Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Tanory Takeover, Part 2

Continuing on my recent hot streak of two blogs in five months, I thought I'd share some of the fun things that we did with the kids while in Seattle for Thanksgiving.

Don't worry, I'll get to Easter sometime around September.

Since it was winter in Seattle, we decided to go to see the movie Frozen.  Or as I call it, "The extended video for 'Let It Go.'"  We even got to see Olaf!

We had gone to the mall to see Frozen, and while were there one of my cousins noticed that Santa had set up shop in the middle of the mall - and there was no line!  So we all piled into his sleigh, and took probably one of my favorite pictures of all time.

I think us adults were having more fun than the kids!

Afterward, my aunts, uncles and some of my cousins treated everyone to a great night at a place with a bunch of video games, laser tag and bumper cars.  Think of a Chuck E Cheese, Dave & Buster's, that sort of thing - now picture that place overrun with Tanory's.

The video games were fun, but we spent most of our time on the larger attractions, like the bumper cars.  My son, Peter, was surprisingly agile in his own bumper car.  His 360 degree turns were pretty uncanny.

Of course the real goon on the course was my daughter, Annie.  When she set her sights on you, consider your car bumped!  I still have whiplash from a hit to the back from my kids.

To relax after our bumper car battle royale, we took a 3D roller coaster trip together as a family.  The ladies took all the good seats in the front, but us men got our revenge by screaming like frightened little girls the entire ride.

Well, at least we had one dude who was cool as a cucumber....

Next up was Laser Tag.  Here's a picture of our opponents, the Green Team.  Although they look innocent enough, the Green Team - especially the ladies in the middle - were comprised of some of the sharpest shooters in the entire family.  We still clobbered them though, thanks to my patented "Cover All The Sensors On Your Gun And Backpack" skillz.

Peter and my cousin Ryan had a good time playing Air Hockey.  Ryan's always been great with our kids.  He's one of the nicest cousins that I have, and we love spending time with him.  Too bad he sucks at Air Hockey!  (Just kidding, Ryan - no seriously, don't pretend like you went easy on Peter.)

Shuttles and buses were our main mode of transportation around Seattle.  This was much easier than trying to coordinate multiple cars meeting up at the same place at the same time.

One such bus trip took us downtown to see the Space Needle.

And what blog post about the Space Needle would be complete if I didn't show this picture, and then ask you to think to yourself, in your best Austin Powers voice, "Does that make you horny, baby!?"

Mom, you don't have to answer that one.

Quick interlude here for a second:  Back at the hotel, at night when the kids were asleep, us adults would sneak downstairs at play poker.  Sometimes I would just run in, take pictures and then run out, and end up with pictures like this:

But one night I came into the poker room to find everyone singing, "We Are the Champions" by Queen at the top of their voices.

(I also found this, but we dare not speak of it!)

A day or so later, we took the bus to a great Italian place that my cousin Zach had not only made reservations for but had also put in food orders.  We literally just sat down and started eating and drinking.

How's that for planning?!

But first there was a toast.  Mainly to Zach, for setting up the evening's activities.  And when it was my turn, I stood up, remembered the amazing poker game where everyone was singing, and my heart was filled with joy.  And I toasted thusly:

"I've paid my dues time after time.  I've done my sentence but committed no crime.  And bad mistakes?  I've made a few.  I've had my share of sand kicked in my face but I've come through."

And wouldn't you know it, but an impromptu rendition of "We Are The Champions" rang out in an Italian restaurant in Seattle, in a room filled with Tanory's from all over the country, at the top of our lungs.

It was followed by many other songs that began in toast form.  And our night ended when we ate every last piece of food in the restaurant and were so full that even our unibrows were bloated.

It was a trip that I'll never forget.  And I know that we've imparted our love for our family on our children.

Our kids are asking when the next big trip is, so we need to decide what we're doing and when, and we expect everyone to show up!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Tanory Takeover

I'm a procrastinator, so having an idea and actually carrying it out is very hard for me.  "Why put off to tomorrow what I can put off to next week?" is my motto.  I like to come up with ideas and then put them on the sideline for a few decades.  Seriously, right now I'm working on a screenplay, a children's book and a financial website for my friend, all of which will be done sometime around 2082.

I like to go with the flow, as my parents like to say.

And I'm usually pleasantly surprised and somewhat shocked whenever anyone else manages to come up with a plan and stick to it, much less get other people involved.

So when one of my cousins started sending emails around after Thanksgiving of 2012 about how we should all go up to Seattle for Thanksgiving of 2013, spend time with our family up there and then go to the burial site of my Aunt Barbara who had died 20 years earlier, I thought, "That would be amazing... if we ever manage to do it!"  Then I went back to my lounging exercises.

But lo and behold, somehow, some way, my family made it up to Seattle for Thanksgiving.  And just like I suspected it would be, it was amazing!

May I present to you my family:

Our trip was dubbed the "Tanory Takeover."  And takeover we did!  We were like locusts, eating and playing cards our way through downtown Seattle.

Tanory's came from everywhere:  Louisiana, Texas, Minnesota, New York, Virginia, DC, California, Arizona and even from within Washington state itself.  Us Tanory's like the outer states, in case you couldn't tell.  And as we each arrived in Seattle, our unibrows started to sync up and merge into one giant brow.

Everyone arrived in Seattle on different days and at different times, and communication was spotty since most people didn't have access to their phones while they were on a plane.  So my cousin set up a shared mobile photo stream, and it immediately became the de facto way that we kept tabs on each other throughout the week.  As people made it to Seattle, their picture made it to the photo stream.  Some of my cousins live in Seattle, and they made sure to be at the airport for the arrival of every other member of the family.  What a great way to land!  Plus it was exciting to see the photo stream as people landed.

