One of the interesting truths about this whole “living” thing is that we make so many important decisions before we know what the hell we’re doing.
For example, I chose my career path the same year I got my driver’s license. I had absolutely no concept of a mortgage and office politics and exactly how much Uncle Sam would be taking from each and every paycheck. I just knew I liked to tell stories.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
It sounds good. It’s also complete bullshit.
It didn’t take me long to realize that doing what I love wasn’t going to support the family I wanted to have and allow us to live the not-extravagant-but-not-extremely-frugal lifestyle we wanted to lead. I wanted to have a home of my own in a safe neighborhood, and we wanted to homeschool our kids and, yes, I really dug emerging technology like smart phones and home audio and the like. Telling stories for newspapers wasn’t going to allow that to happen, and had I known that when I was choosing a career, I would have taken a different road.
Today marks the 26th anniversary of the day I got down on one knee on a burgundy, silk handkerchief on the side of a dusty road in front of Roseman Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa, and asked Wifey Poo to marry me. We were 21-year-old seniors in college who loved each other deeply and had been together since the first month of freshman year, minus a few months during our sophomore year when I was kind of a butthole. (OK, more than “kind of.”)
I was thinking a lot about this as the day approached: What the hell does a 21-year-old know about 47? I would say that asking Wifey Poo to marry me was the biggest decision I’ve ever made and will ever make. Some might argue that the decision to create new life is the biggest, and that’s fair. Maybe they’re 1A and 1B. But I was thinking this week about how much I didn’t know when I took Wifey Poo’s trembling hand and slipped the engagement ring I’d worked the previous summer to pay for on her finger. I had no concept of what being married was like. I knew I wanted to get married, but “getting” and “being” are vastly different. Getting married is a moment in time, a wonderful party in which you’re surrounded by your friends and family and all the attention is on the happy couple and then you get to go away for a while and come home to a pile of presents.
Being married, on the other hand, is hearing a thud from the bathroom in the middle of the night and pushing open the door to find your fever-riddled spouse passed out on the floor with a pool of his vomit in the sink. Not a pretty picture, true, but it’s one Wifey Poo could have taken.
Being married is having your heretofore charmed life shattered with the words “Your baby most likely won’t live much past birth” and then standing by each other for four torturous months as the pregnancy continues until that eventuality happens.
Being married is saying things in the heat of the moment you never thought you’d say to that person into whose eyes you stared so lovingly at the moment you said “I will.”
Being married is about somehow retaining the individual freedom to grow and expand and evolve and change into the person God or destiny or the irresistible march of time would have you be while doing so in a way that keeps you walking side-by-side with another individual who is subject to the same forces.
I knew none of this 26 years ago today. None of this, and not only none of this but so much more.
So what does 21 know about 47? The reality is, not much. It’s why the statistics say that couples who get married young these days don’t make it more often than they do. Things happen and people change and there are so many more forces pulling people — not just couples — apart now than there were when Wifey Poo and I agreed we wanted to be married to each other.
Yet here we are.
I woke up this morning at 5:59 a.m. Next to me was this woman whom I met 29 Septembers ago in the basement of a dorm in the middle of Iowa. We make a cute couple lying in bed. I have a mask shooting air up my nose and she wears a mouth guard to keep her from snoring and recently has taken up wearing this foot contraption to help her plantar fasciitis. That’s not something you picture when you think about getting married.
I stood in the dim light of early morning and looked at her, how one foot was sticking out of the covers like I know she likes, even on the coldest mornings, how her hair was a tangle. I looked around the room. This is the 10th bedroom that has held our marital bed since we said our vows. Yes, we’ve moved around a bit.
I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee, sat down on the back deck in the cool morning air.
What does 21 know about 47? Not a whole helluva lot.
But here’s the thing: Knowing can be highly overrated. I spend a lot of time trying to figure things out, trying to decipher the whys and how-comes of topics most people don’t give a second thought. I want to know why we’re here and what’s the point of our existence and how I am supposed to find peace and joy and tranquility in a world that so often seams so not about those things. Some things truly are just unknowable.
And so had I known that the future Wifey Poo and I would have together would be pocked by such unimaginable grief as that caused by the sight of a tiny coffin holding the son you held in your arms so briefly being lowered into the ground, would I have asked her anyway? If I knew that our future involved me putting laborious burdens on her because of ailments of various organs and bones and muscles, would I have chosen to do that to someone whom I admired so greatly at the time I asked for her hand? Would it be cruel to say “yes” to those questions?
