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Western Maryland, United States

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Only Way....

Sugar.  Chocolate.  Candy.  

My weaknesses!

The only way to kick the habit.....


Thursday, August 18, 2016

VayCay 2016 Pt 4

Ok.  So part four goes something like this.

Every time I turned around my phone was buzzing.  Photo's and video's were pouring in throughout the week.  "Will this work?" Lindsey asked via text after she sent me a short video of Rissi asking a seagull to name her pet rock.  "No," I answered.  "It needs to be a real person."  And then there was the one where Lindsey asked a store clerk if they carried Donald Trump pens.  Disqualified!  It's a Donald Trump toothbrush she needed to ask for.  So she had to do a couple of do-overs but it all worked out.

Last year's hard to find item was a candy cane.  This year, Fruit stripe gum.

Stacy was blank.  She had no idea where to find it.  Lindsey too.  No clue.  The teams were close for the win.  Very close.  The last day it came down to that one item.  Every single other item was found/photo was taken/video was made for both of the winning teams.  But none could find the Fruit stripe gum.  I was sure a tie would be declared for first place, with both teams being shy of just one item.  The gum.  The teams would split $600, first and second place winnings.

All would meet at 7:00 PM in Gary's and my condo.  The deadline.

As of early afternoon, none had found the gum.

Gary with his son Jason.  Their idea of a good time was to drop fake $100 bills and watch people pick them up.  

The time had come.  I could hear a minor commotion going on outside of our place...  then I heard Stacy's voice.  I knew she was up to something and so I began to video tape Team Palochko as they paraded in proudly singing with the phone "We Are The Champions!"

"You found it???"  I was surprised and happy for them.   A little disappointed for the Hayes team who had worked very hard all week and would now show second place.  But hey, that's what competition is all about, right?  Team Polachko for the win!  They worked hard and deserved it!

Team Hayes showed up minutes later.  Now Lindsey is quiet, usually.  She was forced to be the opposite throughout the week as she left her comfort zone and interacted with many strangers  asking some pretty outrageous stuff.  Her demeanor was quiet still, as she came in and sat down on the bar stool, clutching tight to her bag of scavenger hunt finds. likely ready to split the grand prize with the Polachko Team.

"I hate to have to tell you," I said.  "But Stacy found the gum.  They are the winners."  Lindsey didn't say anything... but she had a look on her face.  A smirk.  A smile.  A half-a-smile?

"You didn't find the gum.  Did you?" I asked.

Yes!  She found the gum!!!  So once again, we had 2 winners who had completed 100% of the tasks on the list!

Last year had been a tie as well with The Geary's and the Hayes tying for 1st.

I was happy for both teams.

They worked hard and were awesome!

But wait.

What about The Dream Team of Allison and Jason?  Ah!  Yes!  They placed third but they did a phenomenal job as well!!

All took part then in Spinning the Wheel for prizes.

Here was the deal.  Whatever prize you won, you could hold on to it and trade it for an envelope in the end.  You could only trade one prize.  You might do better, you might do worse.  It was a Wheel of fortune/ Lets make a deal Combo.

Some highlights:

 *Jason and Allison decided to keep their Don't Sweat the Small Stuff book instead of trading it in...    good choice because there was $90 cash used as bookmarks separating my favorite chapters!

*Lindsey decided she in no way wanted to keep the Donald Trump socks that she had won.  Unbeknownst to her there was a hundred dollar bill in one of the socks.  But alls well that ends well.  I believe her envelope had a hundred in it.  What luck!

*Stacy refused to trade her laughing Hilarie pen but did okay to trade another prize.

The following video is just a minute or so snippet of the fun:

I don't think anyone drew a booby-prize in the end...   Well..  I would call the laughing Hillarie pen a booby prize..  but I guess it's all relative.

Maybe next year I should change my strategy.  Do things a little bit different.  Or maybe I will leave things the same and just do it all over again.  Guess I should start thinking.....  

And Gracie, you won a new toy!!!  How do you like Skunkie?

Skunkie?  Really?  You're gone an entire week and you bring me back a black and white cat that's known for it's stinky smell?  And I'm supposed to thank you for this?  Huh!

Note:  In just two days time, Skunkie was dead.  RIP Skunkie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

VayCay 2016 Pt 3

The start of a beautiful day....

One last selfie before beach hair sets in....

And this.  Am I the only one that finds the following scene to be disturbing??

