Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

My Father’s Day gift this year was a cordless leaf blower that works with the same battery that my string trimmer uses. It was an added bonus that the box was a trainwreck and so the folks over at Home Depot gave me $25 off the price. Nice.

I played around with it a bit and it works nicely at normal speed, but the turbo button kicks it into high and the high pitched scream of the thing makes you wish for ear protection. Works great. Hard on the ears. I didn’t play around with it enough to say what the battery life is like, but the string trimmer will do my yard trimming twice over before it needs to be recharged, so I’m expecting it to be pretty good.

RYOBI 110 MPH 500 CFM 40-Volt Cordless Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower

I’m still missing the chainsaw in this line, but that isn’t something I really have much use for right now. But I kinda want it.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine. But which one? I don’t know, I’ve read that there were at least two. So, both, maybe. Probably, the Christian origin of this celebration has been first subsumed and finally consumed by cutural and commercial celebrations of romance, love, and sex for most of us. Which is definitely more fun.

So, while Pope Gelasius may have established the Valentine Feast in AD 496 to celebrate and honor Saint Valentine of Rome who died on this date in AD 269, it seems that Chaucer is more responsible for what were doing today.

The romantic association started within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer, way back in the 14th century. The idea of courtly love was a bit of a thing back then. Four hundred years later the English made the day, and probably the night, into one of expressions of love through flowers, confectionery, cards, lingerie, and sex toys. I’m not certain about those last two, but people are people.

That’s also when we got all of the recognized holiday symbols; little winged cupids, hearts, and doves. It didn’t take long after that, things get commercial.

Now it’s all about CVS, Hallmark, and Lovers Lane. You know, stopping at CVS to get a card, candy, and flowers. Wanting to go to Lover’s Lane but knowing that that’s not going to do you any good. Exchanging gifts and then maybe going out to dinner before settling in for a bit of Netflix and chill.

Then realizing that the chill is just because the thermostat has gone into it’s overnight setback. Which makes you realize it’s late and you need to go to bed.

I guess what I’m really saying is, Happy Valentine’s Day. Whatever you do. Whoever you’re with. Later.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m sitting at home today because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Although, I don’t remember my boss actually mentioning that it was a holiday for us this year. But the banks are closed, and while I have other clients, if the banks are closed I assume I have the day off. If I’m wrong, well, it’ll come out of my PTO.

just barely awake

“Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t watch much football this weekend, or much this whole season if I’m being honest. I didn’t even follow the Lions, mostly because they were not good. Not good at all. I did see the Texans@Chiefs in the divisional round and last night I watched parts of the Packers@49ers. I think I would have preferred to see the Chiefs vs. Packers in the Super Bowl, but it was very obvious last night that the 49ers are the better team. So we get the 49ers vs Chiefs playing in the big game… that’s going to be a lot of red. Should be a good game. Looking forward to the commercials 😉

My plan for today is to do some writing, play some guitar, do some laundry, put together a new selection of music for the garage stereo, straighten the garage, and maybe write a blog post. Okay, so I’m working on that last one right now. The writing hasn’t been quite as prolific as I’d hoped thus far this year. Really, one day out of 20 is bad, but even 1 in 20 is better than my average. Still. I want to do better. I missed one day of guitar practice last week and am feeling disproportionately guilty about that. While Lady Ronn is not in school tonight, I still don’t expect to see her anytime before it gets dark. I guess what I’m saying is, the day is mine to do what I want with.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaking of guitar, one of the biggest problems I’m having is keeping time. I can’t seem to keep time consistent. I can’t tap my foot and play guitar at the same time. I tried using a metronome and it was a disaster. I don’t understand why it’s 3/4 time instead of just 3/3 time, because I’m just counting three instead of four. I can’t seem to make my half notes twice as long as my quarter notes, or at least not consistently. And tomorrow we’re supposed to add eighth notes to the mix. I think my lack of any musical background at all is showing. But on my own and with the encouragement of my boss, who has played guitar for 30-years, I’ve tried to add some chords to my practice. I can’t do those either. My fingers are all over the strings, making a mess of things. But practice continues and I’m hopeful that improvement will come eventually. Any tips? I welcome any and all.

