I Got Jumped by Santa in the Vernal, Utah Wal-Mart!

Monday, January 05, 2009

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."
NMW: "Okay."
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."
NMW: "Uh-huh."
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...


carmar76 said...

I love Mormon/Not-A-Mormon. I play something similar called "Palmer Student/Not-A-Palmer-Student" because most of the men in my ward are Palmer Students, but not all, and spotting the non-Palmers can be fun.

9:12 PM
mama cow said...

I was expecting a story about you getting beat up by Santa in Vernal. Shame on you for misleading us all!

10:05 PM
Maren Hansen said...

Hilarious--I just caught your blog through Google Reader and am enjoying it immensely!

5:27 AM
Olivia said...

I think gooooood girl has a crush on somebody. Hehe!

I too play mormon/not a mormon, whenever I'm in Utah. I win every time too.

7:15 AM
bwebster said...

OK, the 'field goal' bit is the funniest thing I've read so far today (and I've already been through several dozen blogs). I actually went upstairs and repeated the whole story to my wife. Our own kids are grown and gone, but the majority of our grandkids are boys -- and, yeah, I can think of a few who would do something like that. ..bruce..

7:54 AM
Jolyn said...

I love reading your blog. I always laugh out loud when I'm reading it and whoever is around probably thinks I'm nuts. This time was no different. Thanks for the laughs. I'll keep reading.

9:32 AM
Pappy Yokum said...

My NMW once asked me why men/boys feel it necessary to see how far they can pee - I just shrugged my shoulders and told her it must just be programmed into the DNA. She didn't like my answer.

12:01 PM
Leslie said...

Having grown up in Los Angeles (the beautiful San Fernando Valley to be exact) amidst water conservation, I too was surprised at Utah's water billing. In Orem, you are charged for water usage in the summer only. The rest of the year is billed flat rate. So I am thinking no one will get a huge water bill in Roosevelt. I'm surprised they don't encourage wrapping the pipes. But maybe that would be a waste of electricity and that is billed by usage.

In LA. during the worst drought, DPW's conservations suggestions/rules/threats were followed so closely, their income went down! So they raised water rates to compensate. Isn't that special!

12:45 PM
Carolyn Geddes said...

When you mentioned this 'jumping' would be taking place in VERNAL Utah, I thought "serves him right for going walmart THERE" (I know all about the oil riggers that populate the place, I'm related to two of them!) I'm pleasantly surprised this story had a happy ending! (oh yeah- Gooood girl is bad news. You've gotten her before. You need to delete her asap.)

4:07 PM
Col.Smeag said...

Unfourtunatly I am probably the only Mo-Man at work so needless to say come Monday Morning theres a lot of hang overs...wait make that Tuesday -Friday morningsalso. So I always have to wade through adversity to reach a urinal. I might just start using the dumpster like the hoemless guys though if it keeps up seems safer.

11:50 PM
Jamie said...

Love the field goal bit. Luckily my sons are more into Star Wars, so any lightsaber fighting can only be done outdoors. My first thought was to go back into Walmart and get at least a jumper cable ASAP. 50 minutes of my life are worth at least that cost.

Here in Georgia we're getting reamed for conserving during the drought by paying higher prices now, too.

7:20 AM
Admiral Lily said...

I have yet to read an entry where I don't LOL. :)

9:41 AM
Rose said...

And what's the deal with flushing while still peeing??? HAHAHA! I don't get it haha!

10:16 AM
Natalie said...

Is that why there is always pee all over the toliet seats and floor? Gross!

10:21 AM
normal mormon wife said...

While you were standing outside in the FREEZING weather with the hood up, I said to my mom, "What does he think he's doing? He doesn't know anything about cars." But, hey, you got Santa's attention. And that's what mattered in the end. So thanks for looking at the engine and scratching your head.

6:39 PM
Michelle said...

maybe this is just the ghetto in me, but when i read "got jumped" i immediately pictured santa running across the parking lot with his gang of little elves and initiating you into the christmas thug gang.

9:35 AM
Suze of SLC said...

I had to laugh about your writeup about the Roosevelt town mission. Did you see that the cemetery is found under the parks and recreation? Smalltown fun, huh?

8:32 PM
Matt Ryan said...

I wonder if in your wildest imagination you would have expected that one of your readers (me) was born and raised in Roosevelt, Utah.

While I realize you weren't really trying to slam on Roosevelt, I thought I might take an opportunity to clarify a few things:

- Roosevelt's economy is absolutely horrible even in the best of times, for a number of reasons that aren't interesting to most people. Their city council does a pretty good job of addressing the needs of that tiny city within the budget they have.

- My father, who serves on the city council for a monthly compensation equal to about what I make in one day, will be absolutely appalled to find out that some idiot has misspelled a word in the mission statement and will fix it as soon as possible.

- Two degrees below zero is a balmy winter day in Roosevelt. I remember going for weeks on end, growing up, where the temperature never got above ten below. I remember distinctly my father trying to get the car to start one morning to take us to school, because he didn't think we should be walking to school when it was 40 below. No I'm not kidding.

That doesn't mean Roosevelt isn't a quirky place though. I make fun of it too. :)

10:01 AM
Cpt Naykid said...

Awesome post! Loved the read. Although I haven't played "Mormon/Not-a-mormon," I have played "Mexican/Not-a-mexican," while looking at cars while driving through states like Arizona or New Mexico. The typical signs were 12 people in a 3 passenger pick-up or shiny new rims on a 1979 Cadillac. Good times...

12:25 PM
R Max said...

Not to butt in on your anti-Vernal rant but doesn't the website say they hope to provide citizens with a "quality life" rather than "quality OF life" ?? I think the two meanings are somewhat different not that I really care, and not that you aren't funny, and not that I will ever go there, and not that anyone cares anyway.

11:31 AM
Col.Smeag said...

HOLY COW Arizona 33 North Carolina Panthers 13.... I think outer darkness has frozen over... ESPN had this as a "Clinch" for the Panthers. If the NMF was in the stands I saw the rain and understand the 90% of the fans leaving early due to "rain".

maybe it's about time to start rooting for the Cards after living in Arizona all these years...then again it's not over untill the "Fat-Lineman" sings. I am definately pushing the thought of "SuperBowl Champ" far from my mind. GO EAGLES!

9:12 PM
Andi's Dad said...

Enjoyed your humorous blog at the expense of our little town :) You will be glad to hear that we do not get charged for all that water that we waste during the Winter. In fact, when it's so cold and snowy, they don't read the meters at all.

And it got to a balmy 30 degrees today.

How about those Cardinals!?!?! Hope that either the Cardinals or Eagles take the Super Bowl!

3:28 PM
Melissa said...

I am totally crying right now because this is the funniest thing I've read, oh, since your recounting of your Disneyworld excursion.

8:40 PM
The Hays Family said...

This totally cracked me up for two reasons
1. I live in Vernal and pretty much go to Wal-Mart here everyday (I mean what else is there to do?)

2. My husband is a roughneck in the oil fields here

Keep the laughs coming!

8:16 AM
Lisa said...

As always you have delivered pure comedy with a dose of reality. I love your blog!!

11:51 AM