Summer is a Lie

Summer is a lie.

There, I said it. As a child I was raised to believe that Summer was the vacation from the real world. When you were able to break free from the shackles of pencils, books, and teacher’s dirty looks and run both free and amok at the same time. They never tell you how fleeting that feeling is. Well, sure, you’re grandpa probably said something along the lines of “Oh, to be young….Enjoy it while you can…”, but he also used words like “moxie” and called movies “pictures” so you paid little attention to it.


Dental health is also fleeting

Then time marches on. You grow up, you get married, you decide that your marriage is a smoldering dumpster fire, you get married again, you have kids (That’s the natural progression, right?). Before you know it, your munchkins are in school with their own pencils, books, and rounded safety scissors provided by teachers that are no longer legally allowed to give dirty looks. Then June comes rolling along and all that pent-up energy that they’ve stored up being forced to sit still for hours at a time is let loose on the public in the annual tradition of Summer Vacation. Hey parent! Be afraid, be very afraid. RIP any amount of free time you found yourself in your normal routine.

No school equals no immediate reason for the kids to wake up. “Sleep in, get some rest, we had a lot of fun today, stayed up later than we should have”. This is my nightly plea to my children as I tuck them in. Yet, like clockwork, the summer sun rises earlier than I’d like, flooding their rooms with light as if their windows were just caught attempting a prison break.


A quick look at my daughter’s reaction to every morning

I understand that seasons are different in other parts of the world which makes me think that I’m living in the wrong area (Although I have become quite accustomed to my toilets flushing in a counter-clockwise direction…just seems right).  And, sure, I could invest in blackout curtains but, I ask, have you ever entered a children’s room with blackout curtains? Unless you flip on the lights you have guaranteed yourself a Lego-impaled foot and a literal trip into the void granted by free-range dirty clothes.

So, kids are now awake at the crack of dawn and already they are bored out of their minds. It’s a different day and age than when I was a kid (Is this where I start using the word “moxie” for myself and complaining about kids running on my lawn?). It is no longer appropriate to let your kids rule the neighborhood with their friends, getting into mischief with only the promise of being home by dinner time. Now, parents need a day-by-day syllabus outlining the activities for the day. We have a general routine for the day which includes reading time, arts/crafts time, and “quick clean-up time so when Mom gets home she doesn’t immediately turn around and run away from our Hoarders starter kit” time. “Keep them entertained enough that they don’t start fighting” is my daily goal. My role has essentially been reduced to a mixture of camp counselor and prison guard (A lot of prison references so far. Is it obvious that I’m watching Orange is the New Black now?).


I also get worried when screwdrivers go missing. Time for another bunk check.

The good news is that I like these inmates. My life behind a desk was rarely as entertaining as it is portrayed in Wolf of Wall Street. Not once did we ever throw any little people. Shame. I traded in my summer commutes for days at the park, watching my little goobers make hour-long friendships. I get to witness them create games out of thin air like tiny magicians and then create rules that guarantee their victory. I get to watch my dopplegangers grow and become their own little people. That is my freedom.

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A Familiar Face

Screenshot 2016-06-29 at 9.06.57 PM

 You’re walking down a crowded city sidewalk, minding your own business. Looking up at the faces of the people walking in the opposite direction (“I just came from there. You’re not missing anything.”). As you make eye contact with strangers you quickly look down at the ground so that you don’t make eye contact for too long…because…social anxiety stuff and you remember that when you have staring contests with cats they tend to flip out and try to slice your jugular and we have no doubt picked up some feline traits somewhere along the line of human evolution, right?


I’m imagining this. Only with less confusing crosswalks. Tokyo sidewalks are like that scene in Inception where the city folds in on itself.

Anyway, painting a picture here, you then see a familiar face in the crowd. What has it been….4, no, 5 years at least. You struggle to put a name to the face. You both make eye contact and smile. Inner dialogue alert…

Oh God!! What do I even say?!? They look kinda busy but I don’t want to seem like a recluse weirdo. I’ll say “Hi”. Oh, no! After “Hi” is usually “It’s been a long time. What have you been up to?” How do I condense 5 years into a quick conversation?! So much has happened. Too much, really. Come to think about it, is any of it interesting enough to mention? Yeah, some of it is but is it only interesting to me. Ugh, I’ll just say “Hi” and if things go wrong I’ll just crawl into a hole somewhere and think of all the other things I should have said until the end of days.