At first I thought they were dead lobsters waiting to be purchased.  But their little pinchers were moving!  They were very much alive!  Probably suffering!  Needing to be back in the sea!  I wanted to buy them all and throw them back into the ocean!  But I also wanted to stay married..  and so I walked away and tried to erase that scene from my mind after I took a quick shot of the poor things...

The scavenger hunt was well under way.   It was fun watching the videos and photos pour in....  and I couldn't help but wonder, who would be the lucky one?  The one to get their hands on that hard to find item?

Which team would find the winning item?  The Fruit stripe gum?

Laughter and excitement filled the air on our final night.  There was a surprise ending.  That I will share with you in my next blog post.  

The kids had all completed their scavenger hunt and got to spin the wheel for prizes!  

The next morning we would be leaving our peaceful and fun retreat to go back to routine.  Back to the place we call home.  Back to work.  

But first...  a night walk on the beach for Gary and me...  and then an early up the next morning to watch the sun rise.  

Sorting through the scavenger hunt finds left on the table from the night before, I smiled.  
Through seeing death and dying, loss and heartache from a years worth of life since our last beach trip, I had just experienced a week of peace.  I had laughed till I cried.  I'd had intimate moments talking with God and cherished memories with family.  Life would go on.  And one day...  I would say goodbye to this world just like my sister did about eight months ago.  (Gosh I miss her!)  But until my time here is through, I hope to find joy in in the simplest and silliest of things.... 

Goodbye Ocean City, Maryland...  until next year...  maybe...  who knows...  only God...  

Stay tuned for the surprise ending in Pt. 4 and Gracie will have a thing or two to say about her new toy....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

VayCay2016 Pt 2

I will be honest.  For me, going on a scavenger hunt that would take me out of my comfort zone would likely need a lot of coaxing and I can't even imagine what prize would convince me that I should even do such a thing.  

So I have to give it to these guys...  the ones who tried, persevered, conquered...  and went looking for and doing some of the weirdest, strangest things during last weeks scavenger hunt.  What good sports!  I'm not real sure if it was the prizes awarded at the end or if maybe it was to appease their parents who are growing older and seem to be humored by some of the most bizarre stuff.  But whatever the case, these kids were awesome!

Let me introduce you to the teams.  Enthusiastic, fun, and spirited!  

When things got too uncomfortable they improvised....   Picture with a lifeguard = 100 points!

One of my favorite 'missions' was PAY IT FORWARD

 We squeezed a lot into this past week.  I share with you some highlights.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

VayCay2016 Part 1

A part of the fun of going on vacation is sharing those memories and good times with family and friends upon return. 
And so I will be doing just that in my next several blog posts.  

To begin,  Gracie was not at all happy to find my suitcase out of the closet and on the bedroom floor on Saturday.  The following picture is worth a thousand words:

She was happy though to have a live in dog/house sitter for the week.  Her and Aunt Angie bonded.

This vacation was one that was planned way in advance in anticipation of repeating or even exceeding last years vacation which had gone down in history as being one of the best/funnest/greatest vacations ever!  

Spirits were dampened though, when several family members were unable to be a part of this years vacation.  A few changes were made though, and we proceeded to plan our time away but with a bit of a heavy heart. 

I had a roller coaster ride of emotions.  One day the scavenger hunt was on.  The next day it was not.  I did not feel there was a spirit of enthusiasm in many of the others who were going and I thought, why put a lot of effort into something that others do not care to do?  After my final cancel of the 'fun stuff' I did a complete turnaround and the game was on when I found that Marissa was really excited about it and disappointed to know it might be canceled.  I couldn't let my girl down.  The games are not mandatory, so I thought what the heck.  If just one or two want to play...  well then by golly we were going to play and have fun however small the group!

Upon arrival to the hotel Gary picked up off the ground, (right where we parked our vehicle) confirmation that my decision was right on...   

I pulled out my lists, going through the motions,  and braced myself for what would (unbeknownst to me) become another great/awesome/fun vacation.

We texted the lists to all team members while they were en-route to the Pyramid (where we stayed) so they could get started if they were interested in participating.  Everyone seemed excited to be taking part in the fun. 

And so the competition had begun...

Thursday night awards would be given, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE would be played first with the kids, then with the adults, and then LET'S MAKE A DEAL as our grand finale!

Gary and I were there two days earlier than the rest.  So we had time to unwind a bit.  We enjoyed  dinner at a sports bar where the cream of crab soup was the very best I've ever eaten.  Which of us guessed the total check without going over would 'get' to pay for the meal.  

It was close but Gary won.  I mean lost.  Thanks, honey!

to be continued...