October 2013: 3 Gen Hike – A Tradition Established

Our 2nd ever Three Generation Hike on the Appalachian Trail took place a few weeks back.  Such a cool experience for Dad, Will and me and now officially a tradition.

It seems like each of the last few times I have sat down to write this post it has been after yet, ANOTHER Florida Gator football, although it doesn’t really resemble football, loss.  I sit down, start to gather my thoughts and my disappointment in this so called team sneaks back in.  It is just football, right?  Not really.  It is SEC football which means it is a disease placed in you upon day one of college and sticks with you until you die.  Maybe longer.  Oddly, this disease doesn’t apply for nearly any other sport. While I’m at it I owe an official apology for the bad-mouthing I have provided to FSU fans over the past 10-15 years.  While your regular season conference schedule is still and will likely always be a joke, I, and my University of Florida brethren can no longer call it out given our recent loss to Georgia Southern.  Do you know what Georgia Southern’s mascot is?  That’s ok, no one else did either until yesterday (they are the Eagles BTW).  

 

 Truth be told, I fear the whoopin’ you will place upon our arses next weekend.  I’ll read about it on Sunday – I have grass to watch grow.

Wow…slight side trip there…let’s get this car back on the road.  Three Gen Hike.  3rd Generation Hike.  3GHike.  Whatever you want to call it the experience is quite unique.  Load a backpack on three generations of Suttons and set off into the woods for 15 miles or so over 2 nights.  Add some light rain, dropping temperatures, traffic to get there resulting in a 10:30pm first step onto the trail and it gets even more interesting.  Most of this could crater the event except for the fact that we all want this.  We likely want it for different reasons.  Will wants me to see how strong he can be (I’m impressed for the record) as he carries his own sleeping bag, clothes, snacks and pad.  I want my Dad to see what he has done by introducing hiking to me.  He has given me the right to introduce it without fearing it to my kids.  And my Dad, well, he’s almost always game.  A never say no kind of a guy.  I need to remember to ask my Dad what he gets from the hike.  It’s likely just plain enjoyment.  Both trips have been awesome.  The terrain is not a slam dunk – we have jumped into the section coming out of Georgia that starts to feel out the 5,000+ footers on the way to the 6,000 foot Smokies.  I’m proud of the boy Will is and the man he has the chance to become.  There is some sense in me that says if I just let him take what comes to him he will do crazy impressive things!  It is me who can limit this and in all honesty, I have to check myself on this more regularly…We have some pretty amazing kids.

This trip was great.  15 miles.  1 on Friday night at 10:30.  10-11 on Saturday and 3-4 on Sunday.  We tented the first night and we slept in the Wayah Shelter with a guy who was going north over the winter.  He’ll have to get his stuff together a bit more than he had it to make it.  Oddly, he was the first hiker I’ve ever seen hiking with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder.  Crazy innovative or just crazy?  Not sure it would have met the Blue Duck or Ironweed test.

I hope we can continue this for years to come – it is an amazing time spent with some of my favorite things:  my Dad, my son (and eventually one days Sons and Daughter) and nature.  Pretty good life we all have.  Thanks Pops (and Mom)!

Click here for a slideshow of the hike.

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Halloween – Puns, Heroes, Zombies and Skeletons

 

Writing this post in an OTC medication haze filled with determination to kick this head/chest cold without the use of a doctor or prescription antibiotics – I bring to you our Halloween 2013. Our 11th with kids (yes, I'm counting the first one where we were locked up I our home obsessed with intercepting the looters, uh, trick or treaters, before they rang the dreaded doorbell and woke our precious 6 week old Will. I remember saying words like “I can't believe how late these kids come to the door!” at like 7:15pm and “what makes this holiday such a great big deal, anyways.” While I get a holiday doling out door-to-door candy IS A BIG FREAKING DEAL I'm still slightly amazed at how big of a “holiday” it is for them. Genius is the school district that schedules a teacher planning day for the day after (take a note York County Schools). My youngest carried a costume catalog around with him for most of October – browsing actually became a desired way to pass time. It was not until about halfway through the month of October that we noticed the suggestive clothing many of the models in said costume catalog and promptly called in the scissor censors to G-rate this magazine. The trials of the third child, right? Had it been Will and maybe even for Stewart we would have sent letters off to the publisher and started a Neighbors for Less Sexually Suggestive Costume Catalogs (NLSSCC) campaign. Really though, do we need a provocative Pokeman mistress outfit in our world?

