Monday, December 13, 2010

What if this is as good as it gets?

What if this is as good as it gets?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Letter in a Bloggle

On the 14th of December, my wife and I share our 14th trip around the sun; our 14th wedding anniversary. 
That's a grand total of:
14 Years, or
730 weeks, or
5111 Days, or
122664 Hours, or
7,359,840 Minutes, or
441,590,400 Seconds.

14 things I love about you after 14 years of marriage

1. You are a great cuddler. Nothing says “I love you” like spooning through a cold winter night after being together for fourteen years. That never gets old.

2. You are a great mother. You actually want to be home with the kids. Rather than obsessing over a career of some sort, you have taken up driving our kids to charter school and making them lunches every day. You have found ways to volunteer in their classrooms and help them with projects. You make them secure about what is at home for them.

3. You are a great listener. You put up with my interruptions when I want to read you a story or tell you about something absolutely unimportant.  And you have a great laugh.  I want to hear you laugh more.

4. You are fun to hang out with. I work from home, yet I don’t get sick of seeing you around. You are fun to be with, listen to, and talk to.

5. You are a great baker. Home made breads, pies, cakes, muffins. If it rises, you have mastered it. But no, you will not convert me to your false religion of mush and cornbread for breakfast. Some baked goods are better alone, or with honey, or glaze, or icing. Mush doesn’t fall into any of those categories.

6. You are very patient. I am a real pain in the caboose. Yet you still haven’t killed me in my sleep. Don’t think I haven’t expected it on at least a fortnight.  I've thought to myself, "Well, I've really done it this time.  Surely I will meet my Maker, at my wife's hand tonight.  Farewell, Cruel World."  Then I wake up and we make up.  Wink-wink.

7. You make beautiful children.  They all got your big smile and love of cuddles.

8. You aren’t a nagger. You don’t make honey-do lists and chase me around with an irritating voice trying to get me to spend every waking moment doing odd jobs around the house.

9. You are pleasant. That seems like a funny thing to say. But there are so many people out there that aren’t, it sure makes it nice to be around someone who is.

10. You are supportive. Women like to ask, “How do you run your own business? I’d never let my husband do that.” Thanks for letting me prove that it can be done. Through the good and the bad.

11. You have integrity. I’d never believe it if someone said you stole something. Except someone else’s keys. Purely accidental of course.

12. You are kind. You look for ways to help people. Many a meal has been delivered by your hand to someone who is sick.

13. You are smart. You love to read. I am deeply jealous of the books that occupy your attention while laying in bed.

14. You aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty. This one stems way back. I’m grateful you aren’t afraid to pull a weed, or plant a garden. Now I’ve just gotta get you over your fear of gutting a game bird.

15. Bonus…One for next year.  You are a hotty! You look great in boots, jeans, and jackets, or most other outfits too. Score!

Here's to the next 14 years.  You are the love of my life, and my dearest friend.  Don't tell Cache!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do you think unemployment insurance is a good thing for society?

Do you think unemployment insurance is a good thing for society?

Somewhere along the line a politician got the idea that we should have insurance for the unemployed. This does not come directly out of the employee’s paycheck. It’s another one of those taxes that costs an employer a percentage of what he pays everyone. That is money he doesn’t have available to pay the employee who works hard every day.

I’ve had a bad experience with unemployment problems. Being the owner of a small business, I have had to fire some employees and lay off others to keep the business afloat. One employee that I fired, cussed out a customer. I fired him on the spot. He applied for unemployment benefits and after an hour of “phone court” and many hours of paperwork, was denied.

The second guy I fired for not wanting to work. The judge decided I didn’t give him enough training to improve his work ethic. I didn’t realize an employer was responsible for work ethic. He was given unemployment benefits for several months.

I laid of a secretary who was making less than 10.00 per hour. She went on unemployment for almost a year as I heard about her spending that time living at home sewing wedding dresses and working for cash under the counter while making almost 70% of her previous wage (from unemployment benefits) while not working. She called me two weeks before her unemployment ran out to see if she could list me as a referral on her resume. I found it interesting that she didn’t look for work that entire time, even though that is a requirement to receive benefits. Interestingly enough she found work right after the unemployment ran out. That is where the system fails.

So many people would rather not be working. I’ve also had to fight about unemployment with an employee who quit and left the state. He lost the job where he moved and then Unemployment Insurance tried to come back on my company. Another employee had his drivers license revoked. He tried to get unemployment also.

Gotta love taxes. Just got a note from the “Department of workforce services.” They were just writing to let me know about the changes in Unemployment Insurance for 2011. The minimum tax rate doubles for next year. One more expense to keep companies from being able to hire more people.

