I was driving along Central after dropping off a little manila slip, first payment of $200, and a copy of my insurance card due to a little problem with my right foot engaging with a pedal. I think this time I am going to blame it on the fact that I’m confident my right leg is a tiny bit shorter than the left. So it’s always reaching out there, harder and stronger striving to match up.
I took a few photos of familiar sites and went to the Nifty Nut House for a few things.I feel, the Nifty Nut House is the nut roasterie par excellence of this region, if not our nation and the world. And they have chocolate, too.
So Paula going to the NUT HOUSE to buy dark chocolate dove bites has already made the usual euphoria totally out-of-hand. But that’s another post.
Okay, here’s the story…
My daughter Lacy had great big beautiful white teeth. And, as one will know that is reaching waning years, they can never be too big. Even Lacy as commented on the fact that her front teeth look a little shorter in her adult life.
Lacy went to high school at Wichita Collegiate. I think Wichita Collegiate was built sometime in the early 60s. Charles Koch and many other benefactors made the school possible. It is a good prep school education in a smaller setting than the Wichita Public High Schools. We chose in part due to the quality education, but mostly because Jack and Lacy had to commute 60 miles to school and our family commuted hundreds of miles to ball games as towns are few and far between in southwest Kansas. We never saw each other. It was their time to focus on school. But back to Wichita Collegiate, it draws great students from many parts of the City.
Jan Davis, Principal.
At the time Jan Davis came out of retirement from serving most of her lifetime in the Wichita Public School system (superintendent?) to be the headmaster. And we’re not talking Shawnee Mission, not that there aren’t similar issues. Actually, since Collegiate was never a boarding school, Jan was called the Principal. Later Jan retired again, but was pulled back out to serve at the Fundamental Learning Center for which my cousin Gretchen Lee (my Grandmother’s maiden name was Lee) Andeel was one of the Founders and is a grassroots constant worker. I think she has since retired. And then, Gretchen said, has been pulled back out again to serve.
I’m really going off on tangents here, but since I’m moving away from Wichita to another hub, I wanted to mention just a few of these things. I will never “leave” Wichita anymore than I will ever “leave” southwest Kansas or Kansas City. One never leaves a sense of place.
Jan was so special to our family. But mostly, she was a fast friend to Lacy, taking the incoming sophomore Country Cowgirl under her wing. And this is the funniest thing I will always remember about Jan.
In 2003, grinding had just entered the scene. Now, I remember pitch black 8th grade dances at Indian Hills Junior High where the teachers (never enough) would circulate a bit during the slow dances. And, I distinctly remember realizing from a personal experience that boys (I had no brothers, just Gina and me) had a sensor on some of them that indicated whether or not they were enjoying the dance. It is not my place to comment on any particular people. Or whether or not this is an appropriate reaction to something as innocent as a little slow dance in a public place on a dance floor. I am not a man and plus, I do not think they are all the same. Well, maybe…
Anyway, as mentioned Wichita Collegiate was diverse and there were some very good grinders on the dance floor in the cafeteria. Lacy said that Jan had taken it upon herself to go out on the dance floor to “break everyone’s hips apart” and make sure everyone kept their hands to themselves, somewhat. I mean, this was a private school!
Later in the year, I asked about how that was going. Lace told me that Jan had “given up,” which is out-of-character for this woman. Upon inquiry, she had just formed a different opinion. Jan said it had caused her too much angst at the dances and that she just resigned herself to seeing it as “safe sex.”
THE RETAINERS, role of money from 2003 to present.
We were definitely pinching pennies (and who isn’t always?) when Lace was at Collegiate. I worked at Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture downtown. So that pretty much tells the story on my wages. That is, I was heavily subsidized by John Adams and the Adams Cattle Co.It took the entire household budget previously entrusted to me 200 miles east. Actually, I do think I sent home a check for $500.00 so John could buy himself some groceries.
A Word About Meals. This is both to
a) defend myself as I was not at home and hearth making good food for the male Adams, John and Jack
b) to share some Adams food traditions.
