Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Dumbest Show on Dirt - 2019

The Wild West Relay was this last weekend.  I’ve said for years that this relay is the dumbest fun thing you can do.  This year was no different. 

This relay is a means of seeing friends that I don’t get to see the rest of the year, a place to push yourself a little farther than you think you should and a serious endurance test for your olfactory sense. 

The Wild West Relay is a 200-mile run from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs Colorado.  It takes place over two mountain passes and has a total of 16,000 feet in elevation gain.  We pay good money to do it.  We are not smart.

For the first time in a few years, my wife and I weren’t in the same van.  I missed running with her.  I love seeing her beat things like this.  It offered a different dynamic than I usually have.  I got to ride with my sister, some old friends and a bit of a reconnection with another one. 

Here’s the thing about these adventure races.  They take you out of your element in weird ways.  There’s the lack of sleep, the hours of running, the soreness, the empty belly, the dehydration and the close quarters.  In any other walk of life, this would be torture, but here, it’s a fun challenge. 

So here it is.  I didn’t run great.  I didn’t feel great.  But I had a great time.  So much so that as someone who was sure this was his last adventure race, now I’m not as certain. 

I’m sitting here writing this with incredibly sore calves and swollen feet.  I struggled through my first leg not knowing if I could finish the run.  I was dehydrated and my groin was spasming.

A friend asked me if I could run my next leg.

“Well, sure” I said because I’m an idiot.

My second leg was in the middle of the night, forty degrees and a malfunctioning headlamp.  I had minutes at a time where I was invisible to traffic.  I broke an eyelet on one of my shoes. 

My third leg was the opposite, a balmy 92 degrees and this writer forgot his sunscreen.  Steamboat traffic threw rocks my way and their passing breeze felt akin to a hair dryer.  I think I forgot how to sweat after a while, and that doesn’t seem like a good thing.

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right.  It was great. 

I got to spend time with my sister and also my stepbrother with whom I am rekindling a relationship.  I spent time with a woman who whipped cancer’s ass while pregnant, a university professor who at times seems so different from me and at others could be my twin and a dear friend who has daughters just slightly older than mine.  He gave me the lay of the proverbial land as his eldest has earned her driver’s license.  Side note, I’m afraid.

We met up with our other van where my wife accomplished a leg that she had worried about for weeks.  That van was packed with new friends and old.  Those eleven people and our volunteers are why we do this and I’m not in a race (pun intended) to give all of that up.

So, the thing here girls?  You’ve watched me help put this race together for years.  I’ve complained about it and occasionally been hurt by it.  After last year I was ready to give up on it.  I literally quit in January and picked it back up in March.  Want to know why?  Because it’s worth it.  For all of its flaws and challenges, its worth it. 

I get to see some of those people once a year and if a little challenge and frustration stands in the way from hanging out with them, then the fault is on me. 

I guess the lesson here is about priority versus sacrifice.  It’s way more important to me to spend those hours jammed in a van with B.O. and foot smell than it is inconvenient to set it all up.  Running difficult legs and having sore muscles pales in comparison to the joy of dinner and beers with those people who I completed the race with.

I was talking to a friend, Mai, who talked to me about connectivity.  I’ll paraphrase.  You meet people all the time, but without connection, there isn’t anything.  If they won’t give you the time, then they aren’t worth yours.  I’m sure I messed that up.  But to me, the connectivity I offer is the sacrifice I make setting it all up.  Know what?  It’s worth it and it isn’t even close.  Now excuse me, I need a hot tub and a six pack to feel human again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Girls Least on the Pitch

My daughters have never been interested in sports that they aren’t themselves playing.  My eldest claims to be a Bronco fan, my two youngest claim the Raiders to be their team.  None of them will sit through a football game short of watching Super Bowl commercials.  All claim to love the Rockies but they attend games purely for the snacks and have never made it past the seventh inning before requesting to leave.  They like playing sports but none like watching them. 

Until now.

Macy really took to watching the US women’s national soccer team in the World Cup.    She took to it, and I mean really took to it.  She looked up when every game was on.  She cut a trip to the pool short as the quarter final game was starting.  She pulled a veteran move asking my mom to get her a drink instead of getting it herself because “the game is on”. 

