Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Denver, Denver, take me in.

I'm in Denver at the moment. I left Vernal, Utah yesterday at 12:00 noon (much later than I wanted to, but it worked out).

I made amazing time getting here, considering the trailer I'm pulling is WAY too heavy for this Ford F-150.  I pulled into Lakewood right at 5:30.

It was a beauuutiful drive through Steamboat Springs and over the mountains. I really should have taken more pictures.


16th Street Mall
 Down Town
School of Mines!


 Steamboat Springs

This sucker is so heavy.


So, I realized last night while driving around Denver, that this is my favorite city in the whole world.  I miss living here SO much.

I'm going to do everything I can to move some business down here to Colorado, just so I can live here again.  If you've never been here, you need to come see it. It's such a cool place.

I'm pretty sure that when I die, and go to heaven, it will be just like Colorado.

Denver, Denver, Take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Ah, Denver, Denver, Take me in.

BONUS POST: Who's in charge? I am.

One time, before my mission, I took my girlfriend out to Salt Lake City to see a laser show at the Clark Planetarium.  It was The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd.  I am a big Floyd fan, and she was a good sport. 

We got out right at about midnight, took a friend home to Provo, and after a while of being lost down there, found our way back to Provo canyon.  By this time, it was probably two in the morning.  We talked and laughed, and held hands as we always did.  We could never keep our hands off each other. I mean we always had to be in contact somehow, even if it was just the little pinky hold that people often do instead of actually holding hands. 

It was a very clear warm night and the stars were shining in all their glory.  She told me how she had never in her life seen a shooting star.  I thought that was an insane notion. How can you be alive for 18 years and not see a shooting star? Do you just never go outside at night? 

All of a sudden, a big shooting star goes blazing across the sky.  The timing was impeccable.  It was like something out of a movie.  

"Quick! Make a wish!"  She tells me.

"I don't make wishes on stars." I reply.  She gets this puzzled look on my face as if I'm crazy.  

"Why not?" she asks.  I don't even think. I just open my mouth. 

"Because...I already have you", I reply. 

True story. 

Okay, that was a little gift for everyone who's still reading this.  Yeah, that really happened. I'll never forget it, and neither will she.  Yes, I'm that good. 

I'm also in charge of my life. 

I do things like hop on a plane, land in Salt Lake, pick up a new truck, go on a date ten minutes later, and dance the night away.  

I do things like, take a week off to relax, get a massage in Denver, eat at a fancy restaurant with my homegirl Allison. 

I do things like drop out of college to start a business or two, then decide to go back to school after realizing that I don't in any way need a diploma to be wildly successful.

I do things like tear an engine out of an old Chevy, pull it apart, clean it, rebuild it, repaint it, and re sell it.

I do things like drill for oil in blizzards and tornadoes.

I do things like ride my horse into the mountains, kill a wild animal, and eat it. 

I do things like live my life by my own terms, and not apologize ever.

I run my life, and I don't depend on anyone else to run it for me. 

I make things happen, and I never just watch things as they happen. 

I'm in charge. I'm smooth. I'm ridiculously good looking. I still have it. And by now you might be thinking, "Where can I find a guy like that?"

Here's the short answer: You won't find anyone like me, because there is no one like me.

Believe it.  


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chapter 8: The Eye of the Storm- Part 3/5 Alejandra, Alejandra.

I wasn't going to continue with any more mission stories, but I thought that it would be wrong of me to omit this one, seeing as I'm getting all sorts of personal around here, and this is the first thing I think about when someone asks me about Chile.  

Context: 

In my first area (Carahue), I couldn't speak a lick of Spanish. By the time I left, I was speaking fairly well, I had even convinced a few people I was from some other south American country with a strange accent. 

In my second area (Camilo), I lived with 3 Latino missionaries, and I pushed myself to leave English behind. I think I went days and week without speaking English. It was so wonderful.  My district leader, Elder Navarro, pushed me very hard to really embrace the Chilean culture, which was great.  He helped me learn the mannerisms, expressions, and funny customs of the Chilean people.  By the end of that transfer, I had amazing Spanish, and an already extensive vocabulary.

My third area, Temuco Nielol, was where I really learned to express myself in another language. I could explain how I really felt about things, and connect with the people on a different level.  It's strange how, as you listen to someone speak in an unknown language, you almost take for granted that they are a real person, just like you. It's hard to realize that they have hopes, and dreams, and complicated emotions, and families, etc.  

Bridging that gap, for me, was a life changer.  

Here's a quick story:

Camilo, 4 months into the mission. I'm still new, still getting the language. We're at a member's house for lunch one Saturday, the 4 of us (Elder Navarro, Elder Bonds, Elder Cedeno and I).  

We're at the home of Alejandra Vidal.  She's been a member for like 20 or 30 years, she's separated from her husband (typical Chilean deadbeat) and lives with 2 of her sons, Dario (19) and Victor (13).

We sit down at the table to eat lunch, Tallarines with chopped hot dogs (my favorite). She sat at the head of the table, and I sat at her left.  The four of us missionaries were quite a hoot. We were always joking and laughing with people, having a good light hearted time. Today was no different.  Navarro was usually cracking jokes about how much of a gringo Elder Bonds was. 

He was about the whitest kid you could meet.  A tall, skinny, nerdy looking kid with glasses from California; he looked like he had just gotten his braces off before getting on the plane.  He was way into karate, and not at all good at speaking Spanish.  Navarro was pretty hard on the kid, probably because I had been in the field for less time than he had. I felt kind of bad for him.  

While I'm introducing characters, might as well talk about Navarro and Cedeno too.

Navarro was a life long member from Santiago, from the suburb of Maipu.  He was from the "Flaite", or "Gangster" side of the suburb.  Before the mission, he was one of the gangsters.  He was out mugging people, and doing lots of graffiti. He even told me a story of how he and some friends stood up a pharmacy.  

Then he had a bad run in with some Neo Nazis, which is a real urban tribe down in Santiago.  They beat him nearly to death, and left him with a deviated septum.  Throughout his recovery, I think he found God, changed his ways, and decided to serve a mission. 

Elder Cedeno- my companion during the transfer, a dark skinned, dark haired, dark eyed little guy from Guayaquil Ecuador.  He became one of my best friends.  He was super diligent, hard working, full of fire.  He loved to hear my stories about the United States, and working in the oilfield. He had a short temper with people, but never with me. We got along swimmingly. 

So, the four of us are sitting around the table poking fun at everything and everyone, when all of a sudden, Alejandra looks to her left, right at me, and right into my eyes.  Her eyes get all watery, and she just starts laughing. I was kind of confused, and figured that there was some joke I didn't get.  She just laughed it off and made some funny remark, and the moment was over.  I was left thinking that something really just happened, and it had something to do with me. 

The next day in church, I played all the hymns (per usual) for the sacrament meeting.  As it concluded, everyone got up to leave, I was still playing postlude music for a couple minutes, and Elder Cedeno was on the back row waiting. I thought everyone had gone, so I closed the hymn book and stood up from the piano.  Alejandra was standing right by me as I stood up.  

I was never sure if she had learned English before, or if this was some kind of miracle, but she started speaking to me in English.  

She said, "Elder Page, I need to tell you a story". She was sort of choked up.  

"When I was a young girl, about 14 years old,  I lived here in Camilo. I grew up catholic, but never really went to church, and had also been to many of the other churches. I wanted to know where God wanted me to be. I played basketball and futbol here at the Mormon church a lot, but never really gave much thought to the church itself.


I could sense that it was a person, and as I started to look up, I knew who it was.  It was Jesucristo. I was too afraid to look at his face, afraid of the look he might have had.  But, he told me that this was the place that I needed to be.  This was the church he wanted me to go to.  He said that he loved me and that everything would be okay, and eventually I did end up joining the church."  

She paused.

"But then, I finally looked up at his face."  This is where she got even more choked up.

"I'll never forget his eyes. I'll never forget his mirada. It was kind, and loving, and wise, and beautiful."

I was thinking, "What does this have to do with me, exactly?"

