All posts by Jon

Cutting the Cable

Last month – I had to double-check because I couldn’t believe it’d been that long – Suzanne and I officially cut the cable and turned in our cable box. No more movie package. No more DVR. No more hundreds of channels with barely anything worth watching. Done.

We’d talked about it for months. Probably longer. But we never really got serious about it. Then it came time to pay July’s cable bill and I was like, “I really wish I didn’t have to pay this bill.” At $160 for cable and Internet, it’d grown pretty large. Sure, I could have called and gotten them to move us to a new promotional plan, but that’s a hassle. I guess I’m the kind of customer they like.

I figured I could get away without cable pretty easily. Most of the time I’m watching a St. Louis Cardinals’ game on MLB.TV or using the computer in the evenings. Occasionally, I’ve even picked up a book in my recent efforts to make time for the things that I’ve often said I don’t have time for. And with football season around the corner, the majority of those are on broadcast television. I can also usually find an online stream with racing on it if I really want to get my racing fix.

So for me, I didn’t foresee it being a problem. But Suzanne is at home with Micah all day long. I know it’s an easy thing to watch to keep some level of sanity during the day, so I didn’t want to be the guy who took away an escape for her. And if I brought up the topic, I was afraid she’d just agree with me without really being totally for it. So I said, I’ll let her bring it up. Continue reading Cutting the Cable

2013 In Review

It has been a crazy year for the Dobles in 2013. If you’re looking for a list of major life stressors, we probably had you covered. A new job for Suzanne, buying a house, bringing in another dog, starting graduate school, and having a baby topped the list for the year. At the end of last year, I was working at Value Printing, Suzanne had just lost her job with Duke University, we had one dog, and lived in an apartment. If you ask Marble, life was just about perfect.

Suzanne found another – better – part time job with Wake Tech as a skills instructor in their EMS department. It wasn’t much regular work, but it is something she loves and has plenty of experience doing. It really is about the perfect job for her. She did take some time off this fall because of Micah, but she has plans to return.

I’m still working at Value Printing. However, I am now the Print & Design Services Manager, whatever that really means. For the most part it means that my job is to keep the office running smoothly, get the customers taken care of, and make sure jobs are getting out in a timely manner. Some days are easier than others, but I do love my job and what I do, even if there are a particular set of associated stresses that make it wish some days I didn’t work there. But I think everyone has those days at work. Continue reading 2013 In Review

What are you thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving Day. The day of the year that families get together, eat a big meal, watch some football, and take a nap. I mean, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a day?

But the concept behind Thanksgiving is more than that. It’s to remember and think about what we’re thankful for. It’s so easy in our every day lives to be living so fast that we forget to be thankful for what we have. I see many of my friends doing the “month of thanks” on social networking, taking a post each day and talking about something they’re thankful for. I’m entirely sure I could come up with 30 things to be thankful for without getting overly corny and simplistic.

However thinking today about what I’m thankful for reminded me of a conversation that I had a couple weeks ago with my mom. I realized during that conversation that I really have everything I ever really wanted. You see, as long as I could really plan what I wanted to be, I really wanted to be a husband and a father. Being rich (though I certainly wouldn’t turn down the option) or having an important job really wasn’t the goal of my life. I wanted a job that would allow me the money and time to ensure that my family was taken care of and that I would be there when they needed me.

And I have that.

I have an amazing wife who makes me happy and constantly makes me strive to be a better husband with her selflessness as a wife and mother. She has been the anchor through the storms of life that have hit us in the four years of our relationship. We’ve been married a little more than two and a half years into our marriage and I love her more today than I did that day as I waited for her at the end of the aisle to take her as my wife.

We have a newborn son Micah, who I would already do anything for. He was healthy and happy when he was born and I praise God daily for that. I love talking to him and seeing him start to learn his way through this world, whether that be rolling over, standing up, or burping (he’s already a pro at that, by the way).

We have a couple rascally dogs that run around at our feet, Marble and Jax. As much as they are frustrating, it is a constant lesson in patience, but they’re cute and willing to unselfishly share their love. It’s been a couple months since we got Jax, but they have finally become accustomed to each other and have begun playing together. It is fun to watch and makes us smile. It brings joy to our lives.

We own a house that meets our needs. It’s not huge, but it fits us well. It’s in good shape and doesn’t need any major work. We have a bedroom, Micah has a bedroom, and we have a room for our office. There’s also plenty of yard for our puppies and, one day perhaps, Micah to roam around on.

