Mar 28 2017

Landmark Day Begins Personal Travel Again After 10 Years

Published by at 11:52 pm under Kennels,Milestone,Zack

WAITEROCK

3-28 LANDMARK DAY

POSSIBLE LIFE CHANGER as Zack and Waiterock Seem a Great Match

Today was the test, or first test day. After nearly 10 years without a vacation, it looks like I’ll be actually getting away . It will be a shock to go beyond the Bay Area Friday when I head up to visit friends in Redding, Northern California (assuming Zack passes the final behavior modification test Thursday.) Today Zack had  absolutely no problem at Waiterock Kennels -the best kept secret at least in Lafayette.

Frankly, I never considered  using a kennel for boarding pets while on vacation. I always thought letting the pets stay in their own environment was best, i.e. hiring a pet sitter to drop  in a few times , or , in my most recent cases (10 years ago) to live at my house (this after some bad experienced with drop in sitters where I lost one young cat for no good reason (sudden cat death) and other problems with sitters-even reputably good ones.

It’s certainly a lot less expensive boarding one’s dog or cat – and I assumed the more it costs the better, but not necessarily I now am learning.  I only learned about this kennel from an old friend a few weeks ago . There aren’t a lot of kennels around – especially for cats as most people just leave their cats alone, believing them to be self sufficient; they may be more self sufficient than dogs but it is my strong belief that even cats like companionship , or at least someone around.  After a 10 minute drive from my house to check it out I found Waiterock Kennels, at least by appearance, to be as good as my friend represented it. And, today, after Zack seemed to have no problem , though a short test stay, and meeting the owner, I feel better than ever. ‘Your cat will be just fine. Go take a trip wherever you want. Go to Hawaii,’ she said.  I almost couldn’t believe the words I heard.

It’s like a cloud has been removed with this new ‘discovery.’  I told the owner I do advertising and would help her but I almost don’t want to give Waiterock any more business lest it get too crowded. Right now it’s an oasis with , on average 25 dogs and a handful of cats each day – busier during holidays. So, before I get too excited, let’s get through this trip. But, it’s been a memorable day.

Also came upon this article, below along with my preface, the same day… all pointing out to a new life direction just when I most need it. And, of course, we musn’t forget Ornji, who played an indirect part in making this happen; of course, I would have preferred to have Ornji live many more years, even if it meant not traveling, but since this is what happened you take advantage

How Inspirational Blog from a Grieving Wife Affected My Life, Maybe Yours

I was just forwarded a wonderful blog about Jill’s husband’s life . I had to write her to say ‘thanks’
for the timely,  needed inspirationfor my own life. …
Dear Jill,
That was a very moving, bittersweet account of Fred’s life and persona 
that has given me new, needed inspiration for my own life.
 It’s never long enough, but Fred certainly accomplished much in his life
and seemed to enjoy most every moment (aside from his illnesses, which
he was somehow able to  not dwell on.)   
I am at a crossroads in my life and Fred (and your) story gives me new
inspiration to climb out of the dark place I’ve been in of late. In my case,
it was my dear, young , special cat (don’t laugh) who I lost that triggered the grief (which 
is actually an accumulation of many things.  At least with Ornji I had a best pal
to bond with during his amazing battle he finally lost to FIV-influenced liver cancer.
But along the way  during that battle we had our best days together, savoring  the days
– Ornji and some pets , in general, don’t always dwell on their illnesses like people, especially
when they still have quality of life with projects of their own to keep the busy and happy.
With some inspiration from people including you via your blog about Fred I will be 
commemorating Ornji in an ebook, gathered from the multiple blog chapters I’ve written
(http://FavoriteFurryFriends.info/Ornji). Along the way Ornji taught me many things
including enjoying life and making the most of what time we have.
In my case, I’m lucky to have good health right now, but we never know what can happen 
tomorrow, so each day should be savored and enjoyed, if not met with an accomplishment or two.
In recognition of Ornji, I try to do at least one good deed or achievement per day.
My accomplishment today was taking my surviving cat to a kennel to see if he would accept it for a day
so I could take my first vacation in a decade ;  I won’t go into the many contributing factors
that held be back from traveling. If all goes well – I won’t go away if Zack doesn’t accept
the kennel (but first reports are good in this one day test) – this will be a major accomplishment for me.
In summation, your article came at a very opportune time for me. It’s amazing how  good can result out
of bad.  I will hang on to Fred’s story and think of him along my future road (hopefully the Road To Success).
With your permission I will pass on your artiocle to others like myself who may benefit from Fred’s story.
Thanks again to you and Fred.

