DirtBag DadCamp: GrandsCamp

With 2 weeks left in summer vacation, The Chollaballs bailed; fleeing the fireball to visit Mom and Dad in Sarasota!

Their new neighborhood pool is plush.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of my oldest and dearest friends Eric Ascalon posted up that he was visiting in Clearwater, so we met for drinks in St. Petes. This reunion brought to you by the BookFace.

2015_0728_EricAscalon_blog

MomMom and PopPop took the kids to the Sarasota Library

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next day we went to the Ringley Bros Museum. Stuart takes awful pics, but at least he took em :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I ditched the kids and flew to New Hampshire to meet Beckie for Janna Lorenzen’s wedding at Loon Mountain Resort .

Beckie killing time in Manchester waiting for my flight.

2015_0731_JannasWedding_01

Friday afternoon we hiked up the mountain before a fantastic pre-wedding party.

2015_0731_JannasWedding_02_blog

2015_0731_JannasWedding_03_blog

saturday – hiking in Franconia Notch State Park

2015_0801_FranconiaNotch_01_blog

2015_0801_FranconiaNotch_04_blog

2015_0801_FranconiaNotch_07_blog

then this

2015_0801_JannasWedding_02_blog

2015_0801_JannasWedding_04_blog

2015_0801_JannasWedding_07_blog

New England wedding overruns us with bow ties, gingham and seersucker

2015_0801_JannasWedding_08_blog

Meanwhile back in Florida, the family went to see Winter at the Clearwater Aquarium

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday hike, size large. Falling Water Trail to Franconia Ridge to Lafayette Mtn to Old Bridle Trail. About 9 miles, I think about 5k vf. Trail was very rugged, mile-for-mile it compared to the Canyon, harder in some ways as there were few easy steps.

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_01_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_05_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_06_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_07_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_10_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_12_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_22_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_23_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_25_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_27_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_29_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_30_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_31_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_32_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_33_blog

2015_0802_FranconiaNotch_34_blog

post hike drinks at Strange Brew, Machester, NH

2015_0802_StrangeBrew_blog

Back in Florida, we went to Selby Gardens where Dad is a docent.

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_02_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_03_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_04_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_06_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_07_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_10_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_11_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_14_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_15_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_16_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_17_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_19_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_21_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_22_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_23_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_24_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_25_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_28_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_29_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_31_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_34_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_35_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_38_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_40_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_42_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_44_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_45_blog

2015_0804_SelbyGarden_47_blog

Siesta Key Beach

2015_0804_xSarasota_02_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_03_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_04_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_05_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_10_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_11_blog

G lining up 2 weeks in a row at the summer Kids Run series.

2015_0804_xSarasota_14_blog

2015_0804_xSarasota_16_blog

DirtBag DadCamp: Skating

“I wound up having to join AA. I don’t even drink. Just needed the stage time.”
–Bob Nickman

Allowing the girls to buy rollerblades made me complicit in their impending fractured ulnas. Despite what Wayne LaPierre would have you believe, most people think giving a gun to your kid without training is foolish.

Way back in March I signed them up for a free series of summer hockey lessons at the Ice Den, knowing they’d thank me when it was 110. Amazing choice for 12:30pm in June, it was almost too cold watching. Said no one in AZ, ever, at 12:30pm in June.

2015_0620_Skating_blog

A couple Wednesdays we went to free-admission at Skateland. If you snicker at going into the Mesa ghetto, you need to try it and get godsmacked at how much fun you had in the 80’s.

2015_0708_Skateland_blog

Finally they were good enough to skate all the way to the high school, around and back! They didn’t exactly have fun, the reality of 1 degree downhill and uphill and brick sidewalks.

2015_0714_SKATING_01_blog

2015_0714_SKATING_02_blog

Reciprocity

Saturday we had a swimmeet in S. Scottsdale.

2015_0611_SplashDash

Then dashed off to the the annual Snow Day at the Phx Zoo. They put exhibits on every 15 min, and we charged every one we could manage.