Twenty-one-year-old me had no clue what being married was like. Forty-seven-year-old me could write a book on the topic. The 26 years in between have have been so deliciously unexpected. And therein lies the beauty of being married vs. getting married. Everyone knows what a wedding looks like in our culture. No one knows what your marriage is going to look like. Many of us start out unknowingly trying to emulate our parents’ marriage — until we realize that the way they did things ain’t gonna work for us. That’s when the real fun begins. If I put you in a functional boat in the middle of an ocean, you might know how to get to shore. But if I put you in some contraption of which you have no familiarity? Good luck.
In some ways, Wifey Poo remains a mystery to me. In others, I know what she’s thinking before she even thinks it. Sometimes she surprises me. Sometimes she is completely predictable. Though we have both grown and changed over time — me far more so than her, I think we’d agree — there’s still that something that we saw in each other as she looked down at me on bended knee all those years ago that makes us know that — no matter the trial put in front of us, no matter the hurt, no matter the pain, no matter the stupid moments of the fellow human being we live with — the rest of this ride is one best and most beautifully taken together.
The Cost of a Kids’ Game
Boy The Younger’s baseball team got shellacked last night, 24-0. My little baby boy was on the mound for 14 of those runs in the first inning, a frame he did not complete. To be fair, about one of those runs was earned, but the number of errors only brought an early start to the time the other team took its foot off the gas pedal.
The team BTY was playing is called Premier Baseball Academy. As ball after ball after ball was finding their way into holes and gaps, I did some googling to learn a little bit about them. I also filled out a form to see exactly what it takes to earn a spot on their team.
By the time my boy was showering off the sweat and dirt, I had a response and a PowerPoint of unimaginable depth extolling the virtues of Premier Baseball Academy. Having seen their team play, they didn’t need to do much selling to prove the point that the kids who play for them are well trained and well coached. Nonetheless, I was shocked by three things.
- The Premier Baseball Academy is obsessed with data and metrics. The PowerPoint had charts and graphs on things like “scaption strength” and “IR/ER symmetry,” their kids improvements in the 60-yard run, throwing velocity, bat speed and attack angle.
- Premier Baseball Academy teams are filled with kids from parents who love them more than I love mine. Well, at least that’s the case if you measure this based on the size of the financial commitment a parent is willing to make to his child’s baseball career. I think I spent around a hundred bucks to sign BTY up for this fall season, and even that strikes me as a bit ridiculous. For the low, low price of TWO-THOUSAND-ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FIFTY-DOLLARS (!!?!?!?!?) for SIX FREAKING MONTHS you too can put your talented-enough kid the Premier Baseball Academy 12U team. And what does that absurd sum get you? They helpfully spell it out:
- A paid coach (Ours is the executive chef at a restaurant I’d like to try.)
- Fall and summer tournaments
- Fall and summer leagues
- Practice fields
- Hitting pass
- Agility training
- Blast Motion Bat Sensor, with subscription
- Weighted bat training program
- Mental training program. (Side note: WTF?!?)
- Winter training
- BTL lesson w/ current MLB affiliated athlete
The list goes on and on and on. Now, the good thing is that Premier Baseball Academy guarantees your kid will get to the Majors or at least a great Division 1 baseball program.
Or they don’t.
Which leads to No. 3.
3. For your investment, the best of the best end up going to obscure college baseball programs and have essentially the same shot at making the Majors as my kid. The PBA website has a section called “college committments,” which, besides being misspelled, shows which of its athletes are furthering their careers where.
Vanderbilt? Florida? Arkansas?
Or how about the mighty Greyhounds of Moberly Area Community College? The vaunted Lindenwood University squad? Or that pipeline-to-the-majors that is Champion Christian College.
In other words, for a $2,150 investment times about seven or eight years, you too can send your kid to a no-name college with no chance of him ever being able to pay you back from the earnings he doesn’t make in baseball.
Listen, I don’t want to get all “Back in my day,” on you, but back in my day, we signed up for the town’s Little League team and we played ball. We didn’t give a crap about attack angles and 60 time. Our coaches were our dads. Our teammates and opponents were our friends. And somehow, we put a pretty damn good product on the field game in, game out by the age we were expected to look like more than a bunch of doofuses out there. I’m sure The Parents spent something to have me play on those teams, but if you consider the fact that I played organized baseball from age 7 until my elbow exploded at age 16, they maybe shelled out $2,150 total on my baseball-related expenses. Go ahead and adjust for inflation. I’ll wait.
I understand that this is the way the game has gone and that it’s not just in youth baseball. But it’s sad. Sure, the kids who demolished our team last night played better than our kids. But they’re all still just kids, and the astronomical odds are that exactly zero members of either roster will be suiting up for any Major League affiliate, let alone an actual MLB ballclub.
