My Tribute to You

Apparently I wasn’t done with the law firm, and it wasn’t done with me. I’m headed back to the legal industry to start a new job on Monday.image_8

Although my time in the nonprofit sector was brief, we worked a lot and we worked hard. We also made sure we had a good time along the way.

My boss called me into his office this morning to play me a song. He said this is his tribute to me:

“My Way”

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
image_9My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
image_4And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
image_13I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way, “Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Yes, it was my way


You never blog

Yes, you’re right. I stopped blogging. But it’s nice of you to mention it. Here is a crash summary of the latest.

We took the boys and a neighbor kid bowling. The older two spent more time at the arcade, which is where they decided to invest a total of $25 to win handcuffs and a light-up grill. (Note to my mom: Grill means teeth with flashing lights.)


We also adopted a puppy. We think he is cute. My other dog does not think he is cute. We did have a dog trainer come to our house to help us turn our cute puppy into a polite puppy. The trainer almost couldn’t finish his explanation of how to train a dog by going on “50 First Dates” because he couldn’t get over how much Teddy looks like Benji. (8-year-old: Who is Benji?) As for the “50 First Dates,” I’ll see you 50 strangers soon. Please humor me by asking my dog to sit and giving him a treat. In turn, he will like you and then he will like all strangers. Until they don’t give him a treat….hmmm…. I hope this works out.


The past couple of weeks I have spent way too many hours working. When work was manageable again, I spent an evening listening to Kirstie Alley speak. After the event, my friends and I headed to the front of the ballroom to see if we could get a picture with her. I took a photo of some girl I didn’t know posing with Kirstie, but when it was my turn, the actress decided she was done taking photos. I mean, posing for four photos is a lot of work. Especially when you probably don’t want to be speaking at a Chamber dinner on a Tuesday night. What can one expect? So this is the only shot I got.


For Thanksgiving we traveled to my hometown. My 3-year-old was very helpful by getting everyone packed. Maybe too helpful.

Ian 2 Ian 1

And while we were in the area, we went to visit my cousin who opened a bar. The part that is either terrible – or a really smart use of time – is that we went to his bar on Thanksgiving night!!


Even though visiting with family on Thanksgiving (at a bar) was a nice way to spend the evening, I will probably not make family bar meetups a habit because while I was gone, this happened:


That, and I’m going to have to shed a few pounds to fit back into my going out jeans. I love my mom’s tacos!


Ugh!!! I put myself on a low carb diet and I want to eat the screen right now.

The no sleep sleepover

This weekend my son had 5 friends over. They went to Sky Zone (trampoline fun), a pizza place, watched movies at our house, had “epic” battles, ate so much food, and fell asleep in their tent around 1:30 or 2 a.m.

There were several funny moments during the party, but I will always remember them singing “Running Errands With My Mom” over pizza.
Despite the boys beginning the party again at 7 a.m. the next morning, I had a great time. I hope they did, too.


Twenty inches of snow, and we are on our third snow day. Tomorrow will be our fourth. I am glad that I can work from home, because there is so much I want to accomplish for my new employer – a charity I have been involved with for five years. In between emails and phone calls…these are the sounds of a snow day.

Hubs: The server is down at work. I have to go in for awhile and get us back up and running. I’ll forward your RFP to my contact list while I’m at the office.

2-year-old: My need Dora and apple juice!

7-year-old: My throat hurts and I’m tired of watching Nick Jr. Seriously, Mom, how much longer do I have to watch Bubble Guppies?

My mom by phone: Your father is outside shoveling! He can’t be out there. He’ll get hurt. I’m going to tell him you want to talk to him so he comes inside. Don’t say anything.

My dad by phone: Hey. How are you? Your mom just snuck out the back so I didn’t know she left and she is shoveling the front drive. She shouldn’t be out there. She is going to hurt herself. I have to go. Call us later.


And I…ah-I….ah-I…. will always love you….ooooh….ooohh….

A few times a year my friends and I travel to the home of our alma mater to catch a game and visit our favorite establishments. Of course, we have been out of college for several years so we still call the bars by the names they had five owners ago.

We know that we are the old people in the bar but we don’t care. I am also out of touch with any scene that does not involve children’s toys or programming.

For example, my sister-in-law and I visited the ladies room at one of the bars and it smelled awful. “Why does it smell like skunk in here?” I asked.

“Ha ha! That’s not skunk! That’s marijuana,” she said.

“It smells like skunk.”

“Ha ha! I can’t believe you don’t know what marijuana smells like.”

“I’ve smelled it before, but I don’t remember it smelling like this.”

Then the door flew open and a woman yelled, “Whoo! Someone’s been smoking weed up in this joint!”

“I told you,” my sister-in-law said, laughing again.

After we had left the bar, my sister-in-law was telling the skunk story to the guys. Crossing the street with us was a group of college students.

“And she was like, ‘Why does it smell like skunk?'” my sister-in-law retold the story. “I was like, that’s not skunk. That’s marijuana!”

The college students next to us started cracking up. They probably had not heard people refer to the drug as marijuana for a while.

“Oh no! Not marijuana!” one of the guys yelled in jest.

The hubs just shook his head. “We’re old,” he said.

Our final stop of the night was Cozy Inn where they sell mini hamburgers topped with onion, pickle, mustard and ketchup. It was almost 2 a.m. and there were only six of us left, the other six had made their way back to a hotel.

