Sunday, September 25, 2016

Well, it has been some time since I made an entry here.  Actually, more like felt like making an entry here. 
It is September, 2016.  The Packer and Badger football seasons are in full swing.  the Brewers finished at the bottom of their division as is their custom. And I have yet another new job.  Actually, I've been at this one for almost a year now.  My relationship with Systems Control ended amicably, but, alas, on their terms, not mine.  I was receiving unemployment compensation form Michigan, which was a total of 24 weeks.  I looked very diligently, of course, for something new, but who was going to hire a fifty-nine-year-old for any reason? I was concerned for losing the unemployment compensation as I was not getting offers, even very few interviews, for that matter.  So, I went to an agency that advertised for openings in our local paper (yes, I even searched hard copies as a source!).  I turned out is was for a local food processing plant.  And, as it turned out, it was for a position other than that for which I actually applied and interviewed, a packager.  It would have been equal to the amount I made on unemployment.  I supposed I could endure this job until I turned 62 and "retire" early.  That was the initial plan.  Well, I was hired as a Quality Control Technician, Pre-weigh for $3.50 per hour more than originally stated.  My job was to pre-weigh ingredients for large batches of varied prepared food items.  These large batches were 1,000's of pounds.  I weighed odd weights, such as the last 13 pounds of the recipe, but in many instances, tens of times.  It was physically demanding work, especially for a fifty-nine-year-old.  I worked a split shift - 1:00pm to 9:00pm.  I truly hated this job, but was grateful to God for it every day I had it as it was a decent bridge toward our retirement planning.

Eventually, by the grace of God, I found another CAD position.  This time with MI-Tech Services.  And, of course, I get to commute, this time to Fond du Lac.  There is a good side to this.  I am within 30 minutes of our granddaughters, which I have been able to utilize on several occasions.  Anyway, this "new" (to me) company designs power distribution systems, that is, overhead and underground electrical systems to homes and businesses.  I do the drafting the designers draw by hand and include their designs from their word documents that specify everything needed ad each point - pole, transformer or pedestal.

While all this was going on, I have been witness to the demise of our great nation.  We have a lame duck president, Barack Obama - legally, Barry Soetoro - who hates us and our country to the point where he has ignored the laws and our Constitution.  He apologizes at every chance he gets to other nations regarding our past leadership and exceptionalism.  And, as of right now, we are in the throes of a political season never before occurring.  Both major candidates are highly disliked by their own party loyalists, Hillary Clinton (yes that one) on the democrat side and Donald Trump (yes that one) for the republicans. Their first debate will be tomorrow.

With this America-hater as our president, we have, by his design, been divided greatly.  We have multi-millionaire football players claiming "oppression" and refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  We have a group of professional riot organizers going to any city where a black criminal is shot by police and doing what they're paid to do.  We have this president now paying 100's of millions of dollars to our "former" enemies as ransom for politically held prisoners.  We have a presidential candidate who lies about lying and does it to Congress under oath that she does not believe.

We need God's grace as a nation more than we ever have, even more than our founders did. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


On my recently-celebrated sixtieth birthday, my wife made a list of sixty things you may or may not know about me.  As is her custom, she is inclusive.  She wrote a similar list for our thirty-five-year-old daughter, our twenty-two-year-old niece, herself, and is working on one for her eighty-six-year-old mother and our other daughter.  I told her I was going to attempt such a list about her, mostly because she said non one else would.  Keep in mind that I have known her for only about 2/3 of her life and that anything referred to before our meeting is from her very own telling to me, or by her parents.  So, here goes:

