Down by the River. And Blue (insert anything here) always blue!


Day trip to Louisville Kentucky 2004.

Barb has a sense of style (I do not). So over the past 25 years she has tried to introduce color into my wardrobe. Mostly because for years I wore white oxford shirts and blue oxford shirts. Now she has introduced Hawaiian shirts, pink shirts, red shirts and any other color she thinks she can sneak past me. Barb likes colors.

Its funny sometimes. She loves bright colors. Her favorite color is blue. Over the years I have evolved (according to Barb) so that Blue is my favorite color (actually its still silver but Blue is 2nd). Everything Barb can get in a blue color is blue in our house. Except couches. In all the years we’ve been married we’ve never had blue furniture. I guess you don’t sit on blue. We’ve had blue cars (we have one now, the car Barb drives to work every day is a beautiful dark blue Mini-Cooper). Our house has no blue outside and the walls are not blue inside. But hanging on the walls of our bedroom are lots of scarves and many have at least some blue in them.


Louisville Slugger Museum Louisville Kentucky 2004.

The very first boat and second boat Barb and I bought had blue trim. (The new one does not have blue trim). We have had a number of blue cars (7 in all). The ugliest blue car (even Barb didn’t like the color) was a Neon Blue (look at the van driving geek!!!!!) Chevy Venture van. We really needed a mini-van. So we were willing to deal with the dealership and take the one they had that had the features we watned, at the price we could afford.

We’ve only had one blue van since. A Chrysler Town and Country that was a nicer blue than the Venture was but that was a few years later. For a time we moved from mini-vans to Mini-Entertainment vans. Where the back seat and front seats of the car had separate entertainment systems. We (Barb and I) could argue about the radio station to play on SiriusXM. The kids could watch a movie. The compromise station for Barb and I has always been classical!


19 of 25

Moving day 1999 and just being with some one.

In the time before05_02A digital cameras we got picture disks with our copies of our pictures. This is a picture of Sean the man that introduced me to Barb in our house in Greenwood Indiana.

Moving day, October 1999. We picked the entire family up and moved from Cincinnati Ohio to Greenwood Indiana. I had transitioned two months before so had stayed in a Residence Inn on the North Side. Barb and the kids came in October. I will never forget how organized she was with that massive move. She sat in the front yard of our new house with a clipboard and sent the movers to the right rooms with every box. The unpacking process was also Barb’s specialty. But seeing her there organized and managing that entire process was reassuring. She has done that for our family now several times, the last time when we moved from Greenwood to Gaithersburg Maryland. That move was a little larger and with the kids a little older the last move we were moving a lot more stuff than we had previously. But Barb is amazing at project management. Anyway, October 1999 about a week and a half from Halloween we moved into our house in Greenwood.


Someone’s birthday celebration in the kitchen of the house in Greenwood Indiana.

Marriage, or at least our marriage, isn’t just about the big happy celebrations like in this picture. It is about pulling together, about setting dreams and goals and then as a team driving to them. During the process of getting there we don’t always get along. We are both first born children, long story, stubborn and wanting to run things our way. But our marriage is about those small moments when we can stop and remember why we are married. Not the big flashy moments or the sometimes awful fights that couples have. Yes we have fights. But we have moments where it is just us, where we have each other and memories. 25 years produces a lot of memoires. A lot of moments that you can reflect upon and smile about. Sometimes its not about the grand gestures. The sweeping romantic things people do. Its about sitting together and watching movie. Talking the movie and discussing why the movie impacts you. Its about caring about the impact the movie has on your partner. That is the power of marriage in 25 years or more. Not that you watched the movie, but that you cared more how your partner perceived that movie.

There are movies that Barb and I have watched together that I can’t separate the movie and watching it with Barb. When Harry met Sally, Mrs. Doubt fire, even the new Man from Uncle. Those are moments that are wound around being with Barb and a treasure them.


18 of 25 (I miss counted a couple of day’s ago) April 4 to April 29 2016

Holiday World, and just about Barb…


Preparing to leave (early am) for a trip to Holiday World in 2000. Preparing when the boys were little took time.

There is a moment in a long term relationship that you move from the original relationship to a newer version of that relationship. Barb and I moved to being best friends while we were in Cincinnati Ohio. At first we had long ranging arguments that would last weeks. But as we grew over time we slowed down on the big arguments. She and I still disagree on several things, but we agree now on many more. We have a path forward, a plan. As we transitioned back to Indiana in 1999 we began a different phase of our lives. Cincinnati was the early years of our marriage. The first period. The honeymoon and the resulting changes that occur. Barb went from being a students/waitress to being a full time video producer. Barb is a kind person and it took her many years in her first “professional” job (in quotes because frankly she has done many jobs professionally, this was just the first one that used her college degree). She learned how to read the tea leaves of politics. Barb is trusting by nature, so she has to be aware of the politics around her. But I think the thing her old employer missed the most when she finally left after 5 years was her willingness to do anything to help the company. Barb doesn’t have the concept of station, she has the concept of equal. So if  job needs to be done, you might as well just get it done.


