What used to be my favorite Lake Powell activity, early morning water skiing, had lost some of its appeal over the years – I rarely get to water ski, I’m out of shape, and most of my siblings are no longer interested in skiing.  Only my brother Mark and sister-in-law Kristen were interested.  So we got up early this morning and went water skiing.  They were nice enough to give me the first ski, which meant I got the good water.  I amazed myself by getting up on my first try – I always used to, but it has probably been almost 5 years since I slalomed.  It was fun, but I couldn’t ski nearly as long as I used to – I’m really out of shape.

After skiing I played my brother Danny in chess (he beat me twice and we drew once; I’ve lost my edge in that too).  We played some more Guitar Hero then my Dad set up another activity for everyone.  He brought a bunch of 50 gallon barrels and PVC pipe that he anchored off the end of the house boat.  It was an obstacle course for the kayak we always bring to Powell.  As a ridiculously competitive family, we timed everyone to see who could do it fastest.  I did end up winning, but considering all the variables, it was probably more of a three way tie between me, my brother Mark, and my sister-in-law, Kristen.  Even so, most of the fun came from watching people try to maneuver the kayak around the obstacles.

After lunch I got into a lengthy discussion, the second of the trip, on Mormon growth.  The earlier discussion was about pre-marital sex among Mormons (about 50% of Mormons have pre-marital sex compared to 80% of the population generally).  I don’t think my family has quite realized that these are actually topics I study.  With my laptop handy, I started pulling out articles to illustrate my points.  I think they might be getting the idea of what I study now, but maybe not.

That carried us through the afternoon.  In the early evening, Debi and I were getting ready to do a little scuba diving when a wicked windstorm blew in.  It’s probably the windiest storm I’ve seen at Lake Powell.  Luckily our boat was well anchored, though we fiddled with those a bit more as well.  The bigger concern was all the loose stuff on the exterior of the boat.  We got all of that situated then Debi and I looked up at our jury-rigged tent to see that it was barely surviving.  It was mostly blown down, the wind was whipping it everywhere, but the poles we had driving into the ground were preventing it from flying away.  We initially thought that maybe we could save it, so I had some of the nephews help us fill it with rocks, but the wind picked up even more, and the tent started to lift off, even with the rocks inside.  At that point I realized we needed to take it down, but that was easier said than done.  I had to untie the straps form the poles and the wind was getting inside the door, lifting it up.  I got most of the straps off when the tent decided it was ready for liftoff.  Debi was holding on to it the best she could, but she doesn’t weight nearly enough to weigh it down.  A couple nephews jumped on, too, and I started screaming for them to tackle it.  But with all of them on it, it was still getting away.  Finally, my sister-in-law, Kristen, saw that we were struggling.  She sprinted out of the houseboat and tackled the tent.  She would have made a great linebacker.  With her help we were able to finally wrangle it to the ground and pull it inside.  Our cozy tent was no longer available, but at least we didn’t lose it to the storm gods.

With the tent in, I checked the rest of our stuff on the beach to make sure it was all battened down.  We had a cooler and plastic bin on the shore by some bushes that looked like they might need some anchoring.  I tipped the plastic bin on to its side and threw a couple of rocks inside it when I heard a loud hiss.  My first thought was that it was a can of pop that I had broken.  So I ducked down to look inside the bin.  As I drew close, I realized my error, luckily in time.  Just outside the bin, blended into the rock and sand, was a rattlesnake, reared up and ready to strike.  I probably got within two feet of it before I realized what was making the sound.  I jumped back and swore.  It was perfectly camouflaged – matching the Lake Powell sandstone perfectly.  A few people saw me jump back (and probably heard me freaking out) and asked what it was.  I screamed over the wind that it was a rattlesnake.  My older brother, Mike, came out with a shovel and took care of it (he chopped it up – it struck at him twice in the process – and buried it).  If it wasn’t 15 feet from the front of the houseboat we probably would have left it where it was, but the kids played there everyday.   Leaving it was probably not a good idea.  Sorry snake.

