Brother Mark Turns 60

Mark Steinhoff - Robin Hirsch wedding 09-08-2014Brother Mark turned 60 on March 10. It’s hard to believe. It seems like it was just yesterday that Mother, Son Adam and I snuck up to St. Louis to attend a surprise birthday party for his 50th trip around the sun.

This picture was taken when he and Robin got married September 8, 2014. Dad’s construction company had a whole bunch of padlocks with a key code of 2406, so we used them over the years on family locks in at least four states. Giving a 2406 to Robin meant that she was now, officially, a Steinhoff.

One of my all-time favorites

Mary - Mark Steinhoff KY Lake 10-16-08This shot of Mother and Mark in front of the trailer at Kentucky Lake is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them. Sometimes you’d love to be able to go back and relive a moment.

Mark through the years

I’m not going to use ALL of my Mark pictures for his 60th. He may have a few more birthdays to go, and I need to dole them out. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

We’re the Same Age

LIla Steinhoff w Birthday cake 02-17-2015For 36 days a year (37 during Leap Year), Wife Lila and I are the same age.

I won’t tell you what that age is this year, but if we once believed that you couldn’t trust anyone over 30, we are more than twice as untrustworthy as we were when we said that.

One thing about it, she can sure blow out a candle quickly and leave not so much as a tendril of smoke behind. Neighbor Bill/Jacqie provided the cake; the boys took her out for dinner and gave her a Fitbit to document that she’s still moving, and I got her a coffee table art book on The Florida Highwaymen.

It was a good day.

A Sign of the Times

Adam Steinhoff's room 07-06-2014When we moved into our house in West Palm Beach, it had two bedrooms and one bath. When Sons Adam and Matt were little, they shared a bedroom. I drilled a hole in the door and installed a wideangle lens peephole so we could see if they were (A) Awake; (B) Asleep or (C) Up to mischief.

In retrospect, that might have been more useful when they got a bit older.

In 1986, we added two rooms and another bath to the back of the house. Matt got the new back bedroom and Adam got the old one to himself.

Mother ran across a wooden sign that read “The Adams” in a yard sale. Wife Lila rearranged the letters so it spelled “ADAM” and we hung it on his bedroom door. (Covering the peephole at the same time.)

Adam hits 34

Adam Steinhoff BDay party 07-06-2014Family and friends gathered to celebrate his 34th birthday on July 6, even though his official Birthday is July 7.

Grandsons Graham (barely visible at left) and Elliot are quick with the puff. I was too slow to capture the lit candles.

Room is officially mine now

Adam Steinhoff BDay party 07-06-2014Just before we left the house, I grabbed a screwdriver and pulled the ADAM sign off the door.

His acceptance of it concedes that the room is now, officially, my office. I have to decide what to do with that peephole, though.

Birthdays Come and Gone

Ken Steinhoff Baby Book 1st Birthday

When do birthdays stop being a big deal? March 24 is the date of my birth, but I have lost all concept of how old I am. I was prepared to tell folks I had been around the sun 67 times, but that can’t be true because I got my Medicare card last year. Guess that makes me 66.

Back in 2011, I shared a whole page of photos of childhood landmarks in time. I was telling someone the other day that most people think of major milestones and identity crises in even-numbered years like 20, 30 and 40.

I had those periods of self-assessment at odd years, like 24, 27, 32, 57 and 60. Wife Lila would probably say that’s because I never use round numbers in the microwave: 2:16 for popcorn; and that I take naps that are 22-minutes long. (I learned a long time ago that accounting was less likely to question my expense reports if I used odd number like $6.13 or $12.47 because they assumed people who put down stuff like $6.00 or $12.50 were either guessing or making up items.)

Photo staff remembered my 30th

KLS 30th Birthday card 1977_0833Wife Lila and the folks on the photo staff pulled off a surprise birthday party for my 30th. They were ostensibly gathering at the house to watch the last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show on March 19, 1977, so I was surprised when they pulled out this photo of me in a gas mask covering riots at Ohio University that the staff had signed. Across the top, someone had scrawled, “HAPPY 30! If you’ve survived this far, you’re bound to make it the next thirty!

Maybe that’s one of the reasons my 60th was so traumatic: I was afraid that someone had set my sell-by date with that headline. It’s also disconcerting to note that at least half of the people who signed the photo – some of whom were younger than me – are dead.

No respect by my 40th

Photo staff impression of Ken Steinhoff on his 40th birthdayBy the time my 40th rolled around, the staff was a bit less respectful. We had a bunch of turnover in the department about that time. I won’t say this artwork had anything to do with it….

My 50th was a major blow-out at the office, an event attended by all of upper management, including my friend the H.R. Director. I thanked her, in particular, for the shindig since the jokes and gag gifts showed a definite prejudice against older workers, a protected group that I had just joined. My discrimination lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment would make it possible for me to retire to a life of ease, I warned.

I got high on birthday cake and forgave them at the last minute, unfortunately.

A traumatic 60th

Ken Steinhoff on 60th birthday by Mark Steinhoff_0060Dad and his two brothers died on or before their 61st birthdays, so I was afraid my days were numbered. I told my staff that I would just as soon let the day pass unobserved. As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about it because I came down with some kind of cold or other ailment that I was sure was going to usher me to the Other Side, and I skipped a few days of work. On my birthday, just about the time I was feeling merely miserable instead of on death’s doorstep, the whole Steinhoff clan from three states knocked on the door and dragged me out for a bike ride.

Once I made it past 60, I decided that I had a few more good years left in me. That’s when I stopped doing the math and keeping score. When I wrack up as many Birthday Seasons as Mother, then I may start counting again.

That brings us to today

KLS Birthday 03-24-2013 by Matt Steinhoff_6400

When I go to bed at night, I usually pull a shade at the head of the bed to keep the room cooler and darker so I can sleep late after staying up until 2 a.m. or so doing these posts. I forgot to do it on the 23rd, so I felt unusually warm when I started becoming conscious on my birthday.

“Maybe I didn’t make it to my birthday,” I thought. Not wanting to open my eyes and confirm my fears by getting dirt in them, I elected to go back to sleep.

About half an hour later, I was jolted awake by a brilliant beam of light. “Darn, maybe I made the cut after all,” crossed my mind. After straining my ears for several minutes listening for harp music that never came, I opened my eyes and saw the open shade.

Light was terrestrial, not celestial

I was much relieved to determine the brilliant light was terrestrial, not celestial.

Later in the day, the whole family gathered out at Son Adam’s to help him put some solar panels on his roof. I waved my Medicare card and was exempt from wrestling 4 x 12-foot panels in 23 mph (gusting to 45mph) winds, but I did get to make a bunch of trips up and down the ladders.

The family wasn’t sure I was capable of blowing out my cake candles, so they elected to serve it outside where the wind took care of extinguishing them for me.

Thanks to all my Facebook friends who left me birthday wishes, including those who were kind enough to add “you’re looking good,” something they never said when it was really true.

The next step is for them to say, “Don’t he look natural?”