Wander Over Yonder

There is something about life and the steady march forward that is, at times, depressing. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it for the past few years but I’ve felt it. The feeling that each step forward requires leaving something behind. Things that define me. Little intangible things that become faded memories. My hairline recedes while my waistline expands. It is hard to remind yourself that the past doesn’t exist and the traditions you left aren’t lingering just beyond view. They have moved on as well.

I have a few friends who have been a part of my story and life is doing its best to spread us far and wide. Our kids don’t know each other and given our histories, that seems criminal. I have some other friends that, honestly, I don’t know all of their kids’ names. I try to commit them to memory whenever I see them scroll by on Facebook. It is difficult at best. Until I say them out loud a few times, in person, I probably won’t remember. Nostalgia and a longing to keep connected wrestles with an impossible schedule. I can’t seem to carve out time to clean my garage to change the hard-to-reach light bulb in my stairwell. How can I expect to keep up friendships?

A couple of years ago I took a trip to California to be best man in my best friend’s wedding. It was a great trip and I met a lot of great people. Since that trip, my friend’s life has changed and his little girl is getting older. We tell everyone that we are brothers from another mother and my kids know him as an uncle that lives across the country.

One night I was texting with my friend and lamenting to my wife that I never got the chance to go hang out anymore. She was obviously bored with hearing about it and told me I could go visit. I quickly searched for tickets and lo-and-behold there were cheap ones. Like really cheap. I booked a trip leaving on a Thursday and returning the following Monday so I would have three unimpeded days of “hanging out”. Neither of us really considered the logistics but I was very excited to have a chance to see my friend and his young family.

I also learned that when you tell family that you are going on a weekend trip across the country by yourself, they have one of two reactions. 1) Is everything okay? You know… martially? And 2) Are you looking for a new job?

  • Yes… yes.
  • No

I just want to go do hoodrat stuff with my friends. Is that too much to ask? (A YouTube video reference)

The weekend that I selected was for the exact purpose that our calendar was absolutely clear. Nothing going on. Within one week of leaving the schedule started to fill. Severe storms threatened with tornados and flooding. Jane had a horse riding event to go to. Prima had her first overnight birthday party. Jungle Papaw was coming to visit. My sister from Florida was coming to visit. Plus Supermom does not deal with me leaving in a particularly pleasant manner.

I flew away with a storm brewing at home but I was still excited. The flight out was long. I started in Memphis. Flew to Tampa to change planes and fly to San Jose.


An alarm sounded and a cap came whizzing by on a Segway. 

I watched security transfer 10 Million dollars out of the belly of our plane. Bag after bag of cash came down the conveyor. I expected a shoot-out and explosions but it didn’t happen.


I managed to see all of the oceans of America in one day. The flight from Tampa was awesome. I sat next to a mother with a six month old baby who liked to breastfeed and fart every thirty minutes. When he wasn’t eating, he was drooling on my arm and kicking his legs while trying to make sounds. Cute kid but it made for a rough five hours.

I finally arrived in California and started the trip with a delicious In-And-Out double double. With fries. It was late so I went to bed. I had accommodations in the most comfortable bed I have enjoyed in a while. I didn’t even mind the Anna and Elsa pillows although I did feel guilty kicking Ms. K out of her room. The next day we went to Stanford to see the campus. We went to San Francisco and had an amazing sandwich. Went to The Ranch and played golf in the hills over-looking San Jose.


I lost about sixteen golf balls and got into some stinging nettle plants. That night we went to a craft beer brew house and ate burritos from a taco truck. I got to meet several really cool dads. Shout out to my new friend “Alejandro” and fellow member of the JMSC. (Stay strong) The next day we took a family trip down to Monterrey and looked at the ocean. It was beautiful but the beach was not a useful beach. Cold water, coarse sand, pieces of seaweed, and cold breeze off the ocean.


Later that afternoon I called Supermom to see how things were going on the home-front. She had just left a birthday party and was sitting at a traffic light when I heard a smashing sound and she said, “What the f&$%?!”

I could hear a wavering male voice in the background saying, “Don’t worry, don’t worry, I have insurance.”

Supermom said, “I’ll have to call you back. Someone just hit me.”

