Thursday, May 31, 2007

High Five Jared!

At Jared's school today, the teachers gave out awards to their students. Each teacher could decide who to give their awards to. Jared came home with two awards. One from his Orchestra teacher and one from his math teacher. Good Job Jared! Keep up the good work at school.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Drama at the DMV

For those of you who did not know, Trent turned 16 on May 7th. This has been a much anticipated event because of the fact that you are eligible for a driver's license at this milestone in life. Of course we had gone through the trauma of visiting the DMV six months ago when he obtained the wonderful permit. This allowed him to drive a car with a licensed driver accompanying him. In fact not only did it allow this, it was required that he drive for 50 hours before he would be allowed to apply for an actual drivers license. I don't know about the rest of you but I try anything to avoid spending time in my car driving. And now we needed to log in what seemed like an insurmountable amount of time. Because of my wonderful 2 mile radius in which most things I regularly frequent exist, Trent was not able to get much driving time in by just going where we usually go. Hence most Saturday afternoons would find us out on the open road for at least an hour at a time. And if just the actual driving was not enough, we had to write a 500 volume narrative about our travels. The DMV required that each time we drive, we fill in a log sheet about the trip. We needed to include the starting and stopping time, was it day or night, was the weather dry or wet, did we drive on residential, arterial, or freeway type roads, was the traffic heavy, moderate or light. Sheesh this log had more details than my journal for the past six months. I tried to make myself useful during our time in the car. For instance sometimes I would read, another time I took my cleaning supplies including a toothbrush and did some deep cleaning. The only problem was that I could not really clean the driver's side as Trent was in the way. I was overjoyed when we finished up the 50 hours during spring break in April. Then we had only to wait for our appointment for the driving test.

Finally the scheduled day arrived, May 18th. Our appointment was at 8:00 am and we were early. There was a large group of people standing outside the door waiting for it to open. I was very happy when they opened the door and said that anyone with an appointment could come right in. We went in and showed our lovely 3 page log of driving time along with proof of drivers ed class, registration and insurance. We sat down and waited for a few moments and then they called his name and off he went. I tried to sit but was too anxious and so I strolled over to the very small window to see how it was going. I could see Trent in the car with the examiner behind the car checking to see that all the lights were working. Imagine my dismay when the guy walked back into the DMV. I ran to meet him and was told that one of the rear tail lights was out. He then told me that if we could get it fixed and be back in 20 mins, Trent could still take the test. I sprinted to the car and off we went in search of a car parts store. We decided to go west and sure enough a few blocks away we found an Auto Zone. We pulled into the parking lot and I ran inside to find the required light bulb. The store attendant seemed to take forever as he looked up the part number. I quickly explained that we had a limited amount of time to get this fixed. Once the part was purchased we had to borrow a tool to remove the cover plate to the tail light. Of course at first we had the wrong size and I had to go back in the store to get a different one. Then we struggled to remove the bolts or whatever you would call the things keeping the cover plate in place. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the bulb was replaced and we were on our way back down the street to the DMV. We went in and miraculously we had made it in time.

So off Trent went again, this time with a different examiner. Now I paced up and down as my adrenaline levels were off the chart making it impossible for me to wait calmly. When they returned we were ushered into a small room. The examiner informed us that Trent had some very bad habits in his driving. The first problem was that he would put his hands in his lap at stop lights. I think the fact that my car is a manual makes it more likely that you would take your hands off the wheel. The next thing she talked about was the fact that when he turned, he did not always stay in the same lane. I feel badly about this, because that is the way I drive. The final nail in the coffin, was the fact that at a school crossing guard, he did not come to a complete stop, because the guard was about to step back onto the curb. This was an automatic fail situation. We were both pretty upset because Trent really is a good driver and I was sure he would pass. The examiner told us we could call to get an appointment but it would most likely be for July. I didn't doubt this, as I had called six weeks earlier to make this appointment. The next option was to do something called standby. This is where you show up without an appointment and wait for an undetermined time hoping that someone else with an appointment will not show up. We were told to wait at least a week before coming back and to practice the things that he did wrong.

