I’m in no way surprised by the lack of posts in 2023. The previous post pretty much set the tone for the entire year. Only you can add in a sleep study that resulted in an autopap machine I’m supposed to be using at night when I sleep. I loathe that thing. If it actually felt like it was making a difference it would be one thing, but I haven’t felt any different whether using it for 7+ hours or not at all, so it’s not difficult to question its effectiveness. Also add in a major surgery for my wife, and it adds up to be one shit-show of a year.
It was also around the time of that last post where the depression got REALLY bad, and I found myself in a state I never really thought I’d be in, and one from which I struggled to get out. But I think (hope) I’m past all that. The meds, the therapy, the corrected hormone levels, and the love of those closest to me seems to have finally got me closer to my old self. Perhaps even the one that’s been missing for quite some time.
There were some good times and things that happened last year, though. A trip to Nashville, where for a few brief moments throughout those days I had forgotten about everything that was going on and felt at peace. A spring full of quiet walks around the neighborhood with my favorite person in the world. Adding another licensed driver to the household, and worrying like crazy the first few times he drove to school by himself, and every time the weather is shitty. Multiple new stories in the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (that need to be posted here as well), including one where we were able to watch his final flight and attend his retirement ceremony in person, while doing everything in my power to hold back tears in a hangar full of soldiers. And getting to know and become close to one of the best souls I’ve met. They know who they are (and thank you). There was also a list of things that many chalked up to a mid-life crisis (classic car, tattoo, etc), and that certainly could have played into it all, but if that is the case, that part may not be over yet.
In any case, for the first time in a long time, I start the year off full of hope. Feeling like I’m in control. Bring it on, 2024.
It’s been awhile, though it seems like yesterday that I threw that 300. I’ve bowled awful ever since, but hopefully that turns around soon. Outside of bowling, this year has not started off how I’d hoped.
Something had been giving me some stomach issues, similar to when I eat dairy, but when I avoided anything with lactose in it. I had a feeling I knew what it was, but wanted to find out for sure. I completely cut out all gluten in my diet for a few weeks (along with dairy) and I can’t remember feeling that great in a very long time. Non-Celiac gluten intolerance. At least now I know and can make choices as I do with dairy, as we all know I won’t be completely giving up beer or bread any time soon. I learned a lot, though, and I can’t believe how many things have wheat in them! I also found quite a few alternatives that didn’t taste horrible, but I don’t think I could ever give up the real things. But at least I now know what was causing those issues.
In the middle of this gluten-free diet, I woke up one Wednesday and my right shoulder was a little sore. I figured I had just slept wrong or something, as we hadn’t even bowled in over a month due to the holidays. Over the next few days, however, the pain increased significantly and by the time Saturday came around, I couldn’t even lift my arm high enough to feed myself with the right hand. So, I spent a large portion of the morning at Urgent Care on Sunday, being told it’s tendonitis and getting a shot of cortisone in my shoulder and being referred to physical therapy, which I will start in a few weeks. It’s feeling better, but I’ll at least start the PT as it does flare up often, though the pain is nowhere near as bad as before the shot.
I’ve had some other health issues that I finally spoke to my primary care physician about at the end of 2022. The first round of bloodwork confirmed what I had already expected, and that was a low testosterone level. Explains a lot of the issues, including the depression, weight gain, and a few other very depressing issues. So, they wanted to do another round of bloodwork with additional tests to check a few other things. I’ve had far too many bad experiences with IV’s and I ended up pushing this off until after the start of the new year. The results came back with my prolactin levels very elevated, though my thyroid and other labs were all within range. I started looking up what might cause low levels of testosterone in men combined with high levels of prolactin, and one thing seemed to always come up: pituitary adenoma (tumor). As such, I wasn’t very surprised to see the note from my PCP saying they wanted me to get an MRI to check my pituitary. I went and got the MRI, which was not my favorite thing in the world, especially since they wanted to do it both with and without contrast, so more IVs! It only took a few days to see the results that I was expecting. It’s definitely a tumor on my pituitary. The notes also stated the scan shows a cyst in my sinuses, but we are going to ignore that one for now. So, they are referring me to endocrinology for next steps, but they can’t get me in until mid-July. I freaking hate waiting, but I appreciate knowing. At least I know what might be causing all of these symptoms, but I hate having to wait to find out what they can do about it. Until then, I’ll continue to take these antidepressants, go to PT for my shoulder, and try not to think about it.
