Emily; A Whole ‘Nother Year

OK, I’ll admit it. When it comes to outwardly living, acting and reacting to emotions, I’m a curmudgeon. I don’t laugh out-loud near enough to express how happy I am and I don’t cry nearly enough to express the deep emotion that helps you to know that I’m not some weird robot from outer space. I’m sure you sometimes read the things I blog about and probably wonder who is this guy eating leftovers off my plate and what did you do with my husband? My mind is always jam-packed with thoughts but they just seem to come out better through my fingertips than from my mouth.

I do get it, I’m not the most outwardly expressive person on the planet; probably not even in the top five billion. I’d venture to guess that there are probably a few ISIS soldiers who are more emotionally expressive than I am. When you’re laughing out loud, I’m just grinning. When you’re overjoyed to tears, I’m just smiling. But what you don’t realize is that those tiny little expressions on the outside of my face are representing billions of happy neurons colliding among the fat cells underneath. I do love and I do feel things strongly, my face just doesn’t always cooperate with my mind.

I like to believe that you get me, that you know the real me beneath my dull and undemonstrative exterior. In a utopian world, you would appreciate the rock-like foundation that supports who you are and what you’re doing no matter what mood I’m in or what has happened at work. That’s utopia, not Fairfield Pike, so I guess it probably helps to get a personal dose of emotion and passion from your husband now and then, especially when it’s your Birthday. This might be an attempt to do you some justice as you are far too important to me and your friends to be let down by the one you lift up so perfectly.

First of all, Happy Birthday! I wanted that to be a sentence all by itself but then I looked at it on paper and decided that it looked lonely. That just wouldn’t do. I never want you to be lonely. That is why I can mostly be found clutching your hand in mine. Your hand is, to me, a perfect hand. It touches me and comforts me in ways that are difficult to write about. It’s the thrill of a soft caress and the solace of a late night head scratch that heal me. It’s the kneading of biscuit dough or the mechanics of a sweet thank you letter that move me. Your hands untangle the knots in my soul while they weave a life worth living. You have the kind of hands that are worth holding and I love holding them.

You are the best friend a person could ever hope to have. I love that you are still friends with most of your childhood friends. That demonstrates that you are loyal and kind and thoughtful. I’m so thankful to get to be the guy who wakes up with and falls asleep beside you. I never suffer from a lack of sleep because I’m forever at peace knowing that I won. I beat the odds and I beat every single other man out there who was looking for the perfect wife. They lost and I won. My rewards and reminders are the long red hairs I find daily entwined in my clothes and in precarious places on my body. When I find one, I laugh (internally of course) then pinch myself to remind me that this whole amazing thing is actually real – that I get to be the one who kisses your lips and holds you close every day of my life.

I love your laugh. You have an infectious laugh and I guess that is why my laughs seem so insignificant and barren. Your laugh makes my laugh look like an indifferent mime without the cool striped mime costume and makeup. Who could ever smile as big or laugh as hard as you? No one can. That awesome laugh cheers me up and makes me want to deserve you. The lines on my face are from 8 years of perpetual smiling. I’m totally getting wrinkles on my face because of you and I don’t even care.

Emily in Slovenia

I think you are absolutely beautiful. If you were a president, you would be named Babe-a-ham Lincoln. In Latin, you would be called “babia majora”. If you had lived during the Renaissance period, it would be called the Emily period as all of the masters would have painted you. You hair is like silky sunshine and your eyes are like maple nut goodies. If you’d let me, I’d lick you all day long. That’s creepy I know but, alas, no licking allowed. It’s ok though, because you do let me hold your hands a lot.

I could never write great things about you without mentioning your amazing cooking but I really don’t need or want to because your fantastic cooking has more to do with the love you have for each of us that get to eat it than it has to do with skill. For you, cooking is a metaphor for love. It’s just one of the many things you make an effort to do that reflects the size and capacity of your heart. You love harder and stronger than anyone I’ve ever met and that makes you an amazing wife and an incredibly rare friend. I pray I never lose you.

I hope that this Birthday is one fraction as special for you as is it is for me because for me it means that I just got to spend a whole-‘nother year with the woman I love and the best friend any person could ever hope to find. My love for you grows exponentially each and every year as I continue to discover more wonderful things about you. Just when I think I’ve seen the whole of you, another rose bud springs forth that redefines the meaning of perfection and the vernacular of love. You are absolutely amazing!

Happy Birthday Emily.

See, I did give it its own line.

Promises, Promises, Promises

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Getting old sucks. For all of my fellow baby boomers out there or even the more seasoned of you who are feeling the pains of maturity, those three simple words can conjure up a plethora of other more personally felt phrases – most of which wouldn’t be appropriate to write without a parental advisory notice like you see at an R rated movie. Although, technically, I did warn you up front with a legal disclaimer, I don’t actually plan on using a lot of expletives in this particular blog. I just thought I’d put it out there just in case I have to reposition my doughnut pillow while I’m writing this.

When I was a kid, I thought we’d be flying around on our own jet-packs by now. Every time I watch the news it looks like someone’s invented a way to make a gun from plastic with a 3D printer or grow a lung in a petri dish or even clone Little Bo Peep. Emily and I are taking a Beef Master class at the Ag Extension office right now and low and behold I learned that you can kill the testicles of a living bull and use stem cells from a prize bull to grow new “bull stuff” and it will totally replace the bull’s reproductive system to be exactly like the donor bull – DNA and all. Isn’t that something? But…still no jet-pack.

