14415 Mark Greiner

Profile Updated: March 14, 2022
Residing In: St. Paul, MN USA
Spouse/Partner: Ellie Greiner
Occupation: I help people buy stuff.
Children: Travis, 31 (yikes); Maren, 27; Jacob, 24; Nathan and Zoe, both 20 (came as BOGO - not what I ordered More…but a deal is a deal). This means that, yes, we are empty nesters. That is, unless, you count a deaf, geriatric, and (let's be honest) occasionally smelly, black cat Boo. I also did not order the cat. I picked her out myself for the kids, who are all now gone. The cat has no ambition whatsoever and will likely live with us for life. Plus there's a box elder bug leftover from fall who has, 3 weeks into January, still eluded me. In other words, life is really, really good.
The Admin here asked me to post some pics of the kids. I'll get it done at some point. Our new, beefed up, firewall is making it tricky to get images downloaded. I guess I could do it from my phone. I admit my phone, which I hardly ever use as a phone, is convenient, but the damn thing is so small and I need a bigger screen. Speaking of my phone, given the money and attention I put into it I should introduce my Samsung named Dead Weight or DW for short. I have no idea when he was born, I bought him off Amazon unlocked. DW my most demanding child, and that's saying something.
Military Service: Army  

Turns out I'm a homebody who lived in the life of a wanderer until finally settling in for good in St. Paul 18 years ago. Life didn't begin until I got here. Truth be told, I lived several lives between 18 & 40, and no I don't mean the kind of several lives that ends up as a Dateline NBC. I just sampled careers and cities more than I ever expected to. So I had 22 years of roaming until I found home. And you should have seen the bill for the roaming charges. Truth is, I couldn't afford to keep looking so stopped here. Nice place to settle in though. Probably never leave - they have a VA boneyard here so they'll fix me up with a cheap planting spot when the time comes for the Big Roam.

Army Service: 1983-1986:

Centcom/Honduras: 1983-1984
Ft. Irwin, CA: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment: 1984-1985
Ft. Riley, KS: First Infantry Division, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment: 1985-1986

School Story:

Which school? I'm over-educated. Or to put it another way, I'll likely die with student loan debt unless some random president forgives it (don't say that, it could happen). AHS was the first and most boring school story. You all either witnessed my school story or have the same with a different cast of characters. What the hell was high school even, really? I thought I knew everything about everything when the opposite was true. However, if you really want to know:

DMACC: 1987-1988 (I had an academic hole to dig out of)
Iowa State: 1988-1990, BA - Political Science, Journalism minor
Drake Law School: 1991-1994, JD

-I practiced law in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and in a couple Federal Districts, primarily as a prosecutor. I went into private practice for three years and that was enough to walk away forever. I hated it. The practice of law, by it's very nature, depends on deception and misdirection. The best comparison is poker, except the stakes are other people's lives. You bluff, you employ misdirection, you only show what you want to show. The practice of law demands, by its very nature, deception. So, after all that money spent on the education, it turns out I'm not actually wired for a job that demands good poker skills, which I lack. Too many tells. So, what are you going to do? I found something else. This new thing makes a lot more money and I don't have to lie, so there's that.

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Mar 14, 2022 at 9:31 AM
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May 17, 2022 at 11:20 PM

Posted on: Mar 14, 2022 at 9:31 AM

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Mar 14, 2022 at 9:31 AM
Mar 14, 2022 at 9:17 AM

Writing again today. It's been a thoughtful weekend - One filled with Ellie and I together, just loving each other. Funny, but all that love I had for that silly little cat has actually just increased my love for Ellie. It's like all that love and joy had to go somewhere so it refocused over to her. I told her this and the same thing happened to her. So the love and joy in another didn't go away, it increased. It really is amazing to be this connected to another person. In quantum physics there's a concept called entanglement. Under certain conditions two particles can interact in a way that connects them going forward. The way it works is that no matter what the distance is between the two, when something happens to one of the particles, it immediately effects the other particle. In other words, these two particles stay connected. Ellie and I are entangled in this way and if God wills it we always will be. I am a fortunate man.

