Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Will Stand.

On this day one year ago, I shared this video of The Gaither Band singing one of the most beautiful renditions of The National Anthem I've ever heard. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Go ahead, give it a listen. You'll be glad you did.
I thought it was appropriate to share this video again considering all of the controversy surrounding football players (and now others) not standing for the playing of our National Anthem. While I am 100% appalled by this form of protest because of what the Flag means to me, I do understand that we all have a right to protest. I just find it incredibly disrespectful in so many ways. I'm not about to get a platform and preach why I think you should stand for the National Anthem, and I'm also not looking for a political debate. You are entitled to your opinions, just as I am entitled to mine.
To me, the flag is much more than a piece of material. It symbolizes freedom, honor, integrity, and sacrifice (just to name a few). I have so much respect for those who have served, are serving, and will serve our country. Not only members of all branches of the military, but police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and the like. The sacrifices they make daily are worthy of my respect. The Stars & Stripes are a symbol of all of the tragedies and triumphs in America. You know what one of the most poignant images post 9/11 was? This one. A beacon of light risen through the ashes.
I know America is hurting. I know I can't sit here and say, "what problem?" But, I don't understand how not standing for your own country's national anthem is helping your cause. If anything, it's only further perpetuating the problem. The divide is growing. I don't know how to fix it. And fine, if you want to protest, that's your prerogative. But what are you doing after that? What are you doing to promote positive change? Perhaps I've not done enough research on the matter. To be honest, I read article after article, and the whole thing is just depressing. I'm simply sharing my thoughts, and like I said before, I'm not looking to debate.
But, I do know one thing...when The National Anthem is playing and Old Glory is flying,
I will stand.
I hope you will, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Adventures Continue

More excitement today in the world of customer service. We've all forgotten how to adult from time to time. However, there's that one day when the stars align perfectly, and everyone forgets how to adult at the same time. That's what I'm experiencing today. No need to go into details because God knows I don't want to relive my morning...but wow. That's all I can say.
So let's all take a deep breath <inhale...exhale> and get our poop in a group. K? Thanks. Poop grouped? Now sweep that shit under the rug and keep on keepin' on.

Now I'm just sitting here, thinking about something to talk about. Oh! Thought of something. How cool is this?? This is leaps and bounds better than the "kiss cam" commonly done at sporting events. No one wants to see your PDA, but we would like to see your cute kids. Especially when said cute kids are hoisted in the air Rafiki-style. My buddy Dana is kind of a big deal at the Viaero Events Center in Kearney, so I'm hoping he can work his magic to get this going at a Tri-City Storm game.

That's all I've got today folks. Cheers to a short week. One more day. Uno mas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Adventures in Customer Service

Just another day in paradise. August can be a difficult month for my customers because it's considered "settle up" month. Our customers who have been paying a set amount for the past 11 months need to settle their bills so they have a $0.00 balance. For some, it's a greater amount than anticipated due to whatever reason (hotter summer, colder winter, inefficient/malfunctioning heating/cooling units, etc.). Then, based on the customer's usage pattern, the computer algorithm figures a new budget amount for the upcoming year. Here was a conversation from a few minutes ago:
Customer: How come my budget bill is increasing for next year?
Me: Let me look up your account. Oh, it looks like your average bill was a little higher than the previous year, so the figure is higher going into the next budget year. Your average bill over the past 12 months was $141.30.
Customer: No, it wasn't.
Me: Okay, well, I can give you a print out of your billing history over the past 12 months if you'd like to see. However, when I do the math, the average comes out to be $141.30.
Customer: I still don't understand why it's going up from last year.
Me: We can adjust your budget if you'd like. The figure stated on your bill is merely suggested on the past year's history. However, you can set it higher or lower if you'd like.
Customer: Well, I've got to talk to my wife first. We'll have to take a look at things.
I love it when I figure an average (which I can do with the push of a button on my computer) and people feel the need to argue with me. Yell at yourself. You're the one who used the energy. Yell at the computer. It's the thing that gave me your average bill. Yell at math. Math sucks.
Update: Customer returned with wife in tow. Repeated my words once again. They are still somewhat confused, but at this point, anything else I say is just going to confuse them further. I got them out the door, so hey, I'll take that small victory.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Am Second.

