Washington is a small town, and if you are a tall guy wearing a kilt downtown, you are bound to get some attention. I have seen Shawn a couple of times at different events, but is was not until the Art Fair and Winefest this year that we actually met. He and his wife Roxanne came by my booth to tell me that I won third place, and I was so excited I gave them a big hug. Last month we ran into Shawn at the Art Center, and while sampling Noboleis wine I asked him to do “A Day In The Life Of …” interview. We added a special question for him: The Kilt. 🙂
The Morning: Most of my life I have been more of a night owl, and preferred sleeping until the last possible minute. Lately though, I have begun waking up around 6 or 6:30 and easing into my days. Probably due to the influence of my wife Roxanne who has always been a morning person. She is still kind enough to give me a half hour or so for my brain to fully engage before she expects to have any meaningful conversations with me.
The Coffee: Also thanks to Roxanne’s influence, I have begun drinking a cup or two in the mornings, usually with a splash of cream (or Irish cream on the weekends).
The Drink: Beer Good! We are both big fans of micro brewed beer, and are lucky to have so many great breweries in our area! Augusta Brewing is our favorite and we are very excited for the opening of the new Tap Room. I am a seasonal beer drinker, so my favorites change throughout the year. Stout in the winter, Octoberfest and Pumpkin in the fall. Spring and Summer I usually drink IPA’s and Wheat depending on my mood. In fact, when we remodeled our kitchen last year, we installed a double tap kegerator. We are currently pouring Augusta’s Tannhauser and Junga IPA, perfect to keep you cool on a hot day!
The Food: Luckily for me, Roxanne is a fantastic cook! She is always finding, or improving on, new recipes. We particularly enjoy trying new ethnic dishes; Asian, Indian, Spanish, and Italian are usually our favorites. When it is my turn to “cook”, we usually go out to one of Washington’s wonderful restaurants. The Old Dutch, Ernesto’s, Rothschilds, and John G’s (and the future Tap Room) are our favorites, but we visit all of them pretty regularly. My personal favorite food is a Medium Rare Filet Mignon or Prime Rib, but we will often have entirely vegetarian meals as well.
The Shops: I studied mechanical engineering in college and have always been a tech geek. Most of the shopping I do is for things that I can put together, tools to take things apart, or electronics. I rarely come out of Washington Lumber, Ace Hardware, or Radioshack without a few more things than I planned on. I am also lucky enough to work next door to the Game Depot to feed my video game addiction. I usually try to avoid the big box stores.
The Accessories: Besides glasses and my wedding ring, the only other thing I wear is two small gold hoop earrings in my left ear. I had my ear pierced when I was in Jr. High in the 80’s because that was the style at the time (I know, I sound like Grandpa Simpson), and for whatever reason, I seem to be the only person who stuck with it. The accessories for my life are my Schlafly keyring bottle opener, Leatherman multi-tool, and my Tablet/Smart phone.
The Kilt: Ah yes, the kilt. I do get a lot of looks and questions about it, and I think people are usually expecting a deeper meaning or reason for a grown man to walk around in a skirt. The simple truth is, it’s comfortable! We visited Seattle a few years ago and saw a few guys wearing them around town (they are made there by a company called Utilikilts). I thought it looked pretty cool and ordered one a few months later. Once I started wearing it, I could barely stand to wear regular pants anymore! I have six so far and wear them every day unless I have to make a business trip. Even in the winter, I have found that they are pretty comfortable as long as I wear warm socks and boots.
The other thing I like is the carrying capacity. Most of them have large cargo pockets for whatever project I am working on. One of them even has a built in tool belt for hammer, tape measure, and whatever else I may need. I actually measured my pockets and got the largest Tablet computer/smart phone I could that fits.
Here are the answers to the most common questions:
Q: “Are you Scottish?”
A: “Yes, and Irish, German, and who knows what else; but I would wear the kilt anyway.”
Q: “What are you wearing under your kilt?”
The Car: I drive a Ford Ranger. I have driven a lot of different vehicles in my life, but whenever I have been the one to choose, I have always gotten a truck. Similar to the pockets in my kilt, I like having the extra carrying capacity. I just got a hitch and trailer as well because, apparently, I need to be able to carry even more stuff. Am I being a little obsessive?
The Place: John G’s Bier Deck is the best place in Washington. You will usually find us on the north side of the bar, with a great view of the river and park. They serve the best beer, at just the right temperature. We love being outside and they have heaters in the winter and misting fans in the summer to keep you comfortable.
But the best thing about “The Deck” is the people. The owners Terry and Jeri are two of the greatest people we know. The effort they have put into making the Deck a welcoming and happy place has created the perfect location to enjoy the beauty of Washington. Everyone that works there passes the feeling along and, as a result, everyone that visits can’t help but have a great time.
The Personal space: A man’s home is his castle, and my throne is a reclining leather sofa in my living room. We both love to watch all kinds of movies, and I like my video games, so that is where I spend most of my “me” time.
The Friends: Much like the Deck, the people and friends in Washington are what truly make this a great town. When we first moved here in 1998, neither of us worked in town, so we didn’t get a chance to know people right away. But once we finally both worked here, we were able to get involved in the community and discovered the rich friendships we now enjoy. We had become close friends with Ruben and Ellen Aramburu through work, and when we all joined the Downtown Art Fair and Winefest committee, we quickly gained many more. From there, we found that the more time we spent downtown at all of the festivals and events, shopping, and eating, the more we kept running into the same people who all enjoyed and cared as much about Washington as we did. We count as friends pretty much everyone involved in Downtown Washington, their events and committees, and most of the shops and restaurants downtown. Just recently we have joined the Washington Lion’s club and are meeting even more!
The best example of the numbers of connections between people in this town is our friends Dave and Nicki Lampe. We met them at the Augusta Brew Festival when Dave asked me about my kilt. (Although we didn’t know it at the time, that also happened to be the day that Dave proposed to Nicki.) After that, we kept running into each other at various events and after talking a few times, discovered that we have almost a dozen friends in common. It was like the town of Washington acted as our own Friend Finder networking program!
At Work: I am a Technical Support Manager for an international electric motor manufacturer. But the best part about my job is that my office is just three blocks from my house, and an easy stroll from there to downtown Washington. I can’t imagine a better commute!
At Home: We live in a house built in the 1940’s just east of downtown. When we bought it, we didn’t really realize what a great location it was, but the longer we have been here, the more we love it. We have been gradually updating it over the years and making it our dream home. We have remodeled several rooms to varying degrees; designed, built, and installed stained glass windows in several rooms; and decorated most of it with artwork from local artists or purchased at downtown events. Another wonderful feature is the relatively large back yard for an older downtown home. We have three dogs and giving them plenty of room to get exercise and chase squirrels is great!
Downtown: Our lives are full of fun and friendships because we live in Downtown Washington. What more can I say?
Want to meet Shawn? You know where to find him: downtown!