possumcowboy: (Default)
First thing this morning, I had a roast beef sandwich, and then headed to the little airport a few miles away to pick up Grandmother. We stopped at Publix on the way back to the condo, and got a few more groceries. She'd already had a full day of traveling at that point!

Back at the condo, we geared up and got sunscreened and headed for the beach. Our umbrellas were in the front row, this time, which was really nice. Leah had sent the kids on ahead, with a caution to go in only wading until we adults arrived. When we adults arrived, they all had wet hair, which (if I remember correctly; and I do) indicates more depth than wading. The riot act was read, with a promise of consequences which would be most unvacationy if simple directions weren't followed again.

Macy had brought down her new $4 pink raft. We adults got ourselves settled, and I headed for the surf line with the pink raft. I got out several yards, about chest deep, and managed to get a leg over the thing, and paddled like a madman as a wave crested behind me. The raft accelerated and I went hurtling toward the beach. The kids all (naturally) wanted a go, so we got Nathan up there, I helped steady him for the wave, and he washed up grinning insanely. Next was Maddie's turn, and I helped steady the raft again. The wave hit and threw us both forward. I felt a hard BUMP on the back of my head and felt that buzzing you get from a hard hit in the head. I somehow knew that it had been Maddie's head, and when I came up from the surf, she was kneeling at the beach, eyes wide in fright and blood streaming from her nose. I felt that terror that parents know all too well at seeing my child injured, and knowing that I'd been part of her pain. I walked her up to our stand of umbrellas, got her seated, and Grandmother had a look at her. Grandmother is a nurse, so we had out own medical professional right there with us. No break, thank god. We sat in the shade for a good while, and then headed up to the condo to rest during the middle of the day.

Clayton had requested hot dogs for his meal of choice. The water park area has Weber Genesis grills almost identical to mine at home, several of them around the pool area (several yards back from the water). They're plumbed into a gas line so you don't have to worry about tanks. None were in use, so I fired one up and stood in the sun and listened to my iPhone while the dogs cooked up nicely. I brought those back up, and found that Leah had cut up the melon and pineapple I'd bought earlier, and that the only thing missing from the table was hot dogs! We ate, cleaned up, and I prepped the pork loin I'd bought this morning by rubbing it with olive oil, and laying a mosaic of little discs of sliced garlic on top, then coating with fresh-ground pepper and sea salt. This went into an oven pre-heated to 400F, which I promptly turned down to 175F. That's just a little higher than what the USDA recommends as an internal temp for correctly done pork. You leave it in there for several hours, and it'll be perfect when you take it out. I bumped it to 225 for a while, knowing that we didn't have that many hours.

Everyone took some down time, and then we headed back toward the beach around 4:30. I began a sand castle, which soon became a sand Sacrificial Temple to Zod. I had three of the four towers, a central ziggurat, and four walls with three watch towers on each, when it was time to head back inside. Rather, I went inside, and everyone else went to the pool.

The condo had an aroma of roasting garlic and meat that I can only imagine one would compare to what heaven's kitchens smell like. I quartered potatoes and peeled the last clove of garlic, and put that on to boil.

I make mashed potatoes the way I like them, and that's without apology for the ingredients. I did limit myself, though, to only half a stick of butter and only half a brick of cream cheese. A little half-and-half to thin out the mixture, and healthy doses of fresh-ground pepper and sea salt, and the side dish was done. I pulled the pork loin out of the oven, and moved it to a platter to rest while I chopped carrots, green onions, and mushrooms to add to the salads. Each person got only what he or she wanted in the salad. I like the bag of mixed herb salad, but everyone else likes just baby spinach. I made sure of what each person wanted, and that's exactly what was served for each bowl of salad.

Leah baked some Nestle's pre-formed chocolate chip cookies, and everyone had a scoop of ice cream on top of a hot cookie. (no I didn't have one). We'd thought we were going to watch a DVD, but the boys started watching goofy youtube videos, and Maddie came over to watch my working on my planets on Lacuna Expanse. She decided it looked cool, so I set her up to start an empire. Clayton was interested, too, so we got him set up, and the two of them talked back and forth as they worked through the tutorial to start building a world.

Now, the condo is quiet, the kids are asleep, and I'm about done for the day, myself.
possumcowboy: (Default)
Awoke this morning and headed to the hotel lobby for the hot breakfast buffet which was included with the price of the room. Usually it's runny eggs, dry biscuits, filmed-over gravy, stale cereal, watery milk, oily coffee. THIS place had an omelet station run by a woman who seemed to have eight arms. She kept three omelets running in a one-woman assembly line. She'd finish one, plate it, and slide the other two pans to the right, starting a new one on the far left. She just kept moving, smiling, saying good morning to everyone. It was a really nice start to the day! The rest of the buffet had the above-mentioned items, but the eggs were good, the biscuits fresh, the gravy steaming, the cereal crispy, the milk sealed in individual cartons, and the coffee practically sparkled.

Filled up the van at a Costco (so much cheaper!) nearby, and got back on the interstate. I punched up the cruise control and we cruised along happily until we reached Birmingham. Birmingham was backed up like an old truck driver who only eats cheese. We slowly grunted, strained, and rocked back and forth until we finally emerged on the far side, exhausted. Fortunately, there was a Starbucks to save us. I downloaded this week's free song while we were there. Leah needed a beach towel, so we crossed the street to a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The kids and I stayed in the car while Leah's "just be a minute" trip into the store started to stretch into another ice age. Just before we had to start worrying about glaciers scraping Alabama into the Gulf of Mexico, she came out, and we got back on the road.

