Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Napoleon Dynamite Country

the site of my tetherball loss

My friend Alyssa and I forewent plans to take in the canyons and mountains in and around Utah County.  Instead, we drove approximately two-and-a-half hours north to Preston, Idaho.  Mostly we just drove around the area and looked for places that we thought were locations for scenes in the movie Napoleon Dynamite. We took along Alyssa's cousin's tether ball so we could play a token game of tether ball in the same schoolyard where Napoleon played. I am sad to report that I did not win the game. My opponent is six inches taller than I and probably out weighs me by close to thirty pounds.  I was outmatched and never had a chance, but winning wasn't exactly the point.

Even after searching out sites from Napoleon Dynamite, there is only so much a person or two  can do in Preston Idaho. We then headed south just a bit before traveling northeast.. We traveled up Logan Canyon to catch a bit of the Bear River and the Bear River Mountains.  We got the general idea of the place pretty quickly and moved on. We checked out several small northern Utah towns, including  but not limited to Smithfied, Hyrum. Hyde Park, Nibley, and Brigham City.  I'd never been to the Brigham City Tabernacle, which is quite lovely in its own way.

When we went into Logan, we went by Utah State University.  Alyssa basically plugged her nose, covered her eas, and closed her eyes simultaneously most of the time we were anywhere near Utah State University. She says her second worst nightmare is having to go to college there. her worst nightmare is having to go to bYU Idaho. the hurdles were on the track at the university, as i had told they might be. A youth group was gathering and preparing to use the track, but it was a practice and not a meet, and they weren't on the track, so I took the opportunity to do just a bit of hurdling.  at least I was better than Alyssa at hurdling. She did oopen her eyes and unplug her nose and uncover her ears while she was hurdling. she couldn't figure out how someone my size could ru hrdles so rapidly. I dodn't point it out, but my legs are alost as long as hers even though she's considerably taller than I. i just told her it was because I used to be a gymnast, which is true.

We didn't get home until about 10:15 tonight. We made it a point to have Alyssa spend the night with her aunt, because her parents would've freaked at her being gone from 7:00 a.m. until 10;15 p.m with no "adult" (we're both 18) accompanying us. (The truth of the matter is that she's staying at the condo with me. What her parents, who do not know about this blog, don't know will never cause them any harm.) I hate to be the one to remind them, but Alyssa is moving to California to attend a junior college in less than two months. They won't have any idea where she is at any given moment. It must be a daunting thought to them.

Tomorrow I'll pack, have lunch with Grandma, and possibly use the pool before boarding a plane and  leaving this vast wasteland.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Knotty, I had no intention whatsoever of removing your comment. I don't even remove inflammatory comments because they're usually from cousins, and i like to keep a record of them. Anyway, I would NEVER deliberately remove a comment from you. I was trying to comment on your comment, and in my stupor of though hit the delete button instead of the comment button. (Why is there not an "Are you sure you want to delete this comment?" feature? There seems to be one in relation to everything else.)

    Anyway,what I intended to reply is that Alyssa's parents are indeed overprotective, but half the motivation for their "overprotectiveness" is that she is the oldest child of eight. She can't function as a domestic slave if she is riding along all over the state and beyond with me.

    Regardless, she will lose her "domestic slave" status once she moves off to college next year.
    Her mother would love for her to attend Utah Valley University (Alyssa probably could't get into BYU proper; she's not brain surgeon material in general, and she's never had the time she needed to put in adequate studying effort, as her indentured servitude got in the way) so that she could continue to function as at least a part-time unpaid au pair, but her grandparents see the need for er to have freedom and a normal life, and are paying the heavy out-of-state tuition fees for her to attend a California jc. The hope is that after two years, she can transfer to one of a couple nearby California state universities, or, in a worst-case scenario, transfer to one of a couple of private colleges nearby. Even after jc, she probably won't be University of California material. She's not a genius from the onset, and one who needed to have been studying and putting in maximum effort all along cannot undo the damage of a lifetime of academic neglect in a mere two years of JC. At least she'll end up with a degree. She wants to be a dental hygienist with a bachelor's degree, which is probably a very realistic goal for her, and she'll at least be able to support herself if she marries an RM when she's 21 and the marriage does not last.

    My parents were flawed, as I have illustrated numerous times, but they always put education first, and I suspect they would have done so with their oldest child even if they'd had ten kids.

