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Blog Posts for April 2013

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Learning to Grow in Texas

 

Gardening in Texas is not like gardening in Iowa. But I'm figuring it out.

For one, fire ants. Evidently, they like the loose dirt I created in the garden beds. Thankfully, there are two ways to get rid of them organically:

1) Boiling water
2) This stuff

So it takes a bit more effort down south, but I suppose the reward is that my tomato plants are a foot tall in this warm weather.

Two new plants are emerging:

Cantaloupe

Cucumber

To get the yard as rid of these loathsome creatures as can be, Patti and I worked on the yard tonight, to spread anti-ant pellets and also something called Weed and Feed. Patti explained that this chases the ants into other yards. Good riddance, and tonight's solid rainfall is helping to activate the pellets. Suh-weet :)

Also, got my first sale today for the text timesheet feature of 247Toolset - a multi-state environmental cleanup firm. Very cool. Let's see how quickly these can line up.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/2/2013 11:20:08 PM
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Sage Advice

 

If he's good enough to marry, he'll almost certainly not still be around when you're ready to make that leap.

The same is true about women as well. I'm amazed that Patti wasn't scooped up, but then I told her that on the first night I met her.

Which reminds me of this. "A good man is hard to find, not hard to keep."

Paraphrased: if he's good enough to marry, and you do, he'll be happy to stick around if you treat him well. As Penelope says, "Everyone has a breaking point, and considering how basic and few a good man's needs are, it's really not that hard to keep him happy and home."

Amen.

ETC: Further down in the comments, this gem:

You should only take a feminist advice as to what type of cat to buy.

Also vibrators.

Ain't that the truth. After all, as Gloria Steinem said, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Unless she expects the bicycle to fertilize her eggs. Or cuddle with her. Or tell her that she's beautiful. Or surprise her with her favorite treat after a trip to the store. Or quietly listen to her vent about work. Or love her children from a previous relationship like they are his very own.

Feminists are idiots.

Great relationships are precious and shouldn't be taken for granted. By a man or woman.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/3/2013 1:31:16 PM
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Preservation

 

I now live with Patti, and we have a yard. Texas grass is quite different than Iowa grass. St. Augustine must be royally pissed because this low-lying, tendril-oriented grass (weed) is named after him.

"Why not a flower?" he must wonder...

Anyway, it's stiff and tough.

So after some research, I bought a different kind of mower.

It's made by Fiskars. It's a push mower, with no gas or oil. And even on St. Augustine's coarse lawn scruff, it does a great job. It's even fun to use. For $200, it's money well-spent. Between that and my bike, I am oh so environmentally friendly.

Today has been a good client day, aka income-preservation day. A client who uses 247Toolset gave some incredible feedback on volunteer shift management, which I will incorporate this weekend.

And another client saw a proof of concept in the way that data is stored and displayed that will speed up everything to their expectations.

Last year sucked for income. This year is much better. One foot in front of the other...

You know, I could have just opted for a 9-5 job with fixed income. I tried insurance, which was kind of a mixture of DIY and regular job, but I do what I do because it's what I do best, and now a whole bunch of opportunities avail themselves.

I believe in myself. I know what I can do. Luckily, I'm with a woman who deeply believes in me as well, and because I have her full-throated and full-bodied support, it's helping me to excel at what I do. Patti told me that she would rather live out of a back seat with me in pursuit of my dreams than live in a mansion with me miserable in a regular job. Thankfully, she'll never have to test the former scenario, but she is firmly latched onto me, for better or worse. She would never want her comfort at the expense of my happiness. I love her for that.

The whole premise of Seeing is that you see a person for exactly who they are and you accept them for exactly who they are - otherwise, it's critical to see that the relationship is not a fit. If it is truly a fit, you respect who they are by not wanting to change them or make them into something they aren't.

She doesn't want to change me. Not one iota. I hum while I work and dance goofy and order strange things, like the mower. And she sends me texts like these:

I am valued for who I am. Amazing...

When I was looking into a mower, I showed her the Fiskars and asked her thoughts.

"Are you sure it will handle the grass?"
"I read a testimonial that says it will. If it doesn't, we can return it."
She smiled warmly and confidently, and said, "Go for it, babe."

And that was it. The mower came, I tried it, it worked, and she told me later that despite her doubts that a manual push mower would work, it did, and she was glad that it did.

That's easy. No fighting, no argument. We hear each other and allow each other space to be ourselves fully, and even that is without effort. I looked at her last week and told her that for the first time in my life, I feel like I could trade places with a woman and the treatment and sentiments we share wouldn't change. I can be me. She can be her. We love equally.

It makes me crave her all the mower :)

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/5/2013 3:40:46 PM
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First Tomato

 

We went to get some potting soil today and planted more tomatoes into starter pots. Put more peas, beans, lettuce, carrots, and onion in the ground. The entire list of what's planted:

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Red Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sugar Pumpkin
So far, we haven't had luck with the spinach or the beans, but everything else is on its way.

