Our third week in Utah began on Wednesday, July 25th. It was a very low-key day for me. I worked all day. In the afternoon, Melanie took the kids to Arctic Circle to get milkshakes and play in their play land. Since our arrival in Utah, Edison in particular has been eager to point out every fast food play land that he sees and request that we go there. Arctic Circle was one of these places. We didn’t want to eat a meal there, but we were happy to order from their extensive milkshake menu. I was at home, but Melanie brought me a Butterfinger milkshake. It wasn’t a very exotic selection, but I enjoyed it.
On Wednesday night, Melanie went with her mom to see The Sound of Music at the Hale Centre Theatre. (It was pretty awful, apparently, and embellished with subtle Mormon themes. See what I’m talking about?) I took my boys to my parents’ house. Of their own accord, my parents proposed the idea of ordering pizza from The Pie Pizzeria, one of the best pizza places in Utah. The Pie was on my tentative “to visit” list, so I was quite happy to accept my parents’ offer. It was delicious, and my parents let me take home some of the leftovers, which provided a yummy lunch on Thursday.
Speaking of Thursday, Melanie and I ran a couple of errands in the morning. After that, I was back to work. But in the evening, Melanie and I went on our first date since arriving in Utah. We saw a 5pm showing of The Dark Knight Rises at Jordan Commons. We ended up in the exact same theater and seats as we were in for The Amazing Spider-Man almost two weeks earlier. I have to admit, I didn’t love the latest Batman movie. I enjoyed it, but I think it’s my least favorite of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. It didn’t help that I couldn’t understand half of what was said by the lead villain, Bane. His voice was too darn muffled. I was also unimpressed by the popcorn at Jordan Commons for the second time. Most of it was itty-bitty, crumb pieces. And I don’t like that Utah movie theaters don’t allow you to put on your own butter, as they do in Tallahassee. I like to control that.
Friday the 27th was another full-on work day for me. Melanie took the kids to Classic Fun Center, along with her brothers Tom and Kaleb, and Kaleb’s girlfriend, Kaya. I got out of the house in the evening when all of us (including Tom, Kaleb, Kaya, and Melanie’s parents) went to Farr’s for some frozen yogurt. I had some pistachio fro-yo with cashews in it, as well as some salty caramel fro-yo with Heath mixed in. We ate the fro-yo outside, which I’d never want to do in Tallahassee. It was nice.
Saturday the 28th was a busy day. Melanie and I took a temple trip in the morning and then headed to my niece Gina’s house in the afternoon for her baby shower. Men weren’t excluded from the shower, which was nice for me. I even played some of the games, and didn’t do too poorly, if I say so myself. Eddie, Peter, and Creegan had quite a lot of fun playing outside on Gina’s swing set and slide with their cousins Rayne and Caius and Gina’s daughter, Hunter. On our way home from the baby shower, Melanie and I stopped with our kids for dinner at Greek Souvlaki. The food was good, and the customer service even better. Almost awkwardly better. When Creegan decided to throw one of his toy cars into the garbage, the Greek Souvlaki employee that had taken our order insisted on digging through the trash to retrieve the toy. She succeeded, but she was oddly happy to serve us in that way.
Melanie and I took our kids to my parents’ house on Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours. We just hung out and chatted, which is good. We left about dinner time because Melanie’s grandparents were planning to visit with us back at Melanie’s parents’ house. All in all, it was a quiet day spent visiting with various family members. It was a nice way to spend a day, and truthfully, we needed a day that didn’t involve much more than that.
Monday the 30th became a play day, even though that wasn’t the original intent. We started the day at Burger King, which had the play land that Edison has been the most excited about since our arrival. We let the kids play for a while, and then we headed to Barnes & Noble, hoping to use a gift card that we’d recently been given. We bought some Mad Libs for the kids for our return flight to Tallahassee, but little else caught our attention. After returning home, Melanie then went out with her mom to do some shopping and have lunch. I thought I’d get some work done, but it didn’t happen. Creegan in particular required too much of my attention. But Monday night gave me another chance to play. Melanie and I went on another date, once again to Jordan Commons, where we saw Moonrise Kingdom. Crappy popcorn again, but a decent movie. I had higher hopes after all the hubbub and given that I’ve quite liked many of Wes Anderson’s movies in the past. But I enjoyed being with Melanie. After the movie, I stopped at Crown Burgers and picked up dinner. (Melanie wasn’t hungry.) We went home, I ate, we put the kids to bed, and then we watched Mirror, Mirror on DVD with Melanie’s family. I don’t think Julia Roberts is a very good actress, honestly, and I didn’t think the movie looked very good. It ended up being better than I thought, though far from wonderful.
Tuesday was a really great day. Melanie took the kids to a friend’s house in the morning hours, while I worked. But around 3pm, I headed out to the house of my good friend, Matt. Matt and I have been friends since high school. He’s lived in a new house for just over a year now. I didn’t see his house last year, so he gave me the grand tour. It’s very nice, and I’m appropriately jealous. I spent some time chit-chatting with Matt while we waited for our other good friend, Chad, to meet up with us after he got off work. The three of us went to Sizzler for dinner, where I got steak and all-you-can-eat shrimp. I know Sizzler is low on the totem pole of steakhouses, but Matt, Chad, and I used to frequent Sizzler back in our high school days. We used to have shrimp-eating contests. (I was generally taunted for being unable to pack away anything near the amount of shrimp ingested by my friends.) I didn’t try to gorge myself this time around, but it seemed appropriate to do the steak and shrimp thing—a nostalgic hat-tip to our days of yore. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and, more importantly, the company. Seriously, this is probably the first time in two or three years that I’ve gone out (on my own) with close friends. The experience made me all the more eager to return permanently to Utah. I could use this kind of thing in my life.
Anyway, after dinner, Matt and I bought tickets to see the movie Bernie at the megaplex right next to the restaurant. Chad was a responsible adult and declined to go to the show. We had some time to kill before the movie, so we went back to Matt’s house, visited for a few more minutes, bid a fond farewell to Chad, and then headed back to the theater. Coincidentally, Melanie had gone with her dad, her brothers Tom and Kaleb, and our sons to a park located by a lake in Matt’s neighborhood, so Matt and I were able to stop and say a brief hello. Eddie was very excited to see me and didn’t want to stop giving me hugs as I tried to leave the park. (Our movie was going to begin in five minutes or so.) It was cool to stop in and see my family, but it’s also kind of weird just to “drop by” and see them in an unfamiliar setting, having fun, and then leave them rather than stay with them. I think I could have felt sad had Matt and I not been in such a rush. Alas, we were, and so our visit was brief. We then returned to the theater. I hadn’t been to this theater before (called The District), and it was awesome. It was huge, new, and modern. As Matt himself said, it feels like being in an airport (due to its size). I loved it. And the movie, which I knew very little about despite suggesting it myself, was excellent—an idiosyncratic blend of documentary and dark comedy. The popcorn was much better too, despite the theater being owned and operated by the same group that runs Jordan Commons. Maybe it was better because Matt requested butter in the middle of the popcorn, so they had to scoop up some new stuff and not give us yesterday’s crumbs.
And that’s week 3.