Saturday, July 16, 2016

Aspen Grove family camp

Hey.  We did our annual McMillan family reunion at Aspen Grove family camp in Provo, UT.  The campus is owned and operated by BYU.  I was a little hesitant to go because I thought it was going to be lectures like, "How to manage conflict in the home," or "How to be a better parent," given by a person with no kids but lots of education in child development.  Britton and John A. said that it was lots of fun, so I thought it they can enjoy it, then so can I.  

I worked on Friday and took the five kids with me in the van.  Heidi stayed behind to work a Saturday meet and then flew out.  

I was excited to drive the van because I finally got the steering all dialed in and I had put in a new air filter that morning.  The only time available I had was while Scott was swimming, so I used the house tool kit at autozone.  

We stayed at a super run-down hotel in Winnemucca, the halfway point.  I had booked it on but there was a problem with the booking.  Then we go to our room and it smelled real bad of smoke.  I asked for a non-smoking room and this one was such, but it shared a duct with a smoking room.  Woof.  

We pulled up at about one in the morning and the kids were all wired, including Parker, who wouldn't go to sleep without his bottle of milk.  Even still, he woke up every fifteen minutes and I thought I was going to lose it.  

The next morning the kids were up and at 'em at 5:30.  I was still pretty tired but took a cold shower to help wake me up.  We shoved off and the van was running real good.  I averaged 24 mpg on the way out and the check engine light didn't come on.  

At Tooele I was so tired that I thought I might fall asleep at the wheel and not realize that I was sleeping.  I have only fallen asleep twice like that.  The other times, like in school or church, I think, "I'm tired.  I'm going to close my eyes and take a little nap."  One of the times was in dental school.  I woke up in the lecture hall and thought, "What am I doing here?"  

Well, I didn't want to wake up upside down and wonder why I hadn't pulled over sooner, so I went to a parking lot and parked under a tree.  I slept for 16 minutes and then I was good for the rest of the drive.  

Grammy hired a pro photographer and we had to wear color-coordinated outfits, and Heidi doesn't like family pictures much, but I like taking advantage of everyone's done-up selves.  This one of Tyler and Scott was a pretty sweet candid.  They were laughing at something else and then Tyler saw the camera and looked over.  Nice.

Heidi's BYU swim coach and her family came up to visit, so that was cool.

This was the ropes course.  You had to climb a lodge pole, scale a climbing wall, and then do a cables course in the trees.  The fastest kid could get up in 18 seconds.  My best time was 35.  I'm an old has been now, but the interesting thing was that my silly nerve didn't hurt up there.  But my lungs really felt the altitude and it felt like my legs were full of lead all the time.

This was the air rifles course.  I did the best but got disqualified because I fired six shots.

Ultimate frisbee was fun.  Chelle was pretty competitive.

Nobody was as good as Katniss Everdeen but it was fun to try.

This was Stewart falls, a 1.7 mile hike.  The water must have been in the mid to high 30's and the feat was to walk under it from one side to another.  All these young cross country whipper snappers came up to the falls and the boys were all showing off, doing pushups under the falls.  I wanted to ask the girls, "Do you find these boys more attractive because they can do stuff like that?"  But I didn't.  Then Heidi took our picture right as a butterfly flew past.  Tyler had wanted a picture with a butterfly, so this is the best it'll get.

This was the cabin we stayed in.  When we first pulled up, I said, "I hope this is the storage shed for the real cabin.  Well, no.  This was actually an efficient usage of space and could sleep over ten people.

My favorite part was playing volleyball with some people who really knew how to play.  I was the weak link but not bad enough for them to kick me off the team.  I made a couple of good bumps, sets, and the occasional dig.  I played softball on the last day and I could always get hits, but when I went to run, it just seemed like the brakes were on.  I always made it on base, though, and one of the guys even commented, "You're fast."  Ha, that's funny.  I used to be fast but I feel like I can't run like I used to.  I'm still faster than Scott, though.

Speaking of Scott, he wanted to make a pen with me.  Normally the activities are divided for parents and kids, and I had to explain that Scott was savvy enough and could do it.  I started reading the destructions and made my first cut on the bandsaw.  The girl in charge was wary about me doing my own thang, so I explained how I was going to use the drill press and the saw.  Then she put the stock on the lathe and powered it up, but there was an awful racket.  She fiddled with it for a while and then left, so I removed the stock and determined that the bearing on the holder was bad.  Sure enough, the collar came off without much effort and all the balls fell out of the retainer.  I explained to her that the reason it got so hot and made the racket was because the bearing was toast.  She gave me a look of, "You broke my machine."  I had to explain again that it was already broken.  I just diagnosed it.  "Got any bearings?"  She didn't know what bearings were.  At that point, it seemed her attitude changed about my knowing what I was doing.  A couple of the maintenance people came down and I was like, "It seems like this piece is non-serviceable, but if you had a press, we could just retrofit a bearing."  My sisters had to leave because there weren't enough functioning lathes but Scott, Boy and I made our pens.  It was fun.

I recognized the voice of one of my classmates whom I had never met, and when we talked, we determined that we had several courses in common.  Good old cell biology.  Woof, that class was so stinking hard, but it made us learn how to think.  I hope I never have to discern a gel electrophoresis again.

The food was pretty good.  It was buffet style and I thought they did a nice job with the shredded pork.  My dad didn't like it that much, though.  I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have creamery chocolate milk on tap, but they did have a wide selection of sodas and juices.

I was impressed at the program the BYU put together, especially how solid the youth seemed.  I got all amped up about BYU again and wanted to visit the parent campus to get some BYU paraphernalia.  Heidi was all down for it so we took a long tour.  I got shirts for each of the kids, a pen for myself, some slippers for Scott and a football for Tyler.  Oh, I got some fudge too.  I was telling Scott that I used to get Cookies'n'cream milk on Wednesdays and leave the bottles in the cupboard of my biology lab.  Good old college.

Heidi's whole career was spent mostly at the RB, and I just remember riding White Lightning there with Dan-o to go diving on Friday nights.  

They were out of Cookies'n'cream milk so I go them ice cream and a chocolate milk for myself.  Despite the difficult time I had socially at BYU, I really took advantage of the facilities.  I called it "Get to know your university."  I was telling Scott about the engineering building, making a gearshift selector knob for Bessie, and how they made an electric car there.  The point I was trying to make was that if you can conceive it, you can make it at the university.

We went to my nerd stomping grounds, the Benson building.  C-158 is where I entertained Chem 105 office hours and it hadn't changed a bit.  This was my favorite desk.

None of my teachers still worked there but the replacement chem 353 teacher was there.  She asked if we wanted to see anything and I said, "Yeah, a hydrogen balloon."  I told her about how we used to blow them up and she played like she didn't have the resources to do it.  Whatever, she just didn't want to.

We made it back home at 3:03 am.  It was not a super pleasant drive but it wasn't awful.  Okay, let's see when Chelle gets her post up.