Living with the In-Laws: Week 10

You know the novelty has worn off of living with grandma and grandpa when the kids start asking when we can move into our own house again.

Heading over to the house on my lunch break to make sure the construction is on progress.

Eleven days and counting. . . I hope.

Living with the In-Laws: Week 7

We need our own place. Bad. Things are fine with the in-laws. We all still love each other but the little things that come with not having our own place are really grating on me and MG. The baby needs her own room to sleep in so MG and I can get some sleep. The older kids need to stop all sharing one communal room so they can get some sleep. I need to be able to make protein shakes in the morning. Stuff like that.

The good news is that there’s a possible light at the end of the tunnel. We were able to find a house this weekend. While going on another long house hunting expedition with the realtor, he took wrong turn and we found ourselves at the end of a cul-de-sac with a house for sale at the end. It was a nice looking house but one that didn’t come up on our search results.

“That’s a cute house,” Marathon Girl said.

“You should call their realtor and see if we can see it right now,” I said half joking.

Our guy pulled out his phone and made a call. Five minutes later we were walking through the home.

The next day we made an offer on it.

Today we should know whether or not it’s accepted.

We’ll see what happens.

Kind of Like Houston

It’s been a very warm and dry winter in Utah--the warmest and driest that I can remember in the 30 plus years I’ve lived here. This Christmas was the only the second brown one I’ve experienced in this state. Usually we’ll have one to feet of snow on the ground by now—snow that has been on the ground for at least six weeks. But all we’ve received is two brief snow storms that have dumped less than an inch each time. For the most part the dry, warm weather has been nice and has extended the amount of time we’ve been able to do things outside.  I’ve been able to play football and basketball with the boys outside most of the winter. I’ve also run more than normal this time of year; the warmer weather is a good incentive to add an extra mile or two to my runs.

It’s weather like this that has been one of the big reasons that Marathon Girl and I have thought about relocating to places like Houston or Phoenix if the opportunity should ever arise. It’s been nice not to be cooped up in our home for months on end. And even though the kids have complained (but only a little) about the lack of snow for sledding, I think they’ve enjoyed riding their bikes and playing with their friends in 40 or 50 degree weather.

The only downside to this warmth is that that Utah isn’t pretty in the winter when there’s no snow on the ground. The northern part of the state is an ugly brown gray mess. When we were in Houston in January years ago at least there was some green. And Phoenix always looks like a desert, albeit a pretty one, no matter what time of year it is.

Still, I’m grateful for the warmth. For now it’s as close Houston or some other warm climate as we’re going to get.

Too Many Willows

Marathon Girl and I are thinking about moving. No, we’re not heading to Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, or Arizona. Though the desire to move out of state is still there, we both enjoy my current job, benefits, coworkers, and other work-related perks too much to go elsewhere. We are, however, looking at buying a different home—one that’s a little bigger and more centrally located than our current home. We’re in the early stages of this process which means we’re just scoping out what homes are on the market and what the neighborhoods are like and discussing whether or not this is a step we want to take now or sometime next year. One of the things we’ve noticed while we drive from neighborhood to neighborhood is how the naming conventions of subdivisions and their streets are very similar. In Utah developers have lots of leeway when it comes to naming streets in the neighborhoods they build. For example a new subdivision named Mountain View Estates might have streets named after local mountains. The flexibility to name streets sometimes comes in handy when residents are opposed to a bunch of houses going up in their back yard. For example, a developer in my parents neck of the woods got the local residents involved in naming the subdivision and streets in that development in order to get more of them to support the development.

Despite this flexibility most subdivisions and streets tend to have similar themes. The consequence of this is that if you drive through enough of them looking at homes (as Marathon Girl and I have been doing lately) none of them tend to stand out. It’s made me think that if I ever had the money and desire to become a developer, I’d come up with street and subdivision different enough that maybe it would make it a bit more memorable—in a good way of course. Something like Proofrock Lane, Dickinson Drive, Hughes Avenue, or Yeats Boulevard. Okay, maybe there are better options but you get the point.

Last week the similar-named subdivision monotony was broken when we checked out a home in a subdivision named Willow Place. It quickly became apparent that the developer had a thing for willows. Streets were named Willow Way, Willow Drive, Willow Patch, Willow Sprout, Willow Pod, Willow Reed and so on. (We might have even passed by a Willow Park, I think.) What was at first something kind of quirky and different quickly became annoying as navigating our way through the neighborhood became difficult because the streets were so similarly named. Though we were finally able to find the house in question, by the time we found it we decided that it wasn’t worth living in a neighborhood that was so confusing to drive around.

The incident made me appreciate most other themed street names. As bland as they may be, most builders seem to have the sense to at least diversify the naming conventions to make them easy to navigate. Still, there has to be a happy middle ground--one

Angelou Avenue, anyone?

The Great Bob Lonsberry Conspiracy

The Great Bob Lonsberry Conspiracy

Last week local talk radio jock, Bob Lonsberry, was fired from his morning gig. According to the radio station, the reason for the firing was ratings. Bob’s show had fallen from the Top 10 to 29 out of 32 stations. Unable to keep his mouth shut, Lonsberry posted a 1,300 word rant on his website detailing the firing and planted the seeds for a conspiracy theory that Mike Lee, a GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate was really behind his dismissal.

