Posted by: Rob | June 26, 2009

Ask the Blogger – Answers Part Five – An Anniversary Post

Today is not only the fifth instalment of my answers in response to “Ask the Blogger”, but it also the second anniversary of annie‘s and my wedding.

And so, in honour of today’s special occasion, I’m going to tackle the question(s) posed by Alicia: Since this lack of questions undoubtedly damaged your ego, of what accomplishment are you most proud? What’s your strongest personality trait?

Since we know Annie wouldn’t marry a loser … why DID she marry you?

of what accomplishment are you most proud?

This question is very similar to one of those job interview questions that I find difficult to answer. For me, it is very challenging to single out one accomplishment from a “body of work”, if you will, and point at it saying, “Of this one thing I’ve done, I am most proud.”

And so, in an attempt to answer your question, I have elected to look over the course of the life I have lived thus far and, if I consider that course to have been a trail or road of sorts, pick out the most significant “course correction” I was instrumental in making that brought me (us) to where I am (we are) today.

We make many choices as we live our lives. Choices made today set up the choices and opportunities available to us tomorrow.

In my case, the choice that had the largest impact on our lives, the choice that led to what I consider my greatest “accomplishment”, was made at a time when my first wife and I had been married about four years. Our girls were the ages of 2 years and essentially newborn. We were living in a small two bedroom basement apartment in Beaverlodge. I was working for a local oilfield trucking company, with irregular hours translating to irregular pay. It was a situation that did not hold a lot of promise of delivering the sort of future or life style we wanted.

I elected to apply to university. The goal was an engineering degree and a career in the burgeoning oil and gas industry of Alberta.

I did not get accepted into the Faculty of Engineering for the 1984 Fall session; they defaulted me to General Studies. I elected not to go for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want to spend the extra year and gamble on transferring into Engineering, and 2) we learned Shelley was pregnant with our second child.

I applied again for the 1985 Fall session and was accepted! We loaded up our car and our pick up – Clampett style – and headed out for Calgary and our new future.

I successfully completed the program in four years* and entered the career path that gave us a better life style, brought me (and us) untold opportunities that were heretofore unavailable and, in most cases, never dreamed of, and radically altered our life path, I think, for the much better.

At the time I didn’t really think it was that big a deal, but enough people expressed amazement and admiration that not only had I returned to university a bit later in life, but did so with a young family, and did as well as I did, that I began to think that maybe this was quite an accomplishment after all.

What’s your strongest personality trait?

I admit that I had to do a little research to find the correct labels for the different personality traits and factors. I had done the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test before at my previous place of employment, but I couldn’t exactly remember my type. I knew I was an “I” and that it ended in “J”, but I was uncertain of the middle two letters. Luckily, I found a free on-line test and, after breezing through the questionnaire, confirmed that I am an “INTJ” personality type.

According to the wikipedia page on Myers-Brigg, “INTJ” types are about 1% of the population and are deemed to be “Masterminds“.  The description is alarmly accurate:

Masterminds are introspective, pragmatic, directive, and attentive. As strategists, they are better than any other type at brainstorming approaches to situations. Masterminds are natural but not eager leaders, stepping forward only when it becomes obvious to them that they are the best for the job. Strong-willed and very self-assured, they may make this decision quickly, as they tend to make all decisions. But though they are decisive, they are open to new evidence and new ideas, flexible in their planning to accommodate changing situations. They tend to excel at judging the usefulness of ideas and will apply whatever seems most efficient to them in accomplishing their clearly envisioned goals. To Masterminds, what matters is getting it done—but also learning the principles of how to get it done efficiently and well, that is, at a professional level of quality. They tend to give little thought to the personal cost of getting there.

Masterminds are highly pragmatic, and they will put forth a great deal of time and effort to implement effective ideas. They are driven to solve complex problems and to create organized, decided, and executed solutions. Masterminds tend to make positive statements instead of negative ones, focusing on how to make the organization more efficient in the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes.

Masterminds are also highly theoretical, and the most open-minded of the 16 role variants. Before Masterminds adopt a theoretical notion, they insist on researching all the available data and checking the idea against reality. Masterminds are suspicious of theories based on poor research and will discard ideas that cannot be effectively implemented.

As leaders, Masterminds are skilled in contingency planning and entailment organizing, which are directive activities that tell the planner what activities to do and in what order to do them. Once in a position of power, Masterminds are known for their efficiency and willingness to adopt useful ideas.

 But, if one desires a more specific answer, then we have to go to the page on 16 personality factors. From that I will say that I consider my dominant personality trait to be:

 Self-Reliance, in the High Range: Self-reliant, solitary, resourceful, individualistic, self sufficient (Self-Sufficiency)

 And, lastly…

Since we know Annie wouldn’t marry a loser … why DID she marry you?

In answering this question, I am trying not to give away too much of what will ultimately be – hopefully – published in our joint memoir. 

When Annie and I first met and started corresponding – as friends – there was a sort of strange connection. It was like we had always known each other. We could finish each other’s thoughts and sentences. We thought the same things, the same responses to a variety of ideas and topics, at about the same time.

I’m genuine. I am me. What you see in front of you is really who I am. Annie could be herself, was herself, in our interactions.

I could make her laugh. After her experiences with Will’s illness, his dying and the aftermath of early widowhood, I felt that she needed to spend a little time laughing.

Once we realized that there was something more to our friendship, we jointly agreed to move forward in expanding and deepening what we had stumbled into.

So, why did Annie marry me? Because I’m me. And because I asked her to marry me.

We married two years ago today. It seems such a short time but, because we are “twins” of a sort, it seems much longer.



* I did do one Spring/Summer session after first year because, after a six year lay off from high school graduation, I was struggling a bit with the course load.



  1. Good answer. I couldn’t have put it better.

    Love you:)

  2. Congratulations to both of you! It makes me so happy to hear that it’s your anniversary. And I don’t even know you guys. Strange, isn’t it?

  3. When I saw Annie’s anniversary post, I knew why you’d skipped my question. (I’ll confess to having wondered.)

    Unbearable, you know them as well as I do, and I’m smiling for them.

    Happy anniversary, guys!

  4. Rob, I thought I asked, “If you had a choice, would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire, why?” When I went back to the original post where you asked for questions, I don’t see it. I might have screwed it up and not hit the submit button. You know I sometimes get in a hurry to get back to my porn.

    • Rob thinks I gave the definitive answer.

  5. Happy anniversary!

  6. Happy Anniversary!!
    wonderful well written answers.
    I love being married to someone who is so intune with me.

  7. Great post. I tend to think people generally attend university at the wrong time of their lives. You need to be older, wiser and hungrier to really appreciate and learn from it. Oh and happy anniversary xx

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