Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Daddy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The last few days have been a dungstorm of craptastic garbage.  A root canal with intestinal flu kind of an experience.  No one died, no family illness, just an unfun experience of a weeklong window.  

I’ll explain. 

First of all, there were some unexpected expenses, and I mean a bunch of them.  School started, and soccer got into full swing both carrying with them an assortment of expenses.  I mean school clothes and supplies and uniforms and back to school nights with donations for whatever else. For some reason every household bill came due on the same day and Adrienne had to travel twice for work which has its own expenses and it own stresses.  It would have been quicker just to throw my wallet into a bush and walk away.

Then there’s the time part of it.  With Adrienne out of town and me becoming daddy day care, my days became very long.  Avery is playing soccer and running cross country.  Her running coach said to me, with a straight face mind you, that “I understand that she is in soccer, plenty of the kids are.  I understand completely.  So just bring her to cross country ON THE DAYS SHE’S NOT IN SOCCER”.  To those uninitiated in the world of parentdom, this is a tall order.  

“Yeah, no problem” I replied but inside I’m thinking “Holy hell, how in the love of everything sacred and holy can I add another drop-off/ pick up to every day of the week?” For the first time every I began to consider that cloning humans isn’t such a bad call.  

I know from personal experience that when I stress, I grind my teeth when I sleep.  To date, I haven’t ground one out of my head.  I changed that the other night.  I cracked one of those guys in two.

This morning I was driving the girls to school.  It was a tight gripping eyes forward sort of a drive.  A wits end sort of thing.  The kind of time where you are keeping your shit together by a thread.  A thin, frayed thread. I was trying to get the girls to school and then find a moment to regather myself on the way to the office.   It was that moment when I realized that my computer was still sitting on my couch.   Something in me broke.  I was at a red light and I put my hand through what hair I have left, frustrated.  Just then, my eldest asked me, “What’s wrong, daddy, you seem sad.”


“Nothings wrong sweetheart, I didn’t sleep very well last night.”  That was the truth, but not the whole truth and not nothing but the truth.  Daddy hadn’t been sleeping very well at all lately.  Nor has he been eating very well or been running the way he usually does.  He’s tired, he’s stressed, he doesn’t know when things will lighten up and now he is in the unenviable position of lying to his daughter to cover it up.  I dropped them off and made the slow trek back to my house to retrieve a computer bag that should have been with me all along.

With the notion of being concise, I’ll suffice it to say that the rest of the day failed to improve on its beginnings.  

At dinner my daughter asked me if things had gotten better.  They hadn’t.  This time I was more honest. I let her know that I hadn’t had a great day but that I was happier now seeing them and having dinner as a family.  She seemed happy with my answer but still gave me an extra hug at bedtime.  

The lesson here girls?  I can think of a couple.  First, everyone has a bad day here and there.
Everyone has times where they feel the world is conspiring against them.  That you feel like the eye in the sky is a mean kid with a magnifying glass.  You know what, maybe it is.  Maybe you have periods where you have to take your lumps.  Maybe you need a chance to take the fetal position in the middle of your bed and wait for tomorrow.  The thing you have to realize is that whether karma is actually out to get you, or you are just seeing it that way, its temporary.  It’ll go away.  Stay strong, you’ll be fine.  The other thing isn’t quite as easy to talk about.  I have bad days.  Mommy does, too. 
I remember growing up a lot of years ago and seeing Grandma working three jobs to make ends meet.  One of her jobs had her proofreading phone books from home.  You read that correctly, she proofread phone books.  Try to design a worse job in your head.  Impossible. But I digress, one day, I walked in on her doing her proofreading and she was crying onto the pages.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said that her eyes were bothering her from the proofreading.  Now, that may have been the truth, but not the whole truth and not nothing but the truth.  I imagine Grandma was tired, sick of working as hard as she was and let the mask slip for an unguarded moment.  Here’s the thing.  She worked those jobs to make sure her kids were okay.  She may have been tired and hurting but I bet she wouldn’t have changed it.  

The same goes for me and mommy. Some days it feels like a lot of pressure, but it’s okay.  Sometimes we let our guard down, but its because we trust you and trust that you know how much we love you.  

So, yes sweetheart, daddy was sad, but he isn’t now.  He will be again someday, but it won’t last.  No need to worry.  He’ll be goofing off with you in no time, making mommy sad!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Good Job Wifey, Good Job Sis, Good Job Runners, Everyone but Chris

Last weekend was the Wild West Relay.  For those out of the know, the Wild West Relay is among the dumber activities that one can participate in and is one that pushes its competitors physically, mentally and olfactorily.  It is a 200-mile relay race from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  The race takes a team of twelve runners through the night and over mountain passes.  Its fun in a “passing a kidney stone” sort of way in that the real fun is upon completion. 

