Saturday, June 22, 2013

Crash and Burn!

At this point, I had been working at Steven's Henager College Online Division for a few months.  Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea.  They did do some fun activities to promote a positive culture in the company.  Holiday parties were always pretty exciting, like dressing up in team themes for Halloween, or they would do in house competitions between the teams where winner would be rewarded with a movie on a Friday afternoon or something of the sort.  However, on the flip side it was not a fun atmosphere for me to be in.  People were quick to be let go, you were stuck on a dial-er all day long, and I didn't feel right selling an expensive education to people who quite frankly couldn't afford it or weren't even looking to go to school.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for education- just not the way it was done here.  Needless to say, I had started to look for opportunities elsewhere.  However, it was not going very well.  I was over educated and under experienced.  It was starting to get to me as companies kept declining over and over again.  Mike sought to lift my spirits so he lined up a play date with Danny and Haley.  We went out to 5 Guys and then saw The Help.  Yup, it helped brighten my "crash and burn" session.  Later in the month, John and Julie would also give us a night getaway in their hotel in Park City.  It was nice, we just chilled and watched The Fugitive.   Life wasn't so bad after all.

Over Thanksgiving break, Mike would experience a crash and burn of a more literal sort.  We were heading down to St. George for the weekend and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to use our brand new bikes.  We decided to take the family on a beginning mountain biking trail known as Bear Claw Poppy.  Now keep in mind that my family was not experienced mountain biking and their bikes were very basic, i.e. no shocks, disc brakes, etc.  So we took the whole family on this trail, even though they may have cursed us for some of the drop offs on their non-experienced bikes everybody really enjoyed it.  Mac pulled up to the finish, I came right behind, and then we hear a major crash.  We turn and Mike had eaten it on his bike.  He was not used to brakes working so well and had wanted to attempt one final jump before the end, consequently he hit the brakes too hard and flew over the handlebars.  Mike quickly got up and tried to walk it off.  His arm and hand were cut up pretty bad.  His hand had flesh hanging off and just dangling there.  I tried to console him but I was getting faint.  My stomach couldn't handle it and I thought I was going to pass out.  I told him I was sorry as I tried to hold it together.  My parents showed up and offered to go get the cars, seeing we had to run shuttle.  So for 15 minutes we were hanging out at the bottom of the trail as my parents grabbed the cars.  After about 10 minutes, Mike came over and apologized to me.  He said he thought he would have to go to the hospital and he didn't have insurance.  He had just noticed that he had a golf ball size hole in his hip as well.  It was crazy how little it bled, probably why he didn't notice it for a while.  He took some pictures and sent it out to his siblings.  Julie would make fun of him as that is the trail she had learned how to mountain bike on.  The most experienced in the group was the only one who would sustain battle scars that day.  

My parents finally got back with the cars and my mom had to drive to the hospital because I thought I was going to pass out.  We arrived at the ER and they let us know that he was going to need stitches.   They took him back to the room and I went into the hall because I wasn't feeling so well.  The nurses said I looked really pale and offered me some orange juice.  I then asked Mike if he would like some juice as well.  Here we are at the hospital for him to get stitches and the nurses give me juice first because I am pale- how pathetic am I?!  No worries though, Mike was just fine.  He was told to take it easy for the next few days.  You can imagine how bummed Mike was when we actually had a long weekend in St. George to do lots of outdoor activities and he is told to take it easy.  So he spent the rest of the weekend watching me play tennis with some ladies from Salt Lake City. Luckily, he still got a Thanksgiving feast that weekend at the Casablanca buffet in Mesquite.   

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bikes, Hikes, and Halloween Treats!

The time had come to reward Mike for getting his job at Zane Benefits.  Mike had been wanting a bike for several years, however, the cost for a good bike is a little steep. After he got his job, I promised him that we could get a bike as a reward for getting into a career job.  We decided we would get mountain bikes as they are a little more versatile than a road bike.   We started looking on KSL and talking to people to learn more about Bikes.  Mike began spending a lot of time with my uncle Mike discussing bikes at family parties.  One day there it was, a deal too good to pass up, or so I was told.  It was a 2008 Specialized Stump Jumper, army green nonetheless, for less than $1,000 dollars. With a little tune up, it would be a great bike.  Mike had found his match.  It was time to splurge.  Now we just needed to find me a bike, which would come later in the month.

