Monday, June 13, 2016

Do Something

I've been reading this book off and on since Julie picked it up on clearance. It's not a difficult read, not intellectually stimulating, it's simple... just like the man it's about.

Dan Ewald was Sparky Anderson's personal assistant from the time he (Anderson) arrived in Detroit. They forged a bond and remained very close after his retirement.  He focuses on all the small things, as he was Sparky's right hand man. Offseason, spring training, charity appearances, retirement, deathbed.

I haven't made it to the middle of the book yet, where the pictures are located. Each chapter is six-to-twenty pages, so it's my kind of reading.

If I don't read another page, the one excerpt that struck me was from one of Ewald's last trips to visit Sparky at his Thousand Oaks, California home. Sparky was an avid morning walker and prided himself on keeping in shape without the gym.

One Sunday morning, the author noted catching up to him on a walk. He had three newspapers in his hand and was coming off a neighbors front porch. A warm greeting, followed by a "what the hell are you doing with those papers?!"

"Danny, my boy! The paper boy leaves these at the end of the lane. I don't know anyone that lives in these houses, but the way I figure, I get these up to their front door and save them a few steps in the morning. Might be the best thing that happens to them today."

The one thing I've tried to pound home to my boys is that you leave things better than you found them. Don't just put the Legos away, take that cup into the kitchen too. Don't just stack the books, take them over to the shelf.

Many young parents struggle with explaining  the world we live in to their brood. Sometimes an explanation isn't necessary, it's simply living and leading by example. Yes, I have my flaws and I get saddened when I see my worst come out in my child. It makes me conscious of my actions and I don't repeat them (Julie may disagree).

In times of peril, we all know that we like to shift blame. This is stupid. It accomplishes nothing. Opinions are nothing more than thoughts and words and not.a.single.person. shares the exact same mindset.

When Julie and I were trying to conceive (Reid), I developed a habit of 'doing extra'. Every time I entered a bathroom, in my home, at work, anywhere... I always noticed a paper towel that missed the trash can. Call it karma, call it superstition, call it doing the right thing, I ALWAYS picked up anything that was strewn haphazardly onto the floor. I did this (among 528 other things) for fourteen long months. (I still like to think that the Big Man made note of this when science and divinity intervened)

After she became pregnant with Reid, it's something I still do. Whether I'm standing in my boxers at 5am or dressed up for a wedding - if the bathroom is unkempt, it gets tidied up by me. What I realized in retrospect is that it's just something I do. It's not something I ever thought I'd blog about, I'm not looking for adulation or a janitorial medal. It's making a point.

Since I've been an uncertified bathroom custodian, I have never once had a angry feeling come over me. It would be easy to have some resentment when I crouch over and palm a wet piece of paper (sometimes with nasty, squishy stuff in it). There have been my share of willies after scooping up a clump of hair, I just thank God I've never visited a ladies room (although I hear they're cleaner any way). But long to short, it's a simple act of kindness. I feel better and maybe someone else does too. I went from doing something to get something to doing something with no strings attached.

I see lots of inspirational quotes. I think we all do. What we, as humans need, aren't more words. If that were the case, we'd be the most inspired and motivated group of life forms any where. What we need as a world is action.



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Patience (yeah...)

I was driving home from work today and saw a man TOTALLY overreact to a car that had it's rear bumper (maybe) six inches over the crosswalk, trying to beat out a yellow light. The belligerent gentleman was turning left and looked like a complete fool as he inched behind Prick A and laid on his horn, cursing until the late model Tercel crept forward and onto the highway and out of his life until they possibly meet again tomorrow.

I reflected on this at the time I witnessed it, the next five minutes as I waited to enter I-71 northbound, and again as I was mowing this evening. The honking imbecile was me. Me in the morning. I like to think of myself as a morning person (I'm not). I like to be early. I like to have peace, tranquility, repose... all before the madness that is the day that lies ahead.

I like to leave for the office before 7:00. I lose my mind if I hear Matt Lauer's voice. If I'm three minutes behind, I have to follow the white Sequoia down narrow, impassable roads for seven miles. If I'm five minutes late, I have to watch junior high kids wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before exiting their house and mosey down their driveway. If I'm ten minutes late, to hell with it... the office gets donuts.

What Adam looks like in the morning...
Going home? There's this thing called "Dad Code". No commute is too long on the way home. Sometimes I wish I drove to and from Paducah. An empty bladder, beverage-in-tow, John Denver, and a scenic route... I'm fine with getting home after dusk to avoid the melee that awaits (sometimes).

Back to the lesson at hand though: patience. We all need to CTFO. For reals. There are far more pressing matters than the things that grind our gears... someone just lost a loved one, someone just ended a marriage, someone doesn't know where their next meal will come from, someone can't pay their water bill.

Julie and I learned a hard lesson in patience. We thought we'd have Reid nine months after our December wedding. SO naive. 

The original purpose of this blog was a coping mechanism for a couple struggling with infertility, or at the very least, struggling at TTC (trying to conceive). I seriously jokingly kept a running tab when we started visits to Kettering Reproductive Medicine in 2010, claiming I'd bill the fetus formerly known as 'Reggie' when he reached adulthood.

Six years later, I'm sucked away from the daily grind of a preschooler wearing at your every nerve and an infant needing your every spare second and meditating behind a lawnmower. I make a turn in my back yard tonight. I glance toward the window and see a beaming face of an almost four-year-old. "Hi Dad!", waving excitedly, crayon(s) in-hand.

My heart melts. I remember my purpose in life: lead by example, show compassion, be present, and be patient.

Parenting, marriage, adulthood - awesome. Grueling at times, but would not trade for all the fanciest ketchups... Dijon ketchups... in the world.

For all of the times I want to pull my hair out, have it surgically implanted, and pull it out again; I see my little guys reaction to SEEING HIS DAD and realize that I am his rock star and he is my groupie.