09July2000 #0028.html

Habitat For Humanity

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Dear Paul and Kate, Melanie and Jared Wright, Bridget, Rob, Ben and Sarah, Sara, Heather and Nate Pace, Audrey, Rachel, and Matt via hardcopy,

cc: file, Tony Hafen, Pauline Nelson via mail, Sara and Des Penny, Claude and Katherine Warner, Lloyd and Luana Warner, Diane Cluff, Maxine Shirts via mail.

Welcome to "Thoughtlets." This is a weekly review of an idea, belief, thought, or words that will hopefully be of some benefit to you, my children, with an electronic copy to on-line extended family members. Any of you can ask me not to clutter your mail box at any time.

"Well, if June 2000 was one of the highlight months of my entire life, it looks like I am continuing my bipolar tendencies (../9709.html) with higher highs and lower lows (../9821.html) than anyone else I know, and consequently July 2000 could be one of the lowlight months of my entire life. The good news is that June 2000 was one of the highlight months of my entire life, with 2 temple weddings, and 5 wonderful receptions. The bad news is that this week has been very hard. The other good news is that Ethan Evans will be born this month, and so there is no reason for me to get into a funk, worrying about things which are now well beyond my control.

I am not going to dissect this week's activities. Partly because I am too emotionally involved right now, partly because experience has taught me to write and say things when there are not overriding emotions, and partly because I hate to admit failure. One of the thoughts that came to mind this week is that one of the reasons I am preceived as being `too open' with personal feelings is that I am unconsciously attempting to balance out for those I love who bury their personal feelings. If, in looking deep inside your soul, you see you are burying your feelings, please realize these feelings will come out in some manner, and one of the first and best things you can do to keep the feelings from turning into outbursts which stain relationships. For instance, I have not heard the `f' word so many times in a week since I worked with Gerald Black at Nelson Meat Packing Plant. There was a total suprise when I went back into the office on Wednesday, and there was a voice mail waiting at my office. Andrea tells me the word could be `suck.' I have considered posting the voice mail as a sound file with this Thoughtlet to let everyone important to me give me advise on how to respond. Either way, I am more than shocked and extremely disappointed.

I am sure it is normal to have a bit of a letdown after having a month of intense activity. The letdown is much more than realizing Andrea and I have spent more money than we could afford to provide both Paul and Melanie and their spouses the opportunity to have wonderful weddings, receptions, and honeymoons. It is a little too easy for me to compare my cheap honeymoons to DisneyLand and the Utah Parks to Cancun and to an ocean cruise. Guess we all have weaknesses, and if I have not taught fiscal responsibility to you kids, like I have not seemed to learn it well enough myself, you will get to experience the same type of reality I fear I am about to experience. More about these fears at the end of the thoughtlet.

I have had my ears, specifically my left ear, plugged up for about three weeks now. I went to see Doctor Levin on Monday, and he tells me it is blockage due to allergies. I imagine it could just be my body shutting down because of intense expenditure of emotional and physical energy over the last few weeks, months, and years. I now have an inhaler, like the kid uses in the movie `Goonies,' and a perscription for Claritin. It has been 6 days and I still have a plugged up ear. Oh well! Maybe this will help me learn how poorly I have listened to the crys for help from those I love over the years.

For the evening of July 4th, Andrea and I ended up going alone down to Buffalo Buyou to watch F-14 flyby's by America's only `Ace' since Uncle Tony was fighting to save us from communism in Korea (an `Ace' is someone who has shot down 5 enemy planes), listen to The Beach Boys in concert, and watch a fabulous 40 minute firework display. First time I have ever done something like that, and despite the congestion of lots and lots of people it was a fun and I look forward to doing it again. Only issue is we were not sharing the moment with our children whom we sincerely love. On Monday we went to see the movie The Perfect Storm. It is a good action film. There is a very good message about the dangers of unbridled greed and not paying attention to warning signs. However, for the obvious reasons one realizes when one has seen the film, virtually the entire story is totally fictitious, and it is truly an exaggeration to say it is is historical. We can learn from novels, as they historically play the role of alternative simulations of life.

At work we are having challenges getting ready for the the SEG in Calgary. All of the Senior Management except me was out this week. The week before everyone was gone except Dave Ridyard. The programmers are really pulling together as a team, and there is the very real possibility the results are too little too late. We did not get funded by the group we thought we were going to get funded by, and so our funding is still a function of Mr. Finstad's month to month cash injection. I remember when I worked at the Seismic Acoustics Lab hearing the rich John Butler, co-founder of GeoQuest International, complain about a vibroseis seismic crew he was funding at $500,000 per month, and saying `You know, if you keep funding those kind of losses each month, pretty soon it adds up to real money!' I wrote a song at Scout Camp, on the plane to and back from Utah, and on the 3rd and 4th of July (the 3rd was a company holiday). It is called `Merging Mind and Matter' and is posted on the web at:


