Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moving Day....Kind Of

We spent several hours this evening moving our "stuff" from the downstairs family room and bedroom up to the upper floor. We are not moving onto the main floor just yet, but the real dirty construction work if finished and we can sleep upstairs once again.
My own bed....oh how I miss it! Tonight will be a night of great pleasure as I have a feeling the "feathers" have missed me as I have missed them.

The electrician will be back Wednesday to finish up and Bruce and Mike will be here to do some touch up painting, grout work and cleaning. We cleaned the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom of the construction dust so just the carpets need cleaning.

We seem to have had a setback in the weather of late. As I write this we are having some very light snow, but still nothing like the blizzards in the Northern part of the state. I am hoping that Spring will show signs of appearing next week.

Our courageous disaster volunteers have been doing a great job in the Red River area of Minnesota and North Dakota. We may even see some of them coming home in the next week or so if the water conditions continue to improve.

Once again....my kudos to these fine people!

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting There

Friday, the construction Kings, Bruce and Mike, had another full day. They built the stone wall that will be behind the stove/fireplace. Monday they play in the mud again so they can sharpen their cake decorating skills by practicing with an oversize pastry bag and cement. In other words, they will be filling in the mortar between the rocks and making it look "pretty".

The floor is down and has been covered so it would not get damaged. Here is a shot of it before being cleaned. It sure is dirty now, but that to shall be taken care of.

Saturday, while Sue and daughter-in-law Anna were at a scrap booking party, I grabbed a paint brush and painted the coat closet. It was a putrid green. Now it is Rushmore Stone, a color that matches much of the interior walls. Sunday I trimmed out the floor.

While I was in the trimming mood, we also trimmed out the floor in the main floor bath. That total re-do is about 99% complete.

For those of you who have visited the Ridge, you have I am sure noticed the unfinished front door that my friend Tom and I installed six years ago. It needed to be firred out and trimmed. I am happy to report that after six years...the job is done. Now the door needs to be painted. I sure hope that doesn't take another six years to complete!

Last week the guys also trimmed out the back windows that overlook the three season porch. Right now the porch is more or less being used for storage while we work on the house.

Much more was accomplished this weekend, but I will save that for another time.

Andy and his girlfriend Sarah are vacationing at a cabin in the mountains somewhere around Seattle,WA. I will be anxious to see the pictures as I saw on a website that it has an outside hot tub with a gorgeous view. They are celebrating four years together this week.

Lots more to do yet today so I had better run along.....but I do hope that you tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Red River is Doing It's Thing

As many of you know, I work for the American Red Cross and am very proud of it's mission and it's people.
It is times like this that I am especially proud of those who volunteer to rush into harms way in hopes of making a difference.
There is great sacrifice...time away from work (many times without pay), time away from family and many times, the absence of a warm comfortable bed to get a few winks.
On their own time, they spend countless hours in a classroom or in the field taking the necessary training so that they can be prepared for duty like they are experiencing as you read this.
For a week now, many of our volunteers from our chapter have been on the ground serving thousands of meals to other volunteers filling sandbags, building dikes and those that have been displaced from their homes wondering if they will have a home to come back to.
Others from our office are working in shelters and others (our Red Cross nurses) are taking care of the physical needs of our clients and our workers.
And then we have our mental health professionals. The mental health needs of those worn thin by the pressure are great.
One of our mental health professionals from our office writes a daily blog and he has captured many of the thoughts and feelings.

"Colleagues and Friends

An quick email sent out this morning around 8:00 a.m. bounced back to me, so
if you are getting a second one of these, I apologize. This is an update as
of 7:00 p.m. Thursday, March 26th.

This has been a brutal two days for the people of the Red River Valley and
its tributaries. Temperatures have been in the 20s with winds upwards of 30
m.p.h. Driving in yesterday was in snow, the last 60 miles over glazed ice.
Sandbaggers and volunteers are working 24/7 against a water that fails to
crest and continues to refuse to follow predictions; it continued to snow
all day yesterday and last night. The latest word is that the crest will
not come until Sunday and when it does it will be 2 or more feet over the
1997 levels. Optimism and hope are continually bashed by more snow, wind,
and rising water. Many remember the last floods and have discovered that
those anxieties never went away, they have just been dormant. Local first
responders often serve at personal cost to their own homes; while they are
busy evacuating others, their own property is at risk--heroes in the truest
sense of the word.

