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YMCA of Greater Williamson County – CHASCO Family YMCA (Round Rock), about the Y’s Program.

The YMCA charges the least of any aftercare program we could find. It was convenient, i.e. they operated out of our child’s school. They had alleged Trained Counselors (teenagers who had the minimum state training and were observed many times away from the kids texting and then getting impatient with our children who were running around.) However, truth be told “Caveat emptor”.

At the end of the school day our Kindergarten child (we’ll call “K”) would be led to the school’s Gym with about 100 other students (at least). For these 100+ kids there was an average of 3 “counselors” there to provide a safe, educational, enriched and enjoyable experience while their parents worked. The “GYM” was “richly” furnished with about a dozen tables, separated around for about 6 groups and their backpacks. A small closet contained the YMCA’s educational and fun supplies/equipment. The supplies/equipment was paper, pens, glue some art supplies, etc.

The Y will work with you on payment! It’s the least expensive program around and the price includes the “Counselors Supervision”, Food and Play supplies. They will even offer several venues for payment; however, You must pay for 1 and a half months in advance. The recommend automatic payment which you allow them to turn off. Read On…

I’m turning 55 shortly and my son soon to be 6, entered Kindergarten at Union Hill Elementary this year. On a budget, we tried to find a great aftercare program for “K” that we could afford and was convenient for him without much bussing extra. Union Hill’s Website recommended the YMCA so we checked out the YMCA’s website. So we signed our son up, it seemed a great deal. However, what we found was this.

100+ kids herded like cattle into a Gym until it was packed. There was only a few Teenagers there supervising them, usually about 3. The Teenagers were the alleged Trained Counselors. There were Children running amuck about the area and the 2-4 counselors couldn’t find students parents were looking for. Trying to find your child’s backpack is like finding a needle in a hay stack since each group are allowed to just toss them in a huge pile on a designated table, Floor, stairs, stage floor (there’s a stage in the gym).

Once inside the gym and at their tables the kids are told what project they are to all (26+ of them) are to work on and then the counselors walk away and start texting… Now here’s my story…

My son, K, is very creative, energetic and needs some down time. He does have some special needs, although not ADD or ADHD, just a normal child with extraverted behavior. Within the first days the Teenage Counselors called me and told me that K was disruptive, that all of a sudden he would just jump up from one side of the gym and lurch out and strike a child from the opposite of the gym. Now if you are intelligent you realize that the gym is very large, that’s a huge distance to travel, especially for a Kindergartener and No One could Stop him. I found this hard to believe, especially since he’s been in day care, pre care for most of his little life. After the 3rd time they called me in and told me how the kids K went after promised that they did nothing to provoke K, I asked who these kids were and sure enough, they were other classmates who entice K and make fun of him because he can be sillier the other students and can easily get caught up in their teasing. They tease K, call him names (I’ve witnessed this and had to intervene) and when I’m not there or K’s not supervised, he protects himself and acts out, spitting, pushing, shoving, etc. The kids say they did nothing and the Teenage Counselors don’t listen to K or offer support. In fact, the Teenage “Regional Counselor” Told Kyle to his face and in front of me and his classmates that he was a “bully” and that I had to except that he was a bully (this was 3 weeks into the program and it was the first time she worked him, she is thin, puffy blond curly hair and about 18 years old at best). It’s very inappropriate to label a child anything, especially in front of him and his classmates!

This neglect, abuse and labeling continued. I tried everything, I even discussed with the “Counselors” a token reward program that worked. However, they didn’t have any chain of communication and they frequently switch “Counselors” new counselors were unaware of K’s active style and would panic and call me and say that K needs more attention then the other 26+ students and therefore a danger and a threat to others and must be suspended.

Finally, we had enough. K has been to a couple of day cares etc and no one every reported anything like this… I’ll keep this long story short. If you choose the YMCA Program at Union Hill this is what you get…

Teenager, untrained supervision
100+ kids in a gym at tables from 2:45 till when you pick them up (6ish?)
1 Teenager to every 40 kids
Kids forced to stay still at a table for chosen activity, if they deviate from that they are tainted to be suspended and kicked out.
little supervision (hard to supervise when your texting in the middle of 100+ kids)
Your Child’s belongings stacked piled anywhere and broken. Yes, we’ve had a number if items broken from the stock piling.
Name calling, when and they do, label your child (inappropriately, they call your child the names in front of him AND his classmates and this is from their Trained, Teenage, regional coordinator!

