Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daytime TV Update

For those of you unfortunate enough to have a job that pulls you away from daytime television, I'd like to offer you some updates. Firstly, I don't know where they dredge up these people, and it makes you wonder if the world is full of idiots and ignoramouses. When I first started watching Dr. Phil, guests who came on the show seemed like they had legitimate problems--problems I could relate to. Now, likely for sake of ratings, the guests on the show are complete idiots! Today, for example, a woman dated a guy for more than 30 months and became engaged to him without ever meeting him. She even loaned him $5,000. Surprise, surprise, the guy wasn't who he said he was. It reminds me of a guy I worked with who was a 50-year-old bachelor who started writing a Russian model over the Internet. Within three e-mails she was proclaiming her undying love for him, even though her English comprehension wasn't great. She was ready to come over to the U.S. and marry him, just so long as he sent her $1,000 to help her get over here. Luckily, the co-worker didn't fall for it. But I'm guessing there are plenty of sorry saps out there that have fallen for it--hook, line, and sinker. How do people let themselves get to that state? I guess at least I get to live vicariously through them on the Dr. Phil show--I don't think I'll be e-mailing any "Russian cosmonauts" any time soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Double-date Night

Lissy is the middle child. I don't mean that in facts; I mean that in attitude. "Lilia, Lilia, Lilia!" I can already hear her saying that when she's in junior high. Maybe we should just own up to our horrible parenting and rename her Jan. I didn't think I would ever make a middle child of mine feel outshined. Afterall, I am the dead center middle of a family of 10--I know about being a middle child. My three oldest siblings got a little cash on a monthly basis when they left for college. My last three siblings got a lot of their tuition paid for by our parents. Us in the middle? Nada. (Mom and Dad: I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I know things were different and we did get pell grants and you helped when you could, so I'm really not complaining, but for story affect, it sounds better to be grumpy.)

But Lissy seems to be in constant competition with her older sister. Whenever Lilia is gone to preschool, Lissy is a delight. She's helpful, plays well by herself, and loving. When Lilia gets home from school--instant bad attitude. I hope she realizes as she gets older her awesome laugh and personality. She doesn't have to be like Lilia; she's Lissy. And we love her for it. So this weekend, we thought we might do something special with the girls, but on a one-on-one basis. I took Lissy to the movies with me, while Kulani took Nohea and Lilia to the store with him. We had a tear-dropping good time. Honestly, I don't know how long it has been since me and Lissy did something with just the two of us. I tried to make it feel like a real date. I put her in the back seat of the car and asked her if she was warm enough. I brought her a "nice, cozy blanket" (Lissy' favorite term) to keep her comfortable. We drove to the movie, and she chatted the whole way about everything in her life. We made it to The Waterhorse a little late, but we stopped to get a kid's size box of popcorn with drink and a candy. We sprinkled the popcorn with her favorite ranch sprinkles (this one movie theater in Orem offers popcorn flavorings from Harmon's grocery store). And we took our seats in the theater. Lissy loves movies, and she was enthralled with this one. Part way during the movie she sat on my lap, never to leave until the end. She said to me, "Can we do this every night?" After the movie, we ran to our car, and I got her snuggled into the back seat. I got a text message from Kulani saying to call him. He asked if we'd like to meet him and the other girls at Outback for dessert, so we joined their date already in progress. They'd had a great time at Wal-Mart, Lilia's favorite place, and he'd of course, bought them each a little something. As soon as we met up with them, Lissy's attitude soured. She didn't appreciate anything Lilia was saying to her. I almost had to excuse ourselves because of my date's bad behavior. After dessert, as we were driving home, Lissy fell asleep. I hope her bad attitude was due to her tiredness. Whatever the case may be, the night was truly awesome, and I'd like to thank Lissy for making it so special for me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Mishaps

For those of you who had a romantic dinner with your loved one yesterday, complete with roses and chocolate and no tag-along children, this blog is not for you. This entry is for the rest of us schmoes who may have crumpled under the stress that can be Valentine's Day.

The day started off harried and it got harrier. I awoke at 6 a.m. to run to the store to get the girls some treats to give their classmates for Valentine's Day. As is often the case when shopping at Wal-Mart, I had to buy more stuff than I needed because I started thinking of other poor souls who might not get a Valentine. More than $50 later, I left Wal-Mart with a cart full of "schtuff."

Just as I arrived home, the neighbor lady called me. The neighbor lady has a phobia of driving in the snow, so she calls me up for rides to her work in the River Bottoms anytime it snows. Despite the huge dumps we've been getting this year, I've only had to drive her three times. Yesterday was one of those times. I quickly drove her to work and tried to make it home before Lissy's preschool began. Luckily, the preschool teacher canceled school because of sickness. Woot, woo! I could make my loved ones a great Valentine's Day breakfast. I set out a little Valentine's gift at the table for each girl, and I brought out Kulani's Valentine's gift (a meat grinder--nothing says "you're mine" like a meat grinder). Kulani wasn't interested in any waffles, and the girls didn't care for any either, as they were busy with their new Valentine's gifts, so I scratched the breakfast idea. Kulani left for work, and we planned to later meet up for the Elder's Quorum's Valentine's Dinner and Dance that was to be catered by Carabbas and free babysitting from the young women. All for the incredibly good price of $25 per couple. Schweet!