You look back up and they’ve long since passed. In fact, it’s about 4 hours later, the sun has set, feral dogs howl in the distance, and you don’t recognize anything around you. Thank God for Uber.

And….that pretty much sums up everything that goes through my brain when I get told things like “Didn’t you write a long time ago? It was funny. You should do that again.” (I feel like there is an anxiety medication salesperson somewhere who is screaming at their computer while reading this with visions of enormous commission checks). Well, I don’t know how long this new batch o’ blogs will last but I feel like if I can get a quick update/introduction out-of-the-way, then I can get back into writing about random everyday nonsense about my life and my kids in hopes that they can read these posts twenty years from now and realize that they are partly to blame for my upcoming psychological breakdown.

Here’s everything that has happened in the last 4.5 years since I wrote last (Yes, it’s been seriously nearly 5 years and I’m really unclear if people still blog or if all human interaction is done through text and YouTube toy unboxing/candy review vids):

  • Grew a Beard (Gotta mention the important things first)
  • Had a son who is 3 years old now (I think you’ll hear about him)
  • The 3-year old little princess I mentioned before is now an 8-year old diva in the making (She’ll make regular appearances here too)
  • Quit my job and have been a stay-at-home dad for 3+ years (forgiveness for going on tirades about Paw Patrol or using kid-friendly replacement swears would be appreciated)

I think that about catches you up. Now, if I see you on the street, I can just say “Hi” and we can talk about normal things and BS like we used to. More accurately, if you happen to be walking by a park where you look over to see me chasing my son around and chasing the boys away from my daughter, come over and say “Hi”. Helicopter parenting can wait for a few minutes.

Anyway, it’s good to see you again.


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Let Me Take You On A Sea Cruise…Part 5

Being unprepared for our scuba trip left us completely sunburned and miserable. I think they knew this when we entered the gift shop onboard the ship because I assume that they tripled the price of the aloe soothing gel because I’m pretty sure we spent about $35 “funbucks” on it which translates to $35 real bucks on land when you have to pay your bill.

Changing my race in a few hours of sunlight meant that I spent the rest of the day overcompensation for the pain and that night I had the worst night of sleep of my life. I couldn’t get comfortable and just laid there praying for morning. I finally got about 3 hours of sleep and woke up at 7am in a great deal of muscle pain from sleeping awkwardly. I knew that in a few hours we were going to be in Cozumel doing the Carnival version of “Amazing Race” which didn’t seem possible since I was moving about as quickly as a 95-year-old amputee.

My wife called down to the front desk asking for a refund so we could spend the day recovering. I wasn’t listening in to her conversation but I assume with the way that she got off the phone that they just laughed and then hung up. I’m not crazy about wasting money so we decided that we would race amazingly.

After getting everyone wrangled up we set out for our race. We we informed before the race that at some point we would be wading out into the water and diving for a clue so the wife wore aquasocks for the trip to give us a slight advantage but they fell apart about 50 feet off the pier. So now we were both hobbled and there was very little chance for success but we were determined to have some fun and just not finish last. We were dropped in the middle of an outdoor mall in the middle of town and given a map with no markings and a first clue. Off we hobbled toward adventure.

After a bit we realized that the quickness in which we solved clues was going to be our advantage in this race as we flew through the first 3 stops. On a side note, Cozumel is beautiful and the people there are really friendly and would cheer us on. I know that this was probably done sarcastically as I’m sure, once we passed, they would make fun of our pastiness.

We got to the water clue and were shipped out to a sunken ship by glass bottom boat. The water was incredibly transparent as you could see to the bottom. Once we got the name of the sunken ship we were back to the mainland to do some more running while we air-dried.

