Friday, July 31, 2015

She Said "Dada!"

Something big happened this week. The Baby said "Dada!" Of course, she had already said "Mama" a week or two earlier. And that's okay.

Still, it was quite a thrill when she said "Dada." The Baby was sitting on The Wife's lap when The Wife asked her, "Do you want to go to Daddy?"

The Baby held out her hands in my direction and said, "Dada!" And, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, she said it three or four more times. I then got out the camera to take a video of her saying "Dada," and she, of course, stopped saying it. (Heaven forbid we be able to get those magic moments on camera.)

The real reason she's smiling is probably because she just pooped her pants.

For a long time I didn't really think I was going to be a dad. When I turned 39 years old I was single and alone. I hadn't been on a date in at least four or five years. I had come to grips with the fact that I was the crazy uncle, but I would never be a father.

A year later, when I turned 40, things were better, but not much. I had actually went on a couple of dates, and I had met a lovely young woman who I had exchanged a few e-mails with, but I didn't think much would come of it.

A little more than six months later, I married that lovely young woman!

And, a little more than six months after the wedding, I was told that we were expecting, and that I was going to be a father.

They say that when you become a dad, everything changes. It certainly does. When your child looks up at you with wonderment and awe, you can never be the same again. When your child sees you and smiles, you become a different person.

I have three kids, ages 7, 5, and almost eight months. They're still young enough that they look at me as if I'm some kind of super hero. It's actually kind of scary. I'm afraid to let them down. I'm afraid that someday they might discover that I'm not quite as awesome as they've always thought. 

It's a pretty daunting task, trying to live to be worthy of that unconditional love they send my way. And, I'll never be fully worthy of it. But the best I can do is try. I can try to be the father they already think I am. And if I come even remotely close, I'll be a very happy man.

So, when The Baby opened her arms to me, smiled, and excitedly said, "Dada," it scared the heck out of me. And it made me the happiest person on earth! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rocking To the Oldies (Literally!)

I went to my first rock concert in the summer of 1983. Journey, with Bryan Adams as the opening act, were performing at the Mini-Dome in Pocatello, Idaho.

Besides being my first concert, there were a couple of other firsts that night. 1) It was the first time I really smelled weed. Smoke rises, and in our cheap seats near the top of the Mini-Dome, the weed definitely wafted. (And when I say "weed" I'm not talking about dandelions.) And B) It was the first time I had heard an "adult" repeatedly repeat the "f" word in public. (Who knew Bryan Adams had such a potty mouth? I thought all Canadians were supposed to be nice and polite.)

I was 17 years old at the time. And if you told me then that 32 years later I would have an opportunity to see Journey (or at least some of Journey) in concert again, the 17 year old me would probably say, "Why would I want to see a bunch of old geezers trying to rock?"

One of the problems of getting old is that our favorite rock bands are getting older, too. Not only that, but over the years most rock groups go through a myriad line-up changes so that very few of the original band members are actually still in the band.

This year, Journey was the headline act for the Stadium of Fire, the annual 4th of July fireworks show at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. I didn't go to the concert for a number of reasons, partly because I'm a cheapskate and didn't want to spend the money, and partly because the Journey of 2015 does not feature their notable lead singer from days gone by, Steve Perry.

Sure, guitarist Neal Schon (age 61), keyboardist Jonathan Cain (age 65), and bassist Ross Valory (age 66) were all still there, but when I think of Journey from the 1980s, I think of lead singer Steve Perry (age 66), not Arnel Pineda (age 47.)

(This is one reason why it's good to be a fan of a solo artist. If Billy Joel is coming in concert, chances are pretty good that Billy Joel will still be the lead singer.)

This is not to say that replacement band members can't be good.

My favorite rock group of all time is the Electric Light Orchestra (also known as ELO.) Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to pay for and go to concerts on my own, ELO wasn't touring anywhere close to where I lived. So, I never got a chance to see ELO in concert.

Until last year, when I kinda, sort of got to see them. I went to a concert for "The Orchestra."