Jeramy says to learn A, G, & D

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You’re probably sick of me talking about guitar. In my defense, it’s the thing I’m doing and I’m enthusiastic about it. Tomorrow I’m going to talk about audiobooks. Is that better or worse? I’d like to do my taxes today, but while I’ve received my W2 I’m still waiting for two others and some other documents. I did start the paperwork and, expecting a refund, I’ve started figuring out where that money will go. Most likely, it’ll go into the “pay off that new camera” fund. Which doesn’t sound like much fun, but is definitely the responsible thing to do. Being an adult is all about the responsible thing. It’s one of the main things I dislike about being an adult. It is what it is. What can you do.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I need to do a couple work-related things now. Despite the holiday. Just a few things that need to be addressed in order to make the coming week a more bearable experience. We’ll talk again. Later.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy New Year. It’s 2020. There have been a lot of predictions about this year. Heck, I even wrote a novel that takes place later this year. So I guess what I’m saying is that we all have cyberpunks, vampires, and dragons to look forward too.

is this our new world?

Most everything I know about 2020 comes from the Cyberpunk rpg. Which means that the world is run by Megacorps, netrunning is a thing, and cybernetics are the way to survive.

A bit of research reveals that there is more than one possible now. 2020 is a big deal in fiction. Apparently, all of these other things take place in 2020:

  • The film Mission to Mars is set in 2020
  • The film Reign of Fire is set in 2020
  • According to the film, I, Robot, the U.S.R. robotics company is founded in 2020.
  • The film Thunderbirds is set in 2020.
  • The film Real Steel is set in 2020.
  • The film Annihilation Earth is set in 2020.
  • On televisions, Dark Angel, both the second half of Season One and first half of Season Two are set in 2020.
  • The docudrama Supervolcano is set in 2020.
  • In the television series Dollhouse, the events of the series finale take place in 2020.

I guess what I’m saying is, there have been a lot of predictions made for 2020 and it has always felt like the distant future to me. But here it is. It’s now. Welcome to the future.

It’s Easter Sunday and I hope the bunny brought you lots of goodies and put all the colored eggs in not too difficult places to find.
Yesterday, was a day full of white paint. It started with primer, which was just touching up all the bits of raw mud I created while patching all the rough spots in my drywall work. Then I cut in the ceiling with some old white paint, which wasn’t the same color as the new white paint, which I didn’t realize until I had run out of the old white paint while rolling out the ceiling and had to switch over to the new white paint. So… I had to cut in the ceiling all over again and roll the whole thing out one more time. It was frustrating, but I think the results are very white.

As can be seen in these very white pictures, which showcase three very distinct shades of pale.



more white

Today, the plan is to make some breakfast, clean up the mess, and then get to putting some color on the walls. We’ve chosen a lovely shade of taupe, which I’m sure will nicely showcase all the faults in my drywall work. I’m hoping to get the floor down today and maybe even get the toilet set.
Happy Easter.

Grand Rapids did their fireworks on Saturday, July 2nd, and we were right on the water behind DeVos Place… where we were not supposed to be, I might add.

I had the idea that if we parked north of the city and watched the show from Riverside Park, Canal Park, or 6th Street Bridge Park we could see the show and avoid the worst of the crowds. But we just kept walking, past all the parks and we still couldn’t find a spot. 
Heidi had the idea that we could cut through the DeVos Place parking garage and come out on the other side, effectively circumventing the blocked sidewalk. That didn’t work when we realized the gates were down on the Lyon St exit. So she rerouted and went into the building, where we wandered around a bit until we found ourselves infiltrating the 2017 annual convention of the Church of the Brethren. We joined them on the back patio to watch the fireworks, but the trees blocked most of the view. So we slipped back into the building, down a bit and back out to the riverside walk. The closed section of the riverside walk, where only the convention attendees were allowed. And then we watched some fire works.

