A quick lunch outing!

Today, while working out in the garage, and yard - I stepped in and told Mother of Five that I was going to run out and grab a quick burger for lunch. She told me that it would be nice if I took #5 of 5 with me. We jumped in the car and headed off.

Destination: Burger King.

The wall was lined with little paper crowns, and I felt the inevetable little tug at my pants. She (in a little tiny mouse-like voice) asked me if she could have one...

Since she had lunch already, she selected a chocolate milkshake.

While eating lunch I asked her how the shake was.

"Mmm... Very Chocolaty" she said with a cute little grin..

"It's a good thing that you can taste the chocolate since you ordered a chocolate shake" I replied.

"If it did not, it would be a 'nilla one daddy" #5 of 5 observed, followed with "Then it would taste like ba'nilla".

That is the one thing I miss about having 5... I wish there was more time for 1 on 1 with the kiddos... I guess you just gotta take it when you can get it.

Well, back to the garage / yard....

PostScript: BK's Mushroom Swiss Angus Burger = Blech. I LOVE mushrooms, onions, meat, and bread... But this tasted as unhealthy for me as I am sure it was.... Plus, it looks NOTHING like it did on the menu board....

Proof Positive

IMG Today #4 of 5 came home from a bike ride with Mother of Five.  She burst into the house and came running to me.  She told me that she had proof!

Proof of what, I asked...

She said it is proof that Fall was finally here!

(Attached photo is an actual scan of the leaf she brought home from her bike ride!)

Firearms Safety Certificate

fsc1#2 of 5 successfully completed the exam and practical exercise, and this morning he received his Firearms Safety Certificate.

It was an enjoyable class, and I plan on signing myself up next year when #3 of 5 takes it. I have been handling guns (safely) since I was 18 years old - but one can never be "too safe" - and what better example for the kids than to take the class myself.

If you are a dad, and you are sending your kid to Firearms Safety Classes... SIGN UP YOURSELF! It's a great chance to spend some time with your kid, and who knows... you may learn a thing or two yourself!

#2 of 5 got a score of 45 out of 50 (90%) on the final exam, and did a really good job while on the shooting range, field exercise, and shotgun course.

fsc2

Normally, the Firearms Safety Classes consist o f the classes, a final test , and then the practical... But we had several Boy Scouts from our Troop in the class, and we checked to see how close this class was to the Scout Requirement for the Rifle and Shotgun Merit Badges.

They were very close, so with the assistance of the Troop, and the Firearms Safety Instructors, they became Merit Badge Councilors, and then held another (separate) three hour class for the Scouts.

They took us (the scouts and the parents) out to a trap / skeet shooting club near our home, and ran the kids through a five position shooting exercise.

When we finished the shooting, the instructors and the Scouts did an extensive gun cleaning.

Oh, and as a Post Script. Even the parents got a turn...
I was 8 hits for 10 clays shot at. Could be better, but could be worse!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It would be downright shameful of me not to thank a few of the folks to gave of their time and or resources to help teach these kids proper gun safety.

fsc31. The Volunteers. I do not have all their names, but there were some great volunteers that had a ton to offer the kids. John Breimhorst who has been teaching this class for 42 years (and taught many of the other instructors)... and the Will brothers from W.W. Will and Sons Distributions and Sportsman Brand Meats... Jeff Will and Tim Will are extremely talented - sharing a lot of practical wisdom and knowledge with the kids, and were very generous with the time they put into teaching the kids. Truly a couple of stand up fellas!

2. The Fish Lake Sportsmanan Club - who sponsor the class, and donate some wonderful items for the kids... (Gunlocks, Books and Training materials, and a silicone impregnated gun sock).

3. The SCALE Facility - Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (A Regional Public Safety Training Facility... I.E. Police and Fire training Facility) for providing an outstanding environment (both the classroom and the shooting ranges...)

4. The Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club - When the Will brothers saw the extra items needed to be covered for the Scouts to get their merit badges, he contacted his friends at The Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club - who provided the Will brothers and the Scouts the fatalities and materials needed to complete the necessary tasks.

To be honest, I have always known The Horse and Hunt Club has been there, but I never knew it was open to the public... I will be sure to spend some time in the "off season" patronizing the fine folks at The Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club with the boys!



CONGRATULATIONS #2 of 5!
I am so proud of the man you are becoming!
fsc4

Back to the Routine (updated)

Well, I have (for the most part) recovered from my RNC experience. This includes, but is not limited to...

