Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Trip to Cleveland..

Last year JB, one of my co-workers invited me to a Cleveland Browns game.  Since I am a Titan's fan, I said sure.  The Titans took it to Cleveland, and we got a big win.

So last week, I asked JB if Cleveland was at home on Sunday.  He said they were, and asked if I wanted to go.  I asked who they were playing...he tells me Buffalo.  I said, sure, why not.  So Sunday morning I got up early and met JB for the 4 hour trip to Cleveland.

JB has a routine on game day.  He always parks in the same lot.  Goes to the same bar before the game, and then makes the trek through the wind off Lake Erie to Browns Stadium.

Once inside we get a Jumbo Brown Dog, with Brown Mustard, and take our seats.

Once in the stands, you realize that Buffalo is only 3 hours away from Cleveland.  That means a lot of Bills fans in the stands.  And were they rowdy.  Chants of "Let's Go Buffalo" were heard over and over again.  Browns fans were cussing at Bills fans, Bills fans are saying things like "meet me in the parking lot after the game."  It was kinda wild.

The game was a typical browns game.  The fans in Cleveland are a different kind of fan.  They will love their team win things are going good, and as soon as there is one bad play, they will turn on them.  It is like a love hate relationship.  It is fun to watch.

When all was said and done, Cleveland lost 24-14.  So following JB's tradition, we went back to his favorite bar for about an hour, and then as we leave Cleveland it means a stop by Outback.  Once we feed, time for the long drive home.  It is always good time in Cleveland, even if they lose!

When they lose, the fans are made, but they always seem to come back.  Last year a comedian filmed himself in front of Brown Stadium.  It pretty much puts in all in perspective!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Joys of Small Town Living!

I grew up out in the country, and I loved it.  With a 10 acre woods behind my house I always had something to do.  From hunting raspberries to climbing trees, there was no other place I would have wanted to grow up!

A few years ago when we started looking for a house we looked at some "country" houses, but couldn't find anything we liked enough.  So we settled for a house in a small town.  Right across the street is a city park, and trust me...with a 3 year old, we use it a lot!

Earlier this summer when the heat was so bad, we saw a group show up at the city park across the street from our house.  I remembered seeing a flier at the local grocery store about "Water in the Park."  So we went over to check it out.

With temperatures in the upper 90's with high humidity the local volunteer firemen decided to do this event.  They hooked up their trucks to a fire hydrant, and then ran hoses out into the lawn of the park.  They turned things on, and boom, water in the park!  They had the two sprayers, and then they got one mounted on top of the truck and made quite a shower.  When they gave the go ahead, the kids went nuts running through the water!  And did they ever!

Eli was a little nervous to go by himself, so I decided that it wouldn't kill me.  We ran to the water and right away we started having fun.  And trust me I wasn't the only adult enjoying the "kids" day at the park.

After a couple of runs with Dad, Eli was ready to go on his own.  He ran and ran through the water.  After a little while they pulled out a 4 foot wide plastic table runner, and turned it into a slip and slide.  The kids really had a good time with that.

After a while was SOAKED!  He said it was one of the best days ever!
The community really enjoyed the water, and they had popcorn and drinks for everyone.  When I take the headphones off, I am happy to hang them up in a small town!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our newest little bundle of joy...

So when I last left you, I told you I was going to introduce our newest addition!  Leah, our daughter was born back in April.  And here she is!
We have had here around for 3 months now, and it has been a change in the house.  I can honestly tell you we were spoiled by our first child.  Eli was much easier that Leah has been.  But now we do get to sleep through the night, so that is good.
She is getting along great with the dog.  As you can see, and Eli is loving being a big brother.  He likes to give us "play-by-play" of what she is doing.  We will be driving down the road, and here Eli say, "Leah is asleep", or "Leah is sucking her thumb."

But he loves to love on her.  He wants to help.  He likes to get stuff for her.  He even throws diapers long is they are just wet.

All in all, we could not be happier as a family.  We are truly blessed to have our little boy, and our baby girl!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A weekend getaway...part two

So when I last left you, I was standing on the breaker wall in Holland Michigan, enjoying the view, when from the water below I hear, "HELP".  Wow, that almost sounded like the first line of a really good novel.  Anyway.  As we look down there is a man getting pulled out into the lake by a rip current.  He had a kickboard, but you could tell he was not a great swimmer, and was not in the best of shape!  I stood there not knowing what to do.  All the sudden some younger guys grabbed a life ring off the fence along the breaker wall, and threw it to the man.  Meanwhile some other guys were swimming to him to help.  It was a stressful few minutes.  Next thing we know there were three or four more people being pulled out.  A crowd had formed on the wall.  Everyone was watching and helping.

I see another guy being pulled out, and he starts to yell.  There was one more life ring mounted on the rail beside me.  A lady looks at me, and says here, throw this.  I make my way down the rocks to the edge of the water.  She is following me.  I assume she is holding the rope as I prepare to throw the life ring.  I send it sailing out into the water, and as I see it splash, I see the end of the rope following it out into the water.  Well, that is not going to do a lot of good.  By the time I had done this, someone had swam to them, and helped the rest of the people out.  There were no lifegaurds on the beach.  As we are walking back to the beach, we look and see signs clearly posted that say "No Swimming Area - Rip Currents in this Area"  Shouldn't that be your first clue NO TO SWIM THERE?

