Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cutting & drilling locks

I cut and drilled one of our storage locks today. We use a special type of lock on our units (several different kinds, actually) and they are much more difficult to cut than a padlock or disc style lock. I've cut the other locks off before, and they aren't much work at all. When you hear of storage units that have been broken into, it's usually one of those. So even though our locks are expensive (to us, we don't charge the customer), we also don't have a theft problem. What is a problem, though, is the cost involved if we need to get a lock off and we don't have the keys. In the past we usually have had to call a locksmith to come and remove the lock. That runs anywhere from $50-$60. So this should save us a little money.

Monday, December 05, 2016

The first snow (or second)

Yesterday we had the first snowfall of the year - at least for me personally. People say it snowed in Fort Wayne on November 18th or 19th, but we were in Atlanta at the time so I can't really confirm it. It didn't last long if it did.

Yesterday's snow didn't stick around long either. There are a few remnants in the grass, but I don't think it stuck to the roads at all. It was in the upper 30's and I doubt the ground is cold enough for it to stay around long.

I do have to admit that it was kind of pretty during late afternoon. I swapped the lawn mower for the snowblower out of the storage unit just in case. I did not need it. Yet.

Jane was sick on the couch all afternoon and evening yesterday. I think it may have been the bug the grandkids passed around.

I am not really in the mood for winter. But... I'm not much in the mood for anything, so I guess it might as well be winter. Like it or not, here it is.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Carols and cocktails

Last night we hosted our first-ever 'Carols & Cocktails' party. I don't know that it worked out necessarily like we were thinking, but it was a good time nonetheless.

We have been trying to think of something to host in our home for some time that wasn't "church-y" at all, but had somewhat of a spiritual flavor to it. We've talked about 'beer & hymns' or 'bible tasting and beer study' or something along those lines. You know, to try to get some people who have an interest in the things of Jesus together without it being overly religious in nature. I don't know, I guess maybe we're just too wildly idealistic and it's probably a stupid idea. On the other hand, I kind of miss things like singing old hymns and such. Not to the point that I want to go to a church that does it, but I thought a 'Carols & Cocktails' event would be a nice compromise.

So I created a public "event" on Facebook and sent direct invitations to maybe 30-40 people, but also invited anyone and everyone on my friends list as well. We ended up with daughter Carrie, our friend Mike, a friend from my work, and a couple we sometimes go out to eat with. Again, it was a fun time, and probably worked out better with a smaller group anyway, but it didn't really pan out the way I envisioned it. I was hoping for a few more people, and we didn't sing any carols. Mostly we just hung out, ate, talked, and listened to Christmas music on Pandora.

One thing I actually thought of this morning is that, unlike in the past when something like this would have happened (unmet expectations), I didn't really even think about it last night. I enjoyed the time we had and was very satisfied. It was a nice small party, and we all lived to tell about it.

The only real negative now is that we've got a ton of unhealthy food and drinks left over for Jane and I to have to feed on. Ugh. Well if I have to....

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Bonamassa day

We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend the Joe Bonamassa concert at the Embassy Theatre last night. I'd heard he was coming to town months ago, but actually thought it was going to be sometime when we were gone. Well, my coworker shows up to work last night and says something about it, then as I'm driving home I hear them play one of his songs on local radio and.... I'll be darned if I didn't get home at 6 pm, jump on the computer and buy 2 tickets! Oddly enough, there were only a handful of tickets left, but I got Section G, row F, seats 1 & 2. These are on the end of a row in the lower balcony right dead center of the stage! These are seats I try to get when pre-ordering for shows at the Embassy! It's a perfect spot.

Jane was watching the grandkids so I changed my clothes, picked up some crapola supper at McDonalds and went to Drew Carrie's. We chowed our fish sandwiches, played with the kids until DC got home around 7:30, and at 8 pm we were watching Joe B. - not having a clue this is how we would be spending our night only a couple hours earlier!

As I said on Facebook... "Thoughts as my ears hobbled out of the Embassy last night: Joe Bonamassa does subtlety very well; he just doesn't do it very often! With one pause to introduce the band and inform us the mayor called him to declare it 'Joe Bonamassa Day' in Fort Wayne, he otherwise completely assaulted the packed house with a level of speed and sound that sent hair and jaw flailing opposite and by the time skin reattached to bone you could do nothing but grin and go home. It was fast, it was furious, and it was great fun (had by all). Whew!"

