Friday, June 21, 2013

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, or does he?

I'll be spending five of the next seven days in Happy Valley,  where I'll be expected to be a sunbeam 24/7.

Jared's mother asked me to babysit this afternoon.  I asked if Jared would be around at all. She  said he might be in and out. I told her that she was more than welcome to bring her children to my house, but that I didn't feel comfortable encountering Jared. (He stays with mutual friends of ours but comes by during the day when his father isn't home.) She asked why. Even though I probably should not be tattling to Jared's mother about his latest social faux pas, she asked, so I told her. She told me I wouldn't have to worry about Jared coming to the house while I was there because she would let him know that he was not to come to the house while I was there.

That left me babysitting Jared's youngest four siblings while his mother took kid #2 to the dentist, out to lunch,  and to have her hair cut. Kids in families with six children don't get tons of one-on-one time with either parent, so I suppose outings such as this are occasionally necessary.  The older two girls, now seven and nine, are relatively self-sufficient and can be trusted not to do anything totally stupid even if a person doesn't have his or her eyes on them constantly, though they like attention and want me to do their hair or put makeup on them. I'm absolutely not putting makeup on them without a parent's permission,  as I don't wish to be accused of turning the house into a Toddlers & Tiaras set.  I didn't mind doing their hair, but their mother is so much better at it that I could not understand why they would want me to undo the perfect french braids their mother had already done so that I could make a half-hearted attempt at making them not look like neglected foster children.

The two littlest children are two and almost four. The older of the two - a boy- was a very wild almost-two-year-old  when I met him. Now he reads, colors, plays with Legos, and does things a normal four-year-old would do. I did have to go out into the backyard and pitch baseballs to him for half an hour, but after than, he was content to play with his toys again. The two-year-old girl is as close to the perfect child as I've ever seen. She colors and can be trusted not to color on any surface except her blank paper or coloring books, and will sit for an hour to listen to books if someone will read to her. The girls usually take turns, but I read to her for about twenty minutes. On the simplest books, she tracks the words with her finger as she is read to. She prefers more complex stories like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, though. Her brother listens in and tells what is going to happen next in the story, which angers her. "I know, Bryson," she barks at him.

I got paid eight dollars an hour to watch the children. I knew it was way too much and tried to give it back, but the mother said that it was worth eight dollars an hour to know that her children were being cared for properly. I was there for five hours, so I'm forty dollars richer in cash. I really like being paid in cash for things like babysitting.  My mother did not like the idea that I accepted eight dollars an hour to babysit, but I tried to ask for less, and furthermore, if my mother doesn't like my style of babysitting and being paid, next time I am asked to babysit anyone, I'll just hand the phone or forward the text to my mom.  She can be the one to babysit.

Grades were posted for all my classes. I'm still 4.0, even after the MoFo final of the century for Physics and Mechanics of Fractures.  If I don't do anything really stupid, I'll graduate next spring with a 4.0.  My pseudoaunt's brother, Timmy, hasn't had the Physics of Fractures course yet because of a glitch in his schedule, and next year, as a third-year med school student, he won't be in the classroom for the most part except for a few auditorium lectures. He had to take the course this summer, and got permission to take it from my university to avoid having to spend the summer in Los Angeles,  so he'll be taking it from the same instructor who taught me.  The pressure is on him to outscore me, or at least not to be outscored by me, but he has nothing about which to worry. He's brilliant. He'll ace the course with one-third or less the effort I put into it.

On Sunday night I'm flying to the beautiful [irony font on the word beautiful] State of the Deseret  to finish the recordings that I stated earlier. I'll be picked up at the airport by the music producer and his family and will have to spend the first night with them, but the next three nights I'll stay at my pseudorelatives' condo, which is only about twenty miles from the music producer's  home studio. Pseudouncle's parents left an extra car in the garage that I can drive.

I won't do tons of sight-seeing, as I've seen most of what there is to see in northern-central Utah, though I 'll probably drive up the canyons a bit. I've heard Sundance is lovely this time of year as well, so I may make the short drive there, too, just to look at the wildflowers and the beautiful mountainous scenery.  I will fly home on Thursday evening.

One thing I will not see, intentionally anyway, is my relatives, although I may attempt to take my grandmother to lunch if I can manage to call her without her husband answering the phone. He'll just hang up on me as soon as he realizes who it is if he's the one who answers. (Perhaps I'll have the music producer's wife make the call for me until my grandmother gets onto the phone.) He's an evil man, and he's a high-ranking LDS official.  I'm glad I do not have the same last name he does. He changed his family's surname when he had a feud with his own father. My father changed his name back to the original once he had the means to do so.  That was before he was even married, so my mom, my brother, and I never had the new surname.

Why would a person change his or her surname over a petty argument? I can see why someone wouldn't want his or her father's name if the father had beaten or molested him, but from what I understand, such was not even close to being the case. My grandfather is just hard-headed. I'd love to know how he gets along with Boyd K. Packer, who, although aged, is, if my understanding is correct, about as hard-headed and hard-hearted as my grandfather.

Until Sunday, I'll kick back, practice my violin, and do absolutely nothing to weaken  my already less-than-powerful voice.