Mental health was immediately assigned to the field yesterday. Most of
yesterday was spent in the rural areas which are, for now, some of the worst
impacted areas--when and if we could get in because the roadway was still
above water. In many instances, it is the only strip of land which is above
water. I-29 south of Fargo is about 12 inches from being covered. We have
worked with assisting agencies within the federal govt (FEMA, Coast Guard,
National Guard) and local law enforcement to support local citizens as they
are evacuated by air and water. If you had told me that the Coast Guard
would be rescuing people in North Dakota driving airboats across snow
covered and packed fields and miles and miles of flooded lands, I would have
said you're nuts, but that's what we've been interacting with for the last
two days. We have also worked the helidrop areas with evacuees. Shelters
are beginning to get more people as additional areas have to be abandoned.
A typical scenario: After days of 24/7 sandbagging on an "island" of high
ground and keeping the water at bay, homeowners lose their home when water
collapses the basement walls and rises from underneath the house. They are
evaced by helicopter or airboat with a couple of garbage bags full of
clothes and the family pets--if there's not enough time for both, then they
come with the pets. And this story is repeated over and over. A
90-year-old woman is airboat evacued; she declares it to be the most
excitement she's had in the last 30 years.

Tomorrow we return to work with the Fargo area emergency operations center
to serve both staff and clients as needed. These are short days--only 12
hours each. Longer days await all of us. We are tired, but that is to be
expected, and the least we can do for those who need help."

This is a rough time for everyone involved....both the residents and the thousands of volunteers.
I am so very proud of our Red Cross volunteers who have put their lives on hold and live by the words "Service First Before Self."
I am also proud of my staff who have worked so hard training these folks so they could be totally prepared, wherever they go.

The needs are so great right now and if you are wanting to help, you can do so by making a contribution to the Red Cross. Here is the link.
American Red Cross

It costs money to provide this service and we rely on the public for that support.

Im am sorry (not really) for such a serious post, but I just had to recognize some of our folks who are working so hard to help.

Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Redneck Humor

Any time and time is perfect for a good laugh. So how about now?

I may not be 100% politically correct with this one, OH well!

Redneck Yard Swing

A Redneck passed away and left his entire estate
To his beloved widow
but she can't touch it 'til she's 14.

Redneck Cooler


How do you know when you're staying
in a Redneck motel?
When you call the front desk and say,
I gotta leak in my sink, and the
clerk replies, 'Go ahead'.

Redneck Cellar

Did you hear that they have raised the minimum
drinking age for Rednecks to 32?
It seems they want to keep alcohol
out of the high schools.

Redneck Limo

Two reasons why it's so hard to solve a
Redneck murder:
1) The DNA is all the same
2) There are no dental records

Redneck Mailbox

Who invented the toothbrush ?
A Redneck.
(If it had been invented by anyone else,
it would have been
a teeth brush)

Redneck Time Out

Did you hear about the $3 million Redneck Lottery ?
The winner gets $3.00 a year for a million years.

Redneck Weenie Roast

A new Redneck law was just recently passed
When a couple gets divorced, they are STILL cousins.

Redneck Wheelchair


Did you hear that the Redneck governor's
mansion burned down ?
'Yep. Prit'near took out the whole trailer park.. The library was a total loss too. Both books went poof . . . up in flames and the governor hadn't even finished coloring one of them.'
A Redneck Thanksgiving
(if Norman Rockwell were a Redneck)


A State Trooper pulls over a pickup on Highway 16
and says to the driver, 'Got any I.D. ?' . .
and the driver replies 'Bout wut?'

That's all folks!

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks

I am sure we have all used that expression a time of two.

I just happened to have a picture of rocks in boxes and Sue's dog Betty standing next to them. I am sure there is no correlation! :)

You may be wondering why we have boxes of rocks in our living room. Friday, Bruce and Mike will turn themselves into stone masons and will be sticking them to the wall.

