Friday, April 25, 2014

Grandpa - Doing That Thing You Do

When I was 16, I went to a church track meet, not to run, but to check out all the cutie boys in shorty- shorts, because I was that kind of a desperate pubescent mess. Somehow I ended up running the 440, although the word running is probably a gross exaggeration of what I actually did.

Regrettably, I got about 1/3 of the way around the track and realized that my heart was beating in my brain and that the dreadful, moaning, gasping sound I could hear was coming from me.  I thought about bowing out, but wasn’t sure if any cute boys in spandex-tight shorts might be watching, so instead of humiliating myself I decided to finish the race dead-last and crumple in a heap of sweaty, gaspiness because what says “I know you want me” like I can’t breath and I smell bad?

I vowed that day to never not be able to run around the track once at a church track meet again, (one of my loftier goals,) so I started running around the cemetery. Actually I walked a side, jogged a side until I could run around the cemetery. I figured it was a good place to run because only dead people were watching and if I died, nobody would have to move my body too far.

Pretty soon, I got so I could go around and around that cemetery; the headstones were a blur I tell you. Then I moved to the roads where I could run in my sleek, running shorts with my sweaty glistening, tanned body past the houses of all the boys who should have had crushes on me. I felt like such a big deal that I decided to train with the cross country team.

School started and we had our first race. The gun went off and I got about 1/3 of the way around the track and realized that my heart was beating in my brain and that the dreadful, moaning, gasping sound I could hear was coming from me. That’s when I realized that I am not a competitive person. I am all about raising the white flag and surrendering.

Now I don’t run competitively. Actually, that last word wasn't necessary. I mean running is great if you don’t like breathing or if you happen to be someone else or if you don’t enjoy having toenails.  Unfortunately, I don’t care if I ever run in a church track meet again. I figure I could always rock the church track meet in a cheer leading skirt and some pompoms, right?

My father-in-law is a runner. He can’t even run and he still runs. He’s so slow now that I have to walk backwards to keep up with him. But he runs. It’s what he does; it’s what he’s always done, probably because he doesn’t want to wear a cheer leading uniform at a church track meet.

A couple of months ago, he decided that he was going to “run.” Everybody at “his place” was busy doing other things and he decided he wanted to see the mountains, so he left. After all he reasoned, I am a runner and I was a scout leader. He could remember those things, but unfortunately, he couldn’t remember that he has Alzheimer’s.

When we realized he was gone, we started searching for him. The staff where he lives started searching for him. The police and fire department started searching. Hundreds of volunteers searched. There was a story about him on the news and there was a reverse 911 call that went out. And just to make things really lively, some search dogs and a helicopter joined the fun. Unfortunately, we searched within a mile radius of his place, because how could he get any farther when he was so slow?

By 2:00 in the morning, the search died down. We started looking again at first light. No luck. Then at 10:00 a.m. we got a phone call. He was at Alta View Hospital. Somebody had found him and that’s where the fire department who responded had taken him.  Why so far away we wondered? There were closer hospitals. The answer was that they took him so far away because HE WAS SO FAR AWAY. Step by step he had traveled over 8 miles—up and down hills, across 8 major roads and the freeway. To the mountains. 

When we got to him in the hospital, he was dehydrated, all scratched up and extremely cold. Crying, my husband and I ran into the room. His eyes lit up, he smiled and asked, “What are you guys doing here?”  It turns out he wasn’t lost at all. He knew the whole time where he was even if we didn’t. It was a grand, liberating experience for him that subtracted 10 years from our lives.

He is turning 74 next month. Everyday he asks us when his birthday is. Some days he asks if we skipped it. But no, we are not skipping it. How could we not celebrate such a great man who keeps running even when it’s hard? And what better way to celebrate than by having a race? So, for Dad’s birthday we are running 75 miles. (It seemed a shame to only run 74, so we are celebrating the beginning of his 75th year.) Fortunately, this is a collective run. Between everyone at the party, we will run 75 miles. There are about 25 of us, so nobody should have to do more than 2-4 miles.
So, for grandpa, I will put on my running shoes and “run” around our mile course gasping for air, my heart flopping in my chest like a fish out of water; I might even do it 2 or 3 or 4 times. Who knows, I might even run in a cheer leading skirt with pompoms because I think his life is definitely worth cheering about.  I’m a little worried about the “run,” but how bad can it be when I know he’s good for at least 8 miles?

Grandpa running in a 5k with 3 of his grandkids.
June 1, 2013

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Nice to be Important but it's More Important to be Nice

I've been thinking a lot about being nice. Nice people rock. Nice people who are nice when it's hard to be nice especially rock, like the man who helped clean frozen whipped cream smeared all over my daughter's windows in sub-zero weather after a basketball game because some dumb boy thought this was a better way to say yes to a dance than flowers, a note or a phone call text. Did I mention that this was a game that my daughter had played in and his daughter had played in and that my daughter's team had beat his daughter's team in a close, intense game? Did I mention that he was visiting our school? Well, now I did. Thank you kind man. You rock!

Obviously I still have a way to go because I am still obsessing with the "dumb boy" who left the whipping cream on my daughters windows. Did I mention he did it again a few nights later because the first time it smeared and you couldn't read the yes?

The other day I was sitting on the couch looking at photo albums with my father-in-law. This is the man that has taught me a lot about what's important in life (people, not things), who is thankful and appreciative of the littlest things--going for a walk, a hug, gummy bears and apples. He is also the man that introduces me as his parent, forgets to wear essential articles of clothing, and occasionally shaves his eyebrows because he's just not sure when to stop.

As we were thumbing through the album, he came across this picture of himself.

