DOW (Drinks of the Week)

I had a lot to drink this week.  On Friday I enjoyed to many elixirs.  It was a birthday celebration so I don’t care.  My only word of advice is that you shouldn’t mix the following items together if you are over thirty, beer, white Russians, cheese steaks, hoagie, chocolate cake, meat sticks, and cheese. This would cause me to be disappointed in myself the next morning.  Light weight! Either way I got to enjoy a wide variety of drinks this week.

This first beer that I had this week was at the Independence Beer Garden in Philadelphia.  The Beer was Nodding Head Monkey Knife Fight.KNife Fight.PNG  The beer was great for the day because of its herby spiced flavor, and the summer heat, mixed with the outdoor seating the IBG offers was awesome.  It really helped me to relax and take in the scenery that IBG offers.  This beer was labeled as a lager on the menu but didn’t have the classic lager taste at all.  It was really good though.

The Second Beer that I was happy to enjoy was called American Hero Ale, from Liquid Hero Brewing.  I was at the Reading Terminal Market and stopped at Molly Malloys and had this fine ale.  Dark color and rich flavor, this beer hit the spot.  I think I got a little caught up in the moment though.  Molly Malloy’s is an open bar in the middle of a giant grocery store, yet somehow makes you feel like your sitting in a pub just people watching.  As I sat there Molloy Malloy's American Hero Aleenjoying my ale time seemingly just slowed for a moment.  Great beer great place.

While sitting at DP Killa’s house we threw down a ton of drinks.  It was his birthday so no excuse needed.  He broke out Stewart’s 20th Anniversary Beer.  Delicious, that’s all I have to say.  Stewarts is a small brewery in Delaware that has been around for some time.  They were the awesome craft beer in Delaware before it got trendy.  These guys have been killing it for a long time.  We would finish the night off with drinking White Russians.  I had about three of these before I had to throw the towel in and fall asleep on his living room floor. I had enough, the night was finally over.  Bring on the headache.   IMG_4998[2543190]

I suggest heading out and grabbing some of the above brews or visit a pub and enjoy today especially if you can find a place to drink outside.  A few suggestions would be, The Crooked Hammock in Lewes, DE, Brick Works in Smyrna, Canwells in Odessa, De.   I look forward to this week since the NFL will be kicking off and I will be a the Eagles home opener.  Great time to take and try some new Beers.

See You in the Future – Thee Time Traveler

 

 

www.liquidhero.com – American Hero Ale
www.noddinghead.com – Monkey Knife Fight Beer
www.stewartsbrewingcompany.com – Stewarts beer 20th Anniv. Blend
www.phlbeergarden.com – Independence Beer Garden
www.mollymalloysphilly.com – Molly Malloys Bar
www.readingterminalmarket.org – Amazing Food

Relax It’s Sunday

Today is an amazingly beautiful day.  Hurricane Hermine has stayed of the coast but brought amazing temperatures.  This week has been a great week once again, spent time with family, friends, and had some awesome drinks this week.  Early in the week I took a day trip to Philadelphia, worked on creating a website, celebrated DP Killa’s birthday, and hung out at a brewery.  All in all I really enjoyed this week very much.

On Tuesday of this past week friends, coworkers, and myself spent the day in Philadelphia as part of a team building event.  We visited the Constitution Center,

Constitution Center

Independence Mall, Independence Beer Garden, and I made my way over to the Reading Terminal Market.  I am a big fan of visiting Cities because of the hodge-podge of cultures that are intertwined in these concrete jungles.  The is truly evident when you go to the Reading Terminal Market.  If you have time today I would pack up and go walk the city, it’s amazing out and bring your appetite.

I continue to work past my fears of starting on an online business.  I think that I am totally over the hump now and ready to move forward with it.  I had to sell the wife on the idea which is the toughest part.  I didn’t want to do anything unless she was totally on board.  I got the go ahead from he so this week I will continue to research and pursue my side venture.  I am really excited and can’t wait to get started on it.

Friday night would be a good night, I would spend the late afternoon and evening hanging out with DP Killa celebrating his 34th Birthday.Many  It’s started out easy enough drinking a few beers, which then led into white Russians and watching “The Big Lebowski.”  I love that movie and many years ago DP and I would watch it before or after bowling in league play.  Mark it an X dude.

Saturday was good even if there was a ton of wind.  I went to Blue Earl Brewing Company where they were having a car show, beer garden, live music and food trucks.  The food truck that I would visit that day wasn’t located there but in its normal spot, the parking lot of Auto Zone and Royal Farms in Smyrna, Delaware.  The truck is called O’ Phoebe’s BBQ, www.ohphoebe.vpweb.com.  The truck is awesome, and by no means does this dude go easy on the food.  His smoker has been in use for 15 years and the flavor backs that up.  His prices are great for the amount of food that you get.  He isn’t skimping on anything either, he does it his way, and he only says whats on his mind.  Great dude Great food.

