Sunday, December 18, 2011


We had our big family Christmas gathering this weekend at the St Thomas More Center in Panora, IA. It's been a few years since we went to STM. The past few have been at the 4H camp in Boone. We all like STM better. It's a lot bigger and we don't feel so cramped.

It was a great weekend. Everyone had a lot of fun. We are all wiped out though. I probably got 3 good hours sleep. I'm counting the minutes until it gets dark, so I can go to bed for the night. Too bad too, because it's like 52 degrees outside right now. I wish I felt like enjoying it. A day this nice doesn't come around very often this time of year.

Six days until Santa comes.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


The shopping is mostly done. Good thing too, because the money is mostly gone.

My favorite Christmas Carol

If I don't talk to you soon, have a great Christmas.


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Friday morning at work I received a company wide email from the owner's assistant, asking if anyone was interested in purchasing some tickets to the Zac Brown Band concert on the next night. My boss bought these tickets and was not going to end up going. I knew that my daughter, Abby, really like this band. I also knew that two of my sisters already had tickets to this show. I gave it some thought.

Popular country music, which is where the general consensus on the Zac Brown Band currently falls, just isn't my bag. Most of today's "country" music is studio created bullshit. No real talent. Tight jeans, fancy haircuts, pretty faces, and the same two songs over and over. I have heard a few of their songs on the radio though, and they seemed to me to have something different and promising. I knew Abby would be thrilled to go and that a daddy-daughter date would be very cool, so I jumped on the tickets. What a great move.

I've been to some great concerts over the years. I saw Paul McCartney while he could still sing. I saw U2 in their prime. I went to an Aerosmith concert and saw some opening band no one had ever heard of at the time, Guns and Roses. I was rendered comfortably numb by Pink Floyd at the Unidome.

This band was real. They don't fit the "country" label at all. I saw southern rock, bluegrass, and AC-DC all together. These were six men, playing six instruments masterfully. So much talent. I was blown away.

I'm a picky music listener. I loathe Top 40 auto tuned photoshopped crap. This was the real deal. I was just hoping for a fun night with my daughter. I got so much more.

I sit here, well after midnight early Sunday morning, smoking a cigar and un-blowing my mind. My wife just landed a sweet job at an awesome facility, ISU beat OSU, Iowa finally won a road game, and tonight I saw an awesome spectacle of pure talent and real-ness. How lucky I am.


(PS - Don't go buy a Zac Brown Band cd and tell me I'm full of shit. Go see them live and then we can talk)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Back in late 95/early 96, after Robby died, I decided I needed a change. I didn't like my job and wanted something different. I wanted to work with my hands. I wanted good benefits, and a solid retirement plan. One of my friends was serving his apprenticeship as a union electrician. This sounded perfect for me.

I applied for the electrician apprenticeship program, but was turned down. At the time, Angie was working for a very small health insurance firm in Des Moines. She told me that their accountant's husband, Chuck, suggested that I try to apply to the sheet metal worker's program as well. I didn't know Chuck, but decided to give it a shot. I got in and exceeded in apprenticeship school.

Shortly after I finished by apprenticeship, I was asked to come into the office and take over for the retiring estimator. Soon after I started my new position as estimator, I met Chuck Leysath for the first time. Chuck worked in the office as an estimator for the piping side. Chuck was about 30 years older than me. He was born and raised in New Orleans. He had a thick southern accent. Chuck always called it as he saw it. Always. He pulled no punches. You always knew if Chuck didn't like something, just as you'd know if he did. Chuck was an avid reader. He also remembered everything he ever read. Chuck was a walking encyclopedia. Everyone came to him for answers. He always had them.

About 2 years ago, there was some office shuffling done at work and Chuck and I ended up sharing an office. For the past 2 years or so, I've spent every Monday through Friday sitting next to Chuck. We've become great friends. I've learned so much from him. Chuck is the reason I am doing this job that I love.

Chuck passed away last night. Lung cancer took him out. I'm going to miss him a lot.

Tomorrow will be Robby's 17th birthday.

This is my 300th post on TeaBag.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


Angie took and passed the NCLEX test and is now officially an RN. Yay Angie! It's been a long two years since she got laid off and decided to take this path. What an accomplishment for her. Now we have to concentrate on getting the huge student loan paid off.

The leaves are starting to change, the wind is starting to blow, the combines are in the fields. Fall is here. Sweet.


(PS - Happy Birthday to my wife, who will be 29 tomorrow)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Not to sound old...

