Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It's Now A Park...What Will It Be In The Future?

Because it's summer and because it was the weekend and I didn't need to be at work or the theater, we loaded up the puppy and headed to a local park. It's a small park in our little down and we chose it because, as my wife says, "no one goes there."

Of course, that's not completely true--we went there, after all. But as parks go, there's a good chance it won't be overcrowded. It's called Moon Park and it's on the main road in north Farmington. The boys and the puppy ran around. We spent most of the time there in the shade and we left a little exhausted from the exercise.

While I was there, I noticed a plaque located under the park's identifying sign. I don't know what it is about getting older, but I find myself reading things like plaques and historical markers. Maybe it's because I'm older and feel like I'm a historical marker myself. Whatever the reason, not only did I read the plaque, but took a couple of pictures.

You see, Moon Park is located on a site of the first public building in our little town. The red-brick schoolhouse was built in 1860. I don't remember it and we moved to Farmington in the late 1960s. Of course, back then I probably wouldn't have noticed an old building along the main road if it still existed at the time. I might have noticed a park, though.

What I thought interesting from the marker is the information on the old LDS church that was located across the street. I do remember that building. Many of my friends used to go to that church until a newer one was built in the 1970s. The church was converted into a private residence. A few years ago it was leveled and now new homes sit where the church once was. The marker, however, was written as if the church building still stood. If you're new to Farmington and Moon Park, you'd read the marker, look across the street and ask, "What church?"

That's the way of things. Nothing lasts forever; everything's temporary. One day, maybe soon, maybe after decades or centuries, someone may erect a marker identifying the place where the church once stood. It might even say it was built across the street from Moon Park (which was once where children attended an old red-brick schoolhouse). And if that happens, they may look across the street and ask, "What park?"

Monday, July 30, 2018

Playing Good Cop/Bad Pirate...

On Friday the latest show in which I'm involved will open to the paying public. I do a fair share of shows. I know many who do more and many who do less. I've averaged about one or two shows a year for the past five or so years.

You might not think that's a lot, but one show represents three months of commitment. So doing two shows a year means I'm gone basically six months out of twelve. There's something new about this show for me, something I've never done before. For this production, I'm doing one character in one cast, and another character in the other. Half the time, I'm a pirate, and when I'm not a pirate, I'm a cop.

I can honestly say I love playing both parts. Each has a fun personality. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. As a pirate, I get the girl, but as a cop, I get to tap dance. As a pirate, I get to wear a tattoo and as a cop, I get to wear a mustache--two things I don't currently wear.

When I was asked to take on an additional role, I wondered how hard it would be. I'm going to be doing four shows a week instead of three. That might be the toughest thing. Learning two roles isn't that unusual. When we did It's a Wonderful Life a few years ago, I was, I believe, seven characters in that one show.

So, on Friday we open The Pirates of Penzance, or a Slave of Duty at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville, Utah. It's going to be a fantastic show, one I'm glad I agreed to do, one that will push me in ways other shows haven't. Plus, you get to see me with either a mustache or a tattoo--it depends on if I'm being a good cop, or a bad pirate.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Evening Stroll...On The Trail

Because we now have a puppy, a puppy that loves to run and exercise, we've been more active. I mean, it's not the dog's fault he needs to run around several times a day. For the second time in as many weeks, we loaded up the dog in the minivan and drove a few miles west to a trail that runs east of our local amusement park. It's called Lagoon Trail.

I'm pretty sure I appreciate it more as I get older.

I've noticed it's been a warm summer, not just here, but other places as well (can't really say it's been a hot summer where I live--it's been an average summer...). Normally, we stay inside all day and night when it's hot, but the pull of the puppy is a powerful one. And so we answer the call.

I think a younger me might have noticed it was cooler on the trail this evening, but that's probably all. Tonight I looked at the trail differently. Had it always been so green, especially at the end of July? Was it always so beautiful? Why did I not notice all the down trees disintegrating into the earth? It was like I was seeing something new every time I turned around.

One thing I noticed when we walked the trail several days ago and again today--it's much more crowded. It's to be expected. Our little city has grown so much in the past couple of decades. It's only natural that many would want to enjoy these trails. And because we had a puppy, we noticed that almost 3/4 of all groups we encountered had a dog (or dogs...) of their own. Our puppy wanted to play whenever he saw a fellow pooch.

