Geocaching:  The outdoor sport or game of searching for hidden objects by using Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates posted on the internet.
I’ve known about this for a long time, but always passed it off as a dorky thing to do.  Who the hell wants to go out and find a box of crap, only to sign a log and leave?!  Well, recently I heard about it again and started thinking it might be fun.  I started researching a bit, discovered the rules, and decided that this morning I would take my young son with me and find one.  I registered on Geocache.com and got everything ready.  Did a search within five miles of my area and discovered that there are about 650 caches in that radius. 

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I was amazed!!  So I found one close and decided that before my son and I went rollerblading, we would go find it.  Now, I can’t give anything away about the positioning of the cache in case someone in my area reads this.  That would totally take away the thrill of the search… but I will explain what I can. 
We awoke and prepared for the journey in the earlyish morning light.  My son was excited at the prospect of what we would find.  We were total cache virgins, and didn’t really know what to expect. We grabbed our backpacks, some water, and headed out into the day.  The cache was only about a half a mile away.  I downloaded a program that kind of goes along with geocaching.com and allows me to view the cache on a live time map, radar, or static map.  We chose radar.  It was great!! 

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It was like playing a real life video game.  Following a blip on the radar until we got close enough to find it.  We came upon the area where it was and I shut the radar down.  We kind of knew the area… hell, I had been by it many times in the last few years, never knowing it was there.  There had been a hint within the posting that said, “Walk in and look up.”  We did just that.
Tristan spotted it first.  He was so excited.  A small Tupperware container rested in the area.  We took it out, and sat down to open it.  Here are the internals.

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Tris was way into all the little trinkets, even though I explained that today we would be taking nothing.  If you take something, you must leave something in return.  I was more interested in looking at the logbook.  It turns out that the first signing was 08/05/09.  Almost four years to the day when we found it.  Someone even found it yesterday.  I had seen the log online.  It just blows my mind.  So many people have been here, at different times, and we all have this in common.
So after we took some photos, and put the unit back, we were supposed to go rollerblading.  (I’m in the process of teaching my son how to blade)  But I asked my son, “Hey, there’s another one not far from here.  Wanna go find it?”  He agreed and off we went. 
One of the things I find are that it’s the adventure that’s important.  As we were walking down the street we found this tree.  Tris laughed so hard he almost fell over.

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So we approach the next cache via radar and start looking.  I became super excited because Tris passed the cache and I found it.  The clue had been, “Tree low, sweet chariot.”  We opened it up and found the log, and one tiny little trinket.

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We signed it and replaced and headed off to go rollerblading.  It was a great day, and I’m very happy about the caches.  As I posted on the website when I listed the finds… A lot of times as a divorcee, I feel like a failure as a father.  But the people who place these things give us a chance to bond with, not only humanity… but our children as well.
If I can give you one piece of advice… go geocaching.  It’s great fun, and you can kill a bit of time.
Have a great day everyone.  Luv ya all.