Abby's getting confirmed on Saturday, Oct 8th at 10am at St Mary's in Elkhart. You're all invited, by the way. Classes for confirmation ended with the school year, but have resumed tonight. Abby had class tonight from 6-7:30pm. I had a Pastoral Council meeting from 7-8:30 tonight. I dropped Abby off a little before 6 and then headed to Casey's for a Redbull, because I had some time to kill before my meeting, and because I was falling asleep on the drive to church.

When I arrived back in the church parking lot at 6:15, I noticed a couple of things. First, there were a couple of cars just now dropping their children off. At 6:15. Class started at 6. "Why so late?" I wondered. The next thing I saw was that one (and maybe the other, I don't know for sure) of the girls was wearing the shortest shorts that I have ever seen. I had to do a double take because I thought she had no pants on, just underwear. This girl is in my daughter's class (9th grade, 14 yrs old). She was walking into CONFIRMATION class. I could not believe it.

I asked Abby about it later. She said they were late because they had volleyball practice. She said the shorts are "spandex, and they all wear them". Like duh.

It's a crazy world folks. Surprising even to me at times.


Sunday, September 04, 2011


The dirty windows appear to be a recurring theme lately. I just noticed that. I think they're cool, how they interact with light and all. I might never wash the van again. It'd probably fall apart if I did anyway.

I've been thinking about a few new photo projects. One of them is dirty windows. Not necessarily the dirty window itself, but the patterns it makes as it mixes with the light, and the story it tells beyond the window. I think this would be fun to do in many different homes, places I visit, etc. If you would, don't wash a window or two for me. I might just slip by when the light is right.

Angie finally got her NCLEX test date scheduled. She'll take it on Sept 22nd. That means she'll finally be done studying. Time to get a party planned I think. Keep Saturday the 24th open.


Thursday, September 01, 2011


College football starts tonight. NFL kicks off a week from today. It's September now. Awesome weather is in the forecast. I love this time of year.

I'm taking tomorrow off and getting a four day weekend out of the deal. Gonna try and get the camper out for a few day here very soon.

Angie is done with school and waiting for the "go ahead" from the state to take her NCLEX test. Then it's job shopping time. Please keep her in your prayers. She deserves to find something just right for her.

Don't know much else.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


Good job baby! I'm so proud of you.

Dear readers, you've not seen anyone work so hard as my lovely wife has worked on getting through the Mercy College School of Nursing. Mercy College has a 97% pass rate of the national RN nurse test, the NCLEX, one of the best pass rates in the state. Can't get much better than that. It's definitely not an easy program. Tons of really hard work. She picked the right school. She got really good grades there too. Great job Angie! I'm proud of you baby!

Angie graduates from Mercy College tomorrow (Friday, 8/19). She'll take (and easily pass, because she knows her stuff) the NCLEX test in the next couple of weeks. We'll then have a well trained nurse on our hands, looking for a lucky employer.

Congratulations Angie! I love you!


Sunday, August 14, 2011


As everyone knows all too well, the economy is moving s-l-o-w. As an estimator, it's my job to bid work. Since we are low on work, we are bidding everything that we possibly can. This means that I am extremely busy. In the last four weeks or so, I have worked tons of extra hours. I am salaried, so I don't get paid for it. If I did, I'd have an extra 2 grand or so, which would be damn handy right about now. What I will get for it is some "comp" time. Fall is coming. I will be taking a few me days when the weather is perfect. I hope the bidding calendar is light by then.

School starts on Thursday. Angie graduates on Friday. Changes are a coming.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Red Ribbon

It's been 5 years since I last entered photos in the Iowa State Fair photography contest. About two months ago I was in a photo shop and noticed the entry form for this year's contest. I thought "what the heck" and decided to enter.

Today was the photographer's reception and awards ceremony. I won a 2nd place ribbon for the top photo (the boat) and have the bottom photo on display. There were 4,052 photos entered this year. 911 are on exhibit. 222 won ribbons.

Look for them if you're out there this year. Just wanted to brag.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Long time, no post.

Angie has six more weeks of school left. It seems like she's been doing it for years. We can not wait until she is done.

The kids start school around that same time, on August 15th. Only 5 more weeks left to their summer. Alex will be starting at DMACC Boone Campus around that time as well.

Here are a few photos from this summer. Some are from my phone camera, some are from Alex's camera (which I am currently "borrowing").

Take care and have a great July.