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’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reflections on Grandma 👵Kids & Death 👨👦👦Don’t Say It 🤫 My grandma died yesterday, four days shy of her 96th birthday. As it goes with people at that age, it wasn’t a surprise. She had been fading for more than a year and, though she still was breathing, that version of […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sleepwalking 🧨DnD Gang 🎲Gas Idiots 🛢️ If there were a day-by-day measure of the collective output of workers in these here United States of Amuricah (and for all I know, there is), I would venture to guess that July 5 ain’t our most productive day. I base this on my observations […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid Parade 🧨Math Matters ➗What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Not being a hugely patriotic person at this point in my life, I made no plans to go to any Fourth of July parade this year. It seems mighty foolish to be celebrating freedoms that are eroding right before our eyes, though I […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone Time, Girl Time 👩👧Picture Hanger🔨What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Wifey Poo and I found ourselves in an interesting position at home today for a little bit: Alone. Boy The Elder took off for Six Flags with his buds, and Boy The Younger left with a friend and his family (Chicken Owner, […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oil Change 👨🔧Goose Lover🛦Church & State⛪ Based on my history, the last place anyone should ever look for me is underneath a car. Yet that’s where I found myself late this morning, side-by-side with Boy The Elder as he showed me exactly how stupid I’ve been all my life. I’m not […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Media Bias 📰Rudy’s Sandals 🩴Lack of Faith ⚖️ I’ve watched with interest the blowback against newspaper tyrant Gannett following its reminder to its journalists in the wake of the Supreme Court’s undoing of Roe v. Wade that they are not to take sides on social media. “You cannot use social media […]
THE FOUR STEPSNo Axes 🪓Strengthen 💪Attack 🥷🏿Don’t Stop ⏳ BONUS: 🥶🧊❄️ The go-to inevitabilities in American society tend to be death and taxes — and with good reason. After all, death is coming for all of us at some point, and income taxes were supposed to be a temporary fix to help fund the Union […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman […]
Every decision carries a consequence. Economists call it an opportunity cost. Politicians often simply call it an opportunity. Parents sometimes call it grounds for punishment. Whatever it’s called by whomever it’s called, the fact is that every single decision we make sets us down a new path, a new timeline, a new reality wholly separate […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hitler Talk ⚖️Chicken Postscript 🐣Green Seats ⚾ I wonder when the average German in the 1930s/1940s said something akin to “Oh shit.” There has to be a point when the rational, sane sauerkraut-lover realized that perhaps his or her vote for a certain mustachioed politician was a really bad idea. For […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Take Me Away🛀Period Tracker🩸Choose Wisely💒 Arriving for the first day at a new job is kind of like showing up in a new town after throwing away your old identity. It’s a blank slate, and you can be anyone you’d like to be. Want to go by a different name? Go […]
The Top 55. Solving Racism with Kendall 🏴4. Coke is a Feeling 🥤3. Fish > Death 🐟2. Arab Spring Ignorance 👳1. White Power PSP 🎮 As most people do, I made my first on-the-job mistake in my very first job. I was a blueprint copier for an architect who ate a pile of onions on […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨👦👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is […]
Top 3 questions to ask yourself before going into business with relatives. My wife, Carla, is an amazing woman. She is exceedingly brilliant, the owner of a whole lot more A’s in school growing up than her future husband had. We’ve known each other for nearly three decades now, the past 25 as spouses. And […]
Big things happen in odd places and at the strangest times. I met my future wife in the basement of a dingy college residence hall. The biggest boost to my career came when I had to cancel an interview with someone who could have been President of the United States. And I realized I could […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude, […]