California Condors, eating dead rabbits
2015_0618_Zoo_01_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_05_blog

Prairie DogTown set atwitter by cauliflower!
2015_0618_Zoo_06_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_08_blog

A zookeeper was showing off a Common King Snake that wandered into one of the exhibits. We had actual questions after it crawled in from under our TV, and its similarly-inclined rattlesnake-lookey neighbor that jumped out of our hop seed bushes. He gave us a semester’s worth of herpetology in 5 min! And now we know about jaw sizes, fangs, behavior identification, and how to pick them up.

2015_0618_Zoo_09_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_10_blog

warty pigs are adorable when they act like dogs
2015_0618_Zoo_11_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_13_blog

The elephant had the happiest day of her summer thanks to the Phoenix FD!
2015_0618_Zoo_14_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_15_blog

2015_0618_Zoo_17_blog

G was sitting on my shoulders, I had no idea what was being filmed

The monsoon finally hit that night, and we stayed in town instead of camping in the high country. 7:30am was overcast and cool enough for a family ride around Brown’s Ranch. It mandated a 6am wakeup to load bikes, apply sunscreen, stuff calories, placate egos, drive, safety meeting, unload and mount up 5 bikes. G killed it, and Alana…sorta actually killed it, but whined like a cat that’d been petted.

Since we were in the neighborhood, our friend Robin invited us by to see the newest ACDR puppies and help socialize them.

2015_0619_Cattledogs_02_blog

dogs good for people, people good for dogs. The 5 pups hid from us at first, then it turned into an orgy of belly rubs and facelicks all morning. We did the Full Lincoln.

2015_0619_Cattledogs_04_blog

2015_0619_Cattledogs_05_blog

Don’t order the schnitzel, they’re using schnauzer

The Salt was nearly 1000 cfs, barely saw a rock and barely had to paddle. The girls are now crackerjack. Buying actual ‘river tubes‘ allowed me to drive the Prius instead of the F150, fill them up from an air mattress pump attached to the cigarette lighter, and string us all together through loops that let us slacken out or tighten up. With cupholders. Pros.

2015_0716_SaltRiver_01_blog

shove your lifevest up your ass! Nobody puts Alana in the corner
2015_0716_SaltRiver_02_blog

2015_0716_SaltRiver_03_blog

2015_0716_SaltRiver_04_blog

I even trusted them to hangout at the water’s edge instead of the parking lot while i went for the car. I said yeah this is another test just like the movies, do you want more freedom? ‘k, don’t drown!

2015_0716_SaltRiver_05_blog

The kids seamlessly adapted my foodieism for Bavarian Point  whenever we goto the Ranch Market in Mesa. So…hungry… I could hear rumors about a taco stand selling dogshit, and they would lobby for the meal, if they thought they had sufficient traction. There are 3 good German restaurants in the Valley, and 2 of them are next door. So, after buying groceries we finally tried Zur Kate.  BP’s meals are amazing and massive and full of sauce, enhanced with their salad bar where every vegetable is doused in dumplings and onions and vinegar. The ambience is 1996 Best Senior Early Bird Special. Zur Kate is almost as filling, but a little more vibrant, smaller, simpler, sausages or schnitzel, and very smoky beer.

2015_0716_SaltRiver_06_blog

2015_0716_SaltRiver_07_blog

They had a live accordian player, and when he stepped off the German ambience pop all sounded like Ripple by the Grateful Dead.

ripple in shtill vater
ven zere is no pebble toshed
Nor vind permitted to blow

The waitress had to be 70, and with efficient communication and honesty was by far the best server I’d had in years. She struggled to move, yet we had everything we needed in record time. Danke fraulein. I left 22%, unheard of in East BumFuck Mesa.

DirtBag DadCamp: Forgery

I have a love-hate relationship with the Aquatic Center. Awesome facilities vs shitty hours and SOOOOO many rules. The high-school lifeguards adhere religiously to the squashing of all possible fun, Hitler Youth and Godwin’s Law collide in sunburned subburbed space.  Their tepid, bleating enforcement is more grating than the actual persecution, even my kids mock their apathy.

