Archives for June 2008

Missionary Jake – Part 1 of 10

This is part one of a ten part series chronicling Jake’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.


Preach My Gospel
Jake is an Eagle Scout and an active member of his church since birth. He stands up for what he believes in and is also compassionate to those that are in need. He is a peacemaker and is someone you want to be around because he never looks for a fight and is helpful. He played in the school band and dabbled a little at the piano. He won three state championship events in track for Davis High School. He had a stress fracture on the day of the races and took off his support boot to run. In his 300 meter hurdles he seems to get a slow start and catches the third hurdle badly.

One of Jake’s qualifying heats is a great video, as he makes up ground in this 4 x 400 meter relay. Davis are in dark brown vests and yellow shorts, the first three runners are all Jakes, my Jake running the third leg. Davis had to place first, second, or third to qualify, and Carl makes it happen even though he is not a Jake.

View Jake’s 110 meter hurdles and an exciting 4 x 400 meter race. Jake runs the first leg but watch for a runner to fall and also the close finish. The cute commentary, “O man they are all on your tail”, is Jake’s mother, who also filmed Jake’s races.


Jake is serving in the Mexico Mexico City North Mission. He has a presidential scholarship at the University of Utah and completed a year in Computer Engineering before leaving for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in August 2006. He worked to save the entire $9,600 needed for his mission, and also purchased with his own money the necessary attire. Here are a few excerpts from correspondence to our family, in his own words.

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Today Daniel was ordained an elder. This was done by those with priesthood authority to lay their hands on his head and receive this ordinance. Present and pictured in the photograph are (left to right, top to bottom) Derek, Paul, Steven, Brian, Sarah, Jill, Rick (Rickety), and Daniel. Brian is a Stake High Counselor and a dear friend who was present as the Stake representative. I was voice for the ordinance. To have the authority to perform this act of laying on of hands, male members of the Church must receive this authority by the laying on of hands from a priesthood holder who has the proper authority. This has been passed down in the Church from the Apostles Peter, James and John, who received their authority from Christ. These Apostles then visited Joseph Smith as angelic messengers and gave him the proper priesthood authority. From Joseph Smith the priesthood has been passed down in an unbroken line from Christ. Having the authority of the priesthood is different from having the power to use that priesthood:

All of us who hold the priesthood have the authority to act for the Lord, but the effectiveness of our authority—or if you please, the power that comes through that authority—depends on the pattern of our lives; it depends on our righteousness (H. Burke Peterson, “Priesthood—Authority and Power,” Ensign, May 1976, 32).

Daniel has now transitioned from the Aaronic priesthood to the Melchizedek priesthood as he continues his preparation for his mission to Mongolia. The only sad thing in all of this is that there are now no Aaronic priesthood in the house to boss around.

West Bountiful Parade

It is time for the 4th July parades to begin. Today at 9am found Jill, Sarah, and I at West Bountiful.
The National Guard carried the flag

Kent and Susan had saved seats for us. From left to right in the photograph below are Rick (me), Kent, Jill, Sarah, Shauna, Mark, Connie, and Susan. Shauna had brought candy just in case we didn’t like the parade offerings. There was also water but it wasn’t needed as I think we had the coolest spot on the parade route.

The coolest people in town

The National Guard carried the flag followed by Mayor James Behunin on a horse. Val Verda Stake, where Jill and I used to live, had a pioneer themed float. There were the usual bands, fire engines, and old cars. There were even Star Wars characters entertaining the crowd. With fifty entries the parade was over in less than an hour which is about the right amount of time for me.

Mayor James Behunin of West Bountiful

The Val Verda Stake

Sarah (left) and Shauna flying the flag

Serf Day

Once in a great while it is Serf Day, where I get to go serfing. No, I don’t get to go to the beach — serf as in vassal. Serfing is done with your wife where for a whole day you do whatever she asks. A wife can also be a serf for a day to her husband unless she feels that she already is.

Serfing works best with independent types who normally can’t be told what to do. If you jump at every whim of your wife then you are already in serfdom and there is no hope for you. Lately it has been difficult to get me to do anything so I am an excellent candidate.


If you are going to do a Serf Day then obviously common sense applies. For example, don’t invoke a Serf Day as you leave for a 12-hour shift at work. Stay in the vicinity so your lady can readily give you assignments. Not that she will need much help in thinking of things for you to do. These ground rules, loosely applied, may help:

Rick and Jill walking

Walking with my lady.

