Monday, July 28, 2008

The MOST Wonderful Time Of The Year

Our kids are on year-round-school and WE LOVE IT! For the last few weeks the bigs have been fighting more than usual "eeeEEEEliiiIIIII!" and I have been tripping around them more than usual. So today is their first day back to school. WHAT DELIGHT! It was mostly quiet all day, Lisa and I went to lunch together and there was hardly an angry word muttered all day.

So the entire experience reminded me of a Staples Commercial from a few years ago. It's a classic and one of my all time favorites. Enjoy back to school everyone!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is There A Good Samaratin In Utah?

I've been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to figure out how I am going to tell you this story. I'm still trying to comprehend it myself, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know. A week ago I was coming home from a meeting at Thanksgiving Point, and on my way up I-15 to the point of the mountain I spotted a mini-van pulled off to the side of the road with its flashers on. As I flew past I could see a distraught mother on a cell phone and at least one child in the back seat. I slowed down and pulled over but since I was going 80 mph and driving in the far lane I stopped about 200 yards in front of the van. It was pretty far to walk, and I didn't want to back the car up, so I drove OVER the point of the mountain, got off at the Draper exit and drove back OVER the mountain to the Highland exit before finally pulling behind the van. I put my emergency flashers on and walked up to the car.

The side door was open and in the car were FIVE children ages 9-9months. It was easily 90+ degrees. The woman (Jennifer) told me that her car had died and she had spent the last hour trying to call Triple A and her husband to tow her out of harms way. I inquired, how many people have stopped to help you out? "You are the only one, and I have been here for over an hour." I was instantly PISSED! A woman with five kids, stranded on I-15 for over an hour and NO ONE STOPPED! I felt horribly bad for her and decided that whatever I had planned for the day could wait, and that SHE was my most important task. I spent the next four hours getting the car towed to Checker Auto, getting Jennifer and her kids to Ikea so they would have a cool place to hang out while I replaced her alternator in the parking lot.

My point here is not to brag about my good deeds, but to try and understand WHY no one helped? I remember the first time our family pulled off of the side of the road in the Midwest. I don't think two cars went by before someone jumped out to offer assistance. This was ALWAYS the case. To a larger extent my dad instilled the Good Samaritan virtues in me and I'm pretty sure his father in him. My boys get heavy doses of it from me as well because I think it's important. Maybe it's a family thing or a geographical thing. But to have it happen in the heart of Utah is just baffling to me. I can recite six or seven priesthood lessons that talked about this exact thing, and I can assure you that in an hours time, more than one priesthood holder sped right on by this family.

One of the things that I love most about this Country is our ability to come together. I think of some of our recent tragedies (9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Iowa Floods etc) and am delighted to see average Americans who hear the call and just GO. No one asks, no one demands or enlists, we just go because we are Americans and they need our help. I think that's why it is foreign for most Americans to see other countries who brutalize their citizens and oppress different classes be they ethnic, religious or economic. Sure, our country has its issues. We are like a huge family that squabbles and bickers about a lot of things, but when it comes to crunch time we seem to have a genuine spirit of pulling together. It's one of the things I love about my people.

So I am going to redouble my efforts to be more kind and more aware of other people. I know what it's like to be that car stranded off the side of the road and I have been tremendously blessed by those who have picked up my flag and come to my rescue. The experience always restores my faith in humanity and in the American Spirit. And I'll tell you a little secret, it comes back. It always comes back when you do good things for other people.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kids LOVE Urinal Cakes

This post will save you THOUSANDS of dollars if you have kids or more importantly thinking about having kids. As a father of four active boys I can tell you first hand that buying toys for them is a complete waste of money. If you really want to make a young heart go pitter patter, install a urinal in the hallway and let the joy freely flow!

Some of the most heated arguments that I have with my wife are over the purchase of toys. My criteria for buying toys is two fold; how much does it cost and what kind of emergency care will be required when I step on it in the middle of the night? As you can imagine, I have an uncontrollable HATE for Lego's, Matchbox Cars and any kind of Star Wars action figure with a light sabre attached to it. You should "feel the force" when any one of these babies pierces the arch of your foot at 2am. For me, a string of profanity follows one of these experiences and I often receive puzzled glares from next door neighbors during the next sacrament meeting.

So my wife and I argue about toys and how me not buying the newest "Action Hero's Figurines" will somehow warp our boys and turn them into social deviants. "I bet Jeffry Dahmer never had toys and look how HE turned out" is a common argument (When Lisa read this she was pissed because she claims she has never made this comment. But it's how I remember it and since it's MY Blog, it's MY reality. She has promised to comment below...) We have THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of toys in bins scattered throughout our home that are rarely if ever used. It's my insurance policy should any of my kids turn into homosexual mass murdering cannibals. "You honor, it's impossible that my son did this, according to my wife we have every 'Little People' play set ever created."

