Happy Birthday Tiki-Man

Mr. Bruce Dawson celebrates his birth today, but we celebrated over the weekend at, where else, the lake.  Most of my friends know I’m a planner and I do greatly appreciate it when we can stick to the plan.  This was not the case for this party.  This “chipmunk” (thanks Carla) had to replan about 27 times.  Which is fine, just took some energy.  As the host, I wanted to make sure everyone had directions, food, a nice bed to sleep in, etc.  In the end, it all worked out fine and I hope everyone had a good time. 

Bruce and I have a Tiki-man language of our own, so the theme of the party was all about the Tiki.  We had stellar luau music, souvenir cups (which I forgot to mention were souvenir, so now I have a shit-ton of tiki cups), tiki ring toss on Bruce’s head, a photo luau booth that had an unfortunate accident with a football, an inflatable 4 foot tiki, and since I couldn’t find the tiki pinata, I opted for a pink and white unicorn.  Seemed perfect for Bruce.

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Here’s a recap of our birthday bash.  My small crew of Bruce, Jake and K went up first Friday afternoon.  A couple of Bruce’s friends and another crew of mine Sara, BA, Ian and Matt followed later that night.  We had a field trip that night into North Webster that provided us great memories to share the next morning.  Saturday brought a few more of Bruce’s friends and some nasty weather.  1/2 of the day was spent inside on a puzzle that we did finish, the other 1/2 outside playing games.  Ian and I made an attempt on the jet skis only to find rain on the other side of the lake that hurt like needles when trying to go through it!  Not a bright idea, but I wanted to get out on the water.  My parents also came up and guess who got fish art for his birthday?!?!  Saturday night, some folks went to the Frog, Lake Wawasee’s finest establishment.  Others stayed home and played games.  I made myself disappear for a few hours to get my peace and quiet at the lake.  Sunday ended up being semi-nice but everyone left pretty early in the morning, so my original Friday crew remained to soak in the rays we could find and take a boat ride.  Shitty weather, but still good times with friends.

Drrrka drrrka Bruce!

2009 Urban (my ass) Adventure Race

The big day finally arrived!  Last year’s Urban race was awesome so I was really looking forward to this one.  For those that don’t know, an adventure race consists of orienteering through woods, canoeing, running, and biking.  You get a series of maps, all different scales, with checkpoint locations on them.  You have to race in numerical order and get punches on a passport that proves you were at every spot.  An Urban race is on city streets and has the same concept but the passport includes tasks at each checkpoint that you have to complete in order to move on.  I call it “The Amazing Race” in one day.  Last year was my first year competing.  We cargo-netted 2 stories down and up into the White River, repelled off a building, jumped off the IUPUI 10 meter platform, ran in the storm sewers under downtown Indy, ran all the stairs at the U of I gymnasium… I could go on.  We ended up 4th in our division and finished the whole race.  We were looking to improve on that this year!

I was like a little kid at Christmas trying to sleep Friday night.  I managed to get some shut eye around 1:30am, but was up at 4:30am to head over to Kevin’s to get the tow system hooked up on my bike.  In this race, it’s legal to create a home-made tow system to use your strongest biker’s momentum to carry the rest of your team.  Last year, Kevin didn’t look like he even broke a sweat on the bike, so this year the engineer in him fashioned something out of PVC pipe, ski rope, carabiners and bungy cords.  It worked well and not so well at one point, but we’ll get to that later.  Here’s a shot of it.

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The next thing we decided to better than last year was get to the park on time.  Last year, we couldn’t find the damn place and got there with about 10 mintues to spare and didn’t have time to review the maps.  We only took 1 wrong turn on our way to Southwestway Park but arrived at 6:15 to check in.  We got our maps and started studying our course.  Got all of our gear organized, including the random straw, sugar packet and quarter we were each required to have.  I spent many hours contemplating what this stuff was for.  I was not going to snort sugar off a quarter with a straw.  I couldn’t manage to suction the sugar to the quarter using the straw.  And I tried to walk and balance them on the straw.  Was very interested to see what we needed this stuff for.  Here’s the team.

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Race started at 8 am and we were off to checkpoint 1.  The first 7 CPs were an orienteering section.  The instructions said, get 3 of the 6 and move on.  So we did.  We grabbed our bikes, PFDs and paddles and biked over to CP8 and found canoes waiting for us.  We had to drag the canoes down a hill into the river.  At some sections, the river wasn’t deep enough so we took turns dragging it down the shore until we got to a point we could paddle again.  Brian provided some comic relief at this point with a song that we had to repeat as he sang.

