Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009 - Happy days live on!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to you all.  Wow, another amazing week under the belt ... didn't think I'd be able to have another stupendous one like last week, but I did:)  A big ol' happy birthday to Grandpa K (wish I could've been there for the ice cream:) and to Pam Crum, hope you're having fun in Shueyville!Aflac was absolutely awesome last week as our whole company got a big kick-start.  We had a great Online Services kickoff meeting with about 20 folks from throughout the company to unveil our plans for improvement over the next year.  This has been such a great initiative to be a part of and it just keeps getting better.  The week was full of gearing up for some more future state planning ... yes, more planning ... but a lot of doing as well, so it was pretty exciting.  Best part of the week at work though was the new marketing spin that our Chief Marketing Officer and executive staff unveiled at what was called the, Aflac All Access Webcast.  Tuesday night  they showcased our new Aflac tagline to the agents throughout the US, and then they brought all of the 4,500 headquarter employees together to unveil.  
Aflac used to have the tag-line of: Ask about it at work ... and now, it reads: Aflac, we've got you under our wing.  Doing this helps align us with what we're really about, delivering the promise to people in their time of need ... now, more than ever.  Of course, with any new marketing plan you have to give the employees free t-shirts.  
And to give employees free t-shirts, of course you have to showcase them on a catwalk with Right Said Fred's "I'm too sexy for my shirt" song in front of 500 of your peers ... ok, so you don't necessarily have to do that, but we did.  And for some reason, they asked me to be a part of the show.  So my pal Sabrina (pictured here) and five of our friends dressed up in crazy gear for the new shirt unveiling.  
I of course wore my flannel cut-off shirt, Maverick style jump suit, NASCAR hat and aviator sunglasses with prefabricated sideburns of glory.  When the music started playing, it was on like donkey kong and we rocked for a good minute with the white hurricane dance.  Our crew received the loudest cheers by far and it was a great morning for Aflac that has created a big buzz at work.
I also had the chance this week to participate in National Volunteer Week as the keynote speaker for the Tri-County Volunteer association where I spoke about moral opportunity.  All of my new old lady friends thoroughly enjoyed it:)  I tweaked my speech for the Toastmasters contest this weekend that went well.  Although I did not place, it was a great experience ... and Dad/Barb were there to see me:)
They came down on Friday where I met them in Atlanta to visit one of Barb's friends Jean.  
Friday night we went to get some grub and ice cream before a good night's sleep in Atlanta.  Saturday we woke up to venture to the Georgia Aquarium.  The favorites included the sea otters, crocodiles and of course ... Nico the beluga whale!  After adventuring under the deep blue sea, we went over to the World of Coke for my first visit to the history of Coca-Cola.  It was a great exhibit, including a free taste-testing at the end.  Each continent had it's own carousel of drinks, so of course we had to taste at least something from each.  All of the Coke employees told people to try out this drink called the Beverly ... wow, they got us good because that was the worst drink ever!  Overall, it was a wonderful experience strolling around in the ATL though and I'm glad they enjoyed the stay.
Sunday we woke up in Waverly Hall for some delicious upside down french toast and a trip out to Callaway Gardens.  There we walked around the beautiful gardens, the butterfly garden, 
down to the birds of prey show and over to Cason's Garden for a push-up pop.  After a beautiful day at Callaway, they joined to watch me coach a soccer game, which didn't turn out great, but those kids are awesome.  Dinner with some of the pals and a stroll along the RiverWalk closed out a wondermous weekend!  Thank you both so much for taking time out of your schedule to come and spend with me, and now that you're the first to take a picture with me in the new pad, I can't wait to fix it up with Jenny so you can come and see the finished project.
I've got another busy week ahead, but after locking in my home interest rate at 4.75%, I can't imagine how good it's going to get:)  Thanks again all, and until next time, have a great week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009 - One of the best weeks ever!

