Dad behavior: We have news!

Things are really changing in my life so I thought the blog needed a bit of an update.

If you didn’t already know (or are bad with clues), Emily and I are expecting a baby on August 2nd! We are already about halfway through the pregnancy. We were anxious to find out the gender, so we shelled out for an early ultrasound at an independent facility at around 15 weeks. Once we knew that was an option, we could not help ourselves!

It’s a boy! We would of course be happy either way, but a little fella is a new and exciting experience for our family. Emily has two sisters that have blessed us with three nieces. We were starting to think that her side just didn’t do dudes (say that three times fast). Somehow, we apparently found a way!

Celebrating in different, but equally blue ways.

Our news came on the heels of other big family happenings. With my sister’s recent engagement that we are all very pleased about, it has been a hilariously emotional time for my Mother. When we first told my parents, I took advantage of the situation as often as possible – entering rooms and announcing “Daddy’s here!” to make her burst into tears. Maybe that’s terrible, but what are sons for?

Wait… karma is going to be intense isn’t it?

New name, largely similar blog content

For the most part, this blog will be used for the same stuff. Sports, video games, strange adventures; these are fatherly things, yeah? Of course now there will also be Dad/parent-specific stuff as well. I’M GOING TO BE A DAD. Sorry, I’ve been blurting that a lot lately.

You remember my first time riding a bike? Well I’ve yet to have my first time changing a diaper too, so… yeah. Look forward to that.

The dork in this picture somehow got this girl to stick around long enough to become parents together at 26. Babies havin’ babies.

Emily and I are wildly excited, terrified, and antsy to have this little guy. It is going to be an experience unlike any other, but our lives have been building to this point for a long time and we are ready. Probably. Maybe.

I have already been privately noting some of my thoughts, fears, and excitement, so there will be some interesting Dad behavior posted here soon enough. As usual, thanks for coming along for the ride. Wish us luck!

Uber Adventures

Image from Phys.org

I teased you a while back saying that I had some good Uber experiences to share with you. I apologize for keeping you waiting.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am not the most driven of drivers (just assume that all of my puns are intended). I only give a few rides a month, usually on my lunch break when I don’t have anything else to do. Somehow, I still manage to have some very interesting individuals each time.

Perhaps if I drove more often, I would become numb to the weirdness. Maybe that’s reason enough to do it sparingly – the weirdness provides solid writing material.

We have had Uber in Springfield for over a year now, but many people are still new to the ride-hailing app. I’ve had a few first-time users and they always ask: “Should we tip you?” The answer I give is very humble and polite, but of course my preferred answer would be “40% is pretty standard” or something
like that.

Usually I am honest and tell them it is optional, but tips are not included in the base fare. Tipping is rare, but always appreciated.

Driving ladies in my Charger since the mid/late 2000’s

One ride that caught me off guard happened pretty early in my driving tenure. I picked up a young woman visiting from Florida at a sushi restaurant and she sat in the front seat. Usually the only individuals that go for the front seat or solo male riders, but that isn’t what caught me off guard.

“Can I use dat auxiliary cord?” I obliged and gave her full control of music duties. We bumped to some pretty heavy rap the whole way to her destination. Not the weirdest ride I suppose, but it was certainly unexpected.

It wasn’t nearly as stressful as driving a very pregnant lady to her job. Again, not the strangest ride, but I went through so many scenarios in my head that involved me delivering a baby in my backseat. Such are the fears of the Uber driver.

I realized another fear of an Uber driver when the app took me to wrong destination during another ride. I had picked up a couple of gentlemen at the mall, once they figured out how exit the building. One was Polish and the other was British – they were in town for a conference.

