Over Christmas break the Normal Mormon Family flew out to Utah from North Carolina to visit my parents in South Jordan and then spend time with my in-laws in Roosevelt. As I documented the shenanigans that ensued during our Disney World vacation (Part I, Part II), entertainment often follows us when we hit the road. Our trip to Roosevelt delivered the goods as well and I will tell you how I got jumped by Santa Clause in a Vernal, UT parking lot in just a minute. But before getting to that, a little background on Roosevelt might be helpful.
My in-laws moved to Roosevelt fairly recently so I am still getting to know the place myself. Since most of you probably do not spend a lot of time in the greater Myton-Neola-Gusher area I decided to do a little research and share some basic information about Roosevelt with you.
During my research I found the city's website which states that the goal of Roosevelt is to, "Provide all citizens with a quality of life through public services, positive business atmoshpere (sic), education, recreation, and governmental cooperation, based on revenues."
I noticed that the city did not commit to providing a great, outstanding or superb quality of life. Nope. Just "a" quality of life. The city council should be commended for delivering on this promise to 100% of Roosevelt citizens, since each of them technically has "a" quality of life. Finally, a government that delivers on its promises!
Also, the irony of misspelling the word "atmosphere" (spelled atmoshpere) prior to highlighting "education" as one of the ways in which the city provides "a" quality of life was also good for a chuckle. But my favorite aspect of Roosevelt's mission is that all of the above promises are only available "based on revenues." So what does the city do to increase revenues? Read the "Prevent Your Waterlines From Freezing" update and see if you spot the scam.
Did you see it?
That's right, we're on to you, Roosevelt. In order to increase tax revenues the city requests (not advises or suggests, but REQUESTS) that utility customers who have water service through Roosevelt City leave a small stream of water running day and night." And what happens if you decide to turn your water off at some point and your pipes freeze? You may not have water services again until the weather warms up. After experiencing a -2 degree morning in Roosevelt, I think the city "warms up" for about six hours in mid-July and that's it. Man, talk about carrying a big stick! This like the transit authority "requesting" that you take the bus everywhere or else bus drivers can and will break your kneecaps.
I can just imagine the following conversation after running a constant stream of water, day and night:
Me: "Honey, I've got some good news and some bad news."
Me: "The good news is that we still have water because I did not turn it off the entire month of December as requested by the City of Roosevelt."
Me: "The bad news is that our water bill was $12,970.18."
NMW: "Hey, if that's the price we have to pay to enjoy 'a' quality of life, so be it."
Having pointed out some of Roosevelt's quirks, I just want to state for the record that I love visiting my in-laws and have nothing against Roosevelt. It simply has its quirks, as every city does. So please do not take this as a mean-spirited slam on a small town. Now that you better understand where the Normal Mormon Family was visiting, here is a running diary from one of our afternoons in nearby Vernal.
-11:15 a.m. - Leave the Vernal temple with the NMW after my fabulous mother-in-law watched the three kids so that we could finally go to a session together. My on-going lower back problems are causing me to hunch over and shuffle my feet to walk. I fit in perfectly with the roomfull of 83-year-old men who walk just like I do.
-11:16 - Holy cow! A huge block of ice and snow just fell off the roof of the temple and came within a foot of landing directly on top of a frail woman in her seventies! She was honestly a few feet from death. But is there really a better time to depart this earthly realm than as you exit the temple? Maybe while you are serving a mission, immediately after your baptism or watching your favorite sports team win a championship. Dying on the temple steps has to be a close fourth.
-11:31 - As we drive to Wal-Mart I notice the following bumper stickers:
A. "A woman's place is on her horse. Cowgirl up!" on an F-350 with dulie wheels.
B. "Roughneck up!" followed by a picture of a burly man working an oil rig.
C. "Get the puck out of here!" followed by a picture of an ice hockey goalie.
Something tells me that I'm not in North Carolina anymore.
-11:45 - Arrive at Wal-Mart with the NMW, my mother-in-law and the three Normal Mormon Kids. My back is hurting too badly to walk through a busy Wal-Mart (actually, I've been faking my back problems so that I could avoid going into a Wal-Mart a few days after Christmas, but don't tell the NMW) so I stay in the van and listen to one of the two AM stations on the radio.
-11:58 - Since I'm back in Utah I am playing the "Mormon, Not-A-Mormon" game as people walk through the parking lot. While I have no way of verifying this, I think I got a 96%.
-12:42 - The crew returns from shopping and my mother-in-law turns the key but the van will not start. Uh-oh, it looks like I sucked the life out of the battery listening to the radio. But you can't really blame me. I mean, how can you be expected to turn the radio off when you get two stations?
-12:45 - The Normal Mormon Mother-in-Law calls AAA because, "If I'm paying for this I want to get my money's worth." We are told that a AAA representative will rescue us within 50 minutes. This sounds like a long time to me so I ask my mother-in-law if she has a pair of jumper cables, but she does not. Regardless, I pop the hood and begin peering in at all of the gears, belts, doo-dads and thing-a-majigs and pretend that I have a clue about anything that I am looking at. Something could be on fire right now and I would not know if it is supposed to be or not.
-12:59 - A kind-looking older man with a long, white beard, rosy cheeks, and a belly that looks like a bowl full of jelly asks us if we need a jump. My four-year-old daughter asks, "Is he Santa?" Um, I seriously think he could be.
-1:00 - I take Santa up on his offer, but he unfortunately does not have any jumper cables either. Somewhere deep inside I wonder if he is going to produce a pair of jumper cables from a large velvet sack in the back of his Blazer Sport, but no such luck. We tell Santa that we have called AAA and they will now be here within the next 35 minutes so thanks, but no thanks.
-1:08 - Still waiting for AAA
-1:19 - Still waiting for AAA
-1:24 - Still waiting for AAA. Afraid that we might end up stranded and then be featured on "I Survived" or "I Shouldn't Be Alive", we break into a box of Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolates. After watching a Survivorman marathon last week, I estimate we can survive for eight days in the van, if necessary, and we can boil and eat our leather shoes. Mmmmmm.....Nikealicious.
-1:27 - Forget AAA! I shuffle into Wal-Mart and buy a pair of jumper cables. As I enter the door I seriously contemplate taking a Jazzy over to the automotive department.
-1:34 - AAA has not arrived but Santa Clause is still sitting in his Blazer. Why? We have no idea. My guess is that he also likes to play "Mormon, Not-a-Mormon" too. Santa gives us a jump and we are back in action!
-1:39 - We make a quick stop at Smith's grocery store and the Normal Mormon Boy tells me he has to go pee (surprise, surprise.) He enters a stall and closes the door behind himself. While I am washing my hands I hear him say from the stall, "The field goal is up...and it's good!" When I ask him why he said that, he replies, "I'm standing really far away from the toilet and peed right into it!" Just as I get ready to scold him I have to remind myself that I've done that on plenty of occasions as well. Recently, even. (And women, if you're grossed out by this, I'm not alone. All men do this. It is just the way we are programmed.) I instead congratulate him on making the game winning field goal.
-1:40 - I tell the NMB that if he ever bounces a field goal attempt off of the uprights at home that he has to immediately call a time out and clean it up.
-1:52 - While going through the McDonald's drive thru, the Normal Mormon Wife orders Happy Meals for our kids and tells the worker to, "Include a boy toy" in one of the boxes. I am relieved when the phrase "boy toy" is nowhere to be found when the NMW places her order.
Near death experiences, car problems, Santa Clause, adventures in urination - all just another enjoyable getaway for the Normal Mormon Family.
I wonder if I should have left the sink running back in North Carolina...