June 4, 2019: Happty Birthday Dad

Tuesday. Today is the last definitely full day still in Dallas for us. We might be leaving for our drive to New York to catch our flight to Europe as early as tomorrow afternoon. So we have to be completely ready today!

I had to be up really early this morning, around eight. It was so soon after I had gone to bed that I really did not ever fall asleep. My watch showed zero sleep, in fact. Today is going to be a really long day.

I got up and showered and had to get right on the road to drive down to Irving for my day of working onsite with a client. I was doing pretty well on time, so was able to swing into McDonald’s and to get myself a coffee to get me through the day.

My onsite day turned into just a one hour meeting and I have to return tomorrow. So a little after eleven I was able to head back towards home. I swung into our local donut shop and picked up a little food. While I was there, Rachel managed to reach me to tell me that her phone and purse were missing. I looked around and located them in the minivan, but we also found out that our web server have been hacked so that was an emergency demanding my time. What a busy day.

I ran home and fed everyone donuts. Kat had stopped by, luckily I had some extra donuts, too.

I spent an hour or two frantically working to fix the server that was hacked. That actually went surprisingly well. I was able to write a script that cleaned things up and we were good by the middle of the afternoon.

From that point I had to run out to Plano to bring Rachel her phone and purse. She had slept most of the day. I got her her phone and she caught up with people who were looking for her. Then we ran out to Fuzzy Taco for Taco Tuesday. She took me out for lunch. I had the new grilled mahi mahi fish taco which was amazing. I grabbed two mahi mahi tacos to take home to Dominica, too. Then I dropped Rachel back off and she had about an hour before she had to be off to get to work.

I got home and got stuck right in to more work for hours. Still much to be done.

My evening was spent watching Karl Watson and getting everything ready for our trip. Dominica and Paul ran out and picked up Blue Dragon Chinese take out for dinner. I worked to get my phone all unloaded from pictures. I want it as clear as possible while traveling. That is always a lot of work. And a lot of videos to upload, too. I worked to not just upload videos that are on my phone, but also as much of the videos that I have from the Lumix, too, because this is pretty much the last chance that I have to get them uploaded so that Valentina can be working on them while I am gone.

Paul well out to play snooker with AJ this evening, while Dominica and I were busy with packing and travel prep. I had to download podcasts to my MP3 player so that I would have them for the flight. We don’t believe that we are going to have any in flight entertainment, so if we don’t bring things with us, we will have nothing to do on the long flights from NY to London, and London to Athens.

Dominica and I watched Kara and Nate for a while, then I turned in early. I was really tired and tomorrow could be a super long day. I got my phone pretty much all cleared off which is great. So loads of space for whatever I need to do on the trip.

June 3, 2019: One Week to Europe

Monday. We are now under a week until we are heading to Europe. It is getting real now. As of today, everything is focused on getting us packed and ready. There is still a lot to do. We have two days until the Grice girls arrive and we might end up heading out for New York right away on Wednesday evening. So we could be in motion in as little as two days. Or we might wait until Thursday morning. But either way, we are headed out really soon.

Relatively busy with work today. I am quite swamped trying to get everything ready for me to be gone for an extended period of time. So no time to relax for me. Dominica did a lot of packing today, and she watched a bit of Karl Watson to learn more about how to film travels.

Kat was here this morning. For lunch I ran out to Pupusa Dona Lola and picked up pupusas for everyone for lunch. This is the first that some of them have had the really good ones from there and everyone was super impressed.

For dinner tonight, Paul and I ran out to Olive Burger in Richardson and picked up Beyond burgers for the family. The food from there was really good and really cheap. I was quite impressed.

Tonight, Rachel, Lou, and I went to the Fox and Hound for drinks and to do some travel vlogging filming. We shot for about an hour and a half. Then I took Lou back to his hotel, then took Rachel home. Rachel was pretty sick when I got her back (she figured out later than she had taken some medication earlier in the day and was thinking that it had worn off so she effectively ruffied herself by adding in the alcohol.) So I got to spend a bit of the night making sure she was okay as she was getting sick for a while until Megan was available to take over.

I got home super late, and had work to do. So I quickly checked some of the video footage that we had made and saw that it looked pretty good, and then spent an hour doing some website work until I needed to go lay down for a bit.

One week from today we will be in Athens, Greece. A week after that we will be in our rented house on Crete near Chania. A week after that, we will be chilling in Italy! So much to do so soon. I have been away from Europe way too long. I am so anxious to get back.

June 2, 2019: Grand Tour Instagram Prep Photo Shoot

Sunday. Today is crazy hot. While officially it is just eighty eight this morning, it was a “feels like” ninety seven day. And that was still this morning, it just kept getting hotter and hotter.

