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Showing posts from November, 2012

The Microsoft Repairman

I guess I might be called the IT Administrator for our household. This is not a well paying position. In fact, here's the job description.

Household IT Administrator
Starting wage: $0.00

Overview: A voluntary, no pay position is now available for an enthusiastic technology geek over fifty years old. This position is a full time, permanent position with no opportunity for advancement or any sort of pay or benefit increase. Annual reviews will not be conducted, however if you should inadvertently cause someone a  technological inconvenience, (i.e. rebooting, conducting a diagnostic test, or slowing down the internet, since evidently its speed is dictated by you) you will be verbally flogged and harumphed.

Qualifications: Candidate must work full time on computers at work and enjoy coming home to do the same on an as needed basis. The work may include: software installation and removal, software updates, scanning and removal of malware and network troubleshooting which includes cursing …

Nerve Racking (sic)

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There's a reason I'm not a carpenter, or a handy man.

Those people think differently. Try as I might to "enjoy" working with my hands or to love creating something with power tools, or appreciate "working with wood", I just can't. Saturday was testament to that distaste in so many ways, its hard to describe.

It started with the idea of buying a fishing rod rack that I saw in the black Friday sales flyer for Menards. Bear in mind that I NEVER go out on black Friday, but we needed solar salt and a furnace filter anyways, so I figured I'd see if I could save $15 on the rack and get my salt and filter too.

This was my first mistake.

Menards was a madhouse. The pace was frantic and exhausting. I found myself buying right into it when, at one point I had a fleece throw in my cart that cost $1.50. Later on, I was looking at $14 dog beds for no good reason. Luckily, I came to my senses and abandoned the throw on a shelf and skipped the dog bed. I got my ra…

Thinking of Thanks

This day calls for pause to consider the things we are thankful for. Some of mine are below.


My Faith. I credit my good friend Pat for discipling me during our college years. His method was not to beat me on the head with scripture, guilt and judgement. Instead he showed me what compassion and love and true friendship looked like. God took it from there.My Immediate Family. A wife who I can laugh with and two beautiful, smart kids. I keep wondering how I managed to get this lucky.My Extended Family. The past couple years has made me realize how much I took them all for granted for so long. They love me and my kids unconditionally and were there for each other in times of hurt.My Dog. He is the third kid in this family, though intellectually he's stunted at 3 years old. His goofy look and cocked head makes me smile daily. Truly man's best friend.My City. I was out in downtown Waukesha last night and was amazed at the vibrancy of this small city. Compared to what it was even 10 y…

The Meaningful Things

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Last week I got my reel back from Badger Reel Repair. The reel (pictured above) was given to me by my brother Rob the last time I saw him, before he passed away in Aug. 2011. It was the second time I've had it in for repairs. The first time it didn't seem to be working right, so I brought it to BRR and it cost me $25 to clean, oil and repair it. When I tried it again this summer, it still did not seem to be working right.

Now, normally, I probably would not have spent any more money on repairing the reel. The reel only cost Rob $75 at the time, so putting much more into it would seem frivolous. Because the reel means more to me than just an average reel, I thought I'd go ahead and get it fixed. It was $15 to repair, which seemed like a deal to get a functional keepsake.

The whole process got me to thinking about things that mean something. You know the items. Things that you would want to take to the basement with you in the case of a tornado. Things given to you by loved…

Waiting Out The Traffic Jam

I am what you might call in-between writing projects at the moment. I am currently working up to marketing my BWCA book to publishers. The book is "done" although, like any work, I think it could probably be better if I spent a couple more years on it. (That is a joke, but not too far from the truth. Ask any writer.)

At the same time, I am working piecemeal on my second book, an as-yet untitled work about the house I grew up in in Minnesota. Initially the stories came fast and furious, as I recounted the best ones first. I think of this as a sort of creative vomit, for lack of a better description. The stories flow readily because they have been recounted several times at family gatherings, and if not recounted, replayed in my head. Getting them down is relatively simple. Getting them cleaned up is a bit harder.

In addition to those two projects, I am coming off a handful of fictional short stories that I wrote to stretch myself. I think it's important to push the bounda…

Ten At Fifty

A few observations about life after 50.

1. I can't hear you. I seem to be going deaf. At the same time I will never admit I'm old enough for a hearing aid. The concerts of the 80's are catching up to me.

2. I'll wear what I want. I used to not be keen on wearing anything with a saying or logo on it for fear of what people would think. At 50, I suddenly don't care anymore. My two favorite T-shirts at the moment are my black tee with the Superman logo on it and the other is one that reads "Shut up and fish."  Hopefully these are not predecessors to the "I'm with stupid --->" T-shirt or the sweatshirt with the sunset and howling wolf on them. If you see me in these, try and understand.

3. Stretching is not optional. My morning routine involves 25 minutes of yoga/stretching immediately after waking. If I don't do this, I can still function, but I just feel better if I've done it.

4. I talk to my dog. Around the house, around the block and…

Everyone Has A Story

I went to the Moth Story Slam with my wife last night at the Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee. In case you are not familiar with it, it's basically a story competition. People put their names in a bag if they have a story to tell, then names are drawn out of the bag and people get on stage and tell their story. There's a few guidelines that have to be followed:

1. The story must be true.
2. Keep it to 5 minutes, with penalties for going over.
3. No notes.
4. The story should have a beginning, middle and an end. (Conflict and resolution are always nice too.)

When the person is done, the emcee' then calls on the 3 teams of two judges each to score how they did. They allow 10 people to tell stories and the whole thing takes a couple of hours. Each story is interspersed with the emcee reading audience responses to a question. Last nights question was "Tell about an accident that ended happily." That made for some interesting diversions from the main act of listening to …