Browsing Tag: family

    Miscellany

    Parents’ Love, Shown in One Photo

    September 2, 2013

    Not that I’ll ever doubt how much my parents love me, but if I did, this kind of thing would just wipe it away immediately.

    If you visit my parents’ house, you’ll see this on the main coffee table in their living room:

    u2diary

    That’s my book, U2 – A Diary. It was published in 2008. It’s still out and sitting on that coffee table, five years later.

    They’ve never put it away. I think that’s love.

    Miscellany

    A McGee Family Election Night Tradition (AKA, Wolf Blitzer Is A Dork)

    November 6, 2012

    vote-republican-democratIt’s about 2:30 pm right now on election day. In just a couple hours, one of my favorite McGee traditions will resume after a long break: Cari and I will sit down in front of the TV, with Outback Steakhouse take-out food in front of us, and we’ll settle in to watch many, many hours of live national election coverage.

    It may sound boring, but we have an absolute blast together … perhaps primarily because we’re as interested in watching (and mocking) the news coverage as anything.

    (That part of the fun predates our marriage, even, when we would watch live “breaking news” coverage on Los Angeles television and make fun of folks like Harvey Levin, who famously shouted “GET TO HIGHER GROUND!” repeatedly during some serious flooding.)

    I think tonight’s tradition began with the 2000 election, which was the first one after Outback Steakhouse opened up in Tri-Cities. We didn’t have nearly the amount of good restaurants in town then that we do now, so it was an easy choice to grab some take-out food and bring it home. We’ve followed this tradition each national election since, and I think even on most of the smaller election years, too.

    That first year, I remember us both trying to stake awake all night while votes in Florida were counted and re-counted. I outlasted Cari and stayed awake until about 2 am, I think, and the election was still undecided. As it would remain for the next 36 days.

    But probably our favorite moment happened last time out, in the 2008 election.

    We were watching CNN and Wolf Blitzer was leading their coverage, with a cadre of like a thousand analysts on set, too. Wolf was leading an interview — don’t recall who it was, maybe one of the party spokespersons or something like that — and he fired off a question that I also don’t remember. Just as the interviewee began to answer, Wolf interrupted with this:

    “I’m sorry, we have to cut away right now. But this is a great question and we’ll get back to it later.

    Yes.

    Wolf Blitzer asked a question then complimented himself on how good the question was!

    To this day, Cari and I often ask a question and then announce that our question is great. Cuz we’re kinda dorky. Like Wolf Blitzer.

    Here’s hoping tonight’s tradition brings more fun moments like that…..

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    R.I.P. Walter Keiss (Uncle Walt)

    February 18, 2012

    My Uncle Walt died earlier this week. He was my mom’s brother and a great uncle. Larger than life, really — a big man with a big voice, big laugh and a big heart. Since I’m 2,500 miles away from almost all of my relatives, I only got to see Walt (and his wife Sue) once or twice a year when I was home visiting my parents. It was always a good time when everyone was together.

    As I’ve been thinking about Uncle Walt this week, something occurred to me: It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that Uncle Walt is a big reason why I do what I do for a living right now.

    See, when I was a kid, we would go over to Walt and Sue’s house fairly often. Many kids may not have liked visiting their aunt and uncle, but their aunt and uncle probably didn’t have a computer at the time. Uncle Walt had a computer and I loved going to their house to play with it.

    Every time we’d visit, while the adults were off in the living room or dining room or wherever they were gathered, I’d be in front of the computer playing for hours on end. Nonstop. You couldn’t get me away from the thing.

    I’m not sure what computer it was — might’ve been the Apple II, might’ve been an IBM. I remember it had the green screen with green text, which makes me think it was probably an IBM.

    But anyway, there was this geography game that I played constantly. Don’t recall the name, but the computer would spit out the name of a country, and you had to come up with another country whose first letter was the same as the last letter of whatever the computer showed. So, if the computer said “Denmark,” I had to come up with a country that began with “k.” I would type in “Kenya,” and then the computer had to come up with a country that began with “a.” And the game would continue until someone was unable to add another country.

    Playing that game taught me one fact that’s stuck with me to this day: There are a zillion countries whose names begin and end with the letter “a.” Seriously, like a zillion. Like in the example above, after I type “Kenya,” the computer would respond with “Austria” or something else, and the game always ended in a race to see who could name the most countries that began with “a,” and most of them also end with “a” — Australia, Aruba, Angola, Argentina, Albania, Andorra, and so on and so forth.

    Visiting Uncle Walt’s house made me love computers.

    I got to continue using them in the late 80s when I was at Pepperdine – every dorm had a community Macintosh, and we also had a nice computer lab filled with Macs. Even in my early media career, I loved and used computers. Heck, in 1995 when almost no one had Internet access, I ran a segment every Monday night on the KEPR 11 pm news called “Nothing But ‘Net” in which I showed off some new sports website I’d found. (I can only imagine what viewers thought of that at the time. Must’ve been weird.)

    And now, since 1997, I’ve made my career around computers. Couldn’t imagine life without them.

