A Family Heirloom

Having lost my paternal grandfather at an early age, my Pépère * (the name we used for my maternal grandfather) and I were very close. Regular visitors here on FOF may recall past posts in which I have talked MemerePepere2about him.

* Pépère is a French word for Grandfather - pronounced "Pep-a" (long a)

My Pépère wore a very nice diamond ring for as long as I could remember. After my Pépère unexpectedly passed away (when I was twelve years old), I spent a lot of time with my Mémère * (the name we used for my maternal grandmother. Another factoid I have talked about in previous posts). While staying with her, Mémère would (from time to time) remind me that it was Pépère's wish that his diamond ring would someday be passed on to me, and that she was safekeeping the ring until such time that I was mature enough to care for it. In the meantime, she commissioned duplicates made for all of Pep's sons (my uncles), but it was Pépère's wishes that I receive the original.

* Mémère is a French word for Grandmother - pronounced Mem-a (long a)

The time came when my Mémère fell ill (when I was 14 years old), and ultimately lost her battle with cancer. Prior to passing, Mémère gave the ring to my Mother; with a similar set of instructions (with one small modification being made). Mémère made allowances for my father to wear the ring (if he wished) until the time came that they felt it was right for me to have the ring.

Over the past twenty-seven years, I have seen my father wear the ring. Possession and ownership of a valuable diamond ring is really more of an "abstract idea" to a 12 - 14 year old. I knew it would one day be my ring, but in the mean time, it was a ring that my dad wore. After a good number of years (don't ask me the number... I could not tell you) my dad stopped wearing the ring, and put it back into "safekeeping".

Knowing that my parents were "safekeeping" the ring, the passage of time, and distractions like starting a career and my own (large) family (and all the responsibilities that go with that) allowed the ring to drift from the forefront of my mind. I don't want to say I completely forgot about it, but I guess you could say it slipped my mind. Once every couple of years or so, something would jog my parents' memory, and they would bring up the fact that someday they would turn the ring over to me.

For the past couple of years now, the dialog has changed a bit. Instead of saying that the ring would be mine "someday", they have sort of "transitioned" into reminding me that the ring is available to me when I felt I wanted it. To be honest, I was never really in a big hurry to get it. I guess you could say I had faith that somehow, and in some way Pépère and Mémère would let Mom & Dad know when the time was right.

Last weekend, we went over to my parent's house to celebrate a late Easter. With both my 40th birthday, and #4 of 5's First Communion falling on the same date (a week later), they felt the time was right to pass along the gift Pépère wanted to give me twenty nine years ago. Not only is it a "milestone" birthday for me, but I will be able to wear the ring (proudly) at their great-granddaughter's First Holy Communion. It will be like they are there with me.

I cried with my mom as her dad's (my Pépère's) ring was passed to me. They were both tears of sorrow for missing my grandparents so very much, and tears of happiness knowing that my Pépère's wishes had finally come to fruition.

Family-Heirlom2 This ring holds a TREMENDOUS value to me. The last time the ring was appraised was in 1982, and at that time it was estimated at a surprisingly high value (enough to make me do a double-take...), yet regardless of what the "appraised value" is, the number associated to the value of the ring is a MEANINGLESS figure to me. I am incapable of putting a number on its SENTIMENTAL value.

Sentimentally, this ring is PRICELESS to me.

My Mémère was detail oriented woman. She kept meticulous records when she wanted to, and the documentation of this ring was no different. Not only was the ring passed to me, but the history behind the ring came along with it. Since part of the history is "verbal", I want to officially document here for future posterity.

When my parents passed the ring on to me (and the tears were finished), they passed along a portion of the story of the ring I had never heard before.

I was told that the ring (before it was Pépère's) belonged to his brother-in-law (who would have been my Great Uncle). Some time after my Pépère's brother passed away his sister approached Pépère and asked him if he had a "dollar bill" on him. He said that he did, and she proceeded to ask to see it. When my grandfather produced the dollar bill, his sister-in-law took the dollar bill from him, and replaced it with her husband's diamond ring. Without any previous knowledge of this, and as a complete surprise, she informed my Pépère that she just "sold" him her husband's ring. With the ring, she gave him a little card that read...

Mart -

I am selling you this ring knowing that Ernie would be happy that you are wearing his ring.