Yesterday I was telling you about the new window. The guys did a real good job installing it.

It sure lets a lot of light in and should be efficient as it is actually two sheets of insulated low e glass.

The beams still need a paint touch up, but they are all up now.

We are so pleased with the quality of their work and are very confident the major project will exceed our expectations.

Stay tuned for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

These Guys Know How To Work!

Construction professionals Bruce and Mike really took the bull by the horns today and knocked out a LOT of work.
I will have pictures soon, but here is a partial list of their awesome accomplishments.
About 80% of the wood floor is down, The big 4X5'window is in and trimmed, the back windows overlooking the screened porch is trimmed and the front door is trimmed.
Besides the great work that they do, they are also very nice guys and are very accommodating. I really dislike working with people with attitudes and when possible, refuse to do so. No problem with these guys.
If you ever need any kind of work done, let me know and I will hook you up with them.

One thing leads to another and we decided to begin some minor work in the kitchen. More on that later, but please quote me on the "minor" part. I really don't want to do the major stuff like new sink and counter tops until next winter.

Spring will be here soon and I don't want to be chained to the inside working while the weather is nice. Spring and summer are short enough as it is.

My heart sure goes out to the people in the Fargo area with the latest news of the river cresting higher than earlier projections. A lot of work has to be done between now and Saturday.

One of our emergency response vehicles has been there since Sunday and we have nearly a dozen relief workers out of our office on-scene already helping with feeding, sheltering and even several nurses and licenced psychologists. These are all very good people who will be badly needed both now and in the coming weeks.

Thanks ladies and gentlemen for looking past "self" and reaching out to others.

Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Idiot Sighting

I received this from my niece, Emily...you know, the special one.

I hope you enjoy them like I did.....

> We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears
> repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did
> not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener. I
> thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one
> Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head
> and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' I
> responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, 'NO,
> it's not.' Four is larger than two. We
> haven't used Sears repair since.
> My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out
> window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25,
> so I also handed her a quarter. She said, 'you gave me
> too much money.' I said, 'Yes I know, but this way
> you can just give me a dollar bill back. She sighed and
> went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request.
> I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said
> 'We're sorry but we could not do that kind of
> thing.' The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and
> 75 cents in change. Do not confuse the clerks at
> McDonald's.
> I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor
> call the local township administrative office to request
> the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The
> reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out
> here!' I don't think this is a good place for
> them to be crossing anymore.'
> From Kingman, KS.
> My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco.
> She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal
> lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had
> iceberg lettuce.
> From Kansas City
> I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an
> airport employee asked, 'Has anyone put anything in
> your baggage without your knowledge?' To which I
> replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I
> know?' He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's
> why we ask.'
> Happened in Birmingham, Ala.
> The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to
> cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually
> challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the
> buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people
> when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, 'What
> on earth are blind people doing driving?!'
> She was a probation officer in Wichita, KS
> At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker. She
> was leaving the company due to 'downsizing.' Our
> manager commented cheerfully, 'This is fun. We should
> do this more often.' Not another word was spoken. We all
> just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights
> stare.
> This was a lunch at TexasInstruments.
> I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back
> into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't
> understand why her system would not turn on.
> A deputy with the DallasCountySheriffs office, no less.
> When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership
> to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked
> in it. We went to the service department and found a
> mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door.
> As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried
> the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked.
> 'Hey,' I announced to the technician, 'its
> open!' His reply, 'I know. I already got that
> side.'
> This was at the Ford dealership in Canton, MS

I think we are all in trouble!

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Magic!

Beth, from my office and Sue's best friend, gave me an interesting birthday present.

Ladies and gentlemen, right before your very eyes, I am going to become a magician.
Check this out!

This box of magic is going to be a blast as it contains enough stuff for performing over 100 feats of magic. My first trial will be to waive the wand over my 201k's to see if I can return them to 401k's.

Tomorrow I have a fitting for a new tux so that I really look the part....so, stay tuned.

The construction guys were here today working their magic on the beam system.

They are now wrapping the 2by's with cedar and doing a very good job. Just a few more beams and some touch up paint, and that part of the project will be complete.