Finally, and this is the best bit, they Y really promotes paying by automatic payment and give them the say so for stopping it. Plus you are paying a month and a half in advance. So K’s in their “care” for about 4 weeks, we’ve had to pay in advance so we’ve payed for 3 months and they are doing everything they can to kick him out, calling him names, judging him, even admitting they are ill staffed to deal with any student who doesn’t adhere to sitting still and let alone a special needs student. My God, if you have a Special Needs student they don’t have the training or staff to deal with it, which of course K is because of his speech development. So, K gets booted out after a month, we’re paid up for 3 and now have to pay for another aftercare program, increasing our costs while the head honcho’s rake in the money, by hiring cheap inexperienced help, herding in as many kids as they can (under state law) and then booting as many kids as they can out while they rake in the profits. All the while hiring cheap inexperience (kids themselves) “counselors” who are unable to deal with this behemoth situation.

Do NOT Every put your kids in the Y program at Union Hill. I’m also ashamed that Union Hill has a “Washed Hands” approach to this situation although it’s in their own school. The representatives at Union Hill and several Teachers that the YMCA Program is separate from Union Hill, and that Union Hill can’t intervene… even when our children are being neglected, verbally abused and what else?

I’ve posted this on YELP and on Google. However, if a company or organization has pull i.e. paid them or advertise big with them, the post will be downgraded and hidden. BUT Grilldog fans, they can’t do that to ME Here! No one Messes with my kid! YMCA YOU SUCK, you are Money Motivated and do not have any care for our Children Shame on your sorry asses!

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Mystery Shopping Could be Hazardous to your Health!

by Grilldog on September 18, 2014

If you are not familiar with Mystery Shopping well here it is in a nutshell. Basically, people like you and me sign up with a 3rd Party vendor who has contracted with a business to pay their contractee’s a fee to go into the business and evaluate, what ever it is the business owner(s) want evaluated and then submit reports and/or photos and/or audio/video files taken by concealed body equipment. There’s Tons of companies that use these services, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, Gas Stations, Tanning Saloons, Hair loss Clubs, Beauty Saloons, Car Wash Establishments, Car Dealers, etc.

Weather or not I am a Mystery Shop, I’ll keep a Mystery. In short, I have a “friend” that has a story to tell. It all started in January of this year.

My friend’s family were having some finical struggles and my friend wanted to earn extra income without doing the bartender, waiter/waitress gig (I’m keeping the gender neutral to protect their identity. My friend is over 50 although appearances make him in the mid 40′s therefore, he can “get away” with “acting” as a Mystery Shopper.

My Friend is good at rules and he made a few rules about Mystery Shopping.

1. Always be concealed, have a good story that’s close to your real life so you can answer questions if you have to. Only have one or two aspects concealed. For example, if you are in Washington D.C. and need to shop a Museum with a friend and are 50 + years old and the only person available is a 20 year old Neighbor who babysits for you, they become your Niece and you SHOP.

2. Always submit your paperwork on time, in fact the sooner the better. You see if you like the extra income so does a ton of other people. Therefore, you are in competition with them to be number one! Then the companies will start calling you and offering bonuses that are not offered on their online sites.

2.1 To win the competition, follow the rules and outlines that they give you. Perform them as written and take the photographs they may require correctly as well as any scanned receipts, within an hour of your “shop”. A Shop is defined as your target, the business you are to observe.

3. Always be professional. That’s it.

Sometimes being the best has it’s drawbacks, especially if you are in need of money and need some cash. If you are a Mystery Shopper and you are in that situation be very careful because it can be dangerous to your health. Take my friend for example.

My friend lost about 100 lbs 3+ years ago. They have been very proud about keeping it off. Now last January (as mentioned earlier, they started Mystery Shopping). Because my friend is very thorough the Mystery Shopping Companies love it! They started calling and offering great assignments and my friend just picked and choose what was the best paying one. Then came the fast food Restaurants…

If you are a Mystery Shopper, my friend says you could literally eat three meals a day, every day of the week and not only get your meal reimbursed but paid on top of it. Not just for Fast food establishment but high in as well. Please note: the high end restaurants are few and you may get one now and then. Fast Food Chains are consistent.

