There's a battle royal going on in the Leavitt household, and the state's chief executive officer is going to Washington, D.C., to get away from it all.
Well, not exactly - but it looks like Gov. Mike Leavitt might use a well-timed business trip to skirt a tough rule he imposed on himself and his family: no television during National TV-Turnoff Week.Not even one quick news program?
Not even the monthly televised KUED press conference he taped Wednesday?
Not even, for heaven's sake, the season's first playoff game Thursday between the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets?
"Look, don't put me on the spot," Leavitt joked during his monthly news gathering Wednesday.
Does no television in Utah mean no television in the nation's capital?
Leavitt traveled to Washington late Wednesday to participate in congressional hearings about air quality. He'll meet with fellow governors Friday - and he is a little light on the details when asked what he'll be doing Thursday evening when the Utah Jazz meet Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and their friends at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Leavitt's intentions were good.
Too much violence on TV means too many bad habits for kids, so he proclaimed this week TV-Turnoff Week in Utah, and encouraged "all citizens to make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of television they and their families watch in order to promote a richer lifestyle."
So on Monday, off went the three Leavitt family tubes. A newspaper article taped to the oven reminds the family not to watch and why.
"Let's just say it's been a matter of some dispute in our house," the governor said.
First lady Jackie Leavitt broke the news to the kids at Sunday family dinner. An article out of Parade Magazine announced the "Turn it off" theme in a big headline. "I said to them, `Guess what? We're doing it!' " she said.
"It hasn't been easy at our house, but we're doing it," Jackie Leavitt said.
She is already fairly strident about television rules: no eating or studying in front of the tube and no television in the morning. The set gets turned off at 7 p.m., unless something special is on, like a Jazz game.
On Monday, the set got flipped on several times out of habit, she said. "This really alerts us to how much time we let it into our lives."
Three of the Leavitts' five children who live at the East Salt Lake home are finding other things to do. Leavitt's two older sons are out of the house. Taylor, 20, is in Chile on an mission for the LDS Church. Mike Jr. "Bud," 22, is at school in Cedar City.
This week, Westin, 8, has been active with Boy Scouts and soccer. Chase, 14, has stayed late at school and watched school sporting events. Bonneville Elementary is honoring the no-TV declaration and has sponsored several activities.
But Thursday night - Jazz night - won't be easy.
While the governor is away, the rest of the Leavitts will dig into a family project making campaign buttons for 16-year-old Ann Marie, who's running for cheerleader at East High. Her slogan has a jazzy, Hot Rod Hundley feel: "You've got to Leavitt, Baby."
And the governor?
He got a twinkle in his eye thinking about the privacy of his hotel room and his home state basketball team's run at the NBA title. He wouldn't say whether he'll watch or not.
"I've been really quiet about it," he said with a grin Wednesday. "I'm just getting out of town."