Thursday, July 31, 2014

In Boulder

I can't believe it, I finally made it out here and get to stop traveling for a couple days.  The drive wasn't too bad but I did have a hard time staying awake for the last couple hours.  There is only so many hours of podcast and music you can listen too before you are bored as hell and have a hard time staying awake.  The picture above is from behind my hotel and, in fact, the bridge is part of the Ironman course.  That is nice because if I need too I can get off the course and go into my hotel room and relax if I need too for a bit.  ;)

On The Way To Boulder!

Here I am on the long lonely road to Boulder, Colorado. Today is going to be a really long day of driving and, to be honest, I'm not really looking forward to it.  It's supposed to be around a 12 hour trip out there which means I won't be there until after 7:00pm tonight.  Sure be nice to get there to relax for a couple days before my big race on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I'm home and believe it or not I had no flight delays on the way home.  After the last few flights I've had I was certain that Delta was entirely incapable of getting me where I needed to go on-time.  In all the years I've traveled I've had only a couple delays and never been stuck anywhere over night and then two trips in a row, crazy.  I'm glad being I still have to pack for Ironman and get out the door early tomorrow I didn't need to be delayed by a day on the way back.  Now it's time to get my gear gathered up and get ready to head out to Boulder for my Ironman race.

Headed Home

After being in DC for a mere single day I'm back at the airport getting ready to head home.  My single day of meetings went well and I was able to get some networking in with the customer after hours so the trip ended up being worth it.  Now I get to spend the rest of the day in airports, get home around 6pm to get packed up to head to Ironman Boulder on Thursday.  This is shaping up to be one of the busiest weeks I've ever had.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Stuck In Detroit

For the second trip in a row Delta cancelled my flight and stranded me in a city I wasn't supposed to be in.  This time I ended up stranded in Detroit for the night along with nearly everyone else who was at the airport last night.  Severe storms came through which cancelled nearly every flight out of here and that is when the fun began.  With everyone cancelled at a major Delta hub, everyone was trying to rebook flights to get out of here to their destination.  Originally I was booked on a flight that arrived at 9:00pm tonight.  I managed to get booked on a flight that went through Cincinnati and will finally make it there at 6pm this afternoon.  The crappy part was the main reason I came was to attend a meeting today, which I won't make it too, and now I'm only going to be here for one day.  Hardly worth the effort considering I have Ironman this weekend in Boulder Colorado.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Crazy Busy Week Officially Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow officially starts a crazy busy week for me.  At 1pm tomorrow I just on a plane to head to Washington DC again for a couple days of work meetings.  I'm the chair of the FACE Consortium Graphics Subcommittee and I have to run my meetings for a couple days.  Normally I would leave on Sunday and fly back on Friday but this time I have to fly back on Wednesday because I have to be in Boulder, Colorado by Thursday evening.  The plane is to land in Cedar Rapids at 6pm Wednesday, get home, get the car loaded and then get a good nights sleep.  Thursday morning I'm up early to drive from Clarence to Boulder, Colorado.  Friday I'm up get checked into Ironman Boulder and then use the rest of the day to relax and rest.  Saturday I'm up to get my gear bags checked into transition along with my bike and then start "Gatorade Day" in preparation for my Ironman on Sunday.  Of course Sunday I'm up early go do my race, anywhere from 14-16 hours, finish and then get a good nights sleep.  Monday I'm up early back in the car and headed back on the 13 hour drive back to Clarence, Tuesday I'm back to work after a crazy busy week. To recap:

Sunday - Fly to Washington DC
Monday - Attend meetings
Tuesday - Attend meetings
Wednesday AM - Attend meetings
Wednesday PM - Fly to Cedar Rapids
Thursday - Drive from Clarence Iowa -> Boulder Colorado
Friday - Check Into Ironman Boulder
Saturday - Check Gear into transitions
Sunday - Ironman Boulder Raceday
Monday - Drive from Boulder Colorado -> Clarence Iowa
Tuesday - Back to Work

Wish me luck!

