The End of the Latest Blog Series

Now that I’m back from vacation and VBS is done at church, I now realize that I am once again looking at another radical change in my life.  Change happens — you can either fight it or embrace it.  I like the familiar, but the last couple of years have taught me not to fear change.  I’ve been OK with it; at times I have even embraced it.  After one year, my start-up company is dead.  There have been talks of creating a new one.  After thinking about it, I have no interest (though I might still help those who want to continue on a very part-time basis).  God is sending me in a new direction: Teaching.  Strangely enough, I am qualified to teach at a Community College now.  I lack the in-class teaching experience most colleges require, but I have the right degree.  To teach at the High School level, I’m looking at 2-3 years of study.  To teach at a University, I’m looking at 3-6 years of study.  And while my preference is to teach at the Community College level, to do so, I would almost certainly have to move.  There are no Community College openings available where I live (and the ones around here require a PhD — they have higher standards for a more educated community).  Barb and I are OK with moving, but with one kid in his Senior year of High School, this would not be the best year.  If I pursue a single subject credential, I have a very good chance of teaching here in the Bay Area.  I can then keep an eye out for Community College openings in the area.  I am OK with three more years of study.  I like the academic life.  I could even go for my PhD and teach at the University level.  I’m sure I would have a great time, but I would be 55 when I got out.  I doubt people would hire me.  At least while pursuing a Single Subject teaching credential, I can still do layout contract work and, more importantly, I can substitute teach and gain teaching experience.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because after today, I’m declaring this “start-up” chapter in my life to be over.  I’m doing something new, and along with that declaration comes a new blog:  The New Thing.

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Yeah, Olympics

Today would be “clean the garage day.”  It was also my Wednesday morning breakfast with the lads, so I got the Porsche out and went to breakfast.  While I was away, a friend of ours (the one who stayed at our house while we were on vacation) called and said that her car had broken down.  She and her family represented four VBS helpers who could not be missed, so my wife went to get them in our Honda rental car.  The kids rode bicycles to church.  This actually worked out great because all this leaving in different directions cleared out the garage so we could work.  The work was pretty dusty, but we threw away a fair amount of stuff, sent even more to Goodwill, and created “themes.”  Now, the things we need won’t be found in three different places.  Barb and I were very happy with the results.  Also during the day, we grabbed a friend’s car (she’s on vacation in Chicago) to drive to church so our other friend could drive home.  We then took the rental to the Honda dealer and picked up Barbara’s van.  The dealership had washed the outside and scrubbed the inside.  Now that’s customer service!  I would expect this treatment at the Porsche dealer, but not the Honda dealer.  Barbara keeps eyeing that Honda Fit – perhaps we will both end up with one.

Yeah, today starts the Olympics (preliminary).  Jeffrey and I watched three women’s soccer matches, and then cooked dinner (Teriyaki chicken and rice).

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An expensive day

Someone stop me before I kill my dog.  My wife is working out in the garden and the bunnies are out so my dog is at the back door whimpering and barking.  It is one of the most annoying sounds in the whole world and it penetrates closed doors.

Today was an expensive day; my wife took her van in for an inspection.  We haven’t had it serviced in four years, and for a few months now, there has been this yellow service light on the dash reminding us of this fact.  Nearly everything made of rubber is broken (belts, hoses, tires, motor mounts).  It’s going to cost us $3K.  Hey, at least we get a “free” rental car for a couple of days while they do the repairs.

Now that I’m back in California, I’m beginning to “find myself” again.  I got my finances in order and I’m unpacked; that’s a good start.  Now I’m trying to figure out what I should be doing to make money.  I can say that I’ve been employed for the last year, It sure had the look and feel of regular employment, but since we didn’t make any money in our little start-up venture (lost a lot of money in fact), it’s really no different than being unemployed from a financial point of view.  I want to try the consulting route first if I can… or change careers if I can make enough money at it (which seems unlikely).  Currently, there appears to be no shortage of regular layout jobs, but I’m not interested in something persistent at the moment.  I’d rather “consult” myself into a decent job as a run-in-the-mill employee if the price is right.  Until then, I like the pay and the flexibility that comes from consulting.  Or I could win the lottery and retire.

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VBS setup

We did absolutely nothing on Saturday – just rested, but on Sunday, me and four other guys put up this 25 foot tall stage set using our church’s lift for VBS.  By the end, none of us could lift our arms!  That lift weighs about a ton, and it doesn’t go up and down stairs very easily!

The stage included a very realistic looking plane that one of our elders constructed.  It is simply awesome.  Between the set and the construction of the plane, it took us four hours.

Photo: VBS starts at our church today.  Pretty crazy set huh?  Over 300 kids, and a large cast of volunteers.  Let the festivities begin!

