I'm Just Sayin'
Random Thoughts from a Random Guy

Sep
19

Brooke turns 5

Earlier this year, my wife closed the home daycare she ran for 10 years and enrolled in graduate school full time.  In the fall she started attending not one, but two universities.  Not only does she attend class in two different states, she also does therapy with a student in Missouri too.  When she’s not in school, she’s doing homework, lots of it.  A whole lot of reading.

So as we started planning our soon to be 5 year old daughter’s birthday party, I was informed it would all be on me.  So I decided to get creative and attempt to spend the least amount of money as possible.  This was my plan in large part because we’re now a  single income family until Lisa finishes up with part of her school and can at least work part time.

Brooke decided she wanted an “Under the Sea” party.  Let me start right now by saying my parents took care of the paper products, goodie bags, and the giant chocolate chip cookie Brooke requested.  So that left me to do the planning of the party and the execution of the games.

Under the Sea Bracelets

Under the Sea Bracelets

As the guests arrived, I had a table set up for the them to create their own braclets.  Luckily, we had a ton of beads.  Not sure where they came from, but they actually fit the theme prefectly.  We had fish, dolphins, and sea turtles.  The assorted color beads also had different colored stars in them.  I told the kids to pretend they were starfish.

They used pipe cleaners to feed the beads through.  Again, something we happened to have on hand, so this craft really didn’t cost me anything.

As they finished up this project and we were waiting for other guests to arrive, I printed off some “Little Mermaid” color pages off the internet.  They colored those as we waited to continue on with the festivities.  Again, something that didn’t cost anything because we had the printer paper already on hand.

We also played a round of musical chairs.  We already had the chairs here at the house, and I played “Under the Sea” from the “Little Mermaid” soundtrack for the music.  Making this a fun game for the kids to play and not costing us a thing.

Pin the Tail on the Whale

Pin the Tail on the Whale

The first game I created was Pin the Tail on the Whale.  Luckily, the boys got new desks earlier in the week, and there were some large pieces of styrofoam and cardboard.  For this game, all I did was draw a whale (minus the tail) on a large piece of styrofoam.  Then I painted the whale with blue paint.  Next, I added some ocean water using a mix of blue and green paint.  Brooke added the smile to the whale’s face.

Then I cut out tails from blue pieces of paper.  I drew the shape of the tail on one side, folded the paper and then cut along that pattern.  That created the tail and made it super easy.

I printed the phrase “Pin the Tail on the Whale” on a piece of yellow paper and cut it out in a circle to look like the sun.  The last thing I did was add some tape to each tail prior to the game.  I think all the kids had fun with it.

Pitch the Pearls

Pitch the Pearls

Another game I had fun creating was “Pitch the Pearls.”  I drew a clam on a piece of cardboard.  Then I mixed some blue and white paint to give the clam his shell color.  Red and white paint mixed gave him his mouth color.  Then I painted the surrounding area.  The bottom is supposed to look like sand, but the mixing of the paint turned it more purple than brown, so we just went with it.  The top is a dark blue.  My daughter added a pair of googly eyes to him ( you can’t really see them in the pic).

I  cut a small round hole out in the middle of the mouth, where the kids would then toss pitch the pearls.  The pearls for this game were nothing more than a half dozen ping pong balls.  That was the only thing I didn’t have around the house, so I bought them at WalMart.  I think the cost was less than $1.50.

The Octopus Pop

The Octopus Pop

The Octopus Pop is the only other game that cost me anything to create.  That’s because we didn’t have any balloons around the house.

I bought the usual round balloons to represent the head of the octopi.  Then the long, twistable ones for the legs.  But a warning, those balloons are NOT easy to blow up.  Luckily the boys had one of those pumps, otherwise I don’t think I would have gotten them blown up.

As you look at the photo, you probably notice my octopi only have four legs.  That’s because I was running out of time and patience to do eight legs (or 4 balloons)

The object of this game was simple, I just spread the octopi on the floor and encouraged the kids to stomp on them.  Or sit on them.  What they could do to pop them.  The heads were easy to destroy, but the legs proved to be more difficult.  I’m not sure that anyone was able to pop them actually.

But it was a lot of fun and let them be a little destructive without getting in trouble.  Isn’t that what all kids want?

Shark Attack!

Shark Attack!