We walked slow, too slow for the dog, but just right for our team. We talked tonight about how seldom we walk the trails. If the past couple of weeks are any indication, looks like we'll be visiting them more, and that's not a bad thing.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Casket Graffiti...A Loving Tribute And A Fantastic Idea!

Today we attended a funeral for my father-in-law. I could write volumes on all the feelings I had, the emotions that came to the surface, and the experience that was the funeral. But I'd like to focus on one aspect I loved--writing farewell messages on the casket.

Earlier in the week a few of us met at the funeral home and discussed options and everything that goes into an American funeral. After choosing flowers, what we wanted on the program, and other details, we went downstairs to choose a casket.

We all decided upon the beautiful pine box.

"You know, what many families do," Matt, the man from the funeral home said. "With that particular one, some families will give everyone a Sharpie and let them write special messages right on the casket."

Once we heard that, we decided we had to do it. After the service and the dedicatory prayer, we handed out the pens and everyone went to town marking up the outside of the casket. I took out my phone and started recording it. I loved seeing everyone excited to leave a lasting message--children and adults alike. I even wrote a parting message and incorporated his alma mater.

After we left, the casket was placed in the vault and lowered into the earth. Then it was covered with dirt. The messages of love will most likely never again be seen by a living soul. But that doesn't matter. What matters is we were able to express how we felt.

When we toured the casket room at the funeral home, we all agreed the casket we chose was the most beautiful one in the room. After each of us marked it up, it was even more beautiful. R.I.P. dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa. We all love you.

Friday, July 27, 2018

It's Quick...It's Quack...And It's A Car Wash!

We drive past a particular section of Centerville Utah at least once a week. That was before my daughter and I began rehearsals for a musical located in a theater at this very intersection. When we rehearse, we pass the intersection almost every day.

We watched as a new car wash was built. It's called Quick Quack Car Wash.

To get the neighborhood aware of the business (or to get them addicted...), the car wash has been free for several days. This morning my wife and I were driving home having just picked up groceries.

"Hey--the car was is free today. Should we do it?"

I looked at the time. We had places to be in about an hour's time and I saw three or four cars pull in for their free car wash. We decided to try out the place--I just hoped it wouldn't take too long.

Did it take too long? Did we miss our appointments because we were waiting for the cars that turned in ahead of us to get washed? Let me say that there's a reason the word "Quick" is in the title of the company. The place was amazing!

We lined up our van and waited. We had no idea how long it would take. From the time I put the transmission into Neutral to when we drove out the other end of the car wash, it couldn't have taken more than a couple of minutes. I recorded a time-lapse video, but in reality, I could have recorded the entire event in real time to post here.

Yes it was fast, but it also felt like it was a disco for our minivan. You can see in the video all the times our entire car was bathed in sharp colors. I'm sure our van would have liked the experience more, if it was a fan of discos.

In short, I've got to give it up for Quick Quack Car Wash. They exceeded my expectations, and if you're the type of person who can't stand traveling around in a dirty car, I say you should check out this place. I'll bet they exceed your expectations, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

That One Time...I Was Asked To Be In A Commercial...And I Said Yes

I got the call from Jana a few weeks ago. "How'd you like to be in a commercial?" An odd question to be sure. I mean, it's not everyday that I'm asked to be in a commercial. "Of course," I said. 

"I'll have my husband send you the details," Jana said.

And he did.

While walking the puppy Monday morning my neighbor yelled from across the street. "So, you're a pitchman now?" I really didn't know what he was talking about. He said he saw me on the KSL (a local network...) morning show. To be honest, I was surprised they got it done so fast. It was filmed on a Wednesday and on TV a few days later. We set the DVR for Tuesday morning, and after fast-forwarding the important news, weather, and car ads, there it was--my mug on TV.

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to watch. Having never done a commercial, I didn't know if I was doing a good job or not when we filmed. I read the lines without too much assistance, and they seemed to be pleased. They filmed two of us, me and a woman. I have yet to see her ad. We both read the same copy. We recorded ads for air conditioning and heating services.

I had a blast. 

