Monday, January 22, 2018


This year we decided maybe the kids should get some pets. It was probably a bad decision. First we got them fish. They got a Molly and a Beta. Within probably a month they killed the Beta and the Molly had babies. Adri doesn't like to sleep with the pump on and forgets to turn it on before going to school. They also overfed the Beta to death.

So before finding out if the kids could even handle fish we got a bearded dragon. Why? Cassandra has a friend that was giving them away. All we had to do is buy the terrarium, lights, and everything else they need and we got a kinda but not really free pet. The kids were really interested for a couple days. Now they rarely hold the thing, actually they don't unless I tell them to. Zach likes to hold the lizard when I ask him to but Adri is a pain in the butt about it and we got into a dispute one afternoon over it. I ended up telling her to go to her room because I was so angry over it. We'll see how long this thing last. I am planning on taking it on vacation this summer and taking pictures with it on all our trips. 

I'm just glad we started small and didn't commit to something bigger, more annoying, and more maintenance, like a dog.


"He's one of those kids, you get him a gift and all he wants to do is play with the box. Yeah, one year we actually just got him a box, a really nice box.And we made the mistake of putting it in a gift bag. So he played with the gift bag. We can't get it right." - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 9

Recently we have had a lot of big boxes. I decided to change out all the toilets. Our toilets were really crappy. They were the cheapest Sterling toilets money could buy and the kids were clogging them almost daily. So I went out and bought three top of the line Toto Drake toilets. I did a lot of research and then observation when we would go out and decided we couldn't go without Toto. They have been great. As the guy at Home Depot said "You could flush a whole chicken down them". Plus they are glazed so well they hardly need cleaning.

Enough about the toilets though. Boxes, lots of boxes. Each toilet bowl and tank came in a separate box. So we had 6 large boxes. What to do with those boxes? I made the kids a tunnel to play in. I kept the boxes around for a couple months then finally decided it was time to get rid of them. Now we are in the middle of a remodel on our master bathroom. Our tub came in not 1, but two large boxes. So now the kids like to hide in that box. Unfortunately they only got to keep one of the boxes. The moms that run the programs at the school decided to steal the other one. Their post on Facebook, not asking for, but basically demanding we hand over the boxes was annoying. My dad and I wanted to make some dirty jokes about their demands to have Natalie's box but Natalie wouldn't have it so we just had to leave a laughing emoji.

Here is Zach's tunnel.

And here is the new tub box.

Summer 2017

I finally got all the pictures off my OneDrive and onto my computer so here come 10 post in the next week. 

This is our 5th summer in Arizona. I have hated every one of them until this year. Having a pool 30 feet away from the back door makes a huge moral difference in summer here. I like having a pool so much I didn't even go to the community center once this summer. Why get the kids into a hot car and go to a pool where they kick you out for ten minutes every hour when I can grab a beer and sit by my own pool late in the afternoon without sunblock?

This year the kids probably spent 3/4 of the summer with their cousins. We were back and forth between California all summer and my twin sister made a couple trips out here as well. These kids get to spend more time with their cousins than I did as a kid and we all lived within 30 miles of each other. 

It was a busy summer. Between work, school, family issues, and working on my yard in the heat it has been really hectic. 

This was at my niece and nephew's birthday party in Riverside. It felt very much like Arizona that afternoon.
That's much better.
I think this is right around the end of June. We had my sister's kids over while she went on an early anniversary trip with her husband. I bought so ladder ball which only lasted a day before the cheap pvc melted, busted out the Obama punching bag, and we played in the heat all day.
Swimming in underwear and pink floaties.
It was good while it lasted. I'm going to have to build my own. I went outside the next day and the pipe had melted and bent over.
Zachy got a paddle board so he can learn to swim. I was trying quick swimming lessons every day but he wasn't liking it.
The kids caught a gecko in the backyard.
We went to the wash behind the house to look for coyotes. I don't remember if we found them. There has only been one time I've walked to the wash in the afternoon and didn't see a coyote and I think this may have been that time.
In July we bought a new truck. We had five kids in the waiting room all afternoon. To my surprise they actually behaved well.
The new truck. Soon we are getting a trailer to pull around with this thing.
I made the kids Shirley Temples.

At the dinner table one night the word of the day was britches. Zach said he loves his "britches".

I made a redneck water slide. Then I decided instead of just putting the hose on the slide why not give the kids a hurricane experience. Water and electricity makes a good time.