Somewhere near Holiday World in Santa Claus Indiana.

In the story of Barb that I am writing there is of course a lens, a filter that I apply. I see her through my eyes, not her own. For example the pictures used for this series of blogs are limited. Barb has an image of herself and those are the pictures she wants visible to the world. In a way (huge way) so much like my father. She doesn’t mind having her picture taken, just not posted on the blog.

But you cannot capture the full essence of a person on paper, or this blog or with a million pictures. It is the sound of her laugh. The goofy face she makes when she thinks she has pulled a fast one. The way she looks at her children (all of them) when they aren’t looking at her. The fact that she is willing and committed to helping them succeed no matter what. When Barb is on your side, in your corner, she will always be there. She will tell you when she thinks you have drifted away from your goal or gone off course. But even in telling you she will still get water out of the boat and keep you on the course you set.

She is an amazing person.


16 of 25

Disney World with a stroller, not as bad as it sounds.

The advantage of a stroller and a small child is they can sleep whilst moving about. The disadvantage of a P0000695

twin’s stroller is that it is huge. They boys, in their stroller at Disney World.

Barb loves amusement parks. So she and Jakki did all the rides that Jakki wanted to do. The boys and I wandered around parts of Disney World that were stroller friendly. We did several rides together (the animal adventure and a few of the big rides, plus riding in the monorail to and from the park to the hotel).  Barb and Jakki did every single park in the complex (the boys and I did not do the water park, we took a nap instead). At the end of our 5th day we bundled everything up and headed to the Disney Cruise. This was our first family cruise. As I said Barb is an amazing vacation planner. The cruise was simply wonderful. Barb took Jakki to the kids center the first hour we were on the boat. She said before that she wasn’t going to be at the kids center at all. We didn’t see her until we docked again in Miami. She got to hang out with other kids her age. Barb and I got to relax. You could see the exhaustion, frustration and just sheer boredom melt away from Barb on that cruise. When we hit Cast-away-Kay Barb was ready for a day on the beach. She was rested and happy!


Another Disney World Picture.

Barb was at this point no longer working. We had a wonderful person who came and hung out with Jakki and the boys 3 or so hours a day so Barb could get a break. She was volunteering at the Waldorf School where Jakki was going. She was also starting a number of craft projects. She didn’t really have a space that was her own in the house, which would frustrate her for a few years. In fact, she wouldn’t have a space that was hers in the house for roughly 8 more years. It wasn’t fair, looking back now, that I had an office and she didn’t all those years. But rooms were tight in the house. We had neither a living room or a dining room (Large Play room) until we moved to Greenwood. Greenwood was coming through. We would move just 5 months after returning from Disney World. We ended up packing the house and moving twice in 12 months. Barb wanted to be closer to my family (or any family) with the boys. I know my parents wanted us closer so I took a job in Indianapolis Indiana. We moved to Greenwood (about 45 miles north of Bloomington where Barb and I had met, gotten married and so on). The company organized the large part of that move, all we had to do was pack up and be ready to go. The house we built on Willow Cove in Mt Airy (a Cincinnati Suburb) ended up sitting empty for  year, so lucky us we got two mortgages. But we were back in the state where we met.

There is one thing after 25 years that I am still amazed by. Barb on occasion will mix words together as she is talking (Husband is often the word that gets modified). She has over the years called me Husso, Hubster, Hubba and other’s. I love that about her. She has a great ability to just be goofy at times that is wonderful.


15 of 25

Moving, planning a trip to Disneyworld, all one person.

Our play yard at Eagle Trace. It was built for when the kids were little. We later took it out. Barb there waving!DSCN0077

By the time Nick was three months old, barb was frazzled. From the initial fears of TTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) which we did not have (it was a twisted umbilical cord issue only) to Nick getting an infection just days after birth. That first year between building our house, and feeding the boys every four hours was a blur. After my month of parental leave I went to work ever day so Barb took over the nightly feedings. Every night, every four hours until they were nearly a year old. We literally didn’t do anything as a family that first 6 months. I took Jakki to the movies twice just so she could have a break. Barb took breaks on the weekends and holidays when I was home and watched the little ones. Luckily at that particular point in my career I wasn’t traveling. But Barb is a special person, she picked up that load and never complained. Ok, she complained but she also knew it was a path we choose so she didn’t complain often. It was a hard time for awhile. 12 months of lost sleep and the one really scary trip in the ambulance to the hospital with Nick.


We moved to Willow Cover in Mt. Airy in August of 1998. This is April of 1999 the limo we had pick us up for the trip to the airport for the family vacation at Disneyworld. Jakki always wanted to ride in a limo.