I know I'm not your typical pitch man. I lack certain physical characteristics that most pitch people have, and I'm okay with that. I may never do another commercial again. If not, at least I did this one and I hope throngs of people flock to Just Right Air for all their air conditioning and heating needs.

If you haven't had the opportunity to see the ad or you don't live in our area, here's the ad in all its small-screen splendor!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

You Should Get This Shirt...A Skeletal Gadget Original!

Skelly Don't You Know T-Shirt

My son's an artist--a digital artist, a self-taught artist. He's designed calendars, t-shirts, Christmas cards, and numerous other things. He also creates YouTube videos, videos that have been seen millions of times. It's an amazing accomplishment that a single individual can deliver a message to literally the entire planet.

I'm sure my father would be blown away had he lived long enough to see our times.

The latest creation is a ying/yang sort of picture with a skeletal gadget character acting as master creator, a being in control of the elements as he conjures fire and ice and makes them dance. Personally, I love it! He produced the picture, then threw it into the digital universe. And as things happen, he received a positive response, so he decided to utilize the website, Designed by Hümans to spread the love through art.

Check out this Twitter Testimonial!

And today the shirt our oldest ordered arrive! I'm jealous--I've got to get one of my own.

If you'd like to order one of these classics, click: HERE for the link on Designed by Hümans. He also has designs available on Red Bubble. You can access that website by clicking: HERE. Order this shirt--the design is guaranteed to get looks and comments, and good ones, at that!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How Do You Properly Observe Pioneer Day...Watch "Trek: The Movie," Of Course!

Last month I attended a screenwriting class and one of the presenters co-wrote and co-directed, Trek: the Movie. The presenter, David Howard, talked about his most recent film and he hoped people would support it. I knew he was going to attend the writing conference for some time and I wanted to see Trek while it was in theaters.

I didn't make it.

But that's not unusual. I haven't seen a film in a theater since back in December. We just don't see movies on the big screen. So when I saw the DVD of Trek at the local bookstore, I thought back to David and Blake's class, because in that class I wished I had seen the movie so I could say I supported it.

Trek is a film about the Mormon tradition of coercing teenage church members into leaving their families, their homes, their electronics, their video games, and as many modern technologies as possible, and push a handcart over long distances. When I was around fourteen-years old, I participated in a trek. Those who wrote and made this film got so many things right about the experience. Even though it's been a long time, I still remember dreaming about, talking about, fantasizing about one thing...


We were so hungry--all the time--we were hungry.

The film has it's highs and lows, like every film. The beginning was a little slow as not only the characters are introduced but this unique experience that is "trek" is explained and showcased. The best part of the show for me was the main character's (Tom) journey from rebellion to redemption. We learn why Tom is turning from his childhood religion and has to be bribed to even go on the trek. I also found the situation the kids find themselves at the end of the second act believable and relatable.

In short, there were things in Trek I thought I'd see--and I did--but there were surprises, too. I'm glad I picked up the film. I'm glad it was made. And I'm glad that decades ago I decided to go on a trek myself. I've thought about that experience a lot since then. And watching this movie reminded me of it all over again. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Well done, Dave! You and everyone involved made a film that not only lets us know what going on a trek is like, but also allowing us to re-live what we did, with other kids, while pulling/pushing a handcart.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Can You Say...Rød Grød Med Fløde På?

It's been over thirty-three years since I stepped foot on Danish soil. Even though I had studied and taken classes about Denmark, the people, their customs, their food, I had so much to learn as a young American teenager leaving the boarders of my home country for the first time.

And one of the first things I learned was how to say:

Rød Grød Med Fløde På

There's a support system for young LDS missionaries when they arrive in the area where they'll spend the next eighteen months to two years. Other missionaries and members who live in the area take the newbies under their wings and show them the ropes. It was the same for me. I was taught about some of the customs they didn't teach in the classes, what's considered rude and unacceptable in social situations. I learned about how different the food is. Now, considering Denmark is in Europe, their diets are pretty much the same as ours (unlike my brother who went to Japan...). 

There was one dish, however, that was not only distinctively Danish, but it was also used as a test on just how well us non-Danes spoke their language. The dish--red berry pudding with cream. And to hear a native Dane say those words--Rød Grød Med Fløde På--it's as foreign and complicated (to pronounce correctly...) as some of the toughest languages on earth.

