Money, family, or time?

I’m tired. I left a good job in the city, (working for a woman every week day, no song here), that meant a $10,000 cut in pay a year. Yes, the cost of living is cheaper where I’m at now, but not that much cheaper. I miss being able to go out to eat, to not write down what I spent; and Marshalls. I have some decisions to make in the next six months to a year. The timeline is due to owning money, (moving three times in two years is expensive as well as getting divorced), applying for positions away from home, and can I leave my kids again? The answer to the kid question is yes, as long as I’m a short drive away; which to me is two to three hours one way. The jobs I’m seeking are in education, teaching at the community college level, or working for a larger university in student success and wellness. I’m not sure why the success and wellness calls to me, (aside from the good yearly salary), I am sure why the teaching position calls to me it has a good salary and I’d only be working nine months out of the year. There it is, money, family, or time; I’ll take all three for a thousand Alex.

I will continue to teach online as long as they will have me which truly is a solid base once my finances are in order, (come on February 2021). Teaching online does require some level of time for grading and student communication that can’t be done on a lunch hour; I need a job where I can “double-dip” so to speak. It’s been awhile since I’ve had that kind of position; again the teaching job would work as professors don’t truly work THAT much. The appeal of staying where I’m at but trying for higher paying positions, (retirement to part-time is only 14 years and five months away, but who’s counting), I’d probably live with one my kids and honestly would save money in the process. All this sounds great now because I’m single, (just call me Casper as I get ghosted as well as I ghost), but if I do find someone I think living even with an adult child might be awkward. Then there’s the dream retirement.

I don’t plan on retiring until I’m medically forced to; I like being busy and not sitting alone with my thoughts. I’d like to own a Bed & Breakfast but with zero savings that’s not likely for at least five years. The same goes for dream number two; a hobby farm, same timeline but complete opposites. With the B&B it would be about never being truly alone, guests would come and go, year to year, until one year I’d be gone; hopefully retired not dead. The hobby farm is more about the quiet, and love of animals, and everything green. I’d raise chickens, worms, and have a trout pond; yeah not the most realistic thing to think I can do in my later 50’s by the time I buy one; but I can dream.

The next few months will settle me down into what’s next, I need to keep my options open as my current day job isn’t stable, and I wouldn’t keep me if my caseload doesn’t pick up. In the mean time I’ll keep writing, keep grading, keep looking for work, and a partner in crime.

Slowing down time


One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting time because time is something you can never get back. Sometimes it’s a meeting that’s presenting material that’s been gone over before, a bad movie, a party that you feel obligated to go to; they all can take away time from what you want to do. We all complain that there’s not enough time to get everything done but maybe it’s because we aren’t trying to get everything done? I’m currently attempting to add a regular exercise routine to my already busy weeks. My solution is to go to a gym that’s open 24/7; that won’t work for everyone. There are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you sleep for seven, work for eight, that’s 15, an evening meal, that between prep and cleanup is two hours, put the kids to bed, do laundry, take a long relaxing bath, (just kidding), shovel or another chore; another two hours; this leaves five hours of time. For argument’s sake we will toss two of those hours for your personal care and work with the three remaining hours.

Are you’re a night owl or an early bird? When my house was full I liked to get up before everyone to have that half hour of peace and quiet; and I still get up early to spend some quality time with my cup of coffee. I’ve never been a night owl but if you are there may be that glorious hour after everyone has gone to bed for you to use for your “me” time. Sadly, a large portion of individuals will break out their screens, either a phone, computer, or tablet and browse social media or look for that program they saved that they can’t watch when it originally airs. I’m one of them. I hit up my Hulu and watch my dramas like This is Us or something truly just for noise like America’s Got Talent the Champions, and then wonder why there’s not enough “me” time; so here’s what I’ve done, (these suggestions are for demonstration purpose only, no one needs to follow these but me).

