Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Failure to Launch

This last weekend in honor of my pending departure from AZ, my friends scheduled a big party. Girls only, no kids, no husbands, no sleep, it was going to be the time of our not quite young anymore, but not yet middle aged lives!

My friend, Debbie, got us the ultimate hook-up on the venue for our little shindig. We were able to rent an ultra swanky houseboat at Antelope Point Marina on gorgeous Lake Powell. Since this was a one night only hoopla, we planned to party like it was 1999 on the dock, drinking our virgin pina coladas, soaking in the hot tub, and eating junk food galore.

A group of us arrived in the late afternoon to get set up and the gang filtered in until the sun set. One of my gals thought we would get some enjoyment out of perusing our old high school yearbooks. Some of us are from Page way back in the day, and our non-Page-native friends got some good laughs mocking our Stiff-Stuff encrusted hair-wings and tacky cardigan sweaters. Hey, it was the early 90s. Everybody was doin it!

Later we enjoyed a delicious gourmet pizza dinner from the marina's restaurant, and then made our way up top to simmer in the hot tub. What luxury! We were living the good life as though we had moved into a whole new tax bracket. Then we came back downstairs....

Now I should tell you that I have a somewhat sensitive sense of smell (how do you like that alliteration?). During dinner a bit earlier, I thought I was detecting a less than pleasant odor generally associated with the restroom. I tried to ignore it as a polite ladylike person ought to. However, when we came down from our rooftop hot tubbing, the odor had increased. A LOT! Several of my friends were exclaiming and hollering and one of them was even gagging a little bit. In between Shandiin's laughing and coughing and gagging, I really thought she might lose her dinner right there in the swanky kitchen. It was a close call! We closed the bathroom doors and turned on the fans in hopes that we could ignore it. It seemed we would be able to make it through after this minor hitch....

The evening rocked on, and we triumphantly forged into the wee hours. At about one in the morning, our fabulous hook-up provider, Debbie, decided to call it a night and headed off to one of the cushy cabins. Not 15 minutes later as many of us were winding down, the carbon monoxide alarm started to sound! If you are familiar with houseboats at all, you know this can be a very serious and even deadly problem. After opening all of the windows and doors on the boat, we trooped out to the dock in our jammies. After milling around for about 10 minutes, a neighboring houseboater came over to see if he could help. He fiddled around with some switches and controls and the like, and ultimately we turned off the generator. Debbie attempted to contact the appropriate co-workers to respond to our mechanical meltdown in hopes of saving the floundering evening...

The general milling continued while we were visited multiple times by a bewildered security guard and a host of dock neighbors. We did manage to get the alarms to stop, but to our chagrin, we noticed another disturbing smell, this time heavy in the night air out on the dock. It was gasoline this time! Had we inadvertently spilled gas when shutting off our generator? Was it coming from our boat? Was it stronger near us, or further away? Would we ever get to bed?! (Remember, I mentioned, though not yet middle-aged, we are not the go-all-nighters we once were in days gone by.) Several people on other boats were growing very concerned as we congragated. One group actually opted to drag their sleepy children from their beds to leave for the night....

Once it became apparent that the smell was only growing worse, and help was not immediately on the way, we made the decision to throw in the proverbial towel. I know, it seems somewhat anti-climactic, but the fumes were ironically a real buzz-kill! We packed up the remainder of our food and the trappings of our ladies night on the dock. I fell into my own bed just after 4am.

The next day, I felt like I had either been drugged, or maybe Nicole C. had forgotten the virgin in the pina colada! We never did find out what all of the issues were with our boat, but apparently a houseboat on the same dock had leaked more than 100 gallons of gas! Yikes! Good thing none of us are smokers! Although, I guess we know something about caution with flammable fumes. We lived through the 90s.

To any of my fabulous friends who were there, Jill, Jodi, Brenda, Jen, Shandiin, Nicole C., Debbie, Penni, Eve, and Nicole L., THANK YOU SO MUCH! Even though it didn't end the way we expected, it was AWESOME! I love spending hours immersed in girl talk (I don't get a lot of that around my house!). I love reliving fun experiences, the good, bad, and embarrassing with the women I enjoy. They are all so sassy and sweet and hilarious! This is just one more page to add to our story. I can't wait to laugh about it one day down the road.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bitter Sweet Sixteen