He said, "I look nice in this picture; am I nice?"
I replied, "You are nice; you are very nice."
He then grabbed my arm, looked at me intently and asked, "Have I always been nice?"
"You have been nice your whole life," I answered.
He sighed a big breath of relief.

Forget that most of his worldly possessions are gone--that he can't remember how to use a telephone or turn on his t.v., and that most of the time he's not sure where he is or who everyone else is. But he's nice. That's important. When all's said and done, God isn't going to care about the big house he owned, or the amazing things he did as a chemical engineer, or all the exotic places he traveled, but He will care that Dad was nice. And he is. Very nice. I hope I can be as nice.

And, because we're talking about being nice/kind here, I wanted to share this post that my son made in our family blog:

When I got off work today I just wanted to spend time with my family.  Since it was Grandpa's birthday I felt like I should get him a present since I honestly can't remember ever getting him anything for his birthday.  On my way home I stopped at Golden Corral to grab a gift card and saw swarms of people headed for the entrance from all directions of the parking lot.  It kind of looked like a heard of Zombies from Walking Dead, many of the people with canes and walkers crept forward like they were going to eat their last meal.  I quickly parked and awkwardly power walked past at least 20 people only to find that many people already in line.  At Golden Corral the line moves so slowly not because of the restaurant but because of the of the people in line.  The Electric Scooter companies should stop airing infomercials and just work the line at Golden Corral.  Anyway that took a long time.  Leaving, there is that intersection, the one that was designed by Hydra agents implanted inside Draper City.  I literally hit all 6 possible lights red trying to get to 12600 it took 10 minutes to travel 500 feet.  (Can you tell yet what my rant is about?)

I met up with Bree and the kids.  We divided Bree got the cute one and I got the crazy one and I headed towards Neal's.  I felt bad since every Potluck I've ever been to with the Staker's I rely on the mercy of Mom, Danny and Joe's family bringing food I feel safe eating.  I stopped at KFC and it literally took 30 minutes to get a bucket of Chicken and a small French fries for Lila.  Awesome service and I really could write a whole post about that.  

I get home and Bree is having a girls night with some ladies in the area and our table that is a month old totally got destroyed by acetone.  I'm not sure it is safe to have that stuff in the house after seeing what it can do to our table.  

Anyway believe it or not the only time I got mad tonight was when I hit that sixth red light.  I want to be kind to everyone for that is right you see.  Old people doing what old people do at Golden Corral is life.  It is like asking a fart not to stink, a fart should stink(until we invent the pill and make millions$$$)

At KFC....when a 15 year kid, who drew the short straw or I think had a jerk of a boss make him be the one to bring out food that was delayed by 30 minutes...leadership at its finest.  I could tell he was just waiting for me to be mad and yell at him.  He was literally bracing himself as he apologized looking down at his feet.  I put my hand on his shoulder looked him in the eye and waited for him to return my gaze and said "Its okay.  It is a bucket of chicken and a small fry not a big deal at all.  Don't worry about it."  I had just got to spend 30 minutes talking, playing and walking around with Lila.  About 20 minutes into our wait Lila grabbed my hand looked me in eyes and said, "Dad, I love you.  Thanks."  With my busy schedule I don't get to spend a lot of time with Lila what a blessing to have those 30 minutes with nothing to do but wait and get to know my little girl better.    

The table is just a table.  With Lila it was just a matter of time before it was destroyed, the recent invention of the table cloth will solve all our problems.  Hey!  Alexx maybe that is why you just gave me a bunch of old table cloths.  

A lot of crap is going on at work that is making a lot of people angry.  At the end of the day is it worth it?  I don't think so. I hope I can be happy and kind to everyone because that is what I want from everyone and that is the right thing. 

Thanks Quin. Happy early Mother's Day to me!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Where do I start when I ended so abruptly and let all 3 of you down? Where have I been the last 385 days you ask? I am asking myself the same thing. I was on sabbatical. To accomplish what you ask? That is what I ask too. Hmmm. Well. Hmmm.

I've done a lot of thinking, okay a little bit of thinking. And what I've been thinking is, why do I blog and why do they call the stuff between your toes jam when it doesn't taste anything like jam? Here are some of the answers I came up with about why I blog at least:
I need one more thing on my to-do list.
Somebody said I should.
I socialize with people I've never met, creepy, but good, I think.

Then I asked myself, why should I blog? Here's what I came up with:
When my hard-drive goes out that I haven't backed up for months and I lose my whole journal, at least I'll have my blog on the world-wide-web unless I haven't blogged for as long as I haven't backed up my hard drive.
But the biggest reason I need to blog is that blogging fills some deep need I have to create, to use my mind, and communicate in more than grunts and moans.
In other words, I need to blog to preserve my history and avoid brain-rot.

So, I'm back although my brain is probably a little rotten. In case you're wondering, this is some of the stuff that kept me occupied during my sabbatical:

Jena Claire Campbell was born. And yes, the J is for me!!! and the ena is for the other awesome grandma, Kena.

We did this all wrong because Kena + Jill equals Kill.  I should be standing on the other side. . .

My daughter Cool Beans married the equally cool Luke Madsen.

Boston Milo Benson was born.

Bri married the amazing Tyler Killpack and I got to plan another wedding. What CAN'T I do with a glue gun???

Harvey, Aiden, Trey, Tyson, Colton Charlie was born.  His brother still asks, "What is baby Harvey's name again?" And because I have this obsession with videoing things and eating handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I made this:

I also made this for a friend:

And re-edited this because I wanted to:

And made this because what could be more exciting than documenting ice?

I also did a load of laundry, picked the kids up from school and gave the dog a bath.  Probably.