August 2, 2022

Posted: 2nd August 2022 by admin in Uncategorized

Something that has intrigued me for a number of years and even more-so recently due to the state of the world. Cybersecurity is in great demand and it appears I may qualify for some re-education money so I plan to pursue that. Classes will start in about a week in Defuniak Springs at Emerald Coast Technical School so I hope to be a part of that class!

What I found interesting is that the teacher herself is actively employed in the industry as a supervisor on a nearby military base. She said several of her former students are now employees and she mentioned that her classes have a 100% placement rate in the job market.

Those are credentials that matter to me right now!

I’ll try to keep this updated.

August 1, 2022

Posted: 1st August 2022 by admin in Uncategorized

Pretty unreal that it has been 2 years and a month since the last time I entered anything on this page. Usually when i think of it I don’t have the time to sit and type much without getting distracted. Well, as of very recently, I have a lot more time.

Last Monday i got laid off from my job and it’s not temporary. Now when I have heard those words from other people it hasn’t seemed too monumental. Now that it has happened to me, it’s overwhelming.

When my boss came in and sat down in my office I knew something was up and this wasn’t going to end well. He never visits. I held my breath and he didn’t pause, he said we are cutting back and today is your last day. I panicked and immediately went into this fog thinking how can this be true and how can I hope to pay my bills, support my disabled wife and still eat and maintain any sort of life that we’ve tried to build. We don’t live in any sort of extravagance, we have a small farm in the Florida panhandle and I abandoned my business that was doing OK over in the Venice, Florida area. We weren’t getting rich there either but we were paying our bills and getting along. I was persuaded to take this job that was created by the marketing person and worked for a little over a year doing what was really a dream job creating videos and photography of boats and the boating industry. It wasn’t a high paying job but it paid the bills and there seemed to be stability.

Little did any of us know that the owner partners had their eyes set on selling out. The company I came here to was of about 50 employees and people seemed to like each other and were welcoming. In the fall of 2021 the owners announced a company wide meeting that everyone from both organizations were required to attend. I felt with this being an unusual thing that something was about to happen. Sure enough, Shawn announced that he and Keri were selling the business to a large Marina business based out of Texas. The moment he spoke those words I went into panic mode inside and began to question them and was even called into the office later and questioned as to why I was being so negative. I told them I’ve experienced similar in the past twice before and it has never turn out well for me either time. I knew that my position was possibly not something they couldn’t live without.

The changeover came in November and it seemed smooth. The new company was welcoming and Shawn mentioned more than once that this new group was stable, had resources and could and would weather any downturns that may hit our industry. The problem was now, it wasn’t long and my direct supervisor that created my position wasn’t happy with the changes and decided to quit and move to other greener pastures, taking a job over in the Orlando area. That left myself and Melanie to try to figure out what we were supposed to do. I was the only full time employee and Melanie came in and worked as needed. It was guesswork trying to know what to do. Now, Shawn and Keri stayed on for another 6 months or so and it seemed like things were going to be ok those first few months as we thought they were going to help grow the company. Turns out, it didn’t work out that way and they said their final goodbyes a couple months ago. That left no one to really steer the ship and they basically turned it over to Loren who was in charge of sales and general operations. He was left to the task of letting me go last week.

As far as I know I was the only one that was actually let go completely while others got their hours cut back. I have always had a plan B and ways of making some money when in my home area. It didn’t matter that I had a job so much as I could fall back on doing some photography and video work but times have changed and especially with Photography, it just isn’t the career that it once was. So many photographers and customers expect to not have to pay for the art like they used to.

I went and applied for Unemployment Benefits and that’s where I get a big surprise. The lady at the unemployment office or rather “Re-Employment” office said I could expect less than half of my pay. I just found out it is actually less than 1/4 of what I was getting paid and for a very short period of time, about 12 weeks. I am gut punched and just can’t believe it. With everyone laying off and so little prospects of work especially in this area, I am stressed to the max.

On top of it…they want to give you some scholarship money to get some education, but then will not allow you to attend school without threatening to pull your unemployment money due to the fact you need to be available to take a job.

At the age I’m at (retirement age) job prospects are grim enough.

I’m blogging this primarily for the historical record as I don’t really believe anyone is going to read it, but I do hope to share with my family so they can know what’s going on.

