Saturday, December 20, 2014

Annual Christmas Card

Looking back at 2014 - it will be remembered as the year of the boy.  For the longest time Cash has been our only grandson.  Well he is not flying solo any longer.  Joe and Samantha had young Ryker in May and then Eric and Vanessa had Elliot in June.  To complete the trifecta, Heathers daughter Callie had a son - Wes.  It is Heather's first grandchild.

All in all it has been a good year.  Joe got a 30 day leave from Japan and so he was stateside for an extended period.  He said it was like being in school again and getting a summer vacation.  We got to actually see young Ryker.  He is very energetic and expressive.  Some of the time was spent lazing around and we had a few bonfires. Both Joe and Sam found out who their real friends were.  Joe had one friend was like 15 minutes away in Middletown, but couldn't find an hour or two to drop in and catch up.  But he had good times with his real friends.

Chelsea's husband, Dan, is back in school. He is taking classes to get a certificate to be an employee in a jail or prison.  Chelsea is working crazy hours at a plant in Franklin.  They do packaging for all sorts of products and she does quality control. She has been getting overtime, which is good.  But the long hours give her less time to spend with her family.  Hopefully 2015 will be year where they can reverse roles.  Dan can go to work and the Chelsea will be the one in school and finish her 4 year degree.

Vanessa and Eric moved back to Ohio.  She wasn't happy with the direction that her old company was going in at the Louisville office. So she made a radical career change - she is working for a tractor dealership just North of Covington.  Eric was able to transfer to the Coke distributor in Huber Heights.  By all accounts the move was the right one. Elaina likes her new school.  Eric actually got a pay raise, and Vanessa is happy with her new position and is learning the farm equipment business.

Chad is chugging along, still doing maintenance for Montgomery County. Cash is doing OK at school - still enthused about anything mechanical.  When I visit the house - if there are any projects from school to show me, invariably he has weaved a car, a truck, an airplane into the project.  They have a big Yukon now to pull the travel trailer they purchased.  Not much time to do camping this summer, but next year should be a fun year for that.

Work is going OK for me.  5 years now at Luxottica Retail. Working on a big project that is due this spring.  So a busy winter to get it all done.  Becky just got back from a trip to Wisconsin to visit her niece.  She had an operation on her eye and needed some assistance.   It was a break from the routine for her.  We are actually going to Japan this spring to visit Joe and Samantha.  So that is the next great adventure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The week before Christmas

Dixie might be better than I thought, although they seem to rely on one scorer in the game that I saw.   So a box and one or a tough defender might make it hard for them to score. But I can see them getting to .500 or beyond. South will probably have a winning record from the game that I saw.  But I don’t think they will be challenging for league.  Tri Village just has too much and Miami East is not far behind.  And North is a bunch of football players playing basketball.  The game I saw they had a 4 out and 1 in offense – pass the ball around the perimeter, finally throw up a forced shot and let the other team get the rebound.  Not a recipe for success.  No cutting to the basket or driving to the hoop.

My camera croaked.  It is over 10 years and a sensor went out.  When I went online to check for the value – it is worth less than $100 working.  I paid about $600 new.  So it isn’t worth trying to fix.  I found another one new online and got the camera body for about $760.  My lenses will work with it.  So this weekend I will take it out for some real pics and see how it does.  Of course on paper it is way better than the old one.  We will see how it does in the gym.

Chelsea wants to see the new Hobbit movie that just came out.  Dan is not interested in going.  With her work schedule it is hard to find time to do anything with her.  But she is off the day before and the day after Christmas.  We are thinking that Christmas eve everyone will be with family so that will be a good time to see the movie and maybe take her out to like O’Charlies, Applebee’s or something similar.  She has been working hard, so she deserves a treat.

Eric, Vanessa’s husband, got a compliment from his boss.  He has only been working at Coke in Huber Heights for only a few months – but he has impressed his boss.  He is getting a lot of hours since he is low man on the totem pole and if anyone takes off, he is likely to be called upon to fill in.  But anyway it is good to be wanted, it made him feel good that the boss took some time to talk him up.  Elaina is doing well in school and that is a positive as well.

Chad is working on my Suzuki.  A check engine light is coming on.  He tried a few things this week end, but no luck.  I told him to keep it until next weekend, that I would just drive the truck this week.  Sarah is getting some substitute teaching.  But it is sporadic.  Oh and they don’t make things like they used to – he had some problems with his car running rough.  After doing trouble shooting his spark plug wires were bad – only 10,000 miles on them from NAPA.  NAPA is usually good quality, so that is disappointing.

