Who Am I
Hello, my name is Dean Lind.
Writing about myself isn't easy for me, as I tend to be quite an introvert and find it
hard to share things.
Ok, so starting at the beginning. I'm not going to tell you all about my childhood (very
good actually) except to say that I was hatched back in 1952 - yea even old guys can do
this - in Battle Creek, Michigan (world headquarters for Kellogg's cereal.)
I grew up with two younger brothers, did the whole school thing and graduated high school in 1971. I never was an "A" student per se, except in things I found
interesting which was usually science and math.
Come to think of it I did alright in English too.
I was lucky enough throughout high school to have a really good friend with whom I still correspond. He stayed in Battle Creek while I roamed all over the world (at least a fair part of it anyway.) More on that a little later.
I had a newspaper delivery route growing up and can still remember going out every day to deliver,summer and winter. And believe me, Michigan has some winters!
There were two TV shows on back then (one was something called the Wild Wild West and the other was called the Man from Uncle.)
Anyway I'd have to go around to all my customers on a Friday night to collect money for the papers they got that week. Everyone would be watching one or the other of the shows, so when they invited me in while they went for the money I'd be able to watch a few minutes of one or the other. It was great because I was able to watch both, each week. I loved it.
Moving on, when I graduated high school back in 1971 I started attending Kellogg Community College, a two-year institution where I majored in pre-engineering. Once I finished my two-year degree (suma-cum laude) I managed to get a job with our local electric utility company. I worked for them for about 2 years I guess, during which time
I bought myself a used fire-engine red Corvette T-top.
Loved that car and of course at what 21 years old or so (?) I was the envy of my friends and co-workers. Naturally they didn't have to make the payments but oh well...
Somewhere along the line I decided to go back to school and attended Michigan Technological University. It's way up in Michigan's upper peninsula where there's nothing but snow (15 - 20 feet on the ground), cold and nothing to do. That lasted for a year and still sans my four-year degree I left.
After a bit I decided to join the Air Force.
There were lots of reasons and I won't bore you with all of them. But a steady paycheck, 30 days paid vacation a year and the chance to get out of my home town and see the world played a big role.
Basic training was down in San Antonio Texas and frankly was nothing like I thought it would be. It turned out to be a piece of cake! Keep your head down, your mouth shut and do as you're told for a month or so and your good to go.
I went in for aircraft electronics - specifically for aircraft navigation systems repair and maintenance. School was also in San Antonio for 9 months. Imagine back to college, but much more focused.
You could have your own car there, and instead of being in a barracks with 100 other guys
you had a room that you shared with one room-mate. We went to school for 8 hours a day
and the remaining time was basically ours to do with as we wanted.
Graduated that and got stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. I worked the flight line on Phantom F4 fighter jets.
After about 2 years there (am I the only one noticing a lot of 2 year time periods here?) I got orders for overseas duty at RAF Mildenhall, England.
I have to tell you that this was one of the most enjoyable periods in my service carrier.
I spoke the language, the currency exchange rate was something like 2-to-1 in our favor, and they have great world-class beer!
Not to mention that I was fortunate enough to work on one of the most awesome aircraft ever invented, the SR-71.
I made a lot of good friends (Americans as-well-as Brits), learned to play darts (which is almost a national pastime - or was then) and spent many a great weekend in London which was an hour and a half train commute from where I was stationed.
One of my favorite haunts there was a club down in Soho (on Frith Street if memory serves) called Ronnie Scotts.
I hear that it's still there to this day. Ronnie Scotts was and is renowned as a top jazz club. I'd stay until just before 2AM when I had to literally run down the street to the nearest subway station to catch the last train all the way across London to the hotel where I always stayed.
I decided not to reenlist after England and instead tried my hand at being a civilian again.
Actually I went back to college (Mich Tech again) with the idea of finishing my degree.
It only took 1/2-way through the ensuing winter up there to decide that this was a bad
idea and something that sounded better than it was.
I tried going back into the Air Force to resume where I left off but as luck would have
it they weren't taking any prior service people at the time.
So I went and talked to the Army. Now I wasn't interested in being an officer, but the Army has warrant officers. They are usually helicopter pilots and they've got the best of both worlds. They sandwiched right in between enlisted personnel and officers. So they have none of the real responsibilities of a full-fledged officer, but have rank and privileges above your enlisted people.
Great - I'll go to the Army and see about flying helicopters. What's not to like, right?
Wrong. My luck is nothing if not bad and such was the case here. Turns out I was ONE DAY too old for flight training and they wouldn't waive it! One day! Sigh...
To make a long story short I went into the Army as a cryptographic system maintenance soldier. They did waive Army basic and I went in as an E4, which is one rank below a sergeant and a lot better then the others there, who were all raw recruits with no military experience.
