What A Week – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

 

Happy Sunday and this has been a hectic week, but it is now over after traveling to Chicago for client visits, meeting with my cousin that I have not seen for any amount of time for more than three decades, graded sales sessions for work, my daughter’s wedding rehearsal, and finally her wedding.

I guess I am a bit wiped out but wanted to post a quick blog for tonight, and since work travel is limited until the end of the quarter, I will continue to write later.

The big highlight of the week is that I have a new title father-in-law. The rehearsal went great as did the wedding and except for some frayed nerves during the dance, it was a wonderful experience, and I could not be more proud of my daughter and our new son. They took off to Hawaii this morning, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

I met with my cousin Heidi in Milwaukee this week and also met one of her sons. I was sad that for so many years we were unable to connect but never again.  Heidi did a great job of raising her boys, and both of them have limitless futures. I will drag my son to Milwaukee in late October to meet Heidi when we travel around Lake Michigan.

I participated in graded online video sessions throughout the week for sales training, and I am happy with the results. We have a couple of weeks before we start the new segment so I can work on some overdue sales initiatives.

My client visits to the Chicago area had results that were mixed. I will reach back out to these customers this week, and hopefully, there will be some opportunities. Chicago road construction season was in full force as I traveled the tollways.

Wishing you a great day and this week was one of those fifty-plus going on fifteen weeks. More to come.

How did your week go?

Thanks for stopping by.

Jay

Life Tidbits #5 – A Submariner For Life

Everyone has watched a submarine movie, but there is absolutely no comparison to being a true submariner who participated in cold war operations.  I was lucky enough to be part of this small community and would love to share a snapshot of the life I lived.

I joined the Navy on my 17th birthday with no idea what I wanted to do other than get out of North Dakota and see the world. It was not that North Dakota was a lousy place since I loved it as a kid but opportunities in the late 1970s, early 1980s were limited.

I survived boot camp and went to Basic Electricity and Electronics School and phase one of Electronics Technician A School with limited issues but uncertain if I made the right choice for a career. The NAVY motto is Never Again Volunteer Yourself, and I broke this rule by listening to someone that rode submarines and decided this was the career for me.

I left Great Lakes Illinois for New London Connecticut where I would attend Basic Submarine School and Electronics Technician C Schools. I did not know what specialty I would have on submarines, but I knew if I put my mind to it I would be a submariner.

I have many fond memories of training for submarines including vending machines you could buy beer out of, eating disgusting pizza from the roach coach as it drove by, traveling through New England, weekends in New York City and Atlantic City and the list goes on and on. I will dive into some of the adventures we participated in during later blogs.

After a year plus of submarine training, I received orders to go to San Diego California and report to the USS Dixon (AS37) which was a submarine tender for Permit-class submarines. I worked in the Antenna and Sonar Shop and Electronics Repair Shop and gained incredible experience servicing submarines for 12 months. We also traveled up and down the west coast on the tender visiting Mexico, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

There was a shortage of submarines in the early 1980s, but when a position opened up, I transferred to the USS Billfish (SSN676) based in New London Connecticut which was a Sturgeon-class submarine that just came out of overhaul. Our squadron had ten (10) subs attached, but only a couple of the boats were ready to go, and our boat was one of them.

I earned my dolphins on the Billfish and initiated as a Blue Nose. We made long deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic, Arctic Ocean, Carribean, and places I cannot identify and we had a ball. We also made port visits overseas in England, Scottland, Franch, Netherlands, Italy and to numerous ports in the United States.

There was a need for Recruitment Volunteers, so I went home to North Dakota for a month to assist the Navy Recruiter and made the fatal accident of meeting my future bride for the second time. We were married about a year later after I attended Electronics C-7 School in San Diego.

After my first tour on the Billfish, I attended Navy Instructor School and taught Navigation Equipment C School in New London Connecticut and Renee, and I moved to Norwich Connecticut living in the second story of a Victorian house. Our first daughter was born in New London, and we also rescued our first cat, Sheena.

After training personnel for a few years, I transferred to the USS Canopus (AS34) a submarine tender in Kings Bay Georgia. Assigned to the Planning and Estimating Department, I was responsible for all Subsafe and Controlled work package development for Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarines and other visiting submarines. I became a Chief on the Canopus and worked toward being assigned to another sub when possible. In the 1990s, there was a shortage of subs again due to the peace dividend after the Cold War. While on the Canopus we visited many ports off the East Coast with my favorite being St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

An emergency position fill came up for the USS Newport News (SSN750) in Norfolk Virginia, so I packed my seabag and met the boat a couple of days before we deployed to European waters and ports. We enjoyed the 50th anniversary of the D-Day tour. During this deployment, we visited more ports in a few months than I had during my entire career before the Newport News. We ended up performing Nato Ops, and when we pulled into Naples Italy, I was pulled off the boat for medical issues, so my time on submarines was over.

