Wander project more of us

The pictures today focus more on the 365 challenge pictures, in particular, the last few (13) days of that challenge. The post today deals with the transition we made as a family from Cincinnati to Greenwood Indiana. Less than a year after the twins were born we decided that we needed to be closer to the family. The first year of the twins was hard; we had also undertaken to build a house and moving. In May of 1999, we decided that we were going to move back to Indiana. I happened to get a job, that afforded us some level of support for the move (paying for the moving company and a lot of the expenses), so we took the job (it was in the same company just a different city). The previous year while in Cincinnati Ohio, I was working for the worst boss I have ever worked for, so for me, it was a chance to start over, and to get away from that person.

We drove around Indianapolis for three weekends looking at houses. The kids stayed at my mom for two of the weekends. My wife and I knew what everyone wanted, and we were looking.  We found a house that we both liked, and on the Monday after that weekend called the realtor. She told us that unfortunately, the house was no longer on the market. We decided to make an offer anyway. The seller accepted our offer, and we were moving! That house we bought remains the longest house we’ve lived in during our entire 27 years of marriage. Nearly ½ our marriage and nearly half the Bean’s life was spent in that house. The twins lived there for more than ½ their lives. That will change over time; aging does that.

We moved to Greenwood in October 1999. We landed in Greenwood, and I was off to Chicago. I worked in downtown Chicago for most of the next three years. Now, when I was gone, my wife had family near. One of my sisters lived just down the street from us. My other sister and parents lived just 40 minutes away in Bloomington. Driving to Chicago nearly every week was a tough process. I did have some local clients over the years, that was always good.  But for the most part, I was working in Downtown Chicago. My wife was introducing the Twins and The Bean (although the Bean had been before) to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo. We were members for many years while in Greenwood. Things were settling in for a long stay!


family historian

Wander project A poem

Beneath a blue October Sky.

The color around us changing

as the red falls from the sky

to litter everywhere.

Covering everything

in pausing

tin ears hear the

sound of

a struggling locomotive

an engine

needing tuning can you hear the roar?

or perhaps just wheels

clinging tight too the tracks the roar muted by the lost leaves that flutter away to fall


as they crush

the red beneath.

I hear the sound

but it is nowhere to

be seen.

No trestle

no tracks

just the sound of quiet

as the leaves fall

and the Mighty Monon is no more.

Sandler Boggs

(national poetry month)

Wander project more of the story of us…

(Pictures are of Lake Lemon in Indiana)

We realized once the twins were finally home (after the second visit to the NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) that it was time to move. Our home in Western Hills (a suburb of Cincinnati Ohio) was well, not big enough. There were two cribs in the master bedroom and officially no floor space to move around the room. We decided that it was time to move. We had, the summer before considered moving, even putting in an offer on the house, but our house didn’t sell. We took the plunge this time dumping our savings into buying the new house and hoping the old house would sell (it did, but it took five months after moving). We listed our old house with a Realtor in June, knowing that our new house wouldn’t be finished until August.

We found a new neighborhood just north of where we were. Called Mt. Airy (and still in the greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area) it seemed like the perfect neighborhood. We decided (after Kindergarten) as well to enroll the Bean in an alternative school. But that is another discussion. We worked with the builder in designing a home that would better fit what we needed. The living room and dining room were going to be turned into a playroom for the twins. We had gates on both sides, so the boys had space to move around, but couldn’t get anywhere near the two sets of stairs in the new house (down to the basement in the kitchen, where my office was – shocking I know my office was in the basement where it remains today).

The house was three levels, the basement having my office and a room for the furnace (and a pool table). The main level had the living room (now playroom) the garage, the kitchen, and a family room. We turned the family room into a home theater/space to relax.  Out the kitchen, there were sliding glass doors that led to a patio. The patio had a basketball goal on one end. We added a pool to the backyard the next spring.  The upstairs of the house had the bedrooms and a laundry room. My wife wanted the laundry room on the same level as the laundry creators. It was a smart idea.  That reduced the number of trips up and down the stairs while doing laundry!  We also got lucky and now had great neighbors all around us. Plus we had room to spread out and actually enjoy.


Family Historian

Wander project more of us less cowbell!