In the meantime, we decided to continue partying.  We went on a fast food date, which consists of picking up one item at each fast food restaurant until you have a full meal, I officially became a Hill as would be verified on my driver's license and social security card, and we partied in St. George.  My dad had heard about a dirt road from St. George to a remote spot in the Grand Canyon known as Toroweap.  It is about 90 miles from St. George and about 55 miles, 148 by road, from the North Rim Headquarters.  It is the only spot in the National Park where you can see the Colorado River directly below.  Saturday morning we took a day trip on the Arizona Strip to the Toroweap area of the Grand Canyon.  Even though it is not too many miles, a good portion of the road is dirt thus making slower travel. Thankfully we had the good old Xterra to take the beating. About 60 miles in, we stopped by a historical site, Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse.  It was recently renovated and the doors to the school house stay open year round.  Even though it is not very big it also served as the town's dance hall and meeting center.  It is a symbol of the lifestyle, culture, and learning of a little town.  Well, after spending about 10 minutes, we decided it was time to pursue our real destination, Bar 10 Ranch.

The Bar 10 Ranch is a few miles away from the lookout point.  They offer accommodations ranging from sleeping under the stars, to sleeping in a covered wagon, to bunk beds inside the lodge itself.  They also have several different snakes, lizards, and spiders, in cages outside for your entertainment.  Although, they do various tours, we had come to ride ATV's down to the lookout point.  As we were waiting to do our tour, we played a few games of pool upstairs.  The time had arrived and the tour guides called us in to debrief us on safety tips, gather names, and other tour guide things.  When it came to my turn to give my name, I could barely get it out Mac had me laughing so hard.  Unfortunately, I may have embarrassed the family some, but it was really funny.  

After the debriefing, it was time for the real party.  It was a lot of fun cruising on the ATV's.  We went so fast and knowing us we pushed limits.  I believe my top speed was 40 miles per hour and others were even faster.  The lookout was really spectacular.  There was a trail descending into the Canyon for those who wanted to go down.  Of course we did it, though some would say it was very tiring.  We saw a group running the river.   Mike was able to educate us while longing to be floating down the rapids as well.  The tour guides also allowed for a little down time where we could re-hydrate and relax.  One of our tour guides was an interesting character.  The group got talking about jobs and we said how there just weren't tons of jobs in St. George.  He thought differently.  In fact, he was able to  supplement his touring income by gathering and selling rocks.  We told Mike this is how he could supplement his living while he built up his own tour company.  Needless to say, Mike was not too convinced.  Once we were refueled, educated, and been down into the canyon, it was time to return to the ranch.  We flew back and by the time we reached the lodge we were covered in dust.  We were a mess but it was totally worth it.  After cleaning up a bit, we ended our tour with a lovely home cooked meal.  It was delightful.  

We kept the outdoors coming as we also traveled down to the Swells with Uncle Marcel, Danny, John, and John Goates.  Yup, I was about to embark on another guy's trip.  There were only six of us going so we decided to all cram into Uncle Marcel's smaller SUV.  It was a little bit crowded to say the least.  On the ride home I even tried sitting in the back with all of the gear, Uncle Marcel found me and quickly outlawed that idea.  As we were driving through the Spanish Fork canyon, on our way to the swells, we were the second car to come up on an accident.  The one car had attempted a U turn and had crashed into another vehicle.  The boys helped the elderly lady out of her car and gave her a blanket.  We waited for the cops to come and then we continued our journey.

