Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daniel and Renee

A few weeks ago I was texting my brother and asking him how his summer was going. He said it was pretty boring. I asked if he had managed to find a summer job, and his answer was no. So I told him to go out and do something, to which he also replied no. As you can see, my brother is one of those one-word-texters.

And the idea struck me! He and my sister should come stay with me for a while!!

So it was decided (pretty quickly actually) that Daniel and Renee were going to drive out here on the 27th and stay until the 3rd. A whole week! I was very, very excited. The three of us have been apart for so much of our lives that it's always a blessing to get together. And although I had just seen them in May, this time they would be coming here. "They'll get to see our apartment! And how we live! And we can take them here! And we can do this!" Whereas our last time together was so short and on their turf, I was thrilled that I could spend time with them here and away from our parentals who basically just get in the way!

Then this last Wednesday, I got a very cryptic and ominous call from my father. "Call your sister. She won't answer to any of us. Just call her." What?? So afraid my sister was going to hurt herself or do something stupid I called her. Voicemail. I called her again. Voicemail. I sent her a text. Nothing.

A little later she called me back sounding happy and hyper as usual. So apparently everything was fine. She did say that she wanted to get away from things for a while and that she and Daniel would be coming out earlier than planned. The very next day to be exact.

So Brian came home and I told him the news and we quickly cleaned the house and got their sleeping situation figured out. Luckily, neither of us worked Thursday night so we were around to greet them when they arrived from their long drive. I'm surprised Daniel's car made the trip!!

They've been here a few days now and it's been a lot of fun. Brian's made us some delicious feasts, we've played board games and video games, we've done some back-to-school shopping at the mall, and we've watched some movies.

And we still have over a week left to play together!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my dear mother's 46th birthday. I slept in to my leisure this morning, awoke, and sent her a text reading "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MOMMY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!" I had mailed her birthday present early, so with the gift and my birthday text I felt pretty proud of myself. I'm a damn good son, aren't I?

Soon my phone buzzed quietly on the table, and I read her response: "You're the only one who hasn't called me." It was like a pin had deflated my giant balloon head. I quickly found her in my contacts list and hit send. The recorded message warning solicitors to hang up greeted me before my mother did. "Why hello, Birthday Girl," I said cheerily.

"You know," she began, "you're brother actually sang the birthday song to me on the phone. He didn't text it. He SANG it." Now a semi truck was running over my deflated balloon head. Over and over. Without ceasing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

He Is We and We Missed It

Brian came out of the City Mart rolling his eyes and handing me a sucker.

"What's the sucker for?" I asked, not too concerned with the explanation seeing as I'd already unwrapped the candy and was tasting its sweet artificiality.  Green apple; always a favorite.

"The guy said I had to buy something in order to use the ATM."

I just laughed.  The Middle Eastern man who runs the little store in our apartment complex was always making you buy more.  "I'm sorry, but you cannot use your card for something so small," he had told me once, "you need to spend at least five dollars."  I recalled how I had absentmindedly grabbed some Christmas candy just to make him happy.  Gee, Christmas candy and we were well into March at the time.

"But at least you got us some cash," I said and Brian nodded.  "Let's hurry or we'll be late.  I'm not even sure where we are going."

Brian unlocked the car doors, and we were bombarded by the overwhelming heat of the vehicle's interior.  The first blast from the AC wasn't any help either, but eventually it cooled down and we were heading through downtown.

"So do they know you are coming?  How come they couldn't get you in for free?" Brian asked, as he squinted at the post-it note with my scribbled directions to the concert venue.  

"No, they don't know," I said.  "It's not like a meeting or something special.  I signed up for the He Is We fan letter thing and I get emails every once in a while.  I saw they were playing in Salt Lake City and since neither of us had to work, I figured we could check it out.  Maybe say, 'Hi, I made your music video' afterwards."

"Ah, I see.  Cool.  Maybe they'll give you a free t-shirt or something."

"Probably.  Jeremy gave me free stuff all the time because I made videos for him... I think this is it, by the way."

"Down that dirty alley?" Brian asked with a frown.  Clearly this was not his idea of a safe neighborhood.  I wasn't sure I thought so either, but what the heck.  Sometimes the coolest places are those little-known hole-in-the-wall types.

"The sign said 'Kilby Court.' Let's park somewhere and check it out, okay?"

So we parked a few blocks down, and as we headed back towards the random alley we had seen we began to notice other young people heading that direction.  Many had He Is We t-shirts on and held tickets in their hand.

Brian looked worried, "Jack, were you supposed to have bought tickets in advance?"

Crap! Was I? "Um... I hope not.  That's a long line, huh?"

And so we waited in a line that seemed to be heading towards a green-painted fence which appeared to lead to nothing more than somebody's backyard.  A dry-erase board hanging from a nail in the fence boasted the next bands to come through, and visible just through the gate was a ticket booth.

"Brian, everybody's got tickets," I said pointing to people's hands.  "Now you've got me worried.  Do you think they'll let us buy them at the door?"

"Do you want to just go?"

I could tell he wanted to.  "No.  Let's just see... Can we buy tickets here?"

 "You sure can," said the ticket guy, "just ten bucks a piece."

Relief set over me.  Brian had withdrawn exactly $20 so we were just fine. "Oh, awesome."

But Brian didn't look so relieved.  "Um... we only have $17..."

"What?  Why do we only have..." and suddenly the green apple sucker in my mouth triggered something in my brain.  "The Indian man!" I said aloud, causing several people to raise their eyebrows at me.

Brian looked like he was about to cry.  "I'm sorry, honey.  He said I had to buy something so I grabbed those suckers and went to pay with my card, but he said that I'd have to spend at least five dollars to use a card, and I didn't want to buy anything really, so I just paid him with the cash I withdrew.  I didn't know the tickets would be ten whole dollars!"

So that was how Brian and I almost saw He Is We perform in Salt Lake City last week.  Oh well.  I'm still the guy who made their music video, and that's pretty cool, right?


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