Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Astros!!

A few weeks ago, I signed Luke up for the Astros Buddies program.  This has been around for ever, and something I never got to do when I was a kid.  Luke received a backpack, socks, a cap, and 4 tickets to a game.  I thought that was a pretty good deal, especially this season as they have the best record in baseball and a legit shot at going to the Series.

Besides all of the items mentioned, his name got entered into a lottery where he could meet some players and get autographs.  Well, he got chosen this past weekend, so up to the stadium we went, arriving at 10:30 for a 1:10 start.  Marlina and Kate dropped us off and we waited in line to get the autographs.  By 10:45 we were next in line.  I looked at Luke and informed him that this was his chance to meet the players and to take advantage of it.  Ask the players a question, don't just hand him a ball to sign silently.  Luke walked up to Astros reliever Will Harris, and politely asked "How do you throw the ball so hard?".  Perfect, I thought. Now this professional probably gets asked that question a bunch and he should impart some wisdom regarding practicing hard, never giving up, listen to your coaches, etc.  Harris's reply?  "Shoot kid, I just throw it as hard as I can every time."  Not exactly the inspirational stuff that I was looking for, but hey, maybe Luke can gleam some wisdom from it anyhow.
 Well, after that, we went to the game and had a good time.  The Astros came from behind to win it, and I got to see the new parts of the stadium that I hadn't previously seen.  The kids got to run the bases afterwards, and it was a blast to see Luke run around as fast as he could and Kate parading around like she was in no hurry at all. 

Go Astros!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017


So, last night Unk came over to eat some pizza with the kids.  As we are all gathered around the dining room table, we heard a loud THUNK.  Where is the cat and what the hell has he done now, immediately went through my mind.  It sounded as if it came from downstairs, but the cat never goes downstairs.  I went upstairs to look for him. He was no where to be found.  I went on the main floor, but couldn't find him there either.  I ventured down the stairs to see if he had gone down to the landing and knocked something over.  I was halfway down the stairs, just enough to see the window on the door that leads outside when something grabbed my attention.  Standing outside my door was a very large hawk.  Standing, not walking around, not doing anything.  Just standing there looking confused.

Something similar to the one pictured here, only this guy wasn't balancing on a pole, he was just dazed.  I then saw a little package on the front stoop. It took me a second to add it up, but that hawk had caught some prey, and was struggling with it, not able to fully control where he was flying.  He must have been fighting with the prey and flew right into the glass door.  I have heard of sparrows or pigeons flying into windows before, but I have never heard of a hawk.

Anyways, the dazed hawk shook off the cobwebs and when he saw me gawking at him, he high tailed it out of there, leaving me a little present on the doormat.  I think it was a baby night heron, but in any case, I disposed of it and went back upstairs to finish the pizza.  Only, I wasn't as hungry as before.

Monday, July 10, 2017

I'm on a boat!

Took my first boating lesson on Saturday.  Mr. Batchelor was kind enough to take me out and show me everything he knows about boats, or at least that is what he told me.  I climbed aboard his 18' Mako and we set off.  He explained about wakes, idling, channel markers, etc.  Basically all the things you take for granted when it isn't your boat and you are not driving.

We cruised passed the swimming hole and he let me take the wheel.  Now we are talking!  Back the other way and out into the bay.  Getting the boat up on plane is going to take some practice.  So is looking for underwater obstacles and other boats.  What has kept me from driving boats in the past still freaks me out now, but you can't get over the fear without facing it.

Two hours and $75 worth of fuel later, we headed back in, where he showed me how to tie the boat off "the way the US Navy does". 

Really looking forward to my next time.

Friday, June 9, 2017


Marlina and Trish decided that our excursion down in Ol Mexico was to be one that they had always wanted to do, but disguised it under the rouse that it was something the kids would always remember.  I think I will always remember it as well.

