Monday, May 30, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Now that I'm officially oldy moldy, Robyn took me to Las Vegas to celebrate my anniversary of birth.

During our short trip to sin city we had a few adventures that I wanted to share with you.  They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  I don't know if that means that only people in Vegas will be able to read this, but I'll go ahead and post it anyway.

Exploring the strip
We walked all the way up and down the strip.  I had to take awesome pictures of every cool statue we encountered.  Robyn started to get annoyed, but she didn't understand how cool the sphynx, Poseidon and all the other cool beings were.

Eating way more food than we should
We wanted to try out some of the buffets.  We ate some amazing food.  I didn't know it was possible to eat so much food that it hurts.  I learned that one the hard way.  I mean, how was I supposed to stop?  They had sushi, crab legs, pasta, delicious desserts, steak, mashed potatoes and so much other delicious goodness that my mind was literally blown.  (And by literally, I mean figuratively)

The Old Lady and the Adult Entertainment
We were walking down the strip, there was a huge truck that was advertising some adult entertainment.  There was an old lady that was standing there with her camera trying to get a picture of the ad.  She spent several minutes trying to frame the picture just right.  Robyn gave me a look as if to say, "What the heck?"  I just started laughing.  I can only assume it was her granddaughter in the picture and grandma was proud of her granddaughter's budding career.

The Shark Reef Aquarium
We went to the aquarium inside Mandelay Bay.  It was amazing.  They have a room called the "shipwreck".  It is designed to look like you're inside the ship, and the tank all around you is full of sharks, turtles, rays and lots of fish.  This is an example of what the sharks looked like.

Here is a video of me at the aquarium.  Sorry that I sound like a special needs child when I get excited.

Blue Man Group
We saw the Blue Man Group and it was super fun.  They had lots of creative music and skits.  We liked it a lot.  I think I should be a Blue Man when I grow up.
I was trying to stare down the middle blue man.
Pretending to be in other cities
Las Vegas is a great place to pretend that you're all over the world.  We traveled to Paris and New York and they were not that far from each other.

Blowing People's Minds that we don't Drink
All weekend, everywhere we went, people were flabbergasted that we didn't drink alcohol.  We were eating at the buffet in the Paris hotel.  Near the end of our meal, the waitress brought us some champagne.  She had a twinkle in her eye as she began to take the top off.  When we told her "no thank you, we don't drink."  She looked like she was going to cry.  She looked at the bottle to figure out what was wrong with it.  Then she sadly walked away.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oldy Moldy

I'm not sure when it happened. I suppose it was gradual, but it just seemed like I woke up one morning and discovered I was old. Tomorrow I'll be turning 30. I know there are those of you that believe that 30 is not very old. I understand your concern, that's why I've prepared a portfolio of supporting evidence.

This is me with one week of age progression
My music is too darn loud
The other day I was driving to work.   I turned on the radio.  Keep in mind, this was a station of my choosing.  And yet, when the music came on I mumbled to myself, "It's just too darn loud."  Ya, I really used that phrase in a self mumble.  "Too darn loud."  That is an oldy moldy statement.  Like a proper old person, I then turned it to some classical music.

My wife is a teacher
When I was a child and went to school, I remember thinking how teachers were universally old.  Somehow my teachers seemed older than my parents or any other adults.  My parents were real people, they ate and slept and stuff.  Teachers just lived at school, they weren't even real people.  They were like what you become when you're too old to be a regular person.  Now that I'm old myself, and I'm married to a teacher, I now realize that teachers are actually human.  But somewhere in the back of my mind is the thought that if I married a teacher I must be really old.  Besides, I visited her classroom.  The kids called me "Mr. Stockett".  Back before I was old, that wasn't my name.  My name used to be Jeff.

My beard has white hair

I posted the picture of my beard on facebook. One of my friends commented and said, "Is that gray hair I see in your beard?" My response was filled with the sadness that comes when you realize the truth. "Nope, it's straight up white." If that isn't old age I don't know what is.

I fell asleep in church
For most of my life I've been an insomniac.  I've had a hard time getting to sleep at night, so I would stay up all hours of the night.  The one advantage to not being able to sleep, even in a bed, is that there's no threat of falling asleep while driving or while sitting in church.  Well, this past Sunday, it happened.  I just closed my eyes for a bit and suddenly I heard myself snore.  The snore woke me up.  I was offended at myself.  I was quite disconcerted.  This was the crowning moment in my journey toward old age.  I think everything else is downhill.