So a week later found once again at the DMV. The doors opened at 8:00 and so I figured that if we got there at 7:00 we would be close to the front of the line. We were shocked to find out that when we got there we were number 9 in line. The person who was number 1 had been there since 3:30 in the morning. The number 2 person had gotten there at 5:00. She had been there the day before and they had only gotten to number 4. She had number 5 and she had literally sat there from 8 til 4 and never got a chance to take her test. I began to wonder about what we were in for. I did come prepared to wait with a good book to read. While were outside waiting for the doors to open, it was pretty hot. Finally at 7:40 they came out and passed out the numbers. And then they finally let us in at 8:00. We sat down and began to wait. As I sat there I pondered the nature of the DMV. Is it not a modern day torture chamber? I bet Hitler would be disappointed to know of the ways he missed out on torturing people because of the lack of cars people owned back then. And truly a job at the DMV seems to require a certain meanness and joy in being cruel to others not to mention doing your job at the speed of grass growing. I believe that the DMV has the ability to turn one to the dark side of disbelief. It is a drainer of hope and life source. But that is just the musings of a deranged mother. Now back to our tale: Things looked hopeful when the first two standby people were called up by 8:20. Then numbers 3 & 4 were called up at 9:00. Something happened to number 8 and so we moved up a spot. Then people with appointments started showing up. This put the standby line to a stop. It began to look like we could be there for the entire day. Those of us waiting together became friends, bonded together by the horrific experience of being so much at some else's mercy. We discussed how someone should start a business where people could pay someone else to wait for them at the DMV. One guy said he would gladly have paid someone $100 to have waited for him. I don't think anyone could pay me enough to be there when I didn't have to for my own needs. Finally at 11:20 after more than 4 hours of waiting, Trent's name was called.

This time he had yet another examiner. Off they went. I felt nauseous. I wanted to watch and yet I didn't want to see what would happened. Somehow the 20 minutes of the test went by, and we went again into the little room. This time the examiner wanted to know who had taught Trent to drive. Yikes, I resembled that remark! He proceeded to say that you can not drive with one hand on the stick shift and that you can not coast into a stop sign or light and leave the car in neutral. He also lost points for going to fast in a school zone. And so bottom line, he had failed again. I could not believe it. I asked the guy why the first examiner had not mentioned anything about being in neutral or the fact that you needed to keep both hands on the wheel as much as possible. He couldn't say. He finally went and got the first test and told Trent that he had fixed all the original problems, but that there had been different ones the second time. I asked the guy if he thought that it was possible to pass the test with a manual car. He said it might be better if we could use an automatic, but I didn't think Trent would do well in our van since he hardly ever drives it. The examiner stated that he didn't think it was a good idea to do the standby thing, because all that waiting is hard on ones nerves. I could whole heartedly agree with that statement. He told us we needed to get an appointment. We said we didn't want to wait all the way until July. He then took pity on us and looked in the appointment book and found a cancellation that was for the next Tuesday, just 4 days away. We went home glad to have an appointment for the next time we came back.

Once again we practiced. I personally had lost all hope of ever getting a license for Trent. I figured that sitting at the DMV would just become a regular part of my weekly routine. Finally Tuesday came. The appointment was for 1:00 so Trent went to school. I picked him up at 12:45 and off we went for the third try. We parked and went in. I felt the familiar feeling of nausea. We showed our paper work and after just 5 minutes of waiting they called Trent's name. Off he went with yet, the fourth examiner. There are only 6 people who do the driving test so we had met almost all of them. Luckily for me, a friend called me just as he was leaving. I think this kept me from having to go and throw up my lunch. Honestly I don't know when the last time was that I had felt such anxiety. And before I knew it, he was back and we went to the small room again. Trent sat down, and the guy said not to look so worried because he had passed. I don't think either of us believed him at first. I asked if there was anything he needed to work on, and the guy said "No, he got 100%". I was shocked. How did he go from failing twice to getting 100%. We were both so happy. Next we were off to get the picture taken and few minutes later Trent was the proud owner of a bad picture on his driver's license. It was a very happy day! Later that night he had his spring Orchestra concert and instead of me having to drive him to the school, he just took himself early and then we came later when the concert started. YEAH! I am very excited for him to be able to be in charge of taking himself where he needs to be. He will start a job in a week when school is out. Good job, Trent for hanging in there and not giving up!
We bought a third car from our next door neighbor for $100. Since then we have spent $1500 getting it to run. It is running but did not pass the smog. Once we get that cleared up it will be time to get it registered. I wonder how long I will sit at the DMV for that?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Biting the hand that feeds you.

