Saturday, August 24, 2013

So long, good friend....

What you see here is a box.  Inside this box it is like a treasure chest of memories and moments in time.  You see a CD (who uses those anymore?), a iphone charger wire, some documents, trash, etc.   Take it all in.  We have known this day was coming, we have known that we were on borrowed time, ever since we moved to Chicago.

Let me first take you back to August, 2010.  We had three girls, aged 1, 3 & 4.  We were living in Lexington, KY.  Life was good.  In 2008, I had given up a beautiful FX4 version of an F150 for a mini van.  We needed the room, our family was growing.  I did the best I could, but the van I got was not a very good van.  I didn't know any better.  A few years later, our family HAD grown, and we had two mini vans.  I was driving the bad one, Brooke had the good.  That's the way it should be.  By August of 2010 my patience had long left, and I wanted an F150 again.  Brooke said that's fine and that "I deserved it."  She warned against it though, if we had another kid, they wouldn't all fit.  Well, we cant live life by what ifs.  If my aunt had balls...she would be my uncle.  My loving and supportive wife was letting me get my toy.  So, in August I got my dream truck (again).  Two weeks after I got my truck, we got pregnant (again thats kid #4 in case you lost count).  This wasn't the end of the world though, my truck still worked in Lexington.  Me and my truck were becoming one.  We would drive through the gorgeous Lexington countryside,  like it was our own Ford commercial.  I was somewhat defined by my big, beautiful, truck.

Then life happened, and we had to move to Chicago.  One month after I moved up here, someone scraped my door.  This was heartbreaking.  I took immaculate care of my truck.  She still looks and smells new.  That's sort of the Chicago code though, no one really cares about that kindof stuff up here.  Everyone's car is banged up.  Heck, I could not even drive my truck on most streets downtown, and I couldn't park her, overnight, on any streets.  Silly, silly,  Yankee rules.  The F150 just didn't really fit up here.  The streets are narrow, the driveways are narrow, space is at a premium.  I didn't drive her much, I think I got 3 oil changes her entire shelf life with me.   I think in her (the truck) heart of hearts, she knew.

Ive been thinking for awhile it was time for me to part ways with her.  Not only was I restricted with where I could take the F150, I could not fit my entire family in the car.  It was becoming an issue with me.  My original thought was that I was going to get an Explorer. It could fit everyone, it was cool enough for me (so I thought), so I started shopping around to try and find one.  As I got closer to making a deal, I realized I wasn't going to be happy driving the Explorer.  I really wont be happy driving anything other than my truck.  My truck, that didn't work.  On my way home from a dealership, I had an epiphany.  Thanks to some encouragement from my mother, I knew what I had to do.

Why pay for a car that I'm not going to be happy with?  Why not get Brooke something great that she can drive for years?  I want my girls to have the best, be the safest.  Since I don't drive much, the answer was pretty clear.  I needed to just take Brooke's van, and get her a brand stinking new one.  So that is what I did.

Today, I turned my truck in.  I will now drive a used, dirty, stinky, mini van.  The above picture is the box of stuff from my truck.  The feeling at the dealership is part break up, part dropping your kid off at college.  As I was cleaning out my truck, every time I would grab something, I would think about why it was in my truck.  A lot of great memories came to my mind.  It was sad.  I love that truck.  I packed up the box, went into the waiting room, and began to go through all the great stuff I did with that truck.  It was very much like that scene in Christmas Vacation with Clark watches those 8mm films in the attic.  I thought about the girls playing in the truck bed.  I thought about all the times I dropped them off at school in that truck.  I laughed about our duck(s) (from Lexington) picking a fight with his reflection in the truck wheel.  I thought about the first time we went camping with the truck.  I thought about the drive up to Chicago, by myself, when I left "My Old Kentucky Home" in the rear view mirror.  Yes, I cried.  She had seen a lot, and she protected my family.  She wasn't just a truck, she was part of me.  But she knew.

I left the lot today in a van that had 6 miles on it, had its model had only been on the market a week.  I drove it home and gave the keys to Brooke.  We already started the switching of the vans.  I think if anyone was more upset about me getting ride of the truck than I was, it was Reagan.  She loved that truck.  She knew one day it would be hers.  To be honest, I'm totally okay with my choice.  Brooke gets a great new van, and the girls will be even safer.  In 3 years of driving my truck, I drove a total of 17,207 miles.  Do the math, that ain't much. I told you I didn't drive much. Why pay for a car for me to drive, that I'm not going to want long term? Right now, I don't need a new car.

