Sunday, August 23, 2009

Accelerated Character Building

Today’s post is entirely serious with no humor whatsoever. None…at all…

I shall post about adversity, being grateful in all circumstances, and in the great joy that comes through experiences that build character…building…building…

Last week dishwasher gave up the ghost. Its heart – the pump – stopped pumping and it groaned and gasped and finally died. I am so grateful for the opportunity to again wash dishes by hand. I grew up hand washing dishes, I had no dishwasher until I had three little kids, and recently spent 18 months in my sister’s basement washing dishes so this will be …like …a …stroll …down …memory …lane. Happy…happy…

The fact that the dishwasher is only a freakin’ three years old is totally beside the point.

Slight grrrr.

Three days ago the air conditioner went out. The fan still works, but it blows no cool air, which sucks (in the %& way, not the actual “intake of breath” way).

You notice that I DID NOT SWEAR. Blog swearing involves FOUR little whatsits from the top row of the keyboard and I only wrote two, so think of a word like “crud” or “blast” or “shoot” (or for you of ancient years, “egad” or “zounds”). *

With no air conditioner I am SO GRATEFUL AND HAPPY for the opportunity to have my own personal sauna in my house. I don’t even need to go to the gym to work up a sweat. 94^ (why don’t keyboards have a degree symbol key – the $% stupids) is a nice, exciting temperature!!! I CAN TOTALLY LIVE WITH THIS AND IT WILL BE A FUN AND GROWING EXPERIENCE. Joy! Joy!


And finally, giving all homage to Mr. Murphy and his law, my garage door opener broke yesterday. Yup – that door ain’t going nowhere unless I move it myself. My personal motto:

comes to mind. I AM SO GRATEFUL MY GARAGE DOOR IS BROKEN…BECAUSE…BECAUSE…the inside of my garage is so cute? Nope, doesn’t work. How about…a garage door at half mast adds interest to the house? Don’t like that either. I know – now I can get more exercise by jumping out of the car to open and close it? We will go with it. I AM SOOOOOO HAPPY!


*This reminds me of a story I heard about a Fast & Testimony meeting (for those of you not familiar with this – it’s a monthly Mormon church meeting where members of the congregation can come to the podium and share their spiritual experiences and feelings). A youngster told how he was so glad his family no longer used the “S” and “F” words in their home. The second he finished, the Bishop jumped up, in front of the people waiting their turn, and said he needed to clarify what his son had just said. In their home, the “S” word is “Shutup” and the “F” word is “Fart”.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

That Tricky, Tricky TRAX

My 15-year old makes big noises that she is all grown up and Mature (with a capital M). She keeps track of how many people think she is 17, tries on cocktail dresses, wants me to go before the governor to allow her to get a driver’s license before she is 16 and thinks I have no idea what it is like to be 27 in a 15-year old body. Life is sooooo unfair.

One thing she has been begging for is the chance to prove her great Maturity by taking TRAX downtown all by herself. She had a girlfriend who moved to the Gateway and was sure it would be no big deal to ride TRAX. “No Tasha, you can’t take TRAX by yourself and go downtown.” When I was immovable on that point she started begging to take TRAX to the U so she could visit a friend (of the 17 year old boy variety) all alone, at night. I mean, if she couldn’t go in the day to visit a girlfriend, surely I would let her royal Matureness go visit a boy at night….right? Wrong!

Last week my big kids decided to take the grandbabies to the zoo. I drove T & T (Tasha and Thomas) to the zoo to join the fam (I had appointments and couldn’t stay) with the understanding that they would come home with their big sister. But everyone decided to go to my son’s house for dinner and T & T had had enough nieces and nephews for one day. “Here is Tasha’s big chance”, I thought. “They can come home on TRAX”. So Steph drove them to the station with explicit directions, cash in their pockets, and smiles on their faces.