Please return soon to see what I can pull out of my hat for you in another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pictures of Progress

Today is Sunday and our 34 wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? Seems like only yesterday.

I snapped a few pictures of the progress on the beams. If the guys work Monday and Tuesday, I think they can finish that part of the project.

With the lack of lighting, the ceiling color appears mauve while in real life/light, it has more of a tan-brown appearance.
I must say, the fellows do good work.
Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Great People,Food and Birthday

Friday was my birthday and we decided that it was time to get together with some family and our favorite food. We were not disappointed!

We went over to see "The Harv" and Molly and then set off to pick up a birthday cake, ice cream (fat free frozen yogurt)and our favorite Chinese food from the Hunan Garden Restaurant in North Mankato.

When we arrived back at the USS Harv, Ben and Anna were there and everyone was hungry. It didn't take long to open the clam shell food containers and start the pigging out process.

We all stuffed ourselves, and there was still food for everyone to take home for another meal.

The guys did some more painting here at the Ridge Friday. I sure hope the carpenters can complete the beam system Monday and Tuesday. There were not here Thursday and Friday so we lost a couple of more days.

If we see some visual progress next week, I will post some pictures for you.

It is a beautiful day here in Minnesota today (Saturday). Clear sunny skies and low 60's. Can't get any better than that for Minnesota in March. I hope the weather holds as I removed the 28 reflectors that line our 1/3 of a mile county lane leading back to the house. They really help navigate through the snow drifts when coming or going before we blow out the snow. Now that I have taken out the winter navigation system, we will probably get blasted!

Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

This and That

With so much going on, it has been difficult to keep the blog updated.
Here is a short attempt to catch up.

Harv is home from the hospital. He came home Wednesday late afternoon and he is doing fine.

Our construction project is moving ahead. Some of the beams are up. The guys were here doing that Wednesday. We hope to see them back Monday so we can see the progress. Lots of trim has been painted and stained. The staining and clear coating is a multi step process, so that takes a while.
I will post some pictures when there is progress. It was difficult to show the project moving ahead during the sheet rock taping/mudding and trim staining process. It is kind of like watching paint dry. I did save you from having to sit through those pictures.

Tonight we are going over to Molly and Harv's house for supper. We will be joined by Ben and Anna. We will pick up Chinese from our favorite restaurant on the way over. I see a pig-out session coming on!

That is all for now my friends.

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This Is A Test!

In my ever vigilant quest to pass along useful information, I have another item for you to look at.

It is pretty self explanatory....

Your Yearly Dementia Test

It's that time of year to take our annual senior citizen test.
Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As we grow older, it's important to keep mentally alert. If you don't use it, you lose it! Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of intelligence.

Take the test presented here to determine if you're losing it or not. The spaces below are so you don't see the answers until you've made your answer.

OK, relax, clear your mind and begin.

1. What do you put in a toaster?

Answer: 'bread.' If you said 'toast,' give up now and do something else.
Try not to hurt yourself. If you said 'bread', go to Question 2.

2. Say 'silk' five times. Now spell 'silk.' What do cows drink?

Answer: Cows drink water. If you said 'milk,' don't attempt the next question. Your brain is over-stressed and may even overheat. Content yourself with reading a more appropriate literature such as Auto World. However, if you said 'water', proceed to question 3.

3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house is made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?

Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said 'green bricks,' why the hell are you still reading these???
If you said 'glass,' go on to Question 4.

4. It's twenty years ago, and a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over Germany (If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically divided into West Germany and East Germany.) Anyway,during the flight, two engines fail. The pilot,realizing that the last remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash-landing procedure. Unfortunately the engine fails before he can do so and the plane fatally crashes smack in the middle of 'no man's land' between East Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury the survivors? East Germany, West Germany, or no man's land'?

Answer: You don't bury survivors.
If you said ANYTHING else, you're a dunce and you must stop. If you said, 'You don't bury survivors', proceed to the next question.

5. Without using a calculator - You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea, three people get off and five people get on. In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford Haven.
What was the name of the bus driver?

Answer: Oh, for crying out loud!
Don't you remember your own name? It was YOU!!