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were holes in the road”

“Cuz if I was a dump truck”

“I’d fill’em with my load”

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were bricks in a pile”

“Cuz if I was a mason”

“I’d lay’em all with style”

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We made our way up and down the river and were in 5th place at this point.  As we were headed out to CP10, one of the race organizers said that the advanced teams were suppose to get all 6 CPs from the beginning section.  WTF?!  Then put that on the instructions!  We had to go back there around CP26 anyway, so we decided we’d talk about it then.  More checkpoints = more points overall.  We hooked up the bike tow system and headed off.  It was working well until Kevin took a turn that my tow system didn’t like.  I was hooked to Brian and it kind of flung my bike in a big swoop.  I knew we had a problem, so I just calmly said “I’m going down boys, going down.”  I did my best to land in the grass, but my knee took a pretty good scrape.  No time to waste, so just get back up and move on!  First aid will have to wait.  Did break my front brake, so had to manage without that for the remaining 30 miles of the day.  We rode up to a house and were directed to the backyard.  There were 9 clear water bottles submerged in a pool.  We had to find 3 of them before moving on.  I had brought goggles with me, so I threw those on and walked into the pool, shoes and everything.  Made quick work of it and headed out.  There was a lemonade stand next store with a sign “A QUARTER”.  Really?!  This is what the sugar/straw/quarter was for?!  Cute but boring.  We each downed a glass and got some bonus points for figuring it out.  Next we headed to the golf course for a putting challenge.  It was kind of lame.

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Then we were off to another park for some more orienteering.  This time it was 2 of 4, so we got our 2 and moved on to take the lead in the race.  We found a lady standing in the middle of the road at CP18.  We were told to ride down this huge hill to the stop sign and back… twice.  WTF is urban about that?!  We completed the task and headed to Perry Meridian high school to find some volunteers at the track.  We each had to run 1/2 a lap before we could get our stamp.  Easy enough and on our way to CP20.  We arrived at a house with a nasty pond out back.  There were several inflatable canoes in the yard.  All 3 of us had to get in one and using a rope across the pond, pull ourselves to one side and back.  Brian got in, I followed and Kevin took the rear.  The rope had accumulated some scum and seaweed on it, so as we were whipping across it, shit was flying everywhere.  I looked back at Kevin and he’s just covered in a green mess.  I started to cry it was so funny.  He just did a shoulder shrug and said “Yea, f*ck it”. We knew we wouldn’t stay clean, but it was awful. 

Our next checkpoint was at a creek.  We learned that we had to take our bikes through the creek to the exit point.  WTF is urban about this?!  The creek was knee to waist high.  It was a soft foundation so you couldn’t ride through it and you’re a bit tired at this point so carrying a bike wasn’t a viable option either.  Glad I just bought a great bike 2 weeks ago only to run it thru 1/2 mile of Indy’s finest water.  A team ended up passing us at this point, so we were back to second.  The next few checkpoints were on a dirt bike trail at a levee.  We regained the lead by cutting through a backyard to return for our stamp.  Upon our return a volunteer noticed we were missing CP10 on our passport.  WHAT THE FUCK, BOYS?!  Kevin was navigator.  Brian was in charge of the passport.  A huge wave of disappointment came over all of us.  We had blown right by the CP after the canoes.  We immediately rode back over to the spot on the map, but the task was over and no volunteers were there.  Son of a… Major penalty for missing a CP.  Strangely, I wasn’t mad at anyone just sour that our great ride was not going to be a 1st place finish.  And I took over naviagation.

We biked over to CP26 to find a zip line across the river.  Jerry, one of the organizers, was still setting it up.  Geez, guys… clock is ticking.  The gear list told us to bring our own harnesses, so we’d been trudging around town with about 20 extra pounds only to find harnesses waiting for us at the zip line.  Maybe they didn’t plan on it, but just frustrating that we didn’t need to carry such a heavy load.  I snapped on the line and sailed across.  The return line was sunk down in the river so once I snapped on and got in, the pulley slid off the wire and got stuck.  I wrestled with it for a bit and ended up just walking back across the river.  Disappointing.  Since we were close to the area where CP5-7 was, we decided it was best to go get those and make up some points since we missed 10.