Using another piece of cardboard from the desk boxes, I drew a picture of a shark with his mouth wide open.  I mixed some blue and white paint for his skin.  Red and white for the interior of his mouth, and just plain white for the teeth.  I actually just spray painted the area around the shark.  The idea was to give it the effect that he was breaking through a boat.  Mason suggested a pirate ship. : )

Then I cut a whole out in the middle of his mouth.  All I did for this was have each guest stick his or her head in that hole and took a picture.  It’s supposed to look like they’re inside the shark’s mouth.

This could have easily been turned into a game as well.  Just toss a bean bag or a ball into the hole.  Maybe call it feed the shark or something.  Again, this is something I think the kids had fun with.  I will email the picture of each child to their parent to have as a little memory from the party.

Best part about this one, it was no cost again.  We had a pleathora of paint here and the cardboard came with the desks.

So the total amount I spent on the games was just $6.20.  That was for the package of ping pong balls and three packages of balloons.  Not too shabby, IMO.

Sep
10

I have never been the optimistic type.  I always seem to think the worst is going to happen, no matter what.  No telling why that is, but people who look at life with that “the glass is half full” approach get much respect from me.

With my job, I interview all types of people.  Being a medical reporter, many times those people are either going through or have gone through some sort of strife in their life.  I’ve talked to parents who have lost a child, women battling cancer, wives caring for their husbands as they battle a fatal disease.  And every time it never ceases to amaze me how positive these people are.

Today I interviewed a woman who’s husband was diagnosed with ALS about a year ago.  Once the provider for his family, he now requires constant care.  He’s paralyzed from the neck down and uses a wheelchair to get around.  The typical prognosis for this disease is not good.  Most patients with it live between two and five years.  I can’t even fathom that.  The woman I talked to stayed so positive and talked about how there is hope out there and they have faith that her husband will live beyond that dreaded time table given to them a year ago.

My life has been very charmed so far.  I’ve had some bumps in the road, but nothing that compares to the people I interview.  Today’s story has really given me a whole new appreciation for what I have, because as I’ve seen too many times before it can all be gone in an instant.

Aug
31

I think most people know that I am the “To Your Health” reporter at the station I work for in southern Illinois.  Each day, I report on different medical conditions.  Many times I get to meet people in our region who are battling diseases or doctors who are using new technology to make us all healthier.

I’m also a co chairman for the Southern Illinois Men’s Health Conference.  It’s a group aimed at getting men to break that “going to the doctor makes you weak” mentality.

Unfortunately, I was not taking my own advice.  That’s the point of this post.  I’m not going to get all graphic with the details, but I hope by sharing my story it might inspire other men to seek medical treatment sooner rather than later.

Let’s just say I’d been having some medical issues.  It was something I thought would pass.  But the situation only got worse as time went on.  So last week, I finally went to the doctor.  I was hoping a quick exam, he’d put my mind at ease, but instead, he told me I needed a colonoscopy.  What?!?  I’m only 37 years old.  I know most people don’t start getting them until after age 50.  Of course, I immediately started thinking the worse.  Not to mention I have a friend from college who is currently undergoing treatment for colon cancer.  She’s a year younger than me.

For one week, I agonized, fearing the worst of course.  I only told a handful of people what was going on, mostly because I didn’t want to get people worried if there was nothing to worry about.

Who’s had a colonoscopy before?  They say the prep work for it is worse than the procedure itself.  I’ll agree with that.  My last meal came Sunday night before bed.  Then on Monday, I could only have clear liquids, which luckily included some Jello.  I ate three boxes that day.  A whopping 240 calories for the entire day.  Well, there were some calories in the 64 ounces of Gatorade I had to drink.  But it wasn’t just straight Gatorade, it was mixed with Miralax.  If you don’t know what Miralax is or what it does, let’s just say it helps clean out the pipes.  (Sorry)  There were a couple of pills I had to take with it too.  I was instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight.  My appointment wasn’t until 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, so as you can imagine, I was starving.  I packed myself two peanut butter and banana sandwiches, some carrots, and a diet Mt. Dew for when it was all over.

Once I got there, they got me all hooked up with the IV, and that’s when my inner dialogue took over.  Kinda like “Dexter”, but focused on the killing of other people.  No, my inner voice was preparing the rest of myself for the possibility of the doctor finding a polyp and worse yet, it being cancerous.  I started connecting the dots in my life and wondered if this was where I was headed.  The nurse commented after reading my chart, that I was “a healthy guy.”  That made me feel a little better, but still I worried.