She loves it, but this posting isn’t about Macy’s love for soccer.  Its about her ability to watch it at all. 

I’ll make sense of that for you. 

We were watching the semi-final game.  It was my wife, Macy, myself and my eldest, Avery, was watching peripherally.    The US battled England for a 2-1 win.  The game was close.  Macy, clad in her Alex Morgan jersey...and her Alex Morgan sweatshirt, chewed nervously on her thumb for the last twenty minutes of the game not saying a word.  She came to learn the meaning of “extra time” at the end of a soccer game and she didn't think it fair.  She endured the extra five minutes, her thumb barely did.  When the final whistle blew, she jumped off the couch and screamed with glee.  Avery clapped as did I.  My wife’s eyes welled up. 

Everyone’s reaction made sense to me except my wife’s.  She isn’t a huge soccer fan and she isn’t a big ‘cryer’. 

We got our girls put to bed and I brought up her reaction.  What she said shook me in a weird way. 

“When I was a little girl, I couldn’t have done this.”  She said of watching the women’s World Cup.  “I loved sports but there weren’t any women competing on TV.”

I had never thought about it before.  That my generation of women were limited to Olympic games and tennis to watch girls compete on television.  It stuck with me for a few days.  I brought it up to my mother.  If Adrienne’s reaction shook me, my mother’s would make it somehow worse.

She said that she never took sports seriously because when she was younger, they just weren’t an option to young women.  It explained a lot to me.  My mom has never seemed to understand the value of sports.  When I ran my first marathon, she asked me why I would do it if it hurt so much.  She said the same after my next marathon and my relay races.  I always thought that she didn’t think I should run them, but I now think maybe she literally doesn’t understand why anyone would run them.  

For me, my brother and my father, sports were an assumed.  They were readily available year-round.  I never considered a world where they just weren’t there.  Hell, I remember playing sports I didn’t even have interest in trying.  Looking at you, tennis. 

The lesson here, little ladies?  Its about appreciation and value.  Sports aren’t the most important thing in the world, but they have value.  For me, sports helped me make friends, they taught me how to work as a team and they helped me stay in shape.  There were times where my father and I didn’t always see eye to eye and sports gave us something to talk about.  Watching football with my brother, my dad and my father-in-law gave me an avenue to grow those relationships as did running relay races with my sister and friends.

And about appreciation?  You are in a wonderful time where girls are starting to get their due.  Mommy couldn’t have watched the women on television the way you can and grandma couldn’t have participated in the sports that you can.  In just two generations women have gone from not even being at the table to a ticker tape parade in New York.  With appreciation comes obligation.  The ladies before you fought hard to get you where you are, it is for you to keep up the fight.  Don’t take it for granted.  Score goals, play hard and stick up for those who need it.  If you see someone sitting on the sidelines looking at the game, invite them to play. 

And, a note I am reluctant to put in.  To those who found it off putting for the ladies of the US national team to air their grievances financial and otherwise during this process, I hate to tell you, but the world is a changing place.  For a long time, women in sports (or a lot of other arenas) have lacked the platform to demand equity in their participation.  You may not agree with their stance, but we are founded on the idea that they are allowed to have it.  So, thank you to the women of the USNWT for their elegance, their tenacity and the example they set for my little girls during the World Cup.  These are truly lessons they can use on and off the field. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Death to Snake Bit Chris

I have long thought of myself as an unlucky person.  I have used the term “snakebit” for myself from time to time.  People will say, “you’ve got a great wife” (true), or “great kids” (also true) or “at least you have your health” (well, kinda.  I’m pretty doughy).  It’s not that stuff, per se.  It’s the automotive breakdowns or golf swings or job opportunities, things don’t often seem to roll the right way for me.

That isn’t to say life isn’t good, it is.  I’ve just noticed sometimes in life that the same people seem to have amazing stories of falling into perfect situations or just having things work out for them.

So, where am I going with this?  Funny story.

I played in a golf tournament last weekend.  It was a charity golf tournament for the Rotary Club.  I played with my wife and a couple of her work friends.  It was a nice afternoon that included a couple of cold ones and a lot of bad golf.  For those who have played in scramble tournaments, you’ll know that our even par final score is well below what one would expect from such an event.  I didn’t help.

