I Didn’t Have Time To Run To The Store So I Did This

Happy Anniversary Barb,

I have to confess, I forgot our wedding anniversary.  I don’t normally forget. But I did. I could go on about why I forgot…I won’t.

For 14 years we have been through thick, thin, high, low, hot and dry spells side-by-side. No, it has not been perfect nor will it ever be perfect, we are flawed vessels after all. It is those flaws that make us who we are and some of the multitude of reasons why I fell in love with you and am still in love with you.

I look forward each day to spending time with you, even when you are occupied. I love our dinners together and spending time out on the deck roasting, toasting, and burning marshmallows. I love our conversations about everything and nothing. You have shaped me into a much different man than I ever expected.

A decade of stress and school is over. We have time to do more than hop from assignment to assignment. I, even though I forgot this time, am looking forward to many more anniversaries with you…some of which I may forget. Between the anniversaries I am looking forward to all of the memories we will create together.

Happy Anniversary.

Next time…oh who are we kidding, I may forget next time too… 🙂

I Could Have Melted Out There

101 HeatThat is a picture from our car today. Triple digits. So hot out that a friend had to apologize to our boy because she burned her fingers on her car after telling our boy that a car could not get that hot. I believe the conversation was around cooking eggs on a car, but the apology was given none-the-less. 🙂

Apologies given what do you do when it is the second blistering hot day out and you have no air conditioning? If you are us you look for places that have air conditioning. If you are us and you live here, you know that you will be spending at least an hour in the car with the air conditioning. This is one of those times where being an hour away from everything is a good thing. Two hours in an air conditioned car, sign me up…yesterday and today only.

Because Barb has to work on her birthday we celebrated her birthday yesterday and today. She wanted sushi and I found sushi in Mount Pleasant: Midori Sushi and Martini Bar. If you like sushi, avoid Midori. If you have a date that you want to impress because your date is:

  • impressed by wasteful spending
  • average sushi
  • overpriced rolls
  • bland flavors
  • rolls that look large, but are actually overstuffed with rice
  • “fancy” looking dinnerware (I have most of what they use to serve, I bought it at Meijers, just in case you want some)

Then I highly recommend Midori. The silver lining, Barb got some sushi. The gold lining, we will be taking her for better sushi later. I would make sushi, but everything I need to use is packed up. 😦

Walking to Midori, hell (ha) walking anywhere, was an exercise in darting from shade to shade, standing in other people’s shadows, and praying for a stiff breeze or a torrential downpour to strike us as we walked. The craziest sight, an outdoor yoga class. Yes, outdoor yoga class. I love yoga, but as much as I love yoga and as excited as the instructor sounded over the PA system, even I would not be caught dead in this heat yogaing.

Tired of the heat we headed to Target, because surely they have air conditioning. They did, but it seemed to be struggling mightily to keep the building cool. Wandering around slowly I kept finding things we will need for the new place, such as a microwave. If I am to have a hated microwave, it will be a good one. Good as defined by powerful enough to actually “cook” stuff like the package says instead of having to multiply the time by 1.5 and hoping it all works out. Never did.

While looking at microwaves I stumbled across clearance copies of Munchkin Legends and Wizard of Oz. With most of the games packed, Munchkin has been our go-to game. Cart filled with Munchkin and another box fan, I could create a windstorm in here if I set them up right, we headed out. The cashier was excited to see us, “her people” as she kept calling us. A recent transplant from Traverse City, her and her husband play a lot of Munchkin and was excited to meet other people who played. I imagine the gamer quotient in Target lines is small. We chatted for a bit before heading out into the heat. Thankfully the car had not melted. That car ride home was bliss.

Now I sweat with fans blowing on me.


Ratatouille Is Not In That Box

More adventures in moving and home buying. I should write a “How to not to” guide. Not that it will help anyone else, unless they are us or unfortunately for them, have our “luck.” I feel bad for those people.

In the basement, another round of finding boxes filled with stuff. What is this stuff? Apparently, anything we could fit in the box regardless of the relation of the stuff to other stuff in the box. My favorite today, a box filled with books, porn, a smattering of Legos, and every single Jelly Belly smelly pencil and eraser I could find.

Obviously, I was reading a book (Halo series), while watching porn (free compilation porn that comes free with any purchase of an adult toy), building with Legos (five unrelated pieces) between chapters (book or porn your choice), and deeply inhaling the glorious odor* that is Jelly Belly smelly erasers. Not the pencils, those were still in the packaging. I know, I know how do I live at that speed? I couldn’t, thus I tossed all of the stuff into a box to forget about until today.

There were more casualties of packing, water damaged books, crushed toys, and a metal dump truck covered in rust. Time has not been kind to some of the stuff left in storage. I blame Ferris. I should take responsibility, but it is easier to blame the school. It is a long standing tradition around here to blame the school for misfortune.

