Friday, December 19, 2008

The Christmas Tree Farm

I notice that it was only about three posts ago that we were at this same farm, Old Baker Farm that is. The “middle aged” Baker must love folks like us, and we see him every time we go out there. I doubt that Old Baker cares in the slightest because he just turned 99 or something. We bring all 5 of us out there 3x a year for whatever seasonal item they may be selling. It is fun, don’t get me wrong…

Brenna and I were looking at each other after about 2 minutes realizing that 3 kids in a Christmas Tree farm creates certain “containment” issues. The kids are quite adept at Sun Tzu’s Divide and Conquer strategies by their very nature. They all split up and run in a tree farm where hiding is not only easy, but can be done without even intending to.

We spent a lot of time yelling the kids names when they were 5 feet from us. “What?” would be heard from the missing kid from right behind a nearby tree.

The search was difficult this year. We don’t have a big spot for the tree, so only a certain size would be practical without needing a Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation type of moment. You know the one…The tree’s too big and he ends up using a chainsaw in the driveway to make it fit. This scene also presented all of us with one of my favorite bits of script

Todd Chester: Hey Griswold. Where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?
Clark: Bend over and I'll show you.
Todd Chester: You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that Griswold.
Clark: [looking at Todd's wife, Margo] I wasn't talking to you.

Yep, it’s still funny, but I digress.

We walked forever to find a suitable tree, and during that process, the kids got bored and ended up sprinting through a muddy corn field. Cute, but it didn’t help with any of the tree search. Bryce and Ansley were off and running!

Aiden wasn't far behind either.



When we did finally happen onto a good tree, Bryce insisted that we take a vote on it. I had to modify the voting rules so that the parent’s votes counted 2x as much as the kids’.

Why you ask? Simple...

I knew they would gang up on us and pick a 150’ tall sequoia of a tree complete with an extended family of flying squirrels, a bee hive, and a bear living in the trunk… Fortunately, Brenna and I won the vote, and even more fortunately the kids didn’t fully understand my blatant vote rigging that even a Illinois politician would have been proud of...

Here is a mental note for our selection process next year and something for any of you first time parents, never give a saw to a kid that is wearing his coat like a superman cape. Things can go wrong…


Look baby goats! Can we take one home???

Trimming the Tree

When we got the tree into the house and opened it up, we noticed that it has a bad case of tree scoliosis, and as the kids put it, “Its Fat!”
I don’t care that the angel is leaning precariously and that it’s obese. The tree is fat not the Angel...
It’s a great tree and will hold a whole ton of presents!

I wonder if a Titanium Bike would fit under there?

Winter Mountain Biking

It’s been a while since I wrote anything related to biking, and I’m sure that you have been holding your respective breaths for more adventure stories. Well then! Wait No More faithful readers!

I took a good 30+ mile mountain bike ride that included Oak Mountain to see some of my favorite trails. I figure that even during the darkest part of the year I needed to get some riding done and it was a good day for it. (45 degrees and cloudy) Well, with three kids, one must ride when one has the time rather than when the conditions are perfect.

Cold Toes

I rode out and found that the recent and seemingly unending deluge of cold rain has changed the trails a good bit. Trails that, during my past rides this year, had been in great shape were transformed into washed out rivers of mud and displaced rocks. I realized that a “fast” ride was not going to be in the cards as I had to bounce and yank the bike over and around an array of rocks dislodged by the rivers of mud as they coursed down the fire trail that we ride to the top of the ridge; never mind the fact that I was dodging these while trying to navigate the slop and mud as well. I had mud everywhere possible when I reached the section of the trail with several creek crossings. These creeks had been dry in months past, but I found instead raging torrents…ok that may be a bit of hyperbole…let’s say there was actually water in them for a change. Of course this water was about 40 degrees and on the last crossing I found that when one is clipped into pedals there is a point that you can’t get your feet high enough to cross without soaking yourself. When it happened, I thought, “Well that’s just great since I have 20 miles to go” Ok, I’m paraphrasing there…the actual thoughts were far more…uh…linguistically colorful.

By the time I reached the top of the ridge and started down the single track to Blood Rock, I couldn’t feel my feet at all. That is probably the farthest point from the house too, so I was in it for the long haul. Numb feet and all.
Oh well…biking is fun right?