As far as today goes I will sit and relax, enjoy a book, “The Storytellers’s Secret” by Carmine Gallo, and end the day hanging with some good friends.  I am on vacation this upcoming week and plan on working on the new website and online business.  As a family we continue to go back and forth on either getting a pool, or a trailer at the beach.  We really can’t decide which way to go.  If there are any good book idea’s out there please share away.  Enjoy your day, have fun and make some awesome memories.

See you in the Future – Thee Time Traveler.

Links:

www.phlbeergarden.com – Indepedence Beer Garden

www.blueearlbrewing.com – Blue Earl

 

Hanging In Philly

A couple of days ago I went with a group of friends and co-workers to Philadelphia.  I love this city and the history of it.  More than anything I love the food the city presents.  The trip started off with a visit to the Constitution Center, a meal and cold one at the Independence Beer Garden, and then I escaped to the Redding Terminal Mall.  We started our day off around 7am loading up I a van to hit the road and ensure we were in Philly at a decent time.  Once we overcame of few wrong turns, one that landed us in N.J, we made it to our destination.  I would also like to add that whoever developed the road exit plan for the city should never work again.  Unless you are lucky, you will at some point have to make a split second decision to cut across multiple lanes of traffic in order not to miss your exit.  I would suggest practicing your city driving by yelling loudly while you drive bumper cars in a confined space.  Other than that pray to whatever higher power you believe in, or lower power, and just go with it. 

The Constitution Center is a lovely building, the provides a wonderful presentation on the work the founding fathers did to present the Nation with the Declaration of Independence.  Within the facility you can see several attractions, and get a sense of the history that we have gone through as such a young Nation.  You can quickly review the hard times and good times that this great Nation has gone through in order to get where it is today.  You also leave with an understanding that in the grand scheme of things we are still so young as a Country and to become the world leader that we are is pretty amazing.  I mean there are buildings in Italy that were destroyed by an earthquake this past week that were older than America.  Take a day go and get your history on.

After finishing up around 1130 at Independence Mall we shot over to the Independence Beer Garden.  I have had this place on my mind for sometime and was excited to finally get there.  This is located outside this place offers great views, good beer, and good food.  With optional covered seating, or seats out in the sun, this place offers you the chance to sit and enjoy a long afternoon eating and relaxing.  I ordered the pork tacos and wings for my nom nom nom, and a Nodding Head Monkey Knife Fight beer.  These were good all the way around.  I thought the Pork Tacos had a little to much of a BBQ flavor, and not enough of the Salsa Flavor.  The wings I got were deep-fried, large, and had a lot of flavor.  The beer was labeled as a lager on the menu, but did not carry that traditional lager flavor but did carry a spiced, herbed flavor that was really good, and even better with the summer temperatures that we had. 

Taking a small break from my meal and drink, I let my stomach settle a bit and then it was off to a place that I have been dying to try, The Redding Terminal Market.  The easiest way for me to describe this place is that it is a giant melting pot of food and culture that is stuffed into a giant warehouse.  You could eat breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, and desert all in one day.  The is an amazing amount cultural foods as well.  Fresh foods are everywhere, the smells are great, and at Molly Mollay’s you can get a cold one to walk around with.  I recommend the American Hero Ale, not just because I’m a veteran but because it was good.

Molloy Malloy's American Hero AleThe brew had a nice dark color and rich flavor.  The small pub has an oddly large classic pub feel to it, even though it is basically an open setting bar in the middle of a giant grocery store.  The magic of the Redding Terminal was obviously working on me.  It was nearly time for me to take off and meet back up with the team, but first I needed to stop at America’s olders Ice Cream parlor, L.D Bassett,  and grab a cup of vanilla ice cream.  Great way to finish the day.

Terminal Market Basset Ice Cream

It took my 15 minutes walk back to the Constitution Center to rally up with the gang and head back to Delaware.  My stomach felt like it was going to explode at this point, and my eyes were getting heavy.  It didn’t take us long before we were back on the road and guys started dropping like flies.  Heads back and mouths wide open, the van slumber party had begun.  I took this time to reflect on the Philly journey we took and that I would tell anyone and everyone that lives near a city of any type large or small, that they should spend the day seeing it’s history and enjoying it’s culture.  You don’t necessarily need to speak to anyone but that will make the trip better, and you never know who you will end up meeting.  Head on out and enjoy some food, friends, and beer.

 

See you in the Future – Thee Time Traveler.

Crepes

These delicate little pancakes are delicious.  I first made these French Pancakes on July 4th.  Yup that’s right on America’s Day.  Not because I’m Crazy but because we ae a melting pot and these things are versatile pancakes that you can do a lot with.  Besides, I’m a bit of a foodie.  So here is the recipe that I use to make my thin cakes of delight.

Ingredients:

1st you need people to enjoy these with, family, friends, a hobo, it really doesn’t matter never cook alone.

4 Eggs

2 Cups of Flour

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Water

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Butter for the pan, so that the cakes don’t stick

Brown Sugar – Use to your discretion

Vanilla – Just a small amount will do

Cinnamon – Cinnamon is strong, so use gingerly

Syrup – Squirt some of this into the batter it will give the cakes a bit more flavor.