Joe and Samantha have a tree up, so they are ready for Christmas.  Young Ryker is getting his first tooth.  They post videos online, so it is fun to watch him develop.  Years ago there was no way to see how the kids are doing. They are still doing dental work on Samantha, but hopefully things are stable for the holidays. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Merry Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving went well for us.  Vanessa hosted this year, since she has moved to Covington and has the big farm house.  So Vanessa was the one that had to stay up late and get up early to get the meal prepared.  Becky made a pumpkin pie and a cherry pie – so she still did some cooking. Chelsea and Dan could not make it, they were both sick with some sort of bug. We did pick up Annabelle so that she could see her cousins and Chelsea did look pretty rough.

Chelsea has some time off this weekend and she gets sick – go figure the luck. She said that she is supposed to go to 2nd shift.  Which I prefer since there are too many stories about people falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from work and wrecking from working 3rd shift.  Chad and Sarah had to leave early as they were going up to Michigan for the rest of the weekend to see Sarah’s relatives that live around Ann Arbor.  I am watching their critters for them.  Their outside dog does not like me one bit.  Fortunately he is chained – but I wear thick clothing that he can’t bite through in case he decides to make a go of it when I feed him.

On the plus side I get to keep the eggs when I feed the chickens.  11 of ‘em the first day. So that is an extra dividend that I wasn’t expecting.  I did not realize that they had so many chickens.  Talked with Vanessa after everyone had gone.  She said that even though she makes less money right now, that they are ahead of where they were at in Louisville.  Childcare is a lot cheaper for one.  And the house they rent is still cheaper than the apartment. So it sounds like the move was a positive.  Oh, and she says she now knows more about combines that she ever thought that she would.

Apparently you never want your combine to get rocked – that is it picks up a rock and it tries to go thru the combine – tearing up everything along the way.  They had one repair bill that was for over $28k.  An expensive rock that one. Both Vanessa and Eric worked on black Friday, so we watched the kids for them since the sitter was not available.  The girls helped me with some of my chores.  A good time all in all. Oh and Thanksgiving must not have been traumatic. Vanessa is thinking of hosting Christmas.

Covered the North and South girls basketball teams last night at Northridge.  They were in a tip off tournament.  North looked better than South.  But I don’t see either team doing very well this season.  I guess that North was down 2 starters due to illness and injury, so that might have been a factor – but from what I can see they will have a long season.  And South has more players this season, but still not much experience.  Their road will be even longer.  Next week the boys start up. South has no height this year, but good guards.  North does not return much. We cover Dixie and they are in the same boat as North – not returning much talent. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

cute kids 1999 edition

Attached is cute kids 1999 a summary of the kids antics for the year.

Y2K project is going OK so far.  One minor glitch, a subsystem is stamping
documents with MM/DD/1920   Looks like someone is trying to cram a
4 digit date into a 2 digit date field that has '19' prepended onto
it.  Anyway, that is the only 'gotcha' so far.

Vanessa got to start against Stivers.  They are a pretty poor team,
that we beat handily 43 to 20.  Vanessa has yet to score a point.
Her hip is giving her problems again.  X-rays show that her growth
plates on the top of her hips haven't fused yet.  She hasn't hardly
grown in the last year.  Doctors say it is just a manner of time
until they fuse.  They play Tri-County North on Thursday.  Tom Steck,
a former classmate of mine, is coaching their team.  Vanessa's boyfriend,
Mark, broke up with her so she was in a grouchy mood this weekend.

Car that Chad worked 2 jobs to pay off.

Chelsea has 2 games this weekend.  One against an undefeated
Brookville - should be a barnburner.

Joe said that it was his best christmas ever.  He is really enjoying the
Rollercoaster Tycoon pc game we got for him.  It was a good investment.
We have been playing Starcraft head to head on our 2 pc's.

Chad is putting another engine in his pickup truck.  Still has a ways
to go.  Has a new girl that he is seeing, she is 16.  She called several
times this weekend, so she is serious anyway.

Becky and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend.  21 years...

Jan 6  Children are on an extended winter break.  10 inches of snow over the weekend.  All the schools
       have been closed since Monday.  Christmas was good this year.  Joe got a hotwheels volcano
       race set, XV racers, numerous hotwheels tool set..  Chelsea got clothing, porcelein doll.  Chad and
       Vanessa got mainly clothing.  Got a used street fighter game for the super ninintendo.  It
       has got the most use of any of the gifts.  That was $10 well spent.

Jan.7  Still no school.  Chad got tractor running and scraped away some of the snow.  Called in sick to
       work, but still found time to go running around this pm.  Vanessa's ankle is still giving her
       problems.  It was injured like the first game and still isn't completely healed.  We are worried
       about track season.  Chelsea has practice tonight & a game on Friday.  Joe has practice on Sat.
       It keeps them busy. Chelsea and Joe helped me get a pickup truck load of hay yesterday.  They
       were able to slide on the crust of ice on top of the snow and Chelsea was able to scoot some of
       the hay across the ice.  