I have developed an intense case of the ‘yips’ over the last few months and it has led to a very frustrating experience on the links.  Yips aside, it was a fun, relaxed afternoon.  Frankly, it’s the most fun I’ve had golfing in a while.

When we got done, we were offered a buffet lunch.  As stated earlier, I’m a bit doughy and you don’t get that way without taking advantage of buffets.  I went through the line and filled my plate.  I blissfully sat down to enjoy my lunch with my wife but then her name got called over a loudspeaker.

We both dismissed it a bit, me thinking I misheard it, her knowing that there was another Adrienne in the crowd and guessing it was meant for her.  Surely our even par score didn’t merit any prize beyond a consolation prize for ‘crappiest team’ and they would have had my name for that award, not hers.

Then it was called again “Adrienne Jacobson”, louder, clearer and more impatient than the last time.

She got up from her plate and made her way to the tent that the voice came from.  I was curious for a moment then got lost in conversation about better golf games than mine.

A solid ten minutes passed and no wifey.  At this point I was at least peripherally curious about her whereabouts.

A friend of mine came over letting me know she was in the raffle and had gone pretty far.

That was an understatement.  The raffle was for all of the golfers in the tournament and she had made the final twenty.  Pretty exciting except for the fact that a one in twenty shot isn’t great and I had no idea what the prize was anyway.

They called ten names. Adrienne’s was among them.  I assumed she had just been eliminated. 
She hadn’t.  Those ten got to continue on and then more waiting.

Some ten or fifteen minutes later they called five more names, this time hers wasn’t among them.
“Damn” I thought to myself, not realizing the ridiculousness of bemoaning losing a prize that you were oblivious to in the first place.

The five named called were eliminated.

There Adrienne stood with the final five.

Then the final three.

Then two.

Adrienne and an older lady.  They were hugging each other warmly, disingenuously wishing each other luck.

I was as invested as I could be in a mystery prize.  Everyone else seemed VERY excited.  What did they know that I didn’t?

Then the MC got to talking.  “The final two for the all expense paid trip to Torrey Pines golf course in San Diego.”

I perked up immediately.  It is where Adrienne and I celebrated our ten-year anniversary and we had discussed going for our fifteenth anniversary, just six months from now.  We discussed that the money may not be right to go.

“Uh-oh” I thought to myself.  Snake-bit Chris is getting his hopes up.  This is precisely the moment where the carpet generally gets torn out from under my feet.  Generally, the stakes aren’t this high.
The MC started up again.  He drew a name out of the hopper.  “If your name stars with an “A” (then a cruel dramatic pause)….you’re OUT!”

Adrienne walked off the stage, obviously dejected.  But then a funny thing happened.  The other lady walked off, too.

The MC continued, “Ann, you can keep walking.”

Adrienne stopped in her tracks.  She won! We Won! A snake-bite free experience.

The lesson here girls?  It’s as simple as it is self-directed.  There is no need to look at the dark side of things all the time.  It’s okay to have hope.  It’s okay to have hope even if it kicks you in the short and curleys later.  I’ve spent a lot of time in my life assuming the worst to give myself the softest landing, but there is a cost to that.  Living with negative expectations has probably cost me a lot in terms of jobs, and achievements, and writing, and relationships.

Let yourself hope big.  Sometimes even the failure is a fun ride! Granted when 1st place is San Diego and 2nd is a long walk back to your table, sometimes winning is better!

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Rattler: Fun for the Feeble Minded

I ran a race this past weekend.  I trained for it from early January and began to get excited/ nervous as the big day started creeping up.  The race, The Rattler, took place in Colorado Springs and is a 15.5 mile trail run that I thought that I may be a good target for the first quarter of the year.

I was wrong.

Turns out, The Rattler would be the single most difficult undertaking I have ever paid to participate in.  Admittedly, I don’t have a solid point of reference, but I assume it to be much tougher physically than childbirth.

