Friday, July 24, 2009


He's here! Samuel Martin Jenkins has finally come! And on pioneer day, nonetheless.

Where did I leave off? Ashton and I were chilling in the delivery room. Well, I was chilling, and she was enduring waves of contractions. Around 5:30 a.m. she got an epidural, and at 8:00 a.m. she was fully dilated. The doctor had her start pushing at 8:30. That's where the labor really became laborious. The nurse had me hold Ashton's right leg and count off the breaths, 1 to 10, three times every contraction. Deep breaths, lots of pushing. I was a good doula and Ashton got lots of stylie points for superb face contortions and occasional grunting sighs.

Progress was slow, but finally, around 10:20, we got a good look at Samuel's crown, or at least the small tip of his conical head. The doctor came in and got down to business, and by 10:30 Samuel had emerged completely from the womb, and what a charming devil he was!

The nurses cleaned him up and gave me a good photo op. I'm not a crying man (I think Ukraine replaced my tear ducts with scar tissue), but my eyes were wet and my lip was quivering. I watched this amazing little infant, the pinnacle of God's creations, and felt an overwhelming sensation of love and joy and hope. I watched his vulnerable, innocent body squirm on the bassinet while the nurse suctioned out fluids, and was struck by his unadulterated purity. This baby is pure intelligence, and he came straight down the cosmic pipeline.

Family and friends flooded the room, anxious to see the sparkling new addition to our family. Everyone commented on his beautiful blonde hair, his long fingers, and the little cleft in his chin. He has perfectly shaped lips that Meg Ryan would kill for, and I think he has a strong resemblance to my brother Seth when he was a baby. He definitely has the Thompson nose. And although I may be biased, he is not an ugly baby. Even with the slightly swollen head and the old-man-bitter-beer face, he is not hard to look at. He takes after his mother, I guess.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I can only imagine how Ashton feels. I think a good way to end the day will be to read Samuel his first story: Where the Wild Things Are.


Yesterday around one o'clock Ashton had her first contraction. She described it as having the urge to use the restroom; a lot of pressure down there. I was up on campus in the lab, and then from 4 to 6:30 I was in the bowels of the JFSB in a humanities class.

When I ascended from the dungeon, I got a phonecall from Ashton saying she was at her sister's. I drove over there to pick her up and we stayed for burritos. It was then that she informed me that she'd been having contractions about every half hour. A little frightening. We went home around eight o'clock and I bummed around, waiting.

At about 8:30 she started timing her contractions. They were about five to ten minutes apart, and lasted around twenty seconds. They weren't painful or anything, but there was definite spasming. Allie dropped by and we talked with her till eleven. The contractions seemed to be getting longer and a little more frequent. I was pretty wasted from a long day, so I decided to hit the sack.

She woke me up around one o'clock, saying they were still getting stronger. I was pretty out of it, but nervous excitement started to set in. I lay on the bed for another hour, while Ashton started packing her essential belongings. At two o'clock she told me she was ready to head to the hospital, and I swung my legs over the side of the bed. Fifteen minutes later we were in a room at Utah Valley Regional.

Our nurse, Heather, informs us that everything looks great. Ashton is dilated to a 4.5, and the baby's heart rate is good. She's 99 percent sure they won't be sending us home, but we have to wait an hour to see if Ashton keep dilating. So now we're in the strangely homey hospital room, waiting.

Oh wait, an exciting turn of events. Heather is back, and she stays we're staying. She's going to put in Ashton's IV. I guess Dr. Thorpe (a doctor who wears a gold chain) is already here doing a C-section, and he says she's staying. So that's a relief. She probably wouldn't want to gown up again. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 20, 2009


This last weekend we saw a lot of pond action. On Friday we went back to Burraston Ponds. We didn't get enough on the 3rd. This time our crew was a little smaller, but no less amusing: Greg, Ethan, Meg, Dan Baird and Ashton. I was also more prepared; I brought my inflatable raft that I bought last fall to replace mine and Ashton's old one. It was the Sea Wench II's maiden voyage, and she's definitely sea worthy.