Directions:

  1.  Mix your eggs and flour together in a large bowl.  Once you begin whisking these together slowly start adding your milk and water into the mix.  Unlike pancake mix your crepe mix is going to be very light and runny not thick and heavy.  Once you have a good mix throw in your salt.
  2. This next step is where you begin to add some flavor to these cakes.  I don’t really enjoy having cooked flour, water, and milk, so I like to add flavor items to give them some awesome taste.  As you continue to stir add some syrup into the mix, not much about what you would use to cover a piece of French toast.  Then add a small amount of vanilla, and finally your cinnamon.  Use these last three ingredients to your liking, the more you put in the sweeter they get.
  3. Once the mix is complete take a sip of coffee, you going to want to enjoy this morning.  Maybe ask the kids how they are doing, maybe kiss the wife, or husband, or boyfriend, or life partner, whatever it doesn’t matter just kiss someone.  If you dont’ drink coffee, wait what, you don’t drink coffee?  Get the hell out of my kitchen! Sorry I’m still on my first cup.
  4. You are going to need a large pan, or I like to use a griddle.  This way I can regulate my temperature and I have a larger cooking surface.  I keep the temprature around 300 – 325.  The pan is going to need to bea non-stick pan, or if you have a crepe pan that’s even better.  The next step is pouring the batter onto the pan, or griddle.  I like to use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to pour my crepe mix. You will need to get a good spread so lightly use the bottom of the measuring cup to spread out the mix on the hot surface.  You can by a crepe tool thingy before hand but your only ever going to use it when you make crepes.  No need to put useless shit in your drawers.
  5. Once the mix starts cooking it is going to take on an almost rubbery look.  Once this happens begin working around the edges of the cake so that you can flip it.  Once you flip it, it will only need to cook about another twenty or thirty seconds at most.  The bottom cooks quickly.  Cooked it should be about 8-10 inches around.  They are pretty big.
  6. That’s it you have made a crepe, good job look at you, a real French Artist.  Sike you made a flat pancake don’t get crazy.  Now the fun really begins.  Earlier I said that these thin cakes are versatile, no really I said it in the beginning.  Anyway way, you can keep it flat and eat it or you can roll up and put fruits, chocolate, whip cream, all kinds of stuff on it.  Get imaginative.  I like to use them like burritos, put some eggs or sausage in the middle, and roll it up.  Use a toothpick to keep it together.  Enjoy.

Cooking is fun, and is meant to be experimental.  Use you imagination and don’t be afraid to put things together in order to create something awesome.  Cook with friends and family, but never cook alone.

See You in the Future – Thee Time Traveler

 

 

Predictable

The Eagles took the field in their third pre-season game on Saturday, and for the most part looked how many thought they would look.  Sure the team put up a few points on a depleted Colts defense but they never truly looked spectacular or surprising.  Preseason is a difficult phase in which the teams give you nearly nothing in return you give full support.

  1. Quarterbacks:  Sam Bradford looked like Sam Bradford.  When healthy he has a moderately decent arm with no t a lot of down the filed striking ability.  Accurate and safe. If he stays healthy he should have a pretty good season, but the offense is going to struggle to put up a lot points, unless Dorial Green-Beckham and Bradford can become a dynamic duo
  2. Running backs:  All appearances is that there is going to be a committee of runners for this team this year.  No one back stands out as an every down back, which on one hand helps because fresh legs are always in there, and on the other hand rotating three and four backs doesn’t allow for any real rhythm to build don the offense.  Especially since each back has a different running style.
  3. Wide receivers:  What a mess.  Hopefully DGB can become a solid two, or a decent one sooner rather than later.  His height gives him corner end zone threat ability yet he is only in his second season and on his second team.  Outside of him what you have is a bunch of slot receivers and situational recievers, and please for the love of God get rid of Nelson Agholor
  4. The O-Line:  It is a shame what has happened here.  The aging Peters, the suspended Johnson, and the young men that now have to fill roles of veteran players.  Unless they can come together quickly the offense is going to struggle staying on the field.  With defensive tackles and ends able to push their way straight through Bradford is going to have to check down to backs and tight ends this year.
  5. Tight Ends:  They should have a big year.  Sam Bradford is going to have to check down a lot because of defense pressure and not a lot of trust in the receiving core.  If Ertz can hold on to the ball he should have a pro-bowl level season.  The team’s record won’t reflect this but he should have a good year.

DEFENSE:  I don’t have to say anything here, they are the strength of the team and why we should win at least 7 games this year because they will help get us good field position.

DOW (Drinks of the Week)

This week was fun because I got to try so many different flavors.  I picked up two variety packs, one from Narragansett our of Rhode Island, and the other was Devils Backbone from Virginia.  Both drew my attention for the packaging and that fact that I had never had them.  These packs surprised me with the flavors they contained.  If I put the two packs head to head the Narragansett pack would win, ask me again in November and the Devils Backbone would win.  I am going list them in the order of enjoyment by the case not against each other.  Again my pallet is differnt then others so take it for what it’s worth.  I tried the beers under differnt circumstances and tried to think of times that I would really enjoy them.

