I don't know about you, but this time of year KILLS me. If there is a dog days of winter we are firmly in the middle of them!
Yeah, the days are getting longer, and yes we are in the range of half way done with winter, but MAN does this time of year drag! With the temps being consistently below freezing and the nights being longer than the daylight hours are, my frame of mind is in a very fragile way!
Now, I admit that I am not a winter sports person nor am I a fan of cold weather at all, I never have been, so I enter this conversation being biased to warm sunshine and beach climates, and thus it makes it harder for me to find even a sliver of attractiveness in the frigid months of Dec-Mar.
I've tried snowmobiling and skiing, tubing and ice fishing, all to no avail… each time I came away with a great set of memories and a few new skills, but at the same time deeply in need of an electric blanket and a hot toddy!
So I'll take a second to say a quick I'm sorry to the few of us that relish the days of blinding snow and heavy coated attire, but I'm officially over it, and that's the bad news, because I have to endure this agonizing frozen, ice covered torture for the better part of three more months.
If you need me I'll be the one under the heat lamp! :/
We're getting married… it's amazing the varied range of responses that you get when you tell people these three little words. Some folks shake their heads, others ask if you've gone crazy, and some smile and laugh or squeal with delight, but happily, all of the responses are usually followed up with a handshake, or a hug and a solemn wish of congratulations.
When my wife and I got engaged several people were surprised that a person "at my age" would be getting married to someone, anyone… as if to say that "You'vemade it this far so why do that to yourself". Do what exactly? Improve my life? Marry my best friend? Spend my days knowing that I had chosen happiness and dedication to the person who brings it into my life, over random searching and well hidden loneliness?
Was I missing something?
Strange as it may seem, there is no shortage of well-intended people who do truly feel that they need to provide you with some pearl of sage advice, brought forth from their own years (sometimes days) of interpersonal experience! Most were joking, I hope, and that served to make their verbiage both better and worse.
Now, not every one of the people that I told our happy news to spoke of doom and a life served in eternal regret, most were honestly happy for us, but ironically the crazy "words of warning" that came from a truly select few made me do some introspective thinking, and they brought me to a series of conclusions that I feel inclined to share with you:
-People will give you advice whether you want it or not.
-They're trying to be funny (sort of).
-Those same people usually don't know you well enough to give you that advice.
-As a rule, it's best to not listen to them.
Here's my own words of advice to the people who say things like: "Why ruin your life by getting married?":
When a person (like me) is happy, don't try to change that… find another lonely, angry, scared person just like yourself, and chat with them about how big of a fool I am being for marrying my best friend. In the meantime my wife and I will be living happily ever after… will you?
I'm thankful for The Philadelphia Eagles, cold beer, my 55" flat screen, a good steak, the DVR, macadamia nuts, Hawaii Five-O and anything that drives Selena crazy...
I'm thankful for the NFL Sunday Ticket and the Red Zone Channel as well as the Multi View NCAAF channel and the way that DCTC’s Amy Jo keeps Piper in awe for hours...
I am thankful for Barrett's chicken wings and bar pie pizza (with mushrooms) a semi-dry Chianti and a Love Boat of sushi...
I am thankful for the heated seats in my car and really good blue cheese...
Buffalo chicken flavored Doritos and horseradish cheddar by the block...
I am thankful for Bacon, in all forms, on all things, Oink...
I am thankful for a beautiful, and crazy, blonde goddess named Erika and her nearly perfect five year old daughter Piper and the unspeakable happiness that have brought to me since becoming a part of my world...
And I am thankful for you, yes you, who listens every day, and laughs, and tells (or forces) your friends to listen. I do this job, and keep this position on a day to day basis because of you and I thank God for this job and your dedication to our show more than you will ever know.
I feel the need to talk with you a bit about choices.
From the outside a choice is the simple and common act of deciding on something seems pretty mundane… you choose an option every second of everyday almost. Choices are usually tiny and require little thought or time to consider, they are done and over in a second and we barely know we’ve made a choice.
