Why Being a Dad in America is so Great

That's not a direct quote but... After watching +I am Second's video on +A&E's #DuckDynasty Phil Robertson I am convinced that they would rather see you do something for Jesus than spend $20 on their latest DVD. I honestly believe that they would rather you take that $25 you were going to spend on a Ms. Kay Bobble-head and go buy someone a Bible, or lunch, or both.

Their boy, Reed, I believe, said "...the folks at A&E wanted [them] to make a fuss and fight, etc. but that's not how [they] are." No, I'd say not. I can tell you that I'm not a "reality show" kind of guy. For the longest time I scoffed at the guys at work and generally avoided conversations about the show but, after hearing about the Robertsons' staunch faith and the "stink" that arose after they WEREN'T fighters and so dramatic on-air I caught the next show. Since then, I've skipped everything but +Alabama Crimson Tide football to catch an episode. I think I'm finally caught up and since I've got a little extra coin in my pocket I went ahead and got my wife the Ms. Kay bobble-head to stick on her dashboard. You can never have too many Ms. Kays.

Now, go buy a DVD or T-Shirt. If you've got some coin, buy a duck-call or something. Anything to support the Kingdom of God because I believe that these people are doing it. Also, take time to check out IamSecond.com and see what they're about. Believe it or don't, you're not the only Christian on the planet even though it may feel like it sometimes.

#Phil #Robertson #AETV #DuckCommander #IamSecond
Waffle House on UrbanspoonWhile my wife and I were out for a post-Thanksgiving feast at the local +Waffle House something caught my eye. If we didn't like it so much, we would've run out the door! Yes, that black speck in the photo to the right ------------------> is a palmetto bug. Also known as A FRIGGIN' COCKROACH By the time I'd spotted him it was too late. He was quick, too! The amusing part is that while I was trying to get a photo the waitresses kept walking by so they thought I was getting a shot of them. They are sooo not photo worthy.

As far as the food, delicious as always! I'm always down for some breakfast food but I'd rather not eat WITH the roaches.

#WaffleHouse #Breakfast
The folks over at Empower Fitness were kind enough to believe in our idea that our opinion matters, along with about a million others. I let my wife take this one since it turned out to be a little small for my style, perfect for the ladies, though. My wife is an experienced "gym-rat" having been drug to just about everywhere I go and knows her way around a kettlebell or two.

After receiving the 3-n-1 adjustable weight kettlebell I quickly realized that for $40 you can't beat what you get in the box, even for scrap-weight. After a quick rummage I found the complete and thorough instructions, a video (which was a pleasant surprise), and a fairly well-made kettlebell which has since been subject to much more than the video could entail.
If you're new to fitness then I would strongly recommend starting with something more "manage-able" like the 3-n-1 kettlebell. Give your body some time to adjust to the movements and the new aches and pains you WILL feel with any new regimen. It's also nice to be able to utilize ONE implement for so many workouts. Even a quick Google search for "kettlebell workouts" will render you some above and beyond circuits.
For the experienced gym-goer you can appreciate the simplicity of the kettlebell and the variety this instrument offers. From a simple stretching or warm-up tool to an addition to your routine, this kettlebell finds a place anywhere for any-person at all levels.
That may sound like a lot of fluff but listen to me... after four children, four natural child-births, and three babies over 10-lbs I know what our bodies go through and I can appreciate the value of anything that is well-made and practical. I've been 150 lbs, I've been 230 lbs, and everywhere in between on more than one occasion. There are no "miracle" diets, workouts, gyms, or surgeries to keep you in shape but this ancient piece of iron is simply my "go-to" for a quick workout or detailed routine.
The included video is excellent for beginners and gym-veterans alike and for $40 you can't beat the value. Slide it under a coffee table, in a drawer, or hide it behind a chair, its easy-access-workout can't be beat! Thank you so much to Empower Fitness for entrusting me with this opportunity and I'll close with this... Ladies, even if money is no object and you had to purchase one piece of "workout" equipment, this would be it. Not a treadmill or ab-lounger, the kettlebell. It's compact, diverse, functional, and practical! Be Empowered!!!
So there you have it, my wife's honest opinion. To tell you the truth I was expecting something much more scathing, especially since we're so hell-bent on breaking things to get our point across. Try as we might, this product stood the test. Well done Empower!