Luckily we made it safely to our destination.  We set up camp and went to bed for the night, for in the morning we had an adventure to embark on.  The next morning Uncle Marcel woke us up bright and early to go on a really long hike, about 9-10 hours, through a slot canyon.  At about the turn around point, we stopped to eat some food.  The fellas decided it was the perfect set up for a rope swing.  You guessed it, we built a rope swing.  It was great fun.  But the fun was not over.  We went a little further before turning around and found some small water pots.  John Goates feet slipped out as he was running around the muddy edge and into the water he fell.  So he decided to take a swim.  At one point, Danny had a "brilliant" idea.  He would whip Mike with reed and then Mike could whip him back.  Yes, both Johns joined in as well and the men had their battle scars.  Soon food overcame us and we all set our heads down and walked back as quickly as we could.  The swells had lost its thrill as Wendy's  overpowered the mind.  We couldn't get their fast enough.

At some point in October, we had also found a bike for me.  It was in awesome condition and was also the Specialized brand.  The only down side is the owner was a lesbian and her partner was selling us the bike. She definitely didn't care to hide their lifestyle, making it slightly awkward as Mike is testing out the bike and we are hanging back in the driveway.  But the bike was ours.  Now that we both had bikes, it was time to do an official mountain bike ride.  Around Halloween, Uncle Mike volunteered to take us on our first ride up Snowbasin resort.  When we got there we thought we would be just fine as their was an older gentleman and his teenage boy.  Plus I had been doing some stationary bike.  Boy were we wrong.  It was about 16 miles and it kicked our butts, we were way behind the pack and struggled to finish.  Nevertheless, we persevered and conquered, if you can even call it that.  Afterwards, we went over to Danny and Haley's for a Halloween party and Mike was so wiped out he had to go upstairs and take a twenty minute power nap, before they woke him up for a doughnut eating contest.  But don't worry they forgave us, figuring we were a priest and a nun.  Later that night, we went to a local park and saw several scary scenes.  Jon and Julie's family had one of their own.  Who knew Julie could be so scary or that Mike would attend a U of U football game?  I sure didn't, but they both happened.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Testing the waters of Parenthood

Later September, we would get our first opportunity to attempt parenthood for an entire weekend.  Yup, that’s right Ben and Becky trusted us with their two little ones, Addy and Mia.  Ben and Becky were heading out of the country to scout out Mongolia for Ben’s new job.  They left us the handbook for the week and told us this would determine how quickly we would have kids of our own.  Becky told us to base our decision on Addy’s behavior and not Mia’s.   What Becky didn’t know is what an angel little Mia would be the entire weekend. 
With the background information covered, and goodbyes said, we were now left in charge.  However, I must say we did surprisingly well.  We did all the things normal parents do- have them take naps, make meals, clean up, and get stressed when they aren’t 100% obedient.  Ok, let’s be real- I stressed out as Mike was laid back as always.  But we also did fun things as well like jumping on the tramp, watching cartoons, and even going to Addy’s soccer game.  Coming from my sports background, I was highly looking forward to the soccer game.  Becky had forewarned us that Addy was a little bit scared of the ball and to encourage her to touch the ball in the game.  We had a mission to accomplish.  We cheered so loud every time she touched the ball and gave our best words of encouragement, even Mia chipped in with encouraging cheers from the sidelines.  At the end of the game, Addy had touched the ball several times and we couldn’t have been any prouder.  Our favorite part was how most kids didn’t follow the soccer ball- instead they followed the other kids.  It was highly entertaining.  After the game Addy was kind enough to share her after game treat, probably the best part of soccer for most kids, with Mia.  Later that night, we lined up a play date with Dave and Amanda and their kids.  We went to the great Bomb Diggity’s, a cheeseburger joint, in South Jordan.   

On our final day, Sunday, we did the normal church thing.  A lady thought that I was the blood relative of Becky and not Mike.  I guess you could say I was starting to look like a Hill.  After church our work was practically done.  That night we would take them to Grandma Hill’s house and retire from our temporary parenthood adventure.  It was crazy how fast the weekend went between naps, fun, and everything else.  We realized why people say time goes by quicker as you grow up.  Later we would be rewarded with a screaming deal on a TV, not to mention all the free food which came with it.  However, the most important lesson we learned that weekend is parenthood isn’t so bad after all.