Thursday, December 20, 2007


Have you ever been frustrated when you called your local friendly phone company, bank, satellite provider  or whatever with what you think is the simplest of transactions and spend a good part or your lifetime trying to get to the proper department by pushing numbers on your phone keypad or saying your account number and other information into a dead phone?

Yesterday, I called DirecTV to arrange for a pickup of two satellite receivers that we had replaced on Monday.  If I had wanted to do something as mundane as pay my bill or order a movie, I would have been done in mere moments.  But I had something that was not on their list of recognizable requests in their "automated" phone system.  I DID have the opportunity countless times to "confirm" my service call appointment for Monday December 17th.  Keep in mind, I was making this call on December 19th.  It took me almost 45 minutes and calling back 5 times and starting the process over before I was finally able to speak to a human being and then was told that I needed to have the serial numbers of the receivers I was returning in order to get the process going.  I asked if there was a direct number that I could call back on when I had those numbers and was told that I would have to dial the same number I had just dialed when I called back.  (I have an earpiece here at work that we use on the phone, and you know,  throwing an earpiece just isn't as satisfying as slamming down a phone receiver.)

So, with this said, as a Christmas present from me to whoever reads this, note the following:  One of my co-workers, Steve Jensen after listening to my plight, gave me the above link.  It will give you instructions on how to "GET A HUMAN" at just about every conceivable company and service that you might have occasion to call.  After following the website's instructions for DirecTV, I made the call and was speaking to a nice lady in Phoenix in less than two minutes.  By the way, I didn't need the serial numbers and the packaging for returning  the receivers is winging its way to me as we speak.

It's too bad that the society we live in has found it necessary to become so impersonal in our dealings with those around us.  On a side note, when you look at the above website and see all of the F grades that companys get, you will note that Walt Disney World gets an A grade.  It says: 'Direct To Human."  That's the way it should be.  Way to go Mickey!!!



Monday, December 17, 2007


Sharon and I lost a good friend this past week.  Weston Daw was our bishop when we moved into the South Cottonwood Ward four and one-half years ago.  He was released three years ago at age 80.  It was his second time serving as bishop of the South Cottonwood Ward.  He also served as a mission president  in South Carolina and the president of the Philippines MTC, as well as in the Little Cottonwood Stake Presidency many years ago.  Bishop Daw was an inspirational man who had the ability to show unconditional love to everyone.  Whenever Bishop Daw got up to address the ward members or make a comment in priesthood meeting or Sunday School,  you perked up and  listened because you knew that he had something to say that would benefit you in your life.  I had the opportunity to alternate teaching Gospel Doctrine with him for over a year.    His ability to teach by the spirit and make the simple truths of the gospel lessons come alive was a great inspiration to me.  He was the epitome of what we seek for in a teacher.  We will miss his cheerful smile and attitude a great deal.  Unfortunately, his sweet wife, Beverly isn't with us any longer either for all intents and purposes.  She has been suffering from Alzheimers in recent years.  We will  miss them both. (P.S. the family picture at the heading of this blog was taken in the Daw's back yard.)

On another note, I want to talk about another friend.  When we are raising a family, our circle of friends tends to be quite small, with family being the center of our worlds.  The  BFF of  our youth many times do not endure our later years.  When we lived in Sandy and had small children, I had what I considered a best friend, Ralph.  We had many common bonds including  University of Utah sports.  Ralph had grown up in the ward next to mine as kids, had married a girl from my ward and also graduated from Granite High School.  Ralph was the first person I know to buy a VCR back in the late 70's.  Our first VCR ended up being the first one that Ralph had.  It cost us $600.  We had football tickets at the "U" for years, and played softball on the ward and a county rec team that Ralph's employer sponsored.

After Ralph and Nancy moved and then we moved to South Jordan, we saw less and less of each other, and lost most contact when I gave up my football tickets about seven years ago.

Ralph made some bad decisions in his life, decisions that led him to lose his career, his marriage and for the last 2+ years, his freedom.  During all of his  problems, probably when he needed friends the most, Randy was MIA.  I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.  I recently wrote him a letter expressing an interest in renewing our relationship.  I wouldn't have been surprised if he had told me to buzz off, but his response was just the opposite.  While not condoning or excusing in any way what he did, I sense that he is trying to get his life back on track.  I hope that I can be a better friend at this time in his life than I was before.  I am certainly going to try.

