The microwave life

Slow tedious craftsmanship and hard work has seemed to come to an end. Today, we see to have evolved to a sort of microwave living. Social media has pushed the success of so many, summed up in less than 500 words as though anyone can fall upon success, as if it was something that chance and being in the right place is all that is required.

Downloads are for computers, not for humans

At least not yet that is. I’m not Neo from The Matrix. I can’t suddenly know Kung Fu.  As cool as it would be, that’s cheating. To become a master at anything, it takes time and practice.Neo has just downloaded kung fu to his brain It also requires patience. I’m not good at being patient. Owning an e-commerce store, I know that I can create a web-page and upload it to the web in less than an hour. YouTube videos can go viral creating a superstar of almost anyone overnight. Don’t even get me started on the lottery. Too much, too fast is not good for anyone as Hollywood and fame has a long trail of ruined lives that have paved Hollywood Blvd.

Building something with your hands

I used to be a general contractor. I restored homes which sometimes took years to complete. I enjoyed seeing the progress of each day, room by room. In the end, it brought a very satisfying feeling seeing what I had done, but that was years ago. Now that I have been in the eCommerce world for fifteen plus years, my patience has waned. I seem to enjoy writing a check for others to do the work I once did. I’ll admit that I am older and my body doesn’t recover as quickly as it once did, but I want things done instantly. This microwave life that I have created has lost the satisfaction that building something with my hands had once brought. It has also removed the problem solving that goes into building something as well.

Ed and Rowena Waghorn from Herefordshire

Ed wanted to build a home from scratch, using his own designs and available materials for $100,000. It has taken him and his family over 15 years in the process. They have lived off of the land while building it and the life that they created while building, has been to focus on the journey.

Ed and Rowena's handcrafted home
Grand Designs

As I watched this episode on the Netflix series called Grand Designs,  at first I said to myself, “Jeez, he makes everything by hand. Why not just go out and buy a metal hinge?” Instead, he carves them out of scrap wood from trees that he felled on his own property. He painstakingly will spend days putting detail into items that you and I would simply have overlooked.  I used to have more patience to attempt something on a much smaller scale, but not anymore. I blame myself, but I also blame allowing technology too easily to replace tasks that I once enjoyed doing the analog way. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Today, maybe it wouldn’t be built at all because we just don’t have the time nor the craftsmanship that it would now require.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”     ― Theodore Roosevelt

Excuse me, for now I am going to go to my garage to build something, anything. I don’t care. I want to get my hands dirty. I want to see what I can create once again, and I don’t care how long it takes me!

Is Dubai creating Walt’s original idea of Epcot?

Dubai water fountains

The Prime Minister of Dubai seems to believe in “Go big or go home.” He also believes in making dreams a reality. Where else can you find the tallest building in the world, an island created in the shape of a palm that is a housing development or an indoor ski resort?

The Bur Khalifa building has 163 floors and stands 2,722′ in the air. It is the tallest building in the world! It is obvious that it has the tallest elevator in the world. What a fast ride that is!
Tallest building in the world
Burj Khalifa

If you run out of land, why not create new islands in the shape of a palm tree and build homes on the newly made land?

Dubai Palms Island

The Dubai Fountain is another attraction that would make the water show at The Bellagio jealous.

Dubai Fountains

Let’s not forget that indoor Ski Slope including ski lifts. It’s inside of a huge shopping mall where the “mountain” is 25 stories tall. The air is just a little bit below freezing, so you get the whole ski resort effect.  It has 5 slopes of varying difficulty including a black diamond run. There is also a snow play area for those that aren’t into skiing which includes toboggan runs and an ice cave.Indoor ski resort in Dubai
Dubai Indoor Ski Slope


In Dubai, they don’t like to be outdone. Five years after Elon Musk talked about his Hyperloop, Dubai decided they wanted to build one. The proposed Hyperloop between Dubai and Abu Dhabi will ferry passengers along the Arabian coast at speeds of up to 1,200km/hour, (746 mph) cutting a 140km journey from 1hr 20mins to just 12mins. Around 10,000 people will be able to travel each hour.  RedherringThey have the resources to do this. People who said that their Palm Island couldn’t be built were sa(n)dly wrong as they built it despite all odds.
There are several reasons the UAE has been chosen as Hyperloop’s petri dish. Dubai is home to the world’s third-busiest international airport, behind Atlanta and Beijing. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both being developed as “smart cities”, and each aims to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2023. Hyperloop is the “logical next step” towards that goal, Hyperloop One’s Marcia Christoff says. (Redherring)

Dubai Expo 2020
Dubai water fountains

Ok, but what about the original Epcot and Dubai? One of the closest similarities to the original Epcot will be the Dubai Expo in 2020. The expo is designed similarly to the original version of E.P.C.O.T. Center with a central hub and various buildings extending out from that center section. Look at the picture above. What does it remind you of?

