The seven dweebs

February 13th, 2006 | Posted by Brinestone in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

Once, when I was about fifteen, my family was gathered around the kitchen table eating dinner. I don’t remember what I was going to say, but what came out of my mouth was, “What if there was this really weird family . . . ”

I never got to the part where I described the really weird family I had in mind due to the raucous laughter of my family. The rest of the evening was spent swapping jokes beginning with “What if there was this really weird family” and ending with a description of us.

Like, “What if there was this really weird family who hated pizza and fought over broccoli?”

Let me tell you about my really weird family.

I’ll begin with my dad, Beezer. This is really his nickname, believe it or not. When he was in elementary school, he was one of those dweeby kids who go by their initials (he went by B.C.). Then, when his older brother read Beezus and Ramona, he decided that my dad should be Beezer.

Beezer is a nerd, known best for his bad jokes. Here’s a sample: Q: Do you know who the meanest reindeer was? A: Olive. You know, Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names? (You’re allowed to groan here.)

He also loves to learn, so he knows about things like the American Revolution, string theory, astronomy, birdwatching, and computers. When I think about him, I picture him sitting at the dinner table and teaching us all about something that would expand our brains.

My mama has no nickname that I know of, so I guess I’ll just call her Mama. She’s a country girl living in the city. She can start a fire with one match because she lived in northern British Columbia on a farm as she was growing up, sometimes at homes with no electricity or running water. Farming left Mama unable sleep past 5:30 a.m. except on very rare occasions. It also left her with a strong work ethic and a frugal attitude toward money. She can sniff out an unbelievable bargain or garage sale almost as easily as a wolf hound can sniff out a . . . wolf. In fact, she bought the crib, changing table, baby swing, and “jolly jumper” pictured in Jon Boy’s blog at garage sales for under $50 combined. I really don’t know where she finds these things, but I ain’t complaining. Mama is also even shorter than I am. The fact that I’m taller than she is almost consoles me when I realize that all my younger siblings will be taller than me.

I’m the oldest child, and since I think you know who I am, I’ll skip on to my sister, Kenner.

Kenner is my best friend in the world. I’ve had other wonderful, dear friends, but Kenner is my sister, so she gets me in a way that other friends just don’t. Kenner is a nursing student at BYU, so she is prone to asking close friends and family if she can take their blood pressure or find their pulse or examine the veins on their arms or even poke them with needles. She is a conscientious student and a bread addict. Luckily for her, she is also an excellent baker of bread, so she can satisfy her cravings when they hit.

Fly Boy is my brother, and yes, he can fly. Planes, that is. He is also very social and is popular with the ladies. Unlike many social and popular-with-the-ladies guys, he is very interesting and funny to talk to. He is a freshman at BYU, and he can’t decide what to do with his life, but last I heard, he wanted to go into law. Eh, he’s young, and he’s going on his mission soon, so he’s got time to think about it some more.

Also, if you know Fly Boy, watch out. He’s a mean prankster. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Kenner and Fly Boy are both submitting their mission papers on Wednesday and will be leaving sometime this summer. I can’t wait to find out where they’re going, but I will miss them both a LOT.

My next brother, Mr. Brown, has always known who he was and what he wanted. He commonly calls unfair when it’s needed (Kenner, Fly Boy, and I are all too passive to do something that would make waves . . . or even ripples). He is also a good enough debater that he would have a very promising career in law, except that I can’t really see him doing that.

He is a talented piano and guitar player, and he has a wonderful smile. He is sixteen and shaping up into a Really Good Kid.

Last but not least is my youngest sister, Amelia. Amelia was an unexpected baby, but I’m not sure what our really weird family would do without her. Probably get so nerdy we’d self-destruct.

Amelia loves reading, horses, reading, fashion, piano, and reading. She and Mr. Brown were constantly bickering until everyone else moved out of the house to go to BYU, at which point they decided to become good friends. They have composed several songs together (her on piano and him on guitar), which I think is cool.

Amelia has the distinction of being the one person who reminds me most of myself as a child. It’s really unnerving, actually. Especially when she pulls a totally not-Brinestone move like learning how to dress herself, do her hair, and wear her makeup so that she looks beautiful and put together. I still haven’t figured how to look grood.

So that’s the seven of us. As far as families go, we’ve avoided the worst forms of dysfunction (and for that I’m truly grateful).

(And, Cicada, I’m sorry to rip you off. It was a good idea, okay?)


February 7th, 2006 | Posted by Brinestone in Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

Why is it that I almost never use the exercise room that’s in the building that’s less than 25 feet from my front door? I want to stay active and healthy, but I can’t make myself put on my shoes and go over there. I think I need an exercise buddy.

Being decisive

February 7th, 2006 | Posted by Brinestone in Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

I love making up my mind. It’s the most liberating feeling in the world to decide to do something and feel actual conviction behind it.

When I was taking calculus in high school and performing rather poorly in it, it occurred to me that I hated math and never wanted to take it again. I hadn’t realized this fact because I had done quite well in all math classes but calculus, and sometimes it’s easy to mistake the things you’re good at for the things you like. But here I was, having my butt kicked by calculus, and I realized that I had never liked math at all. That was when I decided to major in English. I have never regretted that decision.