Hey there, hi there and hello there.  Not many weeks can I say that just about everything went right, but this past week, I think I can.  It started off with a celebration of life for my late Grandma with all of my family back home, which is always good to see family.  Then, it just got better from there:)
It was a short 3-day work week coming from back home, but I think we fit about a full week in there anyways!  Wednesday we had our first Policy Service Support Awards Recognition Ceremony with all of the creative awards that we put together ... let's just say, one of the traveling trophies had half an antler rack on it;)  
I worked a bit more on my six sigma project and started tracking some of the stats for the presentation and class next week.  Since working with the CSU SIFE team, I found out they were sponsoring a speaker series featuring the President/CEO of the WD-40 company, Garry Ridge.  
So, I decided it'd be a great idea to have my team attend the event and learn what this Aussie had to say about the importance of values, hard work and "learning moments."  
Everyone on the team commented about how great the event was and I think we really walked away with some good tid-bits of knowledge that we can transfer over to what we do.  This next week at the Duck should be pretty interesting with the unveiling of a new campaign ... let's just say, it should be flap-tastic.
So, today also marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week across the nation.  I've been asked to speak about volunteerism at the annual Tri-County Volunteer Luncheon on Tuesday, which I am stoked about!  
Last week was a great volunteer week as well as we made great progress on the Columbus Heroes Read project to happen on May 2nd.  We now have a TV media partner and I was interviewed by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, so hopefully we'll get some good press for this event with the Literacy Alliance.  
In addition to that, we finally got the En Fuego soccer team back on the pitch after about a month off due to rain.  After a couple of rough practices, we had our first game in about a month on Saturday ... and what do you know, we pulled off a big "W" with a 1-0 shut out.  Not only did the kids win, but they had a blast and played their little hearts out, I was very proud.  We have another couple of games in the next couple of days, so keep your fingers crossed that they keep playing hard:)
We also won our co-ed soccer game on Wednesday with a goal and a few assists from yours truly ... and I didn't even get a card!  This week is also my final week of preparation for the District 14 Toastmasters International Speech contest in the ATL ... wish me luck!
All that right there would've been great enough of a week ... but, like the title of the blog says, 
this week was one of the best ever so let's keep going.  As of Thursday, the bank that held the home at 605 Sonoma Court in Columbus, GA had counter-offered my original offer ... and I accepted!  
It's an absolutely gorgeous three year old 3 bed/2 bath home in a fantastically nice/convenient neighborhood nestled near a sweet park.  You can check out the video at (  Jenny and I are very excited, so we're hoping to close no later than June 15th ... what an exciting piece of news I must say ... yes, house warming parties will ensue after appliances are placed, surround sound is set and paint is well, repainted:)
And to top off the week, my best friend Ryan and good pal Jenna Flugum (who both happened to be married to each other) stopped down for a wondermous weekend.  They dropped by on Thursday night and enjoyed the Dinglewood delicacy of a scramble dog for lunch followed by BBQ in the even and a great movie, State of Play (would highly recommend this one).  Saturday we went around and looked at appliances, 
TVs and picked up some fishing tackle before heading off to Flat Rock Park for some fishing.  We almost caught a fish this BIG, but it got away;)  
After some chillaxin' at the park, the Gump family were there to witness the first En Fuego victory of the year.  After the game, we drove up to Atlanta for a night at Dave & Busters.  Which if you have not been, it's basically an adult Chuck E Cheese's.  We played a good bit of pool, ate some good grub and then headed off to the game room for some skeet ball, basketball, Area 51 and of course we had to try our hand at the dropping-claw-in-the-sea-of-stuffed-animals game.  And yes, we won ... back to back to back fluffy animals!
That night we stayed at the Double Tree (which was by far the best $60 hotel of all-time with the most comfy beds and warm cookies:).  Today we woke up and ventured at about Atlanta and the mall before heading to the Atlanta Zoo.  It was a great time to see the elephants, giraffes, panda bears, lions and yes, we even saw an orangutan Buddha, it was amazing.  
