Dear Dad

Hey Dad, how you doing? Jake here, and I'm just trying to keep up with myself these days.

As you can tell, Henry is getting bigger by the minute and its the funnest thing to watch him grow. I see myself in him all the time and it still reminds me of you when he laughs. I try to keep up with showing you all the big things that happen but they seem to happen on an hourly basis lately. He talks to me all the time if you consider "Blub blah da de bo" a meaningful conversation. For some reason it seems to make sense to us.

I'm starting to understand now why I didn't get to hear from you all the time. I had a harsh perspective on that for a long time but I'm not sure why I held you to such a strict standard while the world seemed to catch up to us and pass us by. Even today I'm having trouble trying to talk to Mom enough to let her know what's going on, and I've really been bad at keeping the closest of the family in the loop. I mean, when I count it up I got 3 brothers and 2 sisters that I need to be talking to on a daily basis. Add in Mom and Jimmie, Teresa and David, Jeff and Jodi, Grandma Wenke, Mike and Diane, and all 9 cousins and then the friends... damn. The way I figure it, I should be making around 3 or 4 phone calls a day to talk to everyone and just let them know what's going on with my family.

Don't forget Chandra, 'cause without her I'd be lost. Everyday I learn a bit more of what family means and I still don't know how to thank her enough. She takes care of Henry so well, so much better than I could ever manage too. I try as much as I can to keep up with him and still I can only manage a few hours a day. I don't see how anyone could manage this by themselves, not in a million years and with all the money in the world. I wish I could talk with Chandra for hours everyday, but it seems all I manage on some days is a kiss when I get home and some chit-chat about our day when we get the chance.

I want you to know that I love you, old man. There was a lot of mess in the middle that kept that from being obvious, but don't doubt for a second that it wasn't there. I always remembered your face, even when I wasn't looking at it in the best light. There might have been some jackass part of me that thought that I was just going to be better at this dad thing by sheer luck, but don't worry, reality has kicked me right in the ass on that one. I still wish there were some lessons that you could help me out with.

There is one thing I want to thank you the most for, Dad. Thank you for showing me that it's always worth it to keep trying... keep trying to get it done, keep trying to do it better than last time, keep trying to make a difference where it counts. I promise that I'll keep that up for you, the best way that I can.

Happy Father's Day. I miss you old man, sorry if it's a bit late.


New Baby Pics

Here's some new baby pics for everyone to enjoy. Henry is doing great and is growing faster than we can keep track of. It's hard to believe he is almost 3 months old already. His unofficial measurement is 14 pounds right now and about 24 inches, so he's getting to be quite a chunky monkey. We have lots of fun playing the smiling game and sticking out our tounge at each other. He just started to giggle in his sleep yesterday but we haven't figured out what he thinks is funny yet to get him to laugh when he's awake.

Click the slide show to go to my google pics and you can see all of them there and in hi-res if you need to download them for prints and such.


The Most Important Day of My Life

I am exhausted, worn, excited and hungry and I have never felt happier than I do now. Today my son was born. Henry Karl Wenke was delivered to Chandra and I at 12:55pm at Wesley Hospital in Wichita. He is 8lbs and 3oz and was 19.5 inches long when he was born. He is absolutely perfect and makes me smile everytime I see him. He has a full head of dark hair and looks like both of us in a perfectly shared way. Today, I am a perfectly happy man. Today, I am a father.

Posted by Picasa


First Baby Pics

Things are definitely moving fast, so I'm just stepping in for a quick update. Last Friday Chandra and I had our first sonogram of the baby at 18 weeks. I never understood why people were always so excited about grainy, cryptic pictures, but now I get it. I still get a smile every time I look at them. I can honestly say they represent one of the most exciting things I have ever seen. Click the link and have a smile with me as there are some funny ones in there. If you want to keep it a mystery, stay away from the last 2.
From Baby Wenke


My Summer of Shifting Priorities

Hello again everyone. Since I have been out of the public radar quite a bit for the last few months, I thought I would give everyone my "What I Did Last Summer" report. I can tell you that its was an eventful summer, so please pay attention to all the details. True to my form, I'll try to keep it painfully long and full of obscure metaphors.

