Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wouldn't you think...

It's almost over. One more semester down and maybe a break for next semester.
I would hope so.
Thursday night I came down with a cold, after working hard all week long, little sleep and most likely not getting the nutrition I needed... No wonder my immune system failed to distroy the sore throat before it took me down.
Currently I am setting up the desktop again because it was requested of me. Maren is wanting something that runs a little faster to do whatever she wants to do. I am sure we will have to find her something next year. It's nice having duel core, duel screen. Nothing lags. Sweet.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Egg were Screaming!

As every semester comes to an end every student thinks back to the things they have learned. Asking, "Am I ready to take the final exams?" Yes I am so so so ready to be done for this semester. I haven't had much of a break in over a year now because of going to summer school. I am ready to be done with the 20 sum odd credits that I need for my degree. Two years left at the pace that I am going. Turtle Turtle Turtle.
Sometimes my professor decides to give assignments for my blog. This in particular intrigued me. He said, "Find someone more stressed than you and then do something nice for them". It was funny to see the classes reaction. Nobody seemed to think that there was anyone more stressed then themselves and i admit that I am one of the people that believed that there is no one more stressed than me right now.
As I set to the assignment, with all the other many assignments that I have to do this weekend I thought to myself who is more stressed than me. A few ideas that crossed my mind was;
A co-worker that just got married, watched her husband come in at four in the morning because he was out doing a group project.
Then it struck me. I have a friend that is stressed more than me and the truth is that I know it. The hero of a father has three kids; ages 8, 3 and 6 months. He has a full load of 14 credits and he works full time. His wife is a stay at home mom that has a her own home based business.
I learned a long time ago that It was not wise for me to take more than 12 credits and work part time. How he is doing it I don't know, maybe he is make of stronger stuff than me. I decided that I wanted to do something nice for him and his family. So I called him up on a Thursday night after I got off work. It turned out that he was taking a nap because he knew he was going to be up late writing a paper so I spoke with his wife. I asked what they were doing for dinner that night. They said they didn't have plans so I bought some pizza from Papa Johns and went over to his house. We all enjoyed pizza and conversation for a little more than an hour and a half. During the conversations I heard him say that he was craving the garlic sauce from Papa Johns and that this really hit the spot. I was nice to know that what I had done was appreciated. He also shared a funny story and now the punch line of that story is now the title of this post.
I have to admit it was one of the less stressful things that I did this weekend and in a way I relieved a little bit of stress so I can finish a few of my assignments.
If you haven't heard a sigh of relief yet... call me up after the new year. When this semester is over my stress doesn't end. I still have a really big life test to pass at my work. I have to ensure that my inventory is down to less than two percent. That test is on January 3rd.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Survived I-15

Never underestimate the power of mother nature. Over this past week we have enjoyed a little more snow than what Utah is used to getting. Utah received a one-two punch of snow to start the season off.

I had the pleasure to drive I-15 twice. One day after the storm hit and then a surprise storm when I was leaving Logan to come home.
The first storm ended up being a dud really. Provo didn't get more than an inch or two.
It was predicted that this storm was going to be really big with white-out conditions. Well for some reason the storm took one look at Provo, dumped all that it had north of us. Then moved over my lovely home. By the time it was able to make more snow it was well to the south of us and literally left us rather dry with a whole lot of cold.

