Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 2016: Revelation, Graduation, Celebrations and an Operation

Because I've been focusing on writing my Walt Disney World Report series over on
It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted here. 

But as the Memorial Day holiday and the end of the month approach it's time to look back at some of the most memorable "Factors" in May 2016.

Now I could write a long post about what happened to me personally but instead I'm going to tell you about the things that happened with my family. 

The month began with Paula and I being blessed with being able to witness the revelation of the sex of our new grandchild. You can read about the whole experience in my May 5 blog post. It was a wonderful revelation. 

Just 5 days later, we were with James and Brandi again.
This time we were at SKYPAC for James' graduation ceremony. He received his associates degree in Applied Science and Electrical Technology from the SOKY Community & Technical College .  
We are all very proud of him and his accomplishment. It was no small feat. For over 2 1/2 years he went to school while holding a full time job and helping to raise his daughter. 
 The night of the ceremony, Aria wore her appreciation for her daddy's efforts on her shirt. 
The next week he started his new full time job as an electrical technician for a well known "Happy Face" in home repair service. 
I can't imagine a better week for him. Congrats James. 

My oldest son, Michael, had a pretty good week mid-month as well. 

On the Saturday before his birthday, Paula and I had all our family members to the house for a cookout to celebrate his 35th birthday. 

To me, this was a milestone birthday because it means he's halfway through his 30s. I thought he deserved an extra special gift.

About a month before his birthday I got an idea for a gift for him that I knew he would really like. He'd been talking about wanting it for a while. 

You see, Michael is like me in that he is a really big Walt Disney World fan. He enjoys going to Orlando so much, over the last couple of years, he's been trying to convince Heather to buy into the Disney Vacation Club. 

On their last trip to "The World" in April 2015 they made jump to staying at a the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a deluxe resort. With room rates starting at more than $350. Only a real Disney fan would do that.  

So about 6 weeks before his birthday, I got online and ordered a gift that I am certain will keep on giving for years to come. 

Now back to our house on the evening of May 7. With everyone in the family contributing we got Michael a very special gift that every Disney fan would love to have. It's not all that unique but it is exclusive. Here's a video of him opening his present.
So now after years of talking about it, Michael is now officially a Disney stockholder. 

Two days after we celebrated his birthday, Michael gave Paula a very special Mother's Day present. He spent the afternoon helping her put her home office desk together.
It was a very nice thing for him to do. As an added bonus, I'm sure Paula enjoyed spending the time with him and now she has her desk in place. I'd call that a win/win. Thanks Michael. 

A second family member had a birthday in May as well. My daughter-in-law, Brandi, celebrated during the 3rd week of the month.

To get her gift I needed to go to a place called "Heart Strings" which is a store on the 31W by pass in Bowling Green.

I'll tell you what, this eclectic shop has to be seen to believed. It is essentially a large boutique crowded with merchandise.

But most of it is stuff that would only interest women. But there are some things guys might like too. 
Believe it or not it was an item from the Yeti product line (pictured above) that I needed for Brandi's birthday. 

I got a pleasant surprise when, after I purchased the item the clerk offered to gift wrap it for me. Of course I took advantage of that perk. I'm glad I did It was wrapped much better than I could ever have done. 

A couple of days before her birthday, as a friendly tease, I sent a text message to Brandi with a picture of her gift. 

She recognized the gift wrap and got excited because she knew it was from Heart Strings. So a little of the surprise was gone. The joke backfired on me a bit.

Unfortunately, on her birthday Brandi was still feeling the ill effects of her pregnancy. In fact, from what she told us it was especially intense on her birthday. 

We didn't get to see her on Sunday but we went out to lunch with her this past Tuesday. That's when we gave her the present. It was a 20 oz Yeti tumbler and a gift card for Motherhood Maternity. She wanted the cup and we thought giving her the chance to go shopping for some new clothes might be good for her. 

After our lunch we gave her a little bit of a break by taking Aria to our house to spend the afternoon with us. 

Happy Birthday Brandi, you've had a rough go of it lately. I hope your gifts help you feel better in the near future.  

Michael & Brandi's birthdays, were our May celebrations. 

If finding out more about our 2nd grandchild is the #1 memorable thing to happen this month, this last thing is second.

It happened the second week of May in at a local hospital. Paula had an operation to repair her left rotator cuff. Five years ago she had the same surgery on her right arm. 

It was an done in the ambulatory surgery department of the Medical Center in Bowling Green. She went into the OR about 7AM that morning and we left the hospital about 1PM that afternoon. 

The picture shows her wearing a special sling that keeps her shoulder immobile. 

Also on her shoulder is a special pad that connects to this Vascutherm Cryo Therapy machine.
It provides a steady stream of cold water through the bladder in the underside of the pad. This gives her some relief when the pain gets to be too much. It also helps her sleep at night.  

In the two weeks since surgery she has been working on pain management, physical therapy, trying to rest in one of our living room couch recliners and just generally get used to living life the use of one and a half arms.  

I have been doing whatever she needs me to do to make her feel better and more comfortable. 

Her recovery has us a bit out of our routine but she is doing very well. It will take her until at least the middle of June to be healed enough to go back to work. 

So there you have the events that have happened to others in my life and have made the month of May what it's been so far. 