The mega-gigantic-paycheck (that was neither as mega or gigantic as I had anticipated) has come... and gone... (thanks to the transmission on my Saturn). Then to top it all off (like the icing on a cake sent to you by your nemesis) let's not forget a new set of tires (all four) on the van, and brake shoes on BOTH cars.

I have gotten back into the routine at home with the family, and at work.

I have located BOTH my lost work ID, and the set of keys that I lost track of during RNC. They were both missing for over a week. When I finally "gave up" and reported them as "lost" (I work in a secure facility), and the were deactivated, they both showed up (separately) the following day... The ID was located in a pile of dirty laundry (that I had checked NUMEROUS times during the week), and my keys and key-fob were left in my parents car (that I was using while mine was in the shop).
For those of you who know me, this will be of no surprise to you whatsoever. For those of you that are less familiar with me - and my tendency to a.) loose things, and b.) kook out until I find them... Take a gander at the preface on this "oldie but goodie" of a post titled A "Key" to Happiness.
I have also been trying to get back in the groove with my radio buddays Ron and Fez (whom I missed terribly). I missed some good radio while busy, but fear not... I recorded the show!

Between the RNC, other work obligations, overtime, and family obligations... I have not had a full set of days off from my work schedule since Mid August... Yup.. I have had a total of four days of in 36 days.... So, with my first set of four days off quickly approaching, I am gearing up to re-start the home projects I left half finished back in August... Some wood staining and varnishing.
Wow FOF, how do you do it... When are you going to get any R & R time for yourself?
Glad you mentioned it. The duck hunting season opener is just around the corner. That means some quality time with my friend Ed (the same Ed who hid my keys in the preface listed above) up at his cabin. Duck, squirrel, and grouse hunting!!

What's even better about this year, is that #2 of 5 has enrolled in a Firearms Safety Course, and after (successfully) completing the program, he can (and was invited to) join us at Duck Camp this year!

It will be so much fun to have one of the boys up there with me this year... and for Ed and I to have an opportunity to pass along some of our favorite traditions.... (Only, I promise that #2 of 5 will not do any drinkin' or cigar smokin'.... I'll leave that to Ed and me!)

Here is last year's story from Duck Camp... (Click it.. It's a link) Enjoy!

UPDATE: #2 of 5 passed the firearms safety test with a 90%!! I am VERY proud of him! He has one last hurdle... The class is holding a life-fire shoot... As long as he can demonstrate safe gun handing in a "real life" situation, he will receive his Firearms Safety Certificate!

Science Fiction Memories

So, "back in the day" (aka "I still am") a pretty big fan of Star Wars, Dr. Who, and other misc Science Fiction entertainment.

In the midst of the late 70's / early 80's science fiction hype, a movie came out that either my parents did not know about, or (more likely) intentionally sheltered me from called... Logan's Run.

Although I have never seen the movie, what I do remember of Logan's Run was the (short lived) 1970's Television spinoff show... I really only saw a few of the episodes... (Yet I still have vivid memories of watching the Pilot Episode!)
Thoes "sandmen" in their snazy (uber cool) black and silver uniforms, and their cool blasters...

For YEARS afterwords, when we played "Star Wars" in the back yard, I always "called" the "Logan's Run Gun"... No trail of laser light for these guns... Nope... A cool firey blast from the muzzle, and then a small explosion wherever it hit.

YouTube Example of the DS Gun (Deep Sleep Gun) HERE...
In a nostalgic moment, I tried locating a set of DVD's for the one and only season of Logan's Run. Unfortunatly, there is no such thing... BUT, what I did find was several broken up segments of the oringinal pilot episode... The one I remember so vividly.

As lame as it is, I spent the better part of 90 minutes watching that episode today... (broken up between picking one kid up from football, dropping another off at sewing class, and a thrid trip to Religious Education....)

Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 1
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 2
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 3
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 4
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 5
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 6
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 7
Logan's Run Pilot Episode Part 8

Oh, the magic of YouTube....

Now, on to Star Blazers! (Cool Intro)

A Close Call!

