Bowling (Again)

Saturday, over dinner, Good Man said, “I want to go bowling tomorrow.”

I stared at him. The three pre-Grandpa times we went bowling together, I had to beg Good Man to go with me. “Really?”

“I think the lanes are narrower here,” he said.

“No, same size. It’s just that Grandpa taught you how to bowl and now you like it.”

“Yeah, that too.”

***

We went bowling with Grandpa twice at the bowling center he took over nearly 30 years ago (Treasure Lanes, now my uncle is the primary manager, since Grandpa retired about five years ago). Both times we bowled three games. Grandpa taught us how to pick the ball properly, a little lane etiquette, how to adjust where we stood to pick up pins, as well as how to bowl.

“Seriously, I can’t just pick up the ball by sticking my fingers in it?”

“No, do risk dropping it on your foot.”

He also complained that women always wear bowling shoes too small. “Your bowling shoe needs to be a half-size bigger than a regular street shoe. So when we mark a shoe a 9, it’s really a 9 1/2. The shoe needs to be bigger so your foot can slide. I got so tired of women not listening, buying smaller shoes and then complaining when their toes broke the fronts of the shoes!”

Grandpa also showed us how fingers should fit in a ball. He picked up his bowling ball with two fingers and curled it into his palm. “You try it,” he said.

“Grandpa. There is no way I can pick up a bowling ball with two fingers.”

After our last bowling session with Grandpa, Good Man had broken 100 for the first time. I, however, was not doing as well. Grandpa patted me on the shoulder and said, “You need to find one style and go with it, because you are trying to change too many things.” My aunt joked that was code for “find another sport.”

***

The night before we left Florida, we went to a local Italian restaurant together. I had convinced Grandpa to let us treat them. At the end of the meal he wanted to leave the tip. We decided to arm wrestle for it.

Grandpa beat me.

I am both ashamed and awed to admit that.

Good Man shrugged. “What do you expect? He can lift up bowling balls with two fingers.”

I pulled the stubborn granddaughter card and paid the tip anyhow.

***

Last night we went bowling. The local place has all you bowl Sun-Thurs for $6.99 plus shoes after 9 pm. The lanes weren’t as well-kept as Grandpa’s lanes, I don’t think. But hey, we made do.

Good Man’s scores beat mine overall, which made him happy since he was in a one-sided competition with me. Over eight games his average was 99 and his three above-100 games were 120, 102 and 113.

I was trying to get over 70 consistently, since my previous three games had been something like 40, 80, 50. All of my games were above 70, so I was rather pleased. My average was 90 and I had two above-100 games, which were 103 and…139.

Now that 139 was a lot of luck, but I was thinking of Grandpa’s advice. Don’t think so much. Relax. Look at your mark, not the pins. I wish he’d been there to see it!

In fact, when either of us messed up, we’d scold each other like Grandpa. “You were holding the ball!” “Do you know what your mark was? Because it wasn’t where you put the ball.” “You’re thinking too much!”

At one point, Good Man landed a pin in the gutter (beyond the reach of the sweep). A few frames later, a pin ended up on the lane.

I went to the service desk to tell them about the pin. While I was waiting, a woman was there to meet her friends. The clerk asked what size her shoe was. “Do they run big or small?”

The clerk sighed and said large.

“OK, I’ll take a 6 1/2,” she said.

I tsked her in my head.

There was a family of five bowling next to us. A teenager went to pick up her ball the wrong way and…dropped it. I looked at Good Man, my eyes wide. I guess Grandpa was right.

Once, Good Man hit one pin and we thought that was it. A few seconds later, five pins decided to jump up in the air and fall over.

“Did you see that?”

“That was weird.”

I managed to pick up a 7-10 split, which was some impressive luck. Good Man is getting really good at picking up the 10 pin for a spare.

At one point I had the 1, 5, and 8 pins standing. Somehow I managed to knock down the 5, but nothing else.

“Did you see that?”

“That was weird.”

Grandpa and the Military

One of the most delightful (and somewhat frustrating) things about Grandpa is that it seems nobody in the family has a complete idea of his military service.