The ride takes about 50 to 60 minutes, so I duly showed up at the last station on the line to pick them up. But - - - no kids. ½ hour later - - - still no kids. Another ½ hour….. At this point I called UDOT to see if there was a problem with the line or if two children, one who was exceptionally Mature, had been found, wounded and bleeding. Nothing. Another 15 minutes. It has now been 2 hours and 15 minutes since they got on the train. No kids. I wasn’t particularly worried, or angry, just frustrated, hot, bored, peeved that I had missed an appointment and I had to go to the bathroom really, really badly.

A phone call…finally. It's a hysterical Tasha. “I lost Thomas, I lost Thomas. I got off the train, he was right behind me, but the doors closed and he’s gone.” Great! So now I have histrionics (of the Mature kind), a missing child and Tasha doesn’t even know which way the train with said missing child was going. “Where are you?”, I asked. “2nd East and 4th South!” Yes, 'tis true. 2 hours and 15 minutes on TRAX and she has come 8 blocks. Awesome!!!

Tasha, the seriously Mature, had been on 4 different trains. “People kept telling us the wrong train to get on. Even the conductor told us the wrong train! It said ‘Sandy’ but was going the opposite direction.”

“Tasha, which way is south?”

"What does that have to do with anything?"

So I called my son, who lives 2 minutes from the zoo to try and locate the lone 12 year old, and I headed downtown to get the Mature one. Thomas had enough presence of mind to pull his shirt over his head and start to cry. This spurred a saintly lady to ask what the problem was and explain how he should get off at the next stop and head back in the correct direction. He did and when he hopped off the train a crying Tasha grabbed him and the two stood on the platform hugging like long lost lovers.

By the time Jevan arrived, they were together again and I picked them up shortly afterwards. It was surprising that I arrived in one piece because belly laughter is not conducive to freeway driving. Tasha opened the car door to climb in, gathering the tatters of her Maturity around her, and said, “Don’t say a word”. I didn’t, but couldn’t stop laughing for 20 minutes. Since then she hasn’t asked once about getting her license early. Aren’t life lessons grand?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

12-Year Olds ... Augh!

I have now discovered why 12 year old boys are not called as missionaries…well, some of the reasons. I’m sure the whole, can’t drive, live independently or converse coherently beyond Lord of the Rings and legos may have a bit to do with it as well. But this is what I, of my very own experience, know. They can’t pack worth beans.

‘Tis true. I had two nephews come stay for 4 days while their folks were out of town. They were dropped off with brimming backpacks. One would think they were good to go. At 13 and 10 they should be responsible, right? Wrong!

The backpacks were filled with their priorities – video games, water pistols, they did manage swimming suits, laser swords, flashlights, guns (of the fake variety) etc. And to their credit, they had brought their toothbrushes…but changes of underwear?, clean shirts?, shorts?, PJ’s. Nope – there just wasn’t room!

Last week I took Mr. T and Bug to Yellowstone. My dear friends, the Folletts’, got us up to Rigby and from there it is just a hop skip and jump to the land of spurting glop and gaping tourists. I gave Mr. T a detailed list of everything he would need to pack. “Thomas, are you packing? Really, are you packing? What do you still need? Can I help? Would you like me to go over your duffle bag?” And, of course, the reply was, “MOTHER…I am twelve years old, for cryin’ out loud. I….CAN….PACK!!!”

And so it was that we arrived for a five day Idaho trip with…no toothbruth (I didn’t find out until the third day – major gross), no underwear, only the pair of shorts he was wearing and no PJ’s. The heavy duffle bag? Filled with Garfield cartoon books and a diagram book of an 1800’s Man of War boat. AUGH!!!

And so, in great wisdom, church leaders wait for a few years before the boys are asked to leave hearth and home (and mommies) to spend two years packing and moving around. But I would be willing to wager than even at 19, a few of them forget their toothbrushes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bucket Lists and Dead Bodies

I keep hearing about people and their BUCKET LIST. Isn’t that whole concept a bit on the morbid side – I mean, listing things you want to do before you die! It’s great to have goals and dreams…but who, except my friend Dixie, is actually going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro when they are in their fifties? So Dixie totally rocks, but the rest of us need to scale back our bucket lists.