The Mother of Five has been telling me stories of how the front end of our van has started shimmying, and squeeling when she stops. I too have been able to confirm that, but due to "schedule conflicts", I have had to put it on the back burner

With hunting season approaching, days off that are few and far between, and the temps dropping - as much as I did not want to, I decided to take on the (suspected) problem with the van. Today is my 3rd of 4 days off in the past 36 days... So I decided to make the best of it.

It was time to replace the break shoes.

The van has 50,000 miles on it, and we have had it just under three years now - so it was not shocking or surprising to me.

bakes1Actually, I have been putting off replacing the breaks in my car as well... Now I had no more excuses to "put off till tomorrow, what I know needs to be done today" (That is one of my unfortunate downfalls in life)

I used the opportunity of driving the "vehicularly challenged" #1 of 5 to work this morning (for an early shift) to get motivated for an early start to the day.

I dropped #1 of 5 off at work, and ran to the auto parts store (that advertised a sale on break shoes).

After running around to three stores to find the break shoes - I pulled the first tire off, and discovered I had a much bigger problem that the break shoes....

bakes4bakes3bakes2

Yup folks... There was a "shimmy" alright... For those of you that do not know what you are looking at in the above photos... Let me share with you...

You are looking at a "close call" to collecting on the Mother-of-Five's life insurance policy, and (if that was not bad enough) - an opportunity to cash in on (potentially) life insurance on "four of the five" kids... (#1 of 5 is "life-insurance-less")

Or, in other words... Photographic evidence of a bad husband and/or father...

The break shoes were worn very low, and if I had not done them today, I would be doing them in January or February, so replacing them was not a total loss.

For my non-Minnesotan readers - Let's just say you DO NOT want to be working on, in or under a car in the deep winter months. It can be "finger amputation" cold at times...

bakes4aI just spent OVER three thousand dollars on the transmission for my car 6 days ago, and over one hundred and fifty dollars for break shoes for both cars this morning, but now I had no choice but to replace the tires on the van too...

I guess you can say "when it rains, it pours"...

Other than paying for the transmission, break shoes, and tires for the van, the 1st half of the job (breaks on the van) went pretty easy... I only had one bolt on the calipers that "refused to cooperate".

I broke one "Breaker bar" on it (albeit aluminum), but even more shocking was that I also broke a 3/8 inch socket extender trying to remove the bolt.

I hope tomorrow goes a little easier cheaper... Wish me luck.

I Have Trust Issues

For the past 6 years, we have trusted our children's education to our church's private school and the staff there...

We have grown to know the staff at the school very well.  We work closely with them and often times we see and interact with the teachers (socially) at church, church functions, and local civil events.  We have really gotten to know them personally.  I knew almost every one of my children's teachers’ years before my child was even in their classroom, and the teachers knew my children years before they are in their classroom.

Knowing the teachers on a level as personal as we do, we have come to feel a significant level of trust with them, and with the school in general.  There is little doubt in my mind to the genuine care, and integrity these folks care for the school and our children with.  When the school talks about financial difficulties, I have faith that what I am being told is genuine.  When I am told that there is a problem with one of my kids (or their behavior), instinctively I believe them.  In the years I have had children (and up to 4 at a time) in the school, I have YET to be disappointed with any decision / action / or reaction the school has made

Not to say that the school is perfect.  But, in my mind the school is presumed "innocent until proven guilty".

Now with the first of the private school kids entering the world of the public school system, I find myself IMMEDIATELY apprehensive and (to be frankly honest) distrusting of everyone and everything having to do with his school.

Oh, now don't get me wrong here....  I am not presuming that all public schools (or their staff) are bad by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, logically speaking, one would like to believe the contrary...   These folks (the teachers) are (by nature) nurtures.  I believe that they have our kid’s education in their best interests.  But, I also believe that they have to pander to the bureaucracy of the public school SYSTEM.  I believe that in many instances teachers are not allowed to do / say / teach the way they know they COULD or SHOULD.  Instead, they do / say / teach what they are TOLD to or in many instances told NOT TO.

Caveat:  At (nearly) 21 years old, #1 of 5 has already been through the public school system.  So, it is not as if I have not been down this road once already - but #1 of 5 had (has) "LD" issues.  By all practical purposes, this young man should NOT have graduated.  He struggles (and that is putting it mildly) with reading comprehension.  His ability to write makes his reading look "colligate".  The school's idea of "help" was to set him down in front of a computer program called "Co-Writer".  Co-writer basally "predicts" what the student is trying to convey, and makes suggestions on the next word... He merely clicked on the word, and it is placed into a paragraph for them...  All but writing the paper for him.