Soon, I was taken back to the room for the probing.  The nurse told me I’d get “the good stuff”, but I’d still be conscious.  Ha.  The last thing I remember is the doctor asking how I felt, and I said “woozy” and then I was out.  I woke up about 45 minutes later in the recovery area.  The first thing I asked was if it was over.  The nurse said yes, and there were no polyps.  I was overjoyed.  Then I was even happier when she brought me a Nutragrain bar and a cup of water.

So, long story short, I’m okay.  Nothing to worry about.  But if you notice something isn’t right with yourself, have it checked out.  Especially before it turns into something.  Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Aug
17

Mason (4th grade) & Ethan (5th grade)

Summer is over.  Not officially, but the kids are now back in school, so it might as well be over.  Today was the first day back.  Only 65 minutes, but they still are back in school.  Mason has started his last year of elementary school and is a 4th grader.  Ethan is now the new kid on the block as a 5th grader in middle school.  I ask myself this question all the time, where has the time gone?

Pre K Graduation Mason on the left, Ethan second from the right (2005)

It seems just like yesterday they were going through their Pre K graduation ceremony.  Yes there was a Pre K graduation ceremony.  Mason actually went to two years of Pre K and went through the Pomp and Circumstance twice.

I’ve always heard the older you get the faster time flies by.  I think that is definitely true.   Brooke will soon start Pre K and she’ll be “graduating” this school year too, and then it’s off to kindergarten.

Kevin in 4th grade: Spring 1983. Yes, that is a Gargamel shirt.

So as the kids head back to school I think back to the days when I was in school.   Elementary school was a lot of fun.  Of course, you’re just a “kid” then so there’s not much to do but have fun.  You’re learning, but you’re playing a lot too.  As you can see in this picture, I’m in the 4th grade and the “ugly duckling” phase is beginning.  Some might say it never left.  Ha!  This was the start of a turbulent time.

The years zipped by and middle school was right around the corner.  Man was that a rough time.  Looking back, I sometimes wonder how I survived.  But I think a lot of us go through that teen angst and trying to fit in and just wanting to be liked.  Liked by girls especially.  I was so unlucky in love they could have written a country song about it.  I still remember to this day in 6th grade a girl said to me, and I quote… “Your looks are your parents fault, your personality is your fault.”  Ouch!  The years that followed didn’t get much easier.  But eventually we all grow up and move on (hopefully)

High school wasn’t horrible, but I think I did a lot to keep myself out of the game.  Mostly because I had little to no self esteem, but who could with comments like the one above.  It really wasn’t until college when I broke out of my shell and feel like I developed a personality.

Now, “pushing 40” I still have times when my self esteem plunges like the stock market, but I’d say I’m much more confident now.  I think growing up does that.  Having a loving and supportive family helps that process too.

Aug
09

Spot and Mr. Hoppers, RIP

The last 10 months have not been good ones for the pets in the Hunsperger household.  As most of you have read in previous postings, we lost our beloved dog Spot two days after Christmas.

Mr. Hoppers
The latest casualty, the bunny, Mr. Hoppers.  He died Saturday night, and we’re not exactly sure what happened to him.  Since the weather was a bit cooler, Lisa had put him in his pen outside (in the shade, and with water) so he could hop around and munch on the fresh grass (or weeds).

She brought him back inside that afternoon and when she put him in his cage he went crazy, running around in circles five or six times.  Then, it was like he couldn’t move.  He started dragging himself around the cage with his front paws.  Hoppers wasn’t using his back legs at all.  Of course, it was Saturday evening by this point and the vet was closed.  We sought some advice online and it appeared that he might have done something to his back or legs.

We decided to wait it out until Monday and I’d take him to the vet.  But we didn’t have the chance.  When we got home from our friend’s house, Hoppers was dead.  And not to be morbid, but when he died, he was completely stretched out, probably a good two feet, if not more.  He wasn’t going to fit in any of the new shoe boxes Lisa had acquired from the Kohl’s sale the night before.  I knew we couldn’t leave him lying the cage rotting all night, so I did the next logical thing.  I grabbed a shovel and started digging a hole.  Of course it was about 10 minutes after midnight when all this went down.  Lisa joined me and we laughed at times at the absurdity of the situation.  The kids weren’t home, so they weren’t being traumatized by what was happening.  About 20 minutes later, we had a hole deep enough, long enough, and wide enough for our bunny’s final resting spot.  I covered him with dirt and did actually say a little prayer for him when I was finished.