So I ask: Are the kids really any better off because they know their scaption strength? Do they care? Because if they do, perhaps we should be steering them away from a career in baseball and toward a career in medicine.
Oh, and if you’re interested: The 12U team currently has one opening and is in urgent need of a pitcher.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Tomorrow is date night with Wifey Poo!
- You get to see fun things through my office window, like a guy climbing a really tall tree with a chainsaw. He was way up there and cut off some really big limbs. The tree’s. Not his.
- I’m making dinner tonight. Don’t want to leave the family hungry.
More From ‘A Puzzle Known As Life’
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really goodContinue reading “One-Piano Family — May 22, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,Continue reading “Knowing — May 21, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours onContinue reading “Grandpa — May 17, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation andContinue reading “Study Abroad — May 15, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hearContinue reading “Family — May 13, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And hasContinue reading “Heat Wave — May 12, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Friends😔What To Do?🙋Creepy Dolls 🎎 Yesterday was a rough day. It’s one thing to be a person with essentially no friends. It’s another thing altogether to not be friends with yourself. That’s where I was yesterday — all up in my head and imagining the worst was about to happen inContinue reading “Wherever You Go … — May 10, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but whatContinue reading “Gambling — May 8, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One Long Sentence 🖊️Birthday Boy🎂Wine & Chocolate 🍷🍫 I remember being a kid and wanting to be an adult. I wanted to drive and have a girlfriend and be able to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, not what someone else said I should do. And now, hereContinue reading “Relentlessness — May 5, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beatContinue reading “Monday Things — May 2, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone fromContinue reading “The Power of Baseball — May 1, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Truth ⚖️The Poor Man’s Chipotle🌮Jokes 🤣 Anyone else get sucked in by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial? I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I did. This is extremely odd because Hollywood culture and all things pop culture in general annoy the crap about of me. There’s just something aboutContinue reading “Johnny Depp and Libel — April 29, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What A Game ⚾Brain Power 🧠Stupid People 🤣 The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi spent much of the day yesterday inside a luxury suite at Busch Stadium, as the Cardinals took on the New York Mets. The game had a little bit of everything —Continue reading “Baseball, Brawls and Booze — April 28, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shanghai Surprise 👖Baseball Game ⚾Lawyer Joke😜 On March 27, I ordered some pants. I fully admit I went through Indochino because of its ads on The Tony Kornheiser Show podcast. Marketing works, folks. I’d ordered two custom-made pairs (not pair, Michael) before, and they are great. So I added some khakisContinue reading “Where Are My Pants? — April 27, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Marketing Earth Day 🌎Lifeshit 💩Mawwiage 🪢 Happy Earth Day. I love that we celebrate a planet that demonstrates in so many ways how much it doesn’t like us. Today, The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi is doing a highway cleanup project, so I’ll be onContinue reading “Earth Day and Marriage — April 22, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 A Humbling Sport⚾A Kick-Ass Trophy🐴Punk ⛓️ Happy 4/20. This edition of A Puzzle Known As Life is delivered in an edible format, and you’ll feel the effects of all the awesome in about 45 minutes. Enjoy. Boy The Younger had a baseball game last night. It was a cold, windyContinue reading “The Boy Playing Baseball — April 20, 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Why We Suck🤡No Finishing Power🔚McReally? 🍔 The world is dumb, and America is the leading idiot. I don’t reach this conclusion with any sort of glee. It’s simply what I see. Societies hold together because of three things. Shared stories Strong institutions Social networks that engender trust. The past 10Continue reading “It’s the End of the World As We Know It — April 19, 2022”
Time is a fascinating concept to me. I’ve written about it before, but it just seems so arbitrary sometimes. It amazes me how we can suck at it so badly that we have to add an entire extra day every four years to keep our system going — and no one really bats an eye.Continue reading “First-Quarter List Review! Successes and Oopses and Covid Improvements”
I am not good at fantasy sports. This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have been a religious follower of statistics since I was, like, 5. My father would bring the newspaper home from NYC and I’d pour through the sports section to see who did what in the previous night’s baseball games. IContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #43: Play ball!”
As I’ve previously detailed elsewhere on my site, I have a bit of a Dark Knight problem. It’s kinda like I have a bit of a Shawshank Redemption problem, a Jewel problem and, currently, an Amy Lee/Evanescence problem. I watch or hear something that speaks to my soul, and it becomes an area of intenseContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #47 ‘If You’re Good At Something’”
There was a time in my life when I had swagger. I was never the most popular or athletic kid in school, but for a while there, I was a really good baseball player. I could hit. I could field. And, boy, could I pitch. Some of the most “over” kids in high school wouldContinue reading “Welcome Back, Swagger”
I am my music. I don’t know how much simpler to define me than to say that if you want to know who and where I am at a particular moment, check my “recents” in Amazon Music. Music has always been a big thing with me. I understand it now, but I didn’t understand asContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #24: Music”
I have a complicated history with alcohol. So stupid and naive was I that I it wasn’t until I was 8 years old that I learned a woman could drink beer. I mean, I actually believed beer was not something women were allowed to drink, or maybe it was that I thought that if theyContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #40: Cheers!”
