Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Camping = Fun!!

So Chandler and I went on our first 11 year old Scout campout this past weekend. Fate, sickness and vacation schedules had conspired to keep us from going on earlier scout campouts.

Needless to say, Chandler was so excited to play with friends in dirt and lake water. How could I deny him?

We went to a place north of here called Apache Lake:

It was a bit of a drive to get to the lake but on the way we stopped when the scout leader spotted a rattlesnake laying on the road. Like any good scout leader, this one got out and bothered the otherwise comfortable snake until he started to rattle. The leader wanted the boys to hear what a rattlesnake sounds like when it is ticked off and rattling so that the boys could be warned and on the lookout. This makes perfect sense to me as a carrier of male chromosomes. Angie, of course, was horrified at this retelling. Her reaction went something like this:

Me: "Wasn't that a good idea?"

Angie: "What? Are you fully retarded or just slow?"

Me: "I'm all man, baby!"

Angie: "I will take that as fully retarded."

If that wasn't cool enough, later on the drive we saw a tarantula. A huge tarantula in fact. So huge that we had to pick it up and let it walk on us. First the boys petted it (yes it was that big) but then they got brave and let it walk on them.

You can all imagine what Angie's reaction was when I told her about this part. It won't surprise you that she has asked my employer if there is a special "short bus" that can take me to work since she doesn't think I should be allowed to drive.

Once we got to the lake Chandler was good about helping me get the tent up, dinner, etc. Luckily the 11 years old scouts are still 11 and were oblivious of the girls in bikinis in the next campsite over. Just to be safe I decided to keep an eye on them and make sure they didn't wander into our campsite and frighten the young boys. You're welcome, Angie. Chandler was safe!

Of course Chandler wanted to get up at 6 am and fish which was fun except for the really smelly bait. We didn't catch any fish but we saw a couple steal the bait.

All in all it was a fun campout and we can't wait to do it again. In case you were wondering-don't worry, the bikini-clad temptresses were not out early Saturday morning. I checked several times just to be safe.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anarchy in the UK

So poor Angie had to deal with us driving all day last Sunday back from vacation in California just in time for me to get on an afternoon flight to London. I was gone an entire week for business. It was tough leaving Angie and the boys right after vacation (not that it's easy to leave any time!).

I spent the first couple of days just outside of London. I realized as soon as I landed that I had accidentally left my jacket in hot Phoenix and it was rainy every day in London. A cab driver and I shopped a thrift shop and I found a nice wind breaker for 5 pounds (about 10 bucks). It had a little school insignia on the jacket but I didn't worry about it until I got back to the office and looked up the name of the school and realized it was a school for teenage boys with emotional and behavioral problems! How fitting, some of you are thinking! I just hope that people who saw me walking around with it thought that I was a teacher and not a student :)

I did get into London for some meetings but I also had a nice dinner with my friend Adam who lives in London. He and I started at the same law firm in New York many years ago. Later when Angie and I were in Frankfurt, Adam's future wife, Karen, was dating him in London on the weekends and working in Frankfurt during the week, where we met her also. Anyway Adam and Karen now have a cute house in London and a cuter new baby and it was wonderful to catch up. It was also fun to walk the London streets again and see the tourist sites: parliament, Westminster, Big Ben, etc. Mostly I missed touring with Angie!

Later in the week I went North for several days. I did get to play hooky on a Friday afternoon and trained to York, a beautiful old city. Here is the York minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe outside of Italy:

Here is a medieval street in York called the "Shambles". Notice the rain and the crooked buildings down the street:

On the train I met a man from Zimbabwe, where the inflation is so bad because they just keep printing money. You have to spend money as soon as you get it because prices double every day. He gave me a 50 billion dollar note, currently worth about 50 pence (or $1):

On Saturday I went to a football/soccer game in Newcastle. The Newcastle fans were in a near riot with protests and chanting because the coach had just quit and fans blame the owner so it was a lot of fun and quite a scene! Here I am with my new football friends (notice the Newcastle team Jersey and school jacket):

The home team lost 2-1, but I did get to see Michael Owen play. He is a fantastic player for both Newcastle and the English National team. He is also very popular with the girls. Angie is a fan of his soccer skills!

I am so excited to be back home and have the best wife for putting up with trips like this. Traveling just isn't as fun without her and I can't to get back to England with her!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Relaxing in Cali

According to our kids, we finally went away for a "proper" vacation. We took a few days and headed to California for a quick trip to Disney Land, a day at the beach and a MLS soccer game. I don't usually let the boys miss school for vacations- but I would say this was worth it. There were no lines! We basically walked up to every ride. On Splash Mountain they let us keep riding-we didn't have to get off-it was great. The boys had a great time and we discovered we have an daredevil-Chandler. He loved all the scary rides. We also had a great time at the beach. It was a perfect day. The boys spent the day boogie boarding and I spent the afternoon reading/sleeping under the umbrella.
We capped off our vacation with a LA Galaxy game. It was fun-we were a little sad that Beckham was in England- but we enjoyed the game even without him.