    It will be interesting to see how Alyssa's mom manages with child number 2 as the primary domestic slave, as this girl hasn't had nearly the household maintenance and childcare experience that Alyssa had at her age. She's a much better student, though. I just hope her mom doesn't ruin her GPA with one year of indentured servitude.

  3. Not to worry, Alexis. ;-) I know stuff happens.

    I guess the reason my parents were so slack is because I was their fourth kid and there was a big age difference between me and my next sister. They were pretty ready to be done after my sister was born, so I kind of crashed the upcoming empty nest party!

    My friend, by contrast, had older half brothers and sisters and was her mother's only daughter. Her mom was really into being a mom, too... mine just happened to fall into motherhood! She got married at 19.

    Is BYU really that selective? My husband's younger ex daughter goes there and I am not at all impressed by what I know of her intellect. I mean, she's not a dumb girl by any means, but she has not demonstrated any critical thinking skills whatsoever. I guess if you have to go to an LDS school, BYU is the place to go if you want "cred".

    In any case, I wish your friend luck. I have a good friend who got her MSW at the same time I did after having been a dental hygienist. After we got out of school, she went to being a dental hygienist. I think she was more employable and the money was probably a lot better. If I had any aptitude for a clinical healthcare career, I would pursue that myself. Alas, my strengths are in the creative and liberal arts. ;-)

  4. BYU is not Stanford or CAL, nor is it the "Harvard of the West" that someone -- maybe Orrin Hatch -- termed it, but the baby boomers' grandchildren are hitting the place now. The baby boom didn't significantly slow with the next generation in Mormondom the way it did with the rest of Christendom, so the sheer number of applicants is massive. They have to let the GA's grandchildren and great-grandchildren in, as well as the children of people such as the Coveys, the Romneys, the Marriotts, etc., in addition to any legacies who are major donors to any program, including the athletic department. That still leaves room for many acceptances. CES workers' children also supposedly have a bit of an edge.

    For someone who's not a scholarship candidate for football, basketball, or baseball, a GPA needs to be above 3.5. BYU accepts only unweighted GPAs, with which I actually agree. I'd been taking AP classes since I was a freshman. How fair a comparison would that be to a student whose high school didn't even offer AP classes until junior year?

    In terms of ACT/SAT (they now accept SAT, which they formerly did not) SAT averages of admitted freshmen range between high 500s and high 600s (average between verbal and math). ACT averages for incoming freshmen are somewhere around 28.9. Interestingly, BYU neither requires nor considers either SAT or ACT writing exam scores, but does consider writing ability as demonstrated in essays submitted in the application process. In other words, on written work in which a student may receive all the help he or she wants, and in which the quality is adjudicated in a highly subjective manner, writing ability is considered, but writing that is done in a controlled setting and scored in a standardized manner is of no consequence to the admissions officers at BYU. It's just one more way to ensure that stake presidents' children are admitted.

    The average unweighted GPA of an incoming freshman at BYU is 3.61 or very near that. I do believe in unweighted GPAs, but I also think the degree of difficulty of course load must be considered in other ways.

    55% of BYU applicants are supposedly accepted. If Alyssa's grandfather were to pull strings he could get her in (he was a former department chair and still has connections), but he wouldn't do that, and she doesn't want to go there, anyway. Alyssa is probably very borderline in terms of being among the top 55% of applicants.

    Interestingly, a student accepted at BYU is expected to immediately transfer $4,000 into a special account at BYU. In extenuating circumstances for which an applicant must petition, up to $3,000 of the $4,000 may be used to help pay tuition. In all other cases, the 4,000 is returned the final semester. I assume this policy does not apply to varsity football and basketball players.

    In terms of your step-daughter, critical thinking skills are the very last thing about which BYU cares. The ability to memorize large chunks of material and to quote them back verbatim is much more important there.

    1. That's interesting. My father-in-law told us that ex-stepdaughter is on scholarship. But she was "home schooled" by computer/fax machine (ex didn't teach her; she and her sister supposedly did some correspondence course). She is a bright girl; I think she inherited my husband's looks and brains and her mother's yucky, narcissistic personality.

      I do wonder where they got $4000, though... especially since ex claims (on LinkedIn, anyway) that she earned a master's degree in 2011... this after multiple fits and starts at college. I think she finally got her degree when I told her that as a high school dropout, she had no business diagnosing my husband or anyone else with mental illnesses. I'm sure she got the bachelor's degree, but I think she's lying about the master's degree. On the other hand, if she did finally go to school, she has me to thank, right? ;-)

      My husband's older daughter is supposedly a very talented artist. She's not been nearly as hateful and obnoxious as the younger daughter has, so I don't dislike her as much. Older daughter has always struggled in school and looks like her mother, but has a personality more like my husband's. Apparently, she's still stuck living with ex and can't figure out what to do with herself.