#kettlebellfitness #kettlebell #Empower #EmpowerFitness

+Military Spouse magazine ran an article a little while back titled My husband cheated, and our marriage is better than ever! I'm not sure what the service member/subject of this article "does" but I can assure you that as often as he deploys he doesn't seem to have enough to do; also known as "too much time on his hands". I know that MY deployments were 14-16 hour work-days that I had to fit sleep, PT, and eating into the remaining 8-10 hours. Not enough time to find four separate opportunities to cheat on my spouse!

The article starts out with a statement about the anonymous author being "...very brave to share this story and believes it can help others." As much as I wish these things didn't happen, they do, to a nearly un-reportable rate. I say "un-reportable" because not enough people would admit to such an act reliably enough to make it "fact", anonymously or otherwise. That being said, let's just talk about the act and not the author or why things like this happen.

One thing that keeps our family "Fireproof" during deployments is adequate scheduling. Some people thrive on them and others don't know that they need one. Once I arrive in country, I sleep as soon as possible and set my alarm for the schedule I'm given. I go from there... 6-7 hours of sleep, at least an hour for gym, 30 minutes to shower and change for my job, grab food on the way to my post, done! I contact my wife as soon as feasibly possible and we set up a schedule that works to chat, video or otherwise. Let's be honest, technology is so advanced that you can at least email often enough to keep your interest.

In the case of the anonymous author there was more going on than just infidelity. There are indicators, triggers, identifiers that should have been spotted long before the first act of indiscretion! It is never okay to "cheat" on your spouse, period. The fact that this spouse tolerated it and still accepts the behavior is astronomical! The husband doesn't love you! It's clear to everyone but you! If he says "I love you" and punches you in the face, how does that demonstrate love? "I made a mistake, I'm sorry", and you forgive him. He does it again, pulls back and cold-cocks you right in the face, BOOM! But he still loves you, right? Your reaction is to start finding reasons to excuse his behavior because you love him but it's not being reciprocated. According to the article this "punch in the face" happens two more times and the marriage is "better than ever"??!?

I use getting punched in the face as an example because it is a willful act. It involves the person cognitively triggering the motor-neurons to ball their hand into a fist and project it at an accelerated rate towards the other person's body... As intentional as infidelity. Sure, kids run around the back yard and play-fight and hurt one-another but we're talking about adults making clear choices based on "feelings"; bad ones at that. Let me repeatedly punch you in the face and after the first one see if you still stand there and take the next one so willingly just because "I'm sorry"; much less the next three.

I hope that this couple has sought counseling and this is an old story. Otherwise, it is my professional opinion that you take your family, your dignity, and whatever's left of your pride and leave. I can tell you from experience, not mine but co-workers, that more often than not it is the spouse at home, male OR female, that finds time to cheat. I recently saw a Google+ post about someone ranting that military marriages were no different from civilian ones. I countered that they absolutely were because they require a commitment on both parties to the military member's duty to Country. A spouse that says "I do" is saying that they will stand beside and support them in the worst possible scenarios. Infidelity, however, is very different from losing limbs to an IED attack. It can be counseled but should never be accepted, much less tolerated.

Deployments are hot-beds of opportunity for infidelity. As a fledgling (that means I don't have my Ph.D. yet) Psychologist and Marriage & Family Counselor, as well as an often deployed enlisted-military member, I believe I can speak some truth to this issue. First of all, deployments are a part of life in the military. I'm not talking about going out of town for a few days or a weekend; this is leaving the country to perform your war-time duty in another country entirely. This takes preparation across four "pillars": emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual and are the responsibility of both parties.

