Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

It's Father's Day, so I've decided to post the Father Draft top ten. These are the vital life lessons/rules I've been taught over the years by my dad.

1. Never shoot someone just once

2. If you're surrounded by a gang while in your car, run them over

3. Never kick a volleyball. It's not a soccer ball, it's a delicate piece of sporting equipment

4. Never scream unless you're being murdered

5. Never slam doors

6. Don't leave things (like shoes) in highly trafficked areas

7. Never throw a gun to the ground - it might discharge accidentally

8. Always double tie your shoelaces

9. Always lock your car doors, even if you're driving at the time

10. Don't lie

So that's the top ten, and now I'm going to explain how some of them came to be/why I think they're important.

Numbers 1 and 7 are just two of several safety tips about guns. Our dad made a point of teaching us about guns in our family, his reasoning being that we might need to defend ourselves someday. There was a time I was watching a movie on T.V. with my mom. I think it's called Sleeping With the Enemy. Some Julia Roberts movie where she's trying to escape from her obsessive husband, only he finds her and they have it out in the end. Anyway, she has a gun and she goes about everything all wrong. We sat there screaming at the television set, unable to understand how she could possibly justify her actions. (You don't ever hold a gun away from you like that; somebody could knock it out of your hand.) We watched in horror as she made error after error. She actually manages to shoot the guy, and after he falls to the ground, what does she do? She collapses to the floor in tears, dropping the gun (you idiot, what are you thinking?!) right next to the body of her husband (why would you place a lethal weapon within the reach of someone who's trying to kill you? You deserved to have him find you Julia) who of course is not actually dead (you only shot him once! Do you really think one bullet is going to stop anybody?!), and who springs to life with the gun in his hand ready to kill her before he actually dies. It was painful to watch. If you're shooting to kill, do it right and empty the clip into the person.

Numbers 2 and 9. Very important. At some point after learning how to drive, our dad gives each of us a lecture about cars. Locking your doors is just good common sense no matter where you live. And that applies to when you're in the car as well as when you leave it parked somewhere. All growing up we kept a baseball bat in our van in case of carjackers, and whomever was sitting next to the big sliding door was responsible for wielding "the kiddie bat" as we called it. You never know when somebody will try and jump into your car. Our dad also told us we had his permission to run over gangs. He said that too often you hear about some woman or another who's surrounded and trapped in her car, helpless to do anything. Well let's see. They're a gang, so they probably have knives or bats or something. What do you have? Oh, right. You're sitting behind the wheel of a machine that weighs a couple thousand pounds. Run them over lady! Also, if you think you're being followed, drive to the nearest police station. And take different routes home from places. Don't have too set of a routine -it just makes it easier for somebody to follow you. Another fun thing is that whenever we got into the family van we checked for the Boogie man to see if he was hiding behind the back seat. That was somewhat terrifying as a child.

I can't emphasize how important number 3 is. I cringe whenever I see someone kick a volleyball. What are they thinking? A volleyball is very delicate and requires just the right amount of air. You should never play with a volleyball that is flat or overinflated. It's damaging to the ball.

Number 8 is just good common sense. Why waste your time having to retie your shoelaces all the time when you can tie them securely the first time and be done with it? No tripping over loose laces, no having to stop on the blacktop every five minutes. Also, I think it's just more convenient for parents who have kids who can't tie their own laces yet. Having worked at a preschool I know the advantages of double tying. Bony M also worked at a preschool, and I think the story goes that as she kneeling down to tie some little boy's shoes he commented how good her hair smelled. And soon all the little boys were coming to her to tie their shoes. I guess once they got out of her sight they'd untie their laces and come back.

Number 10 is to never lie. "Even to cops?" I asked my dad once, knowing he generally thinks cops can't be trusted. He said no, especially not to cops. Lying will make a situation worse and on top of that it's just wrong.

