Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Trevor Proposed... That You Read This Blog

When Trevor and I first started dating we once went out to watch some chick flick in a movie theater.  It was something along the lines of "Failure to Launch" or one of those Matthew McConnaughy / Kate Hudson blockbusters.  At one point in the movie, the main actress who has been dating the main actor for x many years, gives the guy an ultimatum..... "Let's get married by the end of the year, or I'm dumping you."  Right after this scene Trevor leans over and whispers in my ear.... "Don't ever do that to me...." ... Don't ever do what?  Don't ever dump you? Don't ever threaten to dump you?  How about you don't ever dump me!?Maybe he meant don't ever ask him to marry me?   I thought about it awhile during the movie, but decided I didn't really care what he meant by it.  I'm not planning on dumping him and I didn't want to get married at 21 anyways.

That was 7.5 years ago.  I'm still not planning on dumping him.

Now it is almost time for Trevor to apply to a full-time job.  Our relationship is almost spanning a decade.  Trevor already refers to me as his "wife" in certain professional settings to give him some extra street-cred (or to open up our house hunting options). Although I despise the word "fiance," and "husband" sounds even freakier...after going to about 5,000 other people's weddings, and constantly getting the "when's it your turn?" questions...it is probably about time to upgrade the facebook status....  (Note: Trevor has upgraded his status to "engaged" as I write this post....still sounds weird).

While alone in a smoky hotel room in Kassel, Germany in February of this year, I thought to myself "if Trevor doesn't propose any changes to our relationships, I will have to take the reigns into my own hands by the end of the year."  (I say this now, but who knows if I was serious?..no one ever will!).  The idea got into my head because it was February 29th ... leap year. And in leap year, it is traditionally socially acceptable for women to ask men to marry them.  Not that I need social acceptance for anything in life, but it would make for an interesting blog post...

Luckily, I didn't have to purchase a rifle and threaten Trevor's life, for the slickster actually had plans of his own...

Sometime last year my dear old mother who wants nothing more in the world than grandbabies and lots of them, slyly forced her old wedding ring upon me to use for my eventual engagement.  Not wanting to pressure Trevor (just yet) and still possibly considering my leap year surprise, I stuck the little box of sparkly diamonds in my secret drawer that I thought Trevor had completely forgotten about.  I did mention to Trevor that my baby-obsessed mother had tried  to give me the ring at an attempt to catalyze a wedding to see his response. He did well to conceal his enthusiasm with a roll of the eyes and a avoidance of the topic ever since.

A few months ago, Trevor called my little sister, who we affectionately refer to as Weener, to see if my mother was serious about the ring thing.  My sister said, "Hellz yes mom's serious! When ya gonna do it?!"  So Trevor calls Mary Ellen to tell her about his plans to propose.  My mom is ecstatic.  Trevor then  awkwardly brings up the ring and mentions that he will be in NJ soon and that it might be a good time to pick up the ring.  My mom says "Sure go ahead and use it.  But umm, I don't have the ring.  Julie didn't tell you?"  "No..." replied a confused Trevor.  "Julie has the ring!  She took it with her to Santa Barbara!  It's in a little red box."

Trevor immediately thinks about my little secret drawer that I think he has completely forgotten about.  So in the very first place he looks, there he finds my hidden treasure.  I can only imagine what he thought my plans were.  He leaves the ring in there thinking "Montana will be a good place to get engaged."  But if he took it too early, he knew I might notice and catch on to his plan.  On the morning of our departure we are both in the car in the front of the Santa Barbara house listening to "On the Road to Nowhere" by David Byrne when he says he forgot his hat and runs back into the house.  This is not out of the ordinary as at least one of us forgets something everytime we try to leave for anywhere.  Now he did come out with his hat that he "forgot."  But what he was really looking for was the ring.  And to his disappointment (but not to his surprise) it was gone. I had packed it for Montana.

Out in Bozeman, Trevor went on wild goose hunt #2 to find the hidden ring.  Mother is now silent to me about getting married but is now (unbeknownst to me) harrassing Trevor whenever she can.  