When Peter Duncan got back in the office Friday morning, after 3 weeks of vacation in Southwest England, the Scottish Highlands, and Spain, I told him about the song and he agreed to sing it with me at CoReExchange that evening. We went over to his house about 2:00 in the afternoon, I taught him the song, he changed the last line of Chorus 1 to `We gotta make our lifestyle last', and we practiced it a few times. I printed the words for 01 and 06 and the chorus, we gathered downstairs, Andrea arrived, there was a discussion about the SEG booth by Louise Durham, and Peter and I painfully made it through the song. We got some good laughs, and Peter kept playing after everyone else left. I picked up my guitar and played chords along with him, reminding him of his words earlier in the day: `Roice, we are going to stick with this, even if it means singing songs on the deck of the Titanic.' We have such good technology, and such a significant contribution to make to the oil industry specifically, and society in general, yet I am beginning to realize it just might not be the right time for the ideas to take hold and take off. Oh well! There is much to learn from failure.

Despite the self pity reaking in the previous paragraphs, there was a significant highlight for my week. It is called Habitat for Humanity. Austin Beckstrom had arranged the lunch with Jerry Kovaly two weeks ago (0026.html), and in conversations since then there was considerable interest in pursuing what Ray Gardner named `The Intelligent Habitat Project' back in 1989 (http://www.walden3d.com/w3d/design/W3D89A). We had a safety training meeting on Wednesday evening before the Priest softball combined activity. Jerard Jurinak contacted all who had signed up, and we ended up with 11 Venturing Scouts, Young Women, leaders, and parents going with us to the 5th ward to work on building two houses. It was really fun to work on the houses. I sweat like everything in Texas heat, and we didn't do part of our job correct, yet it was a very worthwhile experience. I met with the managing director, and gave him copies of several things Ray Gardner and I have worked on over the years since we started talking about redesigning the way cities are built, way back in 1970. He was interested in our concepts, and wanted to take time to think through the consequences of the things I was proposing. The bottom line is Habitat for Humanity Houston would raise the money to purchase Maudeen Mark's ranch, convert the existing facilities into a historical area, and build on the other 20 acres. It will require a master plan, and this master plan will need to be donated. I will contact my friends through abcd.com (../9949.html) to see if any of them have interest once Habitat says they are willing to take it to the next stage. Andrea and I were really tired when we got home at 3:00. After cleaning up, I slept until 5:30, and then worked on filing e-mail and Sun maintenance stuff for the rest of the evening.

We are going back to help Habitat for Humanity on the 29th of this month, and I would encourage any of you who are able to join with us to do so. It is a good experience to provide service to someone else who needs the help. After we finish up this month of Venturing High Adventure House Building, I would like to spend a Saturday every other month helping to build houses. I really miss the physical labor (this morning I weighed 240 pounds, which is down 10, with only 40 or 50 more pounds to go).

So what about the rest of my week. Rob, when you read this, it is important to me, and it is appropriate, that you apologize to Andrea and to my step children for your language around them. In addition, before you can stay here again you need to sign and be willing to follow, of your own free will, the commitment to treat people, in my house and in your Mother's house, as well as you treat teachers and fellow students at school. I will repeat acceptable wording:

`Since I can observe the Katy ISD High School Summer School Parent/ Student Information Card, and the Katy ISD Discipline Management Plan around friends and strangers, I, Robert L. Nelson, will observe these same rules in my parents houses.'

Ben and Sarah, Paul and Kate, Jared and Melanie, and Audrey, we are currently making car payments for each of you. There is a possibility this will need to come to a stop sometime in the next two months. I personally hope this is not the case, yet I would appreciate hearing from each of you, what your plan of action is, if this is necessary. Right now, we are not driving Ben and Sarah's blue Saturn because we do not have $800 for insurance for then next six months.

Audrey, Rachel, and Matt I am sorry we do not have the money to replace the cable right now. Heather and Audrey, education is important to me, and I have no intention of not being able to meet your schooling expense requirements. The worst case scenario is that we will sell the house, and move into a smaller house with smaller house payments, in order to get our finances under control. There is some equity in the house, though not near as much as I've been told. I personally hope this is not necessary, and I would like to have comments from each of you about your thoughts about your reactions if this is necessary. It was very enlightening for me yesterday, as Andrea and I were taking a break from building these nice, simple, little, yet functional houses for Houston's Habitat for Humanity, to have Mom say to me, `For someone who believes in the concepts of Thoreau, we certainly do not seem to be simplifying our lives.' I agree, and maybe I needed this week to get my mind back on track relative to what is important, what is sufficient, what is sustainable, and how I can best magnify my stewardship.

I hope you each have a good week, and I look forward to comments about questions and material in the Thoughtlet at your earliest convenience."

I'm interested in sharing weekly a "thoughtlet" (little statements of big thoughts which mean a lot to me) with you because I know how important the written word can be. I am concerned about how easy it is to drift and forget our roots and our potential among all of distractions of daily life. To download any of these thoughtlets go to http://www.walden3d.com/thoughtlets or e-mail me at rnelson@walden3d.com.

With all my love,
(H. Roice Nelson, Jr.)

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Copyright © 2000 H. Roice Nelson, Jr.