Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The "End Is In Sight" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just finished typing my last entry for the first year of my blog. Started making entries on September 2 of last year with the goal of adding an entry a day. I wasn't sure if I would have enough stories to fill an entire year, but I did it. As a matter of fact, I have more that I plan to add as time goes on. All of the stories that I have placed in "Extraordinary Stories From An Ordinary Guy" have been true. I swear they are!! Some have doubted that. A few comments and some email have questioned how I could have ever had all these thing happen to me. I respond with: How could I have possibly made up the stories. Some are too far fetched to have been anything but true. I have enjoyed every minute of typing and editing the entries. It's always a thrill when I hit the "View Post" and I see the story of the day on the screen. I'm sure you found tons of mistakes throughout the year. I tried my best, but since I wasn't an English teacher, I probably misspelled sum words, put too many commas in, that weren't needed, used the wrong tense in verbs, used "I" when it should have been "me" or vice-versa, and put in words that didn't mean what I had intended them to mean. I want to thank all of you for reading while I was writing. Carol (you do realize by now that she is my wife) asked me a few months ago if I thought anyone was actually reading these crazy stories about my life. I said I'm not sure, but didn't care since I was having such a good time re-living my life. She suggested a "counter" and after adding that feature, I was amazed at how many people actually took the time to read my life history. It is pretty fascinating reading, isn't it? Some days 50-75 people would log on while other days only a half-dozen would take a peek. People from all over the world! I had a comment from California not long ago and have one follower from St. Martin in the French West Indies. I can actually type about 30 words a minute now without looking at the keyboard (was able to type 43 wpm in high school). It usually needs editing though, since I do miss some of the keys from time to time. And, other times my fingers don't keep up with the speed of my mind. Things that I enjoy adding in my stories are adding the words "Well," "Hey," "And ......" or don't add a subject in the sentence. I find that the story flows better, while Carol finds it irritating to read. She gave up reading the stories long ago, since she said that she luckily lived through it the first time, and didn't need to read about it again. Anyway, I have made a new list of stories to type. I may take a break from time to time. I probably won't type a story every day or while on vacation like I did this past year. I will try to add at least one entry every week. I read an article in our local paper titled "How to publish your own book for fun and profit." I'm going to see if I can maybe publish my first year's stories in a book form. That way my mom can read about her son. She won't read it if it is on a computer screen. After reading my final story of the year tomorrow, don't fret. I am still alive!! Allegedly. And ... thanks again for inviting me onto your screen and into your life while you read a little nonsense about LDub. Keep checking in from time to time. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The "We're Still Having Fun .... and You're Still The One" Story

It was an ordinary day. Carol and I were heading to the Chesapeake for lunch. We did that many times together over the years. The "over the years" has now turned into 43 years. 43 unbelievably great years. Sure we have had our disagreements during that time, but she is my best friend as well as my wife. We have shared so much together. She has borne our three children. She has been a stay-at-home mom for our kids and then went back into the workforce to help get them all through college, debt free. She was the best mom any kid could hope for. She was compassionate, but firm. She took no crap, but dished out plenty of love. She is a fantastic cook, avid reader, great horsewoman, super swimmer, computer savvy, smart, world traveler, has a green thumb, but best of all, she loves to share a laugh with me. And ..... we do it often. Laugh, I mean! She also could be a good dancer if she could ever find the right partner. Carol Ann was born a few years ago to Charlie and Grace Baker. Maybe that's why she is such a good cook. Her childhood was spent with her parents by the Pequea Creek in Martic Township. She spent many hours riding her beloved "Blackie" on country roads and through the woods. She has always had a love of horses since her childhood. She also loved her Chihuahua, "Buddy." Graduated from Penn Manor High School the year before I student taught there. Got to meet her because of our parents. Her mother and my dad worked together and they arranged a blind date for us. Best move my dad ever made. Wasn't long before we were married. We have shared three homes together, at least a dozen cars, many friends, but best of all, tons of laughs and good times. We always took a family vacation. Usually in the summer because of my teaching job. Traveled with the kids mostly to the Chesapeake, but also found time to visit the Jersey Shore with them. We created memories that will last forever with us and our family. You have had the opportunity to read about many of them over the past year. Carol now works for the Parish Resource Center as the Administrative Assistant. Has enjoyed the position for over 12 years now. She also held jobs as a lab technician at Loeb's Cytology Laboratory, working in an insurance office, and working at Lancashire Terrace Retirement Community. We have been fortunate over the past 10 or more years to have traveled to destinations that we only dreamed about years ago. Europe and the Caribbean are our favorite spots. Her "Bucket List" also has Tahiti as a destination. We both enjoy music and get to go to concerts frequently. Enjoy both the "Oldies" performers as well as Jimmy Buffett. I guess I can end my story about my soul mate with the last verse from a Shania Twain song, "You're Still The One." It's a perfect fit!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. To Carol ...... with Luv, LDub

You're still the one -- who can scratch my itch

Still the one -- and I wouldn't switch

We're still having fun, and you're still

the one

You're still the one -- that makes me shout

Still the one -- that I dream about

We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one, yeah still the one


PS - Photos are from top: A young Carol with her mom and dad, graduation from Penn Manor, engagement photo from the 60s, early 70s shot at the beach, 80s shot at the Chesapeake, 90s shot with Jack, the horse we leased, photo from a vacation to Florida and sailing on the Chesapeake.

