Tag Archive: Utah

Home remodeling is not for wusses.  During my growing up years, there is only a couple of houses that I recall not being involved in a remodeling job of some sort.  My mother had this innate ability to take something ugly and make it beautiful.  I remember one particular house that I went with them to look at.  I remember walking into this four walled container of fecal matter and telling my parents that I would not move into that house if they decided to buy it. It seriously looked like someone had urinated on the walls or something in the front room.  The toilet was so disgusting.  The house smelled horrible.

My parents bought the house because they got a great deal on it.  I moved in kicking and screaming.   The house did have to be cleaned up before we moved in which helped a little bit.  When my mother was done with it, it was beautiful home.

I will be the first to tell you that I hate remodeling.  Mostly because I hate things being in chaos and it would eventually lead to not having a bathroom in the middle of winter. Utah winters in the past were not kind. You would sometimes have to plow a walkway to the car through 3-4 feet of snow. This year it has been 3-4 inches.

When my grandmother passed away, the doctors did not want my grandfather living alone.  He was pretty feeble.  So my mother and father sold our home and we moved into my grandfather’s house.  It was a two bedroom, 1 bathroom home.  There were 5 of us.  My parents made do until we could remodel the home to have 3 more bedrooms and a bathroom. See, I told you all remodeling leads to being without plumbing at one point and time.

This remodel job started in the summer and went into the winter.  My grandfather had a greenhouse that he had made that was in his backyard about 200 feet away from the house.  When it came time to install the new toilet, shower and sink, the water had to be shut off to the bathroom.  My father built us a porta-potty of sorts in the greenhouse for privacy.  Unfortunately it was in the winter and we had a lot of snow.  I remember a few mornings making the trip out to the greenhouse dreading the frostbite I was getting braced to receive.  This makes you pretty tough.

I am about to “out” my mother on this and may she forgive me.  I did not understand her situation then like I do now that I have had four children.  The birth of children seriously damages anything related to the bladder and the lack of control thereof.  Did not understand this at that time.  I am a lot more sympathetic of her situation now.

One particular morning when our bathroom was still located in the great outdoors, she woke up and had to go out to the “greenhouse”.  She realized as she got up that she had to go pretty bad and wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.  She had a pretty steep flight of stairs to go down and realized when she got to the bottom that there was no way she was going to make it without having an “accident”.  So she made an executive decision to just step off to the side of the steps and go. She hit a patch of ice which caused her to go down along with her pants.  Even now, 25 years later, I still laugh at the picture this paints in my mind. I envision Bambi when he first stepped on ice.

Now thank goodness Google wasn’t around to do a drive by “shooting”.  I would hate to find her on a Google map search somewhere.  I could not stop laughing that entire day.  I had graduated from high school and was at home so I was stuck there painting all day.  When it would get quiet…you know the 7 minute lull….I would envision my poor mother in her predicament and start laughing.  She would just look at me and give me that “I know what you are thinking about look” and then proceed to tell me that she wishes she would  have never told me what happened.  Well today I almost had the same experience she did, only I kept my pants on and ice was not involved.

The first house my husband and I lived in had to be completely remodeled for it to be livable. I decided after the 10 years of that that I would never remodel again. I will paint, but I won’t tear the entire house apart. So for the last couple of months, I have been giving my walls a fresh coat of paint after 7 years.  Today I decided that my children’s bathroom needed a new look.  I have unfortunately been smacked with the short stump and am at a huge disadvantage at reaching ceilings, let a lone vaulted ceilings.  I have not to this day spent money on a step-ladder.  That is probably why I have nearly died a few times.

Today I had the can of paint on the bathroom sink and I was standing on the side of the tub trying to paint around the ceiling.  I had a chair in between me and the sink so I could just step around to make things easier.  I stepped on the chair with one foot to reach the paint can and for some reason the chair slid, thus causing me to do the splits.  I am sure even when I was a baby that I could not do the splits. I am not genetically built for them.  My sister tried forcing me once which, quite frankly, I was lucky I could still have children afterwards.  Anyway, as the chair slid I felt the muscles pulling in places that no woman wants muscles pulling.  My daughter and husband was on the other side of the house discussing bikes and handlebar tape.  I yelled for help, groaned for help, prayed for help.  No one came. I managed to grab on to something and get myself pulled back together. I had a flashback to when I was 24 months pregnant with my youngest son (not really, but it felt like 24 months), I went to kick a ball and missed.  Couldn’t walk for weeks from a pulled groin.

