My very wise Mrs.

I’m not big on conflict. Even when I have the occasional argument around the house I tend to catch myself and let it go. My wife is usually, (read 99.9% of the time) right anyway, and my kids are really good kids with good hearts. 

Not much is worth fighting about.

Not much gets me amped up at all really. Maybe sports, particularly hockey, but even there I don’t yell and scream at the television like I used to.

When I need to advocate for my kids though... that’s when it’s on. I am a very protective Papa Chow, and I will do whatever I need to do to take care of my kids. All of them.

Which is where I think this all started. I’m not going to go into all the sordid details, but it lasted about a week, involved an incredible amount of discussion and in the end, once I knew things were taken care of, it was over.

I thought.

I’m realizing though that it wasn’t over. Not by a long shot.

I’m realizing that being in that defensive mode has carried forward and I’ve been putting up some walls.

I’m realizing that for a person who doesn’t usually know how to say: “no” I have been subconsciously saying: “leave me alone.” Emphatically.

Easy things have become complicated, even difficult, and that just doesn’t need to be.

When I woke up this morning, this all hit me like a ton of bricks. By the time I had arrived at work, or about 2 hours later I had some clarity. I’m still working it out because it’s still new, but it’s time to take those walls down.

I told Netter the other day that I thought “Skinny Jim” seemed like kind of a jerk, or an ass. Which probably was the beginning of recognizing the walls, now that I think about it.

She told me that was not the case, that I just needed to stop over extending myself and learn to be more patient, particularly with myself, and that the timing, (with the weight loss) was just coincidence.

Wise woman that Netter. Don’t you think?

You Drink Like You Did 60 Pounds Ago.

What the heck? I’m not proud. I’m not trying to hide anything. The public nature of this blog suggests that I’m comfortable sharing the good, and the not so good in my life. So, I’m sharing this one too.

One of the many side effects of losing weight that I hadn’t anticipated has been rearing an ugly head in my life. In short, well - I just can’t drink like I used to.

This isn’t to suggest that I drink or drank “a lot,” because quite honestly I think that varies by individual with several factors coming into play. I’ve seen small guys who could consume cases. I’ve seen large fellas who couldn’t drink a glass. I’ve known women who, as the saying goes, could drink anybody under the table. Nobody knows for sure what all of the variables are and how one might affect another.

But one variable that I haven’t been considering is my weight, and sadly in the last few months on more than one occasion I’ve had some embarrassing moments as I “drank like I did 60 pounds ago,” without realizing that that was what I was doing.

A friend said that to me on Friday, and honestly I couldn’t be more grateful.  

No, I’m not going to break it down into detailed stories. There haven’t been any trips to jail, or court, or anything like that. Fortunately, my wife and a great group of friends have looked out for me, and tolerated me, (my word, not theirs) listened to me, and given me good advice to go on.

Still the whole thing is both embarrassing and frightening.

A man has to do a better job of knowing his limitations, and knowing when enough is enough.

And then... There was Abram.

This is a cross post from The MJB Foundation Blog.

In the literal sense the drive from Galloway to Westerville only takes about 40 - 45 minutes.

Figuratively, however it took a bit longer.

Finally though, in early October 2011 my wife and I found ourselves en route carrying an MJB Donation.

A gift for a boy named Abram who simply needed a way to get out and play with his sisters, a way for Mom and Dad to get him outside. Abram’s “Get out and play" deck as we call it now.

We had heard about Abram a few months before. His family was having a fundraiser to build the deck, they had a goal number in mind, but came the query - Could The MJB Foundation help?

Of course we would - folks who were industrious enough to hold their own fundraiser? Heck, we were right on board. We would help with the difference. They would raise what they raised, and The MJB Foundation would make up the difference.

So we carried that check with us as we traveled to Westerville.

But here’s the catch - This was the first MJB Gift of Joy we were delivering personally. No agency involved. No intermediary. Just us... and honestly - we were a little nervous.

We were greeted at the door by some lovely young ladies and welcomed in to meet Abram and his family

What followed quite frankly was life changing, and as far as that goes - MJB changing too.

When you lose a child, as we did with Meghan Joy, the feelings, the emotion, the carousel, the roller coaster are all things you do alone. Oh, you have your spouse, and you are together. If you’re lucky, like we were, you have that support, that someone to lean on.

But nobody can understand what it is truly like. Not your friends, not your family, nobody who hasn’t gone through that experience themselves can truly understand what it’s like.

But, Emma and Andy, Abram’s parents, had done just that. Abram’s twin brother Heath passed away when he was 3 weeks and two days old.

Emma and Andy knew exactly who we were, and they made us feel so welcome. We spent about an hour and a half chatting, sharing stories, talking about Heath and Abram, and Meghan and Kailey and Delaney and Livvy, Ella, Mollie and Poppy and on and on, and we gave them the check and went on our way.

Afterwards, we visited the local mall to run some errands.
As we shopped we talked about our visit and marveled at the ease with which Emma carried on a conversation, cared for Abram, and still managed to keep track of what the girls were all doing.

We could not imagine keeping up with that pace. We could not imagine the energy that must take.

We discussed the similarities and differences we shared, and we decided that we were incredibly happy we were able to help, and more importantly that we had made that donation personally.

We kept in contact with Emma and Andy and their clan, with the goings on with Abram and his deck. We invited them to Bowl for Joy and Emma came with the kids and had a terrific time.

Afterward, Emma contacted me with some ideas for other ways The MJB Foundation could help folks, and other ways that she could be involved.

We had no idea...
sing for Joy

I'm Am Not Dead

J. “Hi Honey, How are you?”

A: “I’m fine.”

J: “What are you up to?”

A: “Not much in the 20 minutes since you left...”

So would go the conversation every Tuesday as I drove to my hockey game. I had to call my wife when I was about 10 minutes from the rink...

Because I was afraid I might die on the ice.

I know that sounds overly dramatic, but in looking back on why I always called then, but don’t often call now - I’m realizing that’s why I did it.

I’m 5’7” tall, and I weighed 210 pounds.

I couldn’t give up the game I love, but I also knew I was taking a chance, or at least I felt like it.

I was afraid I might die.

I tell this story now because I’m about to head into the one year anniversary of the weekend where I truly made the decision to lose the weight and make changes to my lifestyle and eating habits.

It’s March Madness Baby!

Every year for the past 10 years I’ve headed out to meet some friends at a local bar and grill for the first weekend of the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Over the course of the weekend we sample all and any parts of the menu, we have some beverages, we put the outside world aside, and we live basketball for pretty much 72 hours. It’s tradition. I love my friends. I love the camaraderie. I love the good time. Last year, I learned to love the salad.

This year, I love March Madness because it marks a significant point in my life. A point where I had to admit to myself that I felt like crap... a lot, that it was time to take stock, to turn some things around-
to live.

I feel like I’m doing things the right way. It’s not some crazy diet. I didn’t change who I am.

I am not finished.

I am not dead.