Photo above is from our recent trip to Ocean City, NJ. Row 1: Carol and LDub, Row 2: Camille, Brynn, Barb, Caden. Row 3: Courtney, Dave, Paul (Tad), Derek.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The "Sometimes it's better not to know!" Story

It was an ordinary day. A few of the members of the 1972 State Championship Rifle Team which I had coached had just left. We had a dessert party at my house to catch up on each other's lives. One member of the team, Kristin H., I had not seen since 1972. She stilled looked the same. Really! Maybe a little more mature, or should I say wise!! I had planned for everyone to gather on our rear deck, but a slight rain pushed us inside. We all gathered in the living room for drinks and dessert. I had made two peach pies during the afternoon and most everyone had a piece. They weren't sure they wanted a piece of pie after my wife said I actually had made them. After an hour of sharing our news with each other, we got to talking about the rifle team and all the fun we had in the early 70s. Then .... a few stories surfaced that I had not heard before. My top shooter that season was Dave A. and he fired a perfect score in every match that we had. He qualified for the District III individuals with four other members of the team. Kristin was also one of those members who qualified for the individuals. She started the story by telling us that as some of the team members were entering the school where the individuals where to be held, they were asked to help carry the trophies for the winners into the school. Dave was handed the 1st place trophy and he turned to Kristen and asked her to carry it because he didn't feel right carrying it into the school and then carrying the same trophy back out again at the end of the day. He assumed he was going to win it. She agreed and exchanged what she was carrying with him. Seems that Kristin was really sharp that day and she ended up carrying out the 1st place trophy herself, beating her teammate that day. Dave was sitting there listening to her story and began to blush a little when she finished it. We all had a good laugh. Then another story surfaced that I believe I probably was not to have heard, even after almost 40 years. Seems that we had traveled to a meet in a neighboring town with the 10 members who were going to shoot that day. Another member of the team who didn't qualify for the meet, decided to fly his father's plane (legally) to the airport near the school. He came to the meet to see how everyone was doing and after the first two shooters finished, he asked Steve W., who had just finished, if he wanted a ride home. In the plane! Steve knew that all members were expected to ride the bus home after the meet, but thought I would never miss him. And ... he was right. I never took a head count that night. Steve looked at me and tried to hush the story teller, Howie E., from saying anymore, but I had already heard enough. After they all left my home tonight, I started thinking about the tale and what could have happened. Luckily nothing did, but I am now wondering what other stories they could have shared with me over the years that they never did. I'm not sure I really want to know!! The year was exciting enough as it was. And ..... there were a few stories I don't care to share with them about our championship season. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The "Boy, Were We Surprised!" Story

It was an ordinary day. We were headed up to Mt. Joy for lunch with the family. One of the kids called and said why don't we meet Grandmaw and Grandpa at the diner in Mt. Joy for lunch so off we go. We get there a little before noon and the parking lot is pretty well packed. "I hope someone made reservations," I said to Carol. "They probably did," she replied. Well, we enter the restaurant and see Brynn, our daughter. We head over to her and she tells us that everyone is waiting for us. Didn't think we were late, but OK. We head back a hall, away from the restaurant to a set of double doors. I didn't think anything of it until she opened the door and everyone inside yelled, "Happy Anniversary!!" Wow! What a surprise. Carol and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary in about two weeks and had no clue that someone would spring a party on us like this. No one ever remembers our anniversary except us and my mom and dad, until now. They pinned flowers on us and we were ready to celebrate. We were kind of overwhelmed. But, there were the neighbors, my best friend and co-coach Wayne and his wife Barb, Carol's best friend Marg and her husband Ron, friends from church, a few teachers who I teach with, Carol's former friends from work, our family and ...... our wedding party! Yep, most of our wedding party found time to come, help us celebrate 25 years of marriage. Pretty neat! We got to sit at the head table with the kids and were served first. That hadn't happened since our marriage years ago. My best man and brother, Steve, and his wife Kathy were there; and John, my uncle who was an usher was there. Carol had her maid of honor, Millie; her matron of honor Mary; and bridesmaids Lois, my Aunt and wife of John, and Judy, my cousin. Three guys and two girls couldn't make it, but we had a great time. After the meal we got to walk around to all the tables and talk with everyone, just like when we were married. Then we got to cut the cake and have dessert. Only thing missing was the band and the dancing. That's OK, because I can't dance very well anyway. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - middle pix is our family of Derek, Brynn, Tad and Carol and me, bottom photo is the wedding party of: Uncle John, my brother Steve, me, Carol, Millie, Mary, my cousin Judy and Aunt Lois. Handsome bunch!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The "LDub Photo Album" Story

It was an ordinary day. I am cleaning out all of the unused photos I have placed in a file called "blog pixs." Some will remain for stories in the future, while others have been deleted because they are duplicates of other photos, too stupid, people I not sure I know, or too risque. I did find a few of me that I never used and thought I might add them. Hope you enjoy them.

