Awards and Other Stuff

March 2nd, 2015

Let’s talk about “other” stuff first.

As we are preparing to move from our Lafayette house to the newly acquired house in Benton County, Indiana, we have a lot of sorting to do. Margaret and I have been going through file cabinets, bookshelves, other shelves, drawers, and boxes. Many of the boxes had been stored in the basement, some since we moved into the Lafayette house over 12 years ago.

Our efforts are aimed at disposing of stuff including papers that we neither need nor want any longer. Items like receipts for merchandise that is far to old to return, is no longer under warranty or is no longer in our possession. In some cases we are disposing of warranty information on such items. Then there are the manuals for things we no longer have. We don’t need any of these things and are getting rid of them.

Of course we are finding a lot of items that are no longer working and there should be no hesitation in tossing them in the trash. Sometimes the hoarder in me just does not want to let go of an item even if it is no longer functional. Maybe some component is usable for a different purpose. Maybe there is just a fond memory connected that I feel I would be disposing of along with the item.

We keep reminding ourselves that stuff that has no value will be clutter in the new house. But how do you define value? If we have not used an item in a long time, does that mean we will not have a use for it in the future? There is more than monetary value. There is the value of memories such as found in the hundreds of photos we have in albums or loose in envelopes. Photos of ourselves from out respective childhoods and later years. Photos of family members who are no longer among us. Photos of friends and family members who may or may not be people we get to see frequently.

And now about the awards.

In my sorting I have come across a few items that were, supposedly, meant to honor me in some minor way. I’m not a military veteran so there are no purple hearts or other such acknowledgements, nor should there be.

There is one little trophy statue that was “awarded” to both Margaret and me. It has a replica of a 1957 Chevrolet atop a tall pedestal and “2012” on a much shorter pedestal. The label says “Best of Class” and names the event: 5th Annual Cruzin’ On the Colfax Bricks. We had just acquired the Think City electric car and thought it would be fun to enter it into this small town event. The statue, if that is what it should be called, is made entirely of plastic except for the nuts and bolts that hold it together. So, I guess we were the ‘Best of Class’ at the event in 2012. I just don’t know what class we were best of. Electric car? Probably, but it could have been small cars or blue cars or plastic body cars or — well, who knows what? But did we really win this trophy? You see, I found out that there were 48 entrants in the event that year but the sponsors had 50 trophies to award. How could we lose?

Another trophy I found was awarded to me over 40 years ago. It is a four inch high bowling prize. I was on a team which managed to come in second in the league due to the fact that the scores were calculated using a 100 percent handicap. We had a young woman who was a very poor bowler (even worse the I was) at the beginning of the season. She improved drastically during the season and we benefited greatly from her handicap combined with her improved bowling. I had very little to do with our coming in second place.

In my file cabinet I found a few acknowledgements for having perfect attendance at my last pre-retirement employment where I was a security officer. There were also a few letters of nomination for Officer of the Month. Each month the command staff of each of the three shifts would nominate an officer to be considered Officer of the Month. Then one of them would be chosen as the Officer of the Month. I was nominated four or five times and received the honor twice.

As a new year began, there was a vote by all the employees of the security team to choose an Officer of the Year from the previous 12 monthly Officers of the Month. The second time I was Officer of the Month was for February of 2007. It was a shared honor as six other officers were nominated for the same shift. This was because all of us were present when a major snow storm hit the area and we were asked to stay over because the officers who were scheduled to come in were unable to do so. It was nice to receive the honor but, frankly, I don’t think I could have made it home, so why not stay over? That year we, the February Seven, jointly won the Officer of the Year honor. How could we lose when we practically had the other Officers of the Month outnumbered.

Last, but by no means least, is an award received by me from my wife on our sixth anniversary. She awarded me the Husband of the Year award. This certificate lists all of my wonderful characteristics that make me such a great husband. Do I sound a little full of myself? It’s not my fault, I’m just going by what was said and implied on the certificate. Actually, there is one thing that disturbs me about this. We have been married for over 24 years and I keep wondering who Margaret honored with this award the other 23 years.

What are the Odds?

February 16th, 2015

I recently received an invitation to an auto dealership to compare a number that was on the invitation with a number they had on display. If the numbers matched, I would be the winner of a brand new automobile. Just for accepting the invite and showing up within the allotted time period, I would be guaranteed a gift card worth $20 for a national chain store. The store is one that I like and do make an occasional purchase from. I could not lose on this deal.

Or could I? Read the rest of this entry »

My Forty Year Dream — 2006

January 5th, 2015

Chapters one and two of this true story are told in my blog articles: “My Forty Year Dream — 1967” and “My Forty Year Dream — 2002”, respectively. This is the third chapter.