She continued, "I've been looking for that mirada for my entire life, and I never saw it again, until yesterday at lunch". 

This is when I started to get choked up.  

"Yesterday at lunch, I glanced over at you, and I saw it in your eyes.  For some reason, God gave you those eyes, and that look. You have something very special, Elder Page.  Your parents were very blessed to have adopted you into their family. You better take good care of those eyes, and keep in mind that you have important things to accomplish in your mission and in your life."

I was kind of speechless. I could really say much, except for a choked up "Thank you."

That whole thing stuck with me for every day of the rest of my mission.

Flash Forward.....the story I'm actually getting at. 

My 5th sector, Victoria, of the zone Angol.  

Victoria is this little Catholic town, way up on top of the hills.  It gets super cold in the winter, and it rains almost unceasingly.  It's right on the main highway running north and south in Chile, so all the buses stop there.    We were able to hop a bus to either end of the mission if we needed to.

Being a super staunch Catholic town, the work was pretty slow.  Although the first transfer I was there, we had 4 baptisms, they were people who had already been investigating the church.  During that first six weeks, I don't really remember getting into a single house to teach a lesson.  

We lived in this huge, ancient house, with high ceilings and a broken wood fireplace.  I usually slept with 5 or 6 heavy wool blankets, a couple sets of thermals, all of the sweats I owned, and a warm wool hat.  

And the rain continued.  This was my first time as district leader, so I was trying my best to get results, and to help my district succeed in the work as well.  I was so frustrated by the cold, and the slammed doors, and the fact that my companions could never speak any Spanish (I had a long rash of American companions that drove me crazy). 

Transfers came, my comp Elder Roy left, and President Swenson thought it'd be a good idea for me to train.

Training means you get a companion who is straight off the plane from the USA.  You help him with the language, with the lessons, the culture, everything.  It's like babysitting for 6 weeks.  

I trained Elder Rory Hawker.  He was a muscly dude, about my height, light brown hair, really good looking guy from Midland Idaho.  He had some serious A.D.D.  He was great at soccer, bad at Spanish, and a genius on the guitar.  He was so excited about teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, that he'd totally just chase people down on the street and talk to them.  In fact, the moment we got off the bus in Victoria, luggage and all, he started handing out pamphlets and contact cards. It was pretty awesome. 

Well, we went the whole first week without getting into a door, trudging through the rain for hours and hours.  One Thursday night, after many slammed doors, it was dark, raining, and we were disheartened and wanting to get warm.  

It wasn't time for us to go back to our house (missionaries have strict schedules), and we were kind of hungry.  We passed the gate of the church, and stopped to decide what we were going to do.  I told Hawker that I didn't really want to go back to the house yet, and he said he was starving.  We decided to stop at this little burger joint that was located literally right next to the church parking lot.  I was about 40 feet from the gate.  

Now, when I say burger joint, I don't mean the kind you see in the united states.  I mean, it's probably smaller than my kitchen/dining room at my parents' house.  There are about 4 tables, and a little kitchen in the back.  The kitchen just had a grill, a sink, and a counter top to make sandwiches.  There was a little storage closet area in the back as well.  

We walk in and sit down, a girl, mid 20s I guessed, sitting at the counter where you order.  They had a little T.V. on which they watched American music videos. This girl at the counter, she had a kind of sad look upon her face, but she was very polite, and took our order promptly.  

As we sat, I had my back to the kitchen, and Hawker sat across the table from me.  We started talking about things, in English.  I was kind of watching some 90's music video out of the corner of my eye.  Hawker kicks me under the table and says,

"Dude, this girl keeps staring at me." 

I tell him, "Get used to it, you're American and you have blue eyes.  It's gonna happen a lot."

"Should I say something to her?" he asks all fidgety like.  

"Yeah, go for it." I say, really apathetically. 

He turns and says, "Quieres aprender algo de la Iglesia de JesuCristo?" It was the most terrible gringo spanish, but it was understandable. (Do you want to learn something about the Church of Jesus Christ?)

To my surprise, she says "Yes, I really would." (In spanish, obviously).

I turned in my seat, probably with this dumbfounded look on my face. "Really?" I asked.  She nodded her head. "Why?" I asked, again, with probably a skeptical dumb look on my face.

She answered, "It really calls my attention.  The leaders there eat here once a week and they are all very nice to me.  I've lived here all my life, and I've always wondered about that church."

We got our food, and talked a little bit, but it was getting late.  We were running out of time, so I basically just gave here whatever pamphlets I had on me to read, and we took off. We had also invited her to General Conference, which was that weekend.

Little did I know, but this girl was about to make my whole mission worth it, all by herself.  Her name was Alejandra.

She showed up to General Conference, all by herself. I didn't even see her, because she sat in the back, and we were in  different room watching it in English.

I felt terrible when I found out she had been there and I didn't even see her. I apologized for that later, but she wasn't worried about it. We went over to the burger place (btw, it was called "Burger Prince").  She was there, and we continued talking to her about the church, and the pamphlets we had left.  She had read everything we had left her with.

We started teaching her almost every night for the next couple weeks.  Her family was extremely against the Mormon church, so we were never able to teach her at her house. In fact, I never even got to see her house.  We always taught her lessons there at the store, up front if no one was there, or in the back storage room if there were customers. I remember sitting on a bunch of stacked soda crates, and hawker sitting on a propane bottle with a pillow.

We set a date for Alejandra to get baptized.  She was 25, and didn't legally need permission from her parents, but she had to keep it a secret. If they found out, they would kick her out of the house and disown her.  Her little boy, Marcelito (8) lived with her. She was afraid that they would try to keep him from her if they kicked her out of the house.  But she was determined to follow what she felt was right. She was determined to get baptized, no matter what kind of difficulties faced her.

She had had such a rough life until that point.  She got married to an abusive husband at 19 years old. After several years of physical and emotional abuse, they divorced. She was alone with her little boy, and went back to live with her family.  She was full of heartbreak and disappointment, but she still had faith that something better was waiting or her.

Elder Jason Busenbark gave her the baptismal interview.  She was working that night, and couldn't leave the store, so we did it there.  I waited outside on a bench.  Elder Busenbark and I had been close friends our entire life.  We both grew up in Roosevelt, Utah. He got his mission call several months before I did, but we ended up in the same mission. In fact, we ended up in the same district. He was branch president in a town up in the mountains, about an hour or so away.  I don't really believe in coincidences. But that was a very cool thing.

She got baptized, in March of 2009.  The only people there were my companion and I, and a couple of ward members. I don't even know if I have any photos, although I think there might be a couple on facebook.  Here's the one I found.

Alejandra was solid. A few months later, I spoke to the missionaries in Victoria. I asked how she was doing.  She became Primary President over the branch, and then the district.  The missionaries were teaching her whole family, and her son Marcelo was going to be baptized as well a few months later.

Almost a year later, I was headed home.  I hopped on the plane to Santiago, then we spent the day there at and around the temple.  I met Reed there, on the temple grounds. I'll never forget seeing him across the grounds on the other side of the fountain. This is a picture of that day, right in front of the Temple doors.

 We hugged and talked and laughed with the rest of my group.  I glanced over to my right, and noticed that Alejandra was there!  She had taken a bus from Victoria, to Concepcion, to Santiago.  She had her temple recommend, and went to the temple to do baptisms for her first time.  We all spent the day wandering around Santiago, buying a few souvenirs, and catching up.

It finally came time to leave.

"I'll never forget you." She said, holding back tears. She then explained about how she knew without a doubt that it was all true. She saw it in my eyes, every night we taught her at the Burger Prince, or at church.  "You have something special, and it's exactly what I needed to get here. Thank you for that."

I replied, "Thank you for everything you've done for me. You've made this all worth it. Every day, every disappointment, every door slammed in my face. I would have done it twice to find you."

That was one of the hardest moments of my life, saying goodbye.

Reed and the other guys were in the taxi, honking the horn. "Let's go, we're gonna miss our flight if we don't hurry".  I shook her hand and said goodbye.