Numbers 4, 5 and 6 (come on and get your kicks) are rules we had in our house that were probably put in place to preserve my parents' sanity. With 8 kids running around I don't blame them. It was just generally known that you didn't scream or slam doors - our dad hated when we did that. If someone threw a fit and stormed off to their room in a huff, that was fine, but slamming the door in the process was never acceptable. It was one of the few things that would bring Dad out of his office. As for not leaving our shoes in the entryway, that's just common sense as well. Someone could trip and kill themselves. It's like in movies when somebody leaves a rollerskate on the stairs. It's funny on the silver screen but not in real life. My dad is probably most quoted as saying "Who left their shoes here?" and "There are too many people in the kitchen!"(We had a very small kitchen growing up. More than two people was kind of a tight fit, and that was if you didn't open the fridge or the dishwasher.) Shoes were supposed to be put away in the pantry or in the cubby. My family has a cubby, which I never realized how funny that was until I was older, that we have a cubby at our house for putting things in. Kindergartners have cubbies, and so does the Draft family.

There's also the list of things our dad told me growing up that are complete lies. Included on this list is the time he told me I didn't need to use conditioner. I never should have trusted him on that one, considering he's bald. I chose to follow his advice one Sunday with disastrous results. Also, (and he doesn't remember this) I asked him when I was little what all that purple stuff was on the horizon. What purple stuff? That purple stuff over there. Oh, that's the dump. And for years I believed him, that the mountains in the distance were piles of trash. That's one of my favorite lies though. He also says that you don't need to put mustard in the refrigerator, which could technically be true, but it's not something I'm going to find out for myself.

And there are scads of other fun memories in there as well, like the way my dad loves my mom and would always grab her and say to us kids, "You see this woman here? I love this woman" and we'd roll our eyes at the two of them in the kitchen. Things like that. I think I've typed enough. I just thought my family would appreciate having the top ten put down in black and white. Mostly I wanted to thank my dad for being who he is, for being half the reason I ended up the way I did, and to say Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

ABCDEGH or (f)loss

*Warning: You won't want to read this whole thing. It's long because I don't know how to phrase things. Condensed version is this - It's me rambling about people that you've probably never met and how I feel like I'm losing everyone I know and care about. I can't recommend the short version enough.

(An enormously loud fluttering sound, perhaps from a book being dropped, awakens Genuine who is sleeping in the bed upstage Left. It is early in the morning. Roommate who made the noise is trying to be quiet.)

GENUINE: Hahahahahahahahahaha

(Roommate assumes Genuine is laughing in her sleep and continues trying to not make noise. Genuine goes back to sleep. An unspecified amount of time passes -the set is lighter now as sunlight pours through the open blinds, revealing just how messy the room really is. Roommate is leaning over Genuine's head, and Genuine awakens.)

ROOMMATE: Don't worry, I'm just trying to unplug my cell phone charger.

(Roommate moves to unplug her charger from the power strip located near Genuine's head in the gap between her desk and her bed. She is successful.)

ROOMMATE (straightening up) : Sorry about all the noise earlier.

GENUINE: Yeah, what was that? It woke me up and for some reason I thought it was hilarious. Very fluttery sounding.

ROOMMATE: I thought you were just laughing in your sleep.

GENUINE: I thought that you would think that.

(Chatter continues until Roommate moves to leave.)

ROOMMATE: Well, goodbye. See you in a week.

GENUINE: Where are you going?

ROOMMATE: Oh, did I not tell you either? I'm going to Yellowstone for a week for J's family reunion.

GENUINE (kicking her legs excitedly under her covers) : Room to myself!

GENUINE (stops kicking) : Wait, when are you coming back?

ROOMMATE: It gets over Friday, so maybe Saturday, but we'll probably stay through Sunday.

GENUINE: Oh, I'm moving Saturday.

ROOMMATE: This Saturday? This next Saturday?

(Genuine asks the date and the two confirm that she is in fact moving in a week.)

ROOMMATE: Oh. Well, have fun in your house. Leave your address.

GENUINE: Wait! Let me give you a hug in case I never see you again.

(The two embrace, Roommate exits downstage Right, and Genuine is left by herself)


Riveting stuff, I know. Class, what's wrong with this scene? Anyone?

Student A: Well, it's pretty boring for one thing. Why would somebody waste their time writing this?

Teacher: Well, you're right in a way- this scene is fairly mundane. But look closely. Do these characters do anything that strikes you as being out of the ordinary?