My time in Naples was challenging as was my flight back to the states and temporary duty at squadron in Norfolk Virginia. My stomach issue was under control, so I accepted orders to run a training work center in Kings Bay Georgia so was able to rejoin my family.

Running a training work center at Trident Training Facility in Kings Bay Georgia was challenging but fulfilling, and it was great being with my family again. I loved providing tours to the old World War II Submariners and was extremely involved in Master Training Specialist responsibilities.

Military downsizing continued through much of the mid-1990s, and I tried to join the mine sweep force with the scrapping of large numbers of the submarine force. Washington denied my request to transfer to mine sweeps, so my options were limited.

In late 1996, further downsizing occurred, and I had the opportunity to retire early, so I took advantage of the option and left the submarine force I loved.  It was a sad day when this part of my life ended, but I am still a submariner in my heart.

I will follow this blog with details on my Naval career, but I wanted to provide this overview. I miss the crews I was with and the fun times of my younger years,

  • Have you experienced a similar loss when you left a job you loved?

Thanks for stopping by and listening to this submariner from North Dakota. Being fifty plus going on fifteen provides many opportunities to revisit memories.

Have a great day!!

J

Good-bye Summer 2018 – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Hard to believe the end of summer is here, and now it is time to get serious again.

Before I get serious though, I wanted to provide a quick recap with pictures.

We started out the summer by camping at Cloud 9 with Scrappy, Buddy, and Roxy. We were fearful this would be the last time our 14-year-old Jack Russell would camp with us, and we were correct since he crossed the rainbow bridge in early June.  We all had a ball, and Buddy enjoyed camping and riding in UTVs.


Buddy is on the left, and Scrappy is on the right.


Roxy being cool.

Ali and I went Kayaking for a few hours on Lake Norfolk and enjoyed the sun and the fun of relaxing and sightseeing as we paddled upstream. The motorboats did not slow down so we had some severe wakes but it was a great time.


Ali was lounging in the kayak.

I traveled to Miami Florida to meet with customers and enjoyed an early morning walk before the world woke up. Enjoyed my stay and ate at a restaurant that allowed dogs which is always nice.


Miami waterfront.

When I returned from Florida, we added Desi-Lu to our family since we had lost Buddy. Desi-Lu was a rescue, and her personality was extremely submissive when we brought her home. We were worried that she might not come around, but she has become one of the pack.


Desi-Lu’s first night.

Our next excitement included Ali blowing out two (2) tires on the passenger side of her car at a new intersection where the signal lights did not work. I had fun as we waited for the tow truck to arrive, waiting seven days for tires to come in, and fighting with MoDOT to get damages.  Oh well, at least the rims were not cracked.

Ali’s car being loaded up on the tow truck.

My bride of thirty years plus and I spent much of the summer attending Farmers Markets where she sold the Paracord products she manufactures as a craft. She has done a great job, and our best outing was Nixa Sucker Days. I am proud of her dedication to this.


Renee’s stall at Nixa Farmers Market.

Nate and I spent a day hiking in the Arkansas Ozarks after I took a wrong turn and what should have taken two hours to get to took nearly three. We had a ball and of course, had chigger bites.


Nate hiking down a trail.

I traveled to Tarrytown New York for a training seminar, and it was an enjoyable three days working with peers and learning about the solutions we provide. On the final day, I had a great meal at a restaurant on the Hudson River and had to evacuate the motel at 1 AM due to a false fire alarm. My flight the next day left at 4 PM instead of 10 AM from LaGuardia.


Hudson River view.

We have spent much of the summer preparing for Ali’s wedding which is September 15th. Renee and Ali experimented with many different low-cost wedding options. We are very happy for our daughter.


Table centerpieces round 1. 

In August, I attended training in Raleigh North Carolina. There was a great little sports bar near the motel, so I ate there each night and learned a new way to make a rolled pizza like Cinnabon’s. My Lyft driver got lost picking me up, and there were flight delays out of Charlotte, but I made it home.


Finally in the air.

When I returned from North Carolina, we took off for a relaxing weekend at Cloud 9 Ranch and had an enjoyable weekend since school had started and there were fewer campers. Roxy, Scrappy, and Desi-Lu enjoyed sniffing every rock when we would walk.


Next to one of the streams.

In late August, Ali and I participated in a rescue event for cats where we went bowling, and I learned that my bowling muscles needed exercise. We had a ball, and the charity made some decent money to help build a cat paradise.


Bowling event for the cat rescue.

My last trip for the summer was to Denver Colorado where I met with a client. When I went to Hertz to rent a car, the lines were so long I used a kiosk to rent the car, and it was very efficient. I had a substantial meeting with the client and hope to win some business.