I found a video on the Embassy of Denmark in the United States Facebook site. You can access the site: HERE. The video shows you how to make it, but doesn't give you a recipe with specifics. You can click: HERE for a recipe. I've had it with both strawberries and rhubarb. It's how I came to love rhubarb desserts.

It's been decades since I spoke Danish for any length of time. I'm rusty with the language. I've been told if I returned, I could get back into speaking it fluently. I hope that's true--I'd like to think that's true. I wasn't the best Danish-speaking missionary, but I did okay. I can say, however, that I did master this one phrase, the one thing Danes asked us Americans to say to see if we really could speak Danish without that American accent.

So, if you read this and you know me and you see me and you remember that I once wrote about my ability to say, "rød grød med fløde på," ask me to repeat it. I'll be glad to do it. Better yet, if you are brave and try and make the dessert yourself, I'll be more than happy to taste test it to see how you did. Because if you made it like the Danes do, I'm sure you'll love it, too.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Being Asked To Attend This Year's FanX Convention...It's An Honor And A Lot Of Fun!

Twelve days ago, a little tweet hit the world wide web. It listed four authors who have been asked to attend a gathering. I was one of those authors.

It was years ago, but I remember the first time I saw my name and picture posted for this event. That was very cool. Being an author can be a tough at times, but there are some things that make participating in this endeavor extremely awesome, like seeing your name, picture, and examples of things you've created alongside world-famous authors and other guests.

It's a definite rush.

If you go to Salt Lake FanX's author page (you can access it by clicking: HERE), you'll see almost fifty people invited to participate as featured authors with even more to come. I'm honored to be included in such an amazing group. But what I find most fascinating when I access the page, is how many of these incredibly talented writers I've gotten to know. Five years ago, I knew personally only one person on the list--Michael Jensen--and that's because he and I were in a production of Evita a decade earlier. Now, after having spent time with these people, doing panels with many of them, and even signing publishing contracts with them, I count several as good good friends.

In a matter of weeks we'll gather to do it all again. Hopefully, I'll meet new people and strengthen the relationships with those I already know. 

Yes, there are many cool things about being an author. The first time you hear someone's going to publish your story, seeing that box at your door knowing those are your books inside, holding the finished product in your hands, smelling the pages, almost not believing it's actually your name on the cover, getting that first five-star review--all are awesome. So is being asked to attend an event where thousands and thousands of people will attend. If you plan on going, please come find me--I'd love to either meet you for the first time or catch up. It's going to be a blast!!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

My Father-In-Law, My Wife's Dear Father...Is Gone

The text message contained only two words.

He's gone.

Even though previous text messages said the end could happen at any time, the two simple words--the first a contraction of two words: he is, and the last, a verb, expresses a state of being--punched me in the gut with the finality of it all.

There's a void when someone leaves us, and not just to travel to another city, state, or country. Their spirit that once resided in the same world as us has left, leaving an emptiness. The man I knew almost twenty years longer than my own father passed away today. Ten days ago we gathered at the home he and my wife's mother built. We shared his eighty-seventh birthday.

Words seem to lack the sufficient weight to try and explain feelings, emotions, thoughts, and memories. And we're all exhausted. Tomorrow the sun will rise and it will be not as bright, but it will bring with it hope. Goodbye, Blaine...until we meet again.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Finally Taking Care Of The Leaves...Of Grass

Our house sits on an odd-shaped lot. We also have a smallish house. Because of those two factors, we have more yard to take care of than might normally be if the house were bigger. I've mentioned before on this blog how I am not a fan of yard work. This year, because of the craziness of life, our yard has received less attention than normal.

It also doesn't help that those in charge of our secondary irrigation water issued a statement: 

Water less or get fined. 

As far as water goes, we had a light winter--I guess the reservoirs weren't filled high enough from the winter snowpack. They turn off the irrigation water in October. They told us if we don't reduce our usage, the water will run out a month early.

I've seen more yellow grass on neighbor's lawns, city parks, and church lots than I think I've ever seen. It means people are following the recommendations.

So, how are we helping conserve water?

By not mowing our lawn, of course.