She hung up the phone and left me with a lot of questions. In about thirty seconds she called back in tears. “He ran away! I told him we needed a police report and he jumped in his truck and left! What an asshole!” I could hear people walking up and asking her if she was okay and offering their witness testimony of what happened. The man was driving a 2006 Toyota Tacoma, wearing a red hat, clean shaved white male in his mid-twenties, drunk, and a terrible person on the inside. If you see him, slap him.

The policeman arrived and according to procedure had to check Supermom’s information. We did not put the new insurance cards into the glovebox so she almost got a ticket. Luckily, the officer had a heart that was connected to a brain so he followed her to the house to see the new insurance card. A ticket for being the victim of a hit-and-run would have been icing on the cake.

Things got better the next day and we Facetimed and I managed to capture a screenshot of my wife wearing Harry Potter glasses. She said that if I planned on any physical contact for the next month then I probably should keep it to myself. What fun is that? (I do plan on physical contact so I will not be sharing.)

I got to see the inside of a Trader Joes so that was cool. The last evening in California we had a really great cookout. We tossed around a football and kicked a soccer ball. We ate steaks and corn on the cob while listening to 90’s era music on a blue tooth speaker. It was a good time and a good end to the weekend. I felt updated on my friend’s life and a little better about the speed of my own. I think adding a few memories here and there help to keep connected.

Flight home was uneventful. Snow on the Sierras. Turbulence near Houston. Supermom and Lady Bug met me at the airport. Everyone was happy to see me but the dog. Judy Cornbread was beyond excited, she was ecstatic. She was circling and making this strange sobbing sound. I thought she might need sedatives. Dogs are ridiculous.

So that’s my recent adventure. I’m tired from jet-lag, missing my family, and drinking a few too many beers. I know I need to post a little more frequently. I haven’t been in the writing mood. Thanks for sticking around to read this stuff. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.


Underdaddy, Supermom, and Lady Bug took a trip to partly cloudy California last week. A dreamy wedding in San Jose. It was a really good trip and I will probably have a couple of blog posts that reference it in the future but for now I wanted to share some of the more interesting discussions/sites/situations that we encountered.

The only natural place to start would be the flight out. Our secret lair is in middle earth where the temperature fluctuates between hell fire of a volcano in Mordor and that icy mountain pass place. (Someone fluent in Lord of The Rings please give me some help here.) Currently the temperature is somewhere between 30 and 50 consistently while temperature in California was projected to be 50-70 each day. So warm clothes and a light jacket would work. Awesome.

One problem. The layover in Denver was in nine degrees of wintery pain. Adding to the pain is the fact that United Airlines runs the most ass-backwards boarding program I have ever seen. They board the plane in groups 1-4. Groups one and two appear to be special needs, priority club, and first class. Groups three and four are the economy class passengers. United loads the planes from the front to the rear to make sure that each and every passenger is loading an overhead bag and slowing down every other passenger still waiting to board. Maybe there is a reason for this? If someone knows some inside information please comment so the rest of us can stop having a brain bleed while we watch the madness.

Landing in the San Jose airport was like stepping into a space terminal. Denver was nice and big and technological but San Jose had a minimalist feel that seemed like some dystopian empire type building.

Oh I almost forgot, before we even left the airport we encountered a man on the Interstate who was playing a horn while driving. He would play for a second and then put it down and then do it again. Really kind of strange. Anyway back to the trip.

I have a checkered history with travel so I go everywhere with this deep gut feeling that I’m going to be screwed by a reservation, a flight delay, or some other unforeseen problem. I go up to the rental car counter and the young man helping me starts reading out the facts on my reservation to confirm.

“Okay let see here. I have a five day reservation. A standard vehicle.”


“That will be one of our two door models.”

“Wait it was supposed to be a Sedan, I have a baby who needs a seat. Here is my confirmation. See it says Ford Fusion or equal.”

“I don’t know why they do that? We don’t even have Fusions.”

Here we go. Took all of thirty minutes for this party to get started. I was about to lose some religion in the lobby but the CSR kept talking, “I guess we will have to upgrade you for free.”

“Wait what? Okay what is the upgrade?”

“We have a Dodge Challenger.”

“Sounds good.”

