Achieve Your Dream But Not At The Expense Of Others

During my entire life, our society has worked towards increasing the empowerment for those that historically were not in that select group that was empowered. I am now in the demographic group that was considered to have the power, and I have always supported the idea of equal opportunity no matter what.

My idea of equal opportunity is just that, similar ability to achieve your dreams but at the same time, your ability to be a victim would decrease so the nation since you were part of the solution. To get to this point it was imperative to level the playing field was leveled, helping hands were provided, and other efforts applied to shatter the so-called glass ceiling which impacts many demographics.

So, we are nearly twenty years into the 21st century, and it has been fifty years since the 1960s when this experiment in life honestly started. As a believer in these lofty goals, I must ask what happened or even better yet who twisted great intentions into a political hammer that has split our country into so many fragments.

In less than a lifetime, I have seen so many barriers that prevented upward mobility removed and at times replaced with what appeared as preferential treatment. As demands become more militant, it is harder to justify based on historical wrongs. I must question our actions.

I maintain my belief that our actions were sound surrounding our goal of greater equality and we still have a ways to go. On the flipside, I am not clear why it is acceptable to reap the benefits of progress but scream even louder about being a victim. Being fifty plus I recently experience the gray ceiling when I lost my job, burned through my savings, and was blessed to find employment that took advantage of my skills finally.

I do not believe this is a generational thing but truly think it is the last gasp of the 1960s radical minority that has embedded itself in so much of society and knows that the clock is running out for them to achieve the desired anarchy they have promoted. Of course, I could be wrong, but I believe it is incredibly coincidental when you compare 1968 and 2018. In 1968, we the divisive politics and the Vietnam war sparked the flames and in 2018 years of divisive politics and Middle Eastern wars ignited similar flames. 

I was a child in the late 1960s but I will never forget how the media and politicians drove divisiveness and they are doing the same thing today. Again, I may be incorrect, but the feeling of helplessness is very familiar. 

So, the middle-aged white guy is complaining about how unfair and fragmented the world is, and you know what, I am because I am concerned about how politically correct we have become as a nation, and I am not sure how we are going to stop it. I believe we need to treat everyone with respect no matter who they are and there should include humanmade limitations for anyone to accomplish their dreams.

Contrary to many opinions, some limitations are not humanmade that may prevent the accomplishment of your dreams but in today’s environment that appears to be a disputed opinion with a simple solution of lowering the standards to achieve these dreams. Perhaps that is acceptable for some goals, but I want stringent standards if it is for my protection or could impact my life.

There are also unrealistic dreams that many promote such as paying employees in the fast food industry more than our underpaid armed service members, but what’s wrong with wealth redistribution right it helps them achieve their dreams. Come to think about it, communism was similar to philosophy, and we all know how that worked out. 

My grandmother, mother, and wife worked full time earning wages that were below a mans pay in a comparable career, so I am onboard with equality. I am happy that my daughters pay to a mans pay so I know we have made progress leveling the playing field. I believe we still must improve but also think it is time to stop throwing the victim card on the table.

We are not out of the woods in this area, but I am getting tired of the drama and wish people work as hard at tearing down the walls instead of building divisive fences. Of course, it is only a minority that does this, but screaming the loudest makes you heard.

  • Just some thoughts and I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be frustrating but I am impressed with the amount of progress we have made during my life.

Have a great one, Jay

Life Tidbits #7 – Submarine Life – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When people find out that I rode submarines and retired from the Navy over twenty years ago, they either say “they could never do that” or “what was it like” and I would like to provide a quick documented overview.

Being obligated to maintain secrecy on specifics, I will be able to give you a taste of submarine life and perhaps down the road I will write some imaginative stories about submarines during and after the Cold War. Service on a Fast Attack Submarine was much more fun during the Cold War than after the Cold War when excitement revolved around carrier escorts and NATO operations.

I walked on my first submarine right after it completed an overhaul period, so the crew was very green since crew turnover occurs every three years or so. We did have our veterans on board that gained experience on the boat I was assigned to or transferred from a different submarine. The early 1980s were a period that we were trying to get to a 500 ship Navy so if it floated; the submarine was commissioned.

The first time you walk onboard a submarine, two things impact you. The first item is the smell of the boat, and I would be remiss if I did not confirm there is a reason they are called pig boats (no disrespect meant for pigs). The second item that hits you is these lack of space during normal operations and less during deployments.