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Chapter 1

Tristan lay awake in the upstairs area of his school cafeteria thinking about his father.  They had often joked about the zombie apocalypse, and what they would do if it ever happened.  “If it ever happens, the first thing I’m going to do is come find you.” Tristan remembered his father’s words as he drifted off to sleep.
His dreams were plagued with the walking dead that had suddenly and violently destroyed his world.  It had been a regular school day, and he was on his lunch recess when everything suddenly changed.  Nobody was paying attention to the man who was shambling down the halls.  He moved like he had been drinking heavily, and smelled awful. 
Tristan was playing on the monkey bars with his friend Tony.  The sun was bright, and a slight breeze blew an awful smell across the yard. “Ugh!!! Tony, did you fart?” Tristan asked with a disgusted look on his face.
“I didn’t fart. He who smelt it dealt it Tris.” He responded with a laugh.
“It wasn’t me!” said Tristan as he started looking around the yard.  That was when he saw the man lurching down the hallway.  “Hey, who’s that guy over there?  He looks like my Grandpa when he’s been drinking.”  They had been told what to do if they ever saw anything strange going on, and Tristan started walking up to the yard duty teacher.  “Ms. Sarah, there’s a guy over by the bathroom that doesn’t look like he should be here.” He said as he walked up to her.
Ms. Sarah turned to spot the man Tristan was describing.  A creepy stranger on campus didn’t always mean bad things, but it was better to be safe than sorry.  “Thank you Tris,” she said with a nervous smile, “Stay here and I’ll go figure out what he’s doing here.”
Tristan and Tony watched her approach the man while remaining behind on the playground.  “I have a bad feeling about this guy.”  Tristan said to Tony without ever taking his eyes off of Ms. Sarah and the man. 
“What do you mean bad feeling?  He just looks like some weird guy, who she is going to tell to leave.  Then he’ll go away.  Let’s get back to the monkey bars.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Let’s go” Tristan agreed, and they started walking back.  Suddenly screams filled the air and Tristan spun around to see Ms. Sarah in the grasp of the strange man.  He had his hands around her torso, and if it weren’t for the blood dripping down her neck it might have looked like they were making out like teenagers. 
“Tony!!” Tristan yelled, “We need to go get Val, and get out of here! I don’t know what’s going on, but I told you I had a bad feeling.”
“But shouldn’t we wait for our teachers to settle this down?” Tony asked, obviously shaken by what they had just seen. “I mean look… the rest of the yard duty teachers have got the man pinned down.  He’s not going anywhere.”
Tristan looked and saw the man pinned to the ground by four other teachers.  Ms. Sarah wasn’t screaming so loud anymore, and the rest of the kids were either huddled together on the playground, or trying to get closer and see exactly what was happening. “No.  We’re going to go get Val, and get somewhere safe.  I’ve seen way too many zombie movies to say this doesn’t seem like the start of one.  If everything is ok, then we’ll have a good laugh after this… if not… you’ll thank me.”
He didn’t wait to see if Tony was coming with him as he took off running for Val’s classroom.  Val was two years older than Tristan and was still in class.  The younger kids got to have their lunch first, followed by the fourth and fifth graders.
The path to the classroom was taking them right by the wounded Ms. Sarah, and the pile of teachers on the strange man.  As they ran by, Tristan glanced at the man.  His eyes were milky white, and his skin was very pale, except for the blood that had been smeared on his face.  The only other thing Tristan noticed as he ran by was a flap of Ms. Sarah’s skin hanging from the man’s mouth as he continued to try and bite the other teachers.
As he approached the classroom he saw the door was shut.  With all the school shootings and things that had happened in the past years, he knew the door would be locked as well.  Hearing the screams and seeing the blood would have sent the teachers that were in the classes into lockdown mode.  He arrived at the door and immediately started banging on it. “Let me in! Let me in! Please!” Tristan screamed.  He could see the teacher running to unlock the door as Tony slammed into him from behind sending him sprawling to the concrete.  Tristan’s face hit the ground hard, making him see stars.  He could taste blood as he stood up to get into the open door and get it locked again.  Before he could turn back toward the classroom, he saw about 15 more shambling people coming onto the school grounds from the street.  “This is it.” He thought, “Dad and I always joked about this happening.  Now it is.”  Finishing his thought he dashed into the classroom and the teacher slammed the door and locked it.
“What’s going on out there?”  Asked the teacher. She had the phone in her hand, presumably with the police on the other end.
“Some crazy guy bit Ms. Sarah in the neck, and now the other teachers have him pinned down.  It looked pretty bad.”  Stammered Tony, obviously on the verge of tears. 
“Oh no. We’re on lockdown now, so I need you boys to please get under the desks and don’t come out until I tell you its ok.” She said as she went back to relaying the newfound information into the phone.  Police sirens could be heard in the distance as Tristan and Tony made their way over to where Val sat under a desk.
Tristan knew better than to tell an adult about the zombies.  They would never believe him.  But his friends were a different story, “We have to get to a safe place.  I know it sounds crazy, but that guy who bit Ms. Sarah is a zombie.”
“You’re crazy Tris!  Zombies don’t exist.  We need to stay here under our desks until it’s safe to come out.  You can hear the police are already on their way here.” He responded.
“Val, listen to Tris!” Tony interjected, “He knew something was up before the guy even bit her.  Plus remember how he is always going on about all the zombie movies his dad and him watch?  If anyone knows about zombies, it’s him. Besides, if he’s wrong, we’ll still be in a safe place.”
Val thought about it for a moment and said, “Ok.  I don’t think they’re zombies, but you are right about the fact that we’ll be safe if we get somewhere else.  What do you have in mind Tris?”
“I’m not sure.  My dad and I always made plans for places to go if something like this happened.  But I always thought it was just a joke.  I didn’t actually expect to have to figure something like this out.  If only he were here.  He’d know what to do.”  Tristan looked at the ground as he spoke.  He was worried about his friends, his father, and his mom.  But for the moment, he had to push those thoughts out of his head and get somewhere safe.  “I got it!” he half shouted, “Remember when we did that play a couple months ago?  In the cafeteria, there’s a ladder in the back.  I don’t know where it goes, other than up to the second floor, but I do know that it’s the only way up there… and zombies don’t climb.”
More screams came from outside.  They glanced out the window to see the shamblers that Tristan saw while pulling himself up from the ground a few minutes ago.  They were walking down the hallways, and the kids could see there was definitely something wrong with them.  Everyone was in a complete panic.  They were running around and trying to find somewhere to hide.  Tris saw Jessica Parker from the third grade hide in the bushes next to the office.  Unfortunately for her, one of the zombies saw her as well.  As it approached the bush, she reached out to push it away.  It grabbed her by the arm and sank its teeth into her, leaving her screaming in agony as it started chewing.
On the other side of the room, the teacher was still on the phone, looking out of the window in the door, describing the scene to the police.
“Now’s our chance guys” Tris whispered, “We gotta get out the back door while the teacher is distracted.  Just remember… stick together and don’t get near those things.  We can out run them easy. Ready?”  The boys nodded in agreement and Tristan opened the door.
It was a short distance to the cafeteria, and they didn’t see anyone on this side of the school as they ran down the hallway.  The shamblers had moved towards the playground that was filled with plenty of food for them. Tony tripped over an exposed tree root while coming around the corner and hit the ground hard.  He screamed as he tried to get back up, “Wait for me guys! Don’t leave me!”
Tristan and Val ran to help him up.  He was back on his feet and moving again.  They raced around the corner to find the cafeteria doors ajar, and no one inside. “Well, at least we have some good luck.” Said Val nervously.
Tristan spoke quickly and deliberately to his friends, “Before we get up there, grab a backpack off the table, and put some food in it.  We don’t know how long we’ll be here.”
“No problem Tris.  That’s a good idea.” Answered Tony, and they grabbed backpacks.  Tristan shut the door, but this door required a key to lock it.  So they would just have to hope nothing found its way in here. The shelves in the back of the kitchen held juices, crackers, cookies, and cans of food.  They each grabbed some, threw it in the backpacks, and started up the ladder.
Tristan told his friends to go up first as he took one last glance around the room.  “Almost safe” he said to himself as he started climbing the ladder.  Just as he reached the seventh rung he heard a groaning sound.  A hand reached up from underneath him and barely grazed the bottom of his shoe.  He almost lost his grip from the scare, but continued climbing, not looking back.  Looking up he could see the pale faces of Tony and Val looking down with fear. “I’m okay guys, it didn’t get me.” He said as he climbed up the ladder through the trap door at the top.
“It’s not that Tris.” Stuttered Val “I just can’t believe what I just saw.  Look for yourself.”  He said, pointing toward the trap door.
Tristan moved his head over the edge, and saw it standing at the bottom of the ladder, peering up at them with hungry eyes.  He was looking right into the eyes of Ms. Sarah.

