Thursday, April 30, 2015
So I get home from my mission in October 2002 and my mom is helping me get a car. I'm at Bountiful Mazda basically ready to sign the paperwork on a Protege. I had wanted a single cab pickup kind of like what I had in high school (still love the Mighty Max!). My mom said I had to get a sedan for when I got married and started having kids. so we had turned away from the pickup and over to the Protege. The only problem: I didn't have a job yet. I didn't feel comfortable pulling the trigger on a car without a job. So we waited a bit. I found a Civic (ironically for sale up in Bountiful again) in the paper a few days later (right after I had found a job at Neighborhood Grant Network). 64k miles, $10k, for sale by owner. I had always loved my step-dad Kim's Civic. I took it on the weekend all the time in high school so I could fit more friends instead of just my single cab pickup. We pulled the trigger. That was November of 2002. 12 1/2 years later, I finally decided (via the influence of a persistent wife) that it was time to move on.
There is a certain pride that starts building when you cross big mileage thresholds. After 200k miles I really started feeling like I had a winner. 250k? NBD! I was still about a year away from 300k, only 286k when I sold it yesterday but I'm confident this car will still be rolling deep into 300k territory.
I have a lot of memories in that car. Basically anybody that knows me as an adult has probably taken a ride in that car. Some of the key memories include:
- Nielsen Custard Classic- I was new at KPMG in early 2008 and the team on the Mrs. Fields audit sent me out to get some Custard from Nielsen's up in Holladay. They didn't give me any cup holders or any lids. Nielsens is like on 39th south and Mrs. Fields offices were at the 6200 South office centers. It wasn't a quick drive. By the time I got back custard of like 5 different flavors had melted all over my gear shift, seats, and cupholders. It took YEARS for me to stop finding little custard stains.
-Cannon Sharpie. Cannon was probably 2-3. On a summer day I was working in the garage and he was playing in the car (windows open). I kept peeking at him and I could only see his head. I kept thinking "He's having fun down on the floor or something!". He had found a Sharpie in my glove box and was drawing all over the seats, steering wheel, armrests, everything. I scrubbed off what I could on the steering wheel but the marker on the seats just had to wear off over time. On the backseat just last week as I cleaned it up for sale I could still see a couple sharpie marks.
-Bend Adventure. Against Rachel's wishes I wanted to drive the Civic to Bend, Oregon in 2012 for my CPA training. It was about a 10 hour drive to the middle of Oregon. On the way in there was a sign that read something like "150 Miles Until Next Gas". We enjoyed our week in Bend at the training and did some fun hikes to waterfalls. On the way back toward Boise I passed a sign that said something like "200 Miles Until Next Gas". Wait, what? I must have missed a turn on one of those state roads. We were in the middle of nowhere for about 2 hours. No Cell service, no cars passing us in either direction. Lucky I had a full tank of gas :). Rachel wasn't pleased but we just ended up taking the scenic route back to Boise :).
-Tri Cities Trips. When I worked at KPMG from July-October I had to travel up to tri cities Washington basically weekly. Sometimes I'd drive and get the mileage reimbursement (if it was cheaper than a flight, which it usually was, I was allowed to do that). Those were 10-12 hour drives. I would always go to the library and get a couple books on tape since I could knock out listening to an entire book on one leg. I'd stop in Burley, Idaho and in Ontario, Oregon. I had tried everything to make the trip with just one gas/restroom stop. Basically impossible. So with 2 stops required regardless those both worked out as 2 roughly even stops along the way.
-St George Christmas Snow Adventure! Rachel and I went down with her parents to St. George after Christmas one year early in our marriage and stayed a few days. On the way home was a crazy snow storm! All types of Suburbans and other SUV's sliding off the freeway. We drove slow and steady and the Civ held up great! When I finally got to Nephi I stopped at a gas station and my wheel wells were full of snow right up to scraping against the spinning wheels as I drove.
Thousands of miles and thousands of days of commutes. To Provo, Salt Lake, Park City, back to Provo. Unreal. It's been a great car and I'm sad to see it go. On to the next adventure.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
My middle name is Andrew after one of my dad's mission companions Andrew Johnson. Well. .. .30 some-odd years later. . we have Drew Wesley Ball, primarily named after my middle name. We knew we'd call him Drew so we just named him Drew instead of the full Andrew.
James Wesley Stewart came to the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young. His name is on a pioneer monument downtown. He is an ancestor of Rachel's.