Several days later it decided to snow on the day that I was coming home. I did not fret and knew that I would have to drive a little slower. I left the Logan around 3:30, and proceeded cautiously through Sardine Canyon. When i finally got on the interstate I figured there was not as much snow I can drive a little faster. Even though the speed limit was 75 mph I decided I better not push my luck and decided a nice speed of 60 mph would do just fine. Before I was two miles down I-15 I realized that I was still going to fast and needed to slow down a little more. I know you are asking how now how did he know that he was going to fast and what happened. I almost joined a statistic below. Nevertheless this is what happened:
(This silver Mitsubishi Outlander is an all-wheel drive vehicle)
I am no stranger to driving in slippery conditions in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Usually it was the Mercury Cougar, but now I drive the Ranger. It takes a little longer to get up to speed and it is a little taller.. okay a lot taller... off the ground. As I came up onto a bridge everything seemed to be fine. Unfortunately in the fast lane on the far end of the bridge there was a bump with ice that sent me fish-tailing down the interstate at 60 mph. I have to admit I panicked and it felt like my stomach wrapped itself around my spine twice. At slower speeds... I would give it a little more gas and hold the slide like I was drifting a million dollar super car. Then let go of the drift and regain control by releasing the accelerator and let the wheel catch on their own. However at 60 mph in a vehicle that has a rather high center of gravity I freaked and tapped the brakes once to slow the truck down. I went from a driver side slide... to a passenger side slide... and then back to a driver side slide before I was able to straighten out on the interstate. It ended up that I never left my lane during this terrifying slide. Afterwards I felt like I recieved a double dose of adrenaline.
After straightening out the next thought that went through my mind was, "I think I should slow down just a little more." I think I was driving 45 to 50 mph for the majority of the way home after that. A trip that should have taken 2 hours became 3 hours. It didn't mind, I was listening to Book Six of TWOT series, The Lord of Chaos.

I was lucky. Below are the reported stats from UHP and KSL News for just Sunday driving.

The weather created terrible driving conditions when the storm first hit Sunday. The Utah Highway Patrol reported more than 300 slide-offs and crashes in 11 counties across the state.

UHP Lt. John Mitchell said, "If people would just slow down, take their time, give themselves enough time to get where they need to go, we could avoid these types of accidents."

Accidents were reported Sunday on I-15 in Bountiful, I-215 in north Salt Lake, I-80 between 7200 West and 9900 West, and at 600 North and I-15 in Salt Lake. Also, a truck jackknifed at 4700 South on I-215.
A single mother of three was killed in a wreck on I-15 in Riverdale. (I passed this accident less than 30 minutes after it happened.)

UHP reported crash totals for this storm through 6 a.m. Monday for Salt Lake and Utah counties alone are:

* 41 injury accidents
* 251 property damage reports
* 50 slide-offs

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maren's New Smile

Maren and I have been talking for a long time and had finally decided that it was time. So we finally bit the bullet and invested in a new(er) car. It is a 2004 Toyota Camry with 70k miles. Most people look at car and their reviews in making a decision about a car. I look at all the specifications.
This '04 Camry is practically the base model.

No fog lights.
No Sunroof.
No Spoiler.(I guess you can call me the spoiler for getting Maren such a nice car.)
Sound System is the basic model.
However it is Silver (which I like better) and it does have key-less entry which is a plus. Because the engine is a four cylinder that means fuel economy is hopefully going to be in the 32-34 range on the highway.

Minus a few scratches, this car is perfect for our needs. As of right now we only have 5K to pay for the next five years. Price of financing is going to be about $652 when we pay $94 per month. So we do what we normally do and round up to the nearest hundred and pay $100 dollars a month. $6x60months=$360 that we will end up paying early. If we drag it out that long.

Insurance said that the car was valued at 11,500. So we already have a ton of equity in the car. The next question is... Does anyone want to buy my old car?
Maren and I are both really happy about this car. She loves it, and I think it is going to be a great car for our family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Addition

So this past week has be a rather eventful week in my family. My sister Janeen and her husband Joesph recently had a baby. They named Lilian Jewel, but she will go by Jewel. This naming a child and then making them go by a middle name is no strange occurrence to the Tucker Family. I myself go by my middle name and so does my son Evan (who just so happens to be throwing a tantrum at this moment... bless his little heart). Jewel was born Wednesday November 10, 2010 at 7:53am. She was six pounds 14 ounces and 18 inches long, and mommy did it without pain med. It was an quick two and a half hours of labor. I think she made it out easy. Maren was in labor for 12 hours.
I still haven't seen any pictures of little Jewel yet. Maybe when one is sent to everyone then I will add it to this blog post. Congratulations Janeen, Joesph and Jewel.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Endless questions