Hertz kiosk.

We planned a low key Labor Day, and for fun, we drove two-plus hours to the Hippie Fest in central Missouri to scope it out as a future location for Renee’s paracord booth. We had fun there and treated ourselves to Taco Johns afterward.


Hippie Fest.

We had a great summer, and now that summer is over I will be on the road more, but I wanted to close it out on my blog for future reference.

How was your summer? What did you do that you?

Thanks for stopping by and please leave comments.

I love being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Have a great one.

J

Life Tidbits #4 – Taco Johns – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

There are few businesses I can genuinely say I would travel miles to buy their product and one of those businesses is Taco Johns. For those that have lived with Taco Bell or similar establishments, I want you to know that Taco Johns not only delivers a meal, but they also provide experiences and memories.

As a child in Jamestown North Dakota, fast food, and restaurant chains did not exist beyond Dairy Queen, KFC, the original A&W Drive-In, and Pizza Hut until I was a teenager.  In my early teenage years, Hardees and Taco John’s opened up shop in our sleepy little town of 15,000 to be followed by the big boys a few years later.

I vividly remember pulling up to a building barely more substantial than a travel trailer and ordering my first fast-food tacos and chili, and I was in heaven. Sure, I had tacos at for school lunch when the goal was to have kids eat, but they were in no way comparable to the tacos at taco john. The chili also was rememberable since you could add all the hot sauce you wanted and this was before I had to watch what I ate.

Once I received my driver’s license, Taco Johns became a regular for myself and friends since they were open late every night and at the end of cruising main and 10th street. Furthermore, Taco Johns food helped absorb some of the chemicals found in kids experimenting on the high plains of North Dakota.

During my teenage years, we would also travel to Glendive Montana to visit my cousins and behold there was a Taco Johns in Glendive. It was the worlds largest Taco Johns in the world since it had seating in it so you could eat inside Taco Johns instead of eating while in the car and having that familiar smell around for many days.

In 1980, I joined the Navy and was shocked to find that other Taco chains were bigger and supposedly better where I lived, but there were no Taco Johns. I would anxiously wait for my trips back home to eat at Taco Johns since the other chains we subpar in my opinion.

I retired from the Navy in the and moved to southern South Dakota with my young family and was happy to learn we had a Taco Johns in Vermillion South Dakota. Eating tacos was an easy sell since kids loved tacos, so both of our children learned to love a pound and a six pack which included one (1) pound of Potato Oles and six (6) tacos.

We moved to Sioux City Iowa about a year after retiring from the Navy, and Taco Johns was a favorite that we could all agree on for the next eight (8) years before moving to Missouri. Both of the kids grew up with Taco Johns and when we would travel there was unrest when Taco Bell or other chains were the only options.

After relocating to Republic Missouri, it became clear that the nearest Taco Johns was about four (4) hours away, so we ate less fast food tacos and tried to perfect our tacos and Potato Oles without success. When we traveled back to North Dakota, we would buy extra and freeze for later.

It had been nearly ten (10) years since we moved to Missouri and as I traveled southwest on I44, I saw a billboard for Taco Johns as I approached Lebanon Missouri. Did I imagine the sign or was it real? I pulled off the exit and drove .25 miles to find a Taco Johns had opened up sharing space with a recently build Conoco gas station.

I picked up a pound and a six-pack and drove my last hour home with that familiar Taco Johns smell triggering fond memories. Once home, I surprised my bride of thirty plus years and let the kids know that Taco Johns was only 60 minutes away.

We now make numerous special trips to Taco Johns to eat our favorite tacos, and when we are traveling, we will divert to pick up a pound and a six-pack.  Yes, I may be crazy, but I will always have a place in my heart for Taco Johns.

Do you have a favorite establishment that you would make a special trip to or divert your path to visit? Where and what is it?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my memory. It’s great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Have a great one, J

Life Tidbits #3 – Inlaws & Outlaws – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

This segment of Life Tidbits will cover the many aunts and uncles that I grew up with and some that were no longer with us. The term inlaw or outlaw was used to describe if you were currently in with my grandparents or out.

My dad’s side of the family is easy to cover since he had a brother and a sister.  They were all born and lived in the Wimbledon area in southeastern North Dakota on a farm.

Dad’s older sisters name is Connie, and she moved to Florida in the early 1960s with her husband Frank, and they had three (3), kids named Keith, Patty, and Penny. We would see them every few years when we visited Florida or when they came to North Dakota. We always looked forward to seeing them and had fun. I have been fortunate enough to see them every few years when I am in Florida, and Frank recently passed away.

Dad’s younger brothers name is Layne, and he moved to Florida with Grandpa Morris and Grandma Evelyn when they sold the farm. Layne married in Florida, and we only hooked up a couple of times over the years. We did have some fun fishing in the Florida channel waters in the mid-1990s when we visited him.

