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10 February
Chris Arends

While it was a great holiday break that extended through January, I finally took my first rides of the year this weekend.

It was a great reminder of why I like to ride. A great workout, my legs felt like the good old days and it was warm enough to wear just a jersey. Its hard to explain how it made me feel. Maybe I’m just getting old and have a lot of seasons to look back on and reminisce on. I felt like it was ten years ago. I wasn’t expecting to feel that good after a month off. For the next day or so I had that nice workout sore in my legs.

Now the challenge is to build the legs back up to where they feel that way all the time. Especially when my riding buddies are extending their break even longer. What they don’t realize is now the best time for them to get back on the bike too as our fitness levels should be about the same. If they wait they will just have to look at my rear wheel or gasp for air while I trying to distract them with conversation.

Here’s to another season on the road.

31 January
Chris Arends

It is weird to say my sister in law got a new kidney. Its just not one of those things that I really thought about when she went on dialysis.

First you don’t think about how long it can be for someone to move up the list and match. She never really seemed to know where she was on the list or what her odds were for a match.

Second, you just get used to the “new normal”. We all knew she had to leave around a certain time and hook up to the machine every night. She had other restrictions around eating and activities as well. Some were for the dialysis like her food and fluid intake. Others were more side affects of the process.

Finally you don’t think of what happens to make a kidney available. Usually someone has to die or in other rare cases someone is willing to donate a kidney. In her case someone about her age died. While they didn’t intentionally die they did think of others.

She was blessed that someone thought ahead and was thinking of others. How many of us have signed up to be an organ donor? How many of us have thought of how many people we could help if we just check the box on our drivers license? Our family is grateful that someone did. We will never know who it was or be able to thank them. We won’t be able to tell them that we are sorry for their loss but that their loved one didn’t die for nothing and that hopefully their loved one will live on in those they helped. The change that their death can make for my sister in law could change her life for years to come.

23 December
Chris Arends

What to get your wife for Christmas is an age-old question. From the Gift of the Magi to A Christmas Story, men have been getting it wrong. Even when we listen to our wives we still manage to screw it up. My wife is great about not wanting stuff. Never really has. She always says we have too much stuff, not enough storage or she won’t really use what I think might be a good gift.

The reason I am not getting my wife anything for Christmas is she doesn’t want any thing. And its not that I don’t want to get her anything. Heck she deserves whatever she wants for putting up with my and the boys. It just seems that I never can get her the right thing. Wrong size, wrong color, wrong model, wrong thoughtful idea. No matter what I find a way to mess things up. So what she started doing is asking me to do things for her. Build this, fix that, help the kid’s type of things. Now that sounds sweet and like a bonus for me in that I don’t have to battle the malls or hope that Amazon can get it here on time but the reality is she is asking for one of the hardest things in the world.

Now, I will do my best to get as many of them done over the holidays and fortunately, my company shuts down over the holidays so you would think this would be no problem. The funny thing is between visiting family, watching football (doesn’t that count as family time?) and getting in an end of the year ride or two (she wouldn’t want me getting fat and dying early?). Add in then the kids work schedule, the weather or some other random event and suddenly it is time to go back to work and our regular schedule and low and behold I have failed to get my wife anything for Christmas.

So this year I am setting the bar low. I am not going to set any false expectations. While what my wife wants is one of the hardest things to give and what she deserves, making promises and not keeping them is worse than getting her nothing makes her frustrated and me feeling like a heel.
The goal is to not disappoint her this year. I am going to promise her my time but in ways that she can enjoy and that I can deliver.

16 April
Chris Arends

I could write about how I hate working late. The missed sleep, the early morning, the badge of courage for putting in extra hours. That really isn’t what is on my mind.

The truth is I kind of like working at this time. I can focus. Get in the zone and really get things accomplished. No email. No family. No distractions. Just me and the work.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a workaholic and its not that I don’t love my family. If I am in the cave and know that I could be doing something with them instead of working doesn’t create the best work environment on a Sunday night.

So I make the choice to work after they go to bed. I can lose track of time and make sure I get things done well instead of just done.