Yep, that's me!! I was a pretty good skier years ago. You notice that I had to use 2 skis though. My greatest limitation was that I couldn't ski with my glasses on and I can't see very far without them. Gary, the boat driver, knows to stay away from other boats, piers, and submerged logs.
My three grand kids are helping me blow out the candles on my 65th birthday cake. And, I've eaten everyone of them.
This photo is from 25 years ago when I had neat glasses and a full hear of hair. It was a photo taken by the school photographer. I loved that shirt I had on. Finally washed it in the wrong load and ruined it.
Photo by Just Sue taken in an airport somewhere in the world. I enjoy it because it makes me look like an "ordinary guy."
That really is me below. I'm getting re-charged from this radioactive license plate. This was taken in Jamaica after a waiter gave me a plate that I had asked him about. Just Sue snapped this photo and the plate looks as if it is electrified.
This photo was taken while on vacation this year of Carol and me. We always have a great time doing everything that we do!

Thanks for looking at a few of my favorites. Hopefully there will be more to share with you in the future. Sorry! It was another extraordinary day in the life of and ordinary guy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The "Like Sand in An Hourglass....." Story

It was an ordinary day. I was putting beach sand in a bottle. Not any bottle, but one from St. Martin. One of the neatest souvenirs that I have from our many vacations is sand. Not a lot, but just enough to fill a space about 1/2" by the diameter of the bottle. And the bottles are about 1 inch round or square. About the amount that you would get from the bottom of your shoes after shaking them out each night while on vacation or the amount that comes from the inside of your bathing suit when you take it off each day. I must admit that I take a small baggie to the beach with me with the name of the beach on it in permanent ink. Sometime during the day I take a small handful and place it in the bag. Sometimes it has small shells or small pebbles in it. But, that's OK, since it shows what the beach was really like that we visited that day. I have a bottle of sand from the USVI, which would be St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, that has sand from 8 beaches in it. My favorite beach in that bottle is Magen's Bay. That was the first island beach that really WOW'ed me when I saw it for the first time. Parked in the lot and walked through the seagrape trees and, WOW!! Just breathtaking! I have black sand from Maui, the big island of Hawaii, Kauai, St. Martin/Sint Maarten, Anguilla, PinelIsland, St. Barts, Prickley Pear, Tortolla, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Caicos Island, Jamaica, Barbados, and Antigua. All but two of the bottles are bottles that I brought back with me from St. Martin. In the little hand-painted bottles was MaDouDou rum. Naturally had to empty the liquid before putting them in my suitcase, to lighten the load. That was a pleasant task. Next trip to St. Martin I have to return with one more bottle for the souvenir sand I will collect in the seven stops we will have on our Panama Canal Cruise. I often wonder what would I do if someone picked up a bottle to view it and dropped it or shook it. Then I realized I would have to refill it again. Another trip to the beaches in the bottle would be in order. And .... what will happen to all this sand in the bottles when I die? Doesn't really matter! It is something I treasure and use to remember all the good times Carol and I had while visiting some of the most gorgeous islands in the world. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "Dirtiest Job In The World" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just finished the cleaning. Maybe! What a mess! Seems we decided to put new floor tile in our kitchen, laundry, hall, foyer, and bathroom on our first floor. The old 8" square tiles were out of date and some were cracked. I contacted the fellow who had done our second floor bathroom two years before and asked if he could do this job. He came and gave us an estimate for the job. He also gave us the name of a place that we could buy our tile from which would give us discounted prices. We found a tile that we really liked and bought enough of the 18" square tiles to do the job. Also bought 6" tile for the black splash on the kitchen counters and the tile around our family room fireplace. I asked if I could do some of the work myself and he suggested I take all the old tile out. Would save quite a bit of money if I did that part myself. Well, I took a chisel and tried to remove a few of the tiles. Not as easy as I thought. Then I asked a friend who I taught with if he could help. We both struggled with the chore. Jeff suggested we rent a small jack-hammer to help with the removal. An hour later we started with the jack-hammer and boy did it work great! Only thing was, the tile was cemented so well to the backer board that we had to remove both. Went right down to the sub-floor. The dust that was created was unbelievable. Since my house has a totally open floor plan, I couldn't put plastic up to stop the dust. At the end of the day Jeff and I had all the tile and board removed and laying on the floor of my garage. We were both covered with gray dust except for where our masks covered our nose and mouth. When you walked into the house you were greeted with a haze of dust. Never before had to deal with anything like this. What took me a day to create with the tile removal, took me over a week to clean. Every cabinet had to be emptied and every item in the cabinet had to be cleaned with soap and water. The spice cabinet took me a whole morning to do. All the furniture had to be vacuumed and dusted. The carpet had to be vacuumed and shampooed. The photos and artwork all had to be carefully cleaned. the ceiling and walls had to be dusted with a damp cloth. All laundry, towels, napkins and tablecloths in our drawers had to be washed. Not just the first floor, but both floors of the house had to be done. And then after I hauled all the old tiles to the dump, I had to do the same with the garage. What a mess. The house was really clean when I was done. I truly believe if I knew it would take that much work, I would have left the old tile in the house, sold the house and just moved to a house that had new tile. The place looks great now, but at times I open a cabinet and feel dust on something I forgot or see the edge of a frame I forgot to wash off and the dust memories return. Some nights I woke and couldn't get back to sleep, worrying about what I had to still clean. I can't imagine what it must be like to do tile work for a business and have to deal with that type of dust all the time. I'm warning all of you right now, be prepared for the worst possible scenario if you try to tackle a job as dirty as tile removal. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The "When Music was Really Music!"Story

