Mike's Blog

I love my boys

Karrie and are often amused at the traits each of us have that Brady and Lucas seem to have picked up/inherited.  For example, Lucas sleeps exactly like I do, on his side with his hand under his face.  Brady rubs his feet against our legs when we lay in bed with him to read a book, just like Karrie does to me when we lay in bed.  We have noticed several things along the same lines over the years; sometimes it is a Lucas/Mike trait, sometimes Brady/Mike, sometimes Lucas/Karrie and other times Brady/Karrie.

Recently we encountered one that was pretty hilarious, but it requires some background first.  Many years ago when Karrie and I were dating Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" came on the radio as we were driving.  After a couple verses it was clear to me that Karrie was singing the wrong lyrics.  After some discussion she told me that she thought the words were (and she had been singing for years) "Awesome sugar honey" instead of "Pour some sugar on me."  Since that day, after I straightened her out, whenever this song comes on and we are both present it results in much laughter from us both.  This ability to sing the incorrect lyrics without shame is the trait we are discussing here.

So the other day Karrie and the boys were listening to Music Choice on the TV downstairs and the Bastille song, "Pompeii" came on.  Brady, who loves to sing just about any song, was singing when Karrie noticed a slight discrepancy.  Instead of singing the correct lyric of "How am I gonna be an optimist about this?", Brady was singing (confidently too), "How am I gonna make it up to Mr. Rhombus?".  It was the source of great amusement for all of us and Brady took it all in stride.

Links to videos for reference:

"Pour Some Sugar On Me"

"Pompeii"

Mr. Rhombus

This year we decided we would spend a week at the beach for our vacation. We considered what beaches might interest us.  Maryland and Delaware beaches, while closest, are too crowded for my liking.  Four years ago we joined friends on their Beach condovacation to Top Sail Island, NC and we liked that area a lot.  Earlier this year Brady's basketball coach and father of one of Brady's classmates recommended Emerald Isle, NC.  They have been going there just about yearly for their family vacation and spoke very highly of it.  Karrie began investigating, found some nice units we could rent and lots of activities in the area in case of weather and so she booked us a rental unit right on the beach.  Since we booked a little less than three weeks before our arrival we got a pretty good break on the price as well.

Pirates!The trip down was relatively uneventful and took about 8 hours with a couple of stops for food and bathroom breaks.  The boys were awesome and entertained themselves the entire trip.  Once we arrived on the island we went to the rental management office, got the keys and then headed to the unit to check it out.  Based on the pictures I'd seen online the unit looked awesome and once we had a look around we were not disappointed.  With two bedrooms, two baths, washer and dryer and full kitchen it had everything we needed.  The master bath even had a jacuzzi tub which the boys took advantage of for baths.  The unit also had a nice deck with furniture including high chairs we could use to look out over the beach.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate our unit a 7 or 8.

After we checked out the unit we headed out to grab a bit to eat for dinner then off to the grocery store to buy food for the week.  Remarkably there wasn't a chain restaurant anywhere on the island but the few times we did eat out were hit and miss.  We spent the majority of our time during the week between the beach and the pool.  The family that recommended Emerald Isle to us were coincidentally vacationing there during the same week we were and the invited us to a pirate cruise in a town a short drive away in the middle of the week.  The boys had a great time dressing up as pirates, firing the water cannons, swabbing the deck, sword fighting and a boat-to-boat battle with Black Beard for his treasure.Shark Hunter

Our other excursions included seeingTurbo at the movie theater and a round of miniature golf.  While at the beach Brady made a new friend with one of rental neighbors named Mr. Bill.  Mr. Bill could be found fishing off the beach in front of our rental every morning and evening and was kind enough to offer Brady a chance to fish using his equipment.  It took us a couple of days to make that happen, but when it did I think it was the highlight of Brady's vacation as Brady managed to catch not one, but two small sand sharks.