  • Emotional preparation means being as prepared as possible to endure the hardships of mental and physical separation caused by the deployment. The military, in general, has made spectacular efforts in re-vamping and implementing programs to include dependent care, specifically for deployed spouses and those left at home.
  • Being ready physically means sufficiently preparing yourself for the absence of the other. For example, if you have four children, like my family does, maybe you shouldn't schedule a knee surgery a week after the deployment. With no-one to help you carry groceries and children up stairs, this would be a perfect example of poor decision making. It also means that if you're not used to carrying two babies on your hip, perhaps you should hit the gym?
  • Mental preparation is the hardest because it takes a belief in a system that is not tangible. It is the belief that you ARE prepared emotionally and this deployment is like the rest: uneventful and stress-free. When that perceived reality breaks down because of injuries or learning of an infidelity while deployed, on either person's behalf, then the dominoes start to fall. Mental health dictates emotional health which is stabilized by physical health.
  • Finally, spiritual health requires a belief in something. Whether Christian or not, it requires a belief in something greater than yourself that you can either turn to or blame. Mark Twain once said that religion is the greatest pacifier of society. The spiritual pillar is the strongest one and usually the last one left standing after the emotional, physical, and mental pillars fall.
If you adequately prepare, and it is completely possible to do so (my family's done it several times), then your house should be firmly standing on the four pillars after a deployment. It may be shaken a little by things but standing nonetheless. That being said, let's look at some data.

Among military members, in fiscal year (FY) 2005, 52.9% of our military force is married. As of the Pentagon's 2013 release, 3.5% of military members divorced in 2012. Civilian marriage rates per thousand are 6.8% and divorce is 3.6%. Again, these numbers are per 1,000, and only 44 states tracking/reporting data. We can say that the military's divorce rate is comparable to their civilian counterparts. It's arguably agreeable then that with these number being so close, the cause for dissolution among military members isn't necessarily influenced solely by deployments or service commitments. Now that we've eliminated military commitments what about civilian factors like "plain old infidelity"? Or just dissolution, a.k.a. "I don't love you anymore"? Well, that's for another time...

As far as this article is concerned, I've heard better ideas from Lieutenants fresh out of school than to tolerate such unacceptable behavior in a marriage. There are so many positive things that could have come from this article; how she developed personally or spiritually from the events, how she overcame her insecurity that fueled his infidelity, the paths she took to convince him to seek counseling, or how becoming a single-mother isn't a dredge on society. Instead the magazine went with this article, disappointing to be sure.

#milspouse #militaryspouse #cheating #infidelity #militarymarriage
Tropical Smoothie Cafe on UrbanspoonThis was my first time at #TropicalSmoothieCafe but I had two meals and almost got a brain-freeze on the smoothies! The flat breads were amazing and the rest of the guys had wraps. The only complaint was that they weren't "big" enough. Then again, I typically eat like a horse and everyone at the table consumes at least 3-thousand calories a day (we're 'meat-heads').

The cafe was clean, they bring the warm food to your table, and still offer a military discount without having to ask. The only thing I don't like, and I've noticed a few businesses have taken to it, is being called by my first name for my order. Especially if the kids working there are hardly 18. I'm not your friend and you're not here to help. Take my order, shut your face, make my sandwich. Let's not lead each other on like we "really care" about one another.

Other than my own opinions though, this place was delicious, a little pricey, but in comparison to +Moe's Southwest Grill next door it's much cheaper. Stop by, eat up, get out!!

I was fortunate enough to be one of many recipients to see a special pre-screening of the movie +Lone Survivor starring #MarkWahlberg recently and wanted to share this with you... First of all, a huge thanks to +Universal Studios Entertainment and Film 44 for sponsoring the military community for this screening. It was very generous of them and one of the most sincere gestures I've been witness to as of late. The producer was on-hand to explain why this event was so important to him after six-years of production. If you're not familiar with OPERATION Red Wings then you may recognize the name Michael Murphy. He was a +U.S. Navy SEAL and +CrossFit® followers may be more familiar with the workout "Murph". In either case you can see his Medal of Honor Citation here.