Of course, being suspicious is my stock-in-trade, and the timing of my termination and the stand I’ve been taking on the looming senatorial primary and the fact I’ve been opposing a candidate [Mike Lee] who made $600,000 from one of our largest advertisers last year, does make me wonder. Strings get pulled in the real world, and politics is hardball, and our program’s effort helped tip the nominating convention, so it’s not impossible that I lost my job in Salt Lake so that somebody else [Mike Lee] could get a job in Washington.

As a talk, sports, and news radio connoisseur and having had a short-lived run in radio business, the one thing I do know about the medium is that it’s like any other business: it’s all about making the station money. You can put on an entertaining show every day but if no one’s listening, then your show gets pulled. It’s as simple as that. As long as you’re the station’s making a profit, they’ll keep you on the air forever no matter how many politicians you piss off.

Years ago I listened to Lonsberry’s program on my way to work but stopped after he spent a good portion of my drive to work talking about inane subjects with his son, Lee, and the traffic reporter, Paige Bradford. It was like listening in on a phone conversation between friends catching up on each other’s lives. It wasn’t even close to entertaining radio. It was boring. Apparently a lot of other people felt the same way.

Sadly, Lonsberry’s conspiracy has found legs. The (Provo) Daily Herald reports that Tim Bridgewater supporters are jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon that ratings had nothing to do with Lonsberry’s dismissal. Lonsberry is now sending out robo calls on behalf of the Bridgewater campaing furthing the conspiracy talk. I received one on Friday. Like all conspiracy theories, however, not a shred of proof is offered to back this up. Instead a few events are strung together on the hopes, fears, and emotions of their audience.

If Lonsberry really wants to get back into radio, he needs to shut up and take a lesson from Armando Galarraga about how to handle setbacks with class. You lick your wounds, move on, and live to fight another day. Instead of weaving intricate conspiracy theories to assuage his bruised ego, Lonseberry would be better off to figuring out his next career move. Ten years is a long time to be in the radio business—especially on one station. If his show was as popular as he claimed, other radio stations might come calling. However, the more he rants about his conspiracy theory, the less attractive he becomes as a radio personality and a human being.

Utah County’s Gary Coleman Obsession

Gary Coleman

Remember Gary Coleman?

You know, the child actor who became famous as playing Arnold in the TV show “Diff’rent Strokes.”

No doubt you’ve been unable wondering whatever happened to him.

Well, if you live in Utah County, you don’t have to wonder. The local media has a Gary Coleman obsession.

For some unknown reason, Gary Coleman ended up moving to the small town of Santaquin, Utah. Ever since, he’s become Utah County’s celebrity.

Scratch that.

He’s become Utah County’s ONLY celebrity.

That means every time the guy does something, you can count on a breathless article in the local paper about it. The article is then fed to the Salt Lake media market and is then passed on to the national media.

For example, approximately two weeks ago, Coleman apparently hit a man with a truck at a local bowling alley. According to the Salt Lake Tribune:

Coleman, 40, was backing out of a Payson bowling alley around midnight Friday when his truck hit another car and a pedestrian identified as Colt Reston, 24, [Payson Police Lt. Bill] Wright said.

Witnesses said Coleman became irritated after Reston photographed him. The two argued in the bowling alley and then moved outside, Wright said.

Reston was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident because neither Coleman nor Reston were cooperative at the scene, Wright said. Police didn't issue citations to either man.

Wright said there are "indications" that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

The next week we learn that Coleman was criminally charged and is now the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit filed by than man he hit.

Former actor Gary Coleman was criminally charged today in an incident that occurred 11 days ago in Payson; and the man who says he is the victim filed a lawsuit against Coleman this afternoon.

Reckless driving and disorderly conduct are the criminal charges against Coleman. It will be handled in Payson's justice court.

Coleman is also being sued by the man involved in the altercation, Colt Rushton, who is seeking damages for medical bills, pain and suffering and also wants punitive damages from Coleman. His attorney, Dustin Lance, says his client hasn't been able to work because of his injuries to his back and knees. The lawsuit names Gary Coleman, his wife, Shannon Price, and Paul Rohbock as defendants.

Lance said, "This wasn't a situation of paparazzi or stalker-razzi, this was a fan snapping two photographs with a cell phone."

Rushton, of Spanish Fork, alleges that the former star of the TV show "Diff'rent Strokes" became upset at him after he took photos at the bowling alley they were at in Payson on Sept. 6. Rushton says Coleman demanded $20 to take his picture, and when he tried taking another as they left the bowling alley, Coleman's wife and friend took away his cell phone.

If these were the only Gary Coleman stories that have local journalists, I’d just shrug. But over the last few years we’ve also been subjected to stories about:

• A fight with a girlfriend • His role in an (awful) local B-movie • His "suprise" marriage to someone nearly half his age • He and his wife's subsequent appearance on Divorce Court.

There are other stories too. But why bore you with them. You all know who to use Google.

To be fair, Coleman appears to bring a lot of this unwanted attention on himself. That’s rather odd considering he apparently moved to Utah to get away from “the 'red carpet' scene in L.A. and all the paparazzi.”

Maybe one day the Osmond family will return and the Utah media can find more worthwhile celebrities to obsess about.

Until then, every time Gary Coleman walks out of his house, we’ll be subject to countless stories where he ate lunch, where he bowls on Friday nights, and what he buys at the local grocery store.

It’s enough to make you want to pack your bags and move to Houston.