Monday, February 11, 2019

I saw a post today from a friend about the difference between going out in the snow and going out in the snow with the proper exposure protection and it struck me as related to scuba diving here in Michigan and in all Seasons.

There are people who love the snow in the winter when properly attired... they love playing in it, walking in it, skiing in it and often comment about how beautiful everything looks covered in snow.

There are also people who go outside in flip flops, take the trash out in their pjs, try to wear dress shoes this time of year, and spend their time shivering and bitching about the snow. 

If you dress for it, cold water diving is everything you got into diving for... epic visibility, fantastic sights and vistas, little or no crowds, and the awesome possibility that you will get to see something few ever experience.

Dress for it and it fantastic, try to do it without the proper exposure protection and you will not enjoy it as much.  I am an expert in cold water diving and my dive shop, Divers Incorporated, can help you get the most out of your sport.

It is not cold water that you should be concerned about, it is being cold. Let's go diving!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Today I reach a half century.. I am now 50 years old!
Reflecting back, I really never expected to be where I am. Inspiration to others, business owner, Father of amazing twins, spouse to an incredible woman, kind of a big deal to my dogs, tortoise, turtles and fishes, and friend to many amazing people. 
Most of my friends who are here on Facebook, and outside in the real world, have spent a good portion of their lives or more in my acquaintance (I am sorry). You have all impressed me in your accomplishments, the posts and pictures here and other places, and most of all, the importance you put on our friendship. You are all amazing people, the world (my world) is better because of you.
Those of you who follow me here and on other sites, come into my life regularly... those of you take time to see what I find important day to day, see what my life is bringing and reach out to comment and support... your interactions are truly those inspirations that I cherish.
Stepping it up a notch, many of you in my life make sure we meet up every time we are within shouting distance, allowing us to continue our conversations as if we never parted. My world is the best because you are amazing motivators and role models. Your presence in my life is one of my prime reasons for doing what I do each day. Every time you are around, you brighten my day. Thank you for the support you bring to me and my family. My life is amazing because of you and people like you. One of my life goals is to make sure you all meet each other.
Some of you are true superheros in my life. You are those friends and family who are my brothers and sisters. You are the ones who would travel to the ends of the earth for me (or make arrangements for someone else to help,) It is no big deal to show up at my bedside when tragedy strikes, drive to Montana because my car broke, stand by me when I cry, call to make sure I am ok, and to be there at the most impossible moments. You are my most cherished companions in my life. You make sure everything I hold dear survives tragedy unscathed or at the very least, fixable. You are my world. Please do not take my gratitude lightly. While I have a lot of supporters and friends who are amazing, they are in your shadow. You are my friends, you are my world. You fit into every aspect I describe above, you are loved by me and my grateful family!
As you may already be aware, scuba diving is my life and it has been for nearly 40 years. My first joy is diving with my family. Their confidence in my ability and their future comfort, comes from each and every one of you who make sure the checklists are complete, the plan is made and double check and triple check to make sure we can do "it" again. I dive with amazing people...(you are probably one of them)...who support me and my family and allow me to continue the lifestyle of my dreams. I hope you are getting as much out of our relationship as I am.
In closing, I want to memorialize my half century birthday by to acknowledging that you are truly amazing people. You are awesome. (especially if you read this far down or commented.) You are my friends who find joy in being in the same room with me, sharing a meal or drink with me, having a discussion... regardless of the circumstances. When we are together we find each other trading hugs instead of handshakes... planning future adventures together... reaching out and keeping close... love and understanding always and devotion in kind. Please know that you are the reason that I want to walk this earth another 50 or so years. Thank you for your part in my journey.
If you have read this far down my long soliloquy for my birthday you could probably qualify as family... if you are not family and you read this far, the Pope is considering your canonization. Thank you for your part in my life... anything that is mine to give is yours. Please take some time, for me, on my fiftieth birthday, to love others as close to you as much you love me. I look forward to our next meeting, our next dive together, our next discussion, and... most importantly, to the next half century.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Take a moment and prepare for the worst

It is amazing to me that in a world where movies and pop culture thrive on end of the world scenarios that there are still stories of people totally losing their minds over a storm.  I am not making light of Hurricane Matthew and what effect it will have on the world. I have many friends in its path.  What amazes me is that people are still caught off guard. Fights over bottled water, shelves being cleared of food, people not leaving their homes because they fear to forget something important.  We don't need to be "doomsday preppers."  We just need to be able to pick up and leave with little or no thought to how it will happen.  I am not a prepper, far from it, but I have been through some times where people "lose their minds"....  The Flint water crisis,  Toledo water contamination, the Black out that took out the east coast,  Blizzards, hurricanes, floods, locusts... these happen pretty often in our lives (ok not the locusts but a lot of the other stuff.)  Why aren't you ready?