After reading those you'll already know how it "ends", and obviously, the title of the movie gives it away. However, it is important to remember that for a Medal of Honor to be awarded there must be at least one eye-witness that initiates the award; hence, the #LoneSurvivor. I love a good movie and I appreciate true stories even more! This movie was a welcome change to the films currently in theaters. The producer stated that the film took so long to produce (6 years) because "[they] wanted to make sure they got everything right and honored those that died" as well as "show[ing] the proper respects to the men that still operate" in these environments. Without having been there I would say that they nailed it.

Prior to seeing this movie the only "war-scene" that came close to demonstrating the chaos and turmoil of direct contact was Saving Private Ryan and the opening D-Day landing scene. I was so immersed in the footage that I actually ducked and jerked as I watched the events unfold. There is plenty you can review before seeing the film and afterwards conclude that they got practically every detail right. The terrain, the events, the actions of the SEAL team, everything... There's also a book by Michael Murphy's father, Seal of Honor and is available from Amazon. Of course, my copy is autographed "3-2-1, Go!!" by his dad... kind of a big deal, but anyway.

This movie paints as accurate a portrayal of courage under fire that has ever been depicted. So often the word "hero" is used to describe anyone, and sometimes anything, from a boy saving a cat in a tree to a bystander that broke a car window to save a dog. While these are nice gestures, the real heroes are the men and women that wake up everyday and defend freedom wherever it is threatened. If it weren't for Marcus Luttrell's tenacity and dedication to these basics tenants of freedom then America would cease to exist, terror would run wild, and we wouldn't enjoy the freedoms we have today. 

Unfortunately for YOU this movie doesn't come out until December 27 but I'll be standing in line for this one. Set your +Fandango Fan-Alert for this one and while you wait, go read the book or watch this interview with Marcus about a million times. See www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org 

#LoneSurvivor #MarkWahlberg #SEAL
I needed to purchase more uniform items and found myself in the individual T-shirt section of my clothing sales. This, of course, is opposed to the six-pack of sand-tees for $10 that litter the shelves. I found myself among the
<------- Duke-brand Dri-Fit shirts for $12 and the +Under Armour heat gear tactical short sleeve shirt for $22... ---------->
What's a boy to do?

I can tell you this, I don't regret spending the money. Typically I'm a tightwad and will buy a dozen of the cheap shirts and replace them every month as opposed to buying the more expensive "better" product once in a blue-moon. In this case, #UnderArmour was the clear winner.

Below is a copy of the review I sent to UA:
In the past 17 years of service I've had many jobs, most recently an Aircraft Mechanic (dirty, just plain dirty). There have been many days that I leave work after 12-16 hour-long days covered in sweat, grease, hydraulic fluid, sealant, and engine oil. It is convenient that our standard uniform items, specifically our t-shirts, come in a 6-pack for less than $10. After a few weeks of the kind of abuse I briefly shared above they meet the garbage can. If nothing else, they hold sweat and odor, the color bleaches out, and they stretch and fade. While this is typical of most cotton products my co-workers and I are a little harder than most on our clothes.
Over the past three weeks I've put your Tactical Shirt through my own set of testing. Unfortunately, I represent only a small constituent of maintainers that also include Hydraulic, Engine shop, Electrical, and Environmental specialists. However, each of us "wear" our clothing differently. In the little time I had I did the following:
- Wore my shirt for 3 days without washing (I live in Florida and it is 86 deg today)- Hung various items or clipped them to the shirt (we always have to wear our credentials on the flightline)- Performed routine maintenance (the difference between 'routine' and 'heavy' is the amount of time it takes to complete a task)
In each of these "tests" the shirt performed remarkably and recovered with no signs of wear. During the "wear test" I sweat profusely (I know, it's gross, but necessary in the name of science!), rolled the shirt up with my gym clothes at the end of the day, and wore it again the next day. This was the most revealing test to me as the T-Shirt dried with no salt-stains and didn't have a horrible odor afterwards. It was a bit musty but no one around me could tell.. believe me, I asked. During the "hanging test" I had my credentials clipped to my shirt with a gator-clip that typically pulls the fabric and even leaves rust stains. I carried my glasses by the collar which also stretches the fabric. In both cases the shirt re-shaped the next day and any stains from the clip washed out like magic! The collar also held its shape day after day prior to washing. Finally, I inspected jets, crawled around landing gear, and lubricated flight controls and got what I would call "moderately-dirty". I didn't have grease stains on me but I did have brake dust, light hydraulic fluid stains, and some evidence of sealant on me. Trust me, I've worked harder but the past few weeks didn't present that opportunity. In the end everything washed out of the shirt and you couldn't tell it was dirty. Again, this was after three days of wear so some of the stains were older than others. Ultimately I am overjoyed with this product! I also got regular "What kind of shirt is that? That's nice!" comments from several co-workers throughout the weeks.
Yup, that's real, folks. Maybe a bit disgusting but real. It was all in the name of science. I recently received several discount coupons to purchase more UA gear and there is a banner on this site for 10% to all military personnel 24/7. Overall I am very satisfied with this product and look forward to purchasing more. If nothing else I'll look nice!

