I Miss Texas Already

We arrived in Dallas on Friday at about 2:30pm, picked up out luggage – Love Field is crazy efficient, and it’s usually a breeze getting baggage quickly. We hopped the tram to the rental car place, received out VW Jetta – a really nice car – and headed to the hotel. Naturally, since I was involved, there was a snafu at the hotel which cost us another hour, and after calling Kyle, he said to take our time, as he was finishing a paper for class.

We finally arrived on campus at around 5pm, meet Kyle, and asked if he wanted to have dinner at school. (The dinner we paid for.) He looked at us and said, “I really don’t want to be on campus right now. I haven’t slept much this week, and I need to get away.” Okay, done.

He took us to Slim Chickens, a nice fast food place whose chicken is pretty fantastic. Kyle said he still loves Texas, loves his lacrosse team, and the work load is becoming more manageable. We sat talking for a while, and after dinner, went back to his residence hall. We even hit the lacrosse field and shot on the nets before the rain came. The missus and I headed out around 9pm and said we’d be on campus early Saturday morning…

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The End Of A Good Weekend

While I was kinda enjoying a rare Friday-Saturday off, my kids were much more active and having much more fun that I had.

First up is Kyle, who, after years of being a Texas Christian University (TCU) football fan, he finally got the chance to see his team play live. He and three of his lacrosse teammates got tickets – thanks to one player’s father – for the TCU-Kansas game Saturday afternoon. It was his first college football game, and suffice to say, TCU put on a show.

TCU’s offense went crazy against the Kansas Jayhawks, leading 38-0 at halftime. The defense shut down Kansas, and TCU won by a remarkable score of 51-14. Kyle loved the energy, the stadium, and the TCU coeds, obviously.

He’s hoping he and his teammates can see TCU once a year, but one of his friends already said he may be able to snag a few LSU (Louisiana State University) tickets this year. That’s Kyle’s other favorite team.

There’s more below the fold…

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He’s Officially On His Own

Mrs. Earp arrived home yesterday at 6pm, none the worse for wear. Apparently it’s hot in Texas in August. She claims she didn’t cry when she left Kyle at his dorm, but I’m suspicious of that.

Anyway, here’s a summary of what went on during Kyle’s first few days as a college man. (You can click the photos – like the one of Kyle at the Tower – to embiggen.)

Kyle’s roommates are from Texas and Massachusetts. They get along well, and are both wicked smaht, but they’re homebodies. Kyle spent most of the 12-14 hour daily festivities at the many locations on campus, while his roomies stayed in the dorm. That’s not a shot at them – they’re very nice – but Kyle is a social butterfly.

Kyle had to get a key chain for his dorm key, so he decided on the one below. Apparently, the Lone Star spins; a feature which made Kyle very happy.

Kyle in his ridiculously small dorm room. There are three students living there, and it barely has enough room for two. Next year he moves into the newer, larger dorms, so it’s a temporary problem.

Notice the Thin Blue Line flag above. He asked for one as a graduation present, along with the one below… Because Texas is freakin’ awesome!

This is the Tower, the centerpiece of the campus. During some events, the students split into smaller groups. Every group had a funny name. Kyle’s was “Scholars With No Dollars.” Julia liked the female group, “The Towerpuff Girls.”

During lunch Saturday, Mrs. Earp and Kyle walked into the cafeteria, and Kyle was flagged down by a table of girls. He dumped Mrs. Earp and walked over to eat with the hotties. I don’t blame him.

Besides his lacrosse teammates, he is making many, many friends, both men and women. He seems to be more outgoing than he was in high school, which is a good thing. Later Saturday, they attended a church service in the gym. Mrs. Earp said most of the others were dressed in Sunday best, while my family was dressed, um, comfortably. At one point, it came to a part where you kneel, and Kyle figured they would sit, because there were no kneelers. Most of the Texas people knelt on the floor. Mrs. Earp muttered, “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

Now maybe my Texas friends can answer this. I know it’s Texas, but is it really like that in most churches? For a northeastern guy, it’s, well, different.

Kyle sent me a text string Friday night, and complained most of the people at Dallas were “much smarter than me.” He seemed really down, and I did my best to reassure him. College is scary, but he’s a hard worker, and will do just fine. I saw very little sleep Friday night, stressing about how he was feeling. On Saturday, Mrs. Earp said he was much better, and at one point said, “You know I’ll be fine. You don’t have to worry.”

We’re parents. We worry from cradle to our grave. It’s our job. That said, I think he’ll be okay there. He is totally in love with Texas, UD, and the people. Plus, his home lacrosse schedule is nowhere near as tough as last year’s.

Well, They Made It

Sorry for the disappearing act yesterday. It was a stressful twenty-four hours.

Kyle and Mrs. Earp landed safely in Dallas yesterday at 3pm. Traffic getting to the airport was awful, and it took me over an hour to get them to the terminal. (Rush hour in Philly begins at 6am and ends at noon.)

Southwest is still our favorite airline.

After packing the Family Truckster, the kids said goodbyes. Kyle hugged everyone, and, as predicted, Julia was the most emotional. She left this for Kyle, hidden in his laptop bag….

Then this was inside.

Today is move-in day, so they’ll be busy sitting up the room, meeting his roommates – one from Texas, one from Massachusetts – and Kyle may meet his lacrosse coach as well. The parent-student orientation is Friday and Saturday, then Mrs. Earp comes home Sunday – Party at my house this weekend! Monday will greet Kyle with concussion protocol tests, student-athlete orientation, and checking out the babes.

On Tuesday he will receive his work-study assignment – and classes begin Wednesday.