I had to finish up a little project at work, and then two neighbor kids needed to be watched for a few hours. We got Lilia's Valentine's ready for her class and dropped her off at the bus stop. I posted a Valentine's Day post on this blog. We drove to Orem to pick up the neighbor across the street. The babysitting parents came to pick up their kids. We dropped off Valentines to my visiting teachees and some neighbor girls. We picked up Lilia from the bus stop. I decided to squeeze in a run after reading the scale that said I'd gained three pounds over the past two weeks. The 40 minute run took over an hour thanks to Nohea constantly trying to come close to the treadmill. The three girls took a bath while I took a shower. My shower took about 45 minutes because I needed to shave my legs. (Damn those long legs of mine--hee, hee!) By this time, we only had 1/2 hour to get the girls fed and all of us ready to go. Kulani arrived 10 minutes before the dinner, and the pizza was still in the oven, Nohea was in her diaper, and narry a shoe was to be on foot. Nohea had a slight break down, so I sat in the chair to nurse her. We found shoes and socks, loaded up the girls, and made our way to the church; a good half hour after the event had started. We walked into the church to find the babysitting room. Turns out, no babysitting room. Where are the babysitters? Kulani found the Elder's Quorum president, who told Kulani they'd canceled the babysitting but forgot to tell him because he's in nursery. We felt like we'd showed up to the prom in our underwear. We just felt...dumb. The Elder's Quorum president tried to convince us to take our kids to his house and have his babysitter watch our kids as well as his 2-year-old daughter, but it just didn't seem right. Here it was a solid 45 minutes after the event had started, and we were going to require the use of his babysitter unannounced. We tried our best to politely turn down his urgings. He felt really bad, but it just didn't seem right to impose on him like that. So we left with the girls and drove to Orem to McGrath's for dinner. We managed to find a seat within a half hour. The service was slow, and Nohea insisted on being walked around the restaurant. We didn't bother waiting to order dessert. Melissa fell asleep on their floor. Lilia was sad because she wanted to be watched by the young women, and we'd built up the night for her. To soothe our sorrows, we went to Wal-Mart and bought a Playstation 3 with Blueray player. Yes, I suppose we are guilty of guilt shopping.

In short, sometimes we make a huge deal about Valentine's Day. I don't want to be a hater, because I welcome a day to show those we love that we love them. But perhaps it's too much to try to live up to the perfect ideal of a perfect Valentine's Day. I see it in men's faces as they stand in front of the displays of flowers wondering which kind to get their significant other. You know, I'm not sure I can recall one Valentine's Day my parents went all out to show each other their love for one another. They showed it through working hard for the good of the family, through being kind and loving on a daily basis, and by doing acts of service. For my parents' generation, Valentine's Day was for school kids to pass out little card Valentines to each other. Well, Kulani and I may have muffed up this Valentine's Day, but at least we now have a Blueray player--ah yeah! And Lilia summed up the night thusly: Sometimes you want to do something and things go wrong, but it's okay because we can just do other things as a family.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You had me at Jell-O

WARNING: This entry may get sappy. Turn back now or continue with caution.

