Ready Player Me!

We all remember our first time.  The excitement of a new experience, the electricity in the air, your palms are all sweaty, your family gathered around watching…. wait, what?  I’m talking about the first time you played a video game in your home.  What were you thinking, you sicko?  I would like to let you guys know about an exciting new podcast called, “The Retro Gamers.”  Your hosts Larry and Anthony transport you back to a simpler time when the most exciting thing in your life wasn’t an Ipad or Kindle but an Italian plumber, a barrel throwing Monkey, lots of kidnapped princesses and even a Hedgehog.  Anthony and Larry take you back in time without a DeLorean and discuss everything from the Atari 2600 to the Dreamcast and everything in between.  They have extensive knowledge of everything dealing with Game Consoles of Yore.  Sit back, put in your earbuds and relive your youth.

In the latest episode, I was fortunate enough to stand in as a guest host, filling in for Anthony who happened to be out of the country.  Larry and I discuss the Ducktales games of the NES system and some other Disney games, we also discuss the joys of marriage and gaming and introducing the younger generation to the games their Dads and Uncles used to and still play.  You can download the podcast on Itunes. Here is the link:

The Retro Gamers

Download all 33 episodes. You are guaranteed to laugh.

You can also find them at their Facebook page: Retro Gamers Facebook Page

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Anthony & Larry, your guide to Retro Gaming

“Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle!”   — Toad

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Christina Rubino – Breathe of Fresh Air.

In a world full of autotune and ugh, Kanye, it is nice to see a talented artist who writes her own music and actually knows how to play an instrument.  My words cannot compare to her sound, so I will let her speak for herself.  Godspeed & Guns

rubino

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EMP Attacks—What the U.S. Must Do Now

The more you know about these things, the better prepared you will be to help protect your family

How to Provide

By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. and Richard Weitz, Ph.D.

Most Americans—whether members of the public or politicians in Congress—ignore or are unaware of the very real threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. A nuclear device detonated high in the atmosphere above the American mainland can easily disable the country’s electrical grid—shutting down nearly all communications, transportation, and service systems. Overnight, daily life as Americans know it will be a thing of the past. There are ways to prevent devastation from an EMP — and the U.S. must invest in them now before it is too late. Two of the country’s preeminent national security experts explain how to prevent the worst.

[repost: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/11/emp-attacks-what-the-us-must-do-now ]

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack represents one of the greatest threats imaginable—to the United States and the world. An EMP occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon of which America’s enemies…

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9/11: Never Forget

twintI wasn’t there.  I wasn’t in the buildings.  I wasn’t even in Manhattan.  So why is my story of any interest to anyone, especially to those who lost loved ones on that eternally sad day. I don’t know and you might not care and that’s cool with me. My story and my day started and ended with a hug.

September 11, 2001 started out as any normal day.  I was living at home and worked as a Freelancer in Television Production.  I had a corporate shoot in Mt. Olive, New Jersey that day for Mercedes.  It was located at a business park ironically named International Trade Center.  Before I left my house that day, I gave my Mom a hug goodbye, told her I would be probably late depending on how well the shoot went.  I got in my Ford Explorer and headed to New Jersey.  I don’t remember much about my drive there; it was pretty uneventful.  I remember seeing the Towers as I drove over the Verrazano Bridge, but didn’t give them much thought.  They were part of New York and always would be.  I got to the location and met the crew and we began to set up the lights.

A few minutes later, we heard that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers, we joked it was probably some rich guy in a Cessna who had a heart attack.  My mother worked on Broadway a few blocks from the Towers and her office window actually faced the Towers.  I finished setting up one of the lights and decided to call her to get some information.  When she picked up she was hysterical and I thought she was being over-dramatic as she often can be sometimes.  I remember saying, “It was probably a Cessna or something small, right Ma?”  She was saying that people were saying it was a huge jet and her building shook.  In the background, I heard a co-worker saying that people were jumping from the building.  My heart sunk and I looked around the office I was in and saw others on their phones with the same look of shock on their faces.  My Mom on the other end of the line, starting speaking loudly, “Oh my God, Oh My God!”   The phone died.  I quickly called back and got through to her.  She told me another plane hit the second tower.  I screamed, “Get the fuck out of the city, NOW!”  Again, the phone cut out.

