Our Human Family
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Our Human Family

I Have Some Pretty Cool Stuff in My Life . . .

If I do say so myself

She looks good in a beret, no? All photos by author.

You may notice a theme in the list below. Just smile and nod, okay?

I’m grateful, this day and continuously, for my wonderful Deb. My friend, my companion, my lover, my partner, my future, my wife; for as long as she wants me, as long as she needs me, or so long as we both shall live.

I’m grateful for my wits (those I have left), singular and plural, for as long as I have them.

I’m grateful for living in the twenty-first century, in a country with a standard of living that lets me take advantage of the magic evolving as we look around us.

I’m grateful I share a house with a friend and partner who likes doing similar things as I do, but doesn’t feel we have to do everything together. Although if she wanted to sit together and read through the phone book, I’d probably be good with that. At least through the k’s or l’s. As long as we were sitting somewhere comfortable and I got to put my free arm around her.

I am grateful for a roommate who likes my cooking and is gracious about meals made from freezer items that should have been labeled better. Or at all. (Round things covered in frost are not always meatballs. Who knew?) Or meals whose recipes could be described as, “Things that have been in the fridge and the pantry long enough and are not totally incompatible.” And who says things like, “This was good! Can we have this again?” “ Well, do we know most of the ingredients? How about the green bits? Do we know what the green bits are?” “Well, I still think it was very good, honey, thank you!”

I am grateful for a quiet backyard with privacy and lovely landscaping including a stream (from April through November) that’s populated by local creatures who couldn’t be more interesting if their lives were scripted by Disney. In the cold months, we have to pull the pumps to avoid freezing problems. This will be our stay-cation retirement community starting “hopefully” next year.

Mid-autumn in our backyard. Maples have turned but are hanging on; red bud trees are sooooo over. Some mums are good, some are over. Still have waterfalls and gurgling, but in a week the pumps will be pulled and night temps will be in the low 20s consistently. Come spring, the daffodils will come up and the pumps go back in.

I am grateful for having paid off a mortgage several years ago and had extra money available for putting into our retirement funds. Although so far we seem to have invested in home improvements like a new roof, a water-proofed basement, a replacement vehicle for a seventeen-year-old Saturn, landscaping a backyard that was in sorry shape, and a bathroom remodel occasioned by a plumber who broke a pipe instead of repairing it. I have every confidence that these will pay off handsomely some time in the future. And we’re hoping the future starts in January 2020.

I’m grateful for my bedmate, who doesn’t mind my snoring. “You don’t snore that much, honey. Mostly.” This is opposed to a nameless person, mentioned later on, who used to whack me in the head with her elbow when my snoring drove her crazy.

I’m grateful for a bedmate who likes to —
“You can’t post that, Jackster.”

How about when we . . . ?

“No.”

Lots of people do it.

“Lots of people do lots of things. They don’t post them on Medium.”

Actually, if you look —

“WE don’t post them on Medium!”

I’m grateful for my bedmate. I have my reasons.

I’m grateful for my diabetes, oddly enough. I don’t know what sort of shape I’d be in if I hadn’t been diagnosed twenty years ago and given the choice of getting healthy or dying a lingering death with poor eyesight and fewer digits. But I certainly wouldn’t be getting up at zero-dark-thirty every morning to work out for thirty to forty minutes. Okay, later on weekends, but that’s because I like to snuggle with my bedmate on Saturday mornings.

If not for my diabetes, I wouldn’t have been contributing all my oversized trousers to the charity box. I wouldn’t be exercising portion control on most meals, and skipping or sharing desserts when we go out. I wouldn’t have become focused on low-carb/complex-carb meals. Because (a) I want to be around to enjoy Saturday morning snuggles as long as possible, and (b) they still don’t have an oral insulin product, and needles scare the crap out of me.

I’m grateful for computers. They’ve been my passion and my avocation and my creative outlet and my enabler and my source of income and my way of coping with life when I’m not up to dealing with people. And they are still totally cool.

I’m grateful for my ex-wife. She changed my self-image with her friendship and love. She got me to get serious about saving for the future (the investment account she talked me into in 1986 has paid for a mortgage refinance, a mortgage early pay-off, and family emergencies; and it’s still going strong because I never stopped making contributions to it month after month). Even though we lived together longer divorced than we did married (true story!), she kept my family’s name and has done it proud as a Naval officer, academic administrator, PhD, and amateur sommelier. I’m a better husband now for being married to her.

I’m grateful for my time in the Navy. Four years of college at the Naval Academy, which taught me academic skills, leadership skills (by observation and practice), and people skills (I never needed to get along with people in high school, I just needed to avoid them or ignore them).

Ten years of active duty in submarines, computers, and temporary duty assignments. I lived in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, South Korea, and Rhode Island (with some repeats). I met my first wife and more friends than I want to count (because I’ll leave out somebody).

I learned that planning for the future is very good and worthwhile, but sometimes you wake up (after, say, a plane crash you were in) and find that the future isn’t there any more and you need to adapt.

I got to live through a number of interesting stories, many of which I retell with surprisingly little need for modification.

I found how to live with a lifestyle that worked within my income while being content (although I look back on what I made as an ensign and wonder how that was ever possible).

I’m grateful for my life partner. We’ve gotten to the point that we’re Jack&Deb (or Deb&Jack) when we’re dealing with church projects, or family, or the outside world. I’m grateful for her patience and wisdom.

I’m proud of how she has advanced in her career after leaving a job that was completely in her comfort zone. I’m grateful that we’re getting ready to enter the retirement phase of our lives together, shoulder-to-shoulder and ready for what comes.

I’m grateful for how she keeps me sane. I’m amazed how she supports her side of the family and mine. I’m still caught off guard the way she can make me laugh at her offbeat sense of humor.

And I’m so very, very glad to be her husband, married to a woman who is totally AWESOME!

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​Our Human Family celebrates the inherent value of all human beings by fostering conversations on racial equity, allyship, inclusion, antiracism, and equality.

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Jack Herlocker

Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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