Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some words and some pictures that have little to do with them


So, I haven’t written part five. This is why I wanted to post this story on the blog: because I hoped people would bug me to finish. And I will. I promise. But first I wanted to write some other stuff.

I went to a class at education week that was called something like “Books are the doorway to the universe.” It turns out it was about encouraging kids to read. Even though I wasn’t going to have a kid for seven years (because, you see, I knew that), I stayed because it was good information. Wilcox talked about the importance of keeping a journal and gave a piece of advice (the only thing that stayed with me from that class): don’t try to catch up. If you try, you’ll likely never write. Journaling is about figuring out your life as you’re living it, not about keeping your posterity informed that you baked a great pie or that your next door neighbor has a really cute baby.


I figure a blog is similar. Blogging is about keeping in touch with friends and family. You don’t need a play-by-play of our lives to do that. So I’m only going to share a few things that happened in Hawaii.


But you will get random pictures.

I cooked some sweet meals. I can say that because it’s my blog. I made quinoa with chicken and Mexican spices. Quinoa has to be my new favorite food. It’s amazing. A few days later I made a two part meal: first a frittata with zucchini and bell peppers and then oat waffles served with cream whipped with brown sugar and topped with blueberries.

Nathaniel left a few days before I did because he had to start school, which left me in the position of lugging this through an airport:

It was not easy I feel like a rock star for having accomplished that.

As I was waiting at the airport in Phoenix, nursing Summer (with no blanket, by the way. I feel like blankets just scream “Look at my baby sucking on my boob!”), a girl over to me and smiled at the baby and touched her. She was just tickled pink. It was really cute. Later, she came over and asked if she could take a picture. “Sure,” I replied. I didn’t expect, however, that she really just wanted to take a picture Summer nursing, which she did. It was so close to my chest that I could actually see the picture that she was taking, and Summer’s head and my boob filled up the whole thing. Her parents noticed and apologized (not that I really cared), explaining that this girl was breast fed and apparently wasn’t weaned until she was two and a half. That’s unusual, but it still doesn’t explain taking a picture of my boob.

Upon my arrival home, I had to figure out how to put the car seat in the car for the first time. I didn’t do it very well, and the next day, after I made a turn, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw that the car seat had tipped over. Shocked, I pulled over and opened the back door. Summer was just sitting in her car seat, still attempting to eat her stuffed toy frog. Should I be pleased or concerned that getting tipped over and riding sideways in a car didn’t faze her in the least?

I totally thought today was our anniversary. Nathaniel showed me our marriage certificate this morning and proved me wrong. It was two days ago.


I love my life.




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Friday, August 21, 2009

Brief explanation of the massive amount of debt we've incurred

So, Nathaniel and I like to go to Hawaii. Besides the obvious lure of the beach and gorgeous climate, Nathaniel's aunt and uncle live here. They teach at BYU-Hawaii and are some of the most generous people I've ever met. So they kick their daughters out of their room and let us sleep in their beds. It's wonderful. They're super fun to talk to and live close to the beach.


For those who don't know, my stepmom works for Delta. This means I get standby plane tickets really cheap. You can go online and find out which flights have empty seats and how many employees want them.

All this means is that Nathaniel and I can go to Hawaii for under $500. Last year we went and had an amazing experience. So we wanted to replicate that this year.

So we found the planes that had lots of empty seats and went on our way.

On the way over, things worked out pretty well. Nathaniel go to fly first class (oh, yeah, you can fly first class if there are empty seats). I would have flown first class too if I didn't have Summer with me.

The trip was great. Hawaii is awesome, and Chad and Cynthia just make it even more awesome. I love this family.

On the way back, on Monday, the planets aligned in just the wrong way and flights that once had twenty empty seats were suddenly oversold by five. There was no way we were getting out of Honolulu.

This wouldn't be a problem, except that Nathaniel was going to start orientation at law school last Wednesday.