The producer called us over and told us his wife worked across from the Towers and said we were under attack.  He cancelled the shoot and told us to go home.  We quickly packed up our gear and hit the road.  My phone was useless and all I had was the radio for information.  I was speeding eastbound on Route 80, thinking I need to get home and that if we were under attack, they were going to lockdown the city and close the bridges and tunnels.  I pushed my truck to the limit, driving on the shoulder every now and then.  I averaged about 70-80 mph.  I went from Route 80 to Route 280 and passed a cop car while on the shoulder.  He pulled out and put on lights and sirens and I knew I was getting pulled over.  I moved off the shoulder to the grass and he flew right past me.  Others got the idea and soon the shoulder was just an extra lane of traffic.  I tried my phone again and still nothing.  I remember Scott and Todd from WPLJ reporting the first Tower had fallen and I was stunned.  No way, that’s impossible, I thought.  Nothing could bring that down.  Partial collapse maybe.  I thought, Ok, people are dead, its mass hysteria, they will rebuild the collapsed part of the Tower.  I was angry.  Terrorists.  In New York.  How did this happen?  Why?

The Second Tower fell.  The DJ on the radio says, “Downtown Manhattan is gone, both towers have fallen.”  My Mother is in downtown Manhattan.  I tried her again on the phone. Nothing.  I tried to think about the situation.  Ok, if they fell in one piece, if they fell over in one piece, surely they breached the Hudson River whichever way they fell. I was naïve.  As many said that day, “It was surreal” I couldn’t fathom the Twin Towers which I saw a few hours earlier could possibly be gone.

I crested a hill on 280 and for the first time saw it with my own eyes.  Smoke, nothing but smoke.  Brake lights.  Traffic became a crawl; people could not believe what they were seeing.  I thought my Mom was dead.  I lost it and just began crying.

The next thing I remember is just thinking that I have to get to Staten Island, I know people there, I could stay there.  I raced as fast as possible to the Goethals Bridge, I paid the toll and was about to get on when cop cars blocked the road.  I made a quick U-turn and headed for the Outerbridge Crossing.

I get to the Outerbridge and it is already closed, forcing me on to Route 9 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  I was pissed the bridges were closed and I came so close and then I felt shame for being pissed.  I blew a red light trying to get ahead of a slow driver and once again got pulled over.  This time the cop got out, He slammed his door and walked to my car.  Before I could speak he started yelling at me.  “What the fuck is wrong with you?  You want to get killed?”  I just apologized and said I am just trying to go home.  I apologized again.  He told me to “Get the fuck home.”

I drove for some time and somehow found myself on a service road that was adjacent to Newark Airport.  That is when my phone rang.  I picked up and it was my Dad who lived in upstate New York.  He was glad I was safe and we knew my sister was in Brooklyn where she worked was safe.  My brother was in midtown Manhattan and knew he was safe.  He was glad I was in New Jersey and said he would let my siblings know where I was.  I saw a cluster of cars parked on the shoulder and pulled over.  I hung up with my Dad and found myself looking at downtown Manhattan, well I was looking at black and grey smoke.  I had some signal bars and called my Mom.  She picked up the phone!  It was a terrible connection.  I asked where she was and heard a crackled, static filled, “Brooklyn.”  I told her I was in New Jersey and she told me to go upstate to my father, there was no way I was going to make it home.  In hindsight, it was probably the smartest move, but I was determined to get home.  I continued to drive north and was in standstill traffic somewhere near the Holland Tunnel.  I wasn’t headed toward the tunnel, that was closed, just heading North through New Jersey.  Local streets were flowing better.

At one point, I am stopped dead in traffic and the opposite side of Route 9 there is no traffic.  Not one car.  There was one man walking.  He was covered in soot.  His suit jacket was in one hand and his briefcase in the other.  He was shuffling at a slow pace.  He honestly looked like a zombie.  All eyes in every car were watching him. Time stood still.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Then something wonderful happened.  A minivan approached him, the first car I saw on that side in a while.  The man happened to be across from me and the woman in the minivan stopped and said to him, “Where are you going, sir?”  He stopped and looked in disbelief and she repeated her question.  He answered her, saying, “Home, I’m going home, I walked through the tunnel.”  She asked him where home was and he answered, “Parsippany.”  She told him to get in, he did and they drove off.  I said to myself, “So this is what it takes, huh?”