Dubai Expo 2020
Mobility Pavilion

Instead of Walt’s people movers at Epcot, there will be hyperloop tubes underground quickly connecting each section of the Expo.  There will be Pavilions showcasing over 40 different countries, not just 11 countries like at Disney’s Epcot.  That’s nothing, there is currently a Museum of the Future whose webpage states:

“We will be a showplace for a new era – a center of creativity and hope where you can see, touch and shape our shared future. Combining elements of exhibition, immersive theater and themed attraction, the Museum of the Future invites you to look beyond the present and take your place within possible worlds to come. “ Dubai Expo 2020

How about a pseudo Walt Disney quote?

“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create.”
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai

Maybe Walt was reincarnated as the Prime Minister of Dubai!

We may have lost our chance to build what Walt originally wanted to build. What Walt originally wanted to do was stated by him so clearly

“It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.”
Walt Disney

In my other post ‘HEY ELON MUSK, BUILD THE ORIGINAL EPCOT!’ I suggested that Elon Musk take on another project. Why not, he seems to be able to manage running multiple companies. Elon has some great ideas and has been compared to Walt Disney who said “When you are curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”  I’m glad that someone is on the road to creating something that may be more than just an Expo, Worlds Fair or a Theme Park. Maybe Dubai can pull it off.

Dubai Expo 2020 sounds like an incredible event, one that I would love to attend, if I could afford to stay there. It opens on October 20, 2020, 10/20/2020. Make plans to attend. It should be an event of a lifetime!

Don’t give up, your answer is around the corner

Yes, you heard me right. Don’t give up, your answer is around the corner. If you have been pressing in to get an answer for something that you have been focused on for quite a while, I’m here to tell you that your determination will not go unrewarded, especially if you have committed it to God’s care. He hears your heart, He sees your frustrations. I know that it seems as though things will never change, yet God works behind the scenes in your life.

If you are going it on your own and you have not committed this to an entity that is more powerful than you, then you will have to just live with the results of your own efforts. We alone can’t change others or circumstances beyond our control, but God can.
“God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20

I know that it seems like this has been going on forever, yet if you have been faithful to commit this to Him and have been listening for HIs direction, it will arrive.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our current condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28

Our journey to downsize our lives

I have searched the internet unsuccessfully to find stories of others that have decided to pull the emergency brake on their existing lifestyle. My wife and I have watched shows on decluttering, but we aren’t talking of just getting rid of stuff in our closet. We have done that and that does not satisfy the longing to take a hack saw to these golden handcuffs that keep us slaving away to make the mortgage payment on our million dollar home and our “way of life”. We want purpose. We want to have the freedom to not be tethered to something and someplace that forces us to not have any choices. We are going to downsize our lives.

I reinvented myself once already

Ok, now I am going to switch to moi. I started my own business about 20 years ago working with my hands, but things out of my control, mainly the internet and cheaper products from China made my services no longer needed. I had to reinvent myself, but in reinventing myself, I chose what would be a great “business idea”, not something else that I would enjoy. You see, I was in the mortgage business making a good living, but hating every minute of it. This is why 20 years ago I reinvented myself and started my own service business, but cheaper products rendered my services obsolete, so I reinvented myself and started selling replacement parts online for the products I used to service. The immediate return or should I say the slow and steady return of dollars started coming in. I had discontinued to use my troubleshooting and mechanical skills due to a lack of need and started selling the same parts that I used to install for people TO people. Just like now, I was tied to a computer screen. I was riding the surf of the internet and after 10 years, was one of the top websites to sell these parts. Life was good, financially speaking, but I had left behind the whole reason to get out of the mortgage business in the first place.

What am I complaining about?

