Flying Lessons

Flying Lessons

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

June 6, 2000. That was the date of my first flying lesson. Learning to fly is about ten times harder than learning to drive a car. As children growing up, we watch our parents driving. So by the time it is our turn to learn, we already know what the brake and accelerator pedals are for. We already know how steering works and what the gauges represent. But flying is a whole new animal. So it becomes a lot harder to learn. I received my student pilot certificate on June 19th. It took me until December 17, 2001 to get my private pilot license.

Why did it take so long? I wanted to learn to fly since I was a child. I was always reading books about flying. I subscribed to Flying Magazine for years. When I was 42, my wife Anke said that I had better start taking flying lessons while I was still young enough. That gave me the last shove I needed. I finally had the money, and I was ready to learn.

My first instructor was Rich Baker. He was a Navy pilot. I really liked his style of teaching. He signed me off for my First Solo on July 31, 2000.

From that point on, I spent about half my flying hours in the air by myself practicing. I couldn’t carry passengers until I had my private license. I really looked forward to that day. I flew all summer and into the fall. I was getting close to being ready to take my practical exam when I ran out of money.

If I had it to do over again, I would have just charged the lessons on a credit card and kept on flying. I started taking lessons again the end of April 2001. The break set me back a bit and I had to re-learn a few things. Then, the end of June my instructor got another job. I had trouble finding another instructor. I finally got linked up with Joe Fishbum and the flying club. I was back flying again the beginning of July.

I was ready for my practical exam the beginning of September. I scheduled the exam date and then the worst happened on September 11th. All aircraft in the United States were grounded. I had to wait till September 24th to get back in the air. Then I had to reschedule my practical exam for October 31st. The day came and I flew to La Crosse for my test. After I left the house the examiner called to tell me not to come. He canceled the test due to high winds. So, when I got there I had to fly back home again. We rescheduled for December 17th. When that day came, the weather was perfect. No wind. stable and haze. I aced the exam. I was very pleased. I just crossed off a big accomplishment for my bucket list.

The fun begins.

— Eric H

Complete Inspection Services

Complete Inspection Services

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

I started Complete Inspection Services in the fall of 1999. I turned in my two weeks notice at Best Buy so my last day would be the day before Thanksgiving. I did NOT want to do another day after Thanksgiving there. The year before was absolute chaos. The manager offered me a three-dollar per hour raise to stay. But I told him. “It’s not about the money”, and quit.

David had gone to work for the Many Rivers Adolescent Treatment Center and told me I might enjoy working there as an on-call staff.

That fall and for the next two years I worked an average of 30 hours per week while I built up my business. Many Rivers was a fun place to work for me. There were three units for kids. The Start Unit for kids that were there for the first time had a short-term program from 30 to 90 days. Kids that returned or had behavioral problems that needed to be dealt with were moved into the Restore Unit. That program held kids for up to a year and a half.

The third unit was originally called the Eagles Unit and was later named the Stop Unit. Stop was for the kids that were there for the sex offender program. I enjoyed working with the Stop Unit the most, because the kids were better behaved and seemed to genuinely appreciate the help we were giving them. There was also some staff there that I liked better than the others.

I would help kids with their schoolwork, take them to appointments, play basketball and games with them and generally treat them as I would my child. I enjoyed being a positive role model for them. Eventually, my business picked up to the point where it was a full-time job.

Complete Inspection Services, Inc. was any home inspection company. Mostly, I worked with people in the process of purchasing a home or getting ready to sell. I would go in and spend about 2-1/2 hours inspecting a property. Then I’d create a thirty page written report on the current conditions of the home.

Most people really appreciated the work I did. But the litigious society we live in would cause some people to come back and try to sue me later if I missed something that was not visible or when I was not able to tell them something they felt I should have found.

— Eric H

Moving to Rochester

Moving to Rochester

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

I was living on the money I collected from my 401K accounts when I left RMCI and some small unemployment checks. Things were getting more desperate by the day. We had worn out our welcome at Anke’s friends house and moved into an old metal trailer home in a poor neighborhood south of Dallas. The trailer was in such sad shape that when it rained, we had to set pans around in different rooms and in the hallway to collect rainwater, the ceiling leaked terribly.

One day while working out in the yard, I accidentally put my hand into a fire ant mound. Painful experience. My unemployment checks and savings were rapidly disappearing, and I was becoming more and more depressed. If I didn’t find work soon, we would lose the trailer and what little we had left. In effect, if things didn’t change soon, we would join the ranks of the homeless. It is hard for me to say, but I was at the end of my rope and very depressed.

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Susan and Mr Otterson

Ken, Susan, and Lucy

Ken, Susan, and Lucy

Some stories should be told, but aren’t. They’re too painful. Lucy lost the most important person in her life, her daughter, to what then was an incurable disease. Today Wilm’s tumor is highly treatable. Not so in 1950. Lucy didn’t like to share the memories of her little girl traveling to Rochester’s Mayo Clinic where the doctors told them to go home and make peace with God. I surprised her when I took a job in that same town after graduating college. We now live just blocks from the hospital where Susan was unsuccessfully treated. Lucy came to grips with her daughter living in Rochester. Lucy even spent the last ten years of her life here. She never got used to telling the story about Susan. We know very little of that little girl’s life. Can you sense the reticence in Lucy’s telling of this story? She talks around the edges, but we never get to hear what really happened. Never.

Lucy writes:

Susan + Friend Mr Otterson – She blamed him for everything she did wrong. What a relief it was to be back home. We bought a few new things like curtains – end tables and a brand new bedroom set – a crib and then began making diapers. No “disposables” then, flannel gowns. Oh such excitement. Susan Lynn was born on the 11th of June. She had tight curls on her head – big brown eyes and we all loved her so much. She was so good – as my mother said once “That child is too beautiful and is loved by every one.” Guess she was right. Continue reading