Evan is such a wonderful kid. Sometimes I question what is going through his mind. Recently even has started asking one question. What is it/this? And you have to tell him something. If you avoid answering him he will just continue to ask the question either pointing or trying to grab whatever it is he is asking about. After you answer what it is then he answers "oh" musically as if the answer was just barely on the tip of his tongue and now it all makes sense now. You can't help but love him and his love for cars. My yellow truck is not really mine, Evan has laid claim to it and I am just borrowing the truck until he can drive it. Last year I drove about 4500 miles, lets do the math.
The truck has 108k miles plus 4500 miles per year times 13.5 years = a little over 160k miles that the truck will have when Evan is ready to drive. As I was driving with him I said I would sell it to him for a $1000 and I laugh but he said okay. I don't think he understands what a $1000 is as of just yet. I sure by the time he is ready to drive we will have a different option then a truck that is twenty years old. Who can really tell.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Wheel of Time...

"The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and go. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the shadow. Let the dragon ride again on the winds of time"
Robert Jordan.
I have never been a big reader of any kind of books. While I have a general draw and interest of stories I have never really been able to sit down and read a book for a an hour without falling asleep. Very few books have kept my interest so much that I haven't fell asleep while drifting through its pages.
Lately I have been reading a few books, well maybe i should clarify that statement and say I have been listening to a few books. This past summer I listened to the following books.
Harry Potter 1-7 Done.
FableHaven 1-5 Done.
then I started the last one.
The Wheel of Time Series. I started book six just before school started and now I will have to start it again during the next vacation time.
I could listen and work, although not as effectively, to the storyline. I really liked it and was able to get through the book in less than a week.
It surprises me how many people have read these books. I have even come across women who enjoy this series and admit it. With pride in their voice they say things like, "I'm on book nine!"

When I saw that three of my coworkers where reading this book I decided that I would make room for it. first started to read this book I thought this is going to be so lame. Shortly after the story begins it has the main characters start out on the run.
Needless to say the book was great and I moved on to the next book. They just get better and better. However there are a few similarities between two other novels which I will relate next week.
Until then. Adieu.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

There comes the day...

There come the day when you have to sell your first car. I bought this car seven years ago to the month. This car has taken me from Orlando, FL to Seattle, WA. It is my 97 Mercury Cougar. I bought this car in October of 2003 as the first car that I would ever have my name on the title. I wasn't looking for this car but it turned out to be a deal that I could not refuse. It belonged to the Catholic Church the my Grandpa attends. I was told that they were going to sell this car in a silent auction. At the time the car was retailing for around $5,000 I place a bid for $3,030.01. If I got it then fine, if not then I would still be okay.
Back then it had ~104k miles, a faulty alarm system, check engine light for the EGR valve, and it was a little dirty. I paid $60 dollars for the EGR valve to be cleaned, spent several hours cleaning the car inside and out, and then after a few years I bought a static manual on CD that eventually showed me that my car had keyless entry and the alarm fault was due to a connection in the trunk. Someone had reversed the connection which would set off the alarm anytime you would use the power locks.
Three months into owning this car I found myself speaking with a police officer. It was a quick visit... to make it short, I was passing someone on a two lane road and got a little over zealous. The next car coming down the road was a police officer. He claimed that I was doing 93 mph in a 60, Oops. I never again was pulled over in that car. More often then not I would follow the speed limit, but I do remember driving 110 on the interstate for about a minute to get away from an annoying driver.
After getting married I had a class II tow hitch installed on the car. I did this for one purpose, to tow all of our stuff from Florida to Utah to start school at BYU. The trailer was a 6'x12' and we had only one problem. I literally could not drive over 45 mph. That trip was a very long drive. We made it safely and have lived in only two places while out here in Utah. A cute little apartment, and our home.
During the last six years I have fixed several things on this car, and it has given me a fair share of problems, but something I have done has taken good care of this car. I wish I could have taken it up to 200k miles before I got rid of the car. However I did not, and it only made it to 190k. It still runs and does everything just fine.
Maren and I have finally decided that it is time for a four door car. Fixing the car would not be a problem, but it needs little things here and there because it is getting old. i.e. battery, windshield needs to be resealed, radiator cleaned or flushed, new/junkyard PCM, and registration fee. Only $400 to $500 to get it running on the road for another year.
I would love to keep the car for a fun project, but Maren doesn't want me to turn our small Utah home into a redneck haven for cars in need of TLC.
In the first year of owning my car I dove it 36k miles, and then over the next six years I drove another 45k miles for the grand total of 189k miles.