It’s been a long time coming,
and I’m finally home.
Walking in the door,
with a brand new poem.
I don’t see all the old faces,
and you moved my comfy chair.
I’m still alive and standing tall,
who is that over there?
I’m a little older,
and wiser too I hope.
I had to leave and live my life,
and grow some too I hope.
Hey ROTH it’s good to see you,
and Madameblue my friend.
One of you I left hanging,
the other’s by my side til the end.
I’m sorry that I had to leave;
I just disappeared from home.
I had to go and find my way,
or forever I would roam.
I’ve seen a lot of things,
and I’ve missed y’all every day.
I still can’t promise I’ll stay around,
but I think you’ll be okay.
I came here with little hope,
of continuing my life.
But what I found was some great friends,
who saw strength in my life.
I’ve been through hell and back again,
with P.C. by my side.
Can’t tell you how many nights,
I sat alone and cried.
I’ve got more baggage and scars as well,
mostly from myself.
But all of that I set aside,
to see upon a shelf.
My job it sucks,
my life’s a mess.
I feel like this is a dream,
I’m living while undressed.
My words have been lost,
I need inspiration.
Follow me in this life,
don’t allow me hesitation.
I’ve got dreams,
like all of you.
As I sit alone,
and drink by brew.
I’m not a machine,
I’m a mortal man.
I hope my writing,
isn’t too bland.
So here I am,
please forgive my trespasses.
Because if you don’t,
I’ll whoop all of your asses.

