Why My Husband Has 5 Staples In the Back of His Head: A Dating Story

We haven’t gone on a date for a while. A long while. So last Saturday, we got a babysitter, headed to the ice rink, and rented some skates.

We got about 3/4 of the way around the rink.

Ethan’s a pretty good skater. I, on the other hand, enjoy ice skating as a date activity because it gives me  cling to my date. So we started out slow (about 1-2 mph), and watched for good skaters to emulate.

After two turns, Ethan fell. And I laughed at him, because I’m a jerk sometimes, but also because it was really funny. His arms went straight out, his head went straight back, his legs went straight up, and his glasses flew straight off. It was like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. I did stop myself from laughing once I realized how hard his head had hit the ice, though. I’m not a total jerk.

Ethan stood up and we started moving slowly off the ice. About this time, I noticed there was a heavy trickle of blood coming down behind his ear and dribbling down his neck. We stopped at the first-aid station.

The girls running the ice rink were very nice, treated Ethan’s head wound, and recommended we call the paramedics to see whether he would need stitches. This we did, and the paramedics said we should go to the hospital. He wasn’t bleeding anymore, thankfully—but apparently he was going to need a lot of stitches. I think she said about 20.

A loyal alumnus, Ethan split his head open in a Y-shape. BYU fans will be disappointed to know, however, that alumni don’t actually bleed blue.

We stopped at home to clean up and told the babysitter (who was remarkably chill) we were going to the hospital. As we arrived at the ER, Ethan got a prompt on his phone from Google, asking if he’d like to add pictures of Peaks Ice Arena. We decided it might look bad on their ratings if we added a picture of his wound.

Ethan got his head numbed up, and then shot 5 times with a staple gun. (I’m sure the medical terminology is different, but it sounds better if I call it a staple gun.) And we brought home some ice cream, because we deserved it. ♦


The Sign of the Four


Last time I read a Sherlock Holmes book, I wrote a rather stunning review of it. Or at least, a reasonably adequate review of it. Okay, I actually said nothing about it, harped a bit about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s historically inaccurate take on the Mormons, and gave him two stars.

So this time, I’ve decided to make absolutely sure to actually include some things you might find while reading this book. If you head to your local library and check out a copy of The Sign of the Four, you are bound to find the following, crucial elements of a good detective novel:

  • A very fast steamship
  • A hole in the ceiling
  • Poison darts
  • Cliche stereotypes of native Indians and Black Pygmies
  • Substance abuse
  • A romantic relationship that progresses more quickly than the dating-to-marriage dynamic in a singles’ ward in the heart of Mormon Provo
  • A dog named Toby
  • Treasure
  • A mild-mannered governess, and some near-fainting spells
  • Whisky and soda
  • A man with a wooden leg (and his accomplice, named Smith)

Well, if I haven’t convinced you yet, I never will. Is this high literature? Did this novel change my life? Has it changed my perspective on world issues at large?


…but it’s fun! ♦


Lessons Learned: Freshman vs. Senior Year

Lessons learned from my freshman year of college, 2007-8:

  • Thirty dollars is all in how you spend it.
  • You can buy a lot of black beans with thirty dollars.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t let them eat your bread; once you feed them, they’ll never go away.
  • Manbrownies don’t taste as good as regular brownies, but most women still prefer them. Maybe we just like the attention. Or maybe it’s the convenience. In some cases, maybe we just like the men who make them.
  • Men’s soap is cheaper than women’s soap.
  • Men’s razors are cheaper than women’s razors.
  • Men’s pants are cheaper than women’s pants.
  • Men’s pants don’t fit me.
  • Poltergeists bring brownies. Men also bring brownies. By deductive reasoning, then, men are poltergeists.
  • The words “you did what?” usually indicate a flagrant breach in social etiquette.
  • 3-person dates aren’t really much fun.
  • 4- or 6-person dates, however, are a blast.
  • Masked men, though dashing, are seldom to be trusted.
  • Cameras are never present when you need them.
  • If your door rattles during the night, you can wedge your roommate’s shoe against it to keep it still.
  • Hillary can condense an entire truckload of junk into six square feet beneath her bed.
  • Nine blankets in wintertime are not enough.
  • You never realize God is carrying you until He puts you down and you see how far you’ve come.
  • I can go exactly three days without Matchbox Twenty.
  • Ancient Romans had a brilliant language. Don’t ever learn it.
  • Some TAs will give you extra points on an essay for knowing the names of obscure alcohols.
  • Missionaries may write their mothers, but they never tell them anything.
  • Chewing annoys me. Reading over my shoulder annoys me. Both, apparently, incites homicidal tendencies.
  • Constant movie quotes, on the other hand, are perfectly acceptable, as is hysterical laughter.
  • Jenna and I were squirrels in a former life. Phoenix-squirrels. Tshaiga, I call them. If you can pronounce the word “chmig’pa,” you might be one, too.
  • Rochelle’s hiccups are violent.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are amazing.
  • Multiple-choice religion tests are a crime.
  • I’m a freaking pansy.
  • Rhapsody in Blue relieves stress.
  • Some men just don’t know when to shut up.
  • Jackie’s nervous baking + my nervous eating = 5 lbs. gain… and somehow, a smaller pants size.
  • Some people never stop dancing.
  • Irish dancing produces man-calves.
  • Knee-length boots and man-calves don’t work well together.
  • My mother really doesn’t understand Homestar Runner.
  • Sugar burns. Spectacularly.
  • I hate cold weather.
  • If you put the peanut butter on the counter, Jackie will eat it in a day. If you put it in the cupboard, she’ll eat it in a week. If you put it on a high shelf, it might last a month, depending how long it takes for her to find it. But if it’s under your bed, she doesn’t touch it.
  • God is merciful. Were this not the case, I would have been struck down by now.
  • Lightning doesn’t strike indoors.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your parents like moving in with roommates.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your roommates like moving in with your parents.
  • The gospel is true; if it weren’t, its teenage members would have destroyed it by now. Instead, somehow they survive, thrive, and grow, as does the church. Miraculous.

Lessons learned from my senior year of college: 2012-13:

  • If you’re a good cook, you can go weeks (or months) without buying groceries. Especially if your roommates aren’t good cooks.
  • The most attractive thing to be is yourself. If your self needs work, work on it. But make sure you’re working on the parts you want to change – not the parts you think a guy would want you to change.
  • If you like someone, tell them.
  • If you want to date someone, tell them. Then ask them on a date.
  • A date is not a marriage proposal.
  • If a guy won’t call it a date, you’re not dating.
  • If you’re not dating, ad you wish you were, stop. Just stop. Go find someone else to wish you were dating. And then date him.
  • If you’re in danger of failing a class, talk to the professor. They don’t want you to fail.
  • Being on a first-name basis with your professor isn’t sucking up. It’s spending enough time to prove you want to learn the material.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are horrifying.
  • If your essays are good enough, sometimes the professor will overlook a failing grade on a multiple-choice test.
  • If you still think your answer is right, go talk to the professor. If you can prove him wrong, he might still give you points.
  • If the food is really good, it will cause dancing.
  • I’m a super wimp in cold weather.
  • When biking, slow down under bridges.
  • Cool river water will do a wonderful job of icing a broken hand. Same goes for frozen vegetables. Smoothies help, too.
  • It’s simply amazing how many things you can do with only one hand.
  • It takes a really long time to put on women’s jeans with only one hand.
  • Tying a ponytail with one hand isn’t worth the time and effort. Chop the hair off.
  • I look good with short hair. Who knew?
  • Chocolate milk makes everything better.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a boss. So was Fred Shuttlesworth, Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and Diane Nash.
  • People get mad at you if you turn off your cell phone for a day.
  • Turning off your cell phone for a day and “unplugging” is well worth the trouble.
  • Park City is beautiful,has clean air, and is about 10 degrees cooler than Provo.
  • “Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa” is quite possibly the funniest children’s book ever written.
  • Love isn’t just about romance. It’s about sticking together when things get rough.
  • If you’d rather be in the hospital with him than anywhere else without him, you might be in love.
  • If he inspires you to be better every day, he’s a keeper.
  • God will take care of those who follow Him, and those who wait on His timing.