The app does not do a great job of telling you your destination, but I eventually deduced that we were headed for the airport. We talked on the way about European weather, currency differences, global communication for business, and the like. I was enjoying the conversation and just blindly following the route, even though I know how to get to the airport…

It took us to a locked gate at the very back of the airfield. It required a 10 minute detour to get back around the whole thing. Luckily they didn’t seem to be late, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a tad embarrassing. I stopped charging them of course once I realized the mistake. They still gave me the most
generous tip I’ve ever received. Long live the Queen.

Foreign individuals make up a decent demographic of the daytime riders. I took a fellow Uber driver from Chile to get a haircut. He thought I spoke Chilean because I said “gotcha”. Apparently “cotcha” essentially means “cool” in Chilean. I’m more worldly than I realized.

There is certainly local flavor as well, from known radio hosts to a pair of Springfield Cardinals headed for the pool, after Brown Derby of course. Only one spoke English. I assume they both made it to the big leagues since then.

I have a couple of my most interesting trips still in my back pocket. They are long, so they will likely require their own blog post each. Stay tuned, people. Check out some of the stuff below to see what I’ve been up to and why my posts have been more sporadic recently. I’m going to try and ramp it back up, so thanks for checking in and I hope you’ll be back!

Quick blog update!

Wil, you seem to have really slowed down on you blog content. Are you giving up on your dreams? Fading into obscurity?

I appreciate your concern, dedicated fan. Fear not! I have certainly not given up on my dreams and am still making efforts to remain as far from obscurity as possible. Many of these efforts are just not seen here on my personal blog.

As I have mentioned previously, I have become a contributor for Thunderous Intentions and Grown Gaming. Since I was already only writing a few posts a week, a lot of my posts are now going through those avenues.

One of the primary goals of this blog is for me to establish varied writing samples. I am interested in both sports and entertainment writing, so it makes sense for me to put a lot of that style of content on the more trafficked and professional web pages. I appreciate you noticing me, but I would like for others to notice me as well!

I have been learning a lot about formatting and search engine optimization. I’m not necessarily going to make all of these posts super SEO friendly, because I still just want for this to be a place where I can jot down thoughts and write what I want and how I want.

There will still be a flow of content here, but for anything video game or Thunder related, you know where to go. I love you.

So This is Christmas

Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so they say. By “they” I am mostly referring to my wife. We all know someone who takes holiday cheer very seriously. You may even be that person. I’m not here to knock that. In fact, I think that those are the people that make the Christmas season as great as it is.

December almost entirely revolves around Christmas (sorry, winter birthday folks). For many, this is the busiest time of the year. Work year-ends are needing to be closed out, everyone’s kid has a dreaded Christmas special at church or school (even though they usually wind up being adorable/hilarious), and you have to buy presents for what feels like everyone you know on a first-name basis. Though all that makes the season stressful, it is also a time for people to be thankful, generous, and cheerful. Those are good things. I like those things.

If you are like me, you accumulate presents for friends and family slowly. My wife and I do most shopping simultaneously, but the gifts I get for her or any others I’m responsible for, I buy one at a time for about a month leading up to Christmas. Some buy their Christmas gifts at Walgreens late on Christmas Eve. I have a coworker that I am fairly sure was done shopping by Halloween. The holidays aren’t all about the presents, but giving and getting makes for a pretty good time. Let’s not pretend the presents aren’t one of the most fun parts of Christmas.


I talk a big game about there being no Christmas trees in our house prior to Thanksgiving. I do have to be honest though that every year, our house really does look its best when we have our Christmas stuff up in all its glory. Well played, wife. The fake tree is nice and easy, but real trees are one of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid.

Like a lot of memories, I appreciate cutting down a tree with my Dad more now than I did at the time. Freezing my toes and taking turns dragging a tree across the field wasn’t the first thing I looked forward to at Christmas. However, bundling up and marching towards the woods with my Dad, our dog Oliver happily bounding ahead, and maybe even a cat or two joining us on our journey was a pretty darn good time. Pops did most of the cutting since all we had was a rusty handsaw. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but it was a joyous occasion that brought a sense of accomplishment when we hoisted up the tree in the house.