I can't thank you two enough for coming down to spend some time with an old roommate.  You both are amazing and the best friends a guy could ask for ... thanks and can't wait to see you again.
Well, there it is ... one of the best weeks ever!  And now, I start on another great week that could be just as good because it will be capped off with a visit from Dad and Barb, what more could a guy ask for!
Thank you all for everything and I wish you a wondermous week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009 - Well, guess I don't know much else

Hey there, hi there and hello there all.  It's been a bitter/sweet last week and a half.  Although I had a blast at work and time spent with Jenny and her family, it was an Easter in which I had to say goodbye for the last time to my Grandma Naber.  
I know it's been difficult for the family over the last six months since the stroke because she has just not been herself, but Grandma, like she instilled in her children and grandchildren, never gave up.  We celebrated her amazing life this last weekend in Manchester, and as I said in the liturgy and so many friends and family said, she will be remembered for so many things.  To me, she will be remembered for her warmth, her strength and her sweetness.  I know she no longer needs to struggle and I hope my family realizes the kind of impact she has made on every one's lives, because it truly is special.  Your smile will never be forgotten Grandma!
Work last week went by quite quickly as it was a short week with Good Friday.  I worked a bit on my Six Sigma project and had some pals start some tracking for analysis on it this week.  Projects are continuing to go strong and everyone is pulling a great bit of their weight, which is amazing!  Haleigh came back the beginning of this week, so of course we had to decorate her cube and welcome her back in style ... hope she enjoyed it.
The volunteer action continued as well.  I helped a class out at CSU with their interviewing skills for a couple hours on Monday and then went to do a recap with the CSU SIFE team to see how we can move forward.  I think I'm their only Business Advisory Board member as of right now, so I'm working on getting some other great folks in on the action as well.  We had a big meeting for the YP gala/extravaganza and planning this event has been absolutely ridiculous.  
It's very hard to cut through all of the red tape at the Chamber and no matter the date we set, someone decides it's not good for them.  No more planning big events for me, this will be my first and final indeed.  We have a Heroes Read meeting tomorrow for that medium sized event, which is going more smoothly!  Hopefully this week I'll get to see my kids on the soccer team since it's been about 3 weeks since all of the rain has kept us off the field, keep your fingers crossed for that too.
This last weekend I also had a great fun spending time with Jenny and her family in Minnesota. I met up with them on 
Friday and Saturday we all ventured to IKEA (if you haven't gone, you should go!) and then to the Mall of America.  
After lots of shopping (and a picture with the Mac & Cheese guy), we all got together for a good time at the Target Center to watch Shaq-Daddy and his Phoenix Suns put a whooping on the Minnesota Timberwolves.  It was a wonderful time, and I really wish Jenny's sister Boo-Bear was feeling better, but we'll hang out next time!  Thanks Bridgewaters for a great weekend, I really enjoyed it!

The house hunt is hopefully over by 6pm tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed for my offer that I made this evening on 605 Sonoma Court.  
A 3 bed/2 bath 1,677 sq/ft ranch in North Columbus.  It's only about 3 years old as a foreclosure, so it's a great deal.  A few things need some TLC, but it's a great location and wonderful home ... so we'll see:)
As Grandma Naber used to say, "Well, guess I don't know much else."  Until next time, have a great week!
PS, I can't wait to have my best friend Ryan and his wife Jenna join me this weekend for some good times in Columbus and Atlanta!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009 - Happy birthday bro!