#UA #duke #tshirt #HonestReviews
So I was thinking that a "Dad Olympics" might be fun. The events could include:
  • Tying a tie
    • Or a bowtie, yikes!
  • Fixing a broken toy
    • Not just a +LEGO item, but their favorite toy.
  • Finding +ESPN on ANY cable provider
    • +NCAA Football and +NFL games run on different networks. Can you beat the kickoff whistle or will you be watching replays?
  • How much concrete/lumber/or nails do you need for a project?
    • Math... grrr. Well, this playground ain't gonna build itself. Thanks a lot +Home Depot.
  • Selecting the best lure/bait for a particular fish given atmospheric conditions and water temperature.
    • If you read +Bassmaster magazine this should be no problem.
  • Selecting the best golf club for a given hole provided yardage and green-speed... Then make the putt.
    • This is the most difficult and could be a gold-medal event.
  • First-Aid. You don't have to be the +American Red Cross but, come on, you're the dad!
    • Removing a bee's stinger and finding where you, or mommy, put the cleaning wipes and band-aids.
    • An alternate event for this could be finding a straw and "sucking it up!".
    • Yet another event could be first-aid for your daughter. How to keep from sobbing yourself when your little girl is hurt and crying uncontrollably.

It sounds kind of silly, maybe even fun, but what are you passing on to your children? "Typically" dads are the masculine, grass-cutting, oil-changers of the family. Are you teaching your children? Even if you don't have any boys and a house-full of four daughters (I know a guy like that) do they know how they should be cared for or to care for themselves? It may sound a bit chauvinistic but it's my opinion and I'm entitled to it. I know of driving-age girls that don't know what to do when their car dies on the interstate. It's a scary experience so what are you teaching them? Boys, too, but typically girls are a bit more sensitive about being stranded.

My sons wear zip-up ties for now and often see me tying a bow-tie on with ease. I shave with a straight razor and sometimes I share the soapy-froth of my badger-haired applicator brush and "shave" my boys' face (sans razor). I regularly include, or exclude for safety reasons, every member of the family when it's time to build something. If nothing else, the children stand a safe distance away from the table saw while I cut a new bird house; each child wearing his and her-own safety glasses and ear protection. My oldest two love golf and are so much better than me at it that I don't take but one of them with me at a time. At least it gives me a chance. With four children we've had plenty of experience to treat a myriad of injuries from a broken leg on a trampoline (pretty incredible), to splitting heads open because she wanted to see if she could see with her eyes closed (it made more sense to her), and plenty of bumps and bruises that they give one another. Side note... one of my favorite sites, from which the image at right came from, is +Art of Manliness. I encourage you to check it out.

I'm not saying that I'm gold-medal material but I'd certainly be making a run for the podium! Unfortunately, our children are always learning which means that all the times we make snide comments about a neighbor, speak poorly about our spouse under our breath or to their face, and exhibit generally "bad" behavior, our children soak up every moment of it. Remember, their ears haven't been damaged by loud music and industrial noise yet and they hear every word we say... sometimes what we think, too. 

Oh! That reminded me of something funny my wife said last night. 
"Andy Warhol poops on a canvas and we call it art."
"If you poop in your pants it's called a fart."
I corrected her and reminded her it's called a "shart". After a quick Wiki... well, do your own fact-checking.

