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 and sane. It was a year that started with me waiting for results of blood tests to help me understand what the hell was going on with me in the wake of my November 2020 COVID fight, with my father-in-law in the hospital suffering from the after-effects of COVID unknowingly contracted just before open heart surgery, with Wifey Poo struggling to juggle her own life, my ailments, her job as a mother and homeschool teacher, plus her role as the official family hospital visitor to try to bring some encouragement to her dad.
It was, to put it quite accurately, a shit-show.
The year ends with me significantly recovered from Longhaul COVID, with my father-in-law having lost his battle, with Wifey Poo dealing with the pain of losing her dad and the weariness of a year that was far too unkind to such an amazing person.
There is so much that could be said about all the events of 2021 that made this a year in which mere survival is marked in the “win” column. But I think it might be best for me to simply lay out the facts of what the year brought. The sad thing is, even doing that won’t accurately depict the depth of the shit-show because it doesn’t lay out all the crap that happen in 2020 … or in 2019 … or in 2018 … or or or. In searching for a date at which to begin the story of why 2021 was such a challenge, I came up empty because each candidate for a starting point must itself be put in the context of what happened before. Suddenly, we’re back in 2015… 2012 … 1993.
Not knowing where to start, I’ll simply follow the calendar — January 2021 through December 2021 — and trust you’ll understand, faithful reader, that there’s a mess of crap that comes before it.
- My COVID turns into Longhaul COVID, You can follow the course of that here in depth. Blood test show nothing. An EKG shows nothing. Further tests will show nothing nothing nothing. But I feel like I might die from exhaustion and that my brain has suddenly turned into mush.
- My father-in-law dies, losing a fight that begin in earnest in November.
- My parents choose the eve of his death, despite learning of my FIL’s grave condition, to pick a fight with me in which my father tells me he’s “tired of my bullshit.” We don’t talk until September.
- A mere 10 days later, we’re presented with the opportunity to host a child from Burkina Faso with disabilities who needs major surgeries in the United States. We’re in no shape to be host parents. We do it anyway.
- I have my first COVID vaccination.
- Oh my God, we’re suddenly responsible for a 4-year-old named Dieudonne (pronounced JordonA) who doesn’t speak a world of English, who gets around by scooting on his hands and dragging his feet, who will ultimate require roughly two dozen surgeries in six months. He arrives ahead of a bitter cold front and snowstorm. I’m quite sure My Favorite African has never seen weather like that before. Shockingly, I love him like a son after a few short days.
- The ravages of Longhaul COVID take over. I am still working, but each day requires multiple breaks, and I struggle to do basic things like think.
- Insomnia is killing me, which is pretty damn ironic considering all I feel like doing is sleeping. No matter what I try, I wake up at 3 a.m. after fitful “rest” and struggle to make it through the day. This leads me to a sleep doctor who prescribes a sleep study. I spend a night hooked up to a trillion wires and await the results.
- In an effort to find out why my heart will suddenly start galloping for no damn reason, I have a heart test and lung test. Both show nothing. My life has become a series of short periods of “activity” followed by prolonged periods of mental and physical exhaustion.
- In the wake of a minor surgery to repair a hernia, D has major leg surgery to repair his clubfoot. Wifey Poo and I spend our 24th anniversary apart, with her in the hospital and me at home with Boy The Younger. I never regret for a second bringing Little D into our lives. He has changed us forever for the better.
- I get the results of my sleep study. Though not obese, I have major obstructive sleep apnea, with the suspicion that it was worsened by COVID but there’s no way to be sure. Whereas the average person has somewhere between zero and three “events” an hour in which they stop breathing while sleeping, I have an average of 53 during my sleep study. I’m prescribed an APAP machine to try to bring it under control. I name it Bob.
- The worst of Longhaul COVID buries me. I somehow am managing to excel at work, but finances are getting tough. I took the job in September 2020 knowing I would be underpaid because I had to get out from under a really rough situation (there’s that pre-2021 stuff I was talking about), and I’m watching our savings disappear. They’re essentially gone each time a stimulus check seems to come around.
- I go to an ear, nose and throat doctor because one of my first COVID symptoms — a horrible taste in my mouth that never goes away — is making life unbearable. The ENT throws a Hail Mary, thinking it might be an inflamed nerve and prescribes me high-dose steroid
- My bottom left wisdom tooth starts hurting one day. Like, bad, bad, bad. Ultimately, it has to be pulled. There again is some vague hints that all this mouth crap might be COVID-related, but after more than a dozen doctors appointments, a half-dozen expensive tests, a bazillion tubes of blood and a helluva lot of lost money, no one knows squat about anything regarding my Longhaul symptoms. The only thing that happens with the steroids is I gain a lot of weight really fast and feel worse.
- I make the decision to stop being a guinea pig and give up on traditional medicine as the route to find any answers to help with with Longhaul COVID.