I knew going in that the weather was going to be a little rough.  It was.  What I didn’t consider was how bad the weather was going to render the course’s condition.  The mud on the course was uniquely clay.  It was made of the very stuff that Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore would have made sweet pottery with. Each step in this stuff created a weird suction that tempted shoe from foot.  When my foot disagreed, its reward was several ounces of tagalong mud.  Layers built up step by step, making my feet heavier as we went along.

Rain and snow made clothes heavier and made the first half dozen miles very chilly.  A slip in the mud three miles in cost me an iPod and a sweatshirt.  Losing the sweatshirt made me colder but losing the iPod let me live between my ears for the next several hours.  Losing the iPod was much worse.

Around mile 13 sat the final checkpoint.  It is the first time in any race I have ever run, that I considered quitting.  Had there been a way off the mountain that didn’t involve my feet, I may have taken it.  There wasn’t so I didn’t.  I pushed and finished.

I didn’t set any records, not in a good way anyway.  I came in around 100th out of 150 finishers.  I came in a full half hour after my running buddies (they had beer, so I think they didn’t mind).  My initial reaction after finishing was “that’s a one-time deal, never again”.  Often times, finishing a race offers a feeling of euphoria with a smattering of pride.  This race left me feeling a little weak and disappointed in my performance.

Let me tell you something.  Running for four hours then being disappointed in yourself sucks.

There is a lesson in here, ladies.  The big takeaway is to give yourself a break every once in a while.  As I got a little distance from the race, I started to think a little differently.  We sat down for a well-earned breakfast and time with friends.  The benefit was two-fold.  Spending time with Katie and Jon and Randy after made me remember one of the reasons for running these types of races is the comradery. Talking with friends after about the race and how tough it was is fun.  A shared experience like The Rattler leaves plenty of room for self-depreciating jokes.

There is also the accomplishment.  Four hours of trudging around the mountains in the rain is hard.  Doing it in the rain and snow complicated it.  Maybe I didn’t get the time I wanted and maybe I can allow myself to get down on myself a little bit about that but in the big picture, I accomplished something difficult.  I trained for a few months for it which in itself is difficult.  If you can’t celebrate your victories, even if they come with a bit of an asterisk, then you may not be prone to tackle the next one.  So, maybe this thing wasn’t a “one and done” experience.  Maybe I’ll see The Rattler again next year. Never can tell, but I won’t rule it out just yet.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Lower Your Expecations and Save Your Weekend!

Expectations are a funny thing.  

Not so long ago, my daughters played soccer to have a good time.  They played in soccer tournaments for the opportunity to stay in a hotel and have unfettered access to a pool and the guarantee of dining out multiple times in a few days’ time.  We paid a lot of money for tournaments, what we got was ice cream and chlorine.  

Macy, my nine-year-old had a tournament in Denver this past weekend.  We were sure to get a hotel with a pool for the kids and free breakfast for my wallet.  In years past, the prospect of the hotel was enough.  That just isn’t true anymore.  She spent the days leading into the tournament talking about winning a medal, pitching shutouts and shots on goal.  Ugh, who are you.  Where is my little Star Wars fan?  

A day or two before the tournament we got an email saying that a local team in my oldest age group needed players as well.  Avery plays with a team that is a year older than she is, but she was excited to play with her own age and there were a number of kids that she had played with previously on the team.  

But I knew in my heart of hearts that this little girl played for the love of the game.  Winning and medals didn’t mean as much as it did to Macy, hell, it wasn’t even her team.

I’m a moron.

Avery started talking about how good this team was and that they had a real shot at the tourney.  I knew this was going to be a long weekend. 

The first day went okay, it was “fine” but not spectacular.  Avery’s team got rolled in their first game.  The other team was awake and looked to have drank at least a few cups of coffee before the game.  Our girls looked like they had spent at least a few hours in the pool.  Note: they had.  They lost 3-1.

Macy played a couple of hours later.  They were more awake.  A lot more awake.  They jolly-stomped the poor team they played.  They won 6-0 and took their foot off the gas in the second half.  The scoreboard didn’t reflect how bad it was on the field.  

Avery was up next.  The temperatures were dropping and even the most enthusiastic of parents were beginning to lose interest.  Her team didn’t lose interest.  They won their game 3-0 and the team played with the skill that Avery had talked about.  