One of our next stops was an outdoor market where we were supposed to find a clue. We quickly ran around looking for something out-of-place and found only bad vegetables and disapproving eyes. After receiving my fair share of dirty glances from locals I heard a small child yelling “AQUI! AQUI!” which in my 3 years of high school Spanish I know to mean “here”(That’s about all the Spanish I’m good for. I failed the 3rd year.). We ran over to the corn stand the boy was at and he handed my wife an ear of corn. I was a little leery about this because we were warned that the locals would attempt to sell us things during our adventure so I was pretty sure that we were about to purchase an ear of corn. He told my wife to open it which she reluctantly did. There was nothing inside and the boy suddenly looked disappointed and looked like he was about to cry. Did we just kill his pet Corn or something? Oh God! The locals will attack us for grabbing this ear of corn out of this child’s hands and cracking it open! Just about then the adult at the table, that had been ignoring us, came over to tell us that there was a clue in the corn and we must have missed it so she handed us a new one and off we ran for our next destination.

After a few more stops we found our last destination which was a restaurant in the middle of nowhere where the other 35 teams had gathered as a alcohol-fueled finish line. After all the times had been tallied we finished 11th out of 35 which was pretty damn impressive with our original handicaps. After the strongest giant margarita I had ever had we headed back into town.

During our travels I had noticed some of the shops had mexican wrestling masks with NFL teams on them. I had to have a Packers one! It would be mine but I decided to have my hand at haggling for my prize. I decided I wasn’t going to pay more that $12 for one and asked the salesman how much he wanted. $45. What the hell am I supposed to do with that?!?! You can’t go to $12 from $45 so I decided that I’d play “The Walkaway” and about 3 steps out he lowered it to $35. I then attempted my power play and offered $10 thinking that we’d hit somewhere in the middle. Not happening. He laughed at me and then walked away. My ego having been dealt a huge blow I walked away without my prize discouraged and broken. I later sent my wife back to buy it without me because I couldn’t stoop to his price in person. About 3 stores down my wife spotted a ceramic figure she couldn’t live without. She grabbed it and took it to the counter and asked “Is this where I barter with you?” The man just chucked and shook his head no. I think we’re pretty bad at this bartering thing.

That said, wouldn’t it be overly aggravating to have to barter all day long for these people. I would think it would be annoying to have to hear all day long what these tourists are willing to pay for your wares and then play the “Lets Make a Deal” game all day long. I know it’s a different culture and all so that’s as far as I’m going to get into it. Just sounds tiring.

Our next day gave us Progresso which is the complete opposite of the tropical paradises that we’ve seen thus far. It’s a quarry basically.

This much be the white beach factory

There are shops along the pier which lead to a giant bus depot. Beautiful. We looked at the shops where I found my NFL masks for MUCH cheaper and then turned back to the ship.

We spent the next 2 days at sea heading home. We had already been away for a week now at that point and were missing our little girl and our home so it was about time to head home. Nothing too much out of the ordinary occurred on our return trip but we made it home safely. Honeymoon accomplished. 5 part blog accomplished as well. Thanks for reading.

Happy Honeymoon

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Let Me Take You On A Sea Cruise…Part 4

We had hit the halfway mark on our cruise at this point and our next stop was Isla Roatan in Honduras. Our boat was constantly running late from stop to stop leading me to believe that those crew members that were in charge of shoveling the coal needed to be whipped extra hard.

We were really excited about Honduras because we had heard amazing things and we had booked a beginner’s scuba diving trip in advance. After finally docking we ran down the pier hoping that we had not missed our ride to the scuba resort. Luckily nothing runs on time when you are on vacation and we were quickly on our way through town. Honduras is beautiful which got the wife and I to have a semi-serious conversation about maybe someday selling off all of our possessions and moving there. Later we realized that they only have cheap knock-off Cheetos there so I decided it wouldn’t be in our best interest no matter how beautiful and tranquil it was.

We finally arrived at the resort and were quickly whisked into a classroom to learn about how to scuba dive without dying. After sitting there for a few minutes our instructor strutted in. I say strutted because the guy looked like Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell and had an english accent which made him immediately a human form of lady lubricant. Throw in the fact that he was a laid-back scuba instructor in a tropical paradise and he could be used as a weapon of mass destruction if the military ever got their hands on him.

See, told ya!