Wear a Helmet!

I met a fine example of a Blood Rock victim when I got to the bottom of that section of trail. He was covered in blood, mud and was still smiling. Being that his physical and apparent emotional condition seemed an odd combination, I figured that he must have a concussion, so I stopped. He had literally split his helmet in half. Not dented but completely split it. It was held together by the cosmetic plastic shell and straps. I was amazed that he hadn’t killed himself with an impact like that. We walked for a bit as he recovered, and I think we should set his helmet up in a shop somewhere to encourage others to wear one. Had he not had one, he certainly would have been in serious trouble, like eating hospital food and needing adult supervision…forever.

Nature Modifies a Bridge

Toward the end of the ride there are a series of bridges and I rode up on this one pretty quickly. Thank goodness for disk brakes! I’m thinking that the winter rain and storms of late have really taken a toll on this trail, and I am curious how long it will be before the park rangers or the B.U.M.P team chop up the tree and rebuild the bridge.

Personally, I think they should leave the tree right where it is and build a cool narrow slatted bridge up an over it. That tree is big enough to not go anywhere for years. It would be a neat feature for the trail but probably a maintenance problem, so I’m guessing that my idea won’t go anywhere.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting old

For my most recent blog update it is probably somewhat incongruous that my subject is about getting old and the method of blogging is via a cell phone... ah nevermind.

Two things:

It's official, am getting hard of hearing. I swear I just heard my daughter yell from the bath that she needed me...ahem..."to make lobster bisque for Aiden". As I am sure this is not what she said, I am sure I have lost my hearing.

Secondly, since I have not bothered to go and find out exactly what she needed, I am sure that I have become "the old man" around the house.

Fun fun!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

At the end of a typically busy (read: absurdly busy) weekend that included Chucky Cheese birthday parties, mountain biking, golf practice with Bryce, Halloween parties, and staying out too late watching a band, we decided to take the last hours of daylight and go to pick pumpkins. whew...

It was an absolutely perfect day, and I am glad we did go out into it. It's so easy to sit around on Sunday and watch football all day or watch and wish for the Tampa Bay Rays to do well in the World Series.

We went over to the Grand Ole' Pumpkin patch which had all the good stuff for kids like hay rides, enormous inflatable slides (which I think Brenna enjoyed as much as the kids), a hay bail maze and loads of kids. We had a blast, and the kids ran practically non stop the entire time...except when in the back of the tractor where they just wiggled a lot.

When we got out into the pumpkin patch to pick a couple of aspiring jack-o-lanterns Aiden wandered everywhere and Ansley went around trying to find a tiny pumpkin for him. The smallest one weighed half as much as he did, so she wasn't too successful.

Ah, brothers...

Yep, she's acting cute here...I am in such trouble when she's 16...

Aiden and Mom had a good time in the hay bails, and all the kids were picking hay out of their shirts and hair for the next hour.

Aiden was really good at putting hay in the other kids' hair just in case they didn't get enough when they were jumping around in it.

In the end we did get some good pumpkins and I will get a few photos of the jack-o-lanterns that will be carved sometime this week.

And as we were leaving, Bryce and Ansley saw the helicopter rides. There eyes were as big as saucers when I said that we could go down close to the landing area. In the past they have been scared and timid around big noisy things like that, but this time, much to my wallets chagrin, they weren't. They bounced around and were absolutely amazed by the machine. I ended up ponying up the money to take them for a ride.
At one point I thought back to my old hobbies and realized that this was one of the only times I had ever actually landed in the helicopter that I took off in...
Hit the little gray arrow button in the bottom left below to see the video...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bryce loses his first tooth!!

I walked into his room this morning at around 6am. Gee, it's great to get to sleep in on a Saturday...

Aiden was proclaiming his desires to get out of bed with a GEEEEEEEEEEETT AAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOTTTTT!

Repeatedly...and with amazing volume for a child that small.

When Bryce laughed at Aiden for waking me, I noticed that the loose tooth that he has been talking about for weeks had gone missing.