Macy had the last game of the day.  It was against what may have been the best team in her age group.  The parents knew it but the girls didn’t.  Macy’s team looked good.  They took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but the second half was a bit more interesting.  The other team tied it up early in the second half, but Macy’s team put up the leading goal a few seconds later.  The game hung with a one goal lead with almost no time left and a parent yelled “Girls!  Only a minute left!”

Now, I don’t know what the parent hoped to accomplish, but I can tell you exactly what happened.  Smiles spread across the girls faces.  One girl raised her arms in victory.  One audibly squealed. The other team heard it, too.  But they didn’t raise their hands or squeal.  They had what could be described as an ‘increased sense of urgency’.  A couple of seconds later they ball was in the back of our net.  2-2 tie.

The loss for Avery’s team and the tie for Macy’s team meant that they had to count on other teams to get them into the finals.  Avery’s team still had another game Sunday morning.  Macy’s did not. 
Avery’s team won the morning game 3-0.  They had a shot.  Macy’s team looked like a long shot.  Both kids knew where their respective teams stood.  Both were surprised, Avery not so pleasantly. 

Avery found out at noon she wouldn’t have another game.  We tried to console her in the fact that she finished third in a very tough division.  She was consolable, but only to the point that she wasn’t ‘Old Yeller’ broken.  Macy’s game wasn’t until three.  It was going to be a long few hours.  

In the interim, we found out that Macy’s team would be playing the upper team from our hometown, meaning that all of the girls on Macy’s team tried out for that team and didn’t make it.  There was a group pant soiling that took place among the parents.  No one said it out loud, but we were all thinking the same thing.  “We could beat traffic if we just forfeited the game.”

The game would go on.  We sat anxiously as the game started.  They had a tiger by the tail.  They got to halftime with a surprising 1-0 lead.  We kept waiting for the tiger to break free.  A minute into the second half, the game was tied.  “Uh oh” we thought to ourselves.  We kept waiting for it to turn ugly, but that little group of girls kept the game exactly where it was.  The game finished 1-1.  Soccer allows for ties, right?  Usually, but not in the finals.  

It would be decided with a shoot-out.  This was where the extreme size difference between their team and ours took full display.  These sasquatches of children lined up five feet from our goalie and our little angels did the same with theirs.  Long story short, they aren’t Cinderella stories because they always come though.  They took second.  Macy was crushed.  Macy got a second-place medal.  Avery was crushed.  

These are two little girls who went through years of tournaments without winning a game.  I remember one particularly bad one where Avery’s team didn’t score a goal.  They never seemed upset back then. 

Expectations are funny things.

The lessons here girlies?  There’s a few.  I like you being disappointed by losing and I like you having the expectation of winning.  It’s healthy.  On the flip side being leveled by losing isn’t great.  Both of you played well, your teams did great and everyone involved had fun.  Maybe you didn’t get every single thing you wanted out of it, but you should appreciate what you did get. 

There is also something to be said for what you do with losing.  You can sit and cry in the back of the car for an hour and a half.  You can let it ruin the end of your spring break.  Or, you can ask what happened.  What went right and what went wrong.  Celebrate your wins and evaluate what you can do to prevent your losses. Listen to the coach after the game and figure out what is needed to help your team next time. 

All of that being said, winning medals is fun, winning tournaments is fun, I get it.  So, don’t just hope to win them, work your little tushies off to make it happen.  Keep working hard and it’ll happen for you.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Curious Case of Winnie the Pee

I try to mix heartfelt writing here with observations about my kids and the world.  This week will be a little different.  I’ve been trying to solve a mystery for some time now and perhaps I should be reaching out for some help.  I have exhausted the help of wife and family and no turn to blog readers for help.  What could possibly go wrong?

Here we go.  

The Curious Case of Winnie the Pee

As few people know, I have taken on a year long project and will be documenting the experience for a book for next twelve months.  This project will require me to spend more time than usual in the gym and in the vegetable section of the grocery store.  

My body had grown doughy and somewhat translucent over the winter months and I was not looking forward to my first day at the gym this last January.  I tend to go to the gym before the sun comes up and that day was no different.  I entered the gym around 5:30 which means the mystery started at approximately 5:35 A.M.  That detail may seem too specific, but I’m no detective so I don’t really know what is important and what isn’t.