Here's a brief recap of ELO's history. Jeff Lynne was the songwriter and lead singer of ELO. When ELO broke up in the late 1980s, some of the other band members went on without Lynne and called themselves ELO Part II. When drummer Bev Bevan left that band, they no longer had any legal right to the ELO name, so they started calling themselves "The Orchestra," (which is a great name until you try to do an internet search for them.)

So, last summer The Orchestra played in Park City, Utah, and I got to rock to the oldies. (Literally.) Of the six members of the band, only two had been members of the original ELO, violinist Mik Kaminski (age 63) and conductor/keyboardist Louis Clark (age 68.) The other members of the band weren't exactly spring chickens, either. There were singer/keyboardist Eric Troyer (age 66), singer/guitarist Parthenon Huxley (age 59), singer/guitarist Glen Burtnik (age 60), and drummer Gordon Townsend (age unknown, despite several hours of interweb searchings.)

The Orchestra! That's ELO violinist Mik Kaminski on the left, with Louis Clark next to him behind the keyboard.

How old were these guys? Well, Burtnik, a youngster at 60, was brought in to replace the late Kelly Groucutt, who played with ELO and would have been 69, but died of a heart attack in 2009. And Louis Clark, the oldest at 68, got to his place at the concert via a wheelchair and a walker. He sat behind his keyboard the entire evening. Fortunately, the other guys were a lot more nimble.

Even though most of these guys weren't actually in ELO, they played all of ELO's hits, and did a dang fine job of it! They may not have been the originals, and they may have been geezers, but those geezers were excellent musicians and they put on one heck of a show!

Not all of these old bands are getting older, though. A friend of mine recently went to a Van Halen concert and thoroughly enjoyed it. Van Halen has gotten younger by replacing bass player Michael Anthony (age 61) with Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang (age 24.)

So, maybe I should have given Journey another chance. Maybe most of the guys are getting older. Maybe they replaced their lead singer with someone younger. As I learned from my experience with The Orchestra, maybe even the geezers and the replacements can still rock. Especially if you don't stop believin'.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Those Aren't Cookies

"Can I have a cookie, please?"

To The Boy (five years old) it seemed like a simple request. He saw a package of cookies. He asked for a cookie, politely. He even remembered to say "please." So, you can understand his frustration when he didn't get a cookie.

It started when we scheduled a picnic with some of my in-laws in-laws. (My sister-in-law's husband's family.) They have a girl who is allergic to milk. Since we have a girl who is allergic to nuts, The Wife is very sensitive to allergies. And she knows how to work around them.

Since most cookies have milk or butter in them, it would generally be difficult for a girl with a milk allergy to enjoy cookies very often. So, The Wife thought it would be good to use her cooking skills and her allergen-avoiding skills to make some cookies that this girl could actually eat.

In order to avoid using butter in the cookie recipe, The Wife bought a product called "Crisco Baking Sticks." The package says they are "butter flavored,"  and to "use instead of butter or margarine." The package also has a picture of some cookies on it.

All the goodness of Crisco in convenient stick form!

That was the problem.

The Boy saw the package of "Crisco Baking Sticks," and the conversation went something like this:

The Boy: "Can I have a cookie, please?"

The Wife: "We don't have any cookies."

The Boy: "Yes, we do."

The Wife: "No, we don't."

The Boy: "Yes, we do. I see them right here." (He points to the "Crisco Baking Sticks.")

The Wife (Seeing what he is pointing at): "Those aren't cookies."

The Boy (Upset, angry, and a bit indignant): "Then why do they have a picture of cookies on them?"

And that is how The Boy got his first lesson in deception in advertising. It's a lesson that will come in handy over the years, like when he realizes that his Big Mac doesn't look anywhere near as good as the one in the picture.

But don't worry about The Boy. He may not have gotten a cookie right then, but he eventually got to eat a cookie. Or two. Or three.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Date That Lasted 16 Hours

I want you to think back to your second date with your current spouse.