While we were waiting for our order, two couples entered. Both of the women looked like younger versions of a mix between Aretha Franklin and Kathy Kinney from the “Drew Carey Show.” The four were chatty, as were my friends. Before long we learned that the women were (amateur karaoke) singers. They invited us to watch them perform at Kites, a local bar, any “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.” They said the days of the week in sync while counting from one to four with their right hand. They were pros.

A little encouragement and they agreed to perform right there in Cozy Inn. They sang a song that I didn’t recognize first, but then they went into “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood and a full-blown version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Their voices boomed through the tiny restaurant and people were staring through the glass-front window from the sidewalk to see what was going on. “And I…ah-I….ah-I…. will always love you….ooooh….ooohh….”

We gave them a standing ovation, and my friend gave the lead singer a $10 bill, which she placed in her bosom right next to her phone and her I.D.

I told my sister-in-law that we may have hit our pinnacle. I cannot think of any situation that could top a live performance in Cozy Inn at 2 a.m. She said that sounded like a challenge. I just laughed and said, “No, I really think we’ve reached our peak.”

Meet at Panera

I had a meeting scheduled this morning for work. It would have been our first meeting so I took a seat at Panera and kept an eye out for someone who resembled the LinkedIn photo I had pulled up on my phone.

Five minutes passed. Then ten. I looked at the guy sitting at a table by himself. No match. I took a second trip through the restaurant. No match.

I saw a guy lingering near the front of Panera. Maybe if the guy I’m meeting gained some weight and grew his hair out, maybe that could be him, I thought.

“Are you Leo?” I asked.


“Sorry. I’m waiting on someone and I’m not exactly sure what he looks like.”

“That’s hard,” said a second guy from another table that had been watching and listening.

Steven got his food and sat down at the table next to me. “So is Neil standing you up?”

He must mean Leo. “I guess so unless he is running 20 minutes late.”

“Where are you from?” Steven asked. “Chicago?”

“Originally I am from a small town outside of Wichita but I have lived here for awhile. You?”

“St. Louis but mostly here,” he said. “I had a fiancé from Wichita who was crazy as hell. Total psychopath. I couldn’t stand her.”

“So how did she end up as your fiancé?”

“She was just that good.”


“It didn’t last long,” he went on. “She then dated a guy from New York. She moved there. He told her he was gay and committed suicide. She was bat shit crazy.”

How do I respond to that?

“That’s too bad,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“So much for Neil,” he said.

“Yep. I’ll have to email him and ask if we can reschedule. I’m going to get an order to go.”

I went to the front to put in a to-go order for me and the hubs. By the time I turned to return to my table Steven was gone.

I gathered my things and as I was walking out the other guy who had piped in earlier, piped in again. “Have a good day,” he said.

“You, too.”


Working in the nonprofit sector is not new to me. But now that I am back in the charity saddle, I have to say that the topic of charity is an interesting one. During my past two weeks on the job I’ve heard everything from “Our company doesn’t donate because we are into making a profit,” to “I’m not coming to your event because Obama is using my tax money to support his favorite causes and I refuse to donate while he is in office.”

Whether you give to friends or family members who are in need, or you give through a charitable organization, it is equally good. You should feel great about yourself. Give to support what you care about. Take care of those around you. Then, watch patiently and you will see your kindness multiply in ways you could never imagine.

My Valentine(s)

A picture of my toddler signing my Valentine’s Day card beats a bouquet of roses any day. The hubs out did himself.



I found this sweet face at an animal shelter. Her name is Prune and she is only two months old.

But after a lot of thought about how Prune likes to chew on everything and needs to be potty trained, I realized I already have one at home who likes to chew and needs to be potty trained.

We may not be able to give Prune the attention she deserves, but if you can she is waiting for you at the Great Plains SPCA. She is a shar pei/plott hound mix and has a laid back personality. Aww, sweet Prune. Still thinking of you.

Slippers make the outfit

Yesterday was the hubs’ birthday. I brought home take out for dinner (aka I cooked) and we celebrated with cake. It was a nice dinner. Then, for some reason the hubs wanted to play Yahtzee. So we played Yahtzee as a family. If this was Facebook I would have posted this picture and everyone would think we were picturesque.

But moments after this picture was taken, my older son kept asking why the toddler had to be around because all the toddler wanted to do was build a tower with the dice. The toddler cried. The 7-year-old complained. And so on.

I was very tired yesterday evening but I was trying to keep my energy up because it was the hubs’ birthday. After bedtime routines had started, I sat on the couch surfing Facebook, and waiting for the 7-year-old to come out of the bathroom. The last thing I remember is looking at a Facebook post. Then I heard my son say, “Are you asleep?” I woke up and said, “No.”

I was still drowsy. I blinked a few times and focused on my son. He was standing in front of me wearing only my slippers. “Why are you naked except for my slippers?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Your slippers were in the hall,” he replied. “I came to tell you that I’m going to get in the shower.”

I was so sleepy that I traded places with the hubs and went to lie down with the toddler, giving the hubs naked kid duty.

The next morning (this morning) I saw a text on my phone. My 7-year-old had texted my cousins and me a photo of the fort he built at 10:08 p.m., well past his bedtime. I was about to ask my son about this when he showed me his arms.

He had hives everywhere.

After a visit to the doctor and a day of observance it turns out that he has a virus that is causing hives. The doc said she is seeing several cases of unexplained hives.

So the next time you see me post a sweet, smiling photo on Facebook, know that the photo is one moment in our predictably unpredictable lives.

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