Home Sweet Maintenance

Apparently, I’m high maintenance.  I never really thought of myself as high maintenance, but then I started realizing that the signs are all there.  If you read my blog about my strange eating habits (There’s Always a Food Critic in the Donner Party), then you’ve already a few examples.  Clearly, I’m OCD to the bone.  I like to think it’s not a disorder, rather just an order.  I like things a certain way.  D-Train and I used to always make fun of Frameo when we all lived together in Denver.  We would put a candy wrapper on the mantle and sit down and count to see how long it would take him to notice it.  I say count, because he’s that obsessive – usually it was one to two minutes.  His record was about 20 seconds.  I mention this because I’ve noticed I’m that way.  I seem to be spending my day organizing everything and then organizing everything again.  I can’t ever seem to get the sink clean enough.

The Big Guy and Mama J constantly make fun of my Dish Washing Methodologytm.  Even Auntie Willie® (New nickname for The Wife’s Aunt!  Thanks NAN! yay) chimes in.  You’d think she’d be all so happy to have me scrubbing her dishes on Thanksgiving night, but instead, she’s standing there ribbing me because in Cabo, I asked her to take my white linen shirt off so it wouldn’t get stained.  I guess that was an odd request for Auntie Willie®, who by the way made the best Dutch Apple Pie I’ve had. The Big Guy will wait until I have the clean sink water at the perfect temperature and then stick a dirty dish in the water, soiling it completely.  He once said that if I continued to clean his dishes, he’d have to buy new one’s because I would have cleaned them to the bone.  I disagree – you can’t clean dishes that much.  Other times, he’ll walk over in the middle of cleaning and stick a dish with food on it in the dish washer. Let me be clear, dishwashers are mis-named.  They should be called “Dish Sanitizers” because that’s what they do.  They don’t get the food off – I don’t care what anyone says.  The wife just rolls her eyes at the discussion.

Note: If you’re looking for a new Dish Sanitizer, go with Hobart.  It’s not pretty, but it’s the way a Dish Sanitizer should be.

Hobart Under Counter Dish Sanitizer

Hobart Under Counter Dish "Sanitizer"

Lately, I’m feeling a little bad for The Wife.  She’s been getting in trouble for a lot of things around the house.  Here’s a few examples of my wrath:

  1. She’ll often stick things like wine bottle toppers, spoons and forks, and other small items in the sink where the disposal lives.  After an evening of use, these items will almost always find a home in the disposal.  After a heavy night of entertaining, I’ll conclude my Dish Washing Methodologytm by turning on the disposal, only do listen to sounds like she put a body in down the sink.  I’ll just shoot her a glare and go the Mud Room for some quiet time.
  2. Donnie Boom Boom was in town last week and he asked for the strawberry jam.  When he opened it, there was peanut butter mixed in with it because when The Wife makes a PB&J sandwich, she uses the same knife for the peanut butter and the jam.  Mud Room Cool Off Time.
  3. I have this new obsession with drying out the sink when I’m done doing the dishes.  I’ll often spend a lot of time drying it, then walk into another room, only to hear the sink running in the kitchen.  I’ll walk back in and there she is running the sink to wash her hands.  I think to myself, “Isn’t there a bathroom for that?”  Again, Mud Room Cool Off Time.
  4. A couple of weeks ago, The Wife’s advertising agency needed to burrow some of my swimming trunks for a video shoot.  Now, when I heard this, I thought “Nice. They’re going to display them and film them with some words over them and some other items for the commercial”.  I pulled my best three pair of board shorts and tied the strings really nicely for display.  The next day, The Wife sent me an email picture from the video shoot. I thought it was a pretty cool picture.  That is, until I noticed A good pair of green Hurley Boardshorts were being sported by some young chap riding a wave.  I was Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) furious.  Once more, Mud Room Cool Off Time.

This is just a glimpse – it’s getting worse too.  The latest occurrence happened last night.  The last post, I mentioned I took a business trip to Las Vegas.  While I was there, I stayed with my good pal, Mike of Mike and Jersey Jen (from Michigan).  On Mike’s coffee table was a 944 Magazine and there, on the cover was the most beautiful angelic figure I’d seen since our wedding night.  That good looking woman turned out to be none other than My Girl, Giada De Laurentiis.  As many of you know, I have a Kitchen Crush on her.  While The Big Guy and Mama J were in town last week, I wanted to show the magazine article to The Big Guy, as I knew he too was a fan.  I asked The Wife where the 944 Magazine was and she replied that she had taken it to work to show one of the partners.  Reaching boiling point…

…And to the Mud Room, I do retire…

944 Magazine Cover - Giada de Laurentiis

944 Magazine Cover - Giada de Laurentiis

But it gets even worse.  Last night, as The Wife had returned from work, she thought I would be happy to have my Lovely back.  Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited.  But then, I noticed that the top corner of the cover of the magazine had a crease on it.  Holding back a nuclear fallout explosion, I calmly asked about it and she mentioned the partner had accidentally bent it when he was transporting it.  I’m not sure why it wasn’t taken out on a flatbed dolly.  At any rate, I just came out of the Mud Room.

Speaking of peanut butter and My Girl, Giada De Laurentiis, she and my other favorite freakshow author, Jen Lancaster, have some new competition.  While I was in Las Vegas, Mike of Mike and Jersey Jen (from Michigan) introduced me to his cousin, Eric and Eric’s wife, Julie.  Might I say, they were the most pleasant company.  Julie just happens to have a blog about cooking & baking.  Everything looks delectable!  Check it out at http://www.peanutbutterandjulie.com!

Peanut Butter & Julie

Leaving on a Jetplane – just in time for snow

I’m currently sitting in a lay-over in OAK (Oakland Airport) in the Bay Area. I love it here – wouldn’t want to live here, but I love visiting. The Wife and I were engaged at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco almost 4 years ago now. As I’m sitting here in the newly redesigned airport, I’m looking out on the bay, remembering a time when this wing didn’t exist and OAK was more of a bus terminal than an airport. I’m gazing into the distance, wishing I could go and hit all of the hot spots we know and love in The City: Sears Kitchen (Favorite Breakfast place), The Gallery Cafe (Great coffee shop next to the Cable Car Museum!), The Sugar Cafe (hip lounge off Union Square) and so much more!  We really need to get over the The City and visit.

Sears Fine Fod

Sears Fine Fo0d

I’m on my way to Las Vegas to visit my clients and spend some quality time with Mike of Mike and Jersey Jen (From Michigan). I have some time, so I decided pull out the old MacBook Pro and log in.  I just noticed that Spokane is expecting snow, of course because I’m out of town.  I have this ongoing battle with snow, it seams.  Ever since we moved away from Las Vegas, the snow has really messed with me.  When we first moved to Spokane, last December, we were moved in for about 6 days and then it snowed.  5 Feet over 30 days.  I was so sore from shoveling, that I decided to bite the bullet (not advisable) and purchase a snowblower.  If you read my previous post, You’re Welcome, Inland Northwest, you’ll recall that just before the snowblower arrived at the house, it stopped snowing in Spokane.

