My little brother got his call to New Zealand this last week. I must say it came as quite a relief. I would've been really jealous if he'd been called to anywhere in Scandinavia or Western Europe. Sure the work is hard in those areas, but they're a lot nicer than Ukraine! When he pulled his call out of the envelope he stared at it with wide eyes while everyone yelled, "C'mon, just tell it what it says!" We had some technical difficulties with the phonecall to Chicago and the webcam to Portland, and he wasn't about to announce it until everyone could hear it. Finally he spilled and we all erupted with congratulations. New Zealand. Snap. Talk about going as far away from home as is physically possible. And crazy that Ashton's brother is currently serving there. Hopefully he can resist the islanders' notoriously lackadaisical approach to the work and rules of a mission.
On May Day we went climbing at Rock Canyon. As we approached the canyon we noticed that, for once, Red Slab was unoccupied, and we decided to give it a try lead climbing. It turned out to be a little tougher than we'd expected. Lead climbing has a way of making a simple 5.8 become a lot scarier. Greg made it up about halfway and got stuck. Some know-it-all chattering moron (who happens to be in my ward) showed up and set up camp right next to us; he even plopped his tarp and rope on top of mine. This newcomer distracted me a little (I was belaying), and as Greg made the brave venture up, he didn't have enough slack. Suddenly he was slipping and yelled down, "I'm gonna fall!" I pulled the rope tight but he was a little higher up than his last quickdraw, so he fell a good 4 feet. He racked the family jewels pretty good on the rock, and came down in a lot of pain. He later told me that all his hate and anger were directed at the chatterbox (which made me feel a little better), but I could tell he was less than thrilled with my belaying. Accidents happen. I went up the wall next to see if I could finish the climb. I got to the tough part where Greg had been stuck and had to take a breather. I was able to get past it, but I only put in two quickdraws after it before I got stuck. The climb wasn't necessarily difficult, but just knowing that if I fell it'd be a good ten foot drop was kind of emasculating. I finally came down the rock, and had to endure the pseudo pep talk from our resident expert, the chatterbox. That guy was insufferable. Everything he said was self-praise or "FYI." Next we sent up Jesse, who had never actually done lead climbing before. He made it to the top like a champ, although he crisscrossed three different routes to do it. By the time he got up there everyone was too cold and tired to do any top rope climbing, and I wanted to get out of chatterbox's earshot. When I got home I was so bitter I shaved my beard.
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