And I have a job that provides enough money to care for my family. There may not be much to spare some months, but its better than being unemployed. There are some particular stresses to it, as there are with any job, but I enjoy what I do and I’m good at it.

So you see, it’s not every day you realize that at the age of 28, you have everything you ever really wanted. That is what I’m thankful for. Today and everyday.

Franchitti ending his racing career

Dario+Franchitti+Shell+Pennzoil+Grand+Prix+eWW4_kwMYxKl Yesterday it was announced that IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti was retiring from racing on the advice of his doctors. For those of you who don’t follow racing, Franchitti was in a devastating accident in this season’s penultimate race in Houston (video link). As a result of the injuries sustained in that accident, doctors advised that the risk of further injury was too great if he returned to racing.

Since the announcement was made, I’ve seen many friends and fellow racing fans express disappointment that Franchitti is having to retire and walk away from the sport. I haven’t been able to express such disappointment, because I don’t have it. The way I see it, Franchitti is lucky that he gets to retire from racing, and he should know this all too well.

You see racing, especially open cockpit style IndyCar racing, is pretty dangerous.

On October 31, 1999, the racing world watched as the #99 car of Greg Moore crashed into the wall at California Speedway. Moore, 24 at the time and poised to be open wheel’s latest rising star, was fatally injured in that accident. A close friend of Dario’s, Moore even introduced him to actress Ashley Judd at a party. Dario and Ashley would go on to get married in 2001. Franchitti would win in Vancouver, Canada, Greg’s home race, in 2002 and dedicate the victory to Greg. He would dedicate his second IndyCar championship to Moore as well, won ten years after Moore’s death. Even the picture posted to Dario’s Twitter account as part of his retirement announcement had a quote from Moore on it.

Twelve years later on October 16, 2011, the racing world watched again as Dan Wheldon was involved in a spectacular crash in the early laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon, 33 at the time, was fatally injured in that accident and died at the track. He left behind a wife and two young kids. Wheldon, a former teammate of Dario’s, was a close friend of his away from the track too.

After the death of Wheldon, I expected 2012 to be Franchitti’s last season behind the wheel. From 2008 to 2012, Dario won four consecutive IndyCar championships (he didn’t race in the series in 2009). He has won three Indianapolis 500s. While I’ve always downplayed Franchitti’s success as attributed to quite a bit of luck, the fact is that he has been very successful. There wasn’t anything left for him to accomplish.

So on October 6, 2013, I watched in horror as Franchitti’s car go airborne and fall apart in a wreck in the Houston Grand Prix, I feared the worst. I feared that we had once again lost another great race car driver. Yet he survived.

So excuse me if I can’t see the disappointment in his retirement. While he may only be 40 years old, I see him as lucky that he gets to make that decision. I see him lucky that he gets to retire and walk away from the sport. And of all people, he should realize what that means.

Introducing Micah!

micahAs I described it to one of my softball teammates whose wife is expecting their first kid in December, October 13, 2013, was one of the most terrifying and exciting days of my life. The reason for that is because that was the day our son joined the world. After nine long months of eagerly awaiting his appearance, here he was!

Micah Jonathan Doble was born at 7:58 pm, was 8 lbs, 9 oz, and was 21.5 inches long. Suzanne was incredible during labor as she battled it out hardcore. She was awesome.

It was terrifying because he just suddenly decided to stop moving. On Friday she went in for her regular appointment and they checked him out, and while his heart rate checked out, they decided to bring her back that afternoon for an ultrasound to check him out to make sure everything looked good in there too. I took off from work to attend, but everything checked out on Friday and he began moving, or as we called it “showing off.” Continue reading Introducing Micah!

Laundry Room Project

When Suzanne and I bought our new house, one of my largest complaints right off the bat was the laundry closet. First problem that I had with it is that it’s a closet off the dining area. Second problem is that there’s about an extra three feet of space to the right of the door. Originally my plan was to build a wall and put in a pantry closet with that space. Except for a pesky light switch that foiled that plan.

DSC_0388After living for a month with the closet arranged like the above picture, I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to do something. But what.

After plenty of brain storming, I decided that we should put the dryer back in that empty space. That was something the previous owners had done. But instead of arranging the washer facing out, I’d turn it to face opposite so instead of a closet, I had a small room that had a small area to walk into. Then, I would remove the one big long shelf and put up a series of shelves on each side all the way up.

