Thick as a Brick

This evening as we were putting Porter and Walker down for bed in their new room, I called Porter over to Walker’s bed so we could all lay down together and read the bedtime story the picked out.  So, as I started reading ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ one of their perrennial favorites, I discovered that my shoulder was laying in something wet.  After a quick sniff, it was pretty easy to identify it as pee.  Apparently sometime between dinner and bedtime, Walker had enough time to take off his pants and pee all over his bed.  I’m not sure if he randomly got himself naked (something he frequently does) and then had an accident, or if he just whipped it out and intentionally used his bed as a urinal (something I could see him doing), but I sure am sick of that kid not being potty trained.  He just turned 3, which means we’ve been trying for over a year now, but the little kid just doesn’t care about anything!  We’ve tried rewarding, punishing, shaming, praising, cajoling, ignoring.  We just can’t get him to care about anything for more than 3 seconds.  I’m quite sure I could beat him near to death trying to get him to change something and it wouldn’t have any effect.

So, the point of this post is not how stubborn Walker is, but how he manages to keep himself alive even after pushing us to our limits:  After I discovered the pee, I made him lay down on the floor for the rest of the story.  This, of course, had no impact on him.  He’s just as carefree sleeping on cement as on his bed, so no punishment there.  Anyway, after the story and lights out I layed down with Walker to have a heart to heart.  I went on and on about how he should want to be a big boy like Porter and how he can’t have sleepovers with his cousins or go to school if he pees his pants all the time, and I know he can do it if he just pays attention.  Blah, blah, blah, for 10 minutes, with Walker trying to answer my questions the way he thinks I want, but his brain obviously floating somewhere in la-la-land the whole time.  Finally, exasperated, I said “I just don’t know what to do to get through to your head!”  Walker, suddenly taking interest, looked at me and said in all seriousness “you’re too big to fit through my head.”

At that point I just laughed, realized I was trying to reason with an adorable little brick wall, gave up, tucked him in bed and left.

Once more unto the beach, dear friends

Rather than spending the weekend unpacking and moving into our new house, (which right now pretty much looks like the aftermath of a frat house kegger, only with more boxes) instead we decided to thumb our noses at Pi Omicron Sigma house and go camping.  So, Friday after work, we loaded up everything into the back of the truck, crammed the three boys in the back seat and headed into the woods.  Two hours later we arrived at beautiful Lake Tizgay, a secluded little place where my father-in-law owns a bunch of cabins that serve as a logging camp during the week.  Karli’s whole family came along, which meant something like 13 adults and 17 kids.  It was a bit different than the family outings I’m used to in Utah, where I only have 4 siblings, none with spouses or children.

We spent Friday night in a small cabin, just with my wife and boys.  Saturday morning dawned early (it gets light here at about 4am, so I feel like I’ve slept in forever when it’s only seven or eight) and I discovered the absolute worst way in the world to be awakened.  In our cabin, there were a bunch of mosquitos buzzing around my ears all morning, so I had finally just wrapped my head in my sleeping bag, preferring the stifling heat to the incessant buzzing.  There I was, sound asleep, when my wife decided to haul off and punch me right in the testicles.  What the hell?  is exactly what I cried as I sat bolt upright to the sickening pain.  Karli claimed there was a mosquito there, that she thought it was only my leg and that it was a very light slap, but I’m still not sure.  After that delightful experience, I knew I didn’t want to stay in bed any longer, what with my wife there waiting for me to fall asleep so she could exact her terrible vengeance again, so I got up and went for a swim in the ice cold lake.

After breakfast, we spent the morning building a new floating dock on the lake shore.  Once it was put together, we were able to unhook it from the mooring and paddle it out in the lake to dive off of.  After lunch, we spent the afternoon fishing for rainbow trout in the lake and playing Mennonite Rummy with Karli’s Dad, who loves to play cards and hates to lose (Karli and I thrashed him).

After a great dutch oven dinner, I took Walker out for a hike through the woods.  When we got back, he wanted to go for a ride in the fishing boat, so we put our lifejackets on and headed down to the dock.  I got him situated in the front of the little aluminum skiff and told him to sit still and hold on.  The little boat was fairly unstable and it was harder without another adult there to balance the weight, but I thought I could handle it.  Boy, was I wrong.