I'm sure the tooth fairy will come by tonight, but I wonder if she/he/it will have adjusted the .25 cents per tooth for inflation, or will her dental fund investments have declined so much that she will only have .5 cents to give? Hmmmm...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Steven Spielberg I am not...

It official. I love to try silly photo/video stuff, but I have realized a few important things: some waaay more important than others...

Ranked in ascending order of importance as to why I will not receive critical acclaim at Cannes next year:

  1. I will not have a submission at Cannes next year. Not important at all...surely
  2. The free Microsoft video editing software stinks royally. It freezes more effectively than my refrigerator and is generally maddening. Each time I work with MS for anything other than Excel, I want a Mac.
  3. I don't have the right equipment. A video from a small rugged still photo camera isn't very good. I love the Stylus 850 for it's versatility and size, but a video camera it ain't!
  4. My soundtrack would improve vastly if I could access my iTunes purchases through this software...
  5. My scenes cut too quickly and wave around like a 2 year old trying to make herself dizzy by spinning in the back yard.
  6. Apparently, my hands shake like Muhammad Ali.
  7. Storyboard and thoughts of scenes I wanted to film didn't cross my mind prior to filming...that whole AD/HD thing...
  8. I have very little talent/experience, and this may have some impact on the quality of my films.

It was still fun and the end had all of us laughing watching it afterwards...

Sooo, without further ado...

This is my effort at doing some video editing in my spare time, and I put this little film together for all the people that don't get to see the kids running around enough. The whole thing is about 6 minutes long, so make your run to the concession stands for popcorn and gummy worms a quick one!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

6 Gap 2008 - The Ride

As I rolled up and squeezed myself into the throngs of Lycra clad riders, I thought of the wonderful things that I would see during my annual ride of 6 gap. This year it was an extended course of 103 miles and over 11,000 feet of cumulative climbing according to the web site.

There were people of all sizes, shapes and ages. They were riding all kinds of bikes from brand new bajillion dollar road bikes, well used road bikes like mine, mountain bikes, and recumbent bikes. All were excited, even those that were captured yawning in the early morning light. Seriously look at the folks in the next photos...

It was going to be loads of fun! Why shouldn't it be, it was great last year! Then, in the space of mere seconds, reality began to tap me on the shoulder. I hadn't trained, I wasn't ready, and I also knew that I am dumb enough to never quit riding. A fine combination to ensure suffering. The reality, that I knew already, was that I would ride well for the first 60 miles and then would struggle with even finishing the remaining 40 miles.

Now, 40 miles isn't any big deal when one isn't all that tired, but when hot, exhausted and staring at another several thousand feet of climbing. 40 miles seem to be some daunting insurmountable wall that you can't get through, over or around. That was how this started. I hadn't even ridden mile 1 yet and I knew what I was in for. Ugh...

There were 2,300 riders this year for the century let alone the 50 mile ride that went off an hour later.

The number of people that had traveled from all over the country to do this ride was pretty fantastic. At 7:30am we rolled out in a colorful mass of clicking gears and whirring chains. I felt great through the first miles, and found a load of people to talk with as the large group began to filter out into groups of varying abilities. On the rolling roads into the mountains, I found a few folks that were riding at my level, and I worked with them to share the effort as we pedaled through the cool morning air. When we hit the first climb everything split up and there were people scattered all over the road.

I wonder if I can get some cash for proving that Sasquatch exists? This photo evidence is as convincing to me as any of the other stuff people have provided as proof in years past! Heck, Sasquatch even tried to give me a hug...I found that a touch disturbing, so I raced down the descent and onto the next climbs.

This sign is the top of Unicoi gap, the third climb of the day, and I was feeling pretty good. I was stopping at the rest stops to make sure I was eating and drinking enough during the ride. I couldn't afford to dehydrate or bonk if I was going to finish the ride. I can at least prove that I made it to the top of the third climb with this shot. You will notice a serious lack of ride photos from this point on, as my riding became more labored.

I ran out of gas (like most of the southeast) at around mile 65-70 from my fuzzy recollection. Some sorry jerk had painted "mile 60" on the road right when I began to really feel my lack of training. That little bit of knowledge basically shot me, and I felt bad for the remainder of the ride. Instead of spinning and smiling as I climbed the slopes, which is something that I really like to do. I was rocking back and forth on the bike as I worked my way up the steep gradients of Hogpen Gap just trying to keep some momentum going. Ouch...