The wind did eventually start to dye down.  My Mom put me in charge of an activity for the evening, wanting a repeat of the male synchronized swimming performed several years earlier.  Not wanting to get back in the water, my brother-in-law, Don, and I came up with an alternative.  The women had their own activity, a poem written by my sister, Tammy, and performed by all of the adult women.  Here’s the poem:

To Think That We Came from the Very Same Old (In Dr. Seuss form):

To think that we came
From the very same mold
This story is so crazy
It’s got to be told

So let us begin
With the head of the clan,
Until we’ve told you a story
About the Cragunrump men.

In the beginning
Where the wuffnorf tree grew
There was a fine little boat
That wasn’t so new.

The news that we got
One day in July,
Of our house boat sinking
It of course, made us cry.

But to the rescue
Super dad saved the day,
So we still have a boat
We can come to and play.

To begin our journey
We have to make a stop,
Five carwashes, two wal-marts
And fill up with carba-drink pop.

We made good time
Only sixteen hours it took,
Nine kids and 35 hamburgers
We got a lot of funny looks.

So who packed all this stuff
That we have to unload,
It’s obvious to us
We’re not from the same mold.

The kitchen sink
And a drawer full of socks,
Three extra propellers
In case we hit rocks.

And to our dismay
Should then appear,
Hey dad, pooper-stanker’s clogged
Back in the rear.

So out came the wrench
And the rink-rinker-fink,
He’s our hero for sure
The toilet no longer stinks.

I’ll teach the kid-cloppers
To fish cause it’s fun,
I’ll show you just how
And we’ll catch ninety-one.

We’re watching, we’re watching
Show us how it is done,
But tell us the reason
That hooks in your thumb.

(All say together)
And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Wow what a day
What a day at the lake,
The water is smooth
And one boy is awake.

After eating his hummus
And greasing dread locks,
Ryan was ready to ski
Wow, that Cragulump rocks.

He’s debating the driver
That’s pulling him around,
He’s the wisest of all
That could ever be found.

If you use his GPS
You’ll see which way to go,
He’s the best ski driver of all
He’s safe, patient and slow.

If you want to know more
About our wisedight Ry,
He’s got the coolest blog
You should give it a try.

Let me talk about food
And I’ll fix you a treat,
I’m a vegetarian so
in other words, I won’t eat.

Cucumbers and hummus
Meat I no longer crave,
To be stuck with Cragunites
I am definitely brave.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Oh the wonderful things
Our brother Troy can be,
A motorcycle maniac
Riding up in a tree.

He can go to the widow maker
He can go vroom, vroom
He can even beat his brother
If you give him a little room.

He can go to Olive Garden
With his kids dibble and dop,
He can tell the best stories
You can’t get him to stop.

He can scare you, he can dare you,
That he can do it best of all,
Unless you can scare him under the tramp
Then for sure he’ll take a fall.

He can read in bed
He can read in a car,
He will make you drive
If you’re going very far.

If he reads with his eyes shut
He’s likely to find,
That the place where he’s going
Is far far behind.

Oh the wonderful things
Our brother Troy can do,
But his phone mailbox is full
And he doesn’t have a clue.

But we like the music
Cause it goes boom, boom,
So we wiggle and we jiggle
Hope he calls us back soon.

Oh the wonderful things
Our brother Troy can do.
Vroom, vroom
Dibble, dipple dop
He even likes to drink
Dads carba-drink pop.

Eeek, eek
You who
Tick tick tock
It’s time to get up
Just look at your clock

Boom boom
Guzzle, guzzle,
Klopp, klopp, klopp
Fix the cycles
Cause the fun won’t stop.

And to think that we came
from the very same mold.

Left foot left foot
Right foot, right
Don’s got his shoes on
It’s just not right.

Left foot, left foot,
Left foot, right
He loves his lotion
Puts it on every night.

Left foot, right foot,
Feet feet feet
How many, many,
feet he’ll meet.

He sees feet come
And he sees feet go
Some are fast
And some are slow.

Oh me oh my
Oh me oh my
What a lot
Of funny feet go by.

Don’s here all week
Now that’s something new,
He’ll love every minute
Just don’t take his shoes.

Tickle my arm
And my sexy cheeks,
Just keep me happy
This whole week.

Don’s in the kitchen
Organizing the closet,
you can only get in there
If you make a beso deposit.