It was an ordinary day. We had just dropped Pat and Dale off at their house. We went to a oldies concert at Mt. Gretna's Cicada Festival to hear "Phil Dirt and the Dozers." This is a band that helps you recapture those wonderful days of poodle skirts, '57 Chevys, bobby socks and when surfing didn't involve a computer! This came right from their web page. They also claim to be America's premier "Rock 'N R'oldies" review and the most popular vintage rock and roll show in the nation. And ... they probably are. This group of six fabulous musicians and vocalists had been together for years. We have heard them perform the last four years at Mt. Gretna. Always a sellout crowd. They play songs from the the 50's, 60's and 70's. Songs Carol and I love from the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Four Seasons, Righteous Brothers, The Platters, Jan and Dean, and the list goes on and on. Always entertaining. The keyboard/sax/flute/guitar player, Mark is a two-time Emmy winner. Easy to see why when you hear him. We also got to hear "Flamin' Dick and the Hot Rods" a few weeks ago. They are a Rock-n-Roll party Band, playing a variety of music from the years of 1955 to 1968 - "The Golden Years of Rock-n-Roll. Chuck Berry, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran, Bill Haley, Dion and you get the idea. I'm sure some of my readers have never heard some of these names before. Well, the only thing I can write for you is ....... You missed some of the best songs ever! This is a group of five musicians that is more a regional band than Phil Dirt is. They claim to take you down Memory Lane with poodle skirts, '57 Chevys, but also add the 10 cent Coke to the list. (Hey, I wanted to type the symbol for "cent", but didn't see it on my keyboard. What happened to it?) This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening also and what made it great was it was FREE. Held at Lititz Spring Park and the sound and lighting was done by world famous Clair Brothers Audio from Lititz, PA. We also have enjoyed a group called the "Fabulous Flashbacks" which sing songs that take you back in time to the days of black and white saddle shoes, jukeboxes, drive-in movies, flattops, etc. Hey, every group we like is from an era when rock and roll first started. We first heard this group of six musicians and singers at the State College Art and Craft Show. They were so good that we went on their web site to find where else they might be playing in our area. Got to hear them at Nissley's Vineyard a year later. We have traveled to the American Music Theatre in Lancaster for shows by "The Golden Boys" which featured Bobby Rydell, Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Also saw The Everly Brothers and the Beach Boys shows at the AMT. Not many of the original Beach Boys left. We do enjoy the music of Jimmy Buffett and got to see him in Philadelphia a few years ago, but have found another performer who calls himself "The Buffettman." His name is Tom Watt and we heard him perform one afternoon near State College at a Harley Davidson store. Only about 30 people in the crowd so we got to hear him close-up. Does sound like Jimmy and naturally plays all his songs. He has performed for more that 10 years now and we hope to catch him again sometime. As you see, music is a big part of my life. Sang in the church choir for years and would love to be in an oldies rock band. Yeah, go ahead and laugh! I did make make meeting and singing with Jimmy Buffett one of the items on my bucket list. I still have a shot at it. I guess I better buy a guitar and start learning how to play it. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Photos from the top are Phil Dirt and the Dozers, Flamin' Dick and the Hot Rods, The Fabulous Flashbacks and Tom Watt as "The Buffettman"

