Every intention

I had every intention to rant about how I was going to stop drinking coke and how I was inspired by friends to get healthier. Then one of those moments happened. One of those moments that I talked about in my post titled Car Accidents and UFO’s. Those mild panic attacks.

Trying to type this while I am in the middle of one. Very difficult because my mind is racing a bazillion miles a second. Thoughts like “This shit just got real”, “how am I going to pay for this?”.

The pressing ones are about Toby. “Is he going to like preschool?”
“What if he hates it?”

Some where work randomly pops in. “Am I doing a good job?”
“Am I doing the best I can for these kids?”
“Did I miss anything?”

“Black Keys concert”

“What if he just goes to preschool and screams?”
“Do I need a second job?”
“I wonder if county market is hiring?”

“God, this really sucks”

“Thank God for my mom”

“Great isn’t Mother’s Day right around the corner?”

“I really have no idea what I’m doing.”


All questions, no answers.


The Beast

I awake to the sounds of the beast. Try as I may to lay still, to hide, to blend in the beast finds me. I play dead. The beast doesn’t buy it. It claws, pounces, and cries out demanding to be fed. Finally, I give it.

I fetch the beast his cold brown liquid. The beast is pleased, but only for a moment. The beast demands to be entertained! I turn to my magic box. The magic box casts images and it blares sounds that engage the beast. The beast is pleased.

I feebly attempt to feed myself. I scamper off to the kitchen. On cue the beast follows. The beast likes to keep careful watch. I believe he thinks I may escape. Satisfied that I am not attempting to leave, the beast demands a portion of my food. I comply. The beast is pleased, but only for a moment.

The beast again demands entertainment. This time in the form of combat. The beast engages first. Slamming himself into me. The head, the beast’s deadliest weapon. I have been left bloodied and bruised because of the beast’s head. Not only is it the hardest part of the beast body but he cries out noises and utterances that I yet to fully understand.

Again, he engages. Charging forth. I defend myself. Tossing him away. Still he comes back for more. I parry the head away, only to get kicked by legs and feet. That may leave a bruise tomorrow. The beast wheels around, dipping under my arms, then shooting upward, slamming the top of his head into my jaw. Once again the beast has bested me.

There’s no rest for the wicked, the beast demands to be fed again. He demands the magic box. I fetch both. He is not pleased. The magic box is not giving him the right images and sounds. Ignoring the fact that this was sufficient enough earlier, he demands other set of images and sounds. I comply. The beast is not pleased. He wants the images and sounds that I just had on. Again, I comply.

I look to the horizon, searching for hope. Nothing. The beast cries out again. My day continues.

Upon the horizon, there is a reflection. My eye catches it. The beast sees it as well. The beast unleashes a frenzy of energy, running around and uttering noises. The knight. The knight riding in on a white stallion. The only true person who can tame the beast. The beast knows. The beast is pleased. The knight approaches the cave. Clear as a bell the beast cries out “NANNA!”

The beast is pleased.

Finish a puzzle

Growing up I always enjoyed doing puzzles. I suppose it appealed to my inner organizer because I saw chaos and had to put it together. Puzzles were always something I had to finish. Once I started it, I had to finish it. I remember being up way past my bed time trying to finish a puzzle.

I remember taking pieces and turning them and putting them with other pieces to see if it fit. Not only does a piece have to fit but then it has to look right too. There are this crazy puzzles where you will get pieces that look right but after you put more of the puzzle together you realize that they don’t fit at all.

One of the things I am realizing more and more is that “fit” is so important. You can get a higher paying job, a more attractive spouse, even move to a new area, if you don’t fit then none of it matters. The just like a pieces of a puzzle, initially it looks like you fit, but as you put more and more pieces together you realize that things simply don’t match up.

There’s another piece, it happens less but it happens. There’s that piece that you have and you swear you’ve tried it on all of the other pieces but it doesn’t look right. You set it aside and put the rest of the puzzle together, believing that maybe that piece was extra or a mistake. Once the puzzle is together suddenly you see a hole right where that piece belongs. When you put it there it all comes together.