Along with our summer pass, Alana and I developed an understanding: she could get away with whatever she could get away with, as long as she didn’t drag me into it.

Dad! They should let me jump owf the high boawd. I jumped owf a cwiff. 

2015_0620_WestClearCreek_22_blog

so true.

What at first seemed rigid monolithic enforcement of the rules upon further glance became huge gaping holes in security. $3.90 on Ebay made 46.75 inches = 48 for the next 3 months.

2015_0715_wristband

Le Fluffing
Me: How old are you sweetie?
Alana: 7
Me: How did you get that wristband?
Alana: The people up front measured me
Me: Is that your dad?
Alana: I’ve never seen that man before in my life

And like good pre-Millennials, they go slack jawed and wave them on, lacking the fortitude or commitment to confront the 6yo by cutting off her illicit wristband.

DirtBag DadCamp: The Test

3 weeks ago the kids were in Camp Invention, and I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road, my first adult movie in a theater in 9.4 yrs. And I got to thinkin’ — the girls in an adjacent theater with a phone was just crazy enough to work! I would rather be stabbed repeatedly in my hemorrhoid than pay to see Minions.

Me: Can you guys do this without fighting, spilling your food, freaking out, getting me arrested?
Monsters: *nods_all_around*
Me: really? you lying little shits? cause if you pull this off i might let your drive?
Monsters: *nods_all_around*

Logistics and supplies are all in order, they both peed twice.
2015_0710_Movie

Terminator: Genisys – I hated the acting, the inhabitation of the actors. Every other movie has been filled with desperation, anxiety, hurt, Kyle Reese running like a trapped rat not a carnivore at CrosSFiit. These characters were pin-ups, physically and actingly. Christian Bale as John Connor vs ….that guy? puhlease. frown emoticon That said, some of it was funny and Arnold was very funny. I just went with it, I snuck a camelback full of beer in, its the dirtbag in DadCamp.

I enjoyed the attempts to interweave the earlier scenes and timelines. Dull and hokey at times, especially since i watched the original 2 days ago, but fun for a geek fan.

Some of the action scenes were cool, but I hate action scenes where there are no rules. Even in SciFi, there need to be rules and limits. I don’t like Terminators, Gladiators, or Decepticons with unlimited hit-points. Neither does Milton Friedman.

I LURVED that they brought back the old cop.

Would not spend to see it in theater, but a good Netflix.

DirtBag DadCamp: Needle Rock to Box Bar Rd

Verde River float from Needle Rock to Box Bar Rd. 2 miles, 2 hrs. The cfs was 125 and led to many bumped asses and lining of the rapids. But a new adventure, with the twist that we had no recent beta other than “a couple gravel bars that you will need to dismount from. Definitely a slow go…”. 10 dismounts got old and a few times me and Beckie got beat up by the rocks and current keeping the kids clean. I enjoyed watching my girls, all of us, getting a little cold and not quite knowing when or where it’d be done.

The Verde is much tighter and greener, but less ‘wow’ than the Salt. The low levels made it less, and more, scary. Lots of herons, egrets and hummingbirds. The horses were awesome.

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_01_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_02_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_04_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_05_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_07_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_11_blog

2015_0612_NeedleRockToBoxBar_13_blog

DirtBag DadCamp: Ellison Creek Cascade and Water Wheel Falls

Daytrip to Payson, a few miles up Houston Mesa. Beckie and I were here 10+ years ago, didn’t remember it all til we dove in. So much fun for such easy access, a Prius-based adventure that cost $18 in gas, and, why you should hit it mid-week.

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_01_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_02_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_03_blog

For about 4 hours I was a broken record “hands and feet! careful! slippery! 3 points!

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_04_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_05_blog

they are so much fun

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_06_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_11_blog

I climbed the ladder while they were playing around on the cliffs. It was slick to mount in water i couldn’t stand in, and a little scary the first time as it bounced in cadence with you. Easier the second time after i found the footholds. G HAD to try it, and I approve of this rapacity, so i did it 2 more times right on her butt to spot her. Then Alana HAD  to try it 2x too, and finally G HAD  to jump off it with me after we watched someone else dew eet.

