Welcome home from vacation, dude..

More like a rude welcome home. Not from my family, just reality reaching out and trying to bite me in the butt.  The last blog “Vacation Daze 13, 14 and 15” detailed my travel back to New Jersey from Florida and how DS3’s car needed brake work, again.  We dropped the car off Sunday night and I was ready to call the mechanic first thing Monday to make sure the car would be ready to be driven back to Scranton on Tuesday.

Monday morning started out cold, but sunny. I went to make coffee and remembered that I had left my insulated coffee cup at work two weeks earlier. No problem I used one of the “other” not really insulated coffee travel mugs for my coffee.  My DW kissed me, said “Have a nice day!” and she left for work.  I went out to start my car so that it might have a chance to warm up before I drove to work. Guess what, the car would not start. The battery was dead. Yes, I replaced the battery and the alternator a week before the accident two weeks before.  Crap. I did not have a dead battery scheduled in my morning.

All of  the other four cars that have my name on the title were elsewhere. Nobody to give the old man a jump-start. I have a battery charger from when I fished at night and needed to charge the car batteries that powered the lights.  I plugged the charger in and hooked up the battery and went back inside.  Tick, tock. I smiled, so I will be late for work after a two-week vacation. Nobody will even notice. I went back outside into the mid 20 degree weather after ten minutes and tried to start the van. It struggled and then it started. Nice!

Off to work I went. When I got to the office I shut the car off and then tried to start it, it started fine. I checked at lunch time, again it started. Work was busy. Not insane. I had checked email over the two weeks I was away in an attempt to soften the blow of returning to work. The people I work either missed me or they were glad I came back to do my work. Same result. Monday night DS3 and I played lacrosse in Robbinsville with the post-college crowd. Neither of us had any goals, but we had fun and did not get hurt.

By the end of Tuesday my vacation mojo was gone.  It lasted for two days..  The rest of the week was a blur. Wednesday night I spent two hours after dinner working on the hot tub (outside in the dark). A piece of plastic had fallen into one of the intake tubes and was banging up against one of the pumps. Sooner or later the plastic would either shred or the pump would jam. Either option was just as bad as the other. I had to drain the water before I could remove the pump. It is all back together and full of water again. This spring I will have to remove all the wood around the hot tub and replace it. Over the last 12 years the termites have trashed most of the wood shell. Fortunately for us, the hot tub is shielded by foam. The wood frame is more decorative than structural. With my wood working skills, this will be an interesting project.

I worked from home on Friday. The power went out at the office around 3 pm on Friday, so the day ended early.  Not bad. Friday night my date and I went to Calloway’s for a beer or two and a bite. No kids, no hassles, just some drinks, Buzz Time Trivia and each other.

Today is Saturday. Bacon and good coffee from New Orleans with breakfast.  I blogged this morning wrapping up my vacation. Tonight we are having filet mignon for dinner. The Shop Rite had them on sale last week. Shrimp, fresh mozzarella and baked potatoes will round out the meal. Hopefully we will do the hot tub hop tonight.  

Day to-day routine has returned. Schemes are being hatched to move to the St. Augustine, Florida area in three years after the boys are all out of college. Maybe not, without dreams, where would we be?  The kids keep telling me that it’s no too late… Adult school yoga is signed up and paid for the spring sessions. Now we have to wait another three weeks for classes to start. I can’t wait.  Maybe vacation and yoga (at the same time) would help to keep the vacation mojo longer after returning home.

Pictures.. Yes, I have a few to share (like 5000 of them). See the captions and enjoy!


Day 252, Wednesday returns..

Wednesday returned again this week just after the departure of Tuesday. I know, big deal. The high point of my day? Good question. I woke up would be the answer if you asked DS2. For me is was leaving work early. Today the weather got into the 60’s here in New Jersey. My plan was to got to lunch at the park and practice wall ball in an attempt to get better coordinated. Instead, I was the garbage man picking up the mess left by one of our installers. What should have been a ten minute call got strung out to almost three hours. And, I have an appointment to spend another three hours with this customer on Monday morning, first thing. 

SInce I worked through my lunch I decided to leave an hour early. I could have taken my lunch hour from 4 pm to 5 pm and then driven home at 5 pm, but what is the point. By going home early I was able to make dinner. My DW told me after dinner that tonight was a agood night for me to come home early and cook. I guess she had a tough day. Dinner was marinated flank steak on the grill and homemade potato pancakes. DS2 really likes potato pancakes so I wanted to make them while he was home on vacation. I peeled the potatoes, he shredded them, I cooked them. We all enjoyed them.

DS2 went guitar shopping down near Atlantic City today. He is doing his due diligence so that next time he asks for a guitar for his birthday or Christmas, he can have an informed opinion about which instrument he wants and more importantly, why. As a parent asking why is one of my more important duties. I will let somethings slide, but I do see the need to challenge their opinions and ideas. It is part of the learning process.

The two other children did their own things. DS1 is working this evening. DS3, not sure, I guess studying for his mid-term exams.

Tonight’s picture comes from 2003 when my DW and I went to New Orleans for a few days. This picture was taken on the St. Charles street car. Her hair was short, mine was less gray, both are still happy! I lost those sunglasses in a rental car in Pittsburgh. I still miss them.


DW and I on the St. Charles street car, New Orleans


Day 237, Happy Mardi Gras..

Happy Fat Tuesday!  We celebrated at work today by sharing this (see bottom) King Cake.   The cake come with a plastic baby that is to be hidden somewhere in the cake. The tradition is that the person that gets the piece of cake with the baby in it buys the King Cake the next year. The reality is that nobody ever finds the baby. And the same people decide that they enjoy King Cake enough once a year and purchase it to share.

During the day while I was working I had one of my computers showing a live web cam view from The French Quarter. I enjoyed the distraction during times that I was waiting for screens to change or files to upload. This evening my DW and I watched some web cams on the big monitor on DS3’s computer. It was fun to people watch especially when those people are in New Orleans enjoying Mardi Gras. We have already added attending Mardi Gras to one of our empty nest plans. 

DS2 emailed me that his school served Crawfish Alfredo, King Cake and Beignets for dinner tonight.  He added some chocolate milk and was quite proud of his dinner. We had cheeseburgers and french fries. DS1 was working during dinner. He said tonight was a slow night delivering pizza. DS3, emailed looking for a computer cable. Unfortunately for him, the Army hat that he was looking for yesterday had already been shipped out. I will have to bag the wire up and send it out another day.

Last night I played lacrosse with the old men (and lots of 20 something’s). I had a few passes, I caught all of them that were reasonable to catch. I did not score. Oh well, I had a good time. We had just enough guys playing that I was able to stay on the field for the entire hour. What a pig I am. One of the three midfield players (they run the length of the field and back) who is probably 24 years old tried to get me to switch positions with him. I told him there was no way I was going to run from one end of the field to the other and back. He’s younger, let him run!

Tonight’s pictures are of the split screen on DS3’s computer tonight and this morning’s King Cake. We (DW and I) were watching two New Orleans web cams at the same time. People would walk from one camera screen to the other. It was fun. Enjoy!