Tour of Utah: Deseret Industries

Today’s episode of “Sites to Visit in Utah” features a retail store most of the world is not familiar with: Deseret Industries.

The next question on your mind is So, what is Deseret Industries?

D.I. Closed

Currently closed, due to COVID-19.

Started in 1938, Deseret Industries (D.I.) is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s goodwill store.

But, why would we want to visit there?

D.I. may be a place to sort through and pay for donated ‘treasures,’ but it’s also much more!

For one thing, the LDS church uses D.I. as a job training resource. Those needing skills work in receiving moccasins someone’s been walking in, sorting some Pro Wings, pricing a fur fox skin, stocking the shelves with flannel zebra jammies, and even ringing up your purchase of your grandad’s clothes.

I …am a D.I. addict. I love going there. At least, I loved going there. Once The Scary Coronamonster drew closer, I eschewed my thrift shop stops. Before that point, however, I was a regular.

Mostly, I use D.I. to feed a gnawing bibliophile appetite. Sometimes, I find signed copies.

Besides books I’m interested in, I also uncover valuable literary treasures.

1800 Books

This is one of many valuable antique books in the locked case that day.

…And, less-valuable, less-literary discoveries.

Pizza!

Yes, this is a plush pizza.

I shop for luggage, lunch bags, bicycles, fake ficus trees, antiques, Halloween costumes, VHS and DVD films, tools, furniture, toys, vases, decorations, banana split dishes, and random crap I didn’t even know I wanted.

It’s similar to what I’ve heard flea markets are like. I think.

D.I. is all over the place in Utah. I even have my favorite locations, depending on what I’m searching for. It’s not just me, either; my former sixth-grade teacher used to show up at our lunch dates (when I was older, naturally) with her latest book finds from her favorite D.I.

It sounds crazy; but if you’re in the area, you should hit one up!


For no cost to you, here’s what I donated to the internet last week:
Wednesday, May 13: A virtual tour of Capitol Reef National Park.

Thursday, May 14: “Dear Teacher,” after reminiscing on my school/home experiences.

Friday, May 15: Announced that Charles won the Weekly Hilarity Contest.

Saturday, May 16: Announced this week’s Hilarity Contest. Write a response to the quote from good ol’ Kephart.

And, another update on the Coronavirus Home Life.

Sunday, May 17: “What’s in a Name?” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, May 18: Shared a quote by Norman Cousins.

Tuesday, May 19: “Going Postal, X.”

Wednesday, May 20: Today

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Sleep, the Unattainable Dream.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens, including pictures (excluding the front image of Deseret Industries and YouTube’s video).

Going Postal, X

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” and “Going Postal, IX.”

“You know,” Stan tried to say through his mask, “This job stinks.”

Nobody in the sorting room answered, but he was certain they all felt hot and tired like he did. They must all hate waking up and going to work in the dark, even if they were sick. For sure, they hated wearing masks and gloves and having to sit through stupid lectures.

This morning, the lecture had been which last name came before a different last name.

“We all went to school, ya know!” he’d told Dave, right after.

Some of us did!” Ian had answered, loudly. Ian always spoke loudly.

If they didn’t have to wear the personal protection equipment, Ian wouldn’t have heard Stan’s comment. If jerks like Ian also didn’t tattle like a little girl, Stan wouldn’t have to wear the itchy things all the time.

A roar of engine and screech of brakes sounded, scaring him out of his thoughts. He and the four other guys in the room turned to see a familiar white pickup truck pull up outside. The truck pulled up faster than usual; Ron the wannabe mailman also parked in three spots and almost smashed the cement posts. They didn’t usually pay much attention to the old man -who would?- but Stan, Ian, Dave, and the two temps stared as the truck door popped open and someone else got out.

The new person walked like he could hear music, with his head moving, his feet sliding, and his body going from one side to the other. Stan felt nervous and scratched at his mask. He squinted to see this new guy better.

“Who’re you?” Ian practically shouted.