So we decided to be creative. There was a flight from Kona, a city on the Big Island, to Salt Lake City that looked great. So we listed on that flight, bought fifty dollar plane tickets to Kona, and congratulated ourselves in finding a solution to getting back home.

And the we realized that Delta's online program for those flying standby was being tricky. It turned out that that "empty" flight to SLC consisted of an oversold flight to LA and then a good flight to SLC. But the next day's flight to LA looked good, and we had already bought the tickets to Kona. So we went to the Big Island.

We didn't get on the flight that night, so we decided to get a hotel. We wanted one with an airport shuttle. And guess what?

None of the hotels close to the airport had an airport shuttle.

So decided that we had enough of this whole spending money thing and decided to rent a van and sleep in it.

But we didn't. We got a hotel. I'm glad. Sleeping in a van in a strange land with a baby sounds really awful. What was I thinking?

The next day, we looked at our flight again. You remember, the one that had lots of empty seats?

Full.

Staying in Kona waiting for a decent flight was not an option. The cost of rental cars and hotels can add up fast.

So we looked at the flights from Honolulu back home. Full. The next day? Full. The day after that? Full. What was happening? And how on earth were we getting home?

So Nathaniel did it. He bought a ticket home, last minute. What was he supposed to do? Miss school waiting around for a flight with an empty seat?

And me? I bought a ticket back to Oahu.

Being away from my husband sucks.

I looked at flights from Honolulu to back home for me. I figured I'd just hunker down at the Compton's with Summer until there was a flight.

I told you this family was generous.

I looked at all my options, and found out that the next flight out of Honolulu that wasn't oversold left September 10th. It was August 20th. No way.

So I, too bought a flight back to the mainland.

Can we afford this? Um, no.

So what do can we learn from this?

1. Standby sucks. Standby has, for the most part, been very good to me. For years I flew anywhere Delta flew. For free. Sure, I had to sleep in an airport or two, but it was totally worth it. I've been to Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, Romania (to visit my mission), the UK, France, and all over the US for free because of Delta. Then I turned 23 and had to pay for my ticket, but I still get to fly last minute for very little money (It cost me fifty dollars to go to Seattle).

BUT, I only fly if there are seats available in the plane. With the recession, Delta is clearly changing their policies and packing their planes like cans of sardines. So flying standby is obviously more risky now. I don't think that's a risk we can afford to take.

2. I haven't learned this yet, but we are now going to have to get by on very little money to pay for this trip. It should be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

About pictures: Nathaniel absconded with the camera. I'll post them as soon as he sends me pictures. Or maybe he'll post them.

About Part 5: It's coming. I promise.

About the title of this post: Okay, it's actually a pretty long explanation of our trip. But I could make it longer, I assure you.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

[Insert Swear Word Here]

Planned Expenses for our Trip to Hawaii:
Standby Airfare: $400
Food: $50
Housewarming Gift: $35
Total: $485

Unplanned Expenses:
2 Plane Tickets to Kona: $100
Rental Car for Kona: $70
Hotel in Kona: $70
Beach Stuff for Kona: $20
Food: $30
Gas: $25
Last-Minute Flight from Kona to Salt Lake: $780
1 Plane ticket Back to Honolulu: $40
Flight from Honolulu to Salt Lake: $370
Total: $1,525

Airfare refund: $150.

Grand Total: $1,860

Lesson learned.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Story, Part 4

Our next date was tennis. But it was such a bad experience, and it was on a weekday, so I really don’t consider it a date. I had taken a beginning tennis class a year earlier, but I was terrible. The ball never went where it was supposed to go, even when I tossed the ball up myself. I never, in the entire semester, hit a backhand in the correct square. The bigger problem, however, was that during our first date, I joked about how great of a tennis player I was. I told him that I would kick his trash. I thought it would be so hilarious to talk up my skills and be so tricky.