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2012 East Coast Trip – Day 27 (The return home)

Our morning started at 3:45AM.  In order to do all we wanted to do, we needed to leave no later than 4:25.  For the first time at the lake, it was raining while we were up (there was that one mini-storm, but it had happened in the wee hours of the morning last week).  It was an added kink to my driving plans.  Still, at 4:23, we were off.  Within 500 feet of exiting, a low tire pressure warning went off.  I pulled into the one motel on our side of the lake to inspect the tires.  Yup, the right front was a little soft, but it had no obvious punctures.  Rather than head back to my dad’s house to use his compressor, I decided to push on.  If the tire got too low, I’d fill it at a gas station.  The tire was just fine the whole trip.  We blasted through all the back roads to get to Canandaigua, where we stopped one last time at Dunkin’ Doughnuts for breakfast, then headed on to Rochester.  Just before hitting the airport, we topped off the gas, got some bad directions from Greta, then made it to the airport on time despite her directions (hey, I can still read the signs that point to the airport).  The National Car Rental lot was full so we parked it on the Alamo lot and told the guy inside the airport where he could find it.  He said that it wouldn’t be a problem.  As always with Rochester airport, security was a breeze and the TSA folks were downright delightful.  I love this airport!  Gee, we could have had Dunkin’ Doughnuts or Starbucks inside the terminal as well!

Our first flight was nice easy, and low-key.  Hey, we got our assigned seats; that’s a good start!  In Atlanta, we had to walk and train some distance to get from terminal C to the brand-new terminal F, which was stunning.  Not many people in the F terminal, and everything was so new that my airport maps app didn’t even have a terminal F.  The food court upstairs was nice.  We had Chinese rice bowls for “lunch” at 10AM.  The flight to SFO was packed, but once again, it was without incident.  Kristi had gotten trapped in Palo Alto on the way to pick us up so we enjoyed about half an hour of car watching just outside the terminal.  Man, those traffic cops that monitor the pick-up zone are angry all the time.  Their job must suck.  Kristi did eventually get to us, and then we hit Friday traffic on the way home.  Even the commuter lane was stopped.  When we got home, we had a note on our toilet that it was broken, so I went to the hardware store to get the replacement part.  It was such a strange experience to drive in the morning on the East coast, then drive in the afternoon on the West coast.  Alas, the part that needed to be changed wasn’t actually the part that needed to be changed.  I was too tired to go back.  I’ll get the part in the morning.  The evening was spent trying desperately not to go to sleep.  After 7PM, this was hard to do.  Courtney made it to 9PM; Jeffrey to10PM, Barb and I to 10:30.  My guess is that none of us will have an issue with sleeping in tomorrow morning.  We will not be up at 3AM ready to go.


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2012 East Coast Trip – Day 26 (Lake Day 16)

The morning was spent sanding our wood projects.  Jeffrey and I did a lot of sanding!  Towards the end of this, Barbara and Courtney decided to take the kayaks out and go on a long ride.

Barb and Courtney on kayaks

Jeffrey and I decided to do the lawn so grandma and grandpa wouldn’t have to.  Taking care of a one acre back yard with fences and trees is a big job!  Jeffrey weed-whacked; I used the hand mower to get the edges and trees then used the riding mower to get the rest.  It took us two hours – about as long as it took the girls to do their kayak trip.  Meanwhile, a boat repairman was fixing my dad’s speedboat.  Everything came together about 1PM, so we decided to try the boat out by going to “The Swiss,” a restaurant on the lake at the far side of the bluff.  As was the case yesterday, the lake was choppy, but not quite as choppy as yesterday (only 1 – 2.5 foot swells today).  Since this was a speedboat, we went fast.  I’ll tell you, there is nothing like feeling the spray of the boat while getting air force-fed into your nostrils as the wind pushes off the scant windshield at 45ish MPH (the lake’s legal speed limit these days – the boat will do 70 on flat water).  As we hit the bluff, we had to slow down because the waves were too much.  I was on the far left of the boat, the windward side that day, so I got all the spray.  My left side was drenched by the time we arrived.  The food as always was good.  On the way back, my mom drove (slowly), which may have been worse than driving a bit faster.  With so much weight in the boat, the front end was lifting a lot and we were rocking all over the place.  Everyone got wet.  We found a less wavy spot on the side of the lake and mom sped up.  Aah, much better!  In the evening we did laundry and packed.  We’re leaving tomorrow in the early morning.

Courtney and her mermaid outfit (which she made herself)

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2012 East Coast Trip – Day 25 (Lake Day 15)

The highlight of the day for me was doing some woodworking with my dad and my son.  Dad was very patient in teaching Jeffrey some of the more advanced woodworking techniques.  Dad somehow didn’t remember that I had had extensive woodworking experience in my past so he was teaching me as well.  I didn’t say anything because I wanted Jeffrey to learn; that, and my dad had three tools I had never seen before because most of my experience is now 20 years old and a lot of new machines have come into existence for specialized woodworking since then… so I was learning (still, I mentioned to mom that dad seemed to have forgotten my experience, and I know from a later conversation with my dad that my mom had reminded him of the fact.  I was a lot more free to do as I wished after that).  After a couple of hours, Jeffrey and I had a couple of wooden spatulas used for stir-frying – Jeffrey with cherry wood, and me with maple wood.