The summer started with a let down when I found out that I had failed my "Art" class in college. It turns out that you really have to do homework to get a passing grade in college, regardless of how relevant and informative (or worthless and trivial in this case) the class may be to my business degree. Yes, it was all my fault. No, I won't apologize for calling it a worthless class. Lucky for me I was able to find an online class over the summer session that filled my art requirement and was quick and mostly painless. This time I did my homework like a good school boy and got a good grade. For now I, am taking this semester off, but more on that later.

The next big thing was with work. Our outsourcing group was looking for a person to manage one of our vendors on a one-on-one basis for a year or two. The kicker was that this vendor is a little bit outside of town... As in southern Brazil part of out of town. I jumped at the offer when they first mentioned it, back in mid May and proceeded to go through interviews with all the different managers attached to this program. Everyone kept telling me that they were going to move on this fast so I was a bit frustrated when I had to go through five interviews at about 2 week intervals. Fast in business terms is evidently around two months, but I did get to chat with the vice president of supply chain. So after my extended meet and greet with the entire company, they offered me the position and I naturally accepted. The very next day, the company states they are taking a new strategy with this vendor and they no longer need me to go down there. It's always nice to see multi-billion dollar company focused and synchronized on a goal, but in the end it worked out for the best. Once the word got out that I wasn't headed to paradise I got an offer for a team lead spot back in production (where I enjoy working the most) and a temporary assignment in our experimental shop (where I can show off my skill to everyone).

And so we come to my biggest priority and most recent reason to know how to spell serendipity. Around the same time as the Brazil deal was kicking off, I met a sweet little girl named Chandra. We began to spend a lot of time together which turned into a lot more time together. A couple of months ago we found out that she was pregnant and so now I'm going to be a father. Lucky for me she's been through this before because the whole idea is still a bit scary for me. It's very exciting, but at the same time sobering. All of my priorities are now shifting to my responsibilities as a father. I'm nervous of my abilities but confident that things will work out for the best. I'm scared of the huge responsibility of raising a child but I'm ecstatic of all the fun and happiness this child will bring to our lives. Since you've made it this far I'll assume that you really are interested in my dealings and hope that you will also support and share in our happiness.

Things will be changing quickly. I hope to be moving into a new house by the end of the year, finishing the last 2 classes for my associates degree before the spring semester, and the baby is due February 18th. As always, this adventure called life is getting more and more interesting as we go along the path. Thanks for sharing the road with me.

With respect and love.


When UPS Attacks

I ordered a new surround sound system last week when I found a good deal on a ONKYO receiver and a full set of speakers. It would have been really cool to have hooked up to my DVD player and my Home Theater Computer and be really loud and obnoxious in all my geek tech glory. I bought it from a long time online retailer that millions have shopped from before and had to pay about $50 for shipping via the ever-present UPS. The boy in brown showed up today to drop off my purchase, and came to the door with just his little computer and said to go ahead and sign to accept the package. Remembering what my mama said, I waited to sign the little machine until he brought the package up to me. When he brought it up to the porch, this is what I was treated too (click on the pictures to see the full set).

So I did the safe thing and refused delivery. Besides being hi-tech electronics, and obviously dropped something fierce, there was a very good chance that some of the pieces could have fallen out or been stolen. Refusing delivery makes UPS and Crutchfield fight it out, while Crutchfield just sends me a new box and I (hopefully) have no worries while having to wait a bit longer.

Now the thought on my mind is this: The UPS guy knew that this box was beat the fuck up. He also know what my options were in this situation. So why did he ask me to sign for it before he brought it up to the porch?