There were many things that most people would consider abnormal that happened on submarines but when you stick 120 plus people on a vessel 350 feet long and around 30 feet wide with berthing that only supports 90 or so it is an abnormal environment on the most normal of days.

When you arrive onboard, you must complete a pile of qualifications that you are expected to accomplish to perform your primary and secondary jobs and also earn your Dolphins. Qualifying for your Dolphins requires that you learn about all submarine systems and how to combat casualties if and when they occur. You were typically given a year to earn your Dolphins, and once you received them they were pinned on your chest, and everyone tacked on your Dolphins. I doubt this is acceptable anymore.

When underway, days were 18 hours in length not 24 hours in length and an underway day usually consisted of six hours performing your primary job, six hours performing secondary responsibilities and preventive maintenance on equipment, and six hours of personal time to sleep, read, watch movies, and be involved in ships drills. You were usually lucky to get 4 hours of sleep during the eighteen hour day, but it was better than being a Nuc.

Before getting underway, you would load stores which are the equivalent to ordering ninety days of supplies from Amazon for 130 personnel, having it dropped off on the pier, and you had to load and store everything onto the submarine. The nearly six foot high passageways and berthing areas would have canned goods stacked at least one layer high reducing ceiling height, and you would use every open space for critical items (toilet paper, dry foods, spare parts, etc.) It was always fun through cases of food at others as we were lined up from the pier, across the brow and into the boat interior to load our stores.

You knew the day and time based on the food you ate. The first week to ten days you would eat all the fresh and perishable foods. Once you ran out of new and perishable goods, you ate frozen and canned foods for many months to come. Many of these meals had colorful names such as “acid rain spaghetti”, “Nairobi trail markers,” “puss rockets,” etc., but my favorite meals were Friday lunch where we had shrimp and mac & cheese and Saturday midrats where we had pizza for Casino Night. 

Showers and laundry were always a challenge since most of the water produced went to the nuclear reactor and cooking, so you were able to use 30 seconds of water to prep to suds up and 30 seconds of water to rinse when showering. You could do laundry as needed but many times you would need to wait a week plus to wash the limited possessions you had due to water conservation. The longest we went without showers was about two weeks when the evaporator broke down, and we did not have parts to fix it. The boat was a bit ripe when we pulled in.

Submarines used a unique method of assigning berthing (sleeping) space. Racks were smaller than a coffin, and you had a three-inch tray to store everything you need for the deployment if you had your bed. If you were a junior crewmember, you would typically hotrack which is sharing berthing space with at least one other sailor where you would have half the space to store what you own and take turns sleeping in the rack. Of course, you had your bedding so it was not as bad as it could have been.

We made our oxygen, water, electricity, so it was much like an all enclosed community that was a few hundred feet under water. We also had our sewer systems, garbage disposal methods, and continuously cleaned the boat since you never knew who may pop in when you were below the ocean surface. 

A small taste of what I did for many years while in the Navy riding submarines and I do not regret the life I lived, friends I made, and experiences I had. The memories are etched in stone, and I will never forget the fun we had during angles and dangles, during on station operations, and when we pulled into port and lew off some steam. I am sure we would not have met today’s PC requirements, but we did not harm anyone that I know if.

  • So what questions do you have about submarine duty?
  • Did you experience a similar environment during your life?

I sure love being fifty plus going on fifteen and appreciate your stopping by.

Have a great one,


Can Do, Can’t Do, Won’t Do – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

The week is in the can, and it has been a challenge when it comes to Can Do, Can’t Do, and Won’t Do. I have always had the attitude of Can Do no matter the situation or odds, but this week I was challenged by many individuals with apparent goals of Can’t Do and Won’t Do.

What is Can Do?

Can Do is knowing that there are no walls that can prevent you from accomplishing your goals. You either climb over, go around, dig under or break through the wall to achieve your task.

  • If there is not a torpedo in the water, there is nothing to worry about, and there should be no reason we cannot accomplish the challenges that are in front of us.  No reason at all.
  • Can Do takes drive and devotion. Not everyone has drive and dedication, but both are contagious when you can energize those around you a Can Do atmosphere.

There are many ways to describe Can Do, and some of them include.

  • Gung Ho.
  • Eager.
  • Willing.
  • Will Do.
  • Go-Get-Em.
  • Enthusiastic.
  • Optimistic.
  • Overachieving.

I like the simple term of Can Do.

This week I experienced much Can’t Do and Won’t Do, and in my mind, there is nothing more devastating to moral than these types of attitudes.