Here’s what I know:

  • Grandpa lied about his age to join the reserves at 16.
  • The records were destroyed in a fire, so he doesn’t get credit for those lied-about years.
  • Grandpa fought in the Pacific in WWII.
  • He flew planes when the Air Force was part of the Army.
  • Grandpa created (or modified) the three-letter airport code system still in use today. (The way he tells it, he was tired of saying the full names and said that they should abbreviate it. So then he sat there and brainstormed three-letter codes for various bases. Somewhere in the basement there’s a certificate of this accomplishment.)
  • Grandpa was stationed in Japan and did not directly fight in Korea. (I had this wrong—I thought he had.)
  • Grandpa did not fight because he had too many “secrets” in his head. The primary knowledge he had was that of radar and where various militaries (American and to an extent British) were with the use of it.
  • Grandpa has been stationed in Guam, Japan, and the Philippines, as well as multiple domestic stations.
  • Grandpa and his buddy flew over a mountain they were specifically told not to fly over and Muslim militants in the Philippines shot at their plane. When they got back to the base, they couldn’t lie about what they’d done because of…radar.
  • Grandpa applied to be in the Mercury program but was denied. They said it was his age, but he thinks it’s because he didn’t have any college degree.
  • One of my aunts was born while they lived in Japan. While they were in Japan, they’d often follow maps and find that the roads ended. They’d find the sole person in the village who spoke English, who would then say, “Yes, your bombs destroyed the road.”
  • Grandpa flew goats to Guam during the Korean War. A lot of families were moving to Guam and they needed a food source.
  • Grandpa helped write the armistice that paused the Korean War.

When Grandpa got to that last point, I stopped him.

“Wait, Grandpa, how come when I Google ‘Korean Armistice,’ I don’t see a darn thing about Michael S?”

“Well, I was in Japan and helped write the original papers, the idea and the framework. But it wasn’t my job to present it.”

“So you helped do the work but get none of the glory?”

“Well,” he laughed, “it was part of my job!”

62 Years

Grandpa, Grandma, and Good Man

Today we left Florida. Today, my grandparents celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary.Last night Good Man and I poked around in the photo albums in the guest bedroom. Their wedding and honeymoon photos—my God, my grandparents are gorgeous at any age. Grandma in her bikini on the beach in 1948 with a little smirk on her face? She looks like a movie star, especially with her Army Air Corps husband by her side.

We found Grandma’s high school photos, and Grandpa’s military photos. We also found photos of my aunts and uncles growing up. We found old church directories. And I found photos of Johnny and me at a very young age.

A few nights ago, Grandpa stayed up with us chatting for three hours. I learned so much about him, and about our family. When we finished chatting, Good Man said to me in private, “Sometimes I wish I lived 100 years ago.”

“During the Japanese occupation?”

“Well, maybe. It just seems like those times were more interesting than these.”

Sixty-two years is a long, long time. I raise a toast to my grandparents. Happy Anniversary to them!

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Yesterday Good Man and I drove down to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Good Man was excited to see anything about Edison since he’d read a biography about him when he (Good Man) was a child. I was excited to see the gardens.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates were, as the name implies, used by the two men during the winter. The grounds were gorgeous and you were allowed to walk on the grass, as long as you didn’t damage the plants, which was great for my photography.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

The Estates

The Estates also featured some very large (champion) trees. There was a huge fig tree I wanted to climb all over, and there was one of the biggest banyan trees in the world. They had trimmed the tree so that it grew across the path. If I were a child, I’d want to play hide-and-seek in that tree. (Oh, who am I kidding? I wanted to play hide-and-seek and I’m an adult!)

Fig Tree

Banyan Tree

The Estates also consist of indoor exhibits but I didn’t take many photos. Good Man and I enjoyed ourselves and at the end of our visit we pressed some pennies in one of those pressing machines.

Good Man pressed his first penny at the Kennedy Space Center because I told him to. He pressed the penny, looked at it, looked at me and said, “How?”

We pressed two pennies at the Estates. Good Man pressed one of Edison’s image and I pressed one of a Model T Ford to celebrate Good Man getting his license. (Yes, I am going to harp on this.)

I’d recommend the Estates to anyone in the Fort Myers area. Tickets were $20 each (for a self-guided audio tour) although we got a $1/ticket AAA discount.

Little Dinosaurs

“Oh, little dinosaur!” Good Man cried.

“Little dinosaur?”

“Yeah, that little dinosaur thing from the insurance commercials.”

“Ahh, gecko,” I said. I looked at where Good Man was pointing to find two lizards doing their little lizard pushups.

“Gecko? How do you spell it?” After I’d spelled it, Good Man said, “Oh, ‘gecko.’ I know that from Firefox build.”

Little Dinosaur

Dining with an Astronaut

When I was looking at KSC’s website, I mummbled to myself, “Hmm, ‘Lunch with an astronaut…'”

“You can eat with an astronaut?” Good Man’s eyes shone.

“We’re going, aren’t we?”

