Saturday, May 10, 2008

Alright, She's Out of Town, but I'm Holding Down the Fort!

(Posted by Raging Stallion)

Maleen has left town. She's in San Deigo, or so she tells me. She and her mother flew down for "Time Out for Women." For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a women's conference of sorts presented by prominent LDS women. There are conference talks, music, inspirational poems, etc. Anyhow, we dropped her at the airport last night and off we went for home. For the first ten miles Ivory kept piping up, "Where's Mommy?" I kept telling her that Mommy would be home in a few days—she's going to be on an airplane. She would then point out the window at an airplane overhead and say, "Hi, Mommy." Even the Raging Stallion cries.

Once we made it home, it was well after their bedtime, so they went directly to bed, leaving me to wait an agonizing three and a half hours for the telephone call confirming safe touch down. After that, I crashed.

The next thing I remember as daylight came burning in on me the next morning was a shrill, "Daddy! I'm ready out Daddy." (No that's not a typo.) Ivory had awakened and wanted out of her barred nocturnal prison. I had no choice: I got up, hefted her from the crib, snuggled her down into my own bed and waited to see if she'd snuggle or want to get breakfast. Turns out she wanted breakfast—at 8:00 on a Saturday morning! The nerve. I tried to keep in mind that Maleen does this for the girls everyday. Patience, Tyler.

I was off to a long day as I looked at it. I had PPIs (Personal Priesthood Interviews) from 10:00 until 1:00 this afternoon. After that, the thing a solo Dad hates to ponder: nothing for the kids to do for an entire afternoon. (...and...cue the creepy music and sound effects.)

Happily my PPIs didn't go until 1:00. I picked up the kids about 12:30—well timed as my babysitter had already fed them lunch (Thanks Adams!). As I drove them home, I pondered what on earth there was to do with three little girls. Stop laughing all you parents out there. You know what I'm talking about. You've done it too!

Ivory's nap could safely take me to the 2:00 hour, but what then? I put her down and waited. Maybe I'd take them to Bridal Veil Falls, that'd be fun. Maybe Y Mountain—the hike would certainly keep them busy, and might tucker them out pretty well for a long sleep. Take them to Temple Square? Hoping they would enjoy the thing they did during the afternoon hours, I pitched the three options to June and Robyn. "The Y!" they said. They had no idea what "The Y" was, but so be it.

Upon Ivory regaining consciousness, we loaded the minivan with all necessary provision, and launched for Provo. If you've ever climbed "Y Mountain," you know it's about a 30 minute hike for a 20 something with nothing to do between finals. I slathered the children in sun screen to protect them from the fair-skin curse of burning into a welted lobster in 2 hours of UV exposure, and we started up the trail.

I should have paid more attention in my Greek history class. Well, had I attended one, I should have paid more attention, for we were no more than two steps upon the trail when an omen fell upon us. This particular omen was shaped pretty much like an overweight 35-year-old sprinting down the jagged, rocky trail with his underweight 5-year-old in tow. We stopped; waiting; staring at this rather noir omen. The parents in the audience know what happened next—you all do. The giggling, laughing child had legs slower than her head. I paid enough attention in my physics classes to understand that if the cranial lobes are traveling 1 mph faster than the pedal phalanges, eventually you get road rash on the cranial lobes. Down she crashed, taking in a bite of the new ultra-abrasive lava-rock coarse sand some landscaping graduate student thought would add to the overall flavor of the trail. And add to the flavor it did. Child screaming, dad shaking his head, blood oozing, parents everywhere grabbing their childrens' hands so as to prevent such a cranial collision, there we stood not five feet from this disaster.

As I said earlier, had I received the opportunity to pay attention in somebody's Greek history class, I would have turned around, having recognized the ominous omen. Like an oblivious fool, however, I carried on.