For the gym during the weekdays, (these suggestions are for the weekdays, weekends are a whole different story), I set a timer. It’s kind of like in Crossfit where you have a workout for the day, WOD, but less challenging. My cardio is about 30 minutes then I set a timer for 20 minutes when that goes off, I’m done; by the time I get home there’s my one free hour. Did you know you can pause your shows? I watch my shows while eating, or cleaning; that way I’m getting one thing done while “wasting” time watching television. I talked to someone recently who said they didn’t have a television; I’m still processing that. That’s two hours. With my one hour left I should do something creative but I don’t, I work on my grading for my second job; which does truly make you feel like you don’t have enough time. Lastly, use your phone for other reminders other than a timer; set reminders, or get an app that gives you daily quotes like, “I matter” and “Good things are going to come to me”.

The best thing you can do if you feel you are wasting too much precious time is to sit down and look at your day to day life. For me it was watching Sportscenter for 30 minutes a day; I’m canceling the app that allows that and I’ve replaced it with staring into space with my coffee cup in my hand. I’ve wasted enough of your time, until next time remember; slow down and smell the coffee.

No, You’re Obese

I have a fascination with watching fitness shows like The Biggest Loser. I’m not a cruel person who watches to just see people struggle, I watch because 40% of the American public is considered obese. I’m obese by my BMI at 25 pounds overweight, I work out, I eat fairly well, but yet I carry an extra 25 -30 pounds, (and no I doubt that it’s my muscle mass). I’ve recently gone back to a mostly plant based diet and a typical day will consist of oatmeal with berries or peanut butter in it, lunch is practically nonexistent, (a banana or two), and dinner is a Vegan meal from the health section and or a pasta dish, without meat. I know you’re reading this going “why” and that’s “boring” and it is boring at times but I eat to live and not live to eat; or at least that’s my goal and I’ve failed many times. The “why” part is based off of reading The China Study that with thousands of examples has shown that a vegan diet eliminates all non-genetic heart disease and severely reduces the chances of colon cancer. I have genetically high cholesterol and it will always hover over 200 but with a plant based diet it won’t get higher. I’m sure I have some issues in my arteries because I’ve only been a healthy eater-ish for about three years but at 50 I don’t feel it’s too late to start; but why are we so fat?

I stop at the gas station every morning for coffee and bananas, (two for a dollar and yes it would be cheaper to buy but they rot at home). At that gas station there’s a hot food section with breakfast pizzas, this sandwich and that rollup. There’s bakery and every conceivable type of snack around; that doesn’t take will power that takes won’t power. If you’ve ever gone through a drive-thru you know a burger is much cheaper than a salad. Cheap ice cream cones, mini pies, etc., it’s all out there and there isn’t an easy answer, but there are answers to lower your weight and increase your health.

Eat less and exercise more. That’s the diet, no matter what you eat if you want to lose weight that’s the formula, not this pill or take away this or add that; simply eat less and exercise more. I’m a busy guy and only get to the gym two to three times a week, but that’s two to three times more then someone who doesn’t. I get my coffee from a gas station verses the drive-thru even though it’s more expensive because I can resist the gas station food but for some reason the dollar menu calls to me.  You don’t have to eat a plant based diet to lose weight it’s all about calories in and calories out. Every 3500 calories is a pound, thus why the fasting craze is happening, people would rather not eat for a day or two then eat less. Not everyone can exercise at a high rate but everyone can do something from curling soup cans to a walk around the block. If you can crawl, start crawling. I’m writing this primarily to vent about the gas stations food selection and how hard it makes it for me but also to say that at 195 pounds I’m considered obese. but with a bulky hoodie on it doesn’t show, but it’s there, that dad bod is hiding and I want it gone.

Taking the Fight On

A common thread through my posts is my struggle with depression. The “depression is winning” texts to significant others and the days where I sit and stare at a television screen sometimes so lost that I have to restart the program. But, and a big but, (hopefully not mine getting bigger), I’ve decided to fight my depression and no longer just live with it. I felt I had it managed but after my divorce from the woman I coined as the “love of my life” I couldn’t shake the depression. It wasn’t because I lost her, it was that I lost a future I was prepared for. I’d work until 65 and then just be a house husband and hope that she could retire ten years later and I’d maintain my health and we’d travel and see the world, or at least all of Michigan. Losing that was hard until I realized that I can do that alone. The hardest part was the timing, my “nest” was empty and now it was truly empty without a soul living with me. After over a year has passed with many crying nights for “no reason” it was time to take on the fight.