Jan. 12  School is still out.  Chad helped me get some firewood and hay over the weekend.  Chelsea went
         to Desma's today for girl scouts - time to sell cookies.  Vanessa's ankle is still in bad shape
         so we may take her to a sports medicine clinic to be checked out.  Saw Alien III last night on
         video tape & Joe said that he never wanted to go into space - he covered his eyes during the
         scary parts.

Feb.  2  The telephone situation is only going to get worse.  The phone rang and we had the usual mad
         scramble for the phone.  Joe was by the computer and answered.  Chad was tapping his foot
         impatiently, "Well who's it for, Joe?"   "It's for me", answered Joe smugly and he proceeded
         to talk to a girl from down the road, Jessica. Joe played some good defense last Saturday
         at the YMCA,  got a couple of good rebounds and made some good bounce passes.  Vanessa
         now has a weight bench to use to stay in shape.  She is still playing great defense, so-so
         offense.  Chelsea is getting some points, but is also playing great defense.  Chad is going
         to be measured for a cap and gown in a few weeks.  He is thinking about looking for another
         job at another dealership.  Slemkers isn't willing to participate in the GM program at
         Sinclair + they are still paying him minimum wage...

Feb. 17  Had a good surprise for Joe's birthday.  We told him we were going to McDonalds.  Then after
         we left, we headed to Hara Arena for a Monster Truck Show & Bad Boys of Wrestling.  Joe
         really had a good time.  Vanessa is on the tourney team - next week is the state tourney.
         Chad had his stomach scoped - no obvious problems found.  Chelsea scored 8 points at her
         last game.  Vanessa and Steve are on the rocks.   Oh, Vanessa is doing interesting experiments
         in Chemistry class.  Apparently they dropped a substance on the floor and it ate a hole in it.
         So far she hasn't lost any fingers.
Feb. 24  Vanessa got to play with the Varsity in the last two minutes of the tournament game against Jackson
         Center.  She did OK, got off a shot, but it wouldn't drop.  They lost the game, but it was nice
         to see Vanessa get to play.  Chelsea had a good game against Carlisle last week.  She had 10
         points, 5 rebounds, and 6 steals.  Joe got frustrated at his last game.  He missed two foul shots.
         Told him to wait until next year when he is bigger, then he will do better.  Chad coaxed me into
         taking him and Joe to the Monster Truck show at the Nutter Center this Saturday - better buy
         some ear plugs.

Feb. 28  Vanessa went to a 'tune up' meet in Cincinnati.  She ran a 2:34 800m - not bad for not doing any
         distance work.  Vanessa also got a '87 Dodge Dynasty.  It is a very clean car with a transmission
         problem.  Chad thinks that he can fix it, if so it will be a real bargain.

Mar. 8   Vanessa ran at an indoor meet at Cedarville College.  She ran 1600 meters in 6:09.
         Put down a downpayment on a tuxedo for the prom for Chad.  It is going to cost around $80.
         Chelsea has AAU basketball tryouts tonight, she is looking forward to them. Joe made an
         interesting paper airplane.  It has a fusilage, nose, wings, and rudder.  He says it is
         the space shuttle.  Hey and it flys fairly well too.  

Mar. 30  Vanessa ran at the preble county kickoff.  They did not score the meet,it was a warmup meet.
         She was first in the mile, first in her heat in the hurdles, and the 4 X 400m relay got 1st.
         Chelsea's AAU has started.  Practice is going full bore this week.  Everyone is home on
         spring break.  Vanessa is taking her drivers ed class this week. Soon we will have 2
         teenagers driving.  Chad is getting ready to junk out some old vehicles.

Mar. 31  Chad is going to a state competition.  He and a friend were one of the top 15 teams in
         Ohio for automobile troubleshooting.  They are headed up to Cleveland for a state competition.
         MVCTC is receiving a brand new Ford motor for the school to use.  Good luck to the gearheads!

Apr.  6  Vanessa ran a 17.65 in the 100m hurdles.  A 2:34 split in the 800m X 4 relay.

Apr. 12  Chad had a rough go of it at the MVCTC prom.  Melissa was upset because she had broken up
         with her boyfriend.  Chad finally got fed up with her being so glum - left her at the prom
         and took off with Matt.  Vanessa did OK at the Anna Invitational.  She hurt her knee on the
         hurdles and got no points.  But managed a 3rd in the mile (5:53) & a 5th in the 800m 2:40 -
         a bit slow in the 800, but her knee was getting sore at that point.  Chelsea played paintball
         with us this weekend, she is improving as a player.

Apr. 26  Chelsea had a good weekend at basketball, got at least 6 points that I remember.  Vanessa got
         a 1st in the the 800m run(2:32) and 2nd in the mile (5:45) at the Eaton Invitational.  

Apr. 28  Vanessa had a great performance at the county meet.  She got 5th in hurdles, 1st in 800m & 1600m,
         and most importantly got 3rd in the 2 mile run, which helped score enough points to win the
         Preble County for South!