The boat motor wouldn’t start in neutral, so I had to start it in gear.  Once it finally started up, I was headed right for a gravel bar, so I turned sharply to avoid it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t balanced properly in the back of the boat yet, and I turned so sharp that the boat started tipping over.  In hindsight, I ask myself: why didn’t I just cut the motor or jerk it back the other way?  But at the time, all I was able to manage was to pull a scuba-style backflip out the side of the boat, trying to save it from capsizing completely and drowning my 3-year-old.  I popped up quick and took a hold of the side, before it could motor out into the lake without me.  Luckily I was still in shallow water, so I was able to stand up and kill the engine.  Once the boat stopped moving and I made sure Walker was OK (amazingly he did as he had been told and sat down and held on), my immediate thought was “please let nobody in the cabin have seen what a complete retard I am.  Please!”

Alas, my prayers went unanswered as people came streaming out onto the deck to see if I was OK.  I told them I was fine and then did the only thing I could think of to salvage what little remained of my dignity: I dropped my soaking wallet and keys on the shore, got back in the boat with Walker, started it up and took him for his tour around the lake.  When we got back I changed clothes, set everything out to dry and went up to the main cabin to face my shame.  Everyone was actually quite nice to me and must have only ridiculed their newbie brother-in-law while I was out of earshot.  Thanks goodness.

When it got dark, we all gathered on the beach to watch a fantastic fireworks display, put on by one of my brothers-in-law, Russell.  Then we all went to bed.  Sunday morning we got up early, had breakfast, cleaned up the cabins and headed back to town to get ready for church.  Our house was still a royal pigsty when we got back, but at least we had made some memories.  Some of them were good, others were at least not soon to be forgotten.

Into the Great White North

Well, we’re here.  6 years of convincing, 18 months of beurocracy & 2 months of homelessness all culminated this last weekend as we rolled into our new hometown: Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the major metropolitan areas of Canada, here is a map of our journey for your reference:

The drive up was pretty good, considering.  I rented a U-Haul trailer which was only supposed to go 45 mph, but I drove 75 anyway.  At that speed, I had to keep the wheel pretty steady or the trailer would start fishtailing, but it helped keep me awake and alert.  I had Porter with me most of the way, but he just watched his Scooby-Doo in the back seat and took care of himself.  Karli had to have Walker (2 yr) & Luke (6 mo) with her, so she didn’t have the quiet ride I did.  Luckily, her cousin Jenna came along for the ride and took care of the kids.  We drove for about 13 hours Saturday and had to stop for a while at the border to export and import our vehicles.  We stayed the night in Lethbridge, AB, got up early Sunday and drove another 13 hours, through Banff & Jasper parks.  I was getting pretty drowsy not having anyone to talk with, but I found that chewing sunflower seeds kept me awake.  I also picked up a hitchiker in Jasper and he rode with me about 3 hours to Prince George.  He was a funny old guy from Slovakia on his way to Alaska.  I got to speak some Russian with him, which was fun.  We finally rolled into Vanderhoof about 7pm.

Vanderhoof is where my wife, Karli, is from, and where most of her family still lives, so she is happy to finally be home after 10 years of living in the States.  I’m excited to be here, too, not least of all because we actually have a home to live in again, after 2 months of staying in my parents’ basement.  I’m also looking forward to our kids having lots of cousins their age to play with and lots of wide open spaces to run around in.  The town is only about 5,000 people, or so, and there are a lot of farms and forests to get lost in.

We haven’t actually moved into our new home yet, but I’ve been working in the basement this week.  Karli’s brother, Kyle, is living here now, but they are moving next door and we’re moving in later this week.  Karli’s parents own both sides of this twin home and we will be renting from them until we find a place to buy or build our own home.  Ideally, I’d like to buy some land on one of the lakes around here, or at least on the river that runs through town.  Then I can start my own polar bear club.  All those times jumping into the Provo river in November have just been training excercises for living here.

Ever since I read the 4 Hour Workweek I’ve been trying to set myself up to be able to work remotely from anywhere in the world.  The first stage was getting my own office in Springville.  This is stage 2, working from home in rural Canada.  Stage 3 is moving to Fiji for a few months next summer and working on the beach.  So far, so good!