- D starts running a fever and is admitted to the hospital with a major staph infection. He remains there for two weeks, with Wifey Poo by his side for the huge majority of it and me trying to balance work, my rapidly declining health, home life with BTY who has proven to be incredibly adaptable and resilient, and a wife who — oh yeah — needs some relief every once in a while. We spend Easter apart.
- I have my second COVID vaccination.
- D has his major leg surgery, during which both his upper leg bones are cut through and turned so that his feet face forward and he can begin the process of learning to walk. Wifey Poo is there for the first days after surgery in the hospital, in which D, the toughest kid I’ve ever known — a kid who has hardly blinked during all the surgeries he’s already had — wails in pain throughout the night before doctors finally find the right dosage to ease his pain. This occurs over Boy The Elder’s birthday.
- I seize upon an opportunity and finally ask for a raise based on the overwhelming positive feedback I’ve received on my work, how it has become the model for the marketing departments in other hospitals in our system and the independent evidence that I am underpaid by up to 60%. My solid case is met with silence. I start looking, in the midst of all of this, for a new job.
- Unable to find any answers to help with the Longhaul COVID, I stumble into a functional medicine doctor on the recommendation of Wifey Poo, who heard about how such alternative physicians are actually helping people get over the worst of the symptoms. Dr. Laura Wies has me fill out a ton of paperwork, asks even more questions and orders blood tests that fill 11 vials. The results start the course for a huge change that sees me regain some of my health.
- I go to a neuropsychologist in search of answers for the brain fog that has left me unable to think, caused me to trail off in the middle of sentences, turned my memory into swiss cheese and leads me to say words that don’t make any sense. For example: “Oh, I left it in the glasses” when what I meant to say is, “Oh, I left it in the garage.” The tests show significant problems, but he gives me ways I can work on getting my thinking back.
- In the midst of all of this stuff, while hosting a child recovering from major leg surgery, we pounce on an opportunity to move out into the country and sell our house at the height of the market. This is pure, utter insanity, but we do it anyway because the opportunity wouldn’t be there if we waited. We begin to get our house ready to sell.
- I find the place I want to work and have the first two interviews for the position. Things are going well.
- I start on a revolutionary change in my eating habits as the way to beat many of these Longhaul symptoms. It’s a huge, huge change, and I’m blessed that Wifey Poo agrees to go on the journey with me. I cut out anything processed, all sugars that aren’t nature, dairy, breads and more. It is surprisingly easy to do. When you feel like complete shit and are at the point of wondering if this thing is actually going to kill you, change isn’t so hard. Oh, and side benefit: I lose 30 pounds without really trying.
- I develop a major pain in my throat that the doctors can’t explain. I’m told to get an MRI, which, shocking to no one, reveals nothing. It eventually goes away and is attributed to “one of those COVID things.”
- I begin ozone therapy. Once a week for six weeks, a bag of my blood is drained, infused with ozone, and dripped back into my body. The extra oxygen molecule, seeking stability, detaches and, as the theory goes, binds to impossible-to-detect virus, rendering it impotent and killing it. The first three treatments do nothing but leave me tired. I notice some improvement with the fourth. By the end of the sixth, I’m …. good?
- Our little host child, whom we have grown to love as a son, returns to Burkina Faso in a whirlwind in which there was doubt whether he would leave or have to have an emergency spine surgery up until the very last hour. Because that’s how we roll.
- My sleep apnea isn’t as improved as the sleep doctor wants it to be. I’m still having more than a dozen — and often 20 or more — episodes a night. I have to go in for another sleep study, which diagnoses the emergence of central sleep apnea, the kind not caused by an obstruction in the windpipe but by the brain not signaling the body to, ya know, breathe. It is frightening as hell to realize this virus is affecting the function of my brain. I’m ultimately given a different kind of breathing machine at night, and low and behold, I start to actually feel rested when I wake up in the morning once I’m not struggling to stay alive all night.
- I resign my position from Shriners Hospitals after accepting a new job with The Allen Brake Real Estate Team. When I turn in my resignation, my Shriners boss says that she’s not surprised, that she sensed I “lost enthusiasm” for the job a month or so back. I say nothing. If “lost enthusiasm” is defined as “Got tired of being drastically underpaid and ignored when I showed them their own comments about my work and what the market says I’m worth,” yeah, she’s right.
- Unable to find any answers to help with the Longhaul COVID, I stumble into a functional medicine doctor on the recommendation of Wifey Poo, who heard about how such alternative physicians are actually helping people get over the worst of the symptoms. Dr. Laura Wies has me fill out a ton of paperwork, asks even more questions and orders blood tests that fill 11 vials. The results start the course for a huge change that sees me regain a lot of my health by the end of the year.
- I go to a neuropsychologist in search of answers for the brain fog that has left me unable to think, caused me to trail off in the middle of sentences, turned my memory into swiss cheese and leads me to say words that don’t make any sense. For example: “Oh, I left it in the glasses” when what I meant to say is, “Oh, I left it in the garage.” The tests show significant problems, but he gives me ways I can work on getting my thinking back. Lumosity is a godsend.