While I packed and sorted (5 more bags of garbage), Barb dealt with the bank and the realtor. I am hesitant to mention good news, but there was some good news in the form of accepted paperwork (I am going to guess that this paperwork is accepted for this stage of the process and will be disregarded for the next phase-so not jumping for joy yet) and really awesome home owners. There were some concerns of ours from the inspection. Our options, ignore the problems, present them to the homeowners who could offer a solution or kill the deal. You can guess, I expected them to kill the deal. They did not. They offered a solution or two that quite honestly were thoughtful and nice.

At this moment, the boy and Barb are working on the ratatouille. I know I was supposed to work with him, but I felt he could work with his mother who made bread while I worked in the basement. What really happened was I worked in the basement, came upstairs to assist him, and then took out garbage. Along the way the boy learned to let the knife do the work. He kept pressing down hard instead of sliding the knife over the food. A few times of holding his knife and hand while making proper cuts later and he was a slicing fiend.

Including his palm. Some how he caught his palm with the edge of the knife. He is fine, a small clean cut, quickly taken care of; although if you listened to him his thumb was going to fall off. Having taken time to rest and eat a popsicle, they are working to assemble the dish. Looking forward to diner. Not looking forward to another day/night in the basement, but it must get done.

* It should be noted that smelly pencils and erasers are not so pleasant years later buried under tons of stuff, better than musty moldy smell.


Time Travel…Oops, Time and Travel

Week three, post graduation and I am finally starting to feel like a person instead of a student. More of my time has been spent on person stuff than school stuff. A welcome change indeed. I no longer think about applying for financial aid, classes, or what I need to do for my degree. I may start thinking about that if I bear about my grad-school application. Four to six weeks used to be the standard response to any mailing or shipping question when I was younger. Now four to six weeks, hell days and in some cases hours seems glacially slow.

I applied online and online is instant, isn’t it? If not instant, at least faster than four to six weeks. Doesn’t help that a copy of my transcripts had to be sent via snail mail because…well I don’t know why an electronic copy couldn’t be sent. I know I would have authorized it, nope snail mail. So, maybe add one or two days to get my transcripts and change the time to three to seven days. Find a form acceptance or denial letter, email that to me and blamo, done in record or at least expected time. Four to six weeks indeed.

Of course this is nothing compared to the time it takes Barb to fly from Atlanta where she has been on a corporate training event to Grand Rapids. Removing the TSA from the equation she has to fly from Atlanta to Detroit and then Detroit to Grand Rapids. Totally flying time somewhere around six hours, take on TSA and she is looking at a 9 to 12 hour day. Just to get from one part of the country to another. Why not fly directly from Atlanta to Grand Rapids? I’m sure there is a reason, but is there a reason it should take 12-hours?

Maybe Amazon has spoiled me, I can get almost anything I want shipped to my door two-days later and if I lived in certain areas of the country one day or delivered by a drone to my door. Thus in my head we should have Amazon handle getting people and freight anywhere in the country. I know I would love to be assured that my loved one is packed safe and sound in an airplane with a smilie face, complete with tracking number. Individual tracking number that way I can see where my loved one has been and is doing…creepy, maybe, but try and tell me you never stalked a package of yours?

Plus with Amazon’s current practices you could order yourself something nice, an airplane ticket, and have both done in the same box or at least arrive at the same time. Hell, add that to the cost of Prime membership and I am all there; guaranteed anywhere in the country in two-days or less provided you are willing to drive to a fulfillment center or slap a “Person Delivery Label” on your forehead and wait for convenient local pick-up and delivery to the nearest fulfillment center where you will be packed, bundled with other deliveries to the same region and whisked away.

You listening Amazon? You changed the nature of shipping as we know it, now do it with travel or people boxes. 🙂

Celebrating the Holiday

My apologies for the late post and the short post. We were out celebrating the good news of a job offer for Barb.  It has been ten-years of moves, struggles, classes beyond count, and mounting student debt. On the eve of our graduation the best news of all came in. Proud of Barb and her accomplishment, we went out to celebrate the job offer and the start of a very interesting (I hope) Valentine’s weekend.

Tomorrow I will tell all about our Pathfinder Adventure Card Valentine’s Weekend Marathon.

My Time Watching Fallout 4

I would love to tell you how much fun I had playing Fallout 4, but I never got to play. I got to watch for the entire weekend and I’m happy I got to watch, because that means that someone other than me is playing a game. Still, I too would like to have had a chance to wander the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Barb, longing for another Skyrim-esque game, and Elder Scrolls Online not working for her, set her eyes upon Fallout 4 after seeing the commercial with the dog. Having never played a Fallout game before she was curious, but hesitant that my description of “Skyrim with guns,” would be for her. It did not take long for her to like Fallout 4.

Barb has a compulsive, yes I said compulsive, need to investigate every nook and cranny of RPG worlds and take anything that is not nailed down or that gets her in trouble, i.e. getting caught stealing in Skyrim. She explored every part of Vault 111 and this is the game’s tutorial mode. She exited the vault with a truckload of loot.

Then she proceeded to painstakingly loot every single house in the town nearby. So slow. Painfully slow. That is how she played Skyrim and that is how she is playing Fallout 4. While slow she has discovered things I would not have found on a first run through and she has more than enough stuff to last her for quite the while. She saved at the bridge before the next town.

