Forty

40th Birthday Cake

40th Birthday Cake

Thank you all who made the surprise weekend festivities possible! I’m lucky to have all of you in my life. Full details coming tomorrow but right now I need to catch up on that sleep thing.

Cheers!

This is post 6 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.

Into the unknown

Pittsburgh 10th St BridgeI’m currently in a hotel room on the South Side with one of my closest friends. Wait, that sounds bad. I’m hanging out in a hotel room for the weekend. There, that’s kinda better.

My 30s were not what I was expecting when I was 29 but looking back I realize how innocent I still was and the level of maturing I needed to do. Since I’ve been on a time travel kick as of late, let’s do this up time line style. Give me a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try to keep up.

  • 30 – 3 months after my birthday, the age of “Should I Drink That?” kicks off an unexpected career in craft beer, social media and opening the doors to meeting 95% of the good friends I have today.
  • 30.8 – Dad passes away. Wasn’t ready for that gut punch.
  • 31 – Created a video that went viral as the 1st ever chug of a Dogfish Head 120 on YouTube which results in death threats by beer snobs. Move to Cranberry to live in what I thought was an upscale townhouse so I could be closer to work. HAHAHA SUCKA!
  • 32 – Life is great and we’re expecting our first chillllldddd…. OMFG we’re all being let go! The stable job I had since I was 22 is about to go poof. WTF do I do?
  • 33 – You’re a daddy earlier than expected… and were just laid off 6 days ago. What the heck are you going to do? PENS WON THE STANLEY CUP! YOU WON A MUSTANG! Dang, guess I have to go back to work. Oh look, higher ed his hiring!
  • 34 – Snowmageddon drops 48 inches in a few days on us. Walls and ceiling start falling in. Screw it, let’s buy a house and move to the *gulp* South Hills. I’ll finally have my office so I can record and… what? You’re pregnant again? Hi there kid #2! You’re a little early also. Great seats in the endzone for the Winter Classic though. Won a few major awards for work in podcasting.
  • 35 – Got me one of those fancy college degree thingies and it came with honors. Not too shabby! I finally get to see one of my idols, Chris Cornell, in concert.
  • 36 – Started homebrewing. Appeared in multiple publications for craft beer. Podcast is showing no signs of slowing. Pat Metheny becomes my mortal enemy.
  • 37 – Rock out covering the NCAA Frozen Four. Corporate America is calling and wants you back with a sizable raise. FOOL YOU! We’re laying you off but thanks for 7 months! Introducing the Stay-at-Home-Dad!
  • 38 – Time to get back to work. I go solo on the podcast and get up close and personal with Garth Brooks.
  • 39 – Took my first vacation in 16 years that wasn’t for a wedding. Spent weeks in Waco Texas, Chautauqua NY and camping in Jellystone Park. Of course I still have to blog about it because I basically took the year off from writing. Bought my first new(ish) car. We also went back to the 90’s with an incredible show by Collective Soul.

That brings us to today. I really have no idea what is happening and that’s exactly what I wanted. Most of the time I need to know every detail of what’s going to because the OCD project manager in me comes roaring out if we fall behind. Kinda like Clark Griswold in Europe.  I’m twitching a little bit but I also expect a cocktail in my hand shortly to make it all better.

So 40. Looks like we’re finally going to meet tomorrow. If you’re anything like the 30s were I’m in for one heck of an adventure that doesn’t seem to be slowing.

This is post 5 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.

2/19/09 – a moment in time

Driving with Kids

I was up at 4:30am this morning, sitting on my couch, binge watching MadMed and thinking about how great it was to have quiet time to write. Just as I was in the perfect spot I heard the slow rattle of a bear and shuffle of my youngest son’s feet across the carpet.

Driving with Kids“UUUUGGGHHH there goes my free time” I thought but as he curled up on me he said “I just want to lay here with you. I love your birthday every day.” and fell back asleep.

Yeah, I went “awwww” too just like you did.

How did I get to this point in my life though? Not saying it’s a bad thing but what has happened over the years to bring me to this specific moment? Let’s as the Doc.

Doc Brown made this quote in Back to the Future 2 ” Unbelievable, that old Biff could have chosen that particular date. It could mean that that point in time inherently contains some sort of cosmic significance. Almost as if it were the temporal junction point for the entire space-time continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence.”. I’ve joked about trying to figure out the significant moments in my life that could have changed the course of everything and skewed the timeline, similar to Marty, Doc and Biff. I found the date.

2/19/2009

I look at this as a red letter date in my history. Significant things were about to happen and I was scared shitless. I won’t sugar coat it for you, I was freaking terrified but every bit of who I am today started on this date.

After 11 years this was the last day at my first “professional” job. Dad was a hard core union guy for the state and always told me that once you get into a corporation, you work there for life and retire with a pension. It’s “what you do”. That was before dot-coms disrupted all business models and I still thought we would last forever. Adding to the drama, we were expecting our first child in April, cars weren’t running well, our townhouse landlord was terrible to us. I thought the world was over and we’d have to pack up and leave.

