Troy's Blog

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I'm just a typical Dad. I have a good wife of 20+ years and 2 good kids. All 3, at times, contribute to my hair graying or falling out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fits Like a Glove

Shirley & Kristi were watching the National FFA Convention on TV Friday night. Of course Jeff, Sean, & Kaitlyn pretended like they were not interested but we know better. So Saturday night's conversation revolved around our FFA jackets. (I was in Fargo while the rest of my family was in Mpls - so this involved a couple of phone calls).

Kristi apparently had her jacket on and I heard some bragging about how well it still fit. Not to be outdone, I took mine out of it's garment bag for a look see. The first thing I noticed, besides the fact that it is a lot smaller than anything else in my closet, is the garment bag. It is dated 1976 "America's Bi-Centennial". However the buttons from the National Convention were more modern. One dated 1983 and one 1984. Shirley & I met at the November 1983 convention in Kansas City, MO. Yes, that is 25 years ago. Back to the fitting. Of course I could get it zipped! Was there ever any doubt? I had to have my camera close though as I could not bend, breath or turn. Ignore the sweat pants. I was only trying to prove a point, not actually going out of the house. In case you can't read the jacket, it says "President" below my name. I think that is what attracted Shirley. She likes the authoritative type.
In all honesty, it was a little snug. One of the pictures I took had the cross that hangs in our hallway in the background so I better not lie...... I didn't think I was going to get the damn thing zipped. I was packed so tight into that blue jacket that my man boobs have corduroy grooves in them. When I went to unzip my jacket (as I was about to pass out), I raised my left hand and it was actually numb. Oh, well, it looks way too formal zipped up. I like the loose gangsta look anyway! I know today's plastic zippers would never had held all that muscle inside. Now that I think of it, all of my pins were on the inside, that is why it was just a little tight. One other note, - back then my glasses were a lot bigger and I had more hair. Since 1984 I've downsized the glasses and hair and apparently up sized the body. I'm going to go have a bowl of ice cream - with extra toppings - just to celebrate the fact that I can wear clothes that I wore 25 years ago!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Copying Kristi

When I read KJ's "more things about me" post, I got to thinking - I really don't care (just kidding - it is always interesting how siblings can be so different from each other). Then I heard KJ in the back of my mind saying: "oh, come on......what are your.......?" I narrowed my list a little.

Favorite TV shows:
Boston Legal
Law & Order SVU
Anything with Kate Jackson (is she stil alive?)

Favorite restaurants:

Things I did yesterday:
Tried to find Sean's friend's house off a map she had drawn for him. Memo to self: If an 8th grader draws you a map, fold it up, put it in your pocket, and go to MapQuest. It will save you 25 minutes, 3 gallons of gas, and a wad of hair.

Went to the VFW in West Fargo with Tami, Rick, and Lori for some drinks, live music, and LOTS of laughs.

Things I love about fall:
No more heat, humidity or mosquitos.
Knowing what the kids are up to during the day and how much cheaper it is than when they are on summer vacation :>)

Things I look forward to:
Can't print it here.

Things on my wish list:
Refer back to Things I look forward to.

Ty - we'll await your list, and await, and await, and await.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Couple of Things

First.....I know many of you are dying to know how the train show went. There were a lot of exhibits and people. At times the line was long but worth it. I bought some more can't ever have enough track. It was 50% off so a good bargain.

The 2nd story is one I've told a couple of family members. For those that don't know, I exercise at Waterford - yes, the retirement home. They have a small exercise room and a nice pool. Since I really like to swim, it works well. The downfall....old people. Most, again, that is MOST are pleasant and extremely talkative. At the end of the day, after dealing with issues and talking to people all day, I prefer to exercise in misery....not really up for conversation or more people. I think most of them know that by now. The exercise room (treadmills and weight machines) is usually quiet - as one would expect. However, the warm pool is really busy with classes and chatterers until around 7. So if I show up to actually swim, heaven forbid, before 7, I often get the evil eye. But I have my glasses off so don't pay much attention. I've always thought it'd be really fun to run and do an huge cannonball. Of course, there would be complaints and I'd probably get kicked out of the senior center. I refer to them as "old fatties" or just " fatties". By the way, I have red swim trunks....see below.