I’m back on the plane, headed to Las Vegas now.  I’m sitting next to a girl that The Dragen would dub a SMHH (Smokin’ Molten Hot Hottie).  The Dragen is a little bit of a troublemaker – I recommend you watch your ladies as he tends to unknowingly pop up in pictures around the world.  This girl is perfect for him.  We struck up a conversation about iPhones because her screen was smashed and mine is perfect.  I sort of hazed her about it and told her how I baby mine. She told me she is from Seattle and visiting friends in Las Vegas.  The Jury’s out on whether she’s really a stripper or not.  I snapped this little covert photo with the iPhone while I was grabbing the MacBook Pro back out of my coveted Johnston and Murphy computer bag.  You be the judge…

The Dragen's SMHH

The Dragen's SMHH

…I’m rambling.

That’s right folks, 30 days, 5 feet of snow and then a few days before the beast arrives?  Nothing.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  It did snow one day in March or April.  I was so excited that I waited all day to let the snow accumulate on the driveway.  At about 2PM, I walked out to a delightful inch of snow on the driveway.  Excited like a kid in a candy shop, I fired that sucker up and blew that inch of snow to Alaska.  Well, that’s not entirely true either.  You see, the problem with a spring snow is that the air temperature is warm enough that it is a heavy, wet snow.  If you’ve ever shoveled wet snow before, you know why this is a Frerking pain (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) in the butt.  It’s bad enough shoveling 5 feet of light powder.  But an inch of wet snow is like shoveling mud.

This guy sitting next to me just pointed his head toward The Dragen’s Southwest SMHH, smiled and winked. He apparently approves as well.  He looks like an Italian mobster.  I’m rambling again.

I decided I would document my snowblower’s first use.  I took my Olympus Waterproof Camera (this is camera # 2 – that’s a story for another time) because waterproof camera’s are essential when documenting the first use of my Troybilt Snowblower.  I managed to record several shots of me firing it up, idling it and then running this 6 speed piece of art.  One problem.  The snow is supposed to fly out of the blower hood like a Christmas Snowstorm.  However, apparently when snowblower in the springtime with wet snow, it basically falls out of the blower hood and clumps up on the top of the auger lid.  Not very impressive.

I was a skateboarder back in the day, currently snowboard and aspire to learn to surf.  One of my favorite things about these sports are the various videos that are created of these guys putting it all on the line to get that one trick.  I love the snowmobiling ones too.  These guys make snowmobiling look so easy.  I’ve always wanted to make a video like that, and with all of the snowblower first use clips I had, I called in a favor to my good buddy, Matt Struck over at Crosspoint in Denver, ColoradoMatt’s a really talented video editor.  I’ve seen tons of his work – it’s absolutely incredible.  I sent the clips over to him as well as a Beastie Boy’s  song from the Paul’s Boutique album – The Sounds of Silence.  You have to understand Matt’s talent here.  These 8 video clips are taken from either the bumper of my FJ Cruiser or The gUrt-Cam.  Lets say that it’s pretty boring footage.  Then, to top it off, it’s not like I’m jumping a snowmobile over the Grand Canyon, right?  I’m just blowing an inch of snow off the driveway.  Even then, it’s not shooting out like a snowstorm, rather dropping out of the top like an upside down soft-serve ice cream machine.

I’ll tell you what – the man’s got skills!  He managed to take some seriously crappy, boring footage and turn it into a snowblowing frenzy.  It’s crazy! Enjoy…

Many, Many, MANY thanks to Matt Struck at Crosspoint in Denver, Colorado.

Crosspoint, Denver, CO

Crosspoint, Denver, CO

A Tale of Three Cities

The gUrt got himself a new website and Facebook page. It was only a matter of time seeing that the little bugger sleeps 18 hours a day. You’ve got to figure that he’s basically a high school-er now, so all he’d do is sleep and Facebook people. I’m not really sure how the heck people find him, but he has a few friends already. One is some Rap Producer, something Beatmaster Beatmaking. That’s because he friended Scott Storch, his favorite hip-hop producer. Then, somehow, a bunch of other dogs found him and friended him. It’s insane. Feel free to visit his site (HoganVizsla.com or ThegUrt.com) – watch for explicit lyrics – and his Facebook page. He’s good to know.

I’d like to share a letter I wrote to the President and CEO of Southwest Airlines:

Dear Gary:

I still feel funny writing “Dear”, especially to a Travel Czar such as yourself. Sorry, shouldn’t call you Czar – that’s not always a good label. Travel Genius? I feel like something a little more hard is the way to start it. Maybe how wrestlers greet each other by smashing chairs over each others heads. But then, you wouldn’t be President & CEO anymore, so maybe we should just stick to “Dear Gary.” I’m rambling.

I’m writing you because I’m positive that you rarely get fan mail, rather scathing ones lighting you up because you’re running what some out there call the “Greyhound of the skies”. I, however, disagree – other than the quality of some of the passengers at times – especially those coming out of Las Vegas. I love Southwest. I like the fact that if I’m on my game, I can get A-Priority seating and take the left hand aisle seat in row 6. I prefer it there because I’m off the plane quick when we land, although the lady that just sat next to me going to Seattle was a Boeing Flight Tester and she said you’re safer over the wings. Usually, the first three rows are the biggest disasters on the plane, so rows 4 & 5 shield me a little from the madness. I especially appreciate you changing the ABC Cattle Call loading to a numbered ABC system. Flights have been a little more pleasant since those days. I almost fist-punched a guy at McCarran because he got in my face when he thought I was moving to the front of the line, when I was just using the split railing to balance my dinner. I’m rambling again.

Southwest - New Boarding

Mike and Jersey Jen (from Michigan) always give me crap because we tend to have a crazy travel schedule. Well in honor of them, I decided to accept the invitation to stand in the Woods wedding in Denver the same weekend as the annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs event in Las Vegas. Here’s the kicker. The rehearsal dinner was on Friday night and the Bride was insistent that I be there for the rehearsal since two of the groomsmen were not attending the rehearsal. That would have left Frameo alone up there and that’s never a good thing because he gets into trouble. But, the wedding was actually on Sunday evening and with the Signature Chefs event on Saturday, I naturally thought it wise to fly to Las Vegas in between the dinner and wedding. It made sense to me, the groom seemed OK with it, but I think the Bride was pretty irritated about it. Probably not because I was flying somewhere in between, but because I was specifically flying to Las Vegas.

My flight out of Spokane arrived in Denver at 3:00, about a half hour late, which happens, so I was OK with it. Sunday was the day I was worried about anyway. The church was beautiful, nestled into the lower mountains in Genesee. October in the Colorado Rockies is amazing, but that was offset by a psycho wedding planner who threatened to keep the contract deposit if anything went wrong. Dinner was great – a little cabin set ona river in Evergreen. The Bride and Groom were happy and told great stories, especially one involving Frameo giving Scott the “Anal Cleaning Bug” for housekeeping, but seemed to be mis-interpreted by everyone in the room including his 80 year old grandpa who was very with it. I stayed the night at D-Train’s and hit the airport early on Saturday morning.

The 8 AM flight out of Denver to Las Vegas went smooth as can be and before I knew it, I was eating breakfast at Harry’s Bagelmania, a Jewish bagel shop in the Las Vegas ghetto. They’re really mean to you there – the kind of mean that keeps you coming back for more. Afterward, we did a little shopping and then off to the event. Signature Chefs is incredible. 30 Chefs from the Las Vegas Strip, you couldn’t possibly eat like that in one trip let alone one night. The food was as promised – exquisite. The March of Dimes folks are always appreciative of our help and hosted a table for me, so I naturally brought down The Big Guy and Mama J, UG & Aunt Julie and invited, of course, Mike and Jersey Jen (from Michigan) and LW (Liberty Wright). I ate like a king and then back to bed, early to rise for another ride back to the airport.

