Vacation 2011 – Day 5

Day 5 was the last day of our holiday’s Florida leg, so we were off to the beach once again. We went to the more tourist-centic Panama City Beach the previous day, so this time we headed the opposite direction toward Mexico Beach. I was hoping to show Kerri and the kids my old house on Tyndall AFB, but the security checkpoint was moved years ago. We did, however, get to make one stop.

20110707-104738.jpg

This is he first house I lived in when we moved to Florida nearly 30 years ago. It seems pretty much unchanged; i don’t remember blue trim to be honest. Surprisingly it has not been washed away by a hurricane. We stayed there for just a few minus while we waited for base housing to open up. Out the sliding door, turn right, and 60 steps later you’re in the Gulf.

After paying on the beach, building sand castles and what-not, we headed back to the house to rest before the magic show.

20110707-105752.jpg

Luke and I were both pretty excited, and the show didn’t disappoint. The grand stage illusions were fine, but I most enjoyed the smaller, audience-centered, bits. The show was quite funny.

20110707-110554.jpg

The kids got autographs and a photo afterward.

Vacation 2011 – Day 4

Our second full day in Florida got us out of the house and down to Panama City Beach to play tourist for the day. The goal was simple: Give the kids their first salt water swim and come away with neither sunburns nor jellyfish stings. Mission accomplished.

20110705-104140.jpg

My mom and step-dad treated us to a day at Gulf World. All of us loved it, though the kids are still adjusting to the fact that summertime in Florida means heat. I heard a few complaints.

20110705-104502.jpg

We saw most of the shows – birds, dolphins, scuba, etc. – but the highlight for me had to be Otto, the sea lion. Poor guy had a bit of an identity crisis on stage. By the end of it, though, I think we had him convinced he wasn’t actually a dolphin.

Tomorrow night we are headed back for a magic show featuring a local magician whose star seems to be rising fast, Noah Wells if memory is correct. My mom has been poking forward to the show for months; I’m just hoping I don’t get asked to volunteer.

Vacation 2011 – Day 3

Just a quick post on the holiday yesterday. No travel; just a whole lot of pool time. Between the five of us I think we averaged about four hours each in the pool.

We continued to eat our weight in food. Tradition around here is to cook up a turkey with all the fixings for the Fourth. “When in Rome…” yeah?

The night ended with fireworks in TV and sparklers in the backyard. We finally dragged the kids out of the pool around 10, because today we’re off to Gulf World.

Let the vacation continue!

Vacation 2011 – Day 2

Day two of the family vacation sees us in sunny Florida. After twenty years I’m headed back to Panama City to visit my mom and step-dad. Why has it been twenty years, you ask. That is a story for another time. But let’s just say that up until recently I wasn’t sure if this day would ever come.

20110703-065055.jpg

After a wonderful breakfast we were off for another eight hours in the car. Everyone is traveling really well. I don’t think I can blame any of that goofiness on the close quarters.

We arrived safely. The house is much as I remember it. Details have changed, but not a lot else. The biggest physical change is the pool in the backyard. I sense that the hardest part of the next few days may be getting everyone out and dry long enough to do something else.

Mom and my stepdad are well. They are more frail looking than I remember or anticipated, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. They both went through a number of health-related issues last year. 2011 has seen them come through the other side doing quite well all things considered.

The evening was spent swimming and eating. Kerri got a chance to chat with my mom; the two of them have never had the opportunity to get to know one another. For all the nerves that bubble to the surface driving down Hwy 231, things have gone really well. Now I’m just left being my own socially awkward self. That’s at least something I have experience managing.

Tomorrow: Uncle Sam turns 235, in this house that means turkey and stuffing.

Florida Could End Teacher Tenure, Embrace Merit Pay : NPR

“The Times They Are A’Changin’”

This is inevitable, folks. The teaching profession is going to be radically changed in the near future, and I am inclined to think it’s an overdo overhaul. Let’s look at a couple of the specific ideas bandied about in the article, because I’ve heard those same suggestions several times.

Merit Pay seems like an obvious one to me. This is the sort of thing that every job field should embrace: Be paid a living, base wage. Do well, be rewarded; do poorly, face sanctions. Makes sense. Continue reading