Let me be honest about something.  I never really liked the rabbit.  There was no emotional attachment for me.  He came into our lives at a time when we had two guinea pigs, a turtle, and our beloved Spot.  The rabbit, in my opinion was going to be another smelly mouth to feed.  And pretty much, I was right.  I’m not trying to be cruel, that’s just the way it was.  But Hoppers did jump around the house, munch on fresh carrots, and got lots of TLC from the kids.  I think we had him about two years before his demise.  I’m not sure how old he was when we got him, as he was adopted from PetCo after two college students didn’t want him anymore.

Piggy
Piggy, Mason’s guinea pig, was actually the longest living pet aside from Spot.  Her life here on Earth came to an end in the spring, FIVE YEARS after we got her.  Again, she was one that was given to us from someone who didn’t want her anymore, so

Pudge on the left, Piggy on the right back in 2005

I’m not sure what her exact age was.  But I think five years is pretty darn good.  Piggy came to us at a time when Mason had just lost his first guinea pig, Guinney (clever, right)  We had taken this pig to the vet because he stopped eating.  They treated him, and we thought he’d be okay, but he ended up dying a short time later.  Ethan had just lost his beloved hamster, Buddy and the people at the vet’s office gave each boy a new guinea pig.  Pudge, seen in Ethan’s lap, lived a couple of years.  When he died, friends of ours had a pig that had had some babies, and we got one of those.  So then (gosh, I can’t even remember his name) was introduced to the family.  He was a healthy pig and grew pretty quick.  But it was Columbus Day 2009, Lenny that right, Lenny, kicked the bucket.  I’m not sure what happened to him, it was a sudden death.

But back to Piggy, like I said, she outlived two other guinea pigs.  We knew she was getting old and her time was limited with us.  Her back legs almost seemed to be paralyzed.  She started dragging them around behind her.  We didn’t want to see her suffer, so Lisa took her to the vet earlier this year and had her euthanized.  I’ve never heard of that for a small animal, but Miss Piggy just didn’t want to leave us.  And if you’re wondering, they charge the same for the shot, no matter the size of the animal.  Spot’s shot and Piggy’s shot were the same.  I found that interesting too.

Anyway, our backyard is like a pet cemetery.  Buddy, Guinney, Pudge, Lenny, Piggy, and now Mr. Hoppers are all resting in peace out there.  Spot was cremated and her ashes remain in a box in our closet.  We will plant a tree and spread them under it to have a constant reminder.   This is the first time in more than 12 years there hasn’t been some sort of critter swimming, hopping, and running in our home.  Looks like it will be that way for a while, but I’m sure the kids will soon start asking for more critters…

Jul
27

If you’re reading this blog for the first time, let me catch you up.  I am a news anchor at a TV station in southern Illinois.  We are part of a tri-state market, including southeast Missouri and western Kentucky.  Not only am I a news anchor, I’m a morning news anchor.  And this is a quick look inside my daily routine.

Yes, I wear makeup

My day starts at 2:55 a.m.  That’s when my alarm goes off.  I shower the night before and I hang my clothes up to save some precious time in the morning and to allow for extra beauty sleep.  I’ve been on this shift for almost 6 years now, so I’ve got it down to a science.

After my alarm sounds, I brush my teeth, pee (sorry if that’s TMI), get dressed, comb my hair, kiss my wife and kids good bye, grab my breakfast and lunch and hit the road.  I’m usually pulling out of my driveway by 3:08.  I live a few miles from the station, so I’m at work by 3:15 most mornings.

Once I’m there, I log into the computer system and put my stuff in the fridge.  It takes my “personal settings” long to load, so I normally check my Twitter account on my phone.  By the time I’m done with that, my settings are loaded.

I talk with the show’s producer and my coanchor about what’s going on.  Then I open the first show’s rundown.  That’s basically a list of all the stories and scripts.  I read over those and in some cases write them too.  Over the last few years, we’ve made a big effort of more NEW and less from the previous day.  But as a morning show, you’re destined to repeat stuff from the night before.

Some mornings are more entertaining than others.