The first year after the twins arrived was difficult. The twins spent two weeks in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). That was one of the worst, most helpless weeks of my life. My wife’s life as well. We were bound to two creatures, loved them with all our hearts, and it wasn’t guaranteed they would ever come home. They did, only one of them was sick with a  very rare infection that happens, well rarely. We were back in the hospital for another ten days. What had been bad before, was worse the second time, Now we had one baby at home and the other still in the hospital. The month after the birth of the twins in a time forgotten. A blur of activity, working, coming home and rushing to the hospital.

The twin survived that infection but came home to a pic line (set in their shoulder so that the nurse could come three times a day and inject the antibiotics into his tiny little system). The screaming was horrible. I missed one of the injections, as I was at work but was there for the other two, and it was awful. We found out who was in our corner at that time. There were people that not only were there but stepped up. The Bean took her little new brother and made them feel special. The twins godparents were beyond amazing. My parents and my wife’s parents were supportive and there for us. My best man, was there, helping and supporting. We were able to survive that first crisis because of those people.

We had friends as well, people that were supportive. The person I was working with at that time, was an incredible friend who helped as well. We will never forget who was there for us then. They are beyond a doubt the people that shaped us as people forever. The first two months after returning from the hospital and going back and then finally being home were and remain a blur. Without the help of the people I listed we would have probably gone off the deep end. I got parental leave the second month the twins were alive. It was a chance to bond with them and connect. That connection is something we still have today, and I enjoyed it, I think. As I said, that time remains blurry other than the faces of the people that helped!


family historian

Wander project more of us and images of Oz

The straight to digital, never touching paper pictures are always straight. I wanted to post a few because as I delve deeper into the reality of old pictures scanned, the number of pictures that are caty whompus increases radically. In part because the scanners were frustrated, having to scan pictures day after day after day. The rule is I share them, as is, as scanned. If I want to use them for something else, I fix the angle and presentation. But I don’t do anything else to the images. Share everything you take. Eventually, something will stick! I call it the family history project spaghetti method. Throw up enough pictures, and someone will find something, of value.

Today’s pictures come from a business trip taken by me now more than ten years ago. I would say that the trip was amazing, it was. But it was a long time ago as well. I took a lot (more than 200 in fact) pictures of the Sydney Opera house for my father. Dad had worked for Macquarie University in Sydney for a summer. During that time he took a lot of pictures of the Sydney Opera house. Well, a lot of pictures for the days of film cameras. I think I have 15 slides or so my father took of the Opera house from various angles. It is truly a beautiful building, and 20 years later when I was in Sydney, it was still beautiful. I wandered around the city and saw the Opera house from some angles.

The gardens that are on the hill above the Opera house are also amazing. Walking around the entire Opera house, seeing all the shops and restaurants, and walking through the Park behind, is roughly 2 miles. Part of a very long day of walking we undertook while in Sydney. You can uBer, or Cab and see the world but there is something special about walking around the city. Anyway, the digital pictures of that trip, are all mostly decent pictures but none are sideways or upside down. Scanning 55,000 slides, pictures, and album pages result in a lot of things scanned without regard for composition. There was no scan with intent to share by the scanners. The intent to share was by me!


Wandering the images of yesterday

Wander project more of the story of us…

Like any group of people in this world, there were ups and downs. In 1997 late in the year, we found that we would be having the second child joining us. We had been trying to add a child for about a year, but we started late with the child thing, so there was some risk. I had to go to Toronto for a business trip and missed the first appointment with the doctor. My wife, after five years of being in the Advertising world, had decided to come home and take time away from work. I wished her luck and headed off to Canada. I was in a five-day class learning new technology. I got out of class the day of the Dr. Appt, and there were actual paper messages for me, at the front desk of the company office and the hotel. They were all simply my wife saying: call home,”

She asked are you sitting down when I reached her. I lied and said I was. I was standing at the time. She said, “we, are having twins.” I wish I had been sitting; I ended up landing on the floor. That was the beginning of what was to be the most difficult 18 months. In part, because we were convinced that the twins were suffering from a rare disorder (the internet is no place to figure things out sometimes) called twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Or TTTS, they didn’t, by the way, have that, but it made for a difficult first month knowing we were having twins. Based on our original guess, but also more on Doctors orders my wife went on bed rest during the 14 weeks. She stayed on Bed Rest from week 14 to week 33. Week 32 was our goal (fully formed  to lungs)!