A revelation, graduation, celebrations, and an operation. Yes, it's been a busy month.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy "Kissaversary"

So what's a "Kissaversary"? You are about to find out but first a few pictures.  
This one was taken last October when Paula and I went to Shuckles Corn Maze in Tennessee with our friends, Mark & Patty. There have been quite a few pictures of the two of us taken over the years but I really like this one because of its spontaneity and intimacy it captures between us.    

Two months later we found ourselves at the shore of the Gulf of Mexico on a cool December afternoon in Clearwater Beach, Florida. I like this one because...well, who doesn't like a kiss on the beach? 

Another of my favorite kissing pictures was a selfie taken near the shore of Lake Michigan during our August 2012 vacation in Chicago. 
These are just a few shots that capture a trio of the thousands and thousands of kisses my beautiful bride and I have shared over our nearly 2 decades together. 

Which brings me back to the "Kissaversary" thing. It was 18 years ago today that we shared our first face-to-face expression of affection. I say "face-to-face" for a couple of reasons. One of them being, although we were in love for months before, it wasn't until the middle of May 1998 that Paula and I saw each other in person for the first time. Prior to that our relationship had been a long distance romance by way of the Internet and phone conversations. 

Back on May 15, 2009, I posted the story of that first kiss. Now I could simply direct you to that post but instead I'm including a slightly abbreviated version here. It's been quite a few years since this life changing kiss but it's still as fresh in my mind and heart as when it happened. It's my way of, once again, thanking my wife for showering me with her unconditional affection for the last 18 years. I love you Paula; always and forever. Happy Kissaversary. 

Now here's that special story from 1998. 

I stood by the angled tilted metallic conveyor belt in the baggage claim area of the Philadelphia International Airport. I was waiting to retrieve some luggage that wasn't even mine. Standing next to me was a very pretty woman. She looked nervous, almost self conscience, as she too stood there waiting to claim her suitcase.

Soon I realized the reason she was so uncomfortable. I was staring at her. I apologized, did my best to control the excitement I was feeling as a result of just standing next to her and pretended to be interested in wondering where the luggage might be.

When the suitcases and the duffel bags began appearing both of us watched for the one we would claim. When she identified the bag that was hers I picked it up and we walked away together.

Our destination was the 3rd level of the parking structure. We exchanged small talk along the way. The silver blue mini van was right where I'd left it about an hour earlier.

I opened the sliding door on the passengers side of the silver blue minivan and gently lifted her suitcase into the middle seat. I unlocked the passenger door and opened it gesturing for my newly arrived companion to get in.

Before she did I looked into her eyes. The spark that reflected back to me was an echo of the overwhelming joy I was feeling at that moment. I moved closer to her and kissed her.

That was Friday May 14, 1998 and I had just shared a first kiss with the woman who is now my wife. While there have been many since; to this day, each kiss reminds me of the one I will never forget: the first one.

Friday, May 6, 2016

100 Word Review: Captain America: Civil War

Team Cap VS Team Stark: Marvel Fans Win
was very apprehensive about seeing this film. Why would I want to see super heroes battle each other? But Marvel has become so good at storytelling that they had me on board from the start.   

Rather than a "Civil War" this film is about a war that's civil but I mean that in a good way. The Avengers may be on different sides but they never stop being friends.

This is probably the best of all Marvel films so far and there’s lots of surprises. Go and be ready to enjoy yourself. BTW, there are 2 post credit scenes.   

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Precious View

Let me take you back to a moment from this past weekend when Brandi and James, my daughter-in-law and son, invited Paula and I to be present for a small glimpse into the future and a big moment in their lives. 

Saturday May 1, 2016 about 1:45 PM CDT: 
We are seated in a room that's like a small private theater with some medical equipment and a patient exam table. We were in the dark facing a large screen that glowed white from the bulb of a digital projector. Ambient light allowed me to see the faces of others in the room. Like mine they were poised with looks of anticipation. The technician was preparing my daughter-in-law for her ultrasound.We're at a place in Bowling Green called "Precious View." They specialize in sonogram procedures for pregnant women.

A few minutes later an amazing picture appeared on the screen and the sound of my 2nd grandchild's heart beat filled the room. 

The images switched from black and white images to detailed 4D motion video.  

There was a few minutes of different views as the technician searched for views that would give her the information everyone wanted to know. Something that cannot be learned until the start of the 2nd trimester of a pregnancy. 

The 4D views were so detailed that even with an untrained eye I had a pretty good idea what we were about to discover. 

Soon the technician announced that it's time for the reveal. That's when an image came onto the screen with these words: 
I am a boy!

It was a watershed moment for all of us. Brandi and James will now have a son, Aria is going to have a little brother, and Paula and I will have a grandson. 

This addition to our family will arrive sometime near the end of October. Everyone is anxious to meet him. 

Aria, who really really wanted a little sister but is still happy about getting a brother, left the office with a new one of a kind stuffed animal. When she squeezes it she hears the recorded sound of the baby's heartbeat.     

There is so much I could write about in regard to the excitement and hope that a new baby in the family will bring. I'm talking about: seeing him smile for the first time, hearing him laugh at something simple, making a face when trying a food he doesn't like at all. I could go on and on; but I think I'll just share those things with you as they happen.

I just had to share this special event with you today. What are your stories about finding out the sex of your child or grandchild?  Send it to me on: 
Facebook ( 
Twitter (@RHFactors909), 
Email ( 

I'd appreciate you sharing your precious memories with me.