I drove north all day, I found myself on the Palisades Parkway in the afternoon. The Tappen-Zee Bridge was still open.  It was the only bridge open.  My phone died and I had no car charger.  I finally make it to the bridge and find myself in yet another traffic jam.  I ended up spending over an hour mid-span on that bridge.  All I thought was this bridge is going to get blown up.  I was sweating and gripping the wheel.  Every time I inched up, I thought ok, I am a little closer to land.  That hour felt like a day and once my wheels were over land again, I zigzagged my way down through the Bronx and spent another hour going over the Whitestone Bridge into Queens.  I was crying and praying, just get me off this bridge and get me home.  I knew LaGuardia airport was closed, so I knew the parkways were going to be a nightmare.  Before GPS and smart phones, I had a ton of maps in my truck.  I was nicknamed the “Map Boy” because I never got lost and knew how to read a map.  Once I was in Queens, I pulled over got out grabbed a map and found out where I was and how to get to my house by taking surface streets.  I basically followed a south western zig-zag path toward Sheepshead Bay.  My home.  Every time I saw a red light, I made a left, then a right, then a left, then a right, just to keep moving.

I pulled onto my street at around 7:30PM.  All my neighbors were out.  I saw my Mom on the stoop with my step-father and my neighbors.  I parked and grabbed my work bag and locked up my truck.  My mother reached me halfway and I ended my day the same way I started my day.  Hugging my mother.

Crying on her shoulder in the middle of street, I made it home.

I am beyond fortunate that my immediate family and friends were safe.  I found out later that night that two old acquaintances from High School and College who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald died when the Towers came down.  I keep them in my thoughts whenever I feel the need to complain about petty nonsense.

Like I said, nothing spectacular about this.  I wasn’t a hero, but I know a lot of them and thank them every chance I get.

Never forget!

“I’m in Brooklyn.”  — Mom

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This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!

I dedicate this article to my Mother, my sweet, innocent, Mother who wanted nothing more to take her children on a vacation oh so many years ago.  I also owe this same sweet woman an apology. It wasn’t until I became a grown man with children of my own and wanted to take those loving children on vacation myself.  Mom, I never knew why you would scream at us, sometimes scratch the hell out of our legs and make sure we never spoke or laughed as we sat in traffic heading to and from our vacation.  First a few comparisons.  Since I just returned from a week in the lovely village of Lake George, New York. I will compare the vacation I took as a child and the one I took as an adult.

It was either the summer of 1983 or 1984, the car we drove to Lake George was a 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix with white vinyl interior.  Two doors, two windows, A/C, not an option.Two adults in the front, three kids in the back.  My sister, the oldest was in the middle because my brother and I fought like cat and dog. We had Car Bingo, imagination and an arm to signal truck drivers to blow their air horns at us.  As for bathroom breaks or stops, none. You go before you left the house and the only way our parents stopped was if you were literally puking on your sibling or shitting yourself.

Summer of 2016, the vehicle of choice is a 2015 Honda CR-V. DVD players on the head rests. Kindle’s for both kids, pillows and blankets.  Coloring books, games and a cooler with juice boxes and snacks up the wazoo.  Fully air-conditioned and tinted windows, yet I heard “Are we there yet?” 4,217 times.  Oh and yes we packed a portable potty, just in case. On this particular trip, I stopped three times, once for the wife.  On the trip home, three more stops.  That was our own fault for having McDonald’s for breakfast.  Portable potty never left the box.

So I have a routine for road trips, I am not sure where it originated but I have to wash the car before we leave. It has to be spotless.  Since having kids, I have also begun taking a picture of the car after I load it.  The reason for this is when it comes time to re-pack the car at the end of vacation, I pretty much have a good idea where everything goes.  If it makes my life easier, then  I remain sane and no one gets hurt.  I was told buy an co-worker once, when it comes to road trips, the driver is in charge.  We set the leave time, stops, etc, etc.  I find this to be about 65% true.

car

Happy Daddy, Happy Vacation

So back in 1983 or 84, we get to the motel, yeah that’s right motel.  The one with the screen door and the key ring that is a giant diamond with the #4 on it and has a key.  An actual key.  One room, five people. A giant 13 inch television on a rolling stand, with HBO, of course. One bed for my parents, one for my older sister, I mean she is a girl and probably hitting puberty, plus ewww who the hell wants to share a bed with their sister.  Which leave either a pull out couch or cot for me and my brother.  So here I am on my cot, and I am literally allowed to bring two matchbox cars from home. Fun, right.