It wasn’t hilarious. It was just dumb. I hardly ever managed to hit the ball back. The worst part of missing hits was not the clear demonstration that I sucked at tennis. It was the running after the ball again and again and again as Nathaniel, unable to help me out all the way on the other side of the court, stood there and watched. No, actually, the worst part was bending over to pick up the ball, giving my opponent a great view of my backside sticking up in the air. I called it quits after ten minutes.

So what I call our second date was actually our third, but I can’t call it the third or else I will get all mixed up in my head.

You know how Utah high school kids have themed group dates? Nathaniel has a friend who decided to do one of those. I guess he had some good experiences with that sort of thing in high school. We didn’t do that in Georgia.

Looking back on the date, I wish I hadn’t been wearing what I wore. You see, it was gangster-themed and Nathaniel encouraged me to go all out. With Marisa Tomei as my inspiration, I wore a black fitted jacket and a black pencil skirt with gaudy diamond-y costume jewelry, black gloves, stilettos, and fishnets. I guess that part of the outfit wasn’t so bad. It was when I decided to really get into character and wear pale make-up and dark lipstick that I did myself in. Why did I think that gangster’s girlfriends had pale faces?

If I had been smarter and just wore the plain, boring, make-up I usually wore, I would have a decent picture to show Summer when she starts to get curious about how her parents got together. Instead I have this.


Urg. Oh, and I have the memory of the awkward feeling I got when I saw the other girl on the date who was wearing jeans.

After dinner at Fazoli’s, a very gangster-y place, we went to the store to get stuff to make dessert. Because this was a creative date, we weren’t just going to be boring with dessert. Nathaniel and I would make dessert for the other couple on the date while they made dessert for us.

I was totally down with whatever plan gave Nathaniel and me more alone time.

We chose to make the easiest dessert in the world: ice cream sandwiches made with those cookies that you just pull apart and bake. As the cookies were baking, Nathaniel and I lay (lie?) down on the floor and talked. WHAT? WE DID THAT? IS THAT ALLOWED? Chill, people, there weren’t any couches in the basement and we were far apart from each other.

Nathaniel and I talked with the ease of old friends, so my questions got progressively less inhibited. I told Nathaniel he seemed like a very upright, do-good, stay-within-the-lines type of person. “Have you ever done anything rebellious?” I asked.

Ok. This is where I have to add my part of the story (This is Nathaniel).


UPDATE: Due to the nature of the internet, you'll have to ask Nathaniel to hear the story. It's a good one.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Nathaniel's other blog

Well, I've decided that I want to document my little walk down economics lane more fully on a blog. But I realize that most of you are probably waiting for Dorothy's latest installment of "Our Story" and wouldn't be quite as happy to see another post from me about economics. So, for those who want to keep reading the econ, you can follow my personal blog. That doesn't mean I'll never blog here again, just not as often.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Economics and health care

This is the last free summer of my foreseeable future. I figure next summer I'll be working for a law firm somewhere. The summer after that I'll be working for a law firm somewhere. And the summer after that I'll be working for a law firm somewhere. That's as far as my foreseeable future goes. Depressing, I know.

So, I've tried to do some things this summer that I probably won't be able to do during those lame-o, law-firm summers. Biggest thing on the list has been to spend lots of time with my wife and baby. That's been fantastic and needs to be the topic of its own blog entry on another day. Another thing I've done (and which will be the topic of this blog entry) is spend some quality time with books. P.J. O'Rourke (whoever that is) said that you should "Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." And that's great, but I haven't worried about that much. Instead, I've just been reading stuff that I like.

Well, turns out that I like books (and blogs) on economics. In my modest opinion, the discipline of economics is incredible. It isn't interested in your political persuasions, but in truth. It recognizes (indeed it teaches) that motivations rarely equal outcomes. And it opens your eyes to new and fresh ways of thinking.

