Monday, July 16, 2018

Philipp and Nica get married

In 2005, we hosted a dazzling young German exchange student named Philipp Beiter. He was in his final semester as an exchange student at Topeka High School. It was the start of a lifetime connection.
Although he returned to Germany for his University studies, he came to visit in the summer of 2007...
and in 2008 ...
when his parents and brother joined us as well.
It was about this time that we proclaimed ourselves to be Philipp's American parents. His parents graciously acquiesced.

Of course, he was at Samantha's and Jake's wedding in 2010
where he served as Helen's escort into the ceremony. 
With Jonas and Samantha, we visited him in Paris in 2012 
where he was doing his internship at the OECD
Philipp visited us in 2013 when Ryan was living with us.

After he finished graduate school at the London School of Economics and Columbia University in 2014, he moved to Boulder. Then, in late 2014, he brought Nica for a visit. We could tell from the sparkle in his eye that Nica was special. From that point forward, it was no longer just Philipp, it was now Philipp AND Nica.
They came back for Halloween Weekend in 2015.
In 2016, along with Samantha and family, we met up with Philipp in Denver ...
and got to visit Philipp and Nica in Boulder - although I failed to get a picture. Suffice it to say that we were taking our "American Parent" role very seriously.

It was no surprise when Philipp and Nica decided to get married.

So, a couple of weeks ago, we traveled to Colorado to witness, and to be a part of, Phillip's marriage to Nica in the mountains and rustic settings of Pine, Colorado.
 I was honored when Philipp asked me to be a Groomsman. 
I was equally honored when he asked me to offer an after-dinner toast.

A giant Thank You to Phillip and Nica for allowing us to be a part of this special day.
An extra Thank You to Nica's wonderful family who was as gracious as Philipp's when we announced that we are a part of the Family Package.

 Oh yes ... Philipp and Nica are moving to Rome for a year. The adventure continues.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Brick sidewalk repair

Every 35 years or so, it is a good idea to level your old uneven brick sidewalks. Yep, the tree roots cause them to heave leaving dangerous tripping hazards. This is not a sexy or glamorous project, but one that needs to be done.
It goes like this ... pull up the bricks, cut out the roots, level the surface and replace the bricks.
This is a work in progress. 
As it ends up, it appears that I'm a couple of bricks short of a load ... if you know what I mean.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day - 2018

Thanks for being such a great Dad.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Arkansas golf trip

In late May to early June, six of us traveled to Bella Vista, Arkansas, for 5 days of good and bad golf ...
good and bad beer ...
good and bad food ...
good and bad nature ...
and spectacular friendship.
It was a blast.

Derek could not attend. We missed him. Bill too.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Dad turns 92

On May 5th, Dad celebrated his 92nd birthday. We enjoyed 3 days of celebration. There was his office lunch party on Friday.
A family dinner party on Saturday.

And a fun Sunday lunch followed by a cemetery visit.
Happy Birthday to Dad. Thanks for being such a great Dad and role model.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Randolph Grade School - 90th Birthday Party

Last weekend Randolph Grade School celebrated its 90th birthday. 
The staff and students hosted a giant open house, birthday party and all-class reunion.  As an alumn, I was invited to the school to share my memories of the school. I was interviewed by a 5th grader. She was super cute and equally smart. Here is what she wrote and posted for the party:

Like I said, she was super cute and smart.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Springfield weekend ...

Last weekend Dad and I drove to Springfield to hug family.  It was a blast. We got to hang out with SACII

and eat good food ... including a cook-it-yourself steak served on a stone that was heated to 650 degrees. Fun.
We also got to enjoy time with our wonderful Springfield family.  
Why did they seat us next to all of these birds?

We told stories and relaxed. Sam even played the guitar that Dad and Mother sent to him when he was in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. It somehow survived the war and is living peacefully in the condo overlooking Table Rock Lake.
It was fun.
Family is good.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Social Security

Having reached full retirement age last month, I had the option of accepting social security payments now or deferring for 4 years until I reached age 70.  Taking payments now would guarantee at least some return on my 50 years of contributions but deferring would allow my future payments to grow at a pretty good clip.  
Hmmmmmm .... how would I decide which to do?
The answer became easy when Helen discovered the Spousal Benefit Rule. It goes something like this: if both spouses were born before 1954, the first spouse to reach age 66 (full retirement age) can take his social security payments PLUS the other spouse (upon reaching full retirement age) is entitled to receive half of her spouse's payment while allowing her benefits to continue to grow. In essence, this allows 150% of the benefits until age 70. In our case, it will allow us 150% of the benefit for almost 4 years. 

Maybe everybody knows this stuff. I sure didn't. It's not that easy to understand. At least for me. I did the math several times. If I did it right, this works for us unless I live past age 89 ... or something like that.

Anyway, today is a big day for me as I received my very first social security payment. 

PS. My apologies for posting something sooooo boring. It is embarrassing that my life now includes calculations of social security benefits. Please don't tell.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

California in February

Nope, we can't stay away. In early February we traveled to California to hug grandchildren ... Samantha and Jake too. We enjoyed Sports Sunday,
a fabulous patio dinner with Beth at her beautiful home in Pleasant Hill,
multiple visits to Bing School,
some silly games,
some art projects,
some swinging,
some cookie making,
some book reading,
a FFL presentation graciously hosted by Samantha with a socko presentation by Jake,
and some quiet moments together.
It was a blast. Somehow, I never think to get photos of Samantha and Jake anymore. They have fallen off the radar screen. Maybe next trip.