Yes, the other musicians were superb as well (keys, bass, horns, drums, and 2 singers); sure, Joe can tend to drag things out a bit much at times; but he went through guitar after guitar after guitar and just blazed a constant fire of frenetic energy almost non-stop for 2 hours. And just like the first time we saw him 10 years ago, he rarely spoke at all other than a 'thank you' here and there and to introduce the band. It was pretty near a blues/rock guitar players dream.

The only real downer of the night was the Embassy itself. I can overlook the cramped seating and teeny-tiny bathrooms since it's a beautiful old place, and it was great that they added some space for concessions, but WHO IN THE WORLD DECIDED THEY SHOULD STOP SELLING ALCOHOL AFTER THE SHOW STARTS!!!!!! We weren't even an hour into it and I went out to get a beer and all I could get was water or pop. Not that I NEEDED to drink, but are you serious!?! I will have to think long and hard before I fork over a couple hundred dollars for a show at this stinking place again. Maybe that explains why people want to build a new downtown arena! I don't know, I think it's pretty piss poor for a place to charge that much money and then only offer water and sodas.

But enough about that. It was a fun evening and I'm glad we went.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Coaching crash

Well, I've decided to hang up my whistle and not renew my certificate in leadership coaching with Coach Approach Ministries.

I was notified the other day that it was that time again. They also said I hadn't taken my continuing education credits this year, but I think they're mistaken. I took a class in Findlay, Ohio earlier this year (unless that was last year). At any rate, I can no longer justify paying a fee to keep a certification I rarely if ever use.

In a way I'm a little sad, because I do like this kind of coaching. But the truth is I just don't do it enough, nor take it serious enough. I lack the confidence and emotional stamina at the moment, and I just don't see that changing a lot. Plus I'm probably just not respected enough to ever make a go of it (and rightfully so). So... it was fun while it lasted. I don't regret it and I did learn a bunch. I'm glad I did it but it's time to move on.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Drew carrie's 7th anniversary

I can't believe Drew Carrie have been married for seven years now. My how time flies. It seems only yesterday that I remember the beginning of their wedding ceremony. After the bridesmaids entered the sanctuary I went down the basement steps of the church to get Carrie. As I pulled back the curtain partition there stood the most beautiful girl in the world with the biggest smile I'd ever seen on her face. It was a glorious moment. One I will cherish til the end of time.

It was one of the finest days of my life.... walking my daughter down the aisle, performing the ceremony, and the party that ensued. You can read all about it in this post if you're interested.

Their lives have changed just a little since that time. With a daughter in kindergarten and two boys behind her, their little family has grown into the Feipel Five. Some of my favorite people on the face of the earth.

So, here's to wishing them a happy anniversary, and many more to come. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Slot cars

I've been thinking lately that I need some kind of hobby or "toy" to occupy my time (and mind). While doing some Christmas shopping for the grandkids I ended up in the aisle with all the different train sets. They looked pretty cool, but I've never really known much about trains, and that's also kind of Drew's thing. Then it dawned on me that I used to be really into the HO Slot Car tracks. So I decided to check it out online.

There is a nice website that is simply http://www.hoslotcarracing.com/. It is very informative and has what looks like just about everything one would need.

Another site I ran across has quite a bit too: http://www.rcsuperstore.com/. The slot car section had some pretty good deals, and is worth keeping an eye on.

After doing some reading I have decided that if I do go this route, I definitely want to stick to the HO style cars and track rather than the 1:43 or other larger sizes. Tomy/AFX seems to be tops in the field, which is what I seem to remember I used to have some 40+ years ago.

So, we will see. This would have to be something mostly for the grandkids because I'm sure I would soon lose interest. It's also not a gift idea. I would want to research this some more because there are some particulars that would make a big difference. Basically I just needed a spot to keep track of this, and here it is.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Last mowing of the year

Not really our house, but cool nonetheless. :)

Well I would say this HAS to be the last mowing of the year. November 26th in Northeast Indiana is pretty late. And, actually, I wasn't even intending to mow. I was going to run the mower out of gas to store it for the winter and thought I might as well mow off some grass while I did it. I couldn't believe, given the trickle of gas left in the tank, that I got about 7/8 of the lawn done. So I added a few more drops and finished the lawn. It does look pretty nice if I do say so myself.