Counting Down…

Oct. 28, 2018; Denton, TX; North Texas defeated Rice 41-17 at Apogee Stadium. (Mandatory Credit: Dominic Ceraldi)

I just wanted to let everyone know the rest of the week will be a juggernaut of stress and excitement.

Mrs. Earp will be taking Kyle to Dallas for orientation Thursday, and I will be Mr. Mom from Thursday through Sunday. (I had to take off three days from work, but it was unavoidable.) I’ll be driving them to the airport – jealously – then back to the Earp Ranch to run things and make sure the kids aren’t eating sugar and flour for dinner.

Not that my meals would be any better… or worse.

For his part, Kyle is handling this pretty well. I think he’s both scared and excited, as most of us were, but I’m sure he’ll do fine. His one roommate is from Texas and is majoring in Physics. The other is from Massachusetts, and he, like Kyle, is a Boston Bruins. I guess Kyle will have a Philly/Boston/Texas accent in four years.

I’ll be posting all week, but my commenting and responses may be spotty at best. I’m writing this Monday night and there are still a ton of things to do, and I just emailed all the medical paperwork for lacrosse.

Oh, and regular readers know Kyle isn’t going to the University of North Texas, but this girl was really stunning, so there ya go.

Last One…

When I left for the Outer Banks, I was sitting pretty at 183 pounds. It’s still entirely too fat, but the gym and jogging is certainly helping. I jogged every morning in OBX, but the amount of ridiculously fantastic food was too much to bear.

This morning the scale said 186 pounds, but I’m thinking I’m heavier than that right now.

So why the round face? Well, we can thank Capt’n Frank’s Hot Dogs to start. After a round of miniature golf, we decided to do lunch. Mrs. Earp saw this establishment (at the right) and thought it was a good choice. Boy, was she right! The hot dogs were amazing, the soft drink refills were free, and the upstairs deck had a nice breeze and great views. I ordered a Mad Dog, which was a hot dog with chili and hot peppers. My god, it was phenomenal.

I did notice, however, many of the eateries in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills had some fairly odd names. To wit…

The story goes like this. The diner is only open for breakfast and lunch, and it’s usually packed. However, the locals would come in and sit drinking coffee for hours, clogging up the tables. The owner, Bob, finally had enough, and apparently told people to eat and get the hell out. Pretty funny.

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More Vacation Tales

Our other big adventure – besides miniature golf; I didn’t win any of the three games we played – was a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

The tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast is a premier location for kites, sightseeing and sunsets, with a view arcing from the ocean to Roanoke Sound. A visitor center with museum and 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dune’s ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field.

The dunes are massive, as you can see above, and what the site doesn’t tell you is visitors can surf the dunes. Take Kyle, for example…

Kyle and Erik had an easier time hitting the slopes, but they were not fond of the return climb. I pulled Kevin and Julia down the dunes by dragging the board’s tether, but after five or six runs, my knee was completely shot. We wanted to stay and watch the sunset, but naturally, a huge storm came in and ruined the opportunity.

There’s more below the fold…

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Well, We’re Back From Vacation

It’s a rare occurrence when I return from vacation feeling truly rested and not the least bit annoyed about returning to work. A lot of that may have to due to the fact the Outer Banks is freakin’ epic! Most of today will be posts from vacation, so if that’s not your thing, You can skip past them.

The first big thing we experienced was the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina – the coolest town name evah.

(Oh, click the photos to embigggen.)

Most national parks bore kids to tears, but this was different. The park is not overly large, but it has a lot of history, and some great stories about Orville and Wilbur Wright and the men who helped them fly. The memorial (above) is at the top of the sand dune hill where the brothers launched their planes. Climbing to the top of the hill on the paved walkway was difficult enough in the heat – it became very steep the closer you came to the memorial – so I cannot imagine the men dragging the plane up and down the sand dune time after time.

The view from the top is impressive, however…

There is more below the fold…

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Get Out

So after work on Monday, I made the trip south to our beach vacation. I wanted to flee the city by 4pm, but there were a few snags. I hadn’t packed everything before work, the missus kept sending me updates for things she forgot, oh, and Kevin downloading something which crippled our computer with more viruses than Kim Kardashian.

I finally headed out at 5pm, got to the end of the street, then turned around because I was worried the doors weren’t locked. They were, of course, because the trip wasn’t long enough already.

Now I’m on the road, headed south with some Diet Mountain Dew, a few snacks, and headphones to listen to podcasts when I get out of radio range. Depending upon the city and/or state, I was hitting between 55 mph and 80 mph, so I figured I’d be at our destination by 11:30pm.

Yeah, try 12:45am. Traffic was awful, deer were plentiful, construction was sporadic, and my bladder is smaller than when I was young…

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Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be

Yeah, that’s great advice, Mr. Shakespeare, but some of us have a hundred kids and tuition payments to make.

Yesterday, the missus and I applied for a loan so we could help defray the costs of my oldest son’s college career. While I was semi-aware college is expensive – I’m a dullard when it comes to finances – I assumed we were good to go. Sadly, that’s not the case. We’re basically a one-income household – although Mrs. Earp does get paid for her job – but with three kids in Catholic school and one headed to college, the bills pile up quickly.

The worst part is the department has been cutting court overtime for all employees, and I haven’t seen the inside of a courtroom in six months – well, except as a defendant; lousy peeping tom laws. My base salary is pretty good, but the overtime was more of a benefit.

The loan should go through without a catch, since our credit is good, but I hate borrowing money – from anyone, for anything. Which gets to my point.

After putting things off, well, forever, I’m going to try real writing again.* I don’t have the audience I had a few years ago, but if I can pump out a few books, it may help defray tuition costs. It may interfere with blogging, but I think I can juggle both.

If not, I’ll just rob a store in my division. I heard the detectives there are morons.

*It’s also possible I write for a week and stop.