Since I’m the medical reporter for the station, I write all new medical stories for the morning show.  99% of the time it’s all fresh stuff.  I have several websites and news sources I look at for story ideas.

Usually by the time I’m finished reading the 5:30 show, I’m into the 6 a.m. half hour and I get hungry.  Most mornings I have oatmeal with blueberries and chocolate whey powder.  I usually chop a banana into and drink a diet Mt. Dew with it.  I’ve  never been a coffee drinker.

So I eat, I read, I type, I crack the occasional joke.  Some mornings I’ll help with the beat calls.  That’s checking in with police stations to make sure nothing newsworthy has happened over night.  Unfortunately, nothing usually does.

By 5:15, I’m back at the makeup mirror.  I brush my teeth again, shave (I have an electric razor), and put on my makeup.  I also pee again (sorry) and fill up my coffee cup with…water.  Remember, I don’t like coffee.  I grab my jacket from the back coat rack and head to the anchor desk.  Then it’s 90 minutes of magic.

My coanchor Emily and I run a daily live chat too, called Cover it Live.  So as we’re reading stories on air, we’re also posting viewers comments into the chat room.  On days when she’s not there, it can get a little crazy.  Once we the show is over, we have a post show meeting to discuss what we liked and didn’t like.  What’s ahead for the next day.  We also usually hurl a couple of insults at one another.  But it’s all in good fun.

Sometimes we do live remotes too. This is Civil War Days at John A. Logan College

At 7:25, I return to the desk for a cutin.  Luckily, I normally only have one to do, as my coworkers do the rest.  In the time between the cutins, we are preproducing the next day’s show.  That includes calling guests, finding story ideas, and interesting talking point segments.  Some mornings I go out and report.  Like I said, I’m the health reporter, so I try to find medical stories of local interest.  If you have any ideas, hook a brother up.

Usually on those days that I report, I also do my own camera work.  In the biz, that’s one man banding.  Although now days they like to make it sound special and call them VJ’s (video journalists).  Anyway, I get back to the station, listen to the interviews that I’ve got and write the story. Then I edit it and post it to the web, and usually I’m out of there by 12:30 p.m.  During the school year this is awesome because I can hit the gym before picking the kids up for school.

My wife has started working on her master’s degree, so I’m not sure how the new school year will be.  One thing’s for sure, it will be interesting.

Thanks for reading!

Jul
20

A few weeks ago I decided that I need to get off my lazy butt and start working out again and getting back on course with healthier meal options.  Finally, on Monday, July 19 I did it.  I’ve set a mental note that in 90 days I want to see some sort of results.

I’m posting this today to have some sort of accountability.  I figure if I put myself out there on line, maybe I’ll be more likely to keep going.  Since 2005, I’ve started and stopped different workout plans.  I’ve seen some minor results, but nothing I’ve been overly proud of.

I’ve been good at cutting the fat out of my diet.  It’s the sugar that is my Achilles heel.  I know it’s only day two of my 90 day journey, but I’ve yet to eat any sweet treats.  So far, it’s only been the natural sugars found in fruit and what’s in the whey powder I use for my protein shakes.

No candy, yet.  And I say yet because one thing I’ve discovered is that it is okay to have something “bad” every once in a while.  When I first started out, I would beat myself up for not sticking to the plan.  I’ve done enough research to know that it’s okay to stray, just don’t make it the habit.

So now that it’s out there, I’m hoping to stay the course and by October 19 I’ll have some solid results.  Of course, we’ll be at Disney World then, so maybe I’ll beat up Mickey Mouse. 🙂

Jun
26

“You’re fired.”  Two words no one wants to hear.  And long before Donald Trump made the phrase famous, I heard them.  Well, not in so many words.

One of the many news team while I worked at the "Owl"

Picture it:  June 25, 1999.  I walk into work at WOWL-TV 15 in Florence, Alabama.  I had been working there almost two years.  But a few days before that, I’d gotten tipped off that the station management was ending the news department.  The station was switching from an NBC affiliate to a UPN affiliate.

For some reason, the boss felt compelled to speed up the process of eliminating the news team.  I remember that day as if it was yesterday, even though it was 11 years ago, and I’ve had so many experiences since that time.

I was the news director, 6 p.m. anchor and producer, and reporter at the time.  I came in at 9 that morning, knowing we were having a “mandatory” meeting at 11 a.m.  Even though I suspected we were all getting canned, I still went about my usually morning routine:  making beat calls, getting the assignments ready for the other reporters, and rolling on the news feeds.