I put my glasses, my sweatshirt and hat into a locker and prepped for my run.  I decided to use the restroom if for no other reason then to delay the inevitable run I was about to go for.  I took the end urinal, because I know the code, and began to relieve myself. 

Here is where the mystery hits full stride. 

An older gentleman strode up and chose the urinal next to me (despite the third urinal being available mind you).  My attention was drawn to the man due to the slap of his bare feet against the tile floor.  My cockles went up.  Who walks barefoot to the urinal?  Disgusting, sure, but a mystery? Not really.  

What happened next Is what really perplexed me.  The barefoot man proceeded to take off his shorts and hang them on the divider between him and me.  Underneath the shorts?  Nothing.  Just full Donald Duck.  Full Winnie the Pooh.  His little septuagenarian patootie just out in the world.  

For my more feminine readers.  A note about men’s locker rooms.  They are regulated places.  Regulated by social norms that go back to ancient Greece.  You can shower, change all in full view of your cohorts.  It is also more than acceptable to have a modicum of inhibition in such situations and change under a towel or even at home.  Those rules go for both the shower and locker room, but that brand of exhibition tolerance does not extend to the urinal area.  Those rules aren’t written anywhere but they are widely accepted and understood all the same. 

The fact is, that even without those rules, it does not explain the need to remove shorts entirely.  I pondered that fact long after the man put his shorts back on and left.  

Here is what I came to.  He was a swimmer.  He had no shoes on because he was headed to the shower and his swimming suit didn’t have a ‘pee-flap’.  That reasoning doesn’t excuse him completely, but it begins to flesh out a reasonable explanation.  

I was satisfied with my rationale and made my way to the treadmill in some brand of peace.  A peace that was instantly broken.

He was there.  With shoes.  With shorts.  Walking on the treadmill in front of mine.  

There was no lap pool or hot tub for Winnie.  He was wogging in what I know to be commando attire.
So many mysteries.  He distracted me from my run completely, for which I was grateful, but I haven’t been able to shake that situation for near a month now.

So here we are with the unanswered questions.  
  • Why take the urinal next to me with the third one open?
  • Why the bare feet?  Are staff infections still a thing?
  • Finally, and most importantly, why remove the shorts entirely? 
Any assistance to this mystery would be appreciated.  I thank you in advance for your help.  

Total side note.  For those of you in the Northern Colorado area, you may have heard of a young man named Carter Edgerley.  He is a good kid who is battling a rare form of cancer and his family could use help if you are able.  If you want to learn more or are inclined to help, click here, if not, it costs nothing to share!

Monday, January 28, 2019

I Just Knew She Would Outlive Me....Now What?

We put our cat down this week.  She was 23 years old.  It wasn’t a surprise.

Funny thing, she, for 95% of her life, defied the definition of ‘pet’ as no one could pet her.  For twenty plus years she was just this thing that lived under my bed and came out occasionally for food or to scratch someone.  She always looked like a kitten which always gave me the idea that she would outlive me, if for no other reason, then merely out of spite.

She was relatively unlikable for a long time.

But late in life something changed in her.  Perhaps it was age, perhaps it was the fact that she had outlived all of her other pet friends, perhaps it was one last dig at me, getting me to care about her before she shed her mortal coil.  Somewhere in the last year or so, she became a cat.  A somewhat pleasant creature who even ~ gasp~ let one of my daughters pet her in the last month or so.

Last Thursday we sat the girls down letting them know that we would be taking Phoebe to the vet the next morning and that they should spend the evening saying ‘goodbye’.  Macy, my animal whisperer, lost it completely.  It was no surprise.  Avery, my eldest also had a meltdown.  My youngest, Darby, ever the opportunist immediately asked for a new 'replacement' kitten.

Let’s get the body in the ground before we have that discussion, Darbs, but nice try.

My wife was able to keep herself together until the big day, as was I, but when the time came, we both became the same brand of puddles that our kids were 12 hours earlier.

