First-Quarter List Review! Successes and Oopses and Covid Improvements

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.

We break things up into millennia and centuries, decades and years, months and days, hours and minutes and seconds. Not satisfied with that, we break up groups of months into quarters, which, if nothing else, allows for orderly American football and tense times for businesses that report to stockholders.

I can’t beat the system here. As much as I’d love to live away from time and all its constraints and limitations, it appears as if I’m stuck here in a society that values it and adheres to it in equal measures of strength.

So without further ado, here’s my Q1 report from my “One Hundred Intentions for 2022” list!

On Target

Lots of things are either done or on target to being done. Let’s review.

No. 1 — Go on 52 dates with CC: We have, indeed, gone on a date every week of this calendar year. I value these times to reconnect with Wifey Poo. We live busy lives, but I’m grateful for the time we take to be “just us” every week. It makes us better spouses, yes, but also better parents and better people.

No. 2 — Go to a Yankees/Cardinals game: I am a life-long Yankees fan, having grown up an hour from The House The Ruth Built. Wifey Poo is a life-long Cardinals fan, being a St. Louis regional native. Our teams play in early August and, thanks to the players and owners working out their differences, the tickets I bought Wifey Poo for Valentines Day remain valid.

No. 5 — Go to a concert: Music is my thang, and the f’n pandemic killed live music for a while. I’m making up for lost time. This summer and fall, I will see, if all goes well, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Shinedown, Jewel, Gin Blossoms and perhaps Evanescence. Rock on’, yo.

No. 11 — See license plates from all 50 states: Though the end of the first quarter, I have seen 44, which puts me on pace to see 176 different state license plates and is a lesson on why you need to be careful with statistics. Living near I-70 has helped. Going on a few road trips has been a great assist. I’m imagining I’ll be able to find Connecticut, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia in the next nine months. It’s Hawaii that worries me.

No. 16 — Go to Ikea: Insert whatever the Swedish word is for “done.”

No. 20 — Go to a stand-up comedy event: Wifey Poo and I went to see Tim Allen in March. He was… meh. Very meh. We’re going to see Sebastian Maniscalco later this year, and Tom Segura is coming into town. I’d love to see him.

No. 23 — Go to a WLW wrestling event: So Harley Race was a badass wrestler from the 1970s-80s. He ran a wrestling promotion near where I live until his death a few years back. His son now runs it. Though this didn’t happen in Q1, Boy The Younger and I went this past weekend to Race Arena, which is really just a small warehouse with a roof so low that off-the-top-rope moves took on a different kind of risk than I’ve ever seen before. There were maybe 75 people in attendance. And it was awesome.

No. 24 — Start a collection of something: I began collecting CDs (see No. 5). I love music. And CDs were the pinnacle of sound quality. So I’ve started an eclectic collection that features Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Metallica, Bob Dylan, Marcus King, Evanescence and the Eagles. Recommendations are always welcomed.

No. 30 — Get Uber Eats delivered: Nothing like some Buffalo Wild Wings left on your doorstep when the family is out of town and you don’t feel like cooking.

No. 31 — Go to three new restaurants: Wifey Poo and I went to an African restaurant called Chez Ali, a really cool diner-type place with friends we met in Indianapolis called Rosie’s Cafe and, for our 25th anniversary, an amazing seafood place called Splash in Des Moines, and yes, despite being in Iowa, it truly was an amazing seafood place.

No. 36 — Read five books: This one was a matter of redemption for me. I used to be beyond an avid reader. Then Longhaul Covid turned my brain into mush. I can’t exactly describe what it’s like to try to read with such a brain, but the feeling is kinda like when you’re trying to get the top off of something and, no matter what you try, it just … won’t … budge. A neurologist recommended I push through that feeling as a way of helping my brain rewire itself. And it’s working! I read three books through Q1 (Blaze, by Stephen King; Heavier Than Heaven, the biography of Kurt Cobain; and Klara and the Sun), and just finished Stephen King’s The Institute yesterday. Now I’m onto Dave Grohl’s new book. Suck it, Covid.

No. 37 — Play Dungeons and Dragons three out of every four times the party plays: This had been another Longhaul Covid casualty. Just when I had reconnected with some high school acquaintances and begun slaying dragons, my brain turned to mush and, aside from reading problems, long periods of exposure to technology was horrific. So I stopped. Now I’m back, and I brought Boy The Younger with me. We completed one adventure in February and have started a new one. I’m now a half-orc barbarian with major rage issues. Seems about right.

No. 40 — Get a bottle of bourbon that’s on the “best of…” list: I bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve Double Oak Barrel and, I must say, it’s delicious.

