Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Over

So. You may have noticed that the countdown . . . you know, that one
is gone. It's always a little sad for me when the book comes out. Sure, I finally get to read it and it's awesome and all, but . . . what do I anticipate now? Sad day.

But can I just say, holy crap it's been a big old pile of drama getting this one. I ordered Mockingjay MONTHS ago on amazon - choosing amazon because it was the cheapest. And I don't think much of it, other than thinking about how it's so nice to know that the very day it comes out the book will be delivered directly to my door - yay! Because when I pre-ordered Harry Potter from Barnes and Noble that's what happened. And then my mom made me put HBP down and eat dinner with everybody . . . and no one was allowed to leave the table until everyone was done. There are not words to express the torture I was put through that evening. (not to mention it didn't make sense considering everyone else in the house - except Ashli, who's kind of lame and doesn't like HP - was waiting for that copy of the book too . . . including mom. Yeah, no sense at all.) Anyway. That's totally what I'm expecting to happen, because that's just what happens with highly anticipated, pre-ordered for months, topping most requested lists books, right? I mean, it's just logical. So when I got an email from Amazon on Monday saying that my book has just been shipped and the estimated arrival date is AUGUST THIRTIETH . . . yeah, that kinda doesn't fly. There was ranting, there was raving, and the anger has not fully dissipated yet because that is just not right. I don't care who's fault it is - amazon's, the printer's, the publishing company, or if it goes clear back to the author holding onto the manuscript for an extra day to tweak things. Heads are going to roll!!!!!!!!!!! Because if I had known they wouldn't be delivering it day of, I would have either ordered it from somewhere else or bought it in person.

Which is exactly what ended up happening. When Luke saw my reaction he insisted on buying a copy now and selling the amazon copy when it finally gets here. And I am sooooooooooooooo glad because the book? AMAZING!!!!!!! It took me about four hours last night to read it, and like all good books, I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. And I'm pretty much dying to know what everyone else thought, so here's what I thought.

(note: I'm keeping it spoiler-free as far as book 3 is concerned, so those poor unfortunate souls who are still waiting can feel free to keep going. Ian, Kayla - you might want to just bow out now. Along with anyone else who hasn't read the first two yet.)

(edit: changed my mind. I got into it and there's just too much I want to hear other people's opinions about. If you haven't read Mockingjay yet, stop here. Or at least consider yourself warned. But come back when you're done!!!!!! I want to hear what everyone thinks!!!!!!!!!!!)

Is there anything else to say other than awesome? I didn't necessarily like everything that happened but it all worked. It fit. It was pretty much perfect. Hit all the right notes and all that jazz. Very dark, and the ending is soooooooooooooooooooooo bittersweet it's almost too much. But the ending has definitely grown on me in the last 24 hours, and I absolutely love how real it is.

Couple of thoughts ~

~ I went into this one as torn as Katniss (as you might recall) over Team Peeta vs. Team Gale. Rather leaning toward Team Neither-Someone-Else or even Team Nobody. Definitely happy with how this one turned out. With the things that happened this time around - and mostly things that were said - my allegiance was quite solidly decided by the time this storyline finished. And with the winning side, yay! Specifically - Gale seems like a really great guy, but we only see him briefly before Katniss is off to the Capitol in the other books. We see them working together to survive, and their easy camaraderie, and it looks pretty great, and you (okay, I) want to root for Team Gale because she actually knows him and they know they can work together and are more or less compatible and all that good stuff. But now we finally get to actually know Gale a little bit. And . . . he's kind of a jerk. I'm all for being focused on the war and stuff, but you can't just turn off your humanity, you know? Unless you're Gale, apparently. He's frighteningly heartless about killing people, way to determined to punish people, and doesn't even seem to care about whether Katniss picks him or not. That scene when he's talking to Peeta? Really made me question whether he ever actually cared for her "that way" or was just so accustomed to her face, as they say in a song from a musical I can't quite place right now. Cursed tip-of-the-tongue-syndrome! And then he goes off to work in District 2 - the war district! - after everything's over without even trying to fight for her! Without even a word! Like he's moved on completely!! Grrrrrrrrrrr. Gale is the devil as far as I'm concerned. Gale is dead to me.

