Thursday, September 25, 2008

Best Day Ever

My girls had been begging me to take them to the Circus Circus Adventure Dome and of course I was always too busy. Well Hayley got me to sign a contract, I think it was under duress, but I signed it none-the-less. The contract obligated me to take them on a pre determined Saturday and I couldn't break the deal. Man am I glad I didn't. We had a blast!

I really let my hair down, well if I had hair I would have let it down. My hat blew off. Does that count?
Hayley is a maniac, Mady, not so much. Me, I'm not scared of any of the rides, but if I spin I throw up. So with all that in mind we hit the rides. Mady did not want to ride the roller coaster, but as you can see from the photo she made the right choice. I think she rode it 4 times. Another ride was this contraption that you set in and all-of-a-sudden you shoot up 50 feet, hang there and then free fall back to the ground. Fun for little kids with rubber bones, not so good for old guys. I think I peed a little when it shot up (weak bladder, see kidney stone post) and my neck cracked so loud when it dropped that I thought I broke something. The girls rode on a lot of other rides, but all-in-all we had lots of fun. I ran around like a kid, we hid from each other and we had junk food and slurpees, but mostly we laughed (a lot).
My girls said to me that night as I kissed them good night that it was the best day ever. A half of day on a Saturday and it was the best day ever. You would think a guy could find more time when it is that easy to create a "best day ever".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Turning 46

This is how I spent my 46th Birthday, playing cards with my wife, my 13 year old daughter and my mother-in-law until the wee hours of the morning. In fact we played until the power went out, as you can see from the one photo. Then to add to it I take dead last in shanghai, dead last by a long ways.

I'm 46 years old, my dad was 48 when he past away. My mother was 48 when my first child was born. When I was in the third grade we were ask what age did we think you became "old", I said 42. Yikes!
All that being said though, I have no problem growing older. I love all the different stages of life that come along. Each has it's challenges and each has it's rewards. I liked getting married, I love being a dad and I can't wait to be a grandpa.
I had a great birthday. I got to spend it up in the mountains with my family and I got a great email from Tyler who, by-the-way, only as 3 weeks left on his mission. Holy Cow! That went fast.
So while I was reflecting on my 46 years on  this Earth, I reminisced about some of my high points and some of my low points. The low points are much funnier. The little girls begged me to tell a few "low point" stories and I balked at first because Hayley had taken a friend who wasn't privy to some of my miss deeds and I worried that she might tell her parents and never be allowed to come to the cabin again. So we explained to her that though I might have done these things, I in no way condone that sort of behavior and these things should never be attempted.
So my birthday tale of a low point in my life went something like this.
My father was a man of little patience. Why God would send him four boys only confirms that God truly has a sense of humor and explains why my dad did not make it past 48.
It was a bright Saturday morning and I had just taken up the wonderful sport of tennis. I had the tennis racket, the tennis ball, but no tennis court. There was not a tennis court for 5 miles, what was an 11 year old boy to do. Bounce it off the front porch of course. My dad walks out of the house to go to work and a miss hit tennis ball flies past his head. Remember the little patience part. He grabs the ball and points at my older brother's bedroom window. "Mooch! You are going to hit that right through that window!""Go do this somewhere else!" My dad was huge so my standard reply was "Yes Father, anything you say" 
He hands me back my tennis ball and climbs into his truck. He leans out the window for one more "DO NOT hit that ball on the porch. Do you understand me?" 
Rapid nods of the head follow with one more"Yes Father"
He backs out of the driveway and heads down the street. He is not even out of sight and I turn to hit the ball on the porch. Now as God as my witness I swear and my mother will attest to the fact. The first strike of that tennis ball went right through my brothers window. The feeling in my legs went and I collapsed. My mother comes running out and my two older brothers stare through the shattered glass at my prone body. My first words that I can make sense of are "You are so dead" no it was not my brothers, it was my mom.
I am dumb founded. I had hit that ball all morning and never once came close to that window. How, how could that have happened. I go to the window and try to put pieces back. My brothers add words to my thoughts. "Dad is going to kill you!""I heard dad say don't it the ball on the porch" My legs went out again.
Now here came the hard part. My mom says you need to go in and call you father and tell him what you did. I beg her no, please no, "you call him" It is not to be, she hands me the phone and dials his work number. It took forever for him to get to the phone and then he answers with      "What's up buddy? Dad's busy can I help you with something?" I can't remember exactly what I said, but I'm sure it had a bunch of UH, UH I Love you and I am so stupid. Why can't I mind, kind of things in it. Of course he yells and I have to hold the receiver away from my ear. I get a 'wait 'til I get home' speech. Now that is the longest day I have ever spent. I did not need to watch the clock because my brothers came by on the hour like human cuckoo clocks to announce how many hours I had 'til my execution.
4:30 finally rolled around and I met my dad at the scene-of-the-crime. He begins with the "What was the last thing I said?" speech and then proceeds to throw me into his truck. I swear I thought he was taking me to the dessert so that nobody would hear my screams, but we headed to the hardware store instead to purchase a piece of glass.
Upon returning home we proceeded to install the new window. It's the middle of summer and my brother's window faces west and it is late afternoon, it's hot. My dad is on the inside and I am on the outside. In these older homes the windows are those kind that have the putty holding them in, so my dad has removed the old putty and I am holding the new glass in place while he gets ready to put in new putty. He's sweating like crazy, he's still very mad and I am trying to be invisible.
Then the problem starts. He wants to open the window to let in some air. The window I broke is the fixed side of the window, it doesn't move so he is going to open the other side. The first thing he notices is that the latch that unhooks the windows is missing, yikes! After opening it with a pair of pliers he reaches down to turn the crank that opens the window and, no, it's not missing, but all it does is spin. It does not open the window, YIKES! He stares at me through the glass, are noses are only inches apart, I thought he couldn't see me because I was trying to be invisible, but he could see me good. 
He pushes the glass open with his hand and this part is burned into my brain. It happened in slow motion. A breeze catches the window and jerks it from my dad's hand, it shatters against the wall into a million pieces.
Are noses are still inches apart, I am losing the feeling in my legs, but the last thing I remember is my dad's face went exactly like the cartoons. It went real red and then steam came out his ears, I swear, real steam!
I don't remember much after that.
Now is there any wonder that my dad is not with us anymore?
Talk to you later 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's All About Perspective

