If I could bike 500 miles…

So if you even read the title then you probably have deduced that I have reached a milestone of sorts. Today I watched the odometer on my bike roll past a pretty impressive number. No it wasn’t the 500 miles as referenced in the title. But now your thinking to yourself, “Self….this being the 269th day of 2010 and crazy Jon being a strapping lad such as he is, he must have rolled that bike somewhere even more than the 500 miles he’s yapping about.” I’m here to tell you folks that I have just put 100 big ones on that two wheeler. This is the point where you start thinking to yourself, “Self…this being the 269th day of the year simple math says that old crickety Jon has only managed about a third of a mile a day, what a bum.” When I did all of this advanced math and figurin I was even more disappointed than I’m sure you are. The thing that keeps me going is that I think that the 2010 total is roughly 100 miles ahead of the 2009 total and I’m picking up steam. Today I rolled up to mile number 110.

It’s some pretty rough terrain too. Here are some shots I took while fighting the elements

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I’ll put it on “paper” now. My goal for 2010 is 501 miles.

Control freak

Ok. I’m almost at the end of my rope with something here. The remote control. No it isn’t missing, hidden in the bowels of the Lay-Z-boy or anything. No it doesn’t need batteries. It works just fine….for me. No one in this house can work the remote control. Here are the scenarios that are playing out nightly here:

Sam - “Dad!!! The TV is broken”

Jen – She just punches buttons over and over until I can’t take it anymore and change the channel for her.

Sara – Sara hands the remote to Sam and tells him to yell, “Dad, the TV is broken!!”

I think they might secretly be filming a reality TV show called “How long until he snaps!” They each probably get like $10,000 if they can get me to sign myself into a medical facility. Probably an extra 10k if I get taken against my will.

Vespa story – part 2

So I have put off writing the “Tale of the Vespa trip” for a whole bunch of reasons. At first I thought I could make up a really good story and keep everyone on the edge of their seats with a story of adventure and intrigue. I realized soon after this thought that I don’t have a good enough imagination and I could not lie to such a vast legion of fans. I did not want to become the James Fry of the blogosphere. Truth be told? I was the recipient of a last second offer of a truck ride back from Clearwater which probably saved my a couple of hours of love bug encrusted boredom. The Vespa is safely quartered here in Wesley Chapel and I’m sure there will be more opportunities to tell Vespa stories since the thing still isn’t running right. I already imagine it…”It was a dark and stormy night…”

Road trip!!

Tomorrow is the great scooter adventure. I think I’ve posted some commentary about our Vespa scooter before, but here’s a bit of background. Just prior to moving to Florida we purchased a 2004 Vespa scooter like this one.

It’s a 50 cc monster capable of speeds up to 44 mph. For the most part this is ok for putting around the various subdivisions and a trip to the grocery store, but for anything more than a couple of miles you are risking life and limb on Florida roads. This is why I will be riding it for almost 45 miles tomorrow. We had a friend of ours cart the Vepsa to Clearwater a week ago because I broke the choke housing trying to start the thing. It also apparently needed a rebuilt carburetor and some various other tunings. The problem became…How do you get it back? I have decided that asking the neighbor to cart a non-working Vespa 45 miles was not out of line, but asking him to go pick it up when it runs perfectly fine is not. I have mapped out a 45 mile trail back to our place that keeps me off the interstate and main roads for the most part. I’m calling it an adventure. No one else is of the same opinion.

Check out my route.

imageYou might want to turn off CNN for tomorrow. Who knows what trouble I might get into and I’d rather you find out here first. 

You did what to your toe?

Get a load of this. Jen, a woman of many ideas and plans, has been crafting special lunches for Sam lately. I have almost no idea where the idea originated, but she has a fascination with all things “mini”. Go ahead…I’ll wait.

Here are a few of the lunch surprises that Sam has been feasting on at school. She’s becoming a master.

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He says he loves them, but I’m not sure what grade you are in when this gets you beaten up on the playground. Even if there is a playground scuffle out of this I’m pretty sure the thing he will remember is how great a mom he has and how much love she put into making him lunch. I’ll stop her if she starts adding little notes though.

Don’t make me get out the belt!

Why do they make the seatbelts in airplanes different than the car ones? I think that airlines have all conspired to make one big joke on first time flyers. Watch next time you fly and see if the flight attendants are snickering and pointing at people who can’t operate a seat belt. Something they think they had mastered before getting on a plane. If people are flying Southwest it’s even funnier. “If you hold a ticket with B31, wait until the A1-30’s have boarded, the take their place while the A31-60 people have processed.” Ugh. I know I have flown too much when I’m holding a “How to board a Southwest flight” class while waiting in line. Think about it and you’ll come up with more than I have mentioned, not to mention all the flying etiquette rules. I’ll save those for later…as soon as I think of them.

