HBD, Pops!

I know it’s kind of an arbitrary age to write a post to one’s parent, but seeing as how life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, and how tomorrow is promised to no one, this post is dedicated to my dad on his 73rd birthday.

This post is a two-parter.  It contains the opening and closing paragraphs of a writing course assignment in which I had to write about someone I admire.  It also contains lyrics from Dan Fogelberg’sLeader of the Band“.
Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of my assignment on my father, The Professional Soldier:

Woosha-woosha-woosha.  The whispery sound of brush on shoe quietly echoed through our house each morning.  Each morning also brought the musky smell of Old Spice, my father’s after shave.  In the kitchen, Old Spice mixed with the aroma of coffee and peanut butter on toast.  One more quick trip to the bathroom to brush his teeth and my father was on his way to work.  Routine.  The Army drills until its tasks become second nature in any terrain or climate.  Similarly, whether we were living in Germany, Hawaii, or one of the U. S. states, my father ‘s morning regimen was precision.  He left the house on time every day looking sharp, ready to accomplish the tasks the day presented.  For many years, to me, he was the embodiment of the Army –the professional soldier.

My father taught me more than he knows about setting standards for ourselves and always striving to maintain those standards.  He showed me how to be a leader.  He inspired me to always do my best, to set high standards and work to achieve my goals.  I suppose I also got my unwavering patriotism from my father, the professional soldier.

Leader of the Band is a great ballad that Dan Fogelberg wrote as a tribute to his father.  While my father wasn’t a musician, he did love playing his records, and I credit the variety he played with influencing my love of so many varied genres.  His “stories of the road” were stories of places he had lived growing up and after enlisting in the Army…some of which my family were part of.  The rest of these lines are self-explanatory, but so aptly apply:

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I Love You!

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Smoothing the Bumpy Ride

#ItWorksAdventureIt’s a bumpy ride as I compose my thoughts at multiple thousands of feet in the air on our return trip from Limelite 2015, which is fitting, I suppose, as I’m thinking about the roads behind and the one ahead.
Roads behind, but one ahead? Yep, and for a couple reasons:
Finances.  My wife and have always worked toward our financial goals as a couple, but we’ve had different jobs.  She was a school teacher for many years. I’ve worked in the IT field since before I met her.  We’ve both also had part time jobs at times…and still do.  We’ve seen times when we were making good money and times when things were tough. One lane on that bumpy road.
Health.  I’ve been able to avoid most of the pot holes in this lane, but for every one I miss, my wife seems to hit two.  I won’t go into detail here, but if you’d like to read about some of her issues, which include “invisible diseases” and a crazy long list of recently diagnosed food allergies, and how she deals with them, I encourage you to check out her blog, The Burned Hand.
So, two bumpy roads.  How are we going to turn them into one?  Through the financial power and health benefits of It Works!.  This company is debt free and growing by helping its members, its family, get debt free while helping themselves and others get more healthy.
My wife and I are going to focus on building our It Works! business together to smooth out and eliminate the financial bumps.    We’re going to be products of our own products, which will benefit our bodies:
  • How easy is it to drop powdered Greens or Greens on the Go into a bottle of water, shake it up, and drink down 8 servings of fruits and vegetables while helping alkalize the body? It’s a no brainer.
  • Got pain? We’ve got your Relief in a handy pill that beats the OTC brands…based on my personal experience.
  • And, of course,we have the Ultimate Body Applicator, aka “That Crazy Wrap Thing”…and it really works!
As we go forward on our adventure, we’re working toward real financial freedom, which is where the financial bumps disappear…and we’re able to retire me from my current full-time job, truly putting us on one road into our future.
Sound good? Join us! We’d love to bring you along on our #ItWorksAdventure!

On not being morose -five years later

It’s Veteran’s Day, the day we celebrate all the military who have served Our Country.  For the last five years, it has also been the day after I was told by my mother that “We are not going to be morose about this“, her diagnosis of stage four lung cancer.  While it’s not quite an Internet meme, I’ll forever remember those words as if I just heard them last night.  I wrote a second post a year later, “Army Wife: The Toughest Job in the Army“, in which I talked about these infamous (to me) words.

So, five years later, I’m proud to have served in the Army, proud that my father and brother served in the military, and proud and thankful to all my friends and family who have served, as well as all those I don’t know…and cancer still sucks!