So what is your take on unemployment? Does it help society or just discourage people from doing their best and working hard? Leave your comments below.

When Dogs Sleep

Have you ever smiled at a sleeping dog? Their feet twitch and nostrils flare as they slip into the realm of dreams. Perhaps dreams are the gateway to the eternities. They are a way to visit what was, and what is to come.

Puppies come into life with a powerful love and loyalty that is unequaled in most people. They become part of our families with perfect devotion. They are loyal to the point of laying down their lives for their loved ones. They have intelligence beyond our understanding and seem to sense our moods. In fact, it has been said that they possess all of our virtues with none of our vices. It behooves us to be worthy of their devotion.

As dogs speed through life from puppies to old age, they give us a glimpse of how quickly life passes, and how much we should enjoy it. Dogs don’t hold grudges very long. They’re forgiving. They wag their way through life, and smile through the good times and the bad.

I believe that when a dog takes his last breath on earth, he takes his first one in paradise. His mind gradually awakens as his senses come to life with perfection. The pains of mortal life slip away as he stands up, bows down, and contorts into a deep stretch, yawning with an extended curling tongue. His nostrils flare, experiencing new levels of perception in smell. The squint in his eyes departs as his pupils adjust to the brightness. His perfect silky coat warms from the summer breeze and rays of light. His tail wags like a puppy and his nose drops to the green grass. His feet glide over the ground in a powerful gallop as he explores the rolling hills and forests in his new home, where he waits to greet us with bounding hugs and kisses when we take our last breath on earth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sniffing Glue

I started building models when I was ten. The first ones looked like they’d been hit by anti-aircraft guns. Parts of the sprue were left on, glue was applied too heavily, and I was too impatient to paint them properly. Then I played with them like toys which led to parts getting knocked off. They would usually end their existence flying into Mt. Everest, a.k.a. the brick wall in my back yard. Sometimes the plastic pilot even ejected to safety.

As I got older, my patience increased and I learned to enjoy the process of sitting at my workbench with tweezers and an airbrush to build some very detailed model airplanes. I started hanging them on nails over my closet. Working almost exclusively in the 1:48 scale when building aircraft was my medium. One inch on the model equaled 48 inches in real-life. I liked seeing how the different aircraft looked next to each other at the same scale.

In the middle of my room, hung with fishing line, a model of the B-1 swing-wing bomber flew under the ceiling light. I melted its left engines and hung a plume of cotton from wire out of the back of the aircraft. She was “hit” by a Russian Su-27 that was trailing behind her in the corner of my room.

Building models was calm and relaxing. On cold California winter nights I could sit and listen to the radio and paint details on missiles and dream of flying until early in the morning.

My mom would come up and make me open the window. Since I can’t smell, I couldn’t detect the paint and glue fumes in the room that were killing my brain cells. Maybe that’s why it was so relaxing.

Model building is a dying art. I hear mothers complaining about helping their kids make dioramas for school projects. The model aisle at Wal-mart is gone. They used to sell model paints, glues, kits, and supplies next to model rockets and rocket motors. Those are gone, possibly forever. I have to drive 40 minutes to go to a store that sells model kits now. I wonder what caused that shift in the market. Are fathers too busy to build with their children? Have video games overstimulated children to the point that they can’t sit and enjoy a long and detailed project?

It is twenty-five years since I built my first models. My next door neighbor Brent, had a father who built hundreds of model airplanes that covered his bedroom walls. That is probably what made me want to build my first one. My dad helped me paint the first jet I hung over the closet. It was the same color as the blue on my wall. Actually, it was painted with the leftover paint from that room.

I bought some models for my kids to build with me in the garage. The winters in Utah are colder, but even when it is snowing outside, the garage heater makes painting possible. Now it is my wife who makes me open a window.

My kids had a blast. Carrie built an F4 Corsair, Chris build a model of the WWII USS Enterprise with a deck of wildcat warplanes, and Coleman built a model of the P-51 Mustang. We listened to the Triology station on Pandora Internet radio and talked and put things together. I didn’t get much done on the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier I was building. Instead, I cleaned up the occasional paint spill and helped my younger son understand how to put his fuselage together.

We worked on the models all afternoon. When bedtime rolled around, they couldn’t believe it was 8:30 already. The day passed quickly. They left their projects on the workbench in the garage to dry. When I got up on Sunday morning, the boys projects were already in the kitchen. The first thing they did in the morning was bring them inside.

I flash back to memories with my parents from time to time. I remember sitting at the kitchen table when I was a boy, working on my first model with my dad. I wonder if my kids will remember a scene from last night in twenty-five years. I wonder if there will be a company manufacturing models for my grand kids to build. And I wonder how many brain cells this hobby has cost me.