I have to admit when Rachel suggested Wesley I immediately thought of the initials "D.W." I thought "Why does that sound familiar?". Oh yeah, because of DW Drums! My personal drumkit is a Pearl but I have always liked DW and I have a DW double bass pedal. I got on board with the pioneer/family name and advised Rachel that I might end up calling him DW. (DW stands for Drum Workshop by the way). Maybe he will become a drummer.
Baby B's name story follows a different road. Cash Kimball Ball. Cash for a first name has no real backstory other than it just felt right. It was the first name Rachel and I really agreed on and we agreed on it right away when we first discussed it. When you are naming two you run through a million names. My personal top 2 were #1- Bo-Jackson (yes, a 2 name first name! since the Royals finally made the World Series this year I told Rachel it was fate and we had to go with Bo Jackson! She still denied.) and 2- Jalen (some say it's a girls name but I liked the sound of it and the only Jalen I knew in existence anyway was former basketball player Jalen Rose (so. . . a guy)). Rachel loved Mason. I offered up Mason for #2 to be named either of those options and she wouldn't take it. We needed to find names we both liked. We got down to a final 4: Cash, Drew, Jace, and Jensen. Interestingly enough, we settled on Cash for "Baby B" pretty quick. Like I said it just felt right so there must be something for this kid's name. We had Cash decided at least a month ago and really the name up in the air was for "Baby A" and wasn't decided from the other 3 finalist names until we looked at him this morning after he arrived.
Kimball is named after my step dad Kimball Barrow. That was the first and only name locked from the beginning was that one would have a middle name of Kimball. He was a great influence for me personally during my teen years. I always told Rachel the one thing I regretted about waiting so long to get pregnant with Cannon was that he passed away before he could see him (obviously can't know that at the time). Our kids have other great Grandparents but Rachel and I knew he would've been a great grandpa as well.
|Drew Wesley Ball|
|Cash Kimball Ball|
These guys came rapid fire this morning. Rachel's water broke around 5:45 AM. We left to the hospital and got there around 6:15. She kept telling me to drive faster because she felt like she needed to push. Well, when we arrived there was really no time for anything and next thing I know she is pushing and Baby A (Drew) is out (about 6:35)! No time for an epidural either! They started setting her up for a C-Section since Baby B (Cash) was breach. While they were prepping her for the C-Section her water broke again! No time again for anything and next thing we know Baby B just makes his way on out breach and all! No problems luckily on either delivery and quick as can be. Both boys are hanging out in the NICU for a bit (the breathing machine on Cash for a bit to help his lungs but he's doing solid) mostly precautionary since they are a bit early.
Crazy day for sure! October 21st has changed from just another random day on the calendar to an important day in our household forever.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It was worth my time to write a quick post on The Zone because that is the station that got me into sports/talk radio. I had heard of KFAN in high school but still pretty much listened only to music. Now I pretty much listen to only talk radio (not always sports but rarely music in the car/at work, only background when I'm doing chores or something). Soon after the mission I somehow heard there was a new sports station called 1280 The Sports Zone. I tuned in and immediately had it as my #1 preset. Ryan Hatch was the host I remember listening to the most. I liked listening to him but noticed he said "1280 The Sports Zone" pretty much every sentence. DJ & PK in the mornings, Hatch mid-day (and a spat of E-Ray and Scotty G on "the average Joe's show", this is back when Scott Gerrard was still low on the radio totem pole) and Bolerjack and Monson in the evenings. I pretty much never changed the station as back in the early/mid '00's 1320 pretty much sucked. They had "Man Made Mornings" with Alan Handy (the dude that now does the little fan-promo games at Jazz games), Ron Boone, and somebody else. They had a good thing going with Ian Fitzsimmons for a bit but it was short lived. Anyway, I was hooked on the Zone for sure. I learned today from David Locke's podcast that Boler and Monson started 1280 which I didn't know but think is pretty cool. Definitely cool that Monson saw it through to the end.
Shortly after I started listening they brought on Alema Harrington and started the Red & Blue Show with Pace Mannion and Alema's infamous "50/50" chance announcement prior to the 2004 BYU/Utah game when everyone knew going in we were going to get trounced (I don't remember the score but we definitely got our butts kicked as that was obviously the Fiesta Bowl Utes team).
Somewhere around that time I remember Jake Scott being the intern dude that would give the updates "every 20 minutes" and they also switched over from "1280 The Sports Zone" to just "1280 The Zone".
