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Monday, September 5, 2011

Pulling The Wool Over My Eyes

I'm a trained investigator.  I spent years honing my craft to notice things all around me.  Things the average person would be blissfully unaware of.  This ability has helped me solve crimes and put bad people who did bad things away.

This Labor Day weekend, Marti and I drove 5 hours North to New Jersey to spend the day at my Dad's house for a family get together.  Good food, good conversation and lots of fun occur at these all too rare gatherings.  This weekend, all my brothers, my sister and assorted sister and brother in laws as well as nieces and nephews were in attendance, as well as my son Corey and daughter-in-law, Amanda.

Corey and Amanda were the ringleaders.  They perpetrated the perfect crime.  Right under my nose.  They successfully pulled the wool over my eyes and I never saw it coming.  Some investigator I am!

We had a great cookout, delicious food was served out on Dad's back porch.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature.  Lots of chicken, burgers, hot dogs, salads and sodas made for a lovely meal.  I enjoyed the chicken, with some great BBQ sauce.

After the meal, the gang played some games in the living room while I retreated to the den to let the oncoming food coma set in.  In no time I was dozing away.

After a little while, I was called into the dining room for dessert.  Shaking off the clutches of the Sand Man, I went into the dining room and was hit with a big surprise.

There was a cake honoring my retirement and a couple of gifts.  On the cake was a little boat that Amanda had spent some time using her amazing talents and had decorated specially for me.

I received some special glasses that I have been instructed to be photographed in when we visit special places in the Journey on our full time travels.  I tried them on for size and they fit perfectly.

My family gathered around to watch me open some gifts.

One was a picture of me early in my Coast Guard career, taken in July 1983 out in the Long Island Sound.  Notice those long sideburns in my wedding photos are gone (long gone!).

Opening this gift, I got choked up.  Amanda got her hands on of what is probably my most treasured career picture, had it enlarged and framed.

Here is a little better view of it.  (All the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them).

This picture was taken in January 1986 by a photographer from the National Geographic magazine.  I had taken the photographer and a writer from the magazine for a tour of New York Harbor for an article about the 100th anniversary of the Statue Of Liberty, which happened on the Fourth of July, 1986.  We were in the Hudson River, just off the World Trade Center, which you can see in the background.  Yes, beards were allowed in the Coast Guard back then.

I was totally blown away.  I never saw it coming, it was quite a surprise and I was so honored by my kids and family for doing this for me.

But Amanda wasn't done yet.

She is carrying our fifth grandchild, due in March 2012!   :c)

We don't know yet if it is a boy or a girl, but I can't wait to find out.  I want to know if I'm going to be a grandfather or a grandmother!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Congratulations are in order all the way around! Amanda outdid herself I think. Lovely family, beautiful cake. I really enjoyed reading this.

  2. What a wonderful tribute your family gave to you! Amanda must like being in the family :)

    Congrats Gramdpa! You too, Grandma :)

  3. Wow, what a neat retirement surprise for you! I bet your kids are so pleased with themselves for keeping it a secret from you. For once, fooled ole Dad! Also congratulations on your new grandchild!

  4. Well, I'll tell you that we can hardly wait too to find out if you're going to be a grandmother or a grandfather. Hmm.

    That was a pretty special event and super nice. They probably enjoyed doing it as much as you enjoyed it.

    Great photos and great family ... grandpa.

  5. WOW this is an impressive party they gave you and some daughter in law you have. We all should be so lucky to have our children marry someone who fits perfectly in our fmaily. She must really like you. I just can't figure out why! :-)

    Congratulations! LOVE the boat - Gone Rving. Or is that a ship? Sheesh I never did know the difference and once a LONG time ago I was a Navy Wife.

    Great pictures of you. Now where will they go in the Journey?

  6. Congrats all round!..great picture and quite the momento..I am sure it will find a spot on the wall in the motorhome!..

  7. Great party and all good family surprises!

    I remember the huge flap when beards were banned.

  8. Your family is the best for pulling off such a lovely surprise! Congrats on #5!

  9. That was a very nice surprise. I'm sure it wasn't easy keeping it from you. Ain't retirement grand!

  10. Could not have been better! How lovely!

  11. Way too cool that they did that for you. A new grandkid to be too! I teared up just reading about it ;-)

  12. See what happens when you let your guard down...the family can easily slip in and surprise you every time. Now, how totally great is that eh:))

  13. What a great surprise!! You obviously have a family that loves you very much :o)) So nice to hear that family is going to be getting larger...

    We sure are glad that the criminals you were after didn't know that they only had to feed you a big meal to be able to slip something by you ;o))))

    Well, enjoy your family and your retirement!!

  14. What a nice day and nice family. Congratulations on the newest member of your family.

  15. What a nice surprise for you!!!! How very thoughtful...she certainly pulled the wool over your eyes :)...congrats on the newest family member...

  16. Congratulations on your retirement and on your 5th Grandchild. Kashton was our 5th as well. What a lovely family you have to do that for you.

    Take Care
    Brenda Brown

  17. Sometimes even trained investigators snooze. Thank you for your service.

  18. What an wonderful and thoughtful surprise! I love the boat and the very attractive sunglasses. The picture even made me tear up a little. Sounds like it was a perfect day!

  19. Paul;
    Wow. Congratulations on ALL the surprises this weekend.

    T&D Hoch

  20. Civilian for just a few days and your investigative skills have already gotten rusty ... not good, not good at all :-)))) Happy retirement!

  21. Perfect timing - retirement and a new grandchild. Congrats!