We also finished raking the leaves out to the curb. Hopefully the city will come and pick them up now. I've heard both ways. I was a little irritated in that they always stress that we are NOT to put our leaves in the street but keep them on the edge of the lawn. I did that, and the city crew apparently drove their truck or tractor or whatever up onto my lawn and left a big tire track! So I raked the leaves out into the street this time.

The only thing I have left to do outside is get the leaves out of the valleys on the roof, clean up along the neighbors fence out back, and if I get a lot of energy someday, I need to trim some trees.

While I was doing the lawn, Jane hung the rest of the Christmas lights. She does our two bushed out front as well as hanging a big wreath on the side of the house. This year she added some garland with lights around the garage door. She also put the 3' tree in the front picture window. I am happy with the minimalist decorating.

So, that's how we spent our day today. We may go buy some Christmas presents tonight. We'll see.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving '16

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. We were fortunate to get down to Atlanta last week to see Isaac and Ricci. Thanksgiving day we stayed home and the Feipel 5 came over for lunch from around noon-2 pm. Then the two of us spent the rest of the day lazing in the basement watching football mostly.

Of course Jane worked and worked to prepare a great feast once again. As usual I was my normal slug self and slept in and napped most of the day. I did manage to make myself a White Russian (after watching The Big Lebowski last week, I had to).

Swimming Into View [sv]

We started the holiday off Wednesday night by going to see Drew's band. It was our first time being at Dicky's Wild Hare, and it was pretty packed most of the night. After working all day I then stood up from the time we arrived there until we left (around 8-midnight). The band actually sounds really good. I've said before that Swimming Into View is a "fun" band. They are ideal for parties and small venues, imho. There were lots of Drew's family and friends, and a few co-workers. We had fun.

Today it is back to the grind. Jane and I both had to work. Such is life. I imagine we will be eating leftovers for a few days, which is fine by me.

While I have much to be thankful for, for some odd reason I've been down lately. Not sure why, but I'm feeling kind of old and lazy and tired all the time. Doesn't seem like there's much to get excited about. So, you know, we trudge on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Weekend in atlanta

Me and the dogs being 'energetic.'

We spent an extended weekend in Atlanta, GA this past weekend visiting Isaac and Ricci. We flew down on United and arrived Friday afternoon. We left Monday afternoon for home. It was a nice time.

The flights were all really good. We flew out of Fort Wayne and went through Chicago both going and coming. There was a little turbulence from FW to Chicago on the way, but basically none on any of the other flights. And we didn't even have to ride the train in Atlanta! We thought we were lost, but apparently the terminal we arrived in and departed from is just right by the entry/exit. It helped that, for some odd reason, we had pre-check status so we didn't have to take our shoes off or anything. We each took one bag (I took a briefcase and Jane a duffel bag) and it took less than 2 minutes to get through security. That was nice.

Isaac picked us up at the airport when we arrived. Ricci had her last day of school before Thanksgiving break, so she gave us a ride to the airport when we left. Isaac had to work that Monday.

Otherwise, we pretty much just lounged around their house the entire weekend. Friday night we went to a little bar and had pizza for supper then we returned to their house and watched the movie 'Captain Fantastic.' It was a really good movie.

Jane and I slept in the middle room on a blow-up mattress. It wasn't too bad. Unfortunately the furnace was out all weekend so it got a little chilly in their house. I think it was like 37f outside when we got up one day. We piled 4 blankets on top of us, so I actually slept really well all 3 nights. Once we got up in the morning we had to layer and sit with a blanket, but it usually warmed up to near 60 outside during the day.

Saturday we were going to visit the Jimmy Carter museum and library, but when we arrived there was a handwritten note on the door that it was temporarily closed. That was a bit odd. So we went to Revolution Doughnuts and chowed on some yeasty goodies. Saturday night we watched a couple other movies at Isaac and Ricci's and just nibbled on stuff around the house.

Sunday we found a sports bar to watch the Cowboys game and ate while their. Isaac is maybe a bigger Cowboys fan than me. I'm glad they won. We didn't do anything Sunday night either. We actually spent the entire time doing just what Jane and I hoped to do - spend time with Isaac and Ricci, as well as Cosby and Tig (the dogs). So we enjoyed just lazing around and chatting.