Choices like: should I eat in or take out or glance at that person, walk a bit faster or sit on this chair; simple, fast and usually uneventful… but the choices I am speaking of are the ones that seem small but are anything but.
I think it’s important to first say that the choices you make for yourself today will dictate the very life you’ll be living tomorrow. Remember that!
What you choose to do today will alter the best laid plan you may have for yourself in the future, maybe even your immediate future.
-You promised yourself you’d lose weight (and you plan on it) but eating the super-sized meal today is what you chose to do.
-You knew that if you were late to work one more time you’d get fired but you stayed out till 3am last night and couldn’t get up anyhow.
-Your spouse will be very mad if you don’t help with the laundry but going to the mall today was what you ended up doing! Etc.
This week marked the passing of a friend that had made so many bad choices in his existence that he felt certain that his future was doomed, and he ultimately took his own life. His choice to do so has sent a ripple effect through the family he left behind, a precious 4 year old daughter, the woman who truly loved him, his circle of stunned friends, and the community that he lived in. In truth he was a kind hearted man, yet he felt that the telling truth, and the act of doing the right thing, was just too boring and instead chose to inflate himself and his image through grandiose lies, as well as dodge his creditors and all his responsibilities. His denial of making the correct choices in life led to his inability to see things clearly at all… his tangled up life, that was easily fixable, was of no value to him -and he ultimately chose to end it.
Sad… but the life choices we make can and will do irreparable damage.
So now I ask you: What choice will you make today that will move you closer to your dreams? Will you admit that you need to make changes to get there, or will you lie and disguise the depth that you fallen to again? Will you walk confidently in the direction of your dreams or will you cower to the fear of the unknown?
Whatever you do, choose wisely today, and every day, and remember that you are going to either be rewarded or punished by what option you chose to make. Tomorrow is waiting… choose carefully.
In an effort to begin getting in shape I have started walking a 3+ mile route around the neighborhood where we live. On Sunday I set out on what would be a walk that would teach me a life lesson as well as get me closer to cardiovascular health.
I put on comfy (gym style) clothes, an appropriate wind breaker, laced up my new pair of Nike Shox and began my trip around the berg, but as I stepped off the curb something instantly was wrong. Inside my left sneaker was something that was just big enough to make it uncomfortable to walk. The trouble was that it also was almost bearable enough to just let it stay there. I was torn, because I really didn’t want to stop and remove my shoe in the middle of a country road, plus I had a little bit of momentum built up that I didn’t want to interrupt, so I walked on hoping it would soon become a non-issue… it didn’t.
About a quarter of a mile into my journey I begrudgingly stopped, leaned against a tree, unlaced the Nike and removed the shoe, in an effort to remove whatever it was that was bugging me. I expected it to be the size of a boulder, it had to be right? Any item inside your shoe that keeps you from being able to move in comfort must be massive, I thought.
I slipped the sneaker off and tilted it toward me so that whatever it was would roll into my view… as it did, I peered into the shoe, only to be amazed at how, what I could only describe as, miniscule the pain causing item actually was. It turned out that my “boulder” was in fact a tiny metal ball bearing that must’ve come from a broken toy of Piper’s that had flown into my nearby sneaker. It was SO small that it was barely visible at all! I took it out, tossed it into the leaves, and began again to tread onward.
As I now was walking it was noticeably better and much more pleasant to move forward. I walked faster and it seemed almost like to steps were easier and more positive. My mood seemed to lighten and I began to look around me at the passing scenery as opposed to thinking about what was causing me pain in my every step.
Then it hit me…
What little thing was in my life that was causing me pain?
What was I was just dealing with instead of removing from my life?
What was bugging me that I no longer had to tolerate?
What was slowing me down and keeping me from being happy and enjoying my journey through this world?
What seemed SO huge, that was no doubt minuscule, was distracting me from moving on?
And- How more miles would I have to travel in this world to finally get it out of my life?
Serious questions provoked by a tiny annoyance, but a great lesson learned.
So, ask yourself if there’s a proverbial rock in your shoe as you’re living your life. Consider the idea of ridding yourself of the things that cause you pain, and how positive you’ll feel as a result. The choice is yours to walk on in comfort or not… but, why walk with a rock in your shoe?