My friend, who lost 100 pounds and kept it off for over 3 years, recently gained over 20 in about a 3-4 week period because of their Mystery Shopping. Now we’re not blaming or flaming Mystery Shopping or Shoppers, we’re just stating a real story…

So my friend gets a call from a company that they do a lot of shops with and they are desperate to fill a Shop in a certain time frame like by tomorrow. My friend had an availability and took the assignment. It paid well, he got fed and he’ll get reimbursement on top. Because of my friends reputation for excellence, the service kept calling him. He was doing 4-6 of these fast food joints a week for about 4 weeks now and we’re talking both Breakfast and Dinner.

My friends doctor is worried about his diet, he’s on High Blood Pressure Meds and Cholesterol lowering meds and Xanax for the stress!

Fortunalty, he only has a few more shops to go before he gets the money he needs to unlighted the financaial stress. However, my friend, very quickly needs to start a diet/exercise program again!

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Do not use the installers this company recommends…

They operate with Real-estate agents and offer a great deal on carpet and installation. Unfortunately the installers aren’t actually a part of the company, and they are unprofessional.

They showed up, the foreman was rude and didn’t want to talk to us about what they are doing. After they left we felt bumps in the carpet and thought it was bad padding. We complained and Robert said he would send his crew back… SO, “Robert’s crew” showed up and the dozen places we indicated that had bumps, the crew just pounded with hammers! Again, the foreman was curt and rude.

A few days later we saw a patch that looked shredded in the carpet. We thought our cat had dug into it so we repaired it, however, we found a bunch of MULCH under our carpet!

Evidently, these guys dragged the carpet though our mulch in the front yard and now between our carpet and padding is a bunch of mulch! When “Roberts Crew” Pounded the lumps in they pushed the mulch in through the carpet tearing it and loosening the fibers. Now we are walking on a carpet and every time we walk over the mulch it loosens the carpet even more. Thus, making it deteriorate more and more! We complained and Robert sent out his “foremen” again who was aggressively verbal to my wife and point blank stated that they had “NO” responsibility to repairing our carpet because we had attempted to fix the one spot in the carpet.

Updated 1/17/14: Robert insisted that the installers come back and look under the carpet for damage. More mulch was found but no further damage to the underside. He also told Gonzalo to fix the patch we did (which he did twice now but it’s obvious the man does not know what he is doing). So moral of this story? If you want a great deal on carpet, get it from Robert at Carpet Close-outs, but just DO NOT let them use their installers. See if you can find someone else. Using Gonzalo and his crew is like playing Russian Roulette. If there are no problems, you’ll have nice economy priced carpet. But if you get that bullet, you won’t be happy!

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Beware of AT&T Customer Service

by Grilldog on July 16, 2013

Do you know why wireless companies want your social security number when you sign up for their service? So if/when you leave them before your two year contract is up, they can report you to the credit bureaus. Believe it or not, but not paying any of their outrageous fee can drop your credit from excellent to fair. Why are they given such power? I certainly don’t know or understand the answer to that one, but I do know they let that power go to their heads.

A little over two years ago, my wife looked at the data usage that we used on our plans. Deciding that we didn’t use enough to warrant the ridiculously high cost of unlimited, I dropped it to a more reasonable plan, which gave us plenty of extra data just in case. The very next billing cycle, our “usage” doubled and it continued to go up until we went over our allowed usage and AT&T charged us for it. Realizing they were ripping us off, I called and complained. If they didn’t adjust the amounts, we would cancel. They warned us that we would have to pay a cancellation fee, which we said we didn’t owe due to their dishonesty and two months lack of service which I shall explain in a minute. Apparently, there was a lot of this going on back then: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/01/att-lawsuit-overcharging_n_816848.html

Additionally, my Blackberry stopped working and it was under warranty. AT&T made me return my phone to one of their “service” centers who claimed they could neither repair it or fix it but had to send it back to the company for a replacement. No “Loner” was provided and despite weekly calling to their customer service department it took a entire month for me to receive a “new” replacement phone. However, the “new” phone was merely a used model that was refurbished and wouldn’t even boot up. Once again, I had to repeat the procedure, go to service center, have it sent back to the company and wait. By this time (2 months without a phone) … We called and complained about the delay and the down time and the lost and disruption of our business it caused. We were not offered an apology, only a promise that they wouldn’t charge us for the time we were with out a phone. However, they couldn’t even have any idea of when my new phone would be replaced.