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there. And also, to the women who have to play both mom and dad. Don’t ever question your worth. You might doubt it, but in the real world, you are your childrens’ heros!!!

Nonsensical mutterings,
Screaming at the voices,
A desolate wasteland,
Of discarded beer bottles,
Cigarette butts and trash.
Along with discarded dreams,
Aspirations and people,
I watch them sleep,
On cold concrete,
What promise they once held,
Destroyed by circumstance,
I sit with them and listen,
To the stories they weave,
Such intelligence and humbleness,
One would do well,
To listen to their advice,
All gone now,
Quiet,
I’m waiting for my bus

Hey everyone. It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been going through a lot lately. Just before the lacrosse season ended, I was told that my ex wife was looking for job opportunities in Australia… and my 8 year old son wanted to go. I knew two things in that moment. I could say no, and hold it up in court for 10 years, or I could allow it to happen.
  I ran these options through my head for weeks. I talked with my ex, her parents, (whom i love dearly) and my son. I know it will kill me to be that far away from him, but can I really deny him this opportunity? In the end, the answer is that I cannot deny him. He has an opportunity to see a part of the world that I have always wanted to see. And he has a chance to experience the world.
  They will be gone for two years. Then, after they return, she will be looking for work in Ireland. I have looked into the possibility of moving there to be close to my son (as my older son was actually my stepson, and he is moving far away with his real dad) but, without a degree… Most other countries won’t let you in for more than a visit. On a travel/vacation visit, it is illegal to work or earn money. So I guess that plan is out of the window… for now.
    Then, my best friend, who’s car I have been borrowing, since i can’t afford my own, decided that he needs it back because his other car is broken down. I can’t be too upset… it is his car after all. But now I’m kind of in a lurch. He still drives me to work, but I hop the bus to his house in the mornings. So instead of leaving at seven a.m. I leave at 10 to six. I get to his house, and we ride to work at about 8:30. Then on the way home, he drops me off at a trolly station, and I hop on that and get home.
    So now, I’m facing life without the option to see my kids whenever I want. (A tough thing for a father that is very active in his children’s lives. Hell, the day I broke my leg, I still drove to pick them up for the weekend…. 6 hours after breaking it.)  I have no more vehicle. (Although, if the ladies ask, I got rid of the car to be more green. 😉 lol)
…. I have let this writing sit for about a week now. In that time, I have had a lot of time to think. I had forgotten what it was like to slow down, take a walk, and just appreciate your surroundings. The first thing that happened was, I needed to get somewhere that the buses don’t travel. I thought about how I was going to accomplish this feat. I’ve had a vehicle for so long that I had almost forgotten how to get around without it. I had to go get a money order to pay rent. The closest place for me to do that, is 4 miles away. I had already been up early, taken my son to school on the bus, gone downtown to pay some taxes for my uncle, (totaling about 4 miles walking already) and made it almost home. “How would you have done this as a teen?” I asked myself. I debated going home and grabbing either my rollerblades or skateboard, which have been sitting unused since I broke my leg in 2010. I decided I would just walk. As teens, we used to walk everywhere. Now we jump in our car and go wherever. I was gone from the house most of the day, but in the end, I had walked 12 miles and accomplished everything I had set out to do. I also got to take my time, and actually enjoy seeing my neighborhood at walking speed, rather than whizzing by at 60mph.
  I have had a few other adventures, but this post is long enough already. I plan to start a series called Adventure Time, discussing the adventures I have while navigating this world with no vehicle… Stay tuned. 😉