(baby talk)
You come here, give me kisses
I’m going to get you, give me kisses.

Don’s so sweet
He can even do this,
He can kiss his kids
With a butterfly kiss.

He can cook anything
He’s the best cook around,
No one more willing
Will ever be found.

If you want to laugh
Just keep Don real near,
He’ll keep you rolling
You have nothing to fear.

Bare feet, dirty feet
Sandy feet, flirty feet
Play canasta without a doubt
Come on Tammy, “Let’s go make out.”

In the houseboat
And on the beach
Oh how many bare feet
Don will meet.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

This was no time for play
This was no time for fun
This was no time for games
There was work to be done.

So no time to waste you will not
Sit, sit, sit, sit
Laziness he does not like it
Not one little bit.

Mark’s the scout leader
They’ve got him in sight,
They follow him around
They must think he’s quite bright.

Little do they know
He’s a real hum-dinger
Our kids really hate when
He brings out Mr. Bone finger.

If you’re kids are being brats
Mark knows just what to do,
He’ll talk sense into them
They’ll apologize to you.

So kids I’ve got tricks
I will show them to you,
You’re parents won’t mind
At all if I do.

He loves the tickle torture
Of that there’s no doubt,
He should not be allowed to do it
When the parents are out.

He’s our number one swimmer
The best in synchronize
Has the best sense of humor
And a great time with the guys.

He can be so cool
And that is not all,
If you’re hiking with Mark
You will for sure have a ball.

He’ll look at you and say
The buddy system is a must,
If they’ve gone off with Mark
It is him you can trust.

To the cave we will go
And we will pick up trash,
Those five mile hikes
Will be done in a flash.

He will teach them a lot
With no looking back,
We’ve watched and we’ve watched
And we’ve kept careful track.

He rocks with the kids
Of that there’s no lie,
We’re glad that you’re healthy
And that you didn’t die.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

We like our boat
It is made for twenty-three,
Our mike sits up
In front you see.

We like our mike
And this is why,
He does all the driving
When the waves get high.

Look at her toes
One, two, three and four,
Nails that are painted
With colors galore.

I can’t stop staring
It’s making me mad,
Put your shoes on like Don
And you’ll make me so glad.

The captain of the boat
“What the crap”
Not again
I’ve broken my back.

Head shoulders
Knees and toes
Knees and toes
Knees and toes.

Head shoulders
Knees and toes
I’ve broken
all of those.

Wait a minute
Singing like I was happy,
You know I’m onery
Cause manning the boat is just crappy.

When he hangs a picture
Why does Mike get so mad?
We do not know
Let’s go ask dad.

What makes him smile
Kris has the key,
So if they disappear,
Just let them be.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Hey look at me
Can you guess who I am,
You are so right
It’s me Dan I am.

That Dan I am
That Dan I am
He bought that boat
That Dan I am.

All the tires popped
And the tide was low
But we made it home
Warlord still in tow.

Would you could you
On his boat?
No you could not
It could barely float.

So do you like
The Warlord Dan?
I will “buy it now”
I am Dan the Man.

Would you could you
Drive your new boat?
Would you could you
See if it floats?

I can, I can
If Mike shows me how,
Where is the stern
And where is the bow.

With pirate flag hoisted
The new ship I’ll man,
Because everyone knows
I am Dan, Dan I am.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

It is, of course, an entertaining poem and a fairly accurate depiction of my father and brothers.  But my brother Danny thought he could top them.  He took twenty minutes to write a response while Don and I set up our activity.  Here’s Danny’s response:

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

We are women, hear us roar
Too many activities to ever bore.
No matter what your trip we will never be ignored.
With our feminine wiles we win every war

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Grandma Jeanne/Geni/Genie,
You scarce can recognize me, I’ve gotten so very skinny.
I only ask one thing and I’ll only ask it twice.
You can do what you want which means you have to take my advice.
I love my family and all my happy times come,
Yes I said love love love or to quote Ryan, “I care about you.”