I'm sure it was a nice date. Dinner and a movie. Maybe some miniature golf. Possibly something a little less cliched, a little different. It was your second date, an important stepping stone for your relationship, right?

Now, imagine that second date lasting for 16 hours. (That's from before dawn until after dark.) Imagine that second date with so much physical exertion that you end up sweaty, filthy and stinky. And then imagine that on that second date you meet your date's parents and family. And, to top it off, imagine that on that second date there are rumors of a moose on the loose.

The Wife and I had a pretty intense second date.

Of course, there almost wasn't a second date. At the end of our first date I was still a bit flabbergasted by the fact that there is a fifteen year age difference between the two of us. 15 years is a lot of years. That's enough years for three different Summer Olympics. That's enough years for seven terms in the US Congress. That's enough years to go from kindergarten through high school, with a couple of years left over.

So, as we were finishing our first date, I didn't think there was going to be a second date. Until, that is, The Not-Yet-Wife said that her dad would be working at one of the Mount Timpanogos trailheads the next Saturday. I had been wanting to hike that trail my whole adult life, so I decided to use her and her family to be able to finally make that hike.

I didn't think our relationship had any chance because of the age difference, yet I was using her to get the opportunity to hike the trail. I actually felt pretty guilty about it, but not guilty enough to back out of the date.

I went to her house and picked her up early in the morning. How early? Well, it was before sunrise, and according to the research I just did on the interwebs, sunrise was at 6:22 AM that morning. (I'm pretty sure I had never picked up a date before 6:30 in the morning before.)

We drove up the canyon, past Robert Redford's Sundance ski area, to the Aspen Grove trailhead parking lot. (We did not see Robert Redford on our hike.) We put on our backpacks and started up the Mount Timpanogos trail as the sun came over the mountain.

An actual picture taken by me on our second date! 

Now, I am generally a quiet and shy person. I usually don't talk a whole lot. So, before the hike The-Not-Yet-Wife had been told by our mutual friend Terri that, "He won't talk much. You might want to think of things to talk about, because you'll really have to work hard to get him to say anything," or something along those lines.

And, at that point, I had done a fair bit of hiking, and I usually did it alone. So, I was quite used to it being quiet as I hiked along the mountain trails of Utah.

But, something funny happened that day. I actually talked. Without prodding. And she listened. And talked back. She even laughed at many of the appropriate times to things that I said. And, she made me laugh with some of the things that she said.

As we hiked up the mountain, past all the scenic waterfalls and through all of the beautiful wild flowers, we actually discovered that we enjoyed each other's company! This date, which I had thought of as just an excuse to hike the mountain, was turning into one of the most enjoyable dates I had ever been on in my 40+ years!

We made it up to the base of the summit, at Emerald Lake, and stopped to eat our lunch. It had been a long and arduous hike to that point, and it had taken a bit longer than we had anticipated. (I am, after all, Slow Joe.) So, we mutually decided against attempting to reach the top of the mountain that day. We felt that, in order to make it back before nightfall to the Timpooneke trailhead, where her dad was working, we had better skip the summit and start heading in that direction.

Wild flowers along the trail.
The hike down the mountain took about as long as the hike up the mountain. Amazingly, the conversation still flowed. By the time we got back down, I was thinking that, despite the age difference, this relationship might actually have a chance.

And then, I met her family. (It's not often you meet The Family on the second date.)

We made it to the Timpooneke trailhead, where her dad was manning the ranger shed and working the radio. I met him, and he seemed pleasant enough. We walked on a few feet more, where The-Not-Yet-Wife's mother was cooking up a meal in a dutch oven at the fire pit. She, also, seemed pleasant. One of The-Not-Yet-Wife's sisters was there, too. She did not seem pleasant. She was having a bad day and was stomping around and trying to light random things on fire. Thankfully, I was not one of the things she tried to light on fire.