Uncle Shae (always in shorts), me (not helping), and Dad (head in a tree)

Having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house and Christmas morning at my parents is a tradition that has never left my life. My wife’s family has been very accommodating in having Christmas brunch/lunch and allowing this ritual to continue. Even though I touted the fun of the presents, it really is family and loved ones that make this a special time of year.

I want to thank all of the Christmas fanatics out there for making this season go. The rest of us may roll our eyes at the Christmas music, tree decorating, and silly traditions, but we need all of that in our lives. The magic doesn’t have to stop when you aren’t a kid anymore. Use the opportunities that Christmas provides to let your family and friends know you love and appreciate them. Long live all of the goofy traditions and may all your Christmases be merry and illuminated! Or something.

Hunting Season

I was hoping to have a really cool picture to post with this of me proudly holding a buck three times my size, but alas, the above picture is from last year. That was my first deer, though I have been hunting for four years or so. Deer season is still in full swing, though opening weekend came and went without me pulling the trigger. I may not be done yet – I’ll have time to go out again during the coming weekend, but opening weekend certainly seems like the ideal time to drop a deer. Even so, good times were had and I am already looking forward to next year – in the stand or otherwise.

Like I’ve done the last several years, I took a half-day of work last Friday to gather my things and make sure I was stocked up on everything for deer camp. My wife had been preparing for a week long work trip, so I was trying to take the planning and inventory into my own hands. Despite my misplaced confidence, I did a predictably terrible job. I married a planner, something that I did not do by mistake. On my own, I forgot a pillow and blanket, boots, ibuprofen (a morning necessity), long underwear top, orange hat, and Hot Hands hand warmers. I did manage to bring women’s gloves, beer, snacks, and almost enough warm clothes. I even stopped to get someone else’ forgotten boots. I am an imbecile. I borrowed some goods from my father in law and my busy wife even made a special trip down with stuff before she left. They were both very impressed with my beer-remembering skills.

I hunt with the fellas on my wife’s side of the family. We have a “cabin” planted on some farm land owned by her brother-in-law. Despite it’s shed-like appearance, we’ve whipped it into shape over the last few years with a wood-burning stove, bunks, an outhouse, and now a porch. It is a lovely little place where the Busch Light flows like a river and signal is just good enough to get the occasional text from my wife reminding me about the highlights of basic gun safety. Each night we heat up deer chili or something similar, throw back some brews, and play cards. This year was only my second time playing poker, so I was very happy to have only lost $15 on the weekend. I’m sure I would have won if I wore sunglasses like the pros on TV. Even if I had thought of that, I probably would’ve forgotten the shades at home anyway.

Perfect for six grown men (pre-porch)

We all stay in the cabin at night and then fan out early in the morning. Some stay in tree stands right around the cabin while others have to do a little traveling. I had to drive about 20 minutes to my stand set up out behind my grandpa’s house. I was pretty pumped to get to hunt on my family’s land this year. As I mentioned earlier, opening morning seems like the perfect time to shoot a deer. There is a sense of excitement and adrenaline, though I haven’t had any luck on that morning so far. Plus, I was underdressed and had a self-induced headache this year, so it seemed a little less magical. I went out a few more times over the weekend, seeing an undersized six-point buck, 17 doe, two owls, and some field mice. I had a good shot on the buck, but was more interested in an impressive rack than just more meat for the freezer.


Hunting is fun. Being outdoors and having to stay alert with your head on a swivel for something to shoot is a pretty awesome departure from daily routines. If you shoot something though, you have to cut it’s guts out, which isn’t my favorite thing. What is my favorite thing is the comradery, cards, and memories made with good people. I’m not going to trade in my Xbox for a new tree stand any time soon, but no matter what happens this weekend I’ll be out there again next year and the one after that.

Halloween

Halloween is weird as heck. People around the country decorate their houses with spiders, skeletons, and zombies in an attempt to lure masked children to their front door so they can shower them in unhealthy treats. It’s great. America is great.

