Balls. balls. balls. balls. Yummy balls. balls. balls.

Ben and I were sleeping in this morning — until we were awakened by Dub jumping on our bed yelling “Dad. We Won. Dad. Wake Up. We won!: and he was shoving his i-pad in my face until I finally realized we were watching network news and learning that…YES… Joe and Kamala had won… and our National nightmare was over. Then, Dub said, “Here… hold this.” and he put his I-pad in my hands while he crawled in between Ben and me… and we watched his I-Pad while he put one arm around each of our necks. It was one of those family moments neither Ben nor I could possibly ever forget. GOD BLESS AMERICA 🙂

Hey. It’s Ben. It’s been several days since I met with Ms. Evelyn (Alyssa’s sort-of but not really grandmother) – and things are finally settling down. When I got home after talking with her, David and I talked for a long time and decided we needed to get all our friends together. So, of course, our first call was to Keon and he said “What we need is a cookout and a dip in the hot tub.” We agreed on a Friday evening get-together and called to clear it with the other guys. Cal said “I talked with my Mum and Scott and they said they’d love having the kids for a sleepover Friday night,” so we won’t have to worry about them.”
Yesterday afternoon, when Denise and Scott came to pick up the kids, she said “Ben. We need a word in private.” So we went into my office. She said “Cal told me you were upset because Ms. Evelyn hired private investigators to look into your backgrounds.” I said “Yes. It’s so damned intrusive. I mean, where does she get off looking into our personal lives?” Denise opened her brief case… pulled out three folders… and handed them to me. She said “These are reports from private investigators I hired while we were still living in Australia. They’re on you and David and your friends. I didn’t think it was unreasonable to check into your backgrounds and find out about you before we picked up and moved clear across the World. I’m sorry. If I’d know it would upset you, I’d have given these to you months ago.” I said “So, what did you find out about us?” She said “You can read them for yourself… but in a nutshell, I learned that you and David are two nice gay men who adopted a terrific son named Dub and established a wonderful home – surrounded by amazing friends. I learned that you’re a dedicated and respected educator who loves kids and teaching. I learned you’re the kind of people Scott and I want to spend our lives around.” I said “Thank you,” – then put the files aside… and decided maybe Ms. Evelyn hadn’t been as out-of-line as I’d originally thought.
So anyway, Denise and Scott took the kids over to their place and the guys started arriving and the party began. David wasn’t allowed to do any cooking, and everyone else got busy with the food they’d brought. We had tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and carne asada with pitchers of margaritas to wash it all down. After the long, comfortable dinner, we all grabbed our drinks and pipes and headed to the hot tub.
It was a long discussion in “the tub”, so I’ll just give you a summary. We decided:
1. Alyssa is a wonderful little girl who needs a good home and fits in with our group perfectly.
2. She would be welcomed into any of our homes, but Chad and Raef really, really want to adopt her. Chad said “I’m closer to Alyssa than the rest of you. I’ve worked with her every day at school and we’ve become close.” Raef said “I’ve wanted a little girl as long as I can remember. As much as I love Matty – and I DO love him – he’s a boy, and Ive just always wanted a daughter.” Chad said “Matty thinks Alyssa is great and we’re sure they’ll be good siblings.”
3. Alex said “The only problem I see is your house is too small for four people. It only has two bedrooms and one bath and you’ll need more space if you’re gonna adopt. As it happens, we have plenty of materials left over at Koala Cove to add a couple of bedrooms and baths to your house. They’ve already been charged to the villas project, so they wouldn’t cost you anything. I can get Nathan and one of his crews over to your house and we can start the addition within a couple of weeks. And I promise it won’t look like it’s built with ‘left over stuff’. We’ve got some really nice materials over there and we can make your home a real showplace.”
4. Chad and Raef said they’d insist on a “clean break” between Alyssa and Evelyn. They said they’ll want to use OUR attorneys to handle the adoption and that they want Evelyn limited to one two-hour visitation per month.
5. Chad and Raef made it clear they neither need nor want Evelyn’s money. Cal, however, suggested that maybe Evelyn could continue to pay Alyssa’s school tuition if she chooses to to that. We all thought that sounded reasonable.
So – bottom line – I called Evelyn and set up a meeting with Chad, Raef and our attorney plus her and her attorney next Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. We know Chad and Raef will handle it well… and we know our attorneys won’t put up with any crap.
So, that’s the way it is. Look. We’re just a bunch of guys trying to do what’s best. We hope we’re getting this right, but we don’t really know that. We’re hoping you guys will remember us in your thoughts and prayers.
We’ll keep you posted.

It’s time for a mid-election “amateur dude potpourri”