May  03  Chad got 11th place at the state competition for Automotive trouble shooting.  When he got back,
         he went to the South prom and had a good time.  Chelsea went to COSI in Columbus.  Vanessa
         had a so-so performance at West Milton.  2:32 or so in the 800m; 5:45 in the 1600m.  Joe got
         a card from his girlfriend, Jessica.

May  10  Vanessa went to her first prom with Mark.  She looked sharp.  Vanessa had to drive and on the
         way home, they got lost.  Stopped at a gas station and about 15 minutes later they ended back
         at the same station.  Finally found their way home and it was a good time all in all.  Chelsea's
         team was 1-3 over the weekend.  She played fairly well overall.  Chad mowed grass at grandpa
         Jack's house.  We ordered graduation announcements for him today.  Joe made a nice Mother's
         day present at school - a key chain with his picture.

May 23   Vanessa has a had an injury to the growth plate of her hip.  It was painful enough that it
         slowed her down for track.  So this season is ending early.  Hopefully, it will heal OK over
         the summer.

June  7  Chad graduated last week.  Smoked his first cigar at Jason Hora's graduation party.
         Seemed to be in good spirits last weekend.  Today he starts work at a Buick Dealership
         in Middletown.  Chelsea's basketball season is over.  She played pretty well over all.
         I think that her shot is starting to come around.  Vanessa is playing softball. Her team
         won 19-13 in their first game.

June 13  Chelsea had a slumber party over the weekend.  Things got a little of hand when the adults
         went to sleep.  The girls got back up and Jessica decided to get the fire going again to
         make smore's.  She used rubbing alcohol, motor oil, etc. in the fire.  It will be a long
         time before Jessica is invited back over. I wonder what the smore's tasted like. Joe stayed
         over at Bradleys house + got to see a demolition derby.  He had fun at the demolition derby,
         but did not have fun at Bradley's.
June 22  Chad took his Dodge to the drag strip in Hamilton.  He made two runs and after the second run,
         he tore up his rearend - what an expensive hobby.  Vanessa's softball team had a good first game,
         but have really gone south since then.  They have lost 3 in a row and got run ruled at least once.
         Chelsea is having a blast at basketball camp.  She has gone thru all her spending money and tried to
         coerce me to send more.  The other day Chelsea and Vanessa were standing in their sock feet and
         Chelsea is only an inch or so shorter...   Joe has been building small forts and a homemade bow and arrow.
         He is tired of watching TV and playing video games, we are not even out of June yet - Summer vacation
         is just getting started.        

July 8   Vanessa is getting fitted for a dress.  She is going to be Maid of Honor at Jeanies wedding.
         Went to Juniors for the 4th of July.  Nice fireworks display, the youngsters had fun riding
         4 wheelers.  No one lost any fingers so it was a successful 4th. Vanessa's softball team is
         doing better, they are around .500 right now.  She goes to Cross Country camp next week, hopefully
         the softball has not aggrevated her hip injury.  Joe had fun at the YMCA basketball camp.

July 12  Dropped off Vanessa at Cross Country camp.  She is excited about attending.  Chelsea won two
         trophies at basketball camp.  She shot a ground hog with a pellet gun and it took several shots
         but she was able to kill it.  Another Annie Oakley I guess.

Aug  23  Had a good time at vacation.  Broke down just once this year - Chad had to put a fan belt on.
         Chelsea and Joe went with me to visit the aircraft carrier in Charleston.  We all had fun riding
         the waves.  Vanessa was in Jeanies wedding.  It went very nicely.

Aug. 30  The family went to Amber Skiles Wedding.  Had a good time at the reception.  Joe fell down
         and chipped a tooth.  He didn't want to leave, so we stayed and danced the night away.
         Vanessa is doing physical therapy for her hip still.  Her first meet is this week.
         Had to put a new radiator & also fix the heater in Vanessa's car.

Sep. 13  Vanessa had a good run on Saturday.  Still having problems with her hip, but is getting decent times.
         Chelsea stayed overnight with Allison Johnson.  They did each others hair at her mothers beauty shop.
         Chad is getting ready for Sinclair - job one is getting a working alarm clock.  Joe is signed up
         for NFL ultimate football at the YMCA, he is anxious to play.  

Sep. 16  Joe got a note sent home from the principal -  he popped a kid in the eye.  They were scuffling over who
         was in line first. Discussed this with Joe on the way to cub scouts.  Toward the end of our conversation
         Joe told me that when he has kids - he hopes that they do not get in as much trouble as he does...
         Vanessa ran well at Preble Shawnee.