  • Can’t Do is justifiable since the individuals believe there is a reason Can Do cannot be accomplished. In these situations, you can motivate through enlightenment, and there is the potential to turn them into Can Do believers. 
  • Won’t Do is an entirely different situation where the individual usually is close-minded and will not listen to any reasoning. When this situation occurs, efforts to motivate or enlighten are limited, so it is doubtful you will make them into a Can Do believer.

Our world would be much different if it wasn’t for Can Do people.

  • We would still be driving around in buggies if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were in charge of new product development.
  • Man would not have traveled to the moon or sent probes to deep space if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were leading our space program.
  • Immunizations would not be available if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were responsible for our health care.

The list goes on and on about how our world would be different if Can Do people did not exist, and I am proud to call myself a Can Do person.

I am going into a new week, and I will once again battle with Can’t Do and Won’t Do attitudes. I believe I will break down some of the walls and make progress, but it is still a battle I wish I did not need to wage. 

  • What are you? A Can Do, Can’t Do, or Won’t Do person? Did I miss any?
  • Do you deal with similar challenges? How do you react to these challenges?

Being a Can Do person when fifty plus going on fifteen is a good thing. I hope I never lose this desire to win, but we will see.

Have a great one and thanks for stopping by. 


Life Tidbits #6 – Growing Up A Cops Kid – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

During the 1960s and 1970s, I grew up in the city of Jamestown North Dakota which had a population of approximately 15,000 people. My dad was a cop, my uncle was a cop, and another of my uncles was sheriff in Fargo North Dakota.

You would think that growing up as a cops kid would allow for many priveledges but all and all there were few during this transitional time in the history of our nation. 

Before starting school in the late 1960s, I remember being so proud of my families law enforcement and military heritage. Many of my friends at a young age were also children of cops (COCs), so none of us had a clue about how society viewed cop kids.

I will never forget the day I started first grade at Washington School. I had a crew cut, Clark Kent glasses, and was so happy to attend my first day of class.  At noon recess, I was outside playing with some new friends that I had made when a small group of kids came up to me and called me a pigs kid.  Wow, I could not believe it and next thing you know multiple kids were beating me down.

With this one event, I started to learn many new skills in life both good and bad that I continue to carry with me to this day. 

During elementary school grades one (1) through six (6) I was able to slide one way, swerve a different direction, and typically keep a low profile although being a pigs kid would get me an occasional beat down. I was not a great fighter so customarily seen the worst of each fight, but in fourth (4th) grade I beat the biggest bully in our class, and we became friends. 

We did not have a Middle School in Jamestown but had a Junior High School. When I started Junior High in the 1970’s, all of the elementary schools fed into the Junior High School it all started over again, but now I had six (6) times the harassment. 

Most of the other cops kids opted out as troublemakers to beat the pig’s kid label, but I was in the Boy Scouts and was overall a good kid although sometimes a bit mischevious. My attitude would shift significantly in eighth grade.

On a chilly fall evening during my eighth (8th) grade year, I was leaving a Boy Scout meeting and was jumped by a schoolmate, and when I had the upper hand in the fight, his father pulled up in his car and tried to get away from the fight.  As I walked away, I was grabbed and shoved through a plate glass window where I received a six (6) inch gash in my arm that went to the bone. My schoolmate and his father left the scene as I bled out.

I was rushed to the hospital by another Boy Scouts parent and after more than 300 stitches inside and outside of the wound I was released and went home. My entire world changed in one evening and with that my persona was never the same during my childhood in North Dakota.

I returned to school two (2) days later and during first-period study hall the kid who pushed me through the plate glass window and left me to bleed out sat in a front row desk. I walked into the study hall and approached him looking for a confrontation. Once in front of him, something snapped, and he was under me begging for me to stop beating on him.  Our teacher pulled me off, and that is when I noticed I had reopened my wound and believed I had closed the issue. 

My life instantaneously changed as I transitioned from a cops kid that was one service project away from Eagle Scout to a juvenile delinquent that was on the hot seat for revenge at school and later blamed for the fight at Boy Scouts because of what happened at school following our battle. 

Perhaps it was sweet justice, but I still believe it was a raw deal. This single week in my early teenage years impacted me from this date until well beyond the day I graduated high school and joined the Navy.

The next few years were a whirlwind for me as I ran with the wrong people, made the wrong decisions, was arrested and put on probation, ran away to the Rocky Mountains, and was involved in many things I regret to this day.

