L is for Longcreek Drive

The first rule of Wrestling Club is that you don’t talk about wrestling club. The second rule of Wrestling club? Yeah you know the rundown. Fight Club was very popular when I was in college.

My roommates and I, we’ll call to them as the 3 Cs, loved the movie. In fact we loved it so much we staged our own Fight Club scenes, but instead of bare knuckle fighting we’d have Olympic style wrestling matches. 

C #1 wrestled in high school, and had a state champion older brother turned high school coach, so he was the reigning champion.

C #2 also wrestled in high school, but was 5’5″ and weighed 130 pounds soaking wet. He held his own, but was really too small to win very often.

C #3, like me didn’t know anything about wrestling, but was by far the biggest and strongest of the four of us.

I knew nothing about wrestling, but I am fairly athletic and was stronger than the first two Cs.

We had some epic battles that first year. We’d hold 3 or 4 matches a week. Entrance music and all. Wrestling club was was serious business. 

We lived on the 1st floor that first year, but due to maintenance issues we were forced to move upstairs shortly after our first lease expired. The very first night after we had new people move in below us Wrestling Club came to an end. Apparently, 4 21-22 year old men wrestling in an apartment is very noisy to people living below them.

I have lots of funny stories about living with those guys, but I’ll keep this post short as I am way behind on the challenge and need to write my M post as well tonight.

Remember the most important rule of Wrestling Club, if it’s your first night at Wrestling Club, you’ve gotta wrestle.

K Is For Kids

Our first year of marriage was full ups and downs. We had a great honeymoon in Mexico, I’d landed a good job at a great company and she had gotten a job she wanted teaching middle school English. We bought a great new house 2 months after getting married. In October of that first year, during her fall break, she took me to Universal and Disney. It was a great trip, but after a visit to the neighborhood Walmart in Orlando our lives would forever be changed. 

Once we got back to SC we went to her OBGYN to confirm and indeed E was pregnant. It was a huge surprise. We had planned on having kids, but not for several years. As the hours and days passed nervousness gave way to excitement and anticipation. We couldn’t wait for our child to arrive. That baby would want for nothing. 

On January 16, 2007 E had her first ultrasound. It was supposed to be a happy day and one that we’d remember forever. We had talked about what the sex would be and if we had any preferences. I still remember the look on the ultrasound tech’s face like it was yesterday. Her words still sting, “I’m sorry there is no heart beat.” After speaking to her doctor we found out that she’d have to put on medication to trigger child birth so that the baby could be delivered vaginally. The next 3 days seemed like an eternity. Despite all the deals I’d made with God when she delivered our son on January 19th he was dead. We were able to hold him and bond with him. E and I took one look at him and knew he was meant to be Noah Calhoun. The love and heartbreak in her eyes when she held Noah still tears me apart 9 years later. She was completely broken and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

The next several months were incredibly hard, but somehow we made it through to our first anniversary. While on a Memorial Day weekend get away in Charleston, SC to celebrate our anniversary we learned that E was pregnant again 

The next 9 months would be extremely difficult. Every trip to the OBGYN would bring up,horrible thoughts and memories. Despite what should have been a beautiful experience we were constantly waiting for the rug to be pulled away. Several months into it we found some hope though as Me, E and the baby to be we’re going to move in with E’s grandmother after the baby was born. She and E were more like mother/daughter than anything else. We were all super excited, but that would never happen though as she died unexpectedly in January of 2008. Another devastating low.

About 3 weeks later on February 11, almost 2 weeks after the due date, LM was born. I’d never seen a more perfect face in my entire life. Two months later our little family would move back home, but not the  way we had wanted it to be. In October of that year Erika would become pregnant again. This one too would end with an agonizing loss. It would take us 5 years to work up the courage to try again, but we’re all glad that we did.

This time E was dubbed a high risk pregnancy, which means she and the baby were closely monitored. The Novant medical group took great care of my girls. 