We picked numbers, and Maddie got to choose where to have lunch. I was whispering "c'mon! Chick-Fil-A!" in my head, but she wanted Subway. So, after a foot-long double-roast beef provolone spinach tomato cucumber pickle salt and pepper olive oil on whole wheat later, we pulled across the parking lot to drive through Dairy Queen (Fairy Queer, we used to call it...) and everyone got a mini Blizzard. Not me, of course, since it's generally considered bad form to go into a diabetic coma while driving a van full of people at highway speeds.

The GPS took us off the Interstate and onto a two-lane highway. Several miles along, and a restroom break was suggested, rather urgently. The first place I found looked like the sort of structure that homeless people refuse to sleep in. That's where we went. I decided that, bladder or not, I wasn't going in. I did my "check-in" on Foursquare (because I'm a nerd like that, and don't deny that you have your own nerd stuff, so there) and the place wasn't even listed! There was a spot called "The middle of effin' nowhere" with the address listed as "near some field". I think that pretty well sums up the sort of place I'm talking about.

This being the second day of six hours of driving, I was impressed with how well the kids got along. They took turns with the wireless headphones, listening to satellite radio or whatever. I got a power inverter so that they were able to plug in laptops and watch movies or play games if they wanted.

We finally arrived at the Waterscape Resort. It's on Okaloosa Island, near Ft. Walton Beach. The building is basically a large U shape, with a waterpark in the middle. The two "arms" of the U reach toward the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. You can float in the Lazy River in clean pool water, or you can go play on the beach. After we unloaded the car, Leah took the kids down to the beach while I drove back a mile or so to a grocery store, to stock up on what we'd need for food (this is a condo with a full kitchen).

Apparently, every resort on this little island rents from Saturday to Saturday. The grocery store was more crowded than...uh...well, it was really really crowded. I stood in the line at the deli counter for (no shit, really) thirty-five minutes to get sandwich meat. The store had whole shelves bare of stuff, from where people had come in today and bought a metric shit-ton of Poptarts or cubic meters of potato or corn chips.

The only things stocked in the condo are salt and pepper. There were two packets of dishwasher soap, a little yellow sponge, cookware and utensils, plates and cups. Everything else needed gettin'. Sandwiches? Meat, yeah, but also mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, bread, cheese. Dishwasher detergent, sand buckets with shovels, sunscreen, extra beach towels, sunglasses for Leah who forgot hers, milk, fruit, yogurt, potatoes, onions, garlic, bacon, eggs, pre-made cookie dough, Pilsbury cinnamon rolls; you get the idea. I had a full cart.

I was hoping to make my homemade alfredo sauce, with chicken and broccoli and angel-hair pasta, but it was 10 local time when I got home. That's 11 home time, and kids were tired. We had a (nearly) midnight sandwich snack dinner, and everyone headed for bed.

Leah and I get the master bedroom. Nathan and Clayton are in an alcove with bunk beds. Maddie and Macy are on the pull-out couch. Grandmother (Leah's mom) will be in the other bedroom when she arrives tomorrow night.

Each kid will get the chance to choose what I'll make for a meal this week. Publix (the grocery store) is walking distance if you're walking for exercise, but probably not if you're bringing groceries back, so that's really close. As soon as I got back here, we started noticing things we'd forgotten to put on the list before, so there's at least one more trip there in store for me.

My wife is breathing in an even, slightly snor-ish fashion. The sound is making my eyes heavy.

Good night.
possumcowboy: (Default)
I read "The Night Before Christmas" to the kids before they went to bed. When I got to the part where Santa says, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night", Nathan said, "Uh, don't you mean Merry Christmas?" I explained that in England, where the poem had been written, they wished each other a Happy, rather than Merry Christmas. He said, "Well, Merry Christmas sounds better." As there is no point in arguing with someone who is about to turn twelve in February, is tired, and is planning to wake up in about twenty minutes to proclaim that it is Christmas Morning, I simply stated that this was what they said in England where the poem had been written more than 150 years ago.trimmed for your bandwidth )
possumcowboy: (Default)
Ok, so it isn't sunny, and it isn't Minsk.

Spending the night at my mom's house after a second Thanksgiving dinner. Why am I up? My pillow is thicker than a gorilla tampon. I sleep on my side, right? So, my head has been jacked up at an angle so that my shoulder has been crammed up against my eardrum. I'll be surprised if there isn't earwax on my shirt in the morning.

As it happens, things change and things stay the same. My old room, where Leah and I are sleeping separately in my old twin beds, has been remodeled. The curtains with the pheasants and the dark green carpet with the vomit stains from my childhood are replaced with blinds and hardwood floors. My dark-stained pine bookcase has been replaced with a peach-colored table with hand-painted pastel flowers on it. At least my mirror still has the Culver Military Academy sticker on it. My point, though, is that extra pillows are still in the hall closet. I found one that suits my preference much better, and as soon as I manage to be done whining about being a guest and treated damned near like royalty by my mother, I'll be snuggled up with it and back to breathing warm, moist compressed air from the mask strapped to my head.

The CPAP machine; before (and without), I would twitch and thrash and make a snoring/snarling/gagging sound while my breathing stopped more than 60 times per hour. Now (and with) I sleep peacefully and quietly through the night. According to the memory card in the device, my breathing stops an average of two times per hour, which is in the low-normal range.

I'm sort of hungry. I only ate one plate of second Thanksgiving, after all. I may have to take a lap through the kitchen and garage refrigerators and see if I can find the rest of that turkey carcass. We only really did damage to one side of it.

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