Monday, July 18, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

It was 22 years ago tomorrow that my life changed forever.

A faulty metal fan disk on a DC-10 flying over fly-over country broke off and severed all the hydraulic lines, making the plane nearly impossible to fly.

That faulty metal fan disk, manufactured who knows where, would change my life, and lives of thousands of others, forever.

I was just an 18-year-old know-it-all lifeguard who was more concerned about my tan and where the beer party was at that night. Invincible.

But for the passengers on the plane, that faulty metal disc put them in a lottery for life, injury, or death.

These total strangers who fell from the sky probably had never thought of a faulty metal disc when they boarded the plane in Denver that morning.

I know I had never even really thought much at all about plane crashes in general before that day. It's what happened in the movies and on the TV news.

But for the passengers and crew, the emergency workers on the ground, the volunteers who helped out wherever they could, that faulty disk changed everything. In the blink of an eye.

I'm a better person today than I was before the crash, but that didn't happen overnight.

But the main point is this. You never know when that blink-of-an-eye moment will occur for you, and whether it will change you forever, or end you forever.

So take more risks. Don't be afraid of tomorrow, because it may not come! Live your life deliberately. Enjoy every moment.

Stop worrying.

Whatever it is you need to do, do it.

Because your blink of an eye can happen, well, in the blink of an eye.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hate to Date? You Will Now!

As I begin to venture back into the dating world, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the top dating stories I've written on my blog over the past few years.

So here we have a collection of funny stories brought to you by the world of dating as a single old dad!

First, we have my
top 5 online dating tips. This is a collection of what I felt, at least in 2009, were the top 5 things to know if you are deciding to venture into the world of online dating!

Second, a little tale about how I ended up at
Golden Corral for my first New Year's Eve date with my former Lady Friend®. Relax, it wasn't her fault - her step dad picked it out!

Next up, we have the bet I made with yet another former girlfriend, on whether we'd end up alone or not.
The winner, er, loser, gets steaks!

And we can't cover that former girlfriend without the story of how
I had to really go # 2 on my date #1 with her, and the situation that prevented me!

The final two blogs I'm sharing are my two personal favorites from my dating days. The stories, NOT the women I went on the date with.

The first of these,
The Tongue Ring Girl, wath jutht purely epic!

But if you want to read what is to this day probably my post popular blog entry, revisit the night I had with
The Hickey Girl.

Happy re-reading, or reading for the first time for my newer fans, and beware the world of dating!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just Like the Dinosaurs, This Too Shall Pass

A good friend of mine once asked me how I did it.

He watched as I was going through one bad thing after another, and he couldn't figure out how I kept moving on.

Because I don't have a choice.

When I went off to college, grossly under prepared for the academic rigors of Grinnell, my dad pulled me aside as they were getting ready to send me off into adulthood.

He reached out his closed fist and said "Here, take this."

As I opened my palm, he dropped a small rubber dinosaur into it.

"What's this?"

My dad then gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received.

"When I went off to college, my dad gave me a toy dinosaur, too," he explained. "He told me I was about to embark on a path that would include tough obstacles and no map to navigate through it.

"And he wanted me to know that when I was in the middle of facing those obstacles, to remember that just like the dinosaurs, this too shall pass."

I don't know if I ever properly thanked my dad for those words of wisdom.

But I can tell you that I still have that dinosaur. And someday I plan to give it to my sons as they venture down the broken road of life.

This too shall pass.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Life as an EastEnder

The last two weeks or so, I am now officially an EastEnder.

It's been a bit of a culture shock, but in a good way.

I have been very happy to drive down the street and see stores and shops owned by moms and pops, and not a major corporation.

It has been refreshing to see the diversity - economically, socially, racially - in my former western burb, everyone pretty much was 1) rich, 2) white, and 3) Republican.

I have nothing against rich, white Republicans. I used to be one (well except the rich part). But I do have something against my boys thinking that's the reality of the world.

This new world I'm living in, just 30 minutes from my old world, is like a clean canvas waiting for the boys and I to paint our own masterpiece upon it.

We're already developing some new traditions. Trips to The Clemcuzzi©, grabbing a bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant without the word "Bell" in it, or just sitting on our first floor patio instead of our third floor balcony, putting our bare feet in the grass and enjoying the weather.

And even our family cat has adjusted. She went from a wide-eyed wanderer, sniffing every last corner, to now lounging near the open screen door, letting the sun beat down on her while the birds land nearby to unsuccessfully taunt her.

And the gas station attendant near my apartment already knows me. Tonight I pulled in to fill up my tank, and had already started pumping when I read the sign that says "Please Pre-Pay after 5 p.m." Whoops!

I went in to pay and grab a few snacks for the boys, and apologized to him for not pre-paying. "Oh no, sir, I know you! You can do that anytime, anytime. No problem."

This isn't a slight of my old digs. I have plenty of great friends, as do my kids, back that way.

But right now, it feels pretty damn good to be an EastEnder.