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!

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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?

.doc

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.

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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!

.doc

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.

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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?

.doc

Wander project why don’t Geese just go to Cancun?


A gooseneck has two meanings. One is a flexible system you can use to move around an object. The other attached a goose’s body to its head. Today, the second gooseneck not the first. The geese in our pond back then were so confident I could get close. The geese often walked up the hill around the lake. They did not often wander up as far as this goose did. He or she was quite interested in seeing what the humans were doing. It was a cold day, March, in fact, and the goose was preparing to exit with his or her brothers and sisters. In March we were no longer the destination, We were in March the waypoint on the way further north.

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Geese like colder weather and fly with the polar vortex or the Canadian Clipper south for the winter. But their south is still cold, just not as severe as the freezing air of Canda where we have a high of temperatures that don’t rise above 0. They would arrive in our part of the world in October or November, and sitting on the frozen pond would leave in March and head north. We were their winter wonderland. We were their warmer weather paradise. We were the land where the winds didn’t whip the wind chill numbers into double digits (-20 Windchill is cold). I often took pictures of the Geese huddled on the Ice of the pond, wondering why they didn’t just fly further south.

Why not to Cancun. That is what I would do given a chance. Fly south with the first snow, and stay on the beautiful warm beach, waiting for the storm to melt. I was then returning to where I had started. It seems that nature is robbing Geese of spring break. It is robbing them of Mai Thais on the beach or the chance to wear straw hats and relax on beach chairs. Perhaps they only want to fly 1200 miles, not 2000 or more miles. Or, maybe they stay in Indiana because, unlike Louisiana or Florida, you don’t have to worry about alligators in ponds. You have to worry about Alligator snapping turtles, but the move slow, and when the lake is covered in Ice, Alligator Snapping turtles are sleeping.

Why don’t geese fly to Cancun?

.doc

wander project heading home…


We were living in Thailand when my father got the news that his father was sick. I know many years later that my grandfather would then pass away from cancer. I am sure my parents told us at the time as well. I just didn’t connect the dots at the time. My dad went back to the US for a week to say goodbye to his father. I can’t imagine how heavy his heart was during that trip. Knowing that possibly it was the last time he would ever see his father.  The last time I saw my father was the Christmas of 2013. He passed away in June of 2014. Had I known in 2013 that he was going to die, I think that would have been a much heavier heart for me as well.

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My father was and is my hero. My mother is my hero, still. But knowing now what he did, getting on a plane and flying to say goodbye, that had to be so hard. I remember my grandfather’s smile. (my father’s father). I remember him more form all the pictures of him with my sisters and I. My father’s father was around a lot when I was little. I don’t remember dad struggling to sleep when he got back from the US. He was gone for seven days or maybe less. I remember him gone for a week, at least. But then I was in a routine. Early in the morning on Monday, I was off to school. Dad was at IPST every day, so I came home, mom was in the pool or the apartment.

I would get home, swim, or get home, have lunch, and then do homework. The routine was the same, with dad there or dad back in the US. I am sure we missed him while he was gone. But again, I have no memory of that. I do remember the day they told me my grandfather died. It was one of the few times we got a telephone call in our apartment from overseas. The calls back then were costly. The pictures today were taken by my father on that trip back to the US. None of them were of my grandfather, but they are of places in Racine where he and dad went while dad was there. As I said, it had to be with a heavy heart. The thing now that I remember is how much I don’t remember from back then.

But as a parent, I now know why it wasn’t made a big deal. The best thing sometimes for kids is to keep the routine.

.doc

wander project memories I cherish


I won an award at work, and part of the reward was getting sent to Hawaii. That was fine because they also said my wife was paid for as well. We stayed don the island of Lanai. I’ve shared pictures and conversations, memories, and flowers before. But this time, I wanted to share a slightly different memory. One evening we took the ferry over to Oahu. The challenge this week with all the ferry pictures reminded me of this. We took the boat over, and it was not a car ferry, just a human ferry from Lanai to Oahu. You cross for all purposes open Ocean water between the islands although, the islands do tend to reduce the overall wave size. That evening we walked around a small city on the far side of Oahu from Honolulu.

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The memory I have. However, that comes to mind is the two of us having dinner on top of a restaurant. We were one of the first tables, so we got to sit right by the edge. We were looking out over the water. We enjoyed a nice meal, a pleasant conversation, and the setting sun. Then in the darkness, rode back to Lanai and via bus back to our hotel. I remember watching the sunset that night. In the water off the shore was a cruise ship. You can see the light of the cruise ship in the darkness of the last picture. The end game here today is thinking about yesterday. Not yesterday in the sense of Friday the last day of work for a week. But yesterday, we were stretching back into time.

Starting in 1992, we took vacations with kids. There were a few times (Paris, Hawaii, Mexico City) when my folks took the kids for five days, and we were able to travel overseas. But for the most part, we went with kids. I love my kids. They are amazing human beings. But my kids are my kids. My wife is someone that I choose to spend my life with. Sometimes when I wander back, I walk to those times we got to be us. We would sometimes take a long weekend and go down to French Lick, Indiana. Or sometimes we would get a sitter (hard to find a sitter that could handle twins until our daughter was old enough and then we could more often). Those are the memories that come to me when I am pausing to think!

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wander project getting out of my own way


Four cities from my Just for Fun challenge thought I would share the pictures again. I am wandering a few things today mentally. I have a lot going on at both home and work.  Not that I can’t handle the load just that over the next few days, my time will be limited. Do you ever run into times like that when you suddenly realize you are slowly but surely losing time? I was talking to my buddy, who is styling the internet and interactions, and he talks about the time-suck. He was in a mood last night (and so was I). Years ago, we used to gather at a shop in Bloomington and read poetry late at night. I would say that the discussions we had then would solve all the problems o the big world.

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He was saying that people spend more time online now than as recently as five years ago. The measure of connection has become attractive. I know that I spend more time online than I used to and that I need to cut back. The allure of or perhaps to use the Greek, the siren call of the internet is connected. My friend and I have stayed connected since the years after college, but most of our friends back then have moved on. We compare from time to time on Facebook or via another Social Media system, but we do not spend the time we used to pay. That I think is normal as we age. We spend less time on the pursuits that once drove us. We mature perhaps.

The story of friends and the woven fabric we create becomes the story of us. We, as the eternal us, have to live with who we are. We are the compilation of the years, the friends, the family, and the time. The thins the impact us, sometimes even stop our progress for a time become part of us. I sometimes wonder within myself of the things I see. We were waxing poetic today, my apologies. Sometimes the wander project gets off the rails like today. There is no path to yesterday. I don’t have a throwback moment to lay in front of you—just the quiet reflection of where I am and what is flowing around me now. I grew up with a scientist, so the measure of number is comforting.

Today, I am wondering if the hours I need to cut aren’t from my time on the internet.

.doc