With the help of economics I'm presently persuaded that for the greater part the government bailouts were/are a bad idea, school vouchers would greatly improve our schools, marijuana ought to be legalized, and the fervor over immediately capping carbon emissions to reduce global warming is largely unnecessary.

Yeah, I know, what in the world made me think that reading about this sort of stuff would be better than all the great novels out there? To answer that, I'm really not sure. But I have done a bit of novel reading as well.

Anyway, I see now that my wife is getting a small but faithful group to follow "Our Story" and I'd like you all to know who this person is that she married. So, check out this link if you've got some time. It's about Obamacare and why we should all be VERY skeptical of it. A Harvard economist wrote the article and it's a great example of how economics can really open our eyes.

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Our Story, Part 3

This is cheesy, but hey, that's how it goes.



On May 5th, I hitched a ride back from a big get-together at the bishop’s house. The sky was cloudy and it had just been raining. Surely a bad omen. I had wavered between canceling and going, and by continuing to waver I inadvertently committed to going. As I sat in the back seat of the car, staring out the window, I knew it was wrong. I shouldn’t go. How could I, when today was supposed to have been my wedding day? I should be at home, I thought, with a friend and Ben and Jerry’s. I wouldn’t have a good time and my date wouldn’t have a good time and it would be a mess of a night.

“Any plans for tonight?” the girl sharing the back seat asked me.

“Yeah, I have a date. We’re supposed to go canoeing, but it’s not looking like great weather.”

“Oh, who’s your date?”

“Um, Nathaniel is his name, I think.”

“Oh, he’s really cool. And funny. You’ll have a good time.”

This was encouraging. Maybe tonight wouldn’t be such a disaster after all.

I was right about the rain – there would be no canoeing. Nathaniel called and said that we were just going to do dinner and play games at his place. I was glad; this meant I could wear whatever I wanted. I threw on some clothes, fluffed my hair a bit (because that’s how my hair had to be: fluffy), and re-did my make-up, just like I did for all dates. Nathaniel came to the door. I answered.

He probably looked good, but I remember absolutely nothing about that moment.

I do remember, as we were walking toward his car, that he found I had just finished my first year of law school.

“What?” he asked, surprised. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-three.”

“Man, I’m 23. I guess it takes longer when you go on a mission.”

This was my favorite moment of introductions.

“I served a mission, too.”

“Are you serious? Man, how did it take me so long?”

With that excellent beginning, we learned more about each other. I learned that he wanted to go to law school, that he came from a family of nine(!) kids, and that he had two more years of undergrad left. And he loved to read. He didn’t just read books for school. He read for pleasure. He read all sorts of books. He read all the time. That was hot.

We went to Los Hermanos for dinner. It was Cinco de Mayo and very crowded. I noted the numbers of people waiting for a table.

“Don’t worry, I was thinking ahead and made reservations.” Wow, that was kind of a cocky voice.

“Wow, you are so smart! Who would have thought of such a thing? Making reservations? You have got to be the most brilliant person alive!” I’m usually not good at sarcasm, and I know this sounds dumb, but here it really worked. And it got the reaction I wanted.

He talked back to me. He was standing close to me. I liked it.

At dinner, I asked Nathaniel all the usual questions, but not because it was polite or it was the right thing to do or to fill in the silence. I asked because I was dying to find out more about this person. More about this book reader with gorgeous blue eyes and a perfect smile, who liked Linkin Park but felt a bit guilty listening to them, who was proud of his grades, who loved cheese, and who held my attention with a grip so strong I forgot about the two other couples who accompanied us at dinner. I forgot about my food. I forgot about the masses of people around us. I forgot about everything except the way Nathaniel pondered before answering a question, the way he laughed, and the way he listened to me as though I was the only person in his world, too.

When dinner was over, we headed back to his apartment for games and ice cream. Looking at the display of games on the table, I knew which I wanted to play. Battleship. Two players. Just Nathaniel and me.