With all of those exciting discoveries, what they failed to tell us is that Dolly the first cloned sheep from the late 90’s was put down in 2003 (6 years old) from being plagued by health problems like lung disease and premature arthritis. It seems that even if you’re cloned from good stock, nothing will protect us from the withering ravages of time. It seems like ever since I turned 50, I’m hurting all the time and not necessarily in the same places.I need access to a good lab and a genome scientist if you know of one who’s looking for work.

I mean, seriously, I can be walking down an isle in Kroger with not a care in the world other than the oddly ever-increasing price of peanut butter and all of the sudden if feels like my hip just went out of socket. Then miraculously…20 steps and 3 bent cans of soup later – I feel fine again. With every passing day, I will either have inflamed tendons in my hand prohibiting me from properly closing or making a fist, or, plantar fasciitis in one or both feet, or, a messed up hip, or, bulging disks in my lower back, or, a myriad of other things going on that serve only to ruin my day/week/month/year. Did I mention the diabetes – tennis elbow? Wait a minute…I gotta pee.

Is this really it? Is this what people are talking about when they rave about how much they’re enjoying their retirement years? I’m more than a decade away and I already hate it. Not only was I never good at math, now I’m expected to learn how to operate a retirement calculator too. The one thing I was counting on the most never even came to fruition. All those space drama’s had me jonesing for something much better than an xbox. Lost In Space, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barbarella, Planet of the Apes, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Alien…you name it…even the artist formerly known as Prince thought we’d be doing something really awesome by 1999. All he got out of it was a lawsuit, a bad tattoo, and the inability to use his own fake name in a sentence.

Here we are in 2015 and I’ve already outlived my father by 3 years. We as a society have made a lot of progress my father never got to see…one of which he’d have been most impressed with is a Tennessee NFL franchise. On one side of the coin Saturday Night Live is still going strong and one of our biggest rock stars is still Bob Dylan. Not a lot has changed in that regard. On the other side, we’ve learned that Oz is real and has his own television show, scientists are growing human organs in test tubes, Mike Tyson has a froufrou face tattoo, we’re shooting video’s on Mars and the President’s black. As the late Tim Wilson would have so eloquently said, “Were the F*ck is my jetpack?”

Still Good, But Not Too Good

If you’ve been paying attention to my blogging for the past 6 months then you’ve likely noticed the wide berth of subjects I’ve written about. It’s kind of all over the place, much like my real life. If you know me personally you’ve probably wondered why I’m not writing about about the things I’m most familiar with…the things I’m sort of known for being best at. I’ve wondered about that myself.

The best answer I can give is that I’d very likely bore the crap out of you because I’m one of those detail oriented people who obsesses over minute details when I’m explaining things that I love the most. I’m that guy that rarely speaks but when someone asks me what time it is will explain the history of Swiss watch making in order you get a well rounded answer. So, if you want to know my opinions on guns and shooting, meet me at the gun range and I’ll be happy to oblige you. If you just want to escape sanity for a few minutes, stick to my blog as-is and we’ll burn a few of those brain cells together.

I actually have a technical training manual I’ve written on the subject of advanced combat handgun shooting based on contemporary neuroscience that’s more than 300 pages. It’s used by certain military training camps – not to teach them anything valuable but to see if they will wash out of training before being forced to finish reading it. Not exactly what I was shooting for when I wrote it but you take your wins wherever they’re found right?

Some writers struggle to develop topics or ideas about what to write about but I’m not really one of those people. I can literally write about anything or nothing, anytime – anywhere. This blog is a particularly good example of that useless ability. It’s probably because big-boy writers take themselves serious and attempt to stay true to a particular style in order they not disappoint loyal followers and fans. Since I really don’t take myself all that serious and have no real audience, I’m not required to filter out anything that might tend to make me look ignorant. There are some things that are so obvious about us that we’d be wasting our time to try and hide it from people.

I guess I fear that seriousness just a little bit. When my son was about 13 years old I came up with this lofty philosophical expression in hopes I would sound profound and worth listening to. I told him repeatedly, “When a man begins to take himself too serious, everyone else stops.” I actually came up with it as a response to a friend at the time who liked to embellish his life to the point of downright dishonesty. Instead of being a volunteer reserve police officer he became, to people not in the know, a CIA agent. Then, after a disability, he became a CIA handler who recruited covert operatives and planned international missions against terrorism right from his bedroom.

My mom, in this same situation, would likely say that he had a great imagination…”If you can’t say something good about someone then you shouldn’t say anything at all!” I hear ya mom. But, I’m a dad now and this man’s inadequacies inspired powerful teaching moments for father-son conversations. My son probably doesn’t even remember how cool I was back then. The last remaining fragment of coolness from my 50 year old existence is a full head of mostly black curly hair. Any other positive attributes are muted first thing every morning by having to pluck ear hair, taking handfuls of prescription cocktails and a sobering number from my trusty blood-glucose meter.

I used to enjoy rappelling off high cliffs, now I fear climbing an aluminum ladder up to my roof. Oh how my life has changed. I barely recognize myself anymore. It’s a great thing I didn’t meet my wife back when I was a real guy. She’d be sorely underwhelmed at how I’ve evolved. But since I met her in my 40’s, and since I do well at concealing my age inflicted inadequacies, she still thinks I’m pretty cool. Just wait till she finds out that it was a fear of heights and not forgetfulness that kept me from fixing the leaky roof.

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