Isaac finally mentioned the book that his professor/boss just finished. He is her student assistant and she was very kind to give him props in the Acknowledgment section. We were, of course, bursting with pride and we're hoping a copy of our son's name in print my be a Christmas present. :)

Isaac's name in print! (next to the end of the key)

So, that's about all I can think of. I haven't been blogging much, and am likely forgetting many details of this trip. Seems I've been too busy lately but I have no idea at what. Work is just a drag and I haven't been real motivated aside from that either. Oh well. That's all for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In on the weekend (we need a bigger world)

Jane, Carrie and the grandkids went back home this past weekend and stayed with my parents. They also visited Tanners Orchard and some other family. I stayed here because I had to work Saturday. Plus, I dunno, back home just doesn't have the appeal it used to for me.

So, I pretty much didn't do anything. Friday and Saturday night I went to the old stomp with a couple friends I hadn't hung out with in awhile. Saturday I worked from 9-2. Sunday I just lazed around the house until Jane got home. I didn't even go to church Sunday morning.

It's rare that I miss a Sunday worship service even when it's just me. I planned to go, but I wasn't feeling all that great (lingering cold/sinus stuff/hangover), and.... I dunno.... I'm just kind of not into things at the moment. We will be traveling this weekend and will likely not attend a service again. There was a time when this would have thrown my life for a loop. Sadly, it doesn't much seem to matter anymore.

I can't blame this on Trump, because I don't really even care about that. But I guess I am still a bit thrown by the seeming "empowering" of  a certain segment of society. It's like somebody's let the crazies take over. Although I realize that's just my opinion, and it's probably pretty narrow at that.

There seems to be a mounting steam that people really feel the need to speak up right now - on both "sides." Personally, I'm not interested in speaking up at all. I hear and read what some people are saying, and there's simply no point in trying to reason or argue. It's like the world is divided and we can only see one side of the divide. To try to convince someone on the other side of your side is futile - they're never going to see your side unless they're actually ON your side.

So, at best, I hope to resort to a Eugene Peterson-ish approach. A much more subversive stance. I don't want to argue; I hate confrontation; and I don't see it as my responsibility to get anyone to agree with me anyway. I suppose some would see this as a bit cowardly, and maybe it is, but I don't know of another way right now.

As a result, I'm feeling pretty small. And I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. Maybe what we need is a bigger world right now. What with technology and social media and things being what they are, maybe this idea of a super-smallish world has given us too much familiarity with one another; or given us a feeling of empowerment that might be better fit to only a few, rather than the masses.

One of the best responses I saw anywhere to the post-election trauma many people felt was from my Canadian friend Whiskey Prajer. He wrote an enormously thoughtful and tender piece about how he answered his teary-eyed daughter the day after Trump became king. I especially liked this bit...
I also said that political arguments are usually driven to polarities that simplify life in unhelpful ways. Before she was born there was a moment when I woke up to discover that Canada might, in a few days' time, not be Canada any more. The thought caused me a great deal of anxiety, until I heard someone on the radio say, "Political theory and argument exists in a realm way beyond our back-yards, and our passions expand to meet those borders. It's important to return our gaze to the window that looks onto our back-yards, and to take confident steps into the immediate neighborhood, and reconnect with the people of our communities, to keep our passions in check, and to keep our shared sense of humanity sustained and healthy."
"So make sure you have a good breakfast," I said. "Be kind to yourself. And make a point of being kind to someone else. Every day's a gift."
Yes, that is good advice. I am thankful for the good and wise people I know. I have a "window," and the view ain't half bad sometimes. Perhaps what I need is to refine my gaze, eat a good breakfast, and be kind. I will try.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The most disappointing thing

I've waited to say anything about Election 2016 until having a chance to process it awhile. I realize I am on record as saying I was not going to vote - I agreed to abide by whatever came about. I don't really know that it's anybody's business though, and quite frankly it's beside the point. But I did want to write something down for posterity's sake, and I didn't want it to be a knee-jerk reaction. So here are my thoughts on the 2016 election in which Donald Trump was chosen President of the United States and Republicans in general scored pretty well across the board.

The Voting
When I initially found out, I was pretty shocked. No, not shocked. I was dumbfounded. Blindsided. Numb. I did not foresee this happening in a million years. I wore black yesterday in mourning. I think I could have accepted just about any other of the top Republican candidates and I wouldn't have been surprised. Originally I expected it to be Jeb Bush. To think that Donald did this fair and square.... it simply does not compute in my brain.

