Archive for June, 2011

Graduation Day!

It began on September 2, 1998…

My oldest son’s first day of school.

Back then it seemed like today would always be in the future.

People say it, but it is true, time flies!

Back in the younger grades, I was the one who made sure he got to the bus stop on time.

Made sure he had a snack (wish a had a dollar for every one of those I packed).

Nagged him about getting his homework done. (Okay, that one didn’t stop until a couple of days ago!)

But those days are over.

Tonight my son will join 853 of his fellow classmates for his high school’s commencement ceremony.

That’s right, 854 graduates!

Just a hunch, but I’m thinking it might take some time to get through that list of names!

My son will come along fairly early in the ceremony. Plenty of time for him as well as Mom & Dad to sit and ponder what lies ahead for him.

A couple of months of working at local golf course, having some summer fun and then it will be time to leave for college.

A big change!

Living on his own for the first time and meeting new friends.

But in the meantime, he will also be saying goodbye to many close friends.

His class size was large but my son often said it seemed like a big “family”.

He was fortunate to have many great friends and he definitely enjoyed the social side of high school. It is starting to hit home for him that they are about to go their separate ways and he really won’t be seeing them much in the coming years.

His best friend and a boy who is like a son to me leaves in a couple of weeks for basic training at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He will also be playing football for the Falcons, which means we probably won’t be seeing him much at school breaks either.

He has been a big part of our lives and in a short time we will miss not seeing him on an almost daily basis.

As sad as that is, I am thrilled that he gets to live his dream! And I am also extremely grateful that he was my son’s friend all of these years!

Since I am leaving on an extended Boy Scout trip this week, I will say my goodbyes to this outstanding young man on Tuesday, something I am not looking forward to!

Sometimes change is difficult and I guess my son isn’t the only facing it!

(Thank goodness for the social network!)

On the happier side…

We held my son’s grad party this past weekend and it went great! Mother Nature helped us out and gave us our first nice weekend of the year.

How nice?

85 degrees and sunny!

How thankful were we?

Three days later it was 103 degrees in the Twin Cities and very windy. Today, it is raining and we may get to 62 degrees!

Can you say, roller coaster!

Remember the life size cutout of my son that I was working on?

Thanks to a little glue and some duct tape I was able to deliver it in one piece to the school just in time for tonight’s post-ceremony, all night grad party!

Time flies!

First day of school for my son!


As I mentioned, next week I leave for a two week backpacking trip to New Mexico. I will be running the “Best of Dad’s Day” while I am gone. Be sure to check out the site and see some of my favorite ‘toons!

New ‘toons will be back on July 1st as well as stories from my backpacking adventure!

Into The Wild!

Finished packing this morning for my backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” came into play for me. While loading my son’s three year old backpack into a travel duffle bag, I noticed a problem with the waist belt. Specifically, there was a break in the plastic that helps give needed support in the belt.

Why is this important?

This is were the weight of the pack is carried when a person is about to lug it over roughly 85 miles of northeastern New Mexico. By having the weight on the hips, it keeps it off of a person’s shoulders and makes the trip much more enjoyable.

Nothing like catching something major at the last minute, but at least I caught it today and not tomorrow morning before we depart for the airport. I quickly headed to where I had purchased the pack and many, many other camping items over the years and past few days, my local REI store to see if they could repair the belt.

They told me the pack would need to be sent to the manufacturer for repair.

“No time for that”, I told the salesman.

“But…” the salesman said, “there have been problems like this before with this pack, let’s see what we can do!”

“Satisfaction Guaranteed” here I come!

So thanks to the helpful staff at REI I was able to replace the old damaged pack with a brand new one!

As Tom Hanks said in the movie, Apollo 13 when an engine was lost on takeoff, “Looks like we just had our glitch for this mission!”

(Hopefully our trip goes a little smoother than the rest of Apollo 13 did!)

Back to packing…

One of the things we have to be careful of while on this trip is not inviting bears to visit our tents! To help prevent that from happening we need to follow the packing list very closely.

Everyone going on this little excursion needs to have a set of clothing specifically for sleeping. This prevents the chance of accidentially dropping food on one’s clothes and then sleeping in those same clothes and then during the night have a bear knock on your tent flap!

Also, no deodorant is allowed on the trek.

It is considered a “smellable”.

We will be carrying heavy packs for 10 days in the sunshine and heat on dusty trails.

YES, we will be one big, moving stench!

However, we will have smellables along, but they will hang in a bear bag at night.

My oldest son did this trip a couple of years ago and did see a bear from a distance.

I could do without that thrill!

We leave Minneapolis tomorrow morning and fly to Denver. We then are bused to Colorado Springs where we will enjoy a tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center. On Thursday, we hop on the bus again and head to New Mexico. Following one night at base camp, we hit the trail on Friday. We’ll cover roughly 85 miles over 10 days and climb Mt. Baldy at over 12,000 feet.

We return home on the 28th.

Should be a trip of a lifetime!

Happy Trails!

My kind of bear!

Not my kind! (From my older son's trip)