Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My best friend from childhood is getting married on Halloween. That may sound weird, except their first date was on Halloween and they got engaged on Halloween, so Oct. 31 has sentimental value.

I think it's a great idea.

Right now, she lives on the east coast, so I'm flying across the country to be there for the big day.

I will seriously miss spending Halloween with my family, but there is no way I was going to subject all the other passengers to 6+ hours of my daughter on a plane.

So, for anyone traveling on my flight, you're welcome in advance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Traditions

I've always enjoyed Halloween, but it has never been one of the bigger holidays in my family. We did all the costumes and the candy, but there weren't any traditions ... until I got married.

Now, Halloween is one of the better holidays of the year (thanks to my wife). She has huge positive associations with Halloween from her childhood and has carried them over into our family.

There are a number of traditions, but here are a few of my favorites:

I love the last one most. My wife grew up decorating houses for Halloween instead of Christmas. I thought his was a unique twist on a regular tradition and made it more fun.

Here's one of the ones we did this year:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Birthday Cake Debacle

I wish all of you could meet my sister. She's the embodiment of a tornado, a Mariachi band and a 200 pound bag of glitter. I defy you to not have fun when she's around.

All year, she's been telling people she's turning 47, and it wasn't until shortly before her birthday, that she realized she was only 45 going on 46. She and her husband had a good laugh about it and figured she could just start telling people she was turning 45 and then next year catch back up to 47.

So, the big day came, and her husband baked a cake. After dinner, her family all crowded around to sing happy birthday, and her husband presented his masterpiece. He'd taken the time to put the candles in the shape of her age ... and that's when my sister noticed the cake said 47. She started laughing and reminded her husband that she was only turning 46 this year.

Embarrassed, he took the cake back to the counter to change the offending number.

When the cake came back, this is what my sister saw:


Her husband changed the 4 instead of the 7.

Now my sister keeps joking about how good she looks for a 67-year-old woman.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here, here and here.

Here's another one:

There are several alternate titles for this post.

  1. Invading My Personal Space
  2. Why I Could Sue for Sexual Harassment
  3. An Unconventional Way to Induce Vomiting
(But since this is part of a series, I'll stick with the original: Office Outtakes.)

I'm a peon in a cubicle. And it's a small one. Reaching out, my fingers can easily touch the opposite walls in both directions. (FYI, I'm not complaining, just stating the facts.)

Since I have an abnormally large personal space bubble, this means anyone coming in my cubicle had better be someone that won't set off DEFCON 1 when that bubble is breached.

Enter my coworker (stage left), we'll call her Brytnee.

Evidently, Brytnee had a MUCH smaller personal space bubble than I did because every time she came over to ask a question, she would waltz into my cubicle and lounge on the 2 cubic inches of desk space not already occupied by my computer, pen organizer or telephone.

Each time, I tried to do my best to answer her questions while attempting to unclench the giant muscle knot that inevitably formed between my shoulder blades (see DEFCON 1).

With questions answered and concerns alleviated, I would turn my attention back to my computer, hoping she would make a hasty exit so I could painstakingly rebuild my emotional boundaries.

That's when Brytnee out did herself. With my focus glued to my computer screen, I nearly flew out of my chair when I felt her finger tips rubbing my back as she murmured, "Thanks, Honey."

Even my wife doesn't call me "Honey."

And nothing has ever given me a stronger urge to recoil than those finger tips.

(Now, in her defense, Brytnee called everyone in the office, "Honey." Still ... not cool, Brytnee. Not cool.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

R.I.P., Dishwasher

Our dishwasher just kicked the bucket.

By the way, you're welcome for that antiquated phrase I just used. That's courtesy of my parents who are full of all kinds of euphemisms thought to be extinct.

You want proof? Here are a couple of my favorites:

"We're as busy as cranberry merchants!" (Exactly how busy are cranberry merchants?)

"That's the straight poop." (I have NO desire to find out the origin for this one.)
(End Tangent)

What does a broken dishwasher mean? It means Nathan is going to once again deny his inability to fix things in favor of saving the $119 installation fee and try to do it himself.