Here is a more realistic bucket list for what I would like to do before I die.

1. Read all the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia…again.
2. Go to Costco and spend less than $100.
3. Get all the kids raised and permanently out of the house.
4. Retain the ol’ marbles to the bitter end.
5. Spend the night in Panguitch (just because that has to be the coolest name of a town, ever).
6. Avoid Depends at all costs.
7. Live long enough to see my kids all happily wed.
8. Keep my eyesight.
9. Finally master my favorite Chopin etude.
10. After the cat dies, buy a front room couch that I actually like.

Yup, not too glamorous. But my bucket list is doable, except maybe the Costco part. And I have kids who could successfully argue that my marbles are already a bit depleted, but whatever.

Now if I wanted to spice the list up a bit I would add:

11. Try the chili rellenos in every Mexican restaurant along the Wasatch front just to find out whose are best.

12. Find a dead body.

I just about got the chance to fulfill #12 last Friday night. Now you have to know that I live in family-oriented-safe-central. People wave, even if they don’t know you, everyone is out walking on miles of trails, kids ride scooters and run around until way after dark and a suspicious vehicle would be sighted within seconds by 25 people.

So imagine my distress when I was walking, all by myself, along a trail and heard a bunch of guys beating the ‘you know what’ out of some poor fellow. I didn’t have my cell phone to call 911 but it was intense and awful to hear the poor guy getting killed. I wasn’t about to start screaming bloody murder and run right into the fray so I dropped to my hands and knees and began crawling around the corner, in the weeds mind you, so I could identify the thugs. But no one was there. I could still hear them and they even turned on a boom box with intense music (to cover the sound?). And then I carefully lifted my head out of the grasses and saw…an outdoor movie screen with about 200 people sitting on blankets, enjoying FlyBoys.

Yup, I just about ran, screaming for the nearest phone to call 911 --- for a movie. Thorns, thistles, dirt and assorted bugs clung to my pants and hands, but I stood and casually sauntered past the group as if I always crawled up the hill. Exercise is tough, after all.

So I have a new item for my bucket list.

13. Avoid dying of embarrassment. Pick a better way to go.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Aging - Not So Gracefully!

After I die I am going to sit down and have a long talk with God if, of course, we’re on friendly terms. Hard to have a discussion with someone who is saying, “YOU’RE SO BUSTED”. So if it’s all good I will ask Him just what’s up with the whole woman thing. I mean, is 40 years of being in the childbearing mode really necessary?

These are the categories which I think should exempt one from having womb in the inn on a monthly basis, if you get my drift.

1. Being 9. Seriously, one of my girls was 9. Excuse me!!!
2. For that matter, being 10, or 11, or even 15 or 16. When a girl is 17 it might be OK, just to get the ol’ motor running. But the motor shouldn’t be fully functional until at least 18.
3. For the first year after you have had a baby. And that should include the mothers who do not nurse. Or maybe two years...
4. Any time you are single. And no, this isn’t religiously based, just plain old common sense that says that it is waaaay easier to tag team when you have small people of very little brain running or crawling around.
5. As far as that goes, how about turning it off anytime you don’t want to get prego? Yeah, I like that. Although about 2/3’s of us and our offspring wouldn’t be here.
6. After age 40.
7. And after 50 --- good grief --- enough already!

What is up with 60 year old ladies turning it back on to get pregnant – on purpose? What are they thinking?

I have a good rule of thumb for when you should not longer be a procreator.

If you try to nurse
and can’t focus on your babies face because your eyes are gone, you’re too old.