We got to swim with the dolphins at a place called Chankanaab Wildlife Park.  When we arrived at the park, we found our place to change into swimsuits, then watched in amazement as we saw the dolphins in the lagoon.  We got paired up with our host and photographer and prepared to enter the water.  It was chilly, but not too bad.  At least not to me.  Marlina thought otherwise.  But she managed to push through it.

One by one, they called us to touch the dolphins and rub their bellies.  Then they pulled Marlina and Kate out to swim with the dolphins.  Katie got to grab the fins and go for a ride.  Marlina did the same.  When it was time for Luke and I, they tried something different.  We got a boogie board and were told to place our legs straight out.  The dolphins came from behind us and their noses hit the soles of our feet and pushed us through the water at a surprisingly fast rate of speed.  We created a wake!

We spent the rest of the time playing around and watching the dolphins do tricks until it was time to leave.  After we got out, we walked around the pier and got to see a manatee.  I have never seen one of these beasts until that time. What a large animal!  We took several photos of the dolphins and manatee, but then we discovered how they get ya.  We were not allowed to bring our cameras into the dolphin area, but they did give us a personal photog.  She took awesome photos and they were glad to sell us the disk for $200 per family.  We politely passed and went to lunch.  But before we left the park, we negotiated them down to a slightly less obscene price and bought the CD, but they only allowed us the photos of the kids.  Sorry, but no bikini pics of Marlina (or me).

We had a blast.  Trent and I then rented snokels and took off.  I saw a lobster under the water that was bigger than anything I had ever seen in a tank.  Bring on the butter.  Too soon, it was time to leave and get back on the boat.  After a stop in downtown at the Hotel Barracuda, a lovely plate of nachos and cold margarita later, we boarded the boat and prepared to cruise back to Galveston.  Good times....Good times....

Monday, May 22, 2017


Well, Marlina and I got to do something that I have always wanted to do.  We got to surprise the kids with a vacation.  I am talking full on surprise here.  We dropped the kids off at school for the day, then showed up at the school office at 10:15 to pick them up.  They had no idea of why they were being called to the office.  We loaded them up in the car under the guise that Dad had taken the day off and wanted to go to Galveston.  As we crossed the Causeway bridge, Katie looks at the cruise boat docked and asks, "Hey, when do you think we will be able to go on that cruise boat?"  We looked at each other sheepishly and changed the subject.  First stop, the Olympia Grill on the Strand.  This is where the Murphy's walked in.  Trent and Trish walked in with both of their kids and we all got seated together.  At that point, we told the kids to turn around and see what was on their chairs.  The ladies had put together a backpack for each of the kids.  Inside the backpack was a pair of sunglasses, some sunscreen, a travel journal, an envelope with $75 spending money, and a note that read "See that big boat anchored up right outside?  Here is your ticket, now lets go get on board!"

 The cruise was set for one day at sea, one day in Cozumel, and one day at sea. The first day at sea was quite windy. Luke was a bit disappointed as the Sports Deck was shut down due to the high winds.  Even the water slide was closed.  However, we still managed to have some fun and the kids and ladies picked up First Place in the on-board scavenger hunt.  We ended the night with show about music through the years.  We loved it as the kids cringed as we danced along to the sounds of ABBA and Barry Manilow.  

We got up and we were in Cozumel.  It occurred to me as we headed out on our excursion that our kids had never been in water where they could see their feet.  Boy are they in for a treat.

On the next post, I will fill you in on dolphin encounter excursion.........

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

To Build a Bear, or not to build a bear, that is the question....

This past weekend,  I had to work on Saturday.  Marlina and the kids had no definite plans and that usually means trouble for me.  Sure enough, they call mid day and explain that they had to get out of the house and they are going to Academy so Luke could purchase a basketball jersey.  Well, I get home to find out that he purchased the jersey and Katie purchased a geology kit where she dissolves this brick of mud to expose the buried gems inside.  Well, she gets ripped off in the fact that this particular one only encased one ugly rock instead of the normal 8-9 crystals.  Lesson learned, I assumed.