We changed to T-mobile and cancelled AT&T and thought that would be the end of it. We were wrong. We were contacted by one collection agent after another. The last one even offered to close out the case if we would pay half. As it turns out, we probably should have taken the deal, since that was the last offer and now the dispute has hit my credit report. This is the only hit I’ve ever gotten and I’m 53 years old! It is truly unbelievable how far AT&T will go in their greed for undeserved money. We will never go back to AT&T for any of their services. They have burnt that bridge forever. So take this as a warning! Unless you’re willing to be treated badly by this company, avoid signing any contract with them.

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The End of the World!

by Grilldog on December 21, 2012

The End of the World

Once again someone published a date, years ago that predicted the world would end on a particular day. That day was to be TODAY, December, 21st, 2012 i.e. 12/21/12. Of course the world hasn’t ended and we are still here, many of us preparing for Christmas, a celebration of life. The End of the World has fascinated cultures ever since the dawn of time. I’m sure the early cavemen thought thunder and lightning storms was the world burning up right in front of their eyes. Even religions all have a say in how they think the world is going to end. I’m blogging on this because in the past month and mostly in the past few days, there has been a lot of energy produced by us discussing “Today’s End”. The Social Media has been inundated with posts, jokes and serious discussions on the topic. There have even been News reports discussing the topic as well as TV Specials. Therefore, I thought I’d toss my two cents into the ring.
Perhaps it is the End of the World, just not literally. This topic dawned on me as I lay here in bed sick as a dog. I made a post in the Social Media that although the world hasn’t ended, as sick as I am, I feel like it’s the end of the world. As I read other posts, watch other news reports and TV specials I see families struggling with sickness, death, lingering death, divorce, abductions, natural disasters’, job lost, bankruptcies, and the like. Many of these events are not going to happen today; however, we are positive and have explicit knowledge that they are going to happen in the New Year. Therefore, during our current celebration of life, it doesn’t actually feel like a celebration, more like a sugar band aide over a gushing wound. For those of us who are experience that kind of “lifestyle” at this time, the prediction of world doesn’t signifying Santa riding in his sleigh with 8 (or 9) Reindeer but reigns true, the feeling of the end of the world. My heart goes out to everyone suffering. My parents always taught me to pray to God to put an end to others suffering, even our own. However, suffering is going to continue and if prayer works, it’s not really always how we, the selfish humans we are, wanted it to be.
Therefore, as you all post and joke about the end of the world not actually happening today, just remember that for some people, it actually did and is happening. If you know of anyone in which a little extra loving could be shared with, especially during our Holiday season, why not let them know you care. Neither you nor I can take all of our suffering and pain away, but perhaps we can make the world a little bit better if we take a moment and stop thinking about what we want Santa can bring us to make us happy this year, but what we can do to help make others a bit happier and life a little easier.
Merry Christmas.

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A Christmas Carol: Jim Carrey vs Matt Smith

by Grilldog on December 21, 2012

I’ve always been a BIG Christmas Fan. In fact, for me and my family (well, that’s my original family – Birth Family) From September 1st to January 1st was always just one huge celebration! My sisters Birthday on September first always kicked it off. Then on Labor Day we always started the day with the speed boat races on Laural Lake, and then my Cousin Hudsen would hold a huge BBQ that included fishing, and sucking down some oysters. Plus a whole lot of BBQing activies. Of course their then came Columbus Day, My Birthday, Halloween, Veterans day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and a whole lot of other special holidays for all of the other religions, too numerous to mention. It’s not that I’m against them all, I’m just reporting on what my early childhood days with my family celebrated.

