to differ however, because as I was transferring pictures onto my computer I realized we've missed several opportunities to blog. So I decided to make this post the highlights of the last week or so.

    1. Last week "Uncle Gary" came over to have a jam session with David. Gary Rogers has been our master piano/keyboard/B3 organ player at Community Wesleyan and the two of them always have fun playing together. We had a good time catching up with him and enjoyed a great Mexican lunch together before he had to leave.

    2. On Saturday we had our first Open House. We kind of planned it last minute so we didn't really have extrememly high expectations. It's a good thing, because we only had one couple come through. Hopefully we'll have a better response for our open house next week. Please pray with us that we can sell our house FAST!

    3. Saturday night we went out with Mike and Laurel to celebrate Mike's birthday. We went to "Erma's" for dessert afterwards. This week's flavor: chocolate marshmallow. Happy Birthday, Mike!

    4. When David and I moved here three years ago, God blessed me with two friends who love to sing. We quickly created a trio and have enjoyed singing together for various church services and ladies events over the past few years. Now that our time at Community is over, we thought we were finished as a trio. However, Chris (Guza for all you IWU alums) has been a part of a church plant in Capac for the past year and she arranged for the trio to sing a farwell concert at her church on Sunday. We had such a great time singing together one last time and the whole service was totally blessed. Thank you girls, for 3 great years as "Ladies Trio" and one concert as "Heart's Desire."

    5. Lastly, an embarrassing moment to share with you. Before the concert on Sunday, I went to put my lipstick on but couldn't find a mirror. I decided to put it on blindly and then asked David how it looked. He gave me the strangest look and said "Dark". I looked down and saw that I was holding my eye liner, not my lipliner. Oops! Glad I asked him before it was too late. That could have been REALLY bad!

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Newsflash! Allie Barks!

    It finally happened and we were both home to hear it. Allie the beagle finally barked. We put our house up for sale by owner on Monday and we've had a couple groups in for a tour throughout the week. Before they come we put Allie in her crate in the office so she won't drive our potential home buyers away with her nonstop licking. Friday morning we put her away, anticipating our guest any minute. When the doorbell rang we heard this huge "Woof" come from the end of the hall. It was so funny. All this time I guess we've just imagined that Allie's bark would be a dainty little bark and it turns out that it's really a whole lot heaftier than we thought it would be. Apparently she's just very discerning as to when the appropriate times are to use that big voice. I guess we're lucky that way. It could be a whole lot worse!

    Northridge Church

    During the last couple of months, we have had the privilege of visiting many different churches around the country, and our favorite by far has to be Northridge Church in Plymouth, Michigan. Melissa and I have visited some of what are currently considered the "best" churches in the United States over the past 10 weeks, but for some reason we continue going back to Northridge week in and week out. Northridge is about 50+ minutes away from our home, and construction is a bear on M-14 this time of the year, but I really think that we would park at the exit ramp on I-275 and walk the additional 2 1/2 miles to the church if we had to each week. Never before have I encountered such a relevant church ministry.

    Each series hits straight to the point, and finds reinforcement through multiple creative elements such as video, drama, music, and more. For the last couple of weeks, Northridge has been doing a series called "Imarriage" based on the ever so popular Ipod, and just check out the pictures for creative decoration... I mean, who from my generation wouldn't like having a 15 foot tall Ipod on each side of the stage? If you haven't yet taken the time to get out of your comfort zone for a service, what better time than the present? Gather up the family and make a date to get out this Sunday or next! Services are 9:15 & 11:15 on Sunday morning, and there is a hot cup of coffee or tea waiting for you as soon as you hit the door. (There are even cup-holders in your seat...for your convenience) So, set the alarm clock a half hour earlier and stretch yourself one of these weekends. (if you live here in Michigan...) I promise, you will be glad that you did!

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    I Want My Baby Back...

    No, Melissa isn't away on vacation without me, but what better title for a blog about smoking ribs! Our neighborhood loved us today as we made the entire street smell like a BBQ festival in Texas. We've never tried smoking and grilling ribs before, but see for yourself the results.

