🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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 Twain, and as any hometown of one of the world’s most preeminent authors would do, Mr. Clemens’ town leans strongly into it.
We stayed in a room in the magnificent Garth Woodside Mansion, which now is a bed-and-breakfast. I would imagine this place is haunted, but I’m not about to ask.
That’s not the story, though.
Friday night, Wifey Poo and I arrived, unpacked our things and, seizing an incredibly rare summer opportunity in Missourah, decided to sit outside in air that was shockingly un-humid. The mansion has a wrap-around porch, as all good mansions do, and there are rocking chairs placed thoughtfully in pairs here and there. Wifey Poo and I sat down, and she soon noticed a spider waaaaay up at the top of the porch overhang, chillin’ in his (or her) web.
A few moments later, in the middle of a sentence, she stopped to exclaim, “What is THAT?!?!?” Turns out it was a frog, scaling the chain of a hanging plant, headed northward.
“It’s going after dinner,” said I, well-schooled on nature documentaries as both a child and an adult.
The two of us watched in raptured silence as the frog ascended the chain before stopping parallel to its intended main course.
“It’s gonna wait until the spider gets closer,” I postulated, thinking I was going to see just how long this frog’s tongue was.
The spider, perhaps sensing its name on the dinner menu, stayed a respectful distance away from the new patron.
That’s when it happened.
The frog, not wanting to play nature’s game anymore, leaped from the chain, directly at the spider. And here’s the thing: He got there. I don’t know how. It was akin to setting the Olympic long-jump record … but starting from a standstill.
There was just one problem.
The frog might have been brilliant to sense the spider waaaaaaay up at the top of the overhang from his spot on the floor. He might have been amazingly nimble to find a way onto the hanging plant and then ascend all the way to spiderville. He might have been astoundingly athletic to reach the stubborn spider that wouldn’t cooperate with his initial idea.
But he didn’t have an exit plan.
Having crossed the divide and reached his prey, the frog (and the spider) was suddenly overcome by a force beyond both their understanding: Gravity. And so Wifey Poo and I watched in shocked amazement as both frog and spider plummeted toward the earth, beyond the porch railing and into the bushes.
I’d like to think they both survived. I’d like to think they landed right next to each other and, having made it through the ordeal, found a new appreciation for each other. I’d like to think the two dusted themselves off and right now are hanging out together, having a beer, saying, “Can you believe that shit went down?”
Yet if you do some math — which I, of course, am not going to do — that fall was big. We’re talking King-Kong-from-the-Empire-State-Building big. And that didn’t end well for King Kong.
Twas beauty that killed the beast. And hunger that killed the frog.
So why were Wifey Poo and I in Hannibal? To plan our future. This is, in many ways, laughable, because if there’s anything our 25 years of marriage should have taught us, it’s that whatever you’d like to call the creator of the universe tends to find our plans humorous and entirely not in line with his/her/its way of doing business. Yet there we were, marinading in the essence of Mark Twain, deciding what to do with our money and our time.
We’ve largely ignored this topic for most of a decade. When I started struggling with various health issues, we rapidly obliterated our savings trying to keep our household going. Then, as I rebounded, I worked a succession of jobs in which I was woefully underpaid.
Now, I have a job that’s paying me what I’m worth, and I have a growing side gig to boot. I also have a kid in college and a 13-year-old who deserves the same sort of parental support his brother had, and we have a house more in line with 1970s-Brady-Bunch-chic with creaky floors that drive each of us nuts. We were far more than library-book overdue to figure out a common direction for our family.
By the end of the day Saturday, we had our plan. The first half of the session was spent in a great coffee joint called Java Jive, with our laptops open like a couple of Gen-Zers. The second half was spent in the dining room of the Garth Woodside Mansion. Wifey Poo got to see me at my working-world best, guiding us through a pre-developed agenda that essentially was a SWOT analysis and goal-setting worksheet. I’ve been in enough of those meetings during my career to satisfy a few lives. She brought her “A” game, complete with her typical level-headed, rational, intelligent analysis and frequent reality checks. I gotta admit, she’s damn sexy when she’s like that. 🙂
Wifey Poo are unbeatable when we’re on the same page. We’ve taken to repeating a new mantra as often as possible: Us. Always Us. Shoulder to Shoulder. Always Us.
The marital bed Wifey Poo and I share is immense. I think the definition for it is a California King, but even that might be underselling it.
This isn’t how we started out. Early in our marriage, we had a standard queen bed and slept comfortably intertwined in each other’s love, randomly bumping into each other in the darkness, finding such things endearing and charming. It might even have been a double. I’m not up on bed sizes, as you can tell.
As our marriage has progressed, Wifey Poo and I have grown to increasingly value our sleeping space. When we travel, we try to find at least a king bed in the room we’re going to lay our heads at night. Mansions kept in the Victorian style don’t have king beds. For the past two nights, well, let’s just say Wifey Poo and I have both realized how much we love our California King.
Bad bosses shouldn’t be. Of course, I’ve never met anyone who self-identifies as a bad boss, yet we all know they’re out there, and yes, indeed, without a shadow of a doubt, they do suck. I’ve had more than my fair share of bad bosses over the course of my career, from the one who…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Gotta stick around to live the plan Wifey Poo and I created.
- Some really good concerts are in my near future — Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Shinedown and Gin Blossoms.
- Boy The Elder and I are going to the IndyCar race in a few weekends.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And has…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Friends😔What To Do?🙋Creepy Dolls 🎎 Yesterday was a rough day. It’s one thing to be a person with essentially no friends. It’s another thing altogether to not be friends with yourself. That’s where I was yesterday — all up in my head and imagining the worst was about to happen in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One Long Sentence 🖊️Birthday Boy🎂Wine & Chocolate 🍷🍫 I remember being a kid and wanting to be an adult. I wanted to drive and have a girlfriend and be able to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, not what someone else said I should do. And now, here…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beat…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone from…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Truth ⚖️The Poor Man’s Chipotle🌮Jokes 🤣 Anyone else get sucked in by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial? I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I did. This is extremely odd because Hollywood culture and all things pop culture in general annoy the crap about of me. There’s just something about…Keep reading
🧩 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
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…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