Steamrolling through Life…..


Life has a way of steamrolling causing a tremendous cloud that envelopes our world, hazing the horizon and letting us know just how miniscule our time here on earth really is. People, I can attest to the old adage of “in the blink of an eye”. I have found a new respect for our seniors and elders when they say – savor this moment – you will remember it one day.

Since my last post – I have been to Florida and to Mexico all in the same week. Hard to believe I know – but true.  Actually I owe the credit to my wife Sandy. She is a big list maker and planner and has the uncanny ability to create something out of nothing. Sandy plans most of our trips and excursions throughout the year making payments all along ensuring that we have the opportunity to make great family memories.

Last October we had our first cruise that took us to Nassau, Bahamas and as soon as we finished that one, she started planning this cruise. This year we drove to Miami, Florida, caught a cruise ship to Key West for an excursion and then off to Cozumel for snorkeling off the coast with free Margaritas!

We were blessed to have been able to book our plans with some great friends that we met while camping last year at White Lake, NC. Jason and Elizabeth Williamson and their family met us in Florida where we stayed overnight in Daytona at a Luxury Hotel where we walked the boardwalk to Bubba Gump’s’ for dinner. We spent the night poolside and Sandy even sang Karaoke for the first time in her life.  The next morning we departed for our road trip to Miami. Arriving midday – we were able to tour part of the city and a bit of the port as well before boarding the cruise ship.

During our time in Key West, we saw a bit of the devastation that the storms had caused but I have to say that Florida has a way of rebounding better than ever before. Those people are resilient in preparations and putting their lives back together. We had a great time shopping and exploring and even took a historic “Hop on – Hop off” Trolley Tour of the Island thanks to Old Towne Trolley Tours. Once back on the ship we had free ice cream, pizza and all the food and drinks that you could want. We enjoyed live music, the casino and all of the wonderful people that we were able to meet. Truly worth experiencing if you get the chance.

Arriving in Cozumel Mexico was a great experience. From docking the massive ship to how the crew handled all of the passengers getting off in one location. By the way, there were two other ships unloading at the same time so Cozumel was flooded that day with tourist and shoppers. Funny thing is that they had it all down to a science. Nothing was too overcrowded and the merchants there were very friendly and made every attempt to carry on conversation with its patrons. In Cozumel, there was live music which provided that necessary tropical vibe, the wind was blowing softly and the air smelled exciting.  People from all walks of life were concentrated at the docks working their way through the corridor of the port into the main square where we were met by a man asking if us if we wanted to get on his Ass…….. a funny little Mexican who had two Donkey statues where you could sit on for photo opportunities – he had such a great attitude and it was fun for everyone.


After shopping at a few of the shops and picking up a great Sombrero Gonzales Fedora we boarded our Catamaran via Fury Catamarans and headed off to the coastal reef for our very first snorkeling adventure. Not sure what I expected but there were about 30 of us in the waters from our boat and four tour guides to watch for hazards. By hazards I mean predators – which is all I could think of at the time. The water was clear, the fish were friendly and the reef was amazing but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a very small fish in a great big pond. At any moment I expected to be caught 47 meters down starving for oxygen and trying not to get eaten by Jaws.


Now keep in mind that we are not financially rich by any stretch of the imagination but with proper planning we are able to scrimp and save throughout the year to be able to concentrate our efforts in memorable trips like these.

Remember – our time is precious so make the best of every day. Great memories are just a breath away.


The New Bed

The New Bed

loft bed

Ever since I got out of Law Enforcement in 2005, I have made it my goal to always be there for my children and I can brag a bit and say that I have accomplished just that. Every time they want or need, I am there for them. I am involved in their lives on a daily basis and I wouldn’t want it any other way. At the end of the day, I don’t have to ask myself, “I wonder what my kids have been up to”. I have long said that, “If you want to know what your kids are doing, get involved”. After all, it is YOUR job to raise them – not someone else’s. They cannot be left to figure life out on their own without some sort of guidance.

