Can You Sense It?

Typically when I walk into a public restroom, my mind is focused on one thing. TOUCH AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. If you think too hard about all the potential creatures living on the floor of a truck stop bathroom on I-15, you get a little lump in your throat. If you stand and stare at the shiny, silver flush lever on the urinal and everything that it has seen in its lifetime, you might start to get a little dizzy. But when you approach the sink, covered in little pools of water, a small pile of soap under the dispenser and crumpled up paper towels that are overflowing the garbage can, you just get that nice anxious feeling inside. You know,  where you want to just leap out the door and get the hell out of there.

I am not a clean freak by any means. I am not a germaphobe. In fact most people consider me to be quite liberal in my hygienic practices. But I have spent a lot of time on the road this summer which means a lot of time away from the safety of my own private bathroom. I have noticed that there is an  increase of automatic sensors in public restrooms. You know the ones that flush for you, or turn on the water for you. I suspect it is to help remedy the anxiety described above. I can just imagine the sales pitch from the representative of the top bathroom sensor company.

“You see here bud, I can get you set up with the whole package. Urinal, soap, sink , towel and toilet sensors. To keep your bathroom cleaner, healthier and maintenance free.”

In theory, it sounds great, I can go to the bathroom where hundreds of other people go to the bathroom and not touch anything but myself.  But there is just one problem. I like to call it the “senseless sensor shuffle”.  You all know what I am talking about. It is like the sensors get a mind of their own. And they want to ensure you know that they are in charge of the general hygiene of the population.

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Let me walk you through a scenario:

You are at the toilet, no where near being done with your business, the toilet flushes. You are a little scared, but composed. You walk to the sink to wash. Hold your hand under the faucet to get them wet. Water comes out. You slide your hand under the soap. Nothing. You do it again. Nothing. You wait for the person next to you to move so you can have access to their soap. Swipe your hand under the second soap. Success! Lather. Hopefully for 20 seconds or more but you are already getting anxious to get out of the bathroom because this is just taking too long. You put your hands back under the faucet. Nothing. You pull them back and repeat. Nothing. You move them side to side. Nothing. Now you are waiting for the person next to you to finish because you can clearly see that their faucet is working. Standing, staring at yourself in the mirror, with nice soapy hands thinking about how rich you would be if you could invent something that would make you never have to go to the bathroom again and save you the embarrassment these sneaky sensors have caused you. Finally your turn. You place your hands under the sink! Nothing! You pull your hands back, close your eyes and say a little prayer in your mind to the Deity of your choice. Slowly you slide them under the faucet and like a volcano that has been dormant for thousands of years, it erupts! Spraying hands clean of all soap as well as your forearms and the crotch area of your pants. You quickly move toward the paper towel dispenser next to the over flowing garbage can, wave your hand under it aaanndd? Nothing.  Forget it! You give your hands a shake, spreading water on the floor and wall next to the door and bust out into great wide open using your foot to kick open the door like a secret The Rock in any of his fantastic movies.

Of course the anxiety level is compounded when supervising a 2 year old during this entire process. I know people are worried about the future of this country right now. But as long as the people that invented those bathroom sensors don’t get put in charge, we will have hope for a brighter future.

-Pitt


Let go, Literally

I got “LET GO”. Or was it “RESTRUCTURED”. Or “LAID OFF”. Oh wait, I remember now. It was “GETTING CANNED.” Regardless of the term they told me or how I describe it when I talk to people, I can’t really help but get a smile on my face, puff out my chest and feel like I have accomplished something. Yeah you heard me right.  Being let go and subsequently mentally letting go just feels good.

Laid off

I had a really sweet role at an outdoor company for the past few years but nothing lasts forever and they restructured the company at the end of May. The initial response of everyone that I tell is a frowning face, with a furled brow and an immediate apology. I think they are confused when I return the response with a smile, a high five and a statement that usually includes the word “stoked” about 7 times.

In todays world, losing a job or throwing a curve ball in your career path is heavily frowned upon and usually considered a bad thing. I beg to differ. In fact, the week following my “DISMISSAL” I was more stoked than I had been in a longtime. Not because I hated my job or the people I worked with. But because the future is uncertain and that is exciting. You know when you go on an adventure or a first date or try a new restaurant, there is something that gets your heart pumping. it is the unknown that lies ahead. And thanks to my being “CANNED” I got to feel that feeling about how I will spend most of my waking hours in the future.

My first decision was to take the “advice” from that day from my former boss and the poor HR representative from the corporate office that had to come tell the 15+ people that day that they were being LET GO. “I am sorry Pitt but we are going to have to LET YOU GO.” That term bounced around in my head for a few hours until the lightbulb finally went off. Let go, I can do that. I am going to let go of the more common reaction to what just happened to me. To the expectations of those around me and what i should do next. To the worry and scurrying about trying to find the next job.  I am going to slow my roll and enjoy what was just handed to me.