After showing me their treasures (or lack thereof), I decide to settle down for a late afternoon nap.  After snoozing for a few, I was awakened by my little girl announcing that it was time for Dad and Kate time, bemoaning the fact that, in her opinion, it had been forever since we had spent some time just her and I.  I relented and got up.  She suggested a few places to go, and I suggested we go to Kemah in hopes that we could have a happy hour together at one of the many fine establishments on the water.  She had other ideas.

We ended up over there and she immediately drug me to the new Build A Bear workshop.  Thats fine, I said to myself, we will just look.  And, she had already purchased a new toy earlier in the day.  But.................She really, really wanted one, but my Dad voice took over and I shut down the episode.  Then she brought out the big gun.  "Dad, I will use my own money!"  Normally, I would think this was great, but A)She had been telling me for weeks that she wants to save enough money to purchase and Apple watch and B)She had already purchased one toy the same day, and C)25$ for a teddy bear is a bit absurd, then you have to purchase the clothes separately.  But....on the other hand, A)who am I to tell someone how to spend their own money, even if I don't agree with what they are spending the money on, and B)I don't really want her to have an Apple watch anyways, because a 6 year old doesn't need that kind of toy.

Well, as you can see, I was in a bit of a pickle.  This is what I did, and I don't know if it was right or wrong, but it is what I did.  I shut the plan down on site.  I explained to her that she informed me that she wanted to save her money for a larger purchase down the road and that by spending her money she would never accomplish that goal of saving up.  She didn't cry, but she was disappointed.  I couldn't even get her to eat ice cream.  We made the journey home and she went upstairs and shut the door to her room.  I waited a few minutes going through everything in my mind and then I also went upstairs.  I knocked and entered.  I then sat her down and explained to her that I wanted her to think long and hard about it over night and decide if she truly wanted to spend her money or would she rather save it up.  If she truly wanted to spend her money, we would return the next day.  After all, it was her money.  Her face lightened up and she said she would think about it.  She liked the plan.

Well, long story short, we returned the next day and she purchased Rosy the bear with her own money.    I didn't want her to get that Apple watch anyways......

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

March, where did you go???

Well, here we are, already in April, and I didn't manage to blog once in March.  Now that I am looking back, it is a good time to evaluate those new year's resolutions. 

1.  Exercise three times a week, minimum--Well, I have joined a gym, and am efforting to get there three times a week.  I have started going before work, but have not found it always conducive to do so.  After work is not an option either, as the gym is crowded and someone needs to cook dinner.  That only leaves during lunch time, which I might try on days that I don't make it before work.  I have enjoyed it, and it does make me feel better.  But, then again, it has only been one month of doing so.  Lets see if the habit sticks.

2.  Go camping 5 times--Well, we have been once, and are scheduled to go again in May.  Two times out of the first half of the year is not going to cut it.  Need to up that and see if I can go again before May ends.  We ended up going to Huntsville State Park with the Garza's, Murphy's, and the Sender's.  We are going with them again, only this time we are going to Austin State Park in Sealy.  I have never been to this park as an adult, so I am curious as to the amenities.  There is not much to do around Sealy, so I am a little skeptical, but will come with an open mind.  I would love it if yall shared some insight on this park.  Also, when we went camping with this bunch last time, Marlina and I were the last around the campfire, and definitely had the most empty containers around us.  Hopefully, this time around, the campfire will be attended better. 

3.  Read 5 books--I have completed one, and am halfway through the next one.  The first was Huck Finn, by Mark Twain.  It was the first time I have read this classic and I will admit, it took me a while to get in the flow of the language.  Those of you who have read it recently will remember that the entire book was written in the "language" of the uneducated American youth of the late 1800's.  That takes a smidgen of time to grasp when you used to the politically correct climate of today.

That was it, or at least as much as I am going to share today.  My other resolution was to blog more.  I did pretty good in the first months of the year, but fell off in March.  April will be better.  Don't forget to click the link below to subscribe.