Today I decided to switch obstetricians. I don’t like my doctor. I want a doctor who will take me seriously, who will be nurturing and kind to me in the delivery room. I don’t want a doctor who acts like she’s seen and done all this before and has more urgent patients to get to. I don’t want a doctor who makes me wait over an hour for my appointments and then only sees me for five minutes. And I especially don’t want a doctor who is flippant to me.

Did I mention she left in the middle of my appointment today to take a call—which, by the way, sounded suspiciously like a personal call? Oh, and she left the room before I got a chance to ask her a question I had, so I called out to her that I still had one more question. She did turn around, but she took a while to come back into the room, and she never did close the door. I’ve heard she’s “the best,” but for me, she simply isn’t the best. I don’t care what kind of credentials this doctor has if I can’t trust her and feel comfortable around her.

So, at 32 weeks, I’m switching doctors. The nurses at the study I’m participating in gave me a recommendation when I was there and mentioned I wasn’t totally happy with my doctor. I’m crossing my fingers, but I don’t really feel wishy washy about my decision. I really can’t imagine any doctor being worse than the one I’m with now, so any change I make will at least be neutral if not better.

I don’t know what to write.

February 7th, 2006 | Posted by Brinestone in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

There are many different ways to blog. Some people, like Jon Boy, use their blogs to update their friends on the latest “big news” in their life and to put to paper the deep thoughts and silly musings they’ve been having lately.

Some people, like Tolkien Boy, write veritable novels with humorous, yet angsty, anecdotes woven in. Some people, like Ambrosia and Morningglow, post only snippets, tidbits of thought as they occur to them.

I’m not sure what kind of blogger I am yet. Last week I tried Jon Boy’s approach and found it very satisfying. This week I’ll try the Brozy route. Somewhere along the line, I think I’ll settle into my own way. (“Oh, good. My way. What’s my way?” Because every good conversation needs to quote The Princess Bride somewhere.) In the meantime, bear with my experimentation, please.

The last step

January 29th, 2006 | Posted by Brinestone in Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

Anyone who has ascended or descended a staircase in the dark knows that stomach-lurching feeling when a stair you thought was there wasn’t or when an extra stair seems to have inserted itself into the staircase somehow. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like to be caught unawares, so I count the number of steps in the staircases I frequent, just in case I have to take them in the dark someday. That way I can count steps as I make my way in the darkness. Inevitably—and I swear the staircases do it to spite me—I miscount and end up either tripping on the last step that shouldn’t have been there or hovering over the ground in expectation for a step that should have existed. Someone should do a study on this phenomenon. Not me—I hate the feeling too much to willingly subject myself to it for the sake of science.

Sometimes I wonder if one of the things we’re supposed to learn from life is how to get used to this feeling. You know, when you spend your whole life thinking you’ll go on a mission, and then you meet Mr. Right three months before you turn 21 (no, this one didn’t happen to me). Or when you spend 4.5 years of university preparing to become an English teacher, only to find out during your last semester that you hate teaching (this one did). In fact, “Get used to vertigo” seems to be the moral of the story of the last three years of my life. I’m still not used to it.

Last spring, I remember complaining a lot about how Jon Boy and I would graduate in a few months but I had no idea what would happen after that. Where would we live? Would we find jobs right away? Would we spend six months looking for them? What would we do if Jon Boy found a job in California and I found one in New York? Would we go wherever his job led, or would we follow the better-paying job whether it was his or mine? What if Jon Boy found a job somewhere where I couldn’t find a job? Would I take an any-old-job just to keep myself busy, or would I stay at home? And where did children fit into all of this?

A month before graduation, maybe less, Jon Boy and I both got jobs at the same company. It seemed too good to be true. What we couldn’t have planned for, though, was that the job would be a near-perfect fit for me and a terrible fit for Jon Boy. After just a few weeks at the job, Jon Boy took another job (this one salaried instead of project-based).

He started the new job in June. At the end of June, we moved to the Salt Lake Valley, to a place fairly central to both our jobs. In July I got pregnant, just after we became insured. The plan was to stay on my insurance until Jon Boy’s 90-day trial period was over and he had insurance through work as well. We would switch to his insurance then so that I could quit work before the baby was born and we’d still have insurance to cover the birth.

Jon Boy was scheduled to begin on insurance on October 1. He came to work on the first Monday in October to find out that he and the two other editors had been laid off—supposedly to be replaced by outsourcers in India. Once again our plans changed. I had already told my company to cancel my insurance for October, but I was able to email them and get back on insurance right away, and I even managed to maintain continuous coverage.

Now it’s the end of January, Jon Boy’s still looking hard for a job, and I feel just like I did last spring. Where will we be living in a month or two or three? Will Jon Boy find a job? How will we move with me pregnant or nursing a new baby?

This time, though, I know that no matter how many plans I try to make, life has other ones. I’m beginning to realize that whatever step is lurking (or not) at the bottom of the stairs, it’s going to be there (or not) regardless of how much I plan for the opposite. I guess the best thing to do is to take things slow, hold tight to Jon Boy, and adapt to whatever life throws at us this time.

I just wish I had a flashlight.