Fast forward 18 years. We are basically living in a million dollar house. I am driving a brand new Tesla. Is it a cool house? You bet! It’s 118 years old with tons of architectural detail. It’s 5,200 sq. ft. and the previous owners fully renovated it. It has a butlers kitchen, a gourmet kitchen that any chef would love to own and inlaid French parquet flooring. I had always wanted to own a home like this in this very neighborhood.  Colonial revival home Freeze frame. We are pretty miserable. You see, stuff doesn’t bring you happiness. It does for a very short time, but not long term. Our job has tons of stress attached to it. Being in business online is like being a fish in the ocean. You never know what is going to gobble you up or if the tide is going to change and sweep you away with it. The amount of money that we have to generate to feed our lifestyle is just crazy and we don’t have any credit card debt, I’m just talking about house payment, health insurance, utilities, etc. Ok, there is the Tesla payment and I do love driving it.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Bigger isn’t always better. These are two quotes that I tell others but have obviously been ignoring myself. I knew we could afford to own this house and to buy the Tesla, but when I signed the promissory note for each, I also promised that I would make those payments and to make those payments I must generate the income, no matter if I enjoy the job that generates that income or not.  Guess what? I don’t enjoy the job and I don’t enjoy the friendly reminder that these payments are due either. Owning expensive stuff means that the expensive stuff needs to be maintained. Owning a 5,200 sq ft house when you are both working full time means hiring a housekeeper, that is unless you don’t care what your house looks like and we do. I don’t have time to do the repairs that are needed in owning a home, so I get out my checkbook and write checks for the lawn service, painters, plumbers and electricians that I would normally do myself. That is if I had the time, but guess what? I don’t have the time.

To be able to yell STOP, I have to eliminate what forces me to wake up and “make the donuts”.

baker getting ready to make donuts
Courtesy of Dunkin Donuts

It’s not that I want to retire and play golf. I just want to do something that fulfills me and uses the God given gifts that I was given. I have purposely started to step on the brakes in my business. I eliminated a number of product groups that were requiring a major investment of time, but that also resulted in less income. I had been approached by a company that every one has heard of to distribute their products, but I turned them down. They were kind of shocked, but I said no. That was VERY hard to do because I had been trying to obtain their business for years. That probably cost me a couple of million dollars a year in sales.

hand on parking brake

Now, we are pulling the emergency brake on our lives. We are putting our house up for sale and streamlining our business so that we can eventually sell it. We refuse to go another day like this. We want options for our lives. We may not even buy another house. We may just travel, to places where we can live on the cheap for a while until we figure out what we want to do next.

I am going to take you on our journey into the land of downsizing our lives. I will be honest and tell you exactly how it feels to move out of a neighborhood filled with doctors and CEO’s. It will be a change both economically and socially, but we are willing to do it.

The Matrix – “I know kung fu”

Neo has just downloaded kung fu to his brainThis is one of the most memorable lines of the movie The Matrix. I know kung fu,” Neo says. My question is, has anyone else ever experienced something to where EVERYTHING comes together? I have one time in my life. The only difference is that I had to work for it, it obviously wasn’t just downloaded into my brain.
I was in college taking a computer language course for engineers called Fortran. The professor spoon-fed us notes on a screen that we simply copied all semester. Can you say B-O-R-I-N-G?

We all learn in different ways

It’s true, some of us learn linearly. We like to be spoon-fed, sort of as our GPS spoon-feeds us where to turn to get to a destination. I don’t do well with that sort of instruction. I need to know why I am making a turn, why I am learning this. How will I use it? How does this line of code work into the project that I am assigned? I’m not a computer that just looks for the needed data and doesn’t ask why. Show me the 30,000-foot view of the city, then tell me where I should go. With that information, I  gps on phonecan then use gps; it’s just that I would prefer a map first. When it comes to learning, as a teacher, don’t be a gps, just spoon-feeding me information. I don’t learn that way. I pity the students where a professor doesn’t try and communicate on several levels.
This was the case with my Fortran class I was taking. The professor, who was trying to get his PHD was thrown into teaching a beginning Fortran class. I’m sure he wasn’t excited.