It was a really hard time. I was working with a local Cincinnati Customer so not traveling. The Bean, barely five years old was taking care of her mother every day. I would come home after work, make dinner and take care of my wife until the next morning. The Bean covered the time between when I was gone. Cutting carrots and celery for her mom until I got home. My wife is a very active person, she doesn’t like being sick, and she hated Bed Rest. But, it was for the twins, and they were important. We stayed in that state of bed rest and fear for 18 weeks. On the 32nd week, the Doctor was concerned that my wife’s bed rest wasn’t enough and she was put in the hospital for enforced bed rest. That was the worst week of my life. I had to drop off, pick up and take care of The Bean solo, and still take her to see her mom (she was really worried). I had laundry, cooking, dishes and of course I was scared to death. The Sunday, one week after she was put on Hospital bedrest she called me and said, I am having contractions. I called our dear friend to watch The Bean and rushed to the hospital.


in the land of pictures scanned upside down

Wander project more of us, less cowbell!

We had moved, from Bloomington Indiana to Cincinnati Ohio before our wedding in 1991. Cincinnati would be our home for the next nine years. During that time my wife’s parents lived in Hot Springs Arkansas. The first couple of pictures are of the back deck at my in-law’s house in Hot Springs Village. They would later move to Florida and then end up back in Indiana. But that is another story. Today it is the story of a young couple starting. Just married, and then a little over a year later the Bean arrived. We moved from Fairfield, a far suburb of Cincinnati to Maineville. Mostly we were moving to save a little money. We wanted to buy our first house, and we weren’t able to save much living in Fairfield. That part of Ohio was more expensive than Maineville was.

We then moved to Western Hills and would live there for nearly five years. Our last house in Cincinnati was in Mt. Airy. But for now, we were in Wednesday Hills. It was in one of the restaurants we would go to on Friday night that we found that the Bean loves fried pickles. She still does, to this day. We didn’t always go out on Friday nights, but we did from time to time, Sometimes it was Saturday night that we would go out, that for some reasons. Our house in Western was a Dutch Colonial built around 1933. It had a rose garden (well three rose bushes) on one side of the house. We had awesome neighbors on one side of us and awesome neighbors across the street. The other side neighbors were very angry people, and their son would flick cigarette butts into our yard by the swing set the bean used to play on. But that as well is another story.

We added a metal shed and a wooden playset to the backyard later. The original swingset in the yard was a metal swing set that was unstable and leaned. We tore it down and replaced it with a wooden swing set. I would like to say, the swing set I built with help from a friend, which we did, but it leaned as well. Not as badly as the metal swing set did. But it had a distinct lean in its platform. I am not very good at building things. Still, it was nice to have the shed and the wooden playset in the backyard. Our first dog joined us in Fairfield. He tore up the carpets in the townhouse (a lost deposit). Blackie lived with us until we moved to Western Hills. He nipped the Bean and ended up being adopted by a family that lived on a farm.

Wander project more of the story of us…

Images of the twins and other bits of the past. In the middle of the scanning project, we switched to scanning pictures. As the 28th anniversary of the beginning of us came and passed (the 15th of October was our first date) I shared a little of the difficulty in the beginning. We had confused my mother before lunch and had suffered the horseradish incident, as it is now called. We had decided to get married at the end of that week. As we wandered into our first fall as a couple, we started with the engagement ring. Both of us, at that point in our lives, had been married before. In both cases there was financial, and ultimately I suspect bad match issues that meant there had been no engagement rings for either my ex-wife nor had my then finances ex-husband had not purchased engagement rings.

I won’t waste time on either ex’s they are exes for a reason. We, my finance and I wandered to a local jewelry store to find the perfect engagement ring. Perfect meant that she loved it and that it would fit into our overall budget. We moved in together starting December 1st of 1991. That was the last time; I felt I was alone in the world. The last time I had to worry about where I was going or where I would be. We actually in November 1991 started planning. My then fiancé now wife, and I wrote down our dreams. Funny, but there is only one dream we had then that we haven’t met yet, but only because that was our last dream we had created then. To retire together somewhere. We haven’t retired yet so that one is the only unmet dream.

