Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News Passion And Personal Promises

10.. 9..

The videos have been checked. The anchors, reporters can all hear me in their ear pieces.

8.. 7..

Triple check everything. The live shots look good. Teleprompter is on the correct script. Weatherman is in place.

6.. 5..

You sit back but can't help and make sure everything and everyone is in its place... Again.

4.. 3..

A reporter forgot to put in their name supers, quickly add them in. Double check the spelling.

2.. 1..


For the next half hour you're monitoring screen after screen. Putting out fires. Making decisions based on instinct and reaction. Live shot is :30 away, tell the reporter. :10 away and it's gone. You don't know how, you don't know why. You don't know if it will be back. All you know is you now have :07 to tell everyone what you are going to do about it. The Plan: move on to weather, your weatherman is ready because he's good and your good. You told him to be ready. The :30 he's talking is enough time to get your live shot back. Quick tell the anchors, tell the director, tell the reporter, ready go. Live shot is up. Then it's gone again. Still don't know what happened but you roll the tape. You have exactly 1:23 to figure out what to do before the live shot is up. Easy. You have the anchors handle it. Get the information from the reporter, pass it on to the anchors. 1:23 later the anchors are ad-libing like they were the ones to put together the stories. You're all professionals, what's more, you're journalists.

Move through the rest of the stories. 7:38 later and you hit your first commercial break. You breathe, probably for the first time since you lost the live shot. You have 2:30 to go until you're back on air.

I Love What I do

My son asked me what I do at work. SO I told him I make television. That's the easy way to describe it. The better way? I run the 6PM News, it is my brainchild, my baby, my evil mad scientist creation. I organize chaos, lead a team of people who are very good at what they do and together create something every day. Not just anything, we create news that informs and brings people into what's happening in the world around them. I love what I do.

They Said It Wouldn't Be Possible, But I'm Stubborn

In college I had a couple of professors who said that it wouldn't be possible to not work on Sunday. It's just part of being a journalist. You have to work on Sundays. Thing is I have never worked on a Sunday in my life. I made a personal promise not to.

But, I was scheduled to work this past Sunday, June 26th. I asked everyone I could think of to cover for me. No one would. One person even went as far as saying they would cover for me but then changing their mind when they heard why.

What could I do? The decision was easy. I wasn't going to work on Sunday. I talked with my boss, told her how I'd tried to get someone to cover, said I was willing to work whatever other crazy hours. At one point she asked me, "So you would rather work 18 hours straight than work on Sunday?" "Yes". I said that part of the reason I took this job over other jobs that offered more money is because I had other obligations on Sunday, I couldn't work on Sunday.

I went home one night, the day before my "deadline" to get my shift covered thinking I'd tried everything I could. Maybe I'd lose my job over this.

"We Have A Bit Of A Compromise"

My boss called me into her office, showed me a schedule. Said if I was willing to work it, I could have Sunday off. Without hesitation I said yes and emphatically thanked her.

The Schedule

Weds: 9-1:30, back at 11:30pm
Thurs: Off at 7:30am, back at 11:30pm
Fri: Off at 7:30am, back at 11:30pm
Sat: 12pm-11PM, no break
Mon:12AM-7:30AM, back at 11:30pm
Tues: off at 7:30
Regular Weds/Thurs: 9am - 6:45pm
Fri: Off
Sat: 12pm - 11pm

I'm almost through it. One more Saturday to go.

I'm so grateful for that crazy schedule because one day isn't on it. Sunday. Some decisions you worry about right now but when you lift your view, they become much easier to make.

So Grateful

Thank you Carrie for supporting me in that choice and for helping to raise my vision. You inspire me.

I love my job and appreciate the people that I work with. I'm grateful for my boss but especially for the one producer who had no problem switching with me.

There's A Lesson In All This

A long time ago I promised Heavenly Father that I wouldn't work on Sunday and would always pay my tithing. I've been infinitely blessed because of it.

