Friday, July 29, 2011

Staying Home

This weekend we are staying home.  We have stayed home 1 other weekend since we moved in with Todd and Cherish.  They will be gone all weekend like they were last time.  I guess it was a good weekend to choose.

Next weekend I will be leaving the wife and kids here while I go to the Decatur county fair with my cousin.  The following weekend I will not be going on the float trip.  My wife and I are about to live humbly for a while why we save up some money and pay off some debt we racked up on my Ford Explorer I got after I moved back.

It's too hot to drive the blazer with no AC in Kansas so I found a good deal on a 4 wheel drive with third row seats.  I bought it off ebay.  At first I really wanted a Tahoe.  Then I found the Explorer, Eddie Bauer Mike Shanahan Edition for 11500.00 on ebay with 40,300 miles.  I made him an offer of 10750.00 and he accepted.

My plans are to sell the van and the car now and get a little better car for Christina to drive back and forth to work. 

We have quite a few of the nieces and nephews this weekend so I probably won't be doing much more than cooking, and playing Gran Turismo on the PSP.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Growing Gripes

There are a few things that have been bothering me the last week.  Not major life decisions, just small things that keep running through my mind.

We live in Kansas now and I want to see everybody that I haven't seen in a long time.  I have spent time with quite a few people multiple times now. 

My cousin Bug is one that I haven't seen yet.  She had asked me to go to a music festival that Eminem is going to be at in KC.  I told her I would go.  Then, she said it costs too much.  I suggested we use the same weekend to go to the Decatur County Fair.  I hadn't been to it in years and her and I used to go there every year as kids.

I told my wife about it and she wants to go with the boys.  I called my cousin and she wanted it just to be the 2 of us.  I am torn on this because I really want to take my boys to the fair.  It has rides for their size and lots of games and food. 

I called my cousin and told her.  She said that with it being hot, her Mom doesn't have use of the upstairs to sleep everyone.  Come to find out later, my cousin had set up a surprise party for me.  She still wants to hang out with just me so we can do our own thing and not have to worry about kids. 

I'm torn.  I want to take my family.  I don't want to tell them they can't go.  On the other hand, if there aren't any accommodations in the area I can't take them and I want to go see my cousin and some old friends.

Another issue I have on my mind is that the week after that Mizike and Kimmers are going on a canoe trip and have asked us to go.  With it being the week after my trip North for the fair, it's a little too soon for another long trip due to financial reasons.  Christina's Mom is going to be in town and Christina doesn't want to go.  I won't go without her for a canoe trip with 2 other people.

We have friends and family close but almost all of them are 3 hours or more away.  I told myself I wouldn't complain about the drive since I will be a ton closer than Ohio.  It's not the drive that's getting old.  It's the cost of gas to get there. 

I will probably go to the fair alone, depending on what Christina says.  I will tell Mizike I won't be able to go canoeing.  We will start staying home more to save money.  We had been leaving every weekend to give Todd and Cherish their house on the weekends, but we have blown through our savings and cannot do that anymore.  I hope we get our house soon so I quit feeling like a burden on them.  If we don't get a house soon I will start looking to get something outside of town.  I really don't want the cost of another moving truck. 

The last thing that is bothering me is work.  I have been given several more responsibilities this last week.  One of them is for billing.  I had a couple hours of training for a 4 day process that has to be started today.  I had training on our systems on the same day this week.  The next day I had to put a desk together.  Now my office is filled with boxes from items that have came in that I haven't gotten to check in, label and get to their locations.  I have lists of items that need to be ordered as it's the end of the month and everything that is outdated next month needs replaced.

I am happy to have work, I just don't like being overwhelmed with it and most likely having to work on the weekend to get it done.  If I can get overtime approved.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Buried Treasure

There are some moments from earlier in life that come back to put a smile on your face.  This weekend I had a reminder of one of those moments.

At one point growing up I was staying the night at Brother Gonzales' house.  We decided to do some treasure hunting to see if anybody had left any treasures in the rafters of the basement.  As we were looking there was something tucked way back in the rafters.  We reached in and drug out a Ditch Witch hat.  It looked old.  Jokingly we decided that had to have been somebody's treasure for them to hide it there.

Now it was our treasure.  We decided to bury it in the tree break behind the house.  We drew up a map of our paces from the house, past several landmarks, to the treasure which was buried under an X made out of sticks.  We vowed not to come back for it until we were older.  We then hid the map under the rug in his room so someday we would come across it again.