Now a lil known fact of mine is that I’m obsessed with Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol! From early on in my Childhood I remember growing up watching several black and white versions of the story. I even have read the original story by Chuck himself! In every version I either felt touch or just, down right, had tears falling down my cheeks becuase of the warmth, sentiment and lovingness that it portrayed. It’s a powerful story. I’m even talking about the Mr. Magoo Version too; however…

Last night my son and I watched the Dr Who version of a Christmas Carol. It was of course, nothing like Chuck’s story and was based more on the concept of a Christmas Carol. It was fun to watch, there was hope, joy and sadness. Even a non Dr Who fan would have enjoyed the episode and followed along the conversion of the “Scrooge” character. Of course the new Dr Who (Who represented most of the ghosts), Matt Smith is very campy and he played it great throughout the episode. He struggled, plotted made plans and in the end. Perhaps not how he was hoping but Scrooge changed allowing the Dr to save the crippled Spaceship.

The night before I watched Dr Who’s A Christmas Carol, I watched the Jim Cary’s version and although it was very true to the original story line, I felt sincerly dissapointed. The entire episode was a joke. Yes, Jim Cary can be very campy, which he was, however, too much so. His voice was so campy that you could never really feel distress, sadness or even any pain as in other versions of the classic, you could certainly feel Dr Who’s pain. Of course, Jim protrayed all of the ghosts and it was obviously over done. In fact my wife was irritated by the ghost of Christmas Present. Watching the show was obviously a waste of time for me and lover of Chuck’s Classic Tale.

Of course, of all of the Christmas Stories out there, this is one of the most immitated stories you see during the holiday season. I really enjoy how some shows try and use the concept but twist it around in a new version to make it refreshing. EVen though you know the “Scrooge” Character is goign to change, the shows pull you in and you feel the struggle. My point is that if you are going to remake the classic and actually remake it based on the Dicken’s story and not make it a new refreshing story, either make it right or just don’t do it at all. I’m not sure what the creators of Jim Carry’s version was thinking other then astonishing us with their cartooning ability. In my opinion, it was a waste of time, it was not refreshing just a stale remake and a campy poorly directed one at that.

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Souls

by Grilldog on December 20, 2012

Yes, it’s the Holiday Season. Yes there’s a lot of political discussion, school shootings, controversy and if we should just tell everyone Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

I’m scanning the internet, social networks, etc and I come across again and again, people who have a point of view. Not really a point of view that they would like to share, provide some intellectual stimulation or just provoke some thought on a particular topic. NO, they want to jam their point of view down your throat. Again and again, they’ll continue to lash out with verbal abuse, of course, written safely behind their computer keyboard without any fret of physical or even verbal threat. Just type, type, type and away. In most cases I haven’t even found a place where they actually discuss or rationally discuss their point of view. Instead, they just want force their point of view on you. In the end, people either fight and argue back, of course getting no where other then increasing wasted energy on something that’s going no where. I’m reminded of a saying that here in America, we have the freedom of speech but we forget we don’t have the freedom to be listened to. Me, if I don’t agree with something I just close the browser window and surf on… Hang ten dude.

This has come to my attention because within the past few weeks many of my friends on the social network has been committing on how many friends they have de-friended or blocked and/or just don’t talk to. Of course they have never met these “friends” in person but all in all they were friends. However, because of a difference in point of views or even a miss-understanding in something someone writes. Yes, believe it or not, written communication is much more difficult then verbal. We forget how much communication is transferred by body language, tone of voice or even facial inflection. Therefore, just because something looks black and white on your computer screen doesn’t mean the reader’s brain sees it as black and white as the writer assumes you would. My typical response on these social networks is that I don’t de-friend anyone. So far all I’ve had to do is delete a few posts and respectfully ask the person making the post not to post what ever view they had on my site. So far there’s no complaints and everyone has complied and no one has ever de-friended me.

However, I guess when we look at the history of the United States, we’ve been forcing our point of views on everyone ever since Columbus landed in America. What was one of the first things they wanted to force the Indians/Savages (as the Columbus folks thought) well, teach them their Anglo Religion and get them to wear shoes. That’s right, not believing in the white mans religion and running around in bare feet, made the American Natives savages. Of course it took a couple centuries for the Indians to retaliate and in my opinion actually win the war, can you say Casinos?

In sort, I thank you for reading my blog. Please, no one take offense. I’m simply stating a point of view that’s too long for me to write in the social network. This Holiday Season, Please have a “Merry Christmas” and feel free to exchange gifts! In fact, you could send a pair of shoes as a gift, however, you don’t have to nail the souls on.