Yes... it LOOKS great when your 11th grade student (who writes at a third grade level) comes home with a paper looking like it was written by first year college student... But when that student gets out on their own (in "real life") and has to write on their own (and can not), how much help has that student really received?  Oh, yeah, the school "helped" him GRADUATE - but did they help him beyond graduation?  Let me share with you (from a personal, first hand perspective) a big fat NO

-  Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

I realize that my view of the public school is tainted because of this.  So, I do my best to overlook my prior history.

Today, I woke up to find an email from an old friend.  She was lamenting an email that she received from her son's school, and sharing her witty (albeit sarcastic) reply (found here). 

I will ignore this teacher's person's systematic obliteration of basic English grammar, and obvious failure to proofread their own work (demonstrating that he could find benefit with the use of "Co-Writer") because I too fail too demonstrate perfect grammar.  But it is the bizarre way that this "incident" (and I use that term loosely) was dealt with that only fuels my concern for my children in the public school system.

I am familiar with this young lad... He is uber-creative, caring, kind, and sensitive...   He is a unique young man and a free spirit.  All "good things" in my book.

While I understand that we do not want our children chewing on eyedroppers used to transport something as dangerous as Ethylene glycol, and that perhaps this was a "teaching opportunity" as to the potential dangers of what COULD happen by not being careful, I am (overall) disappointed (to say the least) with the reaction (or over-reaction) that this was dealt with.  But, this post is not about that situation, so I'll save my personal rant, and share it with "Many Things" later.

Given my acknowledgement that the public school system is (most likely) not as bad as I make it out to be, why is it that my first instinct is distrust. 

Distrust and apprehension about "items brought home in a backpack" (a local Talk-Radio Reference about a segment where folks would would call in and read a ridiculous directive their kids had brought home from school). 

Distrust and apprehension about the other students (and their families). 

Disbelief that my child will be anything more than a number, and passed along from grade to grade (wether it is deserved or not) just to get him closer to graduation (that he may or may not deserve).

Distrust that the money I pay in taxes (and pay even though my kids were in private school - effectively making me pay twice - So much for "freedom" of choice.) is being wisely spent.

Questions as to why (when I have to) a school district can not live within it's own means.  (Wouldn't it be nice to be able to "referendum" my employer when I have unexpected expenditures - like my 3,000.00 car repair?)

I could go on and on, giving fine examples of my paranoia and distrust of the public school system...  But I think you get the idea...

If I Were a Rich Man...

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

- Teyve the Milkman

The quote above is from the song "If I were a Rich Man" from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof".

Fiddler on the Roof is the story of a hard working milkman named Teyve, and his life with his wife and five daughters (Five children.. As in a "Father of Five". I can connect with Teyve on some level). It is set in czarist Russian in or around the 1900's. If you are a dad, and you have not seen this movie. Do so. It's one of my all time favorites, as is the musical soundtrack.

While I can not completely understand all of Teyve's struggles, I can associate with what I view as his "overall plight", that being a desperate attempt to continue living his life. A life without trials, without tribulations, and without turmoil. As God presents Teyve a problem, he struggles to solve, adapt, or come to terms with it. As soon as God's first hurdle is dealt with, along comes another one for Teyve.

On an unrelated note, and for the record; (assuming you are familiar with the story) I have the most difficult time accepting Teyve's decision in dealing with Chava. I can understand a strong devotion to one's faith, and clinging to traditions - but Chava is his daughter.... My heart aches for both Teyve, and Chava....

What does Fiddler on the roof, and "If I were a Rich Man" have to do with your life FOF?

Well, as many of you have read over the past two weeks, I put in an extra 84 hours last pay period. That's 84 hours above and beyond my regular 80 hours. 84 hours of overtime! I was expecting to see a paycheck that would cause my bank manager to wonder who I robbed, and that would (at least for one "two-week period") make ME feel as if I were a rich man...

Like Teyve, I too have recently asked God if it would spoil a vast eternal plan, if I were to (even for a brief moment) be a wealthy man.

You see, yesterday I received a call from the mechanic working on my car. He told me that the repair job was complete, but also told me that (and here comes the Teyve "Fiddler on the Roof" moment....) the repair did not solve the problem. The bad valve box (while bad and needing to be replaced), resulted in some internal damage that caused the ultimate failure of the transmission. The entire transmission needed to be rebuilt...

