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[Comments] (6) The Winds of Change: On New Year's Day, I was blessed to see Napoleon Dynamite and actually enjoyed the movie. Though it was not a life-changing movie by any standards, and I often felt I was watching my older brother Nathan's life flash before my eyes, it was different enough to be both quasi-funny and refreshing! Who'd have thought?

Todays was the first day of the rest of my life. The last "first day" of school is over, and I am already exhausted just thinking of what my final semester holds for me. It won't be an easy one by any means, but I attribute most of the pain to the fact that my schedule is all over the place. I prefer blocks of classes, but when you get to the end you take what they offer when they offer it, and that is life. I'll make the best of it and try to learn something on the way.

My grandmother gave us a winter scene puzzle that is mostly all blue pieces, as it is a winter scene at night. It's hard; but I want it done and off my table already.

Last night we got a pleasant surprise: Lisa came to visit, fresh off her mission in Oakland, Ca. I can't believe that 18 months has already come and gone. That means that Susie and I have been married 18 months. Yay for us!

Today we managed to wrack up about $1,200 on our credit cards. I bought books, paid AAA renewals, paid car insurance, and we finally put a down deposit on our cruise, making it official. We are going to Mexico as a late honeymoon/grad school graduation present. It gives me something to look forward to. So anyone who has been to Mexico, send some pointers our way to avoid looking like the tourist gringos we are.

[Comments] (4) Luck of the Gods: Yes, it's true, the accounting Gods have been smiling down on me. For MBA 609 (Graduate business communication) there were like seven sections. I picked section one, because it fit nicely into my schedule. Or did I?...

I went to buy the book last week, but with a sticker price of $105 for a book the width of my pinky finger, I thought to myself, we'll go to class first and see how important this book is before we spend play money on something as frivolous as a texbook on communicating (something I do just fine on most of the time, thank you). Well, in class today, our professor handed out the syllabus, and it said there was no text for the course. Period. Apparently the other six teachers all use the same book, but we don't. We just read articles posted on Blackboard, etc. Wow! I saved $105 just like that. Praise be to the debit God for that one.

The weather Gods are another issue. We awoke to the sound of snowblowers this morning. Not having heard a weather report recently, I was pretty surprised, but figured that, by the time I went to work at 1 pm, my car would be clean and fine.

There was just one problem with such a theory: It never stopped snowing! It still hasn't. It is very pretty, even if cleaning off my car took 10 minutes. When I opened the car door, it looked like a cave in there, so dark from all the snow on it. Maybe this year Utah will break the trend and, though situated in a desert, not be in a drought situation.

So the football Gods, aka the BCS--a highly anticipated event for me each year, as I enjoy college football more than any other televised sporting event. What a letdown. Pitt never showed up to the Utah game, though it was cool to see a local team win big. And OU never showed up, giving USC the big W. Every time I turned around, USC had scored again. Jeepers. How boring for a championship game. Just proves that a playoff system is badly needed. When will they learn?

[Comments] (1) Stupidity in all its glory!: So today I noticed our soy candle has stamped on the side: "I named the candel Mia Nella because that is my daughter's name and it is her generation that will see the soy candle come full swing." News flash to her: This so-called "Soy Revolution" is not as prevalent/existent as she adamantly feels.

Next I encountered the telly. There was an ad for the California Culinary Art Institute--Le Cordon Bleu in San Fran. Who are they kidding?

As I went to wash my face I thought to myself: "Surely I am smarter than all of this." But then it hit me. As the water splashed my face, I realized that I was still wearing my glasses. I guess that takes me back to Square One.

I will be spending the 3-day weekend working. Friday night thru Sunday we are babysitting the redheads. Saturday morning I have to get my brother and sister-in-law to the airport by 5 am. Then Monday I am working. Studying will be performed as time makes itself known. Some break.

But life is generally good. The snow/rain/sun mixture of late has been fun, because it is not same old everyday. And every time something I don't like happens in class, I take a deep breath and remember that my days are finally numbered.

Stargazers: But mostly for Leonard and Susie. I never would have read this article if it weren't for our fun planetarium adventure!