The music-guy came up to the table across from Ian. He put tattooed hands on top of Ian’s neat piles and leaned in. “Hey, Pal.” Stan thought he saw a glint of metal in the smile. “I’m Marty. My uncle -Ron- said I come here to pick up dah mail.” Marty looked at the letters in front of Ian, looked at the mailers in front of Stan and Dave, and looked at the piles of boxes in front of the walls.

All the guys looked at Marty. Marty reached into a pocket and Stan expected a knife or a gun. Instead, Marty pulled out an I.D. badge on a blue rope. “Got ‘is badge an’ truck. Unc- Ron‘s at dah hospital an’ I gotta do his route till he’s back.”

Dave walked closer. “Marty, huh?”

Marty slid into a standing position. He put his hands on his hips and glared. “Yeah?”

Dave stopped, then turned and walked over to the loading area. “You get your assigned mail over here. Ron’s route’s all put in this area.”

Marty music-walked to Dave. He stood close and Stan thought he saw Dave lean away. Dave’s gloved hands definitely moved, like he played an air guitar at his hips.

“So -” the Marty guy said, and leaned toward Dave, “Get ’em in dah truck.” He spun and walked his walk back to the pickup, punching a full box of coupons on the way. Even though the cardboard was double-walled, Marty’s fist made a hole and a route’s worth dumped out onto the floor.

“Right,” Dave said.

“Okay,” Stan said.

“Yessir,” Ian said.

The three ran over and fought a silent battle over the wheeled bin, glancing at the frowning Marty. Marty watched them from behind the windshield. Once they got the loaded bin to the truck, they saw Marty tapping at the steering wheel. On the last trip to fill the covered bed, Stan saw Marty cleaning his nails with a knife.

And still watching them.

Stan stood by the emptied bin. He felt silly and exposed but definitely didn’t want to turn his back on a guy with a knife.

Marty rolled down the window. “Nex’ time, I’m not gettin’ out,” he said, and spat. “You ladies got it?” Without waiting for an answer, Marty gunned the engine and peeled out of the parking lot.

Continue to “Going Postal, XI.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

What’s in a Name?

Mimi’s mum named her something, “fun, cheery; a bit totty.” To say Mimi’s actual personality fell short of that was a wee understatement. Had she been allowed an opinion, Mimi would’ve chosen a sensible moniker like Mildred.

“Mildred? Whoever’d want to be Mildred unless she thought to run a convent?” Mum would’ve said, had she still been around and not jumped before the pilot gave the all-clear at the Seniors’ Skydiving Surprise.

The Surprise was how little liability the company claimed.

What had gone through Mum’s head before passing, Mimi wondered, apart from that church spire? She’d never know.

ricardo-gomez-angel-qovsjSPm4Hg-unsplash (1)

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Don’t ask where this came from, in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week:

May 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that answers the question, What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 19, 2020. Use the comment section …to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

5/16/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

As of 12:01 a.m. this day, our severity level in most of Utah has gone down another color. Instead of red or orange, we are now at yellow. The exception to that is the areas still reporting high levels of infection: Grand County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Salt Lake City, and West Valley City.

This would explain how I saw many people out and about today. It would also explain the grocery store worker cheerily greeting me as she loaded my groceries, without mask, while her coworkers stood outside chatting. When I pulled up and called, they also did not tell me to open my trunk according to current COVID-19 guidelines and maintain appropriate social distancing from the associate that will approach my vehicle…

ani-kolleshi-vu-DaZVeny0-unsplash

The pediatric dentist was different, yesterday. They’ve been closed to patients until very recently; considering the nature of dental work, they are still being careful. We were asked to call from our car when we arrived and to enter their office wearing masks. I hadn’t brought my kids’ masks (c/o my helpful neighbor) but the assistant met us with some dental varieties and an electronic gadget to measure our temperatures. I also signed a paper that promised I had not experienced symptoms, did not intend to experience symptoms, and had not traveled anywhere that might have symptoms in the last 14 days.*

Thus began the only dentist visit in my life where everyone wore a mask up until getting his teeth cleaned and examined, a visit in which we all smiled with our eyes and tried not to get high from the fumes of rubbing alcohol.