Mar 11, 2022 at 6:59 PM

So we've had a couple of not wonderful weeks. If you remember, in February sometime, someone in the government decided the pandemic was over. You remember that, right? I know it was after Valentines Day but before the war started. Anyway so someone forgot to tell the SARS COV-2 virus particle I breathed in in late February that the pandemic was over I guess. Either that or the pandemic is ongoing regardless of what "they" say because my wife, our cat and I all came down with it. We have been jabbed 3 times so it could have been worse. As it was there are 4 days I have no memory of because I slept for 4 days straight. My wife, who fared better than me but still felt like a broken crash test dummy, tells me I spoke words and was occasionally conscious for up to a half hour at a time. My Fitbit didn't know how to deal with it. So that happened. Then, just when we were just starting to regain full functioning, on Tuesday we lost our much-loved cat of 18 years. The thing is, Ellie and I got the cat two months into our relationship so essentially our entire lives together. So our little Boobah was more than just a cat, she was us. Second marriage for both of us so the cat was it. I was unprepared for the avalanche of grief. I lost a father at age 6 and my closest grandparent at 19. I've lost my other grandparents since then but with respect to losing someone close, that's it. No one really close to me as an adult has died. As I write this I realize again how incredibly fortunate I am. So yes, she was just a small black cat, but it felt huge for the first 2 days. I am melancholy today, but more grateful. She was a great cat. One for the books.

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Feb 19, 2022 at 2:50 PM
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Feb 22, 2022 at 4:08 PM

Posted on: Feb 19, 2022 at 2:19 PM

It occurs to me that I might be coming across as some religious bore preaching my take on the Gospel. Not that giving this impression is of consequence to me. But it important to me to tell only truth. And don't start with that "truth is subjective" stuff. That's a whole nother conversation (nother is too a word). So in the spirit of full disclosure, and ongoing effort to make you give up on reading this crap writing, I'll give you a brief (you roll your eyes thinking that brief is a relative term) sketch of my spiritual beliefs. Okay, here goes: God, or whatever you call Him/Her/It, is everything and connects all of us. We are all one family, children of this Thing. If you listen, you can hear it everywhere. If you look you can see It everywhere. I personally don't know that much about It, but It knows everything about me. My testimony is that I am deeply familiar with every darkness common to humans. I have always been drawn, however, to the Light, whatever It is. I tried to live for most of my life with a foot in both the Light and the Dark. That was a miserable way to live, but I'm nothing if not persistent so it took all of 41 years for me to realize the foot in the shadow was the source of all unhappiness. I've spent the last 18 years discovering all the insidious ways the darkness is a lie. A seductive lie. A convincing lie. Sometimes even a coldly logical lie. But for the first time in my life, very recently, I've begun to recognize the worst and most convincing lies of all - The lies I tell myself. I am, on my own, completely without ability to distinguish truth from lie. This is why I need this thing I call God, mostly because, (1) It's 3 letters, who doesn't love a word like that; and, (2) God told us His Name a several thousand years ago but, and this is true, somebody (who only had ONE job) lost the slip of paper with God's name on it and never got around to telling the pronunciation to someone else before he/she died. That's right, we lost God's phone number. Thus human history takes another huge turn on a couple little human mistakes. Seconds and inches people. All things turn on such small margins. So, there you have it. I started in a Presbyterian church my grandfather help get started across from the high school. Little known fact, Northminster Presbyterian in Ames was started because my grandfather and his church buddies got together and came up with a scheme to shorten their drives on Sunday mornings. True story. The church historians may dispute this, but I heard it from the lips of Bob Haupt, my grandpa. Okay, I'm oversimplifying things. I admit this, but this story falls into the "also true" category. Anyway, so my grandpa, who came from a family where he alone escaped a life as a Presbyterian pastor (not judging) so was by definition a Christian outlaw, added his perspective on God, which has become increasingly relevant. Then, the final ingredient came from Alcoholics Anonymous (and for you 11th Tradition zealots this is not at the level of press, radio and films - give me a break, like 4 people will read this including me). So yeah, I buried the lead. I'm a former drunk and consumer of various other fun stuff. So there's that. You may remember that about me. If a former drunk reads this, this will be the moment when they say "I knew it!" So allow me to introduce myself: I'm Mark and I'm a recovering insufferable asshole. Oh, and I'm sober now 6 years (this time around). So yeah, that probably clears up a few questions for you too. I can't believe you're actually reading this crap. Don't you have something better to do?

Feb 16, 2022 at 8:46 AM

Retired? You're not even 59 you lucky duck. Deere is a great company so it's no surprise it served you well. I can't even tell you how much I envy you. The older I get the more I want to do. I love my job but I'd love it more if it took about half the amount of my time. I for one would love to hear how you are spending your time so we can live vicariously.

