Archive for November, 2005
When I arrived home from work last night the wind was blowing and the snow was falling. It was downright cold. I was looking forward to having a nice, warm evening at home with Marathon Girl and the family.
I come in from the garage to find Marathon Girl dressed in her winter running clothes.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“I’m going to run,” Marathon Girl said.
“But it’s cold and snowy outside.”
“The wind is blowing.”
She gave me a kiss and was out the door. I watched her run down the road until she disappeared into the dark, snowy air.
Aidan brought me a book and we sat on the couch and I read it to him over and over again. Outside I could hear the wind blow and flecks of snow brush against the window.
Marathon Girl came home twenty four minuets later after running three miles. Her hat was covered with a thin layer of snow. Her face looked flushed and excited.
“How was the run?” I said.
“Great,” Marathon Girl said. “It feels good to run again.”
We cleaned up and had dinner. After the kids were in bed Marathon Girl snuggled up in my arms and feel asleep.
From the smile on her face I had no doubt she was dreaming of running her next marathon.
November 30th, 2005
Yesterday I received an complimentary email from someone who read about an embarrassing moment that happened in church several months ago. The email started me thinking about past embarrassing moment and I think it’s safe to say as embarrassing as it was to have a my computer screen saver flash the words â€œGet Naked Nowâ€ in the middle of a Sunday School class, it wasn’t my most embarrassing moment.
Not even close.
My most embarrassing moment happened about six years ago.
My first wife and I were invited to her grandmothers house for dinner one Sunday night. There was some type of celebration going on and most of my first wife’s extended family were there. There was lots of people and lots of food.
Lots of good food.
The food was spread out on the kitchen counter buffet style. There was plenty of food and most people made several trips back to the kitchen.
But for some reason that day I was extra hungry. I must have made at least three or four trips back to the kitchen, refilling my plate each time. (This was back in the days before I started running. I was a beefy 235 pounds and could eat like there was no tomorrow. And to think I called myself a starving college student.)
Somehow I managed to avoid slipping into a food-induced coma after dinner and made my way down to the family room where everyone was gathered. The conversation was lively and somehow we started telling funny stories about pets. Everyone it seemed had a funny story about a stupid thing one of their pets had done.
Then someone told a story about their bird. And that story sparked a memory about something stupid one of my friend’s birds had done.
So I started telling the story.
For some reason the story sounded extra funny that evening and I started laughing as I told it.
Others were laughing as I told the story too but for some reason this story struck me as extremely funny and I was laughing harder than anyone.
Then in an instant, before I could even finish the story, I started coughing.
And the cough turned into a choke.
The next thing I knew, I was throwing all over myself. All four platefuls of food went from my stomach to my clothes in something like ten seconds.
There was a moment of stunned silence. I don’t think anyone in the room had ever witnessed spontaneous puking before.
I wanted to disappear. Even the deepest, darkest cave wouldn’t have been a sufficient place to hide.
It took only moments though for the shock to wear off. And after the shock was gone I could tell everyone wanted to laugh and were doing their best to control themselves.
Even my first wife had to stop herself from laughing as she grabbed my hand and took me down stairs to the laundry room to clean me up and find some clean clothes. (She finally had to excuse herself and go to another room to get all the giggles out while leaving me half naked standing between the washing machine and a pile of my own puke covered clothes.)
I don’t remember talking to anyone else that night. My first wife drove me home as soon I was somewhat cleaned up.
I thought I was going to be the butt of family jokes for years. But no one who witnessed the incident ever brought up while I was around. But there were times after that I would catch them looking at me with a smile behind their eyes.
November 29th, 2005
I must have ate too much turkey this weekend because every night I had the most bizarre dreams.
The strangest of them all happened last night.
I dreamed I was watching the Denver Broncos play the New York Jets. Denver won the game with a last second touchdown. From where I was sitting however, I could tell that the football never made it into the end one. After the game I wrote in this blog what I had seen gloated how the Broncos won a game they should have lost. For some reason the NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, was a big fan of my blog and after reading my post decided that the victory should be awarded to the Jets.
Strange what too much turkey will do to you mind.
(And Mr. Tagliabue, if you read this blog, please note that I think Denver has fairly won all of it’s games this year.)
November 28th, 2005
My worst Thanksgiving was not the one that took place two weeks after my first wife, Krista, died.
It was the one that took place the year before I married her.
The Thanksgiving after Krista died was surreal. I was still numb and in shock over her death and the death of our daughter, Hope. It was also the first day in nearly two weeks that I had nothing to do. No funerals preparations or trips to the hospital. It actually felt good to sit on the couch with a plate of food and watch football all day. Looking back, it was probably a good for me to sit there and not have anything to worry about.
But it still wasn’t my worst Thanksgiving.
That distinction goes to the one three years before. I was finishing my last year of college. I was engaged to Krista and had started a job with America Online the month before. I was grateful for the job. It paid well and provided benefits even for part-time employees like myself.
Holiday shifts were determined by seniority. And since I was literally at the bottom of the seniority pool, I had to pick from the shifts that no one else wanted. And when it came time to pick, all I found myself stuck with the 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. shift. Basically that meant while my family and Krista were enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, football games, and everything else associated with the holiday, I was going to be stuck answering customer service calls.