When I was in Law Enforcement, I worked a lot and was gone most of the time and I missed my oldest son growing up.  I know – I know, my fault and my choice, not someone else’s! I was young and life was all about me at the time. I missed ball games, school functions, family dinners, yeah I was a real looser as a parent and a husband – But I was great at my Job. I think that was the only thing that I took seriously back then. Late nights, Badge Bunnies, loneliness and a desire to feel more and more love and companionship overwhelmed me and after 15 years of working, being gone and fighting with my wife, we divorced soon thereafter and parted ways – What I didn’t expect was to lose my son in the process. I made this bed and now I had to lay in it.

I remarried shortly after when I found my Sandy – Sandy was just what I needed to teach me what life, love and family was all about. She had me – hook, line and sinker from the get-go and it seemed as if I had no control as to how far and how fast our relationship progressed. We were destined to be together and nothing was going to stop us. We even tried calling it off a couple of times in the beginning but that never worked out. We just couldn’t walk away from each other and our love seemed to be on fire from the very start. From the very start – I knew I wanted that kind of life and I knew that I had a lot of repairing and changing to do within myself – and my son. Then we had Ivy and my life changed dramatically!


To date for the past 14 years, I have been there – I have been to every one of my daughters Softball games and Volleyball games and even helped coach some. I pick her up from school, I ask her each day how her day was and I tell her that I love her more than 20 times a day it seems.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my boys! I am just as involved with them and they know that I love them but there is something about that little girl and the way she says “I love you Daddy” that just makes me turn into Jell-O. She has me that’s for sure and she knows it too. Good, bad or indifferent, she has me and being the baby (just as I was), seems to get her a free pass on some things or at least more leniency. It drives my boys and my wife crazy. I know I spoil her but she doesn’t act like an “entitled little brat” either. She knows her limitations and just how far to push.


So I have said all that to set the stage for my story – Yesterday, my 13 year old “little girl” – asked me to design and build her a new adult sized loft bed. You know the kind with a couch or seating area underneath.  Something a little more sophisticated for a growing young woman. WAIT – WHAT – MY Little Girl is Growing Up???  My heart kinda swelled and then broke a little at the same time. Of course I was honored when she asked me to build her a new loft bed and I have always been handy when it comes to working with wood, in fact, it is my hobby and I love to build things.


So I spent the latter part of last night looking up loft bed plans and trying to design a suitable living/sleeping area for my daughter – something that would reflect the love that I have for her and the pleasure that I felt in being able to make her something that she would enjoy and be proud of. My mind is racing at the prospects and I am still looking for that perfect plan but I will be starting this project soon. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when I get it all set up. I think I am more excited than she is.

White Lake, N.C. Full On Fun……..

White Lake, NC Full On Fun

The Lake

Ok so here I am on the third day of my vacation starting to write about our adventure with Christine (our appropriately named camper)… White Lake North Carolina Baby!!!! We have been here since Saturday and have finally got the camper all set up and unpacked. Only had to enlist the help of my next door camp neighbor three times.  Well, actually he just happened to be right there when all of the failures happened.  Jason, his Wife and two daughters are really down to earth honest people with such great attitudes. The kind of neighbors that one could only hope for.  More on them later.

So let me back up a bit – during the course of the last week and a half we have been at home trying to complete our “to-do” list of all of the little things that were wrong or just needed service to our camper. If you own a camper, you know that there is always something to do on it or in it.  One of those things was that we had to replace our 14 foot awning fabric. After spending a day working that out we finally had a brand spanking new Awning installed and working properly. I was so proud!!!