Narragansett Beer – Narragansettbeer.com

Packaging of this beer was cool, the box was playful and I am pretty sure it has a drunk Mr. Crabs on the front of it.  The back of the box provides you with food recipes to go with the beers.  These dudes know what they are doing.  Next time I pick up a case I am going to try out the recipes.  The box had three beers in it, a Lager, Citra and a Shandy.  Listed is the order in which I enjoyed them. Mr Crabs

Classic Lager

  1.  I am placing the Lager number out of this pack.  This was a classic lager with classic flavor, and the a classic can.  The only thing missing was an old school pull tab.  Talking to the brewers through Twitter I found that they have been using the same recipe since the 50’s.  I picked it number one out of the box because a classic lager is an everyday everywhere kinda beer.  You can’t go wrong when it tastes so good.
  2. The number two beer shocked me a bit, but their Shandy was awesome.  I was taken aback on this one.  I don’t generally like Shandy’s, but rather deal with them in the Summer.  Narragansett makes a Shandy that is Awesome.  This thing was like drinking a Sprite, or 7UP.  It went down so easy and was so good that I believe mine only lasted about ten seconds.  Great job, Great Summer Beer.  Take this one to the Beach.
  3. Lastly out of this pack was the Citra.  It didn’t knock my socks of but had good flavor.  I think I was expecting a Shock Top, or Blue Moon, and caused me to be a bit indifferent.  I enjoyed it but don’t think I would go out of my way for this one.  Still good flavor though.

Devils BackBone Brewing – dbbrewingcompany.com

DB

This was packaged with an outdoor adventure feel to it.  I should have picked this case up in November because it has a lot of fall flavors.  This pack offered a larger variety in it and had alot of different flavors from  apple to jalapeno. I was confused and delighted all together.

Vienna Lager

  1.  There Vienna Lager is great, and a lot like Narragansett’s it has a classic taste.  This beer has a great flavor, color, and feel.  I could have easily drank six or seven of these.
  2. The Ale of Two Cities, this was delicious and after a long day on the football field this went down great.  Smooth flavor and taste I could truly make this a consistent garage fridge beer alongside the Vienna Lager.
  3. The Hot shot, wow was this different yet awesome.  The timing couldn’t have been better either since I made spicy wings on the grill.  This was an Indian Pale Ale, which I don’t normally drink, infused with jalapeno.  Once you pop the top you can smell the peppers immediately.  Pairing this with the wings and steak I made was an awesome combo.  This beer is a rare occasion beer, or a pairing type of beer.Apple Pie Stout
  4. Apple-Achian Pie Stout:  This is a beer that needs to be reserved and revisited in November when it’s cold in the Northeast and you’re at a football game.  It was to early for this beer for me.  With that being said, it was really good and I don’t much care for stouts.  Yet again this is another beer that you need to pair with either the season, or Thanksgiving and meals of the such.
  5. Space Fruit Ale:  This was ok, I didn’t go crazy for it, and have yet to drink the second one that was provided.  I think I just missed the boat on this one, or had to many prior to drinking it.  Sorry I can’t provide more insight.
  6. Tropical Thunder, a pineapple favored beer.  Well the pineapple hits you on the back-end, which I don’t like pineapple, you get some hoppiness up front.  This combination for my mouth doesn’t work.  I hope it works for others.

I hope that everyone gets out and tries these two beer companies.  They provide awesome variety and flavors, and challenge your taste buds.  Narragansett is classic beer flavoring company, and Devils Backbone will stretch the limits of innovation in the craft beer world.  I give DB a lot of credit for going out on the limb with their beers, that is tough to do and these guys getting after it.

Jeep Front.jpg

If anyone has suggestions send them my way

See you in the Future – Thee Time Traveler

 

Relax It’s Sunday

The summer is slowly coming to an end, and I am ready for it.  Football season is fast approaching, as is another school year.  This past week we took off from work to one, celebrate our anniversary, and to relax from work a bit.  I tried a couple new beers, helped coach our first youth football game of the year, wrote an awesome blog about the wife, finished two books, and got my oldest ready for the new school year beginning next week.  We also sat and enjoyed the company of great friends once again.  The summer gods provided us with great temperatures leading up to the weekend when it got extremely hot again.  Good thing I had some beers.

I believe that taking a week off from work and relaxing as much as possible is perfect, and well needed.  I got to spend some time this week thinking about the future and what I want to do.  I get to retire in about 9 years, and although that seems like a long way off the first 15 years of my career  went in the blink of an eye.  I know that I want to have as much fun in my second life and not be as restricted to a desk as I am now.  So I continue to work on this blog, and continue to read and read and read.  In October I will pick back up on my education with starting college classes again.  Five more classes and in will finally have my BA in Criminal Justice.  I don’t plan on using it, for it’s just a back up plan if becoming an internet mogul doesn’t work out.  Always have a plan B.

If you get a chance I encourage you to read the blog from early this week, Our Story-10 Years of Fun.  It’s pretty good, or at least it made the wife cry, and making her happy is what it’s all about.  We both took the week off and just enjoyed being with the girls, and each other.  We had some friends over the one night and enjoyed a cool night on the deck talking about future plans, and life in general.  It was fun and the perfect weather made it exceptionally nice.