Signature Chefs of Las Vegas

Signature Chefs of Las Vegas

The 7 AM flight out of Las Vegas, back to Denver, was the one that counted. When we hit the runway, 5 minutes before the scheduled take-off, I toyed with the idea of sending a text message stating I was in jail and detoxing. Then I remembered The Wife and Miss King on their wedding days (the perfect Brides!) and thought, “better not wake a sleeping dog”, right? I arrived 30 minutes early to my delight and had enough time to hit some of my favorite Denver sites before heading up to the wedding. The wedding was awesome, except the pastor spoke about 20 minutes too long and the flagstone floor we were standing on was killing us. Plus the psycho wedding planner told us that people fainted up there all the time, so I was worried that would be me. Court (Bridesmaid) had to sit down it was so bad! The reception was great and everyone enjoyed themselves. It was at this nice Lake House in Evergreen.  There were elk grazing on the golf course.  Everyone was surprised I had been gone and back.

Evergreen Lakehouse

Evergreen Lakehouse

The noontime flight out was a little rough. The pilot did a great job of getting the plane, which was going every direction but straight, up above the clouds. Just about when I saw the space shuttle was when it subsided. It was smooth sailing all the way back to Seattle, then to Spokane. Which leads me to say, I’m sorry you didn’t get the merger deal with Frontier and that they sold to Republic. That made a lot of sense to me – sell to a company that doesn’t have any experience flying long routes and jet planes. But hey, they were thinking of their employees, right? No matter, you’ll buy them for about 25 cents on the dollar next year when they can’t afford gas.

Southwest - Frontier Potential Merger

Give this guy a raise:

Thanks again for being so reliable,

Word.

Ash Boodel

P.S. From The gUrt:

Mr. Gary.

Thanks for allowing dogs on your planes now. If you only had direct flights out of Spokane, my dad would fly me places. Maybe when you buy Frontier next year, that’ll allow me travel. I bet you smell good.

Southwest Dog

The gUrt
HoganVizsla @ Gmail . com
Send Me A Bone!

Well, as you can see, another day another dollar! Until next time…

Wine, Kiwi’s, Cheerleaders and Charity

Welcome back all!  I have to start by apologizing for my two month sabbatical.  Its been a pretty busy past couple of months.  With a couple of good work projects and some visitors/travel, I haven’t been very good about posting.  Let me give you a re-cap on some of the important events:

Mike & Jersey Jen (from Michigan) and LW (Liberty Wright) visited Spokane.  We loaded up Uncle Greg’s Dodge Mega Cab Pickup and headed down to Walla Walla, Washington.  The ladies sat comfortably in the back and solved all the worlds’ problems, while the boys (Mike, The gUrt & I) took care of both the driving as well as creating some entirely new problems for the world.  We stopped at a couple wineries and joined by The Big Guy and Mama J, we hit T. Maccarone’s for some amazing dinner.  After that, we headed back to Spokane for a tour of the city.  I think they enjoyed it, but I don’t think they’ll be moving there anytime soon.  Mike would have to gamble at The Northern Quest – which is a little low-brow for him.  Jersey Jen (from Michigan) would have to take on a new accent.  LW, on the other hand would probably do very well here.

Scott and Louise Robertson took a 6 month (exaggerating) sabbatical in New Zealand (not exaggerating).  They came back super refreshed and with some amazing photos of the scenery.  You’d better Friend him on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/theoneandonlyscottrobertson/) if you want to see those pics!  I highly recommend you do – the pictures are Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) Incredible! Here’s a sample:

A New Zealand Local

A New Zealand Local

Tiff and Troy-boy (PEMF) visited from Boise.  We spent the weekend relaxing at the lake and around the CityHogan snuck into the shower with Tiff to get a peek (that’s my boy), while Troy-boy hit the neighborhood garage sale event.  He is the proud owner of two Mac computer screens now.  I think Tiff thought he was losing his mind.  I was in full support of his purchase, down to the packaging of said screens for the said return to BoiseTroy-boy also started guest blogging on Eric Selvig’s running website, One Runner’s Brain.  If you’re into running, there are some good laughs.  I’m not a runner, so I don’t get the jokes.

I took about a 10 day trip to Denver to see family and friends.  I think I saw everyone I probably could have, with exception of The Frameos and Worleys.  Ryan Arnold’s group, The Denver Active 2030 Children’s Foundation put together a great charity event called Keeping Kids On Track.  It was really successful and was co-sponsored by the Denver Bronco’s CheerleadersD-Train and I helped out with the website (www.keepingkidsontrack.org) as well as attended the event and helped out.  We met all the cheerleaders.  That’s a true test of my love for The Wife.  I had some of the most beautiful ladies around me and we’re still together!  I did hang out with Romi Bean a little bit – she’s my favorite!  Ryan’s Dad, Gar-Dog was there too.  We were helping the cheerleaders with their helmets and he kept smacking them on the head to see if the helmets fit.  Only Gar-Dog could get away with that.  Big ups to Ryan and Katie Kosters for their hard work and raising $20,000 from the event!

Denver Bronco's Cheerleader Romi Bean

Denver Bronco's Cheerleader Romi Bean
(My new friend!)

We spent several weekends at Uncle Greg and Aunt Julie’s cabin in Coeur d’Alene and The gUrt learned to swim.  We even took a jet-ski and kayak ride.  He’s a new dog now – loves the water!  I know you don’t believe me, but I’ll post some proof – pictures of course, but I have to get them from Aunt Julie.

Ryan and Taylor visited Spokane.  It was a great weekend.  We trucked on down to Walla Walla, Washington and did some wine tasting.  My new favorite is Rulo Winery.  It was harvest season and crush time and Rulo’s owners, Kurt & Vicki Schlicker were so gracious.  They gave us tours of the property and showed us the crush procedures.  If you find yourself in Walla Walla, I highly recommend visiting them (www.rulowinery.com).  After Walla Walla, we headed back to Spokane and showed them the City as well as Coeur d’Alene.  We took them to Isabella’s Gin Joint (INCREDIBLE) and then headed to Zola afterward.  Zola a great place – it’s seats on the upper level are reclaimed Tilt-A-Whirl seats.  They don’t spin though – probably because of all the drinking.

Rulo Winery - The Best Winery in Walla Walla

Rulo Winery - The Best Winery in Walla Walla

Finally the Family visited over Labor Day weekend.  It was a great time – the usual tour to Coeur d’Alene (seeing a theme here?) and the City.  It was a great weekend and I think Bab’s is ok with the move.  I was worried that they wouldn’t like Spokane.  I don’t think Chris (brother) liked it as much, but he like’s traveling anyway.  He’s still mad we left Las Vegas,  He definitely wasn’t fond of The gUrt.  I think that Hogan was a little active for him.  When the Fam left, Hogan seemed to take on some bad habits.  I’m thinking that Bab’s might have spoiled him a little bit.  Imagine what she’d do to kids!  Just kidding, I’m a SAHDiNK!

