Friday, December 2, 2016

New toy! Almost

Well, I am about to pull the trigger on a new golf cart.  I usually am a slow and methodical person when it comes to making large purchases except when surfing the interwebs while drinking.  A while back Marlina and I had some company in and wanted to take them for a cruise around the island.  We had to take turns because the kids are too young to be left alone so they had to come with us.  Marlina would take the visiting lady and give her a tour of the island, then I took my friend around.  This would be a lot better if we could all go at the same time, we agreed.  Seeing as how we don't want to wait a few more years till the kids are old enough to stay home alone, we decided we would "look into" selling our golf cart and upsizing.

Usually this means that we will discuss it for a bit, then decide that I don't want to spend the money and we would revisit it again after I get pissed off about not having enough room on cart.  However, this time, I found a buyer for our blue golf cart, which was a necessary first step.  I am adamant about doing things in order and selling the old one before purchasing the new one is imperative.  Step one, complete.  Now finding the new one and making it have everything we want should be fun.  Stay tuned for the adventure (and pictures).

But for now, we say good bye to Bluefoot, or Old Blue (we could never really decide on a good nickname).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My dad

A little while ago, my father turned 70.  18 months ago to be exact.  My mother asked me to write a little something about this.  That was all the direction I had.  Well, I let it slip my mind and got busy with work and family and I didn't get around to doing it.  Well, I started it, but never finished it.  I will, I know, but for now, I want to share a story about my dad that just popped into my head.

When I was a kid, I loved wrestling.  Not the fireworks shooting WWE stuff that is on Monday nights nowadays, but rather the rough and tough Mid South wrestling and WCCW that we used to have here in Houston on Saturday nights at the Sam Houston Coliseum. 
I would watch every weekend, buy all the books and magazines I could find, buy all toys, and attend matches on special occasions.  Some of my favorites were Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Jake the Snake, The Rock N Roll Express, and the Von Erichs. 

In 1985, I was 9 years old.  Pizza Inn ran a promotion that if you buy a pizza, you get a free poster of the Von Erichs.  I knew I just had to have those posters.  My dad took me up to Pizza Inn on a Sunday night to obtain my prize.  When we got there, I was ecstatic.  They had the posters mounted up on the wall for all to see and to, no doubt, encourage you to buy a pizza.  My dad ordered the pizza and I instructed him to ask about the posters.  "I am sorry, but we are all out of posters," the man's voice said as I tried to hold back tears.  I remember trying to take disappointment like a grown up, but I have no recollection if I was successful or not.  I slunk off to the corner of the restaurant to be alone while my father waited for the pizza.  I was floored.  I was devastated.  I watched as my father said something to the man behind the counter, who nodded.  I then watched as that man went and got a ladder and began to remove the poster that had been hanging on the wall.  I wiped my tears away and started grinning when they rolled up the poster and handed it to me.  To this day, I don't know what my dad said to the man behind the counter, or if he even remembers this event happening.  I don't remember if I even said thank you to my dad.  I don't have that poster any more, and I am positive that even if I did, I wouldn't want it hanging up in my house.  But I will always have the memory of my dad doing this for me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Voting Day

Yep, its voting day.  What makes this election more significant than any I can remember lately is that my kids are old enough to vocalize some opinions.  They don't mean squat, but at least they are paying attention and can name who the current President is. 

I remember as a kid I was in elementary school when Texas' Governors race was between Clayton Williams and Ann Richards.  I couldn't name you one of their positions on anything, but that didn't stop me from telling everyone entering the building to "Vote Clayton."  I was the kid door monitor so I had a pretty good spot from whence to espouse my political views.  I think I just liked his name.  I have no idea why I chose Williams.

And this year, I have heard both my kids tell me "Trump" or "Clinton" at least 20 times.  I tried to sit with Luke and explain the dilemma his mom and I were facing, but he didn't really care.  He did emphatically tell Katie that Trump was better, to which she replied "Hillary".  Luke has been stuck on Trump and Katie has flip flopped a few times.  I think she likes the idea of a female president, but hears her mom tell her why Hillary is crooked, so she changes to Trump.

Anyways, the big day is here.  I have already voted.  So many are looking forward to this being over, but honestly, they will all find something else to bitch about next week, so who really cares?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Carnival time!!

At Luke and Kate's school, every year they have a Fall Carnival.  Last year was great.  They have blow up inflatables, ring toss, cake walks, petting zoo, arts, crafts, basketball games, and of course, food.

