The move is on. . .

May 2, 2007

As of today we no longer own a home. We are paying rent for the first time in 31 years. It is only for one month. We are relocating from Indiana to Las Vegas and the cost of moving is not staggering, but moving from the seventh lowest-cost of living urban area to one of the fastest growing urban areas is staggering. We love our home and enjoy it more than love it. Yet, it remains a home and not an obsession. Our new home is the same size, just $195,000 more than what we just sold our “old” home for. After doing the numbers we find we can afford a new home, even if sticker shock really does apply.

Finding a home was not as easy as we thought it would be. The last two homes we purchased were in small markets with few homes available. We looked for 1 or 2 days and saw what we thought were best picks. Time in the community affirmed our decisions. DSC00196.JPGThis time we struggles. JoAnn searched for 2-days and found a few in our price range. I didn’t like any of them so on the third day we started all over again and this time we found 3 homes we were both comfortable with. The first home was clearly our favorite – 3 bedrooms, den, living room, family room and the master bedroom was a dream room. So was all the grass. The price, however, meant we would probably only eat every 3rd day, so that was out. The next two we selected were much easier and found them comfortable. The one we have purchased was comfortable to us from the moment we walked in the door. It was clean, relatively new (4 years), warm southwestern colors throughout (check out the photo of the spare bathroom – we will issue sunglasses) except for the laundry room and spare bathroom. They too remained a part of the southwestern theme. For JoAnn the key selling point was the 12 to 15 feet of kitchen counter. She is dreaming about the cupboard space and counter space.
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And so once again we are moving, but for the first time in 35 years we are moving west. In 1972 we left California for 2 years in Utah, a masters degree, and back to California. Somehow Kansas, Iowa, and Indiana got in the way over the ensuing 33 years. Years that we will never forget or regret. The desert was probably not our first choice, but in fact, it was. We are going to enjoy being west after all of these years. I’m leaving my snow shovel and salt behind for our new home owners. I’m leaving my lawnmower behind for my good friend who has a large acreage, and we are embracing a desert lifestyle (so to speak).
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On the Road, Again

April 29, 2006

The truth is, I lead a pretty sedentary life. I don’t travel much, I enjoy being at home, and I enjoy the opportunity to focus on my community, which is mostly the university. Trips are not an interference as much as they are an opportunity. Herein lies what seems to be an overarching theme – a chance to grow. This past week I’ve spent time in Utah and California, visiting with family and a university in that order. In the former I had the opportunity to spend time with two of our extended families and their children.

As I visited this morning with a former parks and recreation director he said, when it is all said and done, what is most important is family. That was refreshing to hear. I don’t hear it nearly often enough. We get so caught up in our day to day activities, in our goal to be or do better. It is families that we find an eternal perspective. I don’t know my great grandfathers or their great grandfathers, except as names on a genealogy sheet. However, I did know my grandfather and somehow I sense that he knew his grandfather and that through his life he honored both his father and grandfather. Okay, I know that is a broad and probably highly erroneous assumption, but some of us like to live in the world of assumptions – for good or bad.

Nonetheless, I do believe that the time I spend with my family strengthens their knowledge of me, strengthens me as I see their personal growth and development – physical, emotional, and spiritual. I revel in that personal growth – just as I revel in the personal growth of my spouse. I have come to the conclusion after my time in Utah that my wife’s frequent trips to visit children are all important.
I'm So Cool

Coming back to my theme – I do learn from my children and grandchildren. I’m also reinvigorated by their personal growth, by the knowledge they share with me (directly and indirectly). As I watch my children interact with one another and with their spouses I see reflections of their mother, and of their father, but I like to think the really positive things in their life come from their mother.

Learning, then is not always something new. Sometimes it is a feeling or a focus or a sense of time or place. Learning sometimes comes as a reinforcement to existing knowledge, other times as a side trip that turns into excitement, or yet other times as a rude awakening. Yesterday as I sat reading a report describing low enrollment in an academic program it was couched as “being at the end of a product life cycle.” I have always pursued enrollment declines as a cyclical issue rather than a marketing issue. This was startling to me and has caused me to begin rethinking who we are. If the park and recreation academic marketplace is at the end of a product lifecycle, then sport management is very much at the front end of its product lifecycle. The challenge becomes how do we reposition ourselves to reinvigorate the lifecycle? That’s a discussion for another time.

The Children Came Home!

March 14, 2006

The children came home this past weekend. It seems a bit of misnomer when I first write that. The children range from 21 to 36 and just coming home takes a herculean effort on their part. They literally come from the mountain west to the coastal plains of the southeast. So coming home means a lot to us. We had a great weekend for all of us. One was not home due to previous commitments, but was fortunate and spend a couple of days with her aunt! Some were home for less than 48 hours and two are still with us. How come my family is functional (by my definition) when so many others aren’t. By the way, I know lots of functional families.

I know too many families that don’t have time for each other. Everyone is focused on work with family a poor second. Yet my family – from my grandparents to my grandchildren – are focused. I remember as a child that we would drive any distance to be home for Christmas. Many times when we live far away we would leave at 8 pm and drive through the night – just to be there for Christmas day. We still gather when we can, although not as often. Our lives have changed, but not our love. In our own family our children will gather “at the drop of a hat” as my father says. We don’t need many excuses. As one daughter expressed in her email last night “I have such a fun time.
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I can’t wait for another get together – can we have a ton of cake again?” That seems to be the tenor of this family, we have fun together. It may be just talking, reminiscing, or planning for the next big get-together. We aren’t perfect, but over Thanksgiving we had 10 children from 4 families all in the same house!
So what brings us all together to enjoy ourselves so much? Is it because we all like each other, or we all love each other, or there is a sense of acceptance and love. I think it is all of that and more. I have watched the sons and daughters grow and become best friends with themselves and with their Mom and I can tell you mom would rather spend time with her daughters than anyone else, except maybe me. I think that what pulls a family together is a common love, tolerance, and appreciation for each other. Those are surface words and don’t convey the depth of feeling that is present when a family comes together. Gone are the days of rancor between teenagers (but maybe not all of the differences), replaced by the growth that has occurred in each family member. It is what we like to call building an eternal family. I firmly believe in eternal families and that the work we do in this lifetime is what sustains us hereafter as a family.

I hear through academia, the news, and from observation that families are not the same as they once were. That may be more true than false, but families remain the core source of learning, social development and acceptance, values, attitudes (here we can debate), and love. It is our responsibility as parents to help our families become eternal, to become a place of refuge, to share our love one with another. In these types of settings family members can grow and be nourished. I look forward to future generations where family remains important.