Inspired by her mother, our girl wanted to play, the following morning (yesterday) she started her game. There were differences immediately, our girl had a goal-get the Pip Bo, then get the video game, then leave the Vault, then get the dog. With those goals in mind she blasted so quick through the tutorial that she left a lot behind and got me close to nausea watching her onscreen movements.

Exiting the vault with minimal gear, she bolted for where the dog was, goals complete our girl didn’t know what to do. Thankfully, her brother and mother came to rescue and started giving her suggestions. Which is how our girl ended up in the next town. SPOILER ALERT: She quickly and I mean quickly eliminated all of the bandits, claimed the power armor, headed home for repairs, and called it a game.

Our girl done with her lightning round, our boy sat down to play. I had to stop watching him play. He ran, RAN through the vault gathering the weapons, some ammo, the Pip Boy, and the video game before exiting the vault. Once outside, he too got the dog, and having seen what his sister did bolted for the next town. Screw exploration, he wanted the shiny toy. Except that he didn’t pay attention how to use the VAT system and used his gun like he does in Destiny-Spray and Pray.

Problem with that, is in Destiny he has a lot of ammunition. In Fallout 4, he died to molerats when his ammunition ran out. Plus, in Destiny he can double jump and throw grenades to get out of trouble. Fallout 4, not so…no, not at all. His time in the wasteland, came to an end as quick as it started.

Children done and Barb mostly done with her homework, returned to the wasteland and went to bed very late…but she now had at least three truckloads of stuff… 🙂

500 Words At A Time: My First First Day

Orientation and or the cattle call of incoming students was almost the end of my college career experiment. I am what the school categorizes as a non-tran or non-traditional student. In other words, I did not arrive here out of high school. Here is where Ferris State University can make a huge difference for students like me, people who have life experience such as advanced age or combat experience, make a separate orientation process.

Because the trip to orientation was long, I brought the entire family with me. The goal was to get registered, take care of a couple of other details such as banking, and get out of town or at least in town to wander around. It was obvious from the get-go that this was going to be a pre-arranged show and I, at 40 something and having been to college twice before was going to be treated like the straight out of high school crowd.

Thankfully I took our boy with me through the initial line where students picked up their folder of orientation and promotional material and some SWAG. Our boy is really cute and charming with the ladies, of which there were many working the line, by the end of the line I had a folder. He had a Ferris State University bag, shirt, pen, pencil, and candy. Lots of candy.

The line wound this way and that, eventually after telling far to many people, “I don’t need that” or “I already took care of that” I finally got to banking. The bank representative was more than happy to deal with an adult who knew what they wanted and needed versus the students who often ignored the bankers advice. Here is a huge time saver, take care as much stuff before you attend orientation, thus take care of insurance, health care, housing, student ID, and so on. Get as much as you can done and save yourself a lot of hassle. I even took care of signing into the Ferris State University website from home, but that was not good enough. I had to demonstrate that I could do that in front of our groups handler.

Try to imagine a large group of adults most of whom are parents to the students who seemed overwhelmed and/or disoriented and my motely band of two adults and two children. A couple of times we told people that our children were attending college, they both had that Webster’s disease. The looks we got. With that mental image, picture filing into an auditorium for the longest and most pointless presentation for non-traditional students, but good to hear for those about to be on their own.

I tried to explain that I did not need to hear,

  • “Do not rape.”
  • “Do not drink.”
  • “Do not do drugs.”
  • “Do not be violent.”
  • “Do attend classes.”

But nobody was listening. I figured since I was pretty up to date on common sense and civics, that a better use of my time would be to register. NOPE and this where the wheels fell off the bus.

Tired from the long day, frustrated because I have to endure things that no adult should have to endure unless they are walking their kid through the process, which by the way seems wrong, make the kid do the work, and hungry-food was promised AFTER registration I trudged my way into registration.

As each students name was called out an advisor from that program gathered them together. As usual, I was the outlier.

“Nathan Richmond.”

“Over here.”

“Your my ENGLISH STUDENT!” she shouted (yes shouted and waved my folder).

Turns out for this orientation batch, I was the only humanities degree. Except that I was in the wrong program. I was and am a Technical Professional Communications Degree…and her mood crashed, along with mine.

Handing me my folder, she said, “I took the liberty of registering you for classes.”


“Here is your class list.”

None of which worked. Nobody had bothered to ask me about our scheduling, you know the kids and Barb’s pharmacy classes. I imagine that for most high-school entry students this works out great, but for non-traditional students we come in with baggage and we need to be able to work with and around our baggage or at least have it acknowledged.

Situation explained, she gave me a quick rundown on how to register for classes and left to…well I don’t know. By this point I was pissed. Barb saw that I was about to get up and leave. She sat down next to me and we started trying to register. One by one the other students and advisors left, until it was me and some other advisor, who thankfully helped.

TWO HOURS. It two hours and a really bizarre conversation about math or my lack of math for 20 years before I was registered. Suffice to say I missed out on the food and was considering not bothering, after all if orientation was this difficult what were classes going to be like?