Some of the final members of the OWL staff

So, 11 a.m. finally rolled around and the station owner/GM called us into the conference room and took what felt like 2 hours to say “we’re ending the news, you’re all out of a job.”  I remember feeling very bitter and angry at the time.  Mostly because Lisa was four months pregnant with Ethan at the time.  So, now I’m unemployed.  And it’s not exactly easy finding a job in the world of TV News.

I remember the bossman saying to me, “Kevin, you’re so quiet, please, say something.  Let me have it.”  As much as I wanted to tell him to go (insert word here) himself, I chose the high road.  I simply told him my focus is on finding a new job and providing for my growing family.

So as the entire news team (all 6 of us) were given the pink slip, we packed up our belongings and started to leave.  Someone looked at the severance check we were given and noted it was only one week’s pay.  We were told in the meeting we were getting two weeks.  So we had to wait around while they cut new checks.  Then the group of us headed to the local watering hole in town and started drowning our sorrows.  I can only imagine what the other patrons thought as they saw the entire news team sitting around eating, drinking, and laughing in the middle of the afternoon when we should have been out gathering news.  We were replaced that night with an infomerical which stung even more.

Luckily Lisa had a fulltime job, with benefits, so she and Ethan were going to be okay.  And I think Lisa liked my brief stint of unemployment.  She came home to a homemade lunch every afternoon and dinner was on the table when she came back.

I spent about six weeks searching for a new job.  At the time, I was only looking for reporting gigs, but then when things were happening like I wanted to, I expanded my search and was hired to produce the morning news in West Lafayette, Indiana.

While I was bitter and upset at the time of the firing, I know now it helped me grow as a person and put me where I am today.  I feel fortunate for the time I spent at WOWL, I learned so much there in the 20 months I was there.

Jun
23

My wife Lisa and I have been blessed with three (relatively) happy and healthy children.  With the exception of a blighted ovum, all of Lisa’s pregnancies have been wonderful experiences.  I know that is not the case for everyone.  We have friends and family members who have and continue to struggle with infertility.  In fact, that’s how we ended up where we are today.

In 2005, our daughter (and third child) was born.  Lisa and I both wanted a third baby, and I was quite honestly hoping for a baby girl.  My wish was granted.  After that, we both felt like our family was truly complete.  About 18 months later I got a vasectomy to “seal the deal” among other things.  All the while, Lisa and I had talked about her one day carrying a child for another couple.

At first, I thought it was simply talk and it wouldn’t go much further than that.  In the fall of 2007 Lisa had contacted an agency in the Chicago area that matches woman who want to be surrogates with couples looking to have a baby.  We met with the woman who runs the agency in St. Louis on a Friday night in October.  By November, we were meeting a couple looking to have a child.

I’ve blogged about that experience in the past.  So here’s the Cliff’s notes version.  Lisa carried and delivered a healthy baby boy in January 2009, providing that couple with a second child.  This little one has no biological connection to Lisa.  She was “just the oven”, as we explained it to our kids.

Because she has had four successful, problem free pregnancies, Lisa was sure she wanted to do another surrogacy.  Besides providing a couple with a child, the compensation for doing so is a bonus, I’m not going to lie.

Once she made the decision to carry again official, the agency contacted Lisa about another couple that was eager to meet us (yes, I’m part of the equation too, however I pretty much just sit back and help when I’m needed)    Anyway, in April 2009 we met the couple for lunch in Springfield, the half point for each of us.  Immediately we knew these people were loving and caring and wanted so much to be a mommy and a daddy.  They must have liked us too, because Lisa still had  a couple of months before the doctor would even clear her for the transfer and they wanted her to be their “belly mama.”

The process itself is quite complex.  The surrogate (and her husband) speak with a psychologist, so do the IPs (intended parents).  Then there’s a battery of blood work and other tests that are run to make sure everyone (even the “belly daddy”) are healthy.  Because the couple in this case lives up north, this required travel to Chicago for the transfer and testings.

The first transfer this time around was not successful.  It broke our hearts (yes, I’m invested emotionally in this too) to tell the IPs that Lisa wasn’t pregnant.  But everyone in this process was determined, and a short time later doctors did another transfer.  And this time it worked!  Very well, I might add.  Lisa was carrying twins.  Soon this wonderful couple would be blessed with two bundles of joy.