Monday, August 23, 2010

The "You Should Hear About MY NEIGHBORS" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just finished replacing the spout on my neighbor's garage. Seems the kids knocked the spout down while shooting baskets at the net I had put up on my half of the garage. When we lived on Janet Ave. in Grandview Heights, we had a semi-detached house with semi-detached garages that stood about 40 feet from the back of the house. The garages opened onto an alley that ran parallel with Janet Avenue. Our neighbors were a couple slightly older than us who had two teenage children that never came out of the house. They eventually moved out and left their mom and dad alone in the house. Most times we never saw them either. A strange pair so they were. My family consisted of my wife and me and the three kids. We were an active family. We played ball in the back yard, had picnics in the yard, had millions of pets, and generally used the property to the maximum. I painted every few years, mowed the grass regularly, shoveled the snow immediately after it stopped and Carol kept the place looking great with flowers. I even volunteered to mow their grass, but Delores told me not to, since she thought Fred could use the exercise. Washed the cars when they were dirty and trimmed the shrubs when needed. Our neighbors stayed inside most of the time. Not once in 29 years did they touch the outside of the house!! Not a drop of paint touched any wood on the house. NOT KIDDING!! Very seldom did they shovel the snow. They decided to have a picnic in the backyard one time and had to mow a path through the foot high grass so they could play croquette. Mowed from one wicket to the next. If you would hit the ball too hard, it could get lost in the remainder of the yard. Then they put a large piece of carpet over another part of the tall grass so they could put a picnic table and chairs on it. Every few years Fred would decide to trim his forsythia bush between our properties in the rear and totally butcher it. When their car would wear out, they would put it in the alley behind their place. A neighbor finally called the police about the old cars which were behind their house. They were constantly vandalized and were a menace in the neighborhood. Police made them get rid of them. We finally put a six foot high fence between the properties so we wouldn't have to see the rear of his property. A neighbor and fellow teacher of mine was good friends with Fred and Delores. She more than once told me the horror stories about the inside of their house. There was a cold air return vent in the floor of the living room which was rotted and they just put a large carpet over it instead of fixing it. The ceiling of the kitchen fell in because of a leak in the upstairs bathroom, and they never replaced it. The list goes on and on. But the one item that always bothered me was the piles of newspapers stored in the basement next to their oil burner. What a fire hazard that was. Their half of the garage hadn't seem paint in over a quarter of a century and the squirrels had chewed through their end of the garage. It also was piled full of newspapers. And then ...... the call came from Delores about the kids knocking down the spout on their half of the garage. There was no need for a spout anyway, but with all the disrepair on the house, the fact that a fallen spout could bring her to tears was amazing to Carol and me. I took the spout off my half and moved it to her half, and she was once again happy. About five years before we moved, I decided to put some heated cable on the third floor roof to keep the ice and snow from accumulating and running into the back of the house. I asked them if they wanted me to do their half of the roof also. You bet they did. Would pay me for the materials as soon as I was done. I finished the job and it worked well. More on this in a second. We each had a rear entrance into our basements. Both had cellar doors on them. Mine was metal and my neighbor's was rotten wood. In the common wall in the basement by the rear door, about a foot from the floor and two feet from the cellar door was a small hole that must have gone through to their basement. Every time we had heavy rains we had a stream of water shooting about two feet into out basement through the hole. It was so comical that I never did anything to correct it but put a bucket under it when it rained. Well, we eventually tired of our neighbors and since we couldn't outlive them, we decided to move. We plotted our plan of attack. We knew we had to move in the fall when the shrubs would cover the front of their house. The fence in the back masked their backyard from view. Worked! Sold the house for full amount on the first day it was for sale. Had three offers even. It has resold 3 times since we moved about 12 years ago now. And .... it's the same neighbors in the other side. As I was packing the U-Haul for moving, Fred wondered over to say good-bye and handed me $15. "What's that for?" I said. "My part of the wire you put on the roof," was the answer. First time I had seen him out of the house in months. Guess I was lucky he remembered. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The "Dad Always Made Things Fun" Story