So on June 23rd BG was born and our kingdom got a new queen.

It’s amazing to think about all the grief and joy that E and I have experienced with our 4 pregnancies. It makes me wonder what their lives will bring us. If the last 8 years are any indication it will be well worth it all. Like Johnny told you yesterday,

 “I just thankful for the journey and that I the survived the battle and my reward victory is you.”

J Is For Johnny Cash

There are very few artists that are more influential or more iconic than Johnny Cash. His tremendous career spanned 6 decades until his death in 2003. The official cause of death was complications tied to diabetes. People that knew him know the true cause though. He died from a broken heart after the unexpected loss of his beloved June.

I won’t rehash his troubled life, but his story is a great tale of redemption and a testament of the power of  God and a great woman. Like him, I’m proof of what the love and support of a strong woman can do. When I think about what my life would be like had I not met E it scares me. She saved me in so many ways. I survived, thanks to her.

I’ll leave you with a line from my favorite Cash song. 

“Then you reached down and touched me and lifted me up with you so I believe that it was the road I was meant to ride.”

I is for Internet

It’s hard to imagine the world without the Internet. It provides the infrastructure for nearly every aspect of our life. It changed the way we buy our morning coffee, the way we fuel our cars and pay for lunch.

Me I couldn’t telecommute and I would have never met my wife. You wouldn’t be reading this post.

I know this post is short, but I’m behind a day and needed to catch up. I’ll leave most of the work for you guys. Think about this for a bit, what if the Internet didn’t exist?

What Comes After G and just before I, H Is for……

Harold way up in the sky.

If you you know these words almost as well as you know your way home from work then your kid must have loved this video as much as LM did. E had this bookmarked in her phone for him when LM was a toddler.

You’lol have to forgive me as I’m reminiscing a bit tonight. We’re going through LMs old toys tonight that we pulled from storage. He’s already shared some of his favorites with her including his racey track and his Thomas chair.

That is one fine young man! He makes me proud to call him son every day. I’ll leave you with this exchange between the two of them as it says more than I’ll ever be able to.

LM: “Come here sweety heart. Let bubba show you how to play with the race cars. You put them there.”

He then her put the cars on the starting line.

LM: “Then you push this button. Yay baby girl you did it. Good job!”

Good job indeed.

Grape soda, pizza and The Force Awakens

Throw in a trip to Home Depot and you have mine and E’s night with no kids. That’s right we’re hip! I’ve had a really hard week of work, BG has woken up in the middle of the night nearly every night this week and E took most of those shifts. Needless to say we’re both exhausted.

Judge us if you want, but I’m sleeping 8 hours tonight!

F is for Fathers

I wish that I could say I learned everything I know about being a dad from my father, but I can’t do that. I only lived with my dad for the first 13 years of my life. He was a hard working man and a member of the National Guard and so he was seldom home. When he was there the only thing he really did other than fight with my mom was watch TV. I have little to no memories of any father son time spent fishing, playing catch, talking about life or really anything at all. In fairness he likely has Aspergers so he’s likely to be nearly incapable of those kinds of connections. It wasn’t all bad though, I had two older brothers, uncles and the best grandfather any boy could ever want. I cherish everything that each one of them taught me as a boy.

Today, my father and I rarely see each other and in fact he’s never met BG. It’s ok I’ve come to grips with that a long time ago. It helped that during my senior year in high school remarried my mom remarried. The man she married, RC, is a wonderful dad and love both me and my children as his own. 

I try to do my best to do right by LM and BG, but I often fail. I get distracted by outside things and waste valuable time that could be spent with them on unimportant things. I get angry when thet aren’t on thei best behavior. I sometimes tell myself that at least I’m doing better than my dad did, but I know that shouldn’t be the measuring stick. I need to be the best I can be for them. They deserve that and more.