~ I would LOVE to see a spin-off book about District 13. I'm immensely curious about what they've been doing for the last 75 years. How they got to where they are as a society. How the people in power got there. Absolutely LOVE to see that. A prequel about the Dark Days seems the most obvious/likely/easy way to go, but unless it's told from the perspective of someone who was super young then and somehow still alive by the time these books hit and can therefore tell the whole story . . . gotta admit, I'm kinda not interested. Mostly because I most curious about how President Coin came into power . . . how things evolved from what surely couldn't have started as such a strict military establishment . . . how democratic those elections actually were . . . because, really, Coin is just as bad as Snow in her own way. When Katniss shot Coin? I might have cheered a little. Also - I was totally voting no on a 77th Hunger Games. But if they were going to go on anyway - totally putting Snow's granddaughter in, making him watch her play, and then executing him. But seriously - No. More. Hunger Games. That was the whole point of the war.

~ The brainwashing thing? So overdone. I'm still kicking myself for not seeing that one coming. The trackerjacker venom thing made it work . . . I guess. And I have to admit, it did form the setup for what might be my favorite moment in all three books . . . definitely top ten - the last couple of paragraphs of the last chapter, before the epilogue. Perfect.

~ I've spent the last the last 5 months telling myself that somehow Cinna lives. Still sad.

~ Still kicking myself for not seeing this coming either. Still so not happy that it happened. But I absolutely cannot help appreciating and admiring the irony.

Have you guessed it yet?

Prim. Holy crap, Prim. The catalyst. The whole reason the books exist. Think about it - someone else gets picked in that 74th reaping . . . Katniss doesn't volunteer . . . no star-crossed lover angle to play up . . . the tributes from 12 die . . . there is no symbol of rebellion . . . the games go on in perpetuity. Everything started because Katniss was determined to keep her sister alive. But every action she took - right down to merely volunteering to take her place - ultimately led to . . . one could even say caused . . . her sister's death. So obvious. So typical. Should have seen it coming. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo well done.

~ Clearly, her daughter's name is Primrose. Any guesses for the boy's name? I like Cinna myself. Maybe Finnick, but that seems like a stretch comparatively. Good thing he can't have a worse name than Albus Severus. Or Renesmee. (I just googled how to spell that name . . . someone has set up a facebook page for her. Not a fan page, a facebook profile. There are no words for how disturbed I am right now . . . )

~ Who else is totally reading all three again now?

I really need a new incomplete series to obsess over.

P. ost S. cript
This is my kind of Hunger Games. We're moving to Japan. For the game shows. :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Everything Old is New

So I've officially been back to work for two days now. Yay! While I can't really say I'm a fan of the whole "have to actually get up and get going in the morning" thing as compared to the working in the afternoon thing, it's so nice to know I'm bringing in a paycheck again. Hooray for extra money!!

I really don't know what I'll be doing yet, since none of the aides start "aiding" until about two weeks into the year. I do know I'll be in 2 fourth grade classrooms helping with math (and yes, my first thought was "oh, crap") and a third grade classroom helping with reading. That's exciting because it would be pretty awesome to work with some of my last year's second graders again. But for now, while the aides who actually know what they're doing are testing everybody, I'm pretty much on gopher duty You know, making copies, cutting, stapling . . . all the monotonous, mindless work that you don't actually dislike doing because it's too easy to not like and has to be done. Also, while I was labeling books with their reading level I discovered the existence of the best book title EVER: The Dinosaurs Came Back and It's All Your Fault, Edward. Seriously, that is a real book! Have to admit, I found this much, much funnier than I probably should have. And it's probably a good thing I was the only one in the room at the time, because I get the feeling that the hysterical/maniacal laughter would not exactly have endeared me to all the cute little old ladies I'll be working with this year.