At the top of Hogpen I stopped for a while to rest...I guess I should mention that I stopped half way up as well. I seriously thought of just calling it a day and hitching a ride back to the truck, but nah... I climbed back on the bike. After working that hard to get to the top, I wanted to enjoy the fastest descent on the course. I hit 56 mph as I screamed down the mountain leaning and twisting through curves. It is simply a wonderful feeling doing that on a bike.

The remaining climbs included similarly painful efforts, but the descents weren't as good due to cars, and tired people riding their brakes.

I snapped this shot at the top of Woody gap, the last climb of the day. I had no idea how far I was from the glorious moment where I could stop pedaling, but it had to be close-ish now. Right? In fact I think it was still 15-20 miles away. The rolling hills from that point on basically leveled me. I was in the lowest gear I could find just to get up any incline, but I had to finish. I just kept turning the pedals over and trying to get as much speed out of the bike as I could during the moments that I felt good.

I finished up in 7-ish hours. A solid 90 minutes slower than last year and an hour slower than I did it in the pouring rain the year before. At the end, I was sure that I would never get on a bike again. Fortunately, within a day, I decided that I would ride again, and as of this morning, I will certainly ride 6 gap again next year. It's funny how the painful parts of epic rides seem to fade quickly and you only remember the good.

Just remind me to train when Summer comes next year!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

6 Gap 2008

The fact that I haven't trained, or even really ridden much over the past few months makes this year's ride a little different than others. I am pretty much going to go out and have some fun taking pictures and suffering on a bike for several hours. Honestly, it's going to be great...for the first 70 miles, but after that we will have to see...

During the week, I had heard of a few cases of gas stations being out of gas around the Atlanta area. I didn't realize that there was NO gas in town, and when word would get out that there was a delivery in the area, the vultures would swoop in and clean out the station in the space of an hour.

This was the line at one of the stations when I headed up to Dahlonega to check in at the expo.

And as an added bonus, this is what I saw when I got in the truck this morning...

Of course, I was informed that the gas gauge only worked intermittently, so we figured I had 250 miles to go until I was out...maybe. Good thing I have a bike with me, eh?

Look carefully at the check in picture... I thought it was funny. (Hint: click on it to see the blown up version)

Here is the expo where I wandered through and saw some fabulous bikes...I am afraid that I may have even drooled on an Ibis Silk, but hopefully the dealer didn't notice. I took this picture after making a loop through the tents full of goodies and felt my wallet would be in better shape if I just left...quickly. I beat a path to the truck and headed back to the house to lay around and watch football.

We used to go spin for 30 miles the day before 6 gap, but this year, my plan is to just sit and conserve energy...I will let you know how that plan works tomorrow. Not that I will be able to communicate the result of this plan through the haze of pain that the ride will produce in my sadly unused muscles.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Myrtle Beach Water Park

Yep, life is good, but apparently not filled with quite as much "fun" stuff to write about, so I will dig back through the photo archives to give you these fantastic shots. Ok, fantastic may be debatable by some, but did I ask?

We took the older two kids to a water park on a very hot day during our Myrtle Beach trip this summer. I must say I looked like a geek with the camera, but hey, when don't I have that "look" about me. I embrace my geeky-ness and it works for me. Underwater cameras are cool. Period.

Here is Ansley on the lazy river. This was still a thrilling ride with the throngs of kids in tubes making it more like a bumper car ride...

This was just great fun. Bryce was a riot and did a great job of being a 6 year old waiting patiently in the queues for the slides. riiiiiight...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Birthday

Holy smokes... I turned 36. That's exactly 6 years longer than I had foreseen my life lasting when I was back in my teens.

I had a great time with some of my best friends out at a local eating establishment that happened to have the Alabama game on. Just to be clear. I didn't really care about the Bama game being an ACC not ADD you dorks. Its just that college football is tough to watch because its hard to find a game that matters.