It seems to me that a lot of things are easier these days. For example, I think it’s much easier to be a police detective now than, say, back in the 1960s-90s, when my uncle/godfather worked in Spanish Harlem. There are databases for everything from fingerprints to photos to DNA, and every block in theContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #90: Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid”
Ahh, January 2022, the month that will be remembered as the one in which, despite being vaxed and boosted, that little bitch Covid came to live with me again and as a month that lasted approximately 758 years. Yet despite its general assholeyness and inexplicable length, I managed to actually cross off very few itemsContinue reading “List Items Update! January in Review”
I saw yesterday a post on Facebook in which the poster asked, “Is it just me or does it seem like the days are getting longer? I’m not sure what’s happening, but it sure seems like it.” I paused, thinking that it might be a joke before realizing that, no, this poster, a 40-something professionalContinue reading “List Items Update: The ‘In-Progress’ Stuff”
ACCOMPLISHED No. 42: Create a college football bowl pool with a traveling trophy Sports bring people together. Of course, they also tear people apart. Look no further than the idiots supporting opposing teams in football stadiums who end up in alcohol-fueled brawls. But forget about that for a second. As I was saying, sports bringContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #42: Bowlin’”
In Progress No. 1: Go on 52 dates with CC Wifey Poo (AKA CC, AKA Carla) and I have known each other roughly 30 years. That’s a long time, folks. That’s the amount of time my parents were together when I was like, “Damn, you guys. That’s a long time to be together.” And nowContinue reading “List Item Update! #1: Dates!”
ACCOMPLISHED No. 64: Get into (and stay) in the 99th percentile on Lumosity Back when Longhaul COVID was effectively killing me and sapping my will to live, I went to a neuropsychiatrist, which is essentially a dude who studies the results of the brain’s functioning. I’ve had at least five concussions in my life, whichContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #64: Lumosity”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Voices In My Head 🎤‘Puzzle Pieces’ Origin Story 🎬A New Direction 🧭 I spent much of the past year with my writing trying to find a distinct voice. I dabbled in characters and tried to give each his or her own style. There was Q.F. Conseco, the free-spirited former HippieContinue reading “Changing Course — Jan. 1, 2022”
In a few hours, this revolution around the sun will be complete and a new one will begin. Unless something unexpected happens, I will have made it out alive. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But when I look back at the year that was, I feel I’m justified in counting it as a victory that I’m alive andContinue reading “Reflections — Dec. 31, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creepy Mail 📪License Plate Strategy 🚗Donald Dick, Err, Duck 🦆 Wifey Poo received a piece of mail recently from a company that looks to buy your car. It was astoundingly bad marketing. The first sentence read, “According to our records, it looks as if you’re driving a VEHICLE.” First of all,Continue reading “Disturbing Duck Fact — Dec. 23, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Sad Dad Club 💔A Toast 🥃🥃Done Writing? 🖊️ It took me less than 24 hours as a part of the Dad Whose Child Died Club to learn that membership came with a myriad of uncomfortable situations. It was the day after Jacob (AKA Boy The Eldest) was born and died,Continue reading “Balloons — Dec. 21, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Plague Life 😷The Real Plan 😭A Hilarious Obituary 🤣☠️ Does it ever randomly smack you in the face that we’re living through a historic freaking pandemic? Are you ever going about what you might fool yourself into believing is your Before Times life and then suddenly something jolts you out ofContinue reading “‘The Plan’ — Dec. 20, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kix 👶Greg 🐟The First iPhone 📱 Life has a way of kicking you in the balls when you least expect it. Wifey Poo and I were cleaning up our lower level today and trying to get all of our crap that was put against the wall in the back by theContinue reading “Thinking of Kix — Dec. 18, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Christmas Video 🎥Fighting The Big Boss 🥊Roland The Farter 🍑💨 I spent much of the day making a video for my job with The Allen Brake Team. I shot the footage a few weeks ago, and today was the day to identify the clips to actually use, assemble them, find theContinue reading “Battling Bowser — Dec. 14, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩No-Phone Sunday 🚫📱Creepy Moles 🐀Doc Talk 📽️ Today was sort of a practice day for something I put on my “Hundred Things” list for 2022. It was a