I tried to tell myself having to work that shift was a blessing in disguise. AOL was paying its employees double time and half for working the holiday and we desperately needed the money. I also thought that the call volume would be very low â€“ so low there was rumor that they would probably send some people home early.
Thanksgiving arrived. I spend the morning with my family then about quarter to ten, drove to work. The streets were empty. Stores were closed. And those people I did see driving around had smiles on their faces as they were driving off to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.
I arrived at work, put on the headset, and started taking phone calls. To my surprise, call volume was high. There wasn’t any downtime between phone calls. Most people I spoke to complained about being on hold for over five minutes. Most people that called were with their family. As I talked to them I could hear their family in the background laughing and talking or cheering for their football team. Each call reinforced that I was stuck in front of a computer while others were enjoying the holiday.
After work I drove home. My family and Krista were playing board games and having a good time. I fixed myself a plate of leftovers and jointed in few hours of fun that remained.
For me that Thanksgiving is forever lost because I missed out time with my family and Krista. While they were having a wonderful day together and making memories, I was at work. Instead of being there to witness the meringue of a pie that caught fire (burns like napalm, Krista said) or picking raisins out of the stuffing or watching the Detroit Lions game with my dad, I was stuck in front of a computer.
I don’t think I made a bad decision by working — I did need some way to pay for the upcoming wedding and our life together. But it wasn’t until years later that I realized how much I was really missing out on. I told myself there would be many more Thanksgiving days with Krista and my family.
Little did I know that I would only have two remaining with Krista.
But these last three Thanksgivings with Marathon Girl have been the best because I’ve appreciated every moment with her and our families. No matter how good or bad food or the overall day has been, I’ve learned to make as many memories as possible. Because you never know when this could be the last Thanksgiving with someone you love.
There is only one Thanksgiving in 2005.
One chance to make Thanksgiving memories.
I, for one, am going to do my best to take advantage of it.
November 22nd, 2005
The Holy War is tomorrow and most people around the office are bleeding red or blue.
That leaves people like me (who bleed purple), in sticky middle ground.
I attended one of these games a few years back with Eugene. Someone gave me some free tickets or something and since Eugene is always up for a good football game I took him. I don’t think either side was playing for much that year. I think they were both going through mediocre seasons and had little or no chance for a bowl game.
What I do remember (aside from the fact is was freezing cold and I left the game feeling numb) was the zealot-like intensity of fans on both sides. Eugene and I were sitting in a section that had a good mix of both fans, I seriously thought a war was going to break out in the stands. I’ve been to my fair share of sporting events in my day, but never seen fans hate each other as much as I did that Saturday.
I’m all for a spirited rivalry. I love to hate the Raiders, for example, but I don’t claim some sort of moral superiority to Raider fans when the Broncos win. In this war, both sides seem to think that their side gets a year of moral authority.
Personally I’ll be glad when things return to normal in the office. After Saturday, the college football season will be over and we can start thinking about something much more important.
November 18th, 2005
A confession if you will.
I have an addiction.
A big one.
Right now I can feel it gnawing at me, distracting me for the work piled up on my desk.
It’s been seven days since I’ve fed my addiction. And if I don’t get a fix soon, all hell might break loose.
I’m telling myself to be patient. Tonight I’ll have my fix and all will be well for a while.
Just ten hours. That’s all. Ten hours.
So you know, it wasn’t my intention to become addicted. But some friends kept telling me to try it. You’re missing out, they said. Great plot. Excellent writing. Complicated characters. What more can you want?
So I tried it this summer. Started watching reruns.
And one episode was all it took to hook me.
And now I can’t get enough of it. Lost is by far the best television show I’ve ever seen.
Granted, I don’t watch much TV. Aside from an occasional weekend football game, Lost is the only TV I watch. I’m too busy working, writing, and playing with Aidan and Steven to have much time for anything else.
But the writers of this show…. Wow. Impressive how they can pull of a show with anywhere from 12 to 15 complicated but believable characters. (Including the island which is the most intriguing character of them all.) And the plot is incredible. The writers know how to reveal just enough information to have you wanting more.
This weekend while I was sick, I went back and watched a few episodes from the first season. (I own first season on DVD.) It’s amazing how many clues about the characters and upcoming events are revealed through their words and actions that you don’t catch unless you watch the episode knowing what’s going to happen several episodes in advance.
Kudos to those are in charge of the show. Like a drug dealer, they do a giving me just enough to come back for more.
So tonight don’t call. Don’t knock on the door or expect me to check my email.
I’ll be in the family room feeding my weekly addiction.
November 16th, 2005
Been working all weekend to get the new company website up and running. Been sick all weekend too with some kind of flu.
If for some reason I surface later this week, you’ll know I made it through all this alive.
November 13th, 2005
Yesterday was election day in our small town. A new mayor and open city council seats were up for grabs. Marathon Girl and I went to vote last night and to our surprise a line stretched out the door of the school. (Apparently there were some problems with someone’s voter registration.)