Because, have I mentioned? I knew going in that this was not exactly a job that would be populated with people the right age to play princes/princesses at Disney. But I'm the youngest one there by at least ten years. And there are only four or five of us who are not grandmothers. It's so weird to be at work listening to people talking about what their kids are doing - and their grandkids in college - and naturally having absolutely nothing to add. It kind of feels like being at one of the homemaking/enrichment/whatever-they-call-it-nows in my parents' ward that my mom dragged me to a few times. (side note: my parents are in a fairly old ward) I'm sure things will be different once we actually start working with kids, but for now . . . kinda awkward. I do like everybody though, so things can only go up. :-)

Moving on.

Yesterday was move-in/out day here. And it was . . . interesting. And rather nonsensical. I thought school must be starting on Monday since move-in was yesterday - turns out that's not for another week. Which explains why only about half a dozen people actually moved in yesterday, something that was really confusing us until we put those two facts together. I feel kind of bad for the people who had to move out yesterday, since I'm pretty sure that means they have nowhere to live for a week. I'm really wondering about the philosophy behind this crazy timing.

Also, the remodel of 19 & 20 is finally done. They finished it the day before people moved in - how's that for down to the wire? Luke and I have been up there a few times and can I just say holy cow I wish we were up there!!!! Everything is fancy and nice and new - and oh my gosh that smell of "new"! - there are not words to describe how jealous I am. You go inside and it's like you're in a completely different apartment complex. (I wish we'd taken pictures before people moved in.) No more seventies-green counter tops, modern light fixtures, no shag carpet . . . and I must be becoming more June Cleaver-ish than I've ever wanted or intended to, because I was absolutely DROOLING over the fridge and stove. All shiny and brand new - which kind of makes me mad, because when we moved down here from 20 the stove in here was absolutely unusable. So it was replaced. With a refurbished one that, while it looks much newer than the other, could easily be older than the one it replaced. So not fair. And the guys who moved into 20 yesterday are from Uzbekastan . . . Ukraine . . . some European country that starts with a U. Anyway, they really lucked out getting one of the new ones. So the manager spent a lot of time telling them how nice and new a place they're getting and how lucky they are because they're in pretty much the nicest apartment in this whole town (at least around campus). They're response was "Good, we deserve it because we came from a crappy place." Not sure if they meant Uzbekistan or the complex where they were living last week, but suffice it to say that didn't exactly endear them to anyone with even the tiniest semblance of power around here.

But by far the most obnoxious moment happened just a couple of hours ago. So, like I said the official move-in day was yesterday, but no more than 8 people actually showed up. Now, there were a few who weren't able to come yesterday for whatever reason, and they made arrangements to show up sometime this week. But that still leaves 15 or so that we're just wondering what's up. So yesterday at the end of the official check-in time frame we decide (well, Kendra, who has temporarily taken over since Stacey just had a baby, decided) that all the missing people will have to go to the office first to fill out the paperwork and then they can come to us to get their keys. Sounds like a good plan, right? I thought it was pretty great, anyway. So then, like I said just little while ago this girl and her dad show up at the door asking to get in. The dad does all the talking, which to be perfectly honest made me dislike them both more or less immediately. He wants to take look at his daughter's bedroom before he lets her move in . . . which, to be perfectly honest, made me certain these people were going to be trouble pretty much immediately. She hasn't paid or signed the move-in paperwork, so technically I can't give her the keys without permission from someone more important than me. So of course phone calls are made, but it's, you know, Saturday so of course no one answers. At this point dad starts throwing a fit talking about how they've brought $100 worth of frozen food and there was supposed to be someone down in the laundry room from 1:00 to 5:00 today and how dare they/we not be there.

Me: Ummmmm . . . that was yesterday.
Dad: No, it's the twentieth.
Me: Ummmmmm . . . today's the twenty-first.
Dad: . . . . . . . . . well, you shouldn't have left the laundry room until we got here! You should have stayed there all night!!