Jim Adams asked me to help him out last year with the concessions.  He had put together a team of people on the island that I know and drink with.  I thought it sounded like fun.  I get to see the inside of the school cafeteria, and I didn't have to volunteer to work the ring toss or something like that.  Little did I know what I was getting into.  Jim's youngest son was in the 5th grade.  What that means is that this was the last year that he would be running the concessions stand at the carnival and he was needing to pass the torch onto someone.  Sure, I said.  It will be fun, I said. 

So, fast forward to this year.  I get reminded that I had agreed to do this.  I have to go to PTA meetings and listen to critiques of last year and suggestions for this year.  Oh, and BTW, I have to create a menu, purchase all the supplies, including cutlery, and cook, and serve.  I tapped on Jim for advice and his files from last year.  He will get me a copy of the receipt he has from Sams Club, he says.  That will make it easier.  So, he and I discuss the menu over emails, and he has some suggestions for me.  How many people do I need to cook and buy for, I ask?  Ask Trish, ask the PTA leader Angie, they all say.  And don't forget to recruit volunteers, they all say.

I develop my team, thanks to all the ladies help.  Trish volunteered her husband Trent, and their friend William.  And Amy volunteered her husband Patrick.  Sweet, I now have a team of 4.  That should be enough, I think.  And Patrick has a mobile grill.  And William is an expert at grilling.  This thing is working out great, only I still don't know how many people to buy or cook for.

As the day grows closer, I decide to throw out a number to Trish. How about 250 people?  Do you think I should plan on cooking for 250?  Yes, she says.  That should be about great.

Ok, Jim and I go over the list one more time before I head to Sams Club.  Don't forget this.  Don't forget that.  And BTW, plan on about 500 people.  WTF, now I need to double my stuff.

I spend Thursday night doing a Sams Club recon mission.  I write prices of everything down.  Then come home to finalize the menu.  The final verdict:  Frito Pie, Cheeseburgers, Meatballs, Chicken Skewers, Corn Dogs, Hot Dogs, Sausage on a Stick.  Also thrown in, pizza delivered from Pizza King.

On Friday, I hit Sams Club twice, and WalMart once. On Saturday, I hit WalMart again and we finally have enough of everything.  It is time to cook.

I slipped on my chef jacket and really enjoyed myself.  I got to know some of the kids teachers and heard nothing but good things about the food, even though I know it was all up to snuff.  William helped out tremendously and I enjoyed working with him so much, I volunteered to be on his cooking team at next month's BBQ cookoff in CLS.  Patrick's help was also greatly appreciated as he was the runner for WalMart twice more during the event as well as the main food runner and head dish washer.  And Trent was awesome as well.  He came right from his main job and

I have ideas for next year, and will have at least some sort of idea of how many people to cook for.  I intend on keeping my records.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To concuss, or not to concuss, that is the question....

Well, it finally happened.  Luke got knocked on his butt in practice and fell backwards and hit his head on the ground.  It shook him up pretty bad and he was seeing stars for a bit.  But let me back up just a bit.

The previous weekend, during Luke's game, the other team took some very cheap shots including several late hits.  After one particularly troublesome one, one of the parents on our team ran onto the field.  Marlina saw a concerned dad running to check on his injured son.  I saw an angry dad running onto the field to confront the opposing coach about the late hits.  Either which way, the game was called and we took Luke home.  Later that evening, Marlina and I of course discussed the days events where she gave me her version of what happened.  She said she would have done the same thing and running out there to protect her boy would be what any normal rational person would've done.  I decided to let it go by saying "At least where Luke plays on the offensive line, the collisions are violent enough for him to get hurt like that."

Fast forward to the very next week in practice where Luke gets his bell rung.  The very next week.  Anyways, I got a good ration of "I told you so" when they got home.  I asked Luke what happened, and you could tell he had been bumped pretty good.  He took some Advil and relaxed on the couch for the night, with his mom right by his side all night.

The next day, he went to school and complained of a headache. When he saw his mom in the hallway, he told her he was having trouble concentrating.  This set off a tidal wave of fear into Marlina and she immediately wanted to contact the doctor.  The next appt. wasn't until the next day, so Luke went to practice (not participating of course), and then came home.  The next morning, I asked him how he was feeling, if he felt any pain, if he had a headache, if he was dizzy or nauseous, if he saw stars, if he was having trouble concentrating.  All of which came back a resounding NO.  I made the casual suggestion to my wife that he is fine and I didn't think he needed to go see the doctor.  How do you think that went over?