I'll never forget staring out the back window of the car as we turned the corner out of the temple grounds, as she waved goodbye.

I still have contact with Alejandra, and she is doing well. I hope to see her in Chile at the end of this year, if all goes as planned.

Everything I do, I do with my whole heart.  I put everything I am into what I feel is important. I'll never turn my back on those who are important to me, and I'll never forget the people who touched my life in Chile.

I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to serve God, and to serve my brothers and sisters down there in Chile.   It was the most meaningful and important thing I've done in my life up to this point.



I'll let Buze throw in a few comments about Victoria, Victoria/Curacautin, and the mission when he reads this.




Still to come:

Chapter 8: Eye of the Storm part 4 of 5- Going home, leaving home.

I don't think I actually have a part 5 of 5, and I might just go into Chapter 9: 5280 after part 4.

As always, thanks for reading what is becoming a book more than a blog...

Also, there is going to be a chapter dedicated to how I broke up with Nyckie. I haven't told anyone the whole story (except maybe Rondee), and it's really quite crazy.  You'll all be quite entertained.





















Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chapter 8: The Eye of the Storm- Part 2/5 A new prophet, a new world.

I don't remember much about the day I entered the MTC, but I do remember the family lunch at the Golden Corral somewhere in Orem.  I remember "the big meeting", the one where you sing "Called to Serve" with three or four hundred other new missionaries, and five minutes later, you say goodbye to your parents and siblings.  That was pretty intense. I think that was the first time I ever saw my dad shed a tear.  

Luckily, Reed was there with me the whole time.  As a new missionary,  you get a sticker to put on your name tag. It was just to show that you were new, and which group you were in by color.  Everyone called them "dork dots". The other missionaries who had already been there always pointed and laughed at the new missionaries wandering around aimlessly, looking for their bags or their study materials.  

My dork dot was green.  

2,500 missionaries cycle through the MTC every few weeks.  At any given time, there are around 50,000 Mormon missionaries in the field throughout the world. On bikes, on foot, or even in cars (spoiled), the missionaries carry the message of Jesus Christ to everyone that will listen.  It's becoming kind of a common site in most places. Thanks to the new musical by my boys Matt and Trey, our missionaries have been given even a bit more fame.  

The Missionary Training Center is an amazing place. Just about 100 different languages are taught. There are strict rules and lots of studying.  It's the first place in which a missionary really has to learn to live with a companion.  

1st rule of the MTC: Stay with your companion.
2nd rule of the MTC: STAY WITH YOUR COMPANION!

Okay, anyway.  I loved the semi okay food, all the devotionals, meetings, language study, scripture study, etc.  Our instructors were inspiring, and the opportunities we had to listen to apostles and church leaders in an up close and personal setting was really once in a lifetime.  

I remember when I was eating lunch in the cafeteria and Reed was eating lunch with L. Tom Perry. That was kind of cool. 

Well, the weekend before we were to ship out to Chile, we went to the Saturday night movie.  It was Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration.  Awesome movie, gets me every time.  Right before the end of the movie that night, they shut it off.  This was January 27, 2008.  

They brought the lights up, and we were all wondering what the heck was going on.  President Madsen got up to speak, but I already knew what had happened .  President Hinckley had passed away.  That was intense.  Walking back to our dorms, the whole MTC was dead silent. That was pretty weird. 

A few days later, on the bus to the airport, the new Prophet was announced. President Thomas S. Monson.

It was a pretty unforgettable time.  

Then we got to Chile.  It was about a million degrees when we got off the plane.  Everyone spoke spanish, the cars were different, and we were all totally lost.  

My first night in Chile, I slept on the floor of a dilapidated apartment in the Bio Bio sector of Concepcion.  I didn't have any of my clothes or luggage, and I used half of an old mattress as a pillow.  There was all sorts of fungus and mold on the wall in the kitchen, the windows were broken (although they still had metal bars, which didn't make me feel much better).  I hadn't eaten or slept in about 30 hours, and I didn't sleep that night either. 

Early day, had to catch a bus to Temuco, then another bus from Temuco to Carahue.  I didn't sleep that next night, either.  

Okay, at this point, I'm actually getting bored talking about each part of the mission. I think from now on I'll stick to a few highlights, and then call it good.  No one really likes reading mission travelogues anyway. 

Long story short, it went like this:

Temuco Cautin- Carahue Branch
San Coronel- Camilo Branch
Temuco Nielol- Nielol Ward
Nueva Tolten- Gorbea Branch
Angol- Victoria Branch
Talcahuano North- Talcahuano Centro
Lebu- Canete branch/Tirua Branch
Home.

Somewhere between Carahue and Canete, I became a different, better human being.  I always tell people, that half of my heart will always be somewhere in the south of Chile.  I hope I never get it back. 











Today's blog is just a bunch of photos of us in North Dakota.

This will be sort of a rant. Enjoy.

I like people who are passionate about what they do. Passionate about anything.  It could be cooking, or hiking, or painting, or mathematics.  

People ask me how I got into what I do.  I started a business that washes oilfield trucks in North Dakota.  

This is not something I've been dreaming of my entire life. I wasn't a little kid telling my parents, "Mom, when I grow up, I want to wash trucks in North Dakota".  

What I'm passionate about, is creating something.  Not just creating anything, but creating value in something. I'm passionate about creating jobs for people, and about helping them feed their families.  I have yet to do that, but that's what I want to do.  That's the reason I packed up everything I own and drove to Minot, ND.

Someday, when this business is successful, and running on its own, I'll do it again. I'll find something interesting, and run with it.  

It's hard for me to just pick one thing, and do it from start to finish, by itself. It's easy for me to see side projects, and end up doing everything all at once. I have to fight my urge to multitask.  

This week, somewhere near Cydonia, North Dakota, there was a big oil spill on a well location.  A crude oil truck driver was loading his truck, and fell asleep in the cab of his truck.  He left the pump running. 

I thin they lost about 200 barrels on the ground. A barrel is about 42 gallons. That's a lot of crude oil. 

Normally, they'd bring a crew of people and equipment out to clean up the mess.  After thousands of dollars in soil testing, they then have to excavate the soil that has been soaked through with crude oil.  

I was with one of the dispatchers for this trucking company as he was talking to the company manager about the spill. 

I told him about some chemicals I was familiar with.  I'm talking about Probiological Remediation.  

Instead of digging up the whole area with heavy equipment, trucking all of the soil to a disposal facility, we can spray a special kind of bacteria onto the spill.  This bacteria eats the oil, and leaves only water, and CO2.  

This is much cheaper than all the traditional stuff. It's better for the environment.  It's awesome. And it's what I hope we can start doing, in coordination with the whole power washing idea.  Who knew I'd be such an environmentalist? (Okay, that's really a stretch. But there is money to be made in helping the environment)

If this trucking company tries it, and likes it, then it can be a foot in to selling chemicals to EOG resources. If we get in with EOG resources (which I think we will), we'll also have all 600 oil wells to clean up and take care of.  That would be my retirement. :)

Anyway, that was kind of a tangent, but something I've been thinking about during most of my waking hours. 

Here are some photos of yesterday's work! It was a great day!


Starting with an after photo, I guess.




Before...


Me, doing something.









So I hooked up this whole strange contraption. The machine in the back of the truck is hooked up to the generator, and the main water tank on the trailer.  It was kind of a spur of the moment design, but it's what I do when I roll out of bed.

A Beautiful North Dakota sunset.

Pause in the Posts...

Hey everyone, sorry but there will be sort of a pause before the next part of chapter 8.  Work things are extremely busy and I'm really working hard to get things moving up here in ND. We've had a good week thus far, and the weather has been good.

On top of that, I'm flying to SLC tomorrow, so it will be kind of a busy week or two.

I'll keep everyone in the know for the next blog update. :)

Thanks for reading!

Greg

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter 8: The Eye of the Storm- Part 1/5 The Call, packing, and leaving.

Back in nineteen fifty something, a young John Groberg was called to be a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to a remote group of islands in the Pacific called Tonga.