My oldest daughter spent some time preparing for second grade this week by reading and completing summer homework assignments.  I hate that she has to grow up, but there are times that I get really happy about the progress she is making.  She really is an awesome kid.  We did the whole meet the teacher night, and I continue to believe that teachers are getting younger everyday.  I know that her next educator is more than 20 but she looked like she was twelve.  Good luck kiddo, I think they were the same height also.

Jump on over to the Vices page later today and see my thoughts on two variety packs that I picked up for this week.  They were well needed after the football game we had on Saturday.  Coaching youth football is extremely rewarding, and frustrating at the same time.  You quickly forget that these kids are seven and that their ability to retain certain information is difficult.  Also they get nervous easily.  When the other team lined up against us this week our kids realized immediately that they were bigger, and better.  We coaches knew this going in, and thought we would lose the game, but take away a great learning experience from it.  Telling this tiny men that if we keep pushing, and keep playing that with each small failure we will learn more and more, and then after some time we will begin to succeed.  The first drive we couldn’t get past first down, but with each drive we achieved one more down, or ten more yards, eventually moving the ball down field and nearly scoring.  Next week, we will take those lessons and build on them, we now have a foundation, it’s time to build the house.

thinking of foundations, I took this week to finish one book and read another.  The first was the “4 Hour Work Week,” by author Tim Ferris.  This book was excellent and was the main reason I started the blog.  I had been planning on starting one some time ago, but his book gives you plenty of references, and tools to get started.  It also get you just motivated enough to say F&%$ it lets give it a try.  Some of the things in there were a bit over the top, yet he is just giving you examples of the things he loves to do.  All in all the book gives you plenty of tools to add to your tool box.

The second book  I read this week was “The 10% Entrepreneur,” by Patrick McGinnis.  Great read, and an easy read.  There are only a couple hundred pages and in just a night or two, with a little music and a cocktail, you could blow right through this one.  If you a looking to begin investing into a business, or get started in becoming an entrepreneur, this is a good read.  Like the previous book it gives you plenty of tools for your tool box.  If you have an idea, and want to refine your approach on who to work with, or how to go about finding others to work with read this book.  I recommend both.

So Monday, blah, is fast approaching and back to work I go.  I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle up coming tasks, or things that I need to catch up on.  I look forward to my daughters first week of school and how awesome it will be, and how the kids in her class are.  My youngest is going to be 2 soon so we have to start thinking about that.  Later today I will attend a retirement party for a good friend of mine.  Each time a friend retires I now that I am getting closer myself and it is exciting.  I hope everyone takes time to reflect on their week and looks forward to what the future brings.

 

Take it Easy and I’ll See You in the Future – Thee Time Traveler

Our Story-10 Years of Fun

Way back in the year of 2001 me and my bro DP Killa were driving around after a night of drinking and conjuring up plans of destruction.  We were in the mighty city of Newark, it had been snowing out and was a little chili, when out of nowhere DP looks at me a says, “Hey I am going to join Army, if I don’t do it now I will never do it.”  Well, hell it sounded like a great idea to me.  We spent the rest of the day looking for recruiters and eventually signing paper work.  At the time I had no idea how drastically my life was going to change in what now feels like a very short amount of time. 

Fast forward to September 11, we all watched the world change.  Things were going to be different.  My young career in the military, which I hadn’t even been to basic training yet, was also going to take a very different path then just one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.  I was working at a local hospital as a patient escort when I watched things unfold on the television.  I remember standing there thinking, “look some jack ass just flew into a building in New York.”  Then within seconds the second plane hit.  We all knew instantly that something was very wrong.  You could feel it in your stomach, your heart, and your head.  Numb, we all stood and watched, waiting, mesmerized by the acts that unfolded in front of us.  I went from signing up for the army to get some college benefits, to wanting to defend my Nation.  Little did we know that would happen time and time again. 

In January of 2002 I woke up in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, it was cold, but it would get a lot colder.  Basic training would last until May of 2002 where I learned to be a Soldier and a Military Police officer.  With only two weeks remaining in training I was excited to get home, I was 21 and ready to have a shit ton of fun.  I called home to talk to DP and see how things were back on the front, he then told me that the unit I would be going to got word that they were going to Saudi Arabia.  I was stunned, I didn’t think that we would be going over sea’s so quickly. Just one year after the events of 9/11 I found myself living in Saudi Arabia, searching people and cars for bombs on a daily basis.  I hadn’t even gotten the chance to flex my bar muscles yet.  October though is when my life began to change forever. 

The base that we were stationed on only had dial up internet, and a few land lines that we could use to call home.  The computer access was limited and so were the phone calls.  I would reserve using these items to merely call back home and talk to my brothers DP, and Sean, as well as talking to my dad.  One day speaking to my dad he informed me that he gave my email address to girl that he met through a co-worker.  The co-worker in the end was her uncle and I had known him for years.  He said that he told her that I was single and only really talked to a couple of people back home.  He thought it would be a good idea for me to have someone else to talk to.  Man was he right, although for some time he thought my eventual wife was actually her cousin. 

