wander project the difference of time

It is a tradition in our family to go swimming. I was first in the water of Lake Ripley, Wisconsin, when I was, well I was probably in the water at least before I was born, but for sure when I was 6 or 7 months old I was in the water. I love water to this day. I was born in the winter, but unlike the old song was not born with a cold heart. It seemed only fitting then that we built a pool in our backyard in both Cincinnati and in Indianapolis (we have a neighborhood pool now, that won’t open until June this year). But to me, water is more of a part of life for me. My wife feels the same way. She loves being by and in, near, and on the water, it must be one of the things that brought us together.


Today for Caption Thursday some new fun pictures of the pool. As is my tradition, I’ve added captions. But this is your chance to create beautiful captions for the photos. Our pool was out of our back door for many years. The kids were in the pool as soon as it was opened in the spring and stayed in until the day we closed it around the end of September. They loved being in the water. They don’t anymore, but that is more the public aspect of the neighborhood pool. Swimming is an excellent exercise, but for me, I would rather walk. I can and have swum for years. I love swimming, but it is more that I love water, and I love being in the water than it is a love of purely swimming.

I guess I never really enjoyed swimming as a competition. I was in a swim club for many years. But swimming to me was a chance to be in the water. I guess it was never about winning when swimming! I will end today with my happiest water memory. It was when I was maybe six years old. I got to drive Grandpa’s speed boat for the first time, not sitting on his lap, but being the only person in the captain’s chair. I was wearing Grandpa’s captain’s hat. I felt like I was an adult. I wasn’t, but I felt like it. The feeling of driving a boat is one of those things that makes me happy. It means I am on the water. I am cruising along, and I feel like my grandfather is there, next to me!

Have fun and Caption to your heart’s content!

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental.


wander project Boating…

One of the stories my grandfather told me when I was old enough to remember was a story about me. That when I was little, he used to take me out in the boat to get me to sleep. It worked, he told me every time. I have loved being on or in the water since I was a little kid. I remember so many of the stories my grandfather shared with me over the years. One of my all-time favorites was the story of when they first moved to the Lake. An engineer that, at the time of the story, was working for Harley Davidson used to come to Lake Ripley on the weekends. He was testing his new outboard motor for boats. Harley Davidson, then, and now, makes motorcycles.


But Ollie Evinrude’s first love was boating, not motorcycles. So he would come to the Lake and test his outboard motor. Boating was a big deal in Wisconsin. There were a lot of lakes. There were a lot of boats. I also remember my grandparent’s neighbors more the wife than the husband. But I do remember Mr. Hartle taking me on his ship. He had a sun boat—one with a split windshield and seating area in front of the boat. Now more frequently called a bowrider. But when I was five, and riding in one of the first time, I was fascinated by the split windshield. How do I know I was intrigued then. Honestly, I remember the snipped as if a movie to this day.

Mrs. Hartle always had cookies! We stayed at her house when Grandpa was in the hospital for his knee surgery. Mom and dad, as well as grandma, was allowed to visit. We were not allowed into the hospital back in those days. SO we stayed with Mrs. Hartle at her house while everyone else visited Grandpa. I think that was in the hospital at Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. But I am not entirely sure about that. It is an old and faded memory that has not often been dusted off. I will end with one last story my grandfather told me. It was about the game of golf. He taught me, shared that golf was a game of patience that if you rush to hit the ball, you will untimely never get better.


wander project returning to the scene of a smell!

Memories are sometimes bound to pictures, but they are sometimes linked to smells. Today’s story was prompted by a smell I had not felt in many years, that on my walk yesterday I encountered. It was not a bad smell then, nor a bad smell now. Just one I had not run into in many years. Now that I know the garden at the end of the street has this plant, I will walk by again. I hadn’t walked that way, in the entire time we’ve lived in our part of Maryland. The smell reminded me of the plants we had in our yard in Indiana. Near the railroad bridge and the pond. The pictures today took me back to where I remembered the scent. I smelled it yesterday. And couldn’t place the smell.