By this time, I had hiked more than 12 miles on rugged mountain trails. I was exhausted. Also, I was pretty much talked out. I had already talked more during the hike than I would generally speak during any three-week period, so when it came time to meet The-Not-Yet-Wife's family, what they basically saw was a sweaty, stinky, creepy old guy who seemed to be mute and just wanted to lie down and sleep. And yet, they accepted me, took me in, and fed me. (It makes me wonder how scary her previous boyfriends had been if they found me to be okay.)

As we were eating our wonderful dutch oven chicken cordon bleu casserole, her dad got some action on the radio. It seems a moose was loose on the trail, scaring some of the hikers. I was thankful that we made it down the trail before the moose got loose.

Eventually we loaded up in her family's van and drove back down to where my car was at the other trailhead. When it was over, the date had lasted for more than 16 hours. It went from before sunrise until after sunset. It was like a marathon date. (In fact, I could have finished an actual marathon twice with several hours left over in the time it took to complete this date.)

And yet, it was the most important date of my life. Because, when it was over, I had a feeling it was just beginning.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Take a Hike

Sometimes it's a good idea to just take a hike.

In an effort to get us out of the house doing fun things, The Wife planned for us to take a hike this week. (If not for her planning, we would probably revert to our natural state of sitting around asking, "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" "Umm..., I dunno. You wanna do something?")

My main concern with the hike was that for the past several months I have been fighting a battle with gout which has resulted in me finding new and exciting ways to limp. (The gout has, at various times, caused pain to my toes, feet, ankles and knee.) So, as much as I like hiking, and I really do like hiking, I was worried that the limping would get in the way of the hiking.

Thankfully, the day of the hike my feet felt fine, and I was actually able to walk without a limp!

The hike The Wife chose was a fairly short (1.8 mile round trip), family-friendly hike just out of Pleasant Grove, Utah to the Battle Creek Waterfall. (She knows that I really like waterfalls.)

We got to the parking lot at the trailhead and got our packs ready. There were a lot of other cars in the parking lot. It's a popular family hike because of the ease of the trail and the beauty of the waterfall at the end. We saw a lot of families on the trail, and a couple of cub scout groups, too.

Our group consisted of seven people, me, The Wife, The Girl (age 7), The Boy (age 5), The Baby (age 7 months), and The Wife's parents, Grammy and PopPop (ages older than me, but young enough to still be up for an adventure.)

As the Daddy, it was my job to carry The Baby. (The thinking is since The Wife carried her around for nine months, I ought to be able to carry her for 1.8 miles.) We have a special kid-packing backpack (a gift from PopPop years ago), so we loaded The Baby in the backpack, and the backpack on my back.

There's a baby on my back! 

I'm not sure how it is in other places, but in Utah when you meet or pass other people on the trail, there is often an exchange of hellos. Since I had The Baby on my back, whenever I passed someone else carrying a baby, I would give them a special nod. I would point to my baby and say, "Next time, she's going to be carrying me." It would usually get a mild chuckle. (Mild chuckles are one of my specialties.)

Some people had dogs with them on the trail.  And if there are dogs on the trail, that means there is dog poop on the trail. The kids (ours and everyone else's) were absolutely fascinated with the dog poop on the trail. Groups of boys would gather around it, pointing and laughing. I'm not sure why kids think poop is so funny, I just know that I wrote a blog about it once (see: I'm NOT Obsessed With Poop) and ever since then whenever The Baby has a poopy diaper The Wife says, "Daddy would love to change that. He likes poop. He thinks poop is funny. He wrote a blog about it once."

We made it to the waterfall, took some pictures and rested for a minute.

Another "thumb's up." Apparently if you put a baby on my back I think I'm Fonzie.
PopPop handed out beef jerky and licorice, much to the delight of the kids (and me.) And then we went back down the trail to the trailhead, where we had a picnic lunch at the park.

The whole adventure lasted just a couple of hours, but it was quite worthwhile. We got out of the house. The kids got to enjoy nature. They got to see a nice waterfall. And, they got to look at some dog poop.