(full disclosure - he didn't actually say that, but it was definitely in the body language.)

So I tell him that my hands are tied without permission from the people that we're not getting hold of (note I said "him." Daughter has not said a word this entire time.) and he blusters off all mad and I roll my eyes and sort of hope they came from Cedar City or somewhere and end up having to wait until Monday to get in and all their frozen junk melts (and seriously, a hundred bucks worth of food for the freezer? I hope she's planning on sharing since there won't be any room left in there for her roommates!) because seriously, to adapt a quotation faulty planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. And being nasty will not encourage me to be nice to you. Then, like half an hour later or so this woman comes to the door. And starts going off about how she has a signed contract and has to get in now and you people were supposed to be waiting for us in the laundry room and how dare you not be doing check-in on the day we thought you were and I have a signed contract and my daughter has class on Monday (an assertion I'm slightly suspicious of) and she absolutely cannot move in any day other than today because she is a nursing student and has thousands of pages of homework to do before Monday (an assertion I'm greatly suspicious of) and how dare people not answer their phone when I call them and I have to inspect this place before I let my daughter move into it and you will do what I say now because I HAVE A SIGNED CONTRACT, DANGIT!!! Seriously, the thing about the contract was every third or fourth sentence out of her mouth. Naturally, I was beyond disinclined to be even slightly helpful. In fact, I spent the whole encounter with "be nice . . . be nice . . . BE NICE!!!!!!" playing in my head. I haven't run into people this demanding, self-entitled and just plain nasty since I worked at Disney. And to be quite honest, they beat out a lot of the nasty people I ran into there too. Anyway, it turns out that this is the mother of the girl who speaks less than a Chinese girl would have 500 years ago, and since she has signed a contract (at least I'm assuming she did . . . but I wouldn't be surprised if it was her parents' names on there) I can let them in to look (I think) but since she hasn't paid or filled out the rest of the paperwork I can't give her the key (I think). Yeah, I was pretty much making this up as I went along. So I grab the key to the house and as we walk toward it - she would be in the place as far from my apartment as it gets - mommy dearest rants about how they've been trying to get into the house all summer to look at it, and I'm thinking 'well, why the heck did you sign a contract sight unseen if how it looks is that big a deal to you?!' and we get to the house and she walks around the corner and I'm kind of confused and then it turns out that all summer they've been knocking on the old front door which is now a never used door to bedroom - and a bedroom that was empty all summer at that. Which kind of explains why no one ever answered the door, but of course it's also our fault that they never noticed there was another door. And then she says that they've been knocking on our door all summer trying to get us to show them the house . . . which, considering how rarely both of us were gone all summer, I don't believe for a minute. So then mom and dad start inspecting the whole house - daughter is just so traumatized by the whole situation that she's gone home, which turns out to be, sadly, just Tremonton - and they decidedly do not approve. Too small, obviously old, and all the other girls either stayed from summer or actually showed up yesterday so she/they don't get to pick a room but just have to take what's left, which is almost completely unacceptable, and at this point we've been so much trouble to them that mom is just inches from walking away, contract notwithstanding because we caused such a horrible situation for them by letting them get the date wrong and then not being prepared for them to show up randomly and I'm really kind of hoping they will when suddenly we get a hold of Kendra who gives me permission to pony up the keys and says she'll bring down the paperwork this evening, and if she hadn't talked to mom too I'd have been sorely tempted to lie and say she'd said tough luck, come back Monday. As it is I'm pretty sure she was railroaded by the diva antics. However, I'm not about to give the key to people who won't be living there, so I tell them that when there darling, helpless daughter can be bothered to come back from Tremonton just let me know and she can have it. And believe me, it was really hard not to say it exactly that way. It was absolutely unbelievable the way they were looking down their noses at this place. A place that is in really good condition considering it's 40 years old. You'd think they'd come from Beverly Hills or somewhere, not a town that is little more than a glorified truck stop. (I lived there, I'm allowed to say it.)