In 2016, it usually a very nice hotel with a flat screen television, hot tub/jacuzzi, a balcony, wifi, mini fridge, microwave and in some cases a full kitchen and eating area if the tax return was good that year.  In Lake George, the big corporate hotels have not invaded, so you have a lot of the same old motels, which are now upgraded to hotel status, offer key cards but are still pretty basic.  My daughter upon arrival immediately claims a corner of the room for her American Girl doll and accessories.  Bed, clothes, brush, carrying case.  Of course this corner of the room is literally by the door, so of course I am tripping over this everyday, until I have a mental fit and kick Grace Thomas and all her friggin clothes and baking crap all over the goddamn room!  Sorry.  Where was I?  Ok, so we unload the car, and after a four hour drive, one crappy lunch and a Barn Sale (don’t ask) and three bathroom breaks, I kick off my shoes and flop onto the bed face down.  I tell my wife I need a few to get my energy back, which lasts all of 8 minutes.  Kids want to go in the pool and by golly, their wish is my command.  So we check out the grounds and work our way toward the pool.

Now in 1983, the pool area was either an above ground or in-ground pool adjacent to the actual motel/hotel.  It usually held a decent amount of people.  Hard to complain about a pool.   In 2016, the pools at some of these places are huge and some have fountains, kids areas, floating bars, access to private cabanas, private beach areas and a full bar/restaurant which of course you can just sign the bill to your room.  How can you complain?  Are there ever enough chairs? No, never.  I mean unless you count the one fat grandmother holding down 19 chairs for the Nelson Family Reunion, 32nd year in Lake George with matching green shirts, so we all know.  Honestly, I love my extended family, but going away with them to the same place for 32 straight years is insane.  I pity the poor schmucks who marry into that family.  How does that conversation go.  “Honey, we should do Aruba this year or maybe Cancun, maybe even a cruise…”  “Slow your roll sweety, we’re going to Lake George! The entire family is coming!  You’re a Nelson, now.”  A week with all my relatives:

How-About-No-Meme-Dr-Evil-13

Now in 1983/84, I don’t remember much of what we did for fun.  I am sure we did the amusement parks, video arcades, skee-ball and all that other good stuff.  I am sure we had ice cream alot and had lots of laughs.  I vaguely remember fighting with my brother and getting a good beating.  I probably deserved it, in fact, I am sure I deserved it.

In 2016, there is zero shortage on things to do and I compliment myself on doing my research and trying my best to having some sort of plan while on vacation.  I do not have a strict itinerary on what time we are doing this, then moving on to that.  I do have a plan of action.  Monday, we go here, Tuesday we go there, Wednesday we sit at the pool and chill. You get the point.  Now even the greatest minds make mistakes.  Here was my first.

About an hour and a half north of Lake George is the town of Wilmington, NY.  In the tiny town of Wilmington lies another town.  North Pole, New York 12997.  Home to Santa’s Workshop.  This opened in 1949 after Santa was looking for a summer home and decided this town was perfect.  So he set up shop, putting generation of pimply teenage local elves to work.  The rides built in 1949 are still the same, I am sure they are up to code.  The big seller at the North Pole is this six foot ice pole. It never melts, ever, no matter how hot it is.  Santa doesn’t even know how it works.  I asked him when we went back on Wednesday. Yeah, I will get into that.  The thing about Santa’s Workshop is that it is open from June to December, open from Tuesday to Saturday.  So of course we went on a Monday and well IT WAS CLOSED!!. Trying to surprise the kids for days on where we were going on our side trip.  It is great, you drive literally through a mountain then up another mountain and you start to see signs and you come around a long bend to find an EMPTY PARKING LOT BECAUSE IT IS CLOSED!  Park is closed, Frank.  The reindeer outside should have told you!  To my credit, I kept calm.  I even laughed.  My wife, my dear sweet wife was trying to relive her youth through our two children and it was closed.  Normally, I would meltdown but I literally had nothing left in the tank.  Car was running close to empty also.  Surprise kids, you’re parents are dumb.  The saving grace was one town over is Lake Placid.  I am a huge fan of hockey and my wife suggested that we head over and go see the Olympic Arena where the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team made history and beat the Russians.  A true Miracle on Ice.

placid

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?  YES!!!

My wife quickly soothed a savage beast.  I give her credit.  It is a great little town and I am glad we went.