I do not think that I will be walking the same after today. There is something about pulling the groin muscle that just messing everything up.  I nearly crawled into the kitchen to where the beloved family with hearing problems were.  No comments like, “sorry, we didn’t hear you” or “are you OK”.  All I got was laughter.  It haunted my ears as I am sure it did my mothers years ago.  Why did I even tell them.  Everything you do as a teen comes back to haunt you as a parent.  At least I was within the privacy of four walls and my pants were stretchy.


Why I Love My Kids

Today was a very stressful day.  In the area we live in, we have been receiving a lot of rain instead of our usual snow.  It made for some very scary roads.  This morning the sun had come out and the roads were wet, but not icy. Or so we thought.

My daughter came home from school yesterday telling her father that her car acted like it was overheating.  So this morning he put some antifreeze in it and took it for a spin to see if the problem was taken care of.   He hit an unseen patch of ice and totaled her car.  He is O.K., but the car was not.  My husband was so broken hearted to have to tell his daughter what he had done to her car.

Kids have this ability to be so resilient when as adults we worry ourselves into the ground.  I happened upon the following entry that my daughter wrote in her blog.  I have to share it with you because it brought a huge smile to my face during an extremely stressful time and put what is really important into perspective.  My family.

Arianna’s Entry:

RIP, Sparky

BENSON, Utah- 1996 Dodge Intrepid “Sparky”, 16, met his demise Jan. 20, 2012 after sliding across an icy road and slamming into one heck of a mailbox post. His bumper was torn to shreds, his lights were shattered, and both of his airbags were ejected. Due to my family’s inability to pay for his medical bills, he was euthanized at Cache Valley Metals the morning of his accident.Sparky left us with a rich legacy of driving into ditches and growling like a hungry grizzly bear. He was a morose individual, always snarling unhappily when his engine came to life, skittering across the road when the snow was falling. Sparky hated winter and winter hated Sparky. He would be glad to realize that he no longer has to deal with snow again.Sparky was adopted my junior year in high school after my parents’ Intrepid exploded on their way to get him, thus, forcing them to bring him home. He was a carefree car at one point of his life, his power steering ripping you across the asphalt, his engine a gentle hum.

The day that he first drove into a ditch and had to be pulled out by a tractor was the day when part of Sparky died. He’s never been himself since.

Sparky and I had many adventures together, such as driving to BYU on the freeway for the first time and that time when I ripped off his BYU tramp stamp with a spatula. He got the nickname Sparky after his battery died at Steve’s house and the jumper cables nearly electrocuted poor Steve. His battery failed him two times that night. I thought I would lose him.

How Sparky could have looked in his glory days.

He is survived by me, and I don’t know how I’ll replace him. We’re all as broke as the Sphinx’s nose around here, but we’ll find some way to make do.

The world will be a lot more quiet without Sparky around to growl at it.

Here’s to you, my dear friend. May your axle be straight and your engine a proud roar in car heaven.

New Found Love

Utah is known for its wonderful winters and the many activities associated with it.  I have lived here for 32 years and I do not like snow.  I like looking out the window at the beauty of it, but quiet frankly getting in it and driving in it is not something I enjoy.  There is not one piece of winter clothing that I have been able to find that will keep me absolutely warm.  Of course I do have a limited budget for that kind of thing so perhaps that is why I am always cold.  Each year my favorite time of year (Fall) is ruined by the looming arrival of the 10 below temperatures.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some winter activities that I like.  Tubing is really the only thing that comes to mind.  Other than curling up in front of my fireplace with some nice warm hot cocoa smothered in mallows.  That pretty much covers it.

My youngest son loves winter and wishes it was snowy all year-long.  The kid is messed up.  Anyway, this past year my kids have really gotten into ice skating and my sons want to play hockey.  Thanks to the olympics coming to town a few years back we have an ice arena that is open year round for them to enjoy winter activity in the summer.  Just when I was starting to think about the stinking cold weather coming, I have actually found an activity that might make it bearable.

I have watched parts of the Stanley Cup on TV.  This does not appeal to me at all.  In fact I find it quite boring.  Well a couple of days ago, my sons wanted to go to a high school game.  I decided I would take them and actually see a hockey game in person.