AND NOW, FRED’S STORY, COURTESY OF JILL ( AND FRED)…

BY JILL KONRATH

” When my husband kissed me goodbye at the airport on November 6th, I had no idea it would be for the last time.

Fred-Jill-Hiking.pngI was flying home for a day and then on to Boston to speak at HubSpot’s big INBOUND conference. Fred was staying at our condo in southern Utah to spend a couple weeks golfing.

That’s not how things turned out. Two days later he died of complications from PSC, an autoimmune liver disease. I made it back to say good-bye; so did my kids. It was tough. We all miss him—a lot.

As I reflect back on our life together, I realize how much Fred changed the trajectory of my life, reordered my priorities and modeled behaviors that I wanted to emulate. That’s why I want to share them with you.

Life Lesson 1. Winning is always possible.

When I first met Fred, he was the head football coach in White Bear Lake. By the age of 33, he’d already won two state championships. But in between those seasons, his teams really struggled.

I’ll never forget the time his team played Stillwater, the reigning state champs who had a 6-0 record. White Bear still hadn’t yet won a game. Over the weekend, Fred and the coaching staff spent hours watching game film. Their challenge? Figuring out how to stop an unstoppable offense and how to score against an impenetrable defense.

We went out for dinner mid-week. He was excited about what the team was working on. He used the placemat to draw up their offensive plans and blocking schemes. He diagramed how they were going to keep Stillwater from scoring.

Shocked, I finally said, “You don’t actually think you’re going to win, do you?”

Fred answered, “Yes. I do. We’ve got a good game plan. And, if we can execute it and they have a bad night, we can win.”

On Friday night, White Bear came out on top, winning by a score of 7-6. This was only possible because of the hard work put into figuring out a “win strategy” and near flawless execution.

Life Lesson 2. Be a cheerleader.

Fred-coaching.pngAny time you learn new skills or go beyond your comfort zone, fear and doubt creep in. As a life-long coach in both sports and business, Fred knew that the young people and adults he worked with needed to know the “why’s” and “how-to’s” first.

But, to be the best they could be, he knew that people needed someone to believe in them. When he was coaching, whenever kids did anything right, Fred was always the first one there, patting them on the back and saying, “Atta, baby!”

And, when people screwed up, he pulled them quietly aside to show/tell them what to do differently. Then, before he sent them back to work (or into the game), he’d pat them on the back and say, “You can do it.”

When I was thinking of starting my own consulting firm, I was a bundle of angst, worrying if I could actually make a go of it. When I told Fred my fears, he said with a 100% conviction, “I’d bet on you any day.” It’s what I needed to make the leap into entrepreneurship.

In short, Fred wanted people to be the best they could be—and this was how he helped them achieve it.

Life Lesson 3. Always have fun.

When I first watched my husband coaching the high school kids, it was clear that he was having more fun than anyone else on the field. He loved what he was doing and his enthusiasm was contagious. I saw him do the same thing when he coached both our kids. He made practice and drills fun, while working the team hard.

When he ran his leadership development program at Thrivent (a financial services firm), he spent hours at a magic shop figuring out what would be fun and surprising to the attendees. His favorite was setting a big glass of water down right in front of big table as he was talking.

Then, when he was gesturing wildly with his hands, he’d knock it over. Everyone would jump up to avoid getting soaked and quickly grab their workbooks, purses and devices. Except, no one ever did. When they weren’t looking, he’d dropped some “potion” in the water that turned it into a gel.

For me, Fred was my playmate. While I was working, he was busy planning what we’d do next. As I write this, I’m at our condo in Southern Utah. Every day, when I was done with work, he’d have an idea about where we should go hiking or a new restaurant to visit. He was always on the lookout for cool activities or incoming shows.

Fun matters. Fun makes everything better. Mary Poppins once said, “In every job that must be done, there’s an element of fun. And when you find the fun then snap, the job’s a game.”

Life Lesson 4. Learn new things.

When my husband decided to retire early due to health reasons, I was worried that he’d become a couch potato and lose his oomph (like so many retirees). After all, research shows that if you want to stay vital in life and work, learning new knowledge and skills is essential.

