Friday, October 3, 2008

Wally World

Well I just got back from Disneyland Tuesday night. The boys had a blast. I've been to DisneyWORLD a few times but this was my first trip back to DisneyLAND since just after my 8th birthday…so that would be just shy of 39 years ago. Holy crap that is a long time ago! I'm getting old...
Anyways, some things have changed but really by and large (what the heck does "by and large" mean anyways?…okay, I digress) it basically looks like the same place as it did back in 1970 when I was eight, with a few exceptions of course. For one thing, when I was 8 it truly felt like another "land". It was huge. It was gigantic. Traveling across the vastness of it all felt like a journey through another world. Yes, yes, I could tell you how phony it all feels now and how fake everything obviously is but I won’t do that - I still like the whole escapism concept of the place. But it felt small to me. Smaller than what I remembered it being anyways. At a brisk pace I could go from Frontierland to Tomorrowland to Adventureland to Fantasyland in less than an hour - and still have time to stop and eat a $15 mouse shaped ice cream sandwich.
It seems to me that when my family and I went long ago we went on several rides but we also spent a lot of time checking out exhibits, shops and other things like the main street parade…but not this time. No, for my boys this was all about riding as many rides as they could possibly ride in the 3 days we were there. That meant we spent a good amount of time standing in lines. We were lucky though because we went Sun-Tues and the park was not nearly as busy as it can be during peak times. I can't imagine going when it's crowded - I mean it's never really NOT crowded there. I especially can't imagine what people are thinking when they bring babies with them. Oh I know there are a lot of people out there who insist on bringing their babies with them everywhere that they go (and they say it like it's some kinda badge of honor). Not me. Ya see to me vacation is about having fun - and if I have shelled out a good chunk of money for 3 days in sunny California at Disneyland I wouldn't even think of pushing a stroller containing a screaming kid through the crowded and hot streets of the Disneyland. Sorry but, no way, no how, is that fun. And the worst part is, all you people pushing those strollers with your crying kids in them - ARE IN MY WAY!!
I just don't get it! I saw literally hundreds, if not thousands, of parents pushing single, double, triple, even quadruple strollers and I just know there is no possible way that they and their "way to young to fully enjoy this great place of happiness and joy" children were having any fun at all. Hey I know it sucks for the older kids in the family but until every single one of your kid's heads reach the bottom of that "You must be this tall to ride" sign you shouldn't even be allowed to get on the plane to fly to Disneyland. Did I mention you are in my way? You are.
Worse though than babies in strollers though was parents pushing fat kids who were way too old to be in strollers. You wonder why America has an obesity problem? Go to Disneyland and watch the fat moms and dads pushing their little beluga in a titanium reinforced stroller cart. Granted this did get mom and dad sweating pretty good. But still the whole thing made me sick. I don't care if his chubby little feet do hurt…believe me, if he wants to ride "Space Mountain" he'll find a way to get his fat butt there on his own two feet. And since I'm on a ranting roll here let me just point out a simple rule one should observe while in a large crowd: While walking don't just come to a complete stop in the middle of the street/sidewalk/pathway/hallway to consult your map on where the "Matterhorn" is. Would you do that on a freeway? Same thing applies here, pull to the side and get the hell out of the way.
But really, all in all (and by and large) it was a good time, something I'm sure my boys will remember fondly for a long time…even though their feet were killing them. 3 days was the perfect amount of time to be there. On the last day we were there I asked Trevor what some of his favorite rides were and he said "The Splash Mountain ride was one of my favorites dad...but if I hear that "Zippydeedoodah" song one more time I'm gonna go crazy!!" Amen to that son, amen to that...

("By and Large" (I looked it up) is actually an old nautical term. "By" means into the wind, while "large" means with the wind. By and large is used to indicate all possible situations "the ship handles well both by and large". So if I were to apply that to my trip to Disneyland I would say that "By" means short ride lines and "large" means fat kids in strollers.).

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor (or is it the Labor of My Fruits?)

I like most fruit, apples are especially good. But recently fruit has become my nemesis. Let me explain... When I purchased my house I didn't just get a house, no, what I got was a mini-farm. A fruit growing farm. I have cherry trees, apple trees, plum trees and pear trees. There are five apple trees and they are all different varieties. In total I have 12 trees in my yard that bear fruit. Some of these trees are 40 feet high (the pear tree is as high as my two story house). That's a lot of fruit. I also have two 20 foot long rows of raspberries and a row of blueberries. There was a reason the pioneers settled in this area long ago, the soil is rich with nutrients and anything you plant in it will grow like it's been juiced up on steroids.