It was an ordinary day. Christmas as a matter of fact. Year 2000. I had just received one of the best gifts ever for Christmas. My daughter Brynn gave me a small memory booklet that she had made for me. The book was made from hand-made paper with deckled edges. You
may not know what that means, but it was special to me. I had taught her how to make hand-made paper years ago and the rough edges that result from the hand mold and deckle are called deckled edges. Books about 6" x 9" and had different colored pieces of paper. On the front are small starfish and sea shells hot glued to it as well as a decorated star proclaiming "Fond Childhood Memories." I'm sitting here right now with tears in my eyes as I type this. I look at it often. I have used the booklet for many of my stories on this blog. Yes, it's one of the best gifts I ever received!! Funny what some things mean to us, isn't it? Inside, on the first page is a pix of my youngest, Derek, known to us as Dirk, marching behind me as I play a toy drum around the coffee table. Says "Dad teaching Derek to march to the beat of his own drum. Then one of me holding Brynn and showing her how to swim in the wading pool. Another page has me helping my youngest Tad with his bikes and a toy lamb. Then there is a pix of me showing Brynn how to dive and her following me into the water. Her caption says ... "Is this right, Dad?" The photos are all slightly faded Kodacolor prints from back in the 70s. Then comes the pix of our youngest again on waterskiis with me in the rowboat captioned "Faster Dad." What memories! Next follows the one of Dirk with my shop coat on, helping me paint shutters. Titled, "Dad taught us how to be handy at an early age." And .... Brynn is not afraid to tackle just about anything at her house today. Dad teaching Brynn his keen sense of fashion follows with two photos in rabbit hats. Bay memories follow with me laying on a towel next to a caption saying, Dad sunbathing in the shade. Also from the bay is "Dad taught us how to bait a hook and catch a fish." Funny how that's exactly what Brynn did with my two grand daughters a few weeks ago when her family traveled to the bay for a vacation. "And then Dad chopped off the Raccoon's Tail," picture follows which shows me reading to Derek and Brynn. And .... I actually did that with a raccoon that was road kill so she could have a raccoon's tail on her bike. A pale yellow and a purple page follow with team and individual photos from baseball and softball and the caption "Coach Woops." You just have to read that blog story if you haven't already! Then one of the kids favorite sayings about me, "Dad reading the paper with his eyes closed." Then the Larryisms start with Hey, bolting the tree to the floor, running over the curb, too many people in the kitchen, and the Duponts are having steak for supper. Then a page with three snapshots of me labeled "Dad makes EVERYTHING fun!!! The final page has a photo of "Buddy" my wife's Chihuahua dog when we were married, saying "Yo Quiero Larry Woods." Still to this day have no idea what that means! I hope someone has the love and incentive to make my dear daughter a booklet of her own maybe 20 years from now. She will cherish it as much as I cherish mine. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are: My favorite gift, drumming to Derek's own drum, the diving lesson, teaching the tools of the trade, the fashion lesson, having fun!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The "IMHO, BAO LOL" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just finished typing another entry for my blog. Have been doing this for almost a year now. At times I get a few comments from people and at times I can't figure out what they are saying to me. They use these "acronyms" that I can't figure out. Many forums on the web that I look at all the time have tons of people that use these "acronyms" and I usually have to ask my wife what they mean. Some times she can help me figure out what they stand for and other times she can't. Some of the easy acronyms we figured out were IMO (In my opinion), IMHO (In my honest opinion), AISI (As I see it), BAO (Be aware of), LOL (Laughing out loud), OMG (Oh, my God), JMHO (Just my honest opinion), :) (Smiley face), :( (Sad face). And then I get this comment with the "acronym" ROTFLMAO. You think we could figure that out. No way. So Carol called our daughter Brynn and asked her. She texts all the time and uses email all the time so she had to know what that meant. She was stumped. So, she called a girl who babysits for her and is in high school. Asked her. She knew! We get a call back and she tells us it means: Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off! WOW! (That means Wow). It's a whole new language. Then I find out that there is a web site called Internetslang.com which lists all these "acronyms" and what they mean. I guess I'm going to have to use it more when I type and write. But, wouldn't it be easier to just type the word instead of looking for a few initials that mean the same. IMHO it would B. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The "Courtney: Grandchild #1" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just talked to Courtney for about 15 minutes on the phone. Courtney is my 8 year old grand daughter who lives in Maryland. Carol and I get to see her and her sister, Camille, on a regular basis, but still enjoy talking to her or Camille almost every evening. She just got her own email address. Let's see, when I was eight, I was worried about going out to play with my cars and marbles on the front porch or maybe having a chance to play catch with my dad when he got home from work. Email address? I guess I knew what my house address was when I was 8. Courtney has Juvenile Diabetes which was diagnosed a few months ago and which I wrote about a week or so ago. She is coping with learning about her body and the signs that tell her if she has too high or too low a blood sugar count. She is growing up so fast!! At the beginning of the summer she was playing softball and did so well that she was named to the All-Star game in her league. Pulled off a double play while playing shortstop during the game. Caught an easy liner and doubled the girl off 2nd base. Only double play of the whole year for the team and perhaps the league. Also got hit in the head with a ball when an errant throw from 3rd base to 1st base hit her. She had to leave the game, but recovered quickly enough to be put back in the game. As if she didn't have enough medical problems already. She also played soccer and tried dance in the past year or so, but softball is what she enjoys the most. During a recent visit to Maryland, Courtney wrote a list of favorites that I could share about her. Things she enjoys and loves as well as words that describe her. Her are a few of the things she enjoys or loves: mom and dad, sister, Rocco the dog, Ruby the cat, friends Hannah, Lexi R, Katelin, Melissa, Kylie, Sierra, riding her bike, nail polish, ice cream, butter, softball, macaroni, tacos, pizza, Monopoly Jr., computer, ipod, swimming, flying on planes, texting, Hershey's Comet, scream machine, cougar games, and wearing glasses. A few words she has picked that describe her are pretty, smart, brown hair and eyes and diabetic. Oh, yeah. I forgot one she likes to do; talk on the phone. How could I forget that when we get to talk to her almost every day. She's a real sweetheart to me and I hope and pray that she will see a cure for her diabetes in the near future. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are: Courtney's class picture from last fall, studying her shiny shoes, riding the wooden lamb at Tampah's house, riding the lawn tractor with Tampah, and relaxing with Rocco, the family dog. Luv You, Tampah

