Deregulated Childhood

To all the kids who survived the 1930’s through the 1970’s…

8track.jpgWe took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with real sugar, but we weren’t overweight because we were always outside playing! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were okay.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. pong.jpgWe did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all (well maybe PONG), no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms… we had friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and kno cked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in a nd talked to them!

sigmund.jpgLittle League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of them… CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, share this with your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

P.S. Someone sent me this in an email. I added/edited a few things from my childhood for more accuracy.

MOOD THIS POST: Nostalgic. Muppet Show lunchbox!

More Precious Than Diamonds, But Diamonds Are Cheaper

102_2193.JPGOne of the adventures we went on during our trip to North Carolina was to go gem mining again. We went last year during our trip and the kids loved it so we wanted to go again. We piled into the van and the Zoo Crew was on its way. We drove about an hour or so to the place. It’s a little building right next to the Broad River. They pipe river water up to a trough. You pay $20 a bucket. Each bucket is filled with river sand and gravel and they seed it with all kinds of gem stones. Geode pieces, crystal points, Apache tears, emerald glass, garnet, quartz, etc. The amethysts are the nicest though. Sometimes you get one that goes from purple to clear. Very cool.

You put three scoops of bucket fodder into a screening box. They turn on the water and you sift the water through the box bottom to remove the sand and reveal your treasures. They kids usually sqeal with glee when they find a geode piece or a big amethyst. All in all they did really well this year. I think we are going to make it an annual thing when we go up there. They add new stones each year so you can get different things each time.

The river runs right by the troughs and of course Chandler likes to throw in big rocks to hear the ‘KERPLOP‘ as they go in the water. Problem is the river current is very fast and the water comes in from the mountains so it’s very cold and it’s a 20-30 foot drop to the water. Sierra joined in wearing her Heelys which made us nervous to no end because we thought she might slip back on the wheels and slide down over the cliff. No there was no fence or barrier. That would be… safe. Needless to say we came back with all three kids safe and sound, which I guess is a good thing… heh.

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Becky’s Mom and her husband Randy went with us as well. Fun was had by all in the end.

We are going to take our gems and put them in a glass bowl and use it in the house somewhere.

MOOD THIS POST: Energized. Must be the crystals.

iPhone! HUZZAH!

iphone.jpgThe long awaited and highly rumored iPhone was anounced today by Steve Jobs of Apple, Inc. at MacWorld 2007! All I can say is WOW! If you tought the iPod was the coolest thing invented in the last 10 years wait untill you see this baby! It’s everything… a phone, a 2 megapixel camera, an iPod, and a PDA all in one… and the BEST thing is… ONLY ONE BUTTON! Everything is on the 3.5 inch multi-touch screen! You can listen to music, watch a movie or TV show, do live chat with IM, or surf the web with a fully functional web browser! It has WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 built in so you can simply sit in a WiFi hotspot and surf away! Google Maps, Yahoo… it’s all here! It switches between portrait and landscape mode on the screen as you turn the phone. it senses when it’s near your ear so it turns off the screen and then turns it back on when you take it away from your head. It has ambient sensors so it dims the screen as needed to save power.

It is truly the most innovative product I’ve seen since the iPod. I could go on and on about it but it’s probably best if you just read about it yourself. They won’t be available until June… so that makes it a tasty Christmas wish list item.

I know I’m a true Machead… but this thing will make the most hardened PC zombie drool with delight! Here’s a gallery of the actual iPhone.

MOOD THIS POST: Giddy. No more utility belt!

Robo Crib Rocker… NOW They Have One

File this under the category of:


Where was this gadget when I was up for 3 hours rocking a restless baby in the middle of the night? Parents these days have so many cool gadgets… wireless apnea monitors, nanny cams, techno toys. Now they have the Lullabub. I was impressed we found a crib where you could lower the side with one hand and a push of the knee. I remember thinking the Diaper Genie was soooo cool. “Look Honey! I don’t have to smell old dirty diapers! HUZZAH” Then I found out you have to empty the genie… oh that’s where the smell went. Great. I thought genies were magic and had phenominal cosmic powers. Guess not. Of course if I had a can of VaPooRize then all my worries would be gone… but then I would lay awake always wondering where all the poo went.

I wonder if I could program these to rock like a mechanical bull. Not violently, but just enough to teach the lil’ buckaroo to hang on tight. You know train the kid early for a rodeo career. Get me one of those big, shiny, champion belt buckles that I could open my IBC root beer with. My luck he’d turn out to be the guy who makes low-rider pickups… truck beds all scraping the ground and making sparks. Great. Just what I need.