The next day we did the big amusement and water park.  Pricey, but nostalgic and fun.  A giant water-park the kids loved and as we left at the end of the day, all they wanted was to go back in the pool at the hotel.  Seriously, that’s all they wanted to do for 5 days.  We had an entire trip planned and all I heard for five damn days was “Can we go back in the pool?”  Lesson learned.  Next vacation, we aren’t leaving town.  We are going to the local pool for 5 days, I am going to save so much money.

I think what slowly drives parents crazy on vacation is the fact that you do not get a break from each other.  You are going out to eat every night, almost every meal.  All the kids want is macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers.  Most wait staff don’t realize the kids meal needs to be put in right away and we discovered there is no time for an appetizer.  Kids food and your dinner then get the hell out of there before the four year old has a freak out because he hasn’t napped and he is about to blow!!  DANGER, DANGER!!

Moving on to Wednesday, we make our second trip to the Fat Man’s House in the North Pole.  Like I mentioned, the big attraction is the Ice Pole and of course my wife’s sick sense of humor in getting a picture of me in front of every post office in the world. (Please see article: Top Ten Things You Do on Vacation.)

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Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oooooh, we should go on the steamboat cruise.  Oh wait, it’s a dinner cruise.”  A buffet.  I like to eat.  Overpriced, crappy food, but a real nice cruise around the lake.  Multi-million dollar house to make me feel inadequate but watching my son flirt with a girl on the dance floor was entertaining.  Of course more ice cream to follow the cruise.

Another thing I cannot get used to because frankly there is no where to go when your kids pass out at 10:00PM, you well pretty much have to go to sleep.  I mean, I can’t leave them in the room by themselves.  Can I?

“Daddy, can we go back in the pool? We have only been in it, 967 times.”

Now my second mistake.  Seriously, I cannot express this enough to fellow parents.  No matter what you think, no matter how well the kids are behaving, do not, DO NOT, under any circumstances say to your spouse.  “There is a lot to do, you think we should add a day on?”  Wasted money.  Wasted day.  I lost a day at home, I could have worked on the house or even napped. What the hell was I thinking?  A bad morning led to sitting in the hotel room with two punished kids until noon, then to save part of the day we went on a hike. Yes, a hike. Oh wait, I am the only one who brought sneakers.  Flip flops and sandals do not make for an effective hike.  We salvaged the night with a lakeside fireworks show.  Great seats and the kids loved it.

Homeward bound! I loaded the car with ease and in record time.  McDonald’s for breakfast.  Delicious but McFarts an hour later make for a bad commute.  Flew home literally until we hit the Bronx. Traffic from that point on, added an hour on to the drive.   My favorite part of the whole trip though, was this.  Exhausted and satisfied.

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Two quotes for this article:

  1. “No more vacations ever again.”  – My Mother
  2. “This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! I must be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!”  – Clark W. Griswold
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Daddy’s Log. The Diary of a Dad left Alone, Part 1.

The following transcript was found in the rubble of a suburban home on Long Island.  Authorities have not been able to fully piece together exactly what transpired in this home.  We here at Mess In Around, feel this is the diary of a man slowly going insane.  We feel it is necessary to warn you, the following transcript should not be read to children because they will use it against you.

Daddy’s Log, Day 1: 8:07pm. The girl is watching TV and behaving herself, she might be planning something. The boy is making fart noises with his mouth and giving me dirty looks, he wants his Momma, which he has repeated to me 713 times. The Kindle is dead and there are 23 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 1, 8:11PM. The boy’s fart noises have transformed into moans for Momma, starts off low… mmmmMMMMMomma. Still no noise from the girl, she might have fell asleep, but I doubt it. Please tell my Mom I love her.

Daddy’s Log, Day 1, 8:16PM. The girl approaches me and tells me its still light out and she needs to tell a neighbor something. She predicts the upcoming bedtime and the 1st attempt at stalling has begun. She walks away pouting and the boy is now looking out the window for Momma who is not coming home until Wednesday. I think he has a knife. 16 minutes to bedtime.

Daddys Log, Day 1: 8:26pm. I got an I Love you, Daddy followed by when is Mommy going to be home. The boy seems agitated. He is on to me. 4 minutes to bedtime

Daddys Log, Day 1, 9:14PM. Kids are down, but not out, they are planning my demise. A poorly timed call by Momma, woke the boy and the girl is apparently thirsty, even though it will sit untouched next to her bed. Daddy is thirsty and will be drinking soon. 44 minutes past bedtime.