Take FSU for example. They are playing the powerhouse of Chattanooga this weekend, and Clemson my undergrad alma mater is playing The Citadel. Games like that are fine, but lack the drama somehow. It's like watching a continuous loop of last year's almost unbeaten New England Patriots playing the 1976 Tampa Buccaneers over and over. (The Buc's achieved a stellar 0-14 season that year for those of you that don't pay attention to that stuff.) These weak college games are fine, but the result is somewhat predictable.

Ah, I digress...

When it comes to the birthday, I am pretty happy to have achieved this advanced age without weighing 200lbs or being forced to eat Ramen Noodles anymore... Hmmm...those two things may be related somehow.

I plan on making this year better than the last and I am already off to a good start. Thanks everyone!

Aiden Likes cake. There were other pictures that showed his true enthusiasm, but I felt they were waaaay to messy to actually publish. Just imagine this image with 1000 times more icing on his face, arms, chest, and hair...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Helpful Cycling Tips

Ok, I was out riding for a couple of hours. I know what a shock...

The day started out well, but about 5 miles out, it started raining. Being the eternal optimist, I thought that it would stop, and I checked to see if I had my sunglasses ready just to spite the low clouds and water flinging in my face.

At mile 20, I flatted. And it started to rain harder...

At mile 30, I flatted again. This time it was the other tire, and I called it quits. Unfortunately, I was forced to quit as I didn't have any more tubes or patience. As I sat in the rain waiting for the SAG wagon to come and fetch me, I thought of some important tips for cyclists.

Rules for Roadkill:

I put the roadkill wikipedia link in there mainly because I couldn't believe they had an entry on the subject!
  • Close your mouth preferably before you get too close to it.
  • If you have a chance to inhale prior to the cloud of stink reaching your nostrils, do so.
  • Exhale slowly through your nose for at least 30 yards once you pass the unfortunate traffic casualty.
  • Try not to pass out from not breathing during a hard effort to get away from the stink.
  • If you didn't spot the nasty item before the waves of nausea inducing smell reach you, close your mouth so you don't taste it, and pedal as hard as you can to get by it fast. Again, don't pass out from the effort coupled with not breathing. Otherwise you may be the next thing that cyclists have to hold their breaths to avoid.

Mountain Bike Tips:

  • When bombing downhill. Be ready to stop at any moment. (A tree was down across the trail at Oak Mtn last weekend for me. Not good.)
  • Close your mouth when you ride through water. Mud doesn't taste good. (I seem to be on a recurring theme here.)
  • ALWAYS ask if someone needs help. You are a total tool if you roll by someone that seems to be in a mechanically induced rest stop. This includes times when you may not have the right tools for the apparent issues. I know that never happens. There may be a real problem where a cell phone and a medevac chopper could be somewhat important.
  • Carry more tubes and CO2's than you could ever need. This is mainly for others. (like me) There will invariably be some poor guy that is stuck miles from the trail-head with no tubes. Give them to the person, and ask them to do the same for the next person they see hiking their bike. It's a good pay it forward type of thing. Everyone benefits from this and you will get loads of good Karma for it...

Tips for me on a road bike:

  • After another crummy ride loaded with flat tires, I need to carry a minimum of 3 tubes at any time. My team the Steel City Cyclists know this after they all had to pitch in during one of my rides where I flatted over and over.
  • I am buying some new tires as these might be a little thin after 6-7,000 miles on them.
  • Try to ride more than once every month... I'm sure that today's unfortunate ride was a result of a bike that was royally P.O.'d at me for leaving it alone for weeks.

Ah, the sun's out now...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bowling with Kids

This past weekend we took the kids out bowling. I got a text from Brenna as I was finishing my soaking wet mountain bike loop out to Oak Mountain. "Hey, we are going bowling" is how it read. was something of a quick turnaround when I got to the house. The perpetual activity in my house boggles the mind sometimes...

Yeah, Aiden picked the 16lb ball right away. No wussy lightweight kid bowling balls for the Buddha, but he did seem to have an issue picking it up.

As an aside, Buddha isn't really a good nickname for him anymore. He is huge, but no longer the really round shaped kid. He looks more like a little boy now than he does a chubby baby.

Ansley bowled a couple of frames with Mom's or my help. She was equally pleased with the jaw breaker (seen below). She looked like a chipmunk with that thing jammed in her cheek for an hour or more.

