Day 550 – Thankful for History Repeating Itself – Nerds on Grandma’s Floor

This morning we headed up to see Grandma Nancy for a short visit while we were up north for Easter. She had some goodies for the boys including a nerf gun (that Dominic and I shot each other with… a lot…) and an assortment of candy. One of the boxes that each boy received was a box of Nerds.

When Nick and I were kids Nerds were one of our favorite candies and we’d eat them all the time while lying on our stomachs in the living room as we watched cable TV (a rare treat for us back in the day!). Being kids we weren’t always the most concerned about cleanliness and there were many, many times in which the Nerds would spill and seemingly disappear into Grandma Lamping’s incredible thick carpet.

She would often share how she would find random Nerds in the carpet as she vacuumed, even months afterwards. Sometimes we’d even find a little treat when we were back on the floor many months later, Nerds from one of our last visits. It became a running joke that continues to this day. Whoever bought her house is probably still finding those little fruity flavored bits of sugar and wondering how the hell they got there.

Fast forward back to today. As the boys were eating candy at the counter they started goofing off. It wasn’t long before I heard a similar yet different sound… I swear I could hear the Nerds falling through the air like I’d heard before, but they landed on tile, a very different sound than when they hit the carpet. Gavin immediately dropped to his knees and started cleaning up the Nerds that went everywhere. Shortly after they had been cleaned up they were goofing around again and that same sound signaled the fall of more Nerds. This time it was Dominic’s turn to clean up his Nerds.

I’m thinking it will be a lot more difficult for the Nerds to hide with the tile, but I’m pretty sure a few escapees found their way into little nooks and crannies and will magically reappear many months from now. Regardless, I kept smiling when they both dropped the Nerds, it just seemed right that they would spill Nerds on a grandma’s floor. I thought back to the times Nick and I spent at my Grandma’s and my heart was full of childlike joy. Seeing history repeat itself is something that I’m very thankful for today!


Day 549 – Thankful for Watching Dominic Do Something I’ve Always Wanted To Do

Day 549 – Thankful for Watching Dominic Do Something I’ve Always Wanted To Do

First things first… Today’s blog was almost “Thankful for Living South of Highway 29” as this was our view once we got up to Ken and Mary’s house this evening… How gross is all that white stuff? And we’re supposed to get a lot more tonight and tomorrow morning.

Once we got to their house Dominic busted out one of his new favorite activities… a Rubik’s Cube. Since we were here for Christmas he’s put a lot of work into learning how to solve it. He’s spent many hours learning to manipulate the cubes. So much so that he now doesn’t care about solving it, he knows that is going to happen. The focus is now on improving his personal best. Right now that’s about 63 seconds.

There’s a video of him completing it that I’ll post later when I have a faster internet connection.

I remember goofing around with one when I was a kid. It seemed like it would be relatively easy to figure out. Twist the blocks for a little while and POOF!!! it’s solved! I quickly learned that wasn’t quite the case! As opposed to taking the time to figure it out I set it aside and just thought about how cool it would be to do sometime.

Seeing Dominic take the time to learn how to make it work and then keep working on it until he’s going crazy fast has me smiling from ear to ear. I’m thankful he gritted it out to master the skill. I’m also thankful for the smile he has as he solves it over and over again in his attempt to set a new personal best. Pretty awesome!


Day 548 – Thankful for a Brewers Memory From Over 30 Years Ago

With the combination of the Brewers’ Opening Day and Easter season my mind went back to a memory from three decades ago while I talked with my little brother over the phone today.

Thirty one years ago my little brother, my mom, and I were huddled around our kitchen countertop on Easter Sunday listening to Bob Uecker call the Brewers game (I can’t remember for sure, but I’m thinking Dad was working in the basement?).  By some act of God the Brewers started the season 11-0 that season.

As we listened to the radio the game wasn’t looking so hot.  At the end of eight and a half the Brewers were down by three.  It seemed like the Easter Bunny was going to have to work some magic for us…  and he did!

After all these years I still remember cheering and hooting and hollering when they tied up the game.  When we won on a walk off home run we were even louder!

It’s funny, one game, not that big of a deal.  But it was one of those magic moments that got burned into both of our brains.  Now as we’re a couple of middle aged dudes waiting to see how the Brewers find another way to disappoint us this year we still look back to that game and smile.  How awesome is that?


Day 547 – Thankful for a New Item In My Workshop

Day 547 – Thankful for a New Item In My Workshop

Today’s blog really doesn’t require much writing yet I’m just as thankful for it as I’ve been for the things and experiences I blog about every single day.

