Open Letter to a Debit Card Thief

Credit CardsTo the person who stole my debit cart information:

Hi. Yea, I know we really don’t know each other, but I thought I would write you anyway.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. You, after all, know a bit about me, like the numbers on the debit card that, up until about 9:00 AM this morning, was attached to my checking account. I know that you came about this information illegally. But, beyond that, we are strangers.

I can infer some things about you, though. Say, for instance, that after you managed to discover my account information, you tried to buy groceries. That would suggest that you needed the food for yourself, or quite possibly your family. I guess I could have understood that. I’ve never been in that situation, where stealing would be the difference between the people I love eating or not, so I wouldn’t have been too quick to judge. Don’t get me wrong, it still wouldn’t have made it right, but I guess I would have got it.

But you didn’t try to buy groceries, did you. Nope. Movie tickets. From various sellers across the nation. Perhaps your family was starved for entertainment?

Well, it didn’t work out, did it? My bank’s processor blocked each attempt. Given that I live in none of California, New York, Maryland, or Florida, you didn’t make it all that hard for them. They were able to block all the attempts at the pre-authorized state and prevent you from dancing the Fandango with my money.

So, what did it cost me really? $10 for a new card. In all fairness, the old one had started to not be swipe-able on occasion, and I was planning on getting a replacement one soon anyway. Half a day of productivity while I got it sorted out; I’ll just work a few hours longer the rest of the week. The inconvenience of not being able to use my money until the pre-authorizations drop back off of the account; that should happen tomorrow, maybe the next. It really didn’t cost me anything. That’s probably why I’m not even angry about it.

Honestly, I feel sorry for you.

One of the characteristics my parents installed in me, and in my brothers, was hard work. It wasn’t a lecture lesson; there were no ‘you will work hard’ speeches. Mom and Dad worked hard, and I guess it just never occurred to us to be anything but hard workers. It’s just how it was. The pride in a job well done was reward enough for the hard work.

I worry that you will never feel that.

I doubt that I’ll ever know who you are, or if you will ever have to answer for the attempted theft of my money. I don’t even care. I just hope that, someday down the road, you’ll do something really awesome, and really work hard and earn it legally. Then you’ll turn around and see the thing you’ve done, and know that feeling of pride in a job well done.

If you do, you’ll never want to steal anything again.

Making the Jump

Today, I walked into the place where I’ve worked for the last 13 odd years and I handed them a piece of paper in an envelope. The envelope said nothing; the paper said that, as of April 25th, I wouldn’t be working for them any more.

Granted, over the last year or so, I haven’t really spent that much time working for them, just a day or two a week, but there was always that option to say, “Hey, I’m ready to come back full-time.” I could have went back to five days, and this four-and-a-half-year experiment of running my own business could have just come to an end. But 10T Web Design continues to grow, and the ‘day job’ continues to be less of a requirement.

Trying to juggle between the two is all about to end. The jump into the 100% self-employed me is two short weeks away. It’s a bit terrifying, really, but there will never be a better time than now. Even the handful of hours I spend working for someone else’s business is now getting in the way of growing my own. Time to check out.

It’s been a tough decision; I’m going to miss a lot of things about that place, the people most of all. It’s by far the longest I’ve worked at any one place; in over a decade, I’ve met a lot of great people, some of which have been around the entire time. I can’t imagine how different my experience would have been if I hadn’t genuinely enjoyed being around all of them, co-workers and customers alike. (If any of you are reading this, thanks.)

Anyway, enough sappy stuff. Let’s do this. Time to go. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Or something like that.

First Snow


What a beautiful drive down to New Martinsville this morning to meet with the folks from the Wetzel County FRN. Happy first snow, everyone.

Happy Mother’s Day

After us three boys had grown up to the point of driving ourselves places, Mom would always tell us to “Behave, be careful, and buckle up” as we headed out the door. Every time. The Three B’s. It got to the point that sometimes, when we were leaving, we would tell her.

Eventually, Mom stopped reminding me to do the all important B’s. I don’t remember if they gradually came to an end, or if it happened suddenly. I don’t even know when it happened, but ultimately, it did.