The end of the semester project

All during the semester, we would be given projects to do. We had to write code to be able to generate whatever the assignment said we had to generate. Supposedly we had been given the tools up to that point of the semester. Fortunately, I had a buddy that knew much more than I did, so we worked together to do each project, or should I say, I watched while he figured it out. The whole class did not make sense to me at all.  fortran codeAt the end of the semester, our final was a large project that was due. This was our exam of sorts. My buddy and I collaborated on it. He got to a roadblock and admitted, “I have no clue what to do.” I thought to myself, “Well if you don’t know what to do, we are screwed.” We both sat there looking at our notebooks with absolutely nothing on the blank page. I had taken down every single word from the professor’s overhead projector, looking through all of my notes. All of a sudden, it was like a light switch had just been turned on in my brain. All of the notes I had taken were instantly downloaded, or at least it seemed, into my brain. I looked at my buddy and said, “I know kung fu!” He looked at me and said, “What are you talking about?” I replied, “I know how to do this project. I understand the entire semester.” I took my pen and started writing code faster than I had ever seen him write code. He said, “What? How? Are you sure?” I replied very confidently, “I don’t know how, but I know exactly what to do. This will work, I guarantee it.” My brain and my pen were one. I just watched my hand as code flowed from the tip of my pen onto the page. I was amazed while I was writing the code. After about 15 minutes. I looked up to Morpheus, I mean my buddy and said, “It’s done.”  I went to school and uploaded the code to the school computer and voila, out came the project, perfectly completed, well except one comma that made every result show up on a separate sheet of paper the size of a ream of paper. Once I removed the comma, it printed beautifully and we turned it in. I got an A. neo in kung fu stance

What I experienced that day was AMAZING. I have never ever experienced it again. It was an epiphany. I do hope that somehow I am able to experience this once again. It involved work and dedication, but the sudden connection of every synapse that had been wandering around in my brain that semester was a feeling that was beyond anything that I have ever experienced.


 Unfinished business

Maria sat on the edge of the bed as Georg explained. “As you know, my deceased wife Agathe had a sizable inheritance left to her. When I invested it in my friend’s bank in Austria, I thought that I had done a friend a favor as well as invest it in a safe haven, but the depression took the bank along with many people’s fortunes.” Georg explained.

Georg and Maria
Vanity Fair

“I know Georg, and we cut back to make ends meet.” Maria replied. “Right, but even taking in boarders and singing did not enable us to stay in Salzburg. I had to do something to retain stability. Those times when I was away on business, well……. I agreed to return back to what I had studied in college. Physics.” Georg confessed. “Georg, why didn’t you tell me? Why would you hide this from me?” Maria asked. “I didn’t want to worry you and what I was working on so long ago was classified. Germany wanted me to work on this project called ‘Die Glocke’. We weren’t told what it was supposed to do, we were just given a job to do, but Herman Richter who will be here tonight knew more about the project than I did. We worked inside a mountainside called The Giant.” Georg explained. “I still don’t know what any of this has to do with Rolf.” Maria replied. “I guess we will find out tonight.” Georg said as he got up from the bed to get ready for tonight’s dinner.
Georg and Maria

Just as I started to get ready for the evening’s dinner, the phone ran in our bedroom. I picked up the phone and Friedrich was on the line. “Dad, I just wanted you to know that I was able to line up a couple of people to be at the dinner tonight. They will arrive around 2:30. Both of them will be wearing street clothes, one in a blue suit and the other in a navy jacket and khaki pants. I told them to come to see you at the house first.” Friedrich stated. “That is great son. I appreciate you doing this. Hopefully, nothing will occur, but it’s better to be prepared.” Georg replied as he hung up the phone and looked at Maria who had a worried look on her face. “Maria, I contacted Friedrich just as a precaution. He is sending a couple of security officers to be at the dinner. I don’t expect any trouble, but my job is to protect you and our guests.” Georg said reassuringly.

“Have you ever been to America? I came here after the war, though my mode of transportation was rather unconventional.” Herman said. “No, I have not. I have always wanted to, but never had the time. Hmm, isn’t that strange, I never had the time? One would think that I would have had plenty of that after the war.” Rolf said in a contemplative tone. “Does Georg know that we are coming to the lodge?” Rolf asked. “I don’t believe so. I haven’t seen Georg since he left the country. It’s been over 40 years. He probably doesn’t even know that I am still alive. I do hope our sudden presence doesn’t ruin the evening for his guests.” Herman said. “I know that 40 years has certainly changed my appearance. No more blonde hair. What I have left is white.” Rolf said running his hand through his thinning hair.