The first fifty feet of the trail were great. No injuries, plenty of laughing and smiling, the whole I-got-out-and-showed-my-kids-a-good-time-in-nature motif was definitely in play. After fifty feet, Ivory was tired. I heaved her up on my shoulders and soldiered on. Two hundred feet later, Robyn was tired. Full of youthful vitality (or at least the imagination thereof), I threw Robyn on my shoulders and carried Ivory in my arms. As I panted and wheezed around the first switchback (there are 14 before the bottom of the "Y"), I wondered if I had made the right choice.

In order to save you the agonizing trip up and down the mountain, I'll shorten it to this: I carried Ivory 95% to the top. She walked the last 5%. I carried Robyn 75% to the top. She walked the last 25%. I carried June 25% to the top. She walked up 75% entirely by herself. I was proud of her. If you do the math you'll discover that I was indeed carrying two children most the way up the hill. College students would pass me and snicker, eyebrows raised. They would of course muffle their comments out of polite courtesy (if you can call it that). Nevertheless, we crested the hill at about 4:00—not quite the spry 20-something-college-student time, but oh well.

June, as is her custom, made friends with everyone on the hill. Ivory worked the crowd, conning everyone with ANY food out of their trailmix, gummy bears, pretzels, and crackers. We spent about 30 minutes at the top, the returned down the trail.

Now that part about the omen returns...

Blissfully, I cantered down the trail not a care in the world, until Robyn caught a rock (much the same way the accelerated cranial 5-year old in the opening did). There was a stellar attempt to keep herself upright, which utterly failed as she finally slid down trail in the exact same posture as a child on a water slide at 7 Peaks—smiling exactly the same way a child at the waterpark doesn't.

Now before we get carried away here, we're only talking about maybe 12 inches of road rash on her leg. (Right now I know you're looking at your leg pondering what 12 inches of hamburger might look like). The only redeeming thing is that apparently Robyn felt inclined to kiss the softest rocks on Y Mountain. Sure, she's got some scrapes, but it's not nearly as bad as you might think. She'll certainly live.

We found our way to one of those benches they put on the trail for people who've bitten off more than they can chew. The wound was cleansed, kisses administered, and snot mopped up. It struck me this might be a good time to call 5 Buck Pizza and have them bake me a pizza. So I did. Within 30 minutes we were down the mountain (Robyn on my shoulders, Ivory in my arms, and June in tow), in the vehicle, and on our way to a well-deserved pizza dinner. To top it off, we stopped at Dad's work to get some 25-cent sodas.

You can't go on a hike and not get a bath afterward, well not if you're my kid at least. So, I bathed them and put their droopy eyes in bed. Every one of them was asleep in 5 minutes.

And so ends day one of my wife's sojourn in the California wilderness. Seriously? This was one day? Oh boy.


Maleen said...

Oh my poor Robyn. It is good that you were there to kiss and administer love. She just needs to know that someone cares.

I can't tell you how excited I am that you posted. This may be the beginning of a beautiful thing. Carole pointed out that while I was away you were thinking of me and posting was the best way you could show your affection. I totally agree.

You are the best Dad ever and I think that you have something in common with Kenneth Cope (You both have great musical ability and three little girls. But you win because you are better looking and you will soon have FOUR girls :)

I love you and I will see you soon.

Sunny said...

I'm not going to get all mushy like the last commenter, but I am quite impressed with both your daring adventure and your literary skills! Enjoy your weekend! (All of you!)

Hot Chocolate said...

Ha! Good job R.S. But, I must say...WOW...the thought of taking my children on that particular hike never even crossed my mind. I'd be too chicken to even attempt it with them and not nearly as strong (how did you carry them all and still get to the Y????). So, hats off to you.

So, were they asleep by 5pm? Hmmm...maybe I should try your technique.

Chelle! said...

WOW!!! I am impressed!! I am sure they all had a fabulous time!!!

¡Vieve! said...

Holy cow thats a busy day! Way to survive it yo!