The “Summer of Tom” continues!

2006 Has been a great year and we are only halfway through it. My family now refers to the summer of 2006 (and 2006 in general) as “The Summer of Tom”.

I DECLARE THIS – THE SUMMER OF TOM !!!!!

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If you will recall, on Seinfeld, George Costanza, upon getting news of the death of his fiancée (who he really didn’t want to marry) goes out with Jerry and declares himself a free man, loudly shouting – “I hereby proclaim this ………The Summer of George!” Although I bear no resemblance to George, I have always thought that the “Summer of George” was the second best concept to come from his character. The first is (of course) Festivus, but it’s not Festivus season right now. While talking to Jerry, George goes on to say that he will now be free to sit around his apartment with his shirt off, watch TV and eat hunks of cheese removed from a piece as big as….. something (his head?).

Needless to say, I have higher aspirations than George.

First there was my new job I started in January 2006. I love the job and I am exactly what our company needs in this position. My employer is very successful and generous with its employees. My boss is a great guy to work for and has been very helpful in getting me integrated. Having known the owners and management for over 10 years also makes me feel great about the company. This was the lynchpin for the “Summer of Tom”, because if I was at my old job, with the poor performing company which required a lot of travel, the “Summer of Tom” would have never happened. As soon as I was hired, the new 62 inch DLP HDTV showed up at our house and with it officially began, the “Summer of Tom”

My wife has always wanted to do something with our backyard. It has been an eyesore ever since we put up the first swing set (and later a fort). I have always wanted a pool, but between the yard being so small and hard to reach from the street, we thought that it would be tough to have a conventional, in-ground pool. We were planning on having a graduation party for Andrew and we needed to do something. I cleared out the old fort, leveled the ground, built a deck, erected a gazebo over it, bought new patio furniture and then added a large above ground pool (48 in deep, 12 feet by 20 feet). I even bought a “planter” which could be suspended from the house. If it were for plants, it would not be mentioned in the Summer of Tom! The “planter” is strong enough to hold about 20 beers or sodas and the ice to keep it frigid in the Texas heat. I can access said beer while standing in the pool. I also bought two floats. A large one shaped like a baseball glove and a second ring that in addition to having a pillow, has a pocket that can hold about 6 cans and ice, so I don’t even have to stand up to get a beer if I am using that floatie. Everything was in place for the party and we had a great time. After the party, I discovered that if I lift the blinds in one window of our game room, I can watch our big screen from the pool quite clearly at night. Later I bought some wireless outdoor speakers. Now I can watch the TV with sound from the pool or just listen to music either on the porch, in the pool or by the gazebo. The next step will be to add some additional landscape pavers and maybe a misting system for the gazebo. I don’t think Gaye will let me have a mini-fridge on the Gazebo.

The next step was vacation. Due to a lack of advance planning, we could not use our timeshare and we had only a 10 day period to take a family vacation. I don’t know how I did this, but I convinced Gaye to go on the baseball vacation (see previous blog entries for details). At this point, the entire family started talking about the concept of “The Summer of Tom”.

Now, for the latest addition to the family. Because Gaye has been such a trooper, teaching and coaching tennis at Nolan, and sacrificing a month of her summer to go to an ECAP training class towards getting fully certified, I decided that she should at least have more fun driving to school. She is not the minivan mom anymore and now that both boys can drive their own cars, her days as the team bus are over. I have always wanted to get a sports car but could never afford it, until now. I will admit that I also bought this because I wanted to have fun driving, so it still falls under the “Summer of Tom” theme. This past Saturday we picked up our brand new BMW Z4 3.0si Roadster

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She thinks it’s her car – don’t tell her!

Rarely have I even thought about what color car I wanted, but in this case, Gaye and I decided we had to go with the Montego Blue with Beige Leather. Although I enjoy driving my 530i, this car has opened my eyes to how fun driving can be. We drove it to Dallas for dinner the night we got it and to Aledo for a party the next day. It was awesome! I did almost have a heart attack when Matt drove it to 7-11 with his friend (with my panicked approval).

Yesterday we picked up our summer exchange student, Jack Armstrong. Jack is here with 16 other students from Northern Ireland with the Ulster Project. For the next month, they have almost daily activities for the Ulster teens and their US partners. He and Matt will be doing everything together from taking a ROPES class, going to Six Flags, Burger’s Lake, San Antonio, the Ballpark in Arlington and many other fun activities. At some point, I need to sit down with Jack and teach him about this baseball thing. August will be here before we know it.

What else lies ahead in the “Summer of Tom”? Stay tuned!

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