- The craziness of having a host child and his departure rolls right into the insanity of getting ready to move, then actually moving. Boy The Elder and his crew of friends pull off an amazing accomplishment of getting everything boxed and moved.
- In the process of getting the house ready, I’m power-washing the deck, when I suddenly feel dizzy. As I go to get off the stairs to sit down, I miss a step and stumble into the side of the house, busting my head open and jacking up my neck and back.
- Wifey Poo and I finally get away, just the two of us, to decompress after the move and all that 2021 has thrown at us. While we’re there, my phone starts blaring message after message after message that our air conditioning back home isn’t working. It’s 100 degrees. Thankfully, it’s working when we return home. It conks out three days later, but it’s only in the 80s.
- I start my new job. The pace is insane, right out of the gate. I essentially rebrand the company — something that in most places might take a year or more — in three weeks.
- Might things actually be starting to … settle down? It’s all relative. Aside from the insane pace of my new job and planning the first major event for our company since COVID, the only major thing to happen is the closing on our house, which, despite our Realtor’s best efforts to screw it up, goes relatively smoothly. Had I gotten my job a few weeks earlier, I would have known how a real Realtor operates and used my own real estate team!
- Our new house is starting to come together a bit. We moved into my in-law’s former house when the Judester moved into a senior living community. Yet most of her stuff remained. That means our stuff mingled with her stuff, and let me tell you, my in-laws had a lot of stuff. Slowly but surely, Wifey Poo leads a cleanup effort to go through everything, sell stuff, donate stuff and start creating our home.
- After waiting for an apology from my parents for the entire year — an apology that never comes because that’s not something they do — I reach out to my dad for a reason I’m not quite sure of. Within a day, he’s talking about how he’s glad everything is “back to normal” and is planning a visit. I did this for the benefit of my kids, but it just feels wrong, that I allowed us to do what we always do — sweep real issues under the rug under the guise of “moving forward.” They plan a visit for October.
- I have my COVID booster shot .
- The first event I planned for my new job goes great. FallFest 2021 attendance shatters expectations. The weather is beautiful. I breathe a sigh of relief.
- The Judester has a property that’s been in the family for years that she wants to sell. Linking up with my Realtor teammates, we sell it for nearly double what she was asking in less than a week on the market. This is a service I now offer my friends and family, I guess!
- My parents visit. It feels awful and I realize how much I didn’t miss the drama and constant conflict and anger.
- Wifey Poo has foot surgery. She’s off her feet for a few days and slowly works herself back to action over the course of the next month or so.
- The major marketing campaign I’ve been working on at work since I started launches. Now it just has to work and prompt potential clients to call us.
- Holy crap, you guys! Not much happens. I finish off planning our family vacation to Memphis and New Orleans for Christmas, I do my shopping and find excellent gifts for my loved ones, my boss takes the team to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for a Christmas celebration, and our vacation turns out awesome.
Which leads to today.
And the scary thing is, folks, these are just the highlights. There are so many more things — good and bad, happy and sad — that filled the days of the year. I can’t say that I’ve really slowed down enough to process it all, to feel it, to put it in any sort of context.
But what I have done is survive it. And for that, I am proud.
Happy New Year.
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🧩 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 —…Keep reading
🧩 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 khakis…Keep reading
🧩 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 on…Keep reading
🧩 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, windy…Keep reading
🧩 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 10…Keep reading
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.…Keep reading
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. I…Keep reading
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 intense…Keep reading
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 would…Keep reading
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 as…Keep reading
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 they…Keep reading
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 the…Keep reading
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 items…Keep reading
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 professional…Keep reading
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 bring…Keep reading
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 now…Keep reading
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, which…Keep reading
🧩 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 Hippie…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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 of…Keep reading
🧩 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 the…Keep reading
🧩 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 the…Keep reading
🧩 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 in…Keep reading
🧩 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 that…Keep reading
🧩 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 track…Keep reading
🧩 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, one…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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)…Keep reading
🧩 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 45…Keep reading
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 day…Keep reading
🧩 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. Today…Keep reading
🧩 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 Own…Keep reading
🧩 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 runs…Keep reading
🧩 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 work…Keep reading
🧩 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 game…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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 of…Keep reading
🧩 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 his…Keep reading
🧩 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 a…Keep reading
🧩 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 knew…Keep reading
🧩 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, in…Keep reading
🧩 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 reads…Keep reading
🧩 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 is…Keep reading
🧩 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 says…Keep reading
🧩 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 open…Keep reading
🧩 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. Wifey…Keep reading
🧩 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 their…Keep reading
🧩 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 are…Keep reading
🧩 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 was…Keep reading
🧩 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 back…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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?…Keep reading
🧩 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 live…Keep reading
🧩 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 and…Keep reading
🧩 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 that…Keep reading