“Oh yeah!”

KSC’s tickets are good for two days, so today we went back to the space center to eat with an astronaut. Before the lunch, however, I lost my sunglasses.

I’ve had these sunglasses for at least five years. I’m pretty sure they’ve gone to nearly every country or locale I’ve been to, so I freaked out. After looking in the shop where I was pretty sure I’d left them three times, and checking with lost and found, we found them in a handbasket. Thank goodness.

Unfortunately, we wasted an hour or so running around looking for my glasses, but it was almost perfect timing to start the lunch.

The lunch was really nice. The tickets were approximately $25 each and we ended up getting a lot of food for the price (salad, veggies, chicken in a gravy sauce, mac and cheese, chicken nugget-like things for the kids, drinks, dessert). During the meal, John Blaha, who did several shuttle flights and lived on the Mir for four months, was our speaker. He did a quick presentation about his experiences with NASA and then opened up the floor for questions.

I asked him what sort of culture shock he went through living with Russians in such a small space.

He looked a bit surprised at the question (I suspect he doesn’t get it much) and he answered it much like I would when asked about Koreans—he told me that he could talk for hours about Russians and culture shock, and then gave some examples.

After the lunch, which was about an hour long, there was an option to get photos taken. Kodak took our photos, but then they also used my camera (wha-hoo! Saved us $25 bucks), so we got this photo. I swear, he “smiled” like this for everyone.

With Astronaut John Blaha

Later in the day there was an option to get Blaha’s signature, but Good Man decided he didn’t need it (which was OK, since it was scheduled at 4:30 and it was a 4-hour drive home). Instead we finished visiting the places we didn’t see yesterday.

Rocket Garden

Imagine Sitting Inside of This for Days at a Time

Rocket Garden II

When we decided to leave, Good Man wanted to drive. I love the view from the passenger seat!

Driving Up A1A

While driving home, Good Man drove through (three) toll booths for the first time. He also drove on the interstate for the first time and did very well merging. He also drove in the rain for the first time! He drove 125 miles before handing the keys over.

Ahhh, having a husband who drives is wonderful!

First Time on the Interstate

Bowling with Astronauts. Sort Of.

OK, so my Grandfather was never an astronaut, but he was part of the Air Force when it was still part of the Army. He created the three-letter airport code system, and he helped write the 정전협정 that paused the Korean War. One the one hand, he’s a true conservative. On the other hand, my grandparents have been vegan for more than 20 years and are huge activists for animals. Have you bowled with anyone that interesting lately?

A few (only a few) photos from our trip so far. (Unfortunately, my Grandmother is still recovering from a stroke, so she’s had a lot of appointments and hasn’t been able to sight-see with us.)

Boca Grande

Gasparilla Island State Park

Teaching Good Man to Bowl

Grandpa told us to check out the Keys. Father’s Youngest Brother’s Wife told us to check out Miami. When we stopped by AAA to pick up a map, a guidebook and some brochures were pushed upon us. Good Man discovered Kennedy Space Center in the guidebook and…

“We’re not going to the Keys,” I told Grandpa and Grandma.

“Why not?”

“[Good Man] found Kennedy Space Center and you know, I think I should let him win this one. He says he’s tired of beaches and lighthouses this summer!”

Grandpa laughed, “Let him win?”

“Letting your spouse win makes for a good marriage. You just have to know when to let your spouse win.”

My grandparents both chuckled.

So today we drove across Florida. (Did you catch that “we,” long-time readers?)

Go, Good Man, Go!

I went to KSC when I was 17 with Mom, George and Johnny. But it was different this time, so yeah, Good Man made a good choice.

Kennedy Space Center

We got going around 9:30 (which amused Grandpa, since it was so late) and after a comfortable drive with a stop and some wrong turns (all on my part), we got there in time for a late lunch. If you bought the Shuttle Sipper, you got free refills.

“Do you want one?”

“Amanda, I am 30.”

“Only in Korean age.”

“Amanda, I am 30.”

We went back and forth a few times. I finally stopped and right before it was our turn with the cashier he said, “I want shuttle cup.”

ㅎㅎㅎ!

Happy 30-Year-Old Husband

Sunset at Kennedy Space Center

Making Up for Two Years

Yesterday Good Man drove.

A lot.

Today he drove quite a bit.

His turns are vastly improved. He’s a very good, very careful driver. OK, so he’s made a few mistakes, but you know, he’s not bad at all.

Now he’s got two years (two years!) of Amanda Is the Only Driver to make up for.

Let the good times begin!