He served there for like 3 years, teaching, building, baptizing, and doing great things.  He wrote a book on his experience called The Eye of the Storm, which ended up becoming a movie called The Other Side of Heaven (starring Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway). This is one of my favorite movies ever.



Every time I watch this movie it just about brings me to tears.  I can really relate to what this guy went through (minus a hurricane or complete starvation) but for the most part, I can relate.

The life of a missionary for God, although simple, is not an easy one. And it's not supposed to be easy.

I'll tell you a bit about my experience.

Chapter 8: The Eye of the Storm.  This is going to be really long, and probably broken up into several parts.

I got my mission call during the fall of 2007.  My 19th birthday was on September 12, and I don't think I had even finished submitting my mission papers by then.  I think I was kind of slacking on it.

At any rate, they ended up getting sent in.  I was working on Frontier rig 5 at the time, and everyone knew I was planning on leaving for my mission. In fact, since I was the 6th man on a five man crew, the tool pusher decided to only put me on daylights. This would mean I would actually be on 2 crews, alternating every other week, so that I only worked the daylight shift.

Well, I remember getting my mission call.  Reed opened his at my dad's office before I had even gotten there, and texted me where he was going. Chile, Vina del Mar.

I was immediately thinking, gosh, I hope I don't get some lame stateside mission.....

I was going to wait til we were at home, and for Lee to be there and the girls.  My call was to Chile, Concepcion South. I remember explaining the mission call and stuff to my crew on the rig. They were all excited for me and glad I was going.



They didn't make it to the farewell, because they had a rig move, but they wanted to be there.  One night, a week or two before I left, I drove out to the rig with my girlfriend and my dad to show them around. I think I might even have one of the pictures we took with the crew.

I bought all my clothes, and shoes, and other needed things.  My dad let me have his nice luggage, the ones he used to travel the world with the Army.  Amazingly enough, I still use them to this day. Most missionaries' luggage doesn't last through the mission.

Anyway, packed and ready to go. Reed and I spoke in church the Sunday before leaving.  Sam Taylor spoke after us.

We were to enter the MTC on Wednesday, December 5th.  The night before leaving, we had to run down to the steak center to be set apart as a missionary (this is kind of an ordinance that is done in the church by authorized priesthood leaders).  I think I spent most of that whole Tuesday with Lee.  We were really going to miss each other. Immensely.  We knew it was going to be hard.  I don't think we knew how hard.

One day in the previous weeks, we had been out to Salt Lake on a date.  I took her to McGrath's fish house at the Gateway I believe. We were supposed to go watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing a Christmas program, but we arrived a little late and couldn't get in. So we walked around Temple Square, looking at the pretty lights, and then went to dinner.

She had ordered New England Clam Chowder, I had ordered the chef's special, apricot grilled halibut.  I was wearing a green shirt that she said looked amazing on me.  Something about my dark skin against that color of green really got her. She was wearing a green skirt and black earrings. She looked so pretty.  We rubbed our ankles together under the table as we sat waiting for our food.

I remember this moment while we were waiting, laughing and talking.  We just both stopped mid sentence, looking at each other. I furled my eyebrows, with a pained look on my face.  It was like, it hit us both simultaneously, the realization that this would soon end. It was a realization that for the next two years of our lives, we would be on different continents, in different hemispheres, different time zones.  We would have completely separate lives, for the first time in 4 years.

I think we both just about started crying, but somehow held it together.  I took her by the hand, and forced a sad smile. She did too.  "I hope I don't start bawling in the middle of this restaurant." She said, wiping a tear away. I chuckled, and held my breath for a moment.

After a a few moments, just looking deeply into each other's eyes; it could have been an hour, or a whole lifetime- I whispered softly to her,

"I'll miss you." I spoke quietly, choking back tears. I said it as if I'd never see her again, as if I was about to die, and we had been together for as long as we had both existed in the universe.

"I'll miss you, too." She replied.

Back to the night I got set apart.....

Quick interview with President LeBaron.  Big room full of the stake leadership and my family, and Lee.

I gave Lee a quick kiss before going into that room.  That would be the last kiss for two years. And who knew if we would ever be together again. The probabilities were against us.

I got set apart. We all walked outside to the parking lot. I gave her hand a squeeze, told her I loved her, and then we parted ways. Rough.



We entered the MTC the next morning.  And what a place it was.  9 weeks of intensive language learning, all you can eat mediocre food, and competitive four square. But that's for part 2 of the chapter.

Chapter 8: The Eye of the storm- 2/5 A new prophet, a new world.

I went from being a cocky roughneck with lots of money and a beautiful girlfriend, to a lost and poor servant of God in a foreign country.  From having a big mouth, to not being able to put a sentence together in Spanish. I was humbled quickly, and I needed every bit of inspiration I could find.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chapter 7: Part 2, The day the music died.

I don't play the piano in front of people anymore. I'm still really quite good at it.  I'll play in church, just the hymns, but that's about it.  And I think that's different.

The song playing for this post is Together we will live forever, by Clint Mansell. This is my favorite song to play, ever. I can sit at the piano alone, with no one listening, and arrange music, create music, or just sit and think.  It's a special time for me that I don't often get.  And only the most special of people get to hear me actually create something.

Here's why.

7th grade was fun. I was really cool back then (what happened?).  I ran around with the popular 8th grade girls.  I wore the trendy clothes.

Then 8th grade came, and I was back running around with Reed and all our buddies. Another great year.  All our teachers loved us. We were smart and cool, and we had fun.

So, we had just recently moved up to Neola right before the 8th grade school year. Trevor's older brother, Bryson, had come home from his mission in California that summer, if I remember correctly. Tyler was just turning 19 in the fall, and would soon be leaving for his mission.

He got his call to Brazil, I can't remember which mission.  He gave his farewell talk on the 15th of December, and would be hopping a plane to Brazil the following day I believe.

Trevor's mom and dad would be driving him out to Salt Lake City, and Bryson was going along for the ride to drop him off.

Trevor's dad, Bruce, was a really great guy. He was in the Bishopric of the ward, and knew my family well.  Everyone in the whole neighborhood was close.

Well, the farewell talk was great.  He was gonna be an awesome missionary.  For some reason, I'm not really sure why, Trevor stayed home in Roosevelt while everyone else drove out to Salt Lake. I think it was to feed his dog or something like that.

I do remember late the next night, hearing my sister telling me that there had been some sort of accident on the road to Salt Lake.  Her boyfriend or someone had heard some news about the Hunts getting in a wreck over Strawberry. Needless to say, I was pretty much freaked out by hearing that. Maybe it wasn't true. Maybe it was some misunderstanding.

So my mom called Gayla Hicken, Jill's mom. Their house was riiiight in between my house and Trevor's. If anyone knew anything, they would.

I'll tell you what I remember. I remember the look on my mom's face as she started to cry. She was on the phone, leaned over the kitchen counter. Dad was in the shower.  Reed was in our room.

I ran back to my room, knelt down, and prayed that they would be okay, that Trevor would somehow be okay too.

I banged on the door of my parents' bathroom, told my dad there had been an accident, and that they had all been killed. They tried to resuscitate them at the scene. Nothing.

Flash forward. We're in dad's truck, my parents, Reed and I.  We're driving down to Roosevelt. Trevor was down the street at Tony Summers' house.  When we showed up, I think I remember Bishop Staker there, Tony and his parents, and there was someone else.

Reed and I sat down on the couch, on either side of Trevor. We were all cried.

I don't remember much of anything else accept the viewing and the funeral.

Kent Haslem went down with us to the viewing.   It was at the Roosevelt Stake Center.  It took me a while to get up the courage to go in.  I finally did. I think I about passed out.  It was a room with four open caskets. It was rough.  Tyler was there, Bryson, then I saw Sandra. That's where I about lost it.

Bishop Summers said something to me, hoping to cheer me up somehow. I got dizzy. I had to get out of there. I broke down crying again.

A day or two after that, was the funeral.  There was a spot saved for my family on the third or fourth row from the front of the chapel.  There were like 4 or 5 hundred people in that chapel. Maybe more.