Bryce bowled pretty well...legitimately. He even had two strikes. Not to shabby for a 50lb kid.

The kids were good and we all had a good time. My only wish out of the whole experience is a recurring one. Why can't I throw the ball where I am aiming? Sheesh...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Deck Debacle Days 9 - 3 million

Will it ever get done? Will my yard ever look like something more put together than an eternal construction project? Would some of the scrap piles laying in the grass fossilize into stone to be found by the next inhabitants of this planet before I could finish this thing? These, my friends, are questions that have plagued the Mabry family for some time now. We didn't really lose motivation, we just lost a month worth of time it seems.

I now have a very simple answer to those questions.

YES! Except for the fossilizing thing...that would be no...



Yes, the deck was finished in conditions that were alternately sunny and humid or spitting rain this past Sunday. Powertools in the Hurricane Fay, which dumped several inches of rain on us overnight gave way to billowing clouds with patches of blue. There was enough sunshine to get us outside to the deck debacle and finish it off.

I had to build a nifty set of steps and we needed to get the railings finished, and then CLEAN UP! I'm not sure what I dreaded more...

Here are my cool stairs.

Now you may ask, how might one go and test out a new set of steps? Walk down them? Pfff... This is how it's done...period. My test may not be graceful, but it was way more fun than walking on them.

Now, all that is left is to get my Christmas Lights up and going and string wires for Cable and power out to one corner for the Football weekends!

I want to thank my Dad for taking a week off to come out and mess around with this project. Without him doing that, this whole thing never would have happend. Thanks Dad.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fay and Mountain Bikes

Now that I have moved to Alabama, I have had more rain and issues related to hurricanes than in the 7 years I was living in Tampa.

Anyway, now that I have scared myself silly that I am not going to be prepared to ride 6 Gap in late September due to a myriad of factors...Sure, I blame my lack of riding and steady weight gain on several factors, but I am also not kidding myself. I LOVE hot wings among other terrible dietary choices and most of all...well...I lack willpower...

Anyway, I have discovered a small reserve of motivation to go ride again, and I went out again today after killing myself yesterday at Oak Mountain. The rain from Hurricane Fay decided to come out during the night, so today's ride was seriously sloppy on the trails. Typical...

I noticed myself making faces that I had forgotten. I probably shouldn't be giving you other cyclists a Rosetta stone to read my race facial expressions, but I thought it was funny. If you read this, you will know when to attack and leave me whimpering on the side of the road.

Here is my "I'm feeling strong and having fun" expression.

While riding yesterday...sadly, only about 5 miles into the ride mind you...I discovered I was wearing my "Crap, this hurts, and it's hot, and my legs are burning so badly someone could cook eggs on my quads" face. Yes, this would be a good time to push the pace on me.
Now, few have seen this other expression, but if you see me making it, DO NOT, under any circumstances, ride right behind me. You do so at your own risk... Please, be a kind brother/sister in cycling and ask me if I need to slow up, or suggest that I take a break...or something, like consider another hobby...

I have also noticed, that there are exactly ZERO ways to look good in a bike helmet when someone takes a picture of you. Oh well...the photos were way too accurate to not put in a post sometime.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Myrtle Beach Amusement Park

These few pictures are from our summer vacation. Trust me there were a load more pictures than this, but I only have an attention span to write so long today. I'm just hoping you guys have somewhat more of an attention span to read this stuff.

We went over to this amusement park, and honestly I was dreading it. We all have been spoiled by going to big time places like Disney, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, etc, so I figured this joint was going to be like one of those seriously rickety-half-baked parks.

It wasn't. The kids had a ball...I had fun too. I will probably go back next year.

Here is Bryce on one of those sling-you-around swing rides. I'm sure the park attendant wasn't too happy with me leaning backwards out of my swing wielding a camera.

Ansley, on a mini roller-coaster. Yep, my kids are just like their parents on rides.

We went on one of those pirate ship rides that loft you up in the air and swing you back and forth producing a falling sensation from both of the ends of the swings.