Now pass this along to all your friends and pray they do better than you.

PS: 95% of people fail most of the questions!!

I am unhappy to report that I fall into that 95% group.

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Harv Update

Since Harv is still hospitalized and terrorizing the nurses, this would be the perfect opportunity for me to take my normal cheap shots at him. Being without a computer in his room, he has no idea what I am writing about. The problem is that when they spring him, he will catch up on the blogs and somehow get back at me. Usually he just does "The Look" and that is enough to neutralize the situation.

He is feeling pretty good. The doctors decided to keep him for a bit longer so they could stabilize his blood pressure.

The Coyote Ridge project is moving right along. Bruce and Darren did a lot of painting today. They also painted the rough cedar boards for the beams. Two master carpenters will be here tomorrow to build the beams.

The guys also built the stand for the gas fireplace/stove to sit on. It is slate covered and will be grouted soon.

I will have pictures on my next post so you can see the progress.

Until then, I invite you to stay tuned for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lots Of Excitement

Lots of excitement alright, but not the kind we have grown to know and love.
Here is my story:
Sunday night we received a call at about 8:30 from "The Harv". I asked him how he was doing and he said "terrible".
For a retired salty sailor to say that, concerns were had by all. He told me he was having chest pains so I immediately did what any caring son in law would do. I told him we were busy and I hung up the phone.
Just kidding! :) Lets try this again....I did what any caring son in law would do....I handed the telephone to Sue and cracked open another beer.
Once determining the possible severity of the symptoms, we quickly changed clothes and raced to town and picked up The Harv and Molly for a trip to the emergency room.
Once there, they got him in right away and started doing every test under the sun.
At 2AM they wheeled him up to his room and we all headed home.
This morning (Monday) they ran a wire through his arm into his heart in the hospital's heart Lab and discovered that one of his arteries was 95% blocked. BINGO! They opened it up and he is now resting comfortably and expected to go home tomorrow (Tuesday). All is well.

On a non medical emergency note, Bruce and Mike did a fine job cleaning up the floors and covering them with protective paper. They primed the walls in the living room and dining room. They did a great job and it looks 100 times better already.

They had the primer tinted so the paint will cover better when they apply it tomorrow.

We are really hoping they continue the progress so we can move back upstairs this coming weekend. The real dirty work should be behind them at that point and I see no reason why we can's sleep in a familiar bed on the second floor.

I have no reason not to believe the move won't be possible as I have great faith in these guys.

Just a gorgeous day here in Minnesota as the temp hit 66 degrees today with clear sunny skies.

I do hope that you are able to tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What A Great Time With The Young Folks

Saturday night Sue's folks (The Harv and Molly),Sue and this humble writer ventured out to St. Peter to Patrick's On Third to watch "Useful Jenkins" a five member band that included our nephew Josh and our nieces husband, Travis.
Of course we had to get some pictures...you may recognize some of the suspects...Josh, Brooke, Harv and Sue.

The band started playing shortly after 10:00 (my bedtime) and it didn't take long for the dance floor to get some action.

Before the night was done, the dance floor was packed with people clutching their drinks for dear life. I also saw some people clutching each other, but that will be a different story for a different time.

Here is a picture of Brook's husband, Travis. He is on the far right.

And a few more shots....

Sue's brother Bob and his wife Molly were also there. They are nice people and fun to be around.

If you ever get the opportunity to see this band, please do. Here is a link to their site. You can listen to their material and even order their new CD if you wish. Useful Jenkins Site

There was an older couple on the dance floor the entire night...(the guy with the white beard and wife in long dress) who had a healthy attitude. While talking to Sue...He said..."Growing old is inevitable....Growing up is optional". In the words of our niece, Brooke... Yup....that saying belongs on a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

Tune in again for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Coyote Ridge Construction Update

It has been a few days since I spared you the details of our construction project so if you are interested, read on my friends.
Construction gurus Bruce and Mike have been bust mudding and taping. They finished that multi day project Wednesday and commenced sanding Thursday. Once the dust settled, they put a light "knock down"surface on the walls and ceiling. We like the look as opposed to flat surfaces.
I just received an email from Bruce saying that they would be here Monday morning to clean up the floors and prime the walls and ceiling. Then the paint and the building of the cedar beams that will encase the horizontal supports will be put up. There will also be beams that run up the cathedral ceiling. After the painting, they will install a 5'x4' window where the door to no where was.
I think they will install the fireplace hearth slate tiles and the stone fireplace backing next week as well. All of that has to be in before they start laying the wood plank floor.