She's probably going to regret these videos one day.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Adri's Birthday

I am really behind on my blog. After dealing with work and school the last thing I've wanted to do lately is sit in front of a computer. So it's now December and I'll get back to blogging about Adri's birthday back in June. 

Adri has been a lucky kid when it comes to birthdays. Since we don't live near family every year she has had more than one birthday party. This year was no different. I dropped Adri off at my sister's house before going on my trip to Georgia in June. We returned the day before Adri's birthday. For Adri's birthday we went to Knott's Berry Farm.

I really wish I would have written this blog a lot sooner because I've forgot so much of what happened at both her parties. Looking at the pictures I remember that Ryder refused to leave his sweater behind and my sister was fighting with him over it. Seriously, a sweater in June? Adri finally went on her first upside down roller coaster, Montezuma's Revenge, and we all bought funny hats, except for Natalie because she's boring.

After Knott's Berry farm we went back to Arizona and Adri had to spend a week or two without her cousins. They were together probably over half of the summer. When my sister came out Adri had her second birthday party with her friend. We had a mishap and all the pictures got deleted but I was able to recover most of them. Adri had a Moana pool party. Great thing about having our own pool again is we don't have to put as much effort into getting out in the summer.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lake Oconee, Georgia

Some time the beginning of this year I was sitting on the couch reading my work e-mails on my phone and I saw a bunch of e-mails congratulating me. It turns out that during my time out of the office I had won a trip through work. Our parent company, TDS, has a program called Inspiring Excellence. There are several categories and everyone can nominate their coworkers. Close to 200 people were nominated out of thousands, then HR and management went through and chose 59 people for this award. I had seen the e-mail going around about nominations a few weeks prior but didn't think anyone with OneNeck actually won these trips and didn't know how big of a deal they made them. 

So first thing I did is tell Natalie I wont a trip. Her response, "Yeah it's a scam". So I tell her it's through work and initially she wasn't all that impressed. When I saw that the trip was to Georgia the first thing I thought was "Who the hell wants to go to Georgia"? In my 6+ years in Florida I had been to Georgia a couple times but never the good parts. Just boring country towns where they grow peanuts. Regardless I was excited to get out of the office for a week and relax.

Once I got back to the office they started sending me packages. HR didn't just send me an e-mail with my tickets. No, they had to go all out. They send me decorated packages with personalized luggage tags, a check for spending money, and a bunch of other stuff with the itinerary. At this point I could tell this trip is going to be a lot fancier than I was expecting. 

June 5th rolls around and it had been busy at the new house. I had been working hard to get all my drip lines installed and make sure everything is working before we leave town for two weeks. So on June 5th we load up the car and head out to California to drop off the kids with my sister before flying out to Georgia the next morning. Well as luck would have it about 45 minutes from the house my AC gradually stops working and within a few minutes it's blowing nothing but hot air. It was 106-108 out around the valley that day and we had no option but to keep driving. So we rolled down the windows and drove 90 mph all the way to Morongo with only one stop. We had to stop and get the kids ice cream in Quartzite before getting back to our miserable drive. Lucky for me I always keep a 24 pack of water bottles in the car. Unlucky for me Zach decided he was going to be a pain in the butt that day and wanted to put his blanket on. We tried taking it away from him but he kept putting it back on. It was the drive from hell.

June 6th we hopped on a plane and flew out to Atlanta. Our flight was with Southwest and it absolutely sucked. We got lowest priority boarding and my carry on had to go in the back on both flights so I had to wait for everyone to get off the plane just so I can get my carry on. Things got better once we landed in Atlanta though.

From the time we got off the plane it was red carpet service all week. I didn't have to touch my bags and I didn't have to tip anyone for taking care of all my stuff because TDS already took care of it. We stayed our first night at the Ritz Carlton downtown because the Ritz Oconee was full. They flew us out a day early because our flight would have been too late on the 7th for the activities so I got an extra day for free. So the first thing we decide to do in Atlanta is look for spots from the Walking Dead. We managed to find the spot where Rick found the tank in the first season but we quickly learned it wasn't a good part of town and got the hell out of there. 