Was the guy just a dick and wanted to stick me with a busted stereo, maybe yell "Gotcha!" as he dropped it off and run away. Is there some kind of corporate policy out to screw over the customer by sticking people with broken things so they have to go through all the red tape on the off chance that most will just give up and accept the bad fortune? Who knows, maybe the guy just had a long day and didn't want to have to lug a 90 pound box from truck to door then back again. Whatever the situation, none were my responsibility and I was not about to make it mine. Moral of the story? Watch your six people. There are a lot of ways for retailers, shippers, middlemen and others to take advantage of your dollar if you let them. Don't be no sucka baby.


2 Weeks and Some Change.

It's been 18 days since I quit smoking. I will admit I did have one cigarette last Friday after the bar, however it was a Super-Ultra-Mega-Uber-Light so it was more of a disappointment than a reprieve. They say 21 days make a habit, so give it a week. However I'm pretty sure the hunger will still be there. Last time I quit for almost 2 years and I still wanted to smoke the whole time. However I have kept up at the gym for about 6 weeks now, almost 3 weeks of clean breathing... I'm contemplating kicking the caffeine habit next. Chocolate has been my replacement vice for the last week or so and it's not doing me any good. It might even be worse for me than the smoking was.

So exercise, no nicotine and no caffeine. I am going to be a complete and total asshole. You have been warned.

I will use these reasons as an excuse for my insomnia as well, so you can't get mad when I fall asleep while you are talking. I really was paying attention to whatever it was you just said. The up side of all of this frustration is that it keeps my hands busy. No, not like that. Ass. Saturday I did my rain dance by waxing the hell out of my car, Sadie. She looked so good I took some new pics of her. You can check them out in my photo albums. I love the way a girl looks after a good wax job. Yes, like that. I'm the ass ;)

You know... Everyone likes a Brazilian...


2007 Easter Pub Crawl - The Ultimate Sacrifice

It looks like we finally got all of the pics from the Ultimate Sacrifice Pub Crawl collected and in the public domain. The Padre was out in full effect once again. Click on the pic below to check em out.

Ultimate Sacrifice Pub Crawl


Day 3

Medically speaking, three days after a person stops smoking, all nicotine has left their system. Any discomfort or feelings a person has for cigarettes at this time are purely a result of the brain adjusting to the lowered levels of nicotine. Nicotine is chemically similar and mimics the actions of acetylcholine, a neurochemical that attaches to the brain's receptors and produces dopamine which affects a person's sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter that is involved in addictions to other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. After 16 years of smoking, my brain has been trained to receive a boost of this chemical cocktail about every 2 hours. Think about the hungriest you have ever been, then move that pain to the middle of your brain. Then make it worse, steadily over the next 7 days...

The good side...
These neurochemicals are produced in our own brains. The perceptions and emotions we focus on are reinforced by more of these same chemicals. Focus your perceptions on peace and contentment, you will have a damn good chance of feeling peaceful and content. That's what eastern medicine has used meditation for for thousands of years. I will use my mind to rid myself of this discomfort that is caused by my mind... Yeah, there is no spoon.

Shitty thing is, I have always used cigarettes to calm myself so I can meditate. Fuckers.


I Quit

I have been smoking for a long time. I started smoking cigars when I was 16, and after I learned that they aren't the best thing before school, I switched to smoking Marlboro Red's. Full Flavor, Cowboy Killer's, Coffin Nails... yeah, they are all the same thing. Except for a brief stint during boot camp and briefly while I was married, I have been smoking pretty much ever since then. I have smoked a lot, at one time I was smoking a pack and 1/2 a day. Everyday. I have cut down considerably since then and except for when I am at the bar, I usually smoke about 5 or 6 cigarettes a day. This Saturday night I was out at a friend's house for a pig roast and I finished my last pack of cigarettes. I'm giving them up.

I never needed to smoke, I just like to smoke. But it does have a negative effect on me. And the positives of smoking don't seem to offset the negatives nearly as much as they used too. One of my favorite things is that I would get a few minutes to get up from the desk and go somewhere else for a little break. But there are other things I can do to get those little breaks, maybe I'll go run up and down the stairs or maybe walk around the building if its nice out. We shall see... I'm going to miss my little distraction. So please be a little understanding if I'm more inclined to bite now. I never mean for it to be personal ;)