For any of you who do not know about this, Jared has 2 corn snakes for pets. He bought them with his own money right after we moved to our new house. We had decided to get rid of all our cats, and a snake seemed like a lower maintenance animal. Of course we started with one snake, but soon that was not enough. I personally belong to the Harrison Ford school of "I hate snakes". In fact to say that I hate them is putting it mildly. I have loathed, feared and pretty much detested the slithering things from the time I was a small child. Most of my brothers and sisters loved catching Gardner snakes when we were children. Any sight of any snake sends me looking for higher ground, whether it be a table, tree, or the person standing next to me. When I see a snake, I need to be as high off the ground and far away from it as possible. This would account for my reluctance to getting a snake in the first place. But of course I am a softie and finally was persuaded that I would never have to actually touch the snake and that it would stay locked in its cage most of the time. This has been a happy arrangement for the past year and a half.

Jared has done a pretty good job of being in charge of all the snake care, ie feeding, holding, watering, and changing the paper shavings in the cage. For those of you fortunate enough to be in the dark about such things, snakes like to eat mice. And for those of us who need to feed our snakes they come in a handy frozen form. (Even snakes can eat frozen TV dinners.) Participating in the buying of frozen mice has been an experience I could do without. We first bought some with the snake from a pet store. To begin with you feed baby snakes, baby mice called "pinkies". The first time we bought some "pinkies" they came in a clear plastic baggie, that then had to be kept in my freezer next to the popsicles and ice cream. After those ran out, we went to PetSmart. After waiting for quite a while for someone to help us, one of the workers told us to just go over to the freezer and get the mice our selves. They have a freezer much like you would see at 7-11. In this freezer was a plastic storage bin containing several drawers. Each drawer had several white plastic bags with various sizes of mice and rats in them. I could not see how the bags were labeled, and so I began checking inside of the bags looking for the "pinkies". I opened several bags with disgusting rodents, but when I got to a bag containing a rat the size of a guinea pig, I had to draw the line. I went back to the worker and told him he would have to find the "pinkies" for me, as I did not want to visions of rats marching through my dreams for next few weeks. I do like the fact that that bags of mice from PetSmart are not clear, and so you can get the hamburger out of the freezer with out a close encounter with a small, frozen, pink mouse. Our snakes have now grown bigger and they have moved up from eating "pinkies" to "fuzzies". These are as appealing to look at, as you would imagine from the name of them.

OK, sorry for so much background information. This brings us to last Monday morning. For the past week, Jared has been complaining each night that he forgot to feed his snakes, and could I please remind him during the daytime, when he could do something about it. So on Monday morning I reminded him to feed his snakes. Marion was home and told Jared to take the snakes out of the freezer, let them defrost, and then Marion would do the feeding. Jared took the mice out to defrost. Marion had gotten up and gone to seminary to help our Bishop that morning, and decided to lay back down in Jared's room. When the timer went off, I took the mice up to the snake cage. I put a mouse in the bottom of two brown lunch sacks. I then made Marion reach up from where he was lying and lift each of the snakes into the bags. This all seemed to be going really well. Next I was adjusting the bags a bit so I could close the lid. As I tried to tip one of the bags on it side, I suddenly felt a small prick on my thumb. What happened next is a bit of a blur, but it involved lots of screaming and me flinging my hand in the air with the snake attached to my thumb. At some point the snake decided to let go of me and it landed on the floor on the other side of the room. I am now dancing around and yelling at Marion to get up and catch the snake. He is telling me that snakes do not bite, but I have two tiny red spots of blood on my thumb to prove otherwise. I run from the room still screaming and Marion tries to get up and get the snake. By now it is no where to be seen. I am less than thrilled by this, as my neighbor lost one of her kids corn snakes in her house for about 3 months. I think about begining to pack and go to a hotel for the next few months until the snake resurfaces because I know that I will not be able to live in my house if that snake is not locked safely in its cage. Diana is now wondering what all the screaming is about. Marion and I try to lift up all of the things on the floor of Jared's room, but do not find that snake anywhere. We finally narrow it down to being under the desk in the corner of Jared's room. In order to lift the desk, Marion had to move several things, including a fish tank on top of the desk. Finally he is able to lift the desk, and I look under it and spot the snake. Marion then moves the desk and picks up the escapee. Now he needs to put everything back together. He makes me hold the snake while he does this. Once again, I am not impressed, but it is better than having it get loose again. He is slowly adjusting everything, which includes cords to the several different things in Jared's room. I tell him that he needs to hurry before I pass out. Finally the snake is returned and I go off in search of some sort of sedation that can return my heart rate to normal. I was feeling a bit sleepy before this, but I have to admit to be much more awake after it was all said and done.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I've joined the poparazzi!