  1. The lady is not told it is a Serf Day.
  2. Hinting can be listened to but there is no obligation to act.
  3. For direct requests in the form of a question you are toast, just be a pleasant peasant.
  4. If your opinion is asked, answer to the advantage of your lady (remember, you are the serf).
  5. There is no obligation to agree to future events.
  6. Cheerfully serve your lady.

Serfdom today began with a request by Lady Jill, “Will you go for a walk with me?” I only walk with her occasionally but today I said, “Sure.” At 6:30am we walked for a short time before my lady headed back before the sun came all the way up. Walking back she said, “Will you help me in the garden?” I said, “Sure.”

Micro Tubing With Bug Plug

Micro tubing with bug plug

My lady is growing a garden this year and she added some micro tubing to run to each plant off the sprinkler system. She wanted to add some more tubing so I started work without vassalating. It wasn’t hard duty. We ran out of 1/8 inch tubing so Jill purchased some 1/4 inch as there was no 1/8 inch left at the store. My last task in the garden was to lay two paving stones in the dirt by the gate.

Other M’Lady Labors

  • “Take the laundry down.” “Yes, M’Lady.”
  • “Take the laundry down.” [second batch]. “Yes, M’Lady.”
  • “Can you do one more project for me? Install this mirror.” “Yes, M’Lady.” It didn’t take very long to hang. “Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all…M’Lady.” Lady Jill bought the mirror for $10 at a garage sale today.
  • “Do you want to go with me to see the neighbor’s new bathrooms?” “Yes, M’Lady.” We are considering overhauling our own bathrooms and want to get some ideas. The neighbors bathrooms had had a complete remake. Very nice tile, new cabinets and sinks, new bath, new shower, and new toilets.
  • “Will you watch a movie with me?” “Yes, M’Lady.” We watched Jane Austen’s “Emma”.


I think it is safe to post this now. It is 11pm. and I have until midnight before this Serf Day ends and I doubt her ladyship will read it before then. Lady Jill said that because I was helping her she had enjoyed her day. I enjoyed the day with her too. I ended up with plenty of time to myself when she stepped out to the garage sale and to take Daniel to apply for his passport. I will have a great Sunday and won’t have to put on my peasant hat until work on Monday.

In the garden with my lady

In the garden with my lady

Rickety signature.

Raise it Slow

Photo credit FreeWine

I read on the KSL website yesterday that the state of Utah may switch to some kind of compressed work week. On the KSL comment boards, a viewer wrote, “I thought state workers already worked only 4 days a week.” Draper and West Valley City have already implemented four-day work weeks. My daughter-in-law already works a four-day week as does my son.

When FrontRunner began service my wife (who works part-time) began riding the train by driving to Farmington to catch it. Her cost in June is $3 one-way. In Salt Lake City there is a company shuttle to take her and other employees to the work site. Because hiring is strong there are plans for employees to share cubicles and telecommute half the week each.

One of my co-workers last year bought a Natural Gas Vehicle, a Honda Civic. He qualified for the Utah tax credit ($3,000) but not the Federal ($4,000). It costs the equivalent of 63 cents (soon to rise to 85 cents) a gallon to fill. He showed several of us the car. There was a connection where the gas is, um, connected. He says it takes about the same amount of time to fill as a gasoline car. Most of the trunk is taken up by the Natural Gas tank but there is still some space left to stow items. Of course, there are not many filling stations on a long trip so he won’t be going very far out of town anyway. Otherwise the Civic was much like any other car on the outside. Another co-worker just ordered a Toyota Prius.

Many people are adjusting to rising gas (the petroleum kind) prices. So long as prices rise relatively slowly, or at least not in big jumps overnight (I’m talking dollar increases) then a majority of us can explore alternatives like public transport, alternative fuels, telecommuting, emigrating to Saudi Arabia, and compressed work weeks.

So if oil has to go up in price, please Raise it Slow. I don’t want to get out my rickety old bike just yet.

Related articles

Missionary Paul – Part 10 of 10

This is part ten of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

April 2006

I think they upped the mail box capacity I have 15 Megs free now. Before you were sending the pictures with Picasa I think but they were too small. If you go into the menu under tools options email you can change what size it sends them. Try 800 or 1024 pixels. I sent you a package in the mail. It has a bike in it. Transfers are in two weeks and it looks like they are going to move me somewhere. I’m in Oakland right now. I got an Easter Medical form was that the package?

[I’d like] that Australian licorice and some beef jerky. Feel free to open up the bike and put it together if you’ld like. It cost $13 to ship it home. We have some special account that makes everything really cheap to ship. There is one more week after this one in the transfer. We don’t have anyone scheduled as of now. Jovanic, a 20 year old from Mexico, is doing really well except he smokes so it looks like it might take a little more time. He lives with his member uncle who went to church for the first time in 13 years the other day. I don’t know where I’ll go. There are only two areas left that I haven’t been to, Hayward and Livermore. So it will be back to an old area or one of those two. It should be good.

I called them and they said we would have 100% coverage for the visit. The doctor just gave me some samples that supposedly aren’t very effective to see if it would work. There is a prescription that works well but it costs $150 and the insurance coverage is spotty so he thought we would try the samples first.

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A Fishstick Fable

In a previous post I showed how to make cheese and pickled onion sandwiches. Today I tell a story of a fishstick feast last week that almost ran aground. It began with a bag of Trident Seafoods Ultimate Fish Sticks made with whole fillets of wild Alaskan pollock — just makes your mouth water, does it not? As is my custom, I took four of these frozen fishsticks and began micro-waving them for 3 minutes exactly. I was looking forward to my tasty meal and watched the micro-waves gently warm my morsels. With 1 minute and 40 seconds left, I had time for a last minute errand to the other room. After I left for just a moment, Andrew pushed the add one minute button to the recipe.

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Missionary Paul – Part 9 of 10

This is part nine of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

The Prophet Joseph Smith
Photo credit Travis S.

January 2006

I spoke in church yesterday about agency. [Dad], you looked thin in the wedding pictures. The CD pictures were nice. Elder Checketts from Texas is my new companion, we stayed in the office but moved to the Oakland 6th Spanish ward. They must have messed up the paper work for the doctor visit. Sister Bauman sent me to the doctor to have them look at the ring worm on my arm. Don’t pay the bill yet, I’ll talk to her today and get it figured out and maybe have her give you a call.

They paid the doctor bill. The powerball is working well. Four other missionaries have them now but no one has beat my record yet. The pictures came through fine and download really fast at the office. We are on a cable modem. We go to a Spanish ward now. There is probably about 200 members that come. I’ll write you an essay on office work but maybe not until I get transfered out of the office. We stay really busy. This week we are going to see the new Joseph Smith movie during zone conference. It should be fun.

I sent a big shipment back to the salt lake distribution center of surplus supplies that we had. We got a pallet from Safeway and stacked 25 boxes on it and wrapped it up. We have a baptism set up for Ivan Quintanilla for the 29th. It should be good. Beranice Martinez got baptized last Saturday so we drove out to Concord to see it.

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Babson Boulder near Dogtown Square, Massachusetts
For some time I have wanted to express my opinion about debt. In 2006 I made the last payment on my mortgage and have been debt free since. So though you won’t get rich after reading what I have to say, you may be able to make some adjustments so that you can get out of debt faster. What I am writing here is really just a collection of what others have said and what I have done personally with my finances.


All I want you to do to begin with is to learn about plague. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., advised:

“Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow. Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26.)

After reading this I wondered what the plague was like. Knowing that would give me some measure of how bad debt can be. The Black Death struck in the fourteenth century killing an estimated 75-200 million people worldwide and killed 50% of the European population during a four-year period.

Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the elder

The classic sign of bubonic plague was the appearance of buboes in the groin, the neck and armpits, which oozed pus and bled. These buboes were caused by internal bleeding. Victims underwent damage to the skin and underlying tissue, until they were covered in dark blotches. Most victims died within four to seven days after infection. There was mortality rates of thirty to seventy-five percent and symptoms including fever of 101-105 °F, headaches, painful aching joints, nausea and vomiting, and a general feeling of malaise. Of those who contracted the bubonic plague, 4 out of 5 died within eight days. New research suggests Black Death is lying dormant. (See Wikipedia, Black Death)

In summary, debt is worse than the bubonic plague.

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