Sep. 22  Vanessa got 4th at league meet & 4th at National Trail Invitational

Sep. 29  Becky had an interesting situation in Miamisburg.  She was pulled over in the van by the police.
         Seems that someone called on their cell phone and reported that someone was throwing stuff
         out of her van.  Further investigation found that Joe was the culprit.  He had been throwing
         buckeyes out of the side window.  The cop gave Joe a good talking to, and sent them on their way.
         Chelsea is pushing to play the saxophone for band.  The transmission on Vanessa's car is shot,
         am going to buy her another one.  

Oct. 28  Grandpa Freedman died earlier in the month.  At the memorial service some balloons from a celebration
         earlier in the morning descended from the ceiling.  One landed in front of Uncle Vaughn and one
         landed in front of Joe.  One Joe saying goodbye to another. Vanessa had another poor finish at the
         district meet. She got the dry heaves during the final mile and finished 21st.  Basketball
         conditioning has started. Bought Chelsea a saxophone.  She has been practicing - much to the
         chagrin of the rest of the household.  Joe has been playing ultimate football and doing OK.
         Chad finished first session at Sinclair, he is back to working full time.  So he will have some
         extra cash now.  He is really getting into the internet - because a girl that he met at
         Burger King is...   May have to get another phone line if this keeps up.  Bought Vanessa a

Nov. 5  Joe has been sent to the principals office 4 times this year.  One more time and he will not be
        able to go to camp Kern.  Joe's Ultimate football season ended.  He did OK, did a fine job of passing and throwing.  Vanessa was honored by getting first team all county and first team all conference for Cross Country. Chelsea is working hard at basketball.  Games start next month.  The Country Cafe has
        been calling in Chelsea the last few Sundays to help with dishes. Somehow I think that they are
        violating child labor laws, but Chelsea enjoys the extra cash.  Last Sunday she cleared more than
        Vanessa.  Chad is working 2 jobs to pay off the '57 Buick he is buying.  Don't know how he is going  to keep it up.  He wants me to co-sign a loan for him.  I am reluctant to do so, but I don't want
        him to fall asleep at the wheel either.  

Nov. 23 Chad had all 4 of his wisdom teeth pulled at the same time.  He was still a woozy from all the medication.
        He was saying how he was going to stop taking the pain killers, he was forgetting where he put things,  felt like he was in a fog, and couldn't concentrate.  Chelsea said, "Now you see how it's like in my shoes!"
        Anyway Chad seems to be recovering faster than what we thought he would, maybe he won't have to eat his  turkey thru a straw after all.  Vanessa's team has had 3 scrimmages.  They did not look as sharp as they should, it may be a long season.  Took Chelsea and Joe to see Pokey Mon, the movie.  They had a good time.

Dec. 10 The Varsity girls have gotten off to a so-so start.  They are 1-2.  Vanessa has gotten some playing time, but hasn't scored a point.  Chelsea's team is 1-0, she scored about 10 points.  Joe is having fun with cub scouts.  They practiced for the Klondike Derby that is coming up.  One contest was to use a huge  rubber sling to shoot water balloons at a wheel barrow about 100 feet away. He hit it once on the bounce and another time it landed close and sprayed it.  Not bad when some of the other fellows couldn't pull it back far enough to get the water balloon out that far.  Joe's boat didn't do too well at the raingutter regatta, he was mad about it.          

Dec.15  Joe helped make a dirt cake last night for the cub scouts charity auction.  He was excited about making his first 'cake'.  He wanted to know when we were going to add eggs and put it in the oven - had to  explain that it wasn't that kind of cake.  Chelsea has scored 26 points in her first 3 games.  The  team is 2-1, the one loss was by 2 points.  Vanessa' hip is giving her some pain - hope we don't have to go thru all the physical therapy again.  Chad took Joe to his first practice at the YMCA.  The boys had some time to kill so they played some arcade games, then Chad took him out to eat at the Jug in Middletown. They had a good time together - despite the difference in ages (19 and 7).

Dec. 20 Chelsea won a drawing that the DARE program had.  She won a $125 shopping spree at Kmart in Eaton.
        She got some stuff for herself, but was nice enough to get presents for her sister and brothers.
        Varsity girls are 3-3 going into the Holiday Tournament.  Chad got an engine from Slemckers for the
        pickup truck. Vanessa has an appointment with a doctor in Cincinnati about her hip.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

prep for holidaze

Getting ready for the holidays.  Vanessa is hosting thanksgiving and I am making a table for her.  Part of the wood is from one of our Maple trees from the front yard.  It died when we had drought the summer before this one and I had a local guy saw it up for me.  The plan is to have it done this week and deliver it this weekend.

Joe’s wife, Samantha has had a lot of work done with her teeth.  She had some infection and they figure that the pressure from the air travel caused it to spread.  So she has been spending time in the dentist chair. And with the swelling the anesthetic wasn’t working as good as should have so that first visit she had a lot of pain.  Anyway they are doing several root canals. So she is having some misery too.  But she needed dental work anyway so they are just speeding it up.

