Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Note on Post Offices

It all began a little over three years ago just after I got married. My wife and I were starting to get in the habit of taking a Sunday afternoon drive when I decided that we should have a purpose to our drives. So as we passed through the luxurious digs of Woodruff, Utah in the extreme Northern section of Utah, I pulled to the side of the road in front of an ordinary, albeit, small post office and had my wife take my picture. So began my fascination and dedication to Utah postal history and trivia. I now have nearly 100 such photos of myself in front of and in post offices throughout the State of Utah.

You may wonder why I chose a post office. There is nothing particularly unique or interesting about a post office. Post offices rarely define a community or possess great architectural significance. So, why post offices? Fate, perhaps. Really, I just happened to be passing one when I got the urge to commemorate our drive. It seems to have been a wonderful choice. Nearly every small town has one and, despite what I said above, they do seem to define or, at least, exemplify the community they serve.

My wife and children are usually embarrassed by my post office obsession, and they often duck their heads when I jump out to flash my pearly whites to the camera. That being said, however, I find them trying to spot the post office before I do in every little town we visit. “There it is, right next to the drug store,” they excitedly exclaim before they cower in embarrassment. It may just be a stupid little obsession, but it has become a family tradition that I will always value and treasure.

Friday, February 25, 2005

A Note on Computer Geeks

I have come to realize this week that every good family needs a computer geek. Yes, someone that carries around a little flashlight on a keychain and thoroughly loves the challenge of ridding a computer of some unknown virus.
I made the cataclysmic mistake this week of clicking on some pop-up advertising as I was surfing and my computer fell quickly and precipitously into the depths of cookie hell. Cookies and pop-ups were invading the screen so quickly it felt as if I was playing Space Invaders as I tried unsuccessfully to ward off the demons. During this chaos, I realized that my family has no computer geek. We are completely geek-free.
My brother, Dave, has the cranial capacity for geekdom, but, alas, he opted for biology (a closely related field, but of no use in this situation). My nephews could be headed for geekdom, but now their skills are limited to the repair and installation of X-Box games. My family lacks a true geek. Considering my options, I dragged out the trusty Yellow Pages and dialed up the store with the highest geek potential.
In choosing the store, I considered many factors such as price, availability, and professionalism, but ultimately I just picked the store with the geekiest-looking tech. I hit the gold mine. Craig was the geek assigned to us and he did not disappoint. In shortly under two hours, he had rid my machine of its demons and had us up and running. Craig, we will be sending the adoption papers shortly. Welcome to the family.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A Note on Living with Women

I married my sweetheart in the sweltering heat of a Las Vegas June nearly 3 ½ years ago and thus entered into the twilight zone of living with women once again. It had been a glorious yet unfulfilling 14 years without women, and I guess I had forgotten the joys that accompany cohabitation with them. I wish now to share some of the overlooked perks that I came to appreciate as I once again shared my life with the fairer sex.


I had no idea just the quantity and volume of hair that gets shed in the normal woman’s bathroom. My experience was enhanced by the fact that I shared the facilities with not only my dear and kind wife but also by my equally charming stepdaughter. Hair was literally everywhere. My toothbrush. My suit coat. My wallet. My shoelaces. Not only did hair invade my world, but also a myriad of hair care products found their way to cause damage and destruction. I would inevitably find myself squinting and running for cover during the morning ritual of hairspray or looking confusedly at a drawerful of scrunchies, clippies, and hair thingies as my stepdaughter would hurriedly call for the accoutrement du jour so she wouldn’t be late for school. Oh, and then the wrath that I would endure if I somehow forgot to compliment my dear Helens on their haircuts. How dare I not notice the whopping ½ inch trimmed from their delicate coifs?

The Stuff

You know. The Stuff. Yes, that’s right. I am talking about that dreaded aisle in the grocery store or drug store that a single man rarely knows exists. Thankfully, my wife and stepdaughter are quite discreet about this kind of thing and rarely ask me to make the dreaded foray into this aisle, but, alas, it does happen. On one such occasion, I was simply asked to get the appropriate “stuff” for a lighter flow. Yes, I know the basic anatomical processes and figured I could get the “right stuff” but, as I entered the “Aisle of Supreme Male Confusion”, products and terms that I was simply not prepared to encounter, jumped right out at me. There were airplane-looking things complete with wings and parachutes and an array of different sizing options. I pretty much just eenie-meenie-minee-moed my way through the decision and quickly hid the item beneath my copy of Street and Smith’s College Basketball Preview. I then guyed up the purchase with some beef jerky, a Dr. Pepper, and a Hungry Man TV dinner lest anyone believe I was a chick.

The Remote

This seems like a pretty forthright subject. He who has the remote controls the TV and, in male single life, is obligated to change channels when a commercial comes on. I am very adept at this technique and find most men to be rather handy at this maneuver as well. Unbeknownst to me, this rule did not exist in my new household. In fact, all known and respected rules of TV courtesy were thrown out. Apparently, it is entirely appropriate to stop at a commercial if it is cute or funny or the guy in it is cute or funny or the woman in it is unattractive or too attractive or too plain. Really, any reason at all is grounds to halt the progression of channel surfing, often to never return to the original program. I have been told on numerous occasions, “We are not really watching anything, but we’ll let you know if something good comes on.” I am now plotting my capture of the remote for March Madness. I will let you all know how it goes.