So another half hour or so goes by and there's another knock on the door and I'm cringing inside and sorely tempted not to answer, but since we all know that would just cause more drama I keep it to a brief groan and answer. Mom and daughter are there, and again daughter doesn't say a word the whole time. Mom writes a check, and I try to hand daughter the key but - I kid you not - mom takes it from me instead and hands it to her. Seriously? I just to scream at the girl "GROW A FREAKING SPINE ALREADY!!!!!!" But I restrained myself. And then they go, and here's hoping (but fully expecting the opposite) that that's the last I'll ever see of any of them.

Okay, I'm going to climb up on my highest soapbox and have a nice, cathartic rant now. Don't say you weren't warned.

HOLY HELICOPTER PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Have these people ever let that girl speak for herself? Is she allowed to have opinions? I've heard of these types of parents, but I've never actually seen any . . . much less interacted with any. And that's even while I was working at a freaking children's playground at WDW!! What are these people thinking? Isn't the whole purpose of parenting to enable the child to be a functioning, independent adult? How the heck is that going to happen when you do all the work that they are perfectly capable of doing? How do you expect them to function in the real world when you spoil them growing up and then try to make everyone else pamper them through college? That's insane!!!!!!!!!!!!

My parents never did anything like that. In fact, I don't think the thought ever even occurred to them. Now, they did haul out half the seats from the van, fill it to overflowing, and drive me down to Cedar every year. And they would take me grocery shopping that same day and pay for about half of it. But my freshman year, when I moved into some pretty run-down, but honestly not that bad dorms and was complaining about the lack of air conditioning and how I was going to melt before winter came? Quiz time! Did they:

A) run to the housing office and demand they purchase a window air conditioning unit for me.

B) say "suck it, you wimp!" and leave for home.

C) take me to Walmart since I didn't have a car so I could get a fan. Which I paid for.

(hint: the answer is C.)

And I've definitely got to give them mad props for not only driving me to Florida after I graduated four years ago, but helping me move into that apartment and taking me grocery shopping on the very day of their 25th anniversary. (random trivia - fours years ago today, actually) On the other hand, that didn't take as long as driving to Cedar + moving in + shopping, so by about 2:00 that afternoon they were celebrating their anniversary at Disney World while the fact that they were leaving the next day and I wasn't was hitting me . . . along with the "holy crap, what have I done?!?" thoughts. Good thing those didn't last long, or things might have played out very differently. :-)

Anyway. There is a HUGE difference between "helping out" and "doing for," amiright? It's ridiculous to think anyone could think doing everything for their kids could be a good thing. I'm seriously worried about what this country is going to be like in twenty years. Have you seen Idiocracy? Totally gonna happen, people!! The general population is going to be made up of fat, helpless people (a la Wall*E) who are all single because the girls can't find guys who sparkle and are willing to bite them. We are soooooooo moving to Canada. Or Russia. Dude, Ethiopia maybe. I am finding the place on this planet where the people are sanest, and we are moving there!!!

Okay, so this has gone waaaaaaaay longer than I was intending. Mad props for anyone who made it this far. That right there is the textbook definition of devotion. :-)

P. S. MOCKINGJAY COMES OUT IN THREE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be coming home from work and completely shutting out the world until I'm done . . . and heaven help anyone who wants to move in that day, because I'm not sure I'll be able to be nice if they insist on taking me away from my book!!

P. ost S. cript
Sending out summer with a bang. Or . .. well . . . a splat, rather. :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oh, They're Good . . .