When climbing with my wife, there is one thing she always does when she reaches the top of a climb. She pauses and says, “Hold on, I am going to take in the view from here for a minute”.   I think to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that.” It is so easy to get caught up in moving on to the next thing. The next project, the next adventure, the next step, the next job. And once you get to the next thing, you spend most of your time wishing you were still on top of that climb, enjoying the view.

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One of my first views after letting go

No, I don’t have a lot of money saved. My 401k has just enough in it to pay for one ski pass and an overpriced burger from the lodge.  But if I wait until I have more than that, I will miss some things that are happening right now. There will always be jobs to be filled and emails to be sent and paychecks to collect. But there may never be another summer to freely chase adventures with the family and catch up with long lost friends or even just spend an entire afternoon playing monopoly with my six year old.

So for all of you that are asking me how the job hunt is going or what I am going to do next. I have one response. “Hold on, I am going to take in the view from here for a minute.”

– Pitt

House Remodel

Here are some amateur before and after photos of our house remodel. We bought the home from the original owner; the Mrs. lived here for 42 years. We were very impressed with the superb condition it was in. There are many things we loved about it when we first walked in–the floor plan, the large, bright windows, and we like the use of space. It is 2900 square feet. 3 bedrooms, 2 bath on the main floor and two-thirds of the basement is an apartment. Our family fits nicely in the space we have now, with potential to take back the apartment space if we ever want it. We also love the fact that it has central air (a first for us), attached garage, and “master suite.” The updates were mostly cosmetic, with some minor upgrades to the electrical. We are really happy with how everything turned out, not really wishing we had done anything different at this point.

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Some details: We did not do this on our own. Our very talented contractor and friend Pat Larsen from American Fork headed up the project and did the work for us. One of our favorite features is the concrete countertops, Whitestone Concrete in SLC is the way to go if you’re wanting to do concrete. And thanks to Uncle Val for the beautiful work on our hardwood floors.


Grit – Adventure #4

Since I have become a father I have been constantly thinking about what is the most important lesson I can teach my children. There are so many great qualities you want your kids to have. Love, Charity, initiative, integrity, positive attitude. All are qualities that we admire in our loved ones and heroes. All are qualities that I hope to develop and then pass on to those that I am responsible for.  Through my pursuits outside, I have come to realize there is another quality that I really admire but gets mentioned much less in the descriptions of those we look up to. It has many names, perseverance, toughness, go-getter, badass. Really what it is though is just plain grit.

The climb

If you Google grit (let’s be honest no one looks it up in a Webster’s dictionary anymore), the first definition is “a) Small, loose particle of stone or sand.” You know the stuff that causes you to fall to your death when walking across a stone slab. Or the stuff you find in your teeth and the corners of your eyes after a long day in the desert. It’s the stuff my wife complains about finding in the sheets when I crawl into bed pre shower after a day in the mountains or at the beach. Grit in this sense, gets a bad reputation. But if you look at the other meaning of grit, it is one of the most valuable things in the world.

Ready

 

Team

Grit is hard to describe because in every person it is a little bit different. To some it is determination, others it represents perseverance. And when it comes to our hobbies, people call it passion. Regardless of how you define it, it is a word that we use to describe someone we admire. I recently took Emmett on his first backpacking trip. It was my idea, I sold him on it and the night before I could see the uncertainty in his eyes. I knew very well that this trip could go either way. A complete success or we might never get out of eyesight of the truck. Emmett is almost 6 and has never hiked much over a mile before. I tried to lower my expectation and ensure that we just have fun no matter what.

On the last day of the trip as we packed up our backpacks and said goodbye to a new important place for us, I teared up thinking about how well he had done and what his little mind and body had accomplished. 3 days, 15 miles, 3200 vertical feet and countless moments of laughter and stoke.

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Some of us get crazy ideas in our head and there is some strange force that helps us to make them a reality. Some call it determination, perseverance or passion. I call it grit. Now that my son is almost 6 I see his personality and passions developing each day. And no matter what drives him in his life, I hope that he has the grit to make his ideas accomplishments.

– Pitt

@pittoman

 


North – Adventure #3

My dad never travels anywhere without his trusty yellow legal pad. No matter what trip he goes on, there are always notes jotted down on the legal pad. Sometimes it is an itinerary, other times it has his gear list. But this time it became the rule book. We had been staying at a lodge on Makoop Lake, Ontario for about five days. To spice things up, everyone was putting money into the pot for a little competition. And on his legal pad, Dad wrote down all the rules: Biggest pike wins $10. Biggest walleye wins $10. Most fish caught wins $20. As if catching 75 fish a day was not enough motivation to enjoy the day on the lake.

Dad sans legal pad, in his element.

Dad sans legal pad, in his element.

When I put my 10 bucks in the pot with the 9 other men in our group, I did not know that the next day would be the greatest day I would ever have with a fishing rod in my hand. My partner in crime for the day was my brother in law Eric. I knew that regardless of how may fish we caught, we were going to have a great day. Eric is always 100% in and willing to explore and look for adventure. The sun rose at 4:30am so we were not the first boat out on the water, but we were the most ambitious. We took off to the North looking for adventure.

