Let’s Start at the Beginning

By now most people know about our trip to Texas.  For those of you who do not know, my wife (the Mother of Five) and I took a whirlwind vacation to the other end (North/South) of this great nation of ours.  We left our native state of Minnesota to spend some time….  “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.  It’s proved to be quite the adventure, and I am looking forward to sharing it here. 

I have been known to get a little winded in some of my blog posts, which I suspect bore the living daylights out of most (if not all) of you.  I’m going to break this trip down into digestible chunks (so that you won’t get a bad case of gas) and do my best to make my points as concise as possible.  This may seem like “brevity” to the FOF diehards, but it may also seem like a breath of fresh air too!

I started blogging over four years ago.  The first year my blog was mainly visited by friends family and co-workers.  My blog stats were low, and every once and a while I’d get an errant visit from someone doing some sort of odd search that landed them here at FOF.

Somewhere during that first year, I also got interested in finding and reading other blogs…  My key interest?  Dad-Blogs.  I’d stumble across one or two once and a while that would really catch my eye.  I started adding these to my collection of “Dad Blogs” that I would frequent.

Then, somewhere around August of 2007 (as best as I can tell by searching my archives) – I stumbled across one blog that REALLY caught my eye.  Honestly, I’m not sure who found who first, or who commented on who’s blog first – but (having dug back through his blog) I think I found my first comment on his blog.  It was a post about a Commodore 64, and some pretty “weird” shirts (this becomes important later).  I also remember this blog sticking out because there was a link to a another blog (I did not yet understand that they were written by the same guy) about a feller who was restoring a 1968 Chevy Pick up truck the owner named “Marge”.  Another friend of mine (The King of Clubs) is a huge car guy.  I remember sharing the link with him, and it was not long afterwards that he told me these blogs were written by the same guy!

The blogs?  AtHomeDaddy & TruckinDaddy

I found myself really enjoying his blog.  The way it was written, the author’s sense of humor, the positive attitude, and all from a guy who REALLY loves his kids!  Something on AtHomeDaddy just struck a cord with me, and I became an instant lurker, and fan.

Over the next couple of years I kept up with AtHomeDaddy…  We became regular visitors  and frequent commenters on each other’s blogs.  I found myself waiting to see what AtHomeDaddy’s next post was going to be all about, or what he had to say about my most recent blog post.

We both got into GeoCaching about the same time, and have had fun sharing exploits, and comparing notes about caching.  Texas vs. Minnesota (debilitating heat of the Texas summer vs the dangerously cold sub-zero temps of the Minnesota winter).  Caching with the kids, or flying solo.  Our cache stats (the number of finds) were neck in neck at one point (before AtHomeDaddy threw the gauntlet down, and challanged me to see who could get to 100 before the other).

About this time I found myself saying “I’d really like to sit down with this guy over a beer, and shoot the breeze”. Unfortunately, my sister (who had lived in Texas) had just moved to New York and my sister-in-law (who ha lalso lived in Texas) moved to Atlanta (for work) a couple of years earlier.  My chances of making back down to Texas anytime soon was very slim.  I was a little disappointed, but then again – this guy was a stranger, and I’ve always been challenged when it comes to meeting new folks – so I chalked it up to “never meant to be”.

Yet, as the years continued to pass, I got to know this AtHomeDaddy pretty well.  We seemed to share a sense of humor and have similar viewpoints on most of life.  Then, I stepped into the world of Facebook.  I was on it for a while before it really occurred to me that AtHomeDaddy may be on Facebook too.

After tracking him down, and sending that friend request, I was a little worried that he would think of me as some sort of cyber - stalker.  Thankfully, he accepted my friend request, and we continued to keep in touch through Facebook.  This added another level of personality to the on-line character I knew as AtHomeDaddy – and only further confirmed with me that had we had known each other growing up, I am certain we would have hung together, and would have been good friends!

Then, about a year ago, I got a FB friend request from AtHomeDaddy’s wife, TheBossLady.  Happily, I accepted.  I found I enjoyed TheBossLady’s updates almost as much as AtHomeDaddy’s.  In fact, in many ways, I saw a lot of similarity between The Mother of Five’s personality and TheBossLady’s!

Then, we started emailing each other…  Funny jokes, stories, you know, just shooting the breeze stuff – again adding more familiarity to that original blog persona.

Then, in February of this year it happened…  I opened a Facebook Message from TheBossLady.  She mentioned that the AtHomeFamily was going to be throwing AtHomeDaddy a HUGE milestone birthday party in July and wanted to let us know early enough so that we could make plans if we were able to / interested in attending.

Honestly, right off the bat, I was apprehensive…  It sure seemed a little odd.  Why would anyone want ME to attend..  I’m usually the wall flower, the wet blanket, the socially inept weird guy, but it would be so cool to actually meet and visit with AtHomeDaddy. 

Not to mention that we had family (Sister in NY, and Sister-in-law in GA) that we had not seen in years.  In fact, I have not seen or been to my sister’s last TWO houses…  Sister-in-law had been in GA for four years and we had not had a chance to see her yet either…  So, we told TheBossLady that in all likelihood it would not be possible.  I was watching for UBER cheap flights, and/or considered just going myself over a long weekend (via Greyhound) but it was too hard to justify..

Then, in May – I got an email from my sister in law.  The email said that her job is transferring her (again) – back to Texas!  The Mother of Five and I talked it over, and decided that given the “two-fer” nature of a trip to Texas would have (having not gone to see Mary in so long AND the invite to AtHomeDaddy’s party) that we would try and see if we could work something out.  A lot depended on timing.  My vacation, Sister in law’s availability, grandparent’s availability to watch the kids, and the timing of the party.

Needless to say, after numerous hours of juggling, and consideration – we were able to find a way to make all the pieces fit in place.  So after confirming everything with my sister in law, we let TheBossLady know that we were indeed going to be able to make it!  Her excitement was evident from the first moment.  She also came up with the idea of keeping our attendance as a surprise for AtHomeDaddy (which I was ALL IN WITH!)

So we started making plans.  Looking for flight / hotel / car rental deals, making arrangements for the kids (did I mention this would be one of the first vacations we have ever taken sans children?) and planning the “reveal”.

Between the blog and Facebook – how TheBossLady, The Mother of Five and myself were able to keep this secret was nothing less than amazing!  I kept dropping hints via blog, Facebook and Email that we were not going to be there, and hoping / praying that none of the few folks that did know would not make a slip in a comment, or a status update.  I even changed my blog settings to moderate all comments (now removed) just in case!

Finally, the time arrived.  We (the Mother of Five and I) were headed to Texas for some long overdue time with her sister, and AtHomeDaddy’s 40th Birthday party – OR SO WE THOUGHT……


  1. Greyhound... Ewww. Have you ever actually ridden a Greyhound?

  2. Well, no. But I figured I'd end up sleeping a good 16 of the 22 hour drive away (with headphones on)...

    I take it you've had a "bad" experience?

  3. I rode the grey dog once. I don't care to do it again.

    Although, I must say that part of my bad experience could be related to the fact that I left my wife and kids on Father's Day 2009 for 2 weeks of training in Iowa, for a truck driving job that was going to take me away from them way too much. I was a very depressed man.

  4. David,
    It is now Friday, the 30th. This is your LAST DAY of vacation. Please hurry and finish your next installment . . . wait, you do that at work. Never mind.

  5. Dude, you soooooo got me with that big bold "OR SO WE THOUGHT" at the end. *heading to the next post now*


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