For some reason, playing Battleship, I was a complete ditz. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to focus on dumb numbers and sinking ships when right in front of me there was there was a human being that I had to know everything about...if I could think straight when I was looking into his eyes.

“B7.” I said with conviction.

“B7? You just said B7. It was a miss.” Nathaniel looked at me, laughing, with a look that was half amusement and half “I can’t believe you just said something so stupid, again.”

“Oh. Right.”

One of his roommates asked Nathaniel something. I couldn’t hear it, or maybe I can’t remember it, but I loved Nathaniel’s response.

“Nothing. I am just talking to my date.” He was looking at me.

Something about the way he said “my date” made me think he liked me. I hoped he did.

When Nathaniel dropped me off, my roommate asked me how the date went.

“Really good!” My voice was a mixture of happiness, excitement, surprise, and confusion. An amazing date was the last thing I had been expecting that night. I tried to figure out why I had such a great time. We hadn’t done anything particularly exciting. The food was mediocre. Battleship was kind of a dumb game. The ice cream we ate after games didn’t look good; I didn’t have any. When we tried to watch Office clips, it didn’t really work on the huge, 1970s era TV.

But Nathaniel. Nathaniel was amazing. As far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with him. There was no requisite I had for a significant other that he didn’t meet. His three goals in life were to be a good husband, be a good father, and honor his priesthood. He was intelligent. He was funny. He was not socially awkward. He was impressed, not intimidated by the fact that I was in law school. He was okay with his mistakes because he was comfortable with himself.

As I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. Something wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t supposed to be feeling like this, whatever “like this” was.

And then it hit me. Today was my wedding day. Today was the day that I was supposed to be married and I hadn’t thought about it for a moment until then.

I drifted off to sleep, amazed.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Three Months


Today Summer’s cries woke me up during a REM cycle. After I begrudgingly got myself ready for church, Summer woke up just in time for me to get her ready and fed in time for church. Right after she opened her eyes and began doing her big stretch, I hurriedly started changing her diaper. Summer promptly peed a river all over me and her changing pad. I quickly cleaned her pad, finished changing her diaper, and clothed her in my favorite dress of hers. I was done feeding her just in time to get to church. The calm of our congregation before sacrament meeting was a huge contrast with my hurried feelings. As I was savoring those peaceful feelings during Sacrament, Summer, who was on my lap, started tooting. Loudly. I got a little worried when it looked like she was squeezing something out, but I didn’t smell anything or hear a squirt. So I continued to attempt to hold her and keep my thoughts on the Sacrament. When I maneuvered her so she could look at Nathaniel, I saw a bright mustard yellow spot on my black skirt. I pointed it out to Nathaniel, which also drew the attention of the guy passing us the Sacrament. He looked disgusted. He probably doesn’t have kids. As I was waiting for Sacrament to end so I could rush home to change her, Summer, who never spits up, opened her mouth to allow that awful white substance to fall down her face and dress and onto her car seat. I went home, changed her diaper and dress, washed the poo off my skirt, and went back to church, only to have Summer fuss so much that I couldn’t stay near enough to the chapel doors to hear the testimonies. Soon she just started screaming. I took her back to our apartment, popped her in her swing, and binked her. She fell asleep immediately, and, of course, she looked like an angel. I just couldn’t be annoyed with her. I realized then that she is three months old today.

It truly has been an amazing three months. She is really a joy to have around and makes us laugh so much every day. Here are a few milestones she has reached recently:

Cooing consistently

Laughing every once in awhile

Squealing

Grabbing stuff and trying to put it in her mouth

Rolling over a couple of times

“Looking both ways”

Grabbing feet if they’re close to her

She’s always wiggling around. She’s not happy if she’s not moving or someone’s not moving her.

Gosh, I love her.