My mom’s side of the family is much more interesting since she has numerous brothers and sisters. I will try to cover them in order but may get the order wrong. They were all born lived around Jamestown in southeastern North Dakota on some farms.

The oldest child in Mom’s family was my aunt Evelyn who lived in California and had three (3) children. We were lucky enough to see her every few years when she would come home, and I enjoyed when she and Anne stayed at the house. Evelyn passed away a few years ago.

The next oldest child was Louie who lived in California, and I enjoyed seeing him in both North Dakota and in California. Louie reminded me a lot of Grandpa Max and passed away in the late 1980s.

The third oldest child was Uncle Bob who was married to Bernice, and they had two (2) children. We spent much time with Uncle Bob, Aunt Bernice and my cousins Tim and Robyn when they lived in Jamestown and also visited them when they were in St. Cloud Minnesota and Glendive Montana. There are many memories I will share in later chapters. I miss Uncle Bob who passed away a few years ago, and he was one of my childhood heroes being a firefighter and all.

Mom was the fourth oldest child, and after mom, the order may get a bit screwed up, but it will be close. My mom passed away last year, and I miss her very much.

Ralphie came next in order, and I know the least about him since he was placed in a home in Grafton North Dakota where he died of pneumonia as a teenager. Mom was never able to obtain more information about Ralphie, and this was always a sore subject with the family when brought up.

Uncle Leo followed next, and he is married to Sharen, and they moved to California in the late 1960s. Leo and Sharen have two children Dee Ann and Ryan who I spent much time with them in California over the years, and they will always be unique to my family and me. I will cover more in later chapters.

Uncle Jerry lived in Jamestown North Dakota and had some children I was close to including Heidi, Jason, and Travis.  Uncle Jerry was a Police Officer like my dad and over his career saved many people in life-threatening situations. Jerry is married to Joan who was a great Aunt who is also in the FBI.

Uncle Don is married to Aunt Darla, and they moved to Fargo North Dakota and had two children Troy and Delisa. Uncle Don was a deputy in Fargo and later sheriff for more than 20 years until he retired from law enforcement.  Troy and I had some great memories at the farm.

Aunt Mary is married to Uncle John, and they had three children Brock, Clay, and Brandy. Aunt Mary was always there for us during our life, and Uncle John would take me fishing. Aunt Mary was a fighter, and after years of fighting cancer she passed away. I miss Aunt Mary. Uncle John is a Vietnam vet.

Aunt Linda is married to Uncle Mike who is a Navy Vet from Vietnam. They had four children, Mike, Shawn, Amy, and Wendy. I would spend much time with Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike as a child after they bought the farm. Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike were there for mom after her stroke, and I appreciate them very much.

Aunt Leona lived in Jamestown and adopted children that I was close to as a kid including Tracy, Roxanne, Debbie and Tony Jo. Later, she had her children, and she has always been there for us, and she is loved. All of Aunt Leona’s spouses have passed away.

Uncle Ken resided in Jamestown, and I would babysit his son Duane when he was young. I have memory memories of Uncle Ken that will be with me forever since he spent much time with us on the farm and in Jamestown.

Aunt Diane married Uncle Mark, and they lived in the Windsor area on a farm they owned. They had three children including Dawn, Tish, and Beau. Many of my earliest memories are with Aunt Diane, and she was always there for my mom, and I love her dearly. Uncle Mark passed away before his time, and I miss him.

I indicated I had numerous Aunts and Uncles and throughout life, we were all inlaws or outlaws depending on if we were on the right or wrong side of the grandparents. Between both families, I have more than fifty first cousins and on a good day, I can name 99% of them.

How large was your family? Can you name all of your aunts, uncles, and first cousins?

I love being fifty plus going on fifteen and appreciate waking up every day.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jay

Life Tidbits #2 – Buddy Flash – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

In this segment of Life Tidbits, I would like to share who Buddy Flash was and how we miss his presence, but he is forever with us in spirit.

Animals have always been part of my life, and from the winter of 2006 through the late spring of 2018, we had the pleasure of a rescue named Buddy Flash as part of our family.

After a year of fighting severe health issues and enduring diabetes shots twice each day, he told us it was time to cross the rainbow bridge at the age of 14.

In 2006, my family was living in Sioux City Iowa, and I was living in Republic Missouri with long-term plans of relocating the family when Ali graduated in 2007.  I would drive home every couple of weeks to spend time with the family and prepare for our pending move.

In late 2006, I traveled home before a winter front hit so I could enjoy the family although there was a chance of my getting snowed in for a few days. I arrived back on Saturday, and soon after coming I received a call from one of my employees in Iowa that he needed to find a new home for his dog.

