Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Utah 2013: Part II

To see the first installment in this series, click here.

Saturday, August 10th
I woke up at 6:20 a.m. The hot air balloon launch that we had skipped on Friday morning was being repeated this day. As nobody else wanted to get up, I walked (most of the way) to the park by my dang self. The launch was set to occur at 7 a.m., but no balloons actually took to the air until about 7:30 or so. I saw 12 or 13 balloons on the ground, and stayed to watch 9 or 10 of them actually take flight. I then headed back toward Melanie’s parents’ house, at which point Melanie, Edison, and Creegan met me and admired the one or two balloons that were still in the air. Here are some of the photos that I snapped:

We went out for a mid-morning treat. We kept it simple by going to 7-Eleven. Everybody chose a drink and a treat. So as to prevent making a mess in Grandpa’s truck, we had the kids eat on the curb in front of the store.

The rest of the day was fairly low key. Melanie and I did some grocery shopping, and at 5 p.m., Melanie’s brother Mark and his wife Trina came over to the house for dinner.

Sunday, August 11th
Sunday was a really nice day. After attending a church service with Melanie’s parents, Melanie and I spent quite some time talking with her mom about religion. As you should know quite well from reading this blog, I can’t get enough religious discussion. I found it very rewarding. Melanie and I then loaded up the kids and took them to my parents’. I was honestly tired of the religious talk at that point, so I purposely avoided it. My oldest sister, who goes by the name of Krush, cooked us all a meal I haven’t had in quite possibly 20+ years: milk spaghetti. It’s not as weird as it sounds. It’s quite similar to fettuccine alfredo, but with a different noodle and without any parmesan in the sauce. We also got a further chance to visit with my little sister, Khrystine, and her fiancĂ© Saeed, who also stopped by. It was a nice day. On our way back to Melanie’s parents’, Melanie and I stopped at a Redbox kiosk and picked up the movie Admission. (I haven’t the tiniest qualm using a vending machine on the Sabbath, for those whose judgmental eyebrows just ascended toward the heavens.) By the time the kids were in bed and we were starting the movie, it was midnight. I saw about 40 minutes of the movie before drifting in and out of sleep and eventually giving up on pretending I was somehow following the film.

Monday, August 12th
By mid-morning on Monday, it was once again time to kick up the excitement. I already considered it a shame that Melanie and I had been in Utah for nearly a week and had not yet visited Grinders 13, which may very well be my utmost favorite Utah eatery. We repented by eating lunch there. Creegan came along with us, but Eddie and Peter had no interest in leaving Minecraft behind. That suited Melanie and me just fine. There are two Grinders 13 locations in the Salt Lake area. Melanie and I purposely went to the West Valley location, even though it is less traditional for us. We did this because we had learned last year that Moe, the originator of Grinders 13, now worked solely at the WV store. I’ve always really liked Moe and was hopeful to see him. Sure enough, he was there, working the counter. He said to me, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.” I told him I now live in Florida, and he lamented the humidity with which I must live. He also spent a minute lamenting the fact that all kids want to do nowadays is be on their cell phones, texting. He’s a friendly guy. And the cheese steak I ate for lunch had me moaning and groaning in pleasure. Seriously, Grinders 13 is always my most emotional eating experience in Utah. It’s just so unbelievably good, I could nearly weep. Here are some pics:

On the way back to Melanie’s parents’, I had an impromptu craving for a coconut cream donut from Beyond Glaze, a fancy schmancy (and pricey) donut shop founded by former wedding cake designers. With only Creegan in tow, it didn’t seem like it would be too indulgent to stop and buy a few donuts, and so we did. Creegan hardly touched his, and even when he did, his mouth rarely got involved. He picked out the chocolate strawberry donut himself, but once it was in front of him to eat, he seemed bugged that there was chocolate frosting and not just pink. That seemed to be the problem, but who knows.

Melanie and I were looking forward to Monday night. Melanie had learned that the Heber Creeper, a train stationed not far from Park City, Utah, offers a weekly, Monday night, 90-minute train ride during the summer. We spent a good part of the day in communication with Melanie’s mom, trying to figure out just how many of us were going to end up on the train that night. We needed to know so we could get the appropriate amount of tickets from a local ticket dealer. There was quite a bit of back and forth about it all before it was decided that only Melanie, the kids, and I would be going. And so, we went to purchase tickets at the customer service desk of the Smith’s grocery store. Lo and behold, after all the fuss, we learned that the tickets were sold out for that night. There would be no train ride. On the plus side, we got some cute pics of Creegan pushing around a miniature shopping cart, of which there are plenty available in child-saturated Utah supermarkets :

With our train plans derailed (no pun intended), Melanie and I had to rethink our plans for the night. We had talked previously of going to a drive-in movie on Wednesday night. But now that our Monday night was wide open, we decided to do the drive-in then. We had a few hours to spare, and so I watched Admission (by my dang self) on the laptop, this time falling asleep only for a few moments once or twice. We then loaded up in Melanie’s dad’s truck, once again went to Smith’s to buy some fun snacks, and took to the Redwood Drive-In. We saw an 8:45 p.m. showing of Planes, the new Pixar film that is pretty much just a rehash of Cars. It was a rather dull film, but it was really fun lying out in the back of the truck and chillaxing as a family. Creegan (whom I keep wanting to call Beegy, because that’s his name of choice nowadays anyway) fell asleep shortly before the movie ended, and Eddie and Peter fell asleep shortly after we left the drive-in lot. Given that I was driving, I’m happy to report that I did not fall asleep before getting home. But I did fairly soon thereafter.

That’s all for now. For those trivia buffs out there, let me close with this: this marks the first blog post I’ve written, at least in part, while using the bathroom!


  1. It seems you are having a happy vacation. The balloon photos are awesome.....such a fabulous view of everything. Do you remember when one of those balloons came down right over our house and landed just a block behind us in the apartments parking lot ? That was a magical way to start the day.
    We never go to Grinders unless you're here. Now you just might have to go again with all of us in tow. I'm thinking Christopher would like that and Saeed. So would your dad, so let's do it soon. Annnnnnd.........I have been wanting donuts anyway lately, so now I am REALLY wanting donuts. I wish we were seeing more of you. Tomorrow for sure....................................................................
    and I'm still up for discussions on religion. You started me questioning a lot of things.

  2. I have not been to Grinders or Beyond Glazed. I better get my butt in gear.
    Those little kid carts are fun, but if I let my kids use them they always run into the back of my feet. I hate that.