The boys were born in March 1998. We built our new house and moved into that house in August 1998.  We hired a moving company this time rather than do it ourselves. That was the first time we would hire a moving company. Barb tagged and organzied everything for the move. At the same time she was organization the move to the new house in Mt. Airy. she also planned, booked and organized our trip to Disney World. Including ordering the limo. Jakki really wanted to ride in a limo. Prepping twins that were barely a year old for a trip was tough. Barb was the most organized parent ever. She had go bags in both cars. We had a Chevy Venture Mini-Van and our second car was a Ford Explorer. Barb even organized the transition from Disney World the park (we stayed at the Polynesian) to the Disney Cruise line. I had to that point in my life never been on a cruise. We had the most amazing time on the cruise ship. Barb is simply the most amazing vacation arranger, ever!


15 of 25

Building a house together in Cincinnati Ohio…


Our third boat (taken yesterday) now in Annapolis Maryland.

The weeks after the boys were born were a flurry of medical issues. Nick was very sick for most of the first three months of his life. He had a pic line in his shoulder, but Barb was a trooper. We decided based on timing that I would take my parental leave about three weeks after the boys were born. Once the flurry of initial hospital stuff was over. Barb figured (and she was right) that she would be completely exhausted around the time I was going to be home so I could step in and pick things up. She was right. It was during that month I was home that we realized the house wasn’t big enough. Two cribs in the master bedroom which was small to begin with and now, even smaller. So we embarked on building a house. There were a number of things Barb wanted that didn’t make sense to me at the time she asked but later, I realized were genius. The one that puzzled me (because in my whole life I had never had this) was the concept of the bedroom floor laundry room. At first it seemed strange, but now, I can say it is truly genius. We’ve had it in three of the last four houses we’ve lived in and I think it is the best idea, ever!


Floating garden, Bangkok Thailand.

The other (of many by the way just the only two mentioned in this blog) of Barb’s genius ideas was to convert the dining room into a large playroom for the boys. We also added, based on room configuration gates at both entrances to reduce boy wildness. It wasn’t a huge house but it fit what we needed at the time. The dining room/toy room would be the same in the next house we had as well. But that is for another day. We added our first boat that spring, a Sea Ray 260 moored in Captains Cove along the Ohio River.  Building a house was fun at first for Barb and I – we really enjoyed the initial process. I don’t think we would ever do it again (although we did toy with the idea while in Maryland). It is a long process and ultimately very frustrating and rewarding. We settled into our new home in Mt. Airy. Barb was busy with the boys most of the time. She started to get restless (not getting out much) fairly quickly. Barb is a very social person so she started taking the boys to the zoo, and the Cincinnati Children’s museum to get out of the house. She doesn’t like being cooped up in the house all the time.


14 of 25

Not quite half-way through 25 years. Cold Shower anyone?


Image from our third day in or near Bangkok Thailand.

In our house on Shaffer in Western Hills (suburb of Cincinnati) we had a basement shower. We used that shower for a couple of weeks when our upstairs bathroom was being renovated. Mostly the tub and floor redone. We have never owned a house (barb and I) where we didn’t make major changes to the house. Barb was taking a shower one weekend afternoon. For some reason I realized that the vent in the dining room went straight down to the shower so I nicely helped Barb with her shower. She to this day doesn’t feel I was helping her by adding cold water to the shower process. I was just making sure she had enough water. She screamed bloody murder and emerged upstairs shaking her finger at me. We laugh about it now (22 years ) but she wasn’t very happy with me for awhile then. Actually Barb brought this story up to me yesterday. She wasn’t laughing about it when she brought it up so maybe its just me that laughs about it. She may still be mad about the cold water shower.

DSC02260Outside the grand palace Bangkok Thailand.

Barb found out there was an issue with the pregnancy in week 14. She was placed on home bed rest around week 14. (Or as Jakki calls it, home so Jakki can fetch rest). So Barb spent hours every day on the couch. She is not a person that likes to veg. She is very active. It was really hard on her. Plus she was worried about the various potential aliments the boys had. In particular she found one called Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome that explained some of the issues she had (we didn’t have that one, its really bad and results in the loss of one of the twins often during the pregnancy). We also struggled with names once we knew that the twins were boys. Jakki offered a suggestion (many times in fact) to name them Phil and Lil after her favorite TV show the rug rats. My initial thought was to name them Fred and Ed after the twins the stories that I had told my students. Barb didn’t like either of those suggestions. Dylan was our favorite boy name, but with our family tradition of O for the middle initial for males we didn’t feel we could do that (DOA being not the best initials for anyone to have). We really thought long and hard on a number of names. Finally round week 24 we settled on Nicholas and Lucas. From week 14 to week 32 we held our breath (lungs are formed by week 32 and premise have a much higher survival rate). Barb spent that entire time trapped in the house. Not allowed to walk or carry or move around at will. We spent that Christmas at my parents house, Barb sitting in their living room on the pull out sofa. On the 32 week the doctor didn’t like some of the test results and made Barb check into the hospital. She spent her last week in the hospital. On Sunday evening March 29th, 1998 she called me from the Hospital. I was home watching the kids and getting ready for the work week. Barb said its time. I had learned from the experience with Jakki that meant it was time. She also sounded scared. So I called our family friend Joan Hissing who came to the house and I rushed down to the hospital.


13 of 25