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

I'm far from perfect. I'm just someone who has made a promise and loves his job (almost as much as my family).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fatherhood Is

My First Day As A Father

I took a picture of Carrie standing beside a sign. She wasn't really happy about it. Would you be with a scheduled labor now 2 weeks overdue? We checked in, were all set up in the delivery room and Carrie was hooked up to monitors and tubes.

We waited. "Go get some lunch Tyson." "You sure?" "Yeah." We had been there all morning. So I did. There is no more sure fire way to start the delivery process than to have the husband and father step out of the room for a moment.

I ordered a turkey sandwich. Best turkey sandwich I've ever had. Carrie would agree with me, we used to go to the hospital cafeteria on dates. What? You do strange things too I'm sure. Don't judge me.

As I casually strolled back up to the delivery room my phone started to buzz... several missed calls were only now showing up. Uh oh. I got there and the contractions were coming. I had them start on the epidural. What seemed like a short time later (to me at least) we met our first child. I went with the nurse as she wiped our son down.

Word of advice, don't tell your wife your baby looks like Yoda. That won't earn you brownie points.

Baby Boy Gets A Name

I asked Carrie what we should call him. She let me decide. She wanted "Joshua". I wanted "Tyler". It was a tough decision. So I debated and debated inside. "What do YOU want to be called?" I asked the little guy as the nurse took us down to the nursery where Baby Boy received his first bath. He didn't like that. Not. One. Bit.

When we met up with Carrie back in the room where we would be staying we held Baby Boy. I was going to do the good husband thing and decide on Joshua. Then in that room and holding him I looked down at his face (he grew out of the Yoda stage real quick) and felt like he was a Tyler. Carrie asked and I told her. She just said okay.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Tyler is 4 years old now. Lydia is 1 and both of them are so beautiful.

I just love my kids.

To get ready for the day I do what Tyler calls "scrumples up his hair". I rub product on my hands and then run it through my hair and finger-comb it into place.

One day Carrie goes up to the bathroom attached to Tyler's room. He has soap on his palms and his hair. His explanation, he was scrumpling up his hair.

I built a couple of raised gardens for raspberries. To level the ground I had to dig and move a lot of dirt. Tyler grabbed a little shovel and would chopped at the wet dirt with it. Every now and then he would sigh, look up at me and say, "We're working hard dada".

The day Lydia was blessed we went to visit our family in their hotel. My parents, Carrie's parents, Matthew and Kristen all stayed at the same place. At one point Tyler announced, "It's time for the prayer." He stood in the middle of everybody, held up a pretend microphone to his mouth and started to give a prayer. "... Amen"

Making Memories

When Tyler, my dad and I crossed the plains from SD to UT I called it our man adventure. Now Tyler and I will occasionally go on mini-man adventures.

One Saturday I took him on the train down to the Gateway and Salt Lake City. On Father's Day when asked about a special memory of his dad, that's what he talked about. "And the police man gave me a badge" "And Dada didn't know where he was driving" "We rode on the top of the train"

Another day I took him to the airplane museum attached to Hill Air Force Base. His favorite part: The toys.

Snuggle Time

Lydia is so beautiful. Most of her life I've been able to get her to go to sleep. She would just settle into my arms or on my shoulder and it would only be a matter of time. There were a lot of middle-of-the-nights or oh-it-is-so-early and then the my-back-is-killing-me days. But now we've sleep trained her and I honestly miss snuggling with her until she closed her eyes and looked like an angel lost in a world of peaceful dreams.

Now That It's Been 4 Years

I feel like I have an idea now of what fatherhood is. Not just making a baby, but fatherhood.

Fatherhood Is...

Change the sheets, change the diaper, change the blankets, change the pajamas. Fatherhood is waking up in the middle of the night to a very poopy diaper. Fatherhood is holding a sick child in your arms until you're so tired you want to cry like he is. It is about cleaning the poop off the wall. It is about standing outside a closed bedroom door listening to your two year old throw a tantrum inside. It is about being the bad guy, about telling your child what he can't do, about getting told "I don't like you."