Wish me luck (Translation: pray I won't lose a finger).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Properly Throw a Boomerang

I have a feeling step 7, "Catch the boomerang," would be the trickiest for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My wife and I are in the middle of teaching our daughter to pray.

While there are a multitude of mispronunciations all the way through, her intro gives me the giggles every time.

Here's how it usually goes:

Me: Do you want to say the prayer?

Daughter: Yes.

Me: Okay, say Dear?

Daughter: Dear!

Me: Heavenly?

Daughter: Funny!

Me: (trying to keep a straight face) Father.

Daughter: Fadder!

Now, I'm sure Heavenly Father is funny and has a great sense of humor. I just don't know if that is one of his typical prefixes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here, here and here.

Here's another one:

One weekend, our company went to a local college football game. This coworker of mine, we'll call her Steffanii (Steffi for short), was known to latch onto another coworker, we'll call her Becca. As luck would have it, Becca sat down with her husband, and who sat right next to her? You guessed it. Steffi.

At this point, Becca was 8 months pregnant, so Steffi decided that a football game would be the perfect atmosphere to pepper Becca with detailed personal questions about her pregnancy.

Evidently, this bonding time was going well for Steffi because she confided in Becca that by the time she gets married, her uterus would be all dried up (after which she made an accompanying straw sucking sound).

A little while later, Becca needed a break and had her husband switch seats with her. The result was this gem of a conversation:

Steffi: So, how old are you?

Becca's Husband: 25

Steffi: ... (Pause) ... Oh, I'm really into younger guys

There you go. Klassy with a K. When putting together a "How to Make Friends" list, hitting on a pregnant woman's husband probably shouldn't make the cut.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Club

Everyone? I would like you to meet "The Club."

This was one of our wedding gifts, and while I greatly appreciate the gesture, I don't really know what to do with it. Nothing in our house goes with it, and it is substantial enough that airport security would probably detain me for carrying a concealed weapon in my carry-on (if I randomly decided to tote this thing around on a business trip).

The Club was given to us by a distant relative (some kind of 4th cousin 3 times removed) who made it out of the wood from our common ancestor's farm.

I know. I'm a jerk for even attempting to make light of such a thoughtful gesture.

I guess we all know where I'm going when I die. I'll send you a postcard.
(End Tangent)

The guy took the time to carve a candle holder out of it for us and even put some symbolism into it to kick it up a notch.

Evidently, the three rings around the middle have a special meaning. The bottom one represents me, the middle one represents my wife, and the top one represents all the children we will have as we fill our home with light and joy and rainbows.

Since we don't have a place for it at home and I just can't bring myself to use it for firewood, we found the perfect solution.

It has a permanent home on my desk at work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Lost in Music

I'm a sucker for good music. Most of the time, I just like stuff I can enjoy while I tap my foot.

I draw the line at foot tapping, because if I actually tried to dance and anyone saw me, the shame of knowing that image is burned forever into their brain would force me to relocate to the moon.
(End Tangent)

Despite my toe tapping tendencies, I'm always on the lookout for the good stuff. You know the songs that pull you out of reality for a minute and give you a glimpse of something better?

I have a small hoard of CDs with these kind of songs on them. One that continues to affect me, even when I'm not listening to it is Jesu, the Very Thought is Sweet sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I still remember the first time I heard it. I was glued to my seat. I couldn't move and just sat there until it was over.

I found a recording of it on YouTube (although, the full song is another minute or so longer). The arrangement is amazing (Mack Wilberg, you outdid yourself), but the kicker is when the women break into their descant at 3:53.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make a Bullet Belt

Hunting is HUGE in Utah, so feel free to go nuts with this.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My blog is 1

Exactly one year ago I started this thing.

So, you all have my permission to go out and buy yourself some cake. And get one for me too while you're at it.

You're welcome.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can't Wait

I just saw this.

Which made me think of this:

Now I can't stop thinking about 30 Rock quotes.

Conference Jeopardy

I owe a big thank you to Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies. Last year, she wrote this post about one of her family traditions, and I promptly stole it from her and made it into my own.

