For previous installments in this series, please see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and/or Part VI.
Our trip to Utah came to an end just a few days ago. Though there are perks to being back in one’s own home, there are things about Utah that I do and will miss. Here in Tally, normal life has resumed; a new semester is upon us, and I taught my first class today. The boys are doing school. It is hot and humid. Things could be worse, but things could be better. Utah is a reminder of that. And so, here it is that I present the goings-on of our final five days in the Beehive State. Enjoy.
Tuesday, August 27th
I spent the morning hours once again at an LDS temple. On my way back to Melanie’s parents’, Melanie texted me with instructions to pick up Beyond Glaze doughnuts. On our first visit to Beyond Glaze, it was just Melanie, Creegan, and I. This time around, I brought enough coconut cream donuts home for everyone to have some. But Melanie’s family was shy about eating them or something, because they just sat around for quite a while. I ended up eating a second one the next day. No complaints.
In the late afternoon, I took to the more downtown area of Salt Lake City to meet up with my friend Matt. This is the same bloke who bought me a steak two weeks earlier. I figured I’d take my chances on him a second time, just in case he wanted to buy me dinner again. (Kidding!) We met up at the Century Theatres that we used to frequent as teenagers. The two domed, semi-dilapidated buildings of which we reminisce have long been replaced by a single, mammoth-sized modern megaplex, but the Century still seems (as Matt put it) like “our old stomping grounds.” We watched The World’s End, which started off very strong but became more and more mediocre as it progressed. After the movie, I followed Matt to Red Iguana 2, the second location for one of SLC’s most famous restaurants, the Red Iguana. Red Iguana has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, has been patronized by numerous celebrities, etc. I’ve always preferred the rival Blue Iguana, which boasts its own impressive accolades, but I wanted to see Red Iguana’s new place and was happy to go there. We were seated outside, which was quite pleasant until it started raining. They moved us inside, where it was a lot harder to hear each other over the crowd. (Red Iguana is always crowded, that’s just all there is to it. Red Iguana 2 follows suit.) For my dinner, I had a mole (the Mexican word for “sauce”) made from pine nuts, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, Mexican chocolate, and various chiles. The mole was served atop a grilled pork loin, with warm tortillas on the side. Fancy and tasty. For our dinnertime conversation, Matt and I hit on all of the good stuff—religion, sex, mental illness, etc. We didn’t talk politics. Politics bore me, I’ll be honest. It was a good evening.
Melanie, meanwhile, took the kids and her brother Tom to some nearby wetlands. Kaleb and Kaya stumbled upon them and a good time was had by all. They then went to Arctic Circle and got milkshakes. I can’t say much about it because I wasn’t involved. Melanie took some pictures, but I figure I’ll let her post them when and if she gets the chance.
Fun fact: This day was my older sister JoAnna’s birthday. Wasn’t it nice of me to go out with Matt to celebrate?
Wednesday, August 28th
Wednesday was a calmer day in the morning hours. I don’t remember at this point what I did, but it wasn’t anything exciting. In the evening, Melanie had plans with her old high school buddies. They went to Kneaders and hung out for multiple hours. I took my boys to my parents’ home. We ended up having food from Woody’s again. Woody’s never figured into my to-do list for Utah, but I quite enjoyed them both times around. The one bad part is that I ordered a pralines and caramel milkshake, and when they finally gave it to me, it had already gotten to the soupy stage. For the record, Woody’s milkshakes are not supposed to be the kind that you can eat with a straw. This was, and that was a bummer, but I took it and ate it anyway. That’ll show them. When I left my parents’ home a few hours later, they gave me a loaf of cinnamon bread from—coincidentally enough—Kneaders. When Melanie later saw it sitting on her parents’ kitchen counter, she got all paranoid that her parents had visited the Kneaders she was at with her friends and might have witnessed her cussing up a storm, smoking cigarettes, and spray painting her name on the wall. She was greatly relieved to learn they had not.
Thursday, August 29th
Another low-key day. In the afternoon, Melanie and I took Peter and Creegan to Chick-fil-A to play on the slides, etc. Edison came to Utah with a list of places he wanted to visit—which was basically anything he could remember doing and liking last year. Peter wanted to get in on the action, so he came up with his own must-visit destination, which was Chick-fil-A. Eddie was more interested in Minecraft and so decided not to go with us. Peter and Creegan had a good time, though.