Last night at bowling, on the last official day of the league, on the last game of the evening, I finally bowled my first 300 game! In the first game, I had opened the first frame with a split, 9 spare, opened on another split, then threw the last 9 in a row for a 244 game. Then in game two, as the oil shifted, I struggled hitting the pocket. I changed balls and moved lines, and then in the 8th frame I decided I would forget about this game and try to find something that works for the third game. As it turns out, it was just one board over from my game one line with my AstroPhysiX.
I opened with a Turkey, which I didn’t really think anything about, other than I was happy to finally be back in the pocket consistently. I walked back to the bench and said, “Gobble gobble, bitches,” to my wife who chuckled. I also had to pee, but I didn’t want to jinx myself, as I almost always pulled the ball after going to the bathroom and washing my hands regardless of any powder I used afterwards. Then after the first six in a row, I went back and repeated this the same line as after the first turkey, which, again, made my wife laugh. After the seventh strike the thought of a 300 game crept into my head and I started getting a little nervous, but I’ve thrown seven in a row quite a few times in my career and I quickly tried to forget about it. All I really wanted for the last day of league was to hit my average overall (which would be a 606 series as I have a 202 average) as I haven’t been bowling the best lately. After I threw the 8th strike, I realized that I already had more than enough pins given my first two games to do so, which made me think to myself despite what comes next, I’ve already accomplished what I had hoped to do for the night, so I wasn’t going to be too disappointed when I inevitably thew a bad shot in the ninth frame, which has historically been my nemesis. I can distinctly remember grabbing my ball and thinking to myself, “Elbow in, follow-through. If you can get through this frame, you’ll have another opportunity to finally do it.” It hit a little light in the pocket, but they all went down. I walk back and immediately start thinking about it. My nervousness must have shown as I stood there looking up at the screen, as my wife looks at me and said, “Hey, that’s another turkey, where’s the gobble gobble?” This certainly helped, as I repeated, “Gobble, gobble, bitches!” Only this time I added in the Pete Weber crotch chop, which made a few other opposing team members chuckle as well. Then Lacey kept trying to keep my mind off of it by doing things like commenting on my terrible penmanship, which I didn’t realize at the time, but certainly appreciate now.
I let the new guy on the other team go ahead of me, as I was fairly confident he didn’t understand the protocol for someone walking up with the first nine strikes on the board. I was pretty nervous, and as I finally placed my feet, I repeated to myself, “Elbow in, follow-through.” And, of course, I failed to do the first thing and tugged it. The ball missed my mark by a good 4 boards inside and went Brooklyn, though they all somehow fell. I heard the cheers, and laughed to myself. I thought, “Ok, there’s my screw up, now I have nothing to worry about.” When my ball came back, I picked it up, wiped it off on my shirt as I had done before every frame this game, placed my feet, and said to myself, “Elbow in, follow-through. You have to get one before you get two.” This time, the ball rolled over my mark and hit the right side of the pocket. Eleven in a row. Now the cheers are getting louder, and with it, the nerves. As I waited for my ball to return, I tried to refrain from looking at anyone. I tried telling myself that this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is why I’ve worked through the nerves of numerous no-tap 300 games in the summer so that I would be used to throwing 11 in a row. I was in a similar spot back in 2017 in the my first adult league after taking 15 years off, in a child-adult league with my oldest, the last game of the year. In that instance, I tugged the ball, it hit Brooklyn and left the 9 pin. I was so nervous before that shot that I didn’t want to take it. This time, I was ready.
I picked up my ball, wiped the oil on my shirt, and took my stance. As I stood there looking at my mark, I couldn’t help but smile to myself, realizing that everyone around me was quiet and watching. Some hoping I hit it, and probably some waiting for me to choke. One last time I said to myself, “Elbow in, follow-through.” I kept my elbow in, I was balanced when I let go of the ball, and followed-through. The ball missed my mark by a few boards right, which I knew was going to hit light, but at least I didn’t pull it. I just stood there, holding my follow-through as I watched the ball hit its break point and start heading towards the pocket. As I expected, it hit light, but the pins fought, and in the end, there were none left standing on the lane. The cheers erupted. I turned around to see Mitch jumping up and down and everyone from the surrounding lanes heading my way to congratulate me. I was so pumped! I had done it. After 17 years as a YABA bowler, one year on adult league, a 15 year hiatus, and then 5 years on adult leagues, at age 42, I had finally done it.
