Volleyball

Tonight, a chapter of The Life of a Father of Five has closed.  

I have not been regularly posting for a number of years now.  One of the reasons I have not been blogging is because of how “busy” our lives have been.  Ironically, the “closing chapter” I am blogging about tonight is one of the things that has kept me busy enough to keep me from blogging about it.

Volleyball.  

Tonight, #4 of 5’s eight year run as a volleyball player concluded.  What started eight years ago as a little girl playing volleyball for St John the Baptist School, then Jordan Middle School, and finally Jordan high School came to a conclusion tonight.  There were a few tears, but a lot of smiles and a number of congratulations at the conclusion of tonight’s Sub-Section Semi-Finals.



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(Above) We were not sure at the time of the photo, but tonight turned out to be #4 of 5’s final Volleyball Game
(Left) #4 of 5 on her second year of playing volleyball as a St. John the Baptist Saint
(Right) #4 of 5 on her final year as a varsity Jordan Jaguar

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I can’t explain how much I have enjoyed watching her play.  I am not a “sports” kind of guy – but for some reason, Volleyball had me hook, line, and sinker.  It was the only sport any of my kids participated in that had me whooping and hollering from the stands.  I am not going to lie.  I will miss seeing my St. John’s Saint / Jordan Jaguar playing volleyball.


(Left) #4 of 5 and The Mother of Five at the conclusion of her final game.
(Right) #4 of 5 and The Father of Five at the conclusion of her final game.

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This is the first of several “lasts” for us with this one this year. 
Yet, we couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments both on and off the court.

CONGRATULATIONS on an SPECTACULAR run #4 of 5, it’s been nothing but AMAZING to watch you grow!  

Thank you to St. John the Baptist, Jordan Middle School, Jordan Hight School, a number of coaches, and assistant coaches, and truly great group of girls that we have been lucky enough to have got to spend time with over the past eight years.

Open Letter - Political Advertising

This is an “open letter” to all the politicians across the nation. This open letter applies to all Republicans, Democrats, (capitol I) Independents, (lowercase i) independents, or candidates from any party not previously mentioned who are running for a national, state, regional, county, or local political office and are buying advertising on television, radio, print, internet or any other method of delivering you campaign messages.



When I see a political add that actually speaks about YOU as a candidate and about the merits of YOUR platform, I'd likely pay a lot more attention to your add. I say “likely” because for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I saw one.

If on the other hand, you use your time (and to be quite honest, it’s really MY time we are talking about here - as your add is an unwanted intrusion into my word) steering around facts, putting up smoke and mirror screens, belittling your opponent, and trying to convince me why I SHOULDN’T vote for the “other candidate” instead of voting FOR YOU – I simply tune out.

Well, that’s not completely true. I pay just enough attention to remember who you so when I am alone in that booth, exercising the right that many people gave their lives to obtain and defend, I will know which box(es) to leave BLANK.

For the record this applies to the “I’m [candidate’s name] and I approve this message.” as much as the “This add paid for by the [political action committee’s name].”


TWENTY FIVE YEARS

In seven of the past thirteen years that The Life of a Father of Five has existed, I have made an acknowledgement of my anniversary to the woman who makes my life, our family, (and by default, this blog) all possible.  The Mother of Five!  

Previous Anniversary Posts:

Thirteenth
, Nothing for fourteenth (it was spent up at Tomahawk Scout Camp with my boys), fifteenth (and a bonus “how we met” post for fifteenth), nothing for sixteenth, seventeenth, nothing for eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, nothing for twenty-first, twenty-second, nothing for twenty-third, and nothing for twenty-fourth.  

Having missed the past two years consecutively (previously unprecedented) I am feeling a little embarrassed.  My embarrassment, my parent’s 50th Anniversary, and this being a major landmark anniversary for us has motivated me to make sure it is acknowledged, and to write something for our TWENTY-FIFTH wedding anniversary here on the blog!! 

So, here goes.


Twenty five years.

I can not even wrap my head around that number.

Twenty-five years ago today we stood before God, family, and friends – and we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other all the days of our lives. Twenty-five years ago today we started a journey that we are still traveling along today – and doing it together.

Just like they say, there has been (and will be) better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health – but I could not have found a better partner to travel with! While twenty-five years sure sounds like a long time (and, honestly it is), these first twenty-five years feel like they have almost flown by.