Addiction was instant.  This has got to be one of the most exciting games to watch in person.  Of course I see kids getting checked and cringe that my sons would enjoy this.  As a couple of boys started losing their tempers, I started chanting “Fight, fight”.  My son informed me that high school rules prohibit fighting or the player gets a fine.  That kind of burst my bubble.  When I started thinking about it, I decided that as much I would enjoy seeing two players or more go at it, that I would not want my sons to participate in such a non-gentleman like show of frustration.  I was informed that hockey is not a gentleman’s sport.  

As we left the building, I picked up a college schedule for my husband to take me to some games.  Fighting is allowed in the college games.  I find myself wanting to see this, yet find it horrible that men would act like that.  What is wrong with that?  I don’t know, but I am excited to see my first college game.  Winter might actually prove to be exciting this year.

I Am Getting Old!

So, this past weekend was spent with a group of 14-18 year old boys and girls.  Our church has a youth conference where we get together with kids in this age group and have a lot of fun and also help the kids grow spiritually.

This weekend was spent at Snow College in Ephraim, UT.  Our first activity involved getting wet.  It was close to 90 degrees so it felt great.  Had I known what a fool I was going to make out of myself beforehand there are certain activities I probably would have skipped. 

This picture is worth a thousand words.  My daughter says it was the best face plant ever.  I don’t have a picture of the one I did a day later on a cement sidewalk.  That probably topped this one. 

This was a fantastic conference.  We had so much fun.  When you are with kids, you do things you normally wouldn’t do and there are some things that were done at youth conference that will stay at youth conference.  An oath of silence has been taken. 

Although, despite some of the attempts at bringing back my youth……I still require 8 hours of sleep per night.  Three hours just don’t cut it.  I can’t imagine how these girls kept going like energizer bunnies on 3 hours of sleep.  Amazes me.

The funnest part of this, is that I got to spend it with two of my children and despite them being embarrassed by some of my clutzy stunts, I think we all enjoyed being there together.  It was a party.  I would do it again in a heart beat, I just need time for everything to stop hurting.

Those of you not living in Utah cannot begin to understand what Spring can be like.  Spring makes you think of beautiful flowers, green grass, budding trees, singing birds, etc.,etc.  That paints a very pretty picture.  BUT, and that is a big BUT, spring in Utah takes on a whole other meaning.  Take for instance two days ago. I was dressed up like “Randy” in The Christmas Story.  Thinking that I was not ever going to get warm. I would have put on 4 pairs of socks if I would have been able to get my feet in my shoes.  This is the end of March mind you.  It was cold and snowy.  Two days later…..nearly 70 degrees.  What????  I went swimming in the ocean in Florida  one December when it was 72 degrees.   Of course most of the Floridians at the beach thought I was a complete goon.   When you are used to Christmas being about 10 degrees, 72 is a flippin’ heat stroke waiting to happen.

Many people who are new to Utah are shocked by what some of us wear in these extreme temperatures.  I have spent most of my life in Utah and have still not gotten used to the cold temps.  It is the die-hards that I am talking about.  My son fits that category to the tea.  He has worn a coat once this winter to school.  A light jacket, or nothing is his usual pick.  One year his goal was to wear shorts everyday for the entire school year.  I think he made it except for one day.  Utah is known to get to 15 degrees or more below zero during the winter months.  This kid is nuts!  Any other state and I would have been turned into DCFS for child endangerment sending him to school like that.

I remember living in Florida as a kid and thinking that the 115 degree temperatures during the summer was going to kill me.  It didn’t seem to bother some people.  Us “implants” spent most of the days at the community swimming pool trying to keep the flesh from spontaneously combusting.  Of course in the south they shut down schools when they get an inch of snow.  We have to get about 2 feet or more for schools to close down.  Then it takes an act of congress to pass the closure.

We are all like critters in our own habitats.  You take us out of what we are used to and we can’t handle it.  It takes awhile to climatize for some of us and some of us never do.  When I think, I can get used to this………….it is supposed to snow in two days.  How? Why?  The questions that not even the weatherman can answer in this great state!  We just roll with the punches and hope that two days from now we don’t hit 100 degrees and stay there until September.  Yes, it has come close to doing that before.