Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Road Trip: UTSA at UNT...

This certainly isn't timely - that's for sure.  Regardless, last weekend, my son and I took a road trip up to the friendly town of Denton so we could catch a really good football game in some really cold (cold to us) weather.
We left Natalia at about 5AM on Saturday and aside from a little bit of rain along the way, traffic was smooth and by about to 1030AM we were arriving in the visitors area of Apogee Stadium.  The stadium is at the intersection of I-35W and I-35E just north of Ft Worth.
My son bought us some tickets to the Alumni associate BBQ which happened to be set-up in a tent with two of those big propane heaters.  That was helpful, but still, it was chilly.  Catering by Dickie's.  Not bad at all, but it was funny that our potato salad was nearly frozen, and not by design.
After eating, we headed back out to the parking lot to join forces with the crowd of UTSA tailgaters who were prepping themselves for the game.  I don't think a lot of people grilled, but there was plenty of revelry and good cheer.   A family who sits in the row in front of us at the AlamoDome was there and they had invited us to hang out with them.  Nice folks.

As a side note, we walked across the street to the Exxon station to grab some beer so we wouldn't feel like freeloaders.  I grabbed a 12-pack of Dos XX's (XX, technically) and when the guy rang it up, it was $19.67.  I ended up grabbing some Miller Lite.  When we walked back to the tailgaters, I told my son that I felt like a cheapskate since a beer at the AlamoDome is $7.50 and here I was complaining about $20 for a 12-pack.  And considering we only drank a few of those beers, I probably did pay $7.50 each.  But you just know that any other day of the week, they are charging at least $5 less. 
Back at the party we saw some of the usual people.  This is me with the orange guy. 
Also, when the UTSA Athletic Director, Lynn Hickey came out to say howdy to the UTSA contingent, the crowd went wild.  This guy posing with her, Samir I think his name is, is always doing the UTSA chant at the home games.  He brought a big megaphone and even got Ms. Hickey to yell through it.  Good times.
As game time approached, we headed across the nice walkway built over I-35E. 

The new Apogee stadium is a beautiful facility, but as my son pointed out, it would be a great high school stadium.  Ouch!  It's true. 
I will say that the place is very nice and the bathrooms are first class.  Two problems though: No beer and no Doc Popcorn.
I must tell you that going in, we just assumed that we would lose and I think everyone hoped it would just be a close game.  UNT had been undefeated at home.  In the end, it was an incredibly exciting game and UTSA led the entire way.  Such a good time, in spite of the cold, cold temps.

When it was over, I appreciated the friendly demeanor of the losing home team.  One guy stopped me and said we played a great game.  I think I caught him off guard when I high-fived him, so he cheerfully responded that they couldn't wait for next year to kick our ass!
After the game, we checked into our hotel in Denton, then headed out to a place called the Mellow Mushroom.  There was quite a wait (about 3o minutes or so) but the pizza was good.  Nothing to write a blog about.
What I did like was their use of bottle caps to decorate.
We got an early start back to San Antonio, and and after a short stop in the town of West for kolaches and to say howdy to our friend JackieSue (You know her as YellowDog Granny), we were back home in time for a big lunch of carne guisada that Eva had made for us. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We made the USAA Tribute!

On Wednesday evening, USAA had a tribute to veterans during the San Antonio Spurs game and we were lucky enough to have one of our pictures included (at 00:22).  Our family friend and Super Spurs Fan, Celeste was also featured as the AF officer wearing the Tony Parker jersey under her service dress uniform. (1:34).

Thanks USAA and San Antonio Spurs for including us.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So, I'm Old...

This last week I hit the big 5-0.  My mom came out for a surprise visit to celebrate and during the week, we had a good time.  I even took a few days off from work which gave us several opportunities to eat out. 

Turning fifty has been an interesting thing.  It isn't some number that I feared or even a milestone that made me think, I've definitely lived more years than I have years left, in fact, I suspect I could have said that at 40.  My oldest brother, Dennis called and said something along the lines of, Holy Shit! If you're 50, that makes me really old!  I said, Imagine how Mom feels
Waiting for Eufflexia injections.
Fifty has brought on some issues like my really jacked up knees, but I'm sure that is less age related than just being out of shape.  A lot of people decide at age 50 (or 60) that they want to run a marathon.  Enjoy yourself; I won't be doing that. 