Feb 16, 2022 at 8:38 AM

What a great looking family Mark. I remember you from high school and it's amazing to see how your life has filled up so beautifully. The best family is the family you choose and the family that chooses you. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

Feb 15, 2022 at 8:48 AM

Did ya hear? They are rescheduling the war. They were all set to go live on Wednesday and now they're bumping it back. It's the kind of thing that comes with COVID I guess. COVID ruins everything. You can't even produce a war on time and under budget these days.

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Feb 10, 2022 at 12:25 PM

Posted on: Feb 09, 2022 at 4:30 PM

I've got 20 minutes to kill at the end of my shift so I'm writing. I was thinking about that part in the bible where it says that one day to God is like 10,000 years to us. I wonder if the message is that time isn't really God's thing. In other words, time doesn't mean the same thing to Him that it does to us. Who can really say what the heck time is anyway? We measure time against things that are completely arbitrary to our particular frame of reference. So time is purely subjective and centers on human beings. This again shows that we can't get away from the idea that the world doesn't revolve personally around us. Not that time doesn't come in handy mind you. I wouldn't know when to wake up without time, plus keeping track of what night our latest TV obsession is on around my house requires timekeeping. Time really pisses me off at times though. I understand in life that things are going to happen. My question is, I know 25 things are going to happen this week, but why do they all have to happen within the same 60 minutes? Couldn't whomever is in charge of time spread things out? A good example happened in the middle of me writing this. I was sitting here, ready to take a call for a good long amount of time with no action. Then, one of the guys in my business who make all the relevant yes/no decisions called me on Skype. While I was talking to him someone I've been waiting to talk to called me and I couldn't pick up. See what I mean? Two things happened at the same time, but I completely lack the ability to press the "Pause" button on time. You're going to tell me that Elon Musk can litter the skies with useful metal, but we can't figure out how to develop a remote with a "Pause Time" button? I'm not even asking for rewind or fast forward here, this shouldn't be a stretch. It occurs to me that we have a tremendous brain trust within our grasp with the class of 1981. It's like the Manhattan Project in the form of a class reunion. So let's hear from the physicists, out there, put your heads together and come up with a prototype and I’ll help you get it patented. By the way, if you haven’t binged Manhattan on Prime, you’re missing something. I get that it’s a lot of made up stories around historical events, but it’s good TV.

Feb 02, 2022 at 10:55 PM

Ever listen to the lyrics to the song Bitch by Meredith Brooks? That song describes everything I love about women in general, and my wife in particular.

Feb 01, 2022 at 7:45 PM

More entries that will remain private and unread by the world. No winter at Winter Olympics. What did they think would happen if they tried to hold it there? China’s relationship with it’s land and resources can appropriately called an assault – a series of assaults actually. Russia does the same and lots of others. I wouldn’t say, however, that America’s relationship with our land and environment can be called an assault. From our perspective it’s a relationship. An abusive relationship to be sure, but maybe calling it "assault" is taking things a bit far. From the land’s perspective though, it must feel like it’s being treated like . . . well, someone you abuse then toss $20 on the dresser. It's not really hating the land, but it ain't love.

Jan 29, 2022 at 6:26 PM

Oh, I forgot, for those of you who don't know about it, 11 women from our class were the centerpiece of a best-selling book called "The Girls From Ames." I discovered it yesterday and immediately started reading it. This is probably not news to a lot of you, but I'm excited to have found it. Ames really was and is an amazing place, don't you think?

Jan 29, 2022 at 6:19 PM

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm having a blast posting here. That's how slow the phone are today. Yeah, I could make some calls, but I'm off at 6 pm and the most important reason of all that I won't be making any calls is because: I don't want to. It always comes back to that, doesn't it. It's the reason for just about everything. You ask: Why did you do/not do that? The answer is always the same - because I wanted to/didn't want to. Let's be honest, it's always that, isn't it? Anyway, so no calls out and, God willing, I won't receive any calls which means shut down at 6 pm to join Ellie and the cat. Not sure whether we'll watch TV or just talk through whatever's on. It's 50-50. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. Almost 18 years in and neither of us can get a word in at times. So yeah, either watch or talk or both, smelly cat in my lap, then hers, then back to mine, rinse and repeat until we get tired and go to bed. Makes me wonder if I'm already dead and living in heaven. Not that it doesn't get bumpy at times. I know I'm no treat to live with. I'm stubborn and it takes me a while to listen, but I always come around. Turn times from defensive and irritated to "remind me why I need to be right?" are decreasing. It's progress, slow and steady. I can be a slow learner. Thing is, I'm crazy about her and she knows it. I can't help it, this is not what I intended. I just lived life, bumping around and making messes and ended up here. Lucky SOB that I am and no thanks to me. It ended up that I want what I have so I can stop looking. It's very peaceful most of the time. Best part of all, because I work from home I can look outside and think how pretty it is because I don't have to drive in it. I live in a place where simply standing outside for too long is fatal this time of year. For those of you who moved to warmer places, I don't want to hear it. I live here for a reason. I'm just too cold right now to remember what that reason was.