Digital Detox Sunday, which is No. 63 on the list. To me, this meant that I wouldn’t have any sort of device inContinue reading “Digital Detox Day — Dec. 12, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Trombones are Loud 🎺Birds Aren’t Real 🐦Death to Gymnastic Judges 🤸 Top 5 things that happened at In-Law Family Christmas, held at our humble country home, today. The realization that the mass of youngins has gotten so large now that our little babies have grown up to various new stages thatContinue reading “In-Law Family Christmas — Dec. 11, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hey There, Dorothy 🌪️Christmas Hurts 🎄Bye-Bye, Checks and Balances ✔️⚖️ If you’re ever in need of some entertainment, might I suggest being in a church with a bunch of homeschool parents when tornado sirens go off? That’s where I found myself tonight, accompanied by Boy The Younger at a spring trackContinue reading “Tornado Sirens — Dec. 10, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Crash 🚗Video Day 🎞️Five No. 2s!? 💩 The Core 4 is headed out on a winter vacation to Memphis and New Orleans soon. The plan was to rent a vehicle through Turo.com, which is kinda like an Airbnb for cars. I had a quality vehicle picked out and reserved, oneContinue reading “‘When Crazy Comes Knockin’ ‘ — Dec. 9, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shirt Stain 👔Score One for the Unabomber💣Oh Canada 🌈🍁 I arrived at work this morning, put my stuff down on my desk and hit the men’s room because evidently a 42-minute drive is too long for a man of 47 years to comfortably hold his bladder. I did what I do,Continue reading “What the Hell is on My Shirt? — Dec. 8, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball God(ess) ⚾Alice in Chains 🎸What About the Golfers!? 🏌🏽♂️ To say that baseball was my life when I was a kid is an understatement. I watched it as much as the scant channels we had at home would allow — the Yankees were on Channel 11 WPIX and the (ugh)Continue reading “Wifey Poo, The State Champ? — Dec. 7, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Detached 💭Intentions for a New Year 📆Red is Deadly 😷 Today sucked. The problem is, I don’t really know what the hell happened. I woke up just after 6, later than I have been recently, and I felt so significantly off that I truly don’t remember much of the first 45Continue reading “Off — Dec. 6, 2021”
Circles are interesting things. They have no beginning and no end. They just keep going around and around and around. And yet we set Jan. 1 as the day to mark the start of our journey around the sun, a journey we measure so incredibly poorly that we have to add an entire extra dayContinue reading “One Hundred Intentions for 2022”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Violence ⛸️Movie Night! 📽️Most Popular Dog Names 🐶 Today was date day for Wifey Poo and I. We’ve been trying to do a date a week since, oh, back in 2018. That was interrupted for awhile by a certain African host child this year, but we’re back at it. TodayContinue reading “Bumper Car Aggression — Dec. 4, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top Songs of 2021 🎶Where’s the Snow? ❄️Thunder Struck ⛈️🏀 Because I didn’t already feel incredibly old and out of touch, I looked at the list of top 100 songs from 2021. It wasn’t until song No. 65 that I even thought I knew one of the songs, “Go Your OwnContinue reading “The Song of the Year is What? — Dec. 3, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Redemption 😊Spice-Lovin’ Tree Shrew 🌶️Mark The Freaking Elf 🧝 I spent the morning in a hotel conference room down in STL learning from a man named Jeff Glover about 21 ways to get 21 listing of homes to sell. Glover is a big fish in the real estate industry. He runsContinue reading “Death to the Elf — Dec. 2, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Maria and The Chickens 🐔Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪Bloody Gift 🩸🎁 I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my workContinue reading “United States of Inefficiency — Dec. 1, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Paul 🧙♂️Slowest Speeder Ever 🐢Another School Shooting 🏫🔫 I found myself tonight in a dark jail cell surrounded by four zombies, some kind of wizard, and my son. This is not what I expected for my Tuesday evening. After a months-long absence, I returned tonight to the Dungeons & Dragons gameContinue reading “Return to the Dungeon — Nov. 30, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Canadian Oil 🍁Freaking Covid 😷Namaste, Yo 🧘🏿 Monday started out with the news that the Bosslady has Covid. This whole “living through The Great Plague” thing somehow has been incorporated into our lives to the point where we don’t really even realize that thousands of people are dying from it daily.Continue reading “Let’s Talk Syrup — Nov. 29, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Disconnected 🔌Worst Mom Ever 🦘Death to Autoplay 💀 Internet outage, Day 2. I’m