Overall it was a great vacation for us all, even Lucas who seemed ready to be done with it and back home on Thursday, 3 days before our trip was end.  We are likely to vacation at Emerald Isle again and would highly recommend it to any of our friends looking for a family beach to vacation where you don't have to step on people's toes to walk to the water.

Seeing the caller ID was the house, I answered and had the following conversation:

Me: "Hey, babe." (thinking it was Karrie)
Brady: "It's me, dad."
Me: "Hey buddy, what's up?"
Brady: "I went poop and wiped my butt all by myself!"

It was a proud moment for sure.  My little man is growing up.  Bring on the skid marks!

Today is a somber day for me as a dear and beloved friend was layed to rest in Miami.  It was with great sorrow that I learned of the passing of my friend Doug Carroll who was tragically shot to death July 19th.  Doug was my best friend in high Doug and I at our HS graduationschool and the best man in my first wedding.  He was honestly one of the nicest guys I've known, always smiling and loving life.

I met Doug in the 11th grade at Miami Norland Senior High School through our mutual participation in the Key Club.  We became very good friends quickly and with some other Key members became a group of goofy kids known as the "Pendejos", spending many a late Friday night hanging out at Wag's after a movie or other activities.  Doug was in the band while I played soccer, but aside from that we were similar in so many ways; we pretty much did every thing together.  To that end, at some point we both ended up working at the local Pizza Hut and even transferred to another location when our favorite assistant manager was promoted there.  We were, without a doubt, best of friends.

After high school we both attended Miami-Dade Community College (now just Miami Dade College) while continuing to work together, this time at Office Depot.  Doug was pursuing a education and career in music; the man could play the hell out of his alto saxophone.  We remained very close for the next five or six years.  In 1993 I joined the Air Force and after basic training I was shipped off to Monterey, California for 15 months; San Angelo, Texas for 6 months; and finally ending up just outside of Baltimore, Maryland, where I am to this day.  We remained in touch those first couple of yeas after I enlisted and in fact when I returned to Miami in July 1993 to get married, Doug was my best man.

Sadly after the wedding I had to return to California immediately and after that the business of life and distance led to Doug and I to fall out of touch.  A few years ago when I got on FaceBook, Doug was one of the first people I sought out.  We reconnected and exchanged several chats, catching up on each others' lives.  I learned that Doug has gone on to graduate from the University of Florida and was teaching high school band.  I also learned that he had a son and was in the process of trying to get a custody arrangement.  We talked about getting together, but unfortunately life, and time, conspired against us and it never came to be.

One of the news articles I read about Doug's death had a quote from a police officer on the scene who indicated that they "believed" this was a drug related shooting.  I hope that the investigation will disprove this statement because I am 100% certain that there is no way possible Doug was at that house for any drug related purpose.  I never knew Doug to use drugs and in fact, due to some of his life's circumstances, he detested drugs and those involved with them.  To point, Doug and his family lived in an apartment complex (which incidentally now appears to have been bulldozed and replaced with a community park/center according to Google Maps) that was a drug haven.  Whenever I would drive Doug home my car would be approached several times by people attempting to sell us drugs as we drove through the complex; it honestly scared the hell out of me and Doug knew that.  He would always offer to let me drop him off at the corner, but there was no way I was letting my friend do that.

Doug was truly was one of the good guys and undeserving of such a brutal and tragic end to his life.  I regret never having been able to get together with him in person after we reconnected; I know we would have had a great time catching up and telling the stories of our lives.  I will miss him immensely, but I won't be alone.  Doug touched so many lives through his humor and love of music.  The number of former students of his who have posted on his Facebook page since his death is truly astonishing.  I hope that the legacy of his love of music and teaching will live on through them and be passed along for generations to come.

Rest in peace my friend.  I will love you always.

Douglas Steven Carroll: September 21, 1970 - July 19, 2012

Doug

Brady turns four years old today.  Hard to believe how fast time has gone by.  We have been blessed with a healthy, beautiful, smart and caring son and we count ourselves very lucky.  Brady really is a terrific kid and a real sweetheart.  Happy Birthday, son.

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