I know Mom didn’t stop telling me because she loved me any less. She still wanted me to be safe, both in and out of the car. And I was, of course, still expected to keep my actions in check and behave how I had been taught to. All of the emotion and care were still there, but the words, The Three B’s, were gone.

I’ve never asked her why. I’d like to think that they stopped because she knew she could trust me to at least try to make good decisions, even if they didn’t always work out. It sounds good, anyway.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thanks for everything you’ve done for me over the years, especially the behaving, the being careful, and the buckling up part.

Remembering Dad

I have a unending stream of fantastic memories of my Dad. Once, when we were road tripping with the Phillips family, there wasn’t enough room for all of us and all the luggage in the station wagon we were taking. Dad built a huge luggage box to put on top of the vehicle, painted it bright yellow, and as a finishing touch, put a huge smiley face on the front of it. I don’t know for sure, but I think that was the same vacation that, completely unintentionally, Dad walked out of a McDonald’s without paying.

Building stuff for 4-H woodworking projects. The first time I accidentally swore in front of him. Those two happened at the same time. In all fairness, I thought I had cut myself.

My favorite memory of Dad didn’t happen that long ago. August of last year, not long before we found out how sick Dad was.

He and I had spent the day working on replacing my back porch. It had been a long day of work, with him cutting deck boards almost as fast as I could get them screwed into place. We were both just about done in by the drive home. About the time we hit Seneca Lake, we pulled up behind a truck hauling compressed air cylinders of some sort. The license plates were from Louisiana, I think. That or Mississippi. Either way, the driver was a long way from home.

The guy wasn’t going very fast. He never got much above 45, and when a hill or a turn came around, he was down to 25 or 30. Dad, patient as ever, just fell in behind him without even thinking about passing. After a few minutes, Dad said, “This poor guy is lost.”

Once we made it to Baileys Mills, after about twenty minutes and probably five or six variations of “this poor guy is lost” from Dad, the truck pulled off to the side of the road, and Dad pulled right in behind him. The guy, about 70 years old or so, got out of his truck and slowly made his way back to our driver’s side window. He asks Dad, in a thick southern accent, “Sir, I was wondering if you could help me.”

“I’d sure like to,” replied Dad.

And that pretty much sums up Dad.

It didn’t matter if you were his son, or a stranger from a thousand miles away. You might just need lead to a gas station and pointed towards Alledonia. Or you might need a new back porch. It didn’t matter if he had something else he wanted to do, or if he was just tired and wanted to go home.

I’d sure like to. No promise that he was going to be able to help you, but he sure was going to try. No guarantee that he even knew how to do what you needed, not that it really mattered because he could build or fix most anything, and what he didn’t know how to do, he would just learn. Then he would help you.

Even if he had just spent his whole day helping someone, he still had time to help someone else on the way home.

Tomorrow is the 3C’s Cancer Support Group’s annual walk, and this year it’s being held in honor of my Dad. They are fantastic group that helps cancer patients of Belmont County with money for gas to get to doctor’s appointments and chemotherapy treatments, groceries, utility bills, you name it.

Just about anything you might need a little help with. Just like Dad.

E-commerce Dogpile

Ok, so it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. Bad for my Twelve for Twelve, but I guess the positive is that business is good and so I’ve been covered up without much time to post.

Most of my time recently has been spent working with a local client that runs an online business. We’re redesigning the entire site, moving it over to WordPress, and bringing the shopping cart from an outside provider to one we provide. The final desired result being that the website will be integrated with an inventory management program, allowing the client to keep track of their stock and customer orders. It’s been a huge challenge, considering that they offer, so far, over seven thousand product combinations and we’re no where near done adding everything they offer. It’s also been crazy fun.

But, anyway, other projects besides this one are starting to slow off a little now, so I will hopefully have time to update this more in the near future. Either that, or my goal to post 104 times this year will be in serious jeopardy.