Ok so here we go back to school. This time nine months at Ft. Gordon in Valdosta, Ga. I can remember going home on leave (vacation) and everyone kidding me for having a southern accent.
My first assignment was at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This is a choice assignment and nobody (my instructors included) could quite believe that I landed it as my first Army assignment. The usual tour in any one spot is 2 years, so after that
time I got orders for Germany.
I was stationed in Worms Germany. I liked Germany a lot. I can't say I wasn't happy to leave because my next assignment was (ready for this?) right back to the Army War College where I'd come from.
Again people could not believe that I'd gotten that assignment not only once, but twice!
After being there a bit over 2 years I was given a NATO assignment in Naples, Italy.
Germany I liked, but frankly Naples Italy is the eighth wonder of the world. It's the only hole above ground! The rest of Italy is nice but Naples - not so much so.
Also in Naples you could look over at almost any time and see the Mt. Vesuvius volcano.
Now understand that this is the same volcano that buried Pompeii. And we were told that it was (and still is) overdue to erupt again.
As a matter of fact to give you an idea of how volcanic the whole area is not only could you walk down a certain road and see sulfur-smelling steam venting out of the ground but in the three years I spent there a new volcano emerged out of the ocean about 10 miles offshore!
Good stuff indeed.
I was there in Italy during the Gulf War, supporting communications among the different commands involved. I was also there in Italy when, after the conflict ended, Congress in its' infinite wisdom (tongue-in-cheek there) decided that the US military was too large and that it could and should be downsized.
Enter one of the largest RIF's (Reduction In Force) in our history. I and thousands of other people (officer and enlisted) were politely told that our services were no longer needed, and were politely let go from military duty.
Herein lies one of the worst periods in my adult life that has had ramifications that persist to this day.
After just shy of 17 years of honorable service I was told I was no longer needed. Ok, that was a kick in the pants. But what really sucked and still does is that because (through no fault of my own) I did not have 20 years of service I left with no retirement benefits. No medical, no dental, no on-base shopping privileges; you get the picture.
I was supposed to get a partial pension for twice the number of service years - i.e. 17 x 2 = 34 years.
I was able to draw about $6,000 a year (yea, a small fortune right?) for the first 4 years. You see we were all placed in what they called Inactive Reserve.
So ok, at least that was something to show for my time in service. Until they changed the rules and said that if you wanted to keep getting that paltry retirement you had to join an ACTIVE reserve unit.
Shopping around I found out all the local units were busy deploying to and / or from Iraq or Afghanistan. Can you say a year at a time or more away from home?
First of all, I'd done my active time. But what killed it for me is that by this time I was happily married. My wife, however, is seriously disabled; to the point where I simply could not leave her alone for an extended period.
I appealed the requirement to go active and our wonderful Department Of Defense could have cared less - no exceptions.
So do I go active and keep my lousy 6,000 a year (that's before taxes by-the-way) or do I give it up so that I can stay with and care for my wife?
Needless-to-say the decision was a no-brainer.
That leaves me today with nothing for my retirement but what Social Security pays. Anyone who draws Social Security knows it's not enough to retire on; but it's all I have.
Together Sharon and I do ok as she draws Social Security as well. But when she passes away ( and she's 12 years older than I am ) my income will be cut in half while my living expenses remain the same.
I've been working a full-time job since I got out of the service in 1992. I worked as a computer programmer (consultant) for almost 10 years and for the last 11 years I've worked for Lowe's LLC. I've been saving all I can and I finally decided to hell with it and retired (semi-retired) back in February of this year (2019) at the ripe old age of 66.
I still work about 3 days a week for the extra income.
And, I'm trying to make money here online as an affiliate marketer, frankly because I
really need (or will need) the income.
Frankly I'm struggling a bit with this gig. There's a LOT to know and do.
So if anyone out there has any concrete advice I'm all ears as the saying goes. I've never been afraid of hard work and I can tell that this is hard work.
As others have said it's not as hard perhaps as going in and punching a time clock every day, but don't kid yourself either. This is no piece of cake.
As an example any of the reviews you see here on my site have taken me at least two full days to put together. I keep telling myself it will get easier and take less the more that I do it but so far that's not the case.
I don't mind the work. As I said I've always been a worker and I've always believed that if someone else can do something than there's no reason that I can't either.
So I keep plugging away, confident that the day will come when by God's grace and my work it will pay off.
Now if you've stuck with me through all of this - congratulations and Thank You. Either you're a glutton for punishment, or I'm more interesting than I thought (grin.)
I'd love to know your thoughts, and while I certainly don't have all the answers if there is anything I can do to help you I do hope you're not too bashful to let me know.
Thanks and God Bless you and yours!