sending this message via carrier pigeon. Or maybe it’s just some bird I caught with my greasy-fast speed. Things are looking bleak. We’ve been without internet service for more than 24 hours now. The weather outside is cold,Continue reading “Internet Outage Dispatch — Nov. 28, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Family Rituals 👨👩👦👦The Grinch Rocks ❤️Churros and Poke Bowls 🤤 It’s interesting to think about how family rituals actually become family rituals. There are some that are very intentional. You had something done for you as a child, so you do the same thing for your kid. Others just sort ofContinue reading “Tree Haulin’ — Nov. 26, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stable Family 👪Armed America 🔫🦅Good or Nickelback? 🎶 Thanksgiving was a quiet affair for the Core Four — my nickname for the entity that is Wifey Poo, Boys The Elder and Younger, and me. We had no family visit, and none of us left the house until BTE traveled to hisContinue reading “Pie Tweaker — Nov. 25, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Coffee With Wifey ☕👱♀️Armadillo Lepers 😳Choice Cigar 🚬 To say Wifey Poo and I have been through some shit is an understatement. When we said “I do” back in March of 1997 as freaking twenty-two-year-olds (!!!!), neither of us had a clue how challenging the “or for worse” part of aContinue reading “Don’t Touch Armadillos — Nov. 24, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Self-Teaching 👨🏫Beer Flood 🍺🌊Space Mission 🚀 When I left the newspaper industry in 2009, I knew how to write, take decent photos, design pages and copy edit. I landed a job in which the mandate was, “Go make our communications program better,” something I’d assured those who interviewed me I knewContinue reading “Boy The Singer, Nov. 23, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beard Trim 🧔🏽Grunge Shopping 🛒Funny Animals 🐒 When you find yourself with a straight razor poised a millimeter from your neck, you realize this is probably what was going on when the Almighty said “Be still and know that I am God.” I found myself in this situation this morning, inContinue reading “The Costco Plaid Mafia — Nov. 20, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo’s Laughter 🤣Expensive Turkey 🦃🍗My Boys 👨👦 Walking back to my car last night from The Funny Bone comedy club in St. Charles, I got to thinking. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me (not many people, as I’ve recently discussed) and no one who readsContinue reading “Family Matters — Nov. 19, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drinking on the Job 🍷The Land of the Giants 🏀Joseph McCarthy Returns 🏴 It the past week, my job has taken me from a chocolate factory to a wine bar — all in the name of business, of course. Last week, Big Bosslady and I visited Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, which isContinue reading “Wine & Chocolate — Nov. 18, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Itchy Foot 🦶Pay Cuts ❌💰The Best Pen Ever 🖊️ Wifey Poo woke up around 4 a.m. itching, itching, itching her recently repaired foot. Underneath the Ace bandage and the gauze and the padding to keep it safe, she’s got a rash of some sort, and the foot is swollen. Doc saysContinue reading “Who Needs Medical School? — Nov. 17, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Warm November 🌡️The Jaguar People 🐆Squid Game 🦑 I’ll take a 70 degree day in the middle of November, thank you very much. I spent part of my workday on my back deck doing the things I do for my real estate team — social media ads, flyers to promote openContinue reading “Warm November Day — Nov. 16, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Year of Hell 😷Where’s Ben? 💔Profiting From Pollution 🏭 Happy Covidaversary to me. On this day one year ago, I had a Q-tip shoved up my nose to confirm what I already knew. Wifey Poo’s sister had been diagnosed with it. Wifey Poo’s mother had been diagnosed with it. WifeyContinue reading “Happy Covidaversary To Me — Nov. 15, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oh Deer 🦌The Thought Gap 🧠Unplugged 🔌 I was sitting in my as-yet-to-be-named home office this morning when this big boy ☝️☝️☝️ walked out of the woods into my yard. It’s the opening day of deer season in Missourah, a day of significance for many local inhabitants on par with theirContinue reading “Big Buck — Nov. 14, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Picnic in November 🥶Happy Wife 👩Pour-Over Coffee ☕ Scheduling a picnic outside in Missouri in November seemed to me to be a very gutsy call. That’s until I stopped to realize who was scheduling it — Boy The Younger’s cross country team. These folks run everywhere, and, thus, I assume areContinue reading “Homeschool Stuff — Nov. 13, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hoops at Twain’s House 🏀Lunch With The Big Bosslady 🥪Breaking Up Is Efficient 💔 After a long week of work, I traveled north this evening with Boy The Younger for his