The origins of Halloween are traced back to Celtics from what is now Ireland celebrating their new year (Nov. 1st). They thought ghosts and such came out to haunt on that day, but they would calm the spirits with treats. It’s common knowledge that ghosts just stopped existing all together in the 1930’s once they all moved into candy factories, gorged themselves, and exploded into candied bits. That’s where M&Ms came from. Look it up. We continue to celebrate regardless.

Halloween has evolved over the years and means different things to different people. Like with most holidays, folks have various traditions. Some go out seeking treats, some stay in and dole them out, some ignore it all together, some use it as an excuse to dress as crazy or as scantily as possible. Like I said, it’s weird. I’ve done many of the above (aside from dressing scantily, but I’m still young – there’s time) and I can’t say definitively what my preference would be. Doing nothing is a little sad, so that’s ruled out.

As a kid, I loved Halloween. Getting to pick out a costume and go out seeking candy is an obvious blast for kids. The first costume I can remember wearing was a trash bag that looked like a pumpkin, filled with balled-up newspaper. I’m not sure the bag was intended to be a costume, but it wound up adorable anyway. Not surprisingly I was also a 3 ½ foot tall Darth Vader. Twice. Once I was the Riddler from Batman because I was obsessed with Jim Carrey. I went once as a mad scientist with one of those strange glasses/nose/mustache combos and an Einstein wig. I mastered a slow head turn that actually made it pretty darn scary. I went as death (aluminum foil scythe and all) and likely would have terrified every poor old person in the nursing home if I was taller than 4 feet or so.

In college I always went to a Halloween pub-crawl dressed in either a couple’s costume with my girlfriend/fiance/wife (college was eventful for us) or with a larger group in costume. It made for some fantastic people-watching, but it isn’t always ideal to go to the same packed bars as hundreds of other thirsty college students. I’ve also spent a couple of Halloweens at my sister-in-law’s house, handing out candy to kids and the occasional too-big-for-Halloween weirdy, though my nieces do most of the handing-out work. My wife and her family are also big pumpkin carvers – a tradition that’s beginning to bleed over into my family as well.

However you spend your October 31st, whether it’s carving a poorly done face into a gourd, escorting your kids around in their expensive (or homemade/likely too time consuming) costumes, or staying in quietly watching spooky movies, it’s going to be a pretty good time. I’m considering going as Darth Vader for a third (or fourth?) time, but I’ll likely just dish out some goodies and have a pumpkin ale. I’ll have carved at least two pumpkins and will have a few too many pieces of my own candy. It’s tough to go wrong with Halloween.

State of The Blog

You’re still here! That’s fantastic! I appreciate everyone who has dropped a Facebook like or a favorite on Instagram, but especially folks like you, who are actually here reading what I have to write. You da real MVP.

I love when people tell me that they have been reading my posts. Some people have even been enjoying it, which seems like crazy-talk to me. You must be a little deranged or something. My primary objective in all of this is to build up a writing portfolio. I don’t have any professional experience in writing, so I am slowly building this site up to have something I can point to and say “This is what my work looks like”. So far, it’s been a lot of fun too.

I know most of my audience finds their way here through my Facebook posts, which means we’re friends (HI FRIEND). I don’t always share all of my posts on Facebook, because much of my content is focused in niche areas such as video games or the NBA, which aren’t for everyone. I am passionate about these things however and have a lot of fun writing down my thoughts about them. I hope to someday be in a position in which I could write professionally, at least part-time. If I could write about something I am passionate about… well, that’s the dream.

I have a great full-time job and am getting a big kick out of posting things to my blog, even if it’s only a couple of times per week. I am also going to try to break into some freelance writing/editing, which is a great way to get started in writing and you can do as much or as little as you want, assuming you can get gigs. This seems like a great time to plug myself (it is my website after all)!