Student B: Umm, yeah. There's that one girl, umm, Genuine. Yeah. Well, the way she's acting doesn't really fit with what we've read about her so far. I mean, in ACT I she's pretty distant toward her roommates, but in this Act it's almost as if she likes them.

Teacher: You're absolutely right. This behavior is very uncharacteristic. Notice how at the end she requests to hug her roommate -we know that's not something that really fits with the way her character thinks or has acted in the past. She's being sentimental. Emotional even. Did you see how it ends with her alone in a dark room? It's a pretty obvious technique to convey her emotions through the setting. Well, I didn't say it was a good play. I really just showed it to you for practice reading, before we moved on to something a bit more complex, like say, Fern Gully! the musical. The message there is a little harder to pick up on. Try to notice the author's subtle use of nature.

Sorry about that drivel up there. Here's the deal - I realized yesterday that everyone was either leaving me or I was leaving them. A friend of mine just went into the MTC. A second friend from work had her last day yesterday before she goes on vacation before she also goes on a mission. Her farewell is tomorrow. Another girl from work is leaving in about a week. She's getting married. Her bridal shower is today. I'm moving in a week, away from my roommates I have now, which includes M-Lite, my sister and roommate for most of the past 20 years. (There was that one week when we weren't sisters.) And this morning I said goodbye to my other roommate because I probably won't see her before I move.

I'm a bit overcome by all of this -I've been feeling this enormous sense of loss pressing down on me for awhile now as I realize more and more that I'm never going to see most of these people again. I'm reminded that life goes on, that people move, people leave, people live, people die. I just don't want to have to put up with being one of those people.

The thing is, it takes me a long time to get used to people, and about the time I get attached, everyone goes their separate ways.

So, my one coworker who's leaving on mission, we'll call her Foggy. I didn't know her all that well in the beginning, because like I said, it takes me awhile to get to know people.Anyway, not knowing her as I did, I was under the impression that she was quiet and kind and polite. Coworker Jungle Jim always said that she was mean and none of us believed him, because I mean, look at this girl. She's blond and from Utah and just looks like she was cut out of a church magazine.

Anyway, I'd been wanting to get to know my coworkers outside of work, but was having trouble thinking of a way to go about it when Foggy solved the problem. She said her sister wanted to have a get together and she was supposed to invite some friends to this thing, the only problem being that she didn't have (m)any friends, and so she asked us if we would be interested in coming. It was a bold move on her part, not knowing whether we'd say yes or tell her to hit the road, but we were all really wanting to go, and we finally broke the coworker/friend barrier.

So we became friends outside of work, and I saw this girl for who she was. She has a mean sense of humor that I really like - she makes fun of people, but you know she's joking. I remember meeting her family and seeing how much they fought and being so relieved that they were normal. She's also very honest and demands that people be very blunt and open with her. If you're at her house at a party and she asks if you want to stay a bit longer and play games, it's okay to say that you're tired and would rather go home instead, and she won't think you're being impolite. I like that about her. She has a fair number of parties and things at her house and I realized that tomorrow is the last time I'll ever be over there. And I have no say in the matter - it's just being taken from me. These people and places are being taken from me and I'm helpless to stop it from happening.

H called me back in April when I got engaged and accused me of robbing her of her childhood. I wasn't allowed to get married because it would be damaging to her mental and emotional well-being. Well, join the club. I'm scared out of my mind about all the changes that are coming, and some of them are good even. Some are great. I'm going to be living with some awesome people this Summer and Fall. I've been looking forward to it for months now. Uffish, krebscout, Skye, Whistler, Ahem - I'm stoked to be living with you guys. And Winter semester I'll get a new roommate again, only he's kind of for forever and not just a semester.

It's just weighing on me, both the changes that are coming and the ones that are already upon me. I wish I had a little more control over things; over anything for that matter.

There's something M-Lite and I say sometimes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when one of us is leaving the house. The father says in his little Greek accent, "Why you want to leave me?" and that's what I'm thinking about everything right now as I wonder why and how people go away and leave what they know to start something new.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

eighteen divided by five. quick, what is it?