  

E……

The summer of 2003 was a tough time for me. After college graduation in 2000 I took a job with an Internet based start up and they had failed miserably. I was let go in January of 2013. Despite applying for any and every job I was qualified, over qualified or under qualified for I was still unemployed in August. So at 25 years old I moved back home to deliver pizzas like I’d done most every summer during college. I was devastated and had almost given up hope.

Shortly after moving in with my parents I had started hanging out in the Yahoo Chat rooms and one evening I met a kindred spirit that I’d later learn went to the same high school as I did and actually lived less than five miles from me. We hit it off immediately and began talking on yahoo messenger shortly after. We’d spend hours talking to each other at night. This girl was amazing, we had so much in common and I wanted to pursue her, but she was just 19 and a sophomore in college. She was too young for me and I wa certain that she had no interest in some 25 year old loser who lived with his mama. After several months of talking on messenger I’d finally convinced myself that age was just a number and I was determined to ask her out. The problem then was that I had no idea how to do that and didn’t want to lose what we already had. As fate would have it in January 2004 I’d get my opening. A huge winter storm had hit South Carolina and had shut down the roads. She was snowed in and Dominos was closed due to the weather so I had the day off. She told me she was hungry and didn’t have a way to get out. So I offered to bring her something to eat, but she declined. Luckily for me I didn’t give up and 2 months later she was talking about her family going to see The Passion of The Christ, but she was working and couldn’t go or maybe didn’t want to go with them. Either way I took a chance and asked her to go with me and she accepted this time. So on March 8, 2004 I finally met E, the love of my life and we watched The Passion for our first date. I’d like to say I loved her at first sight, but the truth is that I probably loved her long before that. As Joe Fox said, “and if she’s turns out to be as good looking as a mailbox I’d be crazy not to turn my life upside for her.” Over the next several months we’d spend as much time together as possible. She lit a fire in me and I started looking for jobs again and thanks to her my career was back on track.

I could write for hours about how special and important she is, but I’ll save some for another day. She’s given me everything. Love, support, guidance, two beautiful children and more than I could ever have imagined. She is now and will always be the OBG, my love, my E.

D is for Dwight Yoakham

Let me start out by saying that I think country music is the greatest genre in music history. However, the gap between what’s good and what Nasheville wants you to hear is, IMHO, wider than any other musical genre. Artists like Chris Knight, Jason Isbel, Jill Andrews, The Secret Sisters, Townes Van Earle and so many more extremely talented people get overlooked and we’re left with generic, polished, bland crap.

This of course isn’t new to country music, but for a brief time Dwight stood above the crowd. He was playing real life, heartbreaking grown ass people music. And the world ate it up. He set the music world on fire in 86 with Guitars and Cadillacs. He showed the world that country can be cool, country can kick ass and most importantly country doesn’t have to be perfect and polished. Now, 30 years later he’s still making records, but Nashville doesn’t care anymore. It’s their loss, but I’m still listening.

I’ll leave you with this touching moment from Buck’s funeral. Enjoy and grab some tissues.

Dwight’s Tribute

C is for Charleston

Situated on a peninsula created by the Ashley and Cooper rivers lies one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston, SC. Known as the Holy City, Charleston was once largest city in the America, not called NYC, Philadelphia or Boston.

I could go on for hours about her history and her charm, but I’ll let you go there and discover that for your self. Instead I’ll focus on what Charleston means to me.

In the spring of 2004 I met a girl. Some call her E, I’ll call her the OBG. Barely a month in and I knew she was the one. Later that spring/summer we took our first trip together. We spent 3 days in Charleston and it became our city.

Over the next year or so we’d come back for visits, but in June of 2005 while strolling along The Battery I asked her to be my wife.

Flash forward 2 years and we’re staying in a colonial mansion on the battery that had been converted to a B&B. This was the place where we found out LM was on his way.
Twelve glorious years later E and I will be back in our city, staying at our mansion for our ten year wedding anniversary Memorial Day weekend.

I can’t wait to see what this trip will bring.