It sucked when Boler left but Kevin Graham was a pretty solid replacement. I didn't know he had helped Locke start 1320 originally that was another nugget today from Locke. Pretty cool history for sports radio in the state.
It's interesting to think that when the Jazz decided to get serious about getting their flagship station back up in the ratings they basically just raided The Zone for their talent and brought them over. I guess that's why I like all those guys (DJ, PK, Alema, Gerrard, Boler) because I first heard them on The Zone. I liked the new hosts as well, especially Jon and Hans (and later Hans and OC) and still Monson during drive time. I loved switching over to the other station once one hit commercials and picking right up in their conversations.
All afternoon Jake and Monson were taking calls from callers giving their farewells and expressing their appreciation. I was pretty surprised actually some of the callers were quite intense giving up info about about how listening to The Zone helped them through some pretty serious situations (drug addictions, deaths in the family, etc.). I kind of wished I had called in. My main memory of The Zone is listening every day on my long drives from West Jordan down to Provo during the BYU years. It definitely made the drives easier listening to Jazz, BYU, & Utah talk from local guys, and after all the years of buildup you definitely feel like you know them having heard their famous lines and slip-ups (like Monson's "Where are you right now?" interview). Even now I prefer local over national for sure even if it can be argued that the national guys are better "talent". Sounds like most of the guys will land on their feet and change is part of life but fun to think about the impact something like a radio station can have. Not many things impact your life every day but I can definitely say I've listened to 1320/1280 on a near daily basis for 10 years now so it's obviously made an impact on me too.
Friday, May 18, 2012
First Time/Long Time (does it count in emails like it does on radio?) I want to defend (in an admittedly homerish way) the Jazz's "We can build on this" season. The Jazz organization is a winning organization and therefore chose to try to win and make the playoffs rather than lose and get their pick. Even in the hindsight of an eviscerating sweep to the Spurs (hopefully they are the eventual champs so we can say "hey, we lost to the champs"), I still applaud the move and think it's good for the long-term growth of the team. We're talking about a team that was starting Demarre Carrol down the stretch after injuries to 3 wing players (not that Bell, Miles, or Howard were necessarily upgrades). Ty Corbin has barely coached a full season's worth of basketball with no real training camp and the same can be said for Devin Harris and Derek Favors in Jazz uniforms. No shame in getting outcoached by the best active coach in basketball and no shame in losing, even badly, to the best team in the NBA. Bottom line: winning teams have winning attitudes; losing teams are the Warriors- and if karma is real the lottery will drop them to the 8th pick giving the Jazz back a pick in this draft anyway.
Salt Lake City
Sunday, January 8, 2012
What did 2011 hold for me? It feels like it went by too fast. Every year goes faster which must mean I’m getting old. I’ll probably skip over the part that in 2011 I entered my 30’s. . . what happened to my 20’s?
The winter of 2011 Jan-March was truly the “winter of Brandon”. I went to more Jazz games last season and went snowboarding more than ever before. Indirectly all of it was due to working at Backcountry. The snowboarding was more “directly” related to working there as I was able to visit multiple ski resorts for free. I hit the Canyons a few times and they have really expanded their resort since my previous visits in high school. The bubble lift is pretty sweet. Nothing like sitting on a heated lift with a windshield as you head up the mountain. The Jazz games were two-fold: 1) getting tickets through Backcountry either as a client of KPMG or through the company’s tickets, which of course was awesome; and 2) friends inviting me to games because they knew I was available to go, unlike in previous years where they knew the answer would be “sorry I’m working late, again”. So pretty much my move to Backcountry worked out pretty sweet in the “perks” department early 2011.
The downer that occurred in that stretch was that Jerry Sloan abruptly retired (already covered in previuos post) and DWill was traded all within a couple weeks in early February. I did get to see 2 of the last 3 Jerry Sloan coached games so that was pretty great, even though both were losses. Funny thing is, the night of that last game versus the Bulls, my buddies and I played ball down in Lehi. At the Maverik after, Thurl Bailey walks in on his way home from his Jazz coverage. We chatted with him for a while and he told us Sloan would be stepping down the next day. All of us, “Nah!” I will never doubt Big T again! :)
Early May I had to head down to Costa Rica for work. It was kind of weird being in another country. I found myself a little in fear that if something happened to me I now had a wife and children back home. Much different feeling than when I was on the mission. All in all Costa Rica was fun to speak in Spanish and be back in the Latin culture again but all I really did was work all week so we didn’t do anything special besides eat a lot, which is what I usually do anyway.