So there is the update.

Tonight we are going to Patrick's On Third in St. Peter,MN to watch my nephew and niece's husband perform. They are in a band called "Useful Jenkins". They are REALLY good. We are taking Sue's folks with us and meeting more of the family there. It should be a lot of fun and of course we will have pictures for you afterwards.

The weather here today is delightful. It is sunny and in the low 50's with highs near 60 on Sunday. The weather prognosticators are telling us that we will have temps in the 60's through Tuesday. No complaints from me!

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Reputation

I received the following from someone I work with...Thanks Colleen.
It is very touching and the 90 seconds it takes to read this will be time well spent.
It really moved me, and I think it will have the same affect on you, or at least, I hope it does.

One day when I was a freshman in High School, I saw a kid from my class who was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, ‘Why would anyone bring home all of his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all of his books out of his arms and hitting him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them lying in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks! They should really get lives!”

He looked at me and said, ‘Hey thanks!’ There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would never hang out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We ended up hanging out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, ‘Boy – you are going to build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!’ He just laughed and handed me half of the books.

Over the next four years Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown University and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all of the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. (I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak!)

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great! He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all of the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech so I smacked him on the back and said, ‘Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!’ He looked at me with one of those looks – the really grateful one – and smiled. ‘Thanks!’ he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat and began:

‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through tough years: your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach, but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story…’

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told everyone about the first day we met. It turns out that he had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying all of his stuff home after school.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. ‘Thankfully, I was saved,’ he said. ‘My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.’

I heard a gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse. God put us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for Him in others.

WOW......how many opportunities have we blown over they years? A little kindness can sure go a long ways.

There goes my rugged reputation!

Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Real Life

The older I get, the more the following is true.

Maybe these thoughts should be taught in our schools.

He sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished d failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

If you agree, pass it on.
If you can read this - Thank a teacher!

Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Useful Jenkins...Useful What?

I just had to pass this along to the faithful readers of this blog.
My nephew Josh and niece's husband Travis are in a group called Useful Jenkins and I must say they are REALLY GOOD!
If you are in the area this Saturday night, join us at Patrick's in St. Peter. They will be playing there at 10pm.
Here is a link for you to check out.....Useful Jenkins

I am sure they will have their new CD available....so bring CASH!

Not much new to report on the home remodeling project. The guys have done the taping and mudding on the drywall. It is drying now and sanding should happen Thursday. So Thursday and Friday they will do the wall and ceiling texturing with the painting on deck for next week.

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eye Test

As we grow older, it is important that we occasionally have our eyes tested so we can hopefully stay ahead of problems.

I have attached an eye test for you to use. Click picture to enlarge if necessary.

Oh my!

Speaking of Oh my!

Subject: Best lawyer story


This took place in Charlotte North Carolina. A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost 'in a series of small fires.'

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued and WON! (Stay with me.)

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable 'fire' and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars that perished in the 'fires'.


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

This true story won First Place in last year's Criminal Lawyers Award contest.



Tune in again soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chili and Trim

Sunday, Sue spent a few hours in the kitchen whipping up another batch of her famous chili. With seven different kinds of beans, this is soup to die for.
When it was all said and done, she had made enough for 18 meals. Nothing better than coming home from work and having supper already prepared!

While the queen of soup was whipping up another culinary masterpiece, I was out in the workshop painting the chair rail trim for the main floor bath. I had already primed it, now it just needed it's customary two coats of paint.

All that we have left to do on the bathroom project is the floor trim and the chair rail trim above the beadboard. Once that is done, we will tackle two more bathrooms.

I do like this daylight savings time. As I write this, it is 7:15pm and it is still light outside. I may change my tune in the morning as I drive to work in the dark.

Tune in again real soon for another edition of "Now What Are They Doing?"