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Tamara Lynn Rupe,
I attract the misfits, my offerings range from counseling to cleaning your chicken coop.
I’m a stay-at-home mom that is almost never there,
Why do I attract the weirdos, I swear I do not care.
I love my family too – but yes they drive me nuts.
You try having six brothers, you’d want to kick their butts.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Let me introduce myself, oh crap, I forgot my own name,
Tammy, Jeanne, help me – something, someth… oh, Kristen Bindrup just the same.
I like to chatteranga, Mike don’t get the wrong idea again,
We can do that later, yes your a stud – a real man among men.
I love Lake Powell and will fight you tooth and nail,
If you ever try and stop this trip, I’ll send you straight to… Jeanne,
Because she loves it too!

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Senora hillbilly,
I can pick on my husband, but if you do I’ll beat you frickin’ silly.
I’m married to Mark, which is like sleeping with a porcupine,
I may be defended well, but it’s uncomfortable and I’m not allowed to whine.
I clog like a machine, and have talents coming out my ears,
But put me anywhere near a cliff, I’ll bust right into tears.

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Debi C.
I love my husband but he only “cares” about me.
I dabble in dancing and make a mean pad thai with rice.
I’m academically awesome, I’ll gladly explain a gene splice.
I have had a good time, in my family I have lots of pride.
I put on this sweet demure exterior, but I’m a “wild women” inside!

And to think that we came
From the very same mold.

We are the Cragun women, loved but completely misunderstood,
We are never nagging, it’s not nagging if its for your own good.
We are the Cragun women, martyrs to our very core,
Beautiful, sassy, nearly perfect – yours to love and adore.
We are the Cragun women and we only ask one thing,
Game night, poems, dancing, skits, movies, gourmet food, and maybe we should sing.

If Danny ever wanted to give up his highly lucrative career as a lawyer, he could probably support himself as a poet.

Don and I put together a tribute to the Olympics – the Marshmallow Olympics.  The first event was the marshmallow toss (tossing mini marshmallows into a partner’s mouth) – this was won by Karlie and Missy, defeating Jake and Corbin.  The second event was the marshmallow roll – this was a four-person relay rolling a full-size marshmallow back and forth about 2 meters – the men won this one with a clutch performance by my brother Mike.  The third event was a marshmallow stuffing contest with full-sized marshmallows.  You had to stuff as many in your mouth as you could but still eat them (not really a health-conscious event).  Don won this one handily, destroying Debi fairly easily by stuffing 13 in with room for at least a few more.  The final event was a marshmallow tower building contest – women against men.  Each got a bag of marshmallows and had to build the tallest tower they could.  The women won this one handily as well, even with the men trying to cheat.

We ended the evening in style, watching the new Stargate film.  It probably won’t surprise most people Debi and I love sci-fi and are huge fans of Stargate.  But, it turns out, so are Danny and Colleen.  They saw the new movie the day before we left in Costco and brought it.  The four of us were probably the only ones who understood what was going on, but it was still fun.  With the weather mellowed out, we were able to return to the top of the boat for bed.  Very few places offer night views of the stars better than Lake Powell.  The Milky Way was amazing!

Note: I forgot another important event.  The very first night one of the toilets got clogged.  Toilets on houseboats aren’t like normal toilets.  They are more like airline toilets, except they have a grinder that chews up the, um, chunks and paper to prevent clogs.  I was upstairs running the movie and didn’t realize that Danny drew the short straw and had to unclog it.  That meant taking it apart and cleaning everything out.  Imagine cleaning out a port-a-potty with a spoon and you’ll get the idea.  It was awful.  After his night of toilet terror, Danny penned “Mike’s Rules of the Pooper”:

  1. If more than an inche, squeeze off and pinch.
  2. If pushing more than a pound, go find higher ground.
  3. If you decide to take a poo, push the down button is what you do.
  4. If only  a relaxing pee is on your mind, there is no reason to grind.
  5. Up is what you pull, if you’ve just wizzed in the hole.
  6. A glass of grape juice every day will grease your inner way.
  7. After your done with your squeeze, use your finger if you please.
  8. Then use one square on your finger wash with soap so no smell linger.
  9. Forget it! Don’t dookie until saturday!

Second Note: Hopefully I can get some pictures of some of these activities from my sibs.  If so, I’ll post them later.

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