Monday, March 31, 2008

All about the Benjamins

According to Ben Franklin, nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes. That's all fine and good, considering I only have to die once--this tax thing, however, keeps popping up each and every April. Leave it to Uncle Sam to suck all the joy out of spring.

Proof we're not alone in our bitterness:
"I shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes."
Mark Twain

"It's income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta." Dave Barry

"Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with." Author unknown, from a Washington Post word contest

"You don't pay taxes--they take taxes." Chris Rock

"If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep." Will Rogers

"Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today."
Herman Wouk

"Death and taxes may be inevitable, but they shouldn't be related." J.C. Watts, Jr.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Jesus Rocks" Easter Jeep Safari

Men invented Easter Jeep Safari. It's a week filled with all sorts of manly activities where men can talk about manly things, buy manly products, drive over-sized manly vehicles on trails with manly names like Upper Helldorado or Hell's Revenge, and do manly things like burp, fart, and smell foul.

I go on the safari nearly every year. And while the tree-hugging liberal in me likes to think I have nothing in common with the droves of good 'ol boys attracted to this kind of activity, Easter Jeep Safari is, well, fun. And honestly, I really like to run over and climb stuff in our big silver Jeep.

Keeping in line with the manliness of the event, we usually sleep in the back of Nic's truck, wake up early, eat mostly meat, smell like exhaust, and come back to camp feeling like a sand box. It kind of makes me feel tough and I like the surprised looks I get when guys realized it's actually a girl behind the wheel. Hey, it may be manly, but girls can play too. (The picture is of me driving up an obstacle called "Hummer Hill.")

And though I'm the first to admit that it isn't the best form of Easter worship, there's something about the red rock and blue sky that clears away any guilt I have for not attending Sunday services. Because really, it you sift through all the manliness there's one thing Jeeping teaches me over and over again, it's that "Jesus Rocks."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nic's other love

I may be Nic's true love, but alas, I'm not his one-and-only. He shares his heart with two crazy yellow pups, a monster silver Jeep rock crawler, and since last fall, a 1949 Ford F1 pickup truck. (I'm always on the top of his list though, so I don't mind sharing.)
For those of you who don't know the story of Mater, Nic's '49 Ford, here's the condensed version:
After an intense Internet search, Nic finally found the truck. The only problem: We had to drive to the appropriately named Ford, Washington, on a Friday to pick it up and be back so I could work at the Herald the following Sunday at 5 p.m. So we drove for two straight days, stopping only to sleep in the back of the truck on the side of the road. It all went smoothly until we blew a trailer tire near Dear Lodge, Montana, and found the spare tire we brought had the wrong lug pattern and didn't fit on the trailer. We ditched the trailer and '49 Ford, found a Les Schwab that would open for us after hours, and $250 later, we were on the road again. To this day, Nic still hates Dear Lodge, Montana. Arriving home, the million kids who live on our street were beside themselves because they said Nic had brought home Mater (from the movie "Cars"), and the name has stuck.
Nic's plan is to make the bitchin'-est hot rod ever. It is going to be "cherry." We even bought and huge upholstery sewing machine so he can custom-make his own interior (as well as reupholster my 1950s couch and chair). At first he said the truck restoration project was going to follow a ten-year plan, but I have my suspicions that it's going to be drivable next year and completed in another two. Needless to say, this will be the first of many Mater updates.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Old adages and a broken cell phone

My dad has a lot of little sayings I remember from growing up. He used to sing, "Erin, Erin, the Mormons are after you. If they catch you, they'll make you a Mormon too," which I never truly understood until I was a missionary and then lived in Eagle Mountain. And then at seemingly inappropriate times, like when I was in Texas for my brother's wedding reception, say, crying over my recently ended engagement, he looked at me and interjected, "You know, it never gets any easier than it is right now." That one was my least favorite just because each time he's said it to me, he's always been right...and people wonder why I'm afraid to have kids.