It funny sometimes, you smell something, and it is an overwhelming familiar scent. But you can’t place thereof the scenes. I was prepping for the week yesterday, thinking about what pictures and possible stories to share. I usually do that on Sunday, but yesterday was a holiday, so I did it yesterday. Yesterday for those reading later was the US Memorial Day and a Monday. I saw the pictures of the pond and realized that it was the smell. The smell I encountered on the walk. For a moment, I let my discovery wash over me. It is exciting to connect multiple forms of memory into a single unified mind. It probably won’t last as I will forget the smell again.

But for today, it is fresh in my mind. There at the end of our yard. When the kids were older than little, we got a trampoline in our yard. I realize we were very strict about the trampoline. Our neighbors down the street got a trampoline recently. Yesterday as we turned the corner, I saw nine maybe eight kids jumping on the trampoline. We never allowed more than two kids at a time, and one of them had to be seated. There are many horror stories of kids breaking legs and arms because they are airborne and come down on a suddenly stretched and rigid trampoline surface. I remember banning kids from our yard because of their unwillingness to follow that simple rule.

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental.


wander project dad, be quiet we are watching a movie!

The pictures today are from the Dells, but the wander is much further afield than that. When I was a kid, we had a car that didn’t have heat in the back seat. My parents were years ahead in terms of safety. My dad had us wearing seatbelts two years before they were mandatory in cars. People had seatbelt sin cars in the US and didn’t wear them for many more years after it was compulsory to have them. But my mom and dad always made us wear seatbelts. In the back seat of that old sedan, it got cold in the winter, so we had blankets in the back seat.  Until we moved to Bangkok, then we needed air conditioning installed in the car, because you could melt into the vinyl seats.


When I was a little kid, my dad refused to turn the radio on. I remember the songs he sang as he drove. Why? Because he sang them over and over. “Detour there’s a muddy road ahead, Detour” was sun if a Detour sign appeared along our route. “Oh, the yanks are coming” was sung, no idea why it was just composed all he time. The wander today is the change in cars. When my daughter was little, we bought a mini-van. It had a DC jack in the back seat where my daughter’s car seat was going to be. I got a TV/VCR that plugged into that back seat so my daughter could watch TV on long trips. That was our back seat entertainment system for the two years we owned that mini-van.

The change over time was the move to actual in-car entertainment systems; by the time the twins were born, we needed more storage, so we ended up with a full-size van. It also had a rear-facing TV and VCR combination built-in, but now we also had plugs for a Nintendo 64 video game console. The kids never really played the Nintendo 64 while we were driving, but we did watch a lot of movies over the years. The point of all of this is that I continued my father’s tradition. I just burst out into song when I saw signs. I still stop at historical signs along the road (my dad loved to do that). I sing the Detour song. But now I get told to be quiet because “we are watching a movie.” My how times change!


wander project on the way home

In 2011 we wandered to Wisconsin Dells. I’ve shared that a few times. Today the trip home is more the focus. My daughter went to the Dells with my mom and dad, the day before the Twins, and I arrived. But she came home with us. From Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin to Indianapolis, Indiana is about a 9-hour car drive. Not quite as far as driving to Maryland. But, my daughter had her license, so on the way back, she inspired some of the highway mileage, taking the full load off of me. My wife often drives, but her rules are no rain and no snow. For those playing along at home, those are the exact opposite rules that were applied to the shared convertible we had. Then I could have the convertible when it was raining or snowing.


But when it comes to driving, she doesn’t like to drive at night, in the rain or the snow. My daughter was happy to drive some of the highway (4-lane) on the way home. We left fairly early in the morning from the Dells. There are two distinct ways to drive from Wisconsin to Indiana. The one way drives towards Milwaukee and then around Chicago. That is the fastest and the slowest route. Slowest because you never know what kind of traffic you will hit as you go around Chicago. The least amount of traffic adds an hour to the trip. The other way is to drive down the middle of Illinois and then shoot straight over around Terre Hate, Indiana. It adds an hour, but there is no risk of traffic.

We took the route with less traffic. I wasn’t going to have my poor daughter learn about driving in traffic, going around Chicago. Right before we left Wisconsin, the kids decided they wanted to stop and stock up on cheese (and I wanted summer sausage). We ended up getting more cheese that we needed, but that has become a family tradition (we did the same thing in Amsterdam – you can transport sealed food)! The kids had fun picking a different cheese for their mom (she had to stay in Indiana studying for her Master’s Degree, in particular, she was finishing up her last year and had a lot of tests)! My daughter took over driving form the cheese shop through the middle of Illinois.