In conclusion (Does anyone really ever say "In conclusion"?  I always used it at the end of my papers in high school.  That's why I'm using it now so that I can capture my younger years.)

In conclusion, I have shown you indisputable evidence that I am old.  But don't cry for me Argentina.

Being old doesn't have to be sad.  In fact, in celebration of my oldness, Robyn and I are on our way to Las Vegas.  How better could I celebrate my birthday?  I plan to see sharks, pirates, blue men, fountains, cactus, drunk people, people that aren't good at math (you have to be bad at math to gamble), advertisements for indiscreet things(I'm already practicing diverting my eyes away from the indiscreetness), and most importantly, delicious buffets.  So stay tuned, I'll probably share more about the getting old celebration sometime soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I had a Beard and it Felt Weird

I wasn't planning to grow a beard. It kind of happened by accident, at least in the beginning. As you know, we recently moved to a new house. When you move, everything gets put into boxes and much of it disappears out of your life for several weeks (or months) until you get everything unpacked.

There are certain items that are important enough that you take special care to know where they are when you move, so that they can be immediately used the first night in the new home. Some of these items include toothbrushes, toothpaste, the electric razor etc. We put together a small bag of these items and set it aside to make sure that it wouldn't get lost. Our next step was to promptly lose that bag. I know that wasn't the best strategy, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Luckily, I had an unopened toothbrush in one of the boxes so things didn't get too yucky. But I was without a means to shave. We searched and searched and after about a week I concluded that we weren't going to find it.

But at that point, I had already passed the awkward part of the beard growing process. Beards are fascinating things. If you show up to work after 3 or 4 days without shaving, everyone thinks you look like a bum. If you show up after 3 or 4 weeks without shaving, you're awesome.

So since I'd already passed the hurdle of looking like a bum, I decided to press forward steadfastly. I've never really let a beard grow out fully, and I discovered something that I knew but had never realized. I can grow a full beard minus the Hitler mustache. The graphic below will help you better understand.

Woolly Mammoth - Hitler = Me

It's true, if you take a woolly mammoth and subtract Hitler from it, you get me. This picture is undeniable proof of that fact.  (And it's precious)

I let it grow out for a few weeks, but the weirdness of having hair on my face was too overwhelming.  (Okay, if I'm being honest, it did feel weird but the continual hints from my wife that she didn't like it were more overwhelming)

I decided to be done with the beard and I thought I might try a goatee for a while, but I decided I needed to get there progressively.  Here are a few of the steps for your viewing pleasure.
This was the first step.  I was going for wolverine sideburns.
Second step.  I trimmed the sideburns back. 
Final step: the goatee with no sideburns.
So that's what I look like now.  We'll see how long it takes me to get sick of it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Garbage Conspiracy

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I think there's a conspiracy going on.  (Maybe that makes me a conspiracy theorist, I guess I was a closeted conspiracy theorist until moments ago.)

Here's the deal.  Someone doesn't want me to be able to rid my house of garbage.  I don't know why, it doesn't make sense.  I've written before about someone stealing our trash can.  That was in our old house, now our new tenants have to deal with that problem.  But somehow, the puppet master behind this conspiracy has taken things to a higher level in our new residence.

Let's start at the beginning.  It's a very good place to start.

You see, Robyn and I took possession of our new house on a Saturday.  Lehi city isn't open on Saturday so I couldn't sign up for utilities (including trash service).  We had a vacation planned the next week.  I tried calling the city, while on vacation, to sign up but they required that you appear in person.  (Dumbest thing ever, clearly part of the conspiracy to stop me being able to eliminate garbage.)

The next week I showed up in person, paid them money and got things started.  I assumed that since the trash service only picks up their special cans (the ones that are designed for their trucks to lift with giant robotic arms) they would give me one of those cans.  I waited 4 or 5 days for them to be delivered.  Nothing.

I called them and asked 'why?' They said I never got on the list.  I thought the money I paid was to get me on the list.  At any rate, they put me on the list, and still didn't deliver the trash can until a week later, the day after garbage day.

At this point I finally have the trash can and it has been 3 weeks.  A week later on trash day, I put the can out before I left for work.  It turns out the truck either came at like 7 AM or it just skipped over my can.  I was so frustrated.  I figured I'd just leave my can on the street, that way whatever weirdness comes up, whether they come on a different day or ridiculously early in the morning, I would be prepared.

I came home from work the next day and the can had been moved from the street to my side yard.  Either someone was really offended that my trash can was on the street on a day other than trash day, or the trash conspirators are watching my every move. (It was probably moved by some magical being, serving the conspirators.  You know, like elves, gremlins or Eskimos.)