Less-strict restrictions are good news for the right-wing types, who have been smugly getting under my skin for the past while. It’s funny, because the left-wing types were getting under my skin pre-quarantine.

Divisive

Mommy Needs Vodka shared this on TwoFacebook.

*Sigh*

Farmer-Cowmen like myself often stand around, scratching our heads at the divisiveness.

Hopefully some other cause will come along to distract them all from imminent death by asphyxiation, like the presidential election or …goats invading a neighborhood.

Now, that’s breaking news!

Honestly, we’ve been very fortunate in how Coronavirus has affected Utahns. As might be expected, those who’ve still had to work the service jobs and those who’ve lived a long time and those who’ve increased their risk due to preexisting conditions have been affected the worst.

As to those fortunate enough to be young and fortunate enough to be able to stay home, the reaction’s becoming Old News. To some, it’s becoming a joke. Impatience is setting in; some question or demand when they may return to Disneyland, Europe, or to eating samples at Costco.

For me, day-to-day life has been like a typical summer vacation -without a planned family road trip or excursions to pools or splash pads. In some ways, I’ve felt odd writing about Home Life. I’ve thought to start my report with Well, the boys didn’t want to wear clothes …again. Then, the water heater broke …again. Then, I did dishes laundry weeding dusting toilet-unclogging etc. …again.

I hope good news is the same for all of you and that it stays that way. Keep waiting; keep washing; keep masking. It’ll get better …again.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

*I exaggerated a bit. They wanted to know if I’d traveled outside the state in the last 14 days.

 

Photo Credits: Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

The Weekly Hilarity Contest 5/16 – 5/22/2020

Welcome to the Weekly Hilarity Contest!

Charli Mills, of the free writing community Carrot Ranch, has been posting three-sentence story prompts on the Ranch’s Facebook page using Story Cubes. This last Friday, she used Story Sticks. I have something like that, I thought, recalling a writing prompts book I picked up on discount.

…Hours later, I emerged from my library without the book but with a new idea: a random sentence from an interesting (seemingly random) book from my collection.

20200516_082627

Horace Kephart (1862-1931) is the survivalist savvy of Robinson Crusoe, the precise details of an Aspie, and the tact of Donald Trump (or, closer to his time, Andrew Jackson).

Your writing prompt?

  • “…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.”
  • Use it or be inspired by it to write a funny SHORT story.
  • Please keep your response to 200 words or fewer.
  • Remember: make me laugh. I can’t see how you’d go this route, but please also keep things clean.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 22) to enter.

Use the form below if you want. For a more social experience, include your entry or a link to it in the comments. Please let me know if your pingback or entry do not show up within a day.

Put on your laughing cap and get writing!

20200516_083157

Photo credits: ©2020 Chelsea Owens

Book quote and section original ©1906 by Horace Kephart

WINNER of the Weekly Hilarity Contest 5/15/2020

This week’s assignment was to caption the following photo:

Outlets

Who came up with the funniest idea?

“As a Christmas gimmick the chorus of the constipated electrical outlets did not bring many customers to the hardware store…”
masercot

Congratulations, Charlescot! You made me laugh the most, and are therefore the funniest writer of the week!

I’ll admit: I laughed at almost all of the captions you all came up with. As a judge of winner, however, Charles’ made me laugh out loud! I found others’ puns and wordplays fun and clever; I think the winner simply struck me in just the right funny bone.

If you want a good laugh or several, read the rest:

“Plug me until I bleed gold baby!”
Nitin Lalit

—–

“Socket to me, socket to me, socket to me”
Di @ pensitivity101

—–

“Though they kept a ‘side-eye’ on him they could never really tell if Harold was simply singing or trying to poop his pants.”
Tom Darby

—–

“After three days on the shelf at Walmart, the plugs were scarred for life.”
Trent, with altered photo, here.