Finally I did a good dead.  I bought a new pair of shoes.  Now, how is that a good dead?  Well, they are a pair of Tom’s Shoes.  Mama J and The Wife found them in a little store in Walla Walla.  Tom’s Shoes has a nice treat to it – every pair of shoes you buy, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need.  So you’re not only buying something totally cool for you, but you’d doing something for someone else.  I love the idea and the shoes? They’re awesome – so comfortable and travel friendly!  I looked at another pair that I secretly wanted, but when I showed them to the girls, they made fun of them.  They were a sort of slip on shoe, but they had anchors all over them.  It was a nice nautical theme.  The girls thought it was a little bit flamboyant.  So I bought the other pair and I wear them all the time!

Tom's Shoes - Anchor Canvas

Secret First Pick - Nautical Theme

Tom's Shoes - Herringbone Canvas

The Runner Up - Still love them!

Well, that’s it for now.  Some good stories to come soon – including Canada. (Sorry about the delay G-Loyal)

There’s always a Food Critic in the Donner Party

I just received word from Mike and Jersey Jen From Michigan.  They are joining LW (Liberty Wright – she’s single boys!) in a few weeks on a visit to Spokane.  I think that’s great.  Not that I don’t like hanging out with LW – she’s the easiest person to be around – but it’s always good times when the 5 of us get around each other.  Someone always becomes the butt of a joke.  Usually me.  I responded to her email that we (The gUrt & I, not The Wife because she’s hard at work) are so excited to see them.   I may have made mention that The gUrt “pooped his pants” with excitement.  Because the original email was to all 5 of us, and because I “responded to all”, The Wife quickly sent an email expressing her excitement and that we would “clean up the house.”  Now, to quote The Big Guy, “I was born at night, but not last night”. I’m well aware that The Wife’s response is directly related to her complete disappointment in my choice of excitement expression. Go Figure.

The funny thing about it is that:

A. The gUrt doesn’t wear pants and…

B. The gUrt hasn’t pooped in the house since the second night after he moved in.

When we first brought him home, I was walking downstairs after a 2 second run upstairs, only to find him in the “Catcher’s” position doing his business.  I have to say with all my voice strength, I let him know I was extremely dissatisfied with his activity at hand and quickly ushered him to the back yard.  He must have understood that we poop outside because from that day on, he poops outside.  Good Boy Hogan.  Peeing was a different story.  He once peed on D-Train’s foot. Good Boy Hogan.  I’m rambling.

I know I promised some fun Canadian adventures – they’re coming.  I thought I’d give everyone a vacation from my vacationing and provide a different topic for once.  Thanks to Devin for his last blog – I received some positive feedback on it.

Speaking of D-Train – also known as Danny-D to some or Dr. Nugget by others – I was recently catching up on his website, CravingBagels.com, and happened to stumble upon an excerpt he wrote about Miss King, his “lady friend” as he calls her.  They’re married.  Anyway, this excerpt is about how she is the most finicky eater he knows.  He mentions that she has different characteristics that make her finicky.  These are the one’s that stuck out to me:

  • She likes her hamburgers plain.  Except at Effie Burger in Lewiston, ID, home of the largest gut bomb burger in the entire world.  You have to understand that for someone to not like anything on their burger, especially when it is a basic burger, and then to want EVERYTHING on her Effie Burger, it is pretty contradictory.  That’s like saying I don’t like dogs with hair, but then your favorite dog is an Old English Sheep Dog.
  • There are certain foods she’ll only eat if D-Train cooks them.  If he cooks it too often, it’s ruined and she’ll never eat it again.
  • She can taste “spiciness” in everything – even things with no spice in it.  For instance, she can taste spices in bottled water.
  • She hate’s meat on the bone.

There’s too many to mention, but I thought, how hard to date?  It’s a wonder they made it solely on the basis that dating had to have been a struggle.  As I was reading this in the beginning, I kept thinking, what a freakshow. But, as I started finishing the story, I began to realize that I am also a very picky eater.  Just the other night, The Wife and I met her friend Sasha and her “not her boyfriend” boyfriend at Cafe MarronCafe Marron is the cool little restaurant in Browne’s Addition in Spokane, a quaint, hip neighborhood.  This restaurant is really cool – it’s all reclaimed wood from barns and other buildings.  The windows are garage doors that are opened in the summer.  The chairs are school chairs.  The food is really good.  The first time we went there, they had this awesome Au Gratin Mac N’ Cheese.  It was TDF (To Die For – I had to make it an acronym because Ronnie Drama hated that phrase).  That was back in February or March during an International Date Night.  The next time, we went there with The SchreTters and low and behold – no Au Gratin Mac N’ Cheese.  I was tre’ disappointed.  So, I ordered this new dish – some sort of ToFu Stir Fry – again, slam dunk and TDF.  So, this last weekend, we met Sasha and her “not her boyfriend” boyfriend there and wouldn’t you believe it.  Not only was the Au Gratin Mac N’ Cheese not on the menu, but neither was the ToFu Stir Fry.  I was again let down.  This time, I spent the better part of 30 mintues mulling over the menu before reluctantly deciding on the hamburger.  I love hamburgers – my favorite food, but I’d had my World Famous Sliders, Canadian McDonald’s, Wendy’s and another burger within about 5 days.  It was just too much and there was nothing else appetizing.  You see, its rare that I pick up a menu that has multiple items I’d want.  Most of the time when we go to a place for the first time, I’m nervous they won’t have something I like.  I almost always find something and then every time we return, I order the same thing.

Pronghorn Antelope

Brian - Pronghorn Antelope

I totally agree with her on the Meat on a bone thing.  I have a real hard time with it.  I think it’s because I have trouble eating things that I’ve seen moving.  At least when you buy a steak or hamburger meat, it’s processed to the point where it isn’t really recognizable.  I guess for me, the bone is a grim reminder to me of what I’m eating.  A leg, a rib, something like that.  At least when I eat a ribeye, I have no idea where on the cow it came from.  But I have trouble with it.  I’ll go fishing and then I have to leave the room when it’s being prepared so I won’t associate dinner with what I just caught.  Last year, I went hunting in Wyoming with The Big Guy, SoupUncle and his nephew.  I shot a Pronghorn Antelope and had it butchered and brought home the meat.  I also had the head mounted for the Office.  Why not, right?  I even named my Antelope.  Brian.  The problem with naming him Brian is that I already have issues with animal to food association.  Here I am, struggling to eat something I killed, and then I keep thinking of his name.  This makes it worse.  When I finally do get the mounted head, I’ll probably never be able to eat in the Office again.

This food issue has been tough since I was a kid.  I hate when my food touches.  I hate soggy bread.  You name it, I’m freakish about it.  I don’t think I would have done well with the Donner Party.  Well maybe, but only if the following occurred:

  1. I visited the Donner Party – not traveled with them.  I couldn’t have any previous knowledge of people within the Donner Party who now account for empty seats at the table.
  2. Everything would have to be cooked fresh and clean – I’m a germaphobe to the core.
  3. Everything would have to be processed – if it looks like Barry, then I’m going to feel like I’m eating Barry.  If it’s processed like Bologna or String Cheese, then I’d be more likely to eat it with no remorse.
  4. If everything could be packaged, that would be great.  Barry with Triscuits and Tillamook Cheese would be nice.  It would be even better if they could package Barry as a Lunchable.
New Barry ABBA Flavor

New Barry ABBA Flavor

To read D-Train‘s Article, visit http://cravingbagels.com/?page_id=1498 – Good laughs for sure.  Don’t read too much or you’ll blow about 2 hours to about 6 days of non-stop reading and laughter.  Big Ups to “The Greatest Blogger of All Time!”