Today my husband and I have been married for sixteen years! SWEET! The bitter part of that is the fact that this is also our first anniversary that we have spent apart. I have not been looking forward to this separation since we knew it was going to be a reality a few months ago. My husband and I are one of those couples that really enjoy being together, not in a weird co-dependant way, but in a way that we like each other more than anyone else. So even though this will totally embarrass him (see #11) , I jotted down 16 things that I love about this manly man.
1.       He makes me laugh every single day. Seriously, he is funny. It is still a surprise to me that we laugh so much because we actually have really different senses of humor.
2.       He listens to Hair Nation on the XM radio.
3.       He is a crazy hard worker.
4.       He is a Superdad, not like super duper, but think superhero! (See my post on the backpacking trip.)
5.       He lets me do my thing, from deciding to go back to school for my master’s degree, to changing my hair color, to going to lunch with my girlfriends, he is always Mr. Casual. Supportive, but casual.
6.       He is extremely forgiving and tolerant of my sometimes neurotic tendencies.
7.       He puts up with my dog.
8.       He always gets me Cookie Crisp cereal every year for my birthday breakfast.
9.       He can flip a pizza in the air.
10.   He honors his priesthood.
11.   He is humble, sometimes to a fault. Getting the guy to tell you much of anything about some of his seriously amazing accomplishments is like being on an archaeological dig.
12.   He thinks I am cute, even after birthing four kids, go figure.
13.   He always remembers anniversaries and stuff like that.
14.   We grew up together.
15.   He is ultra-respectful to his parents.
16.   He is all mine!
I have loved this guy since I was just 16 years old. Okay, maybe for a long time, it was more the puppy-love, high school crush kind of thing. I have been so blessed that it matured into the real thing. We have had a fantastic 16 years. I can’t wait to see what the next 16 have in store for us.
Love you sha-honey! Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Backtracking to Backpacking

My husband, Theo, is Mr. Endurance. Seriously, he is almost freakishly superhuman when it comes to any physical task. He also has a great love of the outdoors. One of his favorite things to do is explore backcountry trails. Since we have been in Arizona for a good long time, he knows tons of cool places to hike and camp.

Another one of the things that Theo loves is spending time with his boys. I say "his boys" because they are so very HIS. In actuality, I am in the process of raising 5 kids, not 4. Theo is the FUN dad always up for a game, and adventure, or maybe even some mischief.

When our oldest son turned 12 two summers ago, Theo decided that he wanted to start a tradition of taking them on a backpacking trip. What could be more fun than that for a 12 year old boy?! This year, our second son, Corbin, is turning 12, and of course has been anticipating his trip. They talked about lots of possible destinations. Drake, our oldest, did the Grand Canyon. They thought maybe they could do that again, or maybe Zion, or Bryce, or part of the Arizona Trail, or some other really awesome place.

Then Theo and I decided to jump the rails and go in a whole new life direction. We had decided on this whole back to school thing, and lots of things were turned upside down. You see, Theo had to start his DPT program at the end of May. Corbin's birthday is in July, and our family was going to be separated for the summer. What to do?

It is hard to call something a tradition if you only do it once, and besides, our kids are scorekeepers. I don't know if yours are like this, but if one of them gets some kind of perk or privilege, the rest want their fair share! And so the backpacking trip was put on the fast track. School let out a week before Memorial Day, and a few days later, Theo and Corbin were off on their coming of age adventure.

They decided a two day trip to Rainbow Bridge was just the ticket! They packed their gear and made the almost two hour drive to the base of Navajo Mountain.

Father and son

Ready to go

"Icing" the legs after a tough day

Little frogs everywhere in the canyon pools

Yes, that is a huge knife he is holding.

Feeling good!
Altogether, they hiked 34 miles round-trip. Theo said that Corbin really struggled the first day and was worried that he wouldn't make it out. But then, on the second day he came back strong and hiked like a champ, or maybe like a man. I love the idea of these trips, letting our boys do something fun, but also something really challenging and ultimately worthwhile and rewarding. Both of our boys had to dig deep on these trips to keep up with their dad, remember- superhuman endurance dude. This is a tradition that I was glad to see my husband make room for.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just Click Your Heels Three Times

So, I have a sickness.

Don't worry, not one of those kinds actually caused by like a virus, or a faulty gene, or hard living or something, although sometimes I wonder if medication may be in order. My sickness is one of a mental nature. I seem to have this insatiable masochistic need to be working on about 347 things at the same time.

I am the mom of four energetic boys which naturally includes all of the inherent subtext for a mom job description: missing item GPS, cage fighting referee, ring master, blah, blah, blah. I also work in the Primary at church, another opportunity to mix it up with kids. Between these mom jobs, church stuff, and running a household, I squeeze in some time to work for a paycheck as an online high school teacher.

Add to this the fact that my family is actually in the throes of major change. After nine great years teaching PE and coaching, my husband is returning to school to become a physical therapist. This means that our family is uprooting from Arizona, and transplanting to Texas for the next three years! Yowza! It still shocks me when I tell people that. We have talked to our boys, ages 13 down to 8, quite a bit about the fact that no matter where we go, we have each other, and that is all we need to feel at home. Awwwwww, that is a little bit Hallmark after school special, but it is the truth, and hence part of the inspiration for my blog's name. in trying to gear up for this move, I hope to keep in mind the belief that the power to go home is always right there inside each of us.

So join me in this whirlwind journey into the wide open spaces of Texas and beyond. I am pretty sure that even though I do have a sickness, it shouldn't be catching. There's no place like home!