Mom: "Trevor, when are you gonna do it?!?!?!" 
Trevor: "Soon, I just got to find the ring." 
Mom: "Forget the ring!!  You don't even need a ring! Just do it!!" 

Trevor eventually finds the ring that was hidden in my suitcase zipper pocket tucked away in the closet.   He takes it to the jeweler to clean it up and planned on proposing before we went back to Jersey. But it wasn't ready in time.

Back in Jersey I caught my last bouquet at the wedding of our good friends, Matt and Renata.  Trevor tried his damnedest to go for the garter belt that he nearly wiped out the entire first row of innocent bystanders as he slipped in his tuxedo shoes and went flying across the dance floor.  "Safe at home!" yelled the MC.  But alas, no garter belt was to be won that day.  Our friend Jesse inadvertently picks up the garter belt that slipped through the cracks of the sweaty groomsmen and tries handing it to Trevor.  The MC intercepts him and says "No, no you can't give it away....what's your name?"  Jesse unwillingly says "Trevor."  His friends are constantly berating him for picking it up.

On the plus side, that's the last time I have to sit in the chair and have a guy put a garter belt on my leg. For the record I will be opting out of that option for our wedding. But I would also like to start the tradition of throwing something for all the married ladies.  Why should single ladies have all the fun?  

We get back from the wedding and our good friend from Santa Barbara, affectionately referred to as our third wheel, Kevin is visiting us in Montana and has already made himself at home in our studio cabin in the woods.  The next day Trevor's sister and brother-in-law come for a visit.  Overcrowded in the canyon, we decide to take up an offer from one of Trevor's professors to use his cabin in the woods.

On the drive out to the cabin we stop by Norris Hot Springs, a natural geothermal pool about 40 minutes south of Bozeman.  Trevor intended to propose here, but after arriving decided it wasn't the right setting...too many people.

Maybe if this lady wasn't there staring him down he would have proposed at the hot springs....

We continue on towards the cabin and stop at a grocery store that had a walk-in refrigerator full of beer.  Maybe that's what got him back into marriage mode again:

Kevin joining Trevor in the beer cave

Out in the parking lot we found this car with the license plate reading "Mooman."  The car is full of puppies that look really disgustingly thilthy (a word I made up for when 'filthy' just doesn't cut it).  Their owner wasn't that much more pleasant.  When she saw us looking at her pups she said "They only look like they think they've been abused."   To which Kevin said, "What?!"

Back on the road to the cabin....

We missed the turn and drove maybe 5 miles too far, but we came upon this lake with all these trees dead in the water.  The lake is called Earthquake lake and back in 1959 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake created a landslide and dammed up the river.  And the next day the river said "I'll be dammed!"

We saw a bald eagle perched on one of the trees and found this rotting carcus nearby:

It was a good stop.  Trevor and I at Earthquake lake:

Trevor knows he is going to propose.  I do not.
 We retrace our steps back up the highway and eventually find the turn we need: Three Dollar Bridge. Right after I took this photo of Three Dollar Bridge, I found three $1 bills that one of us must have tucked up in the sun visor of the car at some point in the past. Coincidence? I think not.

Just a sign that that we were headed in the right direction.

Then we arrived at the cabin 40 miles south of Ennis, MT:

We watched the impending storm come in:

We played with some dead bones and antlers and big bugs:

At this point Trevor has decided he is going to propose here.  He tries to get me alone.  "Hey Julie let's go check out what's over here?!"  But everyone else follows as well....

Then Trevor says "Hey Julie, come over here and check out this birdhouse!"  But the birdhouse is out in the field and at this point it's starting to lightning so I start hooting and hollering at him to "get the heck over here before you freakin kill yourself!"

Then we are out on the deck taking pictures of lightning:

But the lightning is starting to get close and the wind is starting to pick up so we all go inside.  Once inside Trevor says "Hey want to go take a few more pictures of lightning?"  I say "Yea! let's go."