You ever have those stretches in your life when it seems like everything is going against you? You know the famous Hee Haw song "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all" Well I'm in one of those stretches.

Work has been incredibly difficult lately and I've had the bad case of kidney stones and infection. Hayley has been very sick and a few other things that just keep piling on. I get to the point that I couldn't take one more piece of straw on my camel back and some one puts a whole hand full on.
Well for those of you who have had times like that in your life, or are in one of those stretches right now, let me tell you something. 
It's All About Perspective.
Perspective is defined as: the evaluation of a situation or event, based upon that person's point of view
So that means that any given set of events could be felt differently depending on your view point.
I didn't quite get this until I read a story on the Internet from the church website about a General Authority, I think one of the Seventies, who had been a prisoner of war during the Korean War. The title was something along the lines of "It's only as bad as you believe it to be".
He goes on to tell how when he was first captured and had been tortured and starved he was in the lowest state of depression and wanted to just die. All of his prayers were to be freed from his prison and to return home to his family. All to no avail. He felt that he had been abandoned by his Father in Heaven. This period of depression went on for months. It wasn't until one of the english speaking guards, after a particularly bad beating, laughingly said " You're not going anywhere soon, so you better just get used to it " that he realized he was praying for the wrong thing. He instantly remembered the Book of Mormon story in Mosiah about Alma and his people being in bondage and praying to be released from the wicked Lamanites. The Lord does not release them, it was not time, but he did lighten their burdens and make it so they could withstand the captivity until the appointed time. The light bulb went on and this young soldier changed his prayers to ones of helping him to endure until the appointed time. He wasn't going anywhere soon, so he better make the best of the time that he was here. Heavenly Father had not abandoned him, he was with him even if he was a prisoner of war.
 He began to notice things in his cell that he had never noticed, like a little mouse that would come visit, another prisoner on the other side of the wall that would communicate through a hole in the wall. He befriended a guard and converted a fellow prisoner. What had changed? Not his environment or situation. Only his perspective of the environment and situation had changed.
Now if a person can make the best of that situation than anything is possible. Surely my life was not as bad as being a prisoner of war.
I have tried very hard to choose my point of view of a situation more carefully. You know, is the glass half empty or half full, that kind of thing.
I'm not saying that I don't still have an occasional "pity party" every now and then, but it truly is your point of view. That old adage that it could always be worse is very true, because it truly could ALWAYS be worse.

OK, so the story of my sign in the picture.
I'm on an early morning walk in Santa Fe with a friend of mine and I'm complaining about my lot-in-life and how hard I have it, when he stops me and says "Look we are just about ready to turn on to Faithway, so it's an omen for you to just have Faith" I stare at the sign and we both start to laugh. The rest of the sign says "DEAD END"
So take a minute to really look at your life. How blessed are you really? How many great things do you already have? Remember It's All About Perspective
See ya


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