Carol Gets A Back Seat for the Golf Cart

Photo by jonna404

Jonna’s parents have a camper up in Wisconsin. Their golf cart has no back seat, so when they have visitors, its difficult to show them around.

Back in June, after a trip up to their camper, Jonna searched Craigslist for a back-seat for their golf cart. We wound up finding our camper (a little more expensive than a back seat) – that included a golf cart with a back seat. Carol and Bob would borrow our golf cart when they had guests, so that they could drive them around the grounds.

As the story goes, later in the year another couple also went out searching for a deal on a back seat after a visit up to Bob and Carols camper. They wound up buying a camper for themselves as well.

This month, Jonna picked up a golf cart ornament she spotted in a Hallmark store for Bob to give to Carol. She spent some time crafting the fine back seat (seen above in Carols right hand) out of cardboard, bubble wrap, and one of my old t-shirts. Once she opened this, Bob walked her out to his truck to reveal the back seat she has long wanted.

See, Christmas wishes do come true. It wound up costing a few of us some money, but now we have somewhere relaxing to hang out in the summer.

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

Here are some of the things I’ve done over the past week and a half or so:

There was a bit more, but I think this sums it up. It was nice to work on work related things that needed to get done on my own schedule. Definitely learned a lot. As always, family time was awesome all around. Aside from all of the commercialism, I really do like the family aspects of the holidays.

The “Official” Christmas Wrap Up

Well Christmas is over. We finally had the “official” gift exchange with the boys when they got back from their fathers house at about 10a.

I received Black Label Society – The European Invasion-Doom Troopin – Live DVD from Andy and an iTunes gift card and some damn comfortable slippers from Jake. The perfect gifts. I’m not really the “slipper” type, but I have to day, I’m digging them.

Andy received a digital camera and a Flickr Pro account, along with Call of Duty 3 for the PS2, along with some other miscellaneous items like a pedometer and a mp3 holder for when he goes running.

Jonna received a gift basket containing chocolate, cheese, crackers and the like, along with a bottle of her favorite wine from the boys.

Christmas Morning - Jake Gets a Car Jake received his first car. He’s had his permit for quite some time, but Jonna drives a rather large Suburban thats pretty hard to learn to drive in, and with my commute I’m rarely in the mood to take him driving in the jeep after I get home from work. We figured that the car would serve a few purposes – give Jake something he could actually drive comfortably, teach him some responsibility by paying for half of it – treating his half as a car loan from us, and give him transport to and from work.

Jonna went through a lot to ensure that the gift was presented in a way to maximize the surprise factor for Jake when he opened it. She created a fake video game case, in which she wrapped the car key. The boys are used to getting video games for Christmas, and Jake is a game freak that knows just about every game on the market. I’m not sure what moment was cooler, watching him try to figure out what this game was that he had never heard of, or when he opened up the case to find the car key – and then tried to figure out what the key meant.

We went to great lengths over the last month or so to absolutely convince him that there was no way a sixteen year old would be getting a car for Christmas (he’s asked a lot), so I think the fact that he actually got one was a genuine surprise.

Overall, Christmas this year was quite successful. Each of us got a few things that were important to us and it wasn’t completely over done. From the car perspective, it was more of a practical decision than anything else – and it went over really well.

The one regret that I have about this years festivities is that Jonna and I decided to not buy for each other this year. I love giving her gifts (though I have a hard time finding things that really mean something), so for me not having that this year was a bit of a disappointment. However, we did do a lot of focusing on the kids and when it comes right down to it, thats really what Christmas is all about – isn’t it?

An Early Christmas

For the last sixteen years, we have normally split Christmas with Kelsi to Christmas Eve for Dad, and Christmas Day for Mom. This has worked out very well for us over the years.

This year was a little different. Kelsi is involved in marching band and her schedule is impacted by football and basketball games that she has to play at. We also, over the past 5 years or so, have lived about an hour away from each other, which makes drive time an issue for both Mom and Dad.

One thing I never realized until Kelsi started band is that the schools are on completely different break schedules. This isn’t too much of an issue until Kelsi goes on break – which she normally spends about a week with us. This year, the difference in breaks caused her to have a game during her Christmas break that she had to go home early for – so we celebrated with Kelsi on the 22nd, exchanging gifts with her.

I would be really interested in the statistics around kids who actually live with both of their parents these days. It seems to me that most of the kids that I run into are children of divorced parents. Schools should really look at that, as the scheduling that goes on makes it really difficult for these kids to spend time with their non custodial parents (especially when they live an hour away).

But I digress …

Our family has reached one of those really interesting stages where everyone is very hard to buy for. We all pretty much have the things we “need” and we don’t really have a lot of wants that are practical enough for Christmas presents, so many of this years gifts were cool ones that addressed things that each of us like, but nothing fancy. The highlight for me was getting a framed picture from Kelsi of one of her entries for her photography class. I can’t tell you how cool it is to get a gift from your child that is actually the fruit of a class where they are doing something they really love. The picture is of a church in Chicago (you can see it on her Flickr page).

She also picked up a book for me called Quintessential Tarantino: The films of Quentin Tarantino by Edwin Page. I’ve been a Tarantino fan for years, so a gift like this was something that hit a total sweet spot for me. The book explains Tarantinos work and highlights the methods he uses in his writing and directing. It also highlights the many similar vehicles he uses across movies that link them up. Very cool gift.

For Jonna, Kelsi presented The Office Season One and Season Two.

The boys received DVD sets of their favorite shows, along with a couple of vinyl albums for Jacob, who along with Kelsi for some reason prefers albums over MP3s. Go figure!

Kelsi received the following from Jonna and Dad for her combined Birthday / Christmas gifts:

We’re entering into a weird stage in our lives. Our kids are getting older and have their own things going on. Even though we all just took an hour to exchange gifts on Friday, it was still a great time to have everyone together focused on giving to each other.

Of course, there are pictures available in the photo album.