For our team, Tutus and Teabags, I am our captain, serving my third year in the role.  As it turns out every captain we have had has served exactly three years in the role.  The first year you are just trying not to mess everything up, the second year you try to fix what went wrong in the first year and in year number three you recognize that there is nothing you can do to make it go smoothly and resign.  

This year was rougher than usual.  Every year I try to get an assembly of ‘alternate’ runners.  These are runners who kind of want to run but definitely want to be forced into it.  Invariably there are runners who drop out and its nice to have two or three people that you can guilt into the role.  

This year we had three alternates.  

We had three drop outs.

All three alternates rethought their commitment to being an alternate. 


No hard feelings to any of the dropout runners or the alternates.  For the first time ever, every excuse was a good one.  There were no bat mitzvas, no birthdays of a second cousin twice removed, no Disney on Ice tickets, no Steven Segal book signings.  It was injuries, business travel and one kind dad who learned his daughter had signed up for the race and wanted her first time running it to be with her old man.  I get it.  Every single person.  But it still sucked.  

We start planning for the August relay in January.  This year we found our last runner six days before we departed.  It created a logistical nightmare with no one knowing what they would be running or who they were running with.  

Then there was the race itself.  In addition to start setting up the race in January, I also began training for it as well.  I dutifully ran between fifteen and twenty miles a week for seven months.  I felt strong and ready.  The best laid plans of mice and chubby men.  

One by one I watched runners take off and complete legs.  Being runner eleven, I wouldn’t run my first leg until late afternoon despite the team starting at 6:30 in the morning.  I watched my wife take on the most difficult leg she had done in her race history and push herself beyond her limits.  She did fantastic.  I watched my sister find a gear that she generally doesn’t find and go beyond what she has done historically.  I was truly impressed…until my leg.  

My leg was a difficult leg with a lot of elevation gain.  No matter, I trained for it.  I literally ran a leg with more elevation gain the weekend before and beat my desired time by a minute a mile.  What could go wrong?  Answer: everything.  I felt tired.  I felt nauseous.  Honestly, I felt like quitting.  I came in later than I wanted to, five minutes later to be exact.  Five minutes late on a five-mile leg.  The math is simple.  I felt like ten pounds of poop stuffed in a five-pound bag.  I was upset but I had two more legs.  

Whelp, my second leg was more of the same.  Struggled.  Felt ill.  I felt tired.  I failed to come close to my goal.  The Wild West Relay 2018 was proving to be a roaring success for those around me, and landing with a thud for the captain.  

My last leg, as luck would have it, was a sloshy one with bits of rain, bits of hail and alongside a busy highway.  I did well, truth be told.  I exceeded my newly low set expectations.  It was a silver lining on a crap colored weekend.  

I wasn’t happy with myself, but I couldn’t be prouder of my team, my wife and my sister.  On a side note, every woman that ran with us far surpassed their expectations.  Nice job ladies.  

At the end of the day, I was unhappy with the way my race turned out but thrilled to see my teammates do as well as they did.  It’s a fair trade off.  I too am retiring as captain of the relay team.  The title is up for grabs, just text me!

The message ladies?  Its pretty straight forward.  I trained, I practiced, I busted my ass to be ready for the relay.  I woke up daily before the sun came up to make sure that I had time to get a run in before I had to take you to school.  And in the end, I failed.  Here’s the catch: I failed to hit my goals, but in training, practicing and busting my ass, I win.  I left whatever I had out in the roads.  I literally thought I was going to vomit my way through my first legs.  I didn’t put my miles on anyone else.  I did them, slowly, but I did them.  The other thing?  Mommy and Aunt Jen killed it.  A good teammate may not do as well as they want but still revel in the successes of their teammates.  I could have cried as Mommy came over the top of her first leg.  I watched Aunt Jen, a super steady runner, push herself and have the best relay she’s ever had.  My happiness for them far outweighs my disappointment in my performance.  

Now get out there and put in miles of your own.  Avery, just seven short years before you are eligible to compete!

A bizarre side note.  Bombas socks are the greatest running sock ever created.  I tried them for the first time over the last few weeks and couldn’t be more impressed.  I have no connection to the company but know a lot of runners who complain about their feet.  Give them a try.  Every pair you purchase they give a pair to the homeless.  Good for your feet and good for your fellow man.  It’s a pretty good deal.