—–

“Oh. You don’t get it? Well you’re clearly not plugged in.”
Dumbestblogger

—–

“Exclusive! Thomas the Tank’s 3d face replacement scandal. Left the world doubting Santa.”
Ellen

—–

“Anyone have a light” ?
rts – Facing the Challenges of Mental Health

—–

“Hey, stock boy, where are OUR masks.”
Doug Jacquier

—–

“Are you trying to turn me on? You’re going to have to do better than that because we’re more than pretty faces.”
Pete Springer

—–

“Only a few feathers short of a Hopi mask”
Jon

—–

“Come on, guys, concentrate! Harness the force and break free of these shackles!”
Ian Kay

—–

“Hey Joe, who’s the new neighbour?”
“Old flat face here? No price tag see, ain’t no one taking him to the checkout any time soon.”
Ian Kay

—–

“Hey, this guy says he’s ‘Tamper Resistant’.”
“Not judging by his expression, he ain’t.”
Ian Kay

—–

“This year’s emoji pose contest featured last year’s losers vainly trying to break the internet.”
Denny K

—–

When George Conduit accidentally electrocuted himself while trying to fix a malfunctioning depilator for Norma Primate, his overly hirsute podiatrist, he didn’t enter the Hereafter with any particular expectations. As a practicing Nano-Buddhist, he wondered if the stories of reincarnation were true and speculated, without pinning too much hope on it, that maybe an upgrade to something, if not royal then at least statesmanlike might suit him.
The initial segregation of that day’s deceased into religions took place quite quickly due, he later heard to a previous unseemly debate on the merits of purgatory as an alternative to soul based exfoliation as advocated by Polynesian Micro-Daubists. After that, to his slight surprise there was a sub-segregation into modes of demise. He managed to catch a quick word with a harassed looking official, better to understand the reasoning.
‘It’s all about Fate and Choice. We did a survey last year and found most Buddhists were happy if they got there first choice of reincarnation but if that wasn’t available they struggled with how to choose an alternative. We piloted a few schemes and found that if people accepted their Fate, which 90% did, they were happy with their demise and options based around that.’
‘How does that work?’
‘Well, dying in hospital, and reincarnation in a caring environment makes sense. A car accident and maybe you’ll see an opportunity in garage work or a motor dealership perhaps.’
‘What about…?’ But George was waved quiet and told to wait for the counsellor.
Time oozes rather than passes in the Hereafter and so George watched the minutes multiply and disperse like a slow firework.
‘Mr. Conduit?’
The speaker shimmered but that was the only way he or she – that wasn’t clear either – differed from your average service flunky. They wore a rather taut looking onesie which they fiddled with in a way George would once have found distracting but now seemed just part of the backdrop to his new existence.
‘Right well, I’ll get straight to it. As a Nano-Buddhist and given the surge in demises your options have narrowed somewhat.’
‘Yes?’
‘And given you acceptance that small is best…’
‘That’s what Nanoists believe…’
‘…you have three choices….’
George waited. The speaker stared at their clipboard, essayed what might have been a frown but could have been some involuntary facial origami and fiddled with their earpiece. They spoke into their lapel. ‘Yes, look, can I check the options for case 2427 of 20? Conduit, yes?’
They shimmered at George. ‘Won’t be a tick. It’s… Yes? You sure? They’re all rather… you know. Inanimate.’
There was a drifting sense of space seeping away and the speaker coughed and addressed George. ‘Three choices. A ceiling light fitting which gives spectacular views and guarantees some warmth. A fusebox which puts you at the centre of the ring main. Or a three pin plug socket.’
‘They all sound okay.’
The speaker seemed surprised at George’s apparent compliance. ‘You don’t mind? Most seek something a touch more flesh and blood.’
‘Not really,’ said George. ‘It’ll be change.’
‘A change?’
‘I rather thought I’d like to be a statesman but if that’s not possible at least this way I’ll be in a position of power. The socket, I think.’
Geoff LePard