They rolled the four caskets in while the prelude played. Then the family followed and sat down on the front rows. Then President Boyd K Packer walks in and sits on the stand with the Stake Presidency and Bishopric.

I remember Trevor's oldest sister, Kim, played Finlandia on the grand piano at some point during the service. Maybe that's why "Be Still My Soul" is my favorite hymn.

President Packer spoke at some point. I think it was the first time that week that I had sort of felt better.
There were TV news cameras in the church, and outside. I guess the whole thing made big news.

I was kind of lost after that. I know I could probably never understand what Trevor had to go through. But it was hard for me in my own way.  It was like, the day the music died. At least for me. I didn't want to play anymore. Not for anyone to see or hear.  The piano became kind of my own way to be close to them.  I'd only play at home, and my dad would usually be the only person who listened.

It's still kind of the same now.  I'll only sit down and play for myself. And if I play for someone who's not family, they must be pretty special.  

I guess it still makes me feel closer to them.  It's like, I run my fingers across the keys, and Sandra could be in the kitchen making us breakfast again, or Bruce is out back chopping some wood. Maybe Tyler is in his room playing the guitar, or Bryson is in the basement playing a computer game.  It takes me right back.  It's one of my favorite things in the world, and something I rarely do anymore.

It's important to me. It's who I am.  And I can finally talk about it openly.

Trevor eventually moved to Enterprise, Utah with family.  He left for his mission just before we did. He served in San Francisco, and is now married and living in Logan with his wife Kelsey.

 I got to see them back in summer/fall of 2011 when Reed and I helped him move a bunch of his house into a storage unit when they were moving.  It was so great to see them. It was just like old times, accept we all have trucks, and jobs, and careers, and college, and mortgages, and businesses. I couldn't help but imagine us as kids knee deep in the sandbox.

This is the obituary that came out in Deseret News.

I'm not really sure where we're going with Chapter 8....Let me know if you have any requests or suggestions.

Love you all.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chapter 7: Life, Death, and Music

Quick update before chapter 7:

Things finally seem to be looking up.  As it says on facebook, I'm working out a deal with Western Petroleum (a Utah based fuel distribution company). We'll have a dedicated crew on site in Tioga washing their trucks 5 days a week.  I'm working on a proposal for a daily rate, instead of just hourly or per truck.  This will make it easier for me to track profitability, I'll have a consistent, predictable work load for my guys, and a steady income for the business.

We're also working our ins with EOG resources, a very large oil production company.  We'll have our own dispatch, through Aarmac Transport (another trucking company we're in with).  That will be very exciting!

I'll be flying down to Salt Lake next Friday afternoon, picking up another truck, and then picking up another wash rig in Roosevelt. After a few days visiting Roosevelt, I'll be heading to Denver for a few days, and then back to North Dakota.

So, if you wanna go get some lunch, or a nice hot drink, let me know!

Okay, now for the real deal.

Chapter 7: Life, Death, Music.

When I was around 8 or 9 when I really started piano lessons.  One time, when I was little, my grandma Page dragged me to the piano to teach me a song. I had little tiny hands, and she wanted to teach me to play "Silent Night". I guess it must have been around christmas. I'll never forget how hard that song was to learn, there were some octaves I couldn't really reach.

I could play that song for the rest of my life. And I have. I played it on a different continent, and for many different people. And every time I play that song, I remember my grandmother's hands and mine trying to follow them.

Well, right around that time, I told my mom I wanted to take piano lessons.  My best friend's mother was a piano teacher, so naturally, she became my teacher.  My best friend, Trevor, had already started learning the piano, so for many years after, I was always trying to catch up.

I was at their house every day anyway, so it wasn't much different to show up after school every Thursday at 4:30 for my weekly lesson.  Trevor's mom, Sandra, was like my mom. She made us breakfast, and drove us to school. She even picked us up sometimes.  And sometimes she had to yell at us and break up fights with Trevor's older brothers, Bryson and Tyler.  Sandra. Our second mom.

We spent a million hours in the basement and playing. I remember the first N64 we played down there. I remember the hours building things with legos, I remember watching the Last of the Mohicans while sitting on bean bag chairs.

And then we had the sandbox.  Sandbox city was a regular summer pass time. So was kickball, and swingsets.

Yes, we were there when we weren't home. That was the size of our whole existence, the distance between the outside edge of our yard, to the outside edge of his.  I wish the world was still so huge outside our fences.

I wish the world was so big still.  Now, our world is the size of Minot, to Denver, to Enterprise. Or even, San Francisco, Santiago, and London.

We were pretty inseparable.  Until we were separated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I don't think I'm gonna go to Utah anymore. Let's take a breather.

Okay, so the song that is playing the day I'm posting this, is John Mayer's "In your atmosphere". I absolutely love this song (I can even play it on the guitar). This is exactly how I felt about Roosevelt, after breaking up with Lee more than a year ago.

"I'd die if I saw you, die if I didn't see you there."

I kind of never wanted to go back.  Luckily, things are different now. I'm excited to go back to Roosevelt and visit my family, although I guess it's really just my mom and Anna/Zac, and most importantly my niece Ashtynn!!! She's the only girl in my life right now.  I miss her very much.

Anyway, this is a break from the usual.

I think we could all use one. Today we went back out to Cascade, in Ross.  After a few hours of me fiddling with the equipment, it all seemed to be working (in a manner of speaking).





So I took off to take care of things in Minot, while Chett and Freddy worked away at cleaning up a bunch of tankers.

I filed my tax return. I'm getting 2600 bucks back. Thank you, Uncle Sam. (Actually, the tax system is terribly flawed and probably corrupt). At least I'll finally have a couple dimes to rub together.  And I'm making a trip to Utah/Colorado at the end of the month. :)

I'm going to hit up Power Fuels here soon, to see if we can get work for them.  They are a HUGE water trucking company out of Watford City, ND.  They have like 8 different yards across the state. 3 of those yards are along highway 2, between Tioga and Minot.  I'm gonna try to get all three of them.

See Greg. See Greg chase. See Greg chase after his dreams. Chase Greg, chase.

We'll continue with story time tomorrow.  Love you all, and thank you for reading this stuff. I'm glad my life is mildly entertaining. :)

Oh yeah, happy Valentines Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 6: Part 2 - My grand guitar debut.


Okay, continuing.  Also, I'm learning how to put photos up on this silly thing. This is what I look like today. And yes, this is the kill shirt from Dexter.

I was talking about Lee, and Haylee.  We're now going to talk about the night Lee officially fell in love with me. I need to tell a story that makes me look good after a story that shows how dumb I was.

Here's some context for ya.

When my dad served his mission back in 1971 or so, he bought a classical guitar, handmade in Brazil.  That guitar made it back to the United States with him, and ended up in Reed's possession. Reed was the guitarist of the family, after all.  It made sense for him to get it.  It was a beautiful, wide neck, classical guitar. Nylon strings, sounded great. Even after thirty five years.

One Saturday morning, in the Spring of 2006, I decided to take it out of the case and try to learn a song.  I asked Reed to show me which chords to play for the song, and where to put my fingers.

G, C, D, Em.

Rewind.......

January, just a few months earlier.

I finally "broke up" with Haylee. It wasn't really officially going out, but it was kind of an official break up.  I had a long talk with her about my feelings for Lee, and she was cool with us calling it quits so I could see what happened with Lee.  That was pretty cool of her, thinking back on it.

Well, the next night, I drove with Lee up to the park, parked my car, and told her that we could finally be "together".  She was pretty excited to say the least. We...kissed. I remember the song that was playing on my stereo. It was Fix You, by Coldplay.  I think of that night every time I hear that song.

Then I woke up the next day. I kind of freaked out.  I was thinking, "What have I done? I've ruined everything! I can't go out with Lee, I've waited too long to throw away the thing with Haylee; I can't do this!"

Okay, I really don't know what else I was thinking. But I was afraid to be with Lee. I have no idea why. Irregardless of what I was or wasn't thinking, I decided I couldn't be with Lee. And I told her that. And it destroyed her. Completely.