This was my third trip to Seattle.  There's a ton of stuff to do there, like going to the Space Needle, hitting up Pike Place Market, and wearing flannel and playing grunge music.  I had done a lot of that before, but of course we had to do it again - especially because we had the kids with us.  So one night we all took a shuttle downtime to see the Space Needle.

Betty used to not be afraid of heights, but ever since we looked over the edge from the top of the Empire State Building in New York, she hasn't liked heights.  She braved the outer edge of the Space Needle for a few minutes, then we moved on inside.

When we got out of the Space Needle, we met out on the street where a Peruvian flute band was playing.  The kids danced around and played while I wondered if South Park was right in saying that the rise in Peruvian flute bands was warding off the Furry Death by giant guinea pigs.

There's no doubt that the Space Needle, Experience Music Project and Pike's Place are impressive.  But honestly, every time I go to Seattle I'm amazed at how clean it is.  Actually, any time I travel outside of Louisiana I'm shocked at how clean it is.  Maybe that's more of an indictment of how filthy Louisiana is than how clean other places are, but Seattle is actually one of the cleanest places I've ever been.  It's so clean, in fact, that I took a picture of the only three pieces of trash that I found on the ground the entire time I was there.

I'd joking say, "For shame, Seattle!" if I didn't think someone from Louisiana probably threw that stuff on the ground.

As I said before, I'm a procrastinator - but luckily my cousins are not, and they set everything up for the entire family.  We had half a hotel to ourselves.  The continental breakfast had no idea what was about to hit it. We even had our own banquet room booked for the entire week - and the hotel staff made sure that we spent a lot of time in that room so that we wouldn't scare off the other customers! 

Even though it was Thanksgiving, the banquet room at the hotel was decked out in a Christmas theme, complete with Christmas tree and nutcrackers.  Peter befriended one of them.  It's amazing what a life-size nutcracker can destroy with its giant chompers!

We didn't spend much time in our rooms, but the time we did spend there was made more pleasant by the presence of a pink sticky pig thing.  In the morning before we'd leave our room for the day, we'd throw the pig up in the air and make it stick on the ceiling, and then we'd see if Room Service would take it down while we were gone.  (They didn't.)

Now you may remember that the Monday after Thanksgiving was when the Saints traveled up to Seattle to play NFL Monday Night football.  So us Louisianians talked a big talk to our Seattlite family, but ultimately Seattle won not just the game but also the hearts and minds of our Louisiana children.  My cousin gave some of the kids a Richard Sherman doll, and it was instantly the greatest gift anyone had ever given to the kids.  The Richard Sherman doll still occasionally shows up on the photo stream.

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner.  We could have been eating anything, it wouldn't have mattered - just being with my family made it wonderful.  A few people were missing - my uncle Rex and cousins Brad, Matt and John, to name a few.  And of course we were missing our Aunt Barbara, who had passed away 20 years earlier.  One part of the banquet hall had a special dedication to her, and we also had pictures of her at each of our tables.

My Aunt Barbara was the choreographer for both Roslyn Sumners and Tonya Harding, and we used to watch for her during the ice skating competitions during the Winter Olympics.  But my fondest memory of her is at my Papa Duke and Gaga's house, where I laid my head on her lap and she ruffled my hair for a while.  She said she used to do that to her kids.  It's funny how something so small could have such a big impact, but that's how I've always thought about her.  Now when I think about her, I'll think of her face at every table at our Thanksgiving feast, with smiling faces surrounding her.

So I've procrastinated enough.  It's finally time to say Happy Thanksgiving.  I think you can be thankful for what you have regardless of what time of year it is.  I've really loved looking at all the pictures from our Seattle trip, and it really does make me thankful for a wonderful family.  Thank you to everyone who made the trip up to Seattle and for my cousins for making this event happen - that was truly a special moment, worthy of a much better and timelier blog.

Monday, April 14, 2014

So What If I'm Five Months Behind?

I'm five months behind on my blog posts, and I've had a hard time thinking of where to begin or how to explain my absence.

I could blame it on the fact that the last time I blogged, I posted this picture of Betty in foxy PJs.  I could probably convince people that she got so upset that she beat me and/or took our computer away so that I couldn't blog anymore.  People might buy it.  I mean, I did coin the term "Going all Wells Fargo" based on an epic phone call she had with Wells Fargo where the head of the PMI department grovelled for her forgiveness.

Or I could blame it on the fact that Betty and I won our Fantasy Football league that we joined with our friends. Who knows, maybe the pressure of destroying our friends in a fantasy game made us want to up our game for next season, and so we've been spending even more time watching game tape, mocking draft picks, binge-listening to SiriusXM NFL Radio and writing down funny smack talk to email out to the league.

Or I could blame it on the fact that I've been watching a lot of NetFlix and playing a lot of Wii U.  But I won't!

Instead, I'll just show you an updated picture of my beautiful wife, Betty.

Betty's pregnant!

Our third child is due in July.  We aren't finding out the gender, just like we didn't find out for the first two.  We haven't decided on any names yet, but so far we've ruled out Robert Tanory Jr, Rowdy Roddy Piper Tanory, and Megatron Tanory. (Optimus Prime Tanory is still on the table.)

Basically, the time between blogs has been the time from when Betty wore the Foxy PJs to now her being pregnant. That's how long I've gone without blogging.  It's hard to believe.  Maybe by the time I write my next blog post, my kids will be in college.

It's good to be back!