Saturday, December 9, 2017

What we did last summer!

Here is a video from an interview/splash reel we did for Figure 8 productions.  It has some new footage plus some from our old videos, but it is a pretty cool piece and was loads of fun!  Thanks to Wayne Mahon for putting this together and putting up with us and our terrible Skype connections!

CHASIN' THE CASONS 6 min from Wayne Mahon on Vimeo.

Our little Marine!

As some of you know, our Kaylee is currently in bootcamp in Parris Island, SC.  She should just be finishing her swim qualifications this week and moving on to the next phase.  We are so very proud of her.  We have been missing her terribly, as have all our kids, but thanks to some folks who were on Parris Island to see their Marine graduate, we finally got to see her!
Apparently they "pay it forward" by posting these photos on facebook support group pages for parents of recruits to stare at looking for their people.  I admit I stared at them too.  Having been there and knowing what she is going through didn't stop me from searching for her like a complete noob dad.  Lucky I did because I found her!  It gives me more comfort than I thought it would.  
We are anxiously looking forward to seeing her graduate in February.  She did Thanksgiving and will probably have Christmas at the rifle range, not to mention her birthday in January.  We miss her through it all, but will be so proud when she marches her way through the graduation ceremony and we can take her home for her first leave! 
After that it is on to probably MCT and then her MOS school.  I am doubly proud because her MOS, barring unforseen circumstances will be Aviation mechanics which is exactly what her grandpa was when he was in the Corps.  He would be so proud.  Whatever her MOS, we know she will be great!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Story of US, Conclusion. (of the story, not US!)

When we got back to Christi's apartment in Temecula, we broke the news to Jessica, who was 2, so she had no clue what it all meant, and to her dad, who was stunned to say the least and with that done, we tried to settle in to....married life?  It was still overwhelming for Christi and I and we wondered how to tell her parents.  We eventually jumped that hurdle and although it took about 4 years for her dad to warm up to me, (her mom was a little easier) he is now almost like my own dad (both my parents have been gone for more than 15 years now).  Over the years, even Christi has finally come to understand that we were clearly meant to be together.  

I often wonder how I overcame my normal caution and dropped to my knee in that drive thru.  While I can't say it was just this one thing, what always comes to my mind when I ponder this subject, is our first kiss.  It happened on the evening that I first spent with Christi at Shirley's house.  She and I had talked about so many things, crossing all topics, and had begun to speak about things we hoped for in the future.  She spoke of moving in to her own place, and how she wanted to live and the plans she had for her and the kids.  Something in that moment, I'm not sure if it was the light in her eyes as she spoke, or just the dreamy smile on her face, but something called me to lean in and kiss her.  Despite her faraway gaze, she seemed to come to the same conclusion and we both met halfway in our first kiss.  I can say, without hesitation,or reservation and without even having to compare, that it was the most incredible kiss of my life! (to that point)  I think now, that the moments we shared right there, surrounding that kiss were what cemented Christi and I in what would be the rest of our lives.  We have since had MANY kisses much like that one and she still gives me that thrill, even to this day.  She is the end all and be all of my life.  Simple as that.

It has now been almost 26 years since we said "I do" in that little office in the Clark county, Nevada government building and we are happier every year.  Christi and the kids are my everything, and nothing makes me prouder than what she and I have together.  Make no mistake, I know that it is not the usual situation and we certainly did not get started in the way any of our parents would have approved.  I've told the kids many times that mom and I are an unusual case and we would never recommend that they run out and get married to someone after only knowing them for six weeks!  Christi and I are absolutely not the usual case and we point out examples of what can happen when you jump into things too fast and the repercussions of bad relationships and marriages (especially what can happen to the kids caught in the middle).  Still, when I look back at what Christi and I have done...what we've been through, both the ups and the downs, I realize that I wouldn't change a thing.  Although we're not the typical story of boy meets girl, we are an example of the simple truth that, when it comes to love:


Monday, April 24, 2017

The story of us, part 4

The story of us, part 4

The last time I had gone to Vegas had been with my roommate and another good buddy. That trip, by comparison, would prove to have been very uneventful. As Christi and I traveled along, we didn’t speak about what we were going to do. I think we sort of discussed the fact that neither of us was dressed for anything fancy and we pondered where we might go for our wedding, but for the most part, we didn’t really talk about what we were getting into. The road to Vegas was a long one, especially as it was getting pretty late into the night. Much of the trip is a blur, blotted out by the overpowering memory of the more important events of that weekend, but one memory that will never go away is of the World’s Tallest Thermometer. More precisely, I remember the parking lot of the Bun Boy restaurant which is located right next to the World’s Tallest Thermometer. We didn’t eat there, and we didn’t really stop to see the World’s Tallest Thermometer. None the less, it was the most memorable part of the long drive through the California desert.
We arrived in Las Vegas sometime in the 3 o’clock hour and drove around looking for a motel room. We secured a room at the Gateway motel and spent an hour or so freshening up and then we ventured back out to see about this marriage thing. The first step in the process was to obtain our marriage license. We went into the Las Vegas marriage commission building which, true to Vegas form, is open 24 hours. We filled out the required paperwork, paid our fee, and then, since we hadn’t made our minds up about where to get married, we chose to be officiated by this guy:

Ok, so it wasn't really Scatman Crothers who married us, because he'd been dead for something like 5 years by then, but the guy, Owen, looked a hell of a lot like him. Owen was the Deputy Marriage Commissioner of Clark County, Nevada. He was really nice and we had a very simple, quiet ceremony. We went back to our motel room in a daze...already Christi was wondering what she had just done as she began to say, "I can't believe I'm married", again and again throughout the day in kind of a stunned whisper. She continued to say that, from time to time for the first 4 years or so that we were married.