I did a bit on the show this week where I asked people to briefly tell me about what changes have happened in the last 5 years of their lives… it was astonishing!
For starters it was amazing how many calls I got! Dozens of people with powerful stories about overcoming obstacles, gaining success and finding great improvement in their lives… but there was also people who told us of great setbacks, hardships and failures they’d incurred in the past half-decade, yet all of them ended their calls with a positive look at the future, and if nothing else, all had a determined will to win over the odds that may have seemed almost insurmountable.
I sat there a bit in awe. I honestly had thought that the topic would be a “risky” considering the fragile state of the average person’s mindset these days. I expected the worst and instead got a pleasant surprise!
I also couldn’t help but drift off to remember the person I had been five years ago and consequently sit in disbelief of how different my world is now as opposed to then.
Five years ago I was taking full care of my mother (who was in ill health), I drove a PT Cruiser, I was in a dysfunctional and toxic relationship, lived in an unfinished house and not only had no pets, but had no desire to have one (not to mention two or four), oh, and I was not even a member of the morning show that I now co-host.
Half a decade later all of that is changed… I am in a totally finished and beautiful home, drive a Chevy Colorado, I have a job that most people (even those in the radio biz) would love to have, I am the proud father of a cat- a dog- and two fish, I adore a five year old that keeps me on my best behavior daily, and in December I’ll stand on a beach in South Carolina and commit my life to her mother, my soul mate, as she becomes my wife.
Wanna make yourself smile?... Take a moment and think now about where you were ONLY five years ago… you may be surprised how far you’ve come, or maybe you'll get a very clear picture of what you need to change to start moving forward, but for better or worse, I hope that the next five will be equally as awesome, for both of us!
In a matter of days we will be setting sail for the Eastern Caribbean on the AAA North Penn/ Froggy101 cruise. This will be my 8th cruise and I can’t explain to you how excited and (honestly) deserving Erika and I are about this pending break.
We actually had to prepare ourselves for an extremely challenging twelve month stretch as 2014 began, and it has not only been challenging but this year has been downright overwhelming. Honestly, we have succeeded in doing some of the biggest things that a couple can in their entire lives (moving, merging houses, changing jobs, fixing/ renovating a house, putting a child into school for her 1st year, getting married) and all in one year!!! If we had decided to add: start a business and have a baby, to the list we would’ve achieved the complete list of marital milestone accomplishments and have no more big things left to do. JEEZ!
The old Jonas Salk adage states that: “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more”… and I am honored to be able to do what I do, but there is also a quote that says: “Vacation used to be a luxury, however, in today's world, it has become a necessity.”
Don’t misunderstand me; I constantly challenge myself to be better, and to achieve the next level, but from the 25th of September to the 4th of October my fiancé and I will be unavailable!
Sure you can call but the phone won’t work were we’ll be…
and that’s just fine with both of us.
When I was growing up my parents simply never considered the idea of a dog as a pet in our house. Dogs, let’s face it, are more work than cats, fish, snakes, hamsters and a substantial list of other pets you could consider, so they purposely dodged the question when I asked them if we could get a dog.
Fast forward to now and the day that my fiancé Erika told me of her plans for adopting a dog (a large one at that)… I was totally against it. She and I both had small places that a large dog would be a menace to live with, and in a short amount of time we would be merging into one small place and the dog would be even more cramped! We live fairly stress free lives and, in my opinion, adding a dog meant no more nights out or weekends away without the constant thought of how, or who, would take care of the dog!
But honestly, one of my biggest sticking points was that I had a very well behaved and peaceful cat that I shared my life with named Butler, whom would no doubt be less than thrilled to surrender a percentage of his domain to a K9 of any size, most especially one that weighed in at 80+ pounds!
My fear of their meeting was monumental, and I remember the day that Endo & Butler met for the first time… it wasn’t pretty. To Butler the invasion was similar to that of when Hitler occupied France! Here was this massive, hulking, dominant force that was immovable and was seemingly thrust upon him, and he wasn’t leaving any time soon… his nerve and ego were in a state of shock and his only logical move was a retreat for higher ground (on top of the kitchen cabinets).
But a pretty miraculous thing started to happen shortly after the occupation (as Butler calls it) happened, he started to warm up to the big headed, dog faced, black mutt, in truth we all did.
Endo is a boxer-pit bull mix and his mode of operation is to love you to death. He’s constantly in need of affection, will lick your face or any other extremity (feet, leg, hands, ear, etc.) at his access to get your attention, truly believes at 8 years old that he is still a 2 pound puppy/ lap dog, and honestly loves Butler and his companionship to death!
They aren’t “the best of friends” just yet, but there are signs that show the possibility of a cuddle buddy relationship on the horizon… and don’t worry, I’ll post those pics ASAP! J
Moving is tough… really tough, but the real challenge is where all the stuff you’ve moved is going to be put now that it’s in the house!
Erika and I sat on the couch, exhausted and covered in sweat between boxes and boxes of freshly moved items, and just tried to imagine where it all would was going to fit. What seemed among the impossible was the thought of all of it disappearing into orderly places.
I have a relatively small place with not enough closets to fit my belongings, and I had just brought the entire collection of worldly possessions of not one but two females into it, for the foreseeable future.
There were 5 wardrobe boxes filled with both clothes and shoes, ten large boxes of everything from towels & blankets to pans & pictures, and then there was everything else: lamps, couches, books, tables, canned food, old records, shoes (lots of shoes), etc., but above all else there was toys…. loads and loads of toys.
I had to remind myself, box after box after box, that fate and circumstance had required us to move into this home as opposed to moving into the one we had intended to build, but that didn’t make the bitter and overwhelming feeling of total and complete disorganization any easier to handle.
I know that in time, no doubt sooner that we think, it will all be filed, folded , sorted and stored… but there in the midst of what seemed like an three day episode of Hoarders Visits Storage Wars… it was inconceivable.
On Wednesday I was sitting in the Lackawanna Trail Elementary school gym, listening to the principal Kelly speak to the parents of the incoming class of 2027, and I began to think of how awesome it was that I was going to be helping a little girl to become an adult. Man, what amazing changes have happened to my life.
If you’d have told me a decade ago that I would be in a “parental” position today, not to mention that I’d like it as much as I do, I would’ve laughed in your face. Piper and I have known each other for a little over 3 years now, but the alterations that she (and her mom) has made in the very man that I am have been astounding.
I remember well the “Things That IAbsolutely Will Not Do… Ever” list that I had established for my life, it was written in stone and I would dictate the items on it verbatim to anyone who wished to hear them.
I will never have a job that will force me to wake up at an unreasonable time… plenty of other employment options to choose from with a normal start time.
I will never drive a pickup truck… I don’t need one
I will never date a woman named Erika… too hokey.
I will never work in radio… TV is more my style.
I will never date a woman with a child… just because.
The items on that list seemed pretty concrete to me at the time, and I laugh to think of how I truly believed that they were going to remain the commandments that I’d live by… but that was then.
As the years have slowly ticked off I have watched in disbelief as each so called concrete item of the “Things That IAbsolutely Will Not Do… Ever” list began to fall, and my life became better as a result.
When you’re in your teens and early twenties you truly have the incredibly convoluted notion that you absolutely know it all, and there is nobody and no thing that will convince you otherwise; strangely it wasn’t until the day that I said to myself, out loud, “God, please help me, I really have no idea at all of what I’m doing in this world” that I began to learn any of the answers that would be of help. I am convinced it was on that day, when I uttered those words, that I began growing up.
Today I woke up at 3:10am, kissed my fiancé named Erika and her daughter Piper, and drove to my radio job… in my pickup. Astounding.
The lessons Piper will learn and the experiences she will be a part of in her school career are the things that will influence her entire life, and knowing that I had to share one of the most influential lessons that I have ever learned, and hopefully one that she learns a lot sooner than I did: Never Say Never!