second hoops game of the season. I missed the first because of an early start time, but this one wasContinue reading “Huckleberry Hoops– Nov. 12, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gross Photos 📷Sand? Sand!? ⏳Sleeping With Cheese 🛏️🧀 I had major ankle surgery back in 2008 to essentially reconstruct my left foot, which had a nasty propensity to roll over without the rest of my leg accompanying it on the journey. After a four-hour operation and two weeks, I went backContinue reading “Toys in the Hall — Nov. 11, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.Continue reading “Absolut Curly? — Nov. 10, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?Continue reading “Inventor Regret — Nov. 9, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they liveContinue reading “Sloth Talk — Nov. 8, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee andContinue reading “Early Morning Gaming? — Nov. 7, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV thatContinue reading “Adventures in Costco – Nov. 6, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wrasslin’ 🤼♂️Wifey Poo 🦶Costco 🛒 Boy The Younger and I found ourselves this evening in the most difficult-to-spell-without-looking-it-up building in the Midwest, Chaifetz Arena, home of the Midwest’s most-weirdly named college basketball team, the St. Louis University Billikens. But we weren’t there for hoops. We were there to watch the oddContinue reading “Punk! — Nov. 5, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Role Reversal ◀️Work From Wherever ⌚People Talk Funny 📣 Today was Part I of Operation “Return Wifey Poo’s Ability to Walk Not Like An Old Lady.” We arrived at Barnes Jewish Hospital West, which graciously allowed us entry despite us not being members of the tribe, just before 10 a.m. toContinue reading “Wounded Wifey Poo — Nov. 4, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 📺 A Broadcast to Watch 📰 An eNewsletter to Read 📽️ A Documentary to Skip Here are two things that receive the official John The Storyteller-in-Chief’s Seal of Approval — and one that doesn’t. ✅ Peyton and Eli Do Monday Night Football I have been alive for many variations of theContinue reading “John’s Seal of Approval — Nov. 3, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Journalism 📰Fish Farts 🐟💨Dystopia 🧟 I’m officially old. I say that not because of a birthday or a sudden recognition that I am, indeed, 47. Rather, I say it because I’m increasingly pining for “the good-old days.” Now, I get it, Billy Joel. The good-old days weren’t always good, andContinue reading “Get Off My Lawn! — Nov. 1, 2021”
🔻 What’s Below 🔻My Red Wagon 😊F’n Nightmares 💤I Hate Facebook 😠 I greeted the Halloween morning sunrise while taking every last thing out of the garage of my little country home and putting it in one of four sections on the driveway: Stuff to throw away. Stuff to give to Wifey Poo to tryContinue reading “Cleaning Out Memories — Oct. 31, 2021”
👎 What’s Below 👎Boy The Medalist 🏅Ricky The Trash Eater 🗑️Sweating It Out 🥵 Waiting for Boy The Younger’s blue-haired head to pop over the rolling southern Missouri countryside for the final sprint to the finish line this morning was torturous. He was running in his final cross-country meet of this, his first season, oneContinue reading “My Blue-Haired Medalist — Oct. 30, 2021”
What’s BelowShoulder Ouchies 😧Chris the TigWaBaFatu 💁♂️Murder Pods 🔪 I’d love to know what idiot thought it was a good idea to get a COVID booster shot in one arm and a flu shot in the other less than a minute apart yesterday. Oh, that would be me. I spent much of the night sleepilyContinue reading “Make Mine a Double — Oct. 29, 2021”
👇🏻 What’s Below 👇🏻🚦 Red Means Stop 💉 Vaccination Ethics ✍️ The Many Voices in My Head I’m convinced that people in every state think their state’s drivers are the worst, and never do they count themselves among them. I learned to operate a motor vehicle in New York, whose drivers have a particularly bad reputation, butContinue reading “The Idiot Driver? Tis I — Oct. 28, 2021”
🔻 What’s Below 🔻Heading South for the Winter 🥶Laughing With Wifey Poo 🤣👩Americans Suck at Math 🧮Therapy 🧠 I love my role as the family’s vacation planner. I’m not sure exactly when I put on this hat, but I think it’s a generally recognized Family Truth that it’s something at which I’m good. I’ve planned everythingContinue reading “Christmas Road Trippin’ — Oct. 27, 2021”
👇🏾 What’s Below 👇🏾In the dugout ⚾What if I’m … wrong? 😢Angry face 😡 I spent part of the morning in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout. The fam took a trip downtown to tour Busch Stadium. It was a good visit. We saw the owner’s suite (posh), the Champions Club (pricey) and peeked in on the battingContinue reading “Sitting on the Bench — Oct. 22, 2021”
👇 What’s Below 👇On Men and Crying 😭 Why I write ✍🏻Back Crackin’ 👨⚕️ So here’s a thing I sometimes hate about myself: I cry. Like, easily. And often. Or at least it’s “often” in comparison to how often men normally cry. At least, I think it’s often in comparison to the frequency men normally cry. IContinue reading “So Many Damn Feelings — Oct. 22, 2021”