Bryce and Ansley were excited and having a fun time on a pretty big ride. They kept yelling I'm falling and giggling, but after about 4 swipes up and down, that became...I'm falling and I don't like it. Then come the tears... That was kind of miserable as a parent as they cling to you and want to get off, but there is nothing you can do but ride it out. I'm guessing we aren't going to get back on that ride for a while... They were pretty relieved to get off of it, but immediately were back on something fast but not so...swingy.

Bryce really really wanted to go on a the big wood coaster there, but there was no way he would like it once he was on it, so Brenna and I snuck off and rode it. We used to ride coasters all the time B.C. (before children), and it's nice to get back on them again. Busch Gardens season passes get you really spoiled though when you ride ones like this. It was pretty shaky, but I think the video conveys the fun stuff. That last left turn hurt though. Everyone was getting off holding their right hip where they got jammed into the side of the car by the force of it. I love coasters anyway!

All in all, a very good time was had by all. Now I am being summoned by a screaming Aiden who wants down from his high-chair in the other room, so I must bid you adu...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wrong Wrong Wrong

Needless to say, there has been an absolute frenzy of activity over the past month, and regrettably, I haven’t posted anything in a tad longer than that.

I now am forced to make a decision between blowing off a load of good posts based on events/pictures that took place a month ago and starting from the present, or just throwing the convention of posting chronologically out the window and writing the stories when I see fit. Coin flips…(ting)…Coin lands (clank clank CRASH! - cat yowls, dogs bark, kids scream) Ok, I’m just gonna post all out of order whenever I see fit until I run out of ideas…or motivation. That may not take long…

Now, sadly, this first post back isn't out of order at all. It's quite current in fact. Actually, I just noticed this atrocity as I was hoofing boxes of diapers up the stairs from the basement. When I walked by my bike, I could have sworn I heard a sound. Something a neglected unfed puppy would make...only sadder. I looked over and saw this sad sight.

Yes. It has been so long since I have been on my bike that cobwebs have appeared among the wheels and components.

I ask myself. How could this be? How could a guy that actually likes riding bikes...a the tune of several thousand miles a year...have taken so much time off? I didn't have an answer for myself. I just know that I have some serious doubts about being fit enough to even ride my favorite race of all. Six Gap, which is 100 miles of mountainous roads covering 11,000 feet of cumulative climbing at the end of September. Thats about 37 days away...

I need to take some hard looks at how I have been allocating my time over the past months.

I am back to posting though, so expect more stuff. Hopefully with no more closeup pictures of cobwebs.

Oops, Bryce just missed the bus. I have to go and take him to school. That's not all bad though!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Engineer

During all the building of the deck, there has been something of a surplus of scrap wood around, and during one of the many hours spend on this project, Bryce decided to build something of his own. He kept asking for nails and screws, but of course, I wasn’t going to give a 6 year old a hammer, nails, tig welder, etc…

When I looked over later, he had constructed a motorcycle ramp to his liking without any assistance or instruction. I don’t think I could have propped all those incongruous boards together to make something sturdy to play with. I thought that was pretty neat.

I told him that Uncle Rick wanted to build one at his house too, but it would be larger than the house. He looked at me in a kind of funny way with the “Are you joking” kind of expression, but having met Uncle Rick, he seemed to believe that it just might happen…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deck Debacle Days 4-9

My Dad came into town to work with me on the deck for a few days before we head over to Myrtle Beach for an overdose of golf, sun, and kids running on wide beaches.

You can see where we were in the last post if you give a rip on seeing the progress in some semblance of a timeline.

Brenna and I put in the floor joists, support beam and support posts. This thing has so much wood, metal and concrete under it, it would survive a party with everyone I ever knew, plus some that I haven't met standing around on it. That very thing may happen too...

Once I had all the concrete poured and had been told by the neighbors, and the dude at Lowes, that what I was doing was overkill, it was time to start with the floorboards.

Dad and Brenna were instrumental in helping out with the railings and staircases. I found I have a knack for tearing down the old stuff, but when it comes to putting up railings? Not so much... Then there is that whole "work thing" that I have to do during the week.

It's coming together...

At least it is close enough that we will be safe enough for the kids to come out, now what to do with the 4 foot high pile of broken and old lumber? BONFIRE!!!