We have now completed the second semi-annual, post-General Conference, Jeopardy tournament, and I think it is officially a family tradition.

This year, we even had a trophy for the winner. A couple nights before the event, my wife suggested I make an Angel Moroni statue out of foil (the guy on top of the Mormon temples) to give to the winning team.


So I went to work. Now, I'm not an artist, so the end result only vaguely looks like an amorphous humanoid ... thingy. The only defining feature is the trumpet. Thankfully, my family isn't too picky.

Here is the real thing:

And here's my sad attempt (Please also admire the wood veneer paneling on our cabinets. You have to pay extra for that level of classy.):

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not too shabby, Volkswagen

All I know is, this would definitely motivate me to take the stairs.

(Thanks, Mindi)

And here's another good one:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here and here.

Here's another one:

The Hershey's Nuggets Debacle

In my office, if candy is in a dish on your desk, it is fair game. Everyone knows it's a silent tactic to coax people into your cubicle to chat. Well, one of my coworkers, we'll call her Syndee (not Cindy), wanted to make sure everyone knew her Hershey's Nuggets were there for the taking.

About every three hours, I'd hear her get up and start making the rounds, offering everyone a Hershey's Nugget from her jar.

"Do you want a Nugget?"

"Do you want a Nugget?"

I thought this was nice, continually offering something I love (chocolate) and giving me a chance to enjoy my favorite pastime (eating).

And then, Syndee went on vacation and made a big mistake. She left her jar of Nuggets just sitting on her desk. Doing that is like throwing a raw steak into a pond of piranhas.

When Syndee got back, she found her jar scoured clean of all traces of chocolate.

That's when the "poop" hit the proverbial fan.

Everyone in our section of the office got a lovely email from Syndee explaining her shock and chagrin at finding an empty treat jar. She detailed how much she has to pay for a bag of Nuggets and even did the math for us, showing how much we were eating into her salary with each Nugget we took from her. She concluded by asking the Nugget thieves to contribute the amount of money they owed so she could replenish her stash.

Ironically, the next day, I was sitting at my desk when I heard the familiar:

"Do you want a Nugget?"

"Do you want a Nugget?"

Needless to say, I didn't accept any more Nuggets.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Me + Legos

I have always loved Legos.

In fact, when my friend got "too old" for her sets of Legos, I promptly bought them all from her (i.e. got my parents to buy them for me for Christmas). Now I have a giant bin in our basement just waiting until my daughter is old enough to really get into them.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this.

I guess these people go out and fix public spaces with Lego constructions. This gives me all kinds of ideas for fix-it projects around the house ...

Friday, October 9, 2009

I can breathe!

That was my first thought when I stumbled back into consciousness yesterday after my surgery. Even from under the gauze I could breathe better than I ever had before.

My nose is swollen, and I'm exhausted, but the pain has been minimal.

Oh, and you know that nasal flush? I read the instructions the night before my surgery and wanted to call the whole thing off. This is what it said:

"Place cap snugly against your nasal passage and squeeze bottle gently until the solution starts draining from the opposite nasal passage or from your mouth."

I'm just full of pleasant mental images this week, aren't I?

And let me tell you. They weren't lying.

Still, it's the only way I'm going to be able to clean everything out, so I guess I just have to buck up and do it.

And on a side note, my wife is a saint. Essentially, she now has two children to take care of, and she hasn't complained once, even though I have this driving need to eat peaches every second of the day. We have a big box of fresh ones thanks to a neighbor, I think she's given up washing the cutting board each time because five minutes later, she has to pull it back out again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Surgery Day!

Remember this post? My doctor said I'm impressive (or at least my deviated septum is).

Well, today is my surgery day.

Besides the pain afterwards, do you know what I'm most looking forward to?

The obligatory gauze mustache I'll have to wear for a couple days to catch the drainage. Oh, and the nasal flushes I'll have to do four times a day for a month.

Yeah, I'll let those images sink in for a minute ...

... you're welcome.

However, I'm kind of excited to be able to breathe through my nose without feeling like I'm trying to suck all the air through a straw.