From David: Well, this has been a trip. A couple of weeks ago, I’d been noticing some strange heart arrhythmia – which isn’t all that unusual for me – but this time it felt different, so I told Ben I’d like to run up to K.C. to have it checked out. He drove me up to St. Lukes North and left me at the emergency room (“visitors” aren’t allowed inside due to Covid concerns). Within an hour, they had me in an ambulance headed to St. Lukes main hospital on the Plaza. I was in intensive care for a few days until they got my heart under control… then installed a “defibrillator” – which can restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to my heart.
And that’s how we ended up in K.C. and what I did while there. I’m very fortunate. I had one of the World’s leading “cardiac electrophysiologists” taking care of me and doing magical things I can’s even imagine. We’re back home now – and so very happy to be here. I’m feeling fine and have scheduled some cardiac rehab over the coming weeks. Dub wanted to see my “scar” so I showed it to him. He said “What’s this lump?” I said, “Well, Dub, it’s a super-power pack. Now that I have it, I’ll be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound… and lots of other neat stuff.” He just grinned and said “NUH.UH. I think it’s to make your heart beat regular.” I said, “Well, that too, but I’ll still be leaping a lot of tall buildings.” He said “Sure, dad. I’m glad you’re home.” Then he gave me a big hug. 🙂
From Ben: I feel like we’ve really “been through the wringer” these last couple of weeks. Being in K.C. and limited to one visit with David per day was really tough, but I knew he was receiving the best cardiac care in the World and that’s what’s important.
While in K.C., I stayed with “Dr.C” and his amazing wife – who treated me like a rock star. “Dr.C” has an complete a/v studio in his home where he can “tune in” to classrooms – either in-person or remote learning. From there, I could get on-line and participate in classes at the “Table Rock campus,” so I spent lots of time working with Chad and the kids at the lake. I also “met” with the faculty and curriculum committees and we got a lot of things worked out.
When we got back to the Lake, I had several messages from “Alyssa’s grandmother and her attorney – wanting to meet with me “at my earliest convenience.” So, on Saturday, I went over to her house. It’s a large home on an acreage outside of Branson.
I met her attorney and we talked briefly… until “Miss Evelyn” pushed herself into the room in a wheel chair. She looked nice – despite some sagging on the right side of her face. She’d obviously just had her “hair done” and was wearing a sort of soft silver dressing gown. At first, she struggled to talk and it was difficult to understand her, but I caught on after a minute or two. She said “This damned stroke is a pain in the ass, so please be patient with me. I’m honored to meet you. May I call you Ben?” I said, “Please do.” She said “I’d like it if you call me Evelyn.” I told her I thought it was a pretty name.
She said “First. I know you. We’ve hired private investigators and they’ve provided us a great deal of information. I know about your father, your Cousin Donnie, his wife Angie and Dub. I know about all your friends and the wonderful kids you’ve adopted. Although we’ve not met, I feel like I know Chance and Bella and Travon and Austin and Matty and their Dads. I realize this is all terribly intrusive, but it’s legal and it’s information I felt I needed.”
That blizzard of information pissed me off… and I finally said “Congratulations. If you need additional facts like blood types or underwear sizes, by all means let me know.”
She said “Please don’t be mad with me. I just felt I had to know these things. Now I’ll tell you about Alyssa and me. I’m not her grandmother. In fact, we aren’t related at all. I’m blessed to have been left independently wealthy by a husband who passed many years ago. I’ve been actively involved in charity work and the anti-abortion movement for many years. I met Alyssa’s mother when she was waiting for an abortion at a small clinic over by Springfield. I tried to talk her out of it, but couldn’t. She didn’t want a baby. She wasn’t in love with the sperm donor and had no interest in marriage. Long story short, I paid her to have the baby. Twenty thousand dollars. I also paid the sperm donor a thousand. After the birth, they both provided DNA information and signed away legal rights to the child. Neither of them ever even looked at the baby. My plan was to find her a “perfect home” but it’s taken much longer than it should have. These past weeks while she’s been in your school she’s been happier than we’ve ever seen her. She laughs and sings and jabbers about her “friends” and learning to speak Spanish and French and making pottery. I’ve had a stroke and can’t provide proper care. She needs to be a part of your group and I’m offering her to you for adoption.” I’m a wealthy woman and plan to send her to you with considerable means. It’s just that simple and I’m willing to work with you to make whatever arrangement you find acceptable.”
I was stunned. I just sat there for a while listening to the ticking of what sounded like a grandfathers’ clock somewhere down a hallway. I finally said “It’s been a pleasure meeting you. This is a lot of information. I’ll go home now and talk with my husband. And our friends. I’ll show myself out.
On my way home, I just kept asking myself “What just happened, Ben. What tha fuck just happened?

Yowzers! It’s another dude potpourri.

Our new student “Alyssa” has been with us for 2 1/2 weeks now… and we’re learning a lot about her and her grandmother. She’s a delightful, very bright, 7 year old girl who’s eager to learn and fits into our group really well. The people she’s been living with since her grandmother’s stoke tell us “She’s a completely different child now. She’s excited about going to school and has talked and laughed more than ever.” The kids like her a lot and Bella is excited to finally have another girl in our group. They’re quickly becoming “best buds.” Chad thinks Alyssa is wonderful and has been spending most of his days at school working with her. He, Janette (French) and Patricia (pottery) make my job a lot easier.
I’ve talked several times with her grandmother’s attorney as we’ve gotten Alyssa enrolled and involved. We’ve learned that the stroke was less severe than the doctors originally thought and apparently the damage will be limited to some paralysis, loss of muscle movement and facial control on the right side of her body, along with speech difficulty. Her attorney tells she’s a woman of “considerable means.” He talked with “Dr C” and elected to pay the “full tuition” cost – which is a bunch. The grandmother is apparently one of the largest contributors to our Church and has been active in- and a big financial supported of – the anti abortion” cause.
Anyway, Alyssa is a delight and Bella has invited her to spend this coming weekend at her house (Cal, Alex and Chance thought it was a great idea). Both Alyssa’s “temporary custodians” and the grandmother’s attorney have approved the weekend.
So, that’s the way it is in our little schoolhouse on the lake. Hope all of you are safe, healthy and successfully getting through the pandemic. There’ll surely be a vaccine before too long 🙂