One disaster averted and the rest of the trip was ahead of us.
The first day the grooms party went to play golf. The course was beautiful and overlooked the valley. There were a few notable things about the golf outing.

Complimentary gift?

Complimentary gift?

A hidden treasure in our golf cart. A complete skull from a ground squirrel. I don’t know what they are really called but they travel around in burrows but look like squirrels.

So close.

So close.

I hit an awesome shot from 165 yards out to set up for a birdie putt that I totally screwed up.

After golfing I had an interesting conversation with a new friend about guns. He looked at me with sudden seriousness and asked, “So is it really like everyone has a gun in the South?”

“Pretty much.”


“Well not one hundred percent but enough that I assume everyone might have one.”

“Are there a lot of deaths from people arguing and they have guns so it goes too far..”

“We have a lot of gang shootings and hunting accidents but I can’t remember too many manslaughter cases from arguments.”

“Hm. Weird.”


I never really thought about it but it was interesting to hear an outside perception.

At some point I was in charge of watching the house for a few minutes and our gracious hosts had a small dog and a big cat that lay around the house pretty self-sufficiently so I didn’t worry much. After a few minutes of quiet reading on the internet I hear this wheezing noise coming from the living room. I know the dog is around thirteen which isn’t super-old for a small dog but still some age. I jump up and go into the living room to investigate. The sound is louder and I am thinking heart attack, poisoning, choking on some baby toy, or some other kind of death that I will have to explain and will probably be blamed for through negligence.

Instead I find this and video while I try not to laugh too loud:

The cat was awesome too. He didn’t hump anything but he is the biggest cat I’ve seen. He is fat but he is a big cat too. His body is built like a low-rider truck and when he eats he just sets it down on the frame and pulls up his wheels.


Jose Canseco lost a finger? Now it is for sale on Ebay.

On our last day we went to the Redwood Forest in Big Basin National Park. The trees were amazing and this was truly a bucket list type of sight. Some of the trees were up to 1,400 years old. I could have walked around all day just staring up into the canopy and feeling small.


Then I stepped in poop. It was a large wild animal or an inconsiderate hiker. Either way it made the ride back down the mountain unpleasant.

I did learn about Banana Slugs and that they can look like an accurate depiction of a yellow penis.

Left handed banana slug

Left handed banana slug

That night we went to a mall in California to see if it was different. Some of it was different. Some of it was the same. While we were walking around we passed an area being prepped for Santa. There was a huge Christmas tree shaped cabin that housed what I had to assume was Santa’s chair. I could see inside part of it and the walls were lined with lights and reflective surface like an inside out disco ball. The sign at the entrance summed up a lot of the culture of California for me.


I wonder if anyone sits back and thinks, “We are paying money to save time to see a fairy tale figure whose entire gig is bringing free stuff.” Then again that line looked huge so maybe it would be worth it.

Don Henley knew what he was singing about, “You can spend all your time making money or you can spend all your money making time.” It is probably the same whirlwind culture that inspired Hotel California. Good job Don.

The next day was our flight out around noon. We dropped off the rental car early and one of the employees offered to drive us to the terminal in the car we had just returned. It was about a ten minute walk so that was a nice gesture.

We all get back into the car and the employee leans forward as he gets into the car to avoid bumping his turban on the edge of the door opening. I think the gentleman was Indian and the turban is part of his culture but I don’t see that every day so I noticed it as different. Then as we are leaving the garage I notice the radio is still on an playing, of all songs, Alan Jackson – Where Were You?. If you aren’t familiar it is a song about the 9-11 terrorist attack.

I was instantly panicked. Even though I knew this man was totally separate from radical Islam all I could think was, “he thinks that I think he is a terrorist because of his turban.” How strange that I had assumed he had a prejudice towards people who look like me because lots of people who look like me have a prejudice against people who look like him.

Read that last sentence twice.

So here, in the midst of an Alan Jackson song with an Indian man in a rental car, I was able to cement in my mind the true battle of bias. Weird huh.

The flights back went fine and Lady Bug cried for an entire hour at the end of the trip. Then the plane landed and we were back to the real world; getting home too late, waking up in a rush, and going to bed exhausted the next night.


-Underdaddy to the rescue