Friday, January 23, 2009

Travels with Llamas

You know, occasionally I get really stressed and have to remind myself that it's not the destination that matters but the journey. Journey's got me to thinking about our travels as a family. And traveling as a family brought back lots of memories. Memories of Advil, Alieve, Tylenol, Benedryl, etc.

Actually I got to looking in my files and found this great example. Enjoy.

A couple of summers ago we went on a hike with my brother and his family, which proved not only to be cursed, but quite funny– In a cursed sort of way. The idea was simple enough: Hike to a waterfall. Scott, my brother, had a GPS unit and everything. It was only a mile or so. What could possibly go wrong? We reached the beginning of the hike, consulted the GPS, and headed up the trail. And when I say “up,” I mean up. 4 sneezing adults, 8 children and various biting insects climbing a 60-degree slope. Are we having fun yet? We eventually reached a level plateau and sat down on the side of a wide dirt trail just in time to see an SUV full of people drive by leaving us in a cloud of dust. I looked at Scott. Scott looked at his GPS unit. The kids asked, “Why are those people driving up the mountain?” Cursed. Scott thought we must be over a little too far west. His idea was to cut across the mountainside and then “we’d be there in no time!” We did. (Insert various complaints and whining here). Finally, after several hundred more consultations with the mystic GPS ball, we found. . . another road. Except this one was paved and there were lots of nice houses. Then the pest control guy drove by and we asked him where the waterfall was. He laughed. This was not a good sign. He told us we needed to go back down to the bottom and try again, as we had missed the trail. Double cursed. Another mile back down. The kids took great pleasure in saluting all the people who drove by and forgot all about the evil GPS unit when they discovered a pack of Llamas standing near a parking lot. It was quite a spectacle to see 8 kids dancing around shouting “Llama Llama, we found a Llama!” To bring this story to a close, approximately 5 hours, 3.5 miles, 3 band-aids, 47 salutes, 37 GPS insults, and 6 slightly harassed Llamas later, we arrived at the place we began and discovered that we started our hike from the wrong parking lot.
Now before you all laugh and say, “that fool deserves to be cursed” thus dooming 4 more generations of my family to weirdness, let me share some “cursed family outing” survival tips:

• When roaming in the heat, take some hard candy. It helps keep you from needing a drink all the time, and it helps your children forget that they think you’re an idiot for making them come.
• ANYTIME you say to yourself “Gee, what could possibly go wrong?” pull this story out and read it. Then take some Duct tape with you. I don’t know why, but they say it fixes everything.
• If your spouse thinks you dragged them out into the middle of nowhere on another hair-brained attempt at family togetherness, tell them they’re absolutely right. (This is for shock value) Then before they have a chance to lecture you about how you can’t follow a map to the floor and how you almost have the brains God gave dirt, hand them a $50 and say “go tell someone at Dillard’s.” This will keep them quiet. Then tell them that you’ll give them another $50 if they keep the kids happy.
• Take a lot of Band-aids. They don’t work worth beans, but the kids don’t know that. And if Band-aids don’t work, tell them that suffering builds character.
• Most of all, remember to enjoy the journey. The destination is important, but how you get there makes all the difference. Life is like that you know. It seems like it’s all uphill and just when you think your making progress someone else zooms by, leaving you in the dust. You get tired, scratched up, lost, your kids whine, and sometimes there’s even a Llama or two. But as a very wise person once said, “You never know when your making a memory” so have a little more fun with life. You’ll be happier in the end.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome Mack!

Another year has come and gone. And boy what a ride it was! It felt like our family crossed the finish line in a tangle of legs, nerf guns, sand and cat food but we finished. As my New Year's resolution I vow to write in this blog more often than someone else does. That should do it.

Christmas was a blast. The kids got some great toys and then went to St. George for the week so I got to play with them. Among many things, Josh got a remote controlled spy car with a video camera on it and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of chasing the cat around the house from the comfort of my own bed. Gotta get me one of them! That or else find reasons to ground Josh from using it. Daily. Parker got an iClops, a really sweet microscope that projects whatever you're looking at on to a small digital screen. I looked at the stain on my levis to see what it was made out of (I still don't know but it could be paint), I looked at the stuff on the bathroom counter and now I'm not going in there anymore, and I looked at a whole bunch of other stuff. And let me say for the record that cats don't like to be subjected to microscopes! PJ also got a remote controlled helicopter and seems as how I broke mine I got to use his. Having Dad privileges is great.

We had one addition to the zoo this year (no Neish didn't have a baby). The newest member of our family is a rat. He's small, he's white, he loves to watch TV, and Parker named him Mack. Which kind of goes with the whole pet naming theme. We have a cat named Jack. Life is good. You might be wondering, "Wait a sec. You just said you have a cat. and you bought a rat? Are you nuts?"

The answer is as complex as time itself. So yes, we are nuts. The other day Parker had Mack in his lap watching TV and Jack was just sitting nearby, totally still except for the occasional twitch of the tail. I know what he was thinking. Jack was thinking "Happy Meal. To go, please." Needless to say we're careful. I was thinking about getting a dog. Hmmm...

In other news I was cleaning out our garage and found my old box of high school stuff. What a riot! I still had the year books complete with pictures that would make the Fashion Police's Hall of Fame list, my trumpet awards, ceremonial mug and I even found a video from 1988 of the Bonneville High School band! I have to say it was a lot of fun watching my carefree life, acting the fool and not having a clue about what amazing adventures lie ahead.