We brought a picnic basket with chips and homemade salsa and a bottle of Peach Italian Soda, which we drank from plastic champagne glasses. Nothing better than elitist snobs in hick central Mona!

We had a great time swinging out of the trees into the pond. Some kids were wearing inner tubes and doing backflips. They were also trying to swing from the platform and drop right through the tube. When I got up on the platform they held it out in the water for me to aim for, and I passed through on my first try. Pure luck or totally lurpy. Apparently I was the only one who made it through. I'm not sure if that's something I should necessarily be proud of, but I am anyway.

The kids left after a while and we had the swing to ourselves. That thing is a hoot. You get quite the rush swinging out over the water, dropping about 15 feet at the other end of the arc. We spent a while convincing Meg to jump off the platform, but she eventually made the plunge. (She did let go at the bottom of the swing, the point of greatest acceleration. She's still cool, though.)

Greg decided he was going to swim across the pond, and he asked me to follow him in the raft in case he started to drown. When we got to the other side we switched places and I swam back. It didn't look that far, but I was exhausted when we got to the other side. Another reminder of how out of shape I am.

On the way back from the ponds we got stuck in major traffic, but we had a lot of laughs and good music.

Saturday night we went out to Salem Pond with Quinn, Violet and a bunch of their crew. Ethan and Greg showed up as well, and we had a good time eating watermelon and chilling on the grass. That place is packed on the weekends! I was shocked how many people were out swimming in the mucky pond filth, but it's a pretty hotspot in Salem. I went out in the Sea Wench again, mostly making a fool of myself, but it was fun. This is what summer is all about.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today I went in to the control room of library security to get some books for a paper I was writing. As I was copying down some information for the Works Cited page, the officer in control got a call from the fifth floor Humanities desk. Apparently there was a bat flying around the desk, terrorizing patrons. A freaking bat! I called dispatch while the control officer ran upstairs to see if he could get a positive sighting. Dispatch said they'd send over one of the head custodians. I ran upstairs after I got off the phone and found the security officer gloating triumphantly over a library stool. Apparently he saw it fly back into the stacks and he was able to trap it on the floor under the stool. Shortly after I got there, the custodian showed up with a glorified butterfly net. He was able to get the bat in the net, and I got a pretty good look at it. I was surprised how small it was. Now I'm convinced there's a bat cave under the library. Maybe the head librarian is really a crime fighting vigilante.

Monday, July 13, 2009


So Ashton's doctor decided maybe she doesn't have heartburn after all. Rather, he thinks she has gall stones. This is kind of a lame revelation 8 1/2 months into the pregnancy, but it goes well with the general theme of lameness we've been seeing with this OB group. Anyone reading this who wants to make a baby, DON'T GO TO THE PROVO OB/GYN CLINIC. Unless you like being treated like a pair of gym socks.

I guess she told him the list of meds she's been taking and expressed her frustration that nothing was working. A week before we found out that the Enablex they'd put her on, to combat the heartburn, is actually for pregnancy incontinence. That's a big oops. Good thing they didn't accidentally put her on some tetragenic drug. Think we have a malpractice lawsuit?

She explained to the doctor that sometimes the pain radiated all the way to her back and up her arm. He then asked her (with a little condescension in his voice), "Well you know what that is, don't you?"

Gee, doc, maybe I do. I guess I don't need your medical expertise. . . No you blockhead! I don't know what it is!

He answered his own question,"It's your gall bladder," as if to say, "C'mon you moron, everyone knows that's a symptom of gall stones." If I'd been there I'd have socked him in the jaw.

He very candidly told her there was nothing they could do until junior came out, and that she should avoid greasy foods.

Well we're not content to wait, so we're trying a little alternative remedy. Ashton's mom told us about this special flush you can do that supposedly will clean out the stones. You simply juice ten apples a day with one lemon, and there's something with olive oil too. So we went to Buy Low for the first time to see if we could get a half decent deal on apples. We bought seventy of them! Pink Ladies, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji and Braeburns. It was kind of strange going through the checkout line with that many apples, made more strange by our odd checker. He did know his varieties of apple, however.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bon Iver

Bon Iver. For free. Wow.