Flower Beds, Paint Prep, and Plaster

So, I spent the day working down in Caldwell on the house. I didn’t do much work outside, but did take a few minutes to clean out the dead tiger lily leftovers from last year. Absolutely stunned by how much dead crap these things leave behind. I guess it is quite possible that it was two years worth of crap, as no one was in the house last spring. I was happy, though, that I could just yank the junk out and didn’t have to cut it with pruning shears, which of course I didn’t have with me.

The rest of the late morning, early afternoon was spent inside. I went through a tube of painter’s caulk getting the dining room ready for painting. I had never heard of this before buying and starting to work on the house, but it is great. It fills in all those little gaps around the older moulding and doesn’t have to be primed before being painted over. The only bad thing I discovered today was that the moulding is going to have to be painted to make it look good. After getting a good look at it, I realized that the last painter didn’t do a very good job at keeping the white wall paint off of the stain. Still, though, I think that we’re going to keep the current base moulding in place, and add some crown moulding to the room once everything else is done. Should look awesome.

Last on the to do list today was to measure out Shannon’s room for what I thought was going to be drywall. After getting done measuring everything I still had a little time left before I had to get back to Barnesville to watch the Ohio State game, so I figured I would rip out a few panels of the horrible blue, fake wood paneling that’s going to be replaced.

What do you know, I found very patch-able, although horribly ugly in color, plaster underneath. The last picture doesn’t do the nasty peach color justice. It’s awful, but still, fixing some plaster is going to safe lots of money compared to hanging drywall. All in all, a pretty productive day. Now all I have to do is learn to patch plaster.

Rumer-Loudin Website Relaunch

Been having a pretty busy week, and hadn’t had a chance to post an update on this, so I thought that I would do so now. I’m just pleased as punch to announce the relaunch of the Rumer-Loudin, Inc. website.  The website is a nice mix of a traditional ‘marketing’ and a lot of great information about heating and air conditioning, geothermal, energy efficiency, and more. The site also features the ability for customers to submit, and website administrators to moderate, testimonials for the business.

I’ve been working with Kellie, who I got to know through the Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and it’s been a really great experience. Maybe the coolest part of the whole experience is that Kellie’s huge on marketing, and is really interested in being involved in producing content, news posts, and such for the site, which usually translates to really successful websites.


Happy Birthday to Me

So, today I’m 35, which means that I’m closer to turning 40 than I am to turning 30. A fellow Valentine’s Day Baby and friend, Shaun Hough (Happy Birthday, Shaun), pointed out that it’s also the birthday of Columbus, Ohio (founded February 14, 1812). And that got me thinking, what else happened today in history.

Here is a list of ones that I found interesting on Wikipedia, and if there are any errors on this list, I blame them and not the pint and a half of pale ale I’m enjoying right now. Any typographical errors are due to the pale ale, or to the fact that I just can’t type.

  • 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray. Elisha Gray is from Barnesville, Ohio, my hometown.
  • 1894 – Jack Benny is born. “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
  • 1913 – Woody Hayes is born. Nice.
  • 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa is born. Could any more drastically opposite people than Woody Hayes and Jimmy Hoffa share a birthday?
  • 1918 – The Soviet Union adopts the Gregorian calendar (on 1 February according to the Julian calendar). The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII on February 24th, 1582. Took them long enough.
  • 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone’s gang, are murdered in Chicago, Illinois. Another Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred many years later in Columbus, Ohio, with fewer deaths, but many more casualties.
  • 1934 – Florence Henderson is born. That might explain a few things…
  • 1946 – Gregory Hines is born. “I got a great corkscrew! (Whoooaaaa!) Damn, this is a hip crowd!”
  • 1948 – Teller, of Penn and Teller, is born. I couldn’t find a good Teller quote.
  • 1960 – Jim Kelly is born. Poor guy just couldn’t win in the Super Bowl.
  • 1961 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California. I always felt a deep connection to Lawrencium. This is probably why.
  • 1965 – Slick Rick is born. Word!
  • 1970 – Simon Pegg is born. He went on to write the best zombie movie ever.
  • 1972 – Drew Bledsoe is born. And…
  • 1973 – Steve McNair is born. I guess it’s a good day for quarterbacks.
  • 1977 – Brent Rogers tells his Dad that he doesn’t want a younger brother.