So this summer I've finally been able to get our wedding pictures framed. Yay! I figured I'd just pick up a frame from Walmart here and there and it wouldn't be that big a deal because I only needed four. Yeah, I bet you can all see where that went. :-)

So I had this brilliant idea . . . well, I thought it was. We got three 5x7s in our package, and I cleverly chose two pictures of Luke and me (individually) looking out a window in opposite directions and one from that pedestal kind of by the Lion House. And I'm thinking I'll put them all in one frame with the individual pictures on either side so it's like we're looking out these windows at us. Yes - it's totally cheesy. But I like it, dangit! :-) Just one problem - Walmart apparently doesn't carry frames that hold three 5x7s. Three 4x6s, sure. Three of varying sizes and kind of ugly, of course. But absolutely nothing for the size I had . . . blargh. And neither does Shopko. Or Kmart. Grrrrrrrrrr. So I finally caved and went to Michael's a couple of weeks ago. Where the plethora of choices for exactly what I was looking for was, quite frankly, disgusting considering that no one else around here carries them. But after spending more time than I'm willing to admit debating my choices (and probably driving Luke nuts since it was a spur of the moment stop one day while we were out and about) I finally picked one and we headed out. And then - the machine spit out a 40% coupon along with the receipt! Yay! Because that makes the prices pretty much match Walmart, and I like their frames much better. So I head back last week to use it . . . and I got another one, yay! Although at this point and I can totally sense a monster being created. :-) Because when I went back yesterday and got the last frame and - yep! - got another one. And now, even though I have absolutely nothing to buy there, I want to go back and use it.

Okay, let's get one thing straight right now: I am not a crafty person. I am not artistic in the least. I do not sew, I do not paint, I do not build things. And I sure as heck to do not scrapbook. I have tried that one though . . . I suck. Seriously, I can not make a decent looking scrapbook page to save my life. They all look terrible. You could give me an pre-designed page so detailed that there are outlines that say "put this picture/sticker/cut out here" and I would follow it to the letter and it would still look awful. It's pretty ridiculous, so feel free to laugh. I suck, but I've accepted it. And I do not scrapbook.

There is one vaguely crafty thing that I do - embroidery. Specifically, cross-stitch. More specifically, stamped cross-stitch. That whole counting thing is beyond me (need I remind you how math and I get along?). Aunt Sandra gave me a cute little mouse and a cute little bird for Christmas years and years ago, and I've kinda been hooked ever since. And back in the day you could get all sorts of things as stamped cross-stitch. But somewhere along the line it seems that my crafty hobby fell out of fashion or something, because for the past few years all I've been able to find is baby crap (quilts, bibs, etc.) and linens (pillowcases/napkins/tablecloths), neither of which I'm really interested in. (side note: when I was 12ish I did by a cute baby quilt top that took me a good five years to finish. And by finish I mean finish the embroidery. It's still just a quilt top, no batting or back. I really should finish it one of these years . . . ) So depressing. I suppose it's not that bad, because while I love doing it, I haven't a clue what to do with the finished product. It's not exactly my decorating style, you know? Not that I really have much of a decorating style, as you might recall, but what little I do have does not include the cutesy little things I thoroughly enjoy making.

Anyway, so I'm wandering around the needlework section of Michael's yesterday knowing I'm probably going to get another coupon, and really wanting to use it, but having no idea what to use it on and definitely not needing anything, especially from a craft store and kind of sad because they don't have anything other than baby crap, but also sort of relieved because that means it'll be easier to convince myself not to spend money just to use the coupon. Good times. And can I just say that those crafty people are . . . well, crafty? And pretty brilliant? The thought of getting anything from that store would never occur to me randomly but now I find myself trying to come up with something to get just so I can get another coupon and go back again the week after and get something else. Well played, Michael's, well played. You're good.

Maybe I'll just by a pack of gel pens every week for the rest of my life. I looked at those yesterday too. That was a really hard purchase to deny myself, which probably comes as no surprise to anyone, since everyone is aware of my intense crush on gel pens. Because none of you have anything better to do than memorize my blogs. :-)

I probably sound so self-absorbed to random passers-by who don't realize that almost everything here is meant to be read as dripping with sarcasm and silliness. Oh, well. No time to worry about that now - I'm off to start a lifetime collection of gel pens!! :-)

P. ost S. cript
Because anytime is a good time for another cute kitty clip. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Back!!