Think of it. This girl had been waiting for some huge miracle, that would let us be together. She was waiting for me to come to my senses, to realize that we belonged together.  It took me a couple years to realize that. And the next day, after I told her that it had finally come true, I ruined it. I told her, that I couldn't do it. I couldn't be with her, that I had made a mistake. I couldn't comprehend how destroyed she was at the time.

So, she being the tough girl she was, didn't show her heartbreak. She did something else. She had to hurt me back.  And she did it in the most unexpected, strange way.  It was probably the worst thing she could have done to me.  And now, it seems so dumb.

One day, after school, I ran into her in the commons. I asked her what she was up to. She said that she was going with some friends who were going to pierce their navels. I told her that was dumb. She asked, "What if I got one?". "You won't." I replied. "I know you won't." As if I had some right to tell her what she would or wouldn't do.  "Okay, I'll see you later." She left.

Sometime later, I went to her house. I don't know what for.  But I walked in, and it was instantly awkward. I looked at her, she looked at me. I didn't know what was going on. She had kind of a thin, maroon colored shirt on. I looked down at her stomach, I could see that something had changed.  I looked at her, confused. "There's no way you..."          

  "No way I what?"

I reached out and touched it with my fingertips, through her shirt. As soon as I did, I turned on my heels and ran out.

Ran. Out. The. Door.

I think she yelled after me. I peeled out in my car. I got out of there. I was pretty upset. She called and called. I didn't answer. The only thing I could think of, was to call her mother and tell her what she had done. Wow, that showed her. Her mom had expected her to do something ridiculous, after what I had done to her.

BTW, if you're not a Mormon, body piercings (other than the ears) are sort of a no-no. A big no-no. And for guys, no piercings at all.

The reason I freaked out so badly, I came to realize long after, was kind of deeply connected with what had happened in my family years before.  I remember when my sister first got a belly-button piercing. I remember it being one of the first big things, in a long streak of bad decisions on my sister's part. To me, it was as if by piercing her belly button, Lee was choosing to take a bad road.  So, when she did that, all I could think of was her doing all sorts of terrible things later on; drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, whatever.  It's all I could see. And it scared me. And it hurt me. But it was because I cared so much about her. I was still too stupid to realize and accept how I felt about her.

Anyway, I refused to talk to her for a while. Seems like it was a few weeks. Maybe it was a month. I even started hanging out with Haylee

And then, she was in the hospital.

After school one day, in the commons, again. Someone said something about Lee being in the hospital.  Intensive Care. I got in my car and drove directly to the hospital.

She had some sort of viral infection in her neck.  It made part of her face sort of swell up, it was so sad. It hurt to see her so sick.  It was pretty darn serious, too. Later on I learned that she could have died from it, if it had gotten any worse.

I had forgotten I was mad at her. I had forgotten about Haylee, about the piercing (which, she had subsequently removed immediately after seeing my reaction).  I had forgotten about everything, except for the fact that she was my best friend, and I loved her.

In the weeks proceeding the hospital ordeal, she was at home recuperating. I spent every moment that I wasn't at school or work, sitting with her at her house, holding her hand, willing her to get better.  She got me to watch Pride and Prejudice.

We were best friends again.

Well, something else that happened in the midst of everything, exactly six years ago tomorrow, I wrecked my car. I rear ended someone on my way to school, the roads were really icy that day. Yeah, it was Valentine's day.  On top of all the other traffic tickets I had gotten previously, this one put me over the top. They took my driver's license away for a month.

So, as soon as Lee was well enough to function and drive and be normal, I lost my license. I was stuck at home, and she had to drive up to Neola to see me, just like that Saturday when I first picked up that Brazilian classical guitar.

She came by that evening, and for some reason, I was the only one at home. I don't know where everyone else was. But who cares. We put on a movie- The Village. A good excuse to be close and cuddle up. She's the biggest pansy in the world when it comes to scary movies, and I knew it.  It was kind of chilly in the house, so I gave her this blue Kirra brand hoodie to put on.

After the movie was over, I told her how I had just learned my first song on the guitar.

Flashback.....      

I'm ten years old. I'm at my best friends' house. His name is Trevor Hunt.  He has two older brothers, probably 6 and 8 years older than us. They listened to good music. Whatever they listened to, we ended up liking by default. They were kind of our heroes.  Bryson and Tyler.  They'll be important in the next chapter.

They liked this band called Matchbox 20.  We were like, 10 years old, but Reed and I ended up buying this album of theirs called "Yourself or Someone Like You."   The final song on the album is called "Hang".  For some reason years later, that was the song I decided to learn on that fateful Saturday in the spring of 2006.



Here's Rob singing the song. Don't mind him, he has kind of a foul mouth. You can skip to like 1:45 or so to where he starts playing the song.

Imagine me, nervous as can be, playing my first song on a guitar, and singing it with a shaky voice.

I think she was smitten.  At least, that's kind of how she explained it in later years.  She said that was the exact moment that she knew she was in love with me.

Well, I finished my little song, and we talked about life, about school, about what we wanted. She was getting ready to graduate, and it was sort of a melancholy time.  She paused for a moment, with a kind of sad, pensive look on her face.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked.

"I'm not thinking, I'm remembering. Remembering good times, and hard times, everything that's over now."

I scooted a little bit closer to her, on the couch.  Then I said,

"Remember this."  I leaned in, and kissed her. I put my hands up around her neck and pulled her face into mine.  For the first time, I felt free to let it happen. I wasn't afraid, I wasn't going to second guess it. It felt as natural as breathing.

A little while later, it was getting late, and people were probably about to be getting home.  I gave her a big hug.

"You're gonna get me in trouble". I told her.

"You don't need me to do that." She smiled. "You get yourself into trouble enough for the both of us".

She got in her car and drove away.

Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to that night. Every time I pick up the guitar, it takes me back to that moment. Even just for a moment. I remember the light in my living room, the way the furniture was arranged, the smell of the kitchen.  I remember the silence, and how loud it felt in my ears. I would have given anything in the world to read her mind and hear her thoughts.

Soon after, we were officially "together".

If you've made it this far, congratulations. You're the first person I've ever told this story to.  As an extra special treat, just for you, the first person to get this far receives a special gift:

Ask a question about anything in the story, or not in the story, about me or anything that happened, or anything you're curious about. It can be absolutely anything (reasonable) from the past or present. I'll talk about it before the next chapter, with maybe a few changed names.  Just leave it in the comments box.

Up next:

Chapter 7: Life, Death, Music.

This one isn't quite as happy and romantic as chapter 6, but it is a huge part of who I am.  Some of you were there, and you'll remember. Some of you weren't there, but you know what it's like to lose someone you love.

Chapter 6: Crime and Punishment

Update on today: We went to Western Petroleum, had to battle to keep the chemical injector working, then once that was good, the burner went down again. I opened up the ignitor, and there were five wires loosely sitting in the housing. I have no idea how that could have possible happened. So, as the machine was running, I used a screwdriver to check and see if the sparker was working. It made a good arc on the screwdriver (luckily, the handle was insulated enough for it to not electrocute me to death). So, after beating my brains out for a few minutes, I just took some random wires, and wired them together.  I'm fairly good at deducting where things should go...and voila. It started right up. Hot water. For a while. It kept shutting off and I had to keep playing with it. I'm tired of things breaking down.

Crime and Punishment

The summer after my freshman year of high school, I was a lifeguard at the city pool.  Reed and I both worked there. It was a pretty chill summer job.  One day, a co-worker/buddy of ours, we'll call him Caleb (not his real name), was going to the lake to go jet skiing with some of his friends, and he had invited Reed to go with.  Technically, Reed had the second half of the day off, and I was supposed to work. But because I had taken his shift the day before, I kind of pushed him into staying at the pool while I went to the lake with Caleb.  So I went to the lake, not really expecting anything special.  I had never ridden a jet ski. It sounded like fun.

