7 Things you didn’t know Part 7

I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

Number 7

I am happy. That is not really news I guess, but maybe it is.

A few years ago, I was working at a job that I didn’t like. That is putting it mildly. I was leaving before 5 in the morning to be there by 7 (yes a two hour commute and most of that time was spent going less than 5 miles an hour.) I was usually the first person in the office and the last person to leave, getting home only barely in time to see my kids off to bed. And I was still working in the evenings and on weekends, and still not making my bosses happy. I was certainly not making myself happy.

My job was not the only reason I was unhappy but it was pretty high up on the list. I had tried several times to make things better, but every time I tried I was thwarted. As much as I would like to blame them, it was not really them it was me. Well they were not helping that is for sure but it was me.

One day I was riding up in the elevator and I said to myself, “I can’t wait until Friday.” That was when it hit me. It was Monday Morning. Yes, Monday mornings suck, but I was wishing 5 days away. I had a second thing hit me on that rather short ride up, Life is pretty darn short, and if I am this unhappy I need to do something about it, rather that wish most of my life away.

So I did. I took a pretty big leap of faith and took a job, pretty much sight unseen. I moved away from the things that were stressing me most. In short I changed my life. But more than that I have worked really hard over the last few years to change my attitude.

Photo 2013-01-03 15.35.25My job is not perfect but, it is not terrible either. I am not really excited about living in NY, but the area were we live is very nice. (I like not really having neighbors.) There are days when I am thinking, what the heck have I done. But over all I am happy. I mean even when I do have a bad day, it is only a day and not weeks or even months at a time.

In the end I have my health, I have my family, I have a job that while it is not perfect pays the bills, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, I have friends who care. I have a lot to be happy about. More than anything else, I have determined that if I am unhappy with something, I need to be willing to change it. Part of what made me unhappy was fear. Fear or change, fear of the future and the unknown. Once I had conquered that fear, I was much happier.

So in the end I am happy. I have not solved all of the problems that we have, but I think at least on most days I have conquered that fear of change that was keeping me in place before.

-Jeff

You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

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7 Things you didn’t know Part 6

I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

Number 6

I have allergies. Wait before you click off this post saying, hey so does everyone else, I have to tell you I have some really strange allergies. Yes, I am allergic to the normal things like poison ivy, and occasionally pollen. When I was young they thought I might be allergic to penicillin, but it turns out I was actually just allergic to the suspension that they used to deliver it. These are all normal things. I think everyone has an allergy or two like this. But have one that is really kind of odd.

Picture 43I am allergic to the phone. No I don’t break out sneezing when ever I see a phone, nor do I break out in a rash. No, those would be normal things. No I am allergic to the phone in one of those love hate kind of ways. I hate getting phone calls, I don’t even like to answer the phone at home. I hate making phone calls. I will send a dozen emails and write a thousand IM messages if I can avoid using the phone, even if it takes much, much longer. I have a deep seeded fear of using the phone.

I didn’t always have this fear. When I was younger I used to love to use the phone. I mean my girl friend (Now my wife) lived nearly a thousand miles away, and our semi weekly phone calls were the highlight of my life throughout almost all of high school. That and getting letters from her all the time.

I think my allergy of phones came later. Right before we got married I worked for a short stint as a telemarketer. While they were nice to my wife (who also worked as a telemarketer) and would often apologize for not wanting what she was selling, I often ended up with very angry people who would shout at me and tell me how horrible I was for waking them up when they were on 3rd shift.

That might have been the beginning but it certainly was not the last straw that gave me my hay fever for phones. No, over the next ten years I worked in Picture 44various IT and customer support roles. While, “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” is great for most things, as any one who has ever worked with a System 36 will tell you, that tends to blow the power supply, and when the manager of a location is screaming in your ear because their systems are all down, and it will be two hours before IBM can be there to replace it, life is not really fun on your end of the phone.

Working for various companies with products that didn’t work all that well, who had QA managers who believed engineers were “QA in the field,” and managers who liked to make unannounced site visits and promise things that the software had no way of doing and then leave the engineer to “Make it work.” I learned to hate the phone. Dread that midnight, during the commute, during dinner, while in the shower, phone call.

Don’t get me wrong, not all my phone calls have been bad. Some of the folks I worked with over the years, I actually felt like I made a real connection with, even if I never met them in person. And sometime a phone call has been my life line, when I had been traveling or even when I am just feeling really down. But most of the time this was not the case.

I have even gotten some funny stories out of some of the phone calls. There was one person who would call every Monday morning at 6 AM when they came in to open the location. She would call to tell us their systems were all down. After the first phone call, that lasted over an hour, I learned to tell her that she needed to check the dimmer switches on all the monitors whenever she would call in.

