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A few days ago I'd heard that my paternal grandfather, Gramps, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and was going to have some tests done to see what treatment was required. Today I woke up and found out via email that he had died. I gather that it wasn't terribly unexpected to those around him, but it took me by surprise.

He lived to be eighty-eight, which was probably a good decade over his life expectancy. When I last saw him around a year ago, he had definitely slowed down, but still had a good quality of life. I visited him and my grandmother in Palm Springs, where they were spending the winter with my aunt and uncle. He had five kids, tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and had a good relationship with every one of them. He had a very good life, probably died with few if any regrets, and left all of us better off.

While there's some sadness that I'll never get to see him again, mostly I feel happy that he did have such a good life, and I feel grateful for his influence on me. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a few little stories.

As a kid, my favorite time of the year was summer, specifically the couple weeks I'd get to spend with my grandparents out in rural Vermont. My three siblings and at least six of my cousins would all come visit at the same time. By any measure I had a lot of freedom and independence as a kid, but Vermont was the pinnacle.

Jigsaw Puzzles

On Military Dad

My wife finally gave up on the puzzle that we started on Thanksgiving, so I felt like sharing this old post.

I hate jigsaw puzzles.

They are quite possibly the cruelest torture devices on this planet. Whatever part of my brain is used to complete these awful things fled into the dark recesses of my soul many years ago. I just don’t get them.

My wife, on the other hand, loves jigsaw puzzles. For those of you that aren’t married, this means that I also love jigsaw puzzles. She used to have a war with her parents to see who could find the most impossible puzzle, complete it, and then send it to the other. Guess how much I enjoyed that game.

Now, I fully realize that most people out there buy a puzzle at the store. At some point shortly after that, they open the box and put it together. That’s not how it works in our house. There are at least 5 steps that have to take place before we can actually complete a puzzle.

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