All Ears

A couple of weeks ago, I booked a vacation for Steph and I for the end of September.  Nothing major – a simple extended weekend away from home.  The timing seemed right. We haven’t had any real time off since January and by that time, school will have been in session for a very hectic month and I’ll be in need of a break.

The catch, however, was that I didn’t tell Steph where we were going.  I told her roughly how much it was going to cost, that I’d take care of the credit card bill, and that I’d drop occasional hints now and then.  This did not please her in the least.  She doesn’t like it when I keep secrets.  At first, she appealed to my well-being.

Steph: I think it will be hard on you to keep this secret.  You should share.

Me: No, I can handle it.

Steph:  You know, now that you’re getting up there in years, holding this kind of secret could have serious health implications.

Me: Ouch.

When those efforts failed, she turned to quizzing me at every opportunity.  Through her questioning, she managed to rule out Texas, Ohio, or any place outside of the continental United States.  For my part, I did drop a few hints.  I told her that I had purchased a pair of Brita Water Bottles w/Filters.  Her response to this was “Do I have to be worried about giardia?”  (Thankfully, no.)   I told her that we had never been to this place before.  Groceries were going to be delivered to our room.  She was to bring a swimsuit (“Beach or pool”, she asked.  “Both,” I replied).  I also let it slip that we were signed up for a 5K Trail Race.

It was quite fun.  Or frustrating, depending on which role you were playing.  Unfortunately, as the days passed, it became apparent to me that some key decisions were going to have to be made and I could not do it without her input.  So I decided to give her a few more big hints in the hopes that she would figure it out.  I started with a picture of where we are staying:

Entryway to the Resort


She recognized the New England style but didn’t know where it was.  So I showed her another picture of a possible view from our water front balcony.  It took her about ten seconds to spot it.


Balcony View

Having trouble?  Look along the right hand side.  See that ball shaped object?  Yup, that’s Epcot.  We going back to Disney.

We’ll be staying at the Yacht Club Resort and by pure luck, we are arriving at the same time that Walt Disney World is holding their Food & Wine Festival.  I had wanted to sign us up for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler but alas, those spots were filled so I went with the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run.  I know that most sane people would say “Why would you go on vacation and run a race?!” but I counter with this:

1. We are not sane.

2. In 2001, Steph and I were supposed to run the Disney Marathon.  Steph got injured and had to watch me run it.  I got the Mickey Mouse medal and the experience.  Steph did not and though she’s never outwardly let it show, it’s eaten at her ever since.  This time, she’ll get a Disney Medal (we’ll work on the Marathon sometime in the future).

So … yeah.  Let the countdown begin.


My Favorite Troll

A few days ago on Reddit, I stumbled across this AskReddit thread: Just watched an elderly gent take 5 mins to cross a crosswalk, then begin running once he reached the other side. What’s the best troll-move you’ve seen?

I didn’t get there in time to add my own story but if I had, I would nominate the one and only Mr. James Maddox.  Here’s how it goes:

During my Senior year of High School, I was notified that during that day’s school assembly that I would be getting an award for Perfect Attendance and No Detentions.

The Perfect Attendance really wasn’t that surprising.  Mom was the Attendance Secretary at the High School. This meant that it was really difficult to slip fake notes past her so we didn’t even bother.  Still, I was a kid so I did get sick once in a while.  How I managed not to miss any school is a bit of a shock to me.   As for no detentions, I guess that was my nature.  My family can attest that I did get into trouble now and then in grade school but I suppose I mellowed out in High School (that’s a whole different story).

The day of the assembly, I was sitting in Mr. Maddox’s classroom.  Maddox was our English teacher (and one of my greatest inspirations and influences).  I got along with him great, being a tutor in the writing center, taking all his classes, etc.  Mr. Maddox had us working on some papers and while we were doing that, the student in front of me (who it was escapes me at this moment so we’ll call him Bill) kept turning around and talking to me.  I’d give short responses because, Hello, we’re in class and supposed to be working.

Didn’t work.  After about five minutes, Mr. Maddox comes up behind me and slams his hand down on my desk.

“Matt and Bill!  That’s enough!  Both of you, detention!  Get to the Dean’s office!”

The entire class fell silent.

Mr. Maddox, you see, did not get angry.  He is not that sort of a guy.  Once he hooked a camera up to a RC Car and drove it into another teacher’s classroom.  He was fond of wearing rollerblades instead of shoes.  The man could give Patch Adams a run for his money.

I tried to protest my innocence but Mr. Maddox would hear none of it.  He wrote us up detention slips and sent us on our way.  I ignored Bill the entire way.  I was livid.  I wanted to kill him.

We get up to the Dean’s Office and take our seats.  Mrs. Frick (known as Auntie Frick to us Hughes’ boys) took one disapproving look at me, got up, and walked next door to the Attendance  Office.  She comes back with my Mom, who gives me an even more disapproving look, then leaves to hide what is undoubtably her shame.  I, Matt Hughes, have failed the Hughes clan and shall forever be banished.

I sat there for a few minutes, alternating between telling Bill to shut the hell up and contemplating if I could kill myself by leaping out the window.  After a bit, the door to the hall opens and Mr. Maddox pokes his head in.  He smiles that damned grin of his and says “Gotcha.”

I’m told the expression on my face was a mix of horror, surprise, and general What The F**k?!   Bill started laughing.  Mrs. Frick started laughing.  Everyone in the Dean’s Office and Attendance office burst out laughing.  They were all in on it – Mrs. Frick, my Mom.  Maddox had even roped Bill into the con.  Ironically, I almost got a detention for slapping the ever living crap out of Bill on the way back to class.

By the time I picked up my award later that afternoon, the story had gotten around school.  Hell, I didn’t care.  It was by far and away the best prank I’d been involved in and I was damned proud to be part of it.*  So there you go – Mr. James Maddox, Professional English teacher and Troll.

* Up to that time, that is.  I’ll tell you about the other one when the statutes of limitations has run out.

Reasons I Haven’t Updated

Below is a list of possible reasons I have not updated the blog as of late.  Take your pick.  They’re all equally plausible.

The recent heat wave has melted all the tubes bringing the Internet to my house.

We missed a day of feeding the squirrels and birds.  As a result, they took us hostage until our next of kin were able to pay a handsome ransom of sunflowers.

I was summoned to Washington D.C. to take part in an effort to switch the vote of Chief Justice Roberts on the Affordable Care Act and have been busy cleaning up all the loose ends.  No, I won’t explain further – I’ve already said too much.

I received a new computer at work and have thus been distracted by the shiny.

I attempted to keep up with Steph’s pace in reading.  This attempt startled my brain so much that it knocked me out and caused me to have amnesia for the past two weeks.

Tim Tam attempted to take over the Tri-State area.  Fortunately, he was thwarted by Tucker but for a short time, Steph and I were forced into the Witness Protection Program in order to evade Tim Tam’s minions.

I forgot the login to the blog and had to write a hacking program from scratch, which is kind of hard since I can’t program my way out of a paper sack.