I haven't don't the research, but I heard that a less-frequently mowed lawn doesn't need as much water. I don't know if that's true. There's probably many stories backing up that claim. There might even be more stories saying you'll use less water by mowing your lawn twice a week.

There's been a couple of reasons why we've let several weeks go by (other than the water reason...). The biggest is because I've been having play rehearsals almost every week night. Another reason is because it's been so hot, It makes it really hard to mow--maybe not for everyone, but it does for me.

Today, I had an afternoon free. The sun was hiding behind clouds and I thought, I can keep making excuses all day long for putting off mowing. Except today was a good chance to get it done. As you can see from the photos, the lawn needs some help. I suppose if we had a lot of disposable income, we could hire someone (of a team of someones...) to fix it up nice, get rid of the weeds, and have a beautiful lawn. 

Maybe one day.

Yes, today my son and I got out there with the mower and we went to town.I hope next time it won't be so long between mowings. We'll have to see if that happens.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pic Of The Day Subjects...Shifting To The Theatre

I noticed something last month when I began telecommuting. What I found, photographed, and posted for my Pic Of The Day subjects had changed. Whereas I had posted pictures of trains, bus stops, sights around the building where I worked, I no longer found myself in those areas, so I stopped posting pictures of those areas. I still think it's amazing how many photographable things are out there--even in a business park near the airport. You only look at life through a photographer's eyes and you'll see it, too.

Then I began working from home and most of my Pic Of The Day subjects were found around my house. That was the way of it. Of course, the pictures from around my home mean more to me than the ones taken near my previous office. If I didn't have a picture to post, I would take a walk outside and see what I could see.

Then this week happened. I have been so crazy busy, I haven't had time to even take pictures around my house, except for an occasional sunset picture. And because I've been so busy, I find myself needing to take a picture to post with time running out. I can't complain--I like the pictures I've chosen from the theatre. They're fun, interesting, and bring good memories. And, when I do a play, the theatre becomes a second home for me--we spend so much time there.

If I went to different places on a daily basis, like to work or on vacation or to anywhere other than home and play rehearsal, my Pic Of The Day subjects might be more varied, but for the foreseeable future, you'll probably see more of the same. I just hope I can capture something that's worth your time seeing it. As always, we'll see what the future will bring.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meet Mark Sanderlin...The Guy Who Read My Words

Today I finished listening to the audiobook of my middle-grade novel, Chaser. It was read by Mark Sanderlin.

And it was one of the coolest things I'd ever heard.

One of the things that drew me to Immortal Works Press is their commitment to releasing an audiobook with every book they publish. Not all small press publishers do that. I'm sure some out there do that, but I don't know of any other that do.

I've had the audiobook files for a few weeks to listen for any problems. Because of my crazy life, I was unable to listen to the whole thing, but the last couple of days, I've been able to sit down and play chapter after chapter until this afternoon when I heard Mr. Sanderlin say, "the end." Hopefully soon it will be available to purchase and download. I'll make sure I let everyone know when that happens.

I don't know Mark. I believe he lives in New York. I'll most likely never meet the man, but his voice will now forever be the voice of Chaster. When I read parts of the book, or listen again to the audiobook files, it'll be Mark I hear. He has narrated several other books and does other voice work as well. You can access his website: HERE.

Thank you Mark for given a voice to my words.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Immortal Works Flash Fiction Friday...Your Story Could Be Chosen!

Image may contain: text

 Immortal Works announced a contest today. They're accepting submissions for their Flash Fiction Friday. And the top three contestants will not only get their story featured at the next Salt Lake FanX Comic Convention, but they'll also get a free e-book (if given the chance, I'd ask for a free e-book version of Chaser, coming soon...).

This is the kind of contest that can literally start a career. My writing career began by submitting a short story for a steampunk anthology. That story came out in 2013. I submitted another story to the same publisher--Xchyler--and they printed that one as well. The publisher printed one more of my short stories. From there I published a collection of short stories, Speckled, and my first novel, Chaser, came out earlier this year. It gave me confidence and I was able to meet some amazingly talented authors, many who have become good friends.

Now, I'm not saying by just submitting a story to this contest will make you a famous author overnight, nor am I saying that my career has skyrocketed since 2013. I am saying that something like this can get your foot in the door. You'll also be introduced to a publisher and hopefully several authors as well. 