Love, Irene

Somewhere along the line (in Mémère's handwriting) the date "Saturday June 3rd, 1967" was written on the envelope, and stapled to the back of the envelope is a very small, very yellowed newspaper clipping, with a drawing of the ring, with

The next documentation I discovered was an appraisal, dated June 3rd, 1967. It was from J.B. Hudson's Jeweler.

(Again, the value is not relevant here. The ring is PRICELESS to me.)

We fast forward fifteen years, and we find the certified letter from Pépère, with instructions that Mémère is to keep the ring in safekeeping for me.

Family-HeirlomThe next set of documentation on the ring is another appraisal, dated June 28th, 1982 (one year after my grandfather's passing) from Martin's Jeweler. (I believe this is also the point in the ring's history (and the Jeweler used) to create the duplicate rings that were made for my uncles.)

This is followed with another certified letter, this time from Mémère. This letter details how my mother is to keep the ring (and allowing my father to wear it) until such time that they feel I am ready to take ownership of the ring.

And now, adding my personal mark on the history of the ring... The ring was passed to me, as per my grandfather's wishes on April 19th, 2009 - Thirty two years after my grandfather received it, and twenty nine years after documenting his wishes for me to have it.

I was "slightly" disappointed by one small factor. I'm not sure where I got this idea, but somewhere along the line, I got the impression that there was a personal letter for me with the ring from either or both my grandparents. I was looking forward to this more than owning the ring. There were letters in the packet, but they were "legal" in nature, and read like a will.

The ring's next step?

After a trip to an appraiser a professional cleaning & tune up, and (hopefully) quite a few years in my possession, its future will be determined at a later date....

I am in a FOUL mood.

Thanks Citicards...

No, not because of my bill, or balance, or due date....

Citcards.com has me in a FOUL mood because their website has caused me significant frustration and headache... THREE TIMES IN A ROW NOW!

Each time I have gone to pay the bill for the past three months, citicards.com tells me that my login and password are not recognized...

I started a profile, and went through the series of steps it takes to get all the pertinent info into the site. I had it up and running for over a year, until Feburary. I got a unrecognized user ID / Password error... Over and over and over again...

So in Feburary I recreated a (second) new profile... and it worked... UNTIL MARCH...

So in March I recreated a (third) new profile... and it worked... UNTIL TONIGHT...

Last month, I wrote down the info (anticipating this problem), and tonight I took out that EXACT SAME PIECE OF PAPER and tried to log in...

Guess what???

So, I did what all frustrated and angry customers do.... Call Tech Support.

Folks, for the sake of all this is pure and good and true on this planet Earth... Please heed my warning...


Don't even TRY to call Tech support for help.

Do they think they are fooling me when "James" answers the Tech Support line? ("James" who I am convinced would turn his head to see who called his name if I shouted "Hey, Haji" from across a crowded room)
Not that I mind talking to "Haji" mind you.... I'd just rather hear the truth... that I am talking to "Haji" or "Operator 48372" who is sitting in a call center somewhere in New Dehli, then to try and be deceived into thinking that I am talking to "James" who is sitting in a call center here in the good 'ol U, S, of A...
What was that "James"? You understand my frustration? REALLY??

You really wish you could help me out??? Honest and for true???

Then, instead of taking the time to "thank me" for being a citicards customer, FIX YOUR WEBSITE!!!!

Fix it so I do not have create a new profile EACH AND EVERY TIME I WANT TO USE IT!!
Pffffsshhh...... Why even try? I'm just giving myself an ulcer...
Forgive me everyone... This rant is over... I am on 3.5 hours of sleep, and have been awake since 1am.

19 hours awake, being ignored by a useless corporate conglomerate, while at the end of my rope is a BAD combination.

I'm done now.

Happy Easter!


May the joy of the risen Christ fill your lives with a richness, and fullness that fills your heart and soul with his love.

To my friends, and readers of faith, may you have a Blessed Easter!  My thoughts and prayers are with you all today!

To my friends and readers of faiths other than mine, may this day be filled with joy and happiness!  My thoughts and prayers are with you all today as well!

The Countdown Begins

RC Cola Soda - Pop - Coke

Whatever you call from where you are -  is probably my biggest vice.  Soda is by far the biggest percentage of fluid that I drink.  I try to limit it... One can or bottle a day.. but in all reality it's more like two...

Unlike my wife, who drinks Pepsi Cola exclusively (and Best Bud Ed - who used to drink it exclusively), and Blogging buddy AtHomeDaddy who's affinity for Dr. Pepper is SECOND... TO... NONE... - I do not have a huge loyalty to any one specific brand or flavor.

