Uh, it’s 2013. I haven’t posted on here since 2011. We could claim that we were cryogenically sleeping all 2012 so there aren’t any updates, but that’s just not true. There are lots of updates. An awful lot of updates. So, I’ll just go by seasons and fill in the blanks!
I’m not really sure what happened! I (Joel) had a birthday, and I know it was fun because Alicia always goes all-out for me. That would have been in August. Judging by the Calendar we had a pretty normal September and October, and then in November we headed to Las Vegas for the Air Show. Josh and his son Ethan came along and had a great time.
A week or so after that Alicia and I headed on cruise #2 together, off to the Western Caribbean on the Liberty of the Seas. This time we opted for a 5 night cruise cause it was cheap, airfare was cheap, and the hotel was cheap. We were excited! It was a lot of fun, but ended too quickly. We left out of Fort Lauderdale and headed off towards Belize, where we had a stellar time zip-lining through the jungle! It was SO COOL. I’ll post a video and pictures soon. Our 2nd stop was in Cozumel, Mexico where I was to go SCUBA Diving. However, it was really windy that day and the State Park we were heading towards wasn’t allowing any dives that day. I was so very frustrated over that it put me in a bad mood for the next several hours. I went back to the ship and picked up Alicia, then we headed off on our own Snorkel Adventure in a rented Jeep. That didn’t work so well either. It was windy still and the waves were pretty dangerous. We got out about 25 yards or so and I called it quits, I was breathing hard because of the difficult swim, and I honestly didn’t feel safe even with a snorkel. That also kept me frustrated! So on we drove in the Jeep to the eastern side of the island where thankfully the water was much calmer (It was a West to East wind). Unfortunately, all the awesome coral is on the West side so we mainly just got nice water, but didn’t see anything noteworthy. We then finished our drive around the island and made it back on time for the leg home, which came too quickly. It was a fun cruise and definitely fed our addiction!
December came along and Alicia celebrated her birthday and we also had a marvelous Christmas. A few days before Christmas Alicia was becoming very antsy about opening her presents (which is very normal), and I gave in on one condition – she finally start watching LOST with me. I love LOST. It’s a great show. She relented, opened a (boring) present, and we started Season 1, Episode 1. I gave her a first season deadline of February 15 to make sure she stuck with it, and she did. We finished all six seasons by February 15. There isn’t much else to do in the winter! I loved every episode of it and can’t wait to do it again soon.
January found us with a new year, and a new job needed. Roberts Arts and Crafts where Alicia worked was closing its doors for good. After major sales through the Holidays, Alicia helped close shop and that was the end of it. Sometime in the spring she would get a job at another Craft store called Crafty Wood Cutouts.
February came and went, and in March we headed to St. George for another Airshow. It was pretty cool, traffic was terrible, and sadly the wind was too strong by the time the show highlight Navy Blue Angels were up and we left in the middle of their demonstration.
Sometime in January, we were getting a little house-crazy and wanted to get out of our cozy Lehi duplex. We managed to find an old 1940’s bungalow just down the street from us that was for sale for $99,000. A STEAL! We worked with my realtor friend Drew and put in an offer of $103,000 expecting to get it. Then we waited. And waited. And lost. It was a short sale, and despite the listing agents verbal guarantee we’d get the place if we offered $103,000, it didn’t happen. We kept on looking, and slowly upped our budget to expand into a few other houses. We put in 2 other offers on 2 other places but sadly didn’t get either one. Short Sales are a pain in the butt. We gave up and started looking for a rental.
Alicia stumbled upon a new listing for a place in American Fork and we went to take a look. It was awesome! Great location, 3 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 2600SF, 3 bathrooms, a garage! It was perfect for us to move into and grow into. We snatched it up quick and moved in around the end of March. It was perfect!
April found us in St. George for a week with my family staying at the condo (retirement house) owned by Alicia’s grandpa. We packed all of us in nice and tight amongst the rooms and had a great time. We visited Snow Canyon, ‘The Crack’, and Alicia and I headed to Zion National Park for some evening views. We stopped on a popular bridge while there and shot the sunset as it left the canyon, and when I got home that night I posted one of the pictures I had taken on KSL.com for their Weather Photos. Unbeknownst to me that night, KSL chose my photo as the picture of the week, and featured me on the news. The next morning Alicia’s old boss texted her about it and I scoured the website trying to find the clip – and there I was! Sure enough, the weekly winner. It was so cool! That put me in the running to be voted in for the best picture of April and win a spot in the KSL 2013 Calendar. Unfortunately, voting is kinda messed up there and I took 2nd place to a much lesser photo. We were all disappointed.