—–

“The shock and horror as their mother tries to make the sparks fly between herself and every random passerby…”
Writerinretrospect

—–

“Oh no, did you see the size of that plug!!!”
Deb Whittam

—–

“😩 Wah 😩 wah 😩 Where’s mommy?”
Ruth Scribbles

—–

“Everybody together now…ready?”
“We’re ready!”
“🎶PLUG IT IN, PLUG IT IN! 🎶”
Peregrine Arc

—–

“Apparently this is a new service from the Supermarkets. Its sockets so you can charge up your robotic limbs. But it’s expensive, they charge an arm and a leg for it.”
Gary

—–

“Oh no! Here he comes again; I can feel those shocks going through me already!”
The Bag Lady

—–

“The Plastic Heads of Electricity Island”
RawGod

—–

“One of these things is not like the others…”
RawGod

—–

Thank you all for the hilarious photo captions! Come back tomorrow morning for the next week’s prompt.

Charlie: Here’s a new badge as proof of your hilarious skills:

HilarityContestBadge

©2020 The writers, and their respective captions.

 

Dear Teacher

Dear Smile Fingers,
I sleep in my bed with Blankie and not in the car turned around so I couldn’t see you until Milk Hands took me out and said hi and buh-bye and you leaned in and said I’ve gotten fat and you don’t know where my brother is oh no you don’t and bed is good but the car is gooder.

—–

Dear Mrs. Smith,
Mom made me pull out all my school clothes, she put them in a box. She said [in a Mom voice] “We aren’t going to use these, so we may as well pack them up.” Then she made me put away the stuff from my desk we got from you. You remember when we went to your house and threw candy at you? [laughs] I don’t know where to put my folders so I put them under the bed but don’t tell Mom. I miss when you read to us but not when you made me put my book away.

—–

Dear Teacher,
I only know a little about you; from the e-mails you send, the Zoom meetings I overhear, and the morning videos you share every day. I spoke to you forever ago, at carpool pickup after school, but never appreciated what you did before that time.
Most days, I can’t get my son to get off the floor if he’s determined to melt there. Yet, every day; you taught him, motivated him, got him to work, and loved him. Your stinkeye is legendary.
As I tucked my baby into bed, I remembered how you smiled and talked to him at pickup. As we folded the school clothes and sorted the school folders, I remembered the school conferences and class parties you held. You were surrounded by noise and chaos but thrived and guided so all those children also thrived.
You’re amazing -I thought you should know.
I’m not sure what to tell you, as normal keeps getting put off till later, except for, “Thank you.” Thank you for the magic you performed for every person for every day. I know you’ll get to do it again; will you stick around till the baby’s old enough?
Anyway, thank you. And sorry about the candy-throwing.

 

Written for the teachers.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Tour of Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

Utah has a LOT of national and state land. It’s a recreational paradise if you like hiking, biking, camping, skiing, fishing, feeling dry almost all the time, walking, and a bit of boating or canoeing.

I haven’t been to all of the government parks, but I have visited Capitol Reef. When I was a child, my mother used her local library and a telephone device to book us a week’s stay at a vacation home nearby. The owners had a farm and built the guesthouse as an extra way to make money. Their kids played with us and even let my brother come along on their ATV to move sprinklers.

As to the park itself: I don’t remember much. I take Utah’s scenic destinations for granted and did so to a greater degree as a child. I remember thinking, “Oh, great. More red rock. Oh, great. More big, open spaces where deer and antelope roam.”

Okay -I didn’t think those phrases exactly. I did mentally yawn over yet another hike through sagebrush and sand.

I mean, what’s so fabulous about this?

CR1

Navajo Dome, from Capitol Reef’s website.

Or this?

CR2

Looks like the Fruita Schoolhouse, also from their site.

Or this?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Okay, I stole this from Wikipedia.

