Reagan’s spider nightmare

I happened to get a page from OC Tanner that I worked on, when I heard soft crying from the girls room.

I went to go check and Reagan told me me she, “spiders.” I told her I’d checked the whole house and that there are no spiders. I rubbed her back and tucked her back in.

I actually enjoy these late night nightmares that require my intervention.

Shopping carts vs driving

I have a theory.  People drive the same way that they push their shopping carts.  I can’t prove this…yet.

Theory 1:  If you leave your shopping cart in the middle of the isle, while you go to look for something on the shelf, you probably also get honked at because you didn’t notice the light turned green.

Theory 2:  If you don’t return your cart to the actual Return Shopping Carts Here place, you probably don’t put much thought into how you park.  You find little notes on your driver’s side window, when you return.  They are not friendly.

Theory 3:  If you’re the person who is not aware of personal space and stops, suddenly, because something on the shelf caught your eye, you’ve probably been rear-ended more than once.

Before I let my kid gets their driver’s license, I’m gonna take them to Wal-Mart.

Swimming as a life skill

By the time you reach 10, you know how to “swim.”  You can paddle through a swimming pool, doggie paddle, maybe even do a few laps.

When I was in Boy Scouts, I earned my swimming merit badge, but I truly didn’t know how to swim.  If I’d been dropped in the middle of a lake or wide river, I’d have been in trouble.  Driving by Utah Lake, Lake Oroville and other bodies of water left me with a feeling a slight panic.  I’d imagine how easily I could drown in that water.

It wasn’t until I decided to do my first triathlon that I decided it was time to really learn how to move through water.  Watching videos on Total Immersion online, I put what I learned into the public pool in Lehi.  At the age of 35, I learned how to really swim.

The furthest I’ve ever swam, continuously, is 4 and a half miles.  The entire world looks different to me.  Utah Lake looks crossable.  Lake Oroville looks like a place waiting to be explored.  Bodies of water are not a place to drown- they are places waiting to be swam in and discovered.

You should take at least a year and really explore your ability as a swimmer.  Learn as much as you can so that, even if you don’t end up saving a life with your newfound skills, you might just enjoy your vacations a little more.

Social networks vs real life

There’s no telling what the trend will be over the next five years, concerning social networks, like Facebook or Twitter.  But we spend too much time on them.  I do, too.  Only in the last five years, I’ve noticed a tendency for people to keep their heads lowered over their phones or computers, while their children clamor for attention or ask a simple question of their parents.

I’m not anti-social networking, but I would caution that we need to remember that the whole point to things like Facebook and Twitter, are to report on what is happening in real life.  The whole point to real life is to create memories or do things that become worthy of a post on Facebook.  When you spend your whole day reading Facebook and interacting on Facebook, your potential post of “Just finished running five miles down a beautiful trail!” becomes a simple “likes this” on that same post.

Lame.

Fortune-telling the road

Unfortunately, this next lesson is almost impossible to learn without good and bad experiences on the road.

One of the most important things a driver can learn is how to “predict” traffic (especially on the freeway.)  At all times, you should have a pretty good idea for how far a car is in front of you, what drivers are moving into blind spots on the side of your vehicle, and how far back the next vehicle is behind your car.

All of this information comes into play and dictates how you will handle an emergency.  If the car in front of you hits his brakes, the amount of pressure you exert on your own brakes will be dictated by how fast you need to slow in order to not hit the guy in front of you, as well as giving the people behind you enough time to react on their own.  For instance, you wouldn’t try to lock up your brakes if you didn’t need to, because if someone is tailing you too close, they will likely hit you.

This introduces another important point about being able to predict the road.  You are partly responsible for your ability to react.  Are you placing yourself in the thick of traffic?  If so, you are giving yourself little in the way of options.  If you have no choice but to be in thick traffic, you have the ability to brake and accelerate smoothly.

On the freeway or in traffic, you are part of a moving city.  You have a responsibility as a citizen of that freeway to be as predictable, yourself, as you can.

Pay attention to 360 degrees of traffic.  Your eyes should be hitting all of your mirrors, often.  Your mind should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on around you.  If someone cuts you off or forces you out of your lane, you need to know where your options are.  Should you hit your brakes hard?  Jerk to the left into the lane next to you?  Accelerate?  Your quick move to safety happens in your head, before it ever translates into real action.

Choosing a political party to support

As a Mormon, there is a lot of peer pressure to simply be a conservative republican.  The remaining few of us who identify as Democrats, Utah Democrats, Independents  whatever, there is equally strong pressure to be a little superior about our moderate takes on politics.

In my opinion, politics is one place where it’s important to be grounded morally, but realize that, oftentimes there are more similarities between parties than many would prefer to acknowledge.

Be wary of those who argue against everything you believe or say.  You’ll make little headway in a political conversation.  Good friends will respect your sincere beliefs and lousy friends will disregard anything that doesn’t fit into their political dogma.  Don’t mistake passionate or concerned friends for lousy friends.  🙂  Oftentimes, people will challenge you because they sincerely want to understand where you are coming from.

There are good people to be found in all political parties (so far that I’ve found) and there are good people needed in all political parties.

Try not to get caught up in the anger of a party or issue.  Keep a level head and be honest with yourself about what you feel is right.

There will also be times when it’s important to part ways, ideologically with your own party, over one more issues.  Sometimes you may agree with both or all parties.  Sometimes you will disagree with all parties on issues.  You may be labeled as wishy-washy, or whatever.  That’s ok.  Always follow your heart, the Spirit, and your head.

Tool ownership

If someone offers to fix your air conditioner for 100 bucks, but you know you can fix it yourself with a 100 dollar tool, fix it yourself.

If the air conditioner guy does the fix, it’s true- he’ll likely be faster and you won’t have to worry about it…for now…

But if you buy the tool and put some time into it, the next time it breaks, you’ll have the know-how and tools to fix it.

It’s easy to say that an obsession with buying tools will offset the value of doing it yourself, but in my opinion, more knowledge and more tools leave you a far more self-sufficient person.

I rebuilt my Tacoma’s front off-road shocks, this summer.  I may have even lost some money in the process (if we’re comparing me doing it myself to having the ship do it), but I know that I can fix those things in the future.  It’s a good feeling.

Exception:  Sometimes a job requires proprietary tools and knowledge and this is a different situation.  Rebuilding your own transmission with no knowledge of auto mechanics is probably not cost-efficient.  Not that I’d ever advise you not to “go for it.”

One offshoot of this principle, is saving parts for trucks, household plumbing, electrical, etc.  You don’t want to overdo it and end up with a messy garage, but it’s sure nice to have parts on hand to quickly fix a job.  This is a fine balance.