Anyways, she took him to the doc.  The verdict:  mild concussion.  Maintain rest and no contact sports for a week. 

I bring all of this up not to illustrate a difference of opinion between me and my wife.  Not even to illustrate the differences between moms and dads.  I bring all of this up to ask the question, is my son trying to act tough for his dad, and is he being totally honest with his mom?  In other words, it is really tough being a parent.  The tugs at the heart are strong and evenly matched with the knowledge of the brain that every kid must grow up.  No parent wants his kid to get hurt and it is very painful watching him when he is not at his peak.  Does it make me a bad dad because I said that a bump on the head might be good for him in the long run?  That challenges, including physical ones, will help him grow up?  That the best stories in life are ones of overcoming adversity?  I don't think so.  Especially when I have the ying to my yang, perfectly contrasting my every move, right by my side, to make sure I don't go off the deep end, as is my job with her.   

Monday, September 12, 2016

I love my neighborhood!

So, after an exciting day of watching football, from Pee-wee leagues to the #6 ranked Houston Cougars, we headed back home for the rest of the evening.  Lo and behold, it is block party night in CLS.  As most of you know, I live on an island with two ways on/off it.  The block party is where the city puts up barricades on one of the entrances and we literally have a party on the bridge with the adjacent neighborhood.  Neighbor Priscilla put together an awesome singer and there were multiple refreshments there for everyone to enjoy.  Katie even tried a Pina Colada cupcake that she gave two thumbs up. 

From there, the party moved approx. 500 feet over to the pavilion where Jammin On Jarboe was just starting to take shape.  Jammin is a monthly concert put on by island locals as as way for us to come together and party as an island.  Everyone drives their golf carts up, brings their own refreshments, and socializes with the neighbors.  The band changes every month.  This months band was rocking.  I enjoyed some Tom Petty, CCR, and even some Bob Segar music.

After a long day, Marlina had had enough, so she and Katie headed back to the house.  Luke and I stayed a bit longer, then headed up to the food trucks so I could get some dinner.  Yes, at the front of the neighborhood on weekends, we have different food trucks lined up.  I enjoyed some quesadillas from El Guajillo and it was a perfect way to cap off the evening.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August, where did you go?

I looked up and August is about gone.  It seems like the last month of summer flew by.  Mainly because we were so busy.  August 1 started Freshman Football, and Mermaid Cheerleading.  When I say start, I mean full on, pedal to the metal, jump in the deep end starting of football season.  This is Luke's first year to participate in youth football.  Five days a week for the first week, then jumping up to 6 days a week for the next two weeks, and after school starts, we go down to 4 days a week.  Cheerleading isn't quite so hardcore, they only practice 4 days a week. 

Luke and Marlina went to pick up his uniform and helmet.  Luke chose #1 after Cam Newton (his favorite football player at the moment).  When he got home, he put the uniform on and we went outside to throw some passes and to "try it out."  He ran a few routes and caught a few balls.  I made him drop and give me some pushups; basically anything to try and get him used to the uniform.  And thats when it hit me.  I pulled him aside and said to him, "Luke, I almost forgot one thing.  Up to this point in your athletic life, in basketball, t-ball, tae-kwon-do, baseball, etc, all of your coaches and parents and friends and relatives have told you that you were awesome and that if you just try hard and do your best, you will succeed.  Football coaches are a different breed, a different style. They yell.  They scream.  They tell you to try harder, that you are not doing enough.  They bully you.  But in the end, if they are good coaches, they will get the best out of you.  It isn't personal, they do it to everyone.  I just want you to be prepared."  "Ok Dad, whatever", is the response I got.

After the first few days, when it was 100 plus degrees, I could tell he was having a bit of a hard time.  But the little guy persevered.  He got hit and started to cry.  He popped back up and got in line.  He got to play multiple positions and learn an awful lot about football.  He made it through his first football training camp. 

Opening day came with nervous excitement.  He was ready.  He is the starting right offensive guard and he plays on all special teams.  Most of the other boys on the team have played football for one or two years already, so Luke starting has a nice ring to it.  Katie was not as excited as Luke
She was a little nervous, but soon another Mermaid grabbed her by the hand and led her out on the field.  Once there, she fully participated and had a great time.
Other than me having the flu, Opening Day was a huge success.  Marlina even won a Yeti cooler in the raffle contest.

On to the next games.  In case any of you need us for the next three months, we will be at youth football/cheerleading.  Go Sharks/Mermaids!