It's been five months and this floss is looking a little worse for the wear. It's gotten so that I don't even notice it anymore - it's just apart of my finger the way my glasses are apart of my face. I'm kind of not-so-secretly hoping it makes it to December for the wedding, because I think that it would be interesting to have in my pictures. Or to January. That would be cool, because then it will have been a whole year. Optimistic. and I count our anniversary as the 10th and my floss's anniversary is the 14th, so every time they both come around I think how I've had this piece of floss a whole month longer than I've had Optimistic.. Also, there is a definite groove around my pinkie and I'm wondering if it won't be permanent by the time this floss comes off. Heck, maybe it already is. What a cool scar that would be, and what a hard time I would have explaining why I let such a thing happen. And perhaps I'll get it something for our first anniversary. Something out of paper.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Well I'll Be

Incredible. A moment ago I was by the back sink putting on my face and a girl from the ward came back to the vanity area. She was dressed like a ninja. Didn't say a word; just marched in dressed in all black with a face mask and everything and a blue cape, and she proceeded to take our garbage. I just turned, eye liner in hand, and stared at her as she removed our trash bag from its can and tried to replace it with another bag that was too small. After I heard the door close I burst out laughing and checked the kitchen to see that she'd taken out that trash as well. What a delightful morning* this has been.

*Other happenings: M-Lite told me about her dream last night in which we were living together for the Fall, and then Kicks and Giggles came in to join in on the fun and crawled into first M-Lite's bed and then mine while I told her about Destroy All Planets and the two times I'd seen it. And now I'm going to go register for wedding gifts with that Optimistic. person I'm going to marry.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Glory Glory Hallelujah

Just yesterday I had the thought "the world wasn't made with us pale people in mind." I think this was me thinking back to the other night at the hospital cafe where Mustacheboy and I compared our flesh to see who was paler. I won. Apparently he'd never lost before. Well, neither have I, and I think that my winning streak is going to continue for some time.

I don't care for the sunshine; never have in fact. Being from the Northwest does that to a person. If I had things my way it'd be 65 and overcast every day. Being here in Utah really throws me sometimes. When I first got here the sunlight was blinding and my eyes watered every time I set foot out of doors. But on days like today when the clouds hang low and hide the mountains I can imagine that I'm in Portland. Don't look at the mountains and you could be home.

When I awoke to the sound of the rain it filled me with joy. I instantly felt at home with that trickling noise outside my window, and I realized what a difference the weather makes. I also realized that it's odd I don't feel that way all of the time considering my surroundings. I looked around my room today and took stock of my situation - I was on a bunk bed next to a cement wall with a window in a disheveled room with wood paneling. Hmmm. That's exactly what my room looked like at home. Why did I never realize that before now? It took the rain to make the scene complete.

So I felt incredibly blessed when it rained today. Thank goodness it rained today. Walking to work I uttered an audible "Thank You." I'm not quite sure to who - probably to God. I'm pretty sure He controls that sort of thing.

I went to work late and when I signed out my keys my friend commented that I was tardy.

me: I know. The weather was just too nice today, I didn't want to come in.

She laughed, but it was because she's from Washington and knew I meant exactly what I said. Everywhere I heard people talking about the weather, saying things like "it's really bad out there "and "it's freezing today. Yeah, it was like fifty degrees this morning!" and I just laughed at them with my eyes.

I walked to work in my usual jeans and short sleeved t-shirt as I ate my morning otter pop. Lime today. I did have an umbrella though, which is very uncharacteristic of a true Oregonian. I don't mind walking home in the rain, but getting soaked on the way to work is a different matter - I think it'd be kind of counterproductive to get to work and spend the whole time mopping up after myself.

Work was more than a little frustrating, mainly because I hated everyone and everything for some reason or another. I hated the way people straightened chairs, the fact that some of the people straightening chairs stopped working for no reason and left the rest of us in the lurch, and mostly I hated the fact that after we'd straightened the chairs it was decided that they needed to be taken down. It was then that I started thinking about how I've been at my job for too long. It was also then that I looked over and saw my boss's boss stacking chairs alongside the rest of us, and seeing that softened me. This woman just lost her brother. And the day of the funeral she was in at work getting her reports in, authorizing our paychecks so somebody else wouldn't have to be bothered. She has bad knees and never takes vacation time. And I wondered when it was that I became so embittered, cynical, and apathetic. I know the how. The how involves vomit, gum, immigration, C-clamps, back pain, duct tape, butter pats, sleep deprivation, and rows upon rows of crooked chairs that will never be made straight no matter how many times you straighten them. That's the how. The when is more complicated, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to pinpoint it.