Together we have raised (well, still raising) five AMAZING children that I have previously said truly amaze me and fill me with wonder and hope EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE - they give me strength beyond comprehension.

I cannot begin to thank you for being the amazing wife, partner, and mother you are. Your strength, fortitude, patience, and understanding inspire me to strive to be a better husband and father - and to help me keep me focused on what the TRULY the important things are.

Happy Anniversary MoF. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I do truly thank God in my prayers that he allowed our paths to cross, and that our individual journeys turned and allowed us to take this path together. I am confident that the next twenty-five will be as amazing as the first twenty-five – and I am looking OH SO forward to the rest of our lives together! —

Twenty-fifth wedding anniversary

The Old School – St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

The St. John the Baptist School has stood as an iconic structure in the historic downtown area and a landmark in the city of Jordan Minnesota.  It is difficult to fathom just how many students have come and gone, and how many memories have been made behind it's doors (some of mine included). 

It started in 1860’s when the Pioneers who settled this area opened a Catholic School.  When the church build the stone structure church in 1868 (that still stands today and can be seen in some of the photos below) the old church structure was converted to a school.  Then, in 1877 a new school was built.  It was a two-story, 30’ x 50’ one-room-classroom brick building with living space fin the lower level for the teacher and family.    

That school must have thrived.  The single classroom was split into two, and at some point the two classrooms were no longer sufficient because the church began construction on a new (and much larger) school.  The cornerstone of the new school (seen in the photos below) was laid in place June 24 and the school was blessed and opened for students November 26, 1908.  The school remained in operation until February 14, 2004 when St. John the Baptist opened their new Education Center.  So, in 2004, everything was moved over to the new Education Center and the old school was closed up. 

Since 2004, the old school has been used for some storage for the church and the school.  Originally, the church and school maintained the building with minimum heating (to keep piles from bursting) and insurance.  The costs exceeded 23 thousand dollars a year. 

Between 2004 and 2007 many options were sought to repurpose the building.  Considerations of a charter school (1.7 million dollars), condominiums (3 million dollars), and tearing it down (150 thousand dollars) were among some of the possibilities.  Ultimately no one decided to invest in the old school.

In 2007 a cost cutting committee formed to look at the church’s options with the old school building.  By this time, the cost to rehab the building to make it habitable had risen to a minimum of 4 million dollars.  With the costs rising and the possibility that anyone would want to purchase the property to rehab the structure, the decision was made to remove all plumbing from the building, stop heating the structure, and drop the insurance to the bare minimum.  This was still costing over one thousand dollars a year.

One last attempt to save the structure happened in 2017.  Church trustees along with staff from the City of Jordan met with several property developers at the feasibly of converting the structure to senior citizen apartments.  All agreed that that cost for rehabbing the building would make the rent that would have be charged too high.  Affordable rent could not support the cost to remodel the building.

Then, when a fire broke out inside the building in the early hours of November 14, 2017, the necessity of church's need to finally do something with the building became evident.       

I learned a few days ago that it was scheduled to be brought down.  The asbestos in the building is being abated, and demotion is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 6th 2018.  I took an opportunity to take some last photos of the historic old building that has been such a big part of my (and so many other’s) families.


Good friend and fellow Blogger “Just Getting Warmed Up” wrote up an AMAZING reflection on the experience of actually having attended the school.  It’s very nostalgic.  Please, be sure to check out his work HERE



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St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN


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Fifty Years

FIFTY years ago today, two people (who would later become the best Mom and Dad in the world) got married. This set in motion the events that later would result in a wonderful childhood filled with extraordinary parents (and role models), an amazing sibling, an understanding of unconditional love, a meaningful appreciation of faith, many tremendous opportunities, continued support, unforgettable memories, and the foundation of what has become a life that I have NOTHING but gratitude and appreciation for - a life that includes an amazing wife (and a cast of equally amazing in-laws, siblings, and nephews), five of my own kids that truly amaze me every single day of my life, a brother-in-law (and his supporting cast and crew) who's faith and devotion to God and family inspires me to be a better man every day, and their sons who fill my life with laughter and hopefulness.

Thank you mom. Thank you dad.

Words alone cannot begin to express the level of gratitude I have for everything you have done.



FOF Observation #33

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.
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I wonder if folks who don't have five kids (four at home and three of those four having their own cars and one additional work van (full sized)) can fully appreciate this scene.

This scene is hardly recognizable to me at this point.