I am overwhelmed with fruit. Funny thing about fruit - it doesn't stay on the tree. So ya see, what I have now is fruit fly heaven. I can't possibly pick all the fruit and I've given away about as much as my friends can stand. On several occasions I have walked around my yard and picked apples and pears and plums, taking a single bite out of each one and then chucking the remainder in the bushes. I probably managed to reduce my harvest by about .000001% - and quite frankly I am getting sick of eating them...I don't care how good it is for ya. For god sakes just give me a big bag of nacho cheese Doritos!
See the tallest tree in this picture? That's a pear tree...we are talking literally hundreds of pears...I don't even like pears. The tree that the ladder is under is a Plum tree. If I wanted to use my hot tub I'd have to strap on a helmet.

I've had several people give me ideas of what I can do with all this fruit. Make apple cider they say, or jam. But ya know what - that's a hell of a lot of work. I think my best option right now may to put a "U-Pick Free!" sign out in front of my house. Really though, even though it is a bit of a burden to have all these fruit trees it is pretty cool and all in all the "mess" they make is only for a short period. But let me tell ya, sometime around the middle of February my quiet little neighborhood is going to hear the sounds of chainsaws as I whack these trees down to little fruit bearing bonsai trees!

If you think dog poop is bad, try having several hundred rotting apples, pears and prunes in your yard!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm in!

Hurray! I am finally all moved in to the new house - and I am exhausted! With the help of my gang of friends the bulk of the moving got done this past Saturday though my sister Cheryl and I got an early start on Friday by putting together my couches that I bought from IKEA. I feel like I have not had much time to sit and relax and enjoy the new house. It was great to get everything moved in, but that also meant that I needed to then get everything organized. I got the bulk of the stuff put away but I still have 4-5 boxes of stuff that I need to go through. Seems like as soon as I sit down I start thinking things like "Ya know, I think I'll change out that light fixture with the one I got at Home Depot" or "I need to figure out where I'm gonna put the exercise equipment" or "I need to replace that showerhead…".

And talk about spending money! Whooo boy! I should have bought Fred Meyer stock because I'm sure it's gone up from me buying stuff there. There's just tons of stuff you don't think about that you have to buy when you are basically "starting over" - towels, door mats, rugs, dishes, vacuum cleaner…and weird stuff that you just forget you need - toothbrush holder, scissors, pens, paper, garbage cans, an arsonel of cleaning supplies.... Literally hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars of miscellaneous crap!

I'm still getting use to the house. At our old house we lived way back off the main road so if a car came down the driveway in the middle of the night I'd likely wake up and listen to see if it was one of our neighbors, now I have a road in front of my house and cars go by all the time (maybe 4-5 in a night, but that's a lot compared to what I am use to). I'm sure I will eventually just tune them out. I'm also getting use to the layout of the house. My bedroom is upstairs and the bathroom with the shower is downstairs - right now it feels odd to me to have to wake up and stumble downstairs to take a shower in the morning but I'm sure I'll get used to it (The bathroom upstairs only has a bathtub but I'm going to remodel that and put in a shower). Right now though the thing I seem to be struggling with the most is having to walk outside to get to my truck. I have a detached garage and sometime this week I am going to dispose of the giant pile of cardboard and plastic I have in it from the move and then I can park my truck in it. But that still means I have to walk the 30 feet or so outside from the house to the garage. Yeah, I know - "boo hoo". But it just feels weird. I'm use to just going into the garage and jumping in my (warm) truck and off I go. Now I gotta go out the back door, lock the door with my key (hard to do in the dark I have found), walk to the garage and open the garage door, THEN I can get in my truck and go.

It's just weird how we become creatures of routine and the littlest things throw us off. I was at the old house for 10 years - the new house is gonna take a little getting used to, especially when my sons are not there to keep me occupied, it's awfully quiet when they are not there….but I'm sure there will be times when I relish the peace and quiet. It feels pretty good though and I am enjoying having my own place again…but even as I type this I can feel the yard yearning to be mowed .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunshiny Day

Finally….my new house purchase is finally gonna close and I will be moving in this weekend….well, barring some kinda paperwork disaster that is. I've come to be very wary of any promises made by the bank/mortgage/escrow people about when they think things will get wrapped up but at this point all signs point to the closing happening tomorrow (Thurs, Aug. 28) and then me "officially" getting the keys to the house on Friday. Now I just gotta move all my "shtuff" from the old house to the new house. I bought some new furniture because I didn't want to feel like I was just replicating rooms from the old house - I very much want, and need, a fresh start. I'm sure being back on my own will bring on a whole new batch of stress, but at least it'll be a different kind of stress than what I've been going through for the bulk of 2008…2008 has sucked so far, I'm hoping the remainder of the year and beyond is much, much better (anything less than a Lehar coming off Mt. Rainier and wiping out me and my new house will be acceptable).