I just got my pictures back from Women's Conference and I am so excited about how they turned out. Hopefully you might enjoy seeing them as well. I feel a little like a kid that managed to get all the pictures of the princesses at Disneyland. I just hope I haven't been added to the most wanted list of stalkers that the General Authorites watch out for.

The picture to the left is of Sis. Susan Tanner, in the White suit. Sis. Dalton is in the red jacket with her back to us, and Sis. Cook is behind Sis Dalton in the pink top. They are the General Young Women's presidency. The class they taught was one of my favorites. Wendy Wilcox is wearing the white suit standing next to Sis. Tanner. She spoke with her father Brad, Thursday afternoon.

The picture to the right, is Sandra Rogers, who has been in charge of Women's Conference for the past several years. She is a remarkable woman.

The picture to the right is my sister Kris, me and my Aunt Shauna who happened to be attending the conference. We had lots of fun visiting with her between classes as she stayed in the Marriott Center most of the day also.

The picture to the right is one I shot of Elder Holland as he walked up to shake hands with us. I suppose it may have been a bit rude to have clicked his picture as I was shaking his hand, but I am kind of excited about how well it turned out. And by the way the other people around me with their digital cameras could not get a shot, so for once it is good that I am behind the times when it comes to technology.

Here's one with Elder Jeff Holland and his wife Pat. Just behind them are Brother and Sis Samuelson, the current president of BYU. And Sis Rogers is behind them.

The picture to the right has Sis Lant the General Primary President in the salmon pink. Sis Thompson, second counselor in the General Relief Society is in the black suit with the pink shirt. She was one of my favorite speakers. Touching her are is Sis. Tanner again in the light pink jacket. She is probably telling Sis. Thompson what a good job she did earlier when Sis. Thompson spoke. And just behind Sis. Tanner is Sis. Cook. Sis. Beck, the General Relief President was in England and so that is why I did not get a picture of her. This is a great picture because it has all the auxiliaries in one shot.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bringing Home the Bacon

Well through some interesting turn of events, I have found myself joining the world of employment. This time I mean a job with pay, thanks, and time off for good behavior. My other job of mother has none of these perks, but does have the benefit of being assigned to me by heaven. My new job is working for a company called Global Views. They sell home accessories and small furniture. Here in Las Vegas they have a permanent showroom that displays much of their line. Twice a year there is a big trade show, where buyers come from all over. So this job is to help prepare the showroom for these big shows. I think that I will like it because it will only entail working for a couple of weeks a year. I worked this past week because there was a show in a different part of town and they opened their showroom just in case anyone wanted to see it also.

Monday I worked only 4 hours and helped get the showroom cleaned up by dusting the hundreds of vases and candlesticks they have displayed.

Tuesday I worked for 9 hours. In the morning I went to Sam's club and got some things to feed to the potential customers that might come. This included buying wine to serve. The lady that was here giving me a shopping list said to buy some cheap wine. I told her that the alcohol portion of my resume was mighty thin and she would need to spell it out for me. She wrote down the names of two different wines I might look for. Then I asked her how many bottles to buy, 3 or 4. And she said, No 20. Boy I really don't have a feel for that kind of thing. Anyway I delivered my wares, and then went over to the other small booth that was being set up at the other convention center.

Thankfully they let me have Wednesday off. I used this day to do a few minor things like laundry, grocery shopping and preparing for camp kick off that night. On Wednesday I did have to run down to the showroom and get a key from security. I also have an official badge to wear.

Thursday I was there by 8:15 and opened for any potential customers that might come. This proved to be a very long wait, as only 4 people came by for the whole day. Luckily I brought my camp notebook and I spent several hours organizing it and trying to figure out the tent assignments. After rewriting it several times, I figured out that I could cut yellow sticky notes into small pieces of paper. I wrote the name of each girl on each piece and then put them in tents. This way as people drop out and others decide to come I can just move the sticky notes around. Because the show was so slow, I asked to go home an hour early. This was very happy as I was able to stop at the store to get a few things for dinner. I made dinner with Marion, Jared, and Diana were at soccer. Then I went to my camp meeting that night.