As I approached the age of sixteen (16), I knew I had to do something different, or I was going to end up breaking big rocks into small rocks and gluing small rocks back into big rocks. I had worked full time since fourteen (14) and was successful but had no interest in school.

I decided I needed to join the military if I wanted to get out of town since I had no cash for college so on my seventeenth (17th) birthday I signed up with the Navy and would leave a couple of weeks after I graduated from High School. 

I thought I was good to go, but I had to contract mononucleosis early in my Senior year and missed too many days of class as I lost over 30 pounds and could barely pull myself out of bed. 

Life took another turn, and I had to transfer my records to a small school outside of town to graduate High School once I was healthy. I knew I had to leave town now, so I agreed to go into the Navy without a guarantee for specific training and reported to the Navy six (6) months before I would have graduated with my class.

Growing up a cops kid in North Dakota was interesting. It made me who I am today and if I could change anything I doubt I would other than making better decisions. If there were one thing I wish I could do over, it would be to complete all requirements to be an Eagle Scout, but that was taken out of my hands by events that were not under my control.

The nice thing about being fifty plus going on fifteen includes being able to look at life and be at ease about how it turned out.

  • What would you change in your formative years?

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 


What Happened – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When I rode submarines in the 80s and 90s, returning home after a long deployment was similar to going to a new country. You may ask why I say this and I would love to let you know why.

One of the first things I would do included watching advertisements on television, yes, you heard correctly.  Every commercial was like a Superbowl commercial because there were new products you had not seen, and the advertising strategy changed, so you watched the tube in awe.  I miss Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin. 

Imagine not seeing a movie for six months, and on your return, there were months of films to catch up on at the theaters. Your budget could not support it, but you could always catch a movie, and there were no repeats until your next cruise. These were the days of Breakfast Club, Red Dawn, and the Brat Pack.

Eating out was an adventure for your taste buds since your meals consisted of canned and instant food for months. During one deployment, we only had canned sweet potatoes, canned ham, and canned chili for our main course for two weeks. Even McDonalds was good eating.

The warmness of the sun when you hung out at the beach was incredible after months of fluorescent lighting. You had to be careful, or you would end up with burns on top of blisters which I still have concerns about nearly 40 years later. I loved Rhode Island beaches.

It was one thing cruising around on a submarine but having the ability to travel through multiple states in New England provided many adventures.  We would visit dog tracks, historical sites, street fairs, and more on any given day without repeat. My Oldsmobile 442 loved the backroads.

We ran the rapids on the Farmington River in canoes and learned this was not a good idea when we tore out the rivets that held the aluminum together, and the captain went down with the ship. We had to pay for the vessels we destroyed.

If we ran into a new area that interested us, we would grab some hotdogs and camp without tents, blankets or concern for our safety. We had many great nights just sitting around a fire and sleeping on car-sized boulders. I loved hotdogs filled with cheese. 

The backroads of New England were a ball riding motorcycles with curvey two-lane roads, limited traffic, and beautiful places to stop and enjoy life.  My candy apple red Honda Shadow loved to scream through the countryside.

I learned to eat different foods, and one of my favorite types of pizza had eggplant and anchovies on it. The Golden Gate Cafe was our favorite pizza place and had a fantastic jukebox where we would listen to White Horse, 99 Red Balloons and similar tunes.

These were carefree days where we had fun, had no concerns and lived life to the fullest. I thought those days would never end, but they did as I married, had kids and transitioned into a responsible adult.

Since those days so long ago, I retired from the Navy, raised two kids to adulthood, lived in multiple states, said goodbye to many loved pets, enjoyed a 20-year career with service companies and have been lucky enough to have a bride of thirty plus years.

During these many years, I have been amazed by the changes I have observed but continue to believe we if you reap what you sow. Recent events concern me, and I must question how we as a people and nation have become so inoculated to the events that are occurring around us.

I believe the Millennial generation will become an anchor for the nation since so many of the Baby Boom generation I belong does not get it.  We will wait and see, but I believe we are at a point in our civilization that the Millennials need to take control now before us Baby Boomers screw up more.

  • What are your thoughts about Millennials and Baby Boomers?

Have a great one and believe me when I say I am happy to be fifty plus going on fifteen and I have faith in the Millennials turning this around.

Have a great one. 


Wet And Wild At Junkapalooza – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Today we are participating in Junkapalooza which is a gigantic yard sale and flea market that is held once a year in beautiful Aurora Missouri. We had not attended this event before since this is our first year participating in this environment since my bride of thirty plus years makes and sells paracord and jewelry crafts.