The day has come and I am selling my first car...
It's time for Maren to have a car that she likes, enjoys, and doesn't feel like the car is out to get her.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


For many of you that don't know... I am a runner. Yes I know that I don't look like one now, but many years ago I did. While in high school as a freshman I started off doing the typical jock sports, football and wrestling and track.
Football was fun and what I found myself playing the game when I got together with friends. I went out to be a wide receiver, but they placed me in at corner. I still remember some great plays that I made for my team. Wrestling was great the first year. I did very well on the junior varsity team at 130 lbs. Sophomore season was the killer. I ran cross country weighing 140 lbs, and I practically starved myself for four months to reach 125 lbs to stay on the varsity team. The highlight of that year was I almost pinned a national champion. After my season was done, I gained 30 lbs in 3 days. I decided then that I was not going to come back the following year.
I wasn't planning on doing track, but I was convinced that I should give it a try after someone found out that I ran a sub-six mile (5.42) in gym class. So with no real hopes of doing anything I went out and practiced with them for a couple of days. I soon discovered that I had no trouble keeping up with the leaders even though I was a freshman. When track meets eventually came around coach was putting me in the 4x800m relay, 800m, and 3200m races. I won my first three 800m with a time around 2:20, but that was actually competitive in those years. By the end of the year the coach through me into a 1600m race. That race became the first time that I broke five minutes that race. I posted a 4.55 for my mile and I was one of the fastest runners on the team, and the district. I did race in regional that year in the 800m but did not qualify to continue on to states.
Sophomore year was one of those years that if things could be done all over again I would have skipped wrestling. Because of what I did in wrestling my sophomore season in track was terrible. I decided from that point on that I was not going to do anything in high school except Cross Country and Track. I was hoping to get a scholarship for college and knew if I got one it would be because of running.
So I set goals and started to run year round. Cross Country my junior year was better but nothing to make a few heckling teammates eat their words. Track season started and I was determined to go sub-two minutes in the 800m, and get back on the 4x800 relay, which I didn't make it in my sophomore season.
My chance came during a local track meet in the first part of my junior year. The runner that heckled me the most, became the no show, and coach said that I was going to run the relay. As I looked at who I was going to be running against, as the third runner of the relay, my hope became a tremble of fear as I looked upon Cross. Cross was an athlete that placed in state in 5A Cross Country. Surely I am no match for him and his ability. When it was my turn to run I just ran as fast as I could and didn't look back. The last hundred meters felt like I couldn't move my legs. As I crossed the finish line I looked back and Cross was just rounding the bend, 100m behind me. I opened up about nine seconds on him. One of my teammate came up to me and said that I had just ran a 2.05.1.
I didn't believe him and I had to see the time myself. Sure enough, I did, and after that race I was tied for second on the the relay team. The heckler was no longer the fastest on the team, he was now the fifth man and I became the break away man. Each of my teammate had a role to play on the relay. First man would open to a decent position, second man would catch the leaders, and then I would break away from the pack and open up the lead to five seconds, and the last man would ensure the win. The third leg of the relay was my spot and I kept it all year, until the stress fracture ended my season at regionals. I didn't give up and I was able to get my time back down in my senior year to 2.02 for the 800m and 4.36 for the 1600m.
Several of my friends where upset that I put all the training from high school aside to serve a mission. Graduating at 145 lbs, I returned from my mission at 165ish lbs. I was determined to run and get back in shape. I took a health class that taught me the importance of eating with training, and I set a goal to run a sub-six mile. I did and in the process I dropped down to 155 lbs. After strength training I was up to 162 lbs. When I came out to Utah, I spent so much time between school, work and home that I quit running. My less active lifestyle had consequences and I slowly reached 215 lbs. Currently I am at 200 lbs and dropping. My overall goal is to get back down to 175 lbs. I have 25 lbs to go still.
Running is something that defined my life, and will always be a part of my life. Now I have many more thing in my life that make me who I am. Running is still there, just not the most important. To what extent will I go as I start running again? Well I've never been the kind of person that wants to run a marathon, but I am not ruling it out and it will be many years and 5k's from now.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