When I left work it was with a piece of watermelon in my hand. It's something I've always wanted to do - eat watermelon in the rain. My hand was numb by the time I got down to the rind, and I walked homeward thinking about the restorative powers of rain and watermelon and wondered why I live in this state.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I can actually feel the calluses growing on my hands. Fridays are our big day at work. Let me set the stage here for you. We have in the ballroom 1500 chairs. Obnoxious teenagers exit. We enter and stack all of these chairs. We were short handed today so when we began stacking there was no "we", only me. I had stacked almost two cartfuls of chairs before another girl came to help. Eventually there were six of us stacking, all girls. The guys were taking down the stage. I'm not really a sexist, but it's irritating to have guys (who are known for having upper body strength) taking down risers (not very difficult) when they could be stacking chairs. Us girls can do it fine, it just seems a little odd to have the guys do the lighter lifting.

So we cleared the ballroom. Midway into cart 5 I caught my finger. Man alive that was painful. I had to leave to go run it under cold water, and once I came back it throbbed slightly but was otherwise fine. I alone stacked over 13 carts worth of chairs.There are 45 chairs per cart. Total, I stacked 589 chairs. Each chair weighs 15 pounds, so I stacked 8,835 pounds worth of chairs. Not bad for an hour's work. Keep in mind this is all pre-set type stuff. We cleared the ballroom of all these chairs so we could reset it for the EFY banquet.

There were 6 or 7 of us when we should have had twice as many people. Where was the other crew? All the chairs we'd stacked were dropped at the tables by D and I set them out . It went on that way, just the two of us doing quite a bit of work. We'd set half the ballroom before some reinforcements came. But catering came then too to set out their tablecloths and place settings and stuff. And we hurried even more to keep ahead of them. I pulled chairs for other people to go behind and straighten, 3 and 4 at a time. Don't tell OSHA.

We were almost finished by 2pm and it was then that the other crew showed up. I was more than somewhat miffed. The main thing I kept thinking was, "who do you think you are?! Honestly, showing up after all the work is done. What the crap is that about?" I was exhausted.

I was about to head for lunch when my supervisor asked me to count all the chairs in the ballroom. Up and down each row straining to pick out the chairs with my eyes until they all ran together into a maroon nothingness. 346, 763, 1203, 1497. Four chairs over;possibly the closest we've ever come to getting an exact count.

We spend a few hours setting up the ballroom for this banquet, but as soon as that's over we tear it all down in 30-45 minutes. It's quite the rush I must say. Catering is supposed to get a head start of 2-3 rows. (That's what we told the new people in our meeting today. We laid out all sorts of rules, but everyone lost their heads and dove right in.) Then we follow right behind, throwing chairs and flipping tables while slipping on butter pats. And then there's the yelling - not just to be heard above the din, but honest to goodness yelling, usually catering telling its people, "hurry up! Custodial's coming right behind us! Don't ever roll butter into the cloths -take 'em off and pick 'em up at the end of the table."

And we run. It's us at our fastest, scrambling to get everything done. And even once we've tossed all the tables and chairs the floor needs to be cleaned. At that point the DJ will have set up, so we squirt and we scrub while the lights swirl and a hefty beat is pumped out into the air and there are blue curtains set up to keep the EFYers at bay. Then I vamoose, because the worst is the smell. The smell of 1500 teens and pre-teens crammed into one dark room. Their sweat fills the air. Mmmmm - smells like teen spirit.

And this will go on every Friday between now and the end of the summer. And I will continue to glory in it and exhaust myself setting up a banquet for people I cannot stand, because there's something satisfying about it all, about buckling down and doing manual labor, about knowing you're strong enough to lift 15,000 pounds worth of chairs in one shift. It's challenging, and I enjoy that to a great degree. I may not feel the same way by summer's end. In fact, I know I won't, but for now I'm going to enjoy the feeling of a job well done.