He was hands down my favorite artist/album of 2008. For Emma, Forever Ago is a haunting and beautiful piece of work -- one of the few albums I can listen to on repeat and never get tired of. Justin Vernon's falsetto has an intimate quality that leaves its listener spellbound. One review of his album said it was like reading some guy's diary.

Through much coaxing and begging I got Ashton to drive up to Salt Lake with me, along with Ethan, where we met the rest of the crew at the Gallivan Center. Greg had been saving seats for about an hour and had a nice little perch under the pavilion on the left side. The crowds were much larger than previous years, and the place was packed with every demographic, from infant to elderly. Most the people were college age, and by their appearance you could tell they were proud U students. Tattoos, piercings and cleavage abounded.

Jenny Lewis opened the show, and I must say she was a lot better than I expected. I usually can't take more than a couple songs when I listen to her albums, but she's a really great performer. I'd say her voice is just as good if not better live than in her recordings. She played stuff from Rilo Kiley and her solo work with the Watson Twins. My favorite number was "Handle with Care." During Lewis's set Ashton went shopping at Trolley Square. While she was gone Andrew and Drew arrived, followed by Allyson and Drew Tack. There were a lot of Drews around.

Ashton got back right before Bon Iver's set started, and I left our spot to go meet her. We had to cross through quite the gauntlet to get back to our crew, dodging endless cups of beer overflowing with foam. Justin Vernon came out a little before nine, accompanied by three backup musicians who bounced from guitar to drums. He opened the concert with "Flume," a favorite of mine, to set the tone. We were all bursting with excitement.

It was one of the few shows I've gone to where the artist played every single song I wanted to hear. That's largely because Bon Iver is still so new; he's only got one major album. From For Emma he played "Lump Sum," "Creature Fear," "Wolves" and "Skinny Love." All four of those songs gave me the goosebumps. I really liked the additional beats provided by the three drummers, especially during "Skinny Love." "Creature Fear" probably got me going the most, with its building climax at the end. He also favored us with the new single he contributed to the Dark Was the Night compilation, "Bracket, WI." That song freaking rocks. It has a really heavy baseline and a sweet beat. He also played some songs from his Blood Bank EP, like the less crowd-pleasing "Babys," which he claimed is about "reproduction." When he finished that song he gave a shoutout to all the pregnant people in the audience, and everyone around us looked right at Ashton, our friends congratulating her.

As expected, his encore was the title track from the Blood Bank EP, and we all just melted into the music, ignoring the hosts of obnoxious chatterers on the fringes. It was a beautiful song, and the perfect way to end the show. I left thinking I would definitely pay to see that guy play again. It was just such an impressive production -- the perfect first concert for the baby.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Fourth

My favorite part was when Bob Bennett came through on the parade. We were sitting in front of the Smoot home (primo spots) and the tall senator walked past with his wife and a couple younger looking people. He was waving at everyone and wearing a cowboy hat. Because he wasn't in an old-fashioned convertible with a sign on it, no one knew who he was. I heard several people remark, "Who's that guy? If he was important, he'd be in a car." I'm pretty sure that's Senator Bennett, I thought to myself. But even I wasn't positive. About 3 marching bands, 2 beauty pageant floats and a firetruck later, a tow truck drove by, pulling an old-fashioned convertible with a sign on it that read, "Senator Bob Bennett." I almost died.

The night of the fourth sucked. I had to work traffic security for the Stadium of Fire. I got there at 3:30 and it was sweltering outside. Luckily I didn't have to wear my uniform shirt and I brought my CamelBak. From four to six we filled up the parking lot, row by row. People were pretty rude about it, because they all wanted to park near the exit. They had all sorts of excuses too. "Oh my family's parking down there, and we want to walk back together," or "We just want to park in the shade." I asked the latter if she was keeping a dog in the car, and she sheepishly said no, and I informed her that the sun would be going down long before they returned from the concert. It's not polite to make a parent look dumb in front of their kids, but it's probably worse for a parent to teach their kids that they're entitled to special treatment, or that they can lie to get it.

