This year was a year of "back to the future" for me.
Melanie turned 23 this year. 2014 was a big year for Mel. She was able to get a job working for IU Health at Goshen Hospital in Goshen, IN. She is the Public Relations Specialist for Goshen Hospital. This is a big deal for Mel because the hospital wanted someone with experience, but Mel just completed her degree last December. Her dream job is to someday work for Riley's Children Hospital in Indianapolis which is also part of the IU Health. She loves her job and she is doing well. She is learning so much all the time. She has to interact with the local media and she loves doing it. Goshen, IN is a little over an hour from our home and Mel was doing the daily commute for the first several months. But, that made the days long and put a lot of wear & tear on the car. So this summer, Mel got her own apartment in Elkhart, IN just minutes away from her job in Goshen, IN. She also got a cat, Zola, and she is making her apartment a home.
Brian is already a sophomore at IU. He switched his major to Informatics. It is a variation of computer science; best I could understand. I know he is doing a lot with computers and programming. Being a little biased about this type of profession, I think it is a great choice by Brian and he will do well when it comes time to find a job. Everyone needs computers or programs in almost every facet of their life. So hopefully the job market will be such that Brian is able to pick & choose the type of job he wants and the region of the country he wants to live in. Brian also did a second year as a member of the IU Marching Hundred. This year he got to play snare on the drum line which is a continuation of where he left off with high school at Homestead. Since the IU Marching Hundred plays at the IU football games, Wendy, Michael, & I attended a few games this year. We attended with Brian's Dad, Mason, and his Aunt Missy a couple of times. And as of this year, Brian is no longer a teenager; he turned 20 in November.
Michael Victor also had a birthday in November and he turned 14. Last Spring he finished 7th grade. Then he did little league baseball again. His coach this year was a former minor league player who actually played for the Fort Wayne TinCaps one season. As Michael entered 8th grade, I coaxed him to join the Woodside Middle School 8th grade football team. He told me last year his gym teacher thought he was a good kicker, so I encouraged him to see if he really had it. After attending several practices, Michael quickly knew that playing football was not for him. He was mostly trying out just because I was pressing him to do it. So he told his coach that he did not feel that football was for him and he thought it best to quit the team. But, the coach asked Michael if he'd be interested in staying with the team as their manager. So Michael actually jumped at the chance to remain a member of the team. He showed up to every practice and every game. The team went undefeated for the second year in a row. At the awards ceremony, the coach recognized Michael along with the other team manager to note that their job was just as important as the other members of the team. I think Michael made some great friends on the team and that should carry through to high school next year. He continued playing percussion on the Woodside Middle School Band and I hope this does result in him following in his brother's footsteps and joins the high school marching band next year. We do have him in drum lessons and we hope that pays off.
Wendy got a new job working as a multimedia marketing account executive for KPC Media. They publish the Fort Wayne Business Weekly and Wendy is responsible for selling ads and sponsorships for the magazine. She is doing great and she loves her job. She has consistently beaten her goals every month and she earns a bonus commission above & beyond her salary every time she makes her goal. For our 15th Anniversary, Wendy & I visited her sister Tonya and her husband Doug in Port Orange, FL right near Daytona Beach. While we were there, we attended the NASCAR Coke Zero 400. Wendy got to attend her 30 year Villa Maria High School Reunion in Buffalo and she had a great time connecting with all her girlfriends. Continuing with her passion for singing, Wendy is going to audition for The Voice via online submission of her performances.
When I got back to work in Woburn, MA in January after spending the Christmas break at home in Indiana, my boss in Woburn, MA met with me and said "let's make this happen" with respect to my being able to do my job from back home in Indiana. He OK'ed me to move back home to Indiana and to continue doing my work for him via email, live chat, and phone teleconference. He wanted this to be a temporary thing and I was going to have to secure new work back in Indiana. So I did my work for him from Indiana starting in February and I continued doing that through the end of June. As soon as I got back to work at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN, I was able to get tasks on the same old program that I had been working since I originally got hired in 1991. I did that part-time while doing my work for Woburn, MA. Then starting in July, I was full-time working on my old program, AFATDS. I was also able to take on a few additional tasks at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN as well. The work load is tight for everyone who is working at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN; it is not a sure thing. We are hopeful that our US Army customer will continue to fund new functionality so we can continue to work on a program that we have grown to love.
So I have gone "back to the future" and I am home again. Wishes, hopes, dreams and prayers have been answered. We have not finished the race, but we have reached a point where we feel good about our progress. We will continue our journey and we'll continue to share our story with you as we go.
We are thankful for all of our friends and family. We wish we could see you all more often.