She did a great job driving!


Wander project Springmill

Springmill State Park is south of Indianapolis (Greenwood) and south of Bloomington. We went often. But in particular, this time of these pictures was my parent’s anniversary celebration. My parents and I share a day (I was born on their 4th wedding anniversary).  Both of those days are far too close to Christmas, and they do sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Getting to, or the journey to Springmill State Park takes you on winding Indiana roads. The funny thing? Honestly, you drive on tiny roads, to one of the most extensive school bus manufacturing facilities in the US. School buses are not small, and they are test-driven on the winding streets of southern Indiana.


We went to the state parks often, as we do now in Maryland (except now, we can’t go to the parks). For this one, this trip, these pictures we spent a couple of nights in the Springmill Lodge. During the 1930s, there was a group formed called the CCC. CCC was the Civilian Conservation Corp, the group along with the PWA or the public works administration, actually built the Lodges in many state and national parks around the US. It was a way to get people employed, after the great US depression. Much like the Marshall plan that was used by many countries to help Europe recover after WWII. Europe offering from the same issue as had been in the US before occurred Europe wide.

The WPA and CCC built many fun things in Springmill’s state park. The most significant creation was the old Mill. Springmill was a working grain mill for more than 100 years. They still used the milled stones to crush corn many years later. Although, it took 2-3 months to replace the rocks now, and the Mill could be out of action for most of a year, waiting for a new grindstone. I’ll end with a thought, scary, but why would you ever put your nose to a grindstone? It seems silly to me. A grindstone in an old mill could weight as much as 2000 pounds. They were huge stones put on a series of connected platforms with slight intersections where the corn was dropped and the corn ground into meal.

Why is it called cornmeal when you have to cook it to have a meal?


wander project do rivers get jealous?

Near us when we lived in Indiana was Brown County state park. Near us now, the Great Seneca State Park. I sometimes wonder if rivers get complexes. The Mississippi and the Amazon, the Nile, and the Volga are all massive long rivers. But they are not called Great, or Huge. They are simply the name. Does that make them feel like they are less than rivers with high in the title? What happens when rivers get together? Do they sit at the table based on their name? Or is it the amount of water they move in a week, month, or year? How do rivers compare themselves to others? I wonder, the river that is honestly little more than a big creek, near us is the Great Seneca.


On the campus of Indiana University is a creek that runs beyond the student union building. My father used to call it the mighty Jordan River. I thought for years that he was kidding. But later on, I found out that the creek that didn’t go anywhere was, in fact, the Mighty Jordan River. It made me wonder what you have to do to move from stream to river? Is there a committee at the city, state, national or international level a committee that meets in the UN building? We have a proposal now that this tiny creek, this little dribble of water instead be named a river. Does anyone object? Does it have any heartburn from moving this from stream to creek and then river in one day?

Did anyone ask the Amazon river if it approved?

It is a question that I ponder from time to time. What politics do I need to do to get the creek behind our house in the wooded area made into a river with a brand name? Perhaps the Grand Junction John Adams memorial River. Or maybe the Muhammad Ali Cheseapeake Bay Draining Basin. Wait that raises a new question what is critical, what is essential, what is more prominent? The thing we call a drainage basin that could be ½ a continent or a mighty river? Which one gets to sit first when the rivers and watersheds get together. Do they, pans, ever take on grand or majestic titles? Like the Drainage Basin, we now know as the Grand Canyon.

Sometimes I shouldn’t be alone with my thoughts.


wander project let’s move the house

What do you do if you don’t like your neighbors? Pick up your house and move it!


Moving is interesting. I have moved many times in my life. Chicago to Bloomington Indiana was the first big move but, while living in Chicago, we moved as well. Not as far as Bloomington Indiana, but Skokie, where we lived when I was born to Vernon Hills was a good 40 miles. In Bloomington, we moved from Hoosier Country’s to Tulip Tree (both of those were Graduate Student housing) and then finally to a house on the South Side of Bloomington. Moving seems hard, but it gets more comfortable when you do it as many times as we did. When I graduated, I moved again from my parent’s house to a house on the west side of Bloomington, Indiana.