I asked what was up and he told me that his Jack Russell did not fit into his family since he had small girls, his wife had a home-based day-care, and the dog nipped at one of the girls. We had brought another Jack Russell pup into our home in early 2006 named Scrappy-Doo, so I said why not.

I asked my bride if we could bring him in and she said yes but only to foster until we find a home or take him to the Humane Society on Monday. I loaded up the kids in our black Ford Expedition and drove two hours to pick up the dog.

The weather was nasty but not quite a blizzard when we arrived, and we found the dog chained up in the front yard, so I was glad we hurried. I picked up his belongings, learned that his name was Buddy Flash, and loaded him up for the drive home.

Buddy latched onto me as soon as we climbed in the truck and curled around my neck warming himself up and sleeping the entire way home. Once we arrived, we introduced him to Buster Brown our mature Golden Retriever/Lab rescue, Scrappy-Doo our pup Jack Russell rescue, and Delila our adolescent feline rescue.

I was taking off on Sunday to return to work in Missouri and Renee was still planning on finding a home for Buddy over the weekend or taking him to the Humane Society on Monday.

It quickly became apparent that Buddy had socialization issues that would limit who and where he could live since he did not know how to play with other dogs, was aggressive when one of the other animals were in his bubble, and experienced extreme separation anxiety.

I left Iowa with a plan in place to take Buddy to the Humane Society since we had concerns about finding someone that would work with him to resolve his challenges. The last thing I heard was “Buddy is only staying the weekend” as I walked out the door.

On Monday, I checked in with the family to see how everyone was doing and to also see how it went when they dropped Buddy off at the Humane Society. Much to my surprise, Renee informed me that Buddy was still in the house. I asked what changed and she said we need to replace bad memories with good memories and add him to our pack.

Although Buddy was going to spend only one weekend with us, this was the first of more than 600 weekends to follow where he was part of our pack. I have always believed that animals choose their masters and I think that was what happened here with Renee and Buddy being inseparable.

Buddy had many quirks from his upbringing, and we made significant progress at socializing him even though he would occasionally revert to his gremlin state. He was Scrappy-Doos partner in crime in Iowa where we did not have a fenced yard and had to walk them and once in Missouri we had a fenced yard that became their Jack Russell kingdom.

The years passed by with incidents becoming less and less and along with the years passing we lost Buster Brown to old age, and Delila climbed the fence and never came back one day bud Buddy and Scrappy were constant as sunshine.

Buddy and Scrappy had many routines including wearing a path in the fenceline and yard where they would run, digging moles out of the ground and bringing them in for mom, playing tug a war with snakes until they snapped, cornering skunks and other critters in the yard, and general mischief that you would associate with Jack Russells.

In 2014, we bought a camper and started camping again, and Buddy took to camping like he was a natural and he and Scrappy loved taking rides in the UTV, sniffing all the best spots to do their deed and cuddling in the camper. Buddy was ten and Scrappy was eight, and although the boys were both well fed, they were healthy.

During the summer of 2016, Buddy tried to jump on the couch like he did thousands of times before but his aim was off, and he injured his hip losing some mobility due to old age.  He was twelve years old, and the vet indicated there was no medical solution. During this same timeframe, Buddy’s liver numbers were also spiking so we worked with him to hopefully extend his life.

We wanted to allow Buddy and Scrappy to help train a new generation in our pack, so we brought Roxy Darma into our home at two months of age in 2016 and Buddy took her under his wing and taught her the ropes knowing that his time was coming to an end but not yet willing to cross the rainbow bridge.

In early 2017, Buddy had a few bad teeth, so we took him in for oral surgery, and when he returned home, he was extremely lethargic and not himself. We were extremely worried since he would not eat and that was the one thing Buddy could always do without prompting.

Blood tests came back, and we found out Buddy had diabetes and we would need to give him two shots per day for the rest of his life. We understood he could live a comfortable life so started giving him shots although we had to muzzle him before each shot.

Buddy was still not his old self when my mom passed away in May of 2017, so we took him to North Dakota with us to monitor and nurse him back to health. Traveling back from North Dakota, he crashed and would not eat again, so we thought it was time to take him to the vet one last time in Watertown South Dakota but 30 minutes before our appointment he ate.

The trip home was slow as we tried to minimize stress and in St. Joseph Missouri we stopped at a vet, and they told us to give him insulin even if he doesn’t eat at half dosage. We did and gave him Pedialyte to get him home to our vet in Republic.

From this point on in May of 2017 until May of 2018 we had good and bad days with Buddy still marching on, but we saw indications that he was becoming weaker and would probably not make it much longer. On Memorial Day weekend, we took Buddy camping one last time where he rode in the UTV, did his deed everywhere he desired and snuggled with us.