Planned Parenthood: So we played mom and dad this weekend. The kids were well-behaved; the dogs were not. Actually the bigger dog, Nebo, is fine. The smaller dog, Jasmine, has detatchment issues, and was having a hard time coping without Erin around. She finally warmed up to me on Saturday, and that night slept under my blankets, signifying that she accepted me until Erin returned. And now I've left; she must be traumatized. My brother and sister-in-law went to Cancun for their "honeymoon" even though they have been married for 11 1/2 years. Better late than never.

I took them to the airport at 5 am Saturday. Then I came home and studied until about 8, then I showered and made breakfast before everyone woke up. I was proud of myself for studying and not feeling tired the rest of the day. We played Mario Party with the kids, watched The Muppets Take Manhattan. That DVD was a free prize in a cereal box; not bad. All I ever got out of cereal boxes growing up was disappointment at a toy that looked nothing like the toy on TV.

We also went to lunch and for ice cream at ColdStone. Susie and I then realized that those two redheads get more spoiled than our own children ever will. We also went to Logan's basketball game; unfortunately, they lost. Oh, and Ember and Susie played Parcheesi, which is apparently a game of Indian Royalty. At least it was before Parker Brothers got ahold of it.

Draper has some wierd local independent markets. One store is a local bodega called "Pirate-O's," wherein if you buy a parrot, you get a free pegleg. The other is a colorful little taco stand with cacti out front and is called "Guadalhonky's." I guess that's not so wierd; I mostly just like saying Guadalahonky.

Now it's back to work and school. How many days until April?

[Comments] (12) Never Say Never: No matter how impossible I think it is, my schedule each semester becomes more demanding than the last. School is school, but it is my extra-curricular activities that are really doing it to me these days.

I don't know if I ever mentioned that I recently changed jobs. I now work for Q Comm as an accountant in Orem. The downside is the 15 minute commute on a road filled with Utah County drivers. The upside, however, is working with nice people, having freedom and autonomy, the option to get extra hours, working holidays, and NOT working for a beaurocracy such as BYU. I'd rather not get into it more than that, as I am currently am in a good mood and would like to stay in a good mood. That and my soapbox is broken.

Tomorrow I start a community service program for VITA, which is the Volunteer Income Tax Association, run by none other than the IRS!

BYU runs the largest VITA lab in the nation, and for the next three months, I will be helping people file their taxes. Maybe seeing what other students make will remind me to be grateful for what I have. Although this project will require a lot of time, I am really looking forward to do it. It will be good practical experience, and help build confidence for having a side business one day doing personal income taxes for money! Move over, H&R Block!

I have three tax classes this semester, a business communications/HR type class, and advanced business law. A lot of the topics overlap, and I am struggling to keep all the rules straight in each class. The business law class is really boring and taught at 7 at night, but is supposed to be helpful in taking the CPA exam, so I am dealing with it.

But all this running around keeps me thin. It could be worse so I won't complain. This guy weighed more in the sixth grade than I do now! Sheesh.

I guess I should mention that we babysat Lily. It was good times, including watching Finding Nemo, a vibrating chair, cookies and milk (cookies for me, milk for Lily), and drool.

[Comments] (1) Expect the Unexpected: The "Code" identifies a personal casualty loss as one of the few losses an individual may claim on their tax return as a reduction in income, subject to certain monetary reductions.

The technical qualifications include that it must be sudden, unexpected, and unusual. I wonder if my sister's pop in visit qualifies.

Her husband had a sleep-over with his unmarried friends last night, so she called us last night at 8 pm to ask if she could crash on our couch. So I franctically did some dishes, made some juice, and welcomed our unexpected visitor. We stayed up too too late catching up on life, and I got up to make her breakfast this morning, as Susie turned down my offer to make her breakfast. I guess it all went ok, but I prefer more notice when guests are coming, especially if they are family.

I've never understood why a man would leave his wife for the "homeys," especially overnight. But I also got married at the ripe old age of 23, instead of 21. So maybe that phase of my life was already out of my system.