I’m also realizing that just because you don’t fit in initially, doesn’t mean you don’t belong to that puzzle. When I lived in Nashville it took me a solid 9 months to get use to living there. To know where the grocery store was. Find friends that I could bond with. Simply just find out where in the puzzle of Nashville I belonged. It wasn’t that I didn’t belong in that puzzle, I just had to find out where I belonged.

All of this I suppose is a big metaphor for life. Where in this puzzle called life do we belong? We try and pair up with different pieces and see if that’s the right fit, or we look and see if we belong in another section of the puzzle. The sucky part is that we don’t have a box to look at. Once again I don’t have the answers or a box to go by.

Let them climb!

So if you know me at all, which most of you do, you know I have a crazy kid by the name of Toby. One of the thing I admire about my Tasmanian devil is his fearlessness. I’ve seen this kid jump off of steps without hesitating, crash head first into me, run around with a blanket over his head. Now, I’m not vouching for how smart he is but simply his fearlessness. Ever since Toby realized that climbing was an option, he was game. Right now I can proudly say there isn’t anything on the playground that he is afraid of.

The thing that I can’t stand are the over protective parents that won’t allow their kid to fall, fail, experiment and try again. I was at the playground earlier this week and saw a little girl and her parents there. The little girl was easily older and bigger than Toby. This girl goes climbing up something that Toby mastered last summer and the mom freaks out. She yells and goes running over to the girl. The problem is that the girl was doing great till her mom yelled and came rushing over! The little girl got panicked because of her mom yelling and rushing at her and she almost lost her balance and fell off.

About this time last year Toby went down a slide head first. What happened? He smashed face first into the wood chips! He got up. Spit out some wood. Brushed himself off. The next time we went down head first, he threw out his hands and slowed himself down to a stop. Kids learn. They learn from mistakes, like we all do. What’s are jobs as parents? Be there to pick them up, brush them off and support them the next time they want to slide head first.

Oh and I hate the parents that won’t let their kid climb up slides. Seriously, did we all forget what it was like to be a kid and climb up a slide? How fun it was to try and do in a crappy pair of shoes as your feet slide from under you? Honestly, how about you teach your kid manners, that way they know when they can climb up and when they need to wait their turn. If no one is on the slide, let them climb!

Toby vs. Playground

Toby vs. Playground

Car accidents and UFO’s

I hate being late. I hate when others are late. I use to experience anxiety anytime someone was late. I remember pacing back and forth in the living waiting for people. It’s incredible how many terrible thoughts I would have when someone was late. I use to think that terrible things were happening to the person that was late. Everything from car accidents to UFO abductions (seriously). The worst was that I would think that person simply didn’t care. They forgot about me. Moved on to something more important. These thoughts creep up in my mind every so often. I’ve gotten better over the years about keeping them under wraps and not letting them get out of control.

Now I face a similar issue. In the same family as the “anxiety of people being late” but I think much worse. For the first time in my life I think I am having mild panic attacks. I say mild because they aren’t paralyzing and I don’t start hyperventilating. My heart does race. My mind seems to get flooded with an avalanche of thoughts. I think of that dresser drawer that you just pile all of your clothes in and then you need something out of it and suddenly all these clothes pop out! Or the classic over packing a suitcase and sitting on it just to get it closed, then you got to open it later and the contents explode. Most of the time I have a pretty solid grasp of what’s going on in my mind. I can typically keep my thoughts and feelings in check. Now, I don’t know. This is different but the same as before. Pacing back and forth in front of a window waiting for someone and letting chaos unfold in my brain. Or maybe sitting on the front porch waiting…

I don’t think that it’s something I need meds for. Though I am not certain I would take them even if I had them. Counseling? Maybe? But I know the coping skills. How to breaking down my thoughts. How to rationalize them. I don’t know that it would provide anything new for me. It maybe just a season or a time in my life. I think of everything that’s going on and I know that stress and pressure can cause such things. Or maybe you are witnessing my spiral into insanity. Either way it should be a fun ride.

It’s a never ending battle.