My point is that we could have saved millions of dollars if we had simply purchased a flushing urinal. My kids LOVE the bathroom, it's their favorite place to play. They sit on the counter and run the water in the sink for hours on end, taking bottles and bottles of prescription medication and dumping them down the drain "Daaaad, they aren't pills, they are SUBMARINES!" My son Jack has the amazing ability to let all of the compressed air out of shaving cream bottles and cans of mousse without disturbing the contents inside. Logan is less skilled and enjoys emptying the air AND the contents into drawers for us to find later. Noah used to spends weeks just opening and closing the shower door and to this day I have images of Elijah laying in a big pile of dirty laundry and rolling around in them making dirty laundry snow angles 'weeeeeeeee' even the dog was confused.

So as a public service to you I have created a short list of Bathroom Bewares.
1. An entire $45 bottle of Paul Mitchel's "crisp and kinky, naturally curly" shampoo squeezed into a flushing toilet creates an awesome bubbly volcano
2. Another bottle of conditioner poured on a tile floor makes an incredible slip and slide and best of all your skin will be silky smooth at the end.
3. Mom's shower gel at $400 per bottle looks like alien slime if you want to play "Men in Black." Best of all it washes off without a trace.
4. Water poured out of a bathtub "disappears" and doesn't really pool down the heating ducts and across the ceiling below.
5. Moms black mascara is a challenge to wash out of a toddlers white blond hair and makes him look like Alice Cooper for several weeks.
6. A handful of moouse looks like a snowball and should always be thrown.
7. If you take wet toilet paper and throw it up to the ceiling it sticks, and will only come off with a jack hammer.
8. Lipstick in the carpet is forever. That's why it's important to make a "smiley"
9. Even if you try for hours, the toilet cannot flush the only $75 TIVO remote in the entire house.
10. If you open the shower door while taking a shower and aim the head out the door it looks like it is raining in the bathroom.
11. Toothpaste on the mirror is more fun than an etch a sketch and tastier too.
12. My electric tooth brush in the toilet is a motor boat (I found this out AFTER using of course)
13. It's fun to pretend the the plunger is a microphone. It's also fun to lick.
14. All stuffed animals should be baptized, preferably with a flush.
15. Urinal cakes don't taste ANYTHING like a cake.
16. A bowl of Cheerios and milk poured into the bathtub tastes different than before.
17. Scissors in a bathroom should always be used to cut someone else's hair, particularly before family photos.
18. When you fart in the bathtub it makes bubbles. Lots of "farting" doesn't make bubbles at all.
19. Dads Ipod (or any other electrical device) works crappy when you take it into the shower with you and turn it on
20. The best chefs have extensive experience making "pooh soup"

Older couples assure us "these moments will pass and when they get older you will miss times like these." I have learned that this is a total load o' crap. I have yet to find ANY of them take me up on my offer to house one of my boys for a week to "bring back those memories."

However, you can take it from a wily veteran that toys are over rated, Disneyland is a sham and more than anything kids would be much more happy playing with your toothbrush in the toilet than riding the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy I'm NOT French!

The 4th of July is by far my favorite holiday. I love it more than Thanksgiving, Christmas and Arbor Day combined. For me, the 4th is the grand opening of summer. Driving with the windows rolled down, outdoor swimming and of course succulent sweet shrimp on the Barbie. I love the smell of freshly cut grass, of planting flowers in the yard and sitting on the back porch with a cold one when the sun starts to go down. I love that at night I can go outside with a t- shirt and shorts on and not be cold. And for those of us in Salt Lake City there is a refreshing chilled breeze that rolls into the valley almost every morning from our snow capped mountains. Yes, Summer is easily my most favorite time of the year.

It's also a cheerful reminder to me that some 200 years ago a bunch of incredibly inspired men wrote a declaration to the King of England in which we basically gave the British the finger. I secretly wonder if there were a couple of them gathered in the corner of Independence Hall giggling and whispering "Ohh man, the King is going to drop a LOAD when he reads THIS! *hushed giggling* In all honesty though, this act of defiance gave our young Nation an identity that exists to this day. As a people, it is ancestorally encoded in our DNA to, well, give the finger! Ok, ok, maybe that is an extreme example but my point is still valid. Whenever American's are stuck with something we don't like, someone inevitably decides that there has got to be a better way and BLAM innovation! Take a few of these examples into consideration. There was the car mass produced by Ford, the Microsoft operating system created by Bill Gates and finally the Democratic Party created by Satan. What a Country!

So it is with great pleasure that I celebrate the 4th of July and give thanks to a God in Heaven that I'm not French. What a worthless lot, the French. Anyway, I do digress... I just wanted to send out a sincere thank you to all of the men and women out there who get up every day and try their best to DO their best. You are the fabric of this Country and I couldn't be more happy than to count myself as one of you (yes, even you John Kerry. Without you there would be no hope for anyone over the age of 400 to ever dream of snowboarding, paragliding, roller blading or immediately surrendering our Country to enemy forces.) Happy 4th of July everyone. May God continue to bless all of us, yes, INCLUDING the French, the Democratic Party and even YOU John Kerry... (ohh and don't forget about Dick Cheney too!)