We watched another family come down, something wrong with the ~23yo dad, skinny as straw with his hair everywhere and zombie eyes. When he walked by and G said ‘ugh, Dia you stink!‘ I also got to teach them about tweakers. #ParentingForGnarness

 

 

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_12_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_13_blog

I lost track of the time, loving it all, and struggling more than them with tired knees and higher COG. The coolest stuff we did swimming a few pools above the draws into falls, tugging Dia along with us, I gots no pics.

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_14_blog

wetsuit flatters my junk, but black is slimming and shrinkage = junk neutrality.

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_15_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_16_blog

The hike out was a girls-high-on-stoke romp: everything is green, the dragonflies are beautiful,  the rocks are warm and the air cold enough to last into the 105 degree evening down in the Valley.

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_17_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_18_blog

Doesn’t like water

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_21_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_22_blog

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_23_blog

English –> Cattledog Translator

Sleeping = aggressively herding lethargic cows

Resting = aggressively herding lazy cows

Nibbling on hands = ensuring you are still fresh

Chasing the cat = warding off predators

Stealing food from the table = leftover donuts in the conference room

Jumping over the couch = attentiveness to your every move

Wigglebutt = I luuuuuuuurrrrrrrvvvvveeeee you this much!

Peeing constantly = properly hydrated

Spooning in bed = spooning in bed

Farting in bed = it was —->Beckie *dognod**dogstare*

Farting in bed = whatever, i tooted, dgaf

Dashing off down the street = pre-emptive surveillance

Laying under the AC vent = protecting my family, as my right as a ‘murican

The Stare = the depths of my soul are laid out before you, do you have any bacon?

Doesn’t Like Water = I choose not to run, Jerry

2015_0709_EllisonWaterwheel_21_blog

 

DirtBag DadCamp: Wet in the Tonto

There is a lot of water in Phoenix, if you are willing to  work for it. The drive-ins&outs and load-ins&outs are the prologue to the adventure proper, of book reports and traveling music and shared fountain drinks from Circle K.

Tuesday we rode Saguaro Lake with Todd and Charlie.

2015_0623_SaguaroLake_04_blog

2015_0623_SaguaroLake_06_blog

2015_0623_SaguaroLake_07_blog

Thursday afternoon we went to Needle Rock on the Verde, to give the tubes and children a test float. I didn’t take any pics (duh) but it went great. The girls got clear on what a river, a current, and a riffle were. We air-tested our old river tubes, and realized the deep bed of the F150 is remarkably better for tubes than a Ranger. Plans were a’brewing…and they might include a float from Needle Rock to BoxBar Road.

Saturday night Sam offered me an open seat on his Sunday morning float on the Salt, and my calendar was unexpectedly clear! Most of the good pics are from Sam – thanks buddy for dragging me out of my routine and letting me borrow your gear (again). And for another awesome morning with some friends I hadn’t seen in a few years.

Ryan is stoked!
2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_01_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_02_blog

even the inflatable can play around on Snaggletooth rock
2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_03_blog

SuperDave!
2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_04_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_05_blog

Sammy
2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_06_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_07_blog

Patty and Corinne completed our group. I’ve known of these cool girls in the abstract FB-way, great to hang out with them in meatspace.
2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_08_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_09_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_10_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_11_blog

2015_0628_SaltRiverKayak_12_blog

During the float I scouted all the small details I’d need for Tuesday’s tubing adventure with the girls! The path to the water, the current at the put-in, and mostly the same on the way out. 90% is not good enough if someone drowns or loses an ankle. The Chollaballs came out refreshed, efficient, and unscathed!

Top of the river to Blue Point Bridge

2015_0630_SaltRiverTube_01_blog

Alana compared this to the Lazy River at the Aquatic Center, then asked if they made this river to be lazy like that? I spit out my beer laughing so hard at kid logic. A dragonfly rode on my hat, they learned marshmallow combat from a couple wasted college girls, and watched red-winged blackbirds chase half a bag of chips down the river.

2015_0630_SaltRiverTube_02_blog