Years went by and a joke or two would come up about the infamous Ditch Witch hat.  Finally, in high school we decided it had been long enough and the Ditch Witch hat needed to be recovered.  We couldn't find the map.  We tried to retrace our steps from memory but too much had changed.  There was not an X on the ground.  The Ditch Witch hat treasure remains to be found.

This weekend Christina, the kids and I were driving to OKC.  We had plans to eat at Pizza Hut in Cherokee, OK.  That didn't work out due to my bad attitude and the kids falling asleep so we waited until later to eat.  I was hungry for McDonald's for the first time in many, many years.  We saw one in Perry, OK and stopped to eat.  While I was eating Leo pointed at the wall and said, "Look at That."  I looked up and saw this.  I had to snap a picture to send to Brother Gonzales.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rogue Mocha Porter

I'm a fan of micro-breweries as well as good food.  Before Christina moved back to Kansas we went to The Rusty Bucket in Columbus.  It's not a micro-brewery, but it does sell some of the best fish-n-chips I've ever tasted. 

This trip I ordered a Rogue mocha porter.  I was an instant fan.  It had a dark porter flavor with a hint of mocha taste to it.  It complimented the fish extremely well.

At the time I thought it was the best beer in the world.  It is still close.  For my going away present Shawn, one of my good friends in Columbus bought me a beer that cost as much as some cases of beer.  I don't remember the name of it.  It was aged in an oak whiskey barrel which delivered a wonderful oaky taste.  I drank that one and could taste the oakyness the rest of the night when I drank my other beers. 

I would  buy a case of Rogue Mocha Porter over the other beer for a fish fry, but if I was trying my first fresh caught ocean fish, after all these years of wanting to do so, I would buy the oak barrel, the Lamborghini of beers.

Wormy Dog Saloon

Summer fun at the cousins.  Gavin took a break from swimming to see if he could fit into the cooler on the deck.
Last night the nieces and nephews had a swim meet out of town.  I thought about going but taking a third vehicle up there to sit in the hot sun to watch other people swim didn't really appeal to me.  What did appeal to me was having time to myself.

I had lived in Columbus for a couple months all alone, then moved into a house with 15 people.  It is fun, but I was ready for some alone time.  I cooked a good supper, did the dishes, then vegged out on the recliner watching 3 TV shows at once for a couple hours.  I was flipping between man vs. food, the egyption job, and deadliest catch.  It's been a long time since I've had control of the TV.  Usually I can't find anything I want to watch.  Last night I wanted to watch everything.

The night before last Christina and I stayed home to cook supper while Cherish and Todd took the kids swimming.  Leo learned to swim.  He has been able to jump off the diving board and sort-of dog paddle to the side.  Cherish said he took off swimming after he jumped off the last time.

At the beginning of the season Gavin was deathly scared of the water.  You couldn't even put his feet in the pool.  Now he is jumping into the big pool off the side.

They are learning so much from their cousin's and aunt and uncle.  It was really a good move coming back to be close to family.

Tonight we take off for OKC.  Mizike and Kimmers have made plans for us on Saturday already.  I was hoping to get some fishing in, or make a trip to the Wormy Dog Saloon, but with this heat it will probably be better to spend some time at a small waterpark and grill some burgers at Mizike's parents house.  Maybe we can all slip out for some evening fishing afterwards. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

El Dorado Lake

Hot off the press is an article about the fishing at El Dorado Lake just north of Wichita.  Here is a link to the article.

In the article it states that El Dorado is experiencing some of its better fishing and clear waters.  I have been wanting to fish El Dorado for a while now.  It has lots of standing timber in the water.  It also has rock banks and bridges separating different sections of water.  The article stated that the walleye fishing has been really good and the walleye are thick for their size.  It would be fun to go there and catch some walleye to eat and do some bass fishing.  El Dorado is one of Kansas's top notch bass lakes.  I have read several articles about it's large bass and population of bass.  There has been quite a few bass tournaments scheduled there this year.

El Dorado Lake is about 120 miles, 2.5 hours, from Kiowa by the time you drive through Wichita.

This weekend I will be going to Oklahoma City again.  Mizike is going to be starting a part time job on the weekends after this one.  There may be a little fishing in the mix when I get there.  With 50+ lakes in and around OKC it would be hard for me not to fish.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Columbus Ohio Bans Night Fishing In City Parks

Fox 19 news reported that Columbus Ohio is banning fishing at night in their city parks between 11 PM and 7 AM.  They say it is from troublemakers that thought they would be safe as long as they had a fishing pole.  Once again a law is enforced because a few bad eggs ruin it for everybody. 