1.  Sherri is an excellent map reader.  This is a good thing for me as I am a geography major.
2.  She truly loves young children.  She doesn't really consider her job a drag because of it.
3.  Sherri and I have almost the same inseam.
4.  She has become a very knowledgeable football fan.  Also good for me.
5.  She has become a good cook and likes to experiment.
6.  Sherri is a very good financial budgeter.  We don't have much, but, boy she uses it wisely.
7.  She is a good vacation planner.
8.  I have never been leery about her driving, even though she prefers me to do our couple driving.
9.  Sherri has lost the use of one eye due to a botched retinal reattachment surgery in 1979.
10. This eye surgery occurred while she was pregnant with our youngest daughter.
11. She had very heavy eyebrows until part of the way through freshman year in college.
12. Sherri is one year and eleven months older than I.
13. She is not excited about Valentine's Day or Sweetest Day for us as a couple. Another good for
14. We both have never celebrated the Hallmark-made Grandparent's Day.
15. Sherri was a 2nd place all-city tennis player at a young age (10 or so).
16. She suffered some sexual harassment when working for the local movie theater in high school.
17. Retrospectively, Sherri missed some good high school experiences because of her infatuation
      with a boy.
18. She married her college sweetheart.  (so did I).
19. She has a good sense of humor and has really nurtured it since having been around me all this
20. She still laughs at some of my jokes that she's heard forever.
21. She doesn't care to see the world.
22. Sherri doesn't like flying all that much.  It's not fear, just dislike of the entire experience.
23. She's not interested in ever taking a cruise.
24. Sherri occasionally likes to take "the scenic route" on our trips.
25. She's a good ice skater.
26. She's a good roller skater.
27. She ALWAYS over dresses for winter activities.
28. Sherri has coached cheerleading, but only one sports team with a fellow teacher in her first
       teaching year.
29. She is generous to a fault, ask our son-in-law, Nathan.
30. Her memory is amazing.  If you need to know the birth date of a high school friend, just ask.
31. She is a loyal friend.
32. She usually listens to the suggestions I make regarding her wardrobe choices.
33. She stills asks if she thinks I might be able to fix something, knowing I most likely cannot.
34. Sherri can get addicted easily to computer games.
35. But, just as quickly, can tire of them.
36. She doesn't mind dirt (soil).
37. A dusty house is not a bother to her, to a point.
38. She loves the sun.
39. Sherri will attempt to get a decent tan every summer.
40. She never really wanted a mini van.  We settled for a couple of station wagons instead.
41. She is a saver, to a point.
42. Sherri likes the idea of a rummage sale, but
43. dislikes the time it takes to price and organize all the crap.
44. Sherri likes to play board games.
45. She never sits idle.  She's always doing something.
46. She really loves to do projects with pre-schoolers, especially our granddaughters.
47. She hates drive-throughs.
48. She almost never calls in food delivery orders.
49. When we were dating, Sherri wore tight fitting clothes and very short skirts, and wore them very
50. Sherri ran games at two of my company picnics and got paid for it.
51. She was the driving force in seeing to it that our daughters were excellent students.
52. Sherri doesn't care for baseball.  It's too slow moving.
53. She was a cheerleader in grade school and high school.
54. Sherri was in a musical in high school.
55. She's been wearing glasses since about the second grade.
56. Sherri's favorite thing to teach her pre-schoolers is "Jesus Circle". 
57. She doesn't like driving at night.  She isn't afraid of the dark, she just doesn't like to.
58. The only real "critters" she's frightened of are snakes and
59. mice.
60. Sherri wanted more children.  I said no and we settled for quality instead of quantity.
61. Sherri had many pets as a child, but we had only gold fish, hermit crabs and one cat as parents.
62. She likes movies, but not going out for them as she generally considers them too expensive.

Well, there you have it.  Let's see if her list stacks up to mine.  Anyway, happy birthday to my best friend and the love of my life, and many more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


As is my general practice, it has been some time passage between posts.  My latest employment is progressing at a normal rate.  I have completed my "required training" at the corporate HQ and manufacturing facility and now am permanently ensconced in my recticle in our Pewaukee office.  Only five of us occupy the space at present, but there is space for six more, including an engineering assistant/clerical/administrative assistant.  We also have an option on the adjoining suite that, if all goes as planned, will be completely filled before the end of this decade with approximately twenty-five staff.  I pray for this to be so.

During my training, my father, whose health had been deteriorating consistently for years, but at a faster rate since the passing of my mom, passed himself.  My prayers were answered as he passed with very little pain.  Morphine is a wonder drug.  Among his maladies was cancer, a similar type that took my mother.  They even shared this.  And now they share time with our Savior.

As for the political landscape, our fearful leader is at present ducking Russia and Syria, the Congress and, of course, and as usual, the American people by lying (again) about having set or not set a "red line" of use of chemical weapons in Syria.   He warned of military action if this "line" was crossed.  Syria crossed it and the "Commander-in-Chief" flinched.  As I write this, it is the twelfth  anniversary of the attack of the United States in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, not to mention the first anniversary of the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, the latter having had no retaliation whatsoever by federal authorities of any type and the occupant of The Peoples' House is talking about beginning WW III.  God help us.