If you or someone you know is looking for a freelance writer or editor to help you or a business out, hit me up in my Contact Me page!  Maybe you have a business and need someone to proof your email marketing, blog posts, or newsletters? Maybe you are a student that can’t afford to take any chances turning in a big paper and need it edited? Just contact me and we can discuss specifics!

Anyway… I have really been enjoying my creative space so far and the positive feedback I have received. I am always open to suggestions for ways to improve and love hearing from you guys in general. I will do my best to find the time and keep content coming, so be on the lookout for new posts, be it nerdy stuff, sports stuff, or details about my life that I am technically better off leaving private. I love you.

5 Unexpected Perks of Marriage

For the most part, no one really knows what they’re getting into when they get married. For me, I was in a pretty good position for knowing what I was getting into. My wife and I have essentially grown up together since we started dating not long after we both turned 15. We knew each other extremely well, spent some time as roommates, and were pretty sure there weren’t many surprises left.

Marriage has been fantastic these last four-plus years, with many of the expected perks and of course the occasional tough time to navigate together. Some of the perks are ones that I wouldn’t have considered, however. I’ve highlighted a few of those below:

 

1. Co-piloting

For better or for worse, I often have a co-pilot wherever I go. When we are taking a trip and need to navigate a new city, having a co-pilot to help know where you’re going and when to turn is invaluable. Even around our hometown, I get advice such as when to brake and how fast to go. Overall, very handy.

2. Beauty Products

This one was very unexpected for many reasons. With a wife of course comes a bathroom counter full of all kinds of pricy hair and makeup products. That was very expected. The unexpected perk is that I actually get to use some of these products in (prior to this post) total secrecy. Pimple? Foundation. Wind? Hairspray. These things carry a stigma for men, but when you’re married, no one has to know!

3. Accountability

It is extremely valuable to have a partner in life for many reasons, but one that people might not consider is accountability in many aspects of life. If you need to go on a diet (which I often do), you don’t have to go it alone. Accountability with things like spending or other goal-setting activities is also important. Plus, you often have someone there to tell you where your priorities should lie. Sometimes, that’s even a good thing! 

4. Helping Hand

With home projects/yard work it is always handy to have someone else around to make things easier. Whether you are splitting up tasks or just handing the other person what they need, it makes everything much more bearable. Much like co-piloting, it can also be very useful for one individual to direct the actions of the other and inform them when there are better ways to approach situations.

5. Dangit!

It turns out five wasn’t enough. There are many unexpected perks of marriage. You always have a teammate who knows you way too well during Catch Phrase or charades. Between the two of you, you’ll always have something to celebrate. A successful week at work? Wine! Mowed the yard? Beers! You can always be honest with your partner about how your day went, and it is very important to be able to get things of your chest with your trusty companion.

 

There are obviously many more perks of marriage, these were just some examples of ones that I might not have considered. Yes, co-piloting can be a hot-and-cold perk and I use a little hairspray. You’ll understand when you get older, kiddo. Marriage is the best part of my life and I am constantly excited about the next perk we can uncover together.

Driving For Uber

Let me start by saying that I only drive part-time. Let me continue by saying that part-time is possibly overstating how much I drive. I drive on my lunch breaks sometimes. See? I don’t think that counts as part-time. I have a normal day job, I just thought it might be interesting to have a side-gig to make a few bucks here and there. I figured that I could get a paper route or maybe open a lemonade stand. The post office was hesitant to shell out dough to a grown man that barely knows how to ride a bike and the lemonade stand involved too much overhead, so I settled on Uber.

Sign up was almost strangely simple, as it was all done through the app. I used it to take pics of my license, registration, and insurance and then fill out some info so they could run a background check. I passed, while being what some might argue to be a certifiable maniac, so that should frighten you. Once the background check was over, I was ready to be called by strangers so they could enter my car and entrust me with their home address. If only I knew what I was getting into, from taking foreigners who don’t speak much English around town to an emergency trip to the vet.

