Alx: 1, Bad Guys: 0

Almost exactly a year ago, my motorcycle was stolen. It was locked up to my stoop. The lock was cut and it was gone.

This happened the day before I embarked on a new life adventure, and I didn’t really have time to feel all of the emotions that I wanted to feel. It was a shock, for sure, but sometimes it’s better to accept your lot than to dwell on it for too long.

In many ways I accepted my fate. I remember standing on the steps, mouth agape, staring at the spot where my bike had been and thinking to myself that there was nothing that I could do. At that moment I knew that I would never see it again. I was wrong.

I called the cops, like any good Philly boy, knowing very well that the dance that we would do involved filing a police report that would make it’s way to a cabinet without a second glance. I didn’t have comprehensive insurance, so the loss was a loss. I wasn’t going to get a payout for it, which meant the money that I had spent was just gone.

About three months after it happened I wished for my bike back. In my mind, the thieves had had enough time with it, and it was time for my bike to come home. Over the year there were many moments where I hoped that it would return, but after a while I was totally numb to it.

On February 6, 2014 a letter showed up in the mail. The letter explained that my bike was found in Deptford, NJ on October 16, 2013 and that I should come and claim it. (What?!)

So I did:

It was a live stop by a New Jersey officer that brought my bike home. They caught the dude and it kind of feels like a miracle.

Recovering a stolen vehicle is a costly endeavor. The amount that I will pay out to restore the bike, plus the cost of the impound is only slightly less than what I paid for it. But instead of buying a new bike for the same amount, I’m getting my bike. The miracle bike. The bike that came home.

I’ve moved to WordPress.com

So this is my first post on WordPress.com. It feels a little odd to admit that although I’ve been a WordPress user for at least 7 years, I’ve never tried my hand at using WordPress.com.

The move here isn’t surprising to me. I’ve been supporting WordPress.com users for the better part of a year, and have been thinking for a while that I should give it a try. Curiously, it isn’t my proximity to the system that spurred the change, rather, it was because WordPress.com rocks and I felt like I was being left out of the cool kids club.

So this begins the grand experiment to use WordPress.com as a user for the first time. I’m hoping that it really helps me to empathize and connect to our users in a way that I haven’t previously done.

I yelled at my daughter. . . because she’s two.

It can happen to anyone; the feeling of being overwhelmed with work or technology or responsibility. All of us are prone to it, given the right circumstances. Sometimes it just sneaks up on us without warning and sometimes it builds up over time. Regardless of how you land there, it’s your duty to deal with your emotions in a way that doesn’t hurt those around you.

Last night I yelled at my daughter. I yelled at her because she’s two.

After a long day of staring at a screen I came home to daddy duty. My wife was headed out for the evening and my lot was to feed and bathe and snuggle the kiddos before putting them to bed for the night. This isn’t a rare thing, but for some reason, last night it felt insurmountable. Even the thought of rowdiness gave me stress. Dinner was rough, getting their PJs on was rougher, and bed time was a nightmare. And I lost it. I snapped.

After 2 hours of trying to get the little one to just lay down in bed, I let her have it. I threatened a time out. I walked out of the room. I raised my voice to a totally innocent two-year-old because I was overwhelmed.

Being a parent doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. Raising your voice happens. Discipline is important. But it’s also important to recognize when you’re at your wits end; if it’s their fault or yours. Last night it was my fault.

I don’t ever plan on being the perfect father. I think that having parents that mess up is an important part of childhood and an important part of becoming a well-rounded adult. I also think that it’s important to be honest with yourself when you do cross the line and appreciate that being overwhelmed happens.

Given the opportunity for a do-over, though, I wouldn’t accept it, because this was an important lesson for me. I’ve recognizing that my wee one didn’t deserve what I dished out. She still loves me (she’s sitting on my lap at the moment playing with my hair and trying to type this for me.) She doesn’t remember my raised voice. She’s as happy as can be.

All of this is to say that it’s important to think about your actions. It’s important to feel their repercussions and to grow yourself in their wake. Try not to yell at your kids for being kids. If it happens, think about why and try and learn from it.

People are amazing

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending my first day of the season on the slopes. I’m an avid snowboarder, heading up to the hill as often as I can each year. I didn’t waste any time this season and got myself up to Hunter Mountain in New York as soon as I was able.

We decided to get a slope-side condo for the night before so that we could be there as soon as the lifts opened. Hunter is a four hour drive for me, so it made sense.

The trek up I-87 was a tough one. I got caught in the storm that just wouldn’t stop. My windshield kept freezing over and I could only cruise at a steady 45 mph. It took a while, but as I exited the highway, my excitement climbed through the roof. I didn’t care how long it would take, I would get there.