Sometime later that day, we found ourselves at a pawn shop somewhere in town and we bought a couple of plain, cheap gold rings and those were our wedding bands for a couple years until we could afford something a little better (In recent years we have come to realize that the pawn shop in which we bought those rings is the same one featured in "Pawn Stars"). We then began to ponder what we might do in the way of a honeymoon. After a bit of thinking, we came up with the brilliant plan of going out to Hoover Dam. We headed out that direction, but our enthusiasm for seeing the dam began to wane and several Indian turquoise jewelry stores later, Christi began to feel the need to get back to Chad and Jessica who were staying with her ex for the weekend. So we turned around and headed back West, our heads reeling with thoughts of the future.

We still had to face Christi's folks when we got home.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Story of us, Part 3

True to my word, I called her on Sunday and we set up a meeting/date at the home of her friend Dana’s mother. As I recall, we had some dinner and then spent the rest of the evening talking about life, love, marriage and everything in-between. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with her right there in Shirley’s living room (and I wrote about it in a journal that I was trying to keep at the time. I even used the M-word in that journal entry). That same night, I met Chad. He was her 5-month old son and I fell in love with him too.
Over the next five weeks, Christi and I saw each other several times in a variety of settings, at friend’s houses, parties, and I even helped her move into her first apartment. It was during one of the days that I was helping her move that I first met her dad. That was a pretty chilly reception to say the least. Her dad is a former Army soldier with the 101st airborne who held a somewhat dim view of Marines. This of course, was not helped by the fact that Chad’s biological father was a Marine who had totally abandoned her and had never made any effort to contact her since finding out she was pregnant. Her dad helped me load her stuff into the truck, but other than the introductions, we hardly spoke a word.
Christi and I hadn’t spent as much time together over these weeks as we would have liked, so in late July we decided to spend a whole weekend together. Christi and I had discussed taking some sort of a trip away from the area, and had decided we would go into Northern California to see the famous redwood trees and enjoy one of the national parks. We left her apartment on August 2nd and almost immediately, stopped for drinks at a local restaurant. Having had one for the road (yes we know it was not wise, but we were young and stupid) we then headed north on the 15 freeway in the direction of highway 395 and the Kings Canyon/Sequoia national park. Somewhere along the way, we passed a sign that noted the mileage to Las Vegas which is along the same freeway. Christi looks over at me, and I think, only half-jokingly says “We could just go to Vegas and get married. This was followed by a strange but not uncomfortable silence as some gear inside me seemed to fall into place. I’m not sure that I really knew what I was doing as I exited the freeway and we found ourselves in the drive thru at a Del Taco restaurant, I just felt as though I was being directed by something bigger than myself. There, in the drive thru, I knelt outside the open passenger door and said

“Christi Sanders, will you marry me?”

You could have heard a pin drop, or at least in my head all the other sounds had fallen away, as I waited for an answer. It was really only a few seconds, but it seemed like forever when she answered “yes, Dave Cason, I will marry you.” I kissed her, and without any further fanfare, we got back on the freeway and headed for Las Vegas. Did we have a plan? Hell no! But we were surely headed on a strange and wondrous journey.