When I buy the island one day, I will look forward to getting the garden started there. Patti and I love to garden. It's fun to watch everything come up...

P.S. Pouring boiling water on fire ants that want to set up shop in your soft garden dirt is fun.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/6/2013 1:51:02 PM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/6/2013 6:33:39 PM
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Orange Guard and Boiling Ants

 

Garden update: after spreading ant killer over the rest of the yard, the ants - those that remain - are trying to take up residence in the garden itself.

I bought Orange Guard, which is an organic/garden-safe ant killer/repellent. I've discovered that it does kill some ants, but not all of them. The rest simply move away. They don't like Orange Guard's residue.

Once they're away from the plants themselves, I pour boiling water on the ant hill, and that kills them in a non-toxic way. The boiling water would, of course, kill the plants, so using Orange Guard to send them to the garden's edge allows me to kill the others safely.

Gardening is pretty much daily work, doing this. But it's worth it. My tomatoes are over the size of a quarter now and the peas are about to bloom.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/12/2013 3:17:50 PM
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Linking Arms

 

I'm starting to have increasing conversations with other vendors in industry niches who see the benefit of 247Toolset's capabilities to integrate with their product. I have another one on Monday.

One foot in front of the other...

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/12/2013 3:25:09 PM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/14/2013 1:15:03 PM
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A Story of a Pitchfork and Health Insurance

 

About six weeks ago when I first started the garden, I was using Patti's old rusted pitchfork and bent one of the tines. In an effort to bend it back, my hand slipped and I stuck the bent tine into my left shin. Probably went in about two inches. We cleaned it up aggressively, but there was no way to clean it out completely.

I knew at the time that I needed a tetanus shot. No way I could avoid that. But since my divorce, I haven't had health insurance. (Quick sidebar: originally, when quoted last year on the cost of COBRA, a figure of $500 a month was given. Thanks to Obamacare's regulations and price increases, that figure became $1,000 a month in February. Plus, it came with a $3,000 deductible. Too much money.)

Patti told me that Walgreens, here in Texas, allows you to visit their walk-in clinics and that it's much cheaper. The pharmacist herself gave me my booster shot and it was a grand total of $63. That's affordable.

But since that time, it's been a struggle to figure out the best way to allow the inevitable infections to seep out. Blood poisoning was always a possibility. Kind of a mess.

This is me today, almost healed.

About two weeks into it, a second swelling started to emerge, about where the tip of the tine was. The infection broke the skin and since that time, I've had two open sores. Both have steadily weeped out the guk, and Patti was intuitive about how to treat it, keeping both sores soft and open, covered with Neosporin and band-aids. If I didn't allow them to be soft and open, they would get real angry looking and swollen. So soft and open it is.

Been a weird journey, but I'm reminded that I'm older and not as quick to heal as I once was.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/16/2013 9:05:52 AM
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Granola

 

Pretty simple really...

Two sticks of butter, a little over a cup of honey, some cinnamon, and some vanilla. Heat, stir. Pour over oats and slivered almonds and mix thoroughly. Spread out the wax paper, heat the oven to 250, and bake, stirring it up occasionally until golden brown - not dark. Remove, then cool.

Mix it with your favorite dried fruit: coconut, craisins, raisins, dried apples, whatever...

It's good :)

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/21/2013 2:59:26 PM
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I'm the Guy

 

Earlier today, Patti and I were doing housework together. While we do, we play and sing together. I was working in the kitchen (dishes and granola - see previous post) and she was doing laundry. The song, Desperado, came on my play list and she mentioned that her first beau, Micah, sang that to her in a private moment. In many ways, her previous mentions of Micah were positive and I said to her, "Unselfishly, you know - I wish you two had stayed together. It sounds like you would have avoided a lot of hurt. After your divorce, you two didn't connect?"

"We did. I didn't tell you that story?"

I didn't recall it, and I'm usually pretty good about that sort of thing. "No, I don't think so," I told her. "When is the last time you heard from him?"

"About 3 years ago. We'd reconnected and he'd never married. He lived in Colorado. He told me that he couldn't stop thinking about me, so he flew to Houston."

"Wow. Okay - so what happened?"

"He pulled up to my house, got out of the car, and I could see it in his face immediately - he couldn't do it."

"What do you mean?"

"He said to me, 'I'm sorry - I can't do this.' He explained that he couldn't live as a husband, mowing the yard, working the job, being a step-dad - he'd gotten used to his life. He stayed with his family for the weekend and now lives in Tacoma, Washington."