Can the Noble Peace Prize Committee rescind a prize?  If so, now is the time and this is the recipient.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


In the last post, I discussed the changes undergone in the past eight years.  One point I realized I hadn't made was that the Thursday pattern is not ended.  I gave notice on a Thursday for my last day, two weeks later, for a Thursday, just before leaving for a four-generation Florida vacation.  After that, though, the Thursday cycle is broken.  I begin my new position on a Monday.  The new position, while in Pewaukee, closer to my home, has a caveat whereby I must undergo "training" at the corporate HQ in Iron Mountain, Michigan.  This will present its own unique set of problems, beyond the obvious.

First, I need to get routine maintenance done on my commuter car before leaving for Florida.  I also need to buy some new work boots as some of the "training" will include the actual factory floor.  The company reimburses up to $150.00 for them, but, as I am an anal type, I insist on getting these before I even am informed as to when I need them, just to be prepared, to continue my habit of being a good and faithful employee.  Bedsides this, I need to get the lawn mowed and the car packed on the evening before the Florida debarkation .  In addition, I need to have my items ready for the Iron Mountain trip which will be necessary the very same day we all return from Florida, thereby causing even more stress as some of the items I will have taken to Florida I will need for Iron Mountain. So, as a n extra added vacation bonus, after having driven about six or seven hours from somewhere in Kentuckyananois, unpacking a car and suitcases, I will get to repack yet the same suitcase with different items and drive another four hours to the north.  The very thought of this makes my head hurt.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


The more things stay the same, the more they change.  Take employment for instance.  When I began my career, such as it is, I never considered how special the benefits were and how much the employer puts into them.  Leap ahead 3 layoffs and 37 years later and I now have 20/20 vision. 

Some history.  Back in the "old" days, the later 1970's/early 1980's, the economy was booming, even with very high interest rates.  Inflation was high, but manageable. Jobs were plentiful.  I was young and life was good.  A family was being raised and life continued.  Then, after time, say 25 years, the economy decides to take a crap after a global war is begun.  So, for the first time, I experience what my employer called a "layoff".  What it was was a firing.  The engineering firm for which I had been a loyal and productive, albeit highly paid, employee and for whom I had planned to complete my career, found itself "not diversified" enough to have created a varied and dependable client base and "had to let people go".  They were sorry, but, because of my high wages I was expendable.  The corporate office said so.  No offer to take reduced wages or time.  Just, Thursday afternoon sometime before Thanksgiving of 2007, good-bye and good luck.  Oh, and you don't have to come in tomorrow if you don't feel like it.  Oh, and, someone will walk you to your car after you've packed up your personal belongings.  Great, a Christmas without a paycheck.  Well, that'll be a new experience.  Luckily, my wife is a planner and gifts had been purchased months in advance.

Not to worry, there was a thing called the internet that had information about job hunting and even had posted jobs.  At this point I became familiar with the State's Unemployment Compensation bureaucracy.  I learned that in order to be paid for a week, the application had to be completed by no later than Thursday afternoon the week before.  I missed an entire week of it.  Lesson learned.  Anyway, the internet paid off and I began a new job right after New Year's.  It was a small division of a larger company, not very well managed with a limited backlog, but, things were "looking up" and "we don't lay people off".  I dug in, fixed the apparent problems I could, was a loyal and productive employee, but they were "not diversified" enough to have created a varied and dependable client base and "had to let someone go".  They were sorry, but that's what the corporate office demanded.  So, on a Thursday afternoon sometime before my younger daughter's August wedding, canned!  This time I did get my time reduced, but to no avail.  Timing is everything.  Also, at this time my first granddaughter was coming home from Ethiopia.

The internet paid off again, and in a month, I had found a third job in three years after turning fifty.  No small task.  More proof to me that prayer works.  This was new because for the first time, I get to drive in the opposite direction, to Madison.  Another division of a larger company.  Another "we don't lay people off".  "We have HUGE project out east that'll keep us busy for years".  A great Christmas party and a month-and-a-half later,  on a Thursday afternoon (I dedect a pattern here), canned, after another year-and-a-half.  Corporate blamed again.  It is now February of 2010.  I have just turned fifty-five years old.  People my age are retiring from government jobs while I search for yet a fourth in four years.  The internet sucks!  Networking, however, pays off, as again, does prayer and a friend tells me of a possibility seventy miles away.  I take a shot, talk my way into an interview, six months after my third layoff I beg for the job and assure and reassure them that a seventy mile commute will not be a hindrance to my promptness.  I am correct.