On Thursday evening, Melanie’s parents drove Melanie’s brothers Tom and Kaleb and Kaleb’s girlfriend Kaya to the airport. They were flying to Seattle to meet up with another of Melanie’s brothers, Brent, so they could all attend a gaming expo taking place that weekend. Melanie and I originally thought we would take our boys somewhere fun while Melanie’s parents were playing taxicab, but having the house entirely to ourselves was so wonderfully peaceful that we decided to stay put. It had been weeks since we’d been that calm. We relished it.
Friday, August 30th
Melanie and I took a final trip to the temple. We stopped at Kneaders for breakfast, kind of as a makeup for missing out on the bakery breakfast we had intended to get as part of our super duper date. After the temple, we went to a movie. We saw Austenland, which was rather terrible. We then stopped by Target so I could buy some shorts to replace an old pair with which I had recently parted ways—mainly because the shorts themselves had parted ways in the crotch when I tried to straddle a chair. I found some cheap shorts that are quite comfy. Hurray for the clearance rack.
In the evening, Melanie, the boys, and I met up with Melanie’s parents, her brother Mark, and Mark’s wife Trina at Liberty Park. Liberty Park is the Central Park of Salt Lake City. It’s very nice, and if you don’t believe me, watch the episode of last season’s The Bachelorette when Desiree goes on the hometown date with Brooks. They hang out in Liberty Park. Would they do that if it weren’t pretty? Our visit to Liberty Park started off with a picnic dinner from KFC. We then took the kids to the playground, where it quickly got dark and became very difficult to keep an eye on your children. This is the first event I’m writing about today for which I have photos, most of which aren’t very good. Oh well. Here are some of the better ones:
Saturday, August 31st
The big day. My little sister’s wedding. Aside from some morning-hours packing, this was how the day was spent. I showed up to the wedding destination approximately 30 minutes early so I could be instructed on how to start and stop the music, what songs to play when, etc. The wedding was scheduled for 2pm but didn’t really start until closer to 3pm. Getting three boys to wait around in a somewhat stuffy building without making much commotion is kind of a joke. It didn’t go so well. When the wedding itself got going, Peter made a big ruckus. Melanie took Peter and Creegan outside. Eddie did a good job sitting quietly in his seat, despite his much whining and complaining before things started. I wasn’t with them because I was doing the music. Melanie missed the whole ceremony, which was very heartbreaking for us both. She was going to jump ship before the reception because the kids were more or less being terrible. But we stewed things over just long enough to decide to let the kids try again. I’m glad we did, because it ended up being really good after that. Peter was one of the most enthusiastic dancers at the reception, which was super cute. I snapped photos aplenty, but yet again, many of them weren’t turning out all that great. I’ll share a few here anyway.
Although the reception was scheduled to run until 7pm, I bailed somewhere around 5pm. The kids had done well, but it was getting to be too much. I posed for the obligatory photos and then took off. I said goodbye to my family, the mayhem of the festivities making it a less somber farewell than it otherwise would have been. On the way home, we bought the kids Happy Meals from McDonald’s and then Melanie and I got Crown Burgers. (We did a lot of repeat food business on this visit to Utah, I know.) Despite knowing we’d have to get up early the next morning, we didn’t get to bed as quickly as I had hoped.
Sunday, September 1st
Woke up at 4:30am to get ready to fly home to Tallahassee. For waking up so early, I didn’t feel as awful as I thought I might. Adding to my surprise, I stayed awake for almost the entirety of both flights. Our second flight, leaving Atlanta, was delayed about 30 minutes after we were already on the plane due to weather. It was discouraging and a bit unsettling because you don’t really know how long you’re going to sit there. The kids complained a bit, but soon they had all fallen asleep. Because the second flight is so short, a brief nap takes up most of the time. But the naps didn’t persist as well as they might have, because yes, the weather caused some rougher turbulence than we had had on the other flights. Still, we landed safely at about 4pm Eastern Time. We got our luggage, picked up Dinky the hippo (whom we had left behind at the Tallahassee airport on our way out of town), and met our ride. We spent a few minutes at home and then headed to our good friends’ home. They had offered to make us dinner that night, which made it easy on us and soothed the transition back to Florida life. Eddie, Peter, and Creegan especially benefitted from coming home to their friends. They were quite sad about leaving Utah.
And that’s that. It’s over. I’m pleased with all the fun we had in Utah, but as always, I’m also a bit disappointed at the things I didn’t do. Some things have been on my Utah to-do list for at least a couple of years now and yet somehow I don’t get around to making them happen. There are places I want to go, people I want to see, and yet I don’t. This is why I need to move back there. Will it happen? We’ll see…