So we met his friends at Bottle Hollow reservoir. This is a small lake on the Ute Indian reservation, just east of Roosevelt, Utah. Bottle Hollow

We met a girl there that he was digging on. Her name was LeeNichole White. This is her real name. I don't think I can make one up for her. It just wouldn't work.

Lee was there with her family.  During the summer, they spend lots of time on the lake with the jet skis.  They were all very nice to me, and even gave me juice and snacks.

Well, when we first hopped out of the truck, we walked down the beach and she walked over to meet us.  She just sort of said hey to me over Caleb's shoulder. She was obviously entertained enough by him.

Back up-

I had known this girl my entire life. I had never personally met her before. But I knew exactly who she was.  If you've ever seen the movie "Mean Girls", I'm not sure which of the three she was.  At least, as long as I had been in school, this was basically the vibe she projected.  Super snob, stuck up, etc.

She was always this really tall, thin, pale, pretty eyed girl, who ran with the Dye'n to Dance group of girls. They all had these matching purple competition jackets that they even wore to school.

So I had never in my life spoken a word to this girl, not even when I was in 7th grade, when I ran with that whole group of girls (they were all in 8th grade, I was just cool).  For some reason, we had never crossed paths. That was all gonna change. Drastically.

Okay, so I show up to this beach, here's this girl who I've sort of secretly hated my whole life (not personally, but just whatever it was she represented).  At some point in the day, after some wake boarders had yelled at me for messing up the water, and I had parked just to chill out for a bit, we ended up sitting in close proximity on the beach.

She asked me, "Having fun?", in a small-talk sort of way. Not in a way that said she actually cared at all, we were just kind of sitting alone on the beach and it might have been more awkward to say nothing.

I told her, "I just got yelled at by those douche-bag wake boarders. Otherwise, yeah." I was wearing sunglasses, and I didn't actually look at her.

She explained how the wake boarders always thought that they owned the lake, and that I shouldn't pay attention to them.

"Did I see you in the Mr. UBIC thing?" I asked her. I suddenly realized that I had seen her in the first production number.

Explanation:
 UBIC has come to represent "Uintah Basin in Celebration", although it was originally "Uinta Basin Irrigation Cooperative", where a bunch of old farmers would get together back in the day and talk about water issues. It turned into just a big annual party/festival with parades, and live music, and baseball games, etc. The thing lasts a whole week now. Well, there's also a "Miss UBIC" pageant. Just for fun, at some point, someone came up with a "Mr. UBIC" pageant. It's a cheaper, more fun version of the thing where guys get to make fools of themselves. Always entertaining.

The theme was"Surfing USA" or the likes. Reed volunteered to be in the competition.  I remember going to it and seeing Lee in the opening number.  She didn't really stand out, per se, but I remember it even to this day.

The opening number was "I wish they all could be California girls" by the Beach Boys.  A different girl would walk out for each girl across the country, i.e. Midwest Farmer's daughter, Northern Girls, Southern girls, and East Coast girls. Lee was the East Coast Girl.  I don't know how, but somehow I'm remembering all of this from when I was 15.

Anyway, I'm on the beach. I ask her about that, and I realize it was her in the number.  "The east coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear..." I sort of sang to her, teasingly.

We hit it off.  We have been the best of friends ever since.  The end.

Wait, wait, wait.  Okay, not the end.  There are 7 or 8 consequent years worth of juicy stories after this day.
At one point, I was sort of "dating" a different girl for like, several months. That one is entre parenthesis because I don't think it counts. She was barely 16, and I was an idiot.  It was mostly, I liked Haylee (that sounds like a good fake name), Lee liked me, and Lee and Haylee are first cousins.

I spent so much time with them both individually, that people would ask me which of the two girls was my girlfriend.  I would jokingly say "Both of them, but they don't know it."  I was setting myself up for a problem.

One time, they both went to a big family gathering for memorial day I think, both wearing one of my sweaters.  I bet they felt really ridiculous.  I'm glad I wasn't there for that one.

Anyway, this is where we get into the story of my first kiss. I was 17. I liked Haylee, Lee liked me.   For some reason, I was way stuck on Haylee, when I really should have just been with Lee. We were best friends, we had chemistry, we were always there for each other, and it would have been perfect. I was just too stupid to realize it. Maybe to prideful. I don't know what my problem was, really.

Wait....I remember what my problem was.

Lee's long long list of boyfriends, none of which lasted for more than a few weeks, was full of low life, smoker, drug addict, drop-out, mouth breathing morons.  I wouldn't let my good name be a part of that list. That was my problem. Also, I had never kissed a girl.  Mind you, I was 17 years old, and as a romantic, I wanted it to be special.  I didn't want it to disappear in a long list of guys some girl has made out with and forgotten. I wanted it to mean something.  That's the other problem I had with Lee. And no, in the two or so years I had known her up until this point, we had never locked lips. Not. Once.

So, being the genius I am, and we're talking about fall 2005 I want to say... I ask Lee to go see a movie. Somehow, I also asked Haylee to the same movie. It ended up being the three of us at the movies. I like Haylee, Lee likes me, and this is now really weird. Yes, I know, I wish I could go back and punch myself in the face.

This whole night ended with a huge fight between Lee and I.  I dropped her off at her house, she slammed my car door, and stormed into her house. Then I dropped off Haylee. Then I went home feeling like an idiot, for good reason.

The next morning, I was supposed to go into the shop (Classic Lube in Roosevelt) for work.  I think I was supposed to be there at about 8:00.  I left early to make a quick stop at Lee's house to try to apologize for being an asinine the previous night.  I walked right into her house, as always, walked down the hallway to her room, and woke her up.  She was always so cute when she was just waking up.  I sat down on her ed next to her, and apologized for the night before. I think that although she was probably still pissed off about what I had done, seeing me when she woke up probably made her day. We didn't say much. But at some point, she grabbed me by the collar, pulled me down and kissed me.

I don't think I had ever been so scared in my life. I remember shivering like a wet dog. My head was spinning. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I expected it. But thinking back on it, I wouldn't change a thing.  Remembering it always makes me smile.

So, I was kinda/sorta going out with Haylee at this time.  I was setting myself up for a problem.

We're going to take a break here. It's Monday night, and I have FHE with my Mormon peeps.

I'll finish this later. Text me and let me know if this was mildly entertaining. 720-441-7651.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chapter 5: Fixing a Flow switch/What really happened/Senior Prom.

Before we go into chapter five, here's a quick update on today.

Church was awesome.  So glad I went. I get to give a talk next week in church, which I'm super excited about (I'm one of those weird people who love to speak in church.)

After church, Chett and I went up to Ramanda Nash's house to fix my equipment.  Here's what happened:

So, last Monday, I set the guys up to work at Western Petroleum's truck yard in Tioga, ND.  After I got them set up to work, I went out to chase down a few sales. When I do sales, it means I drive out to some big trucking company, talk my way into their office, and convince a supervisor or someone in charge to let us wash their trucks. We negotiate prices, etc.  So on Monday, I went out to Cascade Tanks (a Colorado company) and nailed some work for us.  We were to go out the next day and hit out 20 tankers. These are big water tank trailers they use to transport production water, or drilling water, or fresh water in the oilfield.


Anyway, it was an extremely cold morning, and they wanted us on site at 7:30 AM.  When we arrived, it was about 7 degrees.  This is not a good temperature to be spraying things with water.  It took us several hours to actually get going, between un-thawing the water lines and getting the tank filled with fresh water.

After things were looking better, I let the guys take over, and I drove back to town (to get more chemicals).
They called me an hour or two later, saying that the burner had gone down.  The burner is the part of our trailer that heats the water as we're spraying.  The hot water is what really gets dirt and grime off of everything.  So if the burner is down, everything is down.  It killed the rest of the work week, until Friday night, I had an apostrophe.  You see, next to the burner power switch on the trailer, there are four indicator lights: Therm, Flow, Spark, Burn.  (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200342903_200342903)

When everything is running correctly, all four lights are lit.  But if any one of the lights are out, the consequent ones would also be out.  When something goes wrong, you can pretty much guess which one is bad. In our case this week, the Flow light was out.  It finally occurred to me to check the flow switch, and maybe bypass it altogether. We did both. And it totally worked. I'm a boss.