Welcome to the Biguyland – Part 3 – Thursday Chaos

The group hit the road a little later than anticipated due to a slight bit of over indulgence from the night before.  Nevertheless, we hit the road before 9:30.  The boys thought we were acting like men by letting the women drive to the Volcano. About 30 minutes into the drive I asked Robyn to pull over so I could get some fresh air (puke).  Back on the road, this time in the front seat, we journeyed down the windy road to the volcano.  We passed many coffee plantations and ‘must see’ sights but nothing was worth stopping for – we didn’t want to increase the already long drive of 2 hours to the Volcano.  We did however get up-to-speed on the place we wanted to stop after the volcano – Ash’s wife was quite the researcher and didn’t get sick in the back seat (unlike others) while researching the best places to hit from the Big Island bible.  We noted places like Volcano Country Club and the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – all tops on the list after touring the Volcano.

The Big Island Revealed Bible

The Big Island Revealed Bible

Once arriving at Volcanoes National ParkKilauea, we knew our trip would be a downer since a majority of the park was closed due to high gases – go figure.  The trip only improved once we left the visitors center and we hit our first stop – the overlook of the Kilauea Caldera at Jaggar Museum.   This was a great overlook and was only improved by the Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus that arrived at the same time as us.  Despite our best efforts to rush out of the car and beat the onslaught of the arriving Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus we weren’t able to get our pictures and tour the museum before the Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus joined our small group.  We quickly understood that the tour bus was from the cruise ship that arrived at the Kona dock the night before.  We also quickly understood that we wanted nothing to do with these people as they smelled worse than the volcanoes’ gases and also walked slower than the creation of the entire island.  Despite our best efforts we arrived at several other stops at the exact same time as these wonderful travelers. One of these travelers even managed to speed in front of Ash and toss her gum in front of his path – she looked like a English troll mixed with a hobbit – is that how every British woman in her late 70s looks?  We did, however, manage to find our own stop without the Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus.  We visited the steam vents, which was definitely a highlight.  This was fun, not because the tour bus didn’t join us, but because the steam vents were really interesting.  Charring the vegetation around the vent, they offered a glimpse into what lies beneath.  Just a traveler’s tip in case you visit…maintenance on the path to the steam vents is quite sparse. Ash’s wife tripped on the gravel road (I’m sure it had nothing to do with her long twinkle toes) and let everyone around us know the clear lack of maintenance was to be blamed.

Kilauea Caldera

Kilauea Caldera

Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus

Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus

Next stop: Thurston Lava Tube.

The Thurston Lava Tube was created when magma rushed from the top of the volcano’s flow to the ocean.  As the lava cools it hardens around the flowing magma – and the flowing magma flows to the sea.  Overtime, the magma runs out and leaves a tube like tunnel.  We were lucky to arrive at the lava tube two minutes after our cruise line friends.  If you’ve ever wanted to walk at the pace of an 80 year old down wet steps through a dark, wet, smelly tube then this was just the time and place.  We walked through the lava tube and wondered if we could walk any slower?  Partly to blame were the large puddles in the tube that were splashing on a few 80 year-old ankles wearing sandals…it did get a little dicey. It’s a shame to focus on the people around you but when that’s all you can see and hear it becomes impossible to ignore.

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

After the lava tube we had a tough decision to make.  Since the park was closed we had to ask each other whether or not we wanted to drive around the park and see lava flow outside the park – another 2 hours or drive for 45 minutes and see the steam of the lava flowing into the ocean from inside the park.  Since we all were tired of driving we decided to stay inside the park and drive to the ocean and see the steam of where the flowing lava was hitting the ocean – we drove down the winding road through lava fields and got to the end of the road.  It was easy to call it the end of the road – because there was literally no road left to travel.  The lava flowed over the road in the 1990s and closed the road with a 15-20 foot wall of lava.  We parked the car and walked down the shoreline to a vantage point where we could see the steam from the ocean.  Even from a mile away it was amazing to see Mother Nature creating new land before our eyes.  We tromped around the black rock; really an amazing site to see! Back to the car and off to lunch.

Road Closed Due To Magma

Road Closed Due To Magma

We all enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Kiawe Kitchen near the volcano. This restaurant was located in Volcano, HI.  It was attached to a Hawaiian-style quickie mart, but much classier than your average Carls Jr. We all had pizza (which was quite tasty) and enjoyed the rest after a long tour of the park.

Next Stop: Volcano Country Club.

I don’t know why I expected the course to be better than it was; maybe because they called it a country club?  Nevertheless, the course wasn’t better than any municipal we’d ever seen.  It was a perfect dive for the locals who live around the volcano as the course was literally right next to the caldera we looked at earlier in the day.  Despite the run-down nature of the facility I bought a hat, as I knew I would never run into another ‘main-islander’ with a Volcano Golf hat on.

Next Stop: Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.

The next stop for our group was the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.  We spotted the black sand beach in the Big Island Revealed Book (bible) and all agreed it was a must see.  As we headed from Volcano Country Club to the Black Sand Beach, we got stuck behind another Roberts Hawaii Tour Bus on a two lane road – we knew our friends in the tour bus would be heading to the exact same location.  And they did.  When the tour bus took a left before our exit; we all got a little excited (phew, the bus is gone).  Little did we know it would arrive from the other entrance at the exact same time as us. We rushed out of the car and got to the beach before the bus unloaded. We snapped a couple of pictures and headed back to the car. As we headed back to the car we were greeted by something none of us expected – we must’ve hit the jackpot when we ran into the folks in the convertible mustang.  They asked our group “Do ya knaw wher da black sand beach is?” It’s not as if the black sand beach was a far distance from the parking lot – it’s not as if there isn’t any signs that say “BLACK SAND BEACH” and it’s not as if the black sand beach isn’t the most obvious thing on the island. This would be like standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and asking where the Eiffel Tower is.  Nevertheless, Ash politely pointed to these toothless southerners the direction of the beach (the direction they were already facing).  We all agreed their kids pitched in together to send the folks to Hawaii from Arkansas for a 50th wedding anniversary – or Marlboro paid for a trip to the island with their 1,000 carton purchase – or the owner of the trailer park paid for their trip to keep them from suing him when the double wide rolled down the hill.  Regardless how they got there, it was a true test for our group not to yell, “where’s the hidden camera”!?!  So from now on when you hear, “Do ya knaw wher’ da black sand beach is?” you’ll know what it means.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

Next Stop: Greenwell Coffee Plantation.

We all agreed we had to hit a coffee plantation while we were on the island.  We all also agreed that we had been in the car way too long on the trip to the volcano.  We also agreed that we didn’t want to drive back towards the volcano again that trip so we hit The Greenwell Coffee Plantation as we drove back to the condo.  We went to this place because the book (Big Island Revealed) ranked it in the top three and because we all remembered where it was.  We pulled in at 4:30 pm and the last plantation tour went out at 4:00 pm.  Therefore, we bought our coffee and hit the road.  I have to say this was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had and plan on ordering some over the Internet.

Greenwell Farms Coffee

Greenwell Farms Coffee

We capped the day off at the condo; not before we walked to the ocean at the peak of the golf course where we wanted to see where the path took us.  We were slightly disappointed as all we saw was a bunch of locals fishing and we headed back to the condo for a few beers before heading out for an amazing sushi dinner.

We all agreed that we enjoyed the drive but would pass on touring the volcano next time.

