Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Joys of Parenthood

There is absolutely no way that one can prepare for being a parent. You can read a 100 books or go to seminars. You can ask others that have boldly gone on before you and still you will have no clue. You have all these fabulous ideas when you are first married about how you will do things. You spend an incredible amount of time mentally raising other peoples kids. You even talk about it with your new spouse. You say things like "If that was my child I would send him straight to his room." " If she was my daughter I would make her sit right there until she behaved." Oh it could go on and on, and when the time finally arrives and you are in that position you are lost. Nothing works the way  you thought it would. Nothing goes as planned. You are truly scrambling from the get go. You are making it up on the fly and yet you must press on. It's not like you get a do-over.

 I remember the day that Tyler was born, after the intense joy wore off and reality started to set in, I had this overwhelming thought that they are just going to let me walk out of here with this baby. Nobody is going to stop me, they will just open the front doors and make sure that I have car seat ( it's the law) and send me, my sore wife and this little tiny fragile baby home. No instructions came with it. If you buy a toaster it comes with ten pages of instructions in five different languages. Is there anyone who does not know how to make toast? A new baby though, no pages of instructions, none. Yikes!
 So it begins this knew thing called parenthood. It's rough, but don't get me wrong, there are many more joys than sorrows, but here comes the true insanity of the whole deal. Right when you think you got it going on and you decide that you are so good at this parenting thing that you aught to have another one, you realize that all of your notes and all of your experiences mean nothing because nothing goes the same from the pregnancy to the birth  to the baby itself. So you start all over again making it up as you go. 
I'm not complaining mind you. I love being a dad, it is my favorite thing, it's just that there is no planning for the things that come your way. 
The point of my post tonight though is that parenting is all about perspective. As hard as I might think I have it and much trouble as my kids have gotten into, all I have to do is reflect on my own experiences growing up and what we did as kids to my parents.
 My father passed away 25 years ago this May and I'm not sure me and my three brothers were not the direct cause. My mother has remarried, but she can't even talk about the " Early Years ". My kids have not even come close to the things we did, a quick point, my kids have not broke a window in our house ( knock on wood ), we broke every window in the house we grew up in, many of them more than once. My kids have never caught anything more than a candle on fire. We had fires that involved gasoline and one, that I will save for a later date, included a gallon jug of highly flammable gun powder. 
I could go on and on, but I will save those stories for other times, but I have one I need to tell because it is what caused me to write this post. 
Every morning I wake up between 3:30-4:00, I don't know why, I'm sleeping fine and then it's like someone shakes me and I'm up. I can't go back to sleep for nothing, I've tried everything from counting sheep to taking drugs, nothing works so I go down to the TV room and start watching Sports Center on ESPN.
 It plays through the high lights from the day before which I already saw last night and then it repeats them every hour on the hour all morning long. I will watch it as if I don't already know what's going to happen ( I have a sickness ) , but I have decided to broaden my senses and start watching other shows in the morning, now don't laugh, but I have started to watch Bloomberg TV which shows all that is going on in the world of finance. I don't know what it all means, but I do know that if the red line is moving up it is good, down is bad. 
So it is very important that I have the remote control so I can go back and forth between ESPN and Bloomberg and to be able to rapidly skip over the Girls Gone Wild info commercial. Well I can't find the remote anywhere, I've looked under every cushion, in every crevice and I can't find it. Where have those kids put the remote and it gets me thinking of how unbelievably lazy I am that I will not watch TV if I am going to have to get up and walk six feet to change channels. This got me to thinking  about a TV that we had while we were growing up. I remember the day like it was yesterday, how excited my dad was when he brought home that gigunta Magnavox consul TV.