“Hello, Mr. Von Trapp. This is Alex and my name is Stephen. Your son requested that we be here this evening, but I’m not sure what you would like for us to do other than keep a lookout for a couple of men.” Stephen said to Georg as they met him on the front porch. “Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. It will set both my wife and me at ease.” Georg said with relief. “Do you have a picture of the two men that we are to keep an eye on?” Alex said wanting to move matters along. “Yes, I believe that my son faxed over a couple of pictures this afternoon. Let me take a look.” Georg said as he took the men into his study. Rolf Gruber and Herman Richter

Georg picked up the fax admiring this new piece of technology and the results that it produced. “Per my son’s research, these are the two gentlemen. The one on the right is Rolf and the older gentleman to the left I would guess is Herman. I’m glad he sent it over. I would have never recognized them in a hundred years.” Georg admitted. “Thanks, we will make a copy of this for each of us and make sure to keep our eye on both of them.” Stephen said with confidence as they headed to the lodge.

Driving toward the lodge Herman reminded Rolf, “we will need to take Georg to a quiet location tonight. Do you have the information that I sent to you last month? I want to show this to Georg before.”  “Yes, I have it right here in my coat pocket. I have reviewed it and am ready to finally bring this to a close. This time, there won’t be any mistake as to what I should have done, many years ago.,”

Miss something? Start at the beginning of the story.

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Read Chapter 8
Read Chapter 9
Read Chapter 10


Guess who is coming to dinner?

Georg pulled up to the rear of the lodge just in time to catch Maria heading back to the house. “Maria, the pickles have been acquired, well….minus one.” Georg confessed. “Georg, if you keep eating pickles I’m going to start wondering about you!” Maria teased.  Georg delivered the key ingredient to the kitchen and quickly ran to catch up with Maria who was heading across the lawn to their house. “Maria, I need to talk with you before our guests from Germany arrive this evening.” Georg said in a serious tone. “What is it?” Maria inquired. “When I was at the store, Mac told me that one of the German guests was inquiring about me. I didn’t think anything of it as we get people asking about us all the time. Mac caught the gentleman’s name. He told me that it was Rolf Gruber.” Maria stopped dead in her tracks. “Rolf? Why would Rolf be coming to the states and why staying at our lodge?” Maria asked with a worried look on her face. “I don’t know, but he obviously wants to talk to us. His whole involvement with the National Democratic Party of Germany has me very worried.” Geog confessed. “What are we going to do Georg?” Maria asked. “I don’t know, but I do know that I will be ready for whatever happens.” Georg said reassuringly.

man and woman walking away
Courtesy of Pixaby

As they reached the house, Georg went to his study to call his son Friedrich who had moved to Dallas to start his own security company. As he dialed Friedrich’s number he thought of all of the possibilities of why Rolf would travel all of this distance. “Good morning, Sichern Services.” the receptionist answered. “Good morning, this is Georg Von Trapp, is Friedrich available?” Georg inquired. “Oh hello Captain, it’s good to hear your voice.” the receptionist replied. “I’m not a captain any longer, but thank you.” Georg replied. “Yes he is, I will transfer you to him.” she said as she transferred Georg. “Hello, Friedrich Von Trapp.” the voice on the other line answered. “Friedrich, this is dad. Your mother and I are having some rather questionable guests show up tonight and I was wondering if you have any connections in Vermont to be present during their stay.” Georg asked. “Hi dad, I’m sure that I can find someone to be there. We have a pretty good working relationship throughout the country with other security firms. May I ask why the concern over these guests?” security guard Friedrich asked rather puzzled. He had never received this kind of request from his father before. His dad helped him in the early stages of his business, his experience in the Navy, especially with standard operating procedures had helped in starting his own business. He had even named his company Sichern Services which means “secure” in German. “It’s a long story Friedrich, do you remember Rolf Gruber, Leisl’s boyfriend?” “Of course I do. He ratted on us when we were hiding at the Abbey. What a jerk.” Friedrich replied as he remembered that night long ago. “Well, he sent me a letter telling me that our home in Austria was being bequeathed to us in the previous owner’s will.” Georg explained. “Dad, that’s great! Are you and mom moving back to Austria? What a great…..” Friedrich replied until Georg cut him off. “Friedrich, I wish that it was that simple, but we also found out that Rolf is the head of that new NPD movement in Germany. There is also another twist to this, but it’s too long of a story to explain to you right now. I just need to know that you will have someone present at the lodge should things get out of hand. You see, Rolf is one of the guests tonight and the other guest is an old friend of mine Herman Richter.” Georg explained. “Wow, that is odd. I will call someone right away. What time do you want them there?” Friedrich asked. “I would like them there before check-in at 3 PM.” Georg replied. “Sure dad, I’ll make sure they are there way before 3 PM. I’ll be sure to have them meet you so that you can point them out.” Friedrich said reassuringly. “I hope it’s that easy Friedrich. I haven’t seen them for 40 years.” Georg admitted. “I’ll run a check with some friends that I still have in Austria to come up with a photo of each of them and get it sent over the wire.  Do you guys have a fax machine yet?” Friedrich asked. “Yes, your mother had one installed earlier this year. Fax over whatever photos you can find Friedrich. Thank you.” Georg said with a sigh of relief. “Sure dad, I’ve got you covered.” Friedrich said as his dad hung up and headed out of the study into his bedroom.
Georg sitting on his bed
“I need to protect Maria and my guests should anything occur at tonight’s dinner. Georg thought to himself.” He found old photos of his friend Herman in a box that he kept in his closet: pictures and things of his past life in Austria. He thought to himself, “How are Rolf and Herman connected? those two should never have even met, much less travel together.” Maria walked into the bedroom startling Georg. “I’ve been looking for you Georg. Lindsay from the front desk just got word that Rolf has another guest coming with him, a gentleman named Herman Richter. Have you heard of him?” Maria asked. “Why yes I have. It’s a long story. Have a seat, there are a few things you need to know.” Georg said as he went to close the bedroom door.