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Well, that was a big mistake.  We had our bikes with us on a very thick vegatation trail.  We spent 40 minutes in the woods getting scratched, scraped, bitten and muddy.  You needed a machete to get through parts of it.  We didn’t find 5, 6 or 7.  Finally a clearing with a dirt road opened up in front of us.  I think Kevin wanted to call it quits at this point.  He said if he sees his truck, he’s done.  Slap-happy phase set in for me, but we motored through and headed off for Stage 2 of the course.  There is a 6 hour maximum completion time.  If you finish after that, you get penalized so I kept an eye on the time.  We had an hour left and 7 more check points to go.  These CPs were very spread out but we managed to hit 3 before heading back in.  One was moving 3 bails of hay at a horse farm, another run thru a creek, and then had to catch 2 fly balls at baseball diamond.  We rode back in with 5:54 on my watch and 43.16 miles covered.

We didn’t place in the top 3 for our division.  Results aren’t posted yet, so no idea how bad the missing CP hurt us.  Only 1 team finished the entire course, which to me says it was too long.  I think you would want a few teams to finish or why else plan that many CPs that no one is going to get to do?!  Overall this year, I hate to say, I was disappointed in the course.  It was much more on the Adventure side, than the Urban side.  Just wasn’t prepared for that.  After the race, we noticed our race tshirts had “sub” urban written on them.  Exactly!  It was not advertised that way.  The tasks at each stop were not challenging like last year.  You were through each one in about 2-3 minutes this time.  Pushing all that aside, I had a great time with my team and made some wonderful memories.  Hopefully Kevin and Brian will be back again next year because remember boys, Win Or Lose We Still Booze!  (That was our team name 🙂

Here’s some video Jessi and Sara shot while we were out on the course.  Leave it to Jessi to find room for the Glamour shot on a stick. That thing will haunt me to the day I die. Still trying to get the Google Earth map to work…

Tim and the Tim-ettes

This is a long post.  Lots to show and tell.

My friends and I had been looking forward to this weekend for a LONG time.  I heard about a White Party in Chicago last year.  A DJ from Chicago, Corey Hartmann, puts it on.  Basically, you get dressed up in white attire and spend 3 hours drinking and dancing on a boat on Lake Michigan acting like you are hot shit.  I rounded up 5 girls from Indy that wanted to go, 1 from Texas, and Tim.  He had some other friends that were interested in going, but none panned out, so he was welcome to hang with us. 

We left Indy at 9 am so we could have some free time before the main event.  The weather got better the farther north we went.  It was clear skies by the time we reached Chicago.  Trying to get some culture and not let this weekend just be a booze fest, my car load of people headed over to the Sears Tower, I mean Willis Tower, to take in some views of the city.  It was a 2 hour process to actually get to the top of building but well worth it, in my opinion.  There were some random facts on the walls while we waited… The Bop to the Top record = 13 minutes!  No plans on testing that record!  Once at the top, the visibility was excellent!  I hadn’t been up there since I was a little kid and they had just put some 4 feet deep, 7 feet long glass boxes on the side of the building that you can stand in.  I had to go check this out.  I’ve stood on the glass window a top the Palms at the Ghost bar, but this was going to be so much better.  Not sure everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did, but they let me have my fun!  We know Audrey didn’t like that part!

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We headed back to the hotel for pre game sodas and to get ready.  My co-worker happened to be staying at the Conrad just across the street, so he stopped by too.  He also notified us that our hotel appeared to be on fire.  WTF?!  There were no alarms or anything!  Looks like it was the building right next to ours, but still odd that we weren’t evacuated or notified.  We all got dolled up and hopped on the trolley to Navy Pier to start our adventure. 

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As you got farther down the pier, teams of people dressed in white kept popping up everywhere. 

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We met up with my friend Alisha and her group of girls.  We got checked in and headed to the bar for a drink.  I kept forgetting it was open bar and kept getting my credit card out like it was going to get the bartender’s attention.  I’m an idiot.  The ship was 4 stories tall and pretty spacious even with 400 people on board.  We met up with some more Indy folks, Meg and Jerry on the ship.  We cruised around the lake and also got to watch fireworks from the Venetion festival.  It was awesome! 

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The boat docked back around 11 pm and then we boarded a bunch of school buses to hit the Enclave…where I met Frodo Baggins.  This kid was about boob height and didn’t look a day over 16.  Oh well.  I turned him into my dance partner for the evening.  Whatever.  We all made it home sans strangers by 3 am.   