End of the Road - Good Bye

End of the Road - Good Bye

Vacationing Fools

Hello all! I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve actually been in Canada for a week. Stay tuned for some good Canada Stories. It’ll entail Border Patrol (not the sex roll-play game, but the real deal – US Customs), The Wife being pulled over by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or Mounties as you may know them, or as The Big Guy calls it, Roman Catholic Member of Parliment) and fishing for the first time on a lake.

In the mean time as promised, my guest writer, Devin Asbury, has drafted a nice post outlining the Thursday events while we were on The Biguyland in Hawaii last month. There were some great stories to come out of just one day of travel. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Biguyland – Part 2

We decided about halfway through the trip to start pronouncing The Big Island as “The Biguyland” (biGw-eye-land).  This was due to Devin telling us how someone he knew from Long Island, NY pronounced it “Longuyland” (lon-Gw-eye-land).  We thought that was funny and thus it is now The Biguyland.  The Biguyland is really amazing.  So much to do there with it being the biggest of the islands.  Plus, the max speed there is 55 unlike all the other islands where it’s 35.  You can get around a heck of a lot quicker than the others.  Good thing too because the Biguyland is the biggest by far.  We really enjoyed the area.  Here is the rundown of our week:

Saturday
After a 6 hour flight from Seattle to Kona Airport, we arrived.  Robyn & Devin we’re to arrive about an hour and a half before and get the car rental.  When we arrived, we couldn’t find them.  My cellphone wasn’t working {Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) AT&T and their service} and The Wife couldn’t get them on the phone – straight to voicemail.  After about 45 minutes of beating my phone on the baggage claim conveyer belt and then restarting it, we found out that their flight was delayed in San Franisco because the cargo door on the plane wouldn’t shut.  I’ll bet it was just a seat belt caught in the door that no one saw.  Trying to be ahead of the game and being that Devin was behind schedule because of his “seat belt” incident, I decided to pick up the rental car.  I tried to rent the car from National Car Rental, but since my name wasn’t Devin and I wasn’t an Emerald Member, they showed me the door – to the bus back to the airport.  The driver laughed at me.

When Robyn and Devin finally got in 2 hours later, we were finally on our way.  Well, sort of.  We had planned on going to Costco on the way to our condo.  If you’ve ever been to Hawai’i, you’ll realize that there are only 4 rental cars to choose from (Ronnie Drama warned me of this): a Mustang Convertible, a Jeep Wrangler, a Chevy Malibu or a Chevy Impala.  That’s it.  Lucky, Devin’s Emerald Membership scored him an upgrade: the Chevy Impala.  I only say luckily, because we had 4 golf bags, The Wife’s giant suitcase (that is always over weight and we always have to move items from it into another bag), two duffel bags, one computer bag, The Wife’s Coach Old Lady Purse (which carries everything that wouldn’t fit in the giant suitcase), two purses and my leather travel set (Johnston and Murphy laptop case and carry on suitcase that I bought because I wanted to be like Scott Robertson).  Here’s what fit in the trunk: The wife’s giant suitcase.  The rest of the luggage was strategically placed in the car and we sat indian style on bags all the way to the condo – we decided to go to Costco later as we didn’t have room for groceries with all the luggage.  After a run to  Costco we stopped back by the condo and then headed to LuLu’s.  It’s a nice restaurant – kind of a college style place that you know gets really crazy on weekends and holidays.  I had a Hawaiian Chicken Burger and it was delightful.

LuLu's Fine Dining

LuLu's Fine Dining


Sunday
After waking up, I opened the Kashi cereal we bought at Costco.  It wasn’t my choice, but the ladies wanted it.  As I opened the box, I noticed that the bag was already opened.  Gross.  I threw that bag out.  After breakfast, we took Robyn to the pharmacy to get some medicine.  Her ear blew up.  While she and Devin waited, I hopped across the street to the Sack ‘N Save or whatever it was across the street.  I should have know this was going to be a failed attempt at shopping by the presence of oil stains in every single parking spot in the parking lot.  The ground beef didn’t look so good, but I was OK with it – hey, it’s vacation.  I started looking for the only cheese I’ll ever eat, Tillamook Cheddar, and settled for a second best Kraft version.  Then I went to get Simply Orange orange juice.  No luck – with that, I abandoned the store all together and headed up the hill for the Safeway.  There, I found everything I needed, including the very last package of Tillamook Cheddar Cheese.

We then headed over to the Mauna Kea Resort for the best brunch buffet I’ve ever eaten.  It was amazing – $50 a person and we ate like kings.  Devin at about $100 worth of sushi – to the point that the sushi chef was making custom orders for him.  He didn’t even eat fish before the trip.  After brunch, we headed down to the beach at the Mauna Kea Resort.  Amazing beach – great waves for body surfing, lots of people watching, good frisbee tossing.  After frying ourselves there, we headed back to the condo and started dinner – my famous, secret Sliders.  As I brought the burgers in from the grill, I saw a look of horror on the girl’s faces – something had gotten into our Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and had eaten half of one, foil pan and all.  They were so grossed out that I don’t think my Sliders were a very big hit.  We later found out that the short 2 minute stay on the front stairs was all a mongoose needed to grab a bite before the rolls were taken into the condo.  Too bad we found that out after we called maintenance and had them set some traps.    When we grabbed the Tillamook Cheddar Cheese from Safeway, it was moldy.  Apparently, I missed the gaping whole in the package.  No wonder it was the last one.  My bad.

Mauna Kea Beach

Mauna Kea Beach

Monday
After some exploration of the area on foot, we headed over to the Makalai Golf Club to play our first of two days of golf.  I hadn’t played in a year and a half, so I didn’t play so well.  It’s a beautiful course, very tropical.  There were peacocks everywhere and one time, when The Wife was swinging, one whistled at her like a construction worker.  The course is really amazing – it’s on the mountainside so you’re either teeing uphill or down.  After golf, we stopped at The Kona Brewing Company.  They make some great beers – The Longboard LagerWailua Wheat and Big Wave are my favorites.  I also had the Fire Rock Pale Ale which I’m not a huge fan of, but it was good.  Pizzas and beer after golf, not a bad way to go!

Makalei Golf Club

Makalei Golf Club

Kona Brewing Company

Kona Brewing Company

Tuesday
With a full day ahead of us, we went for a drive to the north side of the island.  We drove through Waimea which is a cool little town.  If you head north of Waimea, the road ends at a valley called Waipi’o.  It’s absolutely breathtaking.  As I sat and gazed over the edge of the cliff, down about 1,000 feet at the valley floor and the lava beach below, I heard Devin come out of the bathroom and say, “144.”  The Wife asked for clarification and he replied “144 people were raped and murdered in that bathroom.”  The beautiful view was soon clouded by the water in my eyes from laughing so hard.  After leaving the viewpoint, we headed back to Kona and stopped at Hapuna Beach, just north of Kona.  Again, great beach, very similar to Mauna Kea Resort beach.  Lots of people, lots of body surfing.  The waves started getting big there and I wished I had a surfboard – and that I knew how to surf.  We left Hapuna Beach and headed over to the Hilton Resort.  Woah – that’s a big place.  They have a tram that travels around the property.  There’s a huge lagoon in the middle and pools everywhere.  You can even swim with dolphins.  Next, we headed over to the Merrimans Market Cafe for some dinner.  We ordered some Mai Tai’s and hummus.  Good stuff.  With a limited menu, we then headed over to the Kona Inn Restaurant for some fish.  I had the Mahi Mahi, The Wife had Ahi, Devin had blackened Ahi, and Robyn had some stuffed tasty fish.  Great restaurant, great service, though I did feel a little bad because our server had a lithp and I quoted Sean Aston’s character from 50 First Dates, not realizing the server was behind me.  Me and my damn inappropriate mouth!