Sigh...

Voila... Gone before I even had my hands on it... I did not even get a chance to cash it all out in "ones", make a huge pile of it on the floor, and roll around the pile in a perverse sort of greed induced hysteria (cough, cough.... Not that I actually considered doing such a bizarre thing... cough, cough)

But, being the "glass is half full" sort of fella I am, I will turn the table, and relish the fact that although I will have no money left over when it's all said and done... I will not have had to pull from savings (aka, the kids tuition), or fill up a credit card with the repair.

Unbeknownst to me, I have been provided a means in which to get this otherwise overwhelming repair done with little "pain" in our day to day budget, and so I will be thankful for that. It is a matter of faith for me. I truly believe that in many ways (this being one of them) the Lord helps his own in their times of need.

So, when I lament about my lost "fortune", I will be looking around to see all that I have (a wonderful wife, loving happy children, good friends, food, shelter, and a few other amenities to make the journey a little bit easier... What more can I ask for.

I truly AM a "rich" man!

An Award? Me? Are you sure??

Well, after being pretty much out of the blogsphere for nearly two weeks, I came back and started to catch up with my "regulars".

It was then that I noticed that (a well deserving) blogger "Stuff in My Brain" had received an award! That in of itself does not surprise me whatsoever. DadStuff is always writing wonderful stories about his family, and to be quite honest I am jealous, am envious, am inspired by his stories and his dedication to his wife and children.

Unlike "The Life of a Father of Five" (where you will (from time to time) see, hear, and read me drone on about what is getting me down) "Stuff in my Brain" always has something positive and upbeat to talk about... If I'm feeling "down" - I always hope that DadStuff has a new post, because he can "turn my frown upside down" (yeah... ok... it's hokey.. but it's true!)

So, imagine my surprise when "The Life of a Father of Five" was listed as one of the blogs DadStuff wanted to name... I was very pleased! I feel like I have been recognized by a mentor!

DadStuff... Thank you. You are truly an inspiration!

The award, Arte y Pico, is an award...
"Created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity and their talents, and for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium. When you receive this award it is considered a “special honor.” Once you have received this award, you are to pass it on to 5 others. What a wonderful way to show some love and appreciation to your fellow bloggers! The rules for passing this honor on are: Pick 5 blogs that you would like to award this honor to. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award from Arte Y Pico."
Thank you DadStuff. I am truly humbled.

Now, my five... These will be in no particular order...

Many Things Do Not Fly - Lisa is one of the oldest friends I have. She is the "yin to my yang", the "white to my black", and the "light to my darkness". Over the years our views of the world have drifted apart slightly, so she struggles to keep what is left of that little "socially just" (aka liberal) voice alive in my head... In the end though, regardless of our political views, she is truly a wonderful person, and I am blessed to count her among my friends.

My Family and Other Animals - Eva is someone I met in high school on a trip to Italy and Greece. Our two schools came together, and we had a lot of fun on the tour together. Unfortunately we lived at the opposite end of the state, and although we tried to keep in touch as "pen pals" (before the internet) - life got busy, and I did not keep up my end of the "pen pal" thing... Many years later, while reading up on a band I listen to, I ran across a string of "coincidences" that seemed too unlikely to not be true. Checking a little further, and a quick e-mail later - I discovered that Eva (who was married and has a different last name that I remembered) was indeed the same Eva I met on the trip to Italy. Soon afterwards, Eva started up "My Family and Other Animals", and is a blog that I eagerly look forward to reading! Having a husband and SIX children (as opposed to my measly FIVE) I find there are a lot of commonalities between their life and ours! It is quite enjoyable to see that my family is not the only ones to deal with some of these "trials". Eva is a wonderful writer, and does a great job putting a smile on my face!

AtHomeDaddy - Mike is a Stay At Home Dad. The things he does with and for his kids are nothing short of amazing! He is the proverbial "guy next door". My only regret is that he does not live next door to me! If he lived next door, it would be even easier to watch (first hand) the adventures of the back-yard chickens, and other AtHomeShenanagins! He is a guy I could see myself sharing a cold Dr. Pepper and a cigar with over the fence after mowing the lawn, or having over for a back yard rec fire with the family on a Friday evening. His stories make me laugh... "out loud", and his views on life and the world are so very similar to mine... I only wish that he could some time experience the true bitterness of a Minnesota Winter and the horror known as "wind chill"... That being said... there is no way in _ _ _ _ that I want to experience summer in southern Texas... After all, summer in southern Texas is like a little like living in _ _ _ _, isn't it?? (well, at least the temperature is....) Even though he lives over a thousand miles away, and we have never actually met, he is someone I call "friend".