I admittedly haven’t tried too hard to make a bunch of money doing it. That requires late evenings in most circumstances, something I’m not willing to sacrifice after a normal day’s work when I’m ready to just be with my wife. I did dedicate a few evenings to it in the early going and I can see how it wouldn’t be hard to make some decent . Mostly at night it consisted of taking people to bars of course. Lonely fellas going to sad-sack bars and some young ladies going all the way downtown getting a very late start on their night. I haven’t stayed out late enough to take many people home from these places. Despite an established vomit in your backseat policy, I haven’t been ready to risk it.

On a typical day, I scarf down my lunch while I work and then head out, turn on my Uber Driver app, and find a shady place to park and read. That really only gives me about a 40 minute window to accept rides, so again, that really shows my dedication. Many days, I just get to quietly sit and read. Some weeks are surprisingly filled with afternoon Uber-users.


On only my second ride ever, I excitedly accepted the trip and headed for the pickup point. I got a text from the requester stating that the ride was for her son. I thought that was a little odd, but I said that sounds good and headed on. I quickly realized that the path was leading me to a high school. How old was this kid? Can I drive minors? Am I going to be dropping this kid off and his mean ol’ step-Dad’s house who isn’t expecting a grown man to show up with his son!? I pulled into the school’s round-about with all the other Moms and waited for my boy to show up. I felt like quite the creep. Eventually he awkwardly approached me and I took him home. I deduced that he was a senior, so I like to think that he was 18. Still a pretty strange early Uber experience.

In my few rides, I’ve still managed to have some very interesting clientele, so keep an eye on this page. I will be writing about some of the more interesting ones soon enough. Don’t forget to tip your drivers!

I Didn’t Win the Powerball

Well, it happened. Someone won the $758,000,000 Powerball and it wasn’t me. I have to admit… I feel a tad silly at this point for selling my house in anticipation.

This was my first time ever participating in the lottery. I figured that I might as well give it a shot since you can’t win if you don’t play. I’ve bought my fair share of scratcher tickets just for fun every now and then. The most I’ve ever won on a scratcher was $100 on one glorious Christmas morning. The Powerball lottery however, promised winning potential of up the three quarters of a billion dollars. It would take a lot of scratcher tickets to get near that sum. People like to think about what they would do with such a prize, and I am no different.

I obviously didn’t win and I also obviously (I hope) didn’t sell my house in anticipation of winning. The odds of winning the lottery are so minuscule that anyone who truly believes that they have a shot is a ninny. Someone has to win though, so we like to talk about it!

Photo credit: knowyourmeme.com

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they wouldn’t want to win that much money. I personally think that is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. I hear the arguments of a complete loss of anonymity and the constant badgering by friends, family, organizations, and beggars of all forms. Those things don’t scare me because I can put a gate at the end of my very fancy new driveway. I could also just find a nice island where no one could find me at all six months out of the year. If you don’t believe in gates or caller I.D. though, and those hassles still aren’t worth millions of dollars to you, you’re still crazy to not want it. You can even instantly take the lump sum and give it away to charitable organizations of your choosing. If you still don’t want to win that much, I’m sorry, but you may be crazy.

Say you are rational and want to keep it. After the government is done taxing you like they deserve it, I would advise you to invest probably 90% or so of what you get. You can go the more volatile route and invest in stocks, or you could even just put it all into bank CD’s or other interest-bearing accounts and still likely make more a year than you do now, while keeping that other 10% out to upgrade your home and vehicles and dole out to your deserving inner circle of friends and family.

I wish that I was writing this from my newly built castle, but alas, I am upstairs in my home office while my cat runs around like a maniac. Things are still good though. The lights are on and the Keurig still works, so I am content to wait and try again on the next one. I should note that if you are one of those people that doesn’t want to win that much, I have great ideas, so give it all to me. Good luck, my friends!