Hey there, hi there and hello there all.  It seems like it was just four hours ago that I wrote my last post, yet my calendar says it was a week ... holy schnikes!  Well, this week is it ... the big 12 for the bro Blake.  One more year man and you'll be a teenager, wow that's weird:)  I hope you have an awesome birthday man and don't think I won't get those birthday spankings in before it's all said and done.This week at Aflac went by, once again, ridiculously fast, but for a different reason than usual.  I had my Six Sigma Green Belt training all week long.  Six Sigma is basically a methodology used to identify the root causes of problems in the workplace and it helps identify potential solutions that could be implemented.  The teacher took us on a magic school bus ride back to statistics class where I calculated more variables of inverted relationships than Jerry Springer does in a show (ok, maybe that joke was a bit of a stretch ... get it?:).  I learned a great deal about project management and will begin using it this week for our Online Service initiative to help reduce call center volume hopefully.  In addition, we finally had a chance to present the Future State of Policy Service to my boss' boss and his boss, with his boss in the room and her boss too (yes 5 boss dudes and ladies) ... it was awesome.  It went swimmingly and our Executive VP seemed to thoroughly enjoy the effort we put into it, she even took the time to thank Mike for all that we had done.  My manager Shara and Mike let me do the whole power point presentation, which was a great experience for me ... now we just have to start doing all that we talked about!  No soccer action has been played in the last two weeks because of all of this rain, and then the kids are on spring break this week ... so, it'll be three weeks before En Fuego gets a shot at our first victory;)  On the other hand, the Miss Georgia Pageant program book is in full swing.  As of today, we have doubled our ad sales since last year.  In 2008, contestant ads were not very well advertised and we still had the girls sell over $17,000 worth of ads.  This year, I asked my fellow board members if I could have a few minutes in front of the ladies and parents at forum weekend a few weeks ago.  Now, I'm not saying that it's all because of me, but this year our ad sales have already exceeded $36,000 and I am cutting production costs by $4,000 ... which equates to a net increase of greater than $20,000 in a year ... wondermousness!How could I top that?  Well, I just had to start the weekend:)  I was very fortunate a few weeks ago to win the Toastmasters International Area Speech contest which allowed me to move on to this weekend's Division C contest with contestants from the surrounding cities.  There were six of us that competed ranging from 1.5 year Toastmasters (me) to 15-35 year Toastmasters (almost everyone else).  Needless to say, it was a very tough competition ... but I am happy to say that my speech on "Moral Opportunity" won me first place with a bid to go on to the District/State competition in Atlanta at the end of the month ... wahoo.  So, please keep your fingers crossed that I don't get so nervous that I answer my knees when they're knocking on the podium:)This weekend was also Ricky & Whitney Parsons wedding down in backwoods Moultrie, GA.  A few of us got together on a gift, and wrapped it amazingly (pictured) so that the married couple would know who had been there.  It was a beautiful wedding and the reception was a blast.  They had one of the most delicious sparkling white grape and 7 up mixes I've ever had that complimented the fruit tree very nicely!  Of course, we all cut a rug and I danced with the flower girl.  All in all, it was a pretty tasty week I must say.
O, but the fun did not stop there ... it's house hunting season and we're in full swing.  I've probably walked through about 7 homes this week and driven by another 15 all in search of the right fit for Jenny and I.  She's decided that she will be venturing down here with part of her family in the middle of June.  
That gives her a couple of weeks to land a job and settle in before we head to South America so she can come back refreshed for a new gig.  I've posted the two top choices thus far on YouTube (listed below for your viewing pleasure).  One is a wonderful ranch ( that has all of the amenities you need and is more than ready to move into.  The other is a gorgeous two-story with a lot of potential (  It's significantly less expensive, but needs some new flooring and paint ... which would be fun I think!  So, we'll see what Jenny has to say, but you are all more than welcome to weigh-in on the two options ... it's always good to have an outside opinion:)
Well, I think that's all I can handle in a week.  This is the Holy Week, so I wish you all a merry Good Friday and a Happy Easter celebration.  I will be joining Jenny and her family in the sunny, yet maybe still snowy, Minneapolis, MN for a trip to the Mall of America and a Timberwolves game ... should be a great time and I can't wait!
Until next time, don't forget to seize the moral opportunities of life!
Mom and Steph, have safe travels ... can't wait to see you both again!