Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Grass War

I have lately been struggling with the weeds and dead spots in my yard caused by a drought that we suffered last fall. Our yard’s shape has been a source of embarrassment for me for a long time. It has been improving with a bit of hard work (I’m not going to comment on our back yard- which has been relegated to Charlie our dog).

The difficulties I have been facing with the grass have reminded me of some actions that my brother Josh and I participated in when we were much younger. I believe the statute of limitations has long since expired on these acts so I can safely confess them (I think!).

Our arch-nemesis neighbor, the Carlings, were always making Josh and I angry. There are too many reasons to name here. Suffice to say that we forced to retaliate. We did so in various manners. Some of my future blogs will deal with some of the other ways that we got even with the Carlings.

We carefully watched our enemies, and took note of their weaknesses. One of their weaknesses was that they would play in their backyard without any shoes on. We devised a plan to exploit this weakness. We took pine needles from Troy Rosenlund’s pine tree and carefully placed them at the bottom of their slide. Vicious, but necessary.

Next was a more subtle plan. They were not great at taking care of their yard. So it would be no surprise if they had trouble with it. We decided to attack their yard. We filled water balloons with Round Up weed killer and threw them into their yard in a random fashion.

My parents always wondered why they had a blotchy yard.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Jeep

When I was 14 years old, Josh turned 16 years old. Josh got his drivers license but needed a vehicle to drive. The 1979 Ford Thunderbird worked fine for a while but Josh and I hatched a plan to get a vehicle with a little more pep. My friend's family owned a CJ-5 Jeep that came complete with soft top (with a few extra holes for air conditioning and anti fog in the winter), a 2 ton wench, an escape hatch through the floor boards, custom rust perforated body, and last but not least a gas gauge that was very dependable . . . dependable to never move no matter the amount of gas in the tank.

Josh and I got a 4 inch lift, got new tires. Sanded down the rusty spots on the body, got some new rims to go with our new tires. Changed out the mufflers for some very lowd glass-packs, and replaced the suspension on our own. It was an off road machine. It had only 3 gears, but a rebuilt corvette engine that allowed us to peel out in all three gears. While the power allowed us to do some awesome offroading and climb some great hills, the bad gas gauge got us into some trouble. Several times Josh and I were late for school because we ran out of gas and had to push the jeep to the nearest gas station.

One outing remains the epitome of what this jeep had to offer. Josh and I and a few friends decided to go camping in the west desert (for those of you not from Utah this is the desert two valleys over from Salt Lake-about 50 miles west of Salt Lake City.We got all our gear together, loaded up our jeep with the soft top secured. Due to our multiple unpredictable fuel shortages we decided to bring a couple 5 gallon tanks in case we ran out of gas (it got 5-7 miles per gallon we estimated).

We got to the camping ground and set up our tent. Just as the evening was beginning to begin a terrible wind storm. Where we were camped is also full of sand. The sand blew everywhere. The wind and sand was so bad that the tent we had set up was blowing away with Josh and I inside. We used the jeep and some well placed stakes to secure the tent better but the sand was too bad to let us breath. To make a long story short We decided to head home after fighting with the wind and sand for a few hours. We quickly packed up our gear and headed out on the highway. The gas gauge, being of no use other than to cause worry, made us empty the two extra fuel tanks into the jeep's tank. We headed home.

The jeeps maximum speed was about 58mph and we were giving it everything we had. The cross winds were so bad that the high wind speed outside the vehicle created a negative pressure outside in relation to inside. THe poor soft top couldn't withstand the pressure and both doors of the jeep suddenly flew open while we were driving at top speed down the interstate. Our solution was to use one of our trusty tie-downs to tie the two doors shut from the inside.

That jeep was a fun project but unfortunately was too expensive to buy insurance for it. We sold it to a poor soul that my dad gave more than he bargained for when he bought the jeep. They guy ended up taking the old tires, rims, an old collapsalbe kayak, some old wood, a few random pieces of junk my dad was going to throw away, and the old gas tank that we got replaced before we sold it. The guy was so excited with his new found treasure he got his girlfriend to come over with her car so he could get it all home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cheese and Ho

Back when I was a young teenager my father had obtained several horses on trade for work he had done. These horses were as varied as the things you would find between the couch cushions. One horse was blind in one eye and spooked whenever you would approach from the blind eye’s side. One horse was named Satan but was as mild a horse as you could get. One horse was named Ho- named by my brother Taylor who was 2 at the time we got her and would only say “Ho” instead of “horse”- we ended up breading this horse and Ho had a baby boy we named Cocheese. We had another young horse named midnight that was a pretty decent horse but we always had health problems with this horse. One day she ate dog food and almost died from that!

