Today was one of the most incredible days I have had in a long time. I was invited to play Quail Hollow Country Club and shot one of the lowest rounds of my life, caught one of every game fish in the Atlantic Ocean and took the kids snorkeling in crystal clear tropical water. And then my alarm went off. It is set to go off on weekdays only and I had forgotten because I‘m on “vacation”. I refused to get out of bed until I was forced to referee the 6:25 a.m. main event. Owen and Walker had dodged security, penetrated the tent and woke the girls by stepping on them. It got ugly in a hurry…
– Watching the slide show Jen made for me last year as a Father’s Day gift. It is one of my favorite gifts she has ever given me. The kids enjoy the music and seeing themselves on TV. It also makes them temporarily realize they do love each other. However, its impact starts to fizzle after the 17th loop.
– The trip to the Carolina Raptor Center and Latta Park
– A bologna and cheese sandwich. I can’t remember the last time I had one. I had forgotten how good they were once you power past the gag reflex or until you think about what is in it. According to one source “bologna is made out of the same as scrapple, the fat, brains, intestines, and other non used parts of a pig.”
– Playing in the rain
– Early bedtime
– Not having to do laundry yet. My goal for the week was three loads. It’s a stretch goal but I am feeling confident.
– The weather. I am over the “yeah, but we need the rain” commentary. Less than 9 months ago, Charlotte was almost out of water and death was imminent for all Charlotteans.
– No nap. The boys fell asleep 15 minutes from home on our return from the Raptor Center and never went back to sleep.
– Working on my presentation. I was in the cargo section of the SUV with the hatch opened so I could watch the kids play in near torrential rainfall.
Funniest thing of the day
When we were at Latta Park, the kids were testing my authority by disobeying my rule not to go in the water. The no swimming sign was equally useless. I started to get serious when they all accidentally got their shoes wet. After countless fairly weak attempts to enforce my rule, the kids up to their knees and me not willing to make a scene, I noticed a Police boat slowly idling our direction. I told the kids that they were coming because they were breaking the rules and they were going to get in big trouble. Of course, none of them believed me nor could they even tell it was a Police boat so they continued to disobey me. To my pleasant surprise, the boat never stopped. It idled all the way to the beach. I saw something funny about to unfold. Once the kids finally looked up to take notice of the beached boat they realized it was the law. They all walked on water to shore and continued to run all the way to the picnic table. I curiously asked why they came to shore and learned that one of the cops had to use the rest room. After a good laugh, I called the kids down to meet the officer and check out his boat and cool stuff. They approached with caution but eventually dropped their guard and had fun.
I knew the boys would not have any appreciation for the Raptor Center but I had promised the girls we would go. I made sure to arrive as soon as the gates opened so the crowd would be minimal. As expected, the boys sprinted from exhibit to exhibit. The girls wanted to know the name and story of each bird and take pictures so we took our time. We were the first and only car in the parking lot so I was not too concerned about the boys running ahead. They always came racing back to make visual contact and then would take off again. As we neared the end, I no longer heard them running and screaming and had a sudden, Oh sh_t moment. We picked up the pace, and as I ran around a corner I saw Owen face- to-face with a turkey vulture (similar to the one in the photo above). Of course, the bird was in its pen but Owen had gone underneath the ropes and had both hands on the metal wire structure. The bird was almost as big as him and only a few feet away and closing quickly. I ran, hurdled the rope and grabbed Owen’s arm and asked in a stern voice “what are you doing?” He took his standard defensive pose with his arms crossed and eyebrows scrunched and said, “I want to feed the bird.” That was my first trip to The Carolina Raptor Center and I would highly encourage anyone with kids 5 and over to go. It was really neat and very educational.