My Dad

So I’ve had these thoughts in my head for quite a few years and just never took the time to translate them to keyboard or paper. I’ve written a lot of thank you notes and done a lot of thoughtful things for people in my head, but I’ve never been good about follow through. It’s the thought that counts right? Well not today. Today I write.

It’s Father’s Day.

So rather than hear this at a eulogy some day (God forbid), I want everyone to know that my Dad is awesome and here’s why.

I’ve learned many things from my Dad throughout my life. Many of them I didn’t understand until I became a father myself. Some I listened to, and some I didn’t. Some of them I’m still working on digesting and applying to my life.

First is his faith. My dad is a God fearing Christian Man. I love that about him. I remember him teaching me about right and wrong growing up. I saw him get up and go to work every day to provide for my family and provide me with a quality Christian education. I attribute that education to much of my success. I remember him getting my family together at bed time to read the bible as a family. And while I often didn’t pay attention, when I reflect back now, the leadership choices of him directing his family to take time (even if only for five minutes a day sometimes) and read the bible together shows his character and priorities.

I remember one year on new years eve, I had friends over and the new year had just rung in. Being a teenager I was excited and was talking about how I was going to watch a episode of Conan to ring in the new year. He made a joke like “Lame” and said “I’m going to go ring in the new year reading my Bible.” I then watched him go to his office in the basement with his Bible and proceed to do what he said. I’ve never forgotten that moment ever. I remember thinking, I hope some day I can be that devoted to reading my Bible and living for Christ.

I also remember when working on projects with my dad, he would have me go out to his van to get his toolbox so we could fix whatever we were working on. I would climb in his van and his passenger seat usually had the following items on it: A clipboard with work notes and mileage info on it,  a spy novel, a theology book, and his Bible. Later on I found out that he liked to read on his lunch breaks in between taking service calls.

Having had occasional discussions regarding theology with my Dad, I’ve realized he has come to a good understanding of the Bible and his theology he uses to study it. It guides his life and I believe it has brought him many blessings. He is a man of principle and many of those principles come straight out of God’s word. My dad is by no means the perfect Christian, nor would he claim to be. I imagine if you asked him, his answer would probably be similar to mine in that he’d say, “I mess up every day. But I’m still here, so I’ll keep going and try to do better tomorrow.” I’m grateful for the example my Dad has shown me in his faith. I hope to imitate it and teach it to my children as they come of age.

Some other things my Dad has taught me:

My dad taught me to never be a bully. He always talked about how he hated bullies. I don’t know if he was bullied or not as a child, but he had strong feelings regarding it and he made it known. No child of his was ever going to be a bully. Anytime I did something remotely close to bullying somebody, he disciplined me greatly and made sure I knew it was unacceptable. He taught me to stand up for people. I believe this is probably where I get my overwhelming sheep dog desire to protect and serve others. I may not be the biggest or the baddest, but I know right from wrong and I’ll not hesitate to protect the innocent. These feelings I have regarding serving and protecting others greatly influenced my life as I went into Police work and later serving in the Army. My dad made sure I knew right from wrong, and not to stand for certain injustices. I’m grateful he taught me these lessons and the principles it instilled in my life.

My dad also taught me about work ethic. I watched him work for over 30 years as I grew up. He wasn’t lazy. He never skipped work unless he was severely ill. He went to work every day, sometimes at jobs he despised. He taught me to work hard, but not too hard. He taught me that it’s important to go to work to provide for your family, and to do a good job. But he also taught me to not take work too seriously, as it’s just a means to an end. Careers aren’t everything. I saw my dad get screwed over by a company that bought out his company after many years of working his way up. I learned a valuable corporate life lesson that day at my father’s expense. I’ve learned to be successful like my father, but I also don’t take work as the most serious thing ever in my life.

I’ve also learned from my dad that it’s important to take time to relax and go fishing. My dad loves to go fishing. It’s his way to get away from the world. He enjoys it. He always has stories to tell about fishing. Some of my favorite times have been going on trips with my dad to go fishing. Now, I’ll let you know that I suck at fishing. I’m about as good at fishing as my dad is at keeping a lawnmower functional. I usually only go once or twice a year, but when I do go I’m with my dad. He always has a spot for us to go and a new bait or lure for us to try. Even if it’s only for an hour or two. It’s an incredible way to get away from your life. Park the car and walk a half a mile down to the lake and have a good time. Sometimes we catch fish. Most of the time I don’t. There are always laughs to be had and stories to tell. We curse the fishing line together as it gets tangled in-explicably. I almost always lose a lure to tree-bass or log-bass, or rock-bass. Sun burns and mosquito bites are common, and it’s usually over way too soon as our busy lives call us back to the real world. But fishing trips with my dad are some of my favorite memories.