It’s a never ending battle. The more you do, the more they multiply. They keep coming and coming. It doesn’t matter if you do them on a daily basis. If you try to ignore them, it gets worse. They even made machines that will take care of them for you, but the catch is you still have to remember to fill the machine! Dishes. Dirty dishes. Some how it’s a never ending chore that needs to be done but no one likes doing them. Except me.

I remember being around eleven and having to do the dishes. Back then you had to basically wash the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, then they never got fully dry so you had to dry them off before putting them away. Reflecting back on it now, pretty sure it would have been quicker to simply wash them by hand. It was one of the regular chores that my dad made me do, and at the time I hated it. Mostly because if I forgot, I would be waken up early to put the dishes away or I couldn’t go to bed till they were done.

Nowadays, I actually look forward to doing them. I know, sounds crazy. I think that parents can relate more to this. For me, it’s an escape. An excuse to get away from the 3foot, 32lbs, Korlatto (Korean + Mulatto), crazy person named Toby. The best part is, he gets it! I tell him that Dadda has to do the dishes, he doesn’t argue or even follow me. He leaves me alone!

The typical scene is my phone laying on the counter blasting Pandora (The Black Keys station of course) or ESPN radio streaming the latest episode of Colin Cowherd. It’s relaxing. The dirt washes away from the dishes, I get to let my mind wonder, and no crazy person trying to jump on my head. Now, if I take just a little too long, I’ll hear a little pitter patter of feet coming to find me. But, for that 10-20 minutes (depending on how many dishes I have), I’m not a play set or an entertainer for Toby.

In this crazy life we live, you have to find moments. They are hard to come by. Moments that allow you to disappear. To let your mind relax. It’s amazing that I teach many of my students various coping skills like counting to ten, deep breathing and imaginal exercises (yeah… Don’t really know what that is… Shhh don’t tell anyone) and yet one of my favorite coping skill is doing the dishes.

Dear Toby, (4/17/13)

From time to time I’ve been writing letters to Toby. My first one I posted was “You and Me”. This is just another letter I thought I’d share. It will be an awesome day when I finally get to give him these letters.

Dear Toby, (4/17/13)

It’s been a few days since I’ve written you. Thought I would take this time and talk to you about doing the right thing. First, many times doing the right thing can suck. Sometimes it’s the hard way and not the easy way. The easy way would be to give into peer pressure, bullying, and negative thoughts. The hard way, the right way is to walk away from that stuff. You may even have to walk away from friends and even family to do the right thing.

Now I know it sounds weird because I just told you to walk away from things. However, sometimes you have to step up. Take responsibility for your actions, no matter what the price. If you mess up no matter if its big or small, take ownership, don’t try and put off on someone else, thats called being a coward. Sometimes you have to step by sacrificing what you want for the betterment of someone else. You may have to protect or stand up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves. If this is ever the case know I’ll never fault you for fighting for them. Like I said, sometimes doing the right thing sucks.

So what’s the pay off? Your mind. You do the right thing, you can sleep at night. Breathe easier. See when you don’t do the right thing, it plagues you. Haunts you even. It will weigh on you mentally, which will eventually weigh on you physically.

It’s so important you know this. There are a lot of crazy things going on in this world. Bombings, shootings, rapes, stealing, you name it its happening. The only way to keep your head above water is to do the right thing.

Please know, I’ve tried my best to do the right thing. I know, that you will make mistakes. That you’ll give in from time to time. That you may even cower. Know that there is always hope to make things right. To do your very best despite the odds or what’s facing you. At the end of the day, if you can come home and say you did your best to do the right thing, you should have nothing to be ashamed of. This is my best explanation of what it means to be man. I’m proud of you already for so many reasons.

Friend Dad

It was necessary

It’s hard to say goodbye sometimes, but many times its necessary. Back in 2006, I decided that I was going to move to Nashville, Tn. It was a crazy decision. On the surface it looked like a rash decision. What many people didn’t see was my fascination with Tennessee that I had for years. They didn’t see or hear how many times I commented on wanting to move there some day. The goodbyes were hard though. I had to say goodbye to my family and to some awesome friends. I had to walk away from a youth group that I was volunteering at. In the end though, I needed to move there. I needed to get out and see the world. It was necessary.