Pool Fun This Afternoon

Once we got home from the zoo and our awesome lunch/ice cream, it was time to finish the day with a nice dip in the pool.  I'm happy that I got the pool clean again and we can use it again.  It was nice to just relax and float around the pool a bit this afternoon before what is going to be another crazy busy week coming up.

Lunch At Lago's

For lunch we headed over to Davenport to Lagomarcino's Confectionery.  It's an old style soda foundation type place with sandwiches, fountain soda's and ice cream.  As an added bonus the also have a whole bunch of candy to choose from to take on the road.  The place was awesome and certainly something we are going to put on our list to come back to more often.  We decided after this trip that we really need to start coming to the Quad Cities on the weekend to run errands rather then Cedar Rapids.  Quad Cities has way more restaurants, stores are closer together and there are more things to do.  

Riding The Statues

It's hardly a trip without taking the opportunity to pose with the concrete statues.  Marshall saw the pig and immediately wanted to pose with it and then a little ways down the walk the boys saw the dinosaur so they both jumped on that one to pose.  Jen has a picture of me on one acting like a fool which she will probably post to Instagram.  

Family Trip To Niabi Zoo

After what was a really crazy week, we decided that it was time for a family fun day.  We weren't sure what we were going to do but then Jen had the idea of going to the zoo over in the Quad cities.  She came here with Clancey during the school year but it was somewhat ruined for Clancey because he was stuck with a bad kid who didn't want to look at any of the exhibits.  It is actually a pretty nice zoo considering how small it is we had a pretty good time.  As you can see above Clancey fed a giraffe while we were there, which was pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beaver Island 2014

Enjoying the New Deck

This evening I got home and decided I should use the new pool deck a bit while I cooked our supper on the grill. The is nothing as relaxing and sitting by the pool on your deck and looking at the water.  Especially when the pool is blue again and not green like it was just a couple days ago.

Big Backyard Project

Our big summer backyard project is underway for the year.  Last year we got the new pool at the very end of the summer.  This year it is a new deck for the pool and a pergola to sit under we watch the kids in the pool.  We also got an old cistern filled and our well filled.  Pretty excited to get our backyard oasis done so we can enjoy it some.  Once it's all done were thinking of having a pool party in our backyard for everyone!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kids Are Home

For the past few days, since Wednesday, the kids have been over to Mema and Papa's house.  Now while it is fun to have a bit of free time with just Jen and I we always miss the kids.  Jen and I drove down to Ames to meet Mema at Hickory Park for lunch and then head home with our boys.  The boys are going to be a bit mad at me though the pools is still pretty green and they aren't going to be able to swim.  Better find time to fix that today.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Camaro Out And Running

Today after I got up and helped Jen get plants dug up, I decided to get the Camaro out for the car show tonight.  I put the battery charger on it for a few hours to not success and was worried I would get it started but after my neighbor came over and help me put a new battery in it started right up. It was fun to get it out and drive it around today.

Pool Is a Green Disaster

Those of you who read the blog know that we were on vacation all last week and then this week I've been pretty busy.  Well being new to pool ownership I didn't realize how quickly pools can turn into completely green algae filled messes.  Apparently about a week and a half of no chlorine is what it takes.  I had this vision that the pool would be a bit out of balance and I would just need to put a few chemicals in and we would be rocking.  Nope that is not the case.  The pool is so green I can't see the bottom, it resembles a stagnant pond and I'm having my doubts that I will have it ready this week even.  I guess I just have to keep after it and hopefully it will turn blue and clear again someday.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


After waking up at 3am Central time this morning, walking in the dark to the dock, riding a ferry for two hours and then driving for nearly 11, we made it home.  While it is great to be on vacation it is nice to get home and relax in front of your own TV and sit in your own recliner.  We got the car unloaded and have decided at this point just to relax for the rest of the evening.  Probably going to go take a shower and head to bed early tonight.