Friday was a bit crazy because I received an e-mail late Thursday, telling me to ship an end table that is at the show room to Texas. I left my house at 8 and stopped at three different stores before I finally ended up at U-haul to buy a box big enough to ship the table. Unfortunately the box was about 2 inches to big to fit in my car. So I had to drive with my back door open just a few inches. This was fine as long as the door stayed close to the car, but at certain times I would turn and the door would swing open. I tried to go on back streets so it wouldn't bother anyone. There were still many many people who noticed that the door was open and pulled up next to me to let me know of the problem. You'd have thought that I had a stick of dynamite in the back or something. I would just smile at them and nod my head as if to say "I know that I am driving with my door open, I have no choice, and no I am not so stupid that I would not notice my back door flailing open." I finally made it there, only to be told that the box would not be big enough. I got the show room ready and Friday was a busier day. I had a nice slow stream of people coming in. It was kind of fun to visit with each different one and find out what they might need. It was a long day though as I did not get home until 7:00 that night. I was much more tired because of standing on my feet so much more.

All in all I guess it was OK. I did earn a little chunk of change that will help pay some bills. That is always good news. It was just bad timing, because I had been gone for four days the week before. I still have not gotten my house back to the way it was before I left. This job is rather like being a mother. I have to clean, shop, and make sure people have what they need.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I'm Back!

I returned safely home yesterday. I feel like I have had my batteries completely recharged. Women's Conference was completely wonderful in every way. As they say in Veggie Tales "I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob!" It would be impossible to say which part was the best. One great time was when it was pouring buckets on Thursday I managed to score the last umbrella. The ones on the table were all gone, but as I was standing in line a guy behind the counter held up an umbrella and asked who wanted it. I jumped up and down and said ME, ME. You might say that like Ester I was the right person, in the right place, at the right time. The story of Ester was the theme for the whole conference. Sister Watson Nelson gave a glorious talk about making sure we are fulfilling our mission. Another highlight was hearing from the General Young Women's presidency and their daughters. It was a great class, try to see it rebroadcast if you can.

I also thoroughly enjoyed getting to hear from the new General Relief Society presidency. It was fun to get to know the two new counselors. Sis Allred is from South America and raised 8 children. She talked about turning our homes into mini MTC's. Sis Thompson is a doll that we will all love to hear from for the next few years. She talked about her call and how inadequate she felt. She said her first thoughts when her Bishop called to tell her to meet with Pres. Faust were 1. What am I going to wear? and 2. How can I lose 100 pounds before I am sustained in General Conference next week? She then related how she told Pres Faust about feeling inadequate. She shared his response"Sister Thompson we are all just ordinary people, trying to do the Lord's work. I will pray for you, if you will pray for me." I was touched by this story. And then Sis Beck gave a wonderful talk about how we can offer "relief" to today's world. She said that if ever there was a time when the whole world needs relief, it is today and we are the ones who can give it.

Friday afternoon Elder Holland and his wife Pat gave the closing address. I was sitting down next to the tunnel where they would come out. I had my camera in hand, in hopes of getting a shot of them and the other church leaders. The Hollands came out to do a sound check and I missed getting the picture because it was so early. After they checked the sound they walked back into the tunnel and Pres. Holland stopped along the way to shake just a few hands. I was one of just 10 or 15, who got to shake his hand. This was especially thrilling to me, since he was the president of BYU when I attended. He and his wife gave a very encouraging talk about not underestimating ourselves or giving up hope. At the end Elder Holland blessed all of us to be happy, peaceful, grateful, aware of our divine worth, to find a way through our trials, to find answers to prayers, and to know that there are good days before us. There was an amazing spirit present and I have never felt anything quite like it.

The drive home was also pretty uneventful. I stopped at the cheese factory in Beaver and bought some curds, much to the delight of my family. And I stopped in St. George and had some really yummy nachos.

All in all it could not have been better. All of you should start arranging your schedules and making plans to go next year. I will see you there because I am completely addicted and plan on going every year until I die.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I'm off to see the wizard!

And just like those folks in the Wizard of Oz, I am lacking something important. Perhaps I feel like I am looking for a brain, heart, and courage to come home. Well I am hoping to find these things and more at Women's Conference at BYU. I have been joking for weeks that I may not come back and I must admit that after this morning it seems more tempting to run away for good. Hopefully a few days off from the hectic life of motherhood will restore my strength and zest for life. Perhaps just like Dorothy, I will discover that I had all these things inside all along. See ya next week.