Did I mention that divorce sucks? It does…and hard. At this point (well actually way before this point) I'm just glad it's all coming to an end and I can begin to move on. But one of the things that has bugged me about this whole thing is the idea that the "process of divorce" has become so clinically sanitary…at least that's the way it feels to me in my case. Yes, yes I know, a "civil" split is the ideal situation - no yelling, no anger is definitely the way to go, but it's gotten to the point where you can basically follow a "divorce template"…"This is what you should discuss with your kids…", "Here's a form to create your "Parenting Plan"…", "Here is divorce checklist for things you need to do…"

It's all such a "happy, touchy-feely, sunshiny day" load of crap. The bottom-line is divorce is an ugly thing. Okay, I feel I am giving the impression that I am a ranting and bitter ex-husband…okay so I am a little bit, but really it's not the actual divorce I'm ranting about (I'm way over that) but just the idea that it can all be done painlessly - to that I say bluntly: Bullshit. My advice to anyone contemplating it, especially if you have kids - think long and hard about it. Better yet, attack (and fix) any problems now in your marriage that you think could become a bigger problem down the road. Ya know, a tsunami just looks like a little bump in the ocean…until it reaches the shore.

Did I mention I am sooo happy to be moving into my new house? Whoooo boy am I! I can see that sunshiny day on the horizon….

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sailing in the San Juans

Well I'm back from my sailing adventure - we had a great time! The weather could have been better but all in all it was not bad, besides I don't care what the weather is like, sailing is fun no matter what.

When sailing it's good to look like this is something you do every weekend. I figured the ridicules hat, camo shorts and XXL "Terminator Stout (beer)" hoodie made me fit right in with the million dollar yachts and the rich folks at Roche Harbor.

Craig (port) and I (starboard) on the bow of our sailing vessel. See, I can talk all nautical and shit.

One day we raced our friend Roman (the Russian) - it was just Roman in his boat and a crew of five of us in our boat. Roman was beating us for a while, then later, being the well oiled (alcohol) machine that our crew had become, we finally overtook him.

(Most of) the crew of the SS Jack Daniels (I can't remember what the actual name of the boat is). In this picture (from left to right - Roman, Craig, "Skipper" Fred and Ryan (not pictured - Ken and I)) I think the "crew" actually gives the illusion they know what they are doing...almost.

Great, great time. I hope I can do it again someday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Lucky me - I get to go sailing next week in the San Juans! Whoo hoo, can't wait. Here's some pictures of the boat we'll be on, these were taken last Sunday when we took it out for a test run.

Skipper "Fred" takes out for a cruise (I'm the one wearing the orange hat and black shirt).

I discovered that the trick to piloting a sailboat is to always have a beer in your hand.

Hoist that jib!!

The, life is rough.

I'll write a blog about the trip when we get back. Something tells me there will be lots to write about.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I like the Olympics, I really do. Watching the best athletes in the world going for the gold can be thrilling. But of course, as I usually do, I'm gonna focus on what I don't like.

Synchronized diving - what the F? Who decided this should be a competitive sport? Regular diving - sure, but this is just silly.

Swimming - Superb athletes, no doubt about it...but as far as I am concerned they could eliminate the breaststroke, butterfly - even the backstroke races. I mean really, that's just about three events too many. Now if they did the dog paddle for 400 meters, that would be something to see.

Women's Beach Volleyball - Gee, I wonder why this has the highest TV ratings of all Olympic events? I'll give you a hint, it's not because of the thrill of competition.

Skeet shooting - Probably fun as hell to blast orange plastic things out of the sky with a shotgun. Not gonna replace Monday Night Football anytime soon though.

Fencing - Who does this? I mean really?

Race Walking - Obviously a sport that takes years to develop a good technique, like when you were 12 and the bigger kids at your junior high were always trying to steal your lunch money.

Okay, I've got more I'm gonna add to this list but right now Paraguay and Argentina are starting the second set of the Women's Beach Volleyball playoff for 10th place and I don't want to miss it.