Up Early To Head To The Mainland

Here it is 5am Eastern so technically 4am central and we are on the boat headed to the mainland. This week when way too fast and it's hard to believe we are headed back to home for another year. Next year I am seriously going to consider taking two weeks rather than just the one. It is so relaxing and really does let us slow our lives down for the time we are over here. Heck maybe with this whole working remotely thing we could do a month on the island and I could work everyday, probably not but it sure is fun to dream.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Last Day On The Island

Today is our last day on the island and given we are on a 5am ferry off the island tomorrow it is really our last day.  That being the case we spent out last day which technically was half a day, since we had to get the house cleaned up and car loaded, down at Iron Ore Bay.  It was a bit too chilly out to get in the water but the boys had a great time running up and down the beach and collecting rocks.  Once again the week seemed like it went way too fast and I'm not realTy looking forward to getting back to work next week.  I guess I only have two weeks at work until I jump on a plane to DC on a Sunday, go run my consortium meetings, fly back Wednesday night, jump in a car, driver to Boulder and do Ironman the following Sunday.  That is going to be a hellishly busy week for me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bike Ride To Donegal Bay

This afternoon after we had another late lunch we decided it was time for a lengthy bike ride over to Donegal Bay.  This time instead of a 20 mile trek we only have a 8 mil round trip which is a bike easier for the boys to handle.  

When we got there the first thing we did was climb to the top of the sand mountain and take some pictures.  While we were up there the bi-plane that flies around the island came by, flew really low and let out some smoke.  It was pretty cool to see the plane up that close and to get a picture of it too. Not everyday you see a bi-plane fly within 20 feet of the beach.  

 Once we were done on top of the big sand hill we headed down to the beach to see what was going on.  It was nice to be by the beach and have it be warm and no flies biting us.  Tomorrow when we head back down to Iron Ore Bay again I hope we get similar weather.

Golf With the Boys

This morning the the weather was finally good and the boys and I could make it out to play a round of golf.  Since it had been a while since I had golfed we needed to open the day up at the driving range, so we got a large bucket of balls and headed over.  We were all hitting the ball really well while we were at the range.  In fact with my new driver I was driving the ball past the end of the range on some of the shots.  The real question was whether or not I could maintain the swing for the actual course.
The boys and I piled in the cart and headed off to the course to see what we could do.  There was a foursome in front of us so we had to wait a bit to get started but we weren't in any hurry so it wasn't that big of deal.  My first drive from tee was a little right but stayed on the fairway and was pretty good for me.  I generally have a pretty bad slice and any day I can start without slicing the ball off the course tends to be a good day.  Got through the first two holes with the boys and I was really happy with the golf I was playing.

Hole number 3 is where the course starts to get a bit hard.  The first two are pretty easy, on two you have to hit over some stuff but it opens up to a wide fairway so as long as you hit it over the stuff you are generally good.  Hole number 3 is a very narrow hole.  if you are left or right any amount you are in the woods and likely lose your ball.  In the past I've always hit my 5 iron instead of my driver just because my accuracy is better with that club.  This time given how I hit my driver on the first two holes I thought it was time to open up with the "Boom Stick" and see what happens.  As you can see from the pictures above it went well.  A solid long drive right down the center of the fairway and right in play.  I had a legit birdie opportunity which I subsequently blew with a couple poor puts but still was happy overall.
All in all it was a fun day on the course with the boys.  They each took turns driving the cart and hitting from time to time while I golfed.  I'm happy we could get out and play a bit, it's always a good time and lets the boys and I hang out and talk.  If it's nice tomorrow again I may try to get out one more time before we have to head home.