A buddy of mine was meeting me there and was about 30 miles behind me. What I didn’t realize was that in the time it would take to go 30 miles, the storm would make the roads unusable. As much as he tried (and I mean really tried), there was no way that he was going to make it through the gorge the led to the mountain. After a few hours of chasing salting trucks and plows, he gave up, and got a motel somewhere in town, leaving me to my own devices in this slope-side condo.

I woke up as early as I could and headed out on my own. I was standing at the lift when they powered it on, and got up to the top before anyone else had a chance to ride the 14 inches of fresh snow we had received the night before. It was a gift from mother nature.

Instead of heading straight for the Black Diamonds like I usually do, I decided to take a long Blue that wrapped around the side of the mountain. I was the only one on it. Freshly groomed and wide open; it was the best first run that I ever could have asked for.

When I reached the bottom, I decided to take a little break. A bit winded and overly excited, I just wanted to take my time, and take it all in.

That’s when I met Robert.

Robert and I started a conversation about nothing. It was one of those conversations that you have with a total stranger that is polite, but excited about the moment. It stood out as pleasant, and the conversation moved smoothy. He invited me to join him and his lady on their next run. I was there alone, and he was being polite.

On the lift I told him about how my buddy didn’t make it up, and how I was considering spending another night because my car was snowed in, and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to make the ride home. We talked about work. We talked about kids.

This was when Robert taught me something about humanity. As we approached the top of the mountain, he casually said, “you should stay in my room. I have a room for the week, but I have to leave for the night, and I’ll be back on Tuesday.” Having known Robert for a full 8 minutes, I was already able to tell that he wasn’t kidding. This complete stranger had offered up, out of complete kindness, a free hotel room for the night. For no reason other than he had met a nice guy on the slopes.

Now I don’t know about you, but that’s not something that I would do. Maybe I’ve spent too much time living in the city, or maybe I’m more jaded than I thought I was. But offering a complete stranger your open hotel room for the night is not something that I would ever imagine doing. But he did it. Robert taught me a lesson.

We went our separate ways after two runs, and exchanged phone numbers. Two hours later, I got a text from him that he had left a key for me at the front desk. I didn’t really know how to thank him. So I gave him words:

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After the day was done, I realized that I really couldn’t take him up on his offer. The snow had melted a bit and the roads were clear. I had no reason to not try and make it home:

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I’m still speechless about the  whole thing. I want to be nicer in life. I want to help complete strangers. How do I pay this forward?

Hug yours. Kiss yours.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some close friends and loved ones who have received horrible news of the worst kind. They have lost members of their families or received devastating diagnoses for either themselves or their children. They are receiving the kind of news that you can’t recover from, fully.

Their stories and their lives are bouncing around in my head, and I feel like the best way that I can empathize is to remain positive.

Hug yours. Kiss yours. Hold them close and enjoy every waking minute of this life. Sometimes we don’t know when it will end, or what turns it will take. It isn’t worth it to be unhappy or ungrateful. It isn’t worth it to cheat or to be lazy.  Climb a hill or ride a bike. Get outside. Push yourself, mentally and physically, and be spontaneous. Don’t get lost in the details, and be honest with yourself. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy those around you. For all we know, we only get one chance at this, so make it count.

My Wife is Amazing

After our second kid was born, Lula decided to take back her body. For the first time in almost 4 years, she was alone with it. She no longer had to sit in the discomfort of being overweight and being unhappy about it. She could take charge and create the body that she always wanted.

She started moving, and moving some more. She started jogging and she started going to the gym. She started paying attention to herself. Eating right. Doing squats, stretches, lifts, and crunches. She dedicated herself, and it became a passion.

“Exercise is like brushing my teeth. I just have to do it everyday or something feels off.” -Lula

946796_10101559233225993_2129360872_nEventually she started competing. She took on a 5K. She kicked ass. She took on a mud run, and she rocked it. The more she ran, the more she wanted to run.

She wakes up a few times a week before 5am, and she takes off. I don’t know where she goes on her runs, but I know that when she comes back, she’s happy. She pushes herself, and she needs that.

Today marks the culmination of many things physical for Lu. Today she takes on the Philly Half Marathon.

13.1 miles of pure dedication. 13.1 miles of a dream that wasn’t possible for her before now. 13.1 miles of training, strength, hard work, and passion.

Lu is a success story. She’s someone that we should all watch with awe. She took something that she was unhappy with and she turned it completely around without anything more than her own will.

I’m more proud of her than I can even put into words. I’m inspired by her in so many ways. We can all learn something from what she’s done, and where she’s going.

My wife. She’s amazing.