Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

TINSTAAFL

hibiscusflower06I missed Veterans Day. I can't believe I forgot about it and let Marcel go to school. I'm not sure when it became okay for kids to go to school on Veterans Day but I don't send my kids to school but this go around I actually forgot. My father served in the Army and racked up four MOS's. One of his brother's served in the Army and had the privilege of becoming an Airborne Ranger. Another served in the Navy. I served in the Army as an Army Medic. So to say I felt bad about sending Marcel to school on Veterans Day is a little bit of an overstatement.

I was taught as a kid that we live in a country of incredible opportunities - if one's willing to do the work. Our country is based off the premise that the opportunity is provided for you to elevate yourself. Without going into my father's private life too much, he knew what it was to live in poverty and did something to change his life. He didn't ask for government handouts or welfare. He worked for it. I'm not sure what's changed in American mentality but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that most people believe that their government should provide for them what past generations worked for and earned.

karate_yellowbelt40Anyway, I felt bad about sending Marcel to school. So I picked him up from school early the following day and took the kids out. We had a little rehash talk on the road about his grandpa. I can't think of a better example of hard work and dedication than my own father's story. Marcel knew his grandpa's story already but I thought it important to remind him that the privileges most take for granted are not free. Not the freedom to express ourselves, to worship (or not worship) as we choose, medical care, welfare, social security, etc. Someone has to pay for it even if it's not you. Sometimes with a hit to our wallets, sometimes with blood. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

houstonzoo_noschool_41That was our little discussion on our way to the Houston Zoo. Of course, we talked about his newest girlfriend too but I know this stuff he'll remember even if he seems bored by it now. It was a fantastic day for a zoo trip too. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was cool enough that most of the animals were out and playing. This trip was made particularly easier since we had our iPhones loaded with the Houston Zoo App. Olivia makes friends everywhere she goes and at the zoo was no exception. She talked to the women sitting beside us as we ate, she made friends with the kids on the playground, and even charmed our waitress when we had dinner afterward. She kept Marcel and me pretty busy. Marcel and I were a bit disappointed that the Kipp Aquarium was closed but we did get to see the piranha at least. The kids were so worn out, they both fell asleep once they were in the car.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fun and Games

halloween2009_52With Halloween now behind us I find myself a little restless with nothing to work on that has a real deadline. Sure, laundry needs to be done every few days and the dishwasher has to be run every evening but nothing that really says, "Get Your Ass MOVING!" The kids enjoyed their candy far too much, Marcel's still running around wearing his mask, and Olivia still tries to squeeze her witch hat on daily. All the good candy is long gone but the kids (and me) are still chipping away at the left-overs. It's mostly tootsie rolls and suckers left now but we'll manage, I'm sure, to make sure none goes to waste.

halloween2009_50I guess I just didn't realize how much taking them trick or treating together meant to me until there was the real threat Marcel would be trick or treating without us. He'd gotten invited to a really large Halloween birthday bash - with trick or treating to wrap it up. I guess I just kind of assumed he'd always want to spend Halloween with us. I guess I'm just being a bit too sentimental. He ended up trick or treating with us since the party was actually just going to do a group hayride but no trick or treating so we got him for one more year. We'll have to do something enticing next year to make sure he decides to stick with us on Halloween I guess. I'll resort to bribery, you're damn right.

crosbypark_77v02So now I want to make something again. I had fun making the mask but honestly it wasn't difficult. I didn't do anything new. I made a plaster face mask, I sculpted the mask on top of it out of clay, then I made a mold from latex and plaster. From there I just mixed up a batch of milkshake and glassed the inside. Done. No real challenge.

With that said, I've decided to try my hand at making a few more poker tables. I'm going to give myself a deadline to make and see how it goes. To help the ball get rolling I went and sold the other poker tables I made to help grease the wheel and motivate me. I'm feeling more confident with my woodworking abilities these days. After making Marcel's wooden swords and tossing together a few push sticks for the table saw I'm ready for a new challenge. This go around I'm going to try to make pedestal bases. These poker tables are now attempt five and six. We'll see how it goes especially since I can't leave good enough alone. I've taken numerous poker table building plans and bastardized them into my own so there's no real detailed directions out there (that I've found) for what I plan on building. It's nothing too complicated other than a mishmash of a few plans but it will definitely be a challenge. The fun part is the planning right now. I'm using Illustrator CS4 to layout my lumber cuts and 3D Studio Max to visualize the dimensions. Does it get geekier than that?

It's nearly nap time, so I'm outta hear for now. I've got poker table plans to finalize and a workout to do while the little girl recharges.