Unlike those who can seemingly drink the same beverage - exclusively, I find myself "acclimating" to any given flavor, and it soon loses it's "pizzaz".  And so I move on.  Ideally, to best enjoy the soda I am about to drink, my last soda consumption should have been a completely different type.

What I do have a "preference" for though, is colas.  It really does not matter much.  It can be Coke, or Pepsi, I have had some "pure cane sugar" Jones Colas that I like.. heck, even a generic cola will do.  But the one that I almost always find myself saying "Mmmm... Ya know, that was really good" after that first pull from the glass, bottle, or can is R.C. Cola.

Yup!  R.C. Cola!!  It's like Coke and Pepsi's dirty little redheaded step-brother that neither want to acknowledge, and enjoy slapping around when no one is looking..  But from where I sit, R.C. Cola puts Coke and Pepsi (in all their glory) to shame.

- - - - - - -

With Lent drawing to an end, and my "soda sabbatical" almost over, the thoughts of ice cold, carbonated, and caffeinated beverages fill my mind - and a few days ago I had a hankerin' for an R.C. Cola something fierce...

While at the store on another errand, I could not resist the sirens call of the R.C. Cola at the other end of the store.  Despite having some Jones Cola, and Pepsi Cola at home, I picked up a 12-pack of R.C. Cola for Easter Morning.  It is sitting in the refrigerator just chillin' and waiting for me to crack it open in all it's chilled, caffeinated and carbonated goodness!

Two .  More.  Days.

It is with Great Sadness...

It is with great sadness that this message is being posted.

Today, at appropriately 1050 hours, (while training with the SWAT team), the author of this blog (Father of Five) was shot and killed after taking an 11 month old baby hostage, and threatening to harm and / or kill the child.

The local police made numerous attempts to to negotiate with him, but all were unproductive.

After several failed attempts to reason with Father of Five, it was clear that his intent was to place the life of the child in serious jeopardy.

Having given them no other viable option, the police had no choice but move in and attempt a rescue of the baby.

After locating the subject barricaded in a back bedroom, poised in a stance to kill the child, the local police were left with no choice but to utilize deadly force.

The Father of Five was shot a total of eight times, and pronounced dead on the scene.

The baby was located safe and unharmed, and was returned to it's rightful owner.

It was then determined that the baby was actually a doll, used as a prop, and the shots fired at Father of Five were training rounds.

After a brief recovery peroid (just a few minutes of rubbing a couple of welts) Father of Five was back on his feet, and is expected to make a full recovery.

No arrests were made, and the Father of Five was released, and exonerated from any criminal charges.

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

First off, let me relieve some of you. I (Father of Five) am just fine. I can assure you that I am still completely alive, kicking, and ready to annoy those around me (which I do oh-so-well!)

Secondly, please accept my apologies for the disturbing "news release" in the top portion of this post.

I know, I know... It is pretty disturbing... And does not fall in the normal "The Life of a Father of Five" genre... But let's not forget that (although I am late by five days), it WAS just April fools day... and I can be slightly "twisted" (at times).

Ok, yeah... the "news release" sounds HORRORIFIC... But give me a moment before you click on the little red "X" in the upper right hand corner of your screen in utter disgust.

Today was a full fledged day of training for our SWAT teams. All of the teams. The Tactual Team, the Hostage Negotiators, the Bomb Squad, and the SWAT Dispatchers (that's me!).

training1I was chosen as a role player for one of today's training exercises.

I was the bad guy.

I was a bad guy indeed. The Devil incarnate.

The scenario was pre-built. I jumped into the roll, and within a general framework, I got to ad-lib the situation to provide either the Negotiators an option to train (which I did for a while) and the Tactical team a chance to train (which I also did).

I will save you from some of the nightmarish details of the scenario, but I will tell you that I knew how it was going to end before it began. The outlook for me was grim from the onset. I provided the police no options except to come in and get me, and when they found me, I left them no alternatives but to shoot and kill me.

And they DID shoot me. Yes my friends, I WAS actually shot today (eight times). In the photos to the right, you see "training ammunition".

These are the eight "bullets" that were fired at me, hit me, and killed me (thus saving the life of my baby hostage). They are not quite "paint balls". They are "paint balls on steroids". The are "Paint Bullets". They use real gun-powder (not air) to propel, and are shot through real-honest-to-goodness guns. I have the welts to prove it.