I would like to say that the house was a fantastic place to live, but honestly, it wasn’t. I ended up moving every year after that because student housing wasn’t high in Bloomington. Who needs to provide decent housing for students? Over the years, the pain of moving reduced for me. So when the time came, I met my wife and she got a job in Cincinnati, Ohio, I moved! She and I had help from our friends as we packed up our entire house and moved 3 hours away. The moving truck we rented had a broken air conditioning system. It was 90 degrees as we drove to Ohio that late night. Yes, we moved at night on memorial day weekend, arriving in Fairfield (a suburb of Cincinnati at 1 in the morning).

The next day we unpacked and then turned in the truck. Fifteen days later, we went back to Bloomington, got married, and then back to Cincinnati. We moved into a townhouse we were renting. We then walked across Cincinnati to Maineville (right by the Kings Island amusement park), and then finally, we moved down to Western Hills. Our daughter joined us when we lived in Maineville; the Twins joined us when we lived in Western Hills. Even though we lived in the suburbs of Cincinnati, all the kids were born in Cincinnati Proper at two different hospitals.

Moving doesn’t bother me anymore. Although on occasion, I miss the Shedd aquarium in Chicago!

Let’s make this comment caption Thursday – can you come up with a better caption for the photos than I did?


wander project Cincinnati Ohio

High above the city, that was where the office was. I remember that office very well. We spent nine years in Cincinnati, Ohio. My first job was as a trainer for a computer training company. Then for a while, I was a computer salesperson. I didn’t like being a salesperson overall. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I spent far too much time with the person trying to match them with the right computer. I also told a few people not to buy the machines we were selling (that made my boss at that time mad). Instead, I told them to get a different computer. I believe in trying to help people. My manager believed solely in making money and selling networks.


I moved to a helpdesk job. That was more my speed. I was better at helping people. I quickly started running that helpdesk. It was not as easy to take calls. You never know the level of the person you are talking to, are they computer literate or are they just learning? We picked up a new customer, and my boss at the new place was pleased. The issue was this was a supporting job that was helping people that were all over the computer map. There were two of us trained to support the customer, and honestly, we could be helping someone connect the computer for the very first time, or could be talking to someone that was rewriting the application.

The mistake made in our helpdesk taking this on was not separating users. Calls with struggling users stacked up, it sometimes took 4 hours or more to walk someone through the setup. It was a learning process, and at the end of it, we learned quite a few things. The most important lesson was that we needed to have a triage system and had to be smarter about helping people. We added a second number for the application evildoers to use. We integrated a developer on our side to take those calls. It was a tough time, but I learned a lot about customer service. Help those you can help. But those you can’t help, move on! Its why I asked in my tech blog about salespeople yesterday.

Do you ever call a helpdesk for computer help?

Or how I learned to hate the phone!


wander project what will you do after the lockdown?

To walk around my neighborhood, and the next block over is 4.1 miles. I measured it many years ago. On the weekends, I walk around the area twice, or around 8 miles (plus a little) on both Saturdays and Sundays. When it over 80, it isn’t the most comfortable experience.  On both Friday and Saturday this week, I sweated through my shirt! Sunday was beautiful, not getting above 68 degrees and no sun baking so quite pleasant.


The gray skies made me think that rain was possible, but during my walk, it didn’t rain. I’ve been walking now every day for six years and at least five days a week for 11 years. My doctor gave me a great warning, you can keep running and plan on knee surgery, or you can start walking and not have knee surgery. I chose to give up running and walk instead. I miss the joy of running, but I enjoy a pleasant walk with the dogs.

So Sunday, I started planning my post lockdown walks. It is 3.4 miles around the lake that is near our house. I love that trail. Dylan loves that trail as well; there are lots of deer, and Dylan fancies himself a deer hunter. So walking around the lake is the first walk when the lockdown is lifted. I’ve got three or four more lined up after that, for long Sunday or Saturday walks.

What are your post lockdown plans?