The next morning the fun began. We got picked up and took an hour ride over to the Ritz Oconee. We sat around eating lunch and drinking beer (except Natalie) and met everyone coming in from around the country. After lunch they gave us a few hours to ourselves before the first round of activities started. We decided to take a walk around the property and I found a hammock that looked really appealing. I went to sit down with my beer in my right hand and my Nikon camera in my left and the hammock was off balance. I did a complete back flip and landed on my knees without spilling a single drop of beer. Natalie was laughing her ass off,  a couple from our group tried to pretend they didn't see and kept walking, and I was there on my bloody knees proud that the camera survived and no beer was spilled. 

The night was our first activity. We met on the yard by the evil hammock and they had an open bar. They split everyone into groups and gave us bling so we could find our groups. Natalie and I were the green shamrock group. Once everyone is about 3 drinks in they decide to tell us we have some puzzles to solve. The first clue lead us to the conference room where they locked us in to do an Escape The Space. At this point the only person there that isn't drinking was Natalie and they had another open bar in the conference room. What better way to solve a puzzle than with a few cocktails? Basically they split us into 8 teams, had 200 items in the room with clues on it, and we had to solve a bunch of clues to get the wire cutters to deactivate a fake bomb. I think we completed it in 57 minutes, 3 minutes before we would have pretended to blow up. Oh, and my team won.

After all the fun in our team building activity was dinner in the forest. The thing I liked is that it was assigned seating all week so we had to meet new people. Well the first night they put me next to our future CEO and his wife and the celebrity couple. Our CEO's wife is a very energetic person and had to let us know that her favorite movie of all time is Hoosiers and the guy sitting at our table was in the movie along with his entire family. I told her I was in diapers when that movie came out (1986) and I had never seen it so she decided to name me Buster Brown. It stuck with me all week. Did I mention that by dinner they now had two bars at the event and it would be like this at every event for the rest of the week. They probably spent close to half my salary just on alcohol.

The next morning at breakfast the CEO's wife decided she wanted to sit with us again. So we got to talk a lot with our future CEO and found out that he's a really cool down to earth guy. After breakfast we went on a boat trip where they showed us all the mansions, gave us beer, and let us play in the middle of the lake for a couple hours. These pontoons are not made for pulling jet skis but our driver decided to let us take a try at it. Out of all of us that tried one really skinny guy that had been water skiing since he was in diapers was able to get up while the rest of us failed. I was too fat for the boat to get me up on skiis so I had to go with the knee board. 

The rest of the week was pretty much just hanging out in the day with random activities and open bars. Friday night we had an awards ceremony and this is when the our future CEO's wife figured out that Natalie is pregnant and announced it to everyone around. So we had a little celebration and again, I drank for two.... 

The last day there we took a bike ride around the golf course and got lost. We had a mini carnival on the lawn for 4-5 hours and by the time it was over we just went to our room and crashed. 

It was an amazing trip. I figured they probably spend 6-10K on each person plus just as much on their guest. Our room was nearly 500 bucks a night. I think everyone but two people there had a guest, which I thought was odd so we had a group of around 130 people once you add in HR and upper management. Every part of this trip was so well planned out. They even had community supplies at every event with bug spray, sun block and tums. With the open bars those tums were like gold. Every day we got a package delivered to our room with gifts from management and/or supplies for the next day. I almost felt like a celebrity for a week.

Pictures are not in order. I've been too busy and am too lazy to sort them all out. 

At the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta
Downtown Atlanta

This park was really nice but it's where it started to get a little shady
In between those two buildings is where the tank was on The Walking Dead
Here we are standing where the tank was
They had a bunch of Lambos at our hotel that night

I think this is after I did a back flip on the evil hammock
The evil hammock. You can see it's not just me, that thing was way off balance.

I was enjoying a nice nap here until someone put on youtube videos and woke me  up

We were required to wear our name tags at all TDS events. This was at dinner in the forest.

We were taking a walk through the forest and found this gigantic mushroom. Out of fear of personal safety I did not eat the mushroom.

Maybe breakfast the second morning.... Can't seem to remember.

 At the Escape The Space Event

 Dinner in the forest. This is our future CEO's wife. This lady was all smiles like this all week.

 They had a whole pig on the table.

 Hanging out on the Oconee. I think I told Natalie "Hey hold my beer" right before doing this.
 My fat butt on the knee board.
 The guy on the left is the celebrity from the movie Hoosiers.
 Dinner, homework, and Alabama Slammer.

 After I received my award Jim (future CEO on the right) told me Dave (current CEO on the left) got my name wrong. It's Buster Brown.

Our bike ride through the forest and around the golf course.