Painful? Slightly.

Unbearable? No.

Scary to have a gun pointed in your face? More than you can understand! (and I have the soiled undies to prove that too!)

Thrilling? Oh yeah!!

training2I imagine this may sound awfully grim to most of you, but before you make up your mind - I have to tell you a couple of things.

These specialized Tactical officers are something else! They work, move, communicate, observe, and react as one. Being in the Command Post (as a dispatcher) I get to HEAR what goes on over the radio, but being the roll player, I got to SEE what they do.

Let me tell you, watching them do what they do best is nothing short of AMAZING! It gives one a new appreciation for what "they" do out there!

Most of these training Scenarios are true, or only slightly modified from real life situations so as to fit the specifics of our parameters. (This one was no different...)

Folks, there are MONSTERS among the rest of us out there. These SWAT officers put their lives in jeopardy to help put a stop to the people that are capable of doing unthinkable things to others.

As horrific as this all sounds, my playing the role of a the villain, helped train our police officers to learn how to affect a successful outcome to any potential future incident(s) that come up - and I am PROUD to have done my part!

I look forward to any other opportunities to yell profanities at the police and get away with it to provide the officers from my police department (some who read this blog) an opportunity to "shoot" and "kill" me in the name of training!

I'd like to extend a hearty thank you, and my utmost respect go out to my department's SWAT Teams (plural). Thanks for a fun, educational, and productive day of training!

Now, will you forgive me for the "news release"? (I am going to publish this post, and hope for the best... I'm afraid it went a little bit "over the top", hence the apology.)

Motivation in the form of a Deadline

I am guilty.

Guilty of "the blahs"...  I've stagnated when it comes to getting things done around the house.  Ok, I'll be honest... "Stagnated" is a polite way of saying "gotten lazy".  I have let several "little" projects go unfinished (some for as long as a year or so).  Most of these are small projects that (truthfully) take longer to set up / and clean up afterwards than the actual project will take.

Come on now, admit it... You know the type of things I am talking about here... Wall dings, holes that I have spackled but never sanded, primed, or painted over, miscellaneous wood trim that needs varnishing, installing or in some cases both, worn out door knobs that need replacing, broken electrical face plates..   I can not be the only guy out there that says.. "Yeah, one of these days...."  You know who you are!

I now have what all good procrastinators need... Motivation.  Motivation in the form of a deadline!

You see, child #4 of 5 will be celebrating her First Holy Communion (linked to more info for my non-catholic readers) in less than a month, and we will undoubtedly have a number of family members (some from out of state) over to the house for the event. 

Hosting a big event, often requires one's house to look a little more "in order" than a house full of kids usually does on a every-day basis.  #4 of 5's First Communion is no exception...  Since our LAST BIG EVENT was almost two years ago, I really have not done too much as far as "major projects" around the house....

Bowing my head in shame...  I have not done too much as far as "minor projects" go either...

So, between now and the day of #4 of 5's First Communion, most of my "time off" will be spent tweaking little things around the house that have gone un-addressed in "way too long".   

I have completed about a dozen little items from the list already, and actually... I am looking forward to tackling quite a bit more. 

It's the "motivation" that is the key!

A Nice Little Surprise

Today while at work, the police receptionist called me and said I had a visitor.

Visitor???  Being "sequestered" in the 911 center, it's pretty rare that I get a visitor, so needless to say I was a little surprised...

Since the 911 center is housed in the police department, it is not unusual to have police officers stop in... Paperwork, Follow up, listening to a 911 call, say hello - you know - cop stuff...

But, today's visitor was a little different! 

Today - one of the FIREFIGHTERS I dispatch for stopped by to say hello.  Initially, we have gotten to know each other through our blogs (More Coffee Please), and then a bit more through facebook, but this morning we got to meet face to face for the first time! 

It was quite nice to meet another one of our local heroes, and put a face to one of the voices I work with.  An added plus...  This was only his second time in the dispatch center.  I think the firefighters we dispatch for should stop up a little more often.  We know our cops pretty well, but I know very few of our firefighters...

This local hero spent several days representing our Fire Department helping the victims of the flooding of the Red River in the Fargo/Moorehead area.  He showed me some photos he had in his iPhone...  Amazing stuff!

Thanks for all you do Chad, and thanks stopping up !

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