So on our arrival at Camp Clearwater – we pulled into the Camp and registered this past Saturday with me, my Wife, our middle son Ozzy, our daughter Ivy and my two great nieces Krystal and Kelly. We pulled into the site and began un-hooking and getting everything set-up.  This Campsite is only temporary for the night as we will have to move the next day. (The joys of checking in early). We checked in before 11am anyways so at least we could enjoy the day – spend the night and then move the camper by 11am that next day. Totally worth it if you have ever been here – you’ll know what I mean. Our camper is a 28 footer but it will sleep 6 and maybe one more if we throw them onto the floor with the two dogs. So anyways, we get all set up, get the AC on, fans going, fridge cooling down and then the circuit pops.  Ok, so yeah maybe a power surge but we reset the breakers and kept on getting’. After getting things set up and settled – we got in our car and drove over to the Arcade and Pavilion area just to check out what might be going on up there. During the 15 minutes that we were away from the campsite, there came a true southern “Gully Washer” I mean a torrential downpour of heavy rain and some gusts of wind. We were standing out under the pavilion watching the rain when I looked at my Wife and said – Well – I guess we just lost our new awning…….

Once back at the campsite, we saw our new awning fabric bellowing and brimming full of about 20 gallons of water. My son and I quickly went about trying to empty it all out before it just completely ripped it off the side of the camper. After draining it, we let it all the way down and discovered that once back up; we fared pretty well with minimal damage and actually still functions properly. A few tightened screws and sealant and all is good again.

Our Campesite

(awning is now lowered slightly on one end to allow any rain to run off and not build up with water) (Oh and Thanks again Jason! lol)

The night was great – we settled in a little early, watched a little television after dinner and went on to sleep. The kids giggled for quite some time but eventually fell fast asleep. The next day we moved our camper two sites down where we are to remain for the rest of the week. We called the Golf Cart Rental Place and had a Cart delivered right to our campsite courtesy of Coaches Golf Carts. We were in the process of just starting our day when all of a sudden our circuit breakers pop again. This time, it was more serious. Our neighbor and his wife were out under the canopy when they heard the Pop from over at the Power Tower where all of our services were plugged in to. After another 30 minutes of re-wiring the plug on our power cord we were back up and running. Another rescue from our hero campsite neighbor …… Thanks Jason!

A little while later our Neighbor spotted an issue with our stabilizer hitch and offered his assistance to correct it. We spent the next 20 minutes re-mounting my stabilizer bars and adjusting the rear hitch – looks good now and should pull even better. Once again ……Thanks Jason!!  By this time you would think I would have gotten his telephone number and just about be ready to expect a bill from him. LOL I offered him some money but all he wanted was a handshake and a smile. Which I graciously paid in full!

Under the Canopy

So now by Tuesday evening sitting out at the picnic table writing and cooking baked potatoes and pork chops on the grill, everything is working properly as far as I can tell, aside from the little issues that had popped up from the first three failures. Our neighbors are due to pull out tomorrow but as a great surprise to us have decided to stay through next weekend – which works out beautifully since we have gotten close with them and really enjoy their company – truly great people! Come to find out, Jason and his wife have been together since they began liking each other when he was 13 years old. After High School, they got married and had two wonderful daughters (Hannah and Marybeth) which by the way are here camping and playing with our daughter and great nieces having a better time than the big kids!!! Jason and Elizabeth own their own trucking and excavation company and seem to be really blessed. They also have a Wedding / Catering side business that has been quite successful as well.

Two weeks ago, our daughter was in a Sand Volleyball Tournament here at White Lake – (that’s how we found this place) and we met a beautiful person named Kaley Michelle who works at the Ice Cream Shop down the street. Kaley is a 19-year-old student who works here at the campgrounds during the summer. Her parents have a permanent site here in the camp and during the school year she is studying Chemistry away at college. We met up again with Kaylee on this trip and have had a great time talking and getting to know her a little better and just hanging out. She is a very sweet down to earth young lady who actually has her head and heart in the right place – looking to the future instead of the moment.

So I can say that – for this vacation here at White Lake, North Carolina we have had a wonderful time full of memory making experiences and new friends and acquaintances.  There is so much more to tell and share but this is enough for now. I will attempt to post pictures and maybe a video as well. God Bless and do yourself a favor – Go Camping and Experience Life a Little!!!!!

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