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 🧩Hungry=Stupid 😋Strategic Planning 📅Bed Sizes 🛏️ Hunger is a strong motivator. This, most of us know. Yet I witnessed this truth at a whole new level this weekend. Wifey Poo and I traveled up to Hannibal, Missourah, for a few days. Hannibal, for you uncultured folks, is the hometown of Mark…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Change 🌀Me, Different 😷Bad Baseball ⚾ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Most everything in humanity is governed by two intertwined forces. Supply and demand. Scarcity. Whether its the economy or human emotions, everything about us is geared toward responding to these two things. For example, when there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double Standards 🦅Birthday Deals 🎁Video Guy 📹 The United States has a problem with hypocrisy. Don’t worry, though; it’s nothing new. It just happens to be glaringly apparent right now. Our revered Founding Fathers got things off on a really bad foot when they penned the lofty statement that all men…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Revolution 🌍Rain 🌧️Refund 💰 By this time tomorrow, I will have completed 48 trips around the sun. Or is it 47 and I’ll be starting my 48th? Whatever. I’ll be 48 years old tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m feeling kinda blah about it. Looking back, this past revolution was busy…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bitchy Mother Nature 🌧️⚡Tech Woes 🖥️Maturation 👦 Overnight storms made for a restless night, as waves of rain and thunder rolled through our section of Missourah. Flash flood warnings pinged my phone sometime in the middle of the night, and by the time I left for my drive to work, eastbound…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rollercoasters 🎢Sad Puppy 🐶News Roundup 🤖 It’s possible to think a lot of thoughts while plummeting 90 feet at a 90-degree angle while staring up at the sun. This I learned yesterday while at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missourah, with the Core Four, Div, Wifey Poo’s baby sister and baby…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Date Day 🤟🏽Prison Justice 👊Universe Questions 🚀 Wifey Poo and I ended up having more than 12 hours to ourselves yesterday here in the Midwest Redneck Mecca of Branson, Missourah. Boys The Elder and Younger, along with BTE’s lovely girlfriend of nearly three years, and Wifey Poo’s baby sister and family…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩WFH WTF? 🧑💼Rebel Ball ⚾Psych Myth 🧠 As a writer/columnist/blogger/thought-spewer, I always enjoy when I get something out there before anyone else. I dug that when I was a newspaper journalist, and I dig it now. That’s why I’m happy to be hearing national publications and sites like Business Insider starting…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fahrenheit 🌡️Blindingly White ⬜Alone Time 👴 Muricah is very much a reactionary nation. Much of what we do and who we are is because we were pissed off about the way someone else did things. Monarchy? We’ll have a democracy, thank you very much. The metric system? We’ll measure stuff our…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tryouts ⚾BBQ Sauce🍖TMNT🐢 There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted. Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball. Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Growth 💗Dreams 💤Redecorating 🛋️ There are moments in a dad’s life in which he can see the growth of his sons quite clearly. Sometimes that growth is physical. One day, Boy The Elder was a short, stocky little boy and then, boom, he came home from his high school job at…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Burn Pit🔥Alaska Ass🍑Nose Hair🐽 Having a plan is a far different thing from having a plan work out. I’m really good at the former, yet the latter seems to be extremely elusive. Yesterday, my plan was to take the huge pile of chopped-down cedar-tree limbs that have been in my backyard…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jewel💎First Kiss💋Slow Ahead🐢 Wifey Poo and I are headed out into the sweltering hell that is Missourah this evening to see the woman who, should she knock on my door and say “let’s go,” I am fully empowered to join in the next part of life’s journey. I jest. Sort of.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Parenthood 🚓Alexa 📋Quick-Hitters 👋 Just about every statistic imaginable tells us we shouldn’t have kids — at least, not if we’re concerned about our own happiness, mental health, marriage, career, finances, time or ability to buy a really boss car instead of a freaking minivan. Yet here we are, still a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Lawrence Pfaff Sr. Sucks 🚓Engagement Talk 🌯Quick-Hitters 👋 From what I know of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. of Belmont, NY, he was kind of a douche. The 81-year-old man died on June 27. I never met him. Never even heard of him. Until I read his obit. And about that obit?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Travelling Companion🚓Free Beans 🌯Unfollowed 👋 Brandy Bottone is either stupid or brilliant. Whichever it is, she’s also right. The Texas woman was traveling in the HOV lane — which, for the country folk out there, stands for High Occupancy Vehicle and is reserved for cars with two or more people to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Slots 🎰Dude Perfect ⚽Bye Bye Facebook? 👋 My mother-in-law (AKA The Judester) is nearly 81 years old and has knee problems that keep her from getting around too well these days. Watching her stand up from a chair is to feel pain yourself. Yet when I walked into the Ameristar casino…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with…Keep reading
🧩 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 good…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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 on…Keep reading
🧩 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 and…Keep reading
🧩 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 hear…Keep reading