This is Willy. Those soulful eyes could convey so much. Willy forever changed how I view dogs and animals in general. He knew the name of every family member and more than 250 words. Put two words together in a way he hadn’t heard before and Willy understood.

In 1990 I met and later married my soulmate. We were happy and had big plans for the future. Before long I found myself in a house with a mortgage and living the American Dream. All we needed was a dog.

To complete the dream, we brought a black lab puppy into our life that we named Willy.

Willy the Wonderful Water Dog.

Friends, Family, People we barely knew would tell us (and still tell us) that Willy was the smartest dog they ever met. Almost until the day he died, he never stopped learning new things or new words or new actions.

This website is about making life better and easier using common, everyday knowledge applied in ways many people never thought about. It’s about knowing how to do things and saving yourself time and money in the process. Very often, there are easier ways to do things if we just look at them differently. We can hundreds or thousands of dollars and give ourselves many additional hours of time.

All it takes is a willingness to apply a different way of thinking.

We’ve dedicated this space to Willy, for his incredible smarts and the ability to learn new things in new ways. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

In real life I am a professional freelance writer. I started writing in third grade and I was rather prolific, if not yet an expert. In the late 1980s I submitted a white paper to a trade magazine which they included as part of a larger article in the late 1980s. That small success reignited my love affair with writing and was bolstered local newspapers published some of the letters and opinions I submitted.

My diverse career life has provided me with a wide view of the world. After graduating high school I worked in a pizza restaurant, then the cafeteria in college, then at an exclusive fine dining restaurant where I cooked, prepped, and served at banquets and catered events. Their private condominium association had a yacht club, banquet hall and also catered large and small events. Finally I cooked in a steakhouse chain for about six months where they were amazed that I could slice mushrooms faster than their machine and precisely cut prime rib in eight, twelve, and sixteen ounce portions without the help of an electric slicer—all because of my past cooking experience.

I ended my career in cooking when I finished college and became an electrical engineer. However, after nine years as a printed circuit board test engineer, I was not only burnt out, but out of a job too.

For a while I did freelance programming to get away from the stress (programming? yeah not so relaxing) and then moved on to work on large networks at a telecommunications giant. I left that job to manage a data center at a large insurance company subsidiary, and after that I managed networks for the Federal Government and ran a help desk that serviced about 500 users.

At one time my resume boldly stated – “New programming language? Give the manual and I’ll give you code.” And I did.

As it turns out, I love writing more than any work I’ve ever done in my entire life. I believe that if I never do anything else, the passion I discovered will make everything else I did on this crazy journey worthwhile.