After roughly 10 minutes of instruction on how not to swallow water we were given a medical waiver that we had to check through to sign off that we had never had any medical issues ever. Our instructor informed us that if we had experienced any of these health conditions we should inform him and we will talk about it to really see if we had any issues and if we had we would have to pay $25 to see the resort doctor to get a pass. One guy had asthma which I would assume would be a serious thing if you are scuba diving but after 5 minutes with the doc he was cleared to breathe underwater.

We then got on the boat and headed out to sea. Both my wife and I thought that we would get wetsuits to put on but about halfway out we were handed our equipment which consisted of a vest attached to a tank. Neither of us wore sunscreen because we thought we’d be covered and I was rocking cargo shorts so that was what I had to swim in. Interesting thing about swimming with cargo shorts – when you try to get out of the water your pockets filled with water will pull your shorts off of your body. I learned this the hard way about 4 times. We sailed out to a shallow spot to test out our scuba techniques. I passed all the test with flying colors except for the fact that the instructor had to put extra weight into my vest because I was apparently too buoyant. Another experience that I will cite in my lawsuit against McDonalds. One other woman in our group couldn’t take it and started crying and yelling at the instructor. Once we got back on the boat she burst into tears. More on that later, I’m not just mentioning it to be mean.

We then headed out to deeper water to check out the reef and sea life out there. This is where people started getting eliminated from the scuba trip Willy Wonka-style. First we lost a person because they freaked out and refused to jump off the boat, then another when they got freaked out when they saw fish. Each time someone was sent back to the boat the only thing missing was an Oompa Loompa song.

Scuba Dooba Doopidy Doo

We got out to our rope ladder down to the bottom and had a brief discussion about clearing our ears while on our way down. I started down the rope and felt an immense pressure in my ears so I came back up. When I got back up to the surface I realized that my wife had been the next victim of Oompa Loompa’s and was no longer around. After figuring out that she had made it back to the boat I tried the decent again. About halfway down I remembered that in high school I busted my eardrum in swimming class and felt the pressure and pain again and headed back up. The instructor started laying into me about not depressurizing enough but I had to make a Wonka exit of my own at that point because I would rather hear for a few more years than lose my s#** when I see an eel 150 feet underwater so I started my retreat back to the boat.

Yep, No Thanks!

Soon after another person from our group returned to the boat. The only person from our group that actually completed the trip was that sobbing lady who couldn’t handle the 4 ft deep water.

After everyone got back the wife and I decided to enjoy the white beaches for a few minutes before boarding back on the Love Boat. I’m hoping that heaven looks like Honduras, only with slightly less hairy backs.

Next stop….Cozumel. I feel a part 5 coming soon.

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Let Me Take You On A Sea Cruise…Part 3

We spent our first 2 days on the cruise at sea in the Gulf of Mexico. This allowed us to have the necessary 6 hours to adjust to being on a boat and the rocking waves, another 24 hours of drinking and eating, 16 hours of sleeping and napping and 2 hours of boredom. Finally we pulled into our first port in Belize.

Getting off the boat we found ourselves in a fenced in 3rd world strip mall. No beaches, no tropical foliage, just t-shirt shops and bars over a 200 foot pier. As we walked down the strip attempting to find escape from our new concrete tourist prison we realized that the exits were all fenced with razor wire. My question was if the fences were to keep us in or the locals out. The only way to leave the shopping area was to have some sort of excursion booked. Needless to say, we found the first tour available and booked it. We paid a local man named Wallace to show us around. He walked us to the parking lot and told us that he was going to go get the van. After waiting 20 minutes in the lot I had pretty much decided that Wallace had run off with our money. Apparently he just had to construct the van first as my lack of faith proved incorrect when he showed up 5 minutes later to pick us up.

He first drove us around the city which consisted of one giant decadent building surrounded by shacks in disrepair. He described it as “the government stays rich, the people stay poor” but he said it with his heavy accent so it may have been something along the lines of “I show you this so you give me big tip”. After about 20 minutes driving through the city we turned off from our paved two-lane roads to a intermittently paved bike path sized road through the rainforest. On this tiny road traveled vehicles from both directions which was frightening to think about but Wallace told us that “the bigger vehicle gets the road because they are bigger”. Apparently only he abided by this rule as we played Chicken with every vehicle on the 45 minute drive and lost every time.