After the Nervous Twitch

One lovely day while working, I met an interesting and complete stranger. This gentleman and scholar looked like he could use a little pick-me-up. So I asked him if I could buy him a "coke". He gracefully accepted and chose his preferred form of "coke" from a BYU vending machine. He left with a huge smile on his face absolutely thrilled that he was the recipient of this social test.
I admit that I enjoyed seeing the smile on his face. I liked it so much that I suddenly realized that I also had a smile on my face. I really felt good buying someone else a "coke". In a way, it seemed like we were both uplifted by one simple act. In a way I started thinking about a movie. The movie had a main theme called pay it forward. In the movie a concept was presented by a young elementary student,who was given an assignment by his teacher. This student took the assignment seriously and presented the concept of Pay It Forward. When someone does something nice for you instead of doing something nice back to that person, you would do something nice for three other people. This students idea was to help as many people as possible.
I wonder if this complete stranger would have, or ever, considered doing something nice to someone else because he received something that may have uplifted his spirit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Dreaded Day

Every parent fears the day. The day when their child learns to climb out of the crib. Yes on Sunday morning i woke up after 6 hours of sleep to my son climbing up the stairs to my room. I wasn't upset that he got out of the crib, this isn't the first time. the first thing that crossed my mind was does he have his diaper on? Please, Please, Please, have a diaper on!

Maren had the experience with Evan when they were in Seattle, WA. Apparently early one morning Evan escaped from bed. Thinking that he was more that ready to be independent, he proceeded to try and change his own diaper. During his attempt he left little... nuggets... on the ground. He grabbed a few wipes from his diaper bag and sat down next to the little nugget. At this point you may be thinking how cute, however his little bottom was not clean and he sat down on white carpet. Bless his little heart he did realize this and proceeded to move to a different spot so he could clean where he just left a smear mark. By the time mommy woke up and came to attend to the little munchkin, he had pulled quite a few wipes out and covered every nugget and smear stain that he had made in the carpet.
Lucky us he had a diaper on that morning and he climbed into bed with us. Evan then told us that he had a poopy diaper and wanted us to change it. Disaster averted and I was up to watch over our early riser.
This is were I think it gets funny. While in the living room Evan decided that he had a lot of energy. So he started to run around the house... as I timed him. Six seconds running, and sixteen seconds on the tricycle. This lovely munchkin is starting to run everywhere he goes.
Just like his daddy did when he was little. I would know too, my mother has told my stories of what I have done to her.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Short Stories