Over all my phone experiences are pretty bad. Usually a phone call means major problems for me. It means that I will spend the next few hours doing something I had not planned. So over the years my aversion for the phone has be come an allergy. I avoid phones whenever possible. (Unless my wife is calling.)

Picture 45So if you call me, you might very well get something other than a live person on the other end.

“Please leave a message, and I will do my best to get back to you.”

-Jeff

You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

7 Things you didn’t know Part 5

I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

Number 5

I am basically a lazy person. To give a perfect example, this was supposed to be a week long series, I would write one a day for a week and then I would be done. Then Friday rolled around and no post, Saturday and Sunday too. So here it is Monday again and I am finally getting back to this.

Writing posts is not the only thing that I am lazy about. Take for example the heater in my car. I have one of those cars with a automatic adjusting heater. You set it at a temperature you want and boom it does it for you. It blows at your feet (because heat rises) when it needs to get the car warm and at your face (because cold air sinks) when it needs to get the car cool. Despite this nice feature my car is pretty old and I think it was one of the first versions that did this. So I set the thing on Auto and it figures out what it needs to do. The problem is that once the car gets warm enough (or more likely too warm,) it starts blowing cold air in your face.
Now I am a person who gets cold quickly. So in the winter cold air in my face is not a good thing, but I am lazy, and instead of adjusting it to point at the windshield or the floor I suffer the cold, because I don’t want to take it off automatic, because what happens when it gets cool in here again and it wants to turn the heat back on. I mean then I would have to adjust it again. And I can’t do all this adjusting. Never mind that, that is exactly what I have done the rest of my life and in every other car that I have ever had. I just can’t do all that.

See what I mean lazy!

Here are some other ways that I am lazy:

  • I make coffee at home even though it means that I have to get up at about 4 am on the weekends that I have to work, because stopping for coffee would just be too much work.
  • I get up before my wife every day because our rule is last one out of bed makes the bed.
  • I have figured out how to get the sheep to follow me with just a hand full of grain rather than “driving them” before me because man that is just too much work.
  • Some times I have ramen at work because going out to lunch is just too much.
  • I let the kids lay on me and around me while I try to nap on the couch because even if I don’t get as much sleep, getting them to get off me for ten minutes is not worth the effort.
  • Some times I tuck my boot laces in, instead of tying them.
  • I write posts for my blog when I have work on my stories to do. 🙂
  • I guess I should work on that last one.

    -Jeff

    You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

    7 Things you didn’t know Part 4

    I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

    Number 4

    20131205-135035.jpgI am a fan of history. You likely already knew that. I mean I have linked to and talked about things like Hardcore History, The History of Rome Podcast and a new one I have been enjoying recently My history can Beat up your Politics in the past. I have half a dozen history books in my Goodreads feed. I really like learning about history. But here is something you might not know. From about 1790 – 1903 in American history is really kind of a blank to me.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. Westward expansion, the “wild west” settlers and “Indians” never really held any interest for me. During this time period about the only thing that excited me was the building of the trans continental railroad, there are some pretty interesting things there. Some of that dislike is probably due to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yup, you guessed it when I was younger I was a boy who didn’t want to read about “girl stuff.” More than that I really didn’t find anything that she wrote interesting. And I still don’t. Yes, I read it when I was younger. Yes, I have read some of the stories to my children. Yes, some of them even really like it. And even Yes, I really try to hide my dislike of it when I read it to them, but mostly I try to avoid it by reading other things to them.

    The second big reason is the American Civil War. I don’t know what it is about this war that made it less interesting to me than say the Spanish American War (shortly after the Civil War) or the Napoleonic Wars (around the same time period.) Whatever it is, when I see the blue and gray uniforms of the North and the South, I start tuning it out. Again I suspect some of it has to do with early presentation of the material. I almost feel like it was the end of an era, that spiraled down into the next 50-70 years where while we didn’t have slaves in most places people were treated worse than they were when they were slaves. The Civil war also saw very little in the way of technological advancement. (at least not that I know of and I realize that because I don’t know much about the time period I am likely missing a lot) but the idea of wooden boats covered in iron don’t seem like much of an advancement. (the Hunley is an exception.) Css_hunley_on_pier[1] But it was not until the Spanish American war that any of the advancements start showing up, and again not until the skirmishes between Russia and Japan and leading into the first world war, that warfare really changed. It was the same thing, as almost as far back as Roman times. You built forts and you defended them. Yes, they had cannons and guns but, those were also nothing new. So in the end I don’t know why I am not interested in the American Civil war, at least not for sure, but I really am not.

    So I just don’t know much about that time period and I really don’t have a lot of desire to. It is ignorance on my part. I know that. I really should learn more about this period in American history, but I just really don’t find it interesting.

    -Jeff

    You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

    7 Things you didn’t know Part 3

    I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

    Number 3

    Along with being a pilot of a small amphibious airplane (see Number 1,) I have always dreamed of going much further in flight. I have always wanted to go into space.

