Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life changes

Posting items on the Ohio River Blog has become sparse lately.

When I started this blog about four years ago, I had just been laid off from a job I had had for more than thirty years. The company I worked for was going through some hard times, and management decided to eliminate my position and several others. The company is run by a board of directors of old-timers. A few months ago they added younger blood -- a person in his early 60s. Seriously. Most board members are in their 70s and 80s, so things are done the old-fashioned way. There were no optional buyouts. I was not given the opportunity to bump anyone out of a job and take a demotion. I was told I and several other people were being terminated. They gave me a check for two weeks' vacation pay and two weeks' severance pay. I was given time to clean out my office, and I was walked out the door. So much for three decades of service.

So I took an interest I had -- the Ohio River and its tributaries -- and I started this blog. It happened to be at a time when AEP, Crounse and Marathon were adding new boats to the fleet, and a time when my then nine-year-old son was taking a liking to the river, too. So I lived on unemployment checks while learning that no one wanted to hire a 50-something journalist for anything other than an entry-level job where I would be on call 24/7 to go cover trailer fires in the middle of the night, sometimes leaving my nine-year-old at home alone.

It got discouraging after a while, knowing people with lesser experience and skills were working while I was not. The up side was that Adam and I got to spend a lot of time together, and he got to learn a lot of history and science by learning the river -- the kind of history and science they don't teach in school while they obsess over standardized tests.

We had fun chasing boats and looking for new ones. We looked for boats we had not seen before. At one point, Adam squinted toward the setting sun and decided a boat a mile or more down the river had been built by Jeffboat. He was right. We met pilots and port captains who were surprised by the knowledge the kid had accumulated event though his family was outside the river fraternity.

I've had a good time with the blog, but things have changed. No, I'm not shutting it down. I'm still out there every now and then, but it's four years later. I'm now the managing editor of a weekly business newspaper based in a city that's an hour away from my house. I have a grandchild who needs my attention. And there are very few boats in my area that I haven't seen, and if there were, they're not pushing nearly as much as they did four years ago. And I have other matters that need my attention.

Those are some of the reasons blogging is light lately. I'm hoping I can pick it up soon. But I need more recharging time between those long trips down to the river, which by necessity are fewer now. When I do go out, I look for the really good pictures, the kind that I don't necessarily put on the Internet because I don't want other people stealing them.

So please bear with me. I'm not making any money off the blog. It's a hobby that had introduced me online to a lot of good people. But as with all blogs, the fire fades as the fuel is spent. I need to clean out some ashes so I can put more wood in the stove.

Adam and I have to go out this morning. Who knows? Maybe we'll see something interesting and write about it. Or maybe not. You never know what's going to happen, do you?