This was going to be a simple Facebook post but it got away from me. I have many Facebook friends who have been posting of their experiences and while this blog post smacks of "I told you so" it is not my intention. Follow my thought here....

Your Governor just announced a state of emergency and by 3pm tomorrow you need to leave your home for somewhere "safe." Are you ready?

Truth be told I am not. My businesses aren't. My family isn't.

Yet this happened just yesterday in Charleston, South Carolina and I was planning on traveling there this weekend.   From Wilmington, NC to the Florida Keys, similar warnings are being issued.  People are clearing the store shelves... fights are happening... people are going to have to do without something.

There is a checklist and planning website put together by the Center For Disease Control that is pretty good.  Look at it now while you still have power and internet connectivity.... yep, those could go away.

Since I tend to shop for my family only once per week, I am pretty set to shelter in place for three days. We always have full cases of water in our house or the ability to fill water bottles. As far as having to evacuate, I really don't have a plan. That is something I am going to work on.

Another good website is

With all that is going on it is probably a good idea to take a moment and at least think about it.  Make yourself ready so you don't have to concern yourself when the next "big thing" happens.

Let me know your thoughts... all the best!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The new world

It never seems to amaze me how so many people in this world go through life seeking adversaries instead of partners.

First some back story.  I have spent the past couple of month connecting with some amazing people all of which have something to offer this world in a positive way.  I have created friendships that I know will last a long time and I have had great experiences and, more importantly, learned a few things.  I have made some personal strides in my personality and have tried to do my best to become more a role model than I used to be. To me there is nothing more important than being able to spend time with people and have conversations offline, but rather face to face.

One of my bosses from years back once taught me "there is no emotion in email"  The thing is that we read something online and we tend to put the emotion that we are feeling into it.   Some people are just angry people so they will read whatever they want to read as a negative.   This is true in conversation and relationships.  How many times have we typed something, re read it and then looked at it again and added a :) at the end to soften the blow and prevent misinterpretation. Our world is manipulated by emoticons rather than taking the time to talk on the phone or in person.

I am constantly reminded that there are awesome people in my life.  There are also a few complete jerks.  I know, I had times where I was more of the latter rather than the former. The past six months have been a journey of development for me where I have been doing my best to rid myself of anger and negativity which, in turn, has made me reconsider my relationships with negative people and people who do not necessarily have my best interests in mind.  Thing is that I like (liked) a number of them.  It is difficult to endure negativity when you are looking to better yourself.  It's difficult not to take it as a personal affront when one of your "friends" supports a competitor instead of you.   It is also difficult to look at things in a clinical, objective way without the emotion associated with it.  Before I make a decision about someone I ask myself "what do I like about this person"... sometimes the answer is "nothing" but in reality most people have something to offer.  Once I find the attribute I enjoy in a relationship then I seek what is bothering me in the interaction. Measuring the pros and cons I make a choice.  Sometimes that choice is to just agree to go our separate ways. Other times, especially when there is a professional need to interact,  I do so in as professional way as I can but no longer let them influence me or my inner circle. In no way are they allowed back into my private life.  

On to my point.  In the partnerships that I have with people, those who choose to be partners benefit from me as much as I benefit from them.  This is a true "win- win."  These partnerships are far rarer than I would have ever imagined and before the introspection of the past six months I would have doubted their true existence.  The industry that I am in seem wrought with people who believe the "other guy" is their competition.   In this day and age the competition is the need to look at everything adversarial rather than cooperative. The competition is the absolute addiction we have to our phones and the internet.  I know for a fact that I can give up my phone for a day or two,  could you?  I could name at least 10 examples of interactions that were adversarial that did not need to be.  A lender doing what he could to destroy the business of the person borrowing money,  the landlord who looks for ways to nickle and dime their tenants through fees and miscommunication,  the dive shop owner who badmouths their competition instead of looking for ways to partner with them,  the angry individual who thought the grass was greener but found it wasn't, blames the company he left...   the list could go on and on.

Be done with it.   In social media its easy.  Block them, unfriend them,  move on.   Sure, they will trash you but you just won't have to follow it.   There are people who read blogs like this one or in my case listen to my podcast to look for any reason to be critical.  Don't be "that guy!"  If this is your reason for reading something, the problem is you, not them.  

It doesn't always have to be adversarial.  It doesn't have to be us vs. them.

Yesterday a young man came into the dive shop who had worked for me about a year and a half ago.  He had been going through some personal issues and had just decided not to show up again for work... before yesterday I didn't know what happened to him.  He came in yesterday, a year and a half or so later, just to apologize.   He also thanked me for giving him a shot and for showing him that his life was more than flipping burgers.  He now had a house, a strong relationship, and a great sales job.   He was one who changed, he (through influences I am sure) thought me his adversary while I was trying to make him better.  The light clicked on and his world changed.

A quote I find awesome.  "Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners."   This is so true.  Ask yourself where your focus lies.