I was already planning to write my own name in for city council, I told Marathon Girl she should write my name for city council too. My platform was simple: No lines at the polls on election day. I told her if I won, I’d make sure no one would have to wait in line to vote. (I should note that writing my own name wasn’t some act of vanity. Of all council members on the ballot, it was hard to find a difference in their platforms. And seeing how none of them appealed to me, I couldn’t feel good about voting for any of them. Thus a vote for myself.)
“I’d rather not throw my vote away,” Marathon Girl said.
“It’s not throwing your vote away,” I said. “Throwing your vote away happens you don’t vote.”
“I’d rather vote for someone who has a reasonable chance of winning.”
“My chances of winning would double if you’d vote for me.”
“You can’t double zero,” Marathon Girl said.
After we voted, Marathon Girl asked me who I voted for.
“Myself,” I said. “You?”
Marathon Girl told me the name of the candidate she voted for.
“You didn’t vote for me?”
“I told you I’m not going to throw my vote away. If you really think you could do a better job, then run for office.”
Running for office is always something I’ve thought about doing though I doubt I could ever lower myself to the level of a politician. Besides, once it’s discovered I was a Detroit Tiger fan, the scandal that would engulf my campaign would be so great, I could never show my face in public again. (I have a hard enough time wearing the hat out in public nowadays.)
I still maintain that voting for myself was not throwing my vote away. Just because I lost doesn’t mean that others who voted for losing candidates (or others who decided to write my name in) threw their votes away. For those cities and/or states that had elections yesterday the only ones who threw their votes away were those who decided not to participate.
In all likelihood I only received one vote last night, I still maintain it was better to write my own name in then not vote at all.
November 9th, 2005
Spent about 10 hours this weekend putting the finishing touches on a couple of chapters of my book. One of the chapters involved a period of several weeks where Marathon Girl and I had to decide if we actually wanted to pursue a relationship with each other. At the time we were both dating other people and there were issues of becoming involved with a young widower that made Marathon Girl hesitant to pursue any sort of relationship with me. We hashed these issues out over a period two weeks before deciding to take a chance and see if we could make things work.
It’s been about six months since I’ve read these chapters and reading and rewriting sections of them made me fall in love with Marathon Girl all over again. I had so much fun reading them those chapters that I read parts of them to Marathon Girl and we spend two hours last night recalling how there were a thousand different things that could have happened that could have scuttled our relationship. But somehow the most amazing things happened so that things worked out between the two of us.
It’s been over three years since we decided to see if we could make things work. And last night sitting on the couch, remembering our early days together, made me remember how fortunate I am to have Marathon Girl as a wife, mother of our children, and best friend. I have no regrets about that decision.
I think it’s the best one I ever made.
November 7th, 2005
Recently several people have emailed me asking if I know of some good resources for young widows, widowers, or those who may be involved in a relationship with them. From my own experience I know that such resources are had to come by and having one place where people could find a list of resources could be very helpful.
So this morning I started a list of links on my link page that could be helpful to young widows, young widowers, and those who may be involved or considering starting a relationship with one. There’s only a few right now but I’d like to add more. If you know of some websites, articles, forms, etc, that would be helpful, please email them to me or leave a comment.
November 3rd, 2005
It was obvious who was the most excited about Halloween at our house.
It wasn’t even a contest.
Sure, Aidan was happy to be wearing a fireman costume though I don’t think he understood why he was wearing it. Personally I think he just liked wearing the soft felt fireman hat.
But me? I’ve wanted to take Aidan trick-or-treating since he was born.
A few ghosts and goblins had come to the door while I was taking pictures of Aidan in his costume. Aidan wanted some of the candy that was being passed out but I told him he’d have plenty in just a few minutes.
So after a few pictures, Aidan and I walked into the darkness. (In the Halloween spirit, I did dress up. I put on my Detroit Tiger baseball cap I as walked out the door. I called my costume The Biggest Loser.)
Aidan seemed impressed that there were kids all over the neighborhood running around dressed up. He kept looking at them with big eyes each time a group of them would pass up.
We stopped at the first house. A nice lady answered the door. I told Aidan to say “Trick or Treat.” Aidan started at the woman blankly. She told Aidan he had a cute costume and gave him a piece of candy. “Say ‘Thank you,’” I told Aidan. Aidan waved goodbye to the lady who, in turn, waved back.
By the fourth house, Aidan had the hang of it. He’d stare blankly at who ever opened the door but had learned to take the piece of candy and put it in his bag then wave goodbye as we walked down the sidewalk. When we reached the next house, Aidan perked up when I knocked on the door and smiled at the prospect of more candy.
It took us 30 minutes to comb the neighborhood — about fifteen homes — because Aidan wanted to walk from house to house. When we returned home, Aidan had enough candy in his bag that he had a hard time lifting it off the sidewalk. (All of our wonderful neighbors it seems wanted to add an extra piece of candy for me. Apparently the Detroit Tiger had garnered a lot of sympathy.) I offered to help him carry it home but Aidan was insistent that he and he alone carry it.
Back at home we gave Aidan a couple of pieces of candy. He seemed fairly pleased with the whole evening.
I was too.
I love being a dad.
November 1st, 2005