Family Man

State: Florida

I woke up well rested in my hammock underneath the awesome fort Jason built for his kids.

Jason invited me in for breakfast and I quickly found out that it was Jojos 8th birthday because Niah the eldest was making funfetti pancakes and donuts.

After breakfast Jojo got to open some of her presents even though her real party was tomorrow. She got some awesome scratch and sniff stickers and this super straw construction set to drink out of stuff in all kinds of awesome ways.

“Thank you mommy!” Jojo said as she lit up the room with her smile.

“Jojo, I’m not sure I’ll have your board done today. Daddy’s pretty tired,” Jason said referring to Jojo’s surfboard he was building.

“It’s ok daddy. I’d rather have you take a nap than my surfboard,” Jojo said.

Jason then chugged some more coffee and went to work on Jojo’s surfboard.

I remained inside to help clear the table and asked if there was anything I could help with.

“Do you know how to run a pressure washer?” Michelle asked.

“I can figure it out,” I said smiling.

I spent the morning pressure washing the back driveway while Jason worked on getting Jojo’s surf board done. After I finished, me and Jason took a break and swapped some more stories. Then we moved some red rock out of the backyard and replaced where it was with some river rock.

Midway through wheelbarrow loads, Michelle brought us a kale salad.

“This is delicious! Did you get it at a farmers market?” I asked.

“Nah, we grew it ourselves,” Jason said smiling.

We then finished up the rock and it looked good.

Then Jason’s friend Marcus came over. Jason had been telling me I had to meet him because he was a pro surfer and his hero was also the crocodile hunter. We hit it off and talked about the benefits of traveling for the soul. Marcus also found out that I wanted to catch a gator.

“Oh, I know some places we can catch one!” Marcus said.

I also got to meet Carlie, Marcus’s fiance.

After I let the kids attempt to lift my backpack, we got talking about how excited I was to lighten my load when I set out for Maine.

“Yeah, less is definitely more. Like we have clothes, a bed, a tv, and a moped. That’s it,” Carlie said.

“Nice! Yeah, I get that. I’ve got two closets of stuff back home and most of it is books. Other than that, my backpack,” I said and laughed.

Markus and Carlie headed out but said that they would see me later if I was hanging around.

I decided to head into town to get some needed supplies.

Jason being the guy he is, offered his truck or moped for me to take. A guy he had only known a day.

“Ahh, its alright man. Without my backpack I can fly,” I said and proceeded into town.

I returned an hour later.

“Hey Jojo, what’s your favorite color? I asked.

“Turquoise,” she said smiling.

“I don’t know if I have that color, but I do have this!” I said and handed her a green squirt gun and another bag of toys.

Her eyes lit up and she gave me a hug. I then passed out the rest of the squirt guns and toys for the rest of the kids.

Then war was declared and the legendary squirt gun battle of 2016 began!

I filled up water balloons and they were gone in a flash.

Michelle threw a few herself, but the funniest moment was how the kids squirted Jason who happened to be using the pressure washer, which turned into the flamethrower equivalent of a squirt gun.

“My birthday was already great, but this put it over the top!” Jojo said.

After the battle, me, Jason, and Michelle all chilled out and swapped some stories about how God had worked in our lives. You’ll hear about them in the book.

We then went and picked up some pizza and as soon as it hit the table it disappeared like a gazelle being eaten by a pride of lions.

Jason and me stayed up and he schooled me on the legends of surfing and the history of the sport, while we watched the World Surfing League at Bells Beach. Turns out Jason actually surfed with Kelly Slater and some other Florida surfing legends growing up.

After the event was over, I headed to bed, but not before noticing this father that had worked all day and all week, go into the shed to work on his daughter’s birthday present to get it ready for her real party tomorrow.

A true family man.

Forever your friend,

~The Outsider

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