Daddy’s Log Day 2, 9:20AM. The boy wakes at 4:15am saying he is thirsty. I get him a drink and fall down over his walker. 4:18AM, he starts banging on wall, slow and methodical. It increases and I bolt from my bed to yell at him. Waking the girl, she let’s out a groan and a fart. I grab the boy and knowing I need my sleep, I carry him by the shirt to my bed and tell him to not make a sound and go the hell to sleep. I am told briskly I am a “bad guy” I agree and try to fall asleep to no avail. Daylight comes and we oversleep. Rushing the girl to the bus, we barely make it. I look into my bedroom and he is asleep. I scream at the top of my lungs WAKE UP JOEY!!! I laugh and walk in the kitchen to make my coffee. 11 hours and 6 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 10:32AM. After a hearty breakfast for the boy, an hour ago, he claims he is starving and wants lunch. I did notice a slight drop in supplies, I am out of iced coffee and the Keurig is looking at me like a crack head looks at a vial. Upon my refusal for an early lunch, little Norman Bates wants his Momma and is letting me know it and he doesn’t want me to watch him anymore. The girl gets off the bus in 2 hours then I am sure the two factions will side against me and this might be my last post if I don’t survive. Might have to go on a scouting excursion to get lunch. Hiding in my room folding laundry and I hear Paw Patrol and a laughing little demon. Safe for now. 9 hours, 58 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 11:50AM. The girl will be home soon hopefully I can gain an ally and defeat the boy. He has begun whistling like Negan’s gang. I am really afraid. He sees me typing and is giving me the Deniro stare. He is hungry and letting me know it. No lunch until the girl gets home. I hope she had a good day or else its lights out for Daddy. 9 hours 40 minutes to bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 2:48pm. Success. The girl came home and immediately became an ally, evoking Messina law 4.6, Section 2. “I will always be a Daddy’s girl.” Our scouting mission resulted in smoothies and wraps. We even picked up a bonus pretzel and corn dog. Upon return to the fort, a nap was attempted for the boy and was a failure. A 2nd attempt was executed with some progress; results are still not final. The girl is distracted by a king’s ransom of Barbie dolls and I am hiding on the couch. 5 hours and 42 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 6:40pm. The Boy asked for chicken nuggets and smiley face French fries for dinner. Not a problem, but he polished them off. We are officially at Defcon 4. Girl and I wanted Tacos for Taco Tuesday, I know the boy is going to want a taco. I might have enough for him. I might be able to trick him with dessert options. He is concerned that Mommy isn’t home and demands to know when she will be back. I can only stall for so long. The Girl has proven herself to be a valued ally. As I type the boy proclaims, I don’t want nuggets anymore which are cooked and the tacos are done. Decisions. It might be time to call for backup. 1 hour and 50 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 7:51PM. Dinner a fiasco, but done. Showers done, but bathroom soaked. The boy is on my last nerve; the girl is following suit. 24 hours until the Mom comes home. Little Norman Bates will have his Norma back. Obstacles ahead. Sleeping thru the night, getting the girl’s hair publicly acceptable tomorrow, and then hours alone with little Napoleon. I am ahead on the house upkeep. Laundry check, dishes check, we’re out of iced coffee, so anyone want to drop off Dunkin Donuts for me, that is cool. No more nuggets or fries. We have ice cream, might be able to use it to bribe them and outside tribes. Preschool kids are circling my house. 39 minutes until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 2, 9:16PM. Bedtime is done. Both needed water, the boy needed music. So far so go…., wait, THE REMOTE IS MISSING. THE REMOTE IS GONE. THEY HID THE REMOTE. I CALL FOR TRIAL BY COMBAT!!

