Here I am the first and ONLY person up at my nephew’s house. I didn’t stay up for my eldest daughter’s arrival but with little effort in observation I could tell by various items lying around that they did in fact make the trip and had arrived. My first task at hand was to make the all-important pot of coffee. That led to a couple of related tasks….like finding the filters and the coffee. I secured both of those items and then I spent WAY too much time trying to figure out which button to press to power up the coffee maker.

Now it was time to sit at the computer and try to pound out some emails and make a desperate attempt at catching up on the blog. For the three or four of you that are actually reading this you already know how terribly behind I am. I also knew that once there was any movement from the other lifeforms in the house I wouldn’t be able to continue writing. Unfortunately those lifeforms started to stir as soon as the coffee smell permeated through the house and the typing ceased shortly thereafter. My nephew was first up…..well, actually it was his 2 year old son, Maverick, who was the first but he quickly made it clear that he required his dad be up also. Yep…..that pretty much sealed the deal and stopped my typing for the day!!

Next to make an appearance was my eldest daughter’s partner in crime, Bryan. I had already taken an inventory of the remaining donuts from yesterday’s stash and taking into consideration that we now were adding two adults and, more importantly, two teenage boys I made the executive decision that we needed to repopulate the donut box. Bryan said that they also needed a couple of things also so off the two of us went for the grocery store….or as I prefer to call it The Donut Shop!!! We had about a dozen left from yesterday so I added two dozen more……that should be enough…..right? I also bought a small cake and a couple of number shaped candles for a little birthday celebration to be held later. When shopping at home in Florida we ALWAYS take our cart to the “cart corral” in the parking lot or back to the store and I would venture to say that 75% of the other people do also. So when we emptied our cart of goodies into the car I pushed it back to the store (there was no “corral”) and you would think that I was a returning war hero. Apparently, returning carts is not a common practice there. I got out of there before they gave me the key to the city!!

By the time that we returned the entire group was up. I can’t say that they were all awake but they were out of bed and doing their best to at least be giving the appearance of functioning. Added to the mix were now Kristen, my eldest offspring, & Bryan, along with my grandkids, David, Isaac, and Sunny, and Bryan’s son, Brodie. Walking into the house holding boxes filled with 2 dozen fresh donuts made me fear for my life. At the same time Kristen and Monique were busy fixing a good and healthy breakfast. The breakfast, I might add, was fast becoming the dessert for the donuts!!! There was definitely a whole new activity and chatter level with these added six bodies in the house.

The next thing that I did was get out the “Grandpa Boxes”. I shipped ahead some boxes that were either dropped shipped from an internet purchase or boxes that I ship myself. I won’t bore you with all the details of the little things in the boxes but the main box comes from Oriental Trading Co.   From Oriental Trading you can buy all kinds of bulk trinkets, play things, and party favors for a REALLY good price. Don’t expect Niemen Marcus quality while paying Oriental Trading prices but you can create LOADS of fun for LITTLE money. I make sure that I get plenty of doodads that make obnoxious noises like bags of whistles and flutes. I also had bags of little airplanes, small inflatable balls, fake coins, flashlight keyrings, funny glasses….AND MORE…..and I only spent about $50 or $60. In years past when we would all meet at a campground somewhere in Northern Michigan I would get everyone…adults and kids, matching t-shirts. It would be great because if you looked down the road and saw a neon green shirt odds were there were one of ours. This year because we are going to be confined in a fenced in lakefront yard I bought sailor hats from Windy City Novelties. I also brought multi sizes and colors of Sharpies so everyone could 20160827_133613.jpgdraw on their hats…..The only rule is that they HAVE TO wear the hats for our group pictures. After that it doesn’t matter. One last box was filled with things we bought at the Daytona Flea Market. NONE of this stuff is made to last. I feel that if it makes it all the way through the two days it will be considered a bonus!!

Once we got through passing out the contents of the “Grandpa’s Boxes” the noise and rowdiness levels escalated….A LOT…by both kids AND adults. Somehow we were still able to herd everyone together for the group photos. As I mentioned above it was required BY ME that everyone WILL wear their sailor hat for the pictures. Once the picture taking is done it really doesn’t matter what happens to ANYTHING. It is all made for fun for the weekend and from all appearances the concept of fun seemed to be successful. wp-1472832785393.jpg

That brings us to the birthday celebration. Several chapters ago I mentioned that I was missing Lisa’s birthday. Since knowing Lisa I have only missed two of her birthdays and both times it was because I was attending a special event in Michigan. OBVIOUSLY a wife’s birthday is a bigger event than anything else but there are certain conflicts of timing that have to be negotiated delicately. I did “OK” with my long distance handling of THE day but now that we were together I decided that there needed to be a wee bit more.

The little cake I had bought earlier was given to my daughter. She was going to write something on it and put on the number shaped candles. She did all of that and was having her daughter carry the cake from the 5th wheel to the dining area inside the house. I was in the house so I didn’t get to see this as it happened but the poor little thing dropped the cake. She was devastated as you can imagine an 8 year old being. My daughter did her best to QUICKLY repair what she could (which wasn’t much). All the time I was standing there in the house trying to keep everyone from running off and not having a clue why it was taking so daggone long!! She made it with the severely mangled cake with a blue, smeared, and unreadable “GRAMMY” written on the cake. We sang Happy Birthday……..which sounded just about as bad as the cake looked. Lisa also got a t-shirt that read “I’M NOT ARGUING   I’M JUST EXPLAINING WHY I AM RIGHT” (appropriate I might add). We all 20160902_121917.jpgdipped our fingers into the frosting and I do believe that the remainder of the cake went to the great oven in the sky.

The rest of the day was filled with a little rain, a lot of swimming, a bit of wave running, a little kayaking, some burgers and beans and corn, a beer or two, and a raging campfire that I slept through.

You know what……life really doesn’t get much better than this!!!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at


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