a father's knows best moment...

this post has been started but the story has not finished
today we returned one of the adult cruisers, the kid 24" cruiser, and the trail-a-bike
I have held onto one of the beach cruisers so that I can take a ride one or two more times before we leave
this all means what?
the bill has yet to be paid... I do not know what the final tally will be
but... if it costs me what I expect
it is a small price to pay for a clear conscience

photo to go with the story to come later...

today I had a "Father Knows Best" moment...

it is winter break for the kids and we are visiting the grandparents in Florida
not my parents... these are my wife's parents
the grandparents
the inlaws

so... we are down in Florida and the weather is a little less than beachy
our days have been occupied
there have been hikes in Everglade like terrain
there have been putt putt style golf games
there have been a few dips in the pool... heated pool
there have been long walks on the beach

me and the boys even stepped into the gulf... but only my older son had the "huevos" to go fully in
really... it is a bit less than beachy
so... today we rented bicycles
lisa and I got standard beach cruisers
dean got a 24 inch beach cruiser
and grant got on the trail-a-bike
although we retired our trail-a-bike and sold it last year
it made more sense for him to be on the tag along instead of me having to play drill sergeant with him

the kids were not so excited about the idea of renting bikes
they were not adverse to the idea... yet they were not all that excited
but... they were excited about the idea of going for a ride on a four wheeled pedal machine that would seat the whole family
so... I promised them that I would ask the guys at the shop if we could take the four wheeler around the block before we took out the bikes

so... we went to the bike shop and scoped things out
the boys got a serious thrill riding the adult tricycles while I handled the paper work
then before rolling off with two adult beach cruisers... one kid beach cruiser... and one trail-a-bike we all climbed into-onto the four wheeled bicycle (quad-cycle?)

so... with dad steering and the feeling as if no one else was pedaling we rolled out of the driveway
seeing a bit of car traffic and feeling that this vehicle has a seriously slow maximum speed I opted to hang on the sidewalk
the axle width was such that the quad-cycle just fit on the sidewalk

it was great... it was perfect...
it was everything that the boys had hoped for
and it was pretty much everything I expected as well
really... it was fun...
not all day fun
but definitely a novelty fun

we were all rolling down the sidewalk
I was trying to be in control while still having fun
when all of a sudden there is some noise

shocked and a bit scared
I am not sure what is happening
a quick glance that everyone was okay... felt like were were good yet something felt wrong
I look back and I see some leaves floating about notice that the canopy seems a little closer to my head
then I realize... or maybe I figure I clipped a low hanging branch

I pull over and check things out...
sure enough
the canopy clipped the low hanging branch
I bent things back in place

noticing that there was some damage to one of the four supports of the canopy I verbalized my frustration
I worked it out in my head
bracing myself for the worse

"oh man... oh man... what a bummer
this really sucks (I am not sure what I really said)"

"this may cost us..."

then my six year old son Grant chimes in... "lets just return it... they won't notice"

I try to explain to him that would be dishonest... then Grant tells me, "if you do not say anything... it is not lying"

I agree... and I disagree
I tell him that it would still be dishonest
Grant gets a little explanation on the topic of honesty
then I expand on this trying to express the basic notion of "manning up"
I tried to explain to him that is is better to "do the right thing" even if it costs you
rather than to sheepishly do the wrong thing... even if it saves you a buck

we ride the four wheeler back...
the ride back is not as fun as the ride out
when we get back to the shop I look around
there were two guys manning the shop... an old guy and a young guy
the old guy was a bit of a grouch... so I scan the shop for the young guy
no where to be found... I go out back... still do not find him...
so... I wait for the old guy... well... the guy who is more likely my age... to get off the phone
once off the phone I tell him that I had a mishap
I tell him that the canopy clipped a tree as we were riding down the sidewalk

we walk out together and look at things
really... this can not be the first time that this has happened
more than likely this has happened before
but this time it failed

there is no talk about the cost for repair
we mount up on the bikes and take off

the ride is fun... we try to find some stuff to see
it is fun... but not exactly a life changing experience
Dean is frustrated... Dean wants to go to the beach... as much as I tell him it is too cold and not worth it
he is being stubborn... he is fixated on the notion of going to the beach... it is rational... we can ride bikes at home... but we can not go to the beach at home
yet I know... it is too cold and windy to enjoy the beach
even the pool is not warm enough for a good time

we continue our ride which is pretty much a forced march
these are my prisoners
they are going to have a good time MY WAY
we break for lunch
after lunch things are a little better
finally we go to the beach... it is way too cold for hanging on the beach... going in the water without a wet suit would be a fools game
Dean and I end up taking a long walk on the beach... a really long walk... maybe four or six miles long... it is good... we talk about a whole lot of nothingness... it is fun to hang out with one of my sons at a time... together they focus on the other... together they fight with each other

the next day comes and we wake up slow
there is no rush
I knew that there was no real beach potential for this day
we eat breakfast and then we go for a bike ride... another forced march
when we get to the bike shop the boys verbalize that the bike ride was short... so we extend our bike ride for another day
back on the bikes we tool around some more

when talking with the younger of the two shop employees
while we are there we take out the four wheeled bike again... the boys are excited... this time I give them each a turn behind the wheel
when we get back I ask the younger of the two employees if he heard about the damage... he had... he mentions that it is going to cost us 25 or 30 bucks
I agree... that sounds fair

they are a business... no reason for them to take a loss... they were good enough to let us ride this thing... we broke it... we buy it... or something to that effect
coming clean and manning up was the right thing to do
25 dollars is a small price to pay for a clear conscience

okay... another long post
another post that may not get read by my readers
I have no idea what people see when they look at my page
all I know is that these posts are a wonderful reflection on things
I enjoy them... I will be able to read this even with its inaccuracies I can get the story
photos to come later
photos of the boys on the bikes
photos of the boys pedaling the four wheeler