Fortunately the kids were already in bed asleep so we enjoyed that moment almost to tears in laughter. But there again, it was a "safe zone" in which we could talk to one another like adults and share a crude moment without the chastisement of our children's eyes. Even they have gotten to the point where they are beginning to correct one another and us when they see or hear something inappropriate. Good on them!

This should all be Fatherhood-101 stuff but how do other dynamics affect it? What about single-parent families that don't have a feminine counterpart to provide the protagonist/antagonist? What about military families that may act as single-parent units for many months out of the year? How does death or long-term illness affect the sender-receiver relationship? I'll tell you, only because it's a shorter topic, that military life is a very tumultuous experience for a child and the younger they are the worse it is. The physical and emotional attachments are harder to solidify and nearly impossible depending on the sex of the child and emotional state of the returning member. The long-term effects can be explained like this: Look at any imaginable outcome and take a magnifying glass to it. It doesn't "fix itself" and you can't ignore the problem. This is where organizations, like the +National Fatherhood Initiative that has a host of resources for first-time and veteran dads, are a god-send.

I know it's not +FATHERS DAY but enjoy the free advice. There's plenty more where that came from! You don't get a second chance at this folks. Do it right and Never Quit!

#fatherhood #manliness #fatherhood101 #dad #beingadad #dadolympics
While the result or act of war is not always "good", there are some good things that come out of it:

 Some of my favorite "art", for example.
(Courtesy of YANK magazine)

The feeling of Patriotism and it seemed that "everyone" pitched in. (This is Audie Murphy, for those of you that don't know)

Did I mention art? And some pretty swanky hairdos.

Nose Art attached to some pretty amazing aircraft.

Women in the workforce.

Actually, this might not have worked as well as we had planned. I can only imagine that the first sexual harassment incident came shortly after this.

And finally, a legacy of honor.

While war is not always avoidable, +Sun Tzu Said....."war is of the utmost importance to the state." It stimulates patriotism, revitalizes industry, and inculcates the people with the importance of "winning"; not the Charlie Sheen version though. On this +Veterans Day we remember all of our brave men and women, past and present, who stand between the innocent and the oppressed and stand up for the global right of those who are not able to defend themselves.

Buy someone lunch, shake someone's hand, and buy a poppy from your local +Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

#vfw #noseart #pinup #yank
You would have thought I hung the moon! And if you didn't know... I did! On a trip to +Best Buy today I got to see all the new +Samsung USA Televisions and boy-howdy was that tough! Like letting a girl choose chocolate; you'll be there all day! Anyway, As I was extracted from the TV department much like an American POW we skirted the perimeter of the store where I found the Clearance Section. Come on, guys, help me out here... this is the full-price-for-the-poor-man Mecca!

Naturally, after spending at least 30 minutes talking about the new +Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with the Samsung folks and almost an hour looking at TVs, no one on my 6-man firing team wanted to watch daddy wander another section of ANY store. Honestly, I wish I had a picture of it.
Kids - "Where's Daddy going?"
Mom - UGH! "Come on, daddy's lost in the clearance section, again."
Me - "I'm not lost. Look! Bargains!"

I can tell you that I was disappointed that it was nothing like +Bed Bath & Beyond's "Beyond" section but I came out the winner here. I picked up the +Oreck Corporation's newest bagless upright for $157 out the door. You can see here that it retails for almost $400 but since it didn't have a box, well, poor me. This review is kind of a big deal since we've gone through countless vacuums and haven't found one that DOES suck! (as opposed to doesn't, see what I did there?) And I know that mom's aren't the only ones doing the floors so I hope there are some men out there that can appreciate a product that is worth what you pay for it, even at full-price.

We got home and after a quick operational check this thing sailed around the living room and went from carpet to tile with ease. Here's the neat part; when transitioning from carpet to tile (and vice-versa) you typically have to stop, turn a dial or make other height-adjustments, resume vacuuming, and then chase all the little pieces around that the spinning brush sends under the stove or fridge. And let's be honest, you only REALLY get those dropped cheerios after they land on the transition piece to the carpet. Well, how about this little gem has a thumb button for the on/off AND the roller-brush. That's right, once you roll from carpet to tile, or anytime for that matter, you can thumb the little "roller" button and vacuum your carpet without beating it up if you like or roll straight into the kitchen without stopping. Yes, I am impressed.