Really? A thousand words?

So we are doing some decorating right? Jen wants a picture wall and I’m super nit picky about doing stuff like that. I have a weird thing about not wanting to put holes in walls. I’m not sure what that’s about. Maybe I don’t like fixing holes in walls and inevitably I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing that if I make the holes. The idea of putting 500 pictures on a single wall almost put me over the edge. It took Jen like 2 weeks to get me to even think about it.

The plan I came up with was to get all the pictures together and lay them out. I thought this would prove that it was a bad idea and Jen would decide we didn’t have enough pictures or something. Didn’t work. Once we argued over the layout of the pictures for a couple of hours my plan B was that maybe she would decide she didn’t like me anymore and we wouldn’t have to do it. Didn’t work. She likes me less now, but I still had to hang the pictures. Once we had the layout I decided that it would be a great idea to take a picture of the pictures as we agreed on them. Two reasons for this. One it would serve as a template to work off of once we picked the pictures off the floor and two it would provide evidence to the court should anything happen to me during this project. I’m just sayin’.

Here is the agreed upon layout. From high atop a barstool, which is curiously where I might end up after this is over, picture number 1.


Here is the finished product.

pictures2Now for anyone with a really keen eye you might notice something that almost was really funny…if you aren’t me. AFTER I had taken the “This is what we agree upon” picture what do you think happens? Jen decided that she didn’t like some of the pictures in their frames and swapped them out. This made putting the puzzle back together slightly more fun.

Final note. I gave Jen a hard time in this post, but it was a good idea and she chose some great shots of our family. For those of you that notice your pictures aren’t included? I’m still pondering if you are worth another hole in a perfectly good wall.


Here we are again. A day with so many memories. I can’t even quantify the bad memories since I keep hoping that they will fade and be overshadowed by the, let’s call them “better” memories.
I will add a story that will hopefully be a good memory as time goes on and link to my entry from last year so the story can have even more context.
I’d like to say I was the first recipient, but I’m not sure that’s true. I think another deserving recipient received the award a quarter before I received mine. I hope that the recipients of the award to this day realize the significance of what they are receiving, and I hope that I never forget. Nine years ago a colleague of mine set out on an adventure with his girlfriend and never came back. He was a team leader at APC, like me, but not. He was jamming through his career at the time and I was just starting. New to my job, but not. We weren’t friends, but we were. I had an opportunity to build a short, quick buddy story with him and then he was gone. You can read that story below, but for right now I will share with you a reminder that sits on my desk everyday and reminds me to be a leader, it makes no difference what I’m doing. Thanks Shawn. Even though I knew you only briefly, you are still a reminder of what there is to accomplish and what is important in life. I don’t need the award shown below to remember, but it can’t hurt.


I was born in a small town…

Had  a recent and quick visit to Orion Sam and I took a couple of days to head out and see the sights of the Quad Cities. Most important to Sam was that he got to play battleship. Kids are weird. Here are some photos.


We visited the Andover park after breakfast. Larry couldn’t resist.

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A visit to the Quad Cities isn’t complete without a trip to the John Deere Pavilion. A trip to the John Deere pavilion isn’t complete without the obligatory picture of “People in a tractor bucket”

IMAG0192Sam wasn’t sure what to think about the ducks that attacked our Channel Cat taxi on the Mississippi.


This picture has an interesting story. The playground equipment Sam is riding on I rode on as a kid. I repaired it as an adult working for the Village of Orion, and now Sam is playing on it. How many kids have been flung off this thing over the years?

Service with a stick

I have found the definitive clue that our economy is in full rebound. I’ve written about this topic before, but today I have two new entries in the  “Why things are getting better” series. Number one. I pulled into a Shell gas station and was immediately pounced on by a teen with a stick. I fought him bravely trying to defend my family and was about to finish him off when he yelled, “I was just going to clean your windows!!” Ok…the part about him attacking me was made up, but it appears that this particular Shell station has hired two attendants to pump gas and clean windshields. To anyone not from New Jersey and under 40 years old this is unheard of. I told the guy he missed a spot on my windshield and went inside to ask what was going on. Apparently this gas station has decided that customer service is going to be their way out of the economic downturn. These guys were getting paid a wage and declining tips. I think Shell is on to something. This is my new favorite gas station.

Second. I ordered some checks from the bank the other day and about 4 hours later I get a call from the bank telling me that I could get the checks free if I changed to another type of account and since I get direct deposit it wouldn’t cost me anything. Also…they could take care of my fees on my savings account if I swapped some money around every month. So to recap, since it will sound more incredible this way.

My gas station has assigned a guy to pump my gas and wash my windows and my personal banker calls me to give me money back every once in a while.

You watch…this is the start of a new prosperity.