We went to bed early last night since we needed to be on site by 6 AM this morning and after a rainy fall drive in the dark we arrived and set up our canopy hanging tarps on the sides to keep Renee’s crafts dry. The weatherman predicts that the rain will stop by lunch but shows that it will stop and start every hour until it finally clears.

Setting up was uneventful other than untangling tags that had become knotted from the wind, so I finally gave up and cut the strings using zip ties to attach instead. The inventory of zip ties was a genius. When we were nearly set up, a rooster crowed in the background letting us know that we were crazier than chickens to be out here at this early hour.

There are a few hundred booths out here that are genuinely selling cherished goods that may be called junk by some. I believe that we will need to rent two spaces next year and in one of the areas hold a yard sale based on what I see. We are about five minutes away from the official opening time, so I am anxiously waiting to wander around and see all the goods.

Renee (my bride of thirty plus year) continues to hang additional signs, organize her goods, and check the rain to see if we can move our stuff closer to the canopy perimeter. The rain has stopped I believe so we will give it a little more time and pull the tarps down and slide the tables out for easier access. We have come a long way in setting up since our first event in early 2018.

The official opening of Junkapalooza stated with the national anthem and a prayer. It is nice to live in the heartland of the US and after all our moving around Missouri is home to my family and I. Bring on the crowds, and I hope today is a good day for sales. We shall see.

We have a few more outdoor events to attend during 2018 and will start the winter indoor events. I believe we have outdoor activities in Republic and Willard and start our indoor events in Marshfield but cannot say for sure since Renee sets the schedule.

Next year we are signed up at Hippie Fest in Ohio so look forward to traveling and participate. We attended a Hippie Fest event in Missouri in August as a non-vendor, and we are anxious to be a vendor at the event. I am a Libertarian so I guess you may question my participation, but it is part of my legacy.

Renee is out looking at the other booths right now, and I glanced at some and saw some goods I could take and cherish until I sell later as cherished goods. We do have plenty of cherished products at home that we will offer next year, and it looks like it is time to clean them out of the house and position them in the garage for future sale.

The dogs are home fending for themselves and were confused about why we left at 5:30 this morning. I will head home to check on them a little later and return to Junkapalooza after leaving Renee to fend for herself. I need to also pick up a battery for Nate’s motorcycle today since it died a couple of weeks ago.

We survived our daughter’s wedding last week, and she is not participating in this event since she is in Hawaii on her honeymoon. If I was just married, I think I would have chosen Hawaii over Junkapalooza also, but I would have had to think about it.

Well, it is my turn to take a walk around Junkapalooza since everyone is set up so wish me luck that I do not buy anything I shouldn’t or somebody doesn’t sell me as an antique. It does make me ask how much I may be worth though, I am sure not much for this fifty plus going on fifteen but who knows.

I took my first walk around Junkapalooza and found quite a few things I am interested in, but I am homing in on some electrical pole insulators at fifty cents each and some metal buckets that could be painted and resold or made into planters. We will let the crowds roll in and see what goes on clearance.

Renee took off for a bit and once she returns I will head home to make sure the dogs aren’t throwing a party or tearing up the carpet after three hours plus away. I will probably fill the coffee thermos again so we can make it the next seven hours and hopefully on my return Renee will have made some big sales. You never know at these events but can hope.

I checked on the dogs, pulled my son’s motorcycle battery out and purchased a replacement, and when I was driving back to Junkapalooza, I noticed that Billings Missouri is hopping with a festival and there are no entrance fees, so next year we will look at Billings instead unless our current venue works out.

Arrived back at Junkapalooza and our booth has earned a total of sixteen dollars after four-plus hours so this event is not very promising as of yet. Perhaps it will pick up during the second half, but I believe that is probably not going to happen.

Two hours remain until the end of Junkapalooza and business has picked up mainly on dog leash sales, so we are in the black today if you do not take into account materials, miles, and meals. That’s okay, we are becoming smarter and planning for next years activities.

Junkapalooza results are in, and we brought in over $100, but this was not one of our most successful events based on the cost to set up a booth.  We will probably set up in Billings next year.

I always enjoy being fifty plus going on fifteen and today was no different.

Please let us know if you know of any events that would be of interest to attend. We are looking for a variety of products, many kids and pet lovers attending, much foot traffic, etc.

Have a great one.


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.


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!!


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.


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