Random thought: Down there iguanas are like stray cats. They are EVERYWHERE which is very cool but also unnerving to know that there are little dinosaurs hiding in every concrete block wall.

Belizean Bob Barker says have your Iguanas spayed and neutered

After our bumpy ride we found ourselves at a group of Mayan ruins. Wallace walked us around the ruin site letting us in on its rich history. All the while he would pick up random plants and hand us their leaves and tell us to eat it. The first was minty, second was spicy, the third had no taste at all but he claimed it to be “good for my flagpole”. Who am I to turn down the native hospitality?

We walked to the top of each of the Mayan ruin buildings and did what we Americans do best – make fools of ourselves by being sweaty messes and doing something silly. I decided to plank off the side of one because…why not?

Risking my life was well worth it for this picture, right? Probably not.

Once we got down we saw the rest of our group huddling around a couple local children that had brought in baby crocodiles for us to hold. Of course I jumped on this but soon realized that this experience was not free as each child then asked me for money even though I only held one crocodile.

Luckily bestiality is not as frowned upon in Belize

This would be the theme of our entire trip – “Is what I’m doing going to cost me money?”. After we had our fill of the amazing ancient ruins we headed back to psuedo-civilization.

Thus ended our first stop of our trip. Next day was Isla Roatan in Honduras. Sounds like part 4 is coming soon.

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Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise…Part 2

So there we are. Me and the Mrs getting on our cruise ship ready to leave all our cares and worries behind alongside what seemed to be everyone else from N’Awlans.

Our first experience on the Carnival Conquest is the longest buffet line of the entire cruise. Granted about 3000 people got on all at once and the first thing that you do on a cruise is eat (it’s also the second, third, fourth, and fifth thing you do). After getting our fill we retired to our room. First of all when it comes to rooms I can’t recommend enough that you get a balcony room. This is my third cruise that I’ve been on and I’ve had the interior room which is completely dark and without windows because they haven’t come up with the technology to put windows on the interior of a boat. It’s like playing “Seven minutes in heaven” for about 4 days only with less make-out sessions and more claustrophobia. I’ve also had the porthole room where you have a 2 ft x 2 ft window to the outside world that is constantly fogged up. I assume this is like prison also without the make out sessions….hopefully.

Like This Prison....Not The One Where The Prisoners Dance To "Thriller"

When our luggage arrived we had a lovely note in my wife’s luggage that said that they had to go through her bags due to there being an item that looked like contraband. The item in question I assume was the tiny Christmas tree that we brought along. Was this contraband because it may resemble some kind of drug related something or because it was a cruise during Christmas and 70% of the attendants were Jewish??? We may never know the whole truth.

We asked for the king bed for the room rather than 2 twin beds. The result…2 twin beds pushed together. I assume this is how the Postropedic beds do their bowling ball drop tests. Regardless, jumping on the bed was a bad choice as I spent the next 4 minutes writhing in pain and contemplating what life was going to be like having to push my hover-round scooter by blowing into a straw. Luckily I made a full recovery only by the grace of a Christmas miracle. God bless us everyone.

Although I was concerned about my health I was never concerned about the future of my crime fighting career. Crime doesn't take a break for paraplegics.

We were then called to our “muster station” to go over the safety protocol which apparently is only made up of gathering 400 people in a dank metal hallway to stare at a lifeboat that holds 125 people. I assume that if that were to ever actually take place that the race to the life boat would be much like the chase to the survival goods in Hunger Games. Oh, did I mention I read a book too? I will….numerous times since it was the first book I read since high school. During the safety information meeting a woman behind us tried to strike up conversation with a man that she had just met and it went something like this:

Man reading paperback book.
Woman: What are you reading?
Man: It’s a book. (30 second pause) It’s “blah blah blah”. (Not actually the name, I just don’t remember)
Woman: Oh, what’s it about?
Man: Well, it’s by Stephen King so it’s OBVIOUSLY terrifying….but I really can’t explain it.
Woman: OK?
Man: Yeah, its good but….I can’t….yeah.
Woman sighs and attempts to start conversation with someone else

"I guess I'll just get back to only reading about the female anatomy"


Sorry buddy, that was your only attempt at getting some on this cruise. Stephen King will keep you warm though.