I received an email one day with what appeared to by an online bio for a dating website.  You could tell just reading the email that the sender was nervous and didn’t want to put themselves out there too much but in doing so came of cute and goofy.  She mainly described her likes and dislikes and where she went to school, and what hobbies she had.  I responded with a lot of the same information back, and this began the dialogue between us.  The truth is we both started out with no expectation that this would lead to anything other than friendly conversation, I mean what if we weren’t attracted to one another.  At least I was 10,000 miles and could stop talking at any time.  We continued to email, and even talked on the phone a bit.  The conversations were fun and we both had a lot to say.  Honestly the best part of these conversations were that we were both being 100% honest about what we were looking for in a relationship.  There was no hiding anything, there was no conforming to the other’s needs.  When we realized this was happening we began to talk more personal things and the conversations got deeper.  Time stood still when we spoke, and we both began anticipating the next correspondence.  When incidents would happen and we lost connectivity on the base, I felt like my world was coming apart.  I then realized I was waiting for her, as she was waiting for me. 

May 5, 2003.  It was on this day that I would finally meet the voice on the other end of the phone, meet the digital pen pal that I told most of my secrets and needs to for the last 8 months.  First I had to escape the entrapment of a coming home ceremony, get dismissed, pack a bag, and head to the beach where she was celebrating her best friend Kelly’s, aka #2, 21st Birthday.  Once we were dismissed I rushed home packed up, kissed the family, and rolled out.  It took me about two hours to get to Ocean City, Maryland where the girls were hanging out at a night club/bar called SEACRETS.  That place is awesome.  I got to the parking lot, and called her on my cell phone.  I could hear the excitement and fear in her voice, and then quickly realized that she was running.  Like fast, like jumping hurdles in the Olympics fast.  I was still trying to park when I looked out the driver side window, and finally saw her.  She was no longer running fast, in my eyes she had hit slow motion, fear and excitement had now crept into my body.  What is she going to think, what is she going to say, what if she keeps running?  I quickly parked, probably illegally, but whatever, and jumped out, and hugged the most amazing women ever.  I couldn’t believe it, after all this time she was there, she was real, and we were finally together. 

It didn’t take me long to make a move and finally kiss this woman.  Not that I move fast, but this was just right.  She was at the bar ordering me a drink, and I basically blacked out, love had overcome me and when she turned I just went for it.  This was completely out of character for me, it was not calculated, it was not thought out, is was spontaneous, and reckless, and we both loved it. We spent the rest of the night partying and introducing me to all of her friends, Adam, Kelly aka #2, Horsecock, and many others.  By nights end we ended back at the hotel they were staying at in Dewey Beach, and we talked and held each other, mesmerized that the day was finally here and it was perfect.  I retreated to the hotel across the street where DP was staying with his eventual wife.  I laid there for a while blown away by the night that had just transpired.  Things were going to be awesome for here on out. 

In August 25 2005 was the day that I was going to pop the question.  I choose to do it at the beach, a place that we love and where friends were there with us, especially #2.  We had rented a place in Dewey with Sean and a bunch of other people, and I used him as my confidant, to help me muster up the courage to ask the big question.  I have no idea why I was nervous I knew she would say yes, but there I was shaking like a leaf.  I had put the ring in a gum ball case, one that you would get from the little red machines in pizza joints or grocery stores.  I walked out on the balcony where everyone was pre-staged, and shook it around and told her I wanted to practice proposing to her.  She laughed and told me I was crazy.  I got down on one knee, grabbed the wrong hand, which she corrected for me and then I began to speak. 

The Proposal

The Proposal (date is wrong on photo I know)

Still laughing she looked around and noticed that no one else was laughing.  They were crying, and so was I.  It was at that moment she realized this was real, and that the ring in the case was not plastic but the real deal.  I wish I could tell you the words I used that day, but I whimpered and cried so much that once she said yes I stopped talking and kissed her.  Besides the white trash party, we threw that week, this was the best thing to happen.

 

 

 

TheMississippi Destruction military would continue to test our resolve as a couple over and over again.  To be honest my career would have ended early if it were not for my wife.  Soon after the engagement, I would find myself in Mississippi, helping those in need after hurricane Katrina hit.  It was devastating, and came just a week after getting engaged.  What we didn’t realize that week was that the events were unfolding as we were partying at the beach, no one watched the news, no one picked up a paper, we were oblivious to it.  Then I got a call to volunteer to go, I excepted, and off I went.  In the Spring of 2006 I would go to Italy for 3 weeks.  A great time but yet again more time away from my future bride.  We were scheduled to be married on August 26th of that year, and nothing was going to stop that, and it didn’t. 

The day we got married to me is the greatest day ever, between the wedding and the reception I had never had more fun in my life.  There truly is no feeling like when you finally get to see your bride in her dress being handed off to you by her father.  It is amazing, and goes way to fast.  In the blink of an eye we were getting ready for what as the most important time of our lives to trying to get a nap in at a hotel in Philly waiting to go on our honeymoon.  We kept asking each other, what happened, and where did the day go.  Needless to say the day went great, and apparently the after party was even better.

