👎 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, one that has been pocked by much complaining about actually having to do the very thing he’s been doing essentially since he became bipedal.
BTY has the body of a distance runner. If he turns sideways, you just might miss him. He has the potential to be a really good cross country kid, which I’m sure could serve him well somewhere along the way, though I’m not sure how.
The event was the National Homeschool Cross Country Invitational — which made sense only if I missed the news that Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas succeeded from the union to form their own country. BTY got off to his typical slow start, charging up the first hill toward the back of the pack before disappearing down its far slope.
I learned as a cross country parent that having a cross country kid means running for the whole family. Your kid runs by and then you as a parent run to the next spot on the course where he will appear so you can scream encouraging things like “You got this!” and “Keep going!” as if he would just stop and sit down if not for your sage advice.
BTY dyed the front of his hair blue this morning at the hotel, as his team is the St. Louis Blue Knights, so he was easy to spot from a distance. I was settling in to count the number of boys ahead of him — something that at past meets took me into the 20s and 30s — when all of a sudden, there he was. He passed by me in 13th, and by the time he disappeared again he was up to 10th.
We ran once again to get a glimpse of him as he came up yet another hill — this course was brutal — and he was right there, holding his own in 10th. Twice more we saw him, and my boy was going strong. Wifey Poo and I started talking about what positions got medals at this event. It varies from meet to meet. The top 10 did in this one.
With one final run, we reached the boundary to the stretch to the finish. Any regular reader of this will know I’m an emotional guy — annoyingly so. And for whatever reason, seeing my boy work hard and compete in this sport does something to me. So when I saw that blue hair come over the hill with him at a full sprint and no one even close behind him, yeah, fine… I did get choked up. He finished in 10th place. A few hours later, his name was called to come up and receive his medal.
Rock on, BTY. Rock on.
Ricky doesn’t have to eat his food from Dumpsters. He chooses to.
Wifey Poo did the three-and-a-half hour drive back from Springfield today, as I work to get over this Covid booster thing. We listened to a podcast about people who have had interesting things happen to them or who do things that might be considered different.
Like be perfectly able to afford to buy food and instead choose to go Dumpster diving.
Ricky told the podcast-listening world all about how this started as something that he just considered “exciting.” He walked us through the best times to do it without getting harassed by store owners (daytime), things not to do (try to get into locked Dumpsters) and what his wife (yes, he’s married) thinks of his little hobby (she’s grown to accept it.).
This sparked an interesting discussion between Wifey Poo and I about whether what Ricky was doing could be considered “bad.” After all, though it didn’t start out that way, it’s grown to be something he does as something of a stance against American food waste. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.
Wifey Poo and I reached the conclusion that, while gross, it’s not, in fact, bad. That said, I’m never going to dinner at the house of anyone named Ricky ever again.
In Other Writing …
So what exactly is going on here? Well, a lot. This website is various measures of creativity, therapy, safety, career exploration, vanity and insanity (plus a few mystery ingredients I haven’t quite identified yet) — all dumped into one glass, shaken (not stirred) and poured into a 32-ounce Big Gulp cup. To better understand what…Keep reading
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
Last night was spent in a hotel room with Wifey Poo, Boys The Younger and Elder, one of my nephews and BTE’s girlfriend. (Don’t worry. BTE and his beloved were kept a safe distance apart at all times.)
I remember very little of it. When we left our little country home that afternoon, my fever in the wake of my Thursday Covid booster shot was at 101.1. I’m not sure what it was by the time we arrived, but it wasn’t good. So I crashed in a heap on the bed when Wifey Poo and BTY went to the cross country team’s meal and we waited for the others to arrive from Columbia. I woke up a few times in the night, drenched in my own sweat. But by this morning, I didn’t feel so feverish, and though I’m still on the low end of the energy scale, I’m on my way back.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Now that the worst of the post-shot illness is over, I have to live long enough to see myself not get Covid again.
- BTY is at the Judester’s tonight. You know what that means? Me and Wifey Poo have the house to ourselves. And you know what that means? No you don’t. It means we get to watch the final episode of the ‘Monsters Inside’ documentary with no interruptions.
- Halloween is tomorrow.
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🧩 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, and…Keep reading
🔻 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 try…Keep reading
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 sleepily…Keep reading
👇🏻 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, but…Keep reading
🔻 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 everything…Keep reading
👇🏾 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 batting…Keep reading
👇 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. I…Keep reading
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,…Keep reading
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’s…Keep reading
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 pregnant…Keep reading
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.…Keep reading
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 day…Keep reading
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, but…Keep reading
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 a…Keep reading
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 beautiful…Keep reading
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 in…Keep reading
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,…Keep reading
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,…Keep reading
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.…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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, I…Keep reading
Our boys are not “stuff” kids. We learned this early on, when Boy The Elder was but a wee little lad and we did what normal first-time parents do: Buy him a ton of what I call KidShit for Christmas. The KidShit went largely untouched. BTE, we learned, was more of an “experiences” kid. He…Keep reading
Tonight was date night for me and Wifey Poo. We swung by Stone Summit Steak & Seafood for a drink — she, a fruity white wine; me, a Woodford Reserve, neat — and then went to see Dear Evan Hansen. I’d wanted to catch it back when it was on the stage and never had.…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
I have seen in person how protective a mother grizzly bear can be of her cubs. The Fam was on a two-week Alaska vacation between my seventh- and eighth-grade years, a trip on which my voice changed and I enjoyed the company of twin 14-year-old sisters from Alabama, which is a story for another day.…Keep reading
I spent the morning in my office at work ensconced in my gray shirt-jack. If you don’t know what a shirt-jack is, that’s OK. I didn’t either until I found it on Amazon a few years ago while searching for something that wasn’t quite a sweatshirt but not quite a jacket to wear around the…Keep reading
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 the…Keep reading