About four years later, I decided to move back to Pennsylvania. The trip was insane. What normally takes about 10 hours turned into 15 hours. I drove a huge moving truck and my wife drove her car and our new born baby. We had to stop every 2 hours to feed and change Toby. Again, like the time before our decision to move seemed rash on the surface. What people didn’t see were the countless hours of conversations on moving. The “pros” and “cons” lists that were made. Just like before, we found it necessary. We had to move. Again the goodbyes were hard. I had to say goodbye to the “A-team” and “Expedition Kids” and some amazing people down there.

Right now, I’m moving again. From being married to being single. This might be the roughest move of all. For many of you the decision seems rash once again. Again, you didn’t see and hear the hours of talks, the emotions that were felt, the issues discussed. The goodbyes are different but still hard. I have to say goodbye to my wife. I have to say goodbye to my married self. Just like before it will be hard. Yet again though, it’s necessary. Something that I need to do.

Blurred Attempts

Ever just have one of those days where it seemed that no matter what happened things just went perfectly? You played a sport and you hit the game winner. Out with your friends and you said all the right things. Spent that perfect night with someone. Then there are those days when it seems like nothing can go right. You misplace your keys when you’re running late. The kid gets sick the night before a big meeting. All you do all day is fight and argue. What do those two days have in common? Timing. In the perfect day the timing is amazing. Everything feels in sync. In the terrible day, timing is just off. Not a lot but just enough.

It’s hard for me to say my entire life timing has been off for me, if you know anything about me you’ll know I’m pretty fortunate. On the other side of the coin, things have just felt off. I don’t know why. They have. There really hasn’t been a time where I felt 100% on track in life. Always had this sensation of playing catch up. Maybe it’s the difficulties that I face really connecting with people or being in the moment.

Sometimes I look at my life and it’s like watching and old movie where the focus is off… Much like the local movie theater. The floors are sticky, the sound is muffled, the movie is slightly slanted sideways and just blurry enough to almost kinda notice. One half of me says it’s just life, suck it up and move on. The other side says, no something isn’t right. It’s almost like those perfect days are far and few between. Each day in between those perfect days are blurred attempts that fail miserably. It just seems like for some, the perfect days happen more frequently. While others, once in a blue moon.

Honestly can’t remember the last perfect day. The last time life seemed to fall into place for me. Maybe, it’s just the way life is. Maybe my expectations are too high. I suppose what keeps each of us going is the pursuit of that perfect day. Maybe i’ll go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and have a perfect day. I don’t know. Once again I am left with no answers. This is probably my first real rant on here.

The Fizz

You know what I sucks sometimes? Ever get a new bottle of coke or Pepsi and then promptly drop it? And you are soooo thirsty but you have to wait or begin the process of slowly “unfizzing” the bottle. Most people use the slowly undo the cap, letting the pressure out, then the fizz comes boiling up and you quickly seal the lid. You repeat the process over and over until finally you can drink! Sometimes, it has happened to me, where you aren’t paying attention or just a little too slow sealing the lid and you favorite carbonated beverage spills over the top and onto your hands and the floor.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a shaken up pop bottle. The pressure inside of me has just simply been building up. What’s crazy to me is that I didn’t even notice it. It seemed like a slow process. It wasn’t that I didn’t know that pressure, stress, anxiety, and frustration were building up. It was that I didn’t realize how much of it was building up. It seemed like a slow process but it really wasn’t. It happened quickly.

I was at a conference this week. For some of you, I say conference and you already begin to fall asleep. Trust me, there were times when I about to myself. But getting aways, spending time with other people, focusing on something other than my crazy life, I mean crazy cuz most of you don’t know a lot of what’s going on, it helped to ease the fizz that was building up. It’s a lesson for myself and others, be aware of the fizz in your life and find ways to lesson the pressure. You don’t want to end up with a mess on the floor and all over your hands.