…Maybe we ought to go back with our own family.

Wanderu outlines the attractions and explains the meaning of its name, below:

“Located in Utah’s south-central desert, Capitol Reef National Park is defined by the Waterpocket Fold – a unique geologic landform extending from southern Wayne all the way to northern Kane counties. Some of the park’s highlights include the Chimney Rock pillar, the Hickman Bridge arch, the towering monoliths of Cathedral Valley, and, of course, the Capitol Reef. The latter is an extremely rugged segment of the Waterpocket Fold famous for its whitish Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations.”

They also provide a live webcam and a few YouTube tours. If you go in person (by car), it’s 3 hours 39 minutes from ye olde airport to a pricey lodge near the park entrance.


 

And, here’s the writings of the Chelsea before this point:
Wednesday, May 6: An update on home life during Coronavirus.

Thursday, May 7: “Going Postal, VIII.” The plot thickens…

Friday, May 8: We toured Beehive House. You know, virtually.

And, announced that Ellen and her cheeky tits won the first Weekly Hilarity Contest.

Saturday, May 9: Announced this week’s Hilarity Contest. Think of a not-too-shocking caption.

Sunday, May 10: “Love the World” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, May 11: Shared a quote by Charli Mills.

Tuesday, May 12: “Going Postal, IX.”

Wednesday, May 13: Today

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What the Frick?” and a haiku.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Pictures ©2020 Capitol Reef National Park, and By Axcordion at English Q52 – Own work, Public Domain

Going Postal, IX

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” and “Going Postal, VIII.”

“I know you’re thinking, Ron. Out with it now.”

He didn’t look at her right off, just rocked back and forth on those big, capable feet in their big, capable shoes. His hands clasped from one hold to another behind his back.

“Ronald Richardson! Don’ you keep your back to me!” She used her I-love-you-but-you’d-better-answer-me tone, sure he could feel her scowl through his flannel shirt.

Rock. Rock. Stop. Ron’s shaggy head of white bent to stare at his toes then turned to cough in his hand. “Dunno, Carol.” He looked back at her and his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “You sure he needs to come here?”

Carol tried to stand up straighter. Standing straight hadn’t been easy since her surgery, but she managed. Still, she sighed. “Yes, Hon’. That’s what he said. That’s what we ‘greed.”

He faced the door again. “Just a few months?”

“Yes.”

“He knows?”

Yes, Ron.”

A nod.

Then, they both heard it: a car engine outside. Wheels stopping. Engine stopping. Doors opened and shut. Feet walked up the sidewalk and Carol pictured her prized daffodils and pansies to either side of the coming feet.

*Knock* *Knock*

Ron paused to cough again; he’d been at it for weeks now. Breathing out, he shuffled to the door and opened it up. There, on her clean front porch, stood a man in a suit and mask and gloves and …a hooligan. The hooligan smiled. “Uncle Ron!”

When he spoke, Carol saw that this was her sister’s daughter’s boy -why her sister hadn’t intervened when her daughter turned up with that biker years ago, Carol had never known, and now look at where it’d led…

For his part, Ron stepped forward with a hand out. “Hiya, Marty.” She heard the friendly smile in Ron’s voice. “Hey, Marty’s …

“State-assigned escort,” the man in the mask said.

*Hm-hmm* “Hello, Marty’s escort. Come on in.”

And, just like that, The Suit and The Hooligan walked into her front room. She tried a smile; tried a friendly way of greeting without shaking. Marty -little Martin who snitched an extra cookie and stuck his tongue out at her; little Martin who’d dug up her flowers and thrown them at the mailman; Martin who became Marty and whose mom had called Carol’s sister in tears so many times it was no wonder they both passed on before Carol- that Marty smiled right back at her and walked forward with his arms wide out.

“Aunt Carol! How are ya?”

She let him hug her and patted at him in return, grateful she wasn’t wearing any valuable jewelry.

Continue to “Going Postal, X.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens