It was an exciting year, full of fun, challenges, and changes #Kids #Life #Mentalhealth


First Day

For Emily, it was her last year of Lower El. The last year of Ruch kids for Mrs. Clarice.  It was another good year for her. She continued to be the social butterfly. With friends of all ages. There were challenges, particularly the running club. But she persevered for the most part.

It was another great year of Girl Scouts for her. Kim took over the Troop officially. They had a good year, although it was exhausting just to see Kim on Mondays between Scout meetings. Emily did have a stellar year of cookie sales, reaching her goal of 2000 cookies!

She continues to mature and grow. She is smart as a whip when she wants to apply herself. And is a joy for all her teachers to have in class. She is more than ready for the next level next year though.


Last Day


First Day

This was a big year for Danny. First year at a new school. The first year of Middle school. First full year as a Boy Scout. I cannot say enough about how much he has grown this year: mentally, emotionally and physically.

We were a little worried about he would do academically at the new school. There were some initial challenges. But in the end, the picture below is him after accepting awards for the Arrow Club (requires a 3.5 GPA for at least 2 quarters) and Excellence in Social Studies. Turns out he really thrived in a more traditional academic classroom over the openness of the Montessori.

Socially he has also grown, he has made friends at the new school that he enjoys spending time with. And watching him at this last Boy Scout Camp showed me how well he is capable of handling himself in large group settings.

For Boy Scouts, he continues to enjoy himself. Kim has joined him as well as Assistant Scout Master (Yay Super Mom Kim!) He earned his first rank. And seems to enjoy the meetings and being a Scout. Which I think is really good for him.


Last Day


First Day

Last, there is this guy. As you can see there was a lot of growth for him. Physically he continues to mature. His first year of High School was full of challenges. There were some successes along the way. And I envision a bright future for him.

James discovered a love of singing this year in Men’s Choir. While not naturally gifted he does enjoy the singing. Which balances out his wrestling to keep him balanced. Wrestling season was solid for a JV year. He continues to enjoy the physical challenge.

Academics were a challenge. Poor study habits, laziness, and health conspired to keep him from realizing his full potential. And then there were the emotional issues.

We finally recognized the symptoms and got James the help he needs as he was diagnosed with Depression (damn genetics.) Of course this after a nearly wasted quarter, many arguments and trials, followed by a scare when he decided to simply run away one night. All is well now on this front.

All of the above were not helped by his learning the challenges of teenage relationships. That contributed to the wasted quarter and the stress that led to the attempt to simply run away.

However, after getting the help that he needed he was able to turn things around. Turning a failing semester into an average Semester. He now has the understanding of what he needs to do in the future to succeed, and I think the emotional balance that is also needed to get there.


Last Day

It was an interesting school year, to say the least. Made even more interesting by my own life changes as I transitioned to a new job.  We could not have done as well as we did without the aid of Supermom Kim. Here we are at the beginning of Summer break.

The kids all have activities. Summer enrichment programs take up the month of June. Everyone has at least one camp. James starts with his wrestling camp. Then Emily has her first sleep away camp. Later in the summer, Kim joins Emily and then Danny for other Scout camps. While I work, due to the lack of vacation time that comes with a new job.  All in all, life remains good for the most part.


I’m still here, living the dream #mentalhealth

For all my followers, I am still here. The time off had nothing to do with any major problems for me. I am healthy (for the most part) and happy (for the most part.) Life has just been full of adjustment and some drama for the family.

But everyone is healthy (for the most part.) No one is hurt or damaged. School is still going on, along with Scouting. My work is becoming routine, but never boring. Look forward to a more detailed post this weekend.

Phone number color definitions:
Purple = Phone number is not in BETTI
Red = Phone number is in BETTI on an existing SP or Consumer
Green = Phone number is a metered number owned by HomeAdvisor

HA Hunter

Community, duty, acceptance #mentalhealth #life

This was an interesting week. In the past 2 weeks, I have seen some great examples of real community. Which did not deter me from realizing that my made up personal duty was just creating personal grief. Which led me to just take the initiative and I am now feeling better.


Tuesday night we attended a free concert at our son’s high school. (We did not know about this choir concert until that morning, he said was not told about it, in a stunning example of teenage ‘forgetfulness’.) It was a group concert made up of choir groups from all of our Westside schools. From a select choir from 3 elementary schools, choirs from both middle schools, and the different choirs from the high school itself. It truly was a community event. Which not nearly enough people attended or publicized it. I think it is great to live in a place that is willing to channel and encourage that kind of community.

Just the week before a different community gathered to celebrate some youngsters. It was the Cub Scout pack crossing over ceremony for the Pack that Danny was a member of. And I helped gather some extra ‘alumni’ from the Pack to attend. Because it was a chance to honor the Committee Chair who has been a guiding force behind the Pack for many years.

When I reflect on these two events I am encouraged that I live in a place and time where, despite the current tenor of cultural and political divide, people can celebrate community. A community that thrives because of its diversity. A community of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds and economic status.

I am not a community organizer, or gatherer, or leader. That is just not me. I wish I was, but I know myself better. However, I do know that there are folks out there that do that sort of thing. And it heartens me to realize that events like this are taking place.

Speaking of organizing and community. When I put together the most recent iteration of the boys D&D game it was partially out of a sense of duty. I wanted to do my part to spread the joy of this game. And also to provide an option for the child of a departed friend. The game had become a source of tension in my life recently. I was beginning to sense that at least my boys were not enjoying it as much. And I was not enjoying it as much either. Well, this week I was planning the game and that sense of unease was coming on again. So I accepted that as a sign. And realized that it was not smart of me to keep plunging forward with something that was creating personal problems out of a sense of duty. So I just decided to place the game on hold. And my mental unease greatly diminished as a result. A line from one of my favorite book series was apropos in this case for me:

Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather

Just the idea that doing something purely out of a sense of duty can truly weigh you down. It can be a greater burden than you realize.

Anyway, life goes on. Heartened by the realization that I am part of a greater community. And accepting that duty is important, but a misplaced sense of duty can have a worse effect on your well-being than is immediately obvious.

Routine resumes #Life #Mentalhealth

Finally had a full week. The kids had a full week of school. I had my first full week of work on the floor. The kids were mostly able to return to their normal sleeping arrangements. About the only thing missing was the regular Monday events because of the crazy wind storm that shut the schools down. It felt good.

My first full week of regular work went very well. I continue to shine in the basics. With most every call I can feel myself getting better. The calls get easier. I can foresee doing this for quite a while.

The kids all made it through their first (mostly) full week of school. Which went well. No traumas. Jimmy even had a chance to wrestle with the Varsity at their dual. He wrestled well but lost. The kids all seemed to adjust to the new reality of Dad working again.

Kim even undertook the project of getting our room rearranged. Setting up her new entertainment options in there. The goal being for her (and us) to have the option of a place where we can go and hide away when necessary.

I don’t want to go overboard, but I feel good about where we all are. I don’t have the same feelings of boredom and tedium I had at my last job. While there is a general undercurrent of worry about politics it is not a constant preoccupation. I am not letting sports occupy my time either. (Although I am impressed by the choices my teams made for their new head coaches.) In general, my mind has happily been focused on work, and role playing. Which is a good place to be in for me, living in the now where I have control of what I am doing.

It is still just the first real week of the New Year, but the return to a routine felt good. And the new elements of that routine are improved and manageable.

Clear the proverbial decks #life

In a scant 4 days, the routine of work will return to the life of Freerangegeek. It will have been almost exactly 4 months since the layoff occurred. In that time there have been ups and downs in the life of Freerangegeek. In some ways, if he believed in a higher power, he would think there was a special purpose behind everything that happened.

He has been able to help care for his mother. When she was hurt, just being of general use, and now after her surgery. He would not have been able to be nearly this helpful and present had he remained employed where he was. While it was not necessarily fun to be out of work, he is glad he was able to do all of that.

He was also able to be a more active part of the transition for his boys as they moved to their respective new schools and dealt with the changes. That is a great comfort to him. Knowing that his presence was there to help guide them through this patch.

Now it is time for him to clear the proverbial decks. Get the house in a more ideal status. Take care of some minor household duties he has been putting off. Get himself organized in his mind and spirit so he can face the new job with a clear head and focus. Just some trivial things that he has meant to do in his time off and just had not gotten around to it.

Freerangeek is excited by the changes and opportunities. He feels that the family is as ready as they can be to adjust to his working again. He has even begun tackling some more active things in his life as part of this change. He is as ready as he can be.

It was occasionally difficult, but the transition period is almost over #life

It is a hungry and tired morning for the Freerangegeek. He has an appointment today for a colonoscopy (welcome to turning 50!) Which meant he had to fast all day yesterday, then spend last night on the couch in between trips to the bathroom. He is really looking forward to getting home this afternoon and preparing a meal.

However, he is still in a good mood. Because he was hired yesterday, ending the job search that was bringing him down. It is a definite pay cut from his previous place of employment. But it is doing work that he knows he can excel at. And the company is growing and has a track record of promoting from within, along with the potential for pay increases. So he can envision making more money eventually.

Most importantly he knows that with his capable and beautiful at the controls of the family budget that the necessary things will be paid for. Second most important, the company is not open on weekends so he will be able to continue with his favored hobby meetings.

Also, number one son is beginning to show signs of getting a handle on school. And there are chances to see said son excel at his sport of choice.

It was an interesting 3 months. It allowed Freerangegeek to get some perspective. To get a crucial transitional school year for his progeny off to a good start. And he had a chance to enjoy numerous fun events for the family and friends. It was a unique way to transition to his 50th year on the planet. But he is thankful that it is almost over and he can return to a more normal schedule and life pattern.

Handling disappointment and making the best of it #Life

Last week was not a great week. The election was so disappointing. The follow-up was not easy to accept. I was fighting what I thought might be the beginning of a cold. I was really looking forward to the weekend and the escape of my role playing. Only to end up with more disappointment.

Saturday was relaxing for the most part. We got some work done in cleaning up the house. Kim did some Scout events. Then I received an e-mail that my Pathfinder game was canceled. The GM was sick and unable to run the game. Which meant that my monthly escape from house and family was not going to happen.

That was upsetting and disappointing. I was really looking forward to the game. Excited about the game itself. I had a lot of ideas for the game and things I could do. It was not solely about the escape. But the escape was still very important.

Kim was very understanding. Which helped. I had to accept it.

I did end up getting out anyway. I went and saw a good movie, Dr. Strange, that I really enjoyed. I drove around some and then got some food. Took some time to read and finish a good book. And did my best to avoid the Broncos game, not wanting or needing additional disappointment.

It turned out that I was avoiding what was a stressful but good football game. In total, my teams had a great weekend. That helped me some.

In all, I overcame all of the terrible feelings in my life. I watched plenty of football. I saw a good movie. I finished a good book. I won’t say it was easy. The feelings of disappointment from the election are still there. But I have the opportunity to play next weekend and the week after that, so chances to escape do dot the horizon.