I shouldn’t have been concerned. The first project Fred tackled was earning his instrument rating, a special designation held by only 5% of private pilots that allows you to fly when visibility is near zero. It took a full year.

Then, he decided to re-do his prized possession, a 1966 Corvette. He literally took it apart piece-by-piece, putting every nut and bolt in a little plastic bag, labeling it and hanging it on a wall in the garage. When it was stripped bare, a welder fixed the corroded frame and then Fred started reassembling it.

He spent hours watching YouTube videos to figure out how to put it together again. He was a frequent visitor to Corvette forums, reading how others fixed problems, found good replacement parts and more. Four years later, after it was finally running again, he was proudly showing it at local car shows.

Fred-corvette.png

Finally, Fred was a golf lover. Even as a retiree, he was determined to bring his handicap down. He religiously read golf magazines, watched videos and experimented with new techniques. When the weather permitted, he practiced daily. Putting, chipping and ultimately, the drives. Shortly before he passed away, he shot a 78!

Life-long learning is essential for all of us. We feel better. We’re challenged. We stay at the top of our game.

Life Lesson 5. Create memorable experiences.

My husband loved planning events of all sorts—the kind that wouldn’t be forgotten. My surprise 40th birthday was filled with an assemblage of friends from every decade of my life. Anniversaries were carefully-planned romantic dinners. This fall, Fred pulled together a 5-day trip to the Columbia River Gorge to celebrate the completion of my newest book.

With my daughter Katie, he created a tradition of going to one big horse race each year. Together, they completed the Triple Crown series by going to the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont and the Preakness. They also looked forward to watching horse racing at a small local track, where they’d bet against each other for fun. When the track was closed, they’d visit the Science Museum, then go for dinner and gelato at a favorite Italian restaurant.

Memorable experiences with my son Ryan centered around football and flying. This fall, a few weeks before Fred died, the two of them went to UND’s homecoming game where my son played college ball. In previous years, they went to watch home games of the Oregon Ducks and Miami. They’d also make annual treks to the Oshkosh Airshow, camping out on the tarmac and spending their days looking at the planes.

In business today, customer experience is the #1 emerging trend. As leaders and sellers, it’s essential to think about this at work now too. But I’d also suggest you make it part of your personal life as well.

Fred-Top of the World.png

Life Lesson 6. Choose your attitude.

My husband had numerous health problems throughout his life, but most people didn’t have a clue. He was always so active and upbeat. Over the years, he had ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, bad headaches, severe curvature of the spine, Hashimoto’s disease, skin cancer and multiple operations.

Most recently, Fred had quadruple by-pass surgery (where he almost died), a hip replacement and was undergoing experimental procedures for neck pain. All the while, the PSC was slowly destroying his liver.

Yet Fred always got up with a smile on his face and plans for doing something that mattered. He always had some project going on to help others, improve the house, or to brighten someone’s day. And, he’d try to get some physical activity in as well, knowing it helped him stay healthier.

By evening, Fred was often exhausted and would collapse in front of the TV … but he felt good, like he’d accomplished something meaningful and enjoyed the people in his life.

Life Lesson 7. Your job is not your life.

After experiencing early success in sales at Xerox, I was hooked. I loved making my numbers, hitting 135% of quota, then even higher. I loved competing against the “A” players and beating them on the leader boards. I loved winning Sales Rep of the Month awards and the quarterly contests. All I could think about was getting promoted, the faster the better—and making even more money.

Today, I feel fortunate that my husband fought for my soul. While he was happy for my success, he continually challenged on the fact that my self-image was so wrapped up in being “successful.” Initially I hated him for it.

But the reality is, he was right. I could have easily become a bigwig executive making boatloads of money. I could have been so wrapped up in my job that I’d have lost the important relationships in my life—and all the priceless moments that go with them.

Fred helped me stay grounded in what matters. Family. Friends. And, doing work that matters.

Fred-Close-Up.pngFred’s Motto.

Finally, I’d like to share the credo my husband lived by. Katie and Ryan heard him say it endlessly. As a coach, he always shared it with the kids on his teams. I think he got it from Lou Holtz, a legendary coach who once asked Fred to join his football staff.

Do what’s right.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Be the best you can be.

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