I'm not 100% sure what "to be featured at FanX 2018" means. The contest was just announced. But seriously, what have you got to lose? If you'd like to submit a story, click: HERE for more information. Come on! Give it a shot!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Cacao Review...Because You Deserve Better Chocolate

I found out about Cacao Review just yesterday. It intrigued me from the start. A business that helps educate you about all things chocolate--where do I sign up? I mean, sounds like a dream come true.

I know the creators of Cacao Review. I did not know they were doing this. In hearing Dayton discuss the business, it was something they both loved--chocolate. I know a lot of people--myself included--that love chocolate. I applaud them for looking at the addictive substance and actually creating a business based on that love. And because so many of us love chocolate as well, their potential client base is...well, everyone.

Check out their site: HERE. They also have a fun Facebook site you can access by clicking: HERE. Not only can you order rare and delicious chocolates from around the world, you can (if you're in the area...) attend workshops and classes where rare and unusual chocolate samples--some no longer available to buy--can be tasted and enjoyed.

We live in an amazing time. I would never have thought that you could even come up with such a business. That's what makes it great--each of us, using our individual talents and abilities, can create businesses and opportunities that are as unique as we are.

A business that helps educate you about all things chocolate...deliciously genius!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Man From Georgia Was Right...There's A Mountain At The End Of Every Street

One of the cool things about attending writing conventions and comic cons (and I haven't been to that many...) is getting to know people from around the world. Having spent most of my life in Utah, I'm always interested to hear what people think of our little state.

A few weeks ago I drove east getting to my home. The road appeared to go straight into a mountain. It reminded me of something a visiting writer said about Utah. We were at one of the early Salt Lake Comic Cons (back when it was called Salt Lake Comic Con...). A guest writer came in all the way from Georgia to attend the event.

The writer was James Ray Tuck Jr. Not only is he a writer, he's also a tattoo artist. Very cool guy. In between selling books, I struck up a conversation with him. I found out where he lived and so I asked him what he thought of Utah.

"It's beautiful here," he said. That's a common response I get when asking people about our state, especially those who are visiting for the first time. Perhaps it was the writer in him, but what he said next has stuck with me.

"It's like there's a mountain at the end of every street."

I asked him for clarification because it was the first time I had ever heard anyone put it that way.

"Yeah, when I was downtown walking around, I'd look up and down the streets and every time, there was a mountain at the end--no matter where I looked, I always saw a mountain."

I knew what he meant, of course. I had just never looked at it that way. But when I was driving home a few weeks ago, I looked at the straight road ahead of me and it reminded me of James's perspective. At the end of my road, there was a mountain.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Anyone Want A Free Entertainment Center? Authentic Swedish Design, Assembled In USA...

If you're looking for a low-profile, Swedish-designed entertainment center, assembled here in the good old U-S-of-A, have we got the entertainment center for you!

Is that a question or a statement?

No matter,. Yes, if you're in need of just such an item (and the rolling castors work, too...!), and you're in the Davis County area, just contact me--it's yours!

And why is this quality item being given away?

Because we bought a huge piece (or pieces...) of furniture today and it's now in our house. Just looking at it makes my muscles hurt. We bought the entertainment center for several reasons, the biggest of which, is the new puppy. Normally, we have stuff all over the front room. It's cleaned up, sure, but not on a regular basis. Now, because the puppy is getting bigger every day. Soon, he'll be able to reach those left out things. He'll even be able to snap up food from off the counter. 

Upward and onward is the puppy's new motto!

I can't talk about the new entertainment center without mentioning the people from which we bought it. We found the item on KSL Classified, a local on-line classified service. Thankfully the sellers live only a couple of miles from our house. Not only did they help us load it into our van, they loaded half of the cargo (it comes in four huge pieces...) in their truck. They then drove it to our house and helped us unload. I'm sure they would have helped us bring it into the house if we had asked.

As far as my family moving everything, I had doubts the six of us could get all the furniture into the house. At one point each of us stood around the heaviest piece and all lifted together. I know it sounds corny, but it was one of those "bringing the family closer" moments.

We now have a huge entertainment in our living room. DVDs, video games, cables connecting everything are now protected from the puppy, and I'm dog-tired. It's been a crazy day.