Chelsea is still working tons of overtime.  She is getting some extra time off later in November and I am glad – she needs some time off to decompress.  Dan is not much help.  I don’t quite understand the whole story but this is what I was told by Becky.  Apparently he went to Sinclair like 2 years ago and flunked out.  He was put on academic probation (suspension??) at that time.  He started taking the latest round of classes  – but I guess he wasn’t supposed to be allowed to take them.  Now he can finish up this latest term but can’t take any more classes until next  fall.   Confused?  Yeah, so am I – it doesn’t make any sense.  But I guess that he is hoping to get a job in the meantime.  And Chelsea is mad because she won’t be able to back to school this fall like she planned.  I tried to tell her to finish her school first…

Went with Chad’s kids to a toy train show at National Trail last weekend.  There were some impressive layouts.   Cash and Serenity both got to operate a train and have it switch tracks and so forth.  So they had a good time.  Sarah is back to substitute teaching again.  She has been getting some gigs here and there.  Chad has been working some overtime to get all the snow plows ready to go for this winter.

We bottled some raspberry and white grape wine from what we grew here on the farm.  Both turned out fairly good.  The raspberry we have been doing for years and so we have that figured out, this is  the first year we had enough grapes to do a batch.  My work is keeping me busy.  Big project that is due next spring.  Getting my deliverables done on time, so things are on track.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Vanessa has been the job less than a month and she is already earning her pay.  So happy that the move back to Ohio is going the right direction.  Eric has a job with Coke and Elaina is happy with her school - Covington.

Joe is back in Japan, and his wife Samantha is making a stop in California now on the way back to Japan herself.  She is staying with uncle Richard for a few days while she waits for the next military flight back.  So Joe won’t be able to enjoy the bachelor life for much longer – he will need to get the dirty dishes done and won’t be able to spend his off time playing computer games.   And who knows maybe she will grow to like California and will want Joe to get stationed at Sacramento AFB!

Chelsea is working third shift for the foreseeable future.  She would like get back on first, but it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.  She said that she would like to give the company an ultimatium, but I told her not to make any moves unless she has another job available.  The old don’t burn your bridges deal.  She is working all kinds of overtime, but no time off to enjoy it.  I think that she has only had 4 days off the last 2 months.

Chad’s wife Sarah did not enjoy the teaching job at the Dayton public schools at all.  She turned in her resignation.  I guess that she is going to go back to substitute teaching in the short term.  Too bad that she couldn’t get anything locally.   Oh with Vanessa back in the area, the cousins are seeing each other more often.  Cash, Serenity, Elaina, and Violet all went bowling in Richmond last weekend.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Mongolian 4th of July

Being raised not to be afraid to be a little different is something that I continue carry with me - and have passed on to my kids.  So when we were planning for the 4th of July I began to think that every one does the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill with the same sides - baked beans, corn on the cob and the like.  Let's try something new.  We have ate at BD's Mongolian grill in the past - and I liked the concept.  You pick out your ingredients and then they are grilled on a solid flat grill.  Simple, fast - and the twist being was that everyone got to cook their own meal.

Becky has a table with a small fire pit in the middle.  So I found an old electric flat top skillet that didn't work any more and took off the plastic legs, then added some metal to make it longer.  Then I welded together a frame to place it on.  And so we had our grill.

Next step was the food.  For those that are not from the area - Jungle Jims is a huge privately owned grocery store that has everything under the sun in one building.  While some stores have an aisle for oriental food - Jungle Jim's has separate aisles for each country - Japan, Thailand, China, etc.  So I went there after work to get the all the fixings.  And as always I spent too much.  You see things on the shelves that you generally don't see - so you think to yourself "I'd like to try this" and "I'd like to try that" and before you know it you are lugging around a cartload of food instead of the 10-12 items you went there to buy.

On the 4th we gave everyone directions on how to prepare a bowl of food, then a small cup of oil with seasoning added and stood back.  The food and the process of making your own meal was a hit. Although Chad was a little reluctant - "My only experience with cooking was when I worked at Burger King..."

The grandkids had a good time as well.  We did buy some hotdogs and made some mac and cheese for them.  And from Jungle Jim's I had got them some Barq's root beer to wash it down with (one of those impulse purchases).  After eating it was time to play.  Becky bought a small bounce house at a garage sale and they had a good time with it.  Played with the basketball on the court.  Fought with balloon swords.  And enjoyed some pop rocks.

Cash was excited by the fireworks as most boys are - are these fireworks going to be on the ground or in the air?  What is a bottle rocket?  Can I see them?  All questions were answered at dusk when we started lighting them off.  We let the youngsters warm things up with some sparklers. But I will say that all the parachute rockets in the one package I bought were duds.  None of the poor troopers made it more than 10 feet in the air and most were dashed against the ground before their chutes opened. But the other fireworks performed to expectations.  Cash did scoop up some of the failed parachutists and I am sure that he is figuring out how to launch them properly today.