Then, in quiet moments, it is about angelic voices softly saying, "I just love you Daddy."

Fatherhood is singing bedtime songs even when you don't want to. Telling "one more" bedtime story about Phineus "the most mischievous leprechaun in the world" at the end of an exhausting day. Fatherhood is making memories and sharing special moments not dictating orders and observing from afar. It is about answering question after question after question after question.

Fatherhood is about choice. It is about the choice to lose patience or to lead discovery. The choice to sit a child down on your lap and teach them what he did wrong or to yell at him over and over until he complies to your will. The choice to watch another football game or to play "builder worker man".

Fatherhood is about holding little hands struggling to walk. It is about setting limits and letting your child run free. It is about hard work. It is about patience. It is about giving not just time but yourself. Fatherhood is about love.

I'm grateful for my father, James Plastow, and what he has taught me. I'm grateful for my grandfather, Paul Rowe, and the stories he would tell me. I'm grateful for my father-in-law, Robert Hillier, and all the hard work he puts in. I'm grateful for my son, Tyler Plastow, and the kind of man he already is.

My little Lydia is a princess, my Ty Ty is a king. I love them both. Always have, always will.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

15 Years Ago...

It Was Supposed To Be An Adventure...

15 years ago I was in Montana with my best friend Jared and his Dad. We were laying tile at what Jared and I called Chateau Le Green outside of the robust metropolis of Anaconda. No, it wasn't a rain forest. It was Montana.

We went were at our motel, Jared and I were hanging out in the room. We might have been reading or watching TV. Bob, Jared's dad, came and got me. He had been on the pay phone with Paula, Jared's mom. I'm not sure of the details but somehow I started talking with my mom. She was distraught. I didn't understand what was going on. My heart sank when she told me what happened. Tanner, my two-year-old brother had gotten into the pool. They were in the hospital. I asked if I needed to come home, my mom didn't know. I had no idea how bad it was.

It Was All A Blur

On the drive to Butte we didn't talk much. We drove to the airport. It was closed. It's not a 24 hour airport sort of place. So we stayed the night. I remember asking Jared to pray for my brother, that everything would be okay. I prayed too. I prayed all night long.

Propellers cut through the clouds. I stared blankly out my window as the miles passed below me. The tiny plane felt every little bit of turbulence. I didn't really notice.

I Bought Him A Get Well Present

We landed in Salt Lake. I had time to kill so I bought Tyler a white tiger stuffed animal. He had this stuffed cougar and kissed it so much the fuzz was coming off its nose. The little tiger was for Tanner for when he got better.

On the flight to Arizona I think some college student sat next to me. She tried to console me. It didn't work.

All Alone...

Brianne and the bishop's wife came to pick me up from the airport. That's when it happened. We were getting my baggage. I asked how Tanner was, if he had gotten any better. I remember that exact words, "You mean they didn't tell you? Tanner's not going to make it." I don't know where my sister went. Maybe she was right there. I don't remember if anyone hugged me. I just remember standing there in a building full of people and being so incredibly alone. How could Tan-The-Man be dying?

He Called Me "Titan"

We shared a room. He would come in there all the time, give me a hug and leave. Five minutes later he'd be right back climbing up on my bed, jumping up and down on me. I never got to take a nap.

During church I'd hold him in my arms until he fell asleep.

Part of me was afraid when I left for Montana that Tanner would kind of forget me. My mom told me before everything happened that Trever had to sleep in my room because Tanner kept pointing to my bed, refusing to sleep.

When I left to go on my trip I thought about waking him up to say goodbye. I didn't. He just looked so peaceful. I've regretted that. Oh how I've regretted that. I don't know how to explain it but part of me knew something was going to happen. I went anyway. That was my chance to see my brother smile, to hear him laugh, to even hear him cry would have been a blessing. It was my opportunity to get a Tanner hug. Yes, regret, so much regret.

My brother was going to die. Everything sort of washes over you when you hear something like that, at least it did for me. It is so unreal you're not sure how to react.