On my home, I realized that the truck really didn't define me. It only defined part of me.  Actually, what fully defines me is being a father to my four girls.  A van symbolizes that very fact.  Besides, what difference does it really make?  I just need something to get me to work those few days I actually go into the office.  Now, I have the best kind.  You know what the best kind of car is? One that in about a month, will be completely paid off.

So I might as well roll down the window and let the music blast.

Don't worry, before Reagan went to bed tonight I whispered into her ear "Sport, its all part of the plan.  Play you cards right, and you'll still get your truck when you turn 16."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sometimes, I have failed as a friend.

This is literally, one of my favorite movie clips off all time.  I honestly believe it sums my personality up, 100%.  I'm fortunate to have lots of people across this country that I care about. I was overwhelmed and honored by the support of my SAE Brothers this past Convention.  With all groups, there are a few that stand out, a few you become naturally closer too.

There are few guys from my past that rise above the rest.  You had Brad Beckman & Jonathan Cummins.  Both incredible men, men who now have even better families.  I was super close to them in college, and we attempt to remain close now.  But then you have John Roberts, Craig Alexander, and Sam Adams.  John Roberts was a great athlete, all around stud.  We didn't become friends till later in college, then we became good friends.  We became better friends when in Key West for Spring Break our senior year John thought he was going to get his butt kicked by some guy who thought John was taking his girl from him.  This was probably true, John could have gotten any girl he wanted.  We didn't forge a bond because of the potential fight, we forged a bond because we knew John was going to get beat down (sorry John), but there I was standing next to him.  It would have been ugly, but I didn't care.  John Roberts "was my friend."  Then you had Craig Alexander.  He was the smart one of the bunch.  He missed out on that potential beat down (yes he would have been standing there next to us) because he thought staying home from that Spring Break to study for the MCAT was a good idea.  For a while that choice was debatable, but now he is a doctor at Texas Children's Hospital.  So, I guess he was right.  Anyway, Craig was another amazing guy in our pledge class, who definitely "started the party!"  I think back to the fall of 1997, about this time of year, and I am thankful that I got thrown together with such a great group of guys.  All of this because of SAE.  Last, but not least, you had Sam Adams.  Sam is a dudes, dude.  He is the best friend a guy could ever ask for. Seriously.   Quick with a joke, always there when things went "South", and he even spent some holidays with my family.  Ill never forget the night we went to a Kenny Chesney concert together, after an opening season football loss, and he was concerned that Trinity would not score a touchdown all season.   Sam, as Trinity's Offensive Coordinator, lead us to a title that season. He is a great football mind, and a better friend.  I miss his friendship on a daily basis.  As great of a guy as Sam is, he out kicked his coverage with his wife, Kim.  He is doing great things at Hoover High School, in Alabama.

What do all three of these men have in common? I missed all of their weddings because of work.  I had to coach a football game when John got married, and I had a SAE Convention during Craig (2009) and Sam's wedding (2013).  Sam's wedding I hated missing the most, I wasn't sure he would ever get married.  He was one of the first non family members to hold Reagan when she was born (he sort of held her like she was a bomb), and I wasn't there for his big moment.

I love all these guys.  We may not be as close as we once were, Id like to think its because we are all spread out across the country.  Life sometimes gets in the way.    I'm glad I was there for Brad and JC's big day, even if me being there probably wasn't noticed either way.  Well it might have been for Jon, because I was in his wedding.   I will never get over the fact that I wasn't there for John, Craig, and Sam's.  Its of little consequence to them (which is the way it should be), but I hope they know how much I regret that work pulled me away.  Their friendship has always meant the world to me.  I am who I am today, partially because of them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thank you for being a friend-

It has been a crazy summer, a long time since my last post.  A lot of great things have happened as well.
1)SAE 157th Convention
2) Sam Adams got married
3)4th of July in Nashville
4) FEA Conference in San Antonio
5) Brooke and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary in Kauai, Hawaii.
6) SAE 78th Leadership School
7) Our trip to Chinatown
8) and tomorrow we are going camping.

I have had my mother and father legion of fans ask about when I was going to write my next blog.  Don't worry, it is coming.  Just like television, summer is sort of my time to regroup.  I did a ton I could have blogged about, mainly Hawaii.  However, other than the pics on facebook, that was our time.  That was Brooke's time.  I hope she enjoyed the trip as much as I did.  I was reminded why I fell in love with her, which admittedly I sometimes lose sight of, and why I lover her more today than I did yesterday.

With a new school year coming, my work travel schedule picking up again, I will have many new adventures to blog about.  I appreciate your loyalty, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.