    We started with a little 6 pound rack of ribs from the local market
    and marinated them in Italian dressing overnight. We used Famous Dave's award winning Rib Rub and slathered it in Famous Dave's Sauce to finish. (For any of you who haven't heard of "Famous Dave's" BBQ restaurant, you truly need to check your area and make time to visit.) The smoke was provided by soaked Hickory chips and the grill was provided by the previous owners of our home. We met the previous owners at closing, and they asked us if we would like a free smoker grill. I had always wanted one of these beauties, and free was a price I just couldn't pass up.

    We tried using the grill while we were building our deck, and we being "newbies" used match light charcoal throughout the cooking process. (If you haven't tried it, go makes your meat taste like lighter fluid.) Lately we hadn't even taken the cover off the grill in over a year, so we decided to give it a trial run and see if it was worth moving. As of right now, it's putting up a pretty convincing argument. I guess we'll have to "test" it out a few more times to decide for sure.

    I don't know how many times I have watched the "Jack Daniels BBQ Invitational" on the food network, but today I finally felt like I was a part of it all. All I need to do now is convince Melissa to sell one of the cars and build a 20 foot version of this baby to take on the road! Look out world! There's a new "Famous Dave" in town!

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    How to Gain 5 Pounds on Your Birthday:

    Can I just take a moment and brag on my husband? I'll admit, for the last week or so I've really been struggling with being bored and kind of tired of being in this state of transition that we're in. So as my birthday was approaching, David asked me if I wanted to take part in planning my day or if I wanted to be surprised. I told him I'd leave it completely up to him because I needed to have something to look forward to without having to once again tackle the "what should we do today?" question. Let me just tell you that he took that responsibility and owned it. For the past several days he's hidden away in our office to do research in preparation for my day, including mapquested directions to several locations. This morning I woke up, got my birthday greetings from my husband and dog, opened my first birthday present, and we were on our way.

    First stop: IHOP for breakfast. Going out for breakfast is something we don't often do unless we're on vacation. So for us to start the day with stuffed french toast at IHOP made the day feel kind of like I was on vacation. It was a bit of a chore to make this happen, however. The only IHOP within 15 miles of our house closed down about a year ago, but David looked into it and found one about 1/2 hour away. It was worth the drive. And it was a good way to start the day.

    Second Stop: Downtown Detroit to the Renaissance Center. We took a leisurely drive down by the lake to make our way south to the city where David gave me a self guided tour of the Renaissance Center (I'd never been and apparently it's on the "Top 10 things to do in Detroit before you die" list). I was very impressed; my tour was surprisingly educational. (David had read up on the subject the night before so he would be ready to tell me all about it).

    Our reservations for dinner weren't until 7:00, so even though we'd had a big breakfast, we were going to need to eat something to tide us over until then, so...

    Third stop: Buddy's Pizza (our favorite little Detroit pizza joint). We split a small Hawaiian pizza (which we'd been thinking about since our grilled pizzas the other night...), ate a slice each, and boxed up the rest for later. Buddy's is far enough away from our house that we don't get there very often. Usually it's only if we're on our way back from Detroit (which isn't very often). So it was fun to stop in, even if only for 1 slice.

    After Buddy's we shopped our way back home. There were a couple of items on my birthday list that were giving David a hard time, but after a few stops we found what I wanted at Target. We spent a few hours at home with Allie, got several phone calls, (some from churches, some from family and future family) and opened a couple more presents. Then we got back into the car and ventured out to our fifth stop (the fourth was home).

    PF Chang's! This is our favorite restaurant so this was pretty much a no-brainer. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and an interresting and humbling walk through the Sommerset Collection mall. This is a very expensive mall that we only go to for PF Chang's. During our ride in the elevator we listened to this woman tell her friends how proud she was that she just bought two pairs of shoes for $100. Apparently this was a real accomplishment for her since she normally spends $400 a pair. Can you imagine? I doubt that I have $400 worth of shoes all together in my closet and she spends $400 a pair!

    From there we made our way back to church, I mean the movie theater to catch "Benchwarmers." I'm no movie critic; all I know is I laughed a lot. I'll be honest, there were several occasions that I groaned a "that's so stupid," but all in all, it was a stupid movie that made me laugh. Which is pretty much what I expected going in.

    Over dinner I was complimenting David on a day well-planned and this was his response: "I have nothing else to do right now. I just figured, to allow your birthday to be sub-par was completely unacceptable." I had a good birthday today and I spent it with a great husband. Thanks, honey. And thank you to all of you who signed in to wish me well!