Have you ever done that? Tried to breathe through a straw?

Not fun, but if you like exercises in futility, then go for it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Dad and the Birthday Present

Some of you may have read this story on Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies.

Well, I have another one.

If there is one word to describe my dad, it's: focused.

He has the remarkable talent to pursue his goal to the exclusion of everything else. Unfortunately, this also means he probably still doesn't know what color the carpet is in his house (and sometimes I wonder if he realizes he has nine children).

One year, my mom decided to get him a special present for his birthday. He has always loved the picture of George Washington praying at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg.

So, she bought him a huge framed print (arguably as big as I am). On his birthday, she hung it above the fireplace in his office with a big, metallic "Happy Birthday" banner across it. It was the perfect place for the picture because it would be right in front of him as soon as he opened the door.

However, her giddy excitement slowly ebbed as days went by without any comment from my dad. Finally, she pulled him aside and asked, "So, how do you like your birthday present?"

His response?

"What birthday present?"

After finding out it was in his office already, he bounded down the stairs.

Seconds ticked by.

Then minutes.

Finally, my dad trudged back up the stairs and said, "What birthday present?!"

It turns out, he spent all that time rifling through his desk, looking for the gift my mom had "hidden" in his office.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How to Fail a Test with Dignity

Holly sent these over to me, and I had to post them.

I wish I had been this lucid during my tests in high school. There were definitely some questions I knew I was going to get wrong, and it would have been more fun to go down in a blaze of glory like these people.

Disclaimer: If you don't like seeing the "B" word written out, I wouldn't recommend scrolling down to the last image. If you can handle it, though, it's hilarious.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Feud

When I was 16, I worked at a live theater as an usher. I never thought I'd be on stage and was perfectly content to help people find their seats, but there was one show that needed a transition while the female lead "had a baby" off stage. They enlisted my friend and me to pretend we were FAO Schwarz employees delivering toys around the apartment.

Does anyone want my autograph now?

Or maybe I should clarify ...

Does anyone who doesn't want to steal my identity want my autograph now?
(End Tangent)

I don't even think we did it for pay. I think we were just giddy enough to do it for the fun of it.

The upshot was that we were invited to the cast party after the show finished.

While the entire party was better than chocolate, brownies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups combined, there is one part of the evening that will forever be burned into my memory.

Family Feud, the board game.

My team was managing pretty well until one fateful question: What do people associate most with Mormons?

I was so excited, I nearly wet my pants. Out of the entire room, I was the only Mormon.

I SO had this in the bag. I may have even said that to my team members.

With the complete confidence of the national spelling bee champion whose final word was cat (C-A-T), I gave our first guess for the board.

"The Book of Mormon!"

It even had Mormon in the answer.

... That's when the game moderator gave me the first X.

The Book of Mormon didn't even make it into the top 5 answers.

Trying not to feel shaken, I took my second stab.

"Joseph Smith."

And that was strike two. At this point, my palms started to sweat and I began worrying about all the jokes I'd get about not knowing my own religion.

We had one more guess, and my last guess was one of desperation.

"Brigham Young?"

That third X was particularly harsh.

So, what was the top answer?

The number one thing people associate with Mormons is: The Osmond Family

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter. For other Office Outtakes, go here.

Here's another one:

During one of our team meetings, our manager shared some great news. We hired two new people that would start the following Monday. Our manager said their names were Kelly and Michael (Names changed to protect the innocent ... but they are similar to the real thing).

This coworker, we'll call her Bubbles, immediately jumped in with a question:

Bubbles: Now ... is Michael a boy or a girl?

Manager: (Wondering why Bubbles picked "Michael" as the gender ambiguous name) Um ... a boy.

Bubbles: Well, I just wasn't sure if Michael used to be a boy and is now a girl, or what the situation was.

Now, I don't know any transgendered people, but I'm betting that if one was named Michael, he (or I guess it would be "she" now, right?) would probably switch that name out to avoid confusion.

I'm also pretty sure Utah isn't known for its budding transgender subculture. As a result, odds are higher that Michael is just one of the millions of guys on the planet with that namesake.