The Lawn Mower Man
Imagine a cute little house with a small front lawn. Now imagine that lawn that hasn't been mowed in about a month. Welcome to the dilemma of the $30 dollar lawn mower. (Do you hear the haunting music yet?) To go back to the beginning of the story, I've always tried to save a buck or two especially on items that may cost more money when new.
At the beginning of the summer I helped the Boy Scouts of America clean out a block of of downtown Provo City. Bags after bags were filling up with junk, garbage, and trash has been left to time to decay on the back lots of Provo. Among the heaps that were found was a small, green craftsman lawn mower. The scouts and leaders that found it, tossed it into a pile to load up and ship off to the junk yard. I couldn't resist! So I pulled it off to the side, loaded it up in my truck, and took it home.
I knew my hopes of starting the mower would be useless without a little work, so I began to dismantle the forgotten warrior. The air filter was so black that a moonless midnight looked bright, garbage. Spark plug, usable but a new one is $5, garbage. A new 1 gallon gas can $9, and one gallon of gas $3... ish. So after the internet, four trips to the Sears Repair shop, and 4 hours of fiddling I bought a o-ring gasket for $2.50, and then I mowed my lawn. Once I was assured that the forgotten warrior was going to live I then changed its oil and gave it a new mower blade.
This warrior has mowed my lawn without fail every other week for the whole summer, until September. I tried to fire it up and it would crank, but it would stall out shortly there after. After five minutes of cranking and stalling, I pushed it into the garage and said I will deal with it later. Which brings us full circle. After two weeks of not dealing with it, I decided the lawn can not wait any longer. I pulled it out of the garage and then started taking it apart, again. After 30 minutes I found the $2.50 gasket had swollen and no longer makes a seal with the carburetor. Tinker, tinker, tinker and then mowed the lawn.
I know that I will have to fix it again, but for the time being the warrior lives and will cut again another day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lean and O2

In every sense of the word you would think that these two words are great! and everyone wants it. I disagree. This past week I have been battling both on my car. The infamous check engine light has been on for more than a year. I finally Check the numbers and it shows a P0171 and P0174. These code tell me that the engine is running lean in banks one and two. Simple talk, not enough fuel is being mixed with the air combustion process. I looked at simple means to fix the problem. I cleaned the air intake with a injector cleaner, followed the directions exactly. Fired up the old car and she turned over. Turned over a new problem. Now that I may have fixed the problem by cleaning out the throttle body, I cleared all the code and boom... check engine light again. Ok... now I have 8 more sensor telling me that something is wrong. All the Oxygen sensor are now having a cow. So I may need to replace them as well at $60 each. By the way the car has to have four o2 sensors. Two before and two after the catalytic converter.
You may ask, "Whats the big deal"? I can't pass my safety and emissions test until I get the check engine light turned off. So instead of enjoying a trouble free car, I and debating on putting at least $300 in parts into my car, if I can't convince the sweet wife to just buy a new(er) car with 4 doors.

It seems that small problems always turn into big problem when you need to renew registration.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Four tumbling little children down a massive hill, and yes a couple of adults too.
I know that it has been a week since all the fun, but I wanted to write a little bit about the fun the family had.
So the week prior to Labor Day weekend I was able to play host to Eleesha as she was working and playing. She would barricade herself in on of my rooms, mainly because Evan is so darn irresistible that if she didn't she would end up playing with him and not getting any work done, still she ended up staying all week.
On Friday the family got together to have a picnic, we were originally planning on something up Provo canyon but decided that it was quite the distance and decided on something that was closer. Rock Canyon Park which has an unforgettable memory attached to the place were we went (See link if interested in the Jet plane Slip n Slide click here).
This hill needless to say takes a lot of abuse. Just down the way from our four little kids rolling from this hill there were ice blockers sliding down this hill.
For me one of the funniest things was watching Evan running down the hill. He couldn't keep his legs under him and... BOOM face plant, and a mouthful of grass. Still he was happy and laughing, and got up and did it two more times before realizing that face plants are not so much fun.
We stayed until it started getting dark, playing with all the kiddys and chasing... mainly Bella a 2 year old child that knows no fear!
The following day I took Eleesha to Bountiful for Vanessa's Baby Shower. I hung out long enough to go to lunch with Caleb and left Eleesha with him. She was going to be leaving to go back to DC on a red-eye flight.
It was the best weekend ever!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weekly writing.

So I have been given an assignment. It's purpose is mainly to get me writing, and improve my writing in the process. I hope that the topics I find will interesting enough that people will enjoy a short read. Whether enjoyable, enlightening, or sad we will see what the next semester brings.