Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Movin' on up to the east side

by Robison Wells

It’s not unusual for me to dream about my mission. Usually, these dreams consist of me (with kids and a wife and a job) getting a phone call from the Church Office Building: they’ve made some kind of accounting error, and it turns out I went home three months early! So now I have to go back and finish up. It sounds like the plot for the next Halestorm movie. (Starring Kirby Heyborne as my conscience. He carries a banjo.)

In real life, however, I’m getting a similar call: after many years, it’s time to go back to school. This August I’ll be starting BYU’s MBA program, learning about how the good flat world has a great long tail (or whatever). In conjunction with this, I’ll be moving out of scenic West Jordan (motto: “We may not have paved roads, but at least we don’t have any Democrats!”) and down to Wymount, BYU’s married housing. The location change isn’t that big of a deal, really. I hate living in West Jordan—I understand that the people are nice and all, but seriously: it could sink into the ocean for all I care. (In my ideal version of the Salt Lake Valley, everything south of 45th and west of Redwood would vaporize. All the rest is just an endless waste of subdivisions and supermarkets.) (This will be a major tenet of my campaign platform when I run for governor.)

But my point is not that I hate the suburbs, with their Wal-Marts and their stylistically depraved architecture. No, my point is that, despite my hate, I’d rather stay right here than have to move. Man, moving sucks.

Here’s one major problem: my apartment right now is a spacious 1400 square feet delight, and my BYU apartment is just a shade over 700. For those of you who aren’t math majors, that means that the floor my new apartment has approximately the same dimensions as a Ritz cracker. I assume we’re going to have to sleep standing up.

Because of this size restriction, I want to get rid of stuff. My wife claims to be in agreement, but every time she comes home from her mother’s house, she brings more and more overflowing boxes and bags. (When we moved my mother-in-law from her house to an apartment, all of us relatives contemplated taking a few of the MANY truckloads of stuff to goodwill, and see if she ever noticed.) (We didn’t do that, of course, but if we ever have to move her again, I’ll just burn down her current place and buy her all new furniture—to be delivered by the store.)

Anyway, we’re moving, and I keep trying to think of what we can toss. In our seven years of marriage, we’ve lived in seven apartments (because we don’t pay the rent) and we’ve had our share of annoying moves. We once had to carry a piano up three flights of stairs (and, of course, we later had to carry it down). We once had to literally fold our mattress and box spring in half to get them through a tight curve in a narrow stairwell. If you’re asking “how can you do that without severely damaging the structural integrity of the box spring?” the answer is “You can’t, genius. You thought taking a saw to your box spring was a good idea? You’ll be buying another one of these soon.”

And our new apartment is missing two important items: a dishwasher (except for my wife—har!) and an air conditioner. Now, you already know my feelings about heat. Spending the better part of the summer in an apartment/sauna is not my idea of fun—and I’ve already told you that going outside is not an option. Curse you, Heat Miser! Curse you!

Still, in spite of it all, it’ll be nice to get down there. When the purifying rains of brimstone and damnation fall upon West Jordan, I’ll be safely holed up on church property. I’m pretty sure BYU students get, like, free passes to survive the apocalypse.


At 5/15/2007 3:05 PM, Blogger Josi said...

I think James Dashner lives in West Jourdan--so what are you saying? Have you see the window mounted air conditioners? Not swamp coolers, actual air conditioners. That might be helpful. Good luck. Don't call me to help you move though, okay? I won't come.

At 5/15/2007 3:15 PM, Anonymous rob wells said...

Yeah, we're looking at buying one of those window things. I can't imagine spending the whole summer there without one.

As for James, getting out of his stake is yet another benefit of moving. :)

At 5/15/2007 4:26 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Gotta love you, Rob! I relate perfectly to heat and burning brimstone, with the Rim on fire above me.

Seriously, if anyone is concerned about my wildland fire danger, check for updates on my blog, Writer in the Pines.

At 5/15/2007 4:44 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Moving sucks, but this is just horrid! Oy. Hope you and your sweet wife survive the Ritz Cracker life without melting from the heat or feeling like you've lived in a garbage compactor. Just breathe deeply (if there's room) and keep repeating the words, "It'll all be worth it. It'll all be worth it."

