Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd bet my kidneys that I have the most interesting father-in-law in the world. Allow me to illustrate by way of a few select passages.

Passage One | Be My Guide

Years ago, while dating my lovely wife, I was invited on a road trip to visit her father in Durango, Colorado. Our courtship was pretty hot and heavy at this point, so this was the official "It's time to meet my father" voyage. As any married man knows, said voyage can be quite hellish on the nerves.

Determined to make an everlasting first impression, I put on a fresh pair of positivity, loaded up the car and began the 8-hour trek to the small tourist attraction. For sake of this story, we'll refer to my father-in-law as, Keith (mainly, because that is his name). Keith owns and operates a very successful outfitter business, offering city slickers the opportunity to connect with their natural selves by way of Jeep tours, river rafting, snowmobile tours, etc. This particular trip occurred right in the heart of Jeep tour season.

At nearly sundown, we pulled into main street of the quaint little town. We drove down the road slowly, searching for the motel which Keith had made arrangements for us to stay. One room, two beds (of course). Soon, we unloaded our bags and headed down to a local restaurant where we were to meet up with Keith for dinner. My nerve's nerves were nervous.

We arrived to find out Keith was running a little late, so we took our seats and politely ordered a round of waters.

Suddenly, a large, burly, calloused outdoorsmen made his way over to our table. I quickly arose to shake his hand. Mustache slightly askew, he walked right passed me and gave his daughter a big ol' hug. I lowered my hand.

HAILEY: Dad, this is Steve!


ME: Nice to mah aah meet you, sir.

KEITH: Ever driven a Jeep?

ME: Wha?

At this point, he took a seat uncomfortably close to me, pulled out a pocket notebook, and began preparing notes for me.

KEITH: I had a Jeep guide quit on me this morning, so I'm gonna need you to take a few tours tomorrow morning.

ME: *gulp*

KEITH: Now, this here is Silverton. You'll need to shuttle the group over this summit, where you'll pick up the jeep.

ME: *gulp*

KEITH: Once you get in the jeep, make sure everyone is buckled up. Then take them up this trail here. Now be very careful because this side of the trail drops straight off, down a few thousand feet.

ME: *gulp*

I scrambled to keep up with him, making the best mental notes I could on account of his not-exactly-legible scribblings. Finally, our food arrived. Unfortunately, my appetite had been completely replaced by the fear of being responsible for the death of an entire family of 12 from Ottawa, KS.

The following morning, we were awoken by a loud knock on our motel door. I sprang out of bed (and quickly messed up the second bed to make it look like I slept in it - oh come off it, you'd all do it too) and bolted for the bathroom to hide. Hailey answered and after a few instructions we were off to get our first tour group.

Freeze it: Now remember, I was simply on a trip to visit my future father-in-law. I was not on the man's payroll, nor was I qualified or licensed to be a tour driver.

I pulled the 1986 15-passenger van up to the resort lobby, where a large family piled in. Trying my best to act the part I made some stupid comments like: "Alright now! Buckle up, cause out here in Colorado, everything's rough and tumble." and "Take a deep breath of this fresh mountain air. Ain't nothing else like it in the whole world!" I felt so dirty.

In the average vehicle, the crossing the summit would take about 30 minutes. Sadly, I was in no average vehicle. An hour and a half later, I rolled into Silverton. Having no choice, I lied through my teeth about every peak and valley we passed on the way.

SNOTTY KID: Hey guy, what's that mountain called?

ME: Oh, that one? That's good ol' Jackson's Billy Goat.

SNOTTY KID #2: No it's not, it says right here in the map that it's...

ME: Hey! Let's see what's on the radio. You guys like country?

As we pulled into town, I got a call on the radio informing me of a change in plans. Instead of the Jeep tour, I was to pick up another group and shuttle them back to Durango. I was quite relieved. I picked up another group and headed back over the pass. Nearly two hours later, I dropped them off at their motel lobby. Suddenly, the van filled up again. What's this? Oh, it looks like I'm shuttling a group back over the summit again, and nobody told me. Awesome.

Two more hours. Another Jackson's Billy Goat.

Once in Silverton, I was informed (yet again) that I'd be shuttling another group back. Now, at this point, I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't in the least bit irritated. But, in the spirit of trying to win my bride, I responded, "Alrighty sir, captain sir! Full speed ahead on that one. Roger, Roger." Man, I sucked. A few minutes into the drive, I received word that another shuttle had broken down and that since my group was light, I was to pick them up along the way. What they failed to mention, however, was that this group was borderline homicidal.

I pulled up to rescue the stranded customers.

ME: Hey there folks, looks like you got a bum van eh? Heh heh.

GUY: Oh, you think this is funny? We've been stranded here for nearly an hour.

LADY: Yeah, and besides that, our Jeep tour was horrible. I can't even feel my neck!

GUY #2: Your company should be ashamed of itself. This has been the worst experience ever.

Something in me snapped.

ME: Okay, shut it! You think you've had a bad day? I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. I don't even work for this stinkin' company. No, in fact, I'm supposed to be on vacation just like all of you. My girlfriend's father owns this company and instead of me coming up here to pleasantly meet him for the first time and make a good first impression, he put me to work. So, I'd appreciate it if you'd all just can it, because, quite frankly, nobody here has had a worse day than me.


Slowly, but surely, their angst faded and the entire group busted up with laughter. Against my will, I couldn't help but join in.