I truly had to have someone hold my poor Mr. T a few feet away so I could see what he looked like. “Back up there, more…more, ah, look at that. He is cute! OK, we’ll keep him.” Poor baby. He grew up at arms length just so I could make sure his nose was not boogery. Any closer and he looked like the blob and I could have just as easily wiped his ear as his nose. (OK, that was an exaggeration because I could tell where his face was located, just not what was on the face that wasn’t supposed to be.)

So I have issues (no pun intended, I’m sure) with the whole M thing and I am looking forward, not in the immediate future, to a nice little chat with the man in charge – period!

Friday, July 3, 2009

LOOK - It's a BUG!

I have a 15 year old daughter named Bug. No, no…I didn’t give her the lovely name of Bug at birth. She chose that moniker all on her own, last year, when she started at a new school. On all her registration forms, with teachers, even the principal, she asked to be called Bug even though, now this is the ironic part, she screams for about 11 minutes without taking a breath if she ever sees one. This screaming, however, does not include time spent looking at herself in the mirror, unless she has just been out with friends and discovers broccoli in the teeth.

Do you know how disconcerting it is to have an adult presence call up and ask for ‘Bug’ when you have given your child a perfectly normal and polite name? I wonder what she will do when it is time to change her name back. I mean…she can’t be Bug forever, can she? Can you imagine working in corporate America with ‘Bug’ on your Vice-Presidential nameplate? I thought not.

Names are funny. Some are just more suited for adults and some for kids. Naming your child Mansford Dillingsworth Smith will work well when he is a banking mogul, but lacks panache on the playground. On the other end of the spectrum, Bunny, Missy or Buffy may be adorable for a little moppet, but they don’t work so well for a R.S. or PTA President.

Perhaps the best thing is to let kids grow into their names. Maybe I should have started out by naming my daughter Larva and then, Bug would actually be the adult adaptation. Larva … um … it has a nice ring to it. But for now, at least Bug doesn’t have a rabbit…get it? Bug’s bunny!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not East Canyon

So right now I’m on vacation with all my family. Except that I’m not. I had to come home with Mr. T, my 12 year old, who is sick with pig-chimney ah..ah..I mean swine flu. ‘Tis true. The other 14 members of the fam are at “Not East Canyon” (which I shall explain in a minute), eating, laughing, playing, eating, being regaled by the shrieks (mostly of laughter) of 6 smalls in an enclosed place, eating, and we can’t forget the swimming, except they are not swimming because it feels like early April outside!

I’m feeling very sorry for myself as I nurse my own sore throat and cough along with Mr. T. who is currently sitting in the living room with an ice bag on his sorry little head. This is certainly a vacation to write home about…ah…write at home about?

So why is it called “Not East Canyon”? My folks got time shares at the real true East Canyon about 25 years ago. It is a nice resort about 40 min. east of Salt Lake, complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, mini-golf area, lake, and now – it even has its own resident Nazi. For 20 years we spent roughly 10 days a year enjoying ourselves immensely but then Carole The Manager ate something that didn’t agree with her and she has been off her cookies ever since. She went from a benign presence to an evil dictator and has made our most recent visits - - colorful?

On our last trip, one of her minions pounded on our door and YELLED, colorfully, for about 10 minutes because said Mr. T. had filled the garbage too full. Then the guy kicked the fam out of the hot tub 15 minutes before it was to shut down because, “The &%*# clock is set wrong”. When I complained at having my kids sworn at and a clock that runs slow, Herr Carole said, “That’s just the way it is”. The tennis courts are locked at all times, “So unauthorized people don’t play” but then they lost the keys. “No kids on scooters, No playing in the lodge, No walking on the lawns, No laughter" (OK, I exaggerate, but only slightly). And then she had the unmitigated gall to ask, in apparent surprised innocence, “Can you believe some people want to get rid of me?” YES I CAN!!

So my kids, because the Nazi doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere, bought their own time shares elsewhere. It doesn’t really matter where - its just “Not East Canyon” and there we all are, having great fun, except for those of us who aren’t.