Saturday, March 24, 2012

Date Night

My wife and I have been trying to do a “date night” on the 28th of each month, or as close to that date as possible since we were married almost 43 years ago on June 28th. It doesn't always happen and sometimes it turns out to be a $1 sundae at McDonalds. This month our date night will be tonight and I don't think it will go down in the record book as being one of my wife's favorites. It's called "The Sweetheart Dinner" and is at the Legion Post in the next town over to the east, just a 15 minute drive. It's supposed to be a thank you to the wives because we are gone so much of the time doing VFW things. Yes that includes sitting in the "Main Tap" with my Comrades discussing VFW business. We don't have our own VFW Post and some of their members are also members of our VFW Post so there is no charge for the hall.

If you are a veteran you will understand the invitation which is actually funny because it says sweethearts are not provided. I had to put in a request to get married when I was in service that had to be signed all the way up the chain of command. When I first gave it to my Chief ( my direct boss) he looked at me and said, "Son, if the Navy would have wanted you to have a wife they would have issued one to you with your sea bag." I don't think he thought I was too smart getting married at 22 and planning to bring my new wife back to Japan with me. 43 years later I'm glad I ignored his advice and married the girl that is still the love of my life. Here's the invitation. Read carefully and hope you see the humor in it. The last time we were out with a bunch of sailors in Japan they had 10 drinks lined up in front of Lauralyn because they all wanted to buy her a drink for always having them over to our house when I was in port. So she's been there, but I don't think this will be one of our best date nights. Got to love a woman that still puts up with the old Sailor. She claims it was the uniform that got her.




We would like to cordially invite you to this year’s “Sweetheart Dinner”. The dinner will be held in McFarland at the American Legion Post on 24 March 2012. Roll call will be at 18:00 hours, chow will be at 18:30 hours and taps will be at 22:00 hours. Uniform is casual civilian attire and a sweetheart will not be issued so please bring your own.

Mess hall (buffet style) will be serving tasty barbecued port, chopped port and chicken. Some seasoned red potatoes, green beans and corn for sides. In addition we will have coleslaw, pasta salad, dinner rolls and for desert a beautiful sheet cake. The mess will be catered by J.L. Richards.

The cost is $10 per individual. We will have door prizes, beer and wine. Entertainment will be the stories, tales and conversations between all of our comrades.

Something tells me Lauralyn will not count this as this months date night. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doofus With An Opinion

First of all I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to participate in the “We The People Wisconsin, Economy Project”. I knew there would be people that would challenge our opinions and I know there are people in the world that will say black because I say white. I would hope we are all mature enough to be respectful of each others opinions, even though they may be opposite of ours and that we can all agree to disagree and still be kind to each other. I have a friend in another state that I was in the Navy with 44 years ago who is as far politically right as I seem to be left and we continue to be best friends because we respect each other and each other’s opinions.

The day after our TV spot was on there were already people posting comments that could have hurt, but they didn’t because I had learned early on not to be afraid to express my opinion. Probably why I feel comfortable writing a blog, leaving my self open to criticism and critiquing. .

One person commenting on my statement, that “I was concerned about the future of Social Security,” referred to me as a “dufus.” First of all if you look up the word in the dictionary, the most correct spelling is “doofus,” although “dufus’ is acceptable. The noun is slang and the definition is as follows: a stupid, incompetent or foolish person. Maybe we should have added the fact that my wife has a teaching degree, and taught in various places over the last 40 years; I have one in Business Administration and worked for AT&T for 30 years and Park Bank for 10 after serving in the Navy for four years with four tours in Vietnam and a year and one half in Taipei, Taiwan; our daughter-in-law has a degree as a Medical Assistant and worked for the same medical group for 12 years and our son has a degree in Studio Engineering and worked for the same church, in that capacity, for 10 years. Guess none of us are either stupid or incompetent. We have taught your children, given you medical attention, provided your communications and helped you to worship at church.

Foolish? Maybe to put our selves and our situation, affected by this economy, out there for all to see, but we don’t think so. I think there are many families, much like ours, that feel frustrated by a government, Democratic, Republican and everything in between, that has not been helping us or showing much concern for us. If politicians would spend half as much time, energy and money on the concerns of all of us, instead of getting re-elected or pushing their individual or party’s agenda, we might just be in a better place than we are now.

To those that feel a need to criticize and call us names I will pray for you to have an open mind when you watch us on TV. Please read what we actually said without interjecting, “what you think we said or were thinking”. We do respect your right to say and write what ever you feel you have to in order to get your point across or to push your agenda. Please don’t ever assume you know what we were thinking, don’t add words to what we actually said and please don‘t take us out of context. That’s a very old and not so nice political trick. GOD BLESS and PEACE to ALL!

Friday, March 2, 2012

We The People Wisconsin Economic Project

A couple of months ago my wife, Lauralyn, read an article in the Wisconsin State Journal asking for a family to volunteer for “We The People Wisconsin Economic Project”. They were looking for a family willing to talk about how the present economy has affected them. I know my wife mentioned it to all of us in the house and I for one said sure because my wife never does things like this and I didn’t really expect her to follow through on it. After I found out that she really did send a letter I almost hoped that we would not be picked. To my surprise we did get picked and the TV affiliate in Madison chose us for monthly recorded interviews with me, Lauralyn, our son David and daughter-in-law Odessa. There will be another family from the Green Bay area and one from the LaCrosse area doing the same thing with another reporter. We will have one interview per month from now until November and perhaps a live discussion on TV before the election with all three families present.

I wasn’t sure if we were really an average family, but we sure were a family that had experienced many things from the economy over the last couple of years. As most of my readers already know we did the three generational family thing mostly out of love of family and wanting to do this rather than having to do this. We had talked about this for a couple of years and saw our son and daughter-in-law being able to help us with things around the house as we got older, keep an eye on our aging process and we thought we could give them a better living arrangement than they had. We also enjoyed the long weekends that we have spent with them at our house over the last seven years. Our two families seemed to mesh very well. We looked at this as being an opportunity to see more of our grandson as he grew up and enjoy the company of our kids.

I thought back to my first home. When I was born in 1947 my parents and I and my mother’s sister and her husband all lived in a Milwaukee bungalow that my Grandpa had built. As I researched multi generational families I found out that in the 1940’s about 32% of the population lived in multi generational homes and that in 2008 that figure was up to 49%. I have a feeling that it is even higher today as I talk with friends my age. They all agreed that this situation was in part due to the economy which is much different than it was when we were their ages.

Yesterday morning a political reporter interviewed us as their video photographer recorded the event as we sat around our kitchen table. The first interview turned out to be mainly questions about who we were and how we got to this point in our lives. I plan to keep the reporters name out of my blog, but I have to let you know that she and her camera man made us feel very comfortable in a situation that might have been very stressful. After the first interview I am glad that my wife answered the call for an average family and feel that there are people out there in Wisconsin and the world that are experiencing the same things that we are and are being affected by the economy in the same way that we are.

Our whole family agrees that the average person is not being heard and that this will help us with our frustrations that government is no longer concerned with what is best for all of the people they are working for, not just the ones in their particular party. Hopefully this experience will not only be beneficial for us, but also for all those that follow our story. I’ve always looked at my life as a journey and not a destination and consider this as just another part of that journey. Life continues to be good and will only get better.

Special thanks to Tom, an old friend, who encouraged us to go through with this.