 

Disrespect…or what kids learn from watching us, part 2

A couple weeks ago, I was at my daughter’s school musical.  As we all sat around in the nicely restored, antique, but uncomfortable seats waiting for the performance to begin.  There was much chatting, laughing between patents and children in the audience.  Fairly close to ‘on time’, the principal got on stage said “hello” and began speaking her “welcoming remarks.”  The audience began to quiet…to a point.  About a third or so of the folks just continued to chatter on as if what she said didn’t matter.  Many of the voices weren’t even lowered to whispers.  It was quite rude and disrespectful.  I’d bet that many of these jack wagons yell at/teach their kids to be quiet when they talking to them, but their kids got a first-hand example of what mom and dad really think that night.

The principal finished by asking us to stand and turning the mic over to two students to lead us in The Pledge of Allegiance.  I didn’t look around, but from what I could see, most, if not all, stood, placed their hands over their hearts, and recited the pledge.  No problem, except for the jack ass (yes…he deserves a bit stronger name than jack wagon) who failed to remove his hat.

I’m not arguing that we go back to the days of men always removing their hats indoors, or that men tip their hats to ladies…but absolutely, hats need to be removed when paying honor to our flag.  Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but this certainly wasn’t one of them.

Personally, my decision to remove my hat indoors depends on the location.  Mall/store…nope.  Restaurant…yep, after I’m seated –even fast food joints.  Someone’s house…depends on how long I’m going to be inside, but, generally…yep.  Again, these are my own personal choices, but my hat always comes off for the flag.  Even in foreign countries, respect should be paid for their customs.  I don’t expect foreigners to recite the pledge with their hand over their heart, but they should stand and remove their hats with the rest of us.

People talk all the time about how others don’t respect them, but many aren’t will to show the smallest, simplest forms of respect for others, our customs, and the customs of others.  It doesn’t usually take much.  And when you fail to show proper respect in front of your kids, you’re teaching them they don’t need to show it, as well.  Do the right thing, even when you don’t think your kids are watching, because they probably are.

 

UPDATE > > > >  Since making this post this morning, I found this video of Robin Williams on a USO Tour in Afghanistan.  It’s making its way around Facebook as if it just happened, but searching for it on YouTube turned up the video in much poorer quality from January 2008.  Current or not, it’s a good example of what I was talking about in the article.  Robin Williams is getting his stand-up going when…  Robin Williams learns about Retreat   (fyi…there are a few words of profanity)

Leaf Collection…or what kids learn from watching us

A big thing about having children is that they learn as much or more by observing what you do as by listening to what you tell them.  You are a role model.  If you want your children to grow to be honest, law abiding citizens with integrity, you should set the example.  For instance, a simple matter of following city ordinances such as when and how it is allowed to place leaves on the curb for collection.  In area of town, until a week prior to bulk, loose leaf collection (yes, we live in a neighborhood lucky enough to have this), leaves should be bagged in clear lawn bags.

Soooo…we rake and bag the leaves every couple weekends and then bulk pick up folks get them.  It’s a bit more of a pain that raking them to the street, but it’s according to city ordinance.  The weekend before the loose leaf collection, we rake the leaves into a nice, compact pile on the street, careful not to block up the gutter in case it should rain before the city gets the leaves…again, according to ordinance.  The girls, of course, notice that we are the only people on the street bagging leaves at this late stage of the game and have for a number of years.  Likewise, they know that I find it important to follows our laws and do the right thing, even if others are allowed to get away with doing things the easy way.

Much like they teach in the military, it is important to lead by example, or in this case, teach by example.  You can preach all day long to your children about following the laws and doing the right thing, but when they see you act contrary to that, it makes a lasting impression.

Do the right thing!

Too stupid to stop

I’m a soccer nut, as I’ve written about before.  Play it, coach it, watch it, and now ref it.  And I don’t let minor injuries get in my way.  I strained my hamstring back in March/April.  I might have skipped one or two of the lunchtime games before I was back on the pitch.  I tried to keep my work rate lower.  I didn’t go full speed after balls…mostly.  I didn’t try to explode away from folks or chase them down…mostly.  Gradually, my hammy has gotten better.  It’s still not one hundred percent.  If I hadn’t been too stupid to properly rest it, I’d likely be at full strength by now.

