Summer Survival Guide

Another week in the trenches. This time of year is always rough with the kids getting ready to bust out of school for the year. One Family Teacher I bumped into on campus mentioned that it’s the pollen that knocks them stupid (I think she may be on to something).

Spring fever is a call to arms for HP’s across this great nation. Time to get ready for vacations, road trips, sunburns and having the kids home 24-7. This can be a scary and confusing time for newbies and those with weak cardiovascular issues. But don’t worry, Old Launch is here to help you through “The Valley of the Shadow of Death”, or as some call it, summer break.


1. Sunscreen- anything above 80 SPF. If it will be your first summer in the south, don’t go back outside until mid November. Nothing will make you beg for the sweet release of death like a sunburn from the beach.

2. Medication- Load up on the anti-depressants, cause it will be a long summer. But aside from that, get one of those pill cases that you can load the kids meds into. That way when you take of to the YMCA or are out at the store you can give meds at the correct time instead of missing a dose or waiting until you get home.

3. Flask- Your probably expecting me to say something witty about alcohol here, but Sorry, no booze on duty. If it gets that bad call a help line or check out AA. I carry a pint flask in a book bag when we are out of the cottage to help with giving meds. A lot of times I find myself out in the middle of nowhere trying to find water so a kid can take their medicine. Bottled water works, but we always end up drinking them before its time to do meds.

4. Camera- If your still using film, Grandpa, you are the last one in the free world to be doing so. Get a cheap digital at Wal-Mart. You can take endless photos and pick the ones you like, discarding the rest. It’s very important not to spend more than $150 on the camera. Anymore than that and Murphy’s law takes affect. (Drop it in the toilet, a kid will bounce it off your head, etc…)

5. Closed face reels for fishing- If you take a kid out fishing with an open faced reel, you deserve every minute of frustration and pain that will follow. If I see you out there I will laugh and take pictures then post it on the internet. Just keep it simple, closed faced reels only.

6. Cell Phones- You and your spouse need to both have a cell. The ability to effectively communicate with your team mates will GREATLY reduce the amount of antacid tablets you consume. Being able to talk in real time and react to constantly changing scenarios with the kids is well spent money.

7. Toilet Paper- Stash rolls in the van, in your purse and chuck a couple of sheets in the old wallet. Nothing is more frustrating than having to go #2 on a trip in unfamiliar parts only to find yourself sitting there without the required materials needed to make a graceful exit.

8. GPS- TELENAV works great on your cell phone. TomTom is also amazing. Portable GPS is a must have on those road trips, especially when the back of the van starts doing the “Are there yet” routine. You can now tell them down to the square foot how far they are from the final destination. GPS will also help you find gas stations, hotels, restaurants and parks. It’s an absolute lifesaver when your traveling with a group home.

9. Gameboys, DS’s, PSP’s, whatever The beauty of portable game systems is they will keep a kid occupied for hours. I know many HP’s think those little electronic gadgets are of the devil. I suggest you do your own controlled study on the way to the Grand Canyon this year. Let Johhny play his gameboy and tell Bobby he will get the joy of singing “100 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” with you and your lovely wife. See which kid goes insane first.

10. Folding Chairs- Always, always, always, keep portable chairs in the house vehicle. Kids are fine sitting in mud and grass. However, I am old and rather particular about where I rest my derri¨re.

This is the short list. Good luck with the summer and hopefully there will be a few of us left when the dust settles. -Launch

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About Launchpad

Motorcycles. I average about 1,500 miles a month. Anyone, anywhere up for a ride pm me. I am always up for a run, no matter what brand of scoot you got. Favorite movie- School Of Rock and Office Space. Favorite TV shows- House, Daily Report, Colbert Report, Discovery and History channel. Favorite Bands- Casting Crowns, Led Zeppelin, Matisyahu, Precho, John Boys Courage, Primus, POD, Dave Matthews, Dashboard Confessional, The Boss and Obadiah Parker. I am also a big fan of most 80's rock. Affiliation- Non-Denominational. How I hope to die- In a big glorious explosion. Favorite Food- Anything that is classified as a carb or drips with grease.

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