Aspire to greatness, don't belittle it.  Work towards improving others and your own world will grow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Whole 30, Back on track after a break...

July is a fantastic month for me!

It is the peak of the dive season, the pinnacle of Midwest Diving and some of the most amazing trips for getting to know people and seeing the best that Michigan has to offer.  The month starts with the holiday, every weekend there is something diving related and ends with an epic fundraiser at White Star Quarry.

July is also a month for eating what other people are making... i.e.  a bad month for a fad diet.  So I took the month off from eating "right" and put the whole 30 aside.  I had hit a plateau anyway so why not take a break for the month.  

The result?  I feel like total crap.

Over the course of (moderately) sticking to the diet I realized that there were certain things that did not do well with my body and certain things that didn't seem to matter.  The occasional desert? No worse than a headache the next day.  Adult beverages?  No drawbacks except that they just made me sleepy. Processed foods seemed to be the real killer.   Over a month though it added up.  A month of keeping sort of with the portions but not with the reading of labels really took its toll.

To be fair I did spend the month diving more than usual but towards the past week or so the aches and pains came back.  The stress built up in my shoulders and my mood darkened.  It seems that we really are slowing digging our graves with our teeth. The only good thing about this "experiment" was that there were no violent reactions towards anything I ate.  I was worried that once I cut it out of my diet it would be difficult to process some foods. Back to the beginning and the whole 30.

It is harder it seems to really be a strict disciplinarian about my diet now that I have adjusted but along with everything else I gained some weight back.  I don't want to be "that guy..." ever... so I am back to a strict regimen.  Back to the diet that I know works for me.

So yesterday was day one.  I fell off the wagon a little at dinner when my salad came with cheese and some crispy things that were probably poison.   It is going to be tougher than last time to stick with it because fast food is way more convenient and reading labels on everything just plain sucks.  And I will miss Beer and ice cream.  But, as I have been preaching to everyone who wishes to know and everyone who reads this blog (all five of you,)  Anyone can do anything for just 30 days.  So time to get back on track.

Start today.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A simple accomplishment...

Just before I fell off the grid for a week, my good friend and dive buddy on many dives, Aaron Oaks posted that he had just completed the epic accomplishment of 200 logged dives.  Since I had been made aware that posting in the 100's is a big deal (on the 100th and 1000th dive you are supposed to make the dive naked or so they tell me) I wondered if on the Isle Royale would I make a century dive. 

As it turns out, if I worked a little at it I could.  I needed to double up on two of the dive sites. As it worked out, the rebreather let me do two additional dives as no decompression dives even though the previous dive had been to normal no decompression limits and my surface interval was about 10 minutes including the time at the safety stop.  Love theses machines. 

On the last dive of the trip, on the epic dive site known as the Chisholm Engine,  I made my 3600th logged dive with Jill Synowiec, Wayne Rush, Jack Papas, Monica Dobies with Jesse Rush and Capt. Ryan Staley watching topside.  The trip was epic and the pictures will be posted at the Divers Incorporated Blog in the coming days on on the Divers inc Facebook pages.

 Hope you are along with me on the destination for the 3700th dive... if my life is consistent it should be in Bonaire...   March 2017.. you need to be there.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The problem with raising your standards

Since the CDTC I have been faced with a dilemma.

While I was in Punta Cana, the people that I associated with were of the highest caliber.  True, we were all working towards a purpose, but the true character of truly remarkable people emerged.  The dilemma I face is that I want them daily in my life without any possibility of that happening.

While I have talked or communicated with most of the Aquanauties on an almost daily basis since the CDTC and have had some awesome times with others, I find that I am setting the bar in my daily interactions to that standard.  In some cases, such as my wife, manager and many friends it is an easy goal to achieve, in others I find that they just don't stack up.  Many are ok with me helping them achieve greatness, others are content with mediocrity.  Some would rather bring me down to their level rather than allow me to bring them up to mine. It is hard to explain other than this: While the awesomeness is amazing, the mediocrity is frustrating... hence my dilemma.

This evening I spent a couple of hours with someone who is truly of a remarkable caliber.  I had not seen her since we both graduated high school together 30 years ago. The conversation that we had was if we had never parted and it gave me another characteristic of a truly remarkable human being. In the conversation afterwards my wife and I tried to describe to each other what we had experienced. The answer was simple, events are more important than things, people are more important than events.  What good is a selfie compared to a groupie?  While you may experience a place what does that compare to experiencing a soul?

Philosophy aside the answer is simple.  Spend time with people and put your phone away. Spend time with people because they are awesome.  If you find you are with people and have a desire to be elsewhere, change your people.  

The simple explanation is this:

If people make you better, spend time with them.....if people need help, help them... if people are beyond help, spend some time trying to encourage them and do what you can for them... if people are destructive and negative, thank them and move on.