Showing posts from June, 2016

Men At Work

As I type this, I am sitting in the Milwaukee airport getting set to fly out to San Diego for the annual ESRI Users Conference. Per the usual travel snafus, my flight is delayed for 2.5 hours so I am left to connect to my phone's wifi hotspot and write this post. There are worse problems in the world, and I am blessed to be promised that my connecting flights are still intact.

Part of me writes this because I've always wanted to say I'm writing from an airport. A jet setter from Wisconsin, I am.

Anyways, I spent the better part of the past 2 weeks rebuilding my front walk and steps. I should qualify it and say that my son and I assisted two of my friends in the rebuild. Claude and Steve are good friends who both have mad construction skills. In the past, I've helped Steve build his deck and put in a wood floor and I've helped Claude with building an ADA accessible ramp.

They are both great at big picture and equally skilled at the small details. Add to that that th…

A Slightly Shorter Day Than The Longest Day.

A couple of days ago was the longest day of the year - the Summer Solstice. Sunlight stretches up to nearly nine o'clock this time of year and I try not to take it for granted one bit. I am a person who loves to live in shorts and sandals, so from late May until early September, that's what it is for me. I often refer to Summer as my favorite season of the year - until the really hot days when I swear that I love Fall and Spring better.

But I think Summer is really it. I love having the windows open all day and all night, usually with fans roaring. Donna often complains when I get home from work and start opening windows. I'm like a claustrophobic psych patient. I need my air!

The dog has a love hate relationship with the season, that is for sure. He longs to be on the porch where he can bark at passers by and go ballistic when the mailman comes. He does this regardless of the season. I swear he can smell his uniform.

At the same time, his dog hair makes him hot to the poi…

Ten From Twenty

Ten Great Moments In My Fatherhood(ness)
I have been a dad now for 20 years and it has been nothing short of the best period of my life. My kids are my pride and joy, as most parents would say, and I cannot imagine my life without them. It's  impossible to recount all the moments of joy and happiness from those twenty years, but in the spirit of Father's Day, I thought I'd recount ten of the more memorable moments. So, in no particular order, here are ten things that remind me how much I love being a dad.
Driving home from Sarah's birth. Sarah was born on the leading edge of a 9 inch snowfall that fell progressively through the afternoon and evening. I drove home that evening around ten o'clock and about three miles from home I had to pull over because I was crying so hard. This coming from an emotional flat-liner. What was happening? I wondered. I was overcome with the joy of having someone new in my life. She was perfect!Fear of the unknown at Ben's birth. Ben…

Love In The Little Things

Tonight my wife and I celebrate our twenty sixth anniversary. It was a stiflingly hot 90+ degree day in one of the quaintest small town churches I've ever darkened the doorway of, Gorham United Methodist. I remember my brother Paul jokingly telling the videographer that he hoped it would be over in 30 minutes to save us all from the heat. I also remember my best man Rob handing me a paper towel to wipe the sweat from my brow on the altar. Most likely sweating for a couple of reasons, least of all the heat.

So last year was the big, recognized 25th anniversary. There's something epic about making it a quarter of a century with your soul mate. I might add that we've had a stable relationship the whole time - never a point where either of us even considered walking. I was pretty definite that I was in this through thick and thin when I signed on the line and swore under a Biblical oath. Thankfully God has blessed me with a perfect companion, someone to thrash and flail throug…

A Project For Later

I had a few "projects" in my basement that were there for years. You may know the type. The ones that get stashed in a corner for "later," a phantom day that sometimes never comes.

My projects were completed in the past week, but took completely different pathways to get there.

The first was a broken lamp. Two years ago this lamp of ours just stopped working for no good reason. It had been knocked off the table a time or two, and evidently one of those killed it. Killed it real good.

So, after replacing the light bulb and having it still not work, I put it down the basement for fixing "later." I often looked at the lamp in passing thinking to myself that it would never work again. Last weekend, Donna mentioned getting a cord kit, so I looked on Amazon and all I could find was a kit that was about $20.00 and didn't look like it would work with our lamp anyways.

Curiosity got the better of me and I started taking the lamp apart. How hard could it be any…

Biking For The Love

This week is Bike to Work Week in Waukesha County, part of a greater Wisconsin Bike Week celebration put on by the Bike Federation every year. As part of it the County hosts events throughout the week to try and raise awareness for employees. Because I bike to work, literally every day through the three seasons, I am always on the BTWW committee. I serve mainly as the guy who plots the posters, as our department has one of the few plotters in the county.

This year, they decided to step up the events by trying to coordinate a joint event where the County Executive and the Mayor of Waukesha. They set a location, Mama D's in downtown Waukesha for an hour of coffee, trail bars and photo ops. It was set to run from 7:00 - 8:00 and then weave it's way through Frame Park, past City Hall, and on to the County Courthouse.

So I showed up at the event on Tuesday about 7:15 or so and there were probably 15-20 people milling about inside the building. I went inside and was greeted by a gen…

Explaining From Memory

About a week ago, my second poetry collection, Reciting From Memory, was released. I wanted to spend a post telling people a bit about it, and this is that post.

While I always claim to be a nonfiction writer first, and a poet second, I still say that practicing poetry makes me a better writer. Most of my poems are like tiny little stories with a beginning, middle and end. I use analogy and metaphor just as I do in my nonfiction writing. Poetry is where I turn when I'm either pinched for time, or suffering from block. It challenges me every bit as much as nonfiction writing, just in smaller increments. My style is concrete, relate-able and down to earth. I call it poetry for the working man/woman.

Over time I accumulated these forty poems and rather than trying to submit them to various magazines and journals, I thought I'd put together a collection and see if there was a publisher that would take them for publication. I looked at publishers that were looking at both print and…

A Step Forward

We are undertaking a significant project over the next couple of weeks. Our front steps have been perilous for a number of years. There's a story to why, so I'd better start there.
When we moved into this house, the front door swung inward toward the porch which was awkward from both sides of the door. My father in law and I fixed that little issue, but in doing so, created essentially a "short" first step. A strategically placed 4 X 4 closed the gap we'd created, but made the top step 4" shorter. As a result, we have been telling people for the past 15 years to "watch that first step, it's a killer."
Well, the steps are aging and starting to list to one side, so we needed to shore them up. My friends Claude, Steve and Brad have offered to help with the project at some level. I've said it before, I am NOT handy. But when I am in the company of handy people, I tend to rise to the occasion and work well with others.
A perfect example of this …