Anyway, back to my story: The whole complex parking lot is full of old people cars, Buicks like I like are common. One day I convinced Shirely to go with me. As we approached in our old person car, the sole person going into the exercise place is doing so with the aid of a walker. What a first impression - it was worth a good laugh. Last Saturday morning when I went to exercise, I entered the locker room and there were 3 walkers parked along the wall. No, it didn't cross my mind to move them or lock the brakes on all of them, or tie them together....well, maybe it did. 3 walkers parked along the wall, like their Buicks outside, different options, makes, models, mileage, etc. The place was hopping....actually not hopping, maybe gimping along. I swear I'm the only one with original knees and hips. Plus, I don't have a scar from neck to navel due to open heart surgery....yet. As if that wasn't bad enough, imagine this: the old naked guys in the locker room move rather slowly and really don't care that they stand for hours talking in the nude. Worse yet, they sit on the bench naked and talk. There were things there that I really didn't care to see butt sometimes there is no avoiding it. It was truly funny. All these old guys, naked, shuffling around the locker room, stopping to talk to each other just like they were at the mall. No, Ty & KJ, I did not fit right in.

When I first joined, I offered to take Ty and KJ with me some time....but then told them: that's right, you aren't old enough. Minimum age to join is 40. Of course, Ty can now go. With his bum back, he'd be one of he pack.
I've decided years ago that there are 2 kids of people and this really magnifies as people age. The first group see good in almost everything, they laugh harder at themselves than anyone else, like a good joke and you seldom hear them complain and are truly pleasant to be around. The best examples of this group are my 2 grandmas. They always amazed me with their lively spirit and sense of humor. Especially the fact that they can laugh at themselves. That takes a secure person.
The 2nd group are people that are always bitter. Their stories are complaints, gripes, and humor in other's misfortune. They are never wrong and are never happy. I won't share an example becaure it'd piss them off even more.
It must be that a certain point in your life, you take the happy route or the bitchy route. I hope I turn at the happy route.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I had to take a break from the trestle. There are SO many pieces to cut. Each trestle has 36 pieces of wood in varying lengths, widths, and sizes. I made one more after the template then realized I should cut all the pieces prior to assembly. With the wood I have cut, I have 7 more trestles ready to assemble. However, I ran out of cut wood so have to get the saw going. The one downside to the cutting is a terrible cough I've gotten from the fine saw dust. It was either a dust collection system for $$$ or try a ventilation mask for $. I'll try the mask - I hate masks. They are hot and stinky. Since I can cut outside in the summer and not wear one; using a mask in the winter may not be as bad.
In the meantime, I decided to try building an arched bridge. After seeing the Memorial Bridge in Bismarck being blown up, it gave me some incentive. Since there were so many complaints - on line as well as off - about my details, I'll keep it simple:

An arched bridge is a bridge with an arch.
Now, for those that are truly curious and want to open their minds for knowledge, read on. I'm sure you are wondering: "Troy, how did you make that nice curve?" Well, my goal was to make this bridge entirely out of wooden dowels then paint is silver as if it were made out of pipe. I figured if I bought the smallest dowels in circumference, soaked them in water (wood bending), then shaped and dried them, it would work. After breaking several (I'm a quick learner??), I determined that would NOT work. So I went to the "old ladies with too much time on their hands" store, aka Hobby Lobby, and bought some flat pieces of Balsa wood. It is a very light and porous wood. - for those who like the details! By the way, Hobby Lobby does sell train sets and some train supplies. So if you have a 40% off coupon, you can get railroad cars relatively cheap. But watch out for the above mentioned old ladies, they can hamper your balsa wood and train supply buying spree.

I soaked the Balsa wood in hot water for a couple of minutes and then used clothes hangers to hold it to the perimeter of our largest pizza pan - which is also what I used to draw the plans you see above. I put it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes with the convection feature on to speed the process. When it came out, it had dried into the curve needed. This made it easier to work with. Then I used dowels for the vertical supports. I am going to make 4 of these pieces that you see above.

Today: There is a train show at the Ramada. I'm getting dressed up in my Sunday Train Engineer best for the event. Shirley....don't hold dinner for me - I may be home late!