Showing posts from 2012

Tree stands; they’re dangerous.

I’ve been shot gun hunting deer since I was a teenager.  I’d say about 30 years.  I’ve spent more time driving deer than in any tree stand, but in the last 10 years or so, less driving and more tree stands.  Must be a sign that I’m getting old.  Every year is a new adventure, but also a familiar ritual.  We spend several evenings leading up to opening weekend making sure we have everything we need.  Are there enough shells, both 12 and 20 gauge?  What will the weather to be like?  Will I need my insulated hunting pants or not?  This year, of course, was a NOT as we reached close to 70 degrees on a few days.  And, one of the most important issues…..the menu!  This year it was biscuits and gravy the first morning, chili and smoked turkey sandwiches for lunch, rib eyes from Chommy’s for supper, sausage breakfast casserole the second morning with a side of bacon, ham with homemade mac and cheese and cole slaw for the final meal and left overs on out. As normal, we must strategiz

The Trials and Tribulations of a New Parent

My wife and I recently had our first child, Jackson, born in October. Throughout our short time as parents, we have learned a lot. One thing I was reminded of was the old adage “never say never.” After we found out we were expecting, people at work would pass along stories to me about what to expect, things they remembered, and various other stories they thought I might enjoy. I remember about 2:30 one day, Jill asking me if I had been peed on. I found this to be unusual and of course I was “Super Dad” and I told her that I wasn’t going to be peed on because I had changed both of my nephew’s diapers and I knew all you needed to do was flip the diaper back on him and treat it as a shield. She laughed and told me that at a certain point he would wear me down and I WOULD be peed on. She went on, “not only will you be peed on but you will be spit up on and you will get to the point that you will be able to sit down change a diaper in the middle of supper and later be so desperate for


A few weeks ago I had the privilege to make pie in a world famous house.  It all started when I read the book Making Piece a memoir of love, loss and pie by Beth M Howard.  Beth lives in the American Gothic House in Eldon.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was researching Beth’s website when I came across her pie baking classes.  That’s how my idea sparked. Once a year, I try to pull off a surprise outing with my sisters.  This would be our 3rd annual, and this year we would make pies.  The date was set, and now it was a matter of keeping it a surprise.  My sisters knew they were to be at my house at 10 am for brunch and the surprise day would unfold from there.  All was going as planned until 3 weeks or so before our pie making date.  Beth emailed me and asked if it was ok if Iowa Public Television filmed our class.  Wow!  As much as I wanted to say no, I knew I would say yes.  What fun!  Or at least it was for me; I knew IPTV would be there.  My sisters might not be as keen t


Iowa Integrity The definition of Integrity: “Doing the right thing when no one else is watching” My teenage daughter recently went with the high school choir group on a bus trip to New York City. She had a great time on the trip, as they toured old cathedrals, saw Broadway shows and ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The last day of the trip they took a ferry over to see the Statue of Liberty. Sydney said the weather was rainy and cold and it was difficult to see the great lady. While over on the island, they were to eat lunch at one of the many fast food tourist restaurants. She ordered her lunch of approximately $12.00, promptly handed the lady a $20.00 bill, got her change and her food. When she sat down at the table to eat with her friends, she realized that the employee had given her the wrong change back – she had gotten more back that she should of, therefore shorting the restaurant. Sydney promptly went back in line with her receipt and change. When she got back to th

Bank Regulation

My first job out of college was working for the State of Iowa Division of Banking. I traveled with a group of guys around the southern part of the state for 5 years examining banks. Not only was this a great experience for my future career, but I met some fantastic people that are still my friends today. LSB is currently being examined by the State of Iowa. Most people do not know what really goes on when all those people with suits show up to check out the local bank. Banks experience several different layers of review each year: Safety and Soundness exams, CPA audits, Compliance exams – it goes on and on. Currently they are conducting a Safety and Soundness Exam. Exams are conducted by either the State of Iowa or the FDIC every other year. Their main objective is to determine if the bank is being operated in a safe and sound manner in order to protect the consumer/depositor. They look at almost every area of the bank including the IT department, capital adequacy, asset qualit

“Why do you come to work?”

