Sunday, March 30, 2008

Harley Momma

Well, I know a lot of you have heard the rumors, and I'm here to confirm that they are true. About 8 months ago I was on my way home from work on a Friday evening and Steph called me on my cell phone. She asked me if I would be willing to pick something up on the way home from work. Because I was running late getting home, as usual, and wanting to keep her happy, I told her that I would be happy to pick up anything that she needed. Her reply was, "Great. I need you to grab me a motorcycle on the way home." I was momentarily stunned and nearly lost control of the car. Wondering if I had heard her correctly, I replied, "Did you say a motorcycle?" To which she responded, "Yes, a motorcycle. I need something that I can go and do that will give me a break from the children." Surely she must have been joking. Most moms join a crafting club or start bunco. Little pink Stephanee on a motorcycle? It could never truly be. Maybe the kids really were driving her insane.

The next day she enrolled in the SLCC motorcycle safety course. "This must just be a crazy phase," I said to myself. "Surely it will last only a couple of weeks." The children and I even went to SLCC on one her class days to validate her story. We thought that she might simply be sneaking away to go and do something else every Saturday because surely Steph would not be riding motorcycles. Upon entering the SLCC parking lot, we discovered that Steph truly was riding motorcycles. "Well," I thought to myself, "this I'm sure this will end shortly. Steph really isn't the motorcycle type. I have been begging her to allow me to get a motorcycle for ages; to which she has always retorted, "over my dead body."" To my surprise, Steph graduated from motorcycle safety class with honors and now had the itch. Within two weeks she had bought a used 2005 Honda Rebel, which Mike Dawes was gracious enough to drive up from Utah County for her because she was not comfortable driving on the freeway. She would ride it every once in a while, but the chill in the late autumn air was starting to put a damper on her riding. So, at the advice of Ethan's friend's father, a motorcycle enthusiast, she decided to purchase a full set of leathers including jacket, boots, gloves and chaps. This allowed her to continue to ride in the cold. "Now she is really starting to lose it," I thought. But, she does look hot in those leathers I must add.

Shortly after the leather purchase, the craziest, snowiest winter in recent history hit and Jamal (Steph's black motorcycle) was garaged for the winter.

It took Steph 4 months to break the news to her parents, which she finally decided to do at Audree's birthday party. Her brother had seen the motorcycle in the garage, but thought we were storing it for a neighbor. (It couldn't be mine or Steph's). Her mother and father couldn't believe it. I thought we might have to call an ambulance to take her mother to the hospital. I guess Steph got the reaction she was looking for.

Over the winter, I began to question my manhood. Many neighbors taunted me and asked what it is like having to ride on the back of my wife's motorcycle. I even started doing dishes once in a while.

Then, I thought to myself, "she seems to be having a lot of fun with it." So, I decided it was time for me to take the SLCC class and get me a bike of my own. On the first day of class, the teacher asked everyone to introduce themselves and tell her why they had decided to take this class. Upon introducing myself I indicated that I was there because I was tired of riding on the back of my wife's motorcycle. The entire class erupted with laughter. The teacher, a woman who has been riding motorcycles for 40 years, asked me what it was like riding behind my wife on a motorcycle. In all of her years of riding, her husband has only sat back there once.

The most stressful thing for me in the class was wondering what it would be like to face my wife if I didn't pass the riding test at the end. Fortunately my manhood was saved and I was given a pass to ride. Many of my neighbors, some whom own motorcycles and others who don't, now consider me to be one of the luckiest men alive. First of all I have a wife that will let me ride a motorcycle. And, equally as important, I have a wife who enjoys riding them as well. Last Saturday, I purchased my own Yamaha V-Star 650, which actually looks like a bigger version of Steph's bike. We had our first biker date last Saturday. Here is a picture of our bikes in the Chili's parking lot. We are really looking forward to the warm weather so that we can get out and ride some more. We even sat up at the bar at the restaurant. After all, there was a 25 minute wait, the bar was open, and that is where bikers should be sitting anyway.

Mom is wondering when this midlife crisis will end.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The dangers of talking in church

The bishop and first counselor cornered me at the temple a couple weeks ago and squeezed out the information that we had never given a talk since moving to ABQ. To Steph's dismay we were assigned talks the following Sunday. Porter helped me write his talk and was so excited to give it that he got out of bed by himself for the first time since church was moved to 9 a.m. He practiced his talk at least a dozen times and couldn't wait. When we got to church I got stuck in the foyer talking to the young men while Steph walked into the chapel with the monkeys in tow. All of the sudden I heard a THUNK! and then a scream. The next thing I saw was Steph running out of the chapel holding Porter's face with blood squirting between her fingers. Porter had clipped a walker that a 95 year old woman uses and leaves in the aisle between pews. His fall was broken by his face hitting the corner of the pew. It knocked one tooth out that was already loose, and loosened another. He had a scrape from his forehead to his chin and a big fat lip. Stephanie got him calmed down in time to give her talk leaving me about 25 minutes for my 15 minute talk. Luckily, I had been trained for this in the mission and was able to draw out the story of Elijah and comparing temple work to the movie Hoosiers. Porter didn't give his talk that week, but was able to give it this week and did a great job (except the bishopric forgot to give him a stool so you could only see his alfalfa cowlick over the stand). Just remember, the next time you're assigned a talk that talking in church can be hazardous to your health (and your face).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In the land of snow

It has been a year of snow here in SLC. We have seen more snow this year than any year that I can remember in the recent past. That has meant a lot of shoveling and having to get Steph out of bed on two occassions this year to help me get the BMW unstuck out of a snowbank at the bottom of the driveway. But, instead of only cursing the snow this year, we have decided to make good use of it and enjoy it. We recently took the whole family sledding at West Ridge golf course and learned that the boys have no fear.