Two weeks later I got news I needed to head to Little Rock, Arkansas for work. We flew into Memphis and drove down to Little Rock. I crossed the Mississippi River for the first time. It was much bigger than I had envisioned. Pretty majestic to cross. Little Rock had a small time feel that I really enjoyed. The Clinton Presidential Library was also pretty impressive. I didn’t know that all Presidents had Libraries. You could spend a few days at least in any given Library since so much history happened during any President’s term. Clinton’s was pretty fun since it was right during my growing up years of the ‘90s.
In June the travel continued. For my CPA training I went to Bar Harbor, Maine, but in a round about way. We took the red-eye from SLC to Vegas, then to JFK in New York, then to Boston. From Boston we drove up to Bar Harbor. Maine is beautiful, Acadia National Park was fabulous and the little Harbor town I did my conference in was fun. The only unusual thing was my boss decided to book us a Bread & Breakfast instead of a normal hotel. It was nice and cozy but we felt a little weird checking in. The owner of the B&B is a CPA so he liked that we picked his B&B for our conference stay.
On the final day in Boston after the week in I got to tour Fenway Park. It was pretty cool to tour such an old park with all the history of the Red Sox. The scene in “Moneyball” where Billy Beane gets the Red Sox GM offer was pretty cool to me because I knew I was sitting right there in that press box just a couple months earlier.
From Boston I got home to SLC, only to fly the next morning to Vegas to meet up with my family who were already driving to Disneyland! Coast to coast in 2 days! We enjoyed a 4-day Disneyland vacation. Cannon was so good and loved all of the rides; well, except one. He kept asking every day to ride the Tower of Terror. He would grab a map as soon as we entered the park and point to Tower of Terror and say “I want to ride THAT one!”. Finally on the last day I decided he needed to get what he wished for. He knew as soon as we went into the little prep room it was a bad idea. But we had waited an hour to ride and I wasn’t letting him out of it that easy. Needless to say he cried pretty hard. His grandma Christine rode with us and she took a picture of him as soon as the ride was over, pure tears. I overheard people whispering “He is too young for that dad to take on this ride” so I announced to our crowd that he had been begging all week for his punishment of a ride. (I’m writing this from another Disneyland trip this week here in January. Cannon specifically said right away he did NOT want to ride Tower of Terror this time).
In August Rachel and I ran a pretty sweet “Rivalry Relay” with some of our neighborhood friends. It was a relay race from the U down to BYU. It took all day but we did pretty good I think. It was husbands against wives. The wives had around a ½ hour head start but we caught up with them by leg 5 (around Little Cottonwood Canyon) and never looked back. I ran the opening leg, a middle leg, and our final leg. I ran the opening leg as hard as I could. I honestly thought before the race I would have to run the final leg as hard as I could as well, figuring we’d be neck and neck with the wives. I took my sweet time on the final leg since we had such a monster lead J.
September. I turned 30. Rachel threw me a surprise birthday party. Very thoughtful of her. Once again I say to myself “What happened to my 20’s?”.
October- I make one last trip to Arkansas. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in Little Rock there is a restaurant called the Whole Hog Café that is the best barbecue I have ever had. Literally the best ribs I have ever had (and I’ve had a lot of ribs). I’m not sure I can express how impressive this place is. It is a simple restaurant in a strip mall with a modest sign. But walk in and you will immediately notice that the entire walls are lined with trophies from all the barbecue competitions they have won. The night we went there was some Corvette convention there or something because there were about 30 Corvettes in the parking lot. Pretty cool stuff. I also remember that while I was spending that second stint in Arkansas I read on twitter that Steve Jobs passed away. So I was riding in a rental car (as a passenger not a driver :) ) when I found out Steve Jobs had died. I feel like that is one of the big events of 2011 and commented on it when it happened.
November- Thanksgiving at my mom’s the Sunday before, at Rachel’s mom’s on Thanksgiving day. I would like to make a permanent note that I had multiple TD’s in the Turkey Bowl that day which is the most important thing after all J.
Also in November Rachel and I got to stay at the Stein Erickson Lodge at the Deer Valley Resort for a night thanks to her Dad & Stepmom Diana. We drove up in my crappy Civic into the valet-only parking lot. The bellhop tried to open my rear drivers side door to get my bags but it doesn’t open from the outside anymore so I had to open it from the inside. We had spent the night shopping for Christmas gifts at the Park City Outlets so really my whole backseat was filled with shopping bags, not bags for our overnighters. I pulled out a tiny little backpack and showed the bellhop, “This is all”. I felt really out of place with all the service and plush resort. It was fun to stay there but a funny night for Rachel and I as we realized we’re probably more comfortable at a Fairfield Inn.