    And it really all started with that old green-screen computer that Uncle Walt and Aunt Sue owned, and kindly let me use every time we visited. Thank you both.

    Walt … I miss you. Thanks for introducing computers to me. It’s changed my life.

    Miscellany

    The Nicest Thing You Can Say to a Married Person

    November 16, 2011

    It’s been more than 24 hours, and I’m still completely flattered by something that was said about me and Cari yesterday.

    As you know, we’re building a new Oasis home that should be ready in a few months.

    Yesterday, we had a big meeting to go over final plans and details. Cari and I were there. The selling agents were there. The builder was there. His foreman was there. Another one of his staffers was there. We basically sat around a big table as the foreman marked up the blueprint for our home with notes on the most minute details you could imagine:

    Which way did we want this door to open? Where do we want electrical outlets placed? Where should the fence connect to the house (front or back)? Where did we want overhead lights placed?

    I’ll probably write more about this meeting down the road, and I’m sure Cari will, too, over on her real estate blog. But this one moment stands out:

    I would guess that, in the midst of several hours of decision-making on a new home, it’s probably pretty easy to argue and fight and get frustrated with one another. But while Cari and I were discussing all of these options and decisions, the selling agent said, “Look at the two of them – they’re so in love.”

    Seriously … that’s about the nicest thing you can say to a married person, especially when you’ve already been married for 20 years.

    Thanks KG.

    Tri-Cities, WA

    Why I Love Where We Live

    January 9, 2010

    Very early in our marriage, I used to tell Cari that someday I wanted to live in (or build) a development where everything that mattered to me was, like, really, really close to our house. I wanted all of my best friends to live on the same street so we could hang out without having to travel far. I wanted all of the important public services close by — stores, gas stations, our church, schools, etc. I basically wanted my own little, 3-square-mile version of utopia where nothing important was more than a five-minute drive away. How cool would that be, right?

    Here we are, married 18+ years and slowly it’s starting to happen here in West Richland! Have a look at the map:

    ourhouse

    Our house is inside that big circle. When we moved here in late 1998, the area was pretty dead. But as you can see, we’re slowly getting most everything we need right around us.

    Elementary School: A little south of us is the elementary school where both kids have attended. This opened the first year we lived in West Richland. It’s less than a mile away.

    Middle School: This is where Sean goes now, also less than a mile away. It opened … 3-4 years ago, maybe?

    Fitness club: This will open on Monday. I just signed up yesterday, because about a week ago I stepped on the scale and weighed more than I ever have. Yikes! That bicycle purchase I made a year ago didn’t work out as far as helping me lose weight and get in shape; just never rode it often enough.

    Grocery store: A Yoke’s grocery store opened up about 4-5 years ago, I think. It’s also less than a mile away. We don’t do all our shopping there because, frankly, the prices are pretty high. But it’s super-convenient for quick shopping trips.

    Gas station: Once Yoke’s opened, all kinds of new businesses opened up around it, including a gas station that also has a Quiznos inside. Nice.

    Fire station: This was already here when we moved in, but it’s comforting to know that fire trucks are a mile away, God forbid anything happen.

    Sports fields: Also already here when we moved — it’s a nice little sports complex with four baseball fields, a soccer/football field, and a concession building. Very convenient when Sean spent a couple years playing Little League. And it also has a nice park with playground equipment that our daughter always loved. Back before I started working from home, the daycare that we sent both kids to was right across the street from the sports complex — again, super convenient to have that so close.

    Post office/Public library: These were also already here when we moved, but again – nice to have them so close. There’s also a nice restaurant right across the street from the post office, and a good pizza place right near the library (that many say is the best in the Tri-Cities).

    Still Missing

    First and foremost, all our friends. I haven’t been able to convince anyone to relocate here. Yet.

    Our church could be a bit closer. It’s about … maybe five miles away and not on the map.

    The nearest branch of our bank is way too far away. It’s a 15-minute drive to the mall for that.

    We also need an urgent care-type medical facility. A new medical office opened last year about two miles away, but we need a walk-in facility, too.

    A dog park for Sparky would be cool. There’s one in Richland, about 6-7 miles away, I think. Wish that was closer.

    Guess that’s about it. No place is perfect, but this place keeps getting closer with all the new stuff being built.

    Miscellany

    How to Get to Our House

    May 20, 2009

    Last month, I suggested that April is the best time to visit the McGees. May is awfully nice, too. And our cherry trees bloom in June, so that’s also good.

    Well, if you’re thinking about visiting, you’ll need to know how to get here. For that, we turn to our daughter, T.

    She was on the phone with a friend several days ago, trying to make plans for the friend to come visit and play for a few hours. Now, T is not very experienced on the phone just yet so it was funny to listen to her side of the conversation and try to imagine what her friend was saying.

    After all the plans were settled, the friend needed to know how to get to our house. The friend lives right near school, about a half-mile from here. She must’ve asked for directions, and that’s when T furrowed her brows and thought for a few seconds. And then she offered these helpful instructions:

    “You carefully curve a little. Then you go forward.”

    So, there ya have it. Come visit us soon, won’t you? The directions are simple. 😉