 It was awesome, it was made of solid wood ( plastic had not been invented, no lie ) and it was huge. You did everything from the top, it had these doors on top and you slid them open and there were all the controls. On the other end was the record player, now for all of you born after 1985 that was how we listened to music back then,  they were these flat black disc that would drop down and a needle would swing over on to it and music would come out, way cool. The front had doors that would slide over the TV screen so that you could fool everyone that you just had a big square piece of furniture there, but not a TV. 
Now here is the coolest part, it had remote controls. They were the first ever and they were boss. They were these big boxes about the size of a shoe and they had two buttons on top. When you pushed the one on the right it would make this noise like SHSHSHSH and the TV would hear this somehow and click one channel ahead, you could not go back just forward. Now I know you younger folks are thinking holy crap you mean you would have to go forward through all 100 + channels? Oh no, not to worry, we had 5 channels, it wasn't very far around the horn. If you pushed the button on the left it would go CHCHCHCH ( very similar, but not the same as SHSHSHSH ) and the TV would go up in volume 1 click, you could not go down only up and after 5 clicks it would start over at low volume. How cool was that. 
Now needless to say we had "the" coolest TV on the block and it was my dad's pride and joy. We really weren't supposed to mess with it. 
The story begins. There are many things that go wrong in this story, they all end in a disaster. First mistake, we were not supposed to eat in the living room. I had prepared a huge bowl of cheerios and as my bothers can attest it had way too much sugar loaded on it to be healthy and heart conscious. I am supposed to eat this in the kitchen, but I throw caution to the wind and head into the living room. I stop at the "super TV " and set my bowl on the edge and slide open that top slider door and get ready to fire it up. Then things kind of go into slow motion. My oldest brother Rik ( the torturer ) is coming across the living room and will have to pass by me to get into the kitchen. I am trying to become invisible so that it might walk passed and not smack me. So I am tucked in tight to the wall and the TV and not making eye contact. Well when he gets right next to me I must have become visible because he punched me. I smack up against the TV and my monster bowl of cheerios goes upside down into the TV. I am shaking while I am typing this the memory is so vivid. The " torturer " continues into the kitchen and says over his shoulder " You are so dead. " 
I go into full panic, I am running in little circles and losing my breath. I run into the kitchen and grab towels and back to the TV, I am sopping up milk, cheerios and way too much sugar. After much effort the top of the TV is spotless. It is as if I was never there. I dust off the rest of my finger prints and head to my room to throw up. 
My dad gets home from work in an hour, I stare at the clock in my room and watch the minutes go by and listen to my brothers walk passed my room and remind me of my eminent death. I hear my dad pull into the driveway and notice that my brothers have scattered to avoid any chance of guilty by association. 
I decide to attack this head on. I will tell him when he comes in, I chicken out. I will tell him when he sets in his big TV watching chair, I chicken out. I will tell him when he says " Mooch, turn on my only-one-on-the-block TV " Surely I will tell him now, I do not, I have lost all form of reason.
 I push the on button that was covered in cheerios an hour go and gasp in amazement as the back of the TV flashes and pops and sends a mushroom cloud to the ceiling. My dad flies out of his chair yelling " Shut it off ! Shut it off !" I obey for the first time that day. My dad barks " What could have happen? " I go into full kiss butt " Father, I have no idea, all I did was turn it on and I love you. " 
My legs are wobbly, I am mentally praying that there is no evidence of my crime. He pulls the TV out and I glance down, nothing there, so far so good. He gets his tool box and takes the back off, I'm feeling confident because  my mess was on top not down here. I'm 11 years old, gravity has not crossed my mind. As he pulls it away there is milk, cheerios and way, way too much sugar everywhere. I black out. 
I don't remember much after that, I know there was yelling and spankings ( they used to be called beatings ) . 
You know you are in trouble as a kid when your mom walks past your room and says with tears in her eyes " I can't save you this time. " 
Those were some dark days. Right when he seemed to be getting over it he would see it again. Heck it was in the middle of the living room. That TV never worked again ever and it just stayed in the living room for years a constant reminder of my sin, I wanted to burn it. 
So reflecting on that I have great kids. It is an absolute wonder my dad made it to 48. 
More stories to follow.
Stay tuned

