I grew up hunting. From the time I remember, I was tripping and stumbling through a pheasant field, gunless of course. I was the pheasant peasant, they would load me up with the harvested birds and let me carry them around. I still remember the feel of their sharp claws, beaks, and at times, their last movements.
Being out in the field, wind and leaves blowing, the browns of the grass fields, it was really special. I was lucky enough to grow up hunting behind some of the best dogs you could imagine. Most of them were German Shorthairs, and they were fantastic! They would work back and forth until they caught just the faintest smell of a bird. The dogs would lock into a pointing position, signaling to us that there was a bird close. Sometimes, the dogs would work together and point together, one pointing from a far, the other working closer and closer until the dog was sure the bird was really close. This would allow us to work towards the bird and get into position. Those moments, before the bird was flushed up and out, were magical! For anyone that has experienced that, it's amazing, isn't it? For those that haven't, please, try it!
After the bird was flushed up, there would be a designated shooter, ready to harvest the bird. If that person missed, there was always a skilled shooter ready to pull the trigger. The sound of the shotguns, some pumps, some over and unders (nobody really used semi-autos then) were really exciting as a young boy. You couldn't imagine something that loud, but it didn't hurt your ears. I always attributed it to being outside in the open, and having adrenaline pumping through your veins.
When the bird was shot, the dogs would amaze me once again, finding a literal needle in a haystack, grabbing the bird, and with a mouth so soft, soft enough to not puncture the bird, the dog would retrieve the bird to their owner. That's when I'd be loaded up with the bird.
At the end of the day, my feet and legs were tired as could be. Kicking through the high weeds and grass all day, trudging through the snow, and carrying the added weight of the pheasant, it made for a physical day. But to be outside with my dad, Uncles, cousins and their dogs, shooting guns and enjoying the outdoors, that was the best thing for me!
Kel Tec PF9 Misfeed Fix!
I have had my Kel Tec PF9 for a few years now, and haven't had an ounce of trouble with it. I've shot it well and it continues to be one of my favorite concealed carry guns. That was until a few weeks ago, I started to have misfeeds.
As you can see, the chambered round would go off well, but the case would remain in the chamber as the next round try to come up through the magazine. My initial thought was that it was ammunition. After trying a couple different rounds, I still continued to have the same problem. Then I started to think it may be the extractor. It did seem as if the extractor was just slipping off the spent round, leaving it behind.
I went back to the house, jumped on Google and found the solution! Kel Tec PF9's have been having extractor problems, and a lot of people said that a replacement extractor fixed their troubles. I had a great experience with Kel Tec customer service. After a couple back and forth comments on a support ticket, the new extractor was on its way! The real work started after I received the new extractor... The bolt that holds the extractor in place, along with the firing pin, was TOUGH!! It was a T11 Torx bit. I grabbed the proper size, and STRIP... This lead me to try different sizes torx, common and phillips head screwdrivers, and nothing. I even went to Ace Hardware and bought a screw extractor kit, meant to remove a stripped screw, to no avail. Lastly, I added a little PB Blaster, then used a dremel tool and small disc to cut a slot into the screw head. I barely had enough space to get the disc to the screw head without hitting the slide, but managed to get a decent slot cut into the screw. The moment of truth... AND SUCCESS! The screw came out!
Sandals Royal Bahamian
To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, my wife and I decided to get away a couple months ahead of the anniversary to enjoy a little vacation. 10 years prior, we went to Sandals Negril Jamaica. It was everything we could have asked for, and we have been looking forward to going back to a Sandals Resort at some point, and our 10th anniversary seemed to be the best time!
Why the Bahamas?
Why didn't we go back to Sandals Negril? Airline points! Due to my wife's business, she had obtained a companion pass from Southwest Airlines, and had a decent amount of points accumulated. Southwest had just so happened to finalize routes from Chicago to the Bahamas shortly before our trip!
We made the couple hour drive to Chicago, hopped onto a plane, and flew straight through to the Bahamas! The Sandals in the Bahamas, the Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay, both looked amazing. We settled on the Royal Bahamian by feel mostly, but we also knew that the resort was being renovated shortly before our arrival.
The Private Island
Radio Strap from JP Custom Leatherworks
Caution When Ordering: Updated Dec 12, 2019
As an unbiased reviewer, I've heard enough recent issues with order fulfillment and customer service responses that I feel the need to give an update and a caution.
As you can see in the reviews below, some customers are experiencing issues with receiving their radio straps. I've also received an email or two from his unhappy customers. If you follow JP Custom Leatherworks on their social media, you can see that he's still working and fulfilling orders. My guess... he's a little too busy for the orders he's taking, leading to delayed fulfillment and the inability to get to customer service requests as needed.
I still believe in the quality of the radio strap I received. I've continued to be very happy with the quality of my radio strap and how well it's held up over the last two years.
I'm stoked to be able to write about the amazing customer service and stand out product from Joe at JP Custom Leatherworks! I worked with Joe on a custom firefighter radio strap and radio holster, something different than the standard Boston Leather and something more reasonable than the Second Alarm radio strap. A handful of guys I work with at the fire department already have some radio straps, a few different brands, but nobody had ventured into Joe's products. I couldn't wait to see how his products compared, and I couldn't be happier!
As a fire department, we use Motorola portable fire radios. When we find ourselves in an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous for Life and Health) environment, this could mean a smoke filled room and/or a hot environment, we have to be prepared. This is where firefighter radio straps are becoming popular. Traditional placement of fire radios are in an exterior coat pocket, and the cord of the mic is exposed to the dangerous environment. Recent changes and studies have shown benefit to protecting the radio in a holster and doing so with it under your bunker coat. Then, the mic can be run through the opening of the bunker coat, exposing just what is needed, instead of the full length of the mic cord. This has led me to try a radio strap in training and during fires.
After a couple emails back and forth, Joe and I had decided on a leather type, stamps, and colors for the stamps. I was really happy with the turnaround time as well. All of the custom leather companies are 6-8 weeks out for custom radio straps, and JP Custom Leatherworks was no different. Want to know what was different with Joe? He actually emailed me a couple times throughout the process to let me know how the process was going! I've mentioned this to a couple of firefighters I work with and they are all floored with this! None of the other companies kept them updated.
North Country Trail and Manistee River Trail
Living in northern Indiana, there isn't a lot of great hiking close. A couple friends of mine have scheduled a hiking/camping trip every year for the last couple. Our last experience was in Turkey Run State Park in the center of Indiana. When were were scouting out our next experience, we knew we wanted to hike on some beautiful trails, and camp for a couple nights. Another group of friends had just returned from hiking/camping in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. After some recommendations, quite a bit of studying, we were set and ready for another great experience!
My experience with Acorns
After a recent visit with my Edward Jones advisor, I was informed of a new policy that Edward Jones is utilizing. They are moving towards a different model of fee structure. Now, I'm a firefighter, so I'm not investing thousands and thousands... more like hundreds, and at times, tens! So according to my advisor, any change in my investing would have started my account under the new fee structure, which would cost me a lot more money in fees over the year. I've been wanted to invest a slight bit more, but I would be losing money each year if I made an increase in investments due to the fee structure.
With this change, I started to look elsewhere for an investing vehicle that I could play around with. I like the idea investing in some stocks that I'm interested in, but can't afford that kind of risk when investing in only one stock. After some searching, I found Acorns, Robin Hood and Stash. I signed in, messed around with each, and I ended up with an Acorns account and have been enjoying it over the last couple of months.
I wanted Robinhood to work for me the most. I loved the idea of zero-commission trades and the fact that I could choose which stocks I wanted to invest in. But, quickly I learned, Robinhood was not supported by my regional bank 1st Source Bank... Bummer, onto the next one.
The First Moments
How do you feel when you first arrive on the scene? The first moment, is the hardest for me.
Recently, we dealt with a severe patient. As we pulled up on scene we knew it was going to be a tough, working call. It was a traumatic injury, and we had our work cut out for us.
I find those early moments similar to the moments before a big test, or the moments before a big race (marathon, triathlon, etc.) It's not as if you don't want to do them, but that first step is the hardest. For me, the hardest part is touching the patient for the first time. It's a time clock that I don't want to start.
The moments during the call go by like a blur. Sometimes things go well, and sometimes things don't go well, but the worst part is touching the patient for the first time. It's not knowing if the person is alive or dead. It's not knowing if they are breathing or not. It's not knowing if they are warm or cold. It's not knowing if they are bloody. The unknown is hard to grasp, but it comes at you like a freight train as soon as you touch the patient, for the first time.
If any first responder is reading this, don't hesitate to reply back to this post. Send me a message on Facebook, send me an email, lets talk it out.
Also, feel free to dig into some other posts about topics like this one. To the right are Categories that my posts have been broken up in. Read away!
Visiting Pearl Harbor
In June of this year, while vacationing in Hawaii, I was blessed to be able to take my family to Pearl Harbor. As someone who is interested in history, WWII history in particular, this was a must-visit! I've visited before, when I was 15, but unfortunately wasn't mature enough to understand what I was looking at. This visit was going to be different!
The format of Pearl Harbor is a little interesting. There are a handful of exhibits that you can see for free. There are some memorials and other features placed around the harbor, but most of the big things, you'll need to buy a reservation/ticket for. The most competitive ticket is the tour of the USS Arizona, the most important feature of the whole experience.
There are a couple options. The first option is to pay a pretty penny and buy the all inclusive tour. This can be done through visitpearlharbor.org or pearlharboroahu.com. After some discussion with customer support at Pearl Harbor, we decided to buy the Passport to Pearl Harbor tickets from visitpearlharbor.org, which is the Pearl Harbor Visitor's Bureau. We bought the standard Passport, not the deluxe, to save a little bit of money.
Now, the Passport DOES NOT INCLUDE tickets to see the USS Arizona. We were driving ourselves because we wanted the flexibility of getting there when we wanted to, and leaving when we wanted to. We have three children, 8, 6 ,and 4, so we wanted the option of leaving if the 4 year old started to melt down. We could have bought an all inclusive tour pass, tour bus and all, but we would have been on their schedule. We decided to drive ourselves, which caused us to get creative with the tickets. So we bought the Passport, which left us responsible for buying the USS Arizona tickets. The tickets are free, if you want to arrive at 6am and wait in line. There are a limited amount of tickets, and no guarantee that you'll get tickets. But customer service recommended that we try to grab tickets online through Recreation.gov. This website allows buying tickets for many of America's parks, forests, and monuments, including the USS Arizona. This only costs $1.50 per ticket service fee. The catch with this service though, is that the tickets are opened up only 24 hours prior. We rolled the dice, jumped online 24 hours before we had planned on going, and were able to buy 9 tickets without a problem. We wanted to go a little earlier in the day, but no tickets were available. We ended up going right around noon, which worked well. All in all, we paid $65 per adult, $35 per child, and the service fee for the USS Arizona tickets. This allowed us access to everything we wanted to see, gave us the flexibility to do what we wanted, and we weren't pressed for time!
Ups and Downs of Lipsense Downlines
Husband of a Lipsense Distributor
There could be a lot of reasons you ended up here. Are you interested in learning more about the business? Is your wife thinking about selling Lipsense through SeneGence? Does your wife already sell Lipsense and you need someone to talk to? Well you are in the right place.
About a month ago, my wife decided to leave her position in an interior design business that she co-founded with her mom. They did amazing work, like out of a design magazine kind of stuff! We live near the University of Notre Dame and there is a lot of residential buildings going up, most of which is bought and inhabited with out of town buyers. It's really hard to furnish a condo or townhouse when you live out of town, so my wife's business struck gold by being in the position to provide a "turn-key" product. That means when the owners would enter the condo/townhouse for the first time, they would walk into a place right from the design magazines! Over the last several years, they went from a small mother/daughter business, to growing big enough to employ staff, and had a revenue upwards of a quarter million dollars! The money around Notre Dame is insane, and their business was able to grow inside that insanity!
This last year, though, things started to become tough for my wife. The working relationship with her mom started to take precedence over their familial relationship. They also dealt with a couple of really tough clients. One of which, via email, had them moving artwork a quarter inch at a time! THROUGH EMAIL! "I don't really like where that picture is positioned, can you move it a quarter inch lower?" They also had to deal with the natural ebbs and flows of visitors coming to Notre Dame. The building phases would allow a lot of activity and sales directly before the football season, then another burst right after classes ended. This led to some financial challenges during the decorating "off season". So after much thought, prayer and conversation, my wife decided to look elsewhere for an opportunity to provide some income for our family, and another challenge!
Jack of All Trades, Master of None