While at work I’ve noticed that pretty much everyday I’m in my Winona office I glance up, look at the Christmas gift from Mom, think about Dad, and sometimes talk with him for a moment.

Last week that gave me a great idea. For as much joy as it brings me at work there are other times when his presence would mean a lot to me. Case in point, my workshop. My time up there is often inspired by him and reminds me of him. It only seemed fitting to have a picture of him up there too!

As I thought about which picture there was one that immediately came to mind and just screamed that it was the perfect one. The picture of Dad, my boys, and I in our newly built treehouse was exactly what my workshop needed.

Any time I’m working on a project all I have to do is glance up and I’ll be smiling. Who cares if something broke, a project didn’t go as planned, or if I completely screwed something up… Dad and I will smile about it together.


Day 546 – Thankful for Business Life Crossing Into Personal Life

Over the past few days there’ve been some pretty awesome points in which my business life has crossed into my personal life.

A couple of friends of mine have reached out to me for advice in a difficult situations (hence the lack of details). The advice and support I was able to provide came from past business trainings I’ve either attended or presented as well as from experiences I’ve had at work. One situation already went very well and the other should be worked out soon. Being able to help them out has felt awesome, it’s a great joy to be able to help people out who’ve helped me out many times in the past on other things.

What this also has me thankful for is just how different aspects of my career can apply back to personal life as well. From coaching and tough conversations to planning and strategizing it’s pretty cool to see how some of these skills can cross into other aspects of life.

A huge thank you to my friends who’ve reached out for advice recently, please know that being able to offer a couple of nuggets of advice has put a huge smile on my face.


Day 545 – Thankful for Three Rocks On My Desk

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll already know that I have a fixation on rocks.  Ever since a young age I’ve found joy in looking at all types of crazy rock formations.  As I was in between a few tasks at work today the three rocks I have at my desk caught my eye a few times and caused me to pause for just a moment.


The rock on the right is a labradorite I got from a rock store while we were on vacation in Whistler.  The way it shines and reflects naturally takes care of my shiny syndrome throughout the day.  It’s pretty crazy how it’s inner layers are cracked and seem to glow from the inside.  In addition to catching my attention it also reminds me of family vacations like the one we were on when I got it.

The rock on the left is from New Zealand.  I can’t remember exactly what type of rock it is, but we found it in a rock store near Cathedral Cove.  It’s a piece of one of my favorite lands, a place I’d be happy to move to one day (or at least live for a few months from January through March).  When that rock catches my eye it reminds me to dream big and to find a way to make that dream come true.

The rock in the middle is my favorite of all the rocks I have.  I found it in Dad’s gravel pit after he passed.  It reminds me of the many times we had so much fun going through the pit in search of beautiful and unusual rocks.  When I look at that rock it reminds me of time with him and time with my boys.  It’s also pretty sweet!  While it’s tough to see from this picture it obviously cracked at one point and was filled in with some type of crystal that sealed the cracks.  There are times when I catch myself just looking at it with wonder.

They aren’t the most exciting things in my office by a long shot, but they are all there for a reason.  The memories they bring back fills my heart with joy, and I’m thankful for that.


Day 544 – Thankful for Another Successful Pinewood Derby

Another Pinewood Derby is now behind us and there’s only one more to go.  After next year both boys will be in Boy Scouts and this event will be just a memory.  When I think of it from that perspective I’m a mix of being a little sad that we’re only one race away from being done and the man happy memories of over half a dozen years of racing with the boys.

This year’s event lived right up to the previous years.  Just as I’d done in past year’s I pulled further back in the car building process with Gavin.  Each year he’s taken on more and more of the actual work on the car and this year he did everything except putting the lead in for the weight (which I did for obvious safety reasons).  All the cutting, sanding, painting, axle polishing, and everything was done by Gavin.  While he may have done the work himself it was always both of us together up in the workshop creating memories I’ll hold dear for the rest of my life.  Many times Dominic was up there with us doing his own thing and it was awesome having all three of us working in the shop at the same time.


The event was a great success, fun was had by all the kids.  Each of the boys raced their car at least eight times and they all had fun.  Smiles were everywhere and the there wasn’t a single tear in the room.  The cars they made were pretty awesome!  Even Dominic got in on the action as he worked as one of the race judges.

Gavin may not have won this year, but his smile says otherwise.  He had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting his car put together on his own this year.  Seven years of racing down, only one to go!  I’m thankful it was another successful event for Gavin and all the scouts.