Friends are a treasure that we can lose in different ways.  Let's not do anything to drive them away.  We might need them sometime.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Favorite Movie

In November 1970 I was serving in the Eastern State Mission and living in New York City (bigger and even more exciting than other cities).  On Thanksgiving Day we made an early morning trek through Central Park to Central Park West where we were able to see the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We watched the parade and then followed it down the street and down Broadway.  It was a fantastic experience,one that I will always remember.  New York City at Christmas time is an amazing place.

5230,1166131477,4 At the conclusion of the parade, we went to Radio City Music Hall.  It's slightly deceiving from the outside.  It looks like a regular theater.  Once you get inside, it takes on a whole new life.  The auditorium seats about 5,000 people and has a HUGE stage.  Back in the day, the main use of Radio City was as a movie/live theater.  They would play first run movies accompanied with a live stage/variety show that lasted about thirty minutes, so you got a movie and a live show for the same price.   The featured attractions of the show were the Rockettes and the famous Wurlitzer organ that could just about blow you out of your seat.  Now it is used for special events like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the 2007 NFL Draft and some recent  music award shows.  I don't believe that they show movies there any longer.

The movie featured that Christmas season was "Scrooge" and became my favorite movie, as well as the favorite movie of ALL of my five children and wife. scrooge I have tried to see ''Scrooge" each and every year since then.  Sometimes it was hard because there were no VCRs or DVDs in the old days.  Many times we would trek down to the Avalon Theater on State Street and see it when they would do special screenings the week before Christmas.  When it was on TV in the 80's we recorded it, but it had been edited so badly that you missed the true feeling.  Then, (miracle of miracles) it became available on DVD.  I snatched up a copy and can watch it whenever I want.  I even have the soundtrack on my laptop and MP3 so I can listen to my heart's content.  It's a great take on the classic "A Christmas Carol"  by Charles Dickens.  The music is memorable and Albert Finney does a fantastic Ebeneezer Scrooge.  Anyway, that is my favorite movie.  I highly recommend it to help get you in the Christmas spirit.

After the movie we went back to the mission home where we had Thanksgiving Dinner with President and Sister Wilkinson.  On a side note, they invited Peggy Pulitzer to dinner.  She was the daughter (I think) of the guy who started the Pulitzer Prize. "

New York at Christmas is phenomenal.  Go sometime if you are able, and definitely see "Scrooge."  You can borrow my copy, but you have to promise to give it back.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Greetings from the Northwest

We are completing our stay in Seattle and will be returning to  Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon.  Sharon has been here with Nate and Sam since last Thursday and I flew up on Tuesday and have been working in the area during the days and spending time with the fam in the evenings. 

Our 10th grandchild and 8th boy was born last Friday.  His name is Drake Randall Packer and he weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz.He is such a CUTIE and has a cute big brother!  Sam is feeling stronger each day and she and Nate are able to handle things by themselves at night with grandma helping out during the day while Nate is at work.

It's been a really good thing for Sharon to be here to help them out.  It would have been hard for them with a newborn and a one-year old after a C-section.  It's been fun to be here with them and share the first few days of Drake's life.  We wish that they lived closer to us so we could see them more often.  I get to see them on occasion because I work up here on a fairly regular basis, but it's hard when they live so far away.

   IMG_5979     IMG_5966

Today I drove to Winthrop, WA, about 235 miles from Seattle to see a customer.  It was a beautiful drive through the apple orchard country of Wenatchee and the Columbia River in north central Washington.  I am really fortunate to be able to work in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and British Columbia.  There is never a lack of beautiful stuff to see.

Today I saw some interesting stuff on the drive back to Seattle.eagle 



The eagle was sitting in a tree about 20 feet off the highway right above the Methow river.  I tried to get closer for a better picture, but he saw me coming and flew off across the river to a tree on the other side.  When I stopped for gas, this Chevy truck was parked by the station with this German Shepherd sitting up on top of the cab.  There is another yellow dog in the back of the truck who was up on top at one time while I was getting gas, but he jumped down before I could get my camera.  I think that their master was down at the river fishing and they were just hangin' out for the afternoon.

We're looking forward to being home and getting ready for the holidays.  I start my next series of chemotherapy on Monday.  This time it will be every day for five days, once a month.  Boy, am I excited.  We are hoping that this series does the trick so I can avoid the need for a bone marrow transplant.

Till next time.........