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 8:56AM. At 1:12AM, the Boy woke crying, he was thirsty. I had water in his room and gave it to him and thinking ahead I closed the walker, so no injuries. Knowing his routine, I carried him into bed with me and slept soundly through the night. 7:45AM, this is where it gets strange. I wake and the Boy is sleeping, I hear the Girl rummaging around, thinking she is going to the bathroom. I hear more moving around and I get up, leaving the Boy to slumber. What I find can only be described as indescribable. Pod people. They are here and among us. I find the girl, dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, mouth washed and vitamins taken. We made the bus with no problem and the Boy is transfixed with Paw Patrol. I am not sure what is actually going on, but it is quiet. Too quiet. 10 hours, 55 minutes until Mommy comes home.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 9:27AM. Transcript of conversation with Joey. JOEY: Daddy, get your butt ready. ME: What?!? J: Get your butt ready, we’re having a butt party. M: What’s a butt party? J: I can’t tell you, its a surprise. M: Hysterical laughing, umm ok. J: stop laughing, you just dance at a butt party. M: Ahhh, ok.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 10:55am. The I want my Momma’s chant is happening again. I have begun to realize this is sort of a war cry. Usually precedes pouting and then an angry face. I having a feeling he is watching me very closely. I don’t like it. 9 hours and 5 minutes until Mommy comes home.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 3:16pm. The boy awoke from his nap asking for ice cream. I cannot argue with this logic. He is only 4, but he is wise beyond his years. Dishes done, her plants watered thanks to the constant reminders from the boy, laundry in the works, mail sorted and junk drawer cleaned out. Mommy is on schedule for arrival around 8pm. Team Alpha is a go! Girl home soon, must hide ice cream remnants. 4 hours and 44 minutes until Mommy comes home, an extra 30 until bedtime.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 5:19Pm. They are getting antsy, I think they know the Mom is hours away, she will be delayed much to my chagrin. Dinner is being made and I think they will accept it. Ha the little stinkers have no choice. I am starting to go a little stir crazy. Norman I mean Joey keeps staring out the window looking for his Momma. Little does he know she won’t be home in time for bedtime. Yay me. Our time together will be ending soon, I will keep you in my heart, please pray for me.3 hours 9 minutes until bedtime, 3 hours 39 minutes until Mommy is home.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 7:09pm. Mad dash by all to get this house clean for Mommy. Dishes done, laundry done, girl cleaning her room, boy cleaning the living room. Our time is short, thank you for being part of the journey. Older, wiser, greyer. It’s been a great and bumpy ride, but by golly we did it together. Our time is almost done, I love you all. Mommy’s ETA 7:45. Bedtime 8:30. I am so excited I could cry.

Daddy’s Log, Day 3, 7:59pm. MOMMY’S HOME. AAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH MOMMY, MOMMY MA, MA, MA, MA, MOM MOM MOM, MOTHER, MOTHER, MOMMA.

She asked me how everything went and I just cried in the corner, rocking back and forth.. She looked at me and said, I have to go to Chicago for three days in July.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

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Top Ten Things You Do On Vacation…

…that you would never do in your normal life.  Let’s face it, this is a real thing.  We simply do some weird stuff when we are on vacation.  I am sure you can relate to some of these.

10. Eating Fudge.  I mean seriously, no matter where you vacation you are bound to walk past and then go back and walk inside a candy/chocolate/snack shop.  Everywhere!  Disney got em, New England towns, too.  You will be entranced by the smells and the wide assortment of sweet, smooth and succulent fudge!  Now, go look around your own town or city.  Go on, I will wait, I will be over here eating some fudge.  So, you looked around, right?  No fudge shops, huh.  NONE!  It’s insane, you cannot find these places in your hometown. After working all day and having dinner with the family, does anyone ever get a hankering for some yummy fudge. NO!  No one does, because these places are magical and don’t exist until you go on vacation.

fudge

9. The All You Can Eat Buffet. Step right up, grab a plate and within a half hour you have diabetes, are in a food coma and have eaten more in thirty minutes than a family of four in a third world country has eaten in a month.  When on vacation you have to eat, sure some places come with a kitchen and a simple trip to the supermarket will help save you money and probably provide a healthier alternative, but hey screw it we are on vacation and all we need is $14.99 a plate and some gluttony and you and the family are good to go.  The choices are endless.  Mac-N-Cheese? Yes.  Chinese Dumplings?  You betcha.  Salad Bar? Umm, no wasted calories.  Crab Legs?  You bet your sweet ass we got Crab Legs.  Not only do we go to these places on vacation but sometimes we go more than once.  Now think, when was the last time you went to one when you weren’t vacationing?  It’s impossible.  I don’t understand it.  Move onto dessert, you only have 57 choices of cake, cookies, jello and ice cream.  Oh yeah, there is a small plate of fruit in there somewhere.

buffet

Please Sir, I’d like some more.

 

8. That Odd Picture.  I blame the wife for this one.  Since we began dating, every time we went away she would make me pose in front of a mailbox or post office.  From  tiny New England towns, to Toronto, Canada and yes even the Vatican.  THE VATICAN.  Surrounded by priceless architecture and the Sistine Chapel, my loving wife on our honeymoon makes me pose in front of a tiny Vatican mailbox.  Is it just me?