Today Susie and I went to lunch at Red Lobster, and I had the stone soup. It was gumbo with sausage, rice, and every type of fish one can conjure up. It was quite the smorgasbord, with the exception of the ahi. I have never been a fan, and found it an odd addition to this concoction. Afterward, we went to see National Treasure. The storyline was rather reminiscient of Brown's Da Vince Code, except that United States history was substituted for Catholicism. I prided myself on deciphering many clues before Nicholas Cage and Susie did.

This just in: The telly is on. Apparently the movie we are watching is brought to us by Chili's new spicy burger. Since when can a burger sponsor a network premiere?

[Comments] (12) Life's Lessons from the Passenger Seat: Today we had dinner at Grandma June's in Lehi. She made homemade pot pies that were really good. The kids wouldn't eat theirs so she tried to get us to eat the extras. I politely told her that if you shouldn't force children to eat food, then that rule applied to me as well.

My Grandma is obsessed with Coke, so I indulged and had one. It reminded me that I really dislike Coke. I imagine my dislike of Coke is similar to my imagined dislike of beer. It just tastes wierd to me. If it doesn't taste good, why deal with the unpleasant side effects?

My brothers' families and my little sister all came. Family dynamics are rather fun to watch. We had this whole conversation teasing my parents about what we all "claim" when they die; I personally found the conversation to be eerie, ill-timed, and trite. How could my almost 90 year-old Grandma have found any joy in such a conversation? Then the conversation turned to my brother-in-law talking about how my sister has a large bottom. He always says stuff like that and my sister just laughs. I can't help but think such talk causes wounds he can't see, but it's not my place to get involved. Rest assured I never say stuff like that to Susie--I just don't find that brand of "humor" to be funny.

At that point I went downstairs to be with the chilluns. They were playing mock court, and I got to be the judge. When it was my turn to be the plaintiff, I said the defendent, my three year-old niece, had me abducted by aliens. She didn't like that so we instead played hide n seek, one of my favorite games. I am not good at hiding anymore because Ember and Hannah always had to hide with me.

When I tired of the kids I listened to my oldest brother talk about their recent trip to Cancun. Even though my oldest brother is inactive, I have a lot of respect for him and his family. His red head children are very well-behaved, and he treats them strictly but fairly. He also gets down and plays with his kids a lot. He's a good role model for me, though I just have to turn the other cheek when, for instance, I housesit for him and discover the cabinet with every flavor schnopps you can imagine. I have actually confided in Susie that I would like to try some wine just to see what it tastes like, but have no desire to try beer. Susie thinks I should go for it on our cruise, but I am not so sure. What if I liked it? Where would that leave me? But now I am off topic.

Family dynamics. My sister bad-mouths her husband to me sometimes, and while they are newlyweds, I find it unhealthy. My dad does the same thing to my mom. But he has an excuse: Insanity. He gets worse and worse these days. Today some of the stuff he said made no sense at all, but I just smile and nod. Sometimes I try and imagine what he was like when my mom married him, but that depresses me.

My other brother's marriage is better; I never hear him and Ashley fight anymore. And their kids are slowly outgrowing their annoyingness. James, the five year-old, is in kindergarten and has anger management classes on the side because sometimes he honestly loses it. Ashley told me today they are done having children because she feels like her two children are four children, and they kind of are. She has done the math, and noted that when Hannah hits legal age, she'll only be 42 and they can then party. I feel they peaked way to soon in life, but those were their choices.

They are all coming to California for Thanksgiving to go to Disneyland. Susie and I are going to get season passes when we move, go every weekend, basically OD on Disney, and then we'll be so sick of it we won't need to renew our tickets for years. By then we will be ready for kids anyway, so we think. Unless our plans change in this fast-paced world of ours, as Joe noted. It'll give us a built-in date night every week.

The evening was fun. It's just interesting to me to see how people choose to live their lives. I consider myself fortunate to be the youngest; I got to watch all of my older siblings start families. I fully intend to learn from their mistakes. We'll see how well that goes; I'll keep you posted.


© 2003-2015 John Chadwick.