No. 42 — Create a college football bowl pool with a traveling trophy: I did exactly that and the trophy was won by … Boy The Elder’s girlfriend? She was not much of a sports fan at all until she started dating BTE. Now she’s the champion of the tournament.

No. 43 — Start The Waffle House Fantasy Baseball League: So there are lots of leagues out there in fantasy sports in which the winner gets a trophy or money. I don’t know how many there were in which the loser has to spend 24 hours in a Waffle House and is able to reduce the time by an hour for each waffle consumed, but there’s now at least one.

No. 47 — Pick up a freelance marketing side gig: So I love what I do. I love writing, designing, videography… whatever. I had a nasty habit for a while of doing what I love to do and am good at doing for free. While nice and friendly, that doesn’t help my finances. So I let it be known I was in search of a side gig and landed a few in Q1, including a side job for my boss, a one-off in which I designed a flyer for an early learning center and an ongoing one in which I write articles for Northwestern University to help attract students to its masters programs.

No. 51 — Get new pants that fit: Having pants that don’t constantly threaten to fall down around your ankles is a good thing, I think we’d all agree. As part of my battle against Longhaul Covid last year, I completely switched up my diet to remove any and all foods that could cause inflammation. In the process, I lost 30 pounds. This year, I bought new pants to celebrate my less-fatness. Two pairs are in hands. A third is now somewhere out there in a DHL warehouse or truck making their way to me. Thanks Indochino!

No. 54 — Get a monthly massage: This one almost fell by the wayside in January. If not for a last-minute appointment, it would have. Now I have a great new massage therapist who is amazing to talk to and who, every month this year, has worked out the various knots and kinks that plague my neck and back.

No. 55 — Do a float every quarter: If you’ve never done a float in a sensory deprivation tank, you should. Yes, I know you feel like it’s closed in and scary. Try it and take deep breaths. For me, it’s a necessary thing, I’m finding. As an extreme empath, I’m constantly bombarded by other people’s crap. Locking myself in a chamber of warm salt water that promotes effortless floating and is completely dark and quiet is an amazing way to disconnect and just be.

No. 60 — Keep my new healthy eating habits and maintain my weight: See No. 51, above. I have had some day-to-day fluctuations — it appears I can gain or lose 5 pounds in a day based on what I drink or don’t drink — but I’m still below where I need to be below.

No. 64 — Get into and stay in the 99th percentile in Lumosity: So yeah, a lot of things on my list this year had to do with saying “fuck you” to Longhaul Covid. This was one of them. As part of my “retrain my brain” efforts, a doc recommended Lumosity in addition to reading. At first, the games killed me. Then I started to heal. Now, I’m in the 99.4th percentile for my age group overall. Suck it, Covid.

No. 65 — Take care of a pet: The original intention here was to watch someone’s dog or lizard or something. Then we got it in our minds that we were somehow ready for a new dog. I had been staunchly against this in the wake of the deaths of both my dogs in 2020, within three months of each other. Wasn’t 2020 a great year? Anyway, that all changed when we saw our Luna, an English bulldog who’d been used up as a breeding dog by some asshole who deserves a throat punch. She’s slowly coming around to the reality that people are good and love her. And I do. A lot.

No. 72 — Give an anonymous gift each month: What I’m learning is that, in this day and age, it’s tougher to stay anonymous. Still, I’ve been able to thanks a college friend, a work colleague and my middle school English teacher.

No. 73 — Create a screen-in-porch oasis: Another one not totally finished until April, but it’s finished now. May the creator of allen wrenches forever be damned to have blisters from turning his infernal creation! But the porch furniture is assembled and this past weekend I put together a mobile TV stand and hooked a TV to it so I can wheel it out and watch baseball on nice spring/fall afternoons.

No. 74 — Create with BTY his new bedroom: Doing this Q1 review has made me realize I put a lot of stuff together this year. And this is amazing, considering there was a time in which I felt totally incompetent with things like this. Now, I feel like I could put anything together. BTY has a completely updated bedroom — less like a child and more like the teen he soon will be. I put together his bed, his dresser, his nightstand, a fish tank stand and installed three shelves. This came after painting the walls (with his and Wifey Poo’s tremendous assistance).

No. 83 — Write my own obituary: I don’t want anyone else telling my story when I die. First off, I don’t want anyone to put in any bullshit like “He was loved by all who knew him.” My own sister hates me, and my mother ain’t too fond of me either. And there sure as hell are some former work colleagues who aren’t going to be sending me any Christmas cards of the non-ticking variety. I made a first pass at writing this and it’s technically done, but I wrote it when I was kind of angsty and should probably revise and soften it a bit.