Back on the deck Trevor starts complaining about his gnarly in-grown toenail that has been pestering him for weeks and says "look you gotta see it" or something like that and by the time I turn around he's down on his knee.  For a second I am looking past the ring to try to check out what puss or blisters he's got coming out of his nasty toes, and alas obstructing my view is a shiny sparkly engagement ring that I've been hiding for months that I had no idea he even knew I had!  Skip the mushy gushy stuff, "Yes, I'll marry you, now tell me how the heck you got that ring!!!!!"

Seconds later, in pure third wheel fashion, Kevin appropriately walks out the front door of the cabin.  He looks at us like a deer in the headlights and immediately fumbles to get back inside like "Uhhh sorry, sorry, did I just interrupt something?..."  Kevin has now achieved the highest honor of any third wheel...

Complimentary "Engagement Photoshoot:"

Did you hear about that PhD student who went to Montana?  He is outstanding in his field.

This is how I always envisioned it.

If it weren't for Kevin, we might have all fit comfortably in the Bear Canyon cabin and might never have made it out here.

Engagement photo failures:


missed the jump

sounded good at the time...


1, 2, 3 run? or jump?

And thanks to Al for the memes

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Over the Verizon

When Trevor and I first signed up to live in the bare bear canyon cabin, our main concern wasn't the bears or the mountain lions.  We were mostly concerned with the internet connection.  For a couple who only brought 1 spoon, 1 fork, 1 plate, 1 bowl, no bed, no chairs, and no table... we sure did bring a lot of electronic devices: 1 desktop computer, 3 laptops, 1 Ipad, 1 nook, 1 kindle, and 2 ol' reliable iphones.    We have no babies.  All our investments go to gadgets.  Internet is our lifeline.  Unfortunately the one drawback to living in the middle of no where is that the cable and internet company services don't go reach outside the city limits here.  Any other house, this might have been a deal breaker.  But we could live internet free for 3 months, right?  ....No way.

Before signing the lease we stopped by Verizon Wireless to see if a portable wifi device would work up in the canyon.  This is interaction # 1 with "Verizon girl."  Because we were only really going to need this wifi device for a couple months we opted to do the pre-paid month-to-month plan.  We get the gadget home.  It works for a few days ....then it breaks.

We go back to Verizon Wireless... interaction #2 with "Verizon girl."  We tell her the device isn't working anymore.  She suggests we already used up our monthly stipend.  No way.  She asks if we got it wet.  No way.  After 45 minutes of waiting on hold on the phone with Verizon Wireless customer service while in the store and a whole 2.5 hours later with no solution....we leave... with our money back.

After doing additional online research we decide to go back to Verizon but opt for the 2 year agreement since Verizon tends to reserve their piece of crap devices for their pre-paid plans and then fails to support them when they don't function properly.

We decide to go back and sign up for the plan and get the newest device.  Interaction #3 with Verizon girl.  After a long chat of debating which one of the newer devices we should get, Verizon girl comes back with the old device (which we have previously returned for mechanical error) and exclaims, "Alright guys I'm gonna make this real easy for you!  This is the only wifi hotpsot we have in stock, so you dont even have to choose!"

What part of  "I don't want that piece of crap again" didn't you understand!?  We spent nearly another hour with this girl who's trying to convince us that this gadget is the same as the newer gadget.   Another sales rep comes up to us when Verizon girl was in the back and said that they have in fact have an increased rate of problems with this old crappy model.  Verizon girls comes back and we tell her no way. We order the new model and have it shipped to us.  Please lord do not let me have to talk to this Verizon girl again~!

That was Monday.  On Thursday is Music on Main street, when the town shuts down the Main street to vehicular traffic and sets up a stage in the middle of the intersection and has a band play for a few hours while everyone is drinking in the streets. It's awesome.  Except this one particular night, I turn around and ...damn.. there's that damn Verizon girl again.  I spot her and quickly turn away.  I really don't want to talk to her.  Verizon girl uccessfully avoided.