In early June of 2018, he slept more, ate less, had more accidents and did not have the energy or desire to continue. We took him to the vet to see if there was anything else we could do and the vet made some adjustments to medication, but it was time.

Without a change in outlook, we took our companion on a final ride, cuddled a little more, and the vet was kind enough to let him cross over the rainbow bridge outside the office under a tree as a train passed.

Roxy, Scrappy, Renee, our kids and I miss Buddy every day, and much like former companions, there is a small ghost looking over my shoulder at all times. Buddy’s ashes are in a small urn in our bedroom with Buster’s, and someday we will be reunited.

With Roxy’s and Scrappy’s blessing, we brought a new rescue into our home, and her name is Desi-Lu. She has many of the same issues Buddy had when we brought him home although she is only six months old.

Desi-Lu had numerous homes as a pup, but she has made significant progress as we replace bad memories with good memories. It is incredible how she exhibits many of the traits Buddy had without meeting him, but we believe Buddy is helping her make the transition.

Have you had similar pet experiences? Please share if possible.

We miss you Buddy and will never forget you. Sometimes being fifty plus going on fifteen can be painful.

Have a great day,

Jay

Life Tidbits Chapter #1 – Opening – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I have always wanted to write and know that I will not be able to invest the time until I am near retirement age. I will never retire unless forced due to health issues but I may slow down a bit and smell the roses.

Life Tidbits will be my life story in no specific order and produce as I can take time to press some keys. I believe the best way to start is by providing a high-level overview of my life and if nobody else takes an interest, perhaps my descendants will.

Where I came from:

I was born in the great state of North Dakota in the fifth largest city of Jamestown with a population floating around 15,000. I was born at Trinity Hospital and was extremely premature and in the early 1960s should not have survived. My Doctor was Dr. Jansoneus, and I am thankful that he did what it took to keep me earthbound. I am sorry that he lost his son in Vietnam though.

I jumped into me but let me first set the stage regarding how we arrived in North Dakota.

My great grandfather on my dad’s side moved to North Dakota in the early 1900’s from Missouri with a married woman he ran away with who was in an arranged marriage with a man 40 years older than her. I guess at that time, North Dakota was the end of the earth and considered safe. I can trace my father’s side back to immigrating to North America in the mid-1600s.

My great grandfather on my mom’s side immigrated from Poland to North Dakota in the early 1900’s and changed the last name to appear less foreign. There are no skeletons in this closet I believe but could be wrong. Once again, there was a dream of independence and inexpensive land at the end of the earth.

My grandparents on both sides took over the family farm from the greats and both farmed until the 1960s. My dad’s father offered him the farm in Wimbledon North Dakota, but my dad chose to chase his dreams, so my grandfather sold the farm and moved to Florida. My mom’s father sold the farm to one of my uncles since she had numerous (12), brothers and sisters, so the farm stayed in the family until the land crash in the early 1980s.

My parents had their careers with my mother being a bookkeeper at a local bank and my dad being a police officer. They stayed in the Jamestown area except for six months in 1964 where they relocated to Florida to be with the rest of the family but decided to move back. I started traveling at six months of age, so that is one reason I believe I have bee a rambling man.

My mom and dad did some moving around before they were married since my dad was a Navy Corpsman who also worked with the Marines in South Korea and Japan. Dad also spent time in Illinois and Texas during his stint in the Navy. My mom lived in western North Dakota after high school and also spent time with my father in Texas and his parents in Florida before their marriage.

I have an older sister who lives in North Dakota but like me had a career in the Navy also where she moved here and there. She joined the Navy after I did and left before I did. She has a couple of kids and works in management at a farm implement dealership in Jamestown.

My bride and I married thirty plus years ago, and we met for a second time in 1986 when I was home on HARP duty for the Navy. She was 21 and going to Valley City State College and working as a swim team coach. The first time we met was when I was in sixth grade, and she was in fourth grade roller skating, but she does not remember.

Our romance was swift and scary since she had just divorced after being pushed into her first marriage and we married less than a year after meeting for the second time having survived a long distance relationship.

During our dating and marriage, we have lived in North Dakota, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri. Along the way, we had a daughter and son who we are very proud.
I am a retired US Navy and spent most of my career in the submarine force. Since retiring, I have worked with equipment service companies doing everything from turning a wrench to managing service delivery and sales to providing service delivery solutions for large companies. I will never retire but will slow down and do what I want to do.
So, you have some history about where I come from and who I come from so from here we will continue with additional stories in no specific order.

WIll you retire or slow down and do something you like?

Thanks for stopping by and its great being fifty plus going on fifteen.
J

Less Than Thirty (30) Days – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

I am en-route to Denver for client meetings, and I have put together most of what I need to blog while traveling since there is no way to open and use a laptop. I do love my Fire tablet since it is faster and more flexible than my old Android. What is on today’s list to blog?

