Tag Archives: Ben

Buddy Trip

My older son is ready to synchronize watches with Chase.

Summer is winding down now. The dog days definitely are barking.

Both boys have had a great time this summer hanging out with my older son’s friends. The college kids enjoy gaming (online and Nintendo) and late-night iHop runs. I’m sure they’ve been solving the world’s problems as they munch their pancakes . . . or at least which characters are best in Mario Party.

Chase is ready to go.

While they still have a week or two before leaving for their respective colleges (and my younger son starts his high school senior year), the guys decided they needed to take to the road. Specifically, a trip to Schlitterbahn, one of the best water parks in the U.S.

So today they’re having fun in New Braunfels and staying overnight in San Antonio. Tomorrow they’ll check out the sights in my #1 son’s college town and then return home.

The youngest traveler rocks the best beard.

Hopefully, these eight lovable knuckleheads (which include my “third son,” Chase, my older son’s now-former college roommate Ben, and Josh) will have a ton of fun without making many bad decisions. I’m thrilled that my two guys get to experience a buddy trip, which is a rite of passage.

But I’m even more pleased that the Mister and I won’t be subjected to the crowds, garish tattoos, and too-small swimsuits (well, I don’t think the Mister minds that last part at all) that are the hallmarks of Schlitterbahn. I plan to enjoy the peace, quiet, Olympics . . . and air conditioning . . . while the boys are away.

Ultimate Uno Fun

My sons are joined by Ben and Chase in playing Ultimate Uno.

Sometimes the most-treasured, best-remembered moments in life happen when we least expect them.

Ben checks out his cards.

Yesterday evening my older son invited his best friend forever, our “third son” Chase, and his pal since first grade and college roommate, Ben, to join him and his little bubba in a spirited game of Uno on our family room’s berber carpet.

My #1 son enjoys the action.

But this was no ordinary Uno contest. Instead they played Ultimate Uno, which Chase learned from his math buddies on a high school trip and shared with his band pals and other friends. Like my sons and Ben.

Chase is ready to win.

Ultimate Uno, to put it simply, is just plain nutty (but funny to watch). Extra rules have been added to the easy card game to make it more interesting.

Ben tries to get rid of his cards first.

For example, when a player says “ockynocky” (who knows how to really spell it), anyone can throw down the same numbered card. When someone plays a two, everyone has to put two fingers on the side of their forehead. The last one saluting draws two cards.

Is there an Uno in my #2 son’s future?

And please don’t make me tell you what the players do when consecutive twos are played. As Artie said on “Glee,” some things you can never unsee.

Josh fits right in.

Eventually, the guys took a dinner break, returning with their buddy Josh. Then all of them got back to the business of playing Uno. There was laughter, groans, fingers saluting . . . and plenty of ultimate fun and memories!

Farewell for Now

My older son seems ready to return to college.

Last week was big for our family. Not only were we trying to cram in activities as summer came to a close, but we also deposited our #1 son back at the University of Texas at San Antonio for his sophomore year (classes start tomorrow).

Storage bins await transport back to UTSA.

First, my boy and I went through all the stuff he had brought home, which has been patiently sitting in storage bins in his room all summer.

Lots of papers to look through

We looked through everything and determined if he ever used it (some things thus remained at home), still needed it, or required more of it. Then we repacked the bins, feeling better prepared than last year for moving in.

Back to familiar environs

Last Friday the Mister neatly put all those bins, plus a couple trash cans and backpacks, into his Honda Odyssey, which already held our company’s dolly. Then the four of us hopped into the minivan for the three-plus-hour drive to San Antonio (including, of course, the required stop at Buc-ee’s in Luling).

Mr. Muscle makes a second trip with his brother's stuff.

Even though UTSA changed its move-in policy from last year and didn’t let us drop off our stuff at the curb (this time we had to park and move the bins, etc., from there), it was easier than last year. We actually felt organized!

The collegian gets the easy load.

There weren’t a lot of changes for my #1 son as we moved him in: He has the same roommate, Ben, who he has known since first grade (and who lives in our subdivision). And the boys are back in the same room in the same building in, yes, the same dorm as last year.

The boys briskly move towards #1’s building.

But, of course, things are different. My firstborn son has a year of higher learning under his belt. He made a successful transition both academically (on the Dean’s List) and personally (making decisions and doing his laundry). He seems a little more mature, a little more sure of himself this year.

When I hugged him goodbye, I didn’t feel as sad as last year. I know that being in college is best for my boy right now. This is his time, and I hope he makes the most of it at UTSA.

Plus, we’ll see him in a little over a week when he returns home for the long Labor Day weekend!