Okay, Chapter 5

I don't really now how to start this one, but one of the things that comes to mind is why I was kind of an "over-achiever".  I did too much in high school. I was always too busy.  Perpetually stressed out and in a hurry. Wrestling, drama, orchestra, college classes, work, girlfriend, too much.

I wish I had taken more time to just enjoy life. I wish I had slacked off a little bit more. It took me a long time to realize that.  When I was younger, I watched as my sisters got into trouble.  Every single day in my house there was a huge fight, and it always seemed like it was because they had done something bad.  That's what I remember most about being younger.

 I remember my  mom crying at night in the kitchen, and how sometimes she would get so frustrated, she couldn't help but project some of that towards me and Reed. It got to where, even when I was doing well, it almost seemed like her anger and frustration was partially my fault. This only made me try harder and harder to become the better and best at anything. Maybe I thought it would make her happy. I thought it might make her less angry.  Then it became an approval thing.

 Well, all this kind of created a resentment towards my sisters that I carried around for a few years.  And then, I got over it. It was probably sometime in the middle of my senior year.

It was right around the time they moved out of the house. They moved about 30 miles away to the next town over, Vernal Utah.

After that, it seems we talked more, all four of us.  We even all went  to lunch one day, after Reed and I had beaten the crap out of each other (seriously, messed up fight).

We've since all become much better friends and siblings.  I absolutely love my sisters and I think the world of them both.  They have been so supportive of me in all I do.  I wouldn't trade them for the world, and I wouldn't change anything in the past, because it's made us all who we are today.

I love you, Anna and Emily, and I know Reed always has my back.

Well, here's a quick stupid story.

Senior prom.  I had a girlfriend, semi-serious relationship.  She was graduated. I was a senior.  My reasoning was that I should take a high school girl to prom, so that she wouldn't have to sit at home on prom night.  I figured it was the right thing to do, seeing as my actual girlfriend had already gone to prom 3 times...

This was the first of two big mistakes. That reasoning was stupid.

So I did the "right" thing, and asked a girl who was not my girlfriend, to the prom. Which brings me to the second big mistake. Not only did I take a girl who was not my girlfriend to prom, I picked the wrong other girl. I picked a girl, who had had a huge crush on me as long as I can remember (but to be fair, I had usually always had a crush on her too.) This girl also had a huge problem with my girlfriend/relationship (that's what I was told at the time, don't quote me on anything.)

So I'm taking this girl who's not my girlfriend, who hates my girlfriend and my girlfriend probably hates her too but acts like there's not a problem if the girl is ever over at her house hanging out with her little sister.  Got that? Yeah. I was setting myself up for a problem.

I saw Lee (my girlfriend at the time) at Prominade. This is where each couple goes out on stage, their names are announced, and people take pictures and make cat calls (usually red-neck women in the Basin do the cat calls). Anyway, I saw Lee. She would not even look at me, let alone speak to me or give me a hug.  I don't blame her. I'm surprised she didn't shoot me with a crossbow.

So, the dance was fun, but kind of jaded by the fact that my girlfriend wanted to murder me, and that as soon as the dance/night was over, the real fun was gonna begin. At this point, I don't remember all the consequent fights and arguments with Lee, but somehow, we ended up together. We probably even broke up for a few days over that one.

I don't think I made a lot of dumb mistakes in high school. But when I made one, it was big.
There are a lot more of those where that came from. I might stagger them between "Smooth things I did in high school."

If you remember this, and have some input as to what was going on, leave a comment about it!
Also, if there are any stories about high school and you want to know what happened, leave a comment.
Also, Keep telling me you like to read these, and I'll keep writing them. It's very good incentive. :)


Chapter 6: Crime and Punishment AKA My romantic life. I might get to it tomorrow night. Stay Tuned!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chapter 4: Complete Nonsense (High School/Family Introductions)

So I figured, you can't understand all of the present happenings and attitudes without putting them into context.  Talking about who I am up to this point has kind of been fun. I think we can into a few more details.

Chapter 4: Complete Nonsense (High School and family introductions)

High School was fun. I wouldn't go back and do it again, but it was fun. I had the best of friends, I was active in extra-curricular stuff, and usually always had a job.

Freshman year: I don't remember very much...

Sophomore year: I remember a little bit. I had a lead in drama.  I should have been first chair in orchestra, but someone had seniority (although they weren't as good as I was).  I wrestled, for the second year. Sucked at it. Loved it.  Lots of college classes.

Junior year: 1st real girlfriend. 1st kiss.  Yeah. I was seventeen years old. She totally stole that one. Wanna hear the story? There's a lot of context on that one, so I think it will have to be its own chapter. Did lots more college classes.

Senior year:  Quit college (I was accepted at CSM, and nothing was going to transfer). Worked full time at the lube shop.  Rebuilt engines for fun.  Still had a girlfriend.

All throughout high school, I had the same group of friends. For a large part of the whole high school experience, I didn't get to see my friends much.  I was always with a girl instead of with my brother and the guys.  I don't regret anything from those days, but I wish I had done a few more dumb things with my friends.

Honestly, I was extremely unhappy during my freshmen year of high school. That much I do vaguely remember. Nobody else would have ever guessed, but I had some serious issues going on.  It was a kind of self loathing, self worth thing. I don't really know when it began, but I do remember when it ended. It ended when I met my best friend, LeeNichole White. (She will get her own chapter, or ten).


Before I get into anything else, I want to kind of put together a list and description of characters. At the beginning of every post, there will be a short description of characters so you can get the context.

Dad- Dentist, Army Reserves Major in Dental Corps. Avid fisherman, hunter, pilot.  Into horses. Kind of crazy. He grew up in Ogden Utah.  Lived (and lives) life on his own terms.  Put himself through undergrad at Weber State University without going into debt. Served a mission in Brazil.  Very disciplined style of raising children. Awesome provider, all around best dad ever. He's currently in Kuwait until sometime in April.

Mom- Grew up back east (either in Ohio or West Virginia, or both) Teacher, convert to the LDS church, served a mission in Paraguay, big into family get togethers.  Super over protective, normal for a mom.  All around, supermom.  Pretty sensitive, and her feelings are easily hurt. She worries too much whether or not she has offended someone.  Also, she got me into Pink Floyd.  Took me to my first concert (Creed, I was 11). She dragged us all over the country as kids to see pretty  much everything. Very cool.

Reed- Twin brother. We've never really been tight, but we have each other's backs.  He did enough shenanigans in high school to cover the both of us.  Seemed to have a different love interest every month. I thought they were all stupid.  Especially Marissa Labrum.  (This will be part of a different chapter).  Presently married to Rondalei Jones Page, lives in Logan, Utah.

This is where I need Roosevelt people to not give this blog to anyone else....NOT ANYONE.  I'm going to be brutally honest around here. Feelings can get hurt.

Anna- big sister, two years older.  Seemingly always in trouble for something (in high school, not at present).  Hung with "the wrong crowd" (according to me at the time).  Big mouth.  Lots of cuss words. I wasn't a big fan at the time.

Emily- quieter than Anna.  Basically same group of friends as Anna.  Not so much trouble. A little bit nicer I guess (at the time; now they're both nice).

If you've made it this far, and have read all the previous posts, leave a comment that says "Finished". Then I'll start on chapter 5, which will be "What really happened". This will include meeting Lee, letting go of bitterness, an forgiving myself and others.

Also, chapter 5 will include some of the dumbest things I ever did in my life.

Chapter 6: Crime and Punishment, AKA The history of my love life. You don't want to read this one. Seriously. Well, if you insist.  You might see some of my more romantic side.

Chapter 7: Life, death, and music.  Why I don't play the piano anymore. At least, not for anyone to hear.

Chapter 8: The Eye of the Storm

Chapter 9: 5280

Chapter 10: Close calls and Fakawee's Family Restaurant