No. 88 — Watch season 5 of Better Call Saul: Damn, I love that show. And I loved Breaking Bad. The fact that the latter is over and the former is heading into its final season makes me sad.

No. 90 — Watch a classic film from the 1940, 50s or 60s: Wifey Poo and I watched Casablanca for Valentine’s Day. The intention was to have a crowd, as part of No. 61: host a monthly movie night, but that plan didn’t work because I apparently have no one living within 50 miles of me who thought my planned movie night worthy of their time in January, February or March. Still, it was nice to watch it with Wifey Poo. Great flick, great date.

No. 98 — Make an anniversary video for Wifey Poo: We celebrated our 25th anniversary in March. I made her this. Ladies, if you’re looking for romance, marry someone who knows Adobe Premiere Pro.

No. 99 — Rent a Jeep for Wifey Poo to drive for a day: Wifey Poo loves Jeeps. We currently drive piece-of-shit Nissan Versas because we’re poor and love good gas mileage. Someday I will buy her a Jeep, but for now, renting one to take on our 25th anniversary getaway brought a smile to her face. Speaking of which…

No. 100 — Plan/go on a 25th anniversary trip: The original plan was to go to Alaska this summer, though Wifey Poo didn’t know that. When things didn’t happen as I wanted them to with my job soon enough, I pivoted and creating something far less adventurous but far more sentimental. We went to Des Moines Freaking Iowa, back to Drake University, where we met. Back to Roseman Bridge, where we got engaged. Back to Drake University club hockey, where we had our first date and where, this time, I arranged with the team to be at their practice and for them to surprise her with flowers and a team “happy anniversary” wish. It was awesome. A lot has changed since our Drake days (1992-96), but one thing that’s stayed the same is us. Always us.

This is how I invited her:

Probably Not Gonna Happen

Ahh, if everything could be going as swimmingly as the items above. Alas, this was a list of intentions, not a list of things I definitely was going to do. Some things probably aren’t going to happen. A few definitely won’t happen. Let’s discuss.

No. 39 -Take enough photos to have a Photo of the Week for 52 weeks: I love looking at the world through a camera lens. I love capturing moments from that world. I just live in a very small world and am pretty boring, which makes finding interesting photographs a challenge. Or I’m just plain lazy. Whatever.

No. 58 – Go to restorative yoga 52 times: I love restorative yoga. I love my little yoga studio. But perhaps going, on average, once a week was a little ambitious. Weather canceled some classes. BTY’s sporting events, my round-two battle with Covid and other situations led me to skip out on a few more. Fifty-two ain’t happening. But some is better than none, and I’ll keep going.

No. 59 – Meditate daily: If you’re picking up on a theme here, you’re not alone. These highly time-bound items are killin’ me, Smalls. “Daily” was perhaps ambitious. Of course, “not meditating at all for the first two months of the year” was perhaps lazy and stupid. March saw me get into more of a routine, and now I’m approaching something like four or five days a week. But daily? Pshaw. I should have known myself and my own affinity for ignoring self-care better.

No. 61 – Host a monthly movie night: My long-standing battle with not having friends is a thing. I thought this would help alleviate that. I would invite a shit-ton of people I kinda sorta knew, and at least a few of them would show up for some fun and entertainment. In doing that, maybe one of those folks would turn into an actual friend. Yeahno. Not one person RSVP’d to January — and then Covid invaded my house and it was canceled anyway. February came and went with no RSVP’s. March was successful only in that BTE and his girlfriend came, but they’re not exactly friend material. So screw it. You don’t want to come? I don’t want you here. (And you wonder why I don’t have friends?)

No. 77-82, 84 – Writing stuff: I had grand plans to do a lot of creative writing this year. It’s not happening, though it’s for a good reason. It’s because I’m getting paid to spill words out, as I mentioned in No. 47. That said, I’d like to do at least something creatively. I have started a few short stories. I’m real good at that — starting stories that never get finished. We’ll see what happens.

No. 94 – Take an improve class: I love comedy. I have been someone who makes people laugh ever since I was a little boy. I think I could perhaps do something with comedy to make more people laugh. So I put this on there because I know of a place where improv happens and where they’ll teach you how to do it better. That said, the thought of actually doing it, of putting myself out there like that, terrifies me. So I say this probably won’t happen, but in reality, it really should. I mean, at the very least I can laugh at myself.

So there you have it, the Q1 update on the List of One Hundred Intentions For 2022. I’d say I’m fairly happy with where I am. Q2 has started off well. Let’s see what happens.

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