At the hospital I saw Tanner hooked up to the machines, breathing for him. Arms, lifeless. Eyes, closed. Smile, non-existent. In those final moments of my little brother's life we each held him in our arms. But it wasn't the same. I made it just in time to watch him slip away and breathe his last breath. My dad, my poor father. I can't imagine. He didn't make it in time. No one should have to bury their baby brother. Absolutely no one should ever have to bury their child.

My Choice

Amidst all of that pain and soul wrenching anguish I realized I had a choice. I could be angry and bitter at God. Or I could accept His will and His comfort. I chose discipleship. I never doubted for one second that God had the power to restore Tanner to complete health. I never doubted even after his death that He could restore him to life. I never doubted. But it still hurt and so I allowed God to heal my heart, my soul.

Since that dreadful day the Spirit of God has seared upon my soul a personal witness of some of His Truths. I know. I don't believe. I know that the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken straight home to God. I know God loves His children, He hears and answers prayers and God has not left us comfortless. I know families can be together forever, Tanner never stopped being my brother. He is not lost to me. Someday I will see him again, and thanks be to the Savior, not a hair of our head will be lost. I will hug my brother again some day. I know that. I will hug my brother again some day and see his smile.

There are some children of God that are too pure for this life. They are taken home before they reach the age of accountability and enter straightway into Heaven. God has saved them from the sorrow of the world. Tanner was such a being. For now he is an angel but he will always be my brother.

Life Is A Test

Life is full of terrible things, of crying alone in dark rooms, of watching innocent loved ones die and suffer from horrible illnesses. But we do not have to go through the great trial alone if we will just turn to Him. Jesus Chris has died for us. And we will live again.

Life is so short. I hope I can pass the test and live to cherish every moment with those I love.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Goal: Post Once a Week

Really this goal is just an old goal that I didn't tell anyone because then you have to go through with it.

And in honor of the wild ride that this is going to be....

Me and my brother-in-law on a wild ride.

Yes that was two minutes of grown men giggling at Disneyland.

Quick updates:

1) My garden: Raspberries in box 1 are growing like weeds! I'm pretty awesome... well except the raspberries in box 2 all died. I bought more, planted them and now those are growing like weeds. My awesomeness is restored. In box 3 I planted blackberries. They are growing well. My little garden retreat makes me happy. And awesome.

2) My story: After writing close to 9k words I emailed it to Jenn Johansson for some feedback. I'm so grateful. She tore it apart. Did I mention I'm grateful? I finally started to rework it. So far so much better. I'm even trimming where possible.

3) My grilling: We haven't really experimented with anything new. We've just learned the value of marinating food-to-be-grilled in zip-lock bags. Who likes cleaning up a dish covered in oil? I don't. Carrie doesn't. Marital bliss has been restored thanks to zip-lock bags.

4) Other Projects: A) I built a sandbox for my son. Pictures soon. B) I'm trying to convince my wife we need to buy more power tools. I feel she underestimates my woodworking prowess. (I probably overestimate it but I still have all my fingers so that's saying something) C) I'm Ward Mission leader. This is now the 3rd time in the 9 years I've been home from my mission. It is entirely different being a WML in Layton, UT than it is being a WML in Sioux Falls, SD. I welcome the challenge. I just miss my family. Ironic in a way, the Patriarch that gave me my blessing told me this, "Your blessing didn't say anything about a mission. I assume you'll still go on one." D) Since my last post I visited AZ and was able to have lunch with a lot of my high school friends. It was a lot of fun to see everyone. In a lot of ways it felt like we picked right up where we left off. Yes, that's a lot of "a lots" but I felt like alloting a lot of "a lots" under the letter "D".


What's up with blogspot's formatting? You press enter and it skips 4 lines. Add a picture and it throws 8 lines inbetween every paragraph. And why can't they add pictures where I want them to? They always throw them in at the top and it is like David battling Goliath to just drag them right where you want them.