Monday, October 25, 2010

A Note of Encouragement to Entering College Freshmen

Nearly two decades ago, I considered myself “smart.” I put “smart” in quotes because, well, I’m not that “smart.” Words don’t usually need quotes, but to illustrate that I thought myself “smart” but really I wasn’t, I put “smart” in quotes.

At any rate, I took a college placement exam called the ACT, and to put it lightly, I bombed it. Fluke, I thought. So I took it again. Same – exact – score. See? Not so smart. I’d reveal the score, but it’s really embarrassing. And one time I overheard my husband, who scored something like a 31 on the ACT, remark to one of his smart friends something about another friend who scored a 24 on the ACT and how he was really dumb. I have never told my husband my score, but I’ll sheepishly admit now that it was actually lower than a 24 by two points. Think you know my score? Well, you probably scored higher than me too. Rub it in next time you see me.

Nevertheless, I applied to BYU. At that time, BYU was at its height of being selective. It’s a touch less selective now, as Ricks became BYU-Idaho and allowed more students, thus, less students applying at the “real” BYU. But when I applied to BYU, the rumor was that if you didn’t score at least a 28 on your ACT, don’t bother applying.

But who was I to listen to rumors. And crazily enough, I got in, but with one caveat: I had to start in the summer. If I did well in my courses, I could stay for eternity…or until I got my degree. Whichever came first.

I provided this background to illustrate that nearly my entire adult life, I have had this dark cloud hanging over me. I’ve scraped by somehow on my Forrest-Gumplike brains. Every job post college that I’ve had, I’ve been grateful for. I’ve never been the one who is complaining that at “such and such job, we got to do such and such.” Are you kidding me? You know those people holding the sign telling you that $5 pizza is this way? That should have been me.

It’s a miracle that I’ve found a job I love and appreciate that’s indoors and out of the elements of Utah weather.

And for you college-age freshmen with a similar background, I had a huge ah-ha moment the other day at work.

I was talking to a colleague about her being salutatorian of her 1,000+ class in California, and how she scored a perfect on the language part of the SAT.

And I looked at her. And I looked at me. And her desk is a lot like mine. And her job responsibilities are a lot like mine. And her pay scale is a lot like mine. And you know what?

She thinks her job is beneath her. I think my job is heaven sent. Guess which one of us is happier with our station in life?

Hallah for the Forrest Gumps of the world!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Defense Rests, Your Honor

It was Fall break for the Alpine school district, and all week we psyched the girls up for a camping adventure on Friday.

Each night, Lilia reminded us of the countdown: "Three more days to camping...two more days to more day to camping."

The day arrived. We're a touch rusty when it comes to camping, as we haven't been for close to three years. Kulani has been busy due to his employment at a firm we lovingly refer to as "Work'em Night and Day." But now that he's working from home, time is on our side.

We had forgotten how long it takes to get things ready. Around 4 p.m. we set out for Cabella's to get some attachments for our camp heater and a carbon monoxide detector, so we could sleep soundly but not too soundly, RIP.

Then we took our propane tank to get it filled up, as well as secure some firewood. Finally around 6 p.m. we made it back home and started throwing the camping supplies into the BMW (Big Mormon Wagon):

  • Cots, check.
  • Lantern, check.
  • Camp heater, check.
  • Tent....
We found the tent, but upon closer inspection, it appeared that the pole strings had been cut. It was 6:30 p.m. and we were just finding this out now. It gets dark here around 7:30 p.m., and we still needed to travel to our camping destination about a half an hour away.

We were (deep breath, deep breath) mad.

"Girls! Get down here right now!" I shouted. Family meeting was in order.

"Who cut these tent poles?" Kulani asked in a stern voice.

After hemming and hawing, Lilia said she'd cut the tent poles, so she could use them for a magic wand.

Kulani dismissed them to their rooms telling them we wouldn't be camping tonight and to think about that the next time they wanted to ruin our stuff.

The girls went up to their room and cried and cried while Kulani assessed the damage. After some time, Lilia came back downstairs.

Fearing that we didn't hammer our point enough, Kulani said, "Lilia, I don't think you've ever seen me this angry. I am really upset by what you did."

Lilia meakly answered, "Dad, I was five when I did it."

Kulani stopped in his tracks. "That's a good argument. In fact, that's probably a winner."

The prosecution threw out the case, and the scheduled camping trip was back on.

Using some fishing line, he tied the ends of the tent pole elastic and strung the elastic through one pole and connected it to the other. He managed to fix the poles except for one. One pole was missing two sections.

I called Recreation Outlet in American Fork, and it turns out they sell replacement sections for around $10 for four sections. You can also buy the elastic for $.15 a yard. It was now 7:30 p.m. I hurried to the store for the replacement sections and more elastic.

I also made a stop at Macey's for some s'more supplies and batteries for the lantern.

By 9:00 p.m., we had all the poles fixed and the camping supplies loaded.

We crammed into the mini-van and rushed up the canyon to find a spot. Surprisingly, all the spots at Salamander Flats weren't taken, so we cozied up next to some car campers, and set up tent.

By 11 p.m. camp was set up and we were roasting marshmallows by the fire. Even though it was very warm in Cedar Hills, it was cold in the mountains. I was very glad for the camp heater, as we slept very soundly that night.

In the morning we went for a short hike.

It was a memorable adventure. Even though getting ready to go camping is a lot of work, I'm really glad we didn't lose our heads completely over the small hiccup. We all lived to camp another day.

Kulani fixing the tent poles.

Kulani and Lehua snuggling by the campfire.

Lilia and Melissa roasting marshmallows.
Lilia, Lissy, and Lehua enjoying the flames.
Girls reading in bed.
Nohea and Lehua settle down for a brisk night of camping.
Jesse finds a place to lay his tired head.
Up early in the morn' for a hike.

Scenic stop on the hike.

Lehua hitching a ride on dad.