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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Merry Christmas!

Merry (belated) Christmas everybody!

This was Lyric the morning after Christmas. The light coming in the window was just enough to give Lyric a light saber.

History of Motorola

Last night, Jodi and I watched Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian. I wasn't sure about the prospect of watching it despite having enjoyed the first one. I saw a couple negative reviews of people saying the humor was too silly. I didn't get that impression at all in the movie. It's a family movie, for sure, so there is a little slapstick humor that was intended to make the kids roll on the floor, but for the most part they did a fine job of incorporating humor that was fun for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw of it.

We started the movie about 10:00 PM and after finishing a 57-hour week at work, my fatigue got the best of me. I only saw about an hour of the movie and then proceeded to wake up near the end when the music is getting all climactic and loud. I started to watch again, but upon seeing Jodi snoozing beside me, I decided to ignore the screen so that we could retry where we dozed off and finish the movie together at another time.

With the movie over and the credits rolling, I felt safe to watch while I tried to find the strength to get off the couch and start the task of getting ready for bed. They showed a little clip alongside the credits of a young man they had showed earlier in the movie. His mother was calling him down to dinner or something and he says, "In a minute!" The mother then calls him by his whole name as mothers often do when becoming impatient with their children. The joke is that earlier in the movie Ben Stiller's character finds himself transported into the famous black and white photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in the middle of the street in Times Square. During this brief stint of running around in the black and white street scene, he drops his elaborate cell phone and a young sailor, this kid I mentioned during the credits, picks it up. During the short credits scene, the young man is tinkering with the phone (which appears to be a Blackberry or a similar PDA style phone) and his mother, becoming impatient, calls out, "Joey Motorola, you get down here this instant!"

I might have found this funny, but I already knew enough history to know that the name Motorola didn't come from it's creator's surname. This aside, the joke would've still failed in its attempt to humor me for the time discrepancy. The famous photo, as shown here, that the main character gets transported into was taken at the end of World War II, more specifically on Victory over Japan day, August 14, 1945. From what I knew of Motorola, the company, it had emerged out of the Great Depression which took place after the stock market crashed in 1929.

I did some research and found that Motorola became one of the largest electronics companies in the United States, but like most companies, they had a very humble beginning. The company started in 1928 as Galvin Manufacturing Company. They made a product called a battery eliminator. Most home radios were designed to run off of battery power. The battery eliminator converted the radio to allow it to be plugged into a home's AC outlet. The company started to flop when the market crashed and people stopped buying anything that wasn't an absolute necessity. That's when the owner, Paul Galvin, began talking to engineers at a radio parts company who shared space within the same Chicago manufacturing facility as they. They formed a group who designed the first radio for an automobile in 1930.

They named the radio 'Motorola' because they felt that it suggested music in motion. This was because, since 1901, a company named Victor produced phonographs. Their most popular model was named 'Victrola'. This had become a household name by 1930. So, in essence, Galvin was combining 'motor' which was most commonly associated with vehicles and the last part of a household name known for music to produce the name for their designed automotive radio. They became so popular that Galvin changed the name of their company from Galvin Manufacturing Company to Motorola.

One of the people in the group that designed the radio was Elmer Wavering who was only a young man of 23 at the time. He had been working at the radio parts company when Galvin got the group together. Many years later, Wavering and several others would create the first automotive alternator that could be easily mass produced. In his later years he would say that the alternator was, by far, his greatest achievement. He said, "The car radio made driving more enjoyable, but the alternator made everything else possible." The consistent power of the alternator, as opposed to the inefficient generators that were previously used, made many things possible including power locks, power brakes, power seats, power steering, electric wipers, air conditioning, etc. This is just to name a few really. Take it from a guy who for years drove a 1959 Ford truck that had a generator. Almost nothing was power. Not even the windshield wipers, which ran off of air compression from the engine. They would barely be moving when idling at a stop. They'd quit working altogether while accelerating and then would finally work fairly well after having reached cruising speed.

The reason I knew some of this information already was because of my love for old cars. In the owner's manual for my 1962 Plymouth Valiant it shows a Victrola as one of the available options for the car. Yes, a record player, that mounted under the dash. One can be seen demonstrated here in this YouTube video. After having seen one in action, I want one really bad. And, who knows, maybe someday I will run across one on Craiglist for free. While I'm dreaming, though, I should really make it where they pay me to take it off their hands. And, the money they pay me is just enough to repair whatever may be wrong with it. Then, while repairing it I find some important piece of history inside. I open up a 1950's style diner and have the historical item as the centerpiece to the restaurant. And, people come from all over to see it, and discover Jodi's and my awesome healthy cooking. Then, people pay us millions of dollars as the restaurant is transformed into a franchise of healthy fast food restaurants that eventually forces McDonald's to close their doors. What? It could happen.

Back to what I was originally blogging about, I find it funny how a small business that figured out how to power those old huge radios of the 1920's without batteries grew into making these contraptions shown here, a phone/datebook/camera with flash/DVD quality video camera/address book/internet browser/voice-recognizing computer/television/GPS/MP3 player. There's probably more to mention but I don't actually have one, so I don't know all the functions.