Last week, in the gym, I made the mistake of doing the Nautilus overhead press. Now, I know that my body doesn’t like that machine so I used light weight on it.  Didn’t matter.  Something about that motion on that machine pinches something or forces my muscles to work harder than they should.  Walked away from one set with a pain in my left trapezius.  Because I didn’t push it, though, the pain faded by the end of the day.  Monday, I skipped soccer due to a bruise on the bottom of my foot and hit the gym.  I got into the Nautilus upright bench press and craned my head around to the right when the guy at the desk said something to me. Ow!  Left trap screamed at me.  I wasn’t even pushing anything at that time.  I finished my workout, mostly cardio.  Too stupid to stop…yep.

It’s Wednesday now and the pain is less and I can move my neck more without pain, but here I am, back at the gym.  Not smart enough to stop, but I avoided any exercises that would have any work for the trap…well, except seated rows…and I went light.  Trap actually feels a bit better after the light work and getting warmed up.

Note that I’m composing this from a stationary bike, which means I was smart enough to skip soccer today.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Seven

Day Seven’s itinerary:  beach? pool? kayaking, return kayak, pack and clean a bit

Even overcast mornings have great viewsThe pups were into a routine…out early then back to bed for another hour or so.  Breakfast was one last group eat so we could use up as much of the food as possible so we didn’t have to pack it for the drive home the next day.

Pengster And The PuppyThe forecast for the day had been overcast with a chance of rain, so the prospects of getting to the beach were slim.  Likewise, most of the adults weren’t really interested in the pool, but it wasn’t difficult to convince the girls to go shopping.

We took our time cleaning up after breakfast, hung out on the deck for a while and ate lunch at the cottage to save a bit of money and to consume more of the food.  Pups On DeckIt only took all week, but the puppies finally got brave enough to come out on the deck and approach the railing.

We headed to the Timbuk II shopping center in Corolla and were easily able to find a covered parking space -in case it started raining.  We wandered around through a number of shops, but ultimately ended up with only one bottle of Shipwreck, a red blend, by Sanctuary Vineyards’.  I did find my favorite store in the area, though:  TarHeelTradingCompanyTar Heel Trading Company.  Why is it my favorite?  Simple.  Everything in the store is made in the U.S.A.  Yes, I’m one of those who actually looks to see where products are made before I buy them.  If they are made in China, I only buy them if I really need them.  I am only one person and can’t change the trade deficit myself, Couple Of Signsbut I’m hoping others will eventually get in on it.  I don’t expect it.  I’m hopeful, not stupid.

We finished shopping and got back to the cabin in time to take the kayak back to the place from which we rented it.  Since we were all cleaned up, we decided to just put in the back of Poppop’s pickup and drive it back.

It was getting near five and we had decided we were going to drive out to a little place called the Rundown Cafe on the beach road in Kitty Hawk.  Since it was a Saturday and we didn’t know how busy this place normally gets, we decided to head out there a bit early.  On the drive there, we passed miles of bumper to bumper traffic heading into Duck and Corolla -the normal weekend check-in traffic during “peak season”.  Heading out took no time and we got seated immediately at the restaurant.

RundownCafeRundown Cafe is a Jamaican-themed restaurant and they had cool, island looking art on the walls, and served food that you might find on the island, including fruity cocktails.  I got a beer and the other adults got one or two of those cocktails each.  Apparently, our decision to get there a bit early was a good one, because the restaurant filled up quickly before we’d gotten our food order in.  The food wasn’t anything special.  I had decent flavor, but nothing was “Wow!  I’ve got to come here every time we come to the Outer Banks” good.  That said, the waitress was really nice and the whole experience was a good one.

Knowing traffic was going to be horrible heading back to the cottage, we tried to kill some more time by going looking for the cottage that my wife’s grandparents used to own.  This succeeded in burning up almost an hour between the short trip to the street it was on and the driving back and forth up and down the road because no on e could recall the address and the fronts of all the cottages/houses had changed.

We were hoping we’d spent enough time for the traffic to clear out a bit for the drive back, but we weren’t so lucky.  It took between thirty and forty-five minutes of sitting in stop and go traffic to finally make it back to the cottage.  We put on coffee, packed as much as we could, and cleaned a bit before retiring for the evening.

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