    So yeah I am a geek, and you are thinking that, this is no surprise. And for the most part you would be right.

    But…

    When I was a kid, my brother and I and a couple of our friends had a club. The club was call the Young Scientists. One of us had heard about how our solar system was going to end, with the sun swelling up and gobbling up our planet. N.A.S.A. didn’t seem to be doing much about it. So we had a plan. We were going to help out the human race.

    Armed with this knowledge and a surprisingly small amount of knowledge of our solar system for kids who claimed to be scientists, we decided that the best way to Photo 2013-01-03 15.19.13help was to colonize Venus. Yes, I know now that that makes no sense, but give us a break, we were only 9 at the time. We had plans to take plants and trees to Venus to eat up all the CO2 and make it livable. we even built a spaceship out of spare building materials and parts from my uncles house.

    We were ready. The ship was ready. We had a crew of volunteers and we were going. Everything was in place, except that my brother and I moved to Germany that year and the spaceship (no longer being used) was taken apart for other projects.

    So there you have it. I wanted to go to space. I was sure we could make it. Note: I still want to go to space.

    More recently I have seen projects to go to Mars and I look at them rather wistfully because I know that I am too old to begin astronaut training, at least as a pilot, but there are other ways. I keep hinting to my wife that if a Mars colony project ever comes up, that we would be perfect candidates. She rolls her eyes at me, but I am allowed to dream right?

    -Jeff

    You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

    As a little side note. This is my 400th post! I am pretty darn excited.

    7 Things you didn’t know Part 2

    I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

    Number 2

    100_4956My wife and I have ten kids. No, that isn’t it. I know most of you already know that. What might be new to you is how I feel about it. Sometimes I still feel like I am “Playing House.”

    We have lived in 5 different states, moved 7 times and owned 3 houses. We have a mortgage, bills to pay, a budget that we have to stick to, I have had a steady job for something upwards of 15 years. We have kids, (lots of them) we are raising sheep and chickens, and have two dogs and a cat and yet I still some times feel like it is not real, or that I am not really grown up.100_4923

    I am nearly 40 (just one year away) and remember looking at my father when he was 40 and thinking he was an adult. I am an adult. I try to act like one, I try very hard to treat other people like they are, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t always feel like I am. Like I said some times it feels like I am playing house.

    It is not something that I feel all the time. On those days when I am really stressed out I don’t feel that way. On those days it really feels real, but there are days when none of it does.

    -Jeff

    You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category

    former Grumman Goose that was converted and re-certified as a new McKinnon G-21G Turbo Goose in 1970 with PT6A-27 turboprops, here displayed at Oshkosh Wisconsin

    7 Things you didn’t know Part 1

    I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.

    Number 1

    former Grumman Goose that was converted and re-certified as a new McKinnon G-21G Turbo Goose in 1970 with PT6A-27 turboprops, here displayed at Oshkosh WisconsinI have always wanted to be a pilot. A lot of things have gotten in the way on the road to this goal, most notably me. I have bad eyesight so that cuts down on the ability to be a professional pilot. Training courses are expensive, planes are expensive. And as much as I like the idea of traveling to cool places and flying, being away from my family all the time is just not as cool. I know some professional pilots and even the ones that have routes that bring them home every day or every other day, there is still a lot of time away from home.

    Anyway back to it.

    There was more to my dream than just being a pilot. A lot of people want to be a pilot when they “grow up.” I mean if you can scrape a couple thousand bucks together you can learn to fly. I wanted more than that. I wanted to be like Brian and Joe from Wings, without all the drama from their show.MV5BMTEwMDQ3MzIxNjNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDc1OTcyMzI@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_[1]
    Or maybe Maggie O’Connell From Northern Exposure, but without all the strange deaths of her loved ones, just the bush pilot thing.

    There is one specific thing I wanted that made my dream unique. (Well I think it did, maybe everyone really wants this and I just don’t know about it.) I have always wanted to fly a Grumman Goose. For those of you who don’t know what one of those is, the picture at the top of the post is of one. That specific one has been updated with turbo prop engines, to give it better range and altitude capability but in general that is what I want. I love the idea of being able to go just about anywhere, to land just about anywhere. The Goose needs both a relatively short take off and landing area and it seats enough people or equipment that it is perfect for a small business that wants to haul people or equipment in and out of remote places.

    So that is it. I wanted to own and pilot my own Grumman Goose. One thing that has come up in the last few years that is another snag in my plan. As the owner of a plane it would be nice to be able to use it yourself to do things like take a family vacation. (*Yes I know as a business owner you really can’t do those kinds of things. So sue me, I watched too many episodes of Wings growing up.) The problem is that as my family has gotten bigger, the Goose will no longer fit all of them. I guess I need to expand my dream a bit.

    -Jeff

    You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category