Mar 1, 2012

My Grandpa

My grandpa passed away one month ago today. I wasn't as close with him as I would have liked, but he was always a giant figure in my life. In the days that followed his death, I was able to learn so much more about him and some of his heroics as a police officer, including the following article, written by the chief of police in Willowick, OH.

Heroes are not born but are ordinary men who are placed into situations that require extraordinary actions. A Willowick hero died last month. He was Sgt. George Duncan who retired from the Willowick Police Department in 1981 after a 27 year career. Although I never had the opportunity to work with George, we got... to know each other when he would come by to visit his police comrades, particularly his son Duane, who retired in 1999. George’s easygoing manner and smile were a trademark but as the years went by and other officers he worked with retired, his visits were less frequent.

At his wake, his accomplishments were on display, in particular a “Blue Coat” award given to him in 1976 by the Knights of Columbus. Although he was deserving of this award for many reasons, the one that he is most remembered for is an incident that occurred in the winter on Lake Erie near the old E 330 St beach area that is virtually gone now. A report came in of 3 male juveniles who had fallen into the water when ice broke up. Along with Ptl. John Germ (former Police Chief) and the other hero of this story, they walked through ankle deep slush, and were able to rescue 2 of the 3 boys. The 3rd boy was too far out and hit by ice and they lost sight of him. At one point, the 2 officers literally made a human chain out onto the fragile ice to effect the rescue. Yet George’s wife, Myra, said that as he came home soaked to the skin, he was bothered by one he couldn’t save.

As George Duncan was laid to rest last week, I know one fallen hero was welcomed home and told that his life was a job well done.

Jan 5, 2012

#18 - Bring it On!

CLE2012 will be my 18th attempt at 26.2... and hopefully my 18th successful 26.2 as well. I set a new PR at CLE2011 and I'm well ahead of where I was last year at this time from a fitness standpoint. Assuming I can continue to train with relative consistency, I can't think of a good reason why I wouldn't aim to improve my PR by a minute or two. I've got plenty of benchmark type workouts to gauge my progress and should have a real good idea of what to shoot for on May 20.

Jan 4, 2012

Extreme Makeover - Boys Bedroom Edition

In the spring of 2011, I redid the boys room extreme makeover style. It was a lot of work (roughly 3 weeks) but I learned a lot and now with the benefit of hindsight, feel as though this project was my foray into the world of DIY and becoming a little more handy.

The first stage (or demo stage) included; ripping out the carpet and padding, prying off some chair rail, painting/priming over the old paint scheme, scraping off the pointy plaster stuff on the ceiling (there's a good reason for this), and installing a new receptacle for an overhead light. Fun, right? Lot's of destruction!

Stage two involved making the vision in my head a reality. This involved; laminate installation, crown molding, wiring overhead light to a new switch, wallpapering, and last but not least, skim coating the ceiling. Count your blessings if you don't know what it means to skim coat a ceiling. That's all I've got to say about that!

A couple before pics...

Nursery was Baby Pooh themed... great for a newborn.. lame for 3-1/2 year olds

It was definitely time for a change!

I really has no idea how long this project was going to take but I envisioned letting everyone get one last look at the old room, closing the door and opening it a few days later to everyone's utter amazement. Well, unlike the real Extreme Makeover, I didn't have a team of re-modelers ready to pounce.... so, it took a little longer. But I was able to enlist the "help" of a couple eager little boys...

Once the room was gutted and the ceiling was skim-coated to my satisfaction, things started to move pretty quickly... First the wiring, then the new paint and wallpaper (brick), then the molding, and finally the laminate floor.

Almost done...

I dropped the crown molding about a foot down from the ceiling to function as a tray for rope lights that I snaked around the room's perimeter. The ropes and outlet are completely hidden from floor level. It's only when you turn off the lights and flip the new wall switch that you see this...

It's much cooler in person...

Overall, we wanted the room to grow with them and I think we accomplished this in that different "themes" can be realized simply by accessorizing with the boys favorite thing(s). In June, when I wrapped things up, they were into Cars 2. Perfect, since we already had a bunch of stuff from the first Cars movie!

The finished product...

Oh yeah... the reason I "had" to scrape off the pointy plaster stuff from the ceiling was so I could stick glow-in-the-dark stars up there! Definitely worth it in the end!

Daze Gone By!

I'm surprised I remembered my password to get into Blogger. Damn I'm a slacker! Crazy thing is that I had a million things I intended to blog last year but kept putting it off.... I don't know if this service will be around forever (probably not) but I like to think I will at least be able to capture it in a format that will allow me to look back on it many years from now. In that sense, I think of my blog as somewhat of a journal (the manly word for diary ; ) At this point in my life, I really appreciate the value of capturing the little things in life as they tend to be whizzing by at a feverish pace.