Wow, it's been a heckuva week. So I think I mentioned a little while back that Luke's sister Emily was coming to visit. Yeah, that was the past few days. Like, eight, actually. And when we get to the airport last Tuesday she makes us close our eyes because she's brought us a surprise . . . which turned out to be Luke's other sister Anna. Hard to bring a bigger surprise than that. :-) But it was pretty great - well, after the initial "oh crap, we only borrowed one air mattress . . . and we only have one extra pillow" thoughts passed.

Things got off to a pretty fabulous start as we checked out Salt Lake. Not really much to see there, I'm discovering. I always knew that, but this year I've been realizing just how little there is compared to other big cities. Anyway, we're heading home and there's construction or something so we slow down just south of Ogden and then traffic speeds back up . . . and we don't. And we're in the middle lane. Crap. At this point I was having some unpleasant flashbacks to when almost the exact same thing happened to me about 5 miles farther north my senior year of college (a transmission hose slipped - not fun!), and while none of us actually panicked I think it's safe to say we were all feeling a little panic-y. Which kinda makes sense when there are cars on either side of you going a million miles an hour and you're not moving and there's a big old line of cars behind you and you know they're going to start laying on the horn pretty soon, you know? Not fun. But eventually there's a decent person in the left lane and we're able to get the car to the side of the road, and some nice car-intelligent guy stopped to help us out, and Anna has Triple A so we were able to get Luke's car (complete with it's new white salvaged bumper put on just the day before) towed all the way to Logan. But the tow truck only has room for two extra people, which strikes me as kind of lame, so Emily and I got to ride with a state trooper to Ogden where dad picked us up and took us the rest of the way to Logan. Turns out something happened to the fuel system - dad thinks it's a delayed result of the whole rear-ending thing, and I'm rather inclined to agree because it just makes sense. So rather than pay for repairs we've decided we're just going to take the insurance money and run and try to squeeze a few hundred dollars more out of selling the car as is and dip into the savings account we've managed to actually build up - just a little bit - and get a car with a model year that starts with a 2 instead of a 1. Novelty-ness!! And then we'll save up for another year or two and replace my car too. Yay!

Anyway, since we really don't trust my car farther than Tremonton if we don't have to, we decide to look into renting a car. And it turns out that every single rental car from here to Provo (and probably farther) is rented out. Seriously? Are you freaking kidding? So it turns out that there's this MASSIVE convention in Salt Lake called Outdoor Retail and it happens every year. I'd actually heard of it during the summers I worked in Salt Lake, I just didn't know it was going on last week. And I definitely didn't know that every rental car in the friggin' state gets snapped up for the week. I mean, really, am I the only one who sees something wrong with that picture? But we keep trying, playing with the dates and stuff and in the end somehow we manage to find a car. Can't get it until Thursday morning, but considering it's apparently nothing short of a miracle that we've got that much we'll take it! So the Wednesday plans of Provo/Park City get canceled and I end up driving to Tremonton and riding with the parental units to drop Rian at the MTC. (side note: the MTC sign? Totally not there. It's said that they've been taken down for maintenance, but word on the street is they might be gone for good. Crazy.)

Anyway, the whole week was crazy busy and run ragged and all that jazz, but here are the highlights -

Thursday - Bear Lake. Great fun, especially since the last time I was there I was, like . . . five. Ish. And I didn't burn!!!!! There are no words to describe how much of a miracle this is. Somehow between the finally finding a sunscreen that works for me and reapplying it about a bazillion times I came home with a slightly pink face and a moderately burned scalp. (I did use sunscreen there too, not sure what happened.) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, so awesome.