My third attempt to follow my dream of descending to the depths of the Grand Canyon and out again was planned better than the first two tries.
First of all, I had decided to make the descent from the North Rim instead of from the South Rim and then continue with the ascent to the South Rim. This was a bit more of a challenge due to the longer trail and greater distance of the North Rim descent.

I engaged the help of my brother Donn who had moved from California to Kingman, Arizona, just a year or so before this try. I had purchased my camp permits in advance via mail and had them at the ready when it came time for the adventure. My trip was planned for September of 2006. The earliest I could apply for the permits was May 1 of that year. That is the day I applied as I wanted to be sure to get the permits I needed for each campground I expected to stay at. Read the rest of this entry »

My Forty Year Dream — 2002

December 15th, 2014

In the first chapter of this saga I mentioned my failed marriage to Alvernia. That was the first of two failed marriages that I participated in. The second was to Judith and it lasted considerably longer the the first.

Judith and I married in 1973 and in the mid-seventies we moved from Illinois to Arizona. We never lived as close to the Grand Canyon as I had in the sixties and my time was spent looking for gainful employment. When such employment was found, my time was spent maintaining it, which left little time for me to even think of hiking down into the Grand Canyon.

As was true in the sixties, the employment I could find in Arizona was not as good as I could hope for back in the mid-west. Judith and I soon returned to Illinois without ever attempting the great hike. After a decade and a half, marriage number two faded and I found myself unattached again.

The good news here is that this made me available to try again and to test the “third time’s the charm” theory. Read the rest of this entry »

A Better Man

September 30th, 2014

Today is September 30, 2014. It is an important day for me because it was on September 30, 24 years ago, that Margaret had nothing better to do so she married me. It was a lovely wedding. How could it not be with Margaret as my bride?

Twenty four years is a long time but sometimes it seems like it has only been 24 minutes — 24 minutes under water. Just kidding, of course. It truly has been 24 wonderful years.

Wonderful, but not perfect. Read the rest of this entry »

My Forty Year Dream —1967

August 18th, 2014

The state of Arizona held an appeal to me from the first time I passed through it in 1961. That had happened as I hitchhiked from Chicago to Los Angeles. Even so, while over the next five years I had lived in several places including a Los Angeles suburb, Dallas, and Chicago (again); as well as in some smaller towns and cities, I had not lived in Arizona. In 1966 it was time to give life in Arizona a chance.

My life had included a marriage to a woman named Alvernia that lasted for 20 months before my bride decided that her life was not going as she wished and she moved west to Los Angeles — without me.

But it was the draw of Arizona that nagged at me and I decided to move to Flagstaff in May of 1966. This move from Chicago took place on the rails. This was about half a decade before Amtrak became the country’s passenger rail service so I believe it was the Super Chief of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe that provided my ride. Read the rest of this entry »

The Opposite of Left

August 4th, 2014

What is the opposite of left?  It is right, right? But the opposite of right is wrong, right?

So if the opposite of right is wrong and the opposite of wrong is right, and the opposite of right is left, then left and wrong must be synonyms. Right? Before you question how your favorite breakfast roll got into this mess, remember, that is a different spelling.
So are left and wrong synonyms? They are, according to many neo-conservatives, but this is not meant to be political, so the non-political answer is no — I think? Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Do Pretty

July 21st, 2014

I’m a reasonably intelligent man. My IQ is greater than my weight — in kilograms.

I can often figure out things that need to be figured out. Sometimes when working on a project, I’ll make a mistake. That’s okay since making errors is a human characteristic. So, if I do make a mistake, I simply regroup and find the error, then figure out the correct action and do it. Soon my project is back on track.

Of course I have my limits.  I don’t know much about any of the sciences except the very obvious things such as gravity. Push something off the table and it will go down to the floor. Read the rest of this entry »

The Nail and I

June 16th, 2014

It was more than one nail. In fact, there were a number of them and they always came in pairs. But I was able to attack them one at a time.

But I’m getting ahead of my story. Not really, this is just my way of introducing a flashback. Now flashing back about 5 years.

A maple tree (or maybe it was an oak) in our front yard had wandering roots that specifically liked to find cracks in the sewer lines from our house to the city sewer lines. This caused a lot of problems as the roots blocked the sewer lines which backed up the sewer stuff to the house. That’s going the wrong way so something had to be done. Read the rest of this entry »

My Missing Muse – The Sequel

June 2nd, 2014

Oh where, oh where has my little muse gone, with apologies to Septimus Winner.

Oh where, oh where has my little muse gone.
Oh where, oh where can it be.
It used to provide ideas for writing
And give inspiration to me.
Read the rest of this entry »