I attended a meeting recently with a group of coworkers. At one point, the meeting moderator posed this question to the group; “Why do you come to work?” I thought the answer would be easy. I’ve been going to work every day for almost 30 years, right? Of course I know why I do it. But I’ll tell ya what, the more I thought about it, the harder it became to put into words. The rest of my colleagues seemed to know what made them get up in the morning, why couldn’t I come up with anything? I started to panic. You know, the whole sweaty palm, increased heart rate thing. I still couldn’t get it into words.   I’d hit on all of the usual reasons. I do it to help people, I do it to help the community, I do it to provide a living for myself and my family. All great reasons to come to work but none of those really seemed to sum it up for me. The question continued to haunt me until the next evening. I was driving home and it finally hit me. I do it for me. Pretty selfish I guess, but

The Big Adventure Report

The Big Adventure Report Well the summer of 2012 is over. Not only did the bank survive without me, I managed not to go stir crazy or drive my family over the deep end. First and foremost, my staff did a wonderful job while I was gone those four months. Not only did the time off give me a much needed break, it allowed them to grow as employees. They grabbed the wheel and ran with it and got so much accomplished. I am in awe! I also believe it was a great training run for succession planning. It allowed me to delegate down many duties and now upon my return, I will only be taking back those duties that I need to be involved with. In addition, I have a clear understanding of what my role is and how I plan to control my schedule. As I reflect back on the summer of 2012, I had a wonderful time. I traveled with my 14 year old son out west to Montana, spent time at the lake with my family, made almost all the softball and baseball games my kids were involved with, and spent t


I’ve been reading an interesting book titled The Best Year of Your Life by Debbie Ford.   I purchased the book with a friend in mind, but I always like to read my recommendations first.   I decided early on in the book that I needed to order another copy for my friend and keep this one for myself.   A chapter regarding excuses really hit home with me.   That’s one area I feel I have mastered well.   Debbie states that “Excuses are automatic; they take no thinking or creativity.   For many of us, we are so familiar with our excuses that we don’t even realize they are excuses and we often mistake them for the truth”.   She encourages us to make the powerful choice to give up our favorite, most justified excuse.     Wow…which one to pick?   Do I know the difference between reality and an excuse?   Debbie says in order to have the best year of your life; you need to become more committed to your vision than to your excuse.   So, I’m going to commit to the high road and start my journ

One Rainy Day

This past Saturday I stared out my living room window with a big grin on my face. I was calling friends, neighbors and fellow bank employees. I dragged my wife and kids into the room to stare out the window with me. Why? What was this wonderful phenomenon I was witnessing? It was raining. It’s a simple thing. A cold front runs into a warm front, the moist air is lifted up to the point of condensation and it rains. But oh what a difference one rainy day can make. My whole demeanor has changed. I’m smiling again, my attitude is better and my stomach quit hurting. My small patch of corn looks great and more importantly, our customers’ crops look great too. Our entire local economy benefitted from one rainy day. I can remember a similar time or two from my childhood. It always followed some sort of prolonged dry spell of course. It would finally cloud up and rain an inch or two some afternoon and my whole family would cheer up. You couldn’t notice the strain the dry weather had put

My Diabetic Dolly

My Diabetic Dolly My blue heeler, Dolly, is 12 years old.   I got her when she was 6 weeks old from Steve Durham when we lived in Keota.   Steve’s wife, Lou Anne, now works for us in the Keosauqua office.   He brought her to the Fairfield office in a cardboard box and I paid $85 dollars for her.   It was mid-March, 2000.   We had recently survived Y2K (thank God we’re still all alive after that, right? J ).   Anyway, Dolly spent the afternoon in what is now the public bathroom making little puppy noises that made people wonder what on earth was in there.   She was an adorable little black and grey fuzz ball! She put a tooth through my big thumb nail when we came back from the vet after being spayed because I tried to get her out of the car inappropriately I guess, and it hurt.   She slept in bed with my step-kids for years and next to our bed for years when they weren’t around.   She loved riding on the golf cart with the kids too.   That went on for hours at a time. We took her