Happy Birthday to Me – Yippee!!

31 Jul

It’s offical — I’m now 54 and loving every minute!  Can’t wait till next year when I’ll be 55 … I can eat off the “old peoples” menu as my Dad calls it!  And the way I see it, I now have exactly one year to convince Roger that I want/need to retire at 55!  In 2009 I’ll have worked at SPX for 35 yrs and I’ll be 55 yrs old … the company doesn’t have the Rule of 90, but hey it’s a good rule and one I’m determined to follow … we’ll see!

I got the best present I could ever get yesterday and it came out of the blue.

I got an email from Marjorie Savage at the Univ of Minn … she was sending out a letter to students living off campus this year and she was going to address fire safety … did I have any suggested input?  You bet I did!

I’ve been trying for at least two years to get the U of MN to do more to address fire safety and for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen … but now it has … here is what will be going out:

FIRE SAFETY MESSAGE – Five years ago this fall, three University of Minnesota students died in a house fire near campus.  For all parents, and especially for parents of students moving into apartments or houses near campus, please talk to your student about the fire precautions and check your student’s new home for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  Take a tour of the home looking for potential fire hazards.  Before your student goes to sleep that first night, ask him or her to think about two exit routes from all areas of the house or apartment and talk with roommates about exits and meeting places a short distance from the house.

Kim Wencl, the mother of Elizabeth Wencl, who died in the fire five years ago, recently sent an email message recalling her daughter’s move in day that fall:  “I remember our moving day in September, ’03 … it was hot, and we were busy, and we didn’t take the time to talk about fire safety.  It’s so important for parents to bring it up and make the kids think about ‘what if’ scenarios.  Move-in day really is the perfect time.  The kids may roll their eyes and say, ‘Yah, I know,’ but it will stick in their brain and perhaps make a difference down the road.

I think it is also important to let kids know that some of the biggest contributing factors to fire fatalities are careless smoking and alcohol consumption.  And when fatalities occur, overwhelmingly, they are because of these two contributing factors.

We will mark the fifth anniversary of the fire on September 20th, and I don’t want any other families to lose a young adult in such a senseless, preventable manner.”


I’d been trying to think of a meaningful way to mark this momentous fifth anniversary … to make some good out of something bad.  Yesterday, it came to me.  If we can work it out with the U, we’re going to put a flier together, it will include the picture of Liz-Brian-Amanda and the caption will read, “Do you know what happened to these U of M students five years ago?  They lost their lives in a house fire … just blocks from the U.  DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!   And then we will list basic fire prevention tips.  By then kids will have settled into their new homes and it will serve as a good reminder.

If all goes as I’m hoping it will, we’ll be on the campus of the U of M on Friday, September 19th handing out the fliers.  I can’t think of a better place to be.



4 Responses to “Happy Birthday to Me – Yippee!!”

  1. dawn sletten August 1, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    What a wonderful way to commemerate the awful, bad day in your lives. Congratulations on being half of 90! Do you think you have hit mid life yet. I think you will get your way about retiring. Just threaten to pull a ladder out from under him when he is least expecting it. I think he’ll get the message.
    Love you and happiest bday ever

  2. beth larson August 6, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Kim, as usual-you continue to amaze me. Why oh why didn’t you come to Brenda’s on Sat., so my reunion would have felt complete??? (oh you didn’t know about our mini-reunion? sorry it was last minute-but we missed you!)

    The plans you have for the anniversary of the tragedy that took Liz’s life are so perfect. Keep us posted and good luck with your plans to retire one year from now—Roger knows by now who’s boss, so I have no doubt that you’ll be “sleeping in” soon! Tee Hee, Love you, Beth

  3. GarykPatton June 15, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

  4. CrisBetewsky July 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Hello! Thanks for the post. It is really amazing! I will definitely share it with my friends.

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