Waipi'o Valley

Waipi'o Valley

Wednesday
Devin and I went over to the Kona Country Club and hit some balls while the girls headed over to The Kona Farmers Market, which they thoroughly enjoyed.  They would have bought pineapples there, but we bought 3 when we shopped on Saturday.  Good old Costco – putting the farmers out of business.  After a hiatus at the pool, we headed over and played The Ocean Course at Kona Country Club.  It was a nice little course.  It was no Makalai Golf Club, but was still nice.  Much flatter.  I played significantly better.  The Ocean Course is a little deceiving as there are only technically 3 or 4 holes actually on the ocean.  The rest are surrounded by condos. It didn’t bother me…I liked it anyway.  After golf, we headed back to the condo, did some pool time and grilled up the steaks we bought at Costco with my famous, secret steak recipe.  The MongooseTM did not eat those.  We did have quite a few margaritas and I believe there may have been some pictures taken of a couple of dudes climbing on the lava rock by the ocean.

Kona Country Club

Kona Country Club

Thursday
I’m not going to cover this day for two reasons:

  1. This post is getting absurdly long
  2. Devin is going to write about our Thursday Adventures as my new guest blogger.

Friday
We began our day at Lava Java, a quaint little breakfast joint in Kona.  Breakfast there is AWESOME!  I had the 18 Wheeler, even though it wasn’t on the menu (I ordered it at some restaurant once, don’t remember the name).  Our last day together as Robyn and Devin were to head back to the Main Land, we decided to beach it.  There were two beaches to choose from – one was a short drive from the main road and about a 15 minute walk, the other was a longer, rough road drive and about a 5 minute walk.  We opted for the shorter walk.  The beach is called Mahaiula Beach and you have to take a road that us pretty unkept.  We were behind a Dodge mini-truck and the driver was acting like it was a really technical road.  It seemed like it took forever to get there.  Once we arrived, we hiked in with 4 chairs, two beach bags and looked like total tourists.  We fit right in, because so did everyone else.  Now this beach was really pretty, but it was a pretty heavy slope.  The water was sitting on a lava bed, so it was very difficult to manuever, plus it sloped so much, you couldn’t really go very much body surfing.  It was pretty breathtaking though, so we didn’t complain.  Afterward, we headed back to the condo and swam for a short stint, then headed to Costco for some gifts to take back and then round 2 at LuLu’s.  The Wife and I weren’t that hungry so we split an apertief.  After taking Robyn and Devin to the airport, we went back to Kona and ate a late dinner at Huggo’s.  It was really nice – seaside, it was actually situated over the ocean.  There were wave crashing right up to the rocks below our table.  Really romantic as you can guess, we headed back to the condo and called it a night.  That’s right folks, a nice romantic dinner and then we passed out cold.  Welcome to married life!

Mahaiula Beach

Mahaiula Beach

Saturday:
After waking up and heading over to Lava Java for breakfast, I scoured Kona for a Volcom T-Shirt I really wanted, but World Core Surf Shop didn’t have in a large.  Of course, Robyn and Devin are perfect human specimens that fit into EVERYTHING, and wouldn’t you know, they had the shirt in a medium and he bought it.  I think he did it to get under my skin.  I think this because he wore it 3 times during the trip.  Damn World Core.  We didn’t find the shirt and had to head to the airport.  That was the last I saw of Kona, other than the occaisional websearch trip down memory lane because we didn’t bring camera chargers so we have no photos!

My Volcom T-Shirt that Devin Snagged

My Volcom T-Shirt that Devin Snagged

Welcome to the Biguyland – Part 1

Growing up as a Boodel, most of our vacations when I was younger were to Florida.  We would visit my grand parents in Pompano Beach and my aunt uncle in Boca Raton.  Right around our honeymoon, The Wife and I were driving to visit Boy Genius & his wife Jackie (Brother and Sister-In-Law)  at their place in West Palm Beach and I was trying to remember the condominium where my grandparents lived.  I remembered it about 2 months later, back in Vegas while we were driving on The 15 to The Strip.  I remembered it and shouted “CRANE CREST!”  The Wife first told me to take it from a 10 to a 2, then asked me if I needed medication for turrets syndrome.  Now, randomly, she’ll yell out “CRANE CREST” to make fun of me.  I’m rambling.

When we visited Florida, we spent much of those trips either at the beach, the pool, or indoors.  Occasionally we’d do something adventurous like Disney World, but that was pretty rare.  My later childhood travels were specifically related to horse show schedules.  On all of those trips, we mostly traveled by car and went to towns in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona – not to mention many towns in Colorado where we lived.  Lets just say, vacations after we bought our first horse weren’t really vacation – all work.  Not very exciting when you’re 8-16 years old.

Now on the other hand, many of the kids I went to school with went to places like California, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.  I always thought it would be great to visit those places, but the closest I ever got was in 9th grade when my uncle took me with him to the Florida Keys.  We stayed in Islamorada and I fell in love with the ocean.  I didn’t see the ocean again until I was about 28 years old and traveled with some friends to Hermosa, Newport and Huntington Beaches in California.  It was on that trip that I decided to make Surf City, USA my home.  For nine months.  It was way too slow paced for me by then and The Wife was living in Las Vegas, so it didn’t make much sense to be in a city full of beautiful women on surfboards when A. I didn’t surf, and B. I had a girlfriend in another state.  That’s how I ended up in Las Vegas.

But the one place that always stuck in my head was when kids I grew up with would go to Hawai’i.  I don’t know why, but I always had a stigma about Hawai’i.  I guess it always seemed like it was so touristy and cliche.  I boycotted it once I could actually afford to travel there on my own.  At one point, ArNald, a Fraternity brother, lived in Maui and always wanted me to come visit.  I was still boycotting it, so I passed.  It didn’t last long for him either before he headed back to the Main Land.  I’ve avoided Hawai’i trips for so long that I should have known that when the couple that introduced The Wife and I invited us a third time, it was time to go.  They had been married in Kaua’i in 2002 and we couldn’t join them, with my move to Huntington Beach and The Wife’s move to Las Vegas at the time.  They invited us again earlier last year – we again had to pass with The Wife’s brother’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  When the third invitation came, we decided it was time for us to go.

And So I was introduced to The Big Island, AKA the Island of Hawai’i.  I’ve always been confused about Hawai’i.  People always talk about Kaua’i, O’ahu and Maui, not to mention about 2,000 other city names I can’t remember.  I’d heard people refer to The Big Island in the past, but I always thought it was used as common speak in reference to whatever island had Honolulu – I never know it was O’ahu.  I never realized it was actually called The Big Island, nor that there was actually a big island in comparison to the other islands.  I have to say, though, this experience was incredible.  For anyone who hasn’t been to Hawai’i before, or who has been to the other islands but haven’t visited The Big Island, I highly recommend it.