Jan 29, 2022 at 6:06 PM

Meet my guardian angel. His name is Roger. He watches over me and looks like this most of the time. I suspect he was assigned to me as the result of some kind an angelic disciplinary action.

Jan 29, 2022 at 2:25 PM

Ellie & me (my Us)

14415 Mark Greiner posted a message. New comment added.
Jan 29, 2022 at 2:23 PM

Posted on: Jan 29, 2022 at 2:01 PM

So, what's happening today? Here's what: I will personally stake a twenty that not more than one, maybe two other people will ever read this, although by not using (shift-four) I’ve already filtered out almost everyone. It's funny because I think someone could actually keep their daily personal journal right in this space and be assured that it will remain completely private. I mean, who actually reads this stuff anyway other than the author? I could say anything here and no one would ever see it. For example, I could say that I'm simply a figment of your imagination. I don't exist at all. I'm part of an elaborate computer-generated reality. Just like you. Wait, what? You mean you read this far? Seriously? Because if you've read this far then you are inflicted with a particularly cruel form of curiosity/boredom so, sorry to hear that. I’ve been there. I'll go on. Okay, I'm confident at this point I've filtered out everyone because, honestly, who would have the patience to read this far? The writing just isn’t that good. It lacks a certain pop, but it’s the best I’ve got so I’m putting it out there. I’ve heard that the trick is to write every day and that’s what this is, purely a writing exercise. I’ll go on. (An aside, I’m only minimally editing this. Don’t judge. It’ll wander a bit but, trust me, there’s always a point and I always get there). When I was in law school the number one rule, always, was Read On. I learned a lot about writing in law school, but more so I learned how to read on. Still with me? Okay, I’ll ask again, do you really exist at all? Do I? Is it possible that this is some big computer simulation of reality, like the Matrix, except dull and banal? You know, take the Red Pill and discover that we exist only in a screenplay that someone is shopping around at Sundance, and not finding much interest? And I can throw this wildly psychotic concept out there into the universe and rest assured that no one, not one single person in this or any parallel universe will ever read it. And I don’t care if you think it sounds like Philip K. Dick, it all came right out of my noggin and on to the page this morning. Admittedly I binged that whole “Electric Dreams” limited series within the last week so Dick’s influence is there, but the whole Sundance screenplay idea is mine. If you know nothing about Philip K. Dick, stop reading this crap, Google that name and enjoy. You’re welcome. So this, persistent and clearly bored reader, is where the personal journaling starts. This means from here on out I’m telling the truth. Not all of it, but the part I don’t mind the universe seeing. I tell the rest of the truth to those who care to know it, which unsurprisingly is just a few people. They are all really close though and, curiously, I’m only blood related to a portion of them. Truth is, I’m not all that interesting and my truth is actually really boring. My secrets are boring even. My imagination, however, is why I’m here. I'm working a Saturday shift and it's really slow on Saturdays in January. Everything I do for “work,” i.e., the stuff that keeps the checking account replenished, involves talking on the phone. That and computer work – which is nothing more than accurate data capture and processing; being able to follow a list of instructions - that’s all that’s required for that part of my job. You see, I make a living with my voice. That’s it. All that education and that I really needed was the gift of gab, which it turns out I was born with. I in no way set out to do what I do now for a living, but it’s where I landed. I talk to people on the phone about, and assist them in, purchasing things. Really expensive, but perfectly legal, things. That’s it. You don’t need to know anything more about my job because that part is boring. Only truth here and, in this instance, details aren’t relevant to the truth. My business puts me in touch with the poor, the middle class but, mostly, people who believe themselves to be wealthy. The real wealthy are invisible and I don’t know that I’ve ever met or talked to one of them. So my job is to talk on the phone and do the computer stuff, which is easy, and here’s the best part, someone actually pays me to do this. I couldn’t believe it either. Boy did I ever waste a lot of money on education. Best part is it all happens about 90 feet from where I sleep. I haven't seen the inside of an office in 22 months. I loaded up the car on April 3, 2020 with 3 monitors and my laptop and that was that. Best thing that's ever happened to me in my career. COVID has been an absolute