Every 4 years I willingly deprive myself of sleep for weeks at a time. Why? Well, the Olympics of course! There's nothing better than The Olympic Games...more specifically, Gymnastics. This year has been so fun watching the Final Five compete for gold. I follow many of the gymnasts on Instagram, just trying to catch a glimpse of what it might be like to be in their shoes. To be at the top of your game at such a young age. To watch your dreams unfold right before your eyes. I imagine it's the highest of highs. However, you can't ride a wave like that forever. And, as we've seen with Gabby Douglas, the highs are generally accompanied by the lows. That's a post for another day, but I just have to comment that I do have some sympathy for Gabby. I don't think she's doing herself any favors (and the media is certainly not doing her any favors), but I think she's in a tough spot. Also, the scrutiny surrounding her is going to last long after Rio. Anyway, hopping back on my original train of thought.

I loved watching Nastia Liukin on Dancing with the Stars, and I was happy to see that she was going to be a commentator in Rio. She obviously knows the sport like the back of her hand, and I think she provides a great perspective on what the gymnasts might be thinking. So, I hopped on YouTube and watched Nastia's routines from her Olympics which led me to some videos of Shawn Johnson. I loved watching Shawn at the Olympics, partly because I felt like she had a "hometown tie" even though she was from Des Moines. But then I stumbled upon a video entitled "I Am Second." I clicked on the video, and Shawn talked about life after the Olympics. You can watch it here. Then, a boatload of other "I Am Second" videos popped up. They are incredible. They talk about events that led people closer to God, and how those events helped them understand God's purpose for their lives. It's refreshing to see the people you watch on television give their personal testimony.

After I watched Shawn Johnson's story, I saw that Sean Lowe had done a story as well. One of my guilty pleasures is watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I can't help myself. I've watched the show since its creation. Sean Lowe's story was great. Single ladies, after watching this, you'll know that you deserve someone great. And if you don't feel like that, watch it again because you clearly weren't paying attention the first time.

You can check out the I Am Second videos on YouTube, or go to www.iamsecond.com and explore their website. Pretty sure I'll be doing that all day today. It seems appropriate to close today's post with one of my favorite Bible verses.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekend of the B's

Becky, Barn Wood & Brushstrokes, Brittany, and Barbie. That pretty much sums up my weekend.

I hadn't seen Becky in quite some time, so we decided to pick a weekend to get together with our friend Danielle. Since Danielle was 3 weeks away from babe #2, a "night out on the town" just wasn't what the doctor ordered (also, since we're all in our thirties now, our idea of a good time has changed drastically). Instead, we grabbed lunch at The J and then headed down to Main Street to do some painting. After carefully selecting our pottery and paint colors, our artistic sides took over and we were in the zone. If you've never visited a place to paint some pottery, I highly recommend giving it a try. It really is quite therapeutic, and allows one to take a step back from the chaos that can be life. Time flies by and before you know it, a few hours pass. Now in a week, I'll have a new trusty coffee mug to enjoy my morning joe.

Our painting session ended and we parted ways until our next adventure. Later, Becky and I met up again and zipped over to Elgin to see Ashley and the girls and then we had to watch some Olympics that evening.

The next day I was actually semi-productive. Since the Olympics have been robbing me of Z's, I slept in. It was glorious. I relish the thought of waking up without an alarm clock, but some days I worry...what if I don't wake up until noon? That never happens like it did when I was a kid, but then I thought again..."what do I care? I'm single, I don't have kids, why should I have to get up in the morning?" The answer is I don't. #singlegirlperks

After I mowed my yard I headed over to my mom's house. My brother needed to spend some more time getting his classroom ready for the school year (crazy to say that....my brother is a teacher now) and mom had some errands to run, so I stayed with Brit. To my surprise, she decided to carry up the tote full of Barbie stuff. I was flooded with flashbacks of myself sitting in the basement playing with Barbies for hours and hours, only stopping for meals and bathroom breaks. A successful birthday party included at least one new Barbie. I just love the fact that my niece can now enjoy them. Although Barbie's hair is a bit more tangled than I remember, I just think that's a sign that they've been well-loved.
So Brit and I set up the Barbie Boutique. I mean this place would put any department store to shame. We had it all: dresses for all occasions, men's and women's pants/shirts/shorts/bathing suits/furniture, and yes, even a motor vehicle department stocked with one red corvette, one yellow jet ski, and one pink scooter. I got a heck of a deal on a corvette at $500 and later came back for the jet ski. After some haggling, the store owner came down to $20 for the Baywatch edition jet ski. I mean, I couldn't pass up the deal, especially when it matched Baywatch Ken. It was such a fun afternoon with Brit. One I will cherish. She just makes me laugh. "Hi my name is Brian, but all of his friends call me Jack." How does she come up with this stuff?