It wasn’t our intention, but it worked out pretty well.

Happy Independence Day. Have fun and stay safe.

Saturday was a busy day for everybody around here: the Mother’s Day rush was going on at work for the missus, the youngest boy went to prom, the middle boy bought a new car, my sister-in-law got engaged, and I built the most, totally jacked, out of square laundry sink cabinet ever.

I just don’t have the tools for making cabinets. My table saw just is not made for projects this size, and it shows in the final product. But rather than rebuild it, I just jammed it in place and leveled it up with shims.

Sure, I still need to put a door on it, put a counter top and sink on it, and paint it. But it is what it is and I think it’ll work fine.

Today, I put down the vinyl flooring and patched up some of the drywall. I plan on both changing the material of, and boxing in, the dryer vent. Also, I’m going to build a ‘hanging wall’ from which to mount the upper cabinets. They need to be pushed forward, as they would be too far away to reach if I mounted them to the existing wall.

Everything is a project and every project is actually three. It never gets old.


I’m kind of jumping the gun with the flooring, but it really needed to be done. Besides, how long can I walk around the giant roll of vinyl flooring in the basement.

I would love to say that I did this for the mother of my children, as a Mother’s Day gift… But I can’t. I do more laundry than she does. I’m the one who is annoyed by this room. I have to admit that it was just the project of the day. I bought a Chinese feast for Mother’s Day; that was my contribution. She didn’t have to cook. She didn’t have to get ready. She had the whole day to do whatever she wanted. Happy Mother’s Day.

So, that was my weekend in a nutshell.

Happy Mother’s Day to all  the mothers out there. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas. Fill the holiday with love, with family, and with good tidings and cheer. And presents, can’t forget the presents. Hope you were gifted with what you asked for. Merry Christmas.

happy holidays from ronn and the whole team at arohen.com

When was the last time Christmas Eve was on a day I didn’t work? Google says, 2011 was the last Saturday Christmas Eve. Which may be true, but it feels like it never happens. Christmas Eve is usually when I make my last minute scramble to buy that last minute gift. After work. Not this year.

This year I’m going to do my last minute scrabble at 10:00 am, like a reasonable human being.

The tree is up and it’s surrounded by presents. Some degree of food prep has been done… not my area, but it looks like something was done. Everything is ready for go time this afternoon. I’ve even done laundry, so I have something to wear that isn’t work related, and I put up this festive blog post. I’m in pretty good shape this year.

So good luck with your last minute shopping and prepping. I hope that it is a little less of a scramble for you this year. Have a safe and happy Christmas Eve and a Merry Christmas.

yes, i am up at 7:30 am on a saturday

48th Birthday

Today is my birthday. Completing one more trip around the sun. Another year older.

Come on, let’s all sing the birthday song…

“Trip Around The Sun”
Jimmy Buffett (feat. Martina McBride)

Hear ’em singing happy birthday
Better think about the wish I make
This year gone by
Ain’t been a piece of cake.
Every day’s a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun.
I’m just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it’s good to know it’s out of my control.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.
No you never see it coming,
Always wind up wondering where it went.
Only time will tell
If it was time well spent.
It’s another revelation,
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.
I’m just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it’s good to know it’s out of my control.
If there’s one thing I have learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.
Yes I’ll make a resolution
That I’ll never make another one.
Just enjoy this ride on my
Trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride
On my trip around the sun…
Trip around the sun.

That was very sweet. Very nice. Thank you. Thank you all.
Well, I’m off work today and I’m not due back until Wednesday. So outside of celebrating my birthday today and my anniversary next Tuesday, my plan is to get some things done.
Firstly, I need to finish this bathroom.

it’s actually further along than this

And secondly, I’m going to get these shelves painted.
yeah, i know, but there have been other things to do.

So that’s the plan. No vacation get away, just finishing up some projects. I’m off to enjoy my PTO.