Postulates & Pasttimes - Unlike me (who is a lazy blog reader, and reads most posts through a feed reader), Chris actually visits my blog every day and comments on my posts almost each and every time. I find that amazing in some ways because as a writer, his posts are well thought out, articulate, clear, concise, and meaningful. I often wonder if he visits "Father of Five" to "slum" with those that have (significantly) less talent than himself. Chris has a wonderfully optimistic view on the world, and although I don't "visit" his blog, I read each and every post. (I am trying to remedy that just a bit.... After all, it is well deserved!) A recent discovery and disapointment for me was finding out where Chris lives, and then finding out that a recent cross country trip I made put us only a couple of miles (literally) away. That was a truly missed opportunity for me to meet, shake the hand of, and thank a true gentleman!

A Family Runs Through It - Phil is a home-schooling Stay At Home Dad. He lives in a beautiful area of the country, and was one of the very first blogs I started reading on a regular basis. I used to be a frequent commenter, but as the number of blogs I read rose, it became more and more difficult to "visit" the blog every day. Just like Postulates and Pasttimes, since utilizing a feed reader - I don't actually "get to" A Family Runs Through It as often as I should (and therefore comment much less than I used to, or should) - but Phil's down-to-earth approach to raising his family, and upbeat posts are an inspiration to me.

Please do not feel bad if you did not make the top five... There are so many wonderful blogs I read (or try to read) every day... Just check out my BLOGROLL . You will find not only the blogs listed above, but you will find many wonderful blogs there... Each who deserve an award for one reason or another.

To Gun or Not to Gun....

While at work today, my partner and I started talking shotguns...

I hunt. My guns (all two of them) are of the O.F. Mossberg variety.

For those of you who are not familiar, Mossberg is what I would call a "utilitarian" brand. They are basic and inexpensive. They get the job done.

My first gun (which I still own) is a "Coast-to-Coast Master-Mag 880". It is a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun made for the Coast to Coast Hardware Stores by Mossberg. They are (for all practical purposes) a re-labeled Mossberg 500. I bought this gun while working at Coast-to-Coast Hardware. I drooled over it for a couple of years (we did not sell that many of them, and this one sat in stock for a long time). I kicked the idea of buying it around for a while, and when I did finally decide, I put it on lay-a-way. I paid it off over the next year getting to peek at "my" gun from time to time. It is my favorite gun. It is relatively lightweight, and has been at my side since my first trip hunting. Currently, it is my grouse, and squirrel gun, but it used to be my duck and deer gun also.

A few years into my career in hunting, I felt the need to upgrade from the 20 gauge to a 12 gauge. Being overall happy with Mossberg (I love the placement of their top mounted safety), I discovered the Mossberg 835. I saved up for this gun, and between the money I saved up, and money I received for my birthday (requested for that purpose) I was able to buy myself an 835.

I do not have the same nostalgic feelings towards the 835 that I do with my 880.

Over years of use, I have found that the 835 is too heavy for my likings. it's more of a "cannon" than I care to use. Ed has upgraded a number of times, and has landed with a truly beautiful gun. He owns a Beretta AL391 (a review). It is so light, and easy to swing... I drool every time I see it.

A couple of years ago, I started kicking the idea around of replacing the 835.
In a very "Charlton Heston" statement, I'd like to say that my old 880 will NEVER be replaced. "They" (whoever that is) will have to pry it from my cold dead hands before I give it up. Even then, it will be passed down to one of the (yet to be determined) five.
Ed has made mention over the past few years that it was time I "splurged" on a new gun. Something a bit more "top shelf", something a bit more "heirloom" quality. He has pointed out that (and now with over 120 hours of overtime in the past month, he again reminded me)...
"You need to reward yourself!!! You have worked very hard and sacrificed so much over the years. You went through hell the last couple weeks, you deserve to get the shotgun you have always wanted."
And...
"You're killin' me!....what are you waiting for? In case you have not noticed, you are not getting any younger (40? according to the life expectancy of a male...you have one foot in the grave already). Why not enjoy it now while you can instead of still thinking about it when you are in a wheel chair. Seriously"
Maybe a Benelli Montifeltro Model 10805 Left handed 12ga with the satin walnut finish or perhaps a Beretta 3901 American "Statesman" ??