So I've had Barbie on the brain, and I'm curious what your favorite Barbie's were gals! There were so many that I loved, but one of my favorites was Malibu Barbie. In a close second place was Gymnast Barbie. And then, of course Husker Barbie came out. Luckily, my dad bought 2 of them. One for the collector and one for the kid. It's no fun to look at Barbie in the box. So, take a stroll down memory lane and post a pic or let me know what your favorite Barbie was! I want to know!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Challenge

Every time I see a new "love your spouse challenge" on Facebook, it triggers an involuntary eye roll. Not because I'm single, but because I know I'll be seeing seven days (YES, SEVEN) of gushy love posts about how much someone loves their spouse.
While I can appreciate the idea of this post, I think it would be completely adequate to post one picture of yourself and your doting spouse, ONE time to get your point across. I also understand that with all of the negativity and political hullabaloo going on, it's refreshing to see a positive post once in a while. But again, I just think it's too much.

A few nights ago, I reached my boiling point and posted "Let me know when the love your spouse challenge is over." It was then I learned that I am not alone. Hilarity ensued. I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard. I finally had to put my phone down at 11:30 p.m. and force myself to go to sleep. Not only were people posting their thoughts on the LYS challenge, nearly every other post/challenge that has circulated on Facebook was made fun of (thanks in large part to my brother). However, the winner in my book was my old (as in former, he's not an old dude) co-worker Rob when he posted "Jesus hates you if you don't like this post." Wow. My neighbor came in a close second place, however, when she said, "We're waiting for an "I tolerate my spouse" challenge. Ha ha!

So thanks for the laughs, friends.

And if anyone is/was offended by my opinions, just keep on scrolling...like I do every time I see a LYS Challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Welcome to Lyla's 90th Birthday Party!

DISCLAIMER: If you get easily nauseated/grossed out by reading about bodily functions, stop reading when I mention "Lazy Horse Vineyards". You've been warned.

We've all heard the phrase, "I see no good reason to act my age." Well, this weekend my wine-tasting pals and I were witness to why there's a perfectly good reason to act our ages.

In an effort to get a few steps closer to completing our wine passport, Cassie and I ventured out of town with Steve and Lisa. First stop was at The Rose Colored Glass in Stromsburg, NE. Beautiful little art gallery/tasting room/shop. The 4 of us downed a bottle of Jesse James, and piled back in the car and drove to Superior.

We stepped in the doors at Superior Estates, and were greeted by a sign that said, "Welcome to Lyla's 90th Birthday Party!" Luckily, wine tastings were still being offered so we were able to taste away. They had several delicious wines so we enjoyed ourselves. Afterward, we heard that there was a good Mexican restaurant in Superior, so we made our way downtown to see what the fuss was all about. Jumbo margaritas, chips and salsa, burritos, chimichangas, fajitas, and a muy guapo waiter did not disappoint. (Thanks for the recommendation Amy!)

We hit the road once again; destination Ohiowa, NE. You just said "Ohiowa? Never heard of it" didn't you! Well, it exists. It was worth the stop. Well, all until "the incident." Lazy Horse Vineyards is a beautiful place. Country setting, roaming horses, plentiful grape vines, and people galore. It was very hot out, and unfortunately, we had to sit at the only available table outside. I am no fan of being hot, but I was trying my best to be a trooper and enjoy myself. However, the people at the table next to us had been enjoying themselves for what looked like hours judging by the 6 empty wine bottles on their table. These people looked to be in their upper-40's, early-50s, and they were tanked. We all know that our lips get a bit loose when we've had a few, but their conversation was not appropriate for a public place. And it's not like this group was speaking quietly among themselves.

Because we were outside, we had to go indoors to get our next sample of wine. I had also had enough of this mother discussing her sons "shower rituals" (to put it as PG as possible). When I returned with my glass of sangria, my cohorts looked at me and said, "Okay, we're leaving." I was like, "What? I just got this glass!" I was not aware of what happened in my brief absence. Apparently, a woman in this group had been in the restroom for an extended period of time, and when she came back outside, she vomited on herself. I threw back my glass of sangria (which really was a pity, because it's drink that should be enjoyed sip by sip). and waited inside to pay our tabs. I overheard the staff talking about how that lady had vomited all over the women's restroom. Multiple stalls and the sink. Then I see her walk back in, and she's standing at the sink washing vomit out of her hair. THAT, my friends, is a shining example of why you should act your age. She should have said "when" a long time ago. I was embarrassed for her. The older you get, the wiser you must be about testing your limits. I'm all about having a good time, but I feel like I know when to say when.

Anyway, we had a pretty darn good time until that last stop. We'll have to return to Lazy Horse when they're not so busy to enjoy the wine and pizza (two of my favorite things on the face of the earth)! And in case you were wondering, it seemed like Lyla had a wonderful 90th birthday.