For the last decade or so I have had two refuges: the OldOld Man’s family home in Southwest Florida & the pad up in Duneland belonging to one of my two childhood best friends, 5 minutes from Lake Michigan. Those refuges recharged me, refueled me, refocused me and kept me on the path to whatever the destiny will be.
Starting his 89th year, the start of the 7th year without his companion, the OldOld Man decided to give up the home in Fort Myers and spend his remaining days with all his friends and family back in Valparaiso. I can’t blame him. He hates the cold but the Pines Village is all interconnected with resplendent cafeterias, a little market that will order groceries special if he has an urging, a gym with personal attendants and most all his remaining friends from high school. Let the bridge games get roudy. We got to the cafeteria to get the keys from his neighbors of 40 years and the whole cafeteria wanted to hug him and invite us to eat. Well, him. He had the respectable hair. I was just the 2nd generation outcast. 🙂

Hell, he doesn’t even like the water to be living so close to The Gulf

oldold-man-skips-one-seafoodIt’s a spent-too-much-time-below-deck-in-World-War-II-during-both-theatres sort-of-thing. I just moved him up from the winter home for the last time. Bittersweet voyages filled with local eateries and backroads up through Birmingham followed by a mad dash home up 65, until he wanted to do IN 43 to US 421 to IN 14 to IN 49. At that case he got to finish it up as I napped. That was expected. Sad, but life moved on.

What I didn’t expect was that my Duneland refuge was going to be pulled out beneath me at the same time.

Five days before the OldOld Man & I dropped off my aunt and mother at the Southwest Florida International Airport and were on the drive out when Gag, one of my two childhood best friends, text me. We hadn’t even made it off the airport road when I received the text. He asked if I had time to chat. Since he’s as phone-adverse as I am, I knew this was bad so I called him right away.

He cut straight to the chase and said him and the family were moving the the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area for a job he was taking in 3 weeks.

HUH?

He had been trying to discuss the working environment with his long-time employer for a couple years now. He said the…well, the rest is his story. More to the point, quick-as-a-hiccup he had a buddy whom he worked with call him about the job. Gag found the home him and the family had coveted: mucho acreage, horse stalls…

Amazing what can happen in 10 days.

Wait? There’s a tech scene in Raleigh-Durham, NC?

According to his brother and sister, the Raleigh-Durham area is froth with new live music and eateries; a mini-Austin, Texas so to speak. Gag’s buddy said it was because of a rise in tech / startup-companies as a result of the big universities investing in the area’s innovative future: North Carolina State, Duke & UNC. Tobacco Road ain’t just for tobacco anymore.

Gag didn’t know about Raleigh’s growth. Gag & I are in the tech industry & neither one of us knew about it.I guess we were busy working.

I asked Kelly Schwedland about Raleigh. Kelly eats, breathes, sleeps and sh*ts startups. He confirmed it and sent along a few links.

Speaking of news we hadn’t told each other

I pointed out that, oh yeah, I got engaged to Katie.

Life really happened while we made other plans.

The new, old hitch in my giddy-up

harpoon-harrys-peace-river-gullIt was in that moment when I felt the tick of the clock again, that point in time where the world shifts on its axis due to the inevitable passage of time. It hit me in the stomach and left me crying when we got back to the family winter home. The culmination of events was a lot to adjust to: sharing one’s life while all the refuges were being taken away. Sprinkle in the passing of a good friend last summer. Throw in that Gag’s family has been my personal Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for 30 years and now it was going to be 3 gas tanks away and I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I could thing to do was to do things that I craved. A swim, a chat with Katie, consuming the book Killing Kennedy in a night and I woke up the next morning unafraid.

[Edit observation] Fulfilling cravings was a life lesson in itself…

I was almost too sarcastic with the OldOld Man when I woke up. He didn’t do anything. I just had a bit of an attitude. It carried throughout the day. There was tranquility when I reached the computer, a calmness when I went to work. The anxiety over BakedFinn and the last two years evaporated into the events of the last position of my life’s chessboard before the last clock turned. The surly competitiveness I had in college, fighting the evil Business majors at Denom U from the position of the righteous Religion department, was back. For the first time in too long to remember, the life experiences were in my favor again. And I’ve been producing at a livemercial-level ever since.

Competin’ with complete disregard for results.

Back in the neighborhood…

Katie and I balance the pros and cons of all the potential homelands: Chicago, Fort Myers, Southern Oregon coast, San Mateo county – California, Albuquerque, Austin, Raleigh (now)…I don’t remember enough Spanish yet to make the native country’s Mediterranean coast our home – did I say yet yet? But for the moment, it’s the new home / same as the old home. And that’s fine with us…give or take a few miles to the Lake Michigan Coast / Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

…working for the Savior

We’ve got friends and family who needed us like I needed Gag. We give 3-4 days a week to those needs. We do it with glee. It’s about time I paid forward some good tidings and wisdom. I’m sure the metaphysics above appreciate it. Gag can be 12 hours away if he’d like. His family is here so he’ll be here a time or two a year. We’ll be there a time or two a year. Our visits will be as frequent as they have been the last couple years. I just never expected to have to change my oil in North Carolina….ever (hint, Gag).

The NWIndiana tech scene better take notice

Raleigh’s growth sounds like something the tech leaders around here better adhere to or lose more of their market share to it. Much of our talent pool has been lost to Austin & Chicago. We should take notice of it and learn why.

Hint: it’s in the things tech folks like to do when they’re away from computers. With their job skills, they plant roots anywhere.

The relationships we’ve built at BakedFinn in our first year are about to really be fruitful in the next year. It’s been a long strange trip but it’s turning into a beautiful ride.

Katie has a pretty sweet gig at Grossbauer. They’ve taken hits on the chin as all agencies have but they have learned that their biggest asset is to remain trusting of their team. They think long term and value all elements of relationships. For Katie’s first job out of college it couldn’t be a better place. Such synergy is hard to find around here. Oh yeah, that’s a second hint.

And it’s only another Amos Lee song that hits me in the gut when I think about life

“Street Corner Preacher,” from his Live at the Artists Den concert. He put a new level of energy into it.

Lyrics to Street Corner Preacher by Amos Lee

He got a new mercy
A new grace
Street corner preacher
With the angry face
He got 2 years off
For good behavior
Back in the neighborhood
Working for the savior
There’s two old ladies
And a junkie, noddin off
He can see for sure
That his work is cut out
Though he walks thru the shadows
We won’t fear his neighbor
Back in the neighborhood
Working for the savior

[Chorus:]

Bau, bau
Put it on back
Ah put it in
Ah bau bau,
Put it ooh bop
Ah put it in
Ah bau bau
Put it ooh bop
Ah put it in
Ah, bau bau
Ya ya

[Verse 2:]

Well he understands
The need for livin it large
But it’s hard to get a job
With a felony charge
Now he’s working in a hospital
Washin dishes
Walking thru the fields
To the lost inhibitions
There is death everywhere
The new benediction
To save the lives
From the waking death is his conviction
The eyes of man
Well he seeks no favor
Back in the neighborhood
Workin for the savior

[Pre-Chorus:]

But there’s a whole lot of trouble all around
Every night the same old siren sound
Ah there’s a whole lot of trouble all around
Children, soldiers, in this battle ground

[Chorus:]

Ah put it in
Ah bau bau
Put ’em bop
Ah put it in
Ah bau bau
Put ’em bop
Ah put it in
A bau bau
Ya ya

[Verse 3:]

Well a new sun
And a second chance
He unbolts the door
And hops ever the fence
Young woman with a baby
That her daddy gave her
Back in the neighborhood
Workin for the savior
But all around
The war rages on
Burnt out houses
With the front door gone
Well his faith is his fountain
His love is his neighbor
Back in the neighborhood
Workin for the savioor

[Bridge:]

Whoa oh oh oh, oh
Yea, ahhh,

[Chorus:]

Bau, bau
Put it on back
Ah put it in
Ah bau bau,
Put it ooh bop
Ah put it in
Ah bau bau
Put it ooh bop
Ah put it in
Ah, bau bau
Ya ya

[Outro:]

He got a new mercy
A new grace
Street corner preacher
With the angry face
He got two years off
For good behavior
Back in the neighborhood
Workin for the savior

For Now

BakedFinn now has a portfolio we put together pretty quickly in the last year. It makes up for all the livemercial portfolio examples we lost when the the ole’ place went down. No more will I have old bosses trying to throw that predictable lack of evidence in my face during debates, even when those issues were supposed to be non-issues in the beginning. (By the way, you still owe me a case of Gumballhead). We’ve got a couple clients having record months and a couple more we’re really looking forward to. We’ve got a migration project kicking our ass…but we charge on. And as Amos Lee sang, we do it with, and angry face.

And in this moment

I’ve seen the newest episode of Doctor Who today thrice now. Vintage. It looks like it’s a couple 3:45 naps tonight because that’s how long it takes for the bowl under the bathroom sink to fill up. The rust-induced link behind the shut-off valves would break due right on the pipe. Gym, deadline rush, dinner with the oldold man, cleaning, the landlord’s plumber and another week…

back in the neighborhood workin’ for the Savior.

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