It’s always amazing how fast the year flies. Time seems to pass faster, especially when you’re not paying attention. From writing my brother Casey every week I’m reminded of how it felt on the mission; you had a specific “end date” in your mind whether you wanted to admit it or not, and that end date made time pass slow in a sense. But in “normal life” you have no fixated end date, and when you’re not paying attention suddenly lots of time has passed. I do, however, feel that I’ve learned to appreciate events that happen during my time even at a relatively early age. Probably because my dad was gone so young, but I frequently sit back and think about how great my various experiences are.
December- Flies by as usual. A few Christmas parties, all great. I even through a “Ball Family Christmas Party Featuring Little Caesar’s Pizza” for the extended Ball family like Grandma and Grandpa Ball used to do. It worked out pretty well for year one of the re-launch. Hopefully we can keep it growing in the future. Santa visited our house and left Cannon a Batman Cave, Brooky a Kitchen, and Rachel some boots and a pea coat. Then right after Christmas was over we headed out on a two-week vacation to Southern California thanks to the invitation from our friends the Brewers! (and my boss :) ). So here I am, ringing in 2012 on the road in sunny California.
I frequently end meetings at work noting that whatever particular meeting that just ended was the “best meeting ever.” I say that mostly as an optimistic view of the results that will come from having the meeting. If you buy into the theory that you continually build and progress as a person and as a team/family/whatever unit, then each day at least has the potential to be the best day ever. And so will begin 2012, the best year ever. I have a great wife, 2 great kids, great job, great home, great everything. And that is the BASE, so it will build from here.
Friday, December 23, 2011
It first started last night talking to Rachel about the year I wanted a Nintendo game system. I had a Commodore 64 computer that had lots of games on it and my dad kept threatening that if Santa brought me a Nintendo I'd have to give up my computer. He also emphasized that I would only have the Nintendo with the 1 free game (Mario Bros. & Duck Hunt) or I could keep my computer and it's many games. From the perspective of an adult now I realize he was just trying to stave off the inevitable purchase of a Nintendo and the expense of the games that come with it. Shrewd move of him trying to threaten my computer games, which I loved dearly as well. I held strong in the end and kept requesting the Nintendo, hopeful that I would someday be able to secure another game or two. I honestly did have doubt waking up that morning as to whether or not a Nintendo would be waiting for me, but there it was sitting on the couch as I came out to the tree. I had already played Mario Bros. at friend's houses so many times that I pretty much immediately wanted another game. :)
Now here's where it gets fuzzy for me. I'll have to go back and check my scrapbooks because I can't remember if some of these gifts fell on the same Christmas or each were individual years, but if I rank the top Christmas's in the annals of my history, the top gifts include the Nintendo, the Sega Genesis (obviously a progression on the Nintendo, I even remember I must've been 12 on that one since it was the last Christmas in the Sandy house), the electronic racetrack, and the grand-daddy of them all, the basketball hoop. I believe I got the Nintendo or the racetrack the same Christmas as the basketball hoop, and here's why:
I had been asking for a basketball hoop for a long time but felt resigned to the fact that it was not meant to be. How could Santa even fit a huge backboard down the chimney? (Which we had at the Sandy house). I came out and opened my presents and was pretty satisfied with the haul. I had expected if a hoop had indeed been delivered from Santa's sleight it would be in a giant box with the backboard and rim. Since no box was present, it was obviously for naught. Oh well, maybe next year. As we were cleaning up the boxes and wrapping paper my dad asked me to head outside and shovel the driveway. Usually I would probably be prone to complain about such an assignment, but since I had just received a boatload of presents from Santa for being good i figured I better respond in kind. I peaked out the window to see how much snow had fallen the night before. . . sitting in the driveway, all setup in the concrete ready to play with a bow on the rim, was my brand new basketball hoop. Now that was Christmas magic!
Anybody that lived on Borg drive during those few years will remember the games on that hoop. Pretty much daily in the summertime we would play at least for a while. I don't think I have ever used a Christmas present more before or since. Cannon and Brooklyn are still too young for this year to be in the running for "Best Christmas Ever" but it's just a couple years away before Cannon enters that window where Santa will have to step up and provide a gift that will become his all-time favorite. I hope he likes basketball :)