Good old days

I found an old box in the back of my closet… it was full of a stack of old papers from my childhood. I think Mom gave it to me the last time I was visiting Missouri, because she was tired of storing it in the basement. There were some real gems in there.

For example, my life history as I saw it at age 9:


Apparently the big events in my life were:

1972 – born
1973 – moved
1974 – stitches
1976 – brother born
1978 – kindergarten
1979 – moved
1980 – broke collarbone
1981 – swingset

It’s funny to see that I failed to mention either of my sisters being born, but apparently Thom’s birth was momentous. Or maybe I couldn’t think of anything else for 1976? And I guess the swingset in our backyard was a pretty big deal, since it made the list in 1981.

Next in the exhibit is some pencil drawing that must’ve been part of a unit about perspective in art class.


My favorite part here is the catchy billboard slogan “For a toothy smile, use toothpaste!” I’m not sure why Colgate or Crest never used something like that.

Finally, behold the reason why I never became a poet.


At this point in my young life I was apparently over the excitement of Thom’s birth, and lashed out at the horrible injustice of him breaking my best model. Grrr.


Last night I took Alex and Zack paintballing with a group from church. Despite threatening weather, it proved to be a nice cool evening in the mountains and we had a good time shooting our friends.


After a two-year hiatus from paintball (because no one could ever seem to organize a game) it was nice to get out and collect a few bruises and war stories.


Every week we get together at work to have lunch and discuss the affairs of the company. The tradition is called the “State of the Zing” and is a good way to find out how everyone is doing on projects, share things that are coming up, and generally prepare for the week.

Lately we’ve been going around the table and giving a self-assessment of how busy each of us feel. This is a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “I have nothing to do and plan to nap all week” and 10 being “I’m so busy on projects I probably won’t get to sleep this week”. No one’s ever been a 1, and likewise no one’s ever claimed a 10.

But today as we went around, everyone was at 9 or above (9.2, 9.21, that sort of thing). We’re completely swamped with projects and client requests, and doing our best to stay afloat and deliver work on schedule. It made me think of The Princess Bride, where Prince Humperdinck is talking to Count Rugen:


“I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.”

To which the count replies:


“Get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

Unfortunately rest isn’t going to help us finish our client projects, but at least we’re not planning murders at Zing.

Grandma and grandpa

We had a great visit with mom and dad this weekend, as they came out for Alex’s graduation. Before they hit the road this morning, they posed for a picture with their awesome grandkids.


We followed with a “goofy picture” but I guess grandpa doesn’t have a goofy face (or if he does, it looks remarkably like his normal face).


One down, two to go

Well, Alex did it! Graduation was last Saturday.

It’s been raining pretty much all month, so the morning started out pretty threatening. The skies were completely overcast, it was chilly, and there was a slight drizzle. The school had a Plan B to have the graduation ceremony indoors, but no one really wanted to do that, so they braved the weather and made the call to go outdoors.

Here’s Alex heading past the choir and band to take his seat:


Here’s what the overall area looked like… notice the looming grey skies.


Miraculously, the sun came out for a while, and eventually the clouds dissipated a bit. The drizzle stopped and it was actually quite nice– not too hot, but not too cold either.

I couldn’t get a good shot of Alex receiving his diploma from the principal, but here he is heading offstage, diploma in hand:


Afterward, he was a pretty happy guy. It was really nice that mom and dad could come out to support him.


He was pretty decked-out. The large medallion is for “co-valedictorian”… I’d never heard of that, but there were around 30 seniors who finished high school with a GPA of 4.0 or higher, and they were all counted as co-valedictorians. The teal cords are for his STEM degree– all of the tough math and engineering courses paid off. The gold cords are for National Honor Society. And the red-and-gold cords are for completing the honors program, which included a lot of honors-level classes, extracurricular activities, and community service hours. Impressive.

And here are the proud parents:


One down, two to go…

Blast from the past

Here’s a sharp-dressed guy.


No, that’s not my first wife or something. Dirk sent me this photo tonight– he must have found it in a dusty box in the basement or something. It’s his wife Jennifer just before their wedding. I was a groomsman but apparently I hadn’t yet put on my tux. She was being all beautiful and smiley for the photographer, and suddenly suggested that I join her for a shot. What can I say– I’m just so photogenic.


So for many years, whenever a woman asks me the mysterious question “Guess what?”, my glib response is always “You’re pregnant?” I find that most of the time it elicits a chuckle, but in general I’m wrong. Well, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever been right.

Until Saturday.

Here’s my conversation with a friend (who will remain nameless for now):


Hah! Nailed it!

Ripstik wheels

Zack’s had a Ripstik for several years now. It’s one of those funky skateboard-like things with two wheels:


He loves it and zips all over the neighborhood. Well, he finally decided it might be time to get some new wheels for it, because the old ones had basically worn down to a nub. We ordered the wheels, and the difference is pretty staggering:


The one on the right has worn through to whatever weird filler material they stuff inside. With the new wheels, he should be ready for another few years of zipping around.

The new lawnmower

Our old lawnmower was self-propelled, but the motor had given out years ago so it was basically a push mower that weighed about 15 pounds more than it needed to. Laralee finally got tired of heaving it around the yard, as well as listening to Zack complain about how heavy it was when he used it. We had a friend who was looking for a mower, so it seemed like an opportune time to donate it.

After extensive research online and at the local hardware stores, Laralee found a push mower that was highly rated and reasonably priced. It’s a little Honda, and since we have three Honda cars I guess we might as well continue the trend.

It’s been raining nearly continuously for weeks, so as soon as the sun broke through and the grass dried enough, Zack went out to give it a whirl.


I’m sure he’s excited about all of the opportunities he’ll have to use it this summer…