2 posts categorized "Games"


Oh, my aching Olympiad

CSI:  Plano -- That's my shoe print on the right, but what monster made the other print?

These are the Other Winter Olympics.

The object here, in an unusually frosty and snowy North Texas of '09/2010, is not to bring home gold.

My mission, as one of the forced-to-participate Other Winter Olympians, is to just get home by the fire. (Thank God we have a fireplace.)  Call it survival of the fittest?  I think not.

Granted, these Olympic games came upon us suddenly and with little warning.  On Christmas Eve, and on Feb. 12 (when our Canadian neighbors were boo-hooing about an unusually warm winter and not having enough snow to send skiers skidding down a mountain), Old Man Winter took a jog south.

So, with no training, absolutely no equipment and no corporate endorsements, I gamely competed in the following Other Winter Olympic events:

Tracks of Our Fears Cross-Driveway Alpine Stomp

Let the official police report reflect that on the morning of Feb. 12, when my wife and I woke up to about six inches of fluffy snow on the ground, I was merely walking down the driveway when I saw Them.

Them was a row of large one-footed tracks, which remain unidentifiable to this day despite utilizing extensive modern, high-tech investigative techniques (a k a Googling the Internet).

In the picture above, that's the critter print on the left and my Size 10 shoe print on the right.  It's not a rabbit, hawk, possum, dog, cat, duck, squirrel, coyote or wolf, according to our in-house/out-house investigation.

I've decided it's either a blood-sucking chubacabra or Bigfoot.  OK, Mediumfoot, since my comparison shoe is a Size 10.  Whatever it is, we're scared.

Short-Crack Guest Bathroom Light Panel Install

I got extra style points in the one-man bobhead because of my creative footwear.

This event seemed simple enough.  Replace the plastic panels under the lights in the guest bathroom.  It seems easy, just like Curling (but no need for a broom). 

Go to one of those warehouse home stores, though, and you'll discover that you can't just buy the little panels.  You have to buy a sheet of paneling and cut them to fit. 

Easy, just take it to the We Saw It For You section of the store and let a helpful trained employee zip it into shape for you.  Wrong.

They won't cut it for you because "The saw would just tear holes in it."  So they recommend a $10 bright yellow and black "professional" cutting knife that amounts to a handle and a razor blade.  That way you can go home and spend two or three hours tearing chunks out of it yourself.

I couldn't even get the blade to lock into place in the shiny handle with the black grip (and no instructions).  So after much anguish I Googled the problem and discovered this on-line review.  I'm telling the absolute truth:

"Whatever you do, don't buy this product.  The blade won't lock into place." 

I didn't medal in this event.

One-Man Bobheading

The Canadians couldn't even think of adding this event in Vancouver this year because there's not enough snow.  But in Plano, Texas on Feb. 12, the snow was so thick and so heavy that large tree limbs were cracking and falling.  In our back yard, the snow-laden Magnolia tree limbs were drooping near the breaking point.

So I sprang into action in the North Texas One-Man Bobhead competition, shaking the limbs to free them from their heavy burden.  I actually got quite good at it after about six or seven dumps of snow in my face.

I gave myself a silver medal (a quarter) for my valiant effort.  It would have been only bronze, but I got extra style points for my imaginative snow boots (picture above on the right) fashioned by Walmart plastic bags I placed over my size-10 Crocs and laced up with rubber bands.

Gotta go.  More snow's headed our way tonight.  I need to run to Walmart for supplies, a k a plastic bag galoshes.


Elaborate toys Я them, not us


Our grandson Kolten, who'll be 6 in early September and who has spent a week with us for the past two summers, is safely back home in South Texas now.

We all had a great time, although yours truly had to hit the Aleve a little more than usual to keep up. 

Suellen and I love our back yard and covered patio.  It's a great place to sip a cool beverage and to watch birds and squirrels battle for dominant time atop our new squirrel feeder (more on that later).  Last week, though, it became a baseball field, football field, lawn dart field, Wacky Wobble ball playground, sprayground (when the sprinkler system kicked in) and, more than once, an emergency medical facility. 

How in the world can a running boy step on a round rock and slice his heel?  Believe me, it can happen.

Koltuse1 We explored 113 million-year-old dinosaur tracks near Glen Rose, TX in the Paluxy River bed in Dinosaur Valley State Park and made a startling discovery before we even set foot out of the parking lot.  My brother (who gamely came along) and I noticed a perfectly formed dino footprint in the asphalt beside a history info board.

Dinosaurs . . . asphalt?

Hmm, who knew dinosaurs still stomped around Central Texas in the 1960s or '70s, when the state park shifted into tourist dino mode?  Can we get a T-rex investigative team out to Glen Rose please?  Stat!

Later that day, our car broke down at the halfway point of the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  Anywhere else along the wildlife drive, we would have been stranded and surrounded by giraffes and zebras looking for snacks tossed from automobiles.  (But that's another story.) 

Kolten made the trip to the Dallas area armed with a high-tech iPod loaded with electronic games and movies.  He also brought his baseball glove and a cherished baseball handed down through Dad Marc from Grandpa Dave.

Everything else awaited his highly anticipated arrival:  Educational, but entertaining books like Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!" and "Sesame Street's" "Elmo's Good Manners Game" changed the bedtime routine around here dramatically.  So long Texas Rangers, hello story time. 

But Suellen also loaded up on fun stuff.  We played foam basketball in the bedroom, Hot Hoops basketball game and "Don't spill that" in the living room.

David Letterman likes to say that all he had to play with when he was kid was a stick.

I remember spending a lot of fun time with Army men, marbles and a wagon before sports and bicycles entered my life. Outside, I remember digging a huge Army foxhole in the back yard and piling up rocks for ammo just in case of an attack.  (The Baker boys across the street could get a little frisky.)

On rainy days, I spent many joyful hours placing dozens of Army men all around my room (on shelves, on the window ledge, slightly hidden behind lamps, etc.)  Then I'd spend even more time shooting them with rubber bands.  Can I tell you something sort of private?  It was a blast!

I had lots of ammunition because I always had a paper route.  Suellen got Kolten a battalion or so of Army men last week.  Newspapers don't come with rubber bands in our neighborhood any more, though.  I tried tossing the flimsy plastic bag the paper arrives in at the Army men.

No luck.  I swear, I thought I saw one of those toy soldiers with a taunting smile on his plastic lips.

Kolten worked his way through the Wacky Wobble ball (full of air and water), the lawn darts, the toy cement truck, the Nerf football and the game where you throw bean bags into gaping mouths of a wooden monkey, lion, hippo or bear.  He had fun with the bubble squirter and the Woosh Koosh Frisbee.

Late in the week he appeared to be concentrating on a game I like to call Gather Up About 30 Small Rocks and Place Them All Around The Fort Constructed out of Patio Furniture.  If I'm not mistaken, there were some Army men lurking around the rock and patio furniture fortress.

Now there's a game I can identify with.  

I could teach that kid so much if I just had a box of newspaper rubber bands.