World Radio Day - 2018

This was my first year knowing about, and therefore celebrating "World Radio Day".  It came across my Facebook feed from one of the many radio groups I belong to... (Shortwave, Antennas, Antique Radios, Old Time Radio Programs).  What is "World Radio Day" you ask??

According to Wikipedia...
"World Radio Day is an observance day held annually on February 13th. World Radio Day is about celebrating radio, why we love it and why we need it today more than ever. A day to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe."
So, I devised a plan to send out a few "World Radio Day" posts throughout the day.  I started off with making a "cover photo" (the wider photo across the top of your Facebook feed...  I scoured the web and found this photo.  It fit the space nicely,  and highlighted a couple of my favorite things about radios.. An antique (pre-television) radio, and it's usage for family entertainment during the "Golden Age of Radio".   I added a little "watermark" text over the photo to highlight what it was all about, then posted it with a description / explanation...

Next, I set up my shortwave radios on the table, and started scanning the bands for transmissions.   Daytime is typically not very friendly to the shortwave bands - as reception is at it's worst.  I was able to find several - but not from very far away.  Most of them were along the eastern seaboard of the United Sates.

I also posted a "radio themed" update about my work, since after all, a big chunk of my job is as a "broadcaster" on the Public Safety Radio band!

And finally, I posted an update with some photos and descriptions of the antique radios in my collection.    Afterwards, while scrolling my Facebook feed - I thought it would be a fun update here on FOF too.

So, without further adieu, I present to you, the four Facebook status updates strung together. 

Enjoy (or for my Amateur Radio friends... 73's)



First update: 12:57am


Happy "World Radio Day".

I am convinced, now more than ever, that I was born in the wrong generation. I'd give up all things digital and video, to go back and enjoy the GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO. #WorldRadioDay

Find out more...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Radio_Day


2nd update: 5:00pm

A quick hour of doing some informal SWL DX'ing with the full collection for #WorldRadioDay... Operating 2130-2230 UTC.

Left to right...
Eton Mini
Eton 550 BT Field Radio
Radio Shack DX-375
Degen DE1103
Degen DE31 - indoor active loop antenna
I had the WRTH handbook out for reference.
In the one hour of operation I found the following stations.
9265 kHz - WINB (World International Broadcasters Station) - Red Lion, Pennsylvania
9565 kHz - International Broadcasting Bureau - Greenville, NC
9690 kHz - Radio Exterior de Espana - Noblejas, Spain (at least as best as I could tell)
9980 kHz - WWCR (World Wide Christian Radio) - Nashville, TN
11930 kHz - Radio Martí - Greenville, NC
12050 kHz - WEWN - Birmingham, Alabama, USA





3rd update: 8:00pm

Who knew??

So much of my "leisure" is spent on the radio - that in one way or another, I should have expected that I would end up working in "radio" (Public Safety Radio) in my professional life as well.  #WorldRadioDay



4th and final update: 10:00pm

It's drawing to an end, but World Radio Day would not be complete if I did not also include one of my biggest radio passions - some of the Antique (vacuum tube) radios I have collected.

All of these radios are "project radios" of one sort or another at this point.  They are just waiting for me to have some free time (ha!) to be able to commit to "re-capping" them. Recapping a radio means Restoration of the electronic components inside the radio which degrade over time.  Typically, the capacitors, resistors, and much of the wiring.  But, as you can see in the photos - it also means refinishing some cabinet woodworking - and the "grill cloth".

Left to right Top row, then bottom row...
Silvertone Floor - Unknown model / year (Possibly a Model 1729 from 1934)
Delco R-1243 (1947)
E.H. Scott Allwave 23 (1937)
Philco 37-84 (1937)
Coronado Floor - Unknown model / year
Zenith 5R-312 (1939)


FOF Observation #32

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.
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A 13-year-old-girl slumber party at our house means that dad has to construct a “pyramid of breakfast sausages”
while mom does a “massive mound of pancakes”!

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Once its all on the table, ill be seeking concealment and cover!

Alert the seismologists - the "thundering heard of girls will be racing up the steps shortly!

P.S.  Yes, THESE SHOES belong to the same group of “über cool” girls!

Honora and Her Irish Spinning Wheel

Since I was a young lad I have been what you may call an "ancestry nerd".  I have fond memories of my first “family tree project” in junior high school, and even fonder memories of spending time with my Mémère (my grandmother) walking through some old family cemeteries, and recalling stories of relatives long past.  Currently, my family tree contains 522 people, and I have successfully traced my family’s origins back to the mid 1700’s.     