That’s all for now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Note on Honesty

“Honesty is a lonely word,” sang Billy Joel in one of his songs. I heard that song a bit ago and wondered about its meaning and the meaning it has in the world today. It is sad but probably true. Honesty and integrity probably lead to some sort of rejection and emptiness. After all, what kind of woman wants to hear that, yes, her boyfriend does think of other women? Or really who wants to hear a salesman say that the sofa you just spent $1300 on will probably not make it to your home in the next six months because its coming from China and the freight company his employer deals with is angry with them and won’t pick it up once it does make it to the docks? No, we want to hear that all is fine and dandy and that we do look good in that awful striped sweater.

The loss of honesty and integrity in our lives has been gradual and yet all-encompassing. Vice-presidential candidate, John Edwards, in a debate this past year, stopped the mediator and humbly stated, “I’ll be honest with you” before he proceeded to state a genuine opinion. The implication of that preamble is that up until that point he wasn’t being totally honest and felt the need to clarify his sincerity. I don’t doubt that Senator Edwards believed in his heart that all he had said to that point was true, but the fact that he clarified and restated his honesty points to the blurriness that exists not only in politics, but also in the world as a whole.

This past summer, Lance Armstrong won a record sixth Tour-de-France and in the process inspired legions of young men and women. Following his victory, allegations arose accusing him of taking performance-enhancing drugs. A former Armstrong aide and friend made the allegations by mentioning them to a French author who then published them as part of a book. Armstrong, of course, vehemently denied the allegations and maintained his innocence. What gives? Someone is lying. The allegation and the denial can’t both be true. Either this former friend is lying and trying to sabotage a spotless image just out of pure malice or Lance Armstrong is lying in order to preserve an image and legacy that would be devastated by this revelation. The public doesn’t really ever get to find out the truth because no honesty is forthcoming.

I am always pleasantly surprised when public figures take responsibility for indiscretions and mistakes. Milton Bradley, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, threw a bottle into the stands this past year and lost his “cool”. He was subsequently suspended by the league and asked to receive counseling. Rather than blame the fans that threw the bottle, Bradley apologized and took responsibility for his actions. He actually said he was wrong. How refreshing! I wonder how things would have been different if President Clinton, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart and hundreds of other public figures would have said the same thing instead of claiming they were the victims. It should be noted that Bradley lost his “cool” numerous times thereafter and has quite a different problem altogether.

The message so often is sent that honesty and integrity don’t pay off. Why should young people tell their parents they are taking drugs? Why should spouses come clean about their lurid intimacies? Why should politicians tell us what they really think? They shouldn’t. Parents, spouses, and the voting public don’t really want to know. We feel safe in this dishonest, valueless and selfish world. Disingenuousness surrounds us. We aren’t alone.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Note on this Blog

My very first post was entitled, "A Note on Pregnancy", and I thought I would throw it up on the blog board first for two reasons. First, I wrote it a few months ago so I didn't really have to sit down and come up with something original the first day of my blog. Second, I think it defines what I would like to do with this blog. It was a bit humorous but hopefully a bit poignant as well. I enjoy sharing my experiences with the world (its said that my Jones family lineage is a lineage of storytellers), and I hope the world will be all too willing to share my experiences as well.
I am descended from a long line of Welsh miners who emigrated from Wales in the 1850's and settled in Southern Utah shortly thereafter. My grandfather didn't follow in the mining vein like his ancestors, but rather headed to the hills as a sheepherder in Southwestern Colorado. My father, while known by all as a hard worker, got a degree in Counselling and went to work in Child Care. Yes, I grew up on a boy's ranch in the potato fields of the Snake River plain in Idaho. I hope that through my blog entries, you, the reader, will get to know and appreciate these people as I have. I am sure my wife and daughters and soon-to-arrive son will also be featured prominently in my blogs (albeit much to their collective chagrin).

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Note on Pregnancy

I have found that pregnancy is really one of the most diabolical institutions known to mankind. My wife and I found that we were pregnant about seven months ago and my life has really taken a journey into what can only be described as the twilight zone. My wife says her life has descended into a much hotter location but, as for me, I’m sticking to the twilight zone. Much to my chagrin, and most definitely to my wife’s chagrin, pregnancy at our house includes nausea, vomiting, belching, and overall ickiness. This ickiness tends to cause much discussion about appropriate foods that might be consumed, when they might be consumed, and how and when they should be cooked. Ultimately the situation for the husband is precarious.
Now it might be pointed out that the husband is not allowed to complain about the pregnancy because he, in fact, caused it and he, in fact, is not the one whose body is housing the kid for the next nine months. I, however, disagree. I can and will complain and air my woes for the entire world to hear. I am tortured because I can’t complain to my significant other because it’s not my head in the toilet. I am tortured because I can’t eat normal foods in my own house without being accused of trying to kill my wife. I am tortured because I am required to feel sympathy and empathy at all times regardless of the inconvenience I am feeling.
I can hear women all over the world shaking their heads in disbelief and, yes, disgust. “What a wimp” or “How self-absorbed can he be?” are surely the words being said at this moment, but I don’t care. Loving, supportive, and involved husbands everywhere are a tortured lot. They deserve sympathy and understanding, but they must accept that the cross they must bear involves numerous trips to convenience stores at odd hours and the privilege of holding their wife’s hair at the porcelain throne. We aren’t allowed to refuse to take out the garbage when the Dodgers are batting in the bottom of the eighth inning. We can’t simply throw a couple of breakfast burritos in the microwave for brunch without being reported to every known woman’s organization. No, we aren’t allowed a life as long as our wife has none. If only we had a support group.
I’ve got to go now. The toilet is a-flushin’, and the Hot Pockets are just about out of the microwave.