While I do not disagree with him, putting a new gun on my "priority list" right now is just not an option. I still have three more kids to finish putting through private school, and that is just the beginning... Yet, I do have to agree with him that hunting is not just a "passing fad" in my life, and that perhaps SOMEDAY I should be allowed to "reward myself" with something a little nicer...

You know.... SOMEDAY, as in "after"....

After the kids finish private school, after the kids finish all their sports (and related costs), after I finish having to pay for mini-vans, after the kids are done with college, after I get caught up with paying for graduations, weddings, etc, after the house is paid for...

You know... "After"

Oh well... It's fun to dream! Back to the reality of life as a father of five!

Released!!

As of 1100 hours today, I have been >>RELEASED<< from my RNC Dispatching Duties!

It has been a long week. I saw my family only twice in the whole week (even then I was so tired and crabby - I should have stayed away).

My eyes were opened wide last week. I saw thing that change the way I view the world, and the way I view people. I respect disagreement. I respect standing up for what you believe in - I am against war, I believe in peace - but THIS (also this), and THIS is not peaceful.

Browse through THIS slideshow...
6, 7, 8, 12 and 14 are photos of the divisions I was dispatching (D11, D12)...

47, 48, 56, 58, 59, and 60 are examples of the outcome of what is called a "peace" protest.

50 - Peace? Ya'll want to guess what are in those backpacks? Let me share with you... Hammers, Rocks, Bricks, gas masks, winches, water balloons and bags filled with urine, and bags filled with feces to throw at the police.

67 - Media? No... That badge should read "Coward". I'd respect you more for standing up for your beliefs without hiding behind the charade of a lie.
I could go on, and on, and on... But I wont. Remember folks... The police are "reactive". If you peacefully protest - then there is no issue. (as you see in most of the photos of that slideshow) - but when things go bad, you overstep the bounds of a "peaceful assembly", and laws are broken, then you can (and should) expect the police to react.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Once released this afternoon, I called my wife - told her I was on my way home, and that I was taking her out for lunch... We lunched at the O.K. Corral. After eating ham or turkey "box lunch" sandwiches twice a day for a week - ANYTHING warm and "not good for you" tasted GREAT!
“Frank McLaurey” PRIME BEEF DIP
The classic hot sliced Beef Ribeye sandwich served with sauteed
mushrooms caramelized onions and melted mozzarella cheese and fresh
baked baguette with au jus for dipping.
Yeah... no need to point out the obvious... It was a "sandwich"...
Mother of Five had...
JORDAN HARVEST Mixed greens tossed with Jordan apple, craisinberry,
pecan, crumbled bleu cheese, hen house grilled chicken strips and poppyseed dressing.
I was so dang tired that after lunch, I came home and collapsed into bed and took a long nap.

In addition to acknowledging what my family dealt with last week, I'd like to acknowledge a few others...

My Parents - who let me use one of their cars (with the transmission failing in mine) and giving me a place to crash between shifts..

Jeff (JDZPhotography) - While it is true that I may tease him relentlessly about his infrequent blog posts, having Jeff as my partner this week was a god-send. He is not only a fantastic dispatcher, but looked out for me all week. He saved me on more than one occasion. I mean it with all honesty when I say it was both an honor and a pleasure to work side by side with him last week. While receiving our applause today at the de-briefing, I hope that he noticed that I was there applauding him as well!

Finally, to the many other dispatchers we worked with from throughout the metro region... We worked with dispatchers from Minnesota State Patrol, Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and Ramsey County. What a fine bunch of people they all turned out to be. It was wonderful to see how such a large group of dispatchers from through the metro region could come together (with little or no history or working together) and do that job that got done last week. It was an AMAZING sight...

There is....

There is no place like home....

There is no place like home....

There is no place like home....

There is no place like home....

I spent more time (about 2 hours) with my children tonight than I have in a week... I was able to "tag out" tonight at the RNC dispatch - and actually came home tonight....

I need to be back again in the morning..

Folks, you would not believe some of the things I have seen and heard in the past few days...

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