Yesterday, a new (well, new to me) photo of my Great-Grandmother popped up on Facebook.  When I saw it, and read the story behind it, I could hardly contain my nostalgic excitement!



This photo is of my Great-Grandmother.  My mother’s grandmother.  My Mémère’s mother.

Her name was Honora.  She also went by Nora, or her nickname “Guppy”.  Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting her as she passed some 14 years before I came along.  From the stories I have heard about my Great-Grandmother from my mom, my Mémère, and other family members – I have no doubts she would have gotten along famously!!   

The photo was posted on Facebook by one of my mother’s cousins in celebration of what would have been my great-grandmother’s 150th birthday on January 1st.   I was told that my Great-Grandmother was about 88 years old when this photograph was taken (circa 1955-1956 - some 62 years ago) and likely taken inside her home in Finlayson, Minnesota.

The tale behind the photo goes a little something like this...

The Minneapolis Star or The Minneapolis Tribune (I am not certain which local paper it was, but they merged in 1982 and the combined papers are now known as the Minneapolis StarTribune) was going to run a piece about Honora and her Irish spinning wheel.  This photo was taken for that article.  Unfortunately, shortly before the story was completed and published my Great-Grandmother passed away.  I was told that because she passed away prior to the story’s completion, the article was never printed.  Family members expressed their disappointment in this fact.  Sixty-two years later, the disappointment continues.  I would have LOVED to have been able to read the article.     

The Facebook status update with the photo opened some further dialogue with extended family members that included memories of Honora and of the spinning wheel.  I learned that Honora’s oldest living grand-daughter still has the spinning wheel displayed in her living room!  (I have asked for photos – and if they come, I will be sure to update this blogpost!)  This also led to some discussion about the original “draft” of the story for the newspaper.  I learned that it may have been saved after all and  (fingers crossed) that there is a possibility it could be retrieved.  That will also surly guarantee an update – and a very happy Father of Five!



Oh, and as a BONUS - I also received a copy of a photo of of my Great-Grandmother with a number of HER grandchildren (which includes my mother, two of her three brothers (my uncles), and their cousins).  My mother and her brothers highlighted with yellow arrows.  I would guess my mother looks about three years old in this photo (and appears to be pouting).

  

The Birdhouse

This is not just an ordinary birdhouse. 

This was a birdhouse that was handmade by my paternal grandfather for me.

It is at least 43 years old.

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slabs2While my grandfather was still alive he made a set of these birdhouses for his children and grandchildren.  He made them by hand from left over lumber “slabs”. 

(Slabs are the rounded sides, along with other parts of a log, not usable as lumber.)  

A few years ago, while cleaning his garage, my dad dug up the birdhouses my grandfather had made for my sister and myself.  My dad stored them away many years ago, safe-keeping them for us as adults.  When I was given mine, I decided to keep mine inside as a decorative item vs putting it outside in the elements. 

It sits in a prominent place above the cabinets in our kitchen.



My grandpa was the subject of a previous post here on The Life of a Father of Five titled Grandpa’s Tackle Box
There, you can read a little bit more about him.  


A couple of days ago the Mother of Five and I decided it was high time we conducted a “deep clean” of our kitchen.  One of the tasks we undertake when we “deep clean” the kitchen is the removal of all our “tchotchke” and “bric-a-brac” that decorates and adorns the tops of our kitchen cabinets.  We have several silk plants, a couple of decorative plates, some “country theme” figurines, and some antiques / family heirlooms.  One of the heirloom items that lives above our kitchen cabinets is my birdhouse.

When we pulled my birdhouse down from above the cabinet, I could not help but notice how “lackluster” it had become.  It was looking very dull, covered with dust and general kitchen “grime”, and had lost it’s radiance.  I was feeling disappointed with how my birdhouse was beginning to look, so I took a little bit of time from the “deep clean” to really bring my birdhouse “back to life”.  When I was finished I was shocked by the reminder of the beauty of my birdhouse – and the feeling of connection with my grandfather it gave me again. 

My grandfather (the one who built this birdhouse) passed away when I was very young (5 years old).  My memories of him are limited and any connection I have to him are deeply meaningful to me (again, I will reference back to “Grandpa’s Tackle Box” above.

This birdhouse tops my list. 

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