Digression over, back to Halloween. A proud moment for Cindy and me when our oldest looked up creative costumes on the internet (with us closely supervising after the catalog incident) and determined he wanted to be a pun. He wore a blue shirt with the iron-on letters: GO CEILINGS! on the front and BEAT FLOOR! on the back. He carried a homemade pennant to match. Super-clever, however, I think he was a bit peeved by the end of the Halloween evening – he spent a lot of time answering the question “so what are you young man? while the cute mimes he walked with were fawned over (they were pretty good mimes). Thankfully his good friend Charlie (no relation) proved a trusty sidekick with an repeated explanation of Will's outfit. No solo pictures of Will (3-child camera fail) but you can see him in the back of this group shot.

Stewart came up with her costume in August and spent most of the time up until the big day adding to it. It went from Zombie to Zombie Princess and was pretty darn authentic. True to form she disappeared with a few friends and their Moms almost immediately after she realized the pre-trick-or-treating food and sugary drinks were being policed for those wanting seconds, thirds…we saw her a few times throughout the evening with gobs of candy shoved in her mouth. So much for checking it all when we got home. Also true to form, she went to bed first with a case of the “sugar belly” – this is a common diagnosis for Stewart when she has more sugar than her tummy can handle. She's slowly realizing that there's a limit on sugar intake. She may have a sugar problem.

Charlie, as Kai, a character from a show we claim is off the air (too much fighting), tackled the “big guy” house loop carrying his own bag the entire way this year. I did notice towards the end that he'd wait on the sidewalk rather than go to the door and make his loot bag even heavier. Smart dude. Sympathetic to his cause while also considering the loot limit this was putting on candy enjoyment for me, I graciously offered to hold his heaviest candy items in my pockets (and belly). Kai is this guy in case you are wondering:

He's fierce or at least so says Charlie.
 

One of the things that set this Halloween apart was that nearly every parent dressed up as something too. The best was our neighbor Bryan who went as a caddy for his youngest daughter. Simply a great costume.

Cindy and I came in as best themed dressed up married couple and possibly the only themed dressed up couple at the pre-Halloween Spectacular. By the way, in this reference, 'Pre-Halloween Spectacular' is an event where we order double the pizza required and fill kids and adults with them plus chips, dips, beverages, cookies and brownies. God bless 'Merica.

 

Last bit on Halloween. Our neighbors up the street came up with a genius idea to pose 2-3 full-size skeletons doing cool and funny things. Everyone in the neighborhood (except maybe their immediate neighbors – traffic woes) looked forward to their next scene. Camping skeletons, football watching skeletons (with a flat screen TV tuned to a game), fire fighting skeletons, and the list goes on. We all loved it!

 

Well, back to the Sudafed, Benedryl-induced stupor for me. I'm starting to realize at the age of 40 that I a) am a big baby when I'm sick, b) don't believe in colds – sick or well, no in between, c) need a little mothering when I'm down and out and d) can't stand sitting, laying, sleeping for the time it takes to get well. I'd also like to know what to do to prevent this head, sinus, chest crap from catching me every 8-10 months. Any docs in the house? Needless to say, I'm also quite grateful for Netflix. I series-binged my way through “Orange is the New Black.”

Thought it was a comedy, but not so much. It does have some pretty darn good writing, is based on a true story and does hold a candle to the other Nextflix series that I liked a ton: “House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey. Neither is for the faint of heart or faint of foul language as, like HBO, Netflix likes to remind the competing networks that which they cannot compete with – the F-word in bulk. Still, pretty decent series.

Here's a link to the slideshow. Happy Halloween!