Thursday, July 19, 2012

Utah 2012: Week 1

Melanie, the boys, and I have now been in Utah for just over one week. Overall, things are going great. I forgot the cord that can hook our digital camera up to the laptop, so I can’t yet share any photos. But I’ll share some stories.

Melanie and I arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, July 11th at approximately 11:30am local time. For the first time ever, I had a problem with luggage. The suitcase holding all of my clothes and a few of my school books didn’t show up. A representative from Delta assured me the bag had been put on a later flight and would be arriving several hours hence. They offered to deliver the bag to wherever I was staying, which I thought was good (and appropriate) of them. When the Delta rep asked for the delivery address, she said someone would call us before dropping off the bag, just to make sure I’d be available to receive it. She then asked if it would be okay if they called after 11 p.m. Before I could answer, she waved her hand dismissively and said, “We have to ask that of everybody,” as though it was absurd to think the bag would take that long to be delivered. Well, they did deliver the bag, but they didn’t call beforehand. And it’s just as well, because we were all asleep by the time the bag arrived—shortly after 11 p.m. Although they didn’t ring our phone, they did ring the doorbell. A startling awakening, but I was glad to have my stuff. I admit, I didn’t have the fullest of confidence that it would arrive.

On Thursday morning, our first fun Utah stop became Beyond Glaze Gourmet Doughnuts. We ordered a half dozen for the five of us. Melanie had raspberry mango, while I had nutmeg dash (quite yummy). Melanie and I also split a coconut cream donut, my absolute favorite that they offer. Any visit to Utah should include one of these masterpieces. I had selected a cookies n’ cream donut for Creegan, but he was asleep at the time. The donut ended up sitting around for a day, at which point Melanie and I put it out of its misery and into our bellies.

After picking up some things at a store, we stopped for lunch at Café Rio, one of the most popular Utah eateries (which has subsequently become a chain, with locations as far away as Virginia and Maryland). Melanie had a delicious beef salad with creamy tomatillo dressing, while I stuffed myself silly with a gigantic barbecued pork burrito, served enchilada style (smothered in cheese and salsa verde). Muy bueno!

More so than not, this needs to be a working vacation for me, so I’ve tried to be diligent about spending my days working on my dissertation. This has limited our playtime to evenings and weekends. On Friday night, Melanie’s brother Mark and his wife, Trina, came over for dinner. On Saturday, Melanie and I took the boys to see my side of the family. We all met at a park and brought our own lunch. Melanie and I brought Grinders 13, a personal Utah favorite of mine. We spent some good time visiting with family and letting our boys play. We then went “home” (which for the time being is Melanie’s parents’ house) for a little while before leaving Creegan with Melanie’s mom and taking Eddie and Peter (and Uncle Tom) to see The Amazing Spider-Man. This was our first experience with reserved seating at movie theaters, which I guess is pretty common here in Utah nowadays. It was quite nice.

On Sunday, Melanie and I went to see my sister, JoAnna, at her place. We hadn’t yet seen the apartment she moved into a while back, which is about an hour away from Melanie’s parents’ house. It was really great to see JoAnna, even if I more-than-not played spectator to her and Melanie’s conversations. Melanie and JoAnna understand each other in unique ways that give them a special relationship, one that both of them highly value, I believe. And that’s really cool for me, so I didn’t mind just being there around a couple of my favorite people. As a bonus, JoAnna had made brownies and some side dishes to accompany the polish sausages and chips (and Diet Mountain Dew) that Melanie and I brought for dinner.

Monday was another work day for me. Melanie went to Costco with her mom and picked up some muffins, which we’ve missed since our own Costco membership expired several months ago. Melanie made tacos for Monday night’s dinner, and Kaleb’s girlfriend Kaya made her first appearance since Melanie and I had arrived in town. A few hours later, Melanie and I very spontaneously decided to haul our kids to the drive-in movie theater, where we watched Brave. (We had no ambition whatsoever to try to watch the movie that would play after Brave.) We had adjusted to Mountain Time almost immediately upon arriving in Utah, so Melanie and I had no problem staying awake until the movie ended at about 11:15pm. I was rather surprised, however, that Edison stayed awake for the entire movie. And Peter pooped out only in the last ten minutes or so. Creegan had slept through the first 10 minutes of the movie, then spent about an hour awake, then fell back asleep. Probably because it was a Monday, the drive-in was not at all crowded, which was nice. And the vehicle we’re using while in Utah is a truck, so we were able to reverse park, flip open the back, and let us all hang out together in the truck bed. It was quite fun.

Despite the fun of the drive-in, that night ended up being a challenge. Creegan ended up puking about eight times during the night. He was totally fine after that, and nobody else ever felt ill. We suspect he drank some old milk that had started to sour. He’s fond of losing his milk cups and then finding them after they’ve been hidden for way too long. He’ll then try to drink the milk. Needless to say, Monday night was not a good one in terms of sleeping. Tuesday was a bit rough because of it, but we still had some fun in the evening. Kaleb and Kaya had asked Melanie and me to go to Noodles & Company with them on Tuesday night, and it turned into a family affair. Melanie’s Dad graciously bought everyone dinner.  (And Creegan is enjoying the Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese to this day, thanks to an abundance of leftovers!)

And in a very small nutshell, that’s the first week of our trip. All in all, we’re loving being here. It’s a tiny bit of a challenge not to be in your own place. Creegan hasn’t been sleeping incredibly well, which makes nighttimes a bit stressful and restless. I wish the house I’m staying in was kept cooler, especially at night, and I’m probably fattening up as I type this, not only because we’re eating out at a bunch of places, but because the food we actually do eat at “home” is not the low-fat, high-fiber stuff I’m used to. But that’s okay. Indulgent food is a small price to pay for being with family.

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