At 5/15/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger James Dashner said...


At 5/15/2007 5:17 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Just keep repeating--When in Doubt, Throw it Out.

At 5/15/2007 5:21 PM, Anonymous rob wells said...

Evil HR: I have no trouble throwing stuff away. It's my wife who thinks everything we own has sentimental attachments. Crazy women...

(If you're reading this, honey, I'm joking! Ha ha! I'll go sleep on the couch.)

At 5/15/2007 5:21 PM, Anonymous Ola Senor said...

Having spent many years in Wymount - let me pass on a few tips

1) Get a window AC unit - preferably a used one from many of the students passing by. The benefit of this is two fold - one, cheaper price; two, it will come with a stand/brace that will let the ac unit sit securely in the window, as well as possibly something to put in the window to block the hole you have created by opening the window for the ac unit (ac units are usually designed for top opening windows, not slding left right windows. Thus we had a piece of plexi secured in the gap, and then later, a screened frame with a removable piece of plexi)

2) Look for a portable dishwasher. We had a 2/3 sized unit (perfect fo a couple and the small apartment), that also added extra "counter space".

Both of the above generally float around wymount. Our dishwasher was second or third hand, and we passed it on to someone else. Same with both ac units we bought.

3) Get a storage unit - they are cheap in provo, and let you store your offseason clothing, sporting gear etc somewhere besides your apartment. I think we paid $25 a month for our 4x4 unit.

4)If you have a choice in units - pay close attention to the proximit y to the laundry. Also the view, and relation to the parking lot space.

5) Ugly brown countertops can be easily covered by shelf/contact paper and do not damage the counter tops underneath. Ours looked good, and only cost a few dollars.

Sigh - sometimes i miss wymount in the summer - beautiful trees and lawns...

At 5/15/2007 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww, and I won't know where to drop off the next case of Coke (for medicinal purposes only!)

Just as well, finding your WJ apartment was not easy!

At 5/15/2007 10:02 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

Cheer up, Rob. Wymount is actually a wonderful place to live. We spent four years there and honestly loved every minute of it.
Box fans in the windows will do just fine if you get an apartment near one of the many large shade trees. And the apartments are well planned with a ton of storage for such a small space. Best of all, you'll likely make some of the best friends of your life at Wymount. Other good news---EVERYONE living there is somewhere between poor and completely destitute, so you'll fit right in =) Best wishes.

By the way, we live in Provo and even have a trailer for loan. Call us if you need some help.

At 5/16/2007 11:24 AM, Anonymous robison wells said...

Ola Senor: Thanks for the info. We've actually already got the apartment (in 16-F somewhere), but I hadn't even thought of checking with departing students about AC and dishwashers. Thanks!

Anon: you're welcome to stop by anytime. :)

Michele: I'm sure we'll love it once we get settled. We lived in the U's housing--which is even uglier and spartan than Wymount, if you can believe that (it kinda reminded me of East Germany tenements), but we loved being there.

And I'll totally take you up on your offer. Incidentally, Annette Lyon tells me you write dirty books. :)

At 5/16/2007 2:22 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

I write real-to-life books, but that was before the Covenant editing process. Alas, I'm afraid much is gone now. I'll email you the original version if you think you're up to it.

At 5/16/2007 2:39 PM, Anonymous rob wells said...

So you can corrupt my innocent mind? Get thee behind me, Satan.

Incidentally, my current book is full of drug references, which I know will get axed. Lame. Some of them are pretty dang funny.

At 5/16/2007 4:46 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...


It's a good thing your wife isn't married to my husband. He doesn't want to to throw anything out either.

Well, he doesn't want to throw any of his stuff out, that is.

At 5/16/2007 6:03 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Rob, you start threatening Michele, and I'll be sure to blackmail you with the phobia I know you have. I learned about it recently when I dropped by Angela's house to get my edit and met her monnstrous, hideous pet. :D

At 5/16/2007 7:14 PM, Anonymous rob wells said...

I'm backing right off. My apologies to anyone I've offended. Let me know if you need cookies or a footrub or something.


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