7. Lie to Strangers About Your Profession.  Maybe it is just me because this is something I do.  Almost every single vacation. It’s not that I am ashamed of what I do.  Being a mailman is fun.  That’s what the brochure said.  The main reason I do this is because many of have been in the situation where you get bombarded with questions about you job.  The last thing I want to talk about when I am on a relaxing, fudge filled vacation is my job.  My wife loved Bed and Breakfasts.  If you ever been to one, you usually have breakfast at one table with a bunch of couples.  The first time I did this was at a B&B during breakfast.  For some reason, it was going around the table.  It sounded a bit like this.  What do you do for a living?  Doctor, Lawyer, Doctor, Interior Designer, Doctor… two more to answer before me.  Dentist, Archaeologist and now my turn. Am I really going to say Mailman?  With the straightest face I answered.  “Oh, I am the stage manager for the Rachael Ray Show.”  I watched Stephanie’s eyes widen. All eyes on me. Here is where I screwed up.  Tons of questions, but not about my boring mail job.  Luckily, I worked in Production many years ago and actually was familiar with the position.  So I bullshitted my way through some questions and then literally tossed out, “I really have said too much, I mean I signed a Confidentiality Agreement, I could lose my job.”  By this time breakfast was done and we decided to make our exit.  Back in the room, we laughed our butts off and I knew I was going to do this from now on.  So I worked for Rachael Ray, did a stint as a Lobsterman out of New England,  Officer in Charge of Safety for Nassau County Police Department, (I don’t even think this exists) built sets on The Walking Dead (Season 4) and once I was the guy who worked at the Lego Store building those giant Lego sculptures. So this makes me

most-interesting-man-in-the-world-720suqare

The Most Interesting Man on Vacation

 

6. Buy Souvenirs You Never Use. I have shot glasses up the wazoo.  Shirts and hats from various locals.  I wore them once or they become my “I am working in the yard or under the hood of my car” shirt.  Hot sauces.  I use those.  Now that I have kids, I possess a ton of toys made in China that will be broken or lost by the time we get home. I have bought 12 Elsa dolls.

5. People Watch.  Okay, technically you can do this anywhere but for the most part you know the people around you.  Family and friends and neighbors are part of our lives. The fun is watching total strangers.  The reason is because you can make up their back story. Take for example the heavy guy wearing the visor with the fake hair.  He might own his own landscaping company in West Virginia and is going through a divorce because he had an affair with his wife’s sister.  One thing for sure he reckons Pappy would love him a new hammock.

4. Forget How To Use A Television.  When in the comfort of my living room or mancave, I usually have control of the remote.  I know what every button does, I know my favorite channels by heart. I know where the remote control is because it is usually where I left it the night before in my special remote spot.  On vacation, every channel on the TV is wrong, NBC is Channel 4 in my world, not 9, CBS is 2, not 3.  What kind of madhouse is this?  Why does the TV always start on the menu page.  Why cannot it not remain on the last channel I watched. The worst is when the remote is attached to the wall or end table by some curly thick cable.  Does Satan run this fine establishment?

3. Destroy the Hotel Room/Steal.  For the most part, we live like civilized human beings.  In my family, laundry gets cleaned and folded, dishes get done, garbage gets thrown out and for the most part the house is clean.  Clean-ish.  Hey, I’ve seen worse. So why is it after a four or five day stay in a hotel room, does the room look like a scene from The Hangover or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?  In regards to the soap and other freebies.  Is it considered stealing when you take them home?  Or is it when you search out the housekeeping cart and take some home?  All I know is we never run out of soap in this house.

2. Turkey Leg/Candy Apple.  Have you ever eaten one of these on vacation?  Yes, you have. Have you ever eaten one at home?  Not once, not even on Halloween or Thanksgiving.  Do not deny it.

turkey

  1. Overpay for Everything.  My friend Dena actually brought this to my attention.  Only on vacation, you will spend $8.00 for a bottle of water when at home you can buy about two cases of water.  $14.00 for a balloon with Mickey ears inside of it which you have to eventually let go because you can’t take it on the plane seems perfectly rational.  That turkey leg was about $12.50.  Don’t forget to tip the maid.  My advice is stay home.

Hope you enjoyed this and please don’t forget to click the follow button.

“I think you’re all fucked in the head. We’re ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! I must be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!”  –Clark W. Griswold

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