Now, I say that not to knock anyone who may have voted for him. I am fully aware of the hatred for Hillary and the intricacies of party loyalty. I am just surprised because Trump has shown himself - in my opinion at least - to be a vile and contentious man with the maturity level of a spoiled second grader. He is not trustworthy. We know he is not going to play by the rules. Furthermore, this strikes me as almost the exact opposite of how I thought America would think and vote. I thought everyone was fed up with the ugly hand of big business lobbying and manipulating politics and running the country into the ground. Now it seems big business has gone from behind-the-scenes political powering, to literally moving right into the White House!! Boy do I feel stupid. A Facebook friend of mine (Jason Boyett) summed it up pretty well:
"Apparently everything I thought I knew about America was wrong.
Apparently everything I thought I knew about Christians was wrong.
Apparently everything I thought I knew about politics was wrong.
This being the case, I guess Donald Trump is going to be the best president we’ve ever had, and not the worst. Please let me be wrong one more time."
So for me anyway, this election isn't so much about just Donald and Hillary. And it's left me wondering if I know anything or anyone at all.

The Evangelicals
Which brings me to the second area of concern/shock/surprise: the role of evangelical Christians in this election. Some statistics indicate as many as 80% of white evangelical Christians voted for Don. Many people are crediting them with being the brunt of his swing; the muscle behind his madness; the very demographic he sailed his boat on. Again, I just do not understand.

I realize the weight of the hate heaped on Hillary in regard to her stance on abortion. I also know she has been occasioned to some serious lapses in judgment (deplorables, emails, etc.). How people can dislike her is not the problem for me. It's how these people can SUPPORT Trump! If President Obama had even thought about saying or doing pretty much anything Donald has said and done over the last 12 months he would have been run out of town. I mean, the list of detestable things Trump has said and done cannot even begin to be touched in any reasonable-length blog post, they're simply too many. And maybe it's wrong of me to think like this, but I'm not as surprised by people who don't claim adherence to the teachings of Jesus as their moral compass, BUT I AM BY THE PEOPLE WHO DO!!! The hypocrisy was evidenced almost immediately after the election in calls for people to 'finally' come together in unity. Hearing the same people who have done everything they could to oppose President Obama for eight years sounding the call toward oneness now that THEIR party is in the White House.... Well, let's just say it cast a long shadow.

Honestly, I find it sad to admit that I have lost a lot of respect for people I used to admire. I unfriended a number of people on Facebook. I know there's a popular meme going around that many don't unfriend people over politics or because they disagree. I wish I were that mature. Which brings me to the most disappointing thing for me about this whole ordeal......

My Reaction
It's no secret that I liked, and still like, President Obama. No, I don't agree with him on a lot of things, but I like him as the person I've been allowed to see and know him as. I'm also not ashamed to admit that I tend to lean a little left in my politics. My parents were democrats for as long as I can remember. I still don't understand why it is so seeminly un-Christian and even un-American to be a democrat. And I'm not even a true democrat. I've voted both ways and even third party many times. I don't claim to be a part of any particular party.

I guess I thought I was more at peace with things than I really was. I thought I was prepared to accept whatever the voters of America decided and not let it bother me or affect my daily life. However, now I'm wondering if I was more at peace with the idea of Hillary Clinton being president, than with just anybody. Not only that, but the governors and senators and congressman too.

So I felt like quite the hypocrite when I got up Wednesday morning and felt my heart sink into my stomach. I couldn't function for half the day. I'm hesitant to admit that I was even a little afraid for awhile. I just didn't think I would react so negatively. The fear was soon followed by anger and I was ashamed of myself. I had been sucked in and I wasn't even aware.

I suppose at this point I am into the grief stage of acceptance. The fear and anger are gone, and while there is still much that mystifies my little mind, I realize life will go on. But of all that went on in this election, the thing I was most disappointed in was myself. I wanted to be better than that. I wanted to take it in stride. I wanted to stand on the Solid Rock of Jesus and not be tossed about by the waives of emotion. But.... such is my life.

I know now I will get by. I don't really believe things will be as bad as many fear they will. Yet, at the same time, I'm also reminded that simply voting in an election is one of the easiest and perhaps least meaningful things we regular people can do to impact our culture. Who resides in the White House does not change anything about how I go about my life. It does not change the source of my strength or the moral compass I strive to follow. If anything, perhaps a Trump White House (or even Pence) might serve to shed some light on the difference between civil religion and that of Jesus Christ.

Things will likely be worse than some think. Things will probably not be as bad as others think. And I doubt I will ever know as much as I think I do. It's a crazy world out there, my friends. Peace out; and in.