After making my way through the crowd and kissing my wife, I started to walk to the bathroom, as I really had to pee now. But as I was walking up, the league secretary was already there with the paperwork and told me to go get my ball. As we sat down and she started explaining everything, I think she realized that I was shaking and told me to take a few minutes and then we can work on getting everything filled out. So I told her that I’ve had to pee since the first frame but didn’t want to jinx myself, and went to use the bathroom in the bar as she started writing down the serial number of my ball and filling out her part of the form. As I stood there alone, I started to tear up, as what just happened really started to sink in. I freakin did it. I finally bowled a real, sanctioned perfect game. Now there is only remaining milestone left for me to aim for: a sanctioned 800 series.
I was pretty certain that I didn’t want another dog after Queenie passed away last year. I still tear up thinking about her. We check the Humane Society website occasionally and look at all the puppies, but quickly talk ourselves out of it, as we don’t really have the time to train a new puppy, and I still couldn’t bring myself to replace Queenie. Then last week, while waiting for a meeting, Lacey was browsing Facebook and saw a post on the Humane Society’s website that they had rescued 42 dogs from South Texas. She texted me the link, and while I was scrolling through the pictures I saw two puppies that reminded me of Queenie. I fought my instincts to immediately drive over there for all of 30 seconds, and then did. I ended up taking one of them home, and we have all been in love with her since. I haven’t enjoyed the house training, but she’s just so stinking adorable, and I know things will get easier the older she gets (she’s only 3 months old). We have to take her back in to get fixed at the end of April, when they will complete the adoption process.
Welcome home, Roxie. Please stop pooping in the house lol.
With Tom coming home for the holidays, I thought it would be fun to go see the last home Lions game together. The seats were pretty good, and by some miracle, they destroyed the Cardinals! It totally screwed them for the first draft pick, but it was a great game to be at. After the game, we bar hopped for a bit, ending up at the Founder’s taproom for a late dinner. After drinking some high gravity beers, we made the one good choice and one terrible choice. The good choice was heading back to the hotel rather than going to another bar. The bad choice was getting a couple of crowlers to take with us. We finished up the first one, then both basically passed out watching Netflix on his laptop since the tv in our room wouldn’t let us stream to it and their tech person never showed up to our room. After picking up Deacon from the airport the next day, we headed back home for a week filled with more drinking and board games. Until Tom tested positive for Covid, which cut their trip short, and started a long few weeks of quarantining. It did allow us to play slay some more zombies, but not while in the same house as we had planned. It was fun while it lasted. Can’t wait until we get together again! Preferably without the Covid.
Lacey and I flew down for a long weekend to hang out and see your new place in Savannah. We left the airport in Savannah and immediately went to the World of Beer, which pretty much set the stage for the next few days. Delirium Tremens is so much better on tap. We enjoyed your new theatre setup while drinking a vat of sangria, made sure all the old Rock Band instruments were still functioning properly, and played some fun board games where we learned that sharks were waterproof. We walked around downtown and discovered some new breweries, and while we didn’t see any alligators, we did see Foreigner which was a pretty good show. On the way home from the show, we managed to get the only Uber driver who spoke Poshto. After speaking with him in Pashto for a good 5 minutes, there was a 90 second lull, after which you asked the driver if he spoke Poshto. Let’s blame the double whiskey we had at the concert. All in all, it was such a fun trip, and I wish it could have been a little longer. Already looking forward to our next get-together.
I can’t believe it’s already November! Summer went by far too fast, as it usually does, though this year seemed to go by faster than ever. I’m not terribly disappointed, though. Other than some anticipated holiday drama, I’m actually looking forward to the holidays this year. Our youngest is scheduled for her first vaccine shot today, the other two have been fully vaccinated for quite some time, and Lay and I both have our boosters already. I’m hoping with the youngest finally able to get vaccinated that it will relieve some of the stress of people wanting to get together again.
I also expect to finally begin the continuation of the adventures of Tom and Jerry, as Lay and I are flying down to GA tomorrow for a long weekend and much shenanigans with Tom and his family. It will be the first time flying since the pandemic began, and I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting away for a few days. The weather is not expected to be terribly warm, but beer helps with that 🙂
As most people know, I’ve been in an interim position for the past three years. I knew that at some point they would have to post it and do a national search, but I never expected it to take this long. I’m officially a finalist for the permanent position, and I had the final interview last Tuesday. It was one of those all-day, getting escorted from group to group interviews, which are physically and mentally exhausting. It was also a bit awkward given I have been doing the job for the past three years, and one of the hour-long sessions was with my current team. Alas, I made it through, and I believe I did about as well as I could have. Reflecting on the day and all the conversations, there are of course some things I wish I would have said differently, or things I wish I wouldn’t have said at all, but that’s always going to be the case. I was told that they were going to meet today to discuss the candidates, so I’m hoping I hear something back soon one way or another.