We haven't gotten into the $600 +Dyson world yet because we're not millionaires! Come on! Seriously?! I wouldn't have bought this one if it wasn't $157 but I CAN tell you that it's worth the $400 retail price tag on it. I don't have $400 either but, hey, who's judging here? Another nice thing about this vac that is often duplicated by many other companies is the dirt release part of the bagless models. On other models we've purchased you had to reach down with your hand and un-latch the trap door on the bottom to empty it and get "yuck" on your hands in the mean time; or even when you close and latch it. This one, like it's Dyson counterpart, has a top-mounted handle and rear-mounted trap-door lever that also closes the door so you never have to bend down except to grab the handle to empty it. Another nice thing is the insane amount of cord! Holy mackerel! I've had to move to no less than three different outlets just to do the down stairs before but not with this baby!

Ergonomically this was an alright unit as well. I'm right at 6 foot 3 and I didn't have to stoop over to push this around. Speaking of its weight, it's noticeably lighter but not by much. But, since it is considerably easier to maneuver it feels lighter and won't have you cussing the architect that put your furniture in the wrong spot. Oh wait, that was you that wanted to get a three-piece couch with three-hundred cushions... never mind.

So what do we have:
  • I practically stole it from Best Buy.
    • Check those hidden corners of the store, look for ads
  • Seamless and literally non-stop transitioning from carpet to tile to carpet
    • Thumb button on/off for roller AND unit power
  • Emptying the container
    • Quick release handle opens and closes trap door for a "clean getaway"
  • Power Cord length
    • Covered the entire down-stairs without re-plugging
  • Attachments
    • Hose-handle is ergonomic and releases for quick cleaning and easy re-attaching
  • Weight and Use
    • Comparable weight but considerably easier to use
    • Reportedly MUCH lighter than the Dyson
So the BAD news... If you check the reviews on the bottom of the Oreck site they have a common theme:

  • People with high-shedding pets complained about the cyclone "clogging" after multiple uses and having to manually empty.
    • To be fair, there are no follow up reviews of these people that purchased another vacuum to compare it to. 
  • Some complaints about the attachments not staying on.
    • I haven't had this problem and the "turn-and-click" attachments work fine for me
So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the honest. I hope you can purchase with confidence knowing that this product had been "TESTED".

#oreck #vacuum #dyson #bestbuy
A few months ago I had posted the last time someone in this house had lost a tooth and guess what, she lost another one! Last time her older sister was giving her a hard time about the tooth fairy not being real. If "last time's" letter wasn't enough check this one out...

Yes, I... er, the tooth fairy had a great time in fairy land and the only way that "she" could exist is if little people believe in "her." Unfortunately, I was laughing so hard that my wife had to field this one. If she wasn't such a wonderful artist she wouldn't have been able to squeeze out a poorly-scrawled image of something. However, even this simple task wouldn't have been possible if Ava hadn't have left four different colored crayons in the bag with the tooth and the note. Fortunately she didn't ask anymore questions like she did last time. +What Does the Tooth Fairy Do With Our Teeth?, etc...

She got away with $2 this time so she's up to $21 now. I think she's planning on buying a house by the time her molars come in.
Burger King on UrbanspoonI know that many people don't +Urbanspoon their +BURGER KING visit however, this one needed it. I walked in and needed to wash up since I had just left the gym and didn't want to handle what was expected to be a wonderful dinner, with nasty "gym-hands." After entering the restroom and treading across the shredded and strewn paper towels I
navigated my way to the sink. A few pumps of the soap dispenser revealed one of two things: either everyone is a hand-washing freak and used all the soap or no one is washing their hands and I'd better be VERY hungry.