I've always pooh-pooh'ed the idea of The One - the person with whom we are perfectly compatible. I figured that there are lots of people out there with whom we can make it work. But after knowing her dating history, and seeing how her daughters and family are taking to me, and how she feels through our relationship, it hit me: I'm the guy. I am her perfect fit.

She saw the look on my face. "What's going on, sweetie?"

"I'm the guy."

She nodded, teary-eyed, "Yes, silly. You're the guy. You're my guy. You're perfect for me."

And likewise, she's the girl. We started dating in December, and not once have either of us raised our voices or said anything cross. We've had a couple of "Whoa, wait a minute..." conversations, but it was gentle and we both listened while the other spoke and it was easy. Yesterday, we were driving home from the Kroger and we remarked that we've never had an argument.

"Every day is great," we both agreed.

It's the most drama-free relationship that either of us has been in. I suppose that's because she's the girl and me, I'm the guy.

It's worth getting the fit right. It was just a crazy road to get there.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/21/2013 3:17:57 PM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/22/2013 11:24:49 PM
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Hmm...

 

It occurred to me, and maybe I'm just slow to figure this out, but perhaps the reason for the persistent WH "Tea Party" suspicion and the scrubbing of Islamic Terrorism from the training manuals is because what happens to us in the streets of America isn't a valid threat worth the president's attention - rather, he's more concerned about what might happen to him and his precious government.

Islam? Not a threat to him. Tea Party? Scaaaaaary.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/25/2013 9:39:17 AM
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Today's Beauty

 

Also, I discovered that I can track my daily bike rides on Endomondo. Kinda cool.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/25/2013 9:46:11 AM
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Today's Beauty

 

Pea flower :)

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/26/2013 9:17:57 AM
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Relationship Economy

 

Only one thing slows an economy:

Uncertainty
It halts the flow. Don't know with certainty what's coming in? You're less inclined to allow anything to go out. Uncertainty breeds insecurity, and where insecurity exists, movement falters.

In a relationship, there is an economy. There is flow between the two people, along lines of expected giving and receiving. Verbal, physical, and emotional transactions take place according to the health of the relationship economy. Our willingness to "hang out" in the store of the one we're with depends upon how good it feels to remain there and transact.

One of the joys of being in the right relationship is a lack of uncertainty. Said another way, consistency is everything.

For example, McDonalds succeeds in part because a cheeseburger from the Toledo Mickey D's today is the same cheeseburger I'll get tomorrow is the same cheeseburger I'll get next week from the McDonalds in Houston. There is consistency in the product.

Likewise, the way I am treated in a relationship, and the way I treat my partner, should be consistent. The more confidence we have in knowing what to expect and in our enjoyment of how we are treated determines the frequency with which we transact. When Patti walks through the door at the end of the day, she knows how she will be greeted and I know how she will greet me. Smiles, hugs, kisses, and engaged conversation about our respective days... sometimes, I get so excited about her coming home that I stand in the driveway as I know that she nears so that she pulls up to smiling me and I get to see her sooner.

In the short 140 days we've known each other, she's never met a different Brett. Today's Brett is tomorrow's Brett is next week's Brett. It gives her the confidence to transact securely and enjoy what she receives and it allows her to give freely as well.

As she put it this morning, "I love waking up to you. I love coming home to you. I love my Brett."

She has branded "her Brett" because she knows exactly what it is and she loves the association with it.

When a store provides a level of service and a quality of product to its customer that spurs personal branding, the store owner makes a mental note to maintain that consistency to retain the customer's loyalty. The highest compliment a store can receive is personal branding: "My JCPenney," or "My Toyota dealer."

But if I became moody or stopped smiling when I saw her or somehow changed in a way that reduced her enthusiasm for hanging out in my store, then she won't stop in as often. Her uncertainty in the product and the service will become insecurity, and the red hot flow in the relationship will slow noticeably.

Here's to never a recession...

 

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by Brett Rogers, 4/28/2013 1:59:58 PM
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Where I Become Opa

 

Carlin, born at 9 lbs and 12 oz, 21 inches long, to Chris and Mackenzie.

Mackenzie is Patti's daughter, and while I am not married to her (yet), I've become part of her family and so where Patti is now Nana, I am Opa.

Patti and I were walking through Old Town Spring here in Houston a while back, in a Bavarian shop, and I saw the word Opa on a little gray-haired man doll. I am German in my heritage (born to the Rademacher and Arnswald clans) and so some time later, Patti asked me what I would be called when the baby arrived.

"What do you mean?"

"Like, Grandpa? Papa? I'll be Nana."

"Hmm... never really thought about it."

Later that day, I chose Opa. It's German for Grandpa. It's unique. And I've always wanted my own afternoon talk show.

So Carlin came to be after a trouble-free birth, and everyone is fine. And me... I'm Opa.

ETC: And a picture of the happy family:

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 4/30/2013 7:25:54 AM
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