Shel Holtz has tagged me in this meme, and I’m glad to join. Like him, my life is pretty much an open book since I’ve been blogging, especially since I have used my blog to send Christmas/Thanksgiving family newsletters last year and this year. And those who are my Facebook friends have had yet another window into my world.
But while both of our lives may be open books, Shel’s has definitely been checked out of the library more often than mine has, with him being a podcasting rock star and all. So for anyone who’s new to my blog, I’ll mix a few things regular readers might know with some never-before-disclosed items, starting with…
- I’m going to be a Grandpa! Actually, I didn’t know that about me until yesterday, when my daughter Rachel called to tell us that she and her husband Kyle are expecting in September. My Dad was 55 when Rachel became his first grandchild; my wife, Lisa, and I will be 45 at the Borg baby’s birth. We met and became engaged at 18, married at 21 and had Rachel when we were 22 years, 8 months. That’s almost exactly the same age Rachel will be when she delivers.
- We have an unusual family (see above.) I think we’re in about the 99th percentile for family size, with six children. That’s three times the U.S. average. Three boys and three girls, but without the Brady Bunch blended family model. We got them all one at a time. Although we’re of German and Norwegian descent, two of our daughters are Irish twins, born 50 weeks apart. They’re in the same grade in school: one born Sept. 14, the the other Aug. 31, just three hours before the enrollment deadline. Not that it mattered when they were younger, because…
- Lisa has homeschooled all six of our kids, at least until they reached 9th grade. Two (Rachel and Jake) waited until they were high school juniors to start public school, and at that point took advantage of Minnesota’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program, which lets students get both high school and college credit for the same courses. They have both now graduated from UW-La Crosse; Jake turns 21 in March, and Rachel turns 22 a week from today.
- Our kids are living proof that you shouldn’t make snap judgments about athletic or academic ability. Rachel walked at nine months, but she’s one of our three non-athletic kids. Bekah wasn’t even rolling over at that age, and didn’t walk until she was 14 months old, but she was our earliest bike rider and made the high school volleyball and basketball teams as a sophomore. Ruthie couldn’t read until she was seven. Within a week she had progressed to reading chapter books, and I’ve blogged previously about her memorization abilities. She just scored a 31 on her ACT and made the 99th percentile on her PSAT. Joe, our middle son, walked when he was 10 months and 9 days old. We remember that not because it was particularly early or late, but because he walked the day O.J. walked.
- I played in the Minnesota Boys High School Basketball State Tournament, back in the days when basketball shorts were and Kool & the Gang was. We were 24-1 in my senior year, losing in the championship game. You can see my personal highlight reel by becoming one of my Facebook friends. I got this VHS tape thanks to the generosity of a friend whose brother was among the 1 percent or so of people who actually owned a VCR back in 1981, when they cost more than $1,000. My, how times change. We didn’t get to see video of our games until we made the state tournament, although we occasionally would get home in time to see highlights on the 10 p.m. news; now I post video highlights of every one of my daughter’s regular season games on Facebook.
- I’m a self-taught computer programming geek. I took one computer class as a high school junior, where we waited in line to write programs over a modem hooked to a mainframe at Mankato State University. We also had a couple newfangled Apple II+ computers with monochrome monitors and 64K. I spent about a decade tinkering in BASIC after I got out of college, then got a Mac and 4th Dimension programmable database software, which I used for more than a dozen years. Since I got my managerial job in Mayo Clinic media relations, I’ve gotten away from the computer programming. But now, with Facebook’s platform and FBML, it’s time to start experimenting again.
- I ran for State Representative in 1984, when I was 21. I didn’t win, but it led to a 14-year career in politics and government at the local, state and national level, ending as a congressional press secretary.
- I used to dream of being George Will, writing a couple of columns a week to be read all over the world. Blogging has made that dream come true. Well, except for not being featured in the Washington Post or appearing weekly on ABC ‘s This Week. Then there’s the absence of best-selling column compilations, too. But it is kind of a kick to have made blog friends in Houston, Virginia, Chicago and foreign countries like Hong Kong, Australia, Egypt and California.