Well, hungry I was and to the cashier I went. The order went well and the wait wasn't terrible but I should've left when there was as much food on the floor as their was on my tray. The neat trick they do now using the narrow fry "tray" is pretty neat, too. Instead of filling it up they take what looks like a medium and dump it on its side so the fries take up the tray. Well played BK.

Tell you what though, how 'bout if I never visit your store again. I figured my
nearly year-long absence was enough but, no... So long Fatty-King!

As Veteran's Day 2013 approaches I am most certainly grateful for the service of our fore-fathers as well as my own ancestors. Don't forget to get your poppies from your local +Veterans of Foreign Wars and listen to the stories of your remaining WW2 vets. As I was attending a function this weekend I was sitting next to an older man and we started to talk about our occupations.

He is a shorter man, but most people are shorter than me anyway, and he had a hobble to him supported by a cane that he had found in the park; it was a contractors wooden flag post since he had forgotten his at home. I asked him what the park we were at was used for during Florida's "winter" and he said they were expecting almost 200 rigs next week. "Rigs" are apparently the term for RV's and their occupants are "snow-birds"... silly me. Anyway, we began talking about how he and his wife of 45-years traveled the country after he retired until her passing and their vast RV-ing experience and his recommendations. By the way, he recommends a motor-home based on the fact that if it's raining outside you can simply back into your spot and setup later. Trailers would require you to get soaked just to setup. Again, a wealth of knowledge! After her passing he moved into the park and began work as a maintenance man there. Interesting story, but what did he retire from, you ask?

Yes, what DID he retire from? So, I asked! He was a "flyer". What did he fly? He was a gunner on the TBM Grumman. Taking into consideration his appearance, guess-timated age, flying status, and reluctance to discuss his prior occupation, I could tell this guy had something pretty-stinkin'-awesome about him. I accessed my brain's vast aviation knowledge and recalled the Grumman name and asked him when he flew. He said he was a gunner in the TBM, not TBF, Grumman during WW2. He participated in the D-Day invasion and after they liberated France his group was sent to the Pacific. He was at Iwo Jima when they bombed and shelled the island to soften it for the ensuing invasion force of Marines. Shortly after that his group got orders that they would be "heading up North" but they couldn't tell them where. Turns out he was on Okinawa shortly after we dropped "the bomb"s on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That was all... He didn't provide much more detail than that and as a budding psychologist I could tell the recollection of events was beginning to "shake" him. I asked him if his group was aware of the horrors of the Pacific or if they were so concerned with their own war that they had no idea of the atrocities. He said the DID know and many of them were immediately "affected". I could only imagine.

Stories like this and many more are passing at a rate of 600 per day. Make sure to shake a vet's hand whether you support "war" or not and remember that freedom is not a "right". It is fought for and defended by less than 1% of the population. You can show your respect for these warriors, past and present, by supporting the various organizations that represent them when they no longer can; especially our latest generation of Wounded Warriors that suffer long-lasting and even hidden wounds. Organizations such as  +Carry TheLoad, the +Veterans of Foreign Wars, The +American Legion, +USO+American Red Cross, and #WoundedWarriorProject, just to name a few, are outstanding supporters of our Veterans. When considering a list of charitable organizations to donate to you can check them out at +Charity Navigator who rates each organization and evaluates their actual donor status.

This Veteran's Day there are several local businesses that will be demonstrating their unparalleled support by giving free meals and/or discounted services. A thorough list of these businesses can be found by clicking here. Other businesses that are supporting specific charities, such as +On The Border, have flyers that you will need to print out to receive credit.

#veteransday, #veteransday2013, #CarryTheLoad, #VFW, #RV, #snowbirds, #DDay, #IwoJima, #Marines, #USMC, #veterans, #USO, #AmericanRedCross

There I was, minding my own business when BAM! Russell from the movie UP is taking my order at +Taco Bell. Don't believe me?
<-----The Dude from Taco Bell
"Russell" from the movie UP ----->

Other than that... the kids had a great time and I love living in a "clean" neighborhood! As hard as I tried I couldn't get my wife to let my son #vader her. If you don't know what #vadering is then you're way behind.

Never you mind the fair-skinned Native American.... he'll do what he wants! 

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