Day 543 – Thankful for Taking a Step Back to Take a Step Forward

Day 543 – Thankful for Taking a Step Back to Take a Step Forward

There was a very valuable lesson I learned while working in my workshop today.  Sometimes it’s best to take a step back to move ahead.

About 9 months ago I started a project that’s been more difficult than I expected.  I’ve made a lot of progress on this project, but there’ve been several setbacks and many times when I’ve had to pause and learn something new before moving forward.  While I just want to get this project done so I can move on I had an epiphany today.

This is the more complex box I’ve been working on for too long.  I finished part of the bottom drawer to help me see what the finished product will eventually look like.

Pausing to re-think my strategy I smiled to myself and took a couple of steps back.  The project I was working on was pretty advanced compared to what I’ve done in the past.  I’d never attempted anything like it before and instead of starting simple I went straight to one of the more difficult projects in the book.

Today I took a step back and started on the first box in the book.  It’s not overly difficult or exciting, but it’s giving me the opportunity to practice the skills I need to finish my first project.  When all was said and done I made significantly more progress on this box today than I’ve made on the other in way more time.  The techniques I’m learning will help me greatly when it comes to making the box I’d been working on for a while.

This is the more simple box.  I’ve still got a ways to go, but outside of some sanding of a couple of tough to reach areas all it needs is glue and finish…  Earlier today this was just a block of wood.

As I’ve had that rolling around in the back of my brain all night I realized how true this is of many things in life.  How often have I started of with a grand idea a little too quickly and instead I should’ve worked my way up to it?  There are more than a couple of ways I could see this lesson helping me in the future on other projects and ideas…  and for that lesson I am very thankful.


Day 542 – Thankful for Finally Taking My Friends’ Advice – Ready Player One

Sometimes I can be a little slow on the uptake.  Occasionally I’ve been known to skip books just because so many people told me to read it.  I know, I’m kinda weird like that sometimes!

My account will quickly show that I’m a big fan of biographies, business, and philosophy books.  Those are pretty much my bread and butter.  There are about a dozen that I have in my next listens list.  With that being the case I usually hold off on adding fiction to the list.


For at least four years my buddy Brian has been on me about reading the book Ready Player One.  He’s repeatedly told me how much I’d like the book and I’ve pretty much kept saying no just to be a pain in the butt.  After a while a few other friends started telling me about it.

This past week I wanted something as a change of pace for my reading.  I’d just wrapped up a couple of books for the next month’s trainings so I figured I’d give it a whirl and listen while I drive and walk.

I’m about a third of the way through and it’s AWESOME!!!  Full of ’80s trivia and loaded with geek factoids galore, it’s amazing!  It’s been non-stop entertaining and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have it done very quickly.

So today I’m thankful that I FINALLY took all of my friends’ advice and picked this book up.  Guys, I won’t question your book choices again…  probably 😉


Day 541 – Thankful for Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Day 541 – Thankful for Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

There are certain songs that can immediately teleport me away from reality and throw me back into a certain memory or emotion.  The first note of the song causes my ears to tune in immediately and by the time the first five seconds have past my foot is tapping and I’m gone.  I love those types of songs!

When I stop and think about them they’re from a point in time when the perfect song blended into the perfect moment at the perfect time.  Everything has to line up just right for that to happen, tone of the song, lyrics, and the setting.  When it’s all synched up it is nothing short of mind blowing.

Isn’t it so awesome that those perfect moments can be recalled with a song?

Today it was while I was working on a project and had Pandora on in the background.  As I was typing I heard the initial whistle of the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.  In a flash my computer and desk were gone and I was sitting on a porch overlooking the ocean, snuggled into a chair with Becky, looking out over the ocean and champagne ponds in Hawaii.  My heart rate slowed, I could smell the ocean air, and I could hear the waves crashing in the background.  I was relaxed, at peace, and in paradise.


For some reason every single time i hear that song I think of sitting on that porch in Hawaii.  I’m not sure if it was on in the background or if I listened to it earlier in the day, but that moment and that song are forever glued together in my brain.

The lyrics fit perfectly, a song about “home is wherever I am with you.”  The music just fits that Hawaiian feel.  Everything with the song and the memory fit so well.

I had a really great day today, many new opportunities and ideas, much progress made.  So many wonderful moments, including a perfectly placed sunrise as I drove to work.  Great conversations, teammates having big successes and wins, all wonderful pieces of the day that I am thankful for.  Little moments, like hearing this song, really added an awesome depth of joy to the day that I am very thankful for.