It was a brilliant plan. A Saturday evening is all it would take, I said to myself. Famous last words. Continue reading Laundry Room Project

A year ago today

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Marble sleeps after checking out the entire apartment on his first day with us.

A year ago after having lunch with Suzanne’s grandmother, we decided to go visit a dog that we saw on the local SPCA shelter website. We’d talked about it the day before, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get a dog. This one, named Bonnie, was a four year old long haired dachshund. But when we got to the shelter, she was already gone.

They had another, they told us. The only one left at the shelter right now. It was a one and a half year old long haired dachshund named Marvel (who we later renamed Marble). They said he had another couple that put a 24 hour hold on him as they considered whether to get him or not. We decided to see him anyway.

So we asked to see him and they brought him to one of the rooms. He was really shy and seemed content to just sniff around the room, mostly ignoring us. He’d been a popular boy that day and was likely very exhausted from meeting new people. We wanted to put in an application to get him, but we had to play the waiting game.

We went home, hoping and praying that he would still be available the next day. After spending my Monday morning attempting to call the shelter and getting nobody on the phone to check if he was still there, I took off from my internship earlier than usual and ran over to the shelter. He was there and he didn’t have a hold on him anymore! I filled out the application, paid my money, but decided I’d wait until after I picked up Suzanne from work at 5 to come back and get him.

I went back to go check on him in the back and he was in his room all alone, napping on a towel on the middle of the floor. Little did he know just how much his life was going to change in the coming hours. Continue reading A year ago today

2012 Christmas Tags!

577768_10100980476973199_1617574797_nHey all! It’s Jon again. Suzanne still has a husband. Haha.

As you may or may not know, I like to design my own Christmas present tags every year. They started out really rudimentary a few years ago and have evolved every year since. Two years ago it was a project for my flexography class. Then they really hit a new level last year when I went all out.

And wow. And I am kind of ashamed that that was just 3 posts ago for me on this blog.

Anyway, the PDF of them is linked below after the jump. If you like them, please use them. This year’s are a little more difficult to cut out than last year’s. It’s the price for getting adventurous. Or you can always go back to last year’s page and download those and use them.  Continue reading 2012 Christmas Tags!

New Vacuum Cleaner

I know, everyone’s going, “Holy crap! Suzanne actually has a husband! Jon is not just some made up person since he never posts on the blog.” But yes she does and yes, I don’t, but I’m hoping to get into doing it more regularly. Even if the posts are a bit more mundane.

Today Suzanne and I went and bought a vacuum cleaner. After looking to pretty much everything down the price range from Dyson to Shark to Bissell and so forth, we settled on this little number. It’s a Bissell PowerGlide Pet.

The vacuum cleaner that we had been using was an old one that my parents bought in the late-90s and gave to me when I moved out. It had issues and recently began filling the apartment with the lovely aroma of burning electronics when we vacuumed. So we decided it was time for a new one.

We looked at a lot. Because a vacuum cleaner is such an integral part of my wife’s life (just kidding! haha! ouch! quit hitting me Suze!) I don’t mind spending a good deal of money getting the right one. Dyson of course has the reputation. Shark has some really nice and really well reviewed vacuums. Suzanne wasn’t too keen on spending Dyson-type money on a vacuum. I had read some things about issues with the durability of some of the clips to keep the canister on the Shark we were looking at. So we settled on this one that also happened to be the cheapest of the bunch. Thanks to a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath, and Beyond we got it for even less on top of that. (Which we promptly spent on new water bottles.) Continue reading New Vacuum Cleaner

My favorite Easter candy

My wife says I don’t write for our personal blog nearly enough. Since my last post was December 8th, I’m inclined to agree with her. Of course my life is fairly mundane and I don’t cook nearly as frequently as she does. Plus, since she’s at home right now she has all the time in the world while I am very likely overcommitted in a lot of areas thanks to my recent internship with the National MS Society.

However, I am here today to write to you about one of my favorite things in the world: Easter Candy.

Christmas candy might have it’s moments, but nothing comes close to my love of candies that for some reason only find their way to shelves for the time between Valentine’s Day and Easter.

#4: Brach’s Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs

The third favorite Easter candy has to be the classic Brach’s Jelly Bean. Everyone knows what these are.

I certainly won’t turn down the big ones, but I prefer the smaller ones because they’re about half the size. So you can eat less of them but feel like you’ve eaten a lot. That means the guilt stops you all the quicker. Continue reading My favorite Easter candy