Once the lot filled up, we had to close the gate. This didn't change the traffic situation on University Avenue, however, and cars were still lining up to enter the lot. We had to form a barricade of cones out in front and only let in people with a special lot pass or a handicap pass. You wouldn't believe how many people abuse those handicapped passes. We'd have SUV's roll through packed with teenagers decked out for the concert, not a wheelchair in sight. It was really irritating, but we had to let them in. When handicap spots ran out, we had to let them park in the special pass area, which meant a lot of people who paid for these special passes got hosed. What was I supposed to tell them? It was a nightmare. So many people were mad at us, and I lost my temper a few times too. Eventually even the special lot filled up, and we had to start turning away people with handicap passes, some who legitimately needed them. It seemed like all the cripples of Utah were lining up, and we had to turn them away. Boy did they take it personally. They made us feel like villains, as if we were intentionally discriminated against the disabled. One particularly bellicose lady screamed a lot of unintelligible nonsense at my coworker, and the man accompanying her called us "amateurs." I don't know whether that's an insult, because I don't think I'm shooting for professional traffic guy, but I was amazed at how rude people were.

Finally we got wise and left the gate area so we wouldn't have to deal with any more hostile patrons. During the performance we had to take down the barricades and load them up on a truck. While the truck was leaving the parking lot the fireworks started, and I hopped off the back of the truck and melted into the crowd to watch. I was dead tired and my feet hurt, and I wanted to watch the awesome fireworks. After that was over, I got to sit in the parking lot for an hour and a half, waiting for the cars to get out. It was pure chaos, and watching it with my i-Pod was pretty satisfying.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


You know those boring play-by-play entries? This is one of those.

I can't remember the last time I officially celebrated my birthday on my actual birthday. A lot of times we just do it the weekend closest to Seth's birthday and mine and Lauren's, because that's most convenient for everyone. This round my family came down to Provo on July 1st, since Seth had a performance on July 2nd. Sarah flew out from Chicago because she had the week off, so that was a brilliant surprise. We ate Cafe Rio takeout and opened presents. I made off like a bandit! I got some cycling attire, some sweet books, clothes, movies and a miniature bowling set from my unborn child. And I got some Kinder Surprise eggs.

My actual birthday was pretty uneventful. I had to be to work at 6:30 in the morning, and I was on campus till 6:30 in the evening. Greg invited us over to make goat cheese with him and Alpha. The cheese ended up tasting pretty good, kind of like mozzarella, and we had a nice evening discussing (sometimes yelling) politics, movies and how to properly run a communal farm.

On Friday, July 3rd, nine of us (Alpha, Ethan, Steve, Meg, Greg, Joey, Jessica, Ashton and I) drove down to Burraston Ponds, near Mona, for some picnicking and swimming. Someone has built some pretty high platforms in some of the trees that surround the pond, with a killer rope swing. We set up our beach chairs on the "shore" and munched on blueberry muffins and baguettes. The weather was fantastic, and it attracted a lot of the country folk from around Mona and Santequin to the rope swing. My favorite was this punk kid who vowed to swing from the highest platform and do a back flip over the pond. He swung down all right, but didn't rotate properly and ended up flailing around upside down until he hit the water. Everyone had a good laugh.

On Friday night we went to Ottavio's with Ashton's family. Before we even ordered, however, Ashton had a crippling attack of heartburn, worse than any previous episode, and mid-meal we had to jet to Smith's to buy some maximum strength Mylanta. The heartburn eventually subsided, and Ashton's family came over to check on her. They brought our food from the restaurant and birthday presents. Whitney and Brinton gave me a hilarious book - the Encyclopedia of Immaturity, and Leesa gave me some biking gloves and a bunch of other loot. It's nice to be spoiled by two families. After they left we watched When Harry Met Sally, which I thought was pretty dang funny.

So now I'm 23.