Saturday - Craters of the Moon. Again, the last time I was there was at least 15 years ago, so it was fabulous to go back. Especially since our Yellowstone trip had to be canceled because of the stupid fire. (side note: we came home Monday to discover the tarps in front of our door were finally gone. It's going to take a little while to get used to having a view from our windows again. And the heat in the afternoon - not cool!!) Team Jayla came too, and we all took bunches of pictures and it was hot, but not near as hot as it was that other time when I was a kid, but it still felt soooooooooooo good to get down inside the lava tubes because it was about 30* cooler. And this time we (meaning Team Jayla, Luke, Anna, Emily, and me) went into a couple of the caves that required flashlights, which was perhaps not the most intelligent idea because all we had were Jason and Shay's two tiny little keychain LED lights, but it was about 20* in there, which felt awesome, and we all survived so it's all good. And we discovered that mom has absolutely no memory of leaving Rian and Shayla (who were about 4 and 6ish) behind on the guided tour of the big lava tube when they got to the stairs and chickened out. Seriously, that's what happened. We were with Aunt Michelle and Uncle Robert and their 3 kids, and all the rest of us went down and mom told Rian and Shay to sit on the bench and stay there until we got back. So they did. And totally missed out. But mom was swearing up and down that it could never have happened even though dad, Shay and I were all telling her it did. Good times. Also - I so could have stayed in those caves for hours just enjoying the temperature. Bring on fall!!!!!

Monday - Park City take 2. I've never actually been to Park City before, just driven through a couple of times. Luke and I are thinking we're going to have to go up there again and spend the night and take some time to do things a little more slowly. It's a cute little place . . . even if it is ridiculously expensive and touristy. :-) We checked out Olympic Park, which was a lot smaller than I thought, but still very cool. Also, the Australian freestyle ski jumping team was out practicing - very fun to watch. I got a short video, I'll post it on facebook eventually. It usually takes three or four tries for facebook to finally actually upload my videos. So. Dang. Obnoxious. Anyway, we also did the zip lines and the alpine slide. The zip lines are a lot slower than you think they'll be. Still very fun - just a slower fun. :-) With the alpine slide, Luke and I agreed that if one has the option, one should go to Rotorua, NZ, and do the luge instead. Much faster, three tracks, you can stop and take pictures on the way down, and the tracks are kind of like big downhill go-cart tracks and you can race each other. I don't have any pictures from it, but mom might have a few on her facebook. Anyway, if Rotorua isn't an option (which it totally should be, if for no other reason than because practically right next the luge they also have the original ZORB!!!!!) Park City is definitely a good alternative. :-)

We also went to Deer Valley and took the lifts up to the top of the mountain. That was a pretty sweet view. I wish we could have walked/hiked back down instead of taking the lifts again - that's one of the things Luke and I will have to do when we go back. Riding the lift definitely rocked though . . . especially seeing the things people "leave" high up in the trees . . . like mardi gras beads . . . and underwear . . . gotta admit, I'm kinda curious - but also pretty sure I don't want to know.

Tuesday - Luke and I stayed home. Luke was really needing/looking forward to a day or two of just relaxing and maybe not even leaving our apartment, and I thought that had been in the plan, but somehow it didn't happen. So we snatched up a day. Which turned out to be a really good thing, because I FINALLY got the call I've been waiting for all summer!!!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in case you missed it I'm going back to Ellis this school year!!!! I have a job again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would have really sucked to be somewhere without cell signal and missed that call. Also, I got another goodreads book!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! Too bad it was a terrible book. Which those of you who are my friends on goodreads probably already know. And if we're not friends on goodreads . . . well, I ask you, are we really even friends at all? ;-) j/k . . . j/k. Yeah, so I've been in pretty much the best mood ever since Tuesday afternoon. Because that was pretty much the best day of my whole summer. Getting your job back just as you're starting to get really worried/paranoid? Cannot be topped. Especially when I'm getting an hour and fifteen minutes more a day - yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So yesterday we slept a lot of the day away after getting back from the airport and returning the rental, and that was immensely pleasant too. And today I suppose we're kind of getting back into our routine . . . except we got our carpets cleaned, but I can't really see a difference from before and it was kind of obnoxious having dudes who smell of cigarette smoke giving me a headache first thing in the morning. But give us a few days and we'll be back to normal. It was a lovely little vacation, we'll have to take one again sometime. For now though, I'll take having a job. :-)

P. ost S. cript
Have I posted this one already? Either way, muppets always rock. :-)