Fast forward three more years.  Being the loyal and productive employee that is my history but worried (more like terrified) of what the federal government is doing with health insurance and retirement, because the current employer can afford neither, I begin benignly  searching for "other opportunities" (again on the internet), tossing up resumes a couple every week or so, seeing if any will stick, and, bingo, a hit on May 1, 2013.  Yahda, yahda, yahda, wooing ensues and, after a site visit to the corporate office out of sate, mileage and hotel paid by them, a company with fantastic benefits offers me a position in a remote start-up just a half hour-or-so from my door, back in the easterly direction of which I am so familiar.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!  So, for the first time in over thirteen years I am in total control of my employment future and I accept their offer.  On July 22, 2013, after a long-awaited and well-deserved family vacation in Florida at our beloved St. George Island, I begin my latest and, hopefully, final job.  God is indeed good!

Monday, April 8, 2013


With being close to the middle of April, that means the deadline to file our non-constitutional tax forms are to filed.  I got mine (ours) submitted about a month ago.  It's a task I despise with all my being.  The Government (both state AND federal) take money from me (us) at some rate determined by knuckleheaded politicians to be "fair".  Then, after a calendar year passes, we are required by a non-constitutional "law," under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment for not complying, to confirm our incomes and the amount of taxes they have taken from us, on forms these same dolts have written and approved.  While doing so, we are to follow the unintelligible instructions again these same ignorami have written and approved, we are to determine whether certain deductions, exclusions, exceptions, etc. are to be applied to our being allowed to claim as valid.

Well, after a couple of hours of this paper juggling and chart surfing, I give up.  Don't misunderstand, I complete the forms, I merely submit them to the best of my ability.  I found last year that I made an error on one form and it was corrected for me, free of charge.  So, this year, with great confidence, I submitted my forms assuming errors were made as I had no confidence in my ability to interpret the instructions.  I noticed, too, that if I asked the IRS to complete my forms, they would gladly comply - for a fee of $1,000.00!   A loophole I discovered all on my own.  I saved myself about $75.00 or so in fees to TurboTax, H & R Block, etc.

This gets me to where I began.  Having already received our state tax refund, corrected to $510.00 in our favor, we decided to check on the progress of our federal return.  The IRS web site is very easy to use and very exact.  It turns out, as expected, that I made an error on those as well, not in our favor, but, still a refund nonetheless.  This was the surprise.  Not that I made the error, but that we actually receive the refund.

This, again gets me to where I began.  After all this riggamaroll, taking money from us, making us fill out forms, worrying if we owe MORE money, etc.,  they (the governments) took too much from us.  They got to use this extra money, for free.   I am just to be satisfied with the fact that I am receiving the overage as a refund.  Fine, but next year I have to claim this as INCOME!  The ultimate insult.  I long for the flat tax.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


This last Tuesday, April 2, Wisconsin held its usual spring election.  There were only two state-wide elections held, a position on the State Supreme Court and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Almost all communities also had local offices and county judgeships on the ballot.  This column is focusing on the state-wide races.

The State Supreme Court race had an incumbent running who is a string constitutionalists who, according to her own words, believes that the legislature makes the laws and the SCOW is to base its opinions on those laws.  The opponent was a Milwaukee attorney who has been in academia for a long time and has very little, if any, experience in an actual courtroom.  A no-brainer, right?  Not in Wisconsin.  Fully 40% of this state hates our Republican Governor and the Republicans in the legislature so much, they vote against anyone associated with them.  All a non-conservative candidate needs to do is convince about 10-1/2% of the voters to vote against the conservative because of those views.  This usually occurs when the liberal money backs its candidate with union dues and Hollywood money.  Luckily, this wasn't the case in the SCOW race and the real judge won re-election.

The School head was another story.  The hand-picked union-backed, union hack incumbent was opposed by a former conservative legislator with no financial backing and out-of-the-box philosophy.  So, my question is, how can the same voters who elected a conservative Supreme Court Justice turn around and elect a weak, union toady to run the most backward organization in the state?  I guess the same ones who elected a conservative Governor a second time in two years and then placed the most liberal member of Congress into the U.S. senate and re-elected a Marxist for President.

Go figure.