I’ve avoided medication since the last one threw me into a manic spell that lasted for months, it was because the pill interacted with my allergy pills that I failed to mention to the Dr., but still I was afraid. Also I struggle with my weight, I’m not a picture of obesity but I’m also not one that will be posing for a calendar any day soon. Lastly, a lot of pills have sexual side effects, I’m single, and “not active” in that department but I hope to be someday when it’s right, and I’d like to be able. With those fears in mind I consulted with and old friend who has a vast amount of medical knowledge and has known me my entire adult life as to what pill I should try.

I’ve been prescribed a pill that hopefully will not only lessen my depression but has a focusing agent and a side effect of weight loss. I’m scared it won’t work and it’s too soon to tell but any minor side effect like dry mouth is much better then waking up sobbing. A bonus part is that drinking while on this medication is not recommended, that will save me a few dollars and a hangover or two a month; but again I drank to keep the depression at bay and as an educated man I know that’s not how it works. I’m hoping to write more often, I’d love to write daily if I could, and just the fact that I’m on here today, day three of the pills, makes me feel like I made the right choice.

Girl Dad

Girl Dad

I wanted to title this column “Mamba Out” and have a tribute to one of the greatest basketball players to every lace up basketball shoes; but I’m not a sports writer. I’ll admit I tried once to write about sports, it was a farewell column about Michael Jordan called, “Be like Mike”, and it was about his drive to succeed, his willpower to be the best, and how even in his last season as a Wizard, he averaged a respectable amount of points; he was one of a kind. But, he wasn’t was he? Kobe Bryant died this past week and will go down as one of the most feared competitors in NBA history, many accolades, a world mourning his death, (not a perfect human with a rape accusation that was never tried); but this column isn’t about  Kobe, it’s about his daughter and all of our daughters.

Kobe was asked about due to having all daughters, who would carry on his legacy? The answer was GiGi, his 13 year old basketball loving child that was just one of the apples in his eyes. The University of Connecticut, (UCONN), probably the best woman’s basketball college in existence was where she wanted to play, (they honored her with a jersey on an empty chair). GiGi was a prodigy some would say, but after watching many videos of her practice sessions with her father and some game highlights, I would say she was simply an owner of that Mamba Mentality that her father created, never quit, never back down, and always strive to be better. Sadly, GiGi was with her father when the helicopter went down, a life cut short; yes the famous father Kobe Bryant, but to me the life of GiGi.

I’m a girl dad. Many of you who read my column know this. I cried when I heard the news of the crash, but I cried even harder knowing there were daughters on that helicopter, (teammates and other parents and coaches). A friend recently said, “if you raise them right they leave you”, this is true. Our children leave to start their own lives but they also know that the door is open at any time to come in, eat my food, and sit on the couch and tell me about their days. Bethany, my youngest, is a full time employee and in college. She’s got her parent’s work ethic and may skip class from time to time, (I won’t get into how many times I did), but work; she doesn’t skip. I couldn’t ask for a more caring child that will come over, eat my food, and pick my brain as she’s pursuing a psychology degree like her dad. Briana, my Jr., my mini me, (a term she truly dislikes), has the same emotional output as me. She cares deeply for others, has a great work ethic and is destined to be a “boss” as she has my trait of not liking employees who doesn’t pull their weight; and she makes me laugh the hardest. Hannah, my oldest, my writer and teacher, (she subs and I hope that some school will pick her up permanently as a paraprofessional), she’s the one with the most sass; mostly giving it to me, but still has that edge. Just today as I was dropping her off for work she mentioned that she has a cold, nothing too bad though, and reiterated one of my sayings, “if you can breathe , you can go to work”; I am proud of the work ethic but I may have pushed too hard. I write about my girls, my young adult women, because I am a “girl dad” the phrase coined for Kobe. I’m not like Kobe in any other respect but I pray for his family that lost a father and a sister. Lastly, a downside of divorce is that you lose touch with former in-laws and outlaws; a shout out for Jack, a man who took me under his wing and taught me some “man stuff”, I’ll miss his laugh and I truly loved him. Mamba Out.