We had neighbors to our right and neighbors to our left lighting them off too.  So the kids got a splendid display all in all. No one lost any digits or burned any flesh - so all in all it was a fun evening. Viva la difference!  And you know if you didn't ever try anything different, you would just be eating McDonalds all the time, how boring would that be.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Annabelle goes visiting

This past weekend we took young Annabelle with us to see grandma Garrett.  Chelsea had to work, so she asked us to take her.  Annabelle may not ever remember grandma Garrett, but I think it helped Grandma to be able see one of her multitudes of great grands.  She was slow to warm up to grandma - we were in a new setting the assisted living home and so she was a little unsure of herself.  But she did give her a nice hug before the visit was over.

Afterwards we went to eat at Buckeye Jakes.  We got her some Mac and Cheese along with some chicken tenders.  During one of her visits to the table, the waitress noted, "she sure likes her macroni and cheese." We replied that she sure does.  And on cue Annabelle tilted her head back and blew a mouthful of mac and cheese into the air!  We couldn't help but laugh and several of the surrounding tables chimed in. So she started to get another mouthful and do it again. Being dutiful grandparents we had to suppress our smiles and in stern voices tell her to cease and desist.  Afterwards we advised Chelsea - only your child would do something like that. We did leave the waitress a generous tip for the additional work needed in the vicinity of the table.

This has been the year of the boy.  Ryker Tilton, Elliot Deeter, and Wesley Henrickson all arrived within about 6 weeks of one another. Young Wes has the distinction of being Heathers first grandchild.  I congratulated her on being a grannie. The other two are descendants of mine - I can only hope that they overcome this handicap. So far all seem to be healthy.  You never stop worrying about your kids and well - your grandkids.  I did send up a multitude of prayers that all would be healthy.  At a certain point there isn't much else you can do. As a father you always want to fix things - but some things you just don't have the capability to fix.  Vanessa had to fight gestational diabetes, and Samatha had mastitis, but they worked their way thru it all and are doing fine.  So maybe in spite of prayers from a heathen like me, all are OK.

Went to Gary "Might Dog" Smires and Christina's wedding reception at the Hillcrest Tavern. Good time all in all.  Their cake had a skull on top of it - candy/confectionary of course.  They met over the internet on a motorcycle website. They saw each like 3-4 times in person, then got married.  She comes from El Paso, Texas and has moved up here to be with him.  They seem to make a good couple. She has not seen snow, I think she will be thrilled the first time, then after about the 3rd and 4th snows she be wondering when will spring be here like the rest of us.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Young Elliot

Young Elliot Johnathon Deeter first saw the light of day on June 5, 2014.  A strapping young lad, he tipped the scales at a whopping 10 pounds even and was 22 inches in length. Glad to be there to welcome him to the world and see another life's journey begin. Perhaps I will get the football player that I have been looking for.  Although being born in Kentucky he might lean towards being a post player on the hardwood.

Interestingly the trip down Louisville was similar to when Elaina was born - a wet evening with flashes of lightening in the sky. It was a planned a C-section and so we got Elaina off to school in the morning, then went to the hospital. His blood sugar was low so they were keeping a close watch on him. When the nurses unwrapped him,the first thing I noticed was the big barrel chest, like his Dad. And with that big chest and matching mouth, he let it be known that he was not happy about being awoken from his nap.

They gave him some formula to get his blood levels set and he emptied the bottle in no time.  So he has an equally large appetite.  Some of the newborn clothing that they had gotten for him simply would not fit as he was too big for it.  Including a Brown's cap that was too small (to his parents chagrin and my delight) - so I made a mental note to buy a suitable hat for the young man from a real professional football team, the Ohio State Buckeye's.

We picked up Elaina at the bus stop after school and took her to the hospital with Violet.  Fun to watch the two sisters being all about Elliot - I think he will grow up with 3 Mums to watch over him. Any future girlfriend will have to earn the approval of all three.  Elaina is at an age where she will be helpful this summer.  And Violet will have to adjust to being the middle child.  Although at this stage, Violet is all about being the helpful big sister, and Elaina is like ho-hum I have been thru this big sister stuff before.

Friday Violet and I walked to the lake and did a little fishing in the morning.  I caught a little small mouth bass, about 8 inches.  She had some bites from the blue gill, but could not set a hook on any of them.  I will say that pre-school has been good for her.  She seems more outgoing and articulate. No shrinking violet this one.  A very caring person, she has been giving our Boston Terrier, Max, all the attention he can stand.