Monday, April 28, 2008


One of life's great tragedies is that we take for granted things in life that aught not be taken for granted. Friendship is a word that is thrown around so easily. What does it truly mean? Webster says it is a relationship between two people who are friends. Huh? There are so many levels of friendship. We have people we know that are nice and they are "friends". We have people that are kind of fun to go out with and hang out, they are "close friends". We have people that are on the short list, they can be called with no prior notice to do things  on the spur-of-the-moment, they are "special friends". Then there is the final group. This group fits all of the above categories, they know your secrets and your tendencies, they've seen you at your best, they have seen you at your worst. This group is called the "pajama friends". Why are they  called "pajama friends"? It's easy you write down on a piece of paper all the people you know that fall into any of those categories. If you are as popular as me, that list might have 30-40 people on it. Now you put a circle around the ones that you could call in the middle of the night to help you change a flat, bail you out of jail, help you find the lost dog, baby sit kids while you run to the ER and do all this while still in their jammies with messed up hair. They are "pajama friends" and you might have one of them, two if you're lucky. So back to the tragedy part, when you are lucky enough to get a "pajama friend" you don't take that for granted, because if you loose a "pajama friend" you can't just circle another name on your list, it just doesn't work that way.

On to a funny story:
Have you ever done something with out thinking it all the way through? Of course we all have, but this one takes the cake. Most of us have had the extreme pleasure of crossing paths with the little security guards that roam the street, circles and avenues of the gated communities. Where do these people come from? Do they aspire to become gated community security guards? Do they fail at other things and fall into this calling? Nobody knows for sure, but they are all the same where ever you live. So I am in one of these gated communities on business. I am at a residence looking at a possible construction project. My meeting is running long and I have another very important meeting in 15 minutes and I am 25 minutes away. I am going a little "speedy" on one of the winding roads on the way out, remember I'm late. I look in my rear view mirror and I am being pursued by one of those little Hyundai looking cars with yellow lights just a flashing. CRAP! I'm so late, I curse just a little bit. Nothing bad. I watch in my side mirror as the overweight guard oozes out of that little car. He hitches up his pants and starts walking my way. Now have you ever had one of those moments when 5 minutes worth of stuff happens in about 10 seconds. I look at my watch, I'm so late.  I think to myself, he's not even a "real" cop. This is going to take forever. What could he really do? There isn't a "gated community jail house" I take one more glance into my side mirror and I pull it into drive and gas it! No turning back now! The thing that I can remember the most is the view in my mirror of that guard bouncing in circles and trying get his radio off his fat belly. You could tell he had no prior training for this. So I am flying through this community and little Hyundais are popping out of culde sacs like ground hogs. I am in full panic mode and feel like I am in the "Grand Theft Auto" game. I have to get to the front gate, as I blow past the tennis courts it hits me that it's not like the front gate will just be wide open waiting for me to blow through. I haven't given this " running from the law thing" a whole bunch of thought. I round the last corner with 3 cars and a scooter behind me and a golf cart closing in from the side when what do I see? There "is" no front gate, it is off the hinges and sitting by the side of a welding truck. Hallelujah!!! I shoot out the gate and stop as I reach the city street. What will they do? Can they remain in hot pursuit? You know they want to. Heck they would have been firing on me if they had guns. But no, they hit the skids right at the gate like a dog with one of those electric collars, maybe they have those. I turn and head down the street adrenaline still pumping. What had I done? Was I a criminal now? Was the regular police looking for me? I make it to my meeting only 5 minutes late, but mentally spent. I have returned to that community and there was repercussions, but that is for another day. One of those "not thinking it all the way through stories".
Talk to you later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On any Sunday

Went to church today with Mady and Bug, Kelli stayed home with a bad ear ache. She gets these every spring, it has to do something with allergies. So I got us there and in our normal spot, isn't that weird how everyone kind of finds their place. It's like a territorial thing. They fall into groups of people that kind of go as follows:

" Reserved Seaters" - They have to sit in the same seat each week, give-or-take a few feet
"Zoners"- They have to sit in the same general vicinity 
"Filler Inners"- Usually come close to starting time and will sit anywhere
Tell me you don't know what I'm talking about? It's in every ward in every building in the Church. Tyler emailed one week from Australia and was laughing how it was the same there. So what group do me and my family fall in? For those of you who are in our ward you know we are "Reserved Seaters", heck if we come late and people are in our seats I'll go home.
Anybody else out there having the same joy I am having raising a 16 year old daughter?
Here's a good one. OK she has her learner's permit to drive, but she won't ever drive. So we are driving the other day and I say " Amy you need to practice driving." and she says she doesn't want to. So I decide I'm going to be " Super Dad" and she's going to drive. I pull over to the side of the road and stop the car. Amy says "What are you doing?" and I tell her she's going to drive and I get out and go around to the passenger side and get there just in time to hear her lock the door. I sternly look at her and say "Amy, you're driving." She shakes her head no and tells me she doesn't want to. OK then Miss Stubborn we will sit right here. I turn around and walk to the curb and sit down with my hands in  my lap and look up as my truck drives away. Not just the "ha ha I'm just scooting up a little and stopping" and not the " as you get closer I will move forward" no, she drove off in my truck. I walked half way home before she finally felt bad enough to come and get her dad. So we had quite the laugh on the way home and chalk up another one for the " you can not make Amy do anything she doesn't want to do" catagory. Man I love her. By the way that's a picture of when her and I flew on a private jet to Santa Fe.
Talk to you soon

Saturday, April 26, 2008

So it begins

Well here we go, I never thought I would be doing this. It's kind of like opening " Pandora's Box " once you take the lid off you can never quite put it back on. 

I have had a very colorful life. I once listened to a comedian who said that in every one's life there is that one thing that we all have in our past, that one defining moment of catastrophe , you flooded the house or burned down a barn, you lost your brother or wrecked the car. You know one of those things. Well the problem is I have many, many of those. A few of them are even historically recorded, see the flood of 1975 Kannaraville and " Who's that in the PEPCON explosion photo ".  The other thing is they continue to happen, I didn't out grow the curse. I teach the 15, 16, 17 and 18 year olds in Sunday School, man if that doesn't test your faith in the whole " called by revelation " theory, but anyway I teach these kids and one of our standing rules is that whatever Brother Huntsman talks about in here stays in here. I can't have them going home and telling their parents that Bro. Huntsman hot wired the teacher's car when he was in seminary and brought doughnuts back for the other slackers in the parking lot. So the same rule applies to my "blog" what we talk about in here stays in here.
So hang on for the ride and enjoy.


count hit
UK Electronic Shopping