I didn’t have time to sit back and dwell in my fear and anxieties. Six days later my first son decided he was ready and kicked his way out 2 months early. Everything in my life changed within hours and there was no one I could turn to because really, who the hell does all of this happen to at once?

There I was at 33, unemployed, baby in the NICU, fighting with the state over unemployment benefits, and experiencing levels of stress I didn’t know existed. My world was collapsing and I was on the verge of having a complete mental breakdown.

Thanks to amazing friends and family I kept going. I made myself stay strong and who I was started to come out.

I jumped full steam into my podcast and taught myself this new thing called social marketing and how I was going to sell my show which shot to the top of the iTunes charts. My corporate experience and new found knack for digital marketing lead to gigs in higher ed at RMU and back in the corporate world of CONSOL Energy before being laid off due to a sale in 2013. The silver lining was spending an amazing year at home raising 2 sons where I became a respected dad blogger and craft beer writer. No matter how much of a kick in the nuts each situation was, I came out a stronger person.

Today I enjoy my job kicking ass at all things digital along with speaking engagements on the topic, I have 2 rockstar knuckleheads for kids and the podcast is still a top 20 on iTunes. While I miss the old company and the people I worked with, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if February 19, 2009 never happened.

This is post 4 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.

I do this to myself.

EP117 Stone Enjoy By 02 14 2016

I’m trying to figure out what my next move is going to be.

I have Should I Drink That 99% done with the website move along with the transition to a new file host and template. All I need to do is change the redirect and a few file names. The show is starting to pick back up with scheduled episodes and invites coming in for collaborations. I know what I want to do around the house but honestly, who is ever really done working on their house until it’s “OMG WE NEED TO SELL!” time. I have 2 books that came into the library unexpectedly at the same time so every night I’m trying to get an hour of reading in before bed (How on earth do you people manage 2 books at once?).

I’ve created a workflow so don’t screw it up n’at.

When you think about juggling that, kids sports schedules and a full time job you’d figure that I was stretched far enough, especially after that one post. Not so fast. On top of joining 100 Days of Blogging I also started another project but it’s one that I’m telling myself will be easy to manage once it gets moving.  It happened on a whim during a twitter conversation today and within an hour I bought the domain, built a template and had my first post finished all before I finished my lunch hour.

Do I do this to myself? Of course. Will I grumble I have too much on my plate? Absolutely. The difference is this is something “I” want to do and believe solves a need versus something you think I should be doing.

So what is it? Eh can’t tell you yet but I’m in a groove where I can get projects running and pass them onto others if needed. The thrill of starting from scratch, brainstorming on twitter and Slack, then seeing a product live in less than an hour was exhilarating. It was like opening a Digital Marketing Toolkit and watching the magic happen.

I’ll have more details in the coming weeks but once you see it you’ll say “heh, I DO need that!”. I dig it but first I need to get ready. Birthday Weekend is about to start and I have no idea what is in store. The only information I was told is “Someone is coming to kidnap you Friday night and you won’t see your family until Sunday.”. In other words, I’m being forced to take a break & get offline for 48 hours. I’m already starting to twitch.

More tomorrow….

This is post 3 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.

It’s time for sideline coaching parents to get in the game.

I’ve volunteered to coach youth sports for 4 years and I’ve had it with a certain group of parents. I know that schedules can be so crazy insane that you can’t commit to helping out at your kid(s) game. Totally cool, trust me, I completely understand. I’m not talking about you right now. In fact I want to thank you for giving your child the opportunity to participate in sports.

Parents Fighting With CoachI’m looking at the bossy pants parents. The ones who complain every week about how expensive it is and tell you how to run a team and how their kid needs more playing time (even though every kid gets equal time) but never show their faces when it comes time to help out.

You know the people.

Trendy coffee-mocha-frappa-triple-espesso-something drinking, sporting yoga pants or sweatsuit wearing while looking incredible hungover or bragging about how they were all-city/state/county something. Oh and you, parent of the bossy kid who pushes kids around , quit jumping on the field to say good job and pose for a picture. Surprisingly this kid has been more girls than boys.

I’ve been fortunate that every team I’ve coached has had very active parents. Those people I like. They help out at practice when needed, drive kids around and bring snacks. Thumbs up!

So what finally pushed me to the point of writing this? I’ve received 3 emails this week from leagues once again begging for parents to be coaches and volunteers otherwise risk being too overwhelmed to have the season happen. I have 2 kids who play multiple sports and this past Spring I was pulling double time between 2 sports on the same day because there weren’t enough parents to volunteer. Like I said, I understand those who cant make it but if you can be in my ear every week about how to coach, you can be on the field helping out.

I’m not doing this because I need to run everything my kids do. Heck, I’d LOVE to be able to sit and watch them play for once instead of telling little Johnny to quit chasing butterflies, but I know that if I don’t help out many kids could miss out on the little bit of attention they need to get inspired.

This is post 2 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.