Dancing Donnie

Our Honeymoon was in Maui, what is probably the most amazing place on earth.  We spent more money than we had, so much so that we only had a few dollars left by the end of it.  We snorkeled, went horseback riding in the mountains, flew to pearl harbor, helicopter rides, submarine ride, and did the road to Hana.  The most amazing trip ever and we couldn’t stop smiling the entire time.  That was until the flight home.  The flight from Hawaii to Dallas was good, long but good, we got to the airport, grab a small bite to eat and jumped on the connecting flight from Dallas to Philly.  The plane was pretty empty, and the flight was going smooth for the most part.  My brand new bride was sleeping with her head in my lap and I was reading a book.  She quickly rose to the smell of smoke, but it had that electrical scent to it.  Sure enough that’s when stewardesses began to gather a few rows behind us, and talk about the small fire and that they needed to turn the plane around.  I would say that they were a little panicked at this point.  My wife exclaimed that “Oh great this is it, I had the greatest day ever, and an amazing honeymoon, and now I going to die on the plane home.”  Somehow my wife believes that this was destined for her by making the statement, “well that’s just my luck” No, not today, it was a small electrical fire yes, but the super cool pilot came over the speaker and said it was going to be okay, as soon as we land in Little Rock Arkansas and fix the issue.  He said it in such a smooth way that I was like “cool.”  I didn’t appreciate when the panicked stewardess came by and try to sell me a chocolate muffin though.  I am pretty sure that she should have just given it to me, being that it could be my last meal and all. 

The spring of 2007 we would be tested again, with me going to Arizona for three weeks to conduct border security.  Great mission and I got to live on the side of a mountain for a couple days a week.  After returning it wasn’t much longer before we got word that we would be deploying again, this time to Baghdad, Iraq.  This one would be different, it was during the surge in Iraq, I was no longer single, and we were trying to get careers off the ground, plus we had just bought a home two years prior.  Low and behold almost five years to the day I was once again sitting in a foreign nation.  Iraq This would test the resolve of our marriage, I was older and in charge of troops this time, rather than just myself.  I was looked at differently in the company, and kept my head down and worked hard to make sure we did the right things in order to get home.  The wife struggled at times with me being away, I learned on this one that the job at home is far worse, and harder than the job I was doing.  I was able to live in a fantasy world almost, no bills, responsible only for a few, I didn’t have to worry about too many things.  She on other hand had the news, constant rumors, thoughts, and varying emotions.  Through it all she stayed strong, and rarely let on that it was difficult.  Gone for a year I would return home, where my wife once again would help me transition back to normal life, and begin to prepare for the next stage in our lives, children. 

It was in February that I came home on R & R that I was able to get my wife pregnant.  This was super exciting and couldn’t wait to be a father.  We planned for names, we planned for the sex, and we got ourselves ready for whatever we were going to have.  We found out that we were having a little girl.  I mean this when I say it, that I never cared what the sex was, I just wanted a healthy baby.  In November of that year little Rylee would test us right out of the gate.  Everything had been going well until the final push, when the umbilical cord got caught around her next and cut off her oxygen.  The doctor worked quickly to get her out, and then placed the limp, grey baby on my wife’s chest.  We had no idea what the next step was, a nurse came over and explained that a lot of people were going to come in the room, and not to be nervous, my wife couldn’t see that.  They whisked my baby away and took her to another table, time once again slowing down, and the only thing I could do was to reassure my wife that this was procedure and everything was okay.  She couldn’t stop asking why isn’t my baby crying, why.  Talk about heart breaking, I stood there dumb founded, my mother in-law next to me stunned as well.  I just kept saying it is going to be okay.  The group of nurses came in the room and worked feverously to revive my little angel.  Then all of a sudden there was a loud cry and she went from grey to pink.  They did it, they saved her, everything was going to be okay.  We later found that not long before Rylee was introduced to this world another family member had passed.  I am not very religious at all but you have to take solace in the fact that he passed and she was introduced under tough circumstances.  It was during this time that I saw how truly strong my wife was.  Baby Rylee had to stay in the NICU, neonatal intensive care unit, for observation for the next week.  It was but just a few hours after giving birth that my wife snuck down to go be with her.  I was in a sleep coma, and had no idea what she was doing.  She couldn’t rest she had to go see her.  It got so bad that the nurses told us to go home after the third day, my wife’s legs were carrying a lot of fluid and she needed to rest.  She had only one thing on here mind and that was that baby.  She would have a walked a thousand miles each day to she if she had too.  The strength of a mother is something to marvel at.