July of 2020

Posted: 24th July 2020 by admin in Uncategorized
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Wow, has anything changed since my last post…well..pretty much everything in life has changed. The world has completely flipped upside down, the place is on fire and a Pandemic of all pandemics is gripping our world. I don’t suppose anyone actually reads this blog, but I will do some entries for my own personal reflection if nothing else.

This is the 24th of July and these next few days and weeks will be another BIG step in our life journey. As it comes together I will enter more, like so many things these days nothing is for certain and so I will log as things succeed rather than just things I might hope for. We have been trying to sell our house and twice now it hasn’t made it all the way through the process. We don’t even know why as reasons haven’t been given, twice people have backed out or their funding wouldn’t go through. Very frustrating as you can imagine when we need to be looking for our next house but really can’t commit until we know we have the money in hand.

In spite of this COVID19 Pandemic, it does appear we are on our way, but as I said, I will wait to celebrate.

If you do happen to read this please say hi in the comments.

Fast Forward 2019

Posted: 13th March 2019 by admin in Uncategorized
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So here we are again, almost 5 years since the last post and I can’t begin to understand where the time has gone. Thankful no one really reads or follows this but seems therapeutic to at least write a little, outside of facebook.
In 2017 we were faced with major life changes and challenges. In July of that year Judy came down with Pneumonia and when she went into the hospital it was discovered she was in a state of Keto-Acidosis. Having never heard that term before we had no clue as to how serious things were and for the next 5 days she was in intensive care, not knowing if she was going to live or die. I guess that’s the point of intensive care huh? After they let her out of the hospital, she fell and broke her hip two days later. (Unrelated I guess to the previous weeks hospital stay but I can’t help but think she was in a weakened state)

2 years later Update

Posted: 25th July 2014 by admin in Uncategorized
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I’m not sure anybody actually reads this little blog, but I have a few minutes and thought I would bring it up to date… it’s only been two years. wow!

It took quite awhile to actually call this home, perhaps in excess of a year for me, but routine brings about familiarity that brings about comfort with surroundings and schedules.

One of the things from a business perspective that I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that the type of Photography that I used to do in the midwest is pretty much non existent here. I loved the creativity and on the spot imagination that high school Senior Portraits demanded, and since we have been here and in spite of spending a lot of money promoting, we have done very few Senior Portraits.

We have done a few model portfolio sessions and lots and lots of family sessions on the area beaches, so the creativity is different. Most of the family sessions are done at sunset and because I deal with groups of people, the patience that it takes for my clients to do multi hour long sessions just isn’t there. For the most part, they would like to be done and over with within an hour..some of the people just would rather not be taking part in them but do so grudgingly because it’s forced family fun.

We try to make it fun and energetic, but we have found that there are times where the families themselves have serious “discussions” before they ever arrive at the shoot and tensions sometimes start high. It’s not hard to detect so that’s when it helps to have developed a good sense of humor and play the psychologist from minute one.

Venice is a beautiful town, and part of what we have discovered, there are a ton of Photographers that make their way here. We have competition, professional and non professionals that very definitely split the pie and it certainly not like in the previous decades where there was plenty of business to go around.

I think on top of the fact that everyone is a Photographer now that owns a cell phone or a camera, Photographs themselves don’t have the same commercial values to them that they used to have. In that sense, the laws of supply and demand are well at play. The supply of Photos and Photographers has reduced the demand for many of the types of photography that we used to get called upon to do.

This has helped photographers to become more specialized in the types of photography that they are good at, but it certainly has affected the bread and butter work we used to do to pay the bills, etc.

With all of that being said, we are being successful because of the diversity we offer in the areas of Video Production, Audio Recording Studio, Website Development and Graphic Design and printing.

We live in North Port and would like to be able to live closer to the studio in Venice but that will have to wait until business develops more or until we come across a really amazing deal.

The area is really growing with construction happening all around us.

Florida is a beautiful beautiful place and if nothing else, you really should come for a visit!!

Hurricane Isaac Part 5

Posted: 26th August 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

This is from Sunday afternoon, just before Isaac was predicted to hit our area, but since has taken a more westerly track.

Photo shows very little breeze and the areas marked off represent where sea turtles have laid their eggs. Not to be messed with. I understand there are literally hundreds of volunteers that comb the beaches early in the am and watch out for the fine flippered friends and assist the little guys after they hatch to make it to the sea. I would love to be there for that sometime!!