The very next day , Trevor and I meet up with some friends at the Filling Station, an old gas station converted into a dive bar and popular music venue.  We get in, settle next to some slot machines in the back (side note: lots of places have slot machines/gambling to help pay for their liquor licenses).  Anyway we are cozying up in this bar and I turn around and damnit there is that friggin Verizon girl again!!!!!  Two days in a row!

I am thinking "I cannot wait to blog about this!"  Ridiculous.

Luckily I held off because this past weekend, I went "floating" with a group of 10 people.  We get off to a late start.  We didn't get into the water around 5pm and the storm clouds were starting to roll in. We decided to try it anyway.  We drop one car off at the end of the river and then we all pile into a friend's minivan and drive up to the strat of the river.  We have 10 people and 10 tubes plus a tube for the cooler of beer.  Last time, we had to individually blow up the floats and it was pretty light headed start to the trip.  This time I made sure to bring my electric pump that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter.  One problem....  we get to the start of the river, go to blow up the tubes, and the cigarette lighter oultet doesn't work!  There aren't very many people left in the parking lot as it is late in the day on a Sunday and there's a storm approaching.  But our one friend goes around to the only other group of people in the parking lot.  He comes back to our group and says he found a girl who said we can use her car lighter to blow up our tubes.  I help him carry some of the tubes over and can you guess who the car belongs to?!

Yes, IT'S THE DAMN VERIZON GIRL AGAIN!  There are some major drawbacks to living in a small town...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicks and Cougars

There has been a couple week long string of mountain lion sightings in bear canyon.  First there was a pair sited on the road down by the school about 0.5 mile away.  Then they were spotted in the backyard of the next door neighbors house one morning.  Then again in our backyard a few days later.  Always two of them.

Then one night in the midst of these wild animal sightings I fall ill to what can only have been the coxackie virus (which I believe I got from my landlord and proceeded to pass on to her kitds).  I was up all night sneezing, and blowing my nose and got maybe 2 hours of legitimate sleep.  From 4am onward, I was wide awake.  Around 6am my neighbor starts his deisal engine truck and rives off to work.  The cows start their monring mooing in their usual fashion.  The sun is starting to come up.  The chickens are starting their clucking.  Everytime a car starts, or a cow moos, or a chicken clucks, I get up and peek out the window to see if it is a mountain lion.  It never is.

I start falling back alseep when I hear a chicken clucking wildly and more crazily until it sounds like a duck.  It sounds like the chicken is moving pretty fast and I listen fro some big cat paws chasing it, but it sounds like just a chicken.  I decide to stay in bed this time.  Then I think, "just get up and double check."  And when I peer out the window there is a grown mountain lion in my driveway with the landlord's chicken in his mouth."

I scream in my loudest whisper for Trevor to get up and out of bed 'cause there's a mountain lion outside!  I text my landlord that the coudag ate her chicken as it is hanging out of the mountain lion's jaws seemingly lifeless.  Landlord says she still can see two on her side of the house, so there must be three out there.  Mountain lion runs off down the driveway with Lightning McQueen (the landlord's 4 year old son's second favorite chicken).  It stops behind a stack of wood an peers back at us without the chicken in it's mouth.  I yell something at it and it runs off. 

Two minutes later the landlord's husband is in truck roaring down the driveway presumably with a shot gun in tow to go lion hunting. No luck.  But supsrisingly, ol' lucky Lightning McQueen comes prancing up the driveway healthy and happy as ever.  Guess the mountain lion wasn't in the mood for chicken for breakfast.

Later in the day Lightning McQueen was attacked by a dog.  Must've still had the kitty scent on him.

Just another Montana morning.

Here are some pictures from recent hikes:

Bear Canyon hike

butterfly in flight


beaver dam

chipmunk rock

Pioneer Falls hike:

Ted Turner's ranch


dog in the river

hard to tell in the photo but ther is a herd of about 60-100 elk off to the left of the road

There he is.  Mr. bear

In the Bridger mountains towards the northeast side of Bozeman is a larg white "M" made out of rocks that you can hike up to.  Views from the "M: trail:

crazy caterpillar

Different day, same trail

And then there's the Beehive basin trail.  This one might just take the cake....

where did that storm come from?