So, if you find yourself sitting around the house saying, "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" I have some advice for you: go take a hike!

So, go take a hike!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The "Mystery" Keys

Let's try a little experiment. Take out your key ring. Count how many keys are on it. Do you know what all of those keys are for? Do you even know what half of those keys are for?

There are eleven keys on my key ring. Of those eleven, I know for sure what three of those keys are. That leaves eight keys that are "mystery" keys. I have no idea what they are for. I have no idea what they go to. I have no idea why I am carrying them with me everywhere I go.

My key ring is not very full, and yet I have no idea what most of the keys on it are for.

Let's break that down. I know what three of my eleven keys are. One key is for my mailbox. One key is for our local church building. (In the Mormon church you get to "volunteer" to do some church jobs. When I was asked to be the secretary for one of the men's groups, I was given a key to the building so I could have access to the computer to do my reports.)

The third key is for my Dad's old pickup truck. When my Dad died nine years ago, he left his old farm pickup truck to his three kids. My brother kept the truck at his house. I had a key and used it two or three times. But, the truck was getting old and expensive to maintain, so my brother sold it several years ago. I still have the key. It is of absolutely no use to me, except as a sentimental keepsake to remember my Dad.

That leaves eight keys that are total mysteries. Well, almost total mysteries. I know that one of those eight keys is the key to my house. I just have no idea which one it is. I never use it. Don't get me wrong, I lock the house all the time. I just never unlock it from the outside. We always enter our house through the garage door, so there's not a need to use the key to unlock the door. So, I honestly don't know which one of the mystery eight keys is the key to my house.

Of my eight mystery keys, five of them look like they are probably house keys. One of those five belongs to my current house. The other four? I don't know. They might be for former houses/apartments where I lived in the past. One of them might be for my brother's house. Or it might be for his old house that he moved from over ten years ago. One of them might be for my friend's house. I honestly don't know.

The three other keys? One looks like an old mailbox key. One is a key to a padlock, though I have no idea what or where that padlock is. And the last one is the broken off key to a tiny suitcase lock which I no longer have. I used to use this little key as a tool to take the plastic wrap off of things I purchased, like music cds and the like, until one day part of it broke off. I don't know why I left it on my key ring.

And yet, I'm hesitant to get rid of my mystery keys. Why? For one thing, if I have a key ring with only four keys on it, I'm afraid I'll feel a little inconsequential. (A person of my age and standing in the community should have more than four things he has command of, right?)

Also, I'm afraid that as soon as I get rid of one of the mystery keys, I'll actually have need for it. Maybe one of those keys goes to my late grandfather's safety deposit box, where his collection of eighteenth century gold coins awaits me! (Not likely.)

Or maybe I just want to be sure I can still break into my brother's house and "borrow" his copy of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan whenever I want.

Whatever the case, it's probably time for me to finally ditch some of those useless keys so that maybe my pants won't sag quite as much.

So, what about you? Do you know what the keys on your key ring are for? I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people aren't sure what can be unlocked by half of the keys on their key ring. Go ahead, pull those keys out and look at them.

And then, let me know, because I'm curious. Go to the comment section here, or on my Slow Joe 40 Facebook page, and tell me how many keys are on your key ring, and how many of those keys you actually know.

I have this sneaky suspicion that most of us are carrying around the "mystery" keys.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I'm Now a Published Writer!

I'm now a published writer!

I didn't know if it would ever happen, but it has! I actually had one of my humor columns printed in a newspaper!!!

From "The Funny-ish Files of Slow Joe 40!"
It really is great to see something I wrote in actual print, not just floating around on the interwebs! (Don't get me wrong, I love floating around on the interwebs, but I'm old enough to think that print lasts forever... at least until it's lining the bottom of the bird cage.)

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that I've "made it" as a writer. You see, I didn't actually get paid. My column appears in a free monthly newspaper called "ServeDaily." (Yes, it's called "ServeDaily," but it only comes out once a month. It's a bit of a conundrum.) The paper serves the communities of southern Utah County, basically everything between Provo and Mona. (Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Salem, Payson, and Santaquin.) 