Looks like Isaac is going to be a rain event for us and now the focus is on Mobile, AL and New Orleans area. Keeping our fingers crossed, I can see how the anticipation over these bad boys can drive folks crazy. Remember, we have no basements here!

Hurricane Isaac Part 4

Posted: 26th August 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

Sunday morning and the wind is picking up outside. Humidity up a lot too. The weather radio sounding it’s alarm and blaring about tornado watches in the area. Pretty much right on cue and as everyone predicted would happen.

A gray day and no anticipation of sunshine as we head to church.

Weather channel update shows the track of the storm to be on more of a westward track. Good for us but not so good eventually for those in the New Orleans, Mobile Alabama area.

It does put you on edge and unlike in the midwest where a storm might happen and tornado’s are the biggest threat with usually only a notice of a matter of hours or minutes, this threat of hurricanes drags on for days and builds, adding to the stress.

Anyhow, maybe a break this time!! We’ll see as the next couple days progress.

Hurricane Isaac Part 3

Posted: 25th August 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

Across the street from our house in North Port, 6 P.M. Saturday.

Upon talking to our neighbor, I was reminded of how many mobile home parks we have surrounding us. We live in a very quiet neighborhood full of smaller wood frame houses. We probably wouldn’t do well being struck by mobile home debris but then of course, neither would the mobile homes fare well.

Watching the news as the governor of the state Rick Scott talking about possible evacuations and to stay tuned in the event that has to happen.

People in the neighborhood are running around, buttoning up anything that could be a projectile, the gas stations are running out of gas and Wal Mart was a zoo. Parking lot was so full you would have thought a rock concert (or maybe jazz or country) was going on.

The weather radio was lit up with storm warnings flashing and we are keeping tuned in case we have to head out.

It’s not scary yet and it appears from the latest “cone of uncertainty” that we are becoming less likely to take a direct hit.

At least there is some degree of warning with these monsters.

Hurricane Isaac Part 2

Posted: 25th August 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

Photo is of Venice Beach, and while scuba classes must go on it appears, the sky is beginning to cloud up. This was taken around noon on Saturday and the day started out kind of cool for Florida. A very nice breeze and unusual compared to what it has been.

Sitting here at home with the weather channel on, we keep hearing as you probably are too that Florida is under a state of emergency. Not sure what to do other than getting some supplies and propane for grill and camping lights that I have. We are far enough inland that we shouldn’t have to worry about storm surge, not sure about the tornado thing though that these hurricanes spin off.

A lot of the locals think that the news blows these things all out of proportion, but I used to work in news so I think I know the difference.

Otherwise, another beautiful day right now but we will be keeping our eyes and ears open and will let you know how it’s going!

Here’s a map so you can keep an eye on where we are.

Hurricane Isaac Part 1

Posted: 24th August 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

So here we are in Florida, and when you look at the big map, we live on the Gulf coast side and generally you see them showing Ft. Myers and Tampa. We are about 1/2 way between the two.

As it appears right now, Mr. Isaac is predicted to skirt along our coast and while it may not directly swing out and hit us straight on, I am hearing and learning that the worst side of the hurricane to be on is the right side, the tornadic side as these things spin off tornado’s. Around Memorial weekend, our house took a direct hit from an F0 tornado, and while our neighbors sustained quite a bit of damage, we didn’t have any issues other than some soffiting and neighbors roof parts up in our trees.

So, what’s it like being in the near bullseye? With several days away, naturally curiousity increases and greater attention than ever is paid to the weather channel and radar and any tidbit we can get from the predictors of how the thing is going to track and how big it is getting. Not a lot different than when we were living in Iowa watching the news, but the difference now is of course, what should we be doing with our stuff? And should we be doing anything?

To look outside it is another beautiful Florida day and hard to imagine that a week from today, things COULD be drastically different. We drove though south Florida shortly after Hurricane Andrew hit, and if you all from Iowa area remember what Lima, Illinois looked like after that tornado a few years back, well that is what the devastation of Andrew looked like only for miles and miles and miles in all directions. The area was just flattened.

So as anticipation grows, we trust that God is in control and whatever He has in store, has to be for some reason.

Somewhere between the next 3-5 days, yet another new experience awaits. Our business in Venice is right close to the coastline, probably about a mile inland. Out house in North Port is another 10 miles inland so if we can escape any wind or tornado’s, we’ll be in good shape.

I’ll add to this over the next few days, add some photos of course and hopefully as the nerves rattle, the windows won’t.

Thanks for listening.