SRC to DEI

It was a beautiful and warm sunny day in early September. I had just turned 20 years old in June and I was feeling very much like I was no longer a kid and I had reached full adulthood. I was also feeling very much like a failure in life. I had been unemployed for the first time since starting working. It had only been a month, but I was desperate for a paycheck. I knew nothing about SRC, but was told by my uncle that I should go and apply and that my cousin's husband could get me an interview.

I stepped out of the warm sunlight and into the 1960's front office complete with wood paneling. I filled out an application and while I quietly sat there and wrote out my non-impressive job history of several fast food places, a brief stint at a telecommunications call center, and the most recent manual labor job that apparently hadn't stuck, a man walked in to check on the status of his application. The patch on his arm indicated that he was an ASE certified mechanic. The secretary told him that he hadn't been selected, but that his application was still good for another month at which time he would have to fill out a new one to keep one on file with them. He had been waiting already two months with no word.

I was tempted to just walk out without finishing my application since if this certified mechanic couldn't get a job with them, how would my pizza making skills convince them to hire me? I reluctantly finished and turned it in. I got a call the next day to set up a panel interview. I was astonished, but accepted.

The interview consisted of sitting in a folding metal chair surrounded by three managers from three different departments. Later, I was told by my boss, one of the interviewers, that what convinced him to hire me was my response to his question: "How do you feel about overtime?" I immediately responded with, "As much as you can give me." I guess that they had a group of employees reluctant to work it, but I was just fine working 63 hours a week, every week, for years.

Over the nine and a half years I worked there my titles went from Cycle Counter, to Forklift Operator, to Shipper/Packager, to Receiving Clerk, to Traffic Assistant, to Inventory Control Manager, to Warehouse Supervisor, to Materials Manager, and finally to Supply Chain Coordinator.

I wrote a blog about my leaving SRC back in December of 2008 which can be found by clicking this link. Originally, I planned to take three months off and if SRC didn't hire me back at that time, then I'd go find a new job. I did look for a job during that time somewhat, but wasn't going to take just any job. If I was going to go back to work it was going to be with a company that recognized and was willing to pay for the skills that I had acquired over the years. I'm a math guy, and I did the math and found out that we would be okay financially for three months and if we needed to we could possibly stretch it out to 5 or 6, but that was definitely going to be a stretch and maybe not even possible. It was 11 months. And we were perfectly fine financially. God is good. Recently, we even did some financial math to fill out an application for a loan for a business venture that we're working on. In going back to see what our recent income had been, we couldn't help but laugh. The final dollar amount was ridiculously low, and yet we lived quite comfortably. I love it when God reveals himself so obviously. I could do all the math and figure out where it all came from directly, but I know where it all came from indirectly so I don't feel the need to waste the time.

DEI has been great so far. I really like the people there and the smaller company feel. Additionally, they respect what I am worth even more so than SRC which should know better than anyone. After all, they were the ones who invested so much money and time in me in the first place. They took a pizza delivery boy with nothing more than a high school education and turned him into a businessman. For that, among other reasons, I am grateful.

Thanksgiving 2009


With Thanksgiving slowly becoming a distant memory, all the focus has rapidly turned towards Christmas. However, I would like to pause for a moment and write a quick blog about our Thanksgiving this year.

It all started early this year. Four days early, to be exact. But, any time is a good time to be thankful to God for what we have and who we are. In order to coordinate with all the family members, my mom had Thanksgiving dinner at her house the weekend before Thanksgiving Day. I thought that I might wind up at work Monday with a turkey-hangover, but all was well.

It was a good time. I really enjoyed getting to hangout with everybody, particularly my brother and his family who braved the trip from Michigan. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we all took advantage by hanging out outside and watching the kids ride motorcycles.

Then, for the big day, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house for the first time with Jodi's family and even some of mine. Jodi's family usually has Thanksgiving at Jodi's Aunt Marilyn's house in West Plains. But, she rented the house out this year and I doubt that the renters would have appreciated a bunch of strangers showing up at their door and letting themselves in.

It was a lot of fun and everything turned out wonderful thanks to all the family and friends that pitched in to help with bringing items and preparing the last minute dishes.

A friend of ours brought a cooked turkey with him. Had I known to expect this, I probably wouldn't have bought the largest bird I could find weighing in at over 21 pounds. Oh well. The more the merrier. Both birds were good, but I must say that Jodi did a fantastic job of cooking it and I benefited from a tip that I saw that morning, during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, to carve the turkey against the grain of the meat. This makes the turkey really tender and avoids that tough meatiness that most of us associate with turkey.

Having two turkeys left us with a good problem of having multiple pounds of awesome turkey left over. We knew that with the sheer volume of turkey leftover that there was no way that we were going to eat all of it without growing tired of it no matter how good it may be. So, we got inventive. One night, we had fajitas and used the turkey in place of steak or chicken. It was excellent and it took virtually no time at all to prepare since the meat was already cooked. We just heated it up in a pan with some water and a fajita seasoning packet and wahlah!

We still had plenty to go around so I took a bunch and pulled the meat into strings. I then cooked this down slowly with BBQ sauce, water, and brown sugar to make pulled turkey sandwiches. Instead of using bread, I had a bunch of dinner rolls left over that worked perfectly. They were still connected to each other from baking so I took four rolls in a square and cut them in half sideways to make two thick pieces of bread. It was probably full of calories, but tasted wonderful.

The two carcasses made an awesome turkey soup that had a surprising amount of meat. Jodi slow cooked it all night and it was delicious.

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