Hope everyone enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed researching it.  Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes.

Twelve for Twelve

So I’ve never really been into the New Year’s Resolution thing. For the last handful of years, I’ve always just made my New Year’s Resolution to not make any New Year’s Resolutions the next year. (Which, of course, I broke every year by making the same resolution.) But I’ve been thinking about it and have decided that I wanted to put together a list of, while all not all exactly resolutions, goals that I want to have for this year.

I tried to make it a pretty eclectic list, ranging from adventures, relaxation, physical and mental self improvement, relationship building, and giving back to others. Nice and well-rounded. So, without further ado, here is my 2012 to do list, which I’m creatively calling my “Twelve for Twelve.”

#1 – Go Zip Lining

Starting off with a simple, but exciting one. I’ve wanted to go zip lining for several years, and have never taken the time to just go do it. It looks like a blast, and I’m told that it is. If anyone is interested in joining me on this one, let me know. I’m thinking late spring in Hocking Hills area, but could be somewhat flexible.

#2 – Run 500 Miles

But not all at once, of course. Sounds like a big number to me, but it when I did the math, it would only be an average of just under 1.4 miles per day. I guess I can do that. Those two zeros still look pretty daunting, not to mention that I’m already 15 miles behind pace.

#3 – Release 12 Premium WordPress Themes

I’ve been developing WordPress themes for clients now for just over two years, but I’ve never released any for sale. Could be a good way to expand 10T’s business a bit. So in any spare time I have with the business this year, I’m going to spend working on a dozen.

#4 – Learn AJAX

What could be more New Year’s Resoluton-esque than to dive into something completely new, right? Whenever Java’s been around, I’ve always stood on the other side of the room. Time for the two of us to get to know each other.

#5 – Try Out Drupal

And speaking of diving into something new and uncomfortable, add Drupal to the list as well. I’ve always been a WordPress guy, but acknowledge that Drupal must have benefits of its own. Time to find out for myself what they are.

#6 – Post Twice a Week

I mentioned when I started this blog that I didn’t know why I was starting a blog when I had never really been all that committed to them in the past. Still, I want to give it an real effort to see if I can keep it up for a whole year. It’s only a little over 100 posts. Easy, right?

#7 – Take Julie and Shannon Camping

For those of you who know these two girly-girls, you might find this one a little funny. This one could quite possibly be the most challenging of the twelve, because I actually have to convince them to go first, which will be the hard part. The actual camping will be the easy part.

#8 – Complete 100 Hours of Pro Bono Web Design

I’m no good a fund raising, and public speaking makes my knees shake. But I can design web pages, so I’m looking to volunteer in a way that would actually be beneficial to the group that I’m volunteering for, specifically, for small South-Eastern Ohio non-profit organizations. If anyone out there is part of one that is looking to have a website, please let me know. First come, first served.

#9 – Say “Thank You” to Anyone in Military Uniform

Whenever possible and especially if I don’t know them. I know that this isn’t why these guys and gals do it, but if you’ve ever just walked up to a member of the military, and given them a smile and a “Thank You,” you will see how much that simple act means to them, and they don’t get to hear it nearly as often as they deserve.

#10 – Brew Five Different Beers

Thanks to the fantastic Christmas present from Julie, I really think that home brewing might just be my new hobby, and I want to give it a good chance to be so. I figure that if I’m as interested on the fifth batch as I am on the first, new hobby found.

#11 – Hike a Total of 30 Miles

Hiking for me is extremely relaxing, mentally clearing, and just generally gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. And I didn’t hike a single step in 2011. That simply has to change. Thirty miles of hiking isn’t that ambitious of a goal, but it’s a lot further than none at all.

#12 – Watch the Sun Rise Over the Ocean

Last but not least, a simple pleasure. I haven’t seen this happen in ten years. That’s an unacceptable length of time.

So, there they are. Twelve for Twelve.

Ready? Go!