Miss something? Start at the beginning of the story.

Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2
Read Chapter 3
Read Chapter 4
Read Chapter 5
Read Chapter 6
Read Chapter 7
Read Chapter 8
Read Chapter 9
Read Chapter 11


Never ending dreams Dream Sequence #1

I dream every night. I have multiple dreams per night. Sometimes I feel as though I should have popcorn to enjoy along with my dreams. So, I thought that I would share a few of my dreams. I figure why not, maybe I have all of these dreams for a reason other than my mind never stops, so here goes!

Image courtesy of Playstation

Dream Sequence #1   8/6/2019

Sitting in a room of family members and strangers, I’m looking for someone. At first, I don’t know who, then it occurs to me that I am looking for my wife Laurie, but she is here with everyone else. This is rather strange I tell myself. Why would I be looking for her if she is here in the house? Suddenly, it’s as if another dimension is slowly opening up. I see an area in the room where there is an oval area about 3′ tall that is all blurry. I feel drawn to this area. It almost seems like some sort of portal. I want to reach my hand into it. I slowly walk over to this oval entity and dare to reach into it. I sense that another version of my wife is on the other side. It’s at that point that I realize that she IS on the other side, just another version of her. I long to be with her. There is so much I want to say. We were separated years ago, but somehow the relationship ended. I had no way of reaching her, no way of communicating with her. My heart aches as I remember the times that we spent together. The love that I feel for her is tremendous but then the portal disappears. Those around me think that I have lost it. I think that I have lost it. How can I be sad when she is here in the present? How can I long for her in the past as well? The other dimension seems just as real as the area that I am in. It actually feels more real than the present. Which space is a reality? Are both reality and just occupying other dimensions?

I wander around the room and find this blue metallic structure, only about 2′ in diameter. It has the ability to transport me into this alternate reality.  I cradle it.  I bring it over to where the portal was. I feel the portal reappearing. I hear her voice from the other dimension. I long to tell her that I want to be with her. Suddenly, voices from within the room in which I am standing start asking me questions, drawing me away from this portal. I realize that my children are there within the room. They need me there. My wife in the present is there beside me. I stand there perplexed. Laurie is here with me, not in some other dimension.

What can this mean

I know that many of you have several interpretations of the dream as Daniel did thousands of years ago and I have my own ideas as well. For me, this is what I see. Life has gotten very complicated since we have been married. We are still deeply in love, but work and the pressures of life have taken some of the everyday joy out of our lives. I long to return to a simpler time. We have been talking about downsizing. Downsizing our business, our home, our possessions and not having so many obligations so that we can make the most of each day, not just getting through the day. I don’t want to escape, I want what we once had. It’s not just Laurie who was different, it was me as well. It was a better me.