Of course there’s nothing like technology for removing all human contact. “Fussy baby who needs your caring, soothing, parental touch? Not anymore! Let Lullabub rock the baby while you enjoy hours of blissful sleep! Call now!” Ahhhh the 21st century. And they wonder why kids are disturbed these days. Heh.

Maybe we’d all be better off with just a good ol’ rocking chair. A glider one though because we have a cat. No need for Russian Roulette with a cat tail at 4 AM. Like I need that.

MOOD THIS POST: Sleepy. I had no Lullabub.

SitRep on Operation: Icky Freedom

After some R&R in North Carolina, actions on Operation:Icky Freedom have resumed. Current target: Kids’ Bathroom.

Ok anyone with kids knows this area is a constant ‘hot zone’. I knew going in this was going to be a hard battle, but the upside is the area is small. After another couple hours, victory was declared!

More updates to come.

P.S. ‘SitRep’ is military speak for ‘Situation Report’

MOOD THIS POST: Mood - Wary Cautious… searching for insurgants.

A Way Up Yonder On The Cataloochee

The main goal of our trip was to relax, but also to let the kids see snow for the first time. Being Florida kids they get sun and heat most of the time and we wanted them to experience the snowy, coldy goodness of the mountains. Sadly it appeared the rain and warm weather had followed us up from Florida and it was in the high 50’s our first couple of days. There was no snow to be found in Black Mountain. So we decided to take a drive and go to Maggie Valley and the Cataloochee Ski Area. Quite the drive. But the payoff was worth it.

We parked in a central parking area and then took an old school bus to the top of the mountain and the ski area itself. The kids squealed with delight at seeing the snow. We climbed off the bus and made our way into the ski area. Of course the kids immediately dove into the snow (more of a slushy ice… but what they don’t know won’t hurt them). Chad immediately started making snowballs. His mission was to have a snowball fight… with whoever got in the way. Sierra’s mission was more artistic. She wanted to build a snowman. Amanda? Well she was just giggling and having fun. The adults’ mission was to not slip in the snow/ice and bust our butts. All missions were completed successfully. Enjoy some pictures…


Needless to say everyone had fun and worked up and appetite. We went to Cherokee after this and actually found a Pizza Inn! We enjoyed a crispy pizza that took us back to our childhoods and then began the long drive back to the house. Driving on mountain roads is very tiring. I think I need another nap.

MOOD THIS POST: Defensive. They will never get me!

Nothing Could Be Finah Than To Be In Carolina…

Well we got back from our trip last night around 9PM. It was an uneventful trip as far as driving. We made it up to NC in about 9 hours and about 9.5 on the way back. The kids did great considering they had no videos to watch this time. We had a wonderful time! We actually got to relax and rest as well as do some fun things. I will be posting some of the stuff we did over the next few posts. Hope you enjoy.

The Grove Park Inn

First adventure we did was to go to the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC. Truly an amazing place with an amazing view. Actually several amazing views… here’s the view from the back veranda off the lobby…

Grove Park Panarama

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Apparently a ton of famous people have stayed and continue to stay there. From Presidents to actors. They have walls filled with headshots of nearly every famous person that has stayed there. Didn’t see Chuck Norris anywhere but I may have missed it.

They have this world famous spa that is underground and fed by hot springs (I think). In the panarama above you can the skylights of the spa (the glass pyramid thing in the center). It was a LOT of stairs to climb down with three small kids so we decided to see the spa on the next trip.

Gingerbread WinnerWe went to see the gingerbread house competition entries. Some of these houses were amazing and were 100% edible. There were all kinds of categories from child to adult age groups. Some were very creative. Here’s a picture of the first place winner (right).

Xmas treeNot only were there gingerbread houses everywhere there were also Christmas trees everywhere. Very nicely decorated trees. Here’s a sample of one (left). I can only guess at the price of just one of these trees. they were in front of nearly every window as you walked down the hallways.

Becky’s brother stayed here on his honeymoon. She wants to maybe stay here for one of our anniversaries so we may look into that. Maybe I can get them to put up my headshot? Hopefully it won’t be behind the main desk with a sign that says “Do not accept checks from this man.”

MOOD THIS POST: Mood - Smile Rested and ready for the new year…
I forgot I have to unpack!