ANNUAL NEWSLETTER - 2004


Hi friends

Here's Ann and my annual letter that we recently snail mailed to friends.

If you're still using my old weego.com email address, please change it to biggie@airlift.com

The Blizzard of 2003
It started snowing on Monday. Forecasters suggested it could drop as much as a foot in Denver, 18 inches to 2 feet in the foothills. Our snow plow service passed through sometime in the middle of the night, but he should have come twice at least.

Tuesday morning it was falling 1 to 2 inches an hour. Heavy, spring snow. We loved it because we'd had very little snow all winter, and the drought of the past 4 years was really taking its toll. The weather forecasters had a different edge to their voices that morning as they excitedly began describing "the perfect storm". They were showing a low pressure system sitting over the area and an unusual flow of moist air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico and curving gently in a north-westerly direction right up to us.

I shoveled our walks and steps at the house and at Air Lift and noticed as I walked back for breakfast that the first part that I had shoveled had 3 new inches. A couple of hours later, I shoveled again. By Tuesday night, we had over 2 feet, it was still coming down hard, and the plow service clearly was not going to be able to get in because it was too heavy.

By Thursday, we had between 5 and 8 feet of snow, depending upon which drift you looked at. We could get out the front door because it is protected by a portico, but so what? The storm moved on, the sun came out, and we found our home transformed into a winter wonderland as we have never known. Nor has anyone else that we've heard of in this locale. Gold prospectors were roaming these foothills a hundred fifty years ago, and I've not heard of them or anyone since writing about such a storm.

The first in written history.

We got around on snow shoes, creating a path to the chicken yard. The entire community had been paralyzed since Tuesday night. We got a helpful voice mail message from the local fire department/emergency service suggesting that, if we had a fire or needed an ambulance, we should come to the nearest fire station because they couldn't get to us.

HELLO-O!!

I-70 from Denver to Evergreen was closed for 3 days, and finally opened on Friday. Denver had sufficiently less snow than the foothills that they were able to clear their roads. Hopi, Dave and Grant came down from Loveland on Saturday for a day of tobogganing and shoveling.

I'm sure I shoveled more snow that week than I had shoveled cumulatively over the preceding 65 years.

Birth of Grady Moore Behrhorst
During the week of our blizzard, we were on the phone daily with Nicole urging that she not go into labor because, if she did, we would not be able to get to Kansas City. We were to be on call for child care with Mac, her 2 year old, while she and Gray would be at the hospital.

We finally got plowed out on Sunday morning. We called Nicole and Gray with the news. They called back that evening to say Nicole was starting her labor! We got tickets to the first plane out the next morning, and paid for it with being profiled as terrorists (late night reservation, etc. etc.). We caught the next flight out and had a wonderful week visiting them, taking care of Mac, and taking naps. Play with Mac. Take a nap. Play with Mac. Take a nap. . . . for 9 days.

Demise and rebirth of Weego
We wound down our Weego baby carrier business in the USA, and it has emerged stronger than ever in Berlin, Germany.

A few years ago, an infant fell out of another soft carrier and died. As a consequence, the US insurance industry wants nothing to do with soft carriers. In 2002, we had spun Weego out of Air Lift because it's presence jeopardized Air Lift's business insurance. Weego Inc. began functioning as a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Lift. Last year, however, the premiums for product liability insurance (purchased in the "secondary" market of insurance for unusually risky purposes) became so great that, if spread over our anticipated sales, would come in at approximately $100 per Weego sold.

Four years ago, our sister-in-law sent a Weego to her cousing in Berlin whose new baby was inconsolable with colic. Weego worked its magic, and Steffi, the mother, experienced a virtual epiphany. She asked if she could distribute Weego in Germany, we agreed (déja vu from Snugli days), and off she went. When we contacted her last June to say we were winding down the business, she asked if she could continue in Germany. We sold her our remaining inventories and began a transfer of the business to her.

In October, Eltern, the German counterpart to Parents Magazine in the US, reviewed a dozen soft carriers and rated Weego the best . . . including Snugli and Baby Bjorn, the two top sellers in the United States. We visited Steffi and her husband, Tobi, in October and are advising them as they broaden their market to the entire European Union. There will be no connection between Air Lift and Weego Deutschland, and, indeed, the German product liability policy expressly denies coverage to any carriers sold in the United States.

Hopi's journey
Hopi concluded that her work in law enforcement was intrinsically in conflict with her intuitive instincts, and she resigned from the profession in November. She had been inspired to enroll in police academy when she worked at 9/11 ground zero as a Red Cross disaster relief volunteer. There, she observed extraordinary giving and caring by the police. After two years of training and working in the Loveland and Ft. Collins police departments, she realized that most people in the criminal justice system are not looking for or receptive to care and compassion, and her actions and protocols as a police officer were frequently counter intuitive.

She has resumed her work as a massage therapist, is studying at the local community college to become a Certified Nurse Assistant/Home Health Aid, and is on wait lists at local nursing schools to eventually study nursing. And, she and Dave are experiencing a radical shift in their financial circumstances.

Gavin's violin
We spent a memorable week at Mande's in Chicago. Gavin was in his first year of Suzuki violin, and his recital with upwards of 100 other students was inspiring and hilarious.

Glassco clan gathering
We traveled to Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence seaway near New Foundland for a reunion of the Glassco clan: mostly Canadian cousins of Mike's mother's family. All six of Mike's siblings and their families were there for a strong showing of Colorado cousins. Great musical talents were shared in an evening of singing. For the Coloradoans, the whale watching and adventure of traveling to farther reaches of Quebec Province added nice spice to the adventure.

Behrhorst and Thousand Islands/St Lawrence river From Tadoussac, we then traveled back up the St. Lawrence to the Thousand Island region in upstate New York. There, we spent several days visiting Nicole and Gray in a summer home that Gray's family has in that lovely corner of North America.

Family Christmas
Christmas 03 was our turn to host Mande, Hopi, Nicole and their families. Our house had been a comfortable home when we were a family of five. Ann and I have managed to spread our uses and needs to utilize virtually all of the real estate. 13 including 5 grandchildren under the age of 6 was wild. Sharing stories, preparing meals and new-found comradery among cousins were highlights.

And, Nicole found me meditating in the car 'cause there was no chance anywhere else.

We enjoy hearing from you, whenever it happens. We all seem to be held hostage to the crazy duties and responsibilities that we bring upon ourselves, and that make contact with dear friends so haphazard. We hope that you have embarked upon a promising year, and send you our very best wishes.

Affectionately,

 

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