"Roads, Where we are going Marty, we do not need any roads"

“Roads? Where we’re going, we do not need roads”

No frills. Just the facts. This sign greets you once you land at camp.

No frills. Just the facts. This sign greets you once you land at camp.

Makoop Lake is only accessible by float plane. There is only one place to stay on the lake. Makoop Lake Lodge. It becomes a private lake for those that make the journey. There is something special about being someplace far away from any other humans. Seeing places that you are sure are only ever seen by less people than can fit on a city bus. When you see wildlife, you are pretty sure they are as excited about seeing a human for the first time as you are about seeing a wolverine for the first time.

We are easily distracted from fishing by awesome things. Like giant beaver lodges!

We are easily distracted from fishing by awesome things. Like giant beaver lodges!

10 hours later we returned to camp to report on one of the greatest days of my life. 202 fish caught between the 2 of us. Break that down and we caught a little more than 1 fish every 3 minutes. In between the outrageous amounts of walleye and northern pike, we witnessed a wolverine take a swim, countless bald eagles, discovered a gorgeous waterfall, and did not see another human being.

Fish # 103

Fish # 103

In todays adventure world it feels like everyone gets pulled to “hotspots”. Depending on the type of adventure you desire, it is easy to only look at the famous places. I am always intrigued in finding places that no one else have ever heard of. Or have looked over it on a map and written it off. When you do this, you run the risk of missing so many special places. Thanks to my dad, I now know not to overlook places like Makoop lake. It is one of those places that you drift off to when you are sitting at your desk and your phone won’t stop ringing, or the email won’t stop piling up. A place of solace, wilderness and unbelievable fishing.

The eternal sunset of the north.

The eternal sunset of the north.

Bugs in Canada have the power to blind you if you are not careful.

Bugs in Canada have the power to blind you if you are not careful.

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The crew. Old and new

The crew. Old and new

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I only posted this picture because my wife loves to see me in Carhartt overalls.

I only posted this picture because my wife loves to see me in Carhartt overalls.


You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose. Just don’t pick your friend’s nose!

One of the biggest factors in ensuring a great adventure is choosing the right partner. Because getting to know someone better is sometimes the only positive result. The greater the potential for pain and suffering, the more careful you have to be in your decision. You kind have to look to your judgmental side and start rating all your friends. Pros and cons, virtues and vices, I find myself labeling my friends and putting them into make believe categories and groups. Does that make me an inconsiderate piece of trash? I guess I better put myself in the jerk category.

The funny thing is climbers, skiers and kayakers do this very thing with almost everyone. For example a typical conversation between climbers goes something like this.

Pitt : “Hey Mark”
Mark : “Hey Pitt. Do you know anyone with a really cute dog, I could borrow to pick up chicks?”
Pitt : “Hmm. I think Justin has one. Do you know Justin?”
Mark : “I don’t think I do.”
Pitt : “He totally crushes. He is a super strong climber. Anyway I will ask him about his dog.”

It’s almost like people’s surnames don’t matter. They are only known by their first name and how hard they push it at their chosen passion.
Justin “the total crusher” Roth
Jackson “the ripping skier” Couch
Tyson “the gnarly paddler” Titensor

Listen for it in your next conversation with a climbing buddy or ski partner. You will find yourself referring to others in this way. But be careful, you can’t always rely on the opinions of others. To help me make better decisions when choosing an adventure partner and not rely on their pseudo suffix, I have created a flow chart to reference in my adventure notebook.

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Though this may look like a very serious matter, I want to remind you that risk is part of the journey. Remember that it is not really an adventure unless something unexpected happens. So next time you are looking for just the right partner, maybe you should throw the flow chart in the trash and take a risk on new potential partner. Who knows you could have a great weekend with the future Dave “the guy that dragged my butt back to the car and bought me a burrito on the way home” Sherman.

-Pitt

@pittoman


Keep the momentum going

People adventure differently and that is okay. For some, adventure means pain and suffering. For others, adventure means just doing something out of the routine. Sometimes it means doing something minimal, and other times it requires the logistics of a large UPS hub. Which is correct? Who am I to judge.  What I do know is that the most important part is being prepared to jump on it when an opportunity presents itself.

This past weekend I travelled to Vail Colorado for work. I packed a huge duffel bag full of random gear so that I could seek out an adventure and take any opportunity that came my way. But nothing really came to fruition. I got a trail run in one morning, some rock climbing the next day and about 20 minutes of kayaking.  Nothing super exciting but enough to feel like the trip was not a full waste of recreational activities.   But nothing that I would really consider a great adventure. More like training for what is to come. As my summer begins to unfold, I have been stressing about being able to accomplish all that I want to. Sometime plans fall through, illness sets in or someone I love needs me more than I need an adventure. That is when I have to step back and just be grateful that I have all the opportunities I have and the great web of friends and family that encourage me.

On that note. I wanted to share a great video. MEC is a huge retailer in Canada and have always been great to work with in my past jobs. It is great to see a large corporation really produce fantastic content that makes you laugh. Who wins, I am not to judge. In my eyes MEC wins with this great commercial.

 

-Pitt

@pittoman


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