      Anyway, of course I never considered BYU... Ironically enough, my mom went to what is now Southern Virginia University when it was Southern Seminary, before it was taken over by Mormons. And I did actually briefly consider going to school there.

  5. I wonder if they waive the 4k requirement in some cases. I just don't see the reason for it, and there have to be tons of LDS families who can't come up with it, although i know there are also some wealthy Mormons out there. I just don't get why it would be in any way necessary,unless they attach tons of strings to what a student must do t be eligible to get it back, which would seem to be of questionable legality. And, although the family could easily afford it, I can't see BYU as having the balls to demand it of a Covey, especially when the family would know how questionable the practice would be. I understand why they would demand the equivalent of airplane fare home in the case f a foreign student, but that's hardly 4k in most cases.

    I agree that your husband's ex is lying about the master's degree. YOU have a master's, so SHE has to claim to have one. If you had a doctorate, she'd claim to have that as well.

    1. LOL... Did I ever write about the time I accidentally stumbled across an article about the ex and her experiences with United Way? A couple of years ago, I found out that ex stepson had been busted for having pot in his car. I was curious to know if their community at the time was running a sting in honor of Columbus Day, so I found a local online newspaper. It was the dumbest luck. I clicked on an issue that happened to have an article about how ex had plans to pursue a PhD in education so she could help develop a global standard of education. It sounds like something she got involved with through cozying up to someone at the university where she worked. I was actually upset about finding the article, since I make a point of not looking for info on her.

      But the article itself made me mad because it was full of lies and half truths. She had gotten help from the United Way after showing up in Arizona a "single mom of three with just a couple of thousand bucks in the bank." Nowhere did it mention the $2650 a month she was getting from my husband or the fact that he was paying the mortgage on the house she got in their divorce (and later failed to sell, so it went into foreclosure). The article made it sound like there was no one in her life.

      Then, she up and moved all of a sudden to New England in 2011. I don't know why. The reasons could be anything from her not wanting my husband to send a letter to his younger daughter (as he tried to with her older sister) or getting in trouble with the church or at work... or perhaps she plans to get #3 in a job and then take off. The possibilities are endless.

      In any case, she is a liar and not above scamming people out of money. I have a hard time believing she got a scholarship to pay for a master's degree. And with two college aged daughters and a young son with special needs, I just wonder how they pay the bills. Especially since ex now doesn't work (or at least didn't when younger ex stepdaughter called my father in law a few months ago).

      Eh, I guess it's not my business anymore. She wanted my husband, the father of two of her kids, to be a deadbeat, and me to be a wicked stepmom. I guess she got her wish.

      BTW, my husband wonders if BYU is getting interest on that money and that's part of the reason for it.

  6. It totally makes sense that BYU is probably earning interest on the 5k. I still don't see how they get away with it. I don't know what is now required at the other two BYUs, but when my mom's best friend attended BYU-Hawaii in the late 1970's and very early 1980s , all students were required to deposit with the school's business office the cash equivalent to a flight home. They provided a precise amount for each student, and they rounded up slightly from the cost of airfare.

    Midway through the second year my mom's friend was there, she received a check for the amount she had deposited with the explanation that they could no longer by law require that US resident students deposit airfare home. She says that if any such thing happened now, she would want to know what had changed or what state or federal entity had determined that the deposit was no longer lawful to hold for US students, but back then, she trusted th Church totally.

    While I can understand why BYU would want to have the funds in place to send any student home so that the university and indirectly the Church never got stuck paying the way home for any hardship case who needed to return home, one thing that doen't hold up under scrutiny is that BYU-Hawaii wouldn't accept anything in lieu of cash, i.e. actual plane ticket voucher. They wanted cash. Presumably they did collect interest on the money. They can still collect that money for foreign students. It may even be a requirement to obtain a student visa, and makes sense for any university sponsporing a student for a student visa. It didn't make sense legally to collect it on US students, because the US students had every right to be in Hawaii whether the church or the state of Hawaii liked it or not. The university's unwillingness to accept airline vouchers lends credence to the idea that earning interest on the deposited funds was a major underlying factor.