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The "Phighting Philadelphia Phils" Story

It was an ordinary day. We had just returned from our annual trip with Jerry and Just Sue. Went to Barbados this year and had just the best time ever. Great place to visit and the people are all so friendly. Only thing that went wrong was I couldn't watch my Phillies play in the the World Series. I have followed the Phils since I was a kid. I did go through a period when I cheered for the Giants, but that was because they had my all-time favorite player, Willie Mays, on the team. Phils are so close to us and the local press follows them that they are a natural to follow. Went to games by train when they played in Connie Mack Stadium and then went to watch games at the synthetic turf field at Veteran's Stadium. Have really enjoyed their move to Citizens Bank Park a few years ago and have followed most of their current players through the farm system. Well, this year they won the Eastern Division title for the second straight year. They beat the Brewers in the Division Series, 3 games to 1 and played the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Ended up beating them 4 games to 1 and made it to the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays. On October 15th they beat the Dodgers 5-1 to win the right to play in the World Series. On October 16th we left for Barbados. I had been waiting since 1980 to watch the Phils play in the World Series again, and now I'm going to miss most of it. May get to watch the final game or two if the Series goes the whole way to the 7th game. Series started on Oct. 22nd in Florida and the Phillies won the game 3-2. I did not own a laptop at the time and couldn't watch it on the computer and being that Barbados is English and loves futbol and cricket, I had no chance to watch it on TV down there. Read about it the next day in the Miami Herald. On that day the Phils lost game number 2 by a score of 4-2. Game 3 was played on Saturday, Oct. 25 in Philadelphia and the home team won, 5-4. Before the game, country singer Tim McGraw spread his dad's ashes on the mound at the ballpark. It was in 1980 that his dad, Tug, recorded the final out when the Phils won the 1980 World Series. If only I could have seen him put the ashes on the mound! I had to read about it the following day!! On Sunday the Phillies beat the Rays 10-2 to take a commanding lead in the Series. That set the stage for game 5. Could the Phils win their second World Series title? The game was the final one that would be played in Philadelphia during the series. The game started and the Phils took a quick 2 run lead in the 1st when the Flyin' Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, drove in Werth and Utley. The Rays tied it with runs in the 4th and 6th and then the rains started to flood the field. The game was suspended after the Rays batted in the 6th with the score tied 2-2. It was the only game ever to be suspended in World Series history. It continued to rain the next day, Tuesday, and the completion of the game was pushed back until Wednesday. After finding out about that I had some hope that I may get to see some of the World Series. We left Barbados mid-afternoon on Wednesday, October 29. Game was to be completed that evening. Got into Miami as the game was about to resume in Phila. Boy did I hustle through Customs and Immigration to get to a TV set in the airport. We had more than an hour layover before our connecting flight to Phila. I found a few Phillies fans gathered around a TV in a bar at the airport and we watched the game together. The Phils went ahead in the bottom of the 6th when Werth drove in Jenkins who had doubled, but the Rays scored in the top of the 7th to tie the game again. And then ...... my wife came hunting for me. The plane was about to load. NO!! "We can take a later flight," I said to her. She looked at me like I was nuts. I got the hint and said bye to my new found friends watching the TV. Well, the Captain on the plane was a Phillies fan also and as soon as we boarded, he began a play by play of the rest of the game over the loud speaker for all the passengers. Really a neat experience. Almost like being there. The Phils scored in the 7th when Felix drove in Bruntlett who was running for Burrell who had doubled to lead off the inning. The game ended 5-4, Phils, with a huge cheer on the plane. Remember, we were headed to Philadelphia with a whole plane of passengers who were Phillies fans. We didn't get back to Phila. and to our car until after mid-night, but the fans were still celebrating in Phila. On our drive back to Lancaster on Route 1, we had to stop for a traffic light. Carol grabbed my Phillies hat off my head and put down her window and waved it in the air. Wow! Everyone starting blowing their horns. Another really neat experience! I may have missed most of the games in the 1980 World Series, but I still had enough of an experience to write a story for you to read. And, the trip to Barbados was FANTASTIC. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are Ryan Howard homering in game 4 of the World Series, Cole Hamels who was the MVP of the World Series, and LDub, with a smile on his face,in the Philadelphia Airport on his way to find his car.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The "Fire in Room 308" Story