Just Creeping.

A couple weeks ago, I started dating a guy named Ethan.

In the past several weeks, we have discovered a few things. One is that we both love peanut butter.

One is that our relationship is not contingent upon peanut butter, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cup pie, or peanut butter smoothies.

One is that we are both easily distracted by ducks.

One is that we make the  same sound effect when imitating a hippo.

But the strangest discovery is probably that, individually, we are blessed with a peculiar set of stalking skills. Combine forces, and we become a spy team of no maximum accomplishments. We first discovered this when Ethan was complaining about his eavesdropping skills getting him into trouble. “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help hearing your entire conversation, even though I was having a conversation of my own…” at which point, I suggested playing dumb, and acting like you’d only heard a snippet – because that’s what I do when I need to eavesdrop inconspicuously.

We later discovered that we remember people we really shouldn’t. He remembers the faces and full names of people whose ID cards he saw once at Taco Bell while they were paying for a taco. I once introduced myself to a neighbor as, “Oh, you’re Aine! I know you. I saw you play the bodhran in a concert in the Crabtree building three years ago in room 214.” It starts getting really awkward if either of us sees someone enter a password or a PIN, and I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to forget someone’s SSN. On top of this, our church callings could both be described as: get to know everybody in the ward, and make sure they’re taken care of. We’re semi-professional stalkers.

So, every now and again, as we’re walking across campus, we’ll cross somebody’s path. “That’s Kylie McQuarry. She was in my freshman ward. She’s really involved in the campus feminist groups.”

“Does she know you?”


I love us. 


Every game has rules. (Even Calvinball has one rule: you can’t use the same rules twice.) But I’ve found that most people have rules – written or unwritten – for life in general. For instance, I’ve encountered several people this week (guys, if you want to know) who have a general list of dating rules (for instance, a significant other must be the same age or within 3 years). Some people have food rules (e.g. they won’t eat a food that still looks like an animal). And usually, I laugh at these rules.

But lately, I’ve been noticing similar behavior in myself, and I’ve realized I’m not immune. We all have rules. I was at work the other day, complaining about my homework, when my boss told me I should take an extra hour on break and work on it. I would have to walk across campus to clock off, and I asked him if the office was still unlocked. He told me to stay on the clock. I told him to find me some work to do. I won’t be paid not to work. Apparently, that’s my rule. (Who knew?)

So here are a few of my rules, discovered quite recently:

  1. If the leaf is crunchy, step on it.
  2. If the scissors can’t cut through pants, you shouldn’t buy them. Read into it what you will.
  3. You should never go perfume shopping without a man. If you don’t have a significant other, borrow a man with a sensitive sniffer.
  4. If you ask someone on a date, you should specify that it is a date. You don’t have to make it a big deal: just make sure you either say “will you go out with me…” or “…on a date…” somewhere in there. It clarifies.
  5. Women may ask men on dates, but I personally don’t ask guys out on second dates. For some reason, I think the man should take it from there.
  6. If the guy says he has an extra ticket, he just wants to go out on Friday. If he asks you when you’d be available – and then buys the tickets – he wants to go out with you on Friday.
  7. Dating casually is fine, but if you go on more than one date with two guys who are roommates, you are begging to have darts thrown at your picture.
  8. There is always at least $500 in Free Parking. If you land on the space and there’s nothing there, you get the money anyway.
  9. If I sleep in past 9, I’m lazy. (I’ve been lazy lately, I’m afraid.)
  10. Sunshine makes you happy, and sunblock causes skin cancer. No amount of science will convince me otherwise.
  11. If a guy asks a girl’s bra size, he deserves to be slapped.
  12. If you’re funny enough, people may forgive you for being irritating.
  13. Hang up your cell phone and talk with the cashier. Even if they’re being surly, hang up the phone.
  14. If you’re going to eavesdrop, pitch in once in a while to let people know you’re eavesdropping. Unless you think it would creep them out. In which case, keep a straight face so they don’t think you’re laughing at them.
  15. If a guy holds the door for me, I thank him. If he doesn’t, that’s fine. If I reach the door first, I open the door, walk through, and then hold it behind me for the guy. (I’ve tried holding the door and letting the guy go through, and he always seems to find it awkward.) The hold-it-open-behind-you trick works for nearly any situation.
  16. If somebody’s making a mad dash for the elevator doors, sticks their foot in between to get the doors to open again, and they’re obviously losing the battle – push “door open.”
  17. Pregnant women always get to sit down. If you’re in the last seat, move.
  18. Apostrophes matter.
  19. Homestar Runner toons can only be quoted among Homestar Runner fans. Otherwise, you just end up saying weird stuff for no reason.
  20. Conversation can only be as crude as the least crude person in the room.
  21. If you have enough food to share, share.
  22. Food that is found on the floor of a classroom should be thrown away. If said food is packaged, it may be eaten, but with great care and noticeable disgust and the excuse, “What? I’m poor!” If, however, said food is packaged and is a bag of Sun Chips, it’s clearly a gift from God, and should be celebrated as such.
  23. If I’m eating food and I’m not doing a silly little dance, it’s not worth eating. Food should taste good. And good food makes me happy. and when I’m happy, I dance. I find myself humming a happy little tune and bobbing back and forth when I’m eating something even as simple as graham crackers.
  24. You cannot eat graham crackers without milk.
  25. Sooner or later, all games turn into Calvinball.

A Dating Mishap (in which I get hit in the face with a bike)

The scene opens on the beautiful Provo River. It’s a shallow, winding section of the river, with a bike trail by the side. Alex and I are biking peaceably, chatting about the scenery and the inherent evils of suburbia. An ice cream truck can be heard in the background, along with the delighted screams of children playing.

Enter Colby, my roommate. She is also on a date, looking terrified for her life on the back of a tandem bike. She doesn’t notice us as they pass by us, headed the other direction, but Alex and I laugh at her less-than thrilled expression. We will later discover that this is not because of the quality of the date, but because the tandem bike is travelling much faster than she would prefer. The ice cream truck passes again, playing its strange little tune.

We pass a deaf old woman walking an obese beagle, idly wondering if the fluffy white lap-dog running up ahead also belongs to this woman. Alex diagnoses her with diabetes, based on the swelling in her ankles. I decline to point out the size of my own ankles, which are far from delicate. We approach a bridge, and the underpass sends us quickly down a dip and around a bend. We merge, putting our bikes close to the low wall on the right, which keeps us from falling into the river, and I follow Alex through the tunnel.

Enter Paul, bicycle enthusiast and all-around speed-demon. He has never been on this trail before. Barreling down the trail toward us, Paul sports a black T-shirt, a collapsible pedal-bike, and a reckless abandon for human existence. As Paul rides under the bridge at about 20 mph, the blind spot created by the trail bend reveals a small, terrified me, moving rapidly toward my doom. Time stands still just long enough for both of us to turn handlebars – too late – and mouth the words, “Oh, no.” Paul’s left bike handlebar collides painfully with my left wrist, and the side of his head becomes acquainted with my jawbone. Chaos and pain reign supreme for a few moments.

Shortly after assessing the carnage, Paul rides off, Alex helps me put my shoe back on (which has been knocked off in all the kerfuffle), and we walk to the river. Recovering from the shock, I chill my wrist in the river while we wait for a friend to pick us up. The sound of the ice cream truck returns, sounding much less friendly.

While my friend Hillary drives me home, Alex rides my bike back to my apartment, hitches a ride back to the trail, rides his own bike home, brings me a smoothie and an ace bandage, rents a movie, and in general, saves the day. I, on the other hand, ice my wrist with some frozen fruit and sit like a lump on the couch. My left hand is broken (although we won’t know it until the following day), and I’m done with biking. ◊