We had a good time at the swimming pool on Saturday.  Although Violet was tentative about going into the water.  So I went in with her and soon she was having a good time. Met some of the people at the pool from the apartment complex and they all seemed nice. Kids played together well so she had a good time.  Elaina played keep away with some of the boys at the deeper end of the pool.  Later we went to the Barrel of Fun ice cream shop - which as the name suggests is shaped like a huge barrel.

Eric brought home some beer and a bottle of wine to celebrate.  He also got me a bottle of "Arrogant Bastard Ale" - which is actually a good tasting beer if you like hops as I do.  I told him that Chelsea got me a bottle of it for a birthday not long ago - I guess that I have that effect on people!

Momma, Poppa, and baby Elliot arrived home on Saturday as well.  All seemed exhausted - it is just hard to sleep in a hospital.  The baby seems to be taking it all in, his new surroundings and his two sisters that fuss over him. Our job of watching the girls done, we left for home Sunday after a nice big breakfast.  Some Kentucky style biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs.

We are 2/3rds done with the year of the boy - Joe and his wife's son, now young Elliot, and soon to come niece Callie's young boy will be arriving, which is Heather's first grandchild.  Oh it is fun to be a grand parent - you have all the fun of  fishing and swimming and doing the i scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream bit.  And at the first whiff of a dirty diaper, it is (Mom..Dad) you have a problem here and the problem is handed off to the duly appointed guardian and diaper changer. Not too bad of a deal.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Margaret

Dear Margaret,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I will be unable to attend your graduation party in June. My oldest daughter has a c-section delivery scheduled for that weekend, and we will be watching her children during this event.   So in lieu of my presence I am enclosing a check.  Hopefully it will relieve you of the great sorrow you must be feeling right now.

I know that many think of this as a festive time in your young life. But I with the wisdom of years I must give warning of your impending adulthood.  If you knew what I knew, then instead of skipping down the graduation aisle, your class would shuffle solemnly to the stage, with heads bowed in dread.  And the music played would be a funeral dirge.  

Nay go back, back into the class room I say, delay adulthood as long as possible. Have the counselor recount your credits.  Perchance they miscounted and you would need to go back to school.  This actually happened at South a few years ago where the valedictorian did not have enough credits to graduate.   Or maybe tell the school that I really can’t remember the courses I took my freshman year, and that you would like to retake them to refresh your memory so that you don’t feel cheated. 

For once you leave you will have dreams of finding the cure for cancer, solving world peace, and other lofty goals.  And 10 years after you graduate it will be an accomplishment to make this month’s mortgage payment, drop off the child at daycare with matching shoes, and survive another day at some soulless corporate behemoth  without getting fired.   Yes the world will dash your dreams against the rocky shores of life. 

Many of your generation live their early adult years in their parents basement. Something to consider – all you would need is money for pizza and beer.  And no responsibility.  Get an xbox and the internet and you are set.  Yes if I had it all to do again this would be the route to go.  The only way that I would have left home is at the barrel of a gun and a quick lock change so that I could never go back.  

Your father has a basement  - so put it to good use, and use the check to open a credit line with Sarah’s pizza.  And the beer can be gotten by any enterprising American teenager.   And I think that it is a shame that an 18 year old can go fight in some god forsaken country, but they can’t go home and enjoy a cold one after a year of fighting for your life. But on the other hand I like the law for this aspect of it- because everyone breaks it as part of becoming an adult.  It’s a rite of passage.  And isn’t that part of being an American – rebelling against authority, or at least questioning it?  So don’t be afraid to rebel and question.

I am given to understand that you are class valedictorian and a member of the honor society.  Very surprising to me as I recall your father and myself in school.  We scarcely cracked open a book, they remained safely in our lockers until they were returned at the end of school year, no wear on them at all. And if curiosity had gotten the better of us and we had opened one of the books – well we would have consumed the same knowledge as a pair of monkey’s.   But then I think that the both of us are relieved that none of our characteristics were passed on to our offspring. 

Now maybe graduation isn’t going to be that bad of thing. Your generation can’t hardly louse things up any worse than what is being done now. And maybe we do need you to enter the work force.  You need to work hard to take care of our social security and medicare.  Focus on getting a good job and a nice house – with a big basement.   Your folks may need to move in with you instead. 

As Shakespeare once stated, Advice is wasted on the young.  So I am sure that you will not heed me at all but:
All things in Moderation.  An old saying but true.  Love, alcohol, etc.

Neither a lender nor a borrower be – Look at the crazy student debt that people are piling up.  After you graduate college and get your first job everyone wants to reward themselves with a new car.  Get a nice used one instead.

A job is an ends to a means – Not every job is the perfect job.  But getting a nice pay check and living for the weekends ain’t bad.

And the check – remember that studying takes a lot of energy.  And carbohydrates will provide you that energy, so yes even down this path – pizza and beer is the answer!

Irresponsibly and irrelevantly,

 J. Chris Tilton