The interesting thing about turning 50 is that somehow or another, they find you.  And I don't mean Big Brother.
It was like clockwork - AARP knew exactly when I was born and wants to get me on their rolls as soon as possible.  Any thoughts?  Is it worth the effort?
This is my daughter, Roxanne, reading a list of things about me.  She's a good sport. 
And this is what it looks like when I hold squirmy little kids waiting for cake. Isabella on my right, and Mya The Bee, gesticulating wildly on my left.

In different news...
Eva found my deer camera.
We saw this interesting scene in the small town of Devine.  Apparently, you don't have to go to Earl Schrieb's to get a discount paint job on your truck, you can just go by this little shop. Yes, that's a can of spray paint on a windy day.  Good luck.

The planning for our garage project has commenced in earnest.  The intent is to build sort of a media room / man cave / hang out area so we can watch movies and such on the projector we bought for outdoor movies.  While it has been fun the few times we've watched movies on the patio drive-in style, the reality is, in the summer it is too hot and in the winter, too windy.  The answer, waste a bunch of money on a different place to watch TV besides the living room. 
 In fairness, Eva's idea was to just empty the garage, pull up some lawn chairs and watch movies.  Total cost: The price of a shed.  But let's be honest; that just won't do. So, over the next however long it takes, this will be an ongoing project.

We walked around Home Depot for a little while on Friday to look at lighting.  I had this idea that I wanted to install the recessed can lights but upon further inspection, Eva has an interest in this sort of thing. 
 We could put up 2 of these on either side of the room and aim the spotlights as needed.  We'll see.  The other thing was, we know we want to build a bar so we started doing Google image searches for ideas.  And then, we saw bar designs with built in Kegerators.  Holy crap, we haven't even started and the budget is already busted.  There was an ad on Craig's List for a guy selling a bar, some signs and a Kegerator all for $300.  That would be a serious deal.  But he never e-mailed me back.  I'll keep looking because we really are too far away from even thinking about furnishings.  We haven't even put up sheet rock or decided on flooring.

What we do know is that we do want to build a riser so we can have two rows of seating.  We also know that we want a bar with stools and we want to use a lot of the old signs and license plates we have to help decorate.  We also plan to finally have some shelves or displays for the coffee mugs, shot glasses and odds & ends I've collected over the years when I traveled for work.  As we continue to plan it out, I'll be searching the Internet for good ideas and good deals.

And maybe when I'm 51, we'll be finished.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The TuffShed Install...

After some excellent rain with no flooding in our area, we are experiencing a green yard, a crisp morning and by the time I post this, a beautiful sunrise to start November.  October and November are the best times of year in our part of Texas, because it doesn't get so cold that you'd need a parka or anything like that, but the sun calms down a bit and you don't have to hide inside with the safety of air conditioning during the day.
And so as Eva planned it probably a year ago, this was the time of year that we would install a new shed in the yard so we could move all of our junk from the garage.  Big plans for the garage.

We did quite a bit of research on sheds and tinkered with the idea of me just buying plans off the Internet and building one to having one brought in on a trailer and dropped into place.  We had also looked at the Tuff Shed display at the Home Show a few weeks back and I was pretty happy with the quality, but the price was a little up there for the size we need.  Finally, my neighbor told me that she got her Tuff Shed through Home Depot, so we went there to talk about it.  This guy, John at the service desk was very helpful but we weren't ready to pull the trigger just yet.

Within a few days, John called and gave us a quote that was well below what we expected with several options thrown in to lure me back.  The one we chose is a 10 X 12 on the steel floor frame.

Rather than upload a bunch of pictures of the install, I put together a short video showing it from start to finish.  I had always wondered just how they pre-build in the warehouse then install.  Turns out, they have the walls all made, have pencil marks where needed so very little on site measuring is required, and have almost everything pre-cut so very little wood is cut on site.  Once they level the floor, the shed is installed like a big puzzle.  In fact, they can have a single guy come out and install it.

Here is another secret I learned.  The Home Depot version of the Tuff Shed is built the same, but the materials are not the same.  What happens is, Tuff Shed uses Home Depot materials but it is built at the Tuff Shed facility using their methods and installed by Tuff Shed installers.  One of the guys told me that the same Tuff Shed design would cost more directly from Tuff Shed because they do use higher quality materials.  But he said, for his money, he would go the Home Depot route, so I felt a little better about it.

After the install it took us a full week to really move everything out of the garage and into the smaller shed, but the good news is, we donated a lot of gently used items (stuff Eva says qualifies me for an appearance on Hoarders) to the Devine Hospice Thrift Store.