Realistically those people had ruined it for night fisherman in the city prior to now.  Most fisherman wouldn't even go into those parks at night to fish anyway.  There is too much crime.  Your chances of being robbed, beaten, raped, or vandalized were just about as good as your chances to catch a fish.

One of the reason's I moved away from Columbus was to get away from the crime.  It is crazy how bad the crime has gotten there.  My boys weren't allowed to play outside for fear of what could happen and was happening almost every day there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fishing in Jeopardy in South Central Kansas, North Central Oklahoma

A dust devil crosses the road in front of me.

This area may not have a lot of large lakes but it does have some good smaller bodies of water.  With the lack of rain and the overwhelming 27 days above 100 degrees already this year, these water sources are evaporating. 

Several rivers in the area have already stopped flowing and several have nothing but sand where water used to be.  Locals tell me they have never seen it like this.  The Medicine River is dry and you can't even see a pool of water as you drive across it near Kiowa, KS.

Lake levels are apparently low as well.  Over the 4th of July I heard that a couple of local lakes were closed to visitors due to low water levels.

This weekend we took a trip down to Enid, OK to check out the town.  On the way back to Kiowa, we stopped to look at Great Salt Plains Lake in Oklahoma.  What we saw there was beyond comprehension.  I had heard that the lake was shallow.  Now that the water levels are down the lake is not much more than a gigantic 8700 acre mud puddle. 

There were birds standing out in the water 200 feet from shoreline in 6 inches of water.  With the amount of lake there is there has to be some deeper areas that the fish can go.  Unfortunately, a lot of fish were unlucky enough to find that deep water.  The shores were lined with dead fish that likely may have died from getting stuck in too shallow of water or running out of oxygen from the combination of heat and low water.
One of the Larger catfish that couldn't even float to bank as the water was too shallow
There was one catfish swimming through the water where we stopped.  It was a decent sized fish between 10 to 20 pounds.  Its fins were out of the water when it swam while it's lower side dragged against the muddy bottom.  It finally found its way from the dangerous grips of the shallows to a deeper channel that was still only a foot to a foot and a half deep.

The Great Salt Plains Lake is a beautiful lake.  It is large with lots of mature trees surrounding the Eastern end of the lake.  The Western end of the lake is just as spectacular with its salt flats.  Unfortunately the lake is unusable to any decent sized watercraft.  We did see a canoe coming onto shore.  The canoe had to be drug through the mud and shallow water about 50 feet from shore.

You can see the normal lake level

This area near the dam was only about a foot deep.

There is a auto tour trail North of the lake that is quite a spectacular drive.  It has some nice signs showing several different sized marshes.  The marshes were all dry as were most of the streams and rivers that flow into the lake.

The lake does look promising.  If it would come up around 4 - 5 feet it could be a very fun and usable lake.  That is if any of the fish survive these horrid conditions.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Too Hot to Fish?

Today Cherish has a swim meet, Todd will be going with her, so Christina and I will be watching 5 of the kids.  We cooked supper for everybody last night.  It takes a lot of food to put out a meal for 15 people.  We made some pretty good food.  We sauted chicken, mushrooms, snow peas and brocolli together in corn oil, then added it to parmesan noodles, the thin parmesean noodles out of a box.  Lastly we added sliced tomato to it.  We served it with corn and garlic toast.  We used 4 boxes of noodles and a whole loaf of bread.

Tonight should be a little easier since we are only feeding 7 of us. 

Tomorrow I am taking another half day of work off to try to get my drivers license.  Third times the charm.

I was considering going to The Salt Plains Lake in Oklahoma tomorrow evening to try my luck off the bank.  I heard it has catfish and Wiper and it's only a little over a half hour away.  I'm not sure I want to go over to the other house to get my fishing equipment though.

There's a wedding in town on Saturday that we will be going too.  At 110 degrees I would rather go to a wedding than fishing.  Ohio made me soft with those hot 80 degree days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Bass Scene in Kansas

As I was moving to Kansas I was looking at the surrounding waters to see where I would be fishing all of the time. The answer soon occurred to me, I won't be fishing all the time. There is not that much water close to where I live. I also have 2 boys that will be starting school, sports and other activities soon.

I won't be fishing every weekend like I did last year. I still plan to get in on some BFL action next season. Those tournaments will be 5 - 6 hours away. It will require me to use vacation, but I have to get back in the tournament scene.