GUY: So wait, you're telling me that your girlfriend's father just met you yesterday and put you to work for his company?

ME: Yeah.

GUY: Oh man, that sucks. I'd sure hate to be you!

ME: Yeah, no kidding. Hey, wait.

Passage Two | One Big Comfortable Family

A little over three years ago, Hailey and I purchased our first (and current) home. It's a cozy little bungalow, perfect for a family of our size, but not very condusive to overnight guests. That certainly doesn't stop Keith.

I remember waking up one morning to the sound of a gruff voice, "Hailey, got anything to eat around here?" As I wiped the sleepy dirt from my eyes, I glanced out of our bedroom door only to see Keith standing in our living room. What's the big deal, you ask? Keith was wearing nothing save it be a very small pair of tighty whitey briefs. I kid you nay.

Adjusting the tight elastic band on his undies, he tromped around the living room until finally taking a seat on our couch. Normally, I'd prefer my guests to exhibit pants before taking residence on my furniture, but hey, that's just me.

He finished his bowl of cereal and then was on his way. Meanwhile, I purchased some Febreze.

Passage Three | The Pace Car

A few months ago I arrived home from work only to find a silver 1979 Pontiac Trans Am sitting in my driveway. Odd? Yes. Keith? Definitely.

It turned out that Keith had "scored" on an original 1979 Daytona 500 Pace Car. He got it from a guy at an unbelievable price and instinctivly drove it up to SLC so we could sell it on ebay for him. Of course the car needed a little work, so Keith took me through it, showing me all the things I needed to do.

Freeze it: Those of you who know me, know I am about as unmanly as they come. I know nothing about hunting, nothing about sports, and surely nothing about cars.

A few months went by. The car simply collected dust in our garage as I continued to avoid embarking out of my comfort zone to work on it. Finally, we decided to post it on ebay "as is."


Turns out we were wrong. Had we known then what we quickly found out by way of many Trans Am connoisseurs via the interweb, we would have given it the following selling title.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

crack that whip.

1:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

crack that whip.

1:59 PM

Blogger more caffeine, please said...

I am crying right now I am laughing so hard. I myself have been put to work by Keith by way of taking a group of Texans through the Ghost Town in Silverton.
ME: "That was, uh, the old schoolhouse and that over there was another, uh, saloon."

PASSENGER: "Our map says it was a whorehouse."

ME: "Oh, right. Next to the school."

Now let's talk about Hailey's wedding day (and yours, of course) where me being Hailey's roommate awoke to a loud pounding on the door only to find Keith asking where he can park his U-Haul filled with his furnature because "he didn't dare leave it in Durango while he came to the wedding, becuase his wife might steal it." Okaaaaay.

We find a parking spot at the church next to our condo, then he heads off to Fred Meyer. I thought he'd return with donuts and juice, but, much to my curiosity, he reentered our wedding-day frenzied house with nothing but a small bag.

Fast forward to the next day. (This is when Hailey is officially gone and you two where knocking boots and I'm left with Jill). Jill yells, "What the hell is all over my bathroom?!"

Upon examining her bathroom, I find large black stains all over $85 Restoration Hardware shower curtain and permanent stains on the toilet, floor and tile.

What the?

Using deductive reasoning, I look in the trash can. There sits an empty box of 5-MINUTE JUST FOR MEN HAIR COLOR, shade: Jet Black.

Turns out Keith was spiffing up for the ol' weddin' with a quick root touch up and missed a few spots judging from the permanent stains all over the bathroom.

If I remember right, he did look nice at your wedding (thanks to me, I rescued his suit from the beach towell he'd rolled it up in for travel and ironed it)and the new die job.

And didn't he unload all the contents of that U-Haul in your apartment while on your honeymoon? Every last southwest piece?

3:03 PM

Blogger :: STEVE :: said...

Ha ha ha. Keith is quite the anomaly, that's for sure. I had to pick and choose what stories I told in this blog, otherwise, we'd all be here all day reading. I had nearly forgotten about the apartment full of used furniture. I'll never forget opening our door only to have it knock over a little wooden bear holding a "Welcome" sign. I nudged it out of the way and entered Santa Fe, NM.

3:09 PM

Blogger more caffeine, please said...

I'm seriously laughing out loud right now. When we lived in Provo, he came barreling down our hallway at 5:45 a.m. yelling, "Hailey Harper??"

When she answered he said, "Good hell, I've been in eight apartments and finally found you."

So eight all-girl apartments were freaked out by a large man with a moustache and hiking boots on rummaging around them looking for Hailey.

Oh, and I loved when he used the dish soap for his shower soap.

3:17 PM

Blogger :: STEVE :: said...

Oh man, the dish soap. That's a blog in itself!

Heck, I'll just comment blog about it right now.

Once Keith showed up unnanounced (which he always does). He slept on the couch in our basement. We have a small bathroom in our basement that nobody ever uses. In fact, I'm not even sure the shower works. Anyway, the following morning, after he had left, I went downstairs to clean up after him. As I was cleaning the bathroom I noticed our dish soap from upstairs was in the shower. In the absence of body wash, he decided the next best thing would be to use our dish soap!

Another classic Keith moment.

3:35 PM

Blogger Steve said...

Haha, I remember meeting the parents for the first time. Scary stuff. Turns out her mom thought I was great and her dad left for the weekend just to avoid me.

7:07 AM

Blogger Heylee Anne said...

Keith sounds like a genuinely nice guy; I'd like to meet him

3:30 PM


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