Less than thirty (30) days to go before my little girl becomes a bride and many emotions and memories hit me as the big day comes closer. It only seems like yesterday when I held her for the first time in my arms, taught her how to ride a bike, took her to the emergency room, coached her first softball team, and the list goes on and on.

My children had to grow up as part of a military family, and once I retired from the military, I have traveled much of my career. In many ways, I feel I shortchanged my kids, but at the same time, we were able to keep my bride of thirty plus years home for much of that time. These were the cards dealt.

Since my kids were born we have lived in Georgia, South Dakota, Iowa, and for the past 12 years in Missouri. I always thought that this would make them more socially outgoing since with relocation comes the need to make new friends when you relocate. I was wrong in some aspects but accurate in others.

We relocated to Missouri 12 years ago since my daughter was going to Missouri State University and my employer wanted me to take over corporate management responsibilities. I believe this was the best decision we could make since the area we lived in was transitioning into a retail sector which would limit our kid’s futures.

My daughter worked with and for me at my prior employer as she went to college, and after she graduated, she ran our equipment purchasing, installations and sales support areas since she could not find an opportunity in her field of study. She moved on to use her skills with a local company after an investment group bought our company.

For years I heard how she could not find a guy that met her expectations, etc. and guess what, she did about the same time she transitioned into her new position. Of course, mom and dad told her that would happen but what would we know.
They have selected a beautiful venue near Brandon Missouri where the get married in a giant treehouse, and they have a winery and brewery on site. The package negotiated includes reception, meal, drink to a set limit, DJ, and a skinny road that allows only one car at a time.

The wedding is in mid-September so the trees will be full but not turned, and we do have the option to use the outdoor wedding area of need. Decisions, decisions.

The plane landed in Denver without incident and after a broken luggage carousel and eating for the Hertz bus, I picked up the rental and checked in early. My first client meeting went well so now I need to dig into training after dinner.

My daughter called, and it looks like we are canceling the appetizer for the wedding since we Re under the reception meal attendee max, and we are still trying to figure out motels, vans, and who knows what else.

Under 30 days and all seems to be going as well as possible. We are all excited for the day and to get the day over. The honeymoon location is Hawaii since the hurricane wiped out St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and today there is a hurricane heading for Hawaii. The lava flow has already impacted where they are staying so I hope the storm misses the islands.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on about my daughter and her wedding.

Do you have any new wedding or honeymoon comments?

Just finished dinner at the hotel and had some excellent trout and tasty mushroom soup. Best head up to the room and get some work done. I love being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Have a great one. J

Hotel Coffee Blows – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

I am flying back to my little piece of paradise in the Ozarks of Missouri, and one of the great mysteries of life is why I pay the premium for a motel room, and the coffee is at best okay.

I don’t care which motel I stay at, the situation never changes. The little packets of coffee in the room are not robust but only convenient. I must ask why they skimp on coffee.

This week I stayed in a slightly upscale motel in the Denver metro area that hosts meetings, conferences, and other events. There were multiple pools, a gym, and professional space.

The motel also had a full bar with decent house wine and restaurant with delicious food. Unluckily, the coffee was only adequate in the room, and the cup I grabbed in the restaurant was not much better.

Yesterday, I had many conference calls before meeting with a client and quickly burned through the two bags of coffee and two creamers. On the way to the client meeting, I could only think of a good cup of coffee.

I fought Denver traffic through construction zones drinking a bottle of water and was fearful about exiting the freeway and purchasing a cup of coffee since I could experience delays. I needed to get to my destination before fulfilling my need.

I pulled off into the Boulder Colorado area for my meeting, and there was a national chain coffee shop, so I thanked the stars above and ordered a medium cappuccino with almond milk, and I was in my heaven. I preferred to get coffee at local coffee shops but was desperate.

I had my coffee fix so headed to the client and believe we had a substantial meeting although another cup of coffee would have been nice. Oh well, there is always later.

Today, I repeated the process of getting a cup of coffee but this time went to the restaurant, and the coffee was better than the motel room but still did not meet my urge requirements.

I drove to the airport sipping on my okay cup of coffee fighting traffic again and watched each exit pass by wondering if there was a good cup of coffee nearby if I stopped.

I did not stopped and stopped at a convenience store to top off the tank and smelled the coffee they had and decided to hold out until I arrived at the airport.

First I returned the rental followed by boarding a full shuttle to the airport that dropped me off at the airport to deal with long lines everywhere. My new roadblocks to coffee were check-in and security.

I made it through the gauntlet and boarded the train to the terminal so I could make it to gate B95 which as far as you could travel without being on the tarmac. I walked off the train and seen a sign for coffee one level up, so I was almost there,

My phone buzzed with a reminder that a conference call was starting, so I had to stop and dial into the conference call not more than fifty feet from another national coffee chain.