Sure I will have to listen to my 14 year old complain about how tired he is. Knowing that we had time together tonight and I still got some work done makes it all worth it. Don’t tell my boss. She thinks I do it because I love my job.

24 June
Chris Arends

Yesterday our new friend from Germany arrived. Susan and the boys picked her up at the airport for her three week visit.

Felicitas- from Freudenstad Germany is working to improve her english and get some American culture. I don’t know who will be more shocked her or the boys.

Things will be a bit different for Nick and Robert as they adjust to having an 18 year old girl in the house. That means closing the bathroom door and always having good manners.

Feli loves that we have ceiling fans and that you can get chilled water and ice out of the door of the refriderator.

Another relief to her was that we have another car that is smaller than the Expidition which probably looks like a bus to her.

We will enjoy the next few weeks sharing our lives with her and learning about her and where she is from.

Stay tuned as we share our adventure with Felicitas.

9 December
Chris Arends

Tonight my sons and I went and picked out our Christmas tree.  Despite that fact that they are 11 and 13 they didn’t mind that we walked down to the neighborhood nursery to pick out the tree. 

They happily looked through the selection of trees and easily decided on a tree.  After my evaluation of their choice we purchased the tree and as is our tradition proceeded to carry it home.   At this point they both eagerly grabbed an end of the tree and started for home.   I expected at some point one of them would get tired or just be annoyed that I wasn’t helping.  To my surprise they happily, almost joyfully carried it all the way home.  Now it is only about 5 blocks but it seems a  lot longer when you are carrying a 7 ft tall tree.  Yet they both could have gone on for miles.

After we got home they each helped in getting the tree up. Nick going into the attic to get the stand and ornaments and Robert setting up the tree stand.

Now I am sure to most of you that sounds great.  And to some extent it is to me as well.  Then I stood back and thought of the first time we did this, when they could barely stand the walk back and forth. Now here they are easily carrying the tree.  It is just one more reminder to me of how fast they are growing up and how I need to savor these moments.   In 5 or 6 years they may not be home for this part of Christmas, returning just in time to ask for the keys and gas money so they can see their friends.

This morning I was thinking how I wasn’t in the Christmas mood and how I needed to do something to help the boys slow down and remember the spirit of Christmas and here I am 12 hours later with thoughts of Christmas’ past, present and future going through my head.   Now all I need is for it to snow.

30 November
Chris Arends

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my parents came down from Minnesota. Growing up in Iowa we always had Anderson Erickson Dairy products. This time of year was especially anticipated as they make their Egg Nog.egg nog

I don’t know if this is really good egg nog or just that it brings back childhood memories of Christmas but it is held up as the best egg nog myself of my brothers have ever had.

Now my parents knowing that we all love this egg nog told me they were going to bring some down. I thought, great and forgot about it until they arrived with 5 quarts. Now you might say that was nice of them except that I am the only one in my house who likes egg nog and the expiration date is December 8th.

It 250 calories in a half cup serving that is an extra 10,000 calories.  I don’t want to do the math on how many hours of cycling I am going to have to do to burn that off. T And I am sure it will be of no benefit to my cholesterol numbers either.

So as I sit here with my third glass of the day, I say thanks Mom and Dad for the egg nog.

17 November
Chris Arends

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much in the last six months. Mainly because I have been working and trying to keep up with my kids activities.

One thing I have noticed is how much I miss writing this blog. The good news is that I get to write and blog for work. The bad side is that it is n’t the same as writing what you want to write about.

There is something about getting your feelingsand thoughts out that just is a great release for me. Maybe knowing that others are amused or appreciate what I have to say helps too.

Either way I am going to try and be more regular about posting here. I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading

27 June
Chris Arends

Yes I know its been more than a month since I posted. It has been a bit crazy in both good and bad ways. More on this to come.

In the mean time More Than Half Full has been a blog for more than a year now. With more than 100 posts I hope those of you who have read it have enjoyed it. I have enjoyed writing it.

Look for a more consistency out of me. and maybe some changes in direction.

10 May
Chris Arends

We all get it and we all hate it but here is a great take on SPAM and seeing something positive.