The morning was spent sharing stories and pictures from the night.  My best friend even used my Mino to get undercover footage of me dancing… by myself… on the boat.  Such a good friend that girl.  The one I wished I had video of… Tim swimming on the hotel floor after knocking over the cooler at 3 am.  One thing we need video of… how did I get a stamp from the Crobar (which is not even remotely close to Enclave) on my hand that none of my friends had?  It is our own Hangover movie moment.  Before we left town, we made a stop at another bar called Bull and Bear.  Tim was super dooper excited to go here.  They have taps at the table and charge you by the ounce.  Tim wanted to stick his head under it, but we managed to convince him not too.  After a few brews, it was a long day and time to head back to Indy.  But since we love Tim so much, we made a special trip to his Grandparent’s house in Merriville.

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Thanks to my babysitters, Frotto, Red Fanny Pack guy!  I had a blast and hope everyone else did too.  Let’s do it again next year!

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View all photos from this event.

Summer Fun

Time for the lake again!  I had only been home 4 days, but was ready for some more lake action.  We had people coming and going all weekend.  When it was all said and done, we had 21 people come thru the house.  Eph and I headed up Thursday to get ready.  Plus it was America’s birthday, so we got the best flags in the house up. 

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The first wave of friends came up Friday.  Bruce, Jake, Joe, Ben, and Chris.  The usual boat rides and wave runner action ensued.  Here’s me as Captain of the Fuller Formula.  I put Bruce in the back with his timeout belt because he wouldn’t shut up about how bad his “beef curtains” hurt during boat rides.

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We hung out all day then headed over to Lake Syracuse for the fireworks.  They weren’t too bad, but the real show is on Lake Wawasee the following night.  Rumor has it, it’s the 3rd best show in the state.  Unfortunately I didn’t record those, but I did get Syracuse on tape.  We finished our evening with a grand game of poker that I can’t remember who won, but I know it wasn’t me. 

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Saturday brought Rick, Tim, Mitch, Amanda, Kristin, and my parents.  The weather did not want to cooperate with us this day.  Most of us stuck out the drizzle and played Boche or corn hole outside.  A few others decided to attack the 1500 piece puzzle that was inside.  The haze finally wore off towards the end of the day and we had a perfect view of the fireworks from our yard. We ended our night with a stellar game of Apples to Apples. If you are a group of degenerates like us, have a few drinks and play this game. You’ll cry its so funny. Here’s a few pics from the day and a video of our own personal fireworks show. 

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Sunday was the weather we’d all been looking for.  Lots of sunshine and blue skies!  Too bad it wasn’t 1 day earlier but we made the most of it!  Even Mimi, the matriarch of the family and proud owner of the house, made a visit!  Great times and memories!  Thanks for letting us use it, Mimi! 

George Goes Home

The day had finally come.  George had to go home.  It’s been a good 3 weeks of fun, but I do admit I was tired of catching moths and digging up worms for this little dude.  And I think he was tired of living in a glass house too.  I will say, from my previous turtle experiences, this guy had no fear.  He wasn’t shy.  He had gusto and didn’t care.  I figured he’d jump into the lake when I released him.  Yea… not so much…

Backpeddle?  A turtle that backpeddles from the water.  Good lord.  Well, we got on with our weekend of fun that included puzzles, cards, boche ball… you name it.  We had fun.  Except when Ephraim and I tried to finish a brand new puzzle that was missing 1 piece.  EXTREMELY frustrating.  But, I got a little cardio in too.  And yes, first try… I was up and running.  This is about 10 minutes long, but at least listen to it for Bruce’s stupid commentary and watch me face plant the lake a few times.  Note to self… don’t give Bruce the camera again.  (Wait… haven’t I said that before?)

Too Much Fun in Too Little Time

Why aren’t weekends longer?!  This was one of my few weekends where I was able to head up to Wawasee for some R&R.  Bruce and I were itching to get out, so we left early Friday to make the trek up there.  You would have thought we were providing food and drink for 20 people!  We had it all!  We set the radio on random and took off.  Very appropriate during a train crossing, a Kenny Rogers song came on.  For some reason, this just cracked us up which was a great precursor to how the whole weekend would be… hilarious!

We arrived about 5 pm and I was so excited, we had to do everything right then and there!  The sun was shining and the water was calling my name.  First order of business was to get our suits on and get the boat uncovered for a ride around the lake.  Bruce was expecting a nice smooth ride, we don’t do slow in the Fuller family.  It was a 35 mph cruise around the lake finished by about a 50 mph run down the bay.  One thing about this lake.  People like to race you.  A boat was doing the “do you wanna go?” cruise right next to me followed by eye contact, but I wanted no part in it.  I have childhood memories of my father yelling at me to hold on to the bottom post of the seat because he’s gotta show this guy who’s faster.  So I did put the throttle down a bit but turned away from the guy and headed to the sandbar.  The water was crystal clear this year.  I’ve never seen it this great in my 31 years up there.