Good ole Grilldog

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Grilldog’s Shopping Cart

by Grilldog on December 19, 2012

Hello all.

I am sorry I didn’t get my shopping cart up and running by the Holidays. However, there is still time if you go to Amazon.com

You can now purchase my DVD’s and books on Amazon.com or
the ebooks on www.kindle.com
Or on Google http://goo.gl/sjOIv

Grilldog’s Guide to Food Fun and Friends…
The first book, my original, I consider to the Foodie’s Arsenal of Recipes. I’ve selected many of my “original” recipes from back in the early 90′s for you. These are all classic recipes that are great for any occasion and as always, you don’t need to spend a lot of your hard earned cash for special ingredients or kitchen appliances. Over 150 recipes, tips, tricks and stories of my world travels and insights. Plus, never before seen photos of my travels and clips from my TV show.

Grilldog Presents: 50
The second book was just published in in the Fall of this year. This book contains over 200 recipes! These are all of the recipes from the 1st, 50 episodes of my TV show “Grilldog Presents”. Plus behind a behind the scenes accounting of each episode that the recipe applies to. There’s even clips from each show included with the recipes. These recipes are again, easy and inexpensive. There’s only about 5 recipes that are included that overlap the two books, for example, my eggplant dip appears in both, however, it’s just THAT Good!

Plus, all of my DVD’s are available. Each one contains 4, 28.5 minute episodes except the Holiday special, that’s a 1 hour special and 2 other episodes. Every DVD and episode is available except episodes 56-59, there’s a typo in the cover header that we are currently working on fixing.

So if you are looking for that last minute gift Idea go to Amazon or Kindle and pick up a copy! You’ll have fun and be glad you did.

Good ole Grilldog
Grill’n and Chill’n

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Grilldog Books are Available on KINDLE!

by Grilldog on October 8, 2012

Grilldog’s Books are on Kindle/Amazon now at an Amazingly low price, check it out!  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009N0XNV6

Plus, my yet not published, almost published 2nd book, all of the recipes from the first 50 episodes of my show.  Check that out too and while you are at it purchase a copy for your “Foodie” Arsenal of recipes.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009N1BXTO

 

Plus if you go to Amazon you can also purchase many of my DVD’s. Each DVD has almost 2 hours of Grilldog’s TV Show, detailing specifically how to create great tasty dishes, quick and easy!

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Grilldog Presents – Status Report

by Grilldog on June 3, 2012

Grilldog Update.  I’ve been asked a lot what is my status on making new shows.  Well here goes…

A lot of events have been happening in the past 2 years that put me way behind on a number of projects.  I finally had to toss out my anchor and settle down and just take one thing at a time.  So here is what the plans are…

1st I must complete and distribute the 5 episodes I filmed in Mazatlan.  I am almost finished the 2nd episode and have 3 more to go. (due date 8/1/12)

2nd Finish my 2nd book – Grilldog looks at 50, all the recipes and story synopsis of my first 50 episodes. (due date 9/1/12)

3rd, publish the remaining episodes of my DVD’s.  I stopped at episode 55 and have to go to 75, with 4 episodes per DVD (due date 10/31/12)

4th Update and complete the work on my website, grilldog.com and include a shopping cart with all of my Grilldog Merchandise. (due date 11/30/12 – Black Friday)

5th update my IMDb profile to include all of the above completed work as well as an episode guide to all 75 shows. (due date 12/12/12)

Once all of this has been completed (I’m shooting for 12/12/12 because that date just looks so cool).

Of course, that will be when I take my sabbatical from Grilldog and edit the next installment of my sons’ life the previous year from birthday 3-4.  (Needless to say no one will get it by Christmas – again).

So shooting for Grilldog should commence by February of 2013.  At that time I should be able to keep current with everything and be able to air shows within a few weeks of filming.  Plus keep up with everything else.

Thanks for everyone’s patience…

Good ole Grilldog

Remember, if you are not about Food, Fun and Friends, You’re Doing it Wrong!

Other Grilldog Quotes:
HEB Solutions Sunscreen add… The only time you want a burn… is when you’re working out!

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