*We toured Welfare Square in downtown Salt Lake City and ended up in a large EFY group. I think EFY stands for "Exceptionally Flirtatious Youngsters" and consists of groups of youth ages 14-18. I was one of the oldest people in our tour group and definitely had the most grey hair. You would think age would also equate to maturity, but, no. Our tour guides were two very sweet sister missionaries, both of whom spoke English as a second language. As we came to the cheese processing center of welfare square our tour guide said with her cute accent, "And this is where they slice and cut the cheese." Yes, she said, and I quote, "Cut the cheese." I honestly thought it was a scripted joke she always made on the tour, so I laughed out loud like it was one of the funniest things I had heard since Brian Regan's "show pony" rant. But it was not a joke. I was the only one in the group who laughed, and even the EFY kids gave me awkward glances.
*A day or two later we went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to grill hotdogs and hamburgers with my parents. My mom was carrying the hibachi. As we were walking to our picnic site she stepped awkwardly and fell down, hibachi and all. Fortunately she was just fine, no damage done. Her first words were, "I'm so glad I wasn't carrying one of the kids!" My first thought was, "I'm so glad she wasn't carrying the hamburger!""
*We went to BYU for our annual child indoctrination exercise. As we were strolling through campus, without a care in the world, we suddenly passed a familiar face - the Greensboro Stake Auditor from church! In the 5 1/2 years I've been Bishop, I've had 11 financial audits from the Stake, and this guy did most of them. Nothing helps me take my mind off my responsibilities like making small talk with my auditor, 2,100 miles from home. While at BYU's bookstore I saw a small packet of something called "Sprite Bombs" that you can throw on the ground and make small explosions. The word-for-word instructions and cautions are:
-Hard thew to the groud, only.
-Can not eat.
-Cool place, keep away from the fire.
-For ages 8 and up.
Tank you fur warned me, the helpfilled paket. Of course, I bought one.
*One day we drove out to the Great Salt Lake with my parents to wade in the water and eat a picnic lunch. The GSL is only accessible by one long, straight road and each vehicle is required to pay a fee before entering. As we stopped to pay the park ranger, I noticed a taped sign on the guard shack which said, "Caution: Biting gnats are bad today." Okay, that's fine, we thought. We can deal with one little setback, can't we? We then experienced setback number two, which is aptly named. After driving about ten feet past the guard shack, a stench so overwhelming, so hideous enveloped us that I quiver just thinking back to it. It smelled like every living organism in the GSL had died and rotted inside our van, then somehow briefly came back to life to eat a bag of pork rinds, belch, then die again. The stench only lasted for about two minutes, but it was awfully awful. But the biting gnats weren't even that bad at all, so thanks for that, Great Salt Lake!
*While visiting the Gerbers in Roosevelt, we made the trip to Vernal to see the very cool dinosaur museum. While we were there I found which dinosaur Andrea would have been if she had been born during the Jurassic Period - the Camarasaurus
*We then drove to see the petroglyphs. The signs, symbols, and writings left behind by the early Native Americans tell us a great deal about them as a people. For example, they loved hip-hop and struggled with spelling.
*Later that night we played a fun game of Rummy with the Gerbers. But my heart was broken when I learned during our game that I am married to a devil-worshipping racist. (Andrea played the 6-6-6 followed by the K-K-K on her next hand. Ominous. Very ominous.)
*The next morning Andrea did a 5-k with her dad and sister. After the 5-k our kids were going to do a small "fun run." Caroline was so excited to do the run, and I was looking forward to accompanying both her and Whitney on it. But as we were walking toward the starting line, Caroline stepped in front of me and I came down right on her foot. She fell face first on to the concrete and hit her head before she could get her arms out to catch herself. Caroline's forehead ended up more bruised than a bag of Wal-Mart apples and she understandably withdrew from the event:
*Then, just as the kids were getting ready to run down a little dirt road to start the fun run, a large van started to drive down the path, straight toward the kids. We were all a bit confused. The van left the dirt path and parked about one hundred feet away from the kids. Then the back doors of the van swung open and men in orange jump suites began to exit. The inmates were there to clean up after the previous night's rodeo and they did a lot of good that day, but I doubt their presence was coordinated with the race organizers.
*Later that day we attended a quaint, patriotic, small-town 4th of July parade where a plethora of candy was flung at happy children and unsuspecting elderly people. Our kids ended up with a good haul and the sour Warheads candies were plentiful. It turns out that Brandon does not like Warheads but Whitney loves them. As we drove home they traded candies in the back of the van. The last time two people negotiated over that many warheads it involved Kim Jong Il and Vladimir Putin.
*Our final destination was the Stillwater Dam which has been producing a spectacular waterfall in light of the vast quantity of water coming through the canyon as the snow has melted. It's like Mother Nature got a prescription for Flomax. While the adults stood back in awe and took in the scenery, Brandon and Whitney found pieces of wood and filed them down until they were as sharp and deadly as prison shanks. I don't know if they even saw the waterfall and I wasn't about to ask. One of the mottos I live by is, "Never question a person with a shank." I don't care if "those people" are my children and their combined ages are only 16 years, I'm not doing anything to provoke them.
*In the end, I loved my get away with the family. But Andrea, please hurry home before I totally lose my mind and start eating my own hair and/or eyebrows. Love, Andrew.