It was an ordinary day, I was headed to school for another day of teaching. Always liked to get to school early to make sure I had everything prepared for the day. I would rather come in an hour early instead of staying an extra hour in the evening. As soon as I entered the building through the back door of the wood shop I could smell it. What is that? It smells like something was burning. I quickly looked around and didn't see anything so I headed out of the wood shop and up the hall towards my classroom. I taught Industrial Arts for many years. Today Industrial Arts is referred to as Tech Ed. Used to be called Manual Arts. Same stuff, same materials, almost the same curriculum, but a different name every so often. We had to do that because the girls had changed from Home Economics to Consumer Science. Same classroom for them with the same teachers and same oven and stove, but a new name. Called PROGRESS. Oh, yeah!! There now is a computer in the different rooms. That's where you get the Tech and Science names. Well, as I got closer to my room, 308, the smell was stronger. Burning wood. I turned the corner and the maintenance guys were in front of my door. "Can't use the room for awhile," one of them told me. "You must have forgot to turn off your little heater last night and the corner of the room caught fire. You could see the flames all over the neighborhood coming out the window." Holy S*#t, I thought. How many teachers had ever caught their room on fire? And didn't lose their job. And, lived to write a story about it. I couldn't have forgot to turn off the heater. But, I must have. The heater is a unit that we use to cure ink after we have finished screen-printing t-shirts. Gets real hot! Evidently so hot that it caught the wooden counter covered with Formica under it on fire. The bottom of the unit has a thick metal shelf on it to prevent that from happening, but it didn't matter. They allowed me to go into the room to see what had happened. Counter in the back corner of the room next to the press was destroyed as were the cabinets and ceiling tiles above it. The window had broken out allowing the smoke to escape and fanning the flames. Lucky the fire didn't get 10 feet closer to the press and the flammable gallon cans of cleaners next to it. Also, lucky that the fire department is within visual sight of the school. As I was looking around, in walked Barry W. who is the department chairman and who shared the room with me. We both taught Graphic Arts and I also taught photography in the adjoining darkroom. He wanted to know what had happened and I told him. He all of a sudden looked white and as he looked at me he said, "That was me who left the unit on last night. I had a few students stay late to do some t-shirts and must have forgotten to turn off the unit." Whoa, was I relieved. We were back in the room in a few days and the heating culprit was replaced with a new one which had a timer on it that would automatically shut off if not turned off.Allegedly! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The "Caden: Grandchid #3" Story

It was an ordinary day. Caden had just gone home with his mom, Barb. Caden is the son of our son Derek and his wife Barbara. His dad had to work today and Barb had an appointment so Carol and I got to spend the day with our youngest grandchild. We visited and had lunch with my mom and then Caden helped me with chores I had around the house. He is only 5 year old, but can rake, hammer, use an electric drill and philosophize with the skill of the rest of us. He also helped me make a peach pie which he got to take a couple of pieces home for his family. Caden has the biggest and bluest eyes you ever saw. Anyone who has ever seen him always remarks about his eyes. It is the first feature you notice about him. He is sure to wow the girls when he gets a little older. He gets this feature from his mom. Caden also has a deep voice for someone his age. Like talking to a little adult. He loves to visit with us and enjoys most everything we do. I sat with him for a short time and asked him to tell me about himself and what some of the special things are that he likes to do. After four 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" pieces of paper I told me I think I had enough info to write a story about him. Caden told me he is medium in size with brown hair and blue eyes, he thinks. Some of the things he likes are his mom and dad and his two dogs Haley and Oscar and his two cats Wiggs and Molly. Some of the things he enjoys doing are playing with his friends Camille, Courtney, Ethan and the two girls from across the street. He also likes to play with his Xbox and started to name all the games he has. Had to stop after I realized I might need a few more sheets of paper. He also likes to have his mom read to him, watch TV with his dad, arts and crafts and coloring, play games on his mom's computer, ride his four wheeler and his bike, run under the sprinkler, help his dad wash the car since they always get wet, put puzzles together, go to the beach, play Farkel and Uno, flowers since they smell good, make things with his dad, and he is really excited about going to school in two weeks. He loves cars, trucks, planes and trains and lists the Corvette as one of his favorites. Could be because I used to have one. His favorite eats are hotdogs, mac and cheese, burgers without the pickles, clam chowder, pizza, chocolate candy and tootsie rolls. And, I kind of condensed his list so it would be easier to read. Caden and I have some tales to tell about our travels over the past few years. Some I have told as stories on my blog during the past year. He is definitely an inquisitive, energetic, never stop little boy who loves life. He can play a matching game once and have it memorized. We put one of his puzzles together recently and before I had maybe 10 pieces together, he had the rest assembled. His mind is always on the go. When he told me he is excited about going to school, I imagined him learning his kindergarten lessons with ease. We always have such a good time together. When he goes home from a visit, I take a nap. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are: Caden's nursery school photo, baby pix showing his blue eyes, enjoying a toy monkey he got for Christmas (I also enjoyed it), riding the "Thomas The Train" at Strasburg Railroad, eating soup and sandwich at Isaac's, visiting the Lancaster Train Station, riding in my neighbor's Corvette, and jumping into a big hole on the beach. Luv You Caden, Tampah