Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life

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Bob’s Mom

I haven’t posted anything in quite awhile mainly because most of my blog followers are also Facebook friends and already have heard what I am up to but I know there are some who follow my blog who aren’t on Facebook.

I wanted to let you know that Bob’s mom Helen is very ill.  He flew up to MN this morning and his sister Betti also flew in from Fl.   We think Helen’s days are very nearly done.  She is 94 years old and has had an incredible life and one that gave so much to other people.  We talked to her as recently as Friday and she sounded like the cheerful upbeat Helen we have all known and loved.  She is suffering right now and tired.   As of today she is at United Hospital but they told us yesterday, Wednesday, that tomorrow, Friday, they would be moving her back to her apartment and bringing in hospice.

I’m glad Bob and his sisters can be together with her.  Send love our way and I will keep you posted.


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Trip to MN

In mid April we spent 8 nights in Minnesota.   We returned mainly to see Bob’s 93 year old mom and also get caught up with family and friends.   We visited with Helen over 5 days.   She had her “to do” list for Bob to take care of.   Pretty cute.  We stayed two nights right in the guest room that Walker Methodist has so very convenient   We slept in 5 different beds, visited with 28 family and friends, including a nice long lunch gathering with my Randen cousins and some of their spouses, and got introduced to our friends 9 dogs!    I definitely got my four legged furry friend fix!

When we got there no leaves on the trees and the first day was cold but then it warmed up and by the time we left you could definitely see spring was sprung!   A good trip but tiring.

One thing of note was the price of cigarettes.   $8 a pack!   Glad we don’t smoke.  Minnesota has a tax of $3 a pack and South Carolina tax of $ .57.

Bob was thrilled to go have his White Castle burger with his mom and we both enjoyed lunch at Culvers.   We do have a Culvers coming near us soon so looking forward to that.

One last thing, we took our first Uber ride from the off site (not at the airport) car rental place to the airport.   Flawless experience.

We felt like we really had quality time with everyone.


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Teaching kids of all ages about quadcopters and technology

We just returned from 8 days in MN to see Bob’s mom and other family and friends.  We got back Tuesday night and on Wednesday went o J.L. Mann New Tech to talk to two classes of high school students about quadcopters, safe flying, the rules of flying and jobs.   There were over 60 kids in the two classes.  Bob and I team taught and we had two new volunteers from STEAM Tech Teams there to learn.  We thought it went very well.

On Thursday at noon we made our third trip to Slater Marietta Elementary School to work with the computer club and science club.  We had about 25 students, probably 5th grade.   We split into three groups and the students moved to each group.   One was actually flying the small quadcopters, tethered by a string, one group was using the flight simulator and one group learning the rules of flying.   Reid also taught them what pitch, roll and yaw mean.   He is so good working with the kids.   They were very excited and had lots of questions.   The 45 minutes really flew by.

Thursday night we went to Carolina International Preparatory School.  We were at their annual science event.   We went there last year too.   This is a small private preschool to 5th grade school.  I would say we had about 50 families come.   These kids are really little but their parents could figure out what we were showing them.  Everyone is still in awe of the 3D printer.

We are still working with a couple schools to make hands and an arm and then in mid May we have the it2PI expo.

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Training on 3D printing and design

STEAM Tech Teams had a great opportunity to collaborate with several groups to do training for almost 40 teachers, other educators and visitors on 3D printing and design.   WYNIT, a 3D printer distributor provided 5 printers and two educational programs on what 3D printing is and how to use printers in various classes in schools.  Dr. Nan Dempsey from the Upstate STEM Collaborative helped us plan the content and reach out to Chris Burras. Academic Specialist for K-12 Science/Stem Greenville County Schools who provided a list of teachers for us to invite and gave input on what to present.   The whole event was hosted by the Archicture Dept. at Greenville Technical School.   Reid Becker, from our group, presented on the need for students to get skills in 3D printingnand design so they are ready for future jobs.  The training was 2 hours long and so much information was covered.

We all agreed this event was to us flawless.   It really gives you a good feeling to be a part of something like this.  We are interested to see how many schools contact us to help them or because of this training get 3D printers in their schools. About half currently had printers. We hope that this is just the first of several training programs for the teachers.

We arranged with WYNIT to leave a new printer with Greenville Tech to use for a month or so for students in the Archicture program and their technical staff could get some experience in using a 3D printer to model some of the projects they design.   Can’t wait to see how that goes.

Here are a few photos for you to enjoy.  WYNIT bought about 50 3D printed objects for people to look at.

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iMAGINE Upstate Festival

Saturday, yesterday, STEAM Tech Teams spent from 11 – 5 at the second annual iMAGINE Festival.   For new readers, STEAM Tech Teams is a group of volunteers in the Upstate of SC who are helping promote STEAM.   Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.

We had over 25 volunteers working with us in our two locations.  One group was along the tent line and show off our hands, 3D printing and other things.  The weather was really very nice, not to hot or to cold, however it was windy and that really made it hard to demonstrate 3D printing.   I haven’t heard how many people yet but 10,000 – 15,000 would not be out of line.  This is a very family friendly event.   A big thank you to our business volunteer from Computer Source who sells 3D printers and more.  If you need a 3D printer, repair on a computer or a computer please check him out.

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Fay and Bob and the majority of the volunteers will at the ZEN building with two big exhibits.  The focus of all the activities in and around this building was on drones.  We had one area where we had three flight simulators and our volunteers helped people, mostly kids, try there hand at flying drones.  The flight simulator can get very sophisticated and costs $130.  We figure we had 1500 – 2000 people come through.


In another large room we had three tables set up and people could fly small quadcopters, fit in the palm of your hand.   We had them tied to string so they flew in about a 5 ft radius and didn’t go all over the place.   We had a few challenges but overall it worked pretty well and let people get a safe, not too frustrating experience.  The three boys that Bob worked with at Dorman High School were there all day and were the “lead instructors”.   Most of the other volunteers were over 60 and came from the OLLI at Furman program or were neighbors of one of our volunteers.

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We were very pleased with how things went but were tired when we got home about 6 p.m.   Not much energy today, Sunday!

Our next event is this Thursday when we will be sponsoring with one of our business partners a training for teachers on 3D printing at Greenville Technical School.  After that we have a small science fair at a local private k-5 school and what we hope will be a big science fair at Williston SC, near Aiken.   This is three hours away so we are making a weekend out of it and will see the area.   That’s just April!

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Other comments on our cruise

Your enjoyment on the cruise really depends on what you like to do.   There was a huge gambling casino so if you like to that you would be very happy.   We don’t gamble.

Lots of the free entertainment was centered around contests, trivial pursuit type stuff, games, bingo and we don’t like to do that either but it was very evident that MANY people love this.

They had an art gallery of perhaps 100 pictures in one of the main hallways and it changed daily and we loved that. Also free art lectures.

Also, here is what seems different from cruising on this cruise that you may have heard of but I’m sure each cruise line is different.

  • Drinks aren’t included.   We bought an alcoholic drink package and you might also want to purchase a soft drink package or even a water package.
  • There were something like over 20 restaurants.  Our meals were included at about 6 places.   All the other restaurants you paid extra.   Usually $25 and up.
  • There were about 4 very good entertainment things included but the other 4 really high end events were about $35 a person.   Other activities like a wine and chocolate paring (which was great) was also extra.  Tour of the ship was $80 a person.   Something we wanted to do but too expensive.
  • Tours at the islands were $70 – $90 a person.
  • Internet access – spendy
  • Automatic gratuity per person per day $13.50 or so.  Actually I liked this because I didn’t have to worry about it.   If someone did something exceptional than you rewarded them.
  • Bob had heart burn and went to the medical place to get something.  He ended up with alka seltzer for only $5.  Asked about getting pepto bismal,  that would be a $150 consult with the doctor.

Photo from wine and chocolate paring which was great.



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Fay and Bob’s First Cruise

A couple weeks ago we took our first cruise on the new Norwegian Escape.  We went to some Caribbean islands. The ship is immense. 1069 feet long, well over 4000 passengers and 1700 crew.   The cruise lived up to everything you hear and actually in some ways exceeded our very high expectations.  Although our balcony room was small it was big enough.  Bed and pillows were very comfortable, room was quiet and temperature perfect.   We slept beautifully.  Weather was perfect and a very, very calm sea.   Ship was gorgeous, food great, entertainment good, lots of activities.   Bob even tried the zip line and the two big water slides. Service everywhere was exceptional.  Three of the cruise executives liked us so much they kept sending treats like wine and chocolate covered strawberries.   Guess everyone loves a friendly face who is interested in what they do! This photo shows you just how big our ship was.   The other ship on the left is a regular very large cruise ship.


I had forgotten how beautiful the water is.  What a gorgeous blue.  We went to Tortiga and St. Thomas.   Were supposed to go to Nassau but ship got diverted to Puerto Rico for a medical emergency.


And of course I had to show you this photo.


So having said all this about the wonderful time on the cruise I have to say the original concern we had on taking a cruise was true.   We aren’t cruise people.  With about 6000 people on the ship there was no place we could find that was quiet.   The decks and pools were so crowded I never even put on a swim suit.  Plus it was spring break so LOTS of kids under 10.  I won’t say we will never go on another cruise but it will be quite awhile.  If Charleston ever gets its act together and brings cruise lines other than Carnival we might go.   Adding in the flight to Miami was just another thing that was not so much fun.