Chapter 9

How to get out of a pickle

“Has anyone seen Georg? We have  guests arriving this evening from Germany and they want to be sure that we have Rouladen on the menu and we are short on dill pickles. What is Rouladen without dill pickles?” Maria asked. Kurt, who was responsible for the menu for the lodge looked at Maria and rolled his eyes. “Why can’t we be entertaining some French guests? I spent 3 years in culinary school in France, but all I do is serve Rouladen and Spaetzle.” Kurt complained. “Kurt, we are an Austrian style lodge and we prepare meals that our guests expect from an Austrian lodge; you know that. If you are getting bored with our normal fare, then try and put your own spin on it.” Maria suggested. “Hey, that’s a good idea. I’ll do that!” Kurt replied as he started his team on their respective tasks.

cutting meat in the von trapp lodge kitchen

Just then Georg walked in, still deep in thought, but the bustling about in the kitchen quickly brought him back to the present. “Georg, you must go to town and get us more dill pickles for tonight’s dinner. We are almost out.” Maria complained. “Well, I will have to admit that I did help myself to them the other day. I have been having a craving for dill pickles lately.” Georg confessed. Maria looked at him with a twinkle in her eye and said, “My dear Georg, you aren’t even showing!” When Georg caught her joke, he chuckled to himself as he headed for the rear entrance of the kitchen to get in his trusty Willy. Maria always knew how to put him at ease and lighten his mood.

The market was only a 10 minute drive from the lodge. Mac’s Market was their answer to those last minute needs. Georg pulled into the parking lot and hopped out of the Willy. As he opened the door and entered the market, Mac, the owner was talking with a bag boy who was putting a half gallon of ice cream on top of a dozen eggs. “Josh, you can’t put ice cream on top of eggs!” he exclaimed. John looked at Mac puzzled, “But I thought you said to put all of the cold items in one bag.” he replied. “Correct, but unless you want scrambled eggs, the eggs have to be on top.” said Mac as he corrected his bag boy. “Oh hi Georg.” Mac said as Georg headed for the pickle aisle.

mac's market stowe vt

“Hey Mac, how are things in grocery land?” he asked. He knew that Mac would always have a witty comeback. “Eggscelent!” Mac replied with a grin.  Georg rolled his eyes. “Hey, I hear that you are having some special guests this evening Georg.” “Not really, just some guests from Germany. You know, they want a taste of home while in the states. How did you know anyway?” Georg inquired. “Well, one of the guests was in here yesterday asking questions about you.” Mac said while making sure his bag boy was paying attention to his bagging etiquette. “Really? Well they are probably just interested to know if Maria and I are still alive and kicking.” Georg said. “True, but this guy didn’t seem to be the tourist type. He was asking me if I knew anything about you before you came to Vermont, you know, right before the war. He also seemed a little out of place, like he had just gotten off the boat if you know what I mean.” Mac said while Georg found his prized bottles of dill pickles.  “No, I don’t know what you mean Mac. Like I said, I’m sure he’s just one of many of those that want a chance to meet us.” “Ok, you’re probably right Georg, but I did catch his name when I took his credit card and ran it through the credit card imprinter. I have it in my office. Maybe you know him.” Mac said while heading to his office. Georg headed to the cash register to pay for his chief ingredient of the infamous Rouladen dish. As Mac returned from his office he said, “It says right here, ‘Rolf Gruber, have you ever heard of him?” Georg dropped the bottle of pickles that he was holding onto the belt of the checkout aisle, almost breaking it. “Did you say Rolf Gruber?” Georg asked. “Yes, why?” Mac inquired. “How old would you say that this Rolf Gruber is?” Georg inquired. “Oh, I would say about 55 or so. Why, do you know this guy? ” Mac asked while watching Georg stand there frozen. “Yes, you can say that I do. I just wasn’t expecting to hear this while on my pickle run.” Georg said while collecting his change and heading out the door. “See you Georg.” Mac said while Georg walked slowly to the Willy. “This can’t be happening. Why would Rolf come all the way here? I am not feeling very good about this sudden burst of popularity. Entertaining fans from America is one thing, but to be the point of interest from Germans and these Germans in particular isn’t giving me a good feeling. He grabbed one of the bottles of pickles and opened it, just to sample one to make sure that they were ok. He took a bite of one of the crisp pickles and smiled as he remembered Maria’s teasing about his recent craving. “This is one pickle that I’m not sure how to get out of.” he said to himself while heading back to the lodge. Shaking his head, he tossed the rest of the pickle from the Willy out into the trees as he headed up the hill to the lodge.
two dill pickles




Miss something? Start at the beginning of the story.
Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2
Read Chapter 3
Read Chapter 4
Read Chapter 5
Read Chapter 6
Read Chapter 7
Read Chapter 8
Read Chapter 10


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