Morning Coffee

This morning I got up and went to the center of the island in search of the "best" coffee on the island.  The other day I went up to the Dalwhinnie and got a coffee but found out that they make really, really weak coffee.  I'm never gotten a coffee that looks like tea, in my book coffee needs to be black in the cup.  Anyways Paradise Bay claimed to have the best coffee on the island so I headed over to give it a try.  I probably should have gotten a straight coffee instead of a Latte but figured if I was going to drive I should get something fancy rather then just a coffee.  The Latte was good but, I have to say, not as good a Starbucks, but certainly worth the trip if you need a coffee fix on the island.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Out On A Run

After we got back from our hike which turned out to be about 4.5 miles, I decided it was time for a run.  Vacation or not I do have an Ironman in 24 days and I probably should do a little something that resembles preparation for the race.  While I was out and about I saw this spectacular view by the boat docks and did my best to capture it.  I probably didn't do it justice but you get idea.  It's going to be hard when we have to leave the island in a couple days for another year.  One of these years I really want to come up here for two weeks.  Heck with being able to work remotely now maybe we could come up here for a whole month, that would be awesome!

Family Hike

After being somewhat thwarted the other day in our quest to get into the woods today we came prepared with bug spray and headed out for a family hike.  We went back to the trail where Marshall got attacked last year with the goal of making it to the end of the trail.
We headed out knowing that it was probably a couple miles to the end of the trail but we had two energetic young boys, Jen the "March Madness" VanOort and an Ironman.  The "March Madness" came from the fact Jen was walking like a crazy woman out to win a walking race.
About 3/4 of a mile in we found the sand "mountain" and the boys had to take the opportunity to run up and down it. Now of course they got to the bottom and both complained of sand in their shoes but that is just the deal when you climb sand mountains.

As you can see we pressed on to hike some more with sand in our shoes and miles to travel.  We got to a point on the trail where we were wondering if it went any further but we were determined to find the other side, plus we had been on the trail before and knew there was more out there if we just got passed the done grass.
Jen and the boys found a downed tree that they could walk up so I decided this was a perfect opportunity to take a picture with the GoPro.  I mean who doesn't need 400 pictures of a family hike through the woods.  Memory is cheap and the deleting pictures is easy so take them like they are infinite!
Finally we made it to the end of the trail to discover the beach and an absolutely wonderful view.  My picture here doesn't quite do it the justice that Jen's Instagram post did but it at least gives you the idea.  After walking around on the beach for a while and letting the boys pick up about 1000 new rocks that we have to take home we headed back.

As you can see the miles were starting to get to the boys and they were becoming a bit loopy at this point.  This is what you get when you turn the GoPro on and point it behind you, the boys ham it up for the camera!

Finally we made it back and had a good time.  The key every day is making sure we do enough that Marshall and Clancey don't complain that we didn't do anything that day.  Plus I always cheat a bit and just offer up ice cream.  Any day with ice cream is a good day to a kid!

Another Cold And Damp Morning

Find of the story of Beaver Island this week is cold and damp which has meant a lot more indoor time then we would like.  To be honest it's alright, it has given us plenty of time to read, relax and recharge our batteries.  It's pretty rare to see Jen ever just sit and relax and enjoy a good book and this week she has gotten through one already and has moved onto the next one.  The boys have played a lot of chess on their tablets and I have written some programs, played some games and done some reading. Been a good relaxing week so far.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Bike Ride and Daddy Frank's

After spending the afternoon napping we figured it was time to head out and get a little fresh air.  The quickest way to get the kids out the door is to mention Daddy Frank's.  It was a bit cool out but it wasn't too bad so after Daddy Frank's we headed out on a bike ride to the end of the bike trail, where I took the picture of Clancey.  Probably spend the rest of night getting warm under blankets and enjoying a good book.

Visit To the Marine Museum

Yesterday we were up at the lighthouse and Clancey was looking at some rocks and wanted to take some home but we realized no one really had any pockets to put it in.  We ended up hiding the rock under the bench up at the lighthouse and told Clancey we would go get it later in the week when we had pockets and or a car to get it.  Today Clancey remembered about the rock and wanted to walk up and get it.  Since the rain had stopped we figured it would be good to get out of the house for a bit.  On the way we saw the Marine Museum was open and decided to stop in and check it out again.  Not a whole lot has changed since last year but it was fun to check out. By the way we did end up getting up to the lighthouse to pick up Clancey's rock.  Just like every year we are going to be bringing back more rocks then the first moon mission. ;)