D&D For the Family

Someone familiar to readers of this blog would like to announce her latest project: a new website, D&D For the Family!

At D&D for the Family, we believe in making non-violent D&D adventures for those who are DMing for kids. D&D for the Family is a website filled with tips for DMs on how to DM for children, non-violent campaigns, adventures, and short one-shots, and so much more.

I encourage you to check out her site, and subscribe for weekly tips in your inbox!

The world is a little poorer today

Sad news for the family this week; my Aunt Barb passed away. Aunt Barb has been a constant in the family for so long, always present at reunions, family gatherings, and, of course, Thanksgiving, even after health problems made that difficult. She provided warmth both figuratively and literally, with the many afghans she crocheted over the years (we have one on our bed right now, and several more around the house). So, goodbye Aunt Barb. Your absence will not go unnoticed.

If anything good can come from Aunt Barb’s death, it’s this: please consider becoming an organ donor. Aunt Barb lived with a transplanted liver for over 15 years. This extra time allowed her a chance to see her kids get established, watch her grandkids grow up, travel, and spend time with her husband after he retired. It bought her time, a lot of time, and there isn’t a price high enough to pay what that’s worth.

Barbara, age 61, of Janesville, died on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison. She was born in Janesville on July 25, 1950, the daughter of Raymond and Geraldine. She graduated from Parker High School in 1968, and married Bernard in St. William Catholic Church on Feb. 22, 1969. She had been a Janesville resident all of her life and was retired from the Data Shop. Barb was a lifetime member of St. William Catholic Church, actively learning Braille, and attended support groups for transplant and loss of sight. She loved listening to books, doing cross stitch and crocheting.

She is survived by her husband, Barney; 3 children: Andrea, Mike and Charlene all of Janesville; 3 grandchildren: Brandon, Samantha and Calvin; 6 siblings: Mike (Donna) of Evansville, Kath of Janesville, Mary (Paul) of Janesville, Carol (Mark) of Milton, Donna (Stephen) of Texas and LuAnne (John) of Janesville; many nieces, nephews, other extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Lasting memorials may be made to the University of Wisconsin Transplant Program, Madison.

Saying Goodbye to the Homestead

The house that I grew up in is no longer in the possession of my family.

Overall I would say that it was less emotional than I would have guessed. Certainly it is weird to think I will never be back in that house again. Obviously there are so many memories, etc. But, on the other hand, I hardly went back to that house as it was. My mom had already moved, and my sister was living there for awhile, but we didn’t really go and stay there. And I guess I’m old enough to know that nothing like that lasts forever.

That being said, there have been a few times where a particular memory surfaces, or when I was driving around Fort Wayne and I thought, “Hmm, I’m never really going to need to go to that part of town again”, or drive down that street or know how to get to that particular thing, etc. It’s not just the house, it’s practically giving up my entire hometown. The parts of town I go to now look nothing like they did when I lived there. I might as well be going to a completely different place. It seems like every day that goes by, I have one less tie to home. It’s kind of weird to think about.

However, all of this minor weirdness is overwhelmed by relief for my mom.

The fact is, our neighborhood went way downhill. When we moved in, the neighborhood was full of old people. Those old people died. Some of them were replaced by good clean families like us. Some of them were replaced by low-lifes that used to live in some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

I think my mom had an overly optimistic attitude about the neighborhood; she saw the good and didn’t notice or ignored the bad. I think the neighborhood sucked, and was getting suckier by the minute. There was a drive by shooting down the street. The hotel behind us had an explosion when the meth lab caught fire. The 3 houses across the street from us all had their copper pipes stolen. The house next door was abandoned and housing meth makers/sellers/addicts. Now, the neighborhood’s not as rough as that actually sounds, but it can’t be denied that those things are facts, and those facts don’t add up to a nice neighborhood. I almost feel bad for the poor person who bought our house, because they might not realize they just bought one of the nicest, kept up places in the middle of a starting-to-be-not-that-nice neighborhood.

So I’m not trying to diss the neighborhood. It certainly wasn’t that bad when we were growing up there. The shopping center used to be a nice place (even the movie theater!) I’m just trying to say, thank god she got out when she did. I don’t see home prices rising in that neighborhood anytime soon. And lets not forget that the house across the street was on the market for FOUR YEARS. This could have gone much worse. You can see why my mom was getting nervous as it got close to the final sale. She even moved back into the house, to make sure nothing happened to it.

So, I’m sorry to see this house and all of its associated memories leave our possession, but I’m more happy that my mom was able to get out before it was too late, and get some money out of it. If that wasn’t the situation, maybe the sadness would be more of a factor, I don’t know. But as it is, I think it all worked out for the best.

(By the way, I just discovered that if you tag a post “Family”, “growing up”, “Home” and “meth” like I just did, WordPress will helpfully suggest the related tag “Washington DC”. Jeez, take that our nation’s capitol!)