I can't believe how many people I met in the bass scene the last two years. I met and hung out with lure manufacturer's, guy's that put together tournament series. I even got to hang out with and introduce my kids to this years BFL All American Champion at last years Regionals.

The bass scene was booming in Ohio. The fishing is awesome in Kansas and Oklahoma, but it seems like the bass scene is not as big here. We will see once I start getting into tournaments again. I didn't realize how many people in Ohio were into bass fishing until I started fishing tournaments and joined a club. Maybe the scene is just different here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our New Home - Kansas

You know it's been a long time since you posted when you can't remember your password to your blog site. There's a few excuses why I haven't blogged in a while.

1. I moved and have not had internet for over a month.
2. I'm too lazy to go to the library.
3. I haven't had a lot of content anyway.

We made the big move at the end of May over Memorial weekend. I thought we were going to get our house at that time so I accepted a position at the hospital to do purchasing and moved across the country.

We were not able to move into our house right away because the people we are going to be renting from are remodeling the house they will be moving in to. At first we were going to get the house in the middle of May, then the end of May, then the end of June. Now they are saying they might be in their new place by August. I'm hoping we will be in there by fall.

We have all of our belongings in the living room of that house and my boat in the garage. In the meantime we are living with our Sister and Brother in law and their nine children.

It has been a fun summer so far. I spent the first week with Mizike and Kimmer in Oklahoma. We caught up and did a little fishing at Thunderbird Lake. I caught a nice bass a nice catfish and a nice drum all on a rubber worm. We kept the drum to eat it. It was really a good tasting fish with big white flakes. It reminded me a lot of eating a walleye.

Here's Mizike with my catfish

                                          This is the Drum we ate!

Leo had a couple crappie to the bank but couldn't get them up onto the rocks where we were fishing and Mizike caught one crappie we ate for supper.

Once I got back to Kansas, (right on the Oklahoma border) I started my new job. We have been to see my parents and Christina's parents several times already, along with a reunion and my grandfather's 80th birthday party. It is nice to be close to family again.

This weekend has been my only other fishing trip. We fished Kaw Lake and Sooner lake in Oklahoma.  I didn't catch a thing but Leo, Mizike and Ryan all caught a fish a piece.  Mizike had the first fish.  He caught a little tiny, small, miniscule, itsy, teeny, catfish.  (That still doesn't help me get over the fact that he out fished me.)  Ryan caught a white bass.  We had saw them splashing the surface, chasing shad for a split second.  He got in there with the right bait and got one.  I had a gar on but the hook.  It pulled loose as it torpedoed away from the boat.  Leo out fished me again and had the biggest fish of the day when he pulled in a 2 1/2 to 3 pound channel cat nightfishing at Sooner lake.

It was extremely hot in the middle of the day when we did most of our fishing.  It was close to 110 degrees.  We had to jump in the lake a few times to cool off.  It wasn't ideal conditions for catching fish but it still seemed that we should have caught more fish at Kaw.  I would like to try it in the spring and fall to see if it is better then.  There's been too many times where I ruled out excellent fishing lakes from one trip to them, come to find out, years down the road, that they had awesome fishing.

Now I am dealing with trying to get cars and the boat tagged. I'm also attempting to get my driver's license before August when it expires. I have been to the DMV twice in the last 2 weeks. I have to take a half a day off to go then drive an hour each direction. The first time I had a birth certificate and my birth registration card along with everything else they asked for.

The said my birth certificate was the wrong one and they stopped accepting birth registration cards in 2007. I tried to order a new birth certificate from the state and they said since they were mailing it to a Kansas address I had to have a Kansas driver's license. WHAT???? That's what I need it for. Then they told me I had to have a blood relative order one for me.

I called Mom and she said she has the original. She said I could borrow it but would have to give it back so I don't lose it. THIS IS MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE RIGHT? Luckily she had a second one she had ordered to give me a long time ago.

The next Friday I take off a half a day on Friday. I get to Pratt and the County Examiner had taken the day off. Oh, by the way, they only do out of state driver's licenses on Thursdays and Fridays. Brilliant!

The car tags are going about as good. We bought a Ford Explorer to pull the boat once we move here and have been able to get that tagged but once you go to tag out of state vehicles with Liens on them look out! Nothing is good enough.

Amazingly everything else worked out so well. The house sold the day I was moving. I got a job offer a couple days before I was moving and we have a place to stay while we are waiting on our rental.