Josh and I ended up getting stuck with the duties that come with owning horses. We mucked out the crap in their stalls, etc. I think that is the reason my father had children- so he could get us to clean up the crap from all his pets!

A year or so later, after the dog food incident, she was struck by lightning and was sadly killed. My little sister Brittany was traumatized by the incident and when another lightning storm rolled in a few weeks later she was insistent that the remaining horses be brought into their stalls.

Josh and I drove over to the place where we kept the horses- only three were there: Satan, Ho, and Cheesey (Cocheese- calm down dad!) Satan came nice and quiet to the stalls, Ho and Cheesey were a different story. Josh and I tried everything we could think of. We tried to bribe Ho to the stalls with carrots, apples. She was not easy to catch either. We finally caught her but couldn’t get her to budge without her precious little Cheesey who was only a few months old. So, Josh and I devised a brilliant plan. We tied Ho to the fence with a strong horse rope. I then proceeded to pick up precious Cheesey and carried him toward the stalls. Momma didn’t like this and strong as she was she broke the rope that we had tied her to the fence with and came charging towards me like the Ho she was!

Not being stupid I tossed poor ol cheesey and ran for my life, escaping the trampling hooves of Ho by mere feet. She angrily ran around until my dad showed up (at Josh and my request) to help with the troublesome duo. He quickly caught Ho and led her quietly to the stall, with diligent Cheesey following closely behind his Ho momma. My dad tried to explain how simple a task this was and seemed a little perturbed that we couldn’t do this ourselves.

We no longer have any horses- incidentally this came about around the time that he no longer had any children at home to clean up their crap. I think the dog is next on the list!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mud Mobile

Before I could drive my dad bought a 1979 Ford Thunderbird. It was a dependable car and got us where we wanted to go. I saw "we" because I was too young to drive and Josh was my chauffeur (by choice or coercion).

Also, about this time my brother and I were introduced to paintballing. It was a fun, raucous sport, that I think I was more into than my brother. For my birthday I had asked my dad to take me to an outdoor paintball arena called "Showdown" located in Heriman Utah, on the west side of Salt Lake Valley. Since going on my birthday I had wanted to go back- it was a lot of fun!

So, one day, Josh, I, and our friends (Steve Swasey and Dallas Fulmer) decided to go to Showdown for some paintballin'!!! We got our guns and our Army Navy Surplus camo outfits and loaded up the "boat" and we headed out based on my navigation skills that I had acquired going to Showdown several months earlier.

As we arrived in the basic area (Heriman- more or less), I seem to have forgot exactly how to get to Showdown. Being determined I pressed onward. I instructed my brother to take us through a residential street. As we came to the end of the street I realized that we were not in the right area, but there was a dirt (or rather mud) trail that continued in what I saw as the correct direction. There was a little mud, but nothing we couldn't handle in the boat with her 4 inches of ground clearance. So I advised Josh to gun the engine to make it across the muddy trail. . . HE LISTENED TO ME!!!

To my surprise me made it through the mud-hole, just to find ourselves staring up a fairly steep mud-hill. We decided it would be better to turn around and try a new route, and somehow we were able to turn that boat around. Now facing mud-hole for the second time we were confident. Josh gunned the engine and mud began flying, tires spun, and the car slipped and slided all the way until we made it . . . a whole 10 yards the the 100 yard long mud-hole . . . we were STUCK!!!

We got out, and with no tools we began trying to dig the car out. We used the car jack to jack the back end of the car up and then pushed it back out of the rut we were stuck in. we would then give it some gas just to find ourselves 1 foot closer but right back in the rut. We repeated this process for 6-7 hours- we were 10 yards closer than we were before- only 80 yards to go!!

At this point we decided to go ask for some shovels from the house at the end of the mudhole. They lent us a shovel but didn't say much to us (they were polygamists- that's another story). We returned to our car with our shovel to find that it really didn't help us much. Exhausted and frustrated we called my dad to come pull us out with the pickup truck. While we waited for him to come, resigned to let the car sit in the stinking mud-hole, we decided to show our frustrations and get some paintballing in at the same time. The car got the worst of it!