We had some material dreams that we met fairly quickly in the early parts of our marriage. There were other dreams that were a little harder, longer. One was to have children, in particular, we were planning on two (ended up via fate with three more) more children. The Bean arrived first, and for five years we wandered through life with the Bean. The twins came later. But the first five years with The Bean in our lives was a special time. The worst thing that happened in those early years was The Beans illness. The Staph infection that landed us in Children Hospital, a week of balancing beginning careers and taking care of a sick kid. Not, a week that had many happy memories. Other than The Bean recovering and the birth of a tradition. When the Bean is sick the movie, Free Willy was popped into the VCR. The first time by me, every other time by the Bean herself.

It means I am sick. The Bean.


family historian,

wander project the story of us (continued)…

Continuing the story of us I started a couple of days ago. Roughly ten days after we had finally started officially dating (I had been dating someone casually, and had asked her if she was interested in a serious relationship. She was not. About three or four days after that my wife and I started officially dating). Two funny things happened in the early days of dating. The first was the infamous lunch. Infamous because in between breaking up with the previous girl and starting with the new girl, I didn’t tell my mother. The lunch was with my mother to meet this new person in my life. To start, my mother thought it was someone else. That made the initial start to the lunch a little awkward. My mother is amazing; my future wife is also amazing, they were both able to quickly adjust to my error.

The second funny event that happened was my father’s doing. The Wednesday lunch with my mother and my new girlfriend was followed by a Saturday dinner at my parents. My parents were having a party, and at lunch, my mother had invited us to wander out to the farm and join the party. My future wife, new girlfriend was fine with that. We wandered out to the farm. My father was in the kitchen cooking. My father didn’t like my ex-wife. I found out after the fact he didn’t like her. He decided to test this new person to see if she would be a good fit. As we walked into the kitchen of the farm my father, who was cooking, asked my future wife, then girlfriend if she wanted to try something. He gave her a spoon full of fresh horseradish as a test. She managed to swallow it, and polity asked for a glass of water. She passed the test.

The last funny story involves a week after the party. On the Sunday after my parent’s party, we had attended a wedding of a friend of my then girlfriend, future wife. That week around Wednesday I decided that this was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I began writing and planning an elaborate proposal. I was going to take her to the Carillon Towers of Indiana University. One of the most beautiful on campus and propose. I decided to do this on Saturday evening after we had dinner out. We got in my car and got on Walnut street heading north. The Carillon tower is located on the far side of the campus of Indiana University. I was nervous but had my proposal printed and in my pocket. As we prepared to turn on 17th street, my then girlfriend looked over at me while we were turning and said: “we should get married.” We never made it to the tower, and I didn’t ask her to marry me until our 10th anniversary. That was 28 years ago, October 1991.

The story of us that as we!

(10 days after our first official date we were engaged).


Family Historian

Wander project the Moon song…

I will not say it happens often, but from to time, I wonder not with the pictures, but the wander is not related to the pictures shared in any way. Today is such a day. I would mention in passing that the pictures today are of the twins when they were tiny. Funny, they are not tiny any longer. First of all, as the parent or one of two parents I should say with multiples, it is vastly different than a single child. Our daughter came to the world, to borrow from the song, in the usual way. She was a baby that slept through the night fairly quickly. I remember creating the moon song to sing to her each night. I recorded it and shared it on my podcast (you can listen to me singing “The Moon song” here). Every night I would sing the Railroadman’s Lament (500 miles) and then the moon song.

The moon song changed every day, as I would tell my daughter what the schedule was for the next day in the song. I later adopted (with my daughter’s permission) a variation of the song for the twins.  Sometimes when the kids were older, I would start to sing the Railroad Person’s Lament (I made the song title PC). The twins or my daughter would say, “dad stop, I am not tired.” The song 500 miles and the Moon Song had, for our kids become synonymous with time to sleep. It still to this day will get the I am not sleepy response. Even though the tiny children that it worked on years ago, are long since gone. It is sort of like the other forbidden activity in our house.

My wife is reading books to the kids in voices. “mom, do it without the voices” they would always say. Of course, my wife would just do it with more voices then. Funny the things you remember sometimes, I guess that is why we have to share!, Do you read books to younger people using voices? Or do you sing songs to them before they head off to sleep? I know a lot of people read to their children I guess I am curious how many people read in character voices. I never knew what all three little pigs sounded like until I heard my wife read the book. I am still not sure that is actually what they sound like, the three little pigs, but I am sure that is what my wife thinks they sound like!


family rememberer