Emily and I were both exhausted yesterday, so were not up for getting up and getting going early this morning. Although we should have, because it was so brutally hot that we couldn’t take it for long today.

We had hoped to leave by nine, but Emily could not find her letter board that she had been planning to use for the shoot (because her mother hid it in her craft room.) So that cost about an hour (and did not make for a happy Emily.)

We finally got out the door and started with a quick trip to Donuts, Tacos, and Kolaches, our old stop, and picked up breakfast. The owner, as always, remembered us and commented on how old Emily is now. We said that we were headed off to Paris soon, as that is where the owner is from originally.

From there we drove down to Galveston to use the same beach that we had used last time. When we got there, we really realized just how hot it was. We did what we could, but were dying from the heat in no time. And it took a long time to change the letter board between pictures, which made standing in the bright sun that much harder.

We did as much as we could then ran back to the van and sat in the air conditioning for about twenty minutes. Then we ran out and shot some more. Then back to the van. Then some more and gave up as it was just too hot, we couldn’t keep going. Thank goodness I had thought to put on sun screen this morning or it would have been really bad for me. While we were there we got over three hundred pictures taken (plus over one hundred yesterday) and I got a little bit of video to use for some testing with the Lumix to see how it should do for travel stuff.

We shot until around one thirty then drove back to the house, stopping at Sonic on the way back for some cold drinks and ice cream cookie sandwiches.

While back at the house we did a bunch more pictures for another hour or so. We have loads of stuff now to use on the Instagram account.

It ended up taking us till around four thirty to finally get the minivan loaded and to get on the road. We made our now obligatory stop at the Carl’s Jr. on El Dorado before leaving town to make sure that we could get some Beyond Burgers as they are harder to get in the Dallas area. We will be going two months without them shortly, so we need to eat them while we can.

The drive home went fine. We have Mia the dog with us. She was sleeping in the third row all of the way and did really well.

We picked up Taco Bueno before getting to the house, so dinner was all taken care of. We watched some Voyager, then some travel videos. Kat came over as well and hung out.

June 1, 2019: Emily’s Graduation Party

Saturday. I got to sleep in just a little this morning. Surprisingly I managed to get a real night of sleep on the air mattress with Dominica. Normally I struggle to sleep on that because it doesn’t breath. But my watch tells me that I got a good night’s sleep.

I’ve been doing a little DuoLingo and MangoLanguages practice to learn some Greek before we go. Boy is it hard, though!

I got up around nine which meant only about three hours before the party officially got started and we were outside with things more or less underway in about two. The sun was out in force today, but it was still super humid. So we were all incredibly hot outside. The pool proved to be super popular today. Paul and I both got pretty sunburnt. The girls had a blast in the pool, they were in easily eight hours! They got to meet Drew’s girlfriend’s daughter Sophie who is nine and they became good friends and she spent the night for her first ever sleepover which was really cool that they got to do. She was so excited for a slumber party.

We had a fun time, but it was super exhausting with all of the sun and heat. And we swam and ate way too much today.

Tomorrow Emily and I are heading to the beach in the morning to do a few hours of photo shooting for the vlog (that isn’t out yet.)

We were exhausted and went to bed pretty early tonight.

May 31, 2019: Driving to Houston

Friday. My last day at home alone. And just six days until we start traveling for the summer. That is coming up quickly! Especially with two days of that time being in Houston, there are no weekend days in Dallas left for me until August! (That is a little weird to think about.)

I got some good sleep last night. Going to bed early was definitely the right choice. I got over three hours of deep sleep, according to my AmazFit, which is way more than I usually get. I was in bed for basically nine hours. That’s hours more rest time and more deep sleep than usual. Not sure why I was feeling so tired, but for whatever reason, it caught up with me.

It’s cooler in Carrollton today. And a light drizzle. Overcast.

An acquaintance of mine, a friend of a friend in Nicaragua, was in a car accident two weeks ago and lost her job because she cannot come in to work. Her insurance wasn’t enough to cover food and medicine, she is in a wheelchair now. So she needed exactly the amount of money that I had for my birthday money, so that’s what I bought for my birthday. I had to run to Western Union to deal with that this morning, so while out I treated myself to some donuts over on Marsh.

Today was a very busy day, so much to do before leaving for Houston tomorrow. I am only in Houston for one night, but it is still a lot of time away and there is so little time before we leave for so long, which always stresses me out.

I worked and got on the road as soon as I could. It was around eight when I left the house. I stopped at the Carl’s Jr on Route 20 at the Luv’s Travel Stop and grabbed a Beyond Burger before driving on south. Overall the drive went fine. The roads were pretty clear and the weather was good. It is going to be a busy weekend for sure.

I got to the house around one in the morning and went straight to bed. Everyone was already asleep. The party is at noon tomorrow, so it is going to be a very busy day.