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 bullets and, if so, where they might be landing.
Those questions faded when the gun sounded for my race. There’s a freedom to running when you’re a kid. I look at 5-year-olds with the benefit now of more than 40 additional years and think they look funny and awkward and slow. But that day, I felt like I myself had been shot out of the pistol.
I remember being surprised when something started to wrap around my head. I hadn’t been looking up and had burst right through the finish line tape, in first place.
Today, I crossed another finish line and felt that same exhilaration.
Just more than a year ago, I started at a job I loved but that did not pay the bills. So I created a plan that I kept to myself until the race was almost done. I was rebuilding my life — again — after the latest Series of Unfortunate Events, some of which were excruciatingly self-created. I am, no doubt, my own worst enemy.
But this rebuilding was going to be different. It was going to be methodical and have a definitive goal. The plan was simple:
- Work my ass off until my current employer recognized my true value or until I made myself marketable to other companies once again.
- Professionally ask for a salary increase to a rate that accurately reflected my value in the market.
- Absent a salary increase, find a forward-thinking, progressive company that paid for talent.
- Find some way to bring in a chunk of change to restore a sense of financial security to my family.
Today, with the closing of the sale of Old House, that plan is done. Three hours after we signed the papers, the proceeds landed in our bank account. Tonight, I paid off some of our remaining debt. Tomorrow, I will pay off the rest. Then I will refill a proper emergency fund, put some money aside for the newer-to-us cars I’d like to buy someday, start a travel fund and send the rest to my investment account.
While the plan might have been simple, its execution was not. It was fraught with political landmines at work and blasted by repeated tragedies and obstacles — everything from the loss of my father-in-law to my own battle with COVID and then Longhaul COVID.
But in the end, I did it. We did it. The race is over.
I’m not naive enough to think more challenges aren’t coming. With every fiber of my being, though, I hope they stay away for maybe just a little while.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
New Home is Old Home For Wifey Poo
To celebrate the day, Wifey Poo and I poured two glasses of wine — her, the sticky-sweet white she loves and me a dry red — and walked down to the end of the driveway. We sat on the concrete and sipped and talked as the last sunlight of the day faded and stars emerged in the darkening sky. I love it out here in the country.
As we walked back toward our home, I said, “This all has to be a bit surreal for you.”
“Just a bit,” she replied.
Wifey Poo spent the second half of her childhood in this home. She grew into the amazing woman she now is inside these property lines. Now, we’re raising Boy The Younger here for the second half of his childhood. I type this in the room I slept in when, as a 19-year-old, I came home with her on spring break. Never in a million years would either of us have thought the winding road that is our collective life would travel past this point.
Things like that are what can make living life so much fun.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living.
- Tomorrow, I’ll be able to pay off the rest of any debt we have.
- Good pens. I love the Precise V7, black.
- An out-of-the-blue text with photos from a college acquaintance who knows I love nature scenery.
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Today was all about my father-in-law, Marvin. FIL died in November following complications from heart surgery and COVID. Wifey Poo and the sisters-in-law organized an ice cream social and issued an open invitation to the family and FIL’s friends. When we set the date for late September, the thought was that we’d be past theContinue reading “FIL’s Day — Sept. 19, 2021”
The term “hot as balls” definitely applied to today, though I don’t know exactly what it means. It was parents weekend at Mizzou, so we traveled yesterday evening to see Boy The Elder and attend a football game today in which the Tigers took on the mighty Southeast Missouri State Somethingorothers. The game itself wasContinue reading “Lots of Thoughts on Life and Death — Sept. 18, 2021”
Me this morning, in GIF form: Folks, I try. I really do. But I’m worn thin. I got up and decided before starting a work-from-home day that I would attach the TV I just brought over from Old House to the new stand I bought. Easy-peasy. Hooked the wires up and turned it on. AndContinue reading “Hitler, Broken TVs and the DMV — Sept. 17, 2021”
In high school, I was friends with a girl named Denise. She and I were both free-spirited creative types who liked to write. For a time, we served as co-presidents of the formed-by-us creative writing club, and we even went on a date (that didn’t work out too well). Denise was and is a no-bullshitContinue reading “Rocks > People? — Sept. 16, 2021”
Today was a work-from-home day, filled with the excitement of having my new office location set up. Well, sort of set up. For the past month, I have been relegated to the basement because what is to be my Mancave was jam-packed with the detritus from New Home’s previous occupants, my in-laws. But over theContinue reading “A New Old World – Sept. 13, 2021”
The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman onContinue reading “To Coach, or Not to Coach? – Sept. 12, 2021”
My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men. How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?Continue reading “Unpopular Reflections on Post-9/11 America – Sept. 11, 2021”
I’m what you call an ambivert. This doesn’t mean I eat both plants and animals, though I do. Rather, it means — among other things — that I’m somewhere in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. Sometimes I refuel by getting away from people and enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I refuel by soakingContinue reading “Happy Hour Fatigue — Sept. 10, 2021”
I spent a half-hour today renewing my hatred for Robert Gaskins. Don’t know who Robert Gaskins is? I wish I didn’t, too. Robert Gaskins is the principle inventor of PowerPoint. He sold his little tool of the devil to Microsoft in 1987. QAnon Crazies love to point the finger at Bill Gates and say he’sContinue reading “I Hate Robert Gaskins – Sept. 8, 2021”
I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something toContinue reading “Karens at the Cleaners – Sept. 7, 2021”
You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished theContinue reading “Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021”
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted otherContinue reading “Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021”
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realizeContinue reading “Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021”
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a smallContinue reading “An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Ya know what pisses me off? School supplies. So I was walkin’ tru da depahtment store da otter day lookin’ for a birthday caad for my girl Alice. Her birthday is comin’ up dis Satuhday, and I wanted ta get her a nice caad to go wit da present I got her. So I pickContinue reading “School Supplies”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”