Once we got done there it was time to go to the dining room and see who we were going to be paired up with as table mates. I had my money on old people who speak Portuguese or being put at a 10-top table with an 8 person black family that only wanted to discuss racial injustice in the South and how great Tyler Perry movies are. To our surprise though we were paired up with a very similar couple to us. Both my wife and the woman from the couple are both teachers and me and the man were both smart-asses. It was a match made in fine-dining while-wearing-cargo-shorts heaven.

Thus ends part 2…..stay tuned

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Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise…Part 1

During my absence from the writing scene the Mrs and I got the opportunity to get away finally for our long-delayed honeymoon and made plans to go on an 8-day cruise around the Gulf of Mexico during Christmas and New Years. Since a honeymoon is no place for a curious 3-yr old with an inquisitive demeanor we were able to leave her with grandma and grandpa for a week of spoiling as only grandparents can do. We decided that since this was probably going to be our only vacation alone ever we would go “all out” and do everything like rock stars, however the Mrs frowned upon my attempt to bring along groupies. With the cruise leaving out of New Orleans we first had a 6 hour flight ahead of us but I got to fly first-class for the first time ever.

Actual Photo take from the plane: To The Cloud...

All was well with our flight and I’m pretty sure I’ll never fly economy again. The food was surprisingly good and although I didn’t stick to my promise of getting drunk on the plane it’s nice to get waited on. The flight was even equipped with DirecTV so you pretty much had free rein on whatever you wanted to watch. On this note, I’ve decided that there should be an unwritten rule that everyone should adhere to in first class. NO GROSS STUFF ON YOUR TV! The woman in front of me decided that she would spend the next 6 hours watching A Baby Story marathon. Every time I looked up I saw birthing scenes that just weren’t blurred out enough, alien looking babies and a lovely mixture of birth juices.

Here is a censored demonstration

I assume that this was also her first time in first class and she missed the sounds of screaming babies from the back of the plane. Also, while I’m on the subject of in-flight entertainment, did you know there is a channel devoted just to episodes of Friends. Seriously! I assume this only appeals to people who have been in comas for the last 10 years. Anyway, I got to watch some college football and episodes of 30 Rock and next thing I knew we were in New Orleans.

The only thoughts that I had about New Orleans before visiting were “Hey, didn’t they have some kind of hurricane and oil spill here” and it being the land of southern hospitality. First of all, things are looking pretty good there so….uh….good job rebuilding N’Awlans(which is how everyone says New Orleans which is a time saver and how I imagine they actually made up the time to fix up their city after God smote it). Second of all, southern hospitality is a myth. Getting a taxi to our hotel room was an exchange where we would ask if we could get a taxi to the response of a grunt and point. Neat! We went to a restaurant near our hotel for breakfast the next morning to check out their self-proclaimed Worlds Best Baked Ham and also got a mixture of hate and grunts there. In fact, after waiting for our food for 15 minutes and not really knowing how we were supposed to get our food the wife walked up to the greeter at the front door and asked “How are we supposed to get our food? Do we pick it up? Is it brought to our table?” the answer she received is “Good luck!”.

My final observation of N’Awlans is that it is the land of beautiful black people and fat ugly white people. Every black person we encountered looked like a model and every white person we encountered looked like Danny DeVito as The Penguin only with an accent that sounded like they were speaking with marbles in their mouth.

I am not exaggerating one bit....this is seriously what the greeter at Mother looked like

The next morning it was time to set sail so we went to the cruise terminal to start our long walk through the gauntlet of lines to set foot on the boat. Nothing too strange here to observe except that every third family seemed to be smuggling soda aboard by bring up to 4 12-packs of Coke with each person. I again just assumed this was a southern diabetes thing or an attempt to save $5 per day on soda.

After sitting around for a few minutes it was time to get on the boat. Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me… time. Part 2 coming soon.

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