May took us to the ‘Farm’ that Alicia’s family has outside Monticello, Utah where we camped for a few days. This was my first trip there, and I’d heard all about it. Only thing is, nobody ever talked about the wind. IT WAS SO WINDY. Dust was blowing everywhere and getting in everything. Tent camping sucked. Bad. Everything else was fun, but dang that wind. I’m intending to buy, rent, or steal a trailer when we head there next Memorial Weekend. No more dust in my bed! I had such a terrible camping experience that I passed up an opportunity to go stay at a Bay family cabin in the Uintahs a few weeks later and I sent Alicia off on her own. I should have gone. She had a lot of fun, and there wasn’t any dust involved.
In June Alicia got an itch for a new car. The Mazda Protege she’d driven for 7+ years was just getting boring for her so we went shopping. At first we were thinking a Scion tC, then we moved up to a Toyota 4Runner, and then moved up again to an FJ Cruiser. Spending pretty much twice what we initially planned we ended up with an awesome 2007 FJ Cruiser. We loved it! Silver, all the options, 4WD, Locker in the rear axle, and sexy. It’s a sweet car. So long Mazda, don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.
Summer was pretty uneventful at first. We were having a great time living in American Fork. Work was going great for me, and Alicia was enjoying her job as Store Manager. And then it all went south. At the end of July I went outside to get the mail and found a notice on our door telling us that we had until the end of August to vacate our new place. Something about ‘Owner Reclamation’. I had no idea what that meant. We called the property management company and discussed it with them, found out that the owner needed to move back into his house, and that it was indeed in our contract that he could do that. We were given 4 weeks, but in reality only had 3 weeks because we were heading to Oregon and Washington the last week of August. Crappy, crappy news. I was so disappointed. I really liked that house and saw us living there for several years.
Initially we hit the internet looking for new rentals, and it was terrible. It took months to find this place, how are we supposed to find a new good place to live in 3 weeks? I was upset. A few days into searching we gave up and totally, completely shifted gears. Why don’t we just bail and move somewhere far away. We bounced around a few ideas and eventually settled on Australia, with a go date of November 2012. I messaged a good mission friend a few times and got some details of where he lives, and we made that our goal. We packed up the house as best we could, moved mostly everything into a storage unit, and moved the necessities into the upstairs of my parents house where we would stay until we left for down under. Or so that was plan. More on that plan in a little bit.
At the end of August we took a flight up to Oregon where I was privileged to shoot the wedding of my long-time friend Joanna and her new husband Chris. Weather was amazing, ceremony was great, good times had by all! It was wonderful and a nice relief after the hasty move. We then took a rental car north to Seattle where we stayed with my cousin Elisa for a night before heading on another cruise, our 3rd. This time our destination was Alaska. It was so much fun, and so very different! Having been used to warm Caribbean weather, the shifting weather of Alaska took some getting used to. But, like cruise #2, more details will have to come in another post.
After close to 2 weeks on the road we were back in Utah to live out a month or two in Alpine before heading to Australia. Only that’s not what happened. We changed gears, again, and decided to stay in Utah and pursue home ownership and baby making. Some good friends of ours were finishing up a basement remodel and were going to let us move in around mid-October. We hunkered down for the 6 weeks or so until that would open up. Only it wasn’t 6 weeks.
The Holidays came, Thanksgiving and Christmas were great as usual. The week before Christmas Alicia and I, and some other family, headed down to San Diego for another wedding, this time for cousin Zach. We offered to take the photos if they would pay for the travel expenses. Alicia and I had grand plans of the wedding, site-seeing, and DisneyLand. We were so excited! The wedding came and was wonderful, the reception was great. And then tragedy. On the drive home from Temecula to San Diego my Camry transmission blew up. Again. It had been what, 2 years? I was so mad. Thankfully it was late and the freeway was empty, so we had an uneventful, bumpy hobble off the freeway into a parking lot. I diagnosed the transmission as pretty much dead, just as before. First gear worked, but barely.
Thankfully, Alicia’s dad was staying only 5 minutes away at his hotel, so we called him and he came to our rescue. We dropped him off at his hotel and took his car back to ours to figure out what to do. Before bed, I posted an ad on Craigslist listing the car for sale cause frankly I was done. Fixing a transmission takes a long time, and a lot of money, neither of which we had at the moment. When I woke up the next morning I had 6 replies. I called the first one, met him at 9am, and sold him the broken car for $1000 and washed my hands of it. We were done. We rented a little Ford Focus for the drive home and ended the trip.
Christmas came and it was great, but we were still stuck at my parents. The remodel was taking longer than expected and we were getting antsy to get out of the upstairs. Finally the remodel was done, and the first weekend of 2013 we finally moved in. A lovely 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom basement apartment with lush carpet, custom cabinets, and granite countertops. They did a really good job. Been here a week and we love it. And now I’m caught up!
It’s been eventful, high, low, and everything in between. Alicia and I are 2 1/2 years into marriage and loving it. I promise I’ll be better at updating from now on! I need to keep a better history, cause even though life seems boring, adventures happen often enough.