And just for the record about my job…
The Wichita stint was not for the purpose of me working for a architectural firm. Don’t tell them, but this was not my forté. They seemed reasonably happy, I guess, as I received raises, they put me in an ad on tv for Exploration Place with Sam Frey, and I attended all the interesting speakers and charity events for the office to which no one else wanted to or could go due to young children, loving every minute. But, reality was I about died in front of that computer. The bulk of my day consisted of doing construction documents and trying to understand mechanical systems & codes for all the Wichita Public School work we were doing at that time. WE WERE THERE FOR LACE’S EDUCATION.
The quote that best sums up my career was from Wade Walker (Gastinger Walker Harden Architects KC and friend and running partner of my father’s). In asking me how work was going, he said “Are you still down there pretending to be an architect?”
I actually didn’t take it personally, as I’m sure all principals in successful firms feel this way when confronted with tedious architectural conundrums which caught them off-guard in some social setting. Business and marketing or schematics and organization of labor skills should supersede them doing CAD drafting 24-7.
In general, architects are generalists though dealing with details. The difference is that in general, they have paid lots of dues that I have not. Kirk and Wade also remind me
a) not to undercharge (hurts them) even though I still have not worked enough time for a licensed architect to have mine. I worked for David Thompson one year and then the economy tanked, office of 10 down to sole proprietor.
b) they also said (which made me feel good) that for the service I am performing, I have had a valuable background in experiences, education (“over-education”), and most importantly incredible client projects, though few.
I feel kind of guilty about this and that I maybe lept over hurdles, but I do need to cut myself a little slack on the ease of marketing myself because where I was living. It was actually amazing I had any work. Of course, I have had zero income in 2011, so what’s my excuse now? Hmmm….other priorities.
So what about your husband and son? Don’t you feel bad? (yes, I heard this on one occasion at a Kansas City Christmas Party and it stabbed my heart as it was holiday season and I would only be home for a day or two). In reflection, I realized the woman was extremely successful in KC real estate, so I realize now that she was probably just wanting to connect. I think it was the second question to which I took offense, “so do you and your husband “swing?”) Once again, I guess there’s a part of KC that has a whole different undercurrent that I have known nothing about.
So, a little bit about feeding ourselves with actual food, now that income has been addressed…
every quarter I would make approximately 50 homemade meals, in foil containers, so that John and Jack could have our family homemade meals 3+ times a week even though Lace and I were away. I won’t get into mine here, but they are Millie Ward’s, Ginny Graves’, gina Lloyd’s and Diane Simpson’s recipes.
THE BASICS: The other nights when not eating my frozen dinners they had John’s specialties.
steak and beans
hamburgers (or cheese) with fried onions. (I do mushrooms, swiss if I have it).
green bean casserole (John adds in some sauteed onions which make it. When he doesn’t have mushroom soup, he invented adding heavy cream as we don’t always have milk but we do have heavy cream. I really like this better as I don’t like soup taste).
fried pork chops with delicious instant mashed potatoes (I also am proud to say that I served these. I like potato buds though John prefers Hungry Jack. I grew up on them and much prefer these artificial ones, they are much creamier. I do little cream cheese which my mother invented. I actually tried to duplicate the smoothness of these one Thanksgiving with my new Kitchen Aid and it was a disaster. They turned to gluten which is what happens with laziness like a mixer you don’t have to hold in your hand and babysit. I’m serious, when I poured them out of the bowl I practically had to take scissors to cut it apart it was like that movie The Blob.
On weekends, Dad’s bacon and egg and fried potato blowout after feeding cattle. John’s trick is putting a heaping tablespoonful of fried bacon grease that I keep in a jar in the frig in with the potatoes.
It is my feeling that one’s father (and then husband) must always make the meanest fried eggs and bacon. And that one’s mother (and then wife) must always make the best fried chicken. The genders can flip, Adams aren’t rigid with that. Jack has learned all the nuances of crisping up the chicken. Lacy, well….I’ll let her tell you the stories but I heard she made a great taco salad for her boyfriend this month and she mentioned something about New Year’s resolutions.
Goodness! I have taken up my time when I should be packing boxes, have not put in a visual, and haven’t made it to the Mexican Fiesta Fiasco. So, this will have to wait a day or two so stay tuned in.
If you have made it through this (and who cares about all this??), I promise this next one will be funny, short, and with a video on-location. I guess that’s how I got here, I had been to the Nut House and ate all that Chocolate while I was driving down Central taking pictures.
So if you only look at the pictures, here are few from my drive.
It’s never the end.