In summary, I want people to know what kind of man my Dad is. He’s taught me many things and I hope to live up to his example one day. He’s honestly my best friend, and who I like hanging out with the most. Hobbies, vacations, yard work, you name it, I love spending time with my dad. I respect the hell out of him.

And when you read this Dad, I want you to know 3 things from the bottom of my heart.

1. Thank you!
2. I love you!
3. Let’s go fishing soon!

Love,
Derek

Off to Training

So it’s off to training today. 9 weeks of basic and then 22 weeks of AIT training. If you need to get ahold of me or want to hear how I’m doing, you will have to get ahold of Amy as she will have the most up to date info.

See you all at Christmas when I get leave.

The Soldier’s Creed

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the
United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Government Run Offices

Recently I had the fun adventures of renewing my license plates. Here is how the story goes.

My license plates came up for renewal in June this year. Luckily I just happened to notice this one day in May when checking my tires on my car and noticed the sticker on my plate said June.  So like a good citizen, I began to start getting all the things done to get a successful renewal.

By June 6th I had fixed my car enough where it would pass inspection. 12 dollars for headlight parts, and 12 dollars for the inspection.

Since the friendly, automated mail with the renewal form already nice and typed up, magically never arrived, I had to hunt down the form on the DMV website. After filling this form out, getting my property tax receipts, and my inspection notice, I headed off to the DMV.

Since the government run office is conveniantly open only during hours I work, I managed to swing by there when I was out sick one day from work. Not my idea of fun. When I should have been at home in bed, I was standing in line for 30 minutes. Much to my avail and hard work, they would not let me renew my plates. I was so mad.

Apparently, my car title is in my name. Somehow the property tax got paid in only Amy’s name.  I was told the reason I could not renew my plates, was that they didn’t know if I had more than one car (of the same make and model) at home and was trying to fake a registration. Needless to say, the fact that the VIN number was the same on the title and insurance card, and the car 40 feet away outside didn’t matter.

I mumbled a few choice words under my breath as I left the office, and drove home fuming in anger.

The story continues…….

June comes and goes. My plates are expired. I am now driving around with probable cause for any officer of the law to stop me and question me and give me a ticket if they so choose.  The whole time driving during the 17 days my plates were expired, I debated whether I should say, “Oh, I forgot…” or “I honestly tried, and the !&$#! dmv wouldn’t let me.”

I finally had another week day off. I took a vaction day to go sign papers for my house. That day, I also made it to the county courthouse of my previous residence.

First I visited the county assesor’s office and told them this story. They said they could happily add my name to the property tax receipt.  Thinking ahead, I had brought every form of identification regarding me, my car, and my marriage to help prove the story and my identity. They agreed to adjust my 2008 property tax receipt. I asked if they could also do it to my 2007 property tax receipt. They said they could, but would need a copy of it. Since I had lost the 2007 form during my last move, I then had to proceed across the hall to the county collector’s office where they very nicely printed off a copy of my 2007 return for $1.

I then returned across the hall, where they put the freshly printed off copy, into a old typewriter and manually typed my name onto the paper.

(needless to say, I was stunned that they could print copies for $1, but could not add my name to the form in the computer.)

After all of that fun, I returned to the dmv with my newly signed mortgage papers in tow to prove my new address. ( I figured 30 pages with my name, signature, and address would be good enough.) The water bill sufficed. After waiting the mandatory 40 minutes in line, I successfully got my plates renewed, and my drivers license updated. (which I had to wait in a seperate line for again for 10 minutes.)

So why do I tell this long, detailed, boring story? Just to comment on the (In)efficiency of government run offices. When law abiding citizens try to follow the laws, and unable to do so, due to stupid forms, bad office hours, etc. I see why so many people don’t even bother trying.

Also, it makes me very worried about this government run health care coming down the pipe.  Imagine trying to make sure you have your 17 forms to get your child’s inhaler. Or the six forms, and 2 month waiting period to get a minor surgery, like getting your tonsils removed. Let alone, having a major illness and trying to schedule a surgury, hospital stays, or a second opinion.

If there is one thing the government excells at, it is Paperwork.

I’m sure we will all love spending what little free time we have earning a law degree online, just so we can navigate the paperwork to get to the doctor.  I’m sure living so close to the state line won’t complicate it at all. Two states, the federal government, and me all trying to work together for the betterment of me.

Glad I’m not out-numbered or supposed to think for myself. :)

Just some thoughts. Have a great week.

-Derek