The conference call was non-accomplishing (as usual), and I was finally able to get in line for coffee, so it looks like I was not the only person experiencing coffee withdrawal.

I was next in line, and my phone rang, and I had to take the call. I tried to push the caller to get to the point but it was not happening so I told him to hold while I ordered my coffee patiently waiting for my first taste.

I was half paying attention to my call as I waited for them to call my name for the medium cappuccino with almond milk and finally it was in my hand. I took a sip and thought to myself, victory.

I completed my call and with coffee in hand started walking to gate B95 with the starting point being gate B1. As I walked, I passed two national chain coffee vendors, and at each one, the lines were long with people wanting a fix.

As I passed gate B80, I noticed the plane was going to my hometown of Jamestown North Dakota so I stopped to see if I recognized anyone and I did not. The one thing I did realize was that almost everyone had a cup of coffee so it must be a geography thing.

I am now on my flight, riding in economy seating with barely padded sheets and the flight attendant is now distributing drinks and what are now considered snacks.

I will ask for a cup of coffee with two creams, and I am sure the coffee on the plane will be no better than the coffee at the motel. I guess my next blog can be about commercial flying and airports which I compare to going to Walmart.

What are your thoughts about motel coffee?

Thanks for stopping by and its great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

J

Surrounded By Cat People – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Happy hump day. I just boarded a flight for Denver to meet with a couple of clients and I am sore from of all things bowling last night. I have not been bowling for ten plus years and between the broken laces on the shoes and the ball with holes that were not drilled to fit I knew it would be an exciting night the first time I rolled the ball.

How did I end of bowling? Well, my lovely daughter volunteered me to accompany her to a cat rescue event where they are using the proceeds to build an open footprint cat sanctuary in the Ozarks to accommodate hundreds of homeless critters. Yes, we are suckers for critters that need help.

I said yes weeks ago since I was not traveling this week but plans change, so I ended my workday, rushed to pick up my little girl who hits the age of 30 this year and made our way to an old but clean bowling alley. En-route I attempted to get some tacos at Taco Bell, but I gave up since they were slow at taking and filling orders.

We met with the organizer who runs the non-profit, and she assigned us to a bowling team with all of them being more active in bowling. We had 10 minutes before we started so scanned the silent auction, and I made my way to the food and adult bar. The food appeared to be a bit aged, so I settled for popcorn and an Angry Orchard Ale for dinner. Yes, I was doing my best to fit in.

We started out the first game with five (5) on our team, and I was the second bowler, and my daughter was third in line. In baseball, you usually put the best batters up first, and in bowling, I believe you have the best first and last, so I know my place. It was similar to my ranking at home, animals and kids come first, but I earn the paycheck.

Our first team member tossed the ball which had a wicked left-handed curve, and he achieved a strike. Well, that’s hard to compete with, but I made my way to lane, picked up my ball and as I made my approach I slid and almost crashed, but the ball was on its way. The seconds passed, and luckily I did not throw a gutter ball, but I only hit one (1) pin.

My second ball in the first frame went better since I had a spare. Humbling but okay. My daughter followed, and of course, she did better than I, and our remaining teammates did better also. So I ate some popcorn, drank some ale and watched the other teams kick butt throughout the entire game.

The end of game one could not have come soon enough, and the muscle in my neck that tweaked when I slipped in the first frame was tight, so I went back to the bar and ordered a Redd’s App!e Ale just because and made a side donation to the cat paradise.

Game two started with us using the same order, and our first bowler had a spare. I followed, and I had a spare. Things were looking up as all team members were doing well. As we proceeded through the frames, I was able to cobble together some strikes and spares to be within ten pins of our left-handed rock pitcher which was a win for me. Yes, I am competitive.

The silent bid winners and raffle winner were named, and my daughter was a happy camper since we contributed to a cause she supports. I am canine oriented but enjoyed my time surrounded by cat people. Perhaps I am a closet feline supporter, but I won’t tell.

We packed up, and I drove myself home after dropping off my daughter and who is waiting at the door? Scrappy, Roxy, and Desi Lu my canine pack and boy did I get a look of betrayal since I was supporting a feline cause. So we went out back and tossed some toy remnants around, and all was good.

By the way, Desi Lu figured out how to use the doggy door in the past 24 hours so she had to show off how she could use it and of course we used treats to aid in learning so what does she want each time she comes in? A bone of jerky but I can live with this problem.

I had a great time surround by cat people, donated to a good cause, and was able to smooth over my canine pack with some love, exercise, and treats. An excellent night for sure.

What causes are your passion?

It’s excellent being fifty plus going on fifteen. Have a great one and thanks for stopping by.

Jay