Attached is my favorite shot of the day, which was Ethan's back filp on his purple plastic saucer. Amazingly, he actually landed this flip and continued all the way down the hill to the driving range (a good 200 yards).

We had a great time. Even Madison got in a couple of runs before she realized that sledding was a bit too scary for an 18-month old.

In addition to sledding, Steph, Matt and the boys have all taken up snowboarding. We each took lessons and Brighton and are now working on perfecting our technique. It is amazing how much more quickly kids learn new things than their parents. Matt and Steph can't keep up with the boys. And the boys never seem to hurt the next day. It must have something to do with the fact that when you are only 3 feet tall it isn't as far to fall when you land on your rear end, which is something that you do quite often when you are learning to snowboard.

However, as much as we are enjoying the snow, we are all really looking forward to spring and the opportunity to ride our motorcycles. We will tell you all a little bit more about that next time, but here is a little picture to peak your interest. Yes, that is Steph on a motorcycle.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Indian Graffiti

This year is our Tour de New Mexico. To start out we thought we'd take a quick journey about 5 miles up the road to Petroglyph National Monument. We picked a pristine day for it as it was about 70 degrees with a light breeze. We were quite a site with Porter leading the way, Zachary limping behind and Andrew taking 5 steps to our one. The 2 1/2 mile hike seemed impossible, but we were determined. Luckily, mom had prepared some trail mix and filled up the H2O bottles. We didn't see much in the first little while and with the whining we were starting to get discouraged. Finally, we stopped for a rest and while the boys sat on a rock, I climbed up the volcanic rocks and located a wealth of Navajo graffiti. This peaked the boys' interest. Porter tapped into his uncle Mike's climbing abilities, Zachary forgot about his still too prevelant limp. Both of them starting climbing to locate the "rattlesnake", "lobo", "turtle" and "funny man" that dad had found. These sites brought new energy into the expedition. Now instead of the constant "I wanna go back to the car" requests we watched our oldest boys help each other climb up the rocks hungry to find more writings of ancient Lamanites and possibly some wandering Nephites. Finally, we arrived at the end of the trail. Here we let the boys climb until they were almost exhausted. We still had about a mile trek back to the car so we had to let them save the energy. We walked (Steph, myself and Porter that is, the other two got free chaffeur service) backed, spent but happy to have used a Saturday for something other than video game or couch potato practice. We can't wait for the next leg of the tour... sledding on the same Whitesands that the Decepticon Scorponok called home, running through the caves of Carlsbad and looking for evidence of aliens in Roswell.

Watch out for those Rhinoceroses

I was upstairs watching TV in our loft relaxing on this Sunday afternoon. Porter and Zach were in their rooms, putting together their latest Lego creations and talking. "Guess what Uncle Dan told me," Porter said. Interested on what divine words of wisdom my little brother had told my son, I put in a listening ear. Here's what he said:

Porter: Never laugh at a rhinoceros.
Zach: Why?
Porter: Because it will knock you over.
Zach: Oh.
Porter: But you can laugh. Because you'll never see a rhinoceros.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Texan Day

One of the first things we learned when we moved to Houston, Texas was that Houstonians are "proud to be a Texan!" As we introduced ourselves to neighbors shortly after arriving, one fellow said, "Welcome Home." I laughed at that comment. But they really love Texas...specifically Houston. Then Brandon became a Preschooler and we were introduced to 'Go Texan Day.' They dressed as cowboys for one of the days during the WEEK long celebration. This meant I just HAD to buy a cowboy hat, sherriff's badget, and bandana. I don't think I'll succomb to purchasing boots though. Now I've learned there's not only a Texas pledge but a Texas Song too. The pledge follows the American pledge of allegiance every day at school. This means my children may just naturally finish the pledge of allegiance and then continue with, "I pledge allegiance to Thee, Texas..." Last week and the next few weeks is the annual Houston, Texas Rodeo. We didn't go last year and I don't think we'll make it this spring either. However, I'm drawn to it because it seems to be part of being a Texan...eating briskit and going to a rodeo. Understand that I grew up down the street from the Nyssa Nite Rodeo grounds and it was pathetic to say the least. Last time I checked, the locals use it for Sundays during the summer to stand around and drink while watching people ride their horses. Because of this ridiculous exposure to the rodeo, I feel a pull to experience a true Texan rodeo. We may just get to the rodeo, yet. Am I proud to be a Texan? Let's just say I'm workin' on it y'all.