My dad finally showed up after we had been there for 9 hours, and pulled us out in about 5 minutes. The poor Thunderbird never forgave us. It was Josh's fault, he should have never listened to me in the first place, besides- he was driving!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bad Hair

Recently I have finally been able to scan a few pictures from my childhood into my computer. As we were going through the pictures my wife notified my that my family wasn't too great on hairstyles. I have to agree. As proof I have chosen a few examples. Enjoy!

Whoah, I always thought it was real!

The 80's was no excuse


    What are you looking at?

A good 2 for 1 pic- priceless!!

    Lynsie's She Mullet!!

Taylor after he pulled out a chunk of his hair with an electric drill! He looked like my dad!

Ha Ha Ha. Don't worry, more embarrasing photos to follow!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

You'll shoot your eye out!

My father loves the movie Christmas story. I can remember watching that movie every Christmas season for as long as I can remember. My dad also instilled in my brother and I a healthy respect and thirst for guns. So, naturally when I was a young boy I wanted a BB gun just like Ralph on The Christmas Story. When I turned 8 my dreams came true and my dad bought Josh and I BB guns for Christmas. I was so excited and I went outside to shoot it. I set up a wooden board against the fence and took aim and FIRED!!!! Wouldn't you know it . . . that darned BB bounced back and hit me right underneath the left eye! Man it hurt! I can't remember if I ever told my parents. I'll be sure to let MY kids know that shooting against a flat hard surface is a bad idea, and I'll make them wear safety glasses, but I'll still buy them their BB gun!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


When I was 11 years old my neighbors invited Josh and I to go skiing with them. Living in Utah we were obliged to accept this request and I really did look forward to it. My dad took us down to Deseret Industries (a Salvation Army-type of store) to buy us some skis. The skis that we got were at least 15 years old with old bindings and boots and none of the new fandangled features that skis had. The bindings were old with strap leashes that would prevent runaway skis from jetting down the hillside if separated from the skier- rather than the new fork system if the boot became unbound (see picture).

So, with our new old skis and a desire for adventure we set out with our neighbors to the ski resort Solitude up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was mid morning and the slopes were just opening up for the morning. Josh and I followed our friends to the lift. Having no idea what to expect we hopped on the high speed quad.

As we got off lift I was quick to discover that even dismounting the lift would take some practice. It is hard to remember but I think I might have fallen down there too- it all seems to blur together now. There was a nice map that showed the various routes we could take to the bottom of the mountain. Apparently the lift we were on was the largest lift and provided the rider with the most skiing/lift time. The trails were all blue, black, or double-black lines (which meant nothing to me at the time). My friends pointed out that since it was our first time we would go down a blue trail since blacks were for experts. I must have fallen a dozen times in the first 200-300 yards of that blue trail- my friends weren't much for teaching as they only instructed us to stop falling down. The blue trail turned out to be harder than I had anticipated but I figured I would be able to make it down to the bottom. After all there really wasn't any other alternative, unless I wanted to ski down on a black diamond slope.

After about half a mile of what other might not call skiing we came to a fork in the trail. This fork was marked by a sign designating which trail was what on the map- HOLY CRAP!!! The only trails we could continue on were black diamonds! There was no turning back. My friends, knowing that we were struggling, gave us the only instructions they could think of . . . “just use your 'snowplow' [method].” We just hunckered down and headed down the hill.

These new trails were MUCH steeper. Josh and I were inching our way down the hill, which happened to be pretty icy as well. Our friends, tired of waiting for us, decided to just go down the hill and ditch us for the day- we never saw them again! Pretty soon I took a pretty good fall and I didn't stop for about 100 yards of tumbling. I looked back and saw Josh tumbling down the trail just to my left. He had hit and taken out another skier and was on course for taking out a ski patrolman- and sure enough he did. In the tumble my skis had come off but were held to me by the ancient leashes made of mammoth or sabor tooth tiger hide. Josh was no so fortunate with one of his skis which in the chaos become separated and was zooming down the mountain at 100mph. It disappeared into the soft power of the trees never to be seen again.

The ski patrolman (Josh's new friend) was livid. He threatened to kick us out of the resort (which honestly wouldn't have bothered me much at that point) but instead he just instructed us to walk the rest of the way down, which we were happy to do- besides- skiing was actually slower for me than walking anyway. Josh spent a bit of time searching for his ski. We spent the rest of the day on the bunny hill, which actually was good for us as we started to actually learn the basics and we didn't hurt ourselves doing it.

Years later now black diamonds are no longer a scary prospect for me and I actually enjoy them the most. I took some friends skiing for the first time a couple years ago . . . the first trails I took them on were blue and black!