horror show. I've lost people and it's pushed the country to a place we haven't seen in 50 years, but on a day-to-day personal level, it's been the best two years of my life. I love this part because no one else is reading and I can safely tell the truth, or what I perceive it to be anyway and the truth is this: We are all pretty much ordinary, at least I know I am. I thought maybe I’d be special, hoped for it once, but I’ve discovered that I’m just an ordinary, average guy (thanks to my second favorite Joe). No one special and I’m completely at peace with that. Relieved actually. Nothing to prove to no one at all. It’s just me, or us actually. Because I’m not just a me, I’m an us. I quit being a me (finally) not quite 18 years ago. Then life began – when I met Ellie. That’s my best and most favorite truth. Ellie. Took me 41 years, but the best part started in 2004 and it brought me to today. And now I’m closer to the end than the beginning and I’m becoming reflective. How utterly common, right? And I wonder about the other people who are my age and wonder if they are seeing all this now too? Or am I late to this? Maybe I’m playing catch up. I’d like to find out and since we all grew up in the same place. That amazing little oasis called Ames. I look at it now and it’s like Camelot. It has that mythology in my mind. Ames, Story county, central Iowa. And then, the most amazing thing happened, just yesterday. I stumbled onto my high school class’s home page. It was right here all along. And now, 40 years on, I write this while the theme from Mockingbird is streaming from my phone on Pandora and it’s all so perfectly perfect. Like a dream because I am happy. And I friggin backed into it by accident. Ain’t God or whomever He is grand? Went looking, searching, seeking, and I ended up here. Living an ordinary, blissfully contented life. Lucky am I. So there’s that. I can’t seem to turn off my curiosity though and I know that all the light I’ve stumbled into has darkness as a counterpoint. I’m familiar with that place where it’s not so well lit. I bear the normal scars from the everyday forays into the place where the most important thing in the world is Me. And the biggest roadblock to peace is also Me. But this is the thing, about truth, and I promised I’d make a point, so here it is: I have gained some awareness as to how fortunate I am. I bear the usual scars of life and have come out with the usual damage. Nothing special. But truth also means I acknowledge that the shadowy place exists. As it happens I have a lot of trouble keeping my mouth shut when I see what I perceive to be people enjoying the damage found in that dimmer place. I have this problem see, and I can’t control it and I can’t get rid of it. When I know someone is hurt, whether I care about them or not, it tears at me. I can barely watch scenes involving people being hurt, physically, emotionally. I’ve gotten to where I have to filter some of it out. It’s the balance I have trouble with – being awake enough to not forget all that hurt is real and exists in the world, but have a good filter in place so it doesn’t toss a bucket of water on that little fire of love I carry around. And most important of all, know when to say how you feel when you see all that hurt, and know whom you can trust with it. Listen more than you speak. Take every moment one at a time and remember, pray to see the next right thing, look for the answer to the prayer, and then do that next right thing as well as you can. If only it were that easy, right? Work out your salvation with fear and trembling – I always thought the emphasis was on the word “work” but for me it’s more that working out my salvation will involve fear and trembling. For me, I’m not saved through the work. I’m compelled to do the work – I made a choice and I can’t take it back. I asked God to see and He showed me. He showed me how small I am, then made me feel okay about being this size. But you don’t just see the nice stuff, the peaceful stuff. You get everything in the package and when the light comes on and you start to see what was in those dark corners, it tears at you a little. You start to feel the pain of it and that’s why I need Him. And I need my Us, because I’m not really separate from her, because I chose her too. And everything, all that I am and all that I have is because I made choices and decisions along the way that put me here. And I can truly say that, even if I don’t know you, or even if we never spoke, I love all of you. Maybe I’ll write more another time. I want to. I’ve been looking for a place to put back out into the universe the joy it’s given me. So I’ll try to remember to come back.

Jan 28, 2022 at 6:02 PM

I remember dancing with a girl in 8th or 9th grade at Welch. I think it was you. Does this ring a bell?

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Jan 28, 2022 at 4:07 PM
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