My Grandfather's Alter-Ego


  1. My husband's ex wife changes names at the drop of a hat. She's had several last names owing to marriages and every time she gets a divorce and remarries, she attempts to change her kids' names. It's the kind of think personality disordered people do to be hurtful to family members. My husband's daughters changed their names when the younger one turned 18. I figure if they're proper LDS girls, they'll change them anyway when they marry. And then again when they inevitably divorce, too. Seems like a big waste of money, unless of course they got adopted. I almost hope they did. I'd rather not be related to them legally or otherwise.

    I don't think $8 an hour is out of line for babysitting, considering how many kids you were watching. Sounds like they were well-behaved, at least.

    Have fun in Utah!

  2. Good luck in Happy Valley. When a group of us went to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway a couple of years ago, I wanted our tee-shirts to say "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam," but I was outvoted. We ended up with "Ban Mormon Marriage" with an image of a man and several wives. :)

    1. It's funny. Back in the day, as in the year 2000, I went to a Presbyterian Vacation Bible School with a friend even though my family is Catholic. We sang, "Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam" there. Since then, the song seems primarily to be associated with the LDS church. I know nothing about the song's origin. Perhaps it was originally LDS and the Protestants co-opted it for their own use. ("Come, Come, Ye Saints" is in some Protestant hymnals with slightly modified words.) Then again, maybe the Mormons stole it and pretended it was their own all along, sort of like they did with "A Mighty Fortress" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." If the MoTab records or performs a song, it therefore belongs to the Mormons.

      My dad used to own a copy of , "The Children Sing," which was the forerunner of "Sing with Me," which was in turn the forerunner of "Children's Songs for the Church of Jesus christ of Latter-Day Saints." I haven't seen it since we relocated from the Sacramento suburbs to the central coast of California. I'd like to see if the sunbeam song was in that edition of the LDS children's songbook. In any event, i must research this issue.

      For the record, I would have voted with you on the t-shirts. My exmo uncle, who generally wouldn't put a bumper sticker of any kind on his car, found one he liked so much that he bought it and put it on. It 's extra-long and says "Maybe Jesus DOESN'T want you for a sunbeam. Did you ever think about it?"

  3. Since I'm a new reader...I'm curious as to who Jared is and what his social hiccup was! :)

  4. Jared was my boyfriend before I was considered old enough by my parents to have a boyfriend. I think my parents finally gave in when I was 17 1/2. Our relationship was smooth if not terribly intense until thestatus became more official, and even thenit never went close to past first base, and it was a cheap single at best. Then his father went all uber-Mormon on him and said he could not date me because I was not LDS. Jared went out with another girl the next night. Jared's father, after several nights of sleeping on the sofa in the den, gave in, but Jared had to earn his way back into my good graces. It wasn't his fault that his father forced him to break it off, but he didn't have to go out with another girl the very next night.

    The whole LDS mission thing has been most troublesome to Jared. He really didn't want to go but knew it was expected of him, especially by his father. His mom had a brother who went on one and experienced mental health problems and has never 100% recovered, so she was on the fence in regard to the mission.

    Then the church announced in October that the minimum age for misssions for males was to be lowered from 19 to 18. The pressure was really on at that point. Since Jared was mid-semester in college, even his father agreed that it would be stupid to leave before completing a semester that had been paid for. Jared said he would submit papers in late spring so he would be presumably be asked to report around his 19th birthday as originally planned.

    Jared decided he really didn't want to go on a mission but didn't have the nerve to say that to his father. He submitted his papers, but was going to take a wait-and-see approach in terms of where he was to be sent. Then, one night, in a act of bravery or desperation or however one chooses to view it, he went to a tattoo parlour and had my name tattooed onto his bicep in bold letters. Mormons are forbidden from having tattoos. The action would not get him excommunicated from the LDS church, but it would effectively exclude him from serving a mission. I believe a guy who joined the church after getting a tattoo would still be allowed to serve a mission if the tattoo could be hidden by ordinary clothing, but an active LDS church member who went out and got himself decorated wouldn't have a prayer of getting the OK to go, which was Jared's intent.

    The fact that he chose my name had very little to do with anything. It was probably the first thing that popped into his head.

    Since then, Jared and his father haven't spoken, and it's been something like six weeks. His father threatened not to pay his tuition, but his mother handles the family finances, and she said Jared's tuition and college living expenses WILL be paid. His father spent several nights on the sofa for this as well, but eventually things worked out to some degree, although Jared is still avoiding his father, although I'm not sure why.

    I'm angry with him at the moment because several nights ago we had a date that had been confirmed on the morning of the date, and he did a complete no-show with no call or text either in advance or afterward. I understand that he's going through a tumultuous time in his life, but so so is everyone in some way. I don't wish to be the object or the recipient of his tumult. Once he gets his act thoroughly together, he can call me if he so desires and we can have a civilized discussion about whether or not any sort of relationship is in the cards. Until then, he is persona non grata as far as I am concerned even if he does have my name tattooed on his bicep.

    The whole matter is complicated by his being a very good friend of my twin brother and a nephew of my honorary aunt and uncle, to whom I refer as my pseudoaunt and pseudouncle.

    1. Wow! Well...that is quite the story. Sorry to hear all of that. I know when I was 17, dude drama was everywhere, but I didn't have to deal with any crazy families (for the most part.) And as far as I can tell, you have your stuff together, he doesn't, and its probably better for you to move onto someone who does :)