This Tuesday, I don't care what happens.  I'm going to get my trash picked up.  Although, maybe Tuesday will never come.  I hear the world is supposed to end tomorrow (May 21st).  Maybe that's part of the conspiracy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Secret Weapon

There are some things you should know about me before  I explain my secret weapon.

1. I hate shopping.
2. I like food.  A Lot.  No, seriously.  A LOT.

These two attributes are not fully compatible.  Acquiring food generally requires going to a store.  When I was single I would try to go shopping for food as infrequently as possible.  This meant that I would need to buy a lot of food when I was there.

Imagine if you lived deep in the desert.  When food became very scarce you would make the long, arduous journey to the oasis where food is plentiful.  Once you get there, you're not just going to get a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.  You may not be back again this year.  You need to get everything necessary to sustain life.  You need Hot Pockets.  You need ice cream sandwiches.  (You can't have a lot of fresh food without returning to the store frequently.)

Now let's fast forward to the present.  Now that I'm married, Robyn generally does the shopping.  But every once in a while she might get to thinking that I should do some shopping.  That's where my secret weapon comes in.

That's right.  I threaten her with a sheep armed to the teeth.  Okay, not really.  It's just an awesome picture.

My real secret weapon is my will to survive.  You see, in the beginning of our marriage I went with her to go shopping.  As we wandered the oasis with endless supplies of food, I filled our cart to prepare for the long winter in between now and the next time we go shopping.

Robyn's thoughts on shopping are different than mine.  She likes to go at least once a week.  Sometimes she'll go twice in the same week. (Gasp!)  I know it sounds insane, but it's true.

Apparently in her paradigm I spend too much money when we go shopping.  Just tonight, I offered to go shopping with her. (That is love.)  She declined.  She said, "It's too expensive when you come along."

And that, my friends, is my secret weapon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Scratcher in the Night

It happened again.  That's right, another exciting adventure in the dead of night.  I'll start at the beginning.  I was slumbering in my usual precious manner.  I was quietly dreaming of soft kitties, warm kitties, little balls of fur.

Suddenly, the world was shaking.  The bed was moving about violently.  I didn't know what was happening, was it an earthquake?  That's when I looked over at Robyn.  All of the movement was happening under her blanket.  At first I was worried she may be having a seizure, I was honestly concerned.  But then I looked closer.  Her whole body wasn't shaking, she was just moving her arm about wildly.

Then I listened to the sounds.  She was scratching the bed next to her.  She was doing it with great vim and vigor.  Now that I knew what was happening I was no longer concerned, just very perplexed.

I watched in fascination for probably a minute or so.  Finally, she stopped and asked. "How was that?"

"That was really good.  Excellent work."

But that's when I realized, she was probably dreaming about scratching my back.  Can you believe it?  She was scratching my back in her dreams.  She was doing it with incredible gusto.  That is love.
A good scratch right in F6 is a sign of true love

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm in a Fight with Holiday Oil

We're all moved to the new house. We rented a truck of unusual size (some call them U-Haul but I call them TOUS) on Saturday and put almost everything we own into it. We then drove to our new house. We had several good friends come help us out and our new neighbor even saw us unloading and came over to help. Everything seemed like it was going very well, we had had a very successful moving day. But that was before my nemesis entered my life.

You see, I didn't know that the Holiday gas station was my nemesis. I thought we were friends. We've had a great relationship for quite some time. I give the station money, they give me gas, everybody is happy. (When I said "they give me gas" I was reminded of an incident on our recent road trip. I got up earlier then everyone else and went to pick up breakfast and fill up the car. When I came back I told Robyn, "We have breakfast and we're full of gas." She thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. I didn't even realize I was saying something funny.)

So I went to what I thought was a friendly gas station. I was pulling in and I pulled in just like I normally do. Unfortunately, my truck was about 26 feet longer than I was used to driving. It turns out you can't turn as sharp in a truck of such immense proportions.

This yellow pole of devilry snuck up on me and the side of the truck ran right into it.

I tried to back the truck up to get off it, but the truck put just enough pressure on the pole that I couldn't get any traction on the wheels.  I ended up having to call a tow truck. When he came, he lifted up the back end of the truck and just pushed it several feet over. It was really cool to watch.

In the end, I was able to drive away safely and I was glad I bought the insurance on the truck rental. Naturally, I drove to another station to buy gas. Because, I'm in a fight with the Holiday station.
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