Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

What a day.  Father's day.  This was a day to remember for me.

It started early this morning at the church.  This was the day that the Rev would say good-bye to our congregation as we prepare to move on to the next chapter in our life.  I watched from my seat in the pew as she gave her sermon - "Amen" - a lump started to form in my throat as she said good-bye to those wonderful people who have loved us and supported us for the last five years.

My eyes started to fill when a church elder came up to present her with the gifts from the congregation.  They rose as one and gave the Rev a standing ovation - they are sending her out with pride to serve a new congregation.

And I totally lost it as I watched the choir sneak out of the loft and gather behind her as she prayed.  With  mischievous grins they readied themselves for the special anthem they had secretly rehearsed just for this day.  "Amen"

That would have been enough.

But it was Father's day.  My daughters took me out to dinner at The Olive Garden.  My new son-in-law greeted me with a copy of the new Tom Petty CD.  Then a beautiful card and leaf etching from one of my daughters graced the table.  The other daughter remembered I had lost my favorite Leatherman tool in the flood.  A new and better version now has taken it's place in my pocket.  We had an excellent meal and I enjoyed the company of my family for the afternoon.

That would have been enough.

But then I open my browser and there in my blog reader inbox is a link to a poem.

Yes, it was a very good day.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Last Day

Today was my last day as the Sales Manager at Smulekoff's. The Rev is being sent to a new church in Urbandale, IA and I am going with her.

I have been at Smulees for four years now as a manager. We have gone through a lot, especially the past two years. I've talked quite a bit about that in this site. Let me just say that it wasn't easy turning off my computer and shutting the door to my office the last time.

Smulekoff's has been good to me. I hope they can say the same about me. I'm very proud of the staff that allowed me to lead them. They have worked hard to recover from a disaster that has killed all too many businesses in our community. But they are doing it. I have to admit, I wasn't very good at saying good bye. All I could really say was thank you.

Now the Rev and I are setting out to write the next chapter in our lives. I am excited about the move and the opportunities that will come from this. A new city, a new congregation and new friends await. I wonder what will be written on these pages over the coming years. We will just have to find out.

But for now, as always. . .

I bid you Peace.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

KGAN CBS 2 :: Top Stories

KGAN CBS 2 :: Top Stories

Yes, It has been 2 years, today since "the flood". And yes, it is still on our minds. I was interviewed today for the local news. You can see the story from the link at the top.

I had a good time doing the story. It isn't easy going through the memories but it's good once in awhile to talk about it. It's necessary for all of us - not just our staff but all in the community - to think about it and talk about it still.

The psychologists that study these events tell us that this will be the toughest time. It has been long enough that you think you should be over it but you aren't. I mentioned this idea to my staff before we opened today. I told them that they might encounter customers that were off balance and grumpy and they may not even know why. It was only a couple of hours later that one my sales people reported that I was right on with my observation.

But life goes on in Cedar Rapids. We are improving and growing each day. There is more activity downtown and progress is being made. We know it will be a five to ten year recovery, I just wish it was 5 or 10 years down the road.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Yes, there was life before computers

My daughters like to tease me because I can remember life before the personal computer. When I started college in 1968, one of the important tools of a budding science student was a slide rule. Those of you who don't remember a day when there wasn't, at least, a pocket calculator, may not realize that there was once a time when people actually made complex mathematical computations on a piece of paper and we used something called a pencil.

Well, memories of those old days came flooding back tonight when I was cleaning out my library. I got onto the shelf that held some of my old textbooks and I found a book that was vital to any student who had to go beyond the basic add, subtract, multiply and divide to solve a mathematical problem.

I found my old copy of a book called "Standard Mathematical Tables". This was an amazing collection of computations that were already done for you. Square roots, sines, tangents - and far more complex calculations that this old biologist didn't have to master.

Of course, today anyone can do these calculations in a spreadsheet in a fraction of the time. It is amazing what we can do now with computers and the internet.

I'm going to resist the temptation to wax nostalgic about the "old days" because, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to go back to those days of computing and calculating by hand. My job would be so much more difficult than it already is. I can imagine what it would be like trying to get sales reports out to my staff each Monday. I am very thankful for that box on my desk that creates those reports for me. But it was fun to page through that old book and remember a time when a slide rule was a high tech device.

One thing that hasn't changed over all those years - my wish for you.