For previous installments, see Part I and/or Part II.
Tuesday, August 13th
Melanie and I spent a few hours at an LDS temple. The nearest LDS temple to Tallahassee is about four hours away in Orlando, so we don’t often get to go. I won’t dwell on this here, but I found it a very rewarding experience with numerous insights. I hope to go at least one or two more times before leaving Utah, where LDS temples appear almost as frequently as McDonald’s.
Tuesday evening, I had a date with one of my best friends since high school: Matt. I met up with Matt at his house at 5 p.m. We did some brief catching up and then took to a nearby theater to see The Way Way Back. I enjoyed the movie, which happened to be in the exact same auditorium as the movie I saw with Matt last year during my trip to Utah. (Methinks the indie movies get relegated to the back corner of the theater.) This particular theater features a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which offers 1,000s of beverage possibilities. I had a vanilla Diet Barq’s, just because it sounded good. After the movie, Matt bought me dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. ‘Twas an incredibly generous thing to do. At Matt’s fervent suggestion, I tried a ribeye steak for the first time in my life. It was extremely good. He also ordered us some “Wild West Shrimp,” which come with “spicy cherry peppers” and are topped with melted garlic butter. I very much enjoyed the entirety of my meal, and the company was good, too.
Fun fact: This day marked the 14th anniversary of Melanie’s and my first kiss together. Wasn’t it sweet of me to go on a date with Matt to celebrate?
Wednesday, August 14th
Melanie and her mom went to get pedicures from Melanie’s (and my) sister-in-law Trina. That left me at home with the kids for several hours. Having a chill morning allowed me to write another blog post, which is how my previous blog entry came about. But the rest of the day ended up being something of a wash. Melanie and I had tentative plans to go out to a movie on our own, to have something of a date night for the first time since our arrival in Utah. But plans just kept getting tweaked, to the point where I spent much of the latter half of the day just waiting around, wondering when I’d get a chance to leave the house. I never did. I honestly left the house only at one time, when I took out a dirty diaper to drop it in the trash. Admittedly, I was rather bummed about that. Especially when you’re on vacation, it seems like a pity to see a day pretty much go to waste. Understandably, there are no photos to be had for this day.
Thursday, August 15th
Thursday was a great improvement over Wednesday. We wanted to do something that would get our kids out of the house, and so we decided to visit the downtown Salt Lake City library. (The downtown library is just one reason that Salt Lake City seems like New York City when compared to Tallahassee.) Our kids had fun exploring the various alcoves that the kids’ section of the library offers. We spent a little bit of time there, then took a see-through elevator ride to the top floor and went outside on the roof of the library for a few. We then decided to bail and go get some lunch. We drove a couple of blocks to Crown Burgers, another wonderful Utah eatery, and had a great meal. It was great not only because the food is tasty but because even the kids did a great job eating and seemed to enjoy their time there. Here are some pics from both the library and Crown Burgers:
On the way home from the downtown Salt Lake City area, we stopped for gas at a Shell station. Edison noticed a button that had a sign reading “Emergency Shut-Down.” He then said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that said ‘Emergency Shit-Down’?” Melanie and I laughed and then took a moment to explain that this is a word that many people don’t like and consider to be a not-nice word. I assured Eddie that he hadn’t done anything wrong, and I acknowledged the arbitrary way in which some words are considered acceptable even though they mean the same thing as other words that are not considered acceptable. I was actually extremely pleased with how I explained things. I think I did a good job of not making Eddie feel bad and of letting him know that it’s a social thing and not something inherently bad. I’ve been wondering when I would need to address the issue of profanity, because I’ve heard it slip from Eddie a few times in the last little while, and I know he’s picked it up from media. I haven’t really confronted it before because it hasn’t been a problem or something that I wanted to emphasize and thereby cause hurt feelings. And I really do recognize that profanity is totally a social construct and therefore not exactly a “real” thing to worry about. I think it’s largely a matter of politeness to avoid such words, and I think that came across in what I said to Eddie. I feel it was a positive experience overall.
Thursday night, Melanie went to a play with her mom. They saw Tarzan at the Hale Centre Theatre. I took the boys to my parents’. I ended up having an enjoyable time. Khrystine and Saeed came over yet again. I didn’t know I’d see my little sister so much during this trip, so it’s been cool to me that I’ve had so many opportunities to visit with her. My family ordered Jimmy John’s, and all three of my boys ate way better than I expected them to. You never know if they’ll just eat one or two bites of something or if they’ll go to town and end up requesting more. In this case, both Eddie and Peter kept wanting more. Luckily, Creegan didn’t eat all of his own sandwich, so Eddie and Peter got the scraps. We ended up staying out later than we probably should have, but it was a good day. Here’s a quick pic of Melanie, all dressed up to go out with her Mom:
Friday, August 16th
One of my goals in coming to Utah was to see a lot of movies. I wanted to hit the theater quite often, since Melanie and I would have easy access to totally free babysitters. I also wanted us to go a few times as a family, since the theaters in Utah can be sort of fun. Though it had only been a few days since going to the drive-in, I suggested going to a movie on Friday morning. We took to the nearby Jordan Commons movie theater and saw a 10:55 a.m. showing of Turbo. There were only a couple of other small groups in attendance, so the theater was largely empty. We had a good time, although I thought the movie was mediocre. This theater is owned by the same group that runs the theater I attended with Matt, so it also features a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. Even though a normal Coke Zero sounded really good to me, I found myself thinking that I had better use the Freestyle machine because, hey, it’s special. So I got a cherry vanilla Coke Zero. It was decent enough, but I really would have preferred a normal Coke Zero. Stupid human psychology and the feeling that you can’t pass up something special! Regardless, the kids enjoyed themselves. Peter has pretended to be Turbo, the racing snail who is the main character, several times since we saw the film. I guess that says something about it.
Later in the afternoon, we joined Melanie’s parents and her brother Tom at Melanie’s paternal grandparents’ house. They live about 20 minutes away, not in a true rural setting but comparatively so. The property is large and fun for kids. One of Melanie’s cousins was there, along with his wife and three small children, so that gave our own kids some playmates. We roasted hamburgers, hot dogs, and even some marshmallows for smores. Melanie’s dad also brought along a 4-wheel ATV. Most of us took turns driving it, taking various assortments of kids along with us. As I was pretty much the last one to go for a ride, my kids had already moved on to making their smores, and so I took along Melanie’s cousin’s four-year-old son, whom I had not even spoken to prior to the ride. He didn’t seem to mind that he didn’t know me. He never wanted us to stop driving around. I told him he had the special job of catching my head if it got knocked off when I tried to drive through the trees. Fortunately, he never had to do that. It ended up being a really fun time for all. Well, except for the fact that during our backyard fun, a deer got hit right in front of Melanie’s grandpa’s house. The kids never realized what had happened, but most of us adults had excitedly pointed out a pair of deer jaunting across the field just moments before. Only one of them managed to survive a full minute beyond that. I felt bad for both the deer and whoever was in the vehicle that struck the deer. Nothing good came of that. Here are some pics of only positive moments from the evening, including one pic of the two live deer leaping along:
To be continued!