A few weeks ago The Family went to see a movie at the park in Payson. (They were showing Despicable Me 2 for free, and even though we've seen it many times, we thought the kids would have a good time seeing it on a big screen at the park. They did.) One of the sponsors for the movie was ServeDaily. I approached the publisher and asked if he might be interested in a humor column. He said yes, and so arrangements began for me to have a humor column printed in a newspaper!

Since ServeDaily is a free newspaper found in racks at local stores, they don't actually pay most of their contributors. As such, I didn't hold out a lot of hope for the quality of the newspaper. But, for what it is, it's pretty impressive. This month's edition is 18 pages with a variety of competently written stories, ranging from current news, upcoming events, business reviews, and more.

There is an online edition, as well. It can be found at To find my column, you can scroll down to the small newspaper under the heading of "Today's E-Edition." From there, scroll through to page B3, and there is my column in the lower right-hand corner.

Or, you could just go to this link: The Funny-ish Files of Slow Joe 40: My Lawn? It's Just Dandy, then on the newspaper page on the left, click on my story in the bottom right corner.

This column is a re-working of one that I wrote for my blog in the spring of last year. In order to get it to fit in the newspaper, I had to cut about 100 words or so from it. (Apparently, my long-winded blog posts are too big for a standard newspaper word count.) So, I got to do a bit of self-editing to get it fit for publication. (The original, unedited blog post can be found here: My Lawn? It's Just Dandy!)

The publisher of ServeDaily asked me if I wanted to have a name for my humor column. I thought that sounded like a good idea. My first thought was to use the title of my blog, "Slow Joe: 40-Year-Old Virgin; Father of Three," but that's too much of a mouthful for a column title. So, I asked for suggestions on Facebook.

I really liked one suggestion, "Nerd's Eye View," but when I looked it up I found that someone else was already using that title. It turned out that pretty much everything The Wife and I could think of was also already being used. We tried "Amusing Musings," "The Wacky World of," "The Funny Files of," "Nerd News," and "The Best of Dave Barry," among others, but they had all been tried.

So, I figured my best bet would be to go with a word that isn't actually a word. I decided on "The Funny-ish Files of Slow Joe 40." My thinking? Well, you might not find it funny, but you should at least find it funny-ish. (Of course, the title of the column could still be changed if someone gives me a good enough suggestion for an original title that isn't being used by anyone else, and I've got $2.47 in change that I'm willing to pay for such a suggestion!)

I realize that having a humor column printed in a give-away newspaper isn't the most prestigious thing that can happen to a person. But hey, it's a start. And I've got a feeling there's going to be a lot more funny-ishness to follow!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Zit on Picture Day

Some things never change.

Last week we were getting together with The Wife's family to get family pictures taken. This meant The Wife's parents; The Wife's two sisters, their husbands, and their kids; and The Wife and I and are kids were all getting together at the same place at the same time to have a professional photographer take pictures of all of us.

So, of course, I got a zit on my upper lip.

Just imagine how pretty I'd be without the zit!

Just a reminder: I'm not in junior high anymore. I turned 49 years old last week! FORTY-NINE freaking years old!!! I should not still be getting zits, should I?

I was promised as a geeky teenager that, "you'll grow out of this awkward stage." Really? When? When I'm SEVENTY and transitioning into Depends? (I got news for you, Depends will be an awkward stage, too.)

49 year old guys should not have zits on their upper lip. (Or anywhere else on their face, for that matter.) They just shouldn't.

So, I showed up for the photo shoot, and nobody said anything about my zit. The Wife's family either didn't see it, or they ignored it. It's probable that they were too busy trying to make themselves and their kids presentable that they didn't bother to look at my face. (They've seen my face before. I'm sure they feel there's no need to look at it again.)