Here are a few interesting facts:

  • The Big Island is larger than all the other islands combined.  I guess that’s not including The Big Island as that wouldn’t make sense.  It takes about 10 hours to drive the loop around the island.
  • All of the Hawaiian Islands are formed from Volcanoes. The Big Island is formed from 5 Volcanoes, two of which are still active and one of which (Kiluea) is still erupting molten lava.
  • The Big Island is made up of one massive volcano (Mauna Loa) that is actually the largest mountain in the world if you measure it from it’s base which is 18,000 feet below sea level.  That makes the mountain 32,000 feet which is significantly taller than Mt. Everest.  Sorry to Sir Edmond Hillary – he could have gone to Hawai’i and surfed, then climbed only 14,000 feet of actual mountain and not frozen his Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) ass off, though it does snow on the top of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea between December and May.
  • British Royal Navy Captain James Cook introduced the rest of the world to Hawai’i.  When he visited The Big Island, it was during the time of worship that centered around peace, so they welcomed him and his crew.  When he left, his boat broke (cracked mast), so he turned around and upon arrival, the Hawaiians were worshiping the gods of war instead of the gods of peace.  So, they killed him.  Lesson learned – always carry a spare mast as you never know what’s around the corner.
  • Waimea is a city in the north that houses the headquarters of The Parker Ranch which is the largest privately owned ranch (about 175,000 acres) in the United States.
  • Sunsets – they are spectacular when you can see them on The Big Island.  Much of the island gets covered by the haze from the Volcanoes, so there are times when the sunset is blocked out.  However, because of the haze, when you get a sunset you get a great view.  There’s this phenomenon called The Green Flash – it’s the couple seconds as the sun passes below the water – has to do with refraction of light or something along those lines.  I guess you’re not really supposed to stare at it – it is the sun – but it’s pretty cool if you can see one.  I only saw one real sunset.  The rest disappeared into the haze.

Hogan has totally vanished – PS We’re not Soap Smugglers

Many of you have sent me links to articles similar to this one regarding the smuggling of dishwasher detergent into Spokane from out of state/city:

First, I’d like to thank AirAmerica for including my sort – the SAHDiNK – by referring to the househusbands along with the housewives in this article.  I must tell you how frustrating it is to read article after article about stay at home types and only see the word “wife” in conjunction with the word “house”.  I find it oh so offensive and commend AirAmerica for standing up for The HouseHusband.  Now, yes, this soap smuggling seems to be a big controversy.  To the point that I overheard The Early Show discussing the issue on national television while working in my home-office.  Yes, Mike & Jersey Jen (from Michigan) – I overheard the TV in the family room while I was working in the office – I wasn’t watching.  The issue seems to be that the Spokane River has become an endangered river because of industrial dumping.  I don’t get it.  I was at the Spokane Falls last week and it looks rather clean to me.  I didn’t see garbage floating or oil seeping from the water.  It looked pretty fresh to me – I would swim in it if it weren’t traveling at 1,000 miles an hour – though it might be fun to try to tube it at least once. I’m rambling

For those of you who have inquired about this issue, I’m here to set the record straight.  We are NOT smuggling  illegal dishwasher detergents into Spokane.  Let me repeat my self: We are absolutely, unequivocally NOT smuggling in Electrosol Finish® All in 1 PowerBall® Tabs – Fresh Scent dishwasher detergent, even though it is far superior to the Palmolive Eco-Friendly brand we bought that doesn’t Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) work worth a lick.

Now that that’s settled, I thought I’d tell you an interesting find I had two days ago.  First, a little back story.  The Wife and I decided last year to join the couple who introduced us on a little trip.  I’m sure all of you parents and dog owners can relate to this – what do you do with your kid(s)?  In the case of the couple joining us, they were able to have their parents take their daughter for the time we’re away.  But what do you do with an 11 month old vizsla puppy?  The Wife’s aunt & uncle graciously offered, but it seems like every time Hogan visits their home, he’s destroying something.  You’ll probably remember the Wednesday Night Soup incident of 2008 where The gUrt was officially banned from their home by me in an effort to skirt the imminent ban by The Wife’s aunt and uncle.  There’s always the Kennel, but the last time he came back from there, he didn’t have a voice and slept for 3 days straight, so we weren’t too keen on that idea either.  I know Babs would watch him, but there’s the issue of getting him to Denver.  OOOh – wouldn’t it be great to send him to Donnie Boom Boom and Nanc?  We’d never be invited back.  What to do, what to do…

Well, the best option was to take The Big Guy and Mama J up on their offer to watch him for the week.  We’ve done the same for them and watched their dogs, so how hard can it be, right?  I mean  what’s the worst he’s done whilst visiting The Big Guy and Mama J?  HHHmmm – well let’s start with the latest incident: the new Rattan Pet Residence.  About a month ago, we were visiting Walla Walla and there on the doorstep were two brand new Rattan Pet Residences for the Big Guy and me to assemble.  While we were assembling it, I asked The Big Guy if he thought the dogs would chew through the wicker side panels.  His reply was a surprisingly stern “No, they won’t,” as if he had had a sit down with the dogs and discussed the consequences of chewing on the wicker hotel.  Well, apparently he didn’t have that conversation with The gUrt because last weekend, The gUrt did some remodeling to the hotel he was visiting and added an ocean view window.  Just so you know, you can purchase replacement side panels directly from Mr Herzhers…though it helps to know what size the Rattan Pet Residence was before you make the call.

Remodeling the Rattan Pet Residence wasn’t the only incident.  They’ve had to replace several sleeping pads because of incessant chewing.  Oh, and then there was the Nativity Scene incident during Christmas of 2008 where Hogan & Vinnie ran into the front entry full blast and broke an angel, I think a shepherd, and gave baby Jesus a good wack to the skull on the glass table.  Then, there was the reverse potty training we did with The gUrt where he apparently un-learned his bathroom skills and peed everywhere in their house.  Lets just say I’m worried that we may not be invited back to Walla Walla when we return from our trip.

There was an interesting outcome to this story.  In order for everything to work out, we decided it was best to leave Hogan in Walla Walla while we were visiting the weekend before we left.  Of course, we decided that after we had already left Walla Walla, had visited GPat and GrandpaNorm in Lewiston, Idaho and then were on our way back to Spokane.  We agreed that The Wife’s aunt would pick up The gUrt one morning during the week and take him back to Lewiston, where she was to see Mama J and visit GPat and GrandpaNorm.  Then Mama J would take him back with Vinnie to Walla Walla until we returned from our trip.

That morning, I was working in my office and it was about time for The Wife’s aunt to arrive.  I decided I would go spend some time with The gUrt as I knew I would miss him.  It’s funny, working from home, he and I are always together.  We’re together to the point that a lot of the time, if I’m running an errand, I’ll take him with me.  He really is my best friend.  I knew it was going to be hard being away from him for so long, and The Wife was feeling the same.  Hogan must have sensed it because when I went looking for him, I couldn’t find him anywhere.  It was like he totally vanished.  As I passed by the bedroom, I noticed that the bed was in major disarray.  Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about this because I usually make the bed as I hear the garage door lifting – signaling that The Wife is home and I’d better quickly pick up the house and shower before she finds out that The gUrt & I have been partying all day.  But because we were expecting company that day, I had made the bed earlier that morning.  Walking by and finding the bed totally destroyed, I figured out what was going on.  I walked in and quickly realized – The gUrt wasn’t sleeping, he was hiding.  He had totally burrowed his way under the pillows and two comforters in hope that whatever was going on would pass him by.

I’m absolutely amazed by animals and their natural intuition – their ability to read us.

The gUrt's Remodeling Project

The gUrt's Remodeling Project