Again, Lisa’s pregnancy was going well.  The twins had nice, strong heartbeats and were active.  Things were pretty much flawless until about 30 weeks into the pregnancy.  Baby boy apparently wasn’t content with where he was sitting and decided to do some moving around.  Little did we know at the time, but that’s the move that sent Lisa into labor.

She was about 9 1/2 weeks (cue the Mickey Rourke jokes) out from delivering, but these babies didn’t seem to care.  Also, the IPs were bound for Europe when I called and told them Lisa was at the hospital, but the doctor said it could be weeks before the babies arrived.  Long story short, 3 1/2 hours later, the babies were here.

Lisa delivered via C section, something new for her.  I was in there with her and can’t tell you how good it was to hear baby boy come out screaming and crying.  A minute or two later, his sister arrived, but she wasn’t making any noise.  That worried me, but in a matter of seconds, she too was crying.

The IPs landed in London, and literally turned around and got back on a plane for another 8 hour flight.  They arrived safely and have been enjoying their babies ever since.  The twins are still in NICU, but they are getting stronger every day.

I am so very proud of my wife.  In the last 18 months she’s provided two wonderful families with three children.  And her sacrifices have also helped our family.  I love her.

Jun
15

Life can be funny sometimes.  Death makes you think more about life.  At least it does for me.  Yesterday I read about the untimely passing of Holiday World owner Will Koch.  He was only 48 years old.  That’s 11 years old than me.  Gary Coleman passed a couple of weeks ago, he was only five years older than me.

The thought of my own mortality has always haunted me.  Death is something I think about often.  I think this is in part to losing one of my

That's me in the back on the left, my friend Kevin on the right.

best friends when I was a child.  My friend Kevin lived down the street from me, and when we were 12 years old, he was killed in an accident on a 3 wheeler.  I think it’s safe to say I’ve never been the same since.  That was 25 years ago, but there are times when it seems like it was just yesterday.  The accident happened in a field at the end of our street.  And even though that field is now a shopping center, I’m reminded of that day every time I drive home to visit my parents who still live on that street.

But the focus of this blog isn’t going to be on death, but on life.  My life and the things I want to do before it comes to an end.  But hearing about people dying way too young always reminds me that there are things I want to and need to accomplish before I meet my maker.

Most are just plain silly, but they are things I would like to do.  So, here’s my  Ultimate To Do List.  Things that at I’d like to finish sooner rather than later.  But being a guy who puts the “pro” in procrastinator, I sometimes wonder if any of them will be complete.  Don’t laugh, here they are in no particular order…

Maybe my obsession for bagpipes started with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper...

1.  Learn to play the bagpipes.   This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.   I just really like the way the pipes sound.  I actually found someone here in southern Illinois who gives lessons and I inquired, but it’s quite costly.  You have to buy your own pipes, and then the lessons on top of that.  If I do learn to play, my goal would be to get good enough to play at events like funerals and ummmm, are there any other events that would require a bagpiper?  I’m kinda drawing a blank here.

I guess it’s not just learning to play the pipes, I would love to learn to play an instrument.  I tried and failed at playing the trombone and the saxophone in middle school.  I wish I could go back in time and refocus and learn to commit better.  My son recently gave up on the piano, and I hope he doesn’t regret that decision like I regret quitting on the saxophone.

2.  Get a tattoo. My wife is dead set against this one.  And admittedly, it’s something I should have done in my youth.  I haven’t decided on where I want it or even the design, I’m thinking something retro though.  And because of my job nothing that would be too easy to identify.  So nothing on my face or neck, ha ha.

3.  Get into tip top physical condition. This is something I’ve been struggling with.  I make some progress, then I end up regressing and in my mind failing.  I’ll stop working out, or start eating lots of things I shouldn’t.  I’m really trying to refocus my energy on reaching this goal.  In part because I want to look good, but I also want to be able to keep up with my kids as they get older and I want to live.  I believe if I’m healthier, I’ll be around longer, thus giving me more time to reach goals 1 & 2.

So there you have it.  A peek inside three things on my Ultimate To Do List.  There are more things I have in mind, but we’ll start with these three things.  I’m thinking by the time I’m 40 I would like to have accomplished all three.  I’d better get going, that’s only 1,005 days.  But who’s counting.