Slim and jax

Life continued and we continued to grow as a family.  The wife and I began new careers in 2009 and everything had been looking on the up and up.  She was doing great at her new company and I couldn’t have been happier for her.  This year posed a different challenge for us though.  After returning from Iraq in 2008 I went back to work at in my civilian job but quickly found that something was missing.  I was struggling to adapt to life outside of the military.  Now, by no means did this mean that I ever though I had PTSD or anything like that, I had just grown accustomed to the structure and life in the military.  So I began looking for jobs in the National Guard.  I was fortunate enough to land a full time job, after being beaten out of other jobs.  We both had now started new careers, and within the next year I would attend a lot of training, that selfishly put a strain on me and my family.  At one point I had traveled 6 out of 8 weeks.  This was frustrating for my wife because she was balancing a new job, and trying to take care of the baby.  I went back and forth and thought nothing of it.  This quickly turned into her thinking I wasn’t in it anymore.  It was a time for reflection and I promised her from that day forward that I would be more open about feelings, and what my plans are and I made a self-promise to get back to being a team, and not an individual.  Traveling for work can be tough on a family, later down the road my wife would travel for work and start to realize the struggles it can bring. 

By late 2010, 2011 we were rolling, working hard raising an amazing daughter and looking to sell our home and move into our forever home.  We talked about having another kid and how exciting that would be.  That was all great, expect that in 2011 we got word again, yup another deployment.  This shit is getting old.  So it was off to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2013. Afghan We bought a house before I shipped out, and held off on having another baby.  Hopefully this would be the last one.  This was different, we knew what to expect, what was coming, and how to adjust when I got back.  We were veterans at this by now.  Once again she played my anchor, and rock at home while I was able to focus on the deployment.  The biggest difference this time was that I had to leave my daughter behind.  If you ever thought, it was tough saying goodbye to your spouse trying saying it to a 4-year-old.  Wow, that is tough.

After returning in in the fall of 2013 having our deployment cut short, life seemingly picked up where it left off.  I took some time off before going back to work, and jumped back in.  The wife’s career was flowing by this point and we were ready for that second baby.  By September of 2014 we introduced our second child into the world, Chayse.  

Baby chayse and jax

Baby Chayse and Jax

She was amazing and came out with no hiccups at all.  This was indeed a very different experience.  My daughters are amazing and keep me grounded, they will test you as a man, but it takes a man to raise children.

My household feels complete, and looking back there were days when I was young that living in this type of family structure wasn’t possible and only existed on television.  I mean really, I am married, two kids, a dog, a cat, and a fence.  The fence isn’t a white picket fence but it’s a fence.  I am now on the back end of my military career and continuing to focus on the future.  My wife is steadily approaching the height of her career, and each day she becomes more and more successful.  I couldn’t imagine things being any other way.

I tell this story because August 26 2016 marks our ten-year anniversary.  I have had an amazing marriage and life up to this point.  I would love to tell you that there are secrets to being married, but there isn’t.  There are different formulas that work for different people.  Some don’t work at all, and that’s ok.  Our formula is a complicated algorithm of patience, understanding, laughter, sacrifice, keeping old friends, not being afraid to spend time away from each other, and just enjoying each others company.  When I tell you I married my best friend, girlfriend, my drinking partner, and soul mate, I truly mean that.  Find what works for you, find happiness and be honest about what makes you happy.  We got lucky and found each other at the right time in our lives, some search a lot longer than we did.  In the end, don’t sacrifice your happiness to satisfy the needs of others.  Make the best of this life, I know I am. 

US

 

This is dedicated to my rock, my confidant, and the love of my life.  Happy Anniversary Nicole.

 

 

DOW (Drinks of the Week)

So this week I took on a couple of beers that I had never had before.  I also got a lot of suggestions from my bro Sean and Jersey Joe.  These guys love beer, and can pick some wild flavors.  I am not to sure how I feel about drinking a chocolate peanut butter stout, but at some point I will do it.  I do need someone who can help me pair my beers.  So enough about that the two beers that I had this time were the Fordham Wisteria Wheat, and Flying Dog Numero Uno Agave Cerveza.  You probably got that from the cover photo though.

Flying Dog has a way of catching your eye with their art work.  Numero Uno Agave CervezaThese guys understand that creating a good cover for your beer is like choosing a cover for a book, it’s the hook, and these dudes are great at it.  Like a good book thought the cover has to be good and the inside has to be better.   I personally feel like they also hit it on the head.  The Numero Uno was perfect in the sun and went down well in my pint glass.  Nothing was over bearing, and it had the right combination of flavors.   I really think I can only drink this one when it is hot out, or when I am eating crabs.  I enjoyed it with my crabs.  Another great pick I think, I will be adding this to my summer favorites.

http://flyingdogbrewery.com/

The second beer that I got was Fordham’s Wisteria Wheat.  I like my beer with a little bit of a fruity taste especially in the summer.  I enjoy Shock Top, and Blue Moon, and I think this was right on target.  I could taste the fruity-ness in it.  The bottle said subtle but it hit me good, and I liked it.  everybodies pallett is differnt and thats how mine works.  I thought it was delicious and went down smooth.  Don’t know what to pair it with but I did enjoy sitting and having this one while a read a book.Wisteria, Fordham  I will be looking for this one again and really enjoy the Dominion line they also make.  The pin-up bottles are great.  I am not sure if it is the fact I pick great beers or that I don’t know if there is a beer I dislike.  I’ll keep trying though.  Great beers, good times, good friends.  http://fordhamanddominion.com

Also if you are in Delaware or passing through check out http://delawarehopscene.com for good reviews on local craft beers.