The photographer didn't notice my zit, either. Or, at least she didn't say anything about it. She may have been too busy herding us all around to see it. Maybe she'll be able to edit it out with all of the fancy new photo-editing apps they have these days. (While she's at it, maybe she can edit me to look a little more Tom Selleck-ish, too.)

All in all, the photo shoot went pretty well, especially when you consider that there were six kids under the age of eight to deal with, and eight adults with fluctuating mood swings, too. In fact, I don't think I've ever been at an event where so many people were getting photographed that at least one kid wasn't throwing a major, non-cooperative, crying fit.

If it was a good photo shoot, it's probably because it was planned that way. The Wife, her sisters, and their mother had been working on setting it up for a few weeks. They put a lot of effort into deciding what everyone should wear for the pictures, including buying some new clothes for most of the kids and some of the adults. Since we were taking the pictures on the 4th of July, it was decided that everyone should wear red and/or white and/or blue.

And, because of all the planning, when we showed up for the shoot everyone looked really good.

Except for my zit.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It's a Holiday! (Or Is It?)

Here in America, we like our holidays. We like them a lot. Why? Well, for one thing, we don't have to work on our holidays.

I'm not sure why, but in America we usually only get two weeks of vacation, as opposed to six weeks in most European countries. And we often don't take all of the two weeks we do get.

That's why our holidays are so important. Because those are days that everyone gets to take off! (Except for those that don't.)

Our holidays are so important that, even when they fall on a weekend, we insist on celebrating them on a weekday, too. That's what is happening right now.

This year, the 4th of July falls on a Saturday. Most people already have Saturday off (except for those that don't), and could celebrate the holiday without missing a day of work. The problem is, we actually want to miss a day of work. So, the vast majority of people will get Friday, July 3rd off of work. (Except for those that don't.)

When this happens, we get a case of holiday confusion. Do we celebrate the 4th of July on the 4th or on the 3rd? We have the 3rd off for the holiday, so should we light off the fireworks now, or wait until the 4th? It can be a bit confusing.

Of course, it's even more confusing when the holiday falls on a Sunday. (Especially here in Mormonland Utah.) Not only is there confusion over whether to celebrate on the actual holiday or not, but when the holiday falls on a Sunday there is confusion as to which day is the weekday to take off and celebrate, the Monday after or the Friday before. And if there is a parade for the 4th of July, is it on Sunday the 4th, Monday the 5th, or Saturday the 3rd?

What usually happens is we'll have fireworks going off on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday! And that's fine if you are talking about the big, city-sponsored fireworks shows. Those fireworks are great! But, it's not so good if you are talking about the inconsiderate neighbors lighting off firecrackers at one in the morning for four straight nights.

Professional fireworks show: Great!
Neighbor shooting these off at 1:17 AM: Not so great!

Halloween is even worse than the 4th of July when it falls on a Sunday. Why? Well, Halloween involves kids and costumes and candy and people knocking on your door. So, when Halloween falls on a Sunday, there will be kid costumes at school on Friday, some trick-or-treaters on Saturday, some trick-or-treaters on Sunday, and possibly more school parties and/or trick-or-treaters on Monday.

That's a lot of times trying to stuff your kids into their Halloween costumes. And that's a lot of candy you better have ready in that bowl by the door!

That's one of the big advantages of holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day. They are always on a Monday. There is something to be said for the dependability of an always-Monday holiday!

Of course, there are those who have to work on the holiday, no matter what day it occurs or what day the government says we should take off for it. Police, fire fighters and hospital workers are all necessary. Gas station workers, store clerks and restaurant staff are a bit less necessary, but still usually have to work holidays. I always feel bad for those who have to work the holidays.

I once had a local truck driving job where I always had to work holidays. I never understood why it was so imperative to get the shampoo and toothpaste to the grocery store on Memorial Day. What, it couldn't wait until Tuesday?

So, if you have the day off, enjoy it! Fire up that grill and celebrate the 4th on the 3rd. Or celebrate the 4th on the 4th. Or celebrate the 4th on the 3rd and the 4th. Just be done with your fireworks by midnight, please.