Showing posts from June, 2021

What do you like most about each of your siblings?

 My only older sibling, by about three and a half years, Greg could have easily ignored me but instead included me when I’m sure others would not.  My second-floor bedroom, in an unairconditioned house, was pretty warm in the summer, so I asked Greg if I could move down to the basement with him, and he agreed.  The other major inclusion Greg allowed was to go camping with him and his friends at their Bus, which they bought and parked along the Stillwater River west of Troy, Ohio.  A little leary at first, the group accepted me and found that having someone to drive them into town for more beer Saturday night was very useful.  My sister Mary Rose was the only girl and just fifteen months younger than myself, so it was natural for us to grow up playing together and I remain closer to her than my other siblings.  Like our mother, Mary Rose is very sweet, kind, and giving of herself.  At one point when I suddenly needed a place to live, she opened her home to me and let me work through my

What is the most valuable thing you learned from being a parent?

I think I paid closer attention to my children than anyone else ever, in fact, I’ve told many people that the key to parenting is exactly that, paying attention.  When you know what’s going on and you know your children, the rest isn’t rocket science.  What that taught me that’s so valuable is how very different people are from each other and how they change over time.  My son and daughter are very different people, wonderful in their own unique ways, with their own set of challenges, skills, and preferences.  Maybe I should have known that’s how people are, but I never paid close enough attention to notice until it was my job to be a parent. I began really listening to people in order to find out how they viewed the world, their work, and their ideas of fun and happiness.  Not at just one point frozen in time, but how they changed as they grew older and wiser.  It was particularly useful at work and as I got a deeper understanding of each person, I developed a sense for what they were

Did you work while you were in college?

 I had at least one job the entire time I was in college, paid for all my own tuition and books, and took out only $1,200 in student loans.  I lived at home and my parents furnished me with room and board and paid for my car insurance.  Everything else, like a date pizza or a movie, was on me.  Between school and work, I had little time for anything else. I began college still working at the Sherer’s Ice Cream store on North Main street, which matched the busier summer ice cream season with having that time off from school, allowing me to work a lot of hours and bank money to help out during the school year.  It also allowed me to really focus on school since I had been at Sherer’s for a couple of years and everything was routine.   About a year into college my friend John Sloan made me aware of a weekend, third-shift computer operator job in the Third National Bank data center where he worked.  It was really appealing to get a job in my field of computer science, and while leaving She

Are you good at crafts or building things? What's something you've made and are proud of?

Since I’ve mainly been an I.T. guy, building things is sort of what we do, which I’ll demonstrate in a bit.  But for actual physical objects, there are two that come to mind.  First is a baby blanket I crocheted for my daughter.  No fancy stitching, just the basic one, and I used a multi-colored yarn to make it look interesting.  I spent hours and hours at night looping and pulling yarn and I’m quite proud of the result.  The second thing is the recent basement remodel, replacing almost everything including ceiling tiles, doors, and paneling, replacing the old shag carpeting with vinyl flooring, and applying a fresh coat of paint.  This was by far the biggest home project I’ve ever tackled, I learned a lot, and in the end, it’s a hell of an upgrade.  I also know my limits; I don’t tackle plumbing or major electrical projects.  Basically, anything that can ruin my house if done wrong I leave to the professionals.  But with YouTube videos as a resource, I take on many more tasks than I u

What is the best job you've ever had? What made it such a good experience?

In the early 1990s, I was promoted to Mead Corporation’s Manager of Network Services, part of an organizational realignment as personal computers had become a predominant technology.  I had global responsibility for the corporation’s voice and data networks and quite a large budget.  There were about a dozen people on the team and we were living through some of the biggest technology changes ever including the Internet, local-area-networks, and mobile phones.  In addition to all the new stuff, we had to maintain the legacy technologies including coax-connected mainframes, multi-point AT&T wide-area networks, and voicemail systems.  While there was a lot of new technology to absorb, I enjoyed the bigger challenges of getting the group to embrace new ways to approach their work.   A few examples, really smaller in scale, demonstrate the type of challenges that made this my all-time favorite job. Our CIO gave us the assignment of correcting, and then owning, the company’s pocket phone