What’s Below 👇🏼Nazis and Mongols ⚾Hippie writing ☮️Inside marriage 💍 The Astros playing the Red Sox to see who advances to the World Series is, to me, akin to the Nazis fighting the Mongols to determine who gets control of the planet — and if you haven’t heard about how the Mongols killed their prisoners,Continue reading “Baseball is Broken — Oct. 20, 2021”
What’s Below 👇On being self-taught 📷The Bee Battle 🐝Ahhh, Ben Platt 🎶 I set up a little makeshift portrait studio today in a training room at my office. Lights, a backdrop — the color of which matches our new brand hue — and a tripod with my Nikon Z6. It all looked very fancy-shmancy. Here’sContinue reading “Say ‘Cheese’ — Oct. 19, 2021”
Human beings of the modern age like to think of themselves as the pinnacle of all creation. Of course, this is not necessarily new to the modern age. It wasn’t all that long ago that some of the brightest minds of their modern age — guys like Sir Isaac Newton — thought women got pregnantContinue reading “Technology Sucks — Oct. 18, 2021”
Being a bald man, I don’t have many reasons to be in a barbershop. And I miss barbershops. They are one of the few remaining oases for guys, and barbershop talk is fun. I took Boy The Younger to have his mop managed Saturday morning. Boy The Elder found Walt’s Barbershop a few years ago.Continue reading “Even a Bald Man Needs a Barbershop — Oct. 17, 2021”
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and even almost 21 years later, I’m not sure how I feel about it. So much of time is arbitrary. We screw it up so badly that we have to add a whole day every four years. So for me, today is just like any other dayContinue reading “Infant Loss Awareness — Oct. 15, 2021”
There’s this state of being that’s not quite asleep, not quite dreaming but definitely not awake. That’s where I found myself Thursday evening at Livin’ Sublime Wellness, my little yoga studio in Wentzville. Restorative yoga is a lifesaver for me. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Not to sound all Hippie-Dippy or anything, butContinue reading “Fourth State of Being — Oct. 14, 2021”
A vegan, a person on a gluten-free diet, and a person who does Crossfit walk into a bar. How do I know? Because none of them would shut up about it. If you haven’t heard this joke before, you can probably relate. I know I can. I remember meeting Sarah on Day 1 at aContinue reading “Losing Weight Wasn’t the Goal — Oct. 13, 2021”
The one thing I know how to do better than anything else is write. I love it. But it’s also sometimes very difficult. Because I know how to tell a story, I’m tapped to do so in trying times. I did so when my father-in-law died in January, writing his obituary and helping my beautifulContinue reading “The Family Writer — October 9, 2021”
I found it funny this morning to be walking through Kohl’s with a meat thermometer in my right hand and two toilet seats tucked under my left arm. There are some moments in life that are just serendipitous. Boy The Elder and Wifey Poo are indirectly responsible for this little portrait you now have inContinue reading “On Toilet Seats and Meat Thermometers — Oct. 8, 2021”
I’ve been a Yankees fan since I was a small boy. Some of my best memories were born in the old Yankee Stadium. It’s in my DNA to not like the Red Sox. I can think of no good reason to despise the Sawx or their fans, but I still am repulsed by their logo,Continue reading “Painful Playoff Baseball — Oct. 5, 2021”
I once played in a baseball game in which it was raining so hard that, when I picked up a ball stuck in the mud in the middle of a puddle in a centerfield that resembled a shallow lake, it felt like I was throwing a shot-put to the second baseman 15 feet away. Today,Continue reading “An All-Sports Weekend – Oct. 3, 2021”
Life sucks when you’re tired. I know this. I’ve lived this. A lot of people like to say they have insomnia. I used to say I had insomnia. Then I actually got insomnia. There’s a difference between a few nights of poor sleep and insomnia. Which isn’t to diminish a few nights of poor sleep.Continue reading “So. Damn. Tired — Sept. 28, 2021”
The one-and-only competitive footrace I have ever won came during Field Day 1980 at Pound Ridge Elementary School in suburban New York. I was in kindergarten, on the green team, and was a part of the 50-meter dash. I remember being most fascinated that day by the starters’ pistol, wondering if it contained real bulletsContinue reading “The Finish Line — Sept. 27, 2021”
I’m all about lists. I love making them. I love crossing things off on them. And it really annoys me when things I wanted to get done on a list don’t get done. I came into today with a lot of things left on my weekend to-do list. Rather than end the day annoyed, IContinue reading “Wifey Poo, The Super Finder — Sept. 26, 2021”