We headed back to the house to take a paddleboat ride.  Bruce was very interested in my turtle hunting skills.  We saw maybe 3 turtles, but it was fairly late in the evening for turtles to be sunning themselves.  No chance of catching anything so we headed back to the house only to run into a sea otter (a.k.a Muskrat) that we thought was a stick.  Bruce wanted to catch that.  Ahhhh no, I don’t think so.  We did catch a new pool cup for Bruce.

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Next order of business was to uncover the jet skis and take off.  By this time it was about 8 pm and the water was like glass.  We hit the throttle and cruised around a bit then headed in.  We needed to eat!  We spent the evening playing games and doing a puzzle.  If you’ve ever played Taboo, you know you have to get creative on the clues.  “What sound does a pig make?”  Bruce says “Oink”.  “What do you put in your mouth if you want fresh breath?”  Bruce says “a mint… Ointment!”  This word will provide us many laughs for years to come.

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Saturday came and the party people showed up… Herb and Carole.  We played cornhole for hours, ate some lunch, played arts & crafts with a dead fish…. Huh?!  My mom saw this article about pressing fish with paint on rice paper and calling it art.  Well my mother felt she was an artist and we all must get in on the action.  Mind you, she found the construction paper, we all did the rest of the work and got bossed around by the artist.  On today’s turtle hunt, I picked up 2 turtles and a pretty good size dead fish.  Dad got the spray paint out and we made a few attempts at this so called “art” project.  After studying the article a bit, I figured out that artist used RUBBER fish to make theirs.  Geez.  We made do with our dead one.  Herb figured out “You don’t bring the fish to the paper, you bring the paper to the fish!”.  The funny part of this is we were all trying to apply some logic to figure out how to get the damn fish imprint on the paper.  Here’s Carole with her “art”.

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And say hello to my little friend.

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This is George.  He’s spending 3 weeks at my place before I take him back home to Wawasee.  He’s so cute you can’t stand it!  We finished up Saturday night at the Frog followed by Rummy and Clue at the house.  Bruce kicked my ass at Rummy, but I beat him at “silent” Clue.  Here are Bruce’s friends that he made this weekend.

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We wrapped up Sunday with a float in the water and a few rounds of Would You Rather… Disgusting yet intriguing game.  Thanks to everyone for making it a great weekend.  Looking forward to doing it again ASAP!

Lake Living

Memorial Day weekend = Open the lake place!  My parents have usually gotten most of the menial tasks out of the way by the time I arrive to the lake, but this year it was my turn to get dirty and help out.  Usually my brother and I would help with the boat, the jet skis… you know, the fun stuff!  This year, I arrived early Saturday to even help get the water turned on.  That task seemed to take a few hours, but I learned how to soder pipes with water in them!  It’s always a learning experience when working with my father.  It’s amazing what a piece of bread will do!

After we got the water issue settled, we vaccummed, cleaned floors, cleaned fridgerators… we did it all.  But Mom and I did manage to get some water and sun time in between.  Sunday, we got the ladders on, pier posts in, lauched the SS Carole Jean and took her on her maiden voyage, got the Fuller Formula running and in the water… it was a full day.  But again, Mom and I found time for water and sun.  Today, we got up at the crack of dawn to beat all of Elkhart to the flea market capital of the north.  AKA Shipshewana.  It’s fun, but every 10th booth is the same.  If you need a trunk full of tube socks, embroidered bluebird sweatshirts, novelity t-s that read “I’m a multi tasker, I can talk and piss you off at the same time”, head up HWY5 and follow the horse and buggies.  We did pick up a few items but headed back to the house so we could all get on the road and home in decent time. 

Here’s some pics of the place.  The first is the front of the house, next is the view from the yard, the next is the view from the pier.  My little oasis in the midwest!

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Impromptu Pool Party

Some friends wanted to sit outside and enjoy the sun during lunch yesterday.  Amanda said Abeulos, I heard Margaritas… count me in.  We grabbed a table outside on the patio and unforunately had to witness the death of a poor little birdie.  Then a stupid lady kicked it with her Sunday church shoes about 5 times until it rolled into the mulch.  Grab a leaf and do the right thing woman!  R.I.P. Little buddy.

We got done eating and weren’t done with the sun yet so we wanted to continue the party but our community pool wasn’t open.  Creativity set in… with a baby pool, some deep breaths and a hose, our Sunday Funday was complete!

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