We had no idea…

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The story of US, Part 2

Fast forward to a similar evening in late June, I was returning from a game of racquetball with my roommate when I passed a young woman with a beautiful head of brown hair standing with her back to me in the doorway of a fellow Marine’s room. Being the complete goof that I am, I blurted out, “There’s someone I don’t know, HIGH FIVE!”. The woman turned around and gave me the high five, and I saw that she was as beautiful from the front as she was the back. She smiled at me and then, out of the blue, she mentioned that she and her friends were going to the enlisted club and maybe it would be cool if I came along, saying “the more, the merrier!” I went back to my room after mumbling that maybe I would be there later, trying to play it cool, but not really believing that this attractive woman actually wanted me there. I mean, seriously I thought she was making the offer just to be nice. Once in the room, my roommate looked at me and was amazed that I didn’t see the opportunity before me. He nearly threw me into the shower and told me to get my butt out to that E-club and see where things would lead. So I went, now beginning to feel as though maybe some mysterious force was guiding me to the club.
I really had no clue what I was doing, but I went anyway. I hadn’t yet recognized her as Mark’s ex-girlfriend Christi. The whole scene happened so fast, my brain hadn’t caught up. Once I was at the club, I tried to get close to her, but the guy she was “supposed to be with” had her pretty well corralled and was trying to get her to dance. As I have since learned, this is no easy task. I danced with her friend Dana once or twice (under duress, because I don’t really dance either) and then thankfully a group of us tired of the dance club atmosphere and decided to move the party elsewhere. Somehow we all wound up at a small bar in downtown Oceanside, CA which was called the Sandbar (I think). Things there were much quieter as it was smaller pub type place that was luckily, not very busy at that particular time. It was here in this slower atmosphere that I had time to think about it and realized just who she was. I didn’t wish to be embarrassed, so I never mentioned that I hadn’t immediately recognized her. I didn’t know that she still didn’t recognize me.
We all had a few beers and then some of the guys and I began singing these rather bawdy rugby songs that we all knew. Christi had begun to warm up to me by that point and I was able to make her laugh a little bit. Her laugh was warm and just a bit throaty and when she found something extra funny, it would end with just a tiny snort, for which she would immediately apologize (she had no need, everyone thought it was cute and I still find it adorable). She was refreshingly unaware of how cute she was in her black and white polka dot pants as she bustled around talking to people in our group. She had finally gotten more comfortable and watching her move around spreading her infectiously fun personality, I was completely smitten. Luckily for me, her date had begun to give up as she had stayed pretty cool with him. He was just not her type.
I was really hoping to find out that I was “her type”.
By the end of the night, when I walked her to Dana’s car, I was feeling brave enough to try for her number (and I’ve never been brave in that way) which she gave me on the promise that I not call until Sunday so that her dad wouldn’t know where she’d been on Friday.

I still have the card that she gave me with her number on it.

To be continued

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'm bringing back something I started several years back, but never really finished.  For those of you that have ever asked, "How did you guys meet, anyway?"  Welcome to:


It was May 1991, I don’t remember exactly what day, but it was still a just a little bit cool in the evenings here in Southern California. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, living in the enlisted barracks for permanent personnel at the Weapons Training Battalion of the MCRD. This is where San Diego recruits come for their weapons and field training while in boot camp. I was working across the street at the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) which is a research and development command.
One evening, after late chow, one of my co-workers came by my room and mentioned that he was going out to meet his girlfriend near the local mall and he needed a wingman, since she was bringing along her sister. I wasn’t sure at first, but my roommate urged me to go, saying that it would be just what I needed to get out for the evening.
When we arrived at Carlos Murphy’s, the only one at the table was Mark’s girlfriend Christi, her sister having stepped out to “powder her nose” as they used to call it. I was immediately struck by her beautiful brown eyes and the smile that was in them. Introductions were made and we sat on the stools that surrounded the corner table. Within moments, we were joined by Christi’s sister, Tammy. Tammy was pleasant enough and the conversation bounced easily around the table. Much to the detriment of the overall plan, Tammy was not at all attracted to me and although we got along well, nothing seemed to be developing. I was however, chatting quite handily with Christi, who was funny and bright and clearly, way out of Mark’s league in terms of personality, (and mine too, if the truth be told). Mark was a nice guy, but not the sort you would expect to be with a fun person like Christi. We attempted to go to a nearby movie theater (where I moonlighted as an usher) but were too late to get into the latest show. Tammy took this opportunity to excuse herself, saying she had a class in the morning and homework to finish (college) and she got in her car and drove away, leaving Christi, (and me) to catch a ride with Mark. As the ride back to the barracks went on, it was more and more obvious that Christi and I were getting along a bit too swimmingly for Mark’s taste as he was increasingly hurried about getting me back and dropping me off. When we did reach the barracks parking lot, Christi said goodbye with a warm smile and waved as they left. I sauntered up the barracks stairs feeling oddly happy despite the fact that my tour as wingman had crashed and burned and I hadn’t even secured Tammy’s phone number. I didn’t care. I felt strangely satisfied even though I had gotten nowhere with my intended date.

To be continued...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Welcome to Spring, let's get it Sprung!!

Welcome to another stab at the family blog.  Things are, as always, busy around the Cason house.  We have been going through a MAJOR spring cleaning, clearing out the winter coats from all the closets, the snow boots, the long underwear, bagging it all and stashing it in the above garage storage.  Sorting through the junk drawer (why do I have 47 USB cords?) and moving furniture.  Our next big thing is: mowing season!  We will be ordering my new mower any day now, but for the first cut, the good folks at LawnPro will be cutting and cleaning up the leftover leaves from the flower beds and giving us a fertilizer/insecticide treatment.  This should make my job a bit easier this Spring and Summer.  Christi is counting down the days until school is out and she can sleep in all the way until 7am!  Maybe a little later, but she’s not real good at sleeping in.  I however….well, let’s just say it’s easier for me.  I could sleep if you marched a band through the room playing “Stars and Stripes Forever!”  Christi…not so much.  But for her, 7 am IS sleeping in, so I look forward to it on her behalf.  The trees are just starting to green up but it's just cool enough so the bugs aren't all over just yet.  Next big thing is getting the pool open.  That will be May, but the kids are MORE than ready.  A three year old just doesn't get the concept that although the air is getting warm, the pool is not quite there yet.  Can't wait for the kids to get out of school so the real fun can begin.

What are you doing for Spring?