It's been 11 years to the date that Kulani and I were engaged. I thought for posterity's sake, it might be fun to reflect on those early dating months when Kulani and I fell in love.
We were both living in the Miller Apartment complex in the middle of Cougar Town (AKA Provo). My roommates and I were going door-to-door trying to find guys willing to play on our co-ed basketball team. We knocked on Kulani's door, and he asked if I lived in the apartment complex. Of course, I did, hadn't he been to church? I'd seen him leaving church in his little Volkswagen Rabbit, but he apparently had never seen me. He says it was the short pleated skirt I was wearing with knee-high socks that got his attention. I went home after unsuccessfully finding players, and I looked up Kulani's name in the ward directory. "Kulaniakea Fisher" it read. Hmm, I guess the "akea" is silent, or so I thought. I practiced saying the name so that when I saw him again, I could say, "Hi, Kulani."
So I saw him around campus on a couple of more occasions, always shouting out a "Hi, Kulani." He would just look at me. Finally while passing him a third time at the bottom of the Miller Apartment complex where everyone picks up their mail, he turns and asks me, "What's your name again?" So I pull out my best line: "Cindy, you know, like Cindy Brady." He remembered my name all right, because that Friday, he called me up for a date--a last minute kind of thing to go eat all-you-can eat Mexican food and drinks with his brothers and their wives in Salt Lake City. However, I had just returned from a date. You see, the Miller Apartment Complex was known for having lots of intra-ward dates. The bishop had a mandate that girls ask boys on dates every third week of each month. So a lot of dates were going down, and people seemed to always invite me along. But it was rare someone actually asked me out on a one-on-one date. Even though I was already stuffed to the gills with Mexican food, I thought it would be fun to take him up on his offer. Afterall, I needed to get to know this fine-looking Polynesian whose name included four silent letters at the end.
Turned out his full name was pronounced KOOLAHNEEAKAYEH, I found out. Kulani was the shorter version. He found out my dad was a car dealer, and no, he did not own Christenson Motors in Provo, a very big dealership. For a moment, I think he saw visions of marrying a daughter whose father might bequeath her with a new truck. When we started talking about music, I knew we were going to be fast friends. "Have you ever heard of the Smiths?" He asked me. Had I ever heard of the Smiths? Psha! Is your girlfriend still in a coma? Of course I'd heard of the Smiths! We had so much in common, including loving alternative music whilst growing up in small towns with people who were not as enlightened on the whole music world. We made it to the dinner, and I met many of Kulani's siblings. They were drinking virgin pina colada after virgin pina colada. I could barely squeeze down one strawberry daquiri, having still been full from the previous date. My teeth were swimming, to pardon the term. Kulani's family seemed like a fun-loving and uber-accomplished group. Two of his brothers were finishing their last semesters as medical students at the University of Utah, and his other brother was finishing up his master's degree in architecture.
Kulani's old Volkswagen made it to Salt Lake City for the date, but bless its heart, it didn't quite make it home after the date. He stalled on I-15 right outside the Johanna's Kitchen sign. I'm not sure if that billboard is there anymore, but for the longest time, that was our little nudge, nudge, wink, wink billboard. To keep warm, we had to huddle close to each other (perhaps Kulani had it planned all along to have the car break down). Not very many people carried cell phones in those days (1996), so a limo driver pulled over and let us borrow his cell phone to call Kulani's brother to come help us out. Kulani's brother showed up with jumper cables. The car just needed a little jump with the battery, and we drove back to Miller Apartments. The car lasted a little longer before dying, when the radiator hoses broke and caused a man-made geyser to explode from the engine. It was a sight to behold, like going to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful. So we relied on my old 1984 Pontiac, which wasn't in much better shape. We drove the Pontiac out of the temple parking lot the day we were married, but not before Kulani pushed it while I popped the clutch. It lasted a solid year after we were married before giving up the ghost. (But, of course, Dad somehow fixed the Pontiac and it roams the streets of Burley to this day. Never say never when it comes to old cars.)
That date set a string of dates in motion for the gorgeous pineapple and the Idaho spudnik. We dated nearly everyday for the next four months. And then Valentine's Day arrived. I knew Kulani wanted to ask me on Valentine's Day, but I didn't know when or how he would do it. We headed to Mullboon's, the nicest restaurant in town in those days, for a nice dinner. After dinner, he presented me with a Cracker Jack box. "Oh, the ol' ring in the Cracker Jack box routine," I thought. I opened up the box, which had been tampered with. He told me to dig a little deeper for a prize. I did, and sure enough, there was a prize inside: a free tattoo. We laughed and laughed. Later, we went to the movies. Kulani excused himself to get some popcorn. He came back and we shared the popcorn. As I was eating, I found a box inside the tub of popcorn. The box looked very much like a ring box. He told me to open it. I did. Inside was a bunch of Hershey Kisses. Another hearty laugh. After the movie, we went to Kulani's friend Jeremy's house for dessert. Before driving, Kulani brought out a package. It was his Valentine's gift to me. I opened the package, and inside was a bottle of perfume. "Isn't there anything else?" He asked. This time I knew it would be the ring, but I shook the bag and out came another little bottle of perfume. Another tricky trap! By this time, I just assumed he would ask me another day. We pulled up to Jeremy's house, and Kulani nudged me inside. There in the middle of Jeremy's floor was a toy train rolling around a track. On the caboose was the ring in a box with a note attached that read, "I choo, choo, choose you." Kulani got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. If you have never seen the Simspon's Valentine's episode, you wouldn't get that reference. Lisa feels bad for Ralphie because he doesn't get any Valentine's, so she gives him one, and as Ralphie tells her later, "You gave me a Valentine and it had a picture of a train and it said, 'I choo, choo, choose you.'" Lisa later goes on to break his heart, but that didn't happen in our story. (Sidenote: One of the best lines out of Ralphie's mouth comes from that episode: "The doctor said I wouldn't have any nose bleeds if I just kept my finger out of there.")
So Kulani, if you happen to read this, it's been 11 years since you cho, cho, chose me, and I'd choo, choo, choose you all over again. I love you!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Funny Things Said By Friends or Family Around Our Dinner Table

"I grew up in Preston, Idaho, and I worked in the little town grocery store. Once this lady came up to me asking me where she could find Ricotta. I didn't know what Ricotta was, so I asked her to describe it to me. She said it's a type of cheese and you use it in lasagna. I was thinking, 'Lady, this is Preston, Idaho. Use cottage cheese like the rest of us.'" -- Brent Hulme

When I think of more, I'll post them here.