Our reactions surprised me, but I was surprised for different reasons for each of us.  For my wife, it was surprising seeing her melt down considering she grew up on a ranch.  The rancher’s life requires that you often see things you’ve named appear on the dinner table.  It offers a bit of detachment from situations like this from a young age. For one reason or another, her immunity didn't work this time.

I was also surprised that I was bothered to the degree that I was.  I literally had a hate-hate relationship with the animal for half of my life and most of hers.  I have, in the past, tried to get my wife to get rid of it.  I have kicked it off the bed tens of thousands of times.  Simply put, she has been my nemesis since I was in my late twenties. So why was I upset?

I guess that’s the lesson here, little ladies.  I was affected for a variety of reasons.  The first is familiarity.  The little demon lived under my roof since we owned the roof.  I’ve thrown her off the bed ten times a night for the last fifteen years.  I was used to her.  But more importantly, it’s the weight of having to tell you guys, the weight of being there with mommy.  It’s seeing how it affects you three and your mother. I don’t want to see any of you hurting.  Sort of my dad job is to keep you safe and to see you that upset gives me a “I’m failing at dad jobs” sort of feeling.  One last thing it could be.  Perhaps we all need an nemesis.  A being that proves that you are good by the very nature of their existence.  I know I'm good because I'm hated by something evil.  Not entirely sure about that last one, but I'll take it.

Here’s the other thing though, ladies.  It’s important to learn the lessons that the death of a pet teaches.  You had it once with “The Claw” the hermit crab, but this one cuts a little deeper.   I can tell you this; there is no substitute for experience when it comes to loss.  It sucks, it sucks a lot, but down the road, you’ll be a little better for it.

Phoebe knew you loved her and deep down, super deep down, Mariana Trench deep, she appreciated it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sorta Wish I had a Real Reset Button

2018 wasn’t all bad, but more often than not, I didn’t have a great time.  I didn’t accomplish much of what I wanted to do and got fatter while not doing it. 
I didn’t run the marathon I planned on running.
I didn’t get certified for the certification I intended to do.
The porch didn’t get built and the flooring looks like the same flooring as 2017.
I was moodier than I wanted to be.
I ran half as much as I had hoped.
Long story short, I wasn’t the dad, the hubby or the person I was hoping to be last year. I wasn’t bad, but I had big plans.  The best laid plans of mice and men, right?
Here’s the thing.  As the calendar changes from year to year, nothing magical happens at midnight.  The world doesn’t reset itself.  It is merely the morning after a later than normal night.
Sort of.
While nothing magical happens to the outside world, something can change inside.
I have long believed that as the January calendar rolls around, a lot of things can change.  It takes a bit of honest reflection.  It requires a willingness to call yourself out for your shortcomings.  Most of all, however, it necessitates a boat load of optimism. 
I have all of that in spades.
Reflective, self-critical and foolishly optimistic?  Check, check and check!
So, with 2018 solidly in the rear view, it’s time to turn my sights towards 2019. 
Most years I give my self an impossibly long list of resolutions.  Long enough to be pretty much unattainable.  I always figure that if I fall short, I will still have accomplished a lot. 
This year I have only one resolution.
But it’s a monster.
And it’s just for me to know.  Suffice it to say that if I fall short on this one, I have accomplished nothing. 
Maybe I’d better build the porch, too.  

So, girls, the lesson here is pretty simple.  A lot of starting fresh and getting a bit of a life reset lives between your ears.  For me, January first is a big deal.  Realistically, it could be January first or August first or June fifth.  It doesn’t matter the day or the hour or the minute.  I personally like to reset on New Year’s as my batteries are generally recharged having seen friends and family over the holidays.  If you decide it’s time for a fresh start just give yourself one. Look at what needs fixing and approach it with vigor and optimism. 
Avery, if you’ve blown off baritone training for the better part of the semester, it doesn’t do you any good to look backwards.  Push forwards.  Macy, if you lose your starting spot in soccer, you can remember that you haven’t practiced your foot skills in a year but don’t beat yourself up, just try harder.  Darby, yeah, you’ve missed some homework assignments.  Get caught up and move on.  Life is to short to fill it with regrets.  Hit the reset button and move on. 
I need to remember that more often the rest of the year.