Appropriate for this week is his saying, "How can I miss you if you don't go away?" which I've also found to be true on many occasions, like when my cell phone stopped working on Sunday. Either I only started needing my phone this week, or I've just been in denial about how much I rely on it. Nic will laugh when I admit this, but I miss you, cell phone. It's hard to function when I'm picking my mom up from the airport and my phone won't dial. Then I'm on 90th South and need to know where the nearest Rumbi Island Grill is. Stopping at the gas station pay phone is way too 1990. Who does that anymore? And then there is the loss of my text messaging capabilities. You mean I have to talk to people face to face rather than communicate via various acronyms? OMG!

According to my dad's adage, it takes losing something to really appreciate it, and I'd say I've learned my lesson. Come back cell phone, I need you. But I still can't promise I'll answer you all the time.

Friday, March 7, 2008

So, what does your husband do?

A perfectly normal question. My answer used to be a simple, "He's a general contractor." Perfectly understandable, no explanation needed. It's a little more complicated now. My initial answer is still simple. "He has a soda blasting company." This is followed by a few seconds of silence and then the usual question, "What's that?"
According to the Stewart Specialty Services website, soda blasting is this:
  • With our tried and proven process of baking soda blasting, we can remove paint, mold, soot, and smoke from the most sensitive materials, such as but not limited to: wood, glass, stone, brick, and all metals without damage or degradation at a rate unmatched by any other process. Unlike other processes which may cause further damage to those substrates, our process leaves the surface fresh and clean with no signs of a previous surface problem. Stewart Specialty Services is Utah's first soda blasting and recovery service. We service many companies in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas. Soda blasting can be safely used in all situations.

Still confused? Basically, soda blasting is a way to clean nasty stuff off of almost anything. Sand blasting uses sand; soda blasting uses soda. So, food-grade baking soda is used to strip paint and rust off of cars, scour mold out of houses, get rid of goop and germs on swimming pools, restore old brick, repair fire damage, remove graffiti, clean machinery...basically, if it needs to be cleaned or restored, soda blasting is the way to go. The major selling point is that it's all non-toxic and environmentally friendly--it doesn't do any damage to the surface or anything around it. Want a demonstration? Check out graffiti removal or another demo on YouTube.

So there you have it; that's what Nic does for a living. They've been in business for about five months and have been doing awesome. I'm just waiting for it to really take off so I can become a lady of leisure. Go Nic!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Meet the fam

Role call kids, youngest to oldest:

Meet Moxie. Don't let the peaceful photo fool you, she rarely holds still. She steals our pillows and hogs the covers. She can run using only two legs and jump more than five feet to get to Nic in the running Jeep. She completely lives up to her name, and then some.

Welcome Sup. He came to us last June as a dog friend for Moxie. He is big, fat, and beautiful. Beauty doesn't come with much brains though: He taught Moxie how to get in the house through the back door and then promptly forgot how to do it himself. But, oh man, does he ever look good in a life jacket.

And then there's Sally and Hobbes. I made it two months of marriage before I got any pets. The problem was our apartment didn't allow animals, so we had to frantically hide the cats each time the door bell rang. (It was a fun four months.) Alissa and I both fell in love with them at Petsmart on separate occasions though, so we know we had to rescue them.

Hello Nic. May your mustache live in infamy! Seriously though, this guy is the hardest-working person I know. Sometimes I feel bad when I leave for my cushy job after him and get home WAY before him...but not that bad. And without sounding too lame, Nic is my other half. No really, he knows everything about everything I know nothing about, and I think that is rad.

Last, but not least: Me. Seven months older than Nic, I am the family senior and current budget planner. Functioning as Nic's other half, I can spell with the best of them and love to lounge around with a good book. I just filled out a whole About Me/Profile thing, so I guess you can check that out if you really want more.

It's a blog, blog, blog, blog world

This is us. Me, Nic, Moxie, and Sup. (Sally and Hobbes, our two cats, couldn't be bothered to come to a photo shoot in the snow.) So that's it--that's our family. In a world where everyone and their dog, literally, has their own blog, I guess you could say that me and my dogs are joining the ranks. I've been hesitant at first, I mean the rest of the blogs I see are spattered with pictures of two-year-olds and baby bumps. Not this blog though. Nope. My mothering skills extend only as far as the leash. And since I don't send cards and Nic says my phone answering percentage is currently 33 percent, I'm hoping this will at least make me feel a little bit better--like I'm somehow keeping up with family and friends. Lame excuse? Yes it is.