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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Story, Part 2: Super Embarrassing

Feel free not to read this part. This is the part about the Ex. And the part where I explain why I was cuddling with another guy when Nathaniel asked me out. The next part is so much better. And just so you remember that our story has a happy ending, here is a wedding pic:



“What am I doing?” I asked myself as I clicked through pictures. The internet made it so much more difficult to break up with someone. I knew I wasn’t doing myself any favors by looking at my ex-fiancee’s myspace pictures, but I wanted so badly to know what was going on with his life. Besides, I wasn’t dating anyone, and I was pretty sure that we would get back together someday. We broke up because he had some issues that he needed to straighten out; once that was over, we’d live out our happily ever after. I was convinced that we were meant for each other. I was convinced that it was my life’s challenge to be married to someone completely wrong for me.

I hated myself for it, but I was concerned about a certain girl in my ex-fiancee’s life. I didn’t want to care, but I did. She was in his band, she was cute, and they had an inordinate amount of comments on each other’s myspace pages. If something was up, I had to know.

I came across a picture of them both on her myspace page. It was a close-up, but it looked like she was sitting on my ex’s lap. I looked at the comments. My heart sank. My greatest fear turned into reality. “You guys will have the cutest kids!” one exuberant commenter had written.

My ex was dating someone. I was crushed. I felt betrayed. Sure, I was dating other guys. My therapist had instructed me to do so. “Become a serial dater,” he said. And that’s what I was doing. But I wasn’t getting involved.

I learned more about the girl that had taken my spot. I quickly found all her faults. She took pictures of herself in her underwear and posted them online. She wasn’t going to school. Most insulting of all, she was nineteen. This blonde inactive attention seeker was the new girl in my ex’s life? If he went for her, what did that say about me?

I lie on the bed and cried. I cried for an embarrassing amount of time. I felt like my soul was being sucked away. Everything I knew about myself seemed to have changed. I was so sure that we would work out. I had never been more sure about anything. And I was wrong. I was wrong about something else, too. I thought I was over him. I thought I had gotten over him a dozen times before and I was through. But here I was, completely distraught because of a comment on a myspace picture. I had issues.

After long sessions of crying, talking to Noelle, and eating chocolate ice cream, I realized that I needed to get over myself. I wasn’t going to be pathetic and delude myself into thinking that things would somehow work out with a guy who had a freaking girlfriend. I was going to cut the strings completely. I was going to get over him for the last time.

The next day a friend of mine, Greg, came over and asked what was wrong.

“Is it that obvious?”

“Yep.” I liked that he was honest, but I think I would have liked it more if he had lied.

“I’m sad because my ex-fiancé is dating this girl who is a total loser but she’s really cute and fun sounding and it makes me jealous that he hangs out with her and not me. And I’m totally pathetic for caring.”

Greg gave me a friendly, “I totally understand and take pity on you” look and gave me a big hug. He then sat me down on the couch, put a blanket over us, picked up the ward directory and told me to look through it to find a guy that I wanted to go out with. He was kind enough to assure me that none would refuse. It was ridiculous, sitting under a blanket, basically cuddling with Greg, looking though pictures of guys who go to our church and telling him which ones I thought were cute. But it felt good, so I went with it.

My phone rang and it was a number that I didn’t recognize. It looked like one of those numbers of people who are trying to sell you something like life insurance or burial plots.

“Should I get it?” I asked Greg.

“Sure,” he replied with a grin. “It could be a guy asking you out on a date.”

I wanted to prove him wrong, so I answered it.

“Is Dorothy there?” asked the voice on the other line.

It was Nathaniel.

"Do you know who this is?" Nathaniel asked.

"Of course I do."

I gave Greg a confused look. He quickly flipped through the ward directory so I could figure out who this Nathaniel person was. Ah-ha! Russian literature guy. Sure, I’d go out with him. I’d give anyone a chance.

When Greg left, I looked at the calendar. The coming Saturday, the day I was to go out with Nathaniel, was May 5th. May 5th was the day I was going to get married. I went to my room, plopped myself on my bed, and cried.


Uh, I'm glad that's over.

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