After that excitement we went back to the hotel to chill out for a little while.  We got cleaned up and headed to the "Downtown" area.  Lots of shops, stores, and resturants.  We stuck around for a while.  Not much for me.  A lot of the stores were the same you would find in a mall.  So after a little walking we decided to head back to the room before dinner. 

When we got back I thought I would find a nice place to eat dinner.  We settled on "The Piper."  We had driven by it earlier while we were checking out the super expensive houses along the bay.  It was located next to the yacht club.  Yes, we were high society.

Like the look of it, it was VERY expensive.  And like I have found at more expensive resturants...the food is not as good as you get at some "cheaper" places.   But it was right on the bay, and very romantic.  Our favorite part was hearing a couple next to us talking about how they were trying to decide whether to build on to their mansion, or buy a bigger yacht...decisions decisions.

After dinner it was out for a night on the town.  Come to find out, they roll up the streets of Holland around 9pm. 

We did have an alright time in Holland.  I think we enjoyed our stops in South Haven and St. Joseph on the way home a little more.  Our next stop up Michigan's West Coast would be Muskegon, but we are thinking about another weekend in South Haven first.

It was nice to have a weekend OUT of headphones.

The next post, you will finally get to meet our newest addition, Leah.  That coming soon!  I promise!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A weekend getaway...part one.

One of our favorite places to visit is Michigan's west coast. Several years ago we stumbled across St. Joseph Michigan, and fell in love with the lighthouse there, and the shops, the beach, and the whole atmosphere of the area.  So over the past 8 years or so, we have been to St. Joe a few times. 

 A couple of years ago we decided to start working our way up the coast. Next lighthouse was South Haven. Another beautiful beach town with shops, restaurants and more right by the beach. We feel in love South Haven too.  The Lighthouse was beautiful, and the shops and restaurants had that small beach town feel.

So when Sarah said she wanted to get away for an early birthday present, I thought, why not go to the next lighthouse.  I did a quick search, and found that Holland would be our next stop.  When I was doing the research, I found out that "Big Red" was the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan.  It was beautiful and picturesque.  Then I was reading about things to do it Holland.  Websites spoke of their quaint downtown with shops.  I started thinking, "Sweet, we are going to love it!"  We reserve a room at a cheap hotel.  I mean, we only sleep there...we don't need anything fancy.  We pack up the car, drop the kids off at the in-laws, and we are north bound. 

We are making great time up 31 out of Kokomo.  We are in Lapaz, just south of South Bend.  All the sudden a state trooper pulls up beside our car, with lights and sirens.  I look over to see him pointing at me.  I pull to the side of the road, and he continues on.  OK...that was weird.  About a half mile up the road, I see the same trooper in the left turn lane behind a car.  He jumps out of "The Cruiser" and starts pointing at me.  I have never seen an officer do that.  So I pull over behind him, and he tells me to follow him.  We pull into an empty lot.  He comes back and tells me I was speeding.  I tell him, sorry, I am from out of town, and was just going with the flow of traffic.  He says, yeah, you were, but I picked you out.  WHAT?  Did I look like I might be muling drugs up to Detroit?  Why pick me out.  So he goes back to "The Cruiser" and we are waiting.  He comes back and tells us we are only going to get a warning for the speed, but...But WHAT?  He informs me that the back of the vehicle registration is not signed. that a problem.  I guess it is, because we GOT A TICKET FOR IT!  Really?  It is early in the month, are you trying to reach your quota for the month in the first week?  So we have to find out how much that is going to cost.  Great way to start the trip.

So after the stop we continue on our way up the coast.  We drive through the two cities I mentioned before.  It was a beautiful as we remembered.  Back to the interstate to make it up to Holland.

We get into town, and realize it is bigger than the other towns we had stopped in.  We drive to the lighthouse, only to discover if you want to get close, you have to be one of the select few in the "vacation rentals" near the coast.  So we drive all the way around the bay.  When we get there, there is a line of people to get to the beach in the state park.  $8 gets up in to find barely a parking spot to be found.  We do walk down to the shore, and wade in a little.  The water was beautiful.  And we did get to stare at the lighthouse for a while. 

We start walking down the breaker wall, and all the sudden we hear a man shouting for help.  A riptide was pulling him out along the breaker wall. 

I guess you will have to tune into part two for the rest of the story.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More of me singing...

I have posted in the past about how I love to sing. And one of my favorite places to sing is in church. We have a great church, a great worship leader, and a great congregation. When I tell our worship leader that I would like to do special music he is always willing to learn the songs for me.

So here is a song by the group call The Great Divide.

The song is called "Deliver Us" and it is one I found about a year ago, and listened to it over and really hit me. So we learned it, and played it a few months back. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Tax System Explained in Beer

A friend of mine posted this on his facebook, and I thought it too good not to share!

Published: January 12, 2012

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. “Since you
are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your
daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what
about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that
everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that
from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end
up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill
by a h higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the
tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he
suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to
drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He
pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too.
It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”
“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I
got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get
anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down
and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they
discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of
them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our
tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will
naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much,
attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In
fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. – Professor of Economics.