Happy Fathers Day #IHate2015

If you aren’t into sadz, then don’t read this one… or maybe you should?

I HAS A SADZHow it started

Let me start out by quoting a draft of a blog post that I titled “Welcome”.
I will never publish that blog…

“December 15th, 2014, at 8:40 AM

That’s when I first found out about you. I am typing this only a few moments after. I don’t know if you are a boy or girl. A single or twins. I don’t even know if you will be born or if you will pass in the womb.

I was at work, I usually cannot answer the phone, but happened to be staring at my phone when it rang. Your moms voice was clearly shaking as she tried to tell me. She was slowly choosing her words and I thought she got in a car accident. I wasn’t expecting this news.

I am excited at the opportunity to meet you. I truly hope I will, but, just the opportunity is amazing grace. Should we meet, I have big plans for you. Plans to raise you up on my shoulders. To shape you into your personal best. To help you realize all the potential that is now locked inside a microscopic clump of just a few cells.

For now, I wipe my tears and return to work. Except now I work with thoughts of you.”

I planned to finish and publish that once we made it public that Mallory (my wife) was pregnant. It was a couple days before Christmas ’14 and we told Mallory’s parents and my mom that we were expecting in a funny Christmas card. We all laughed and cried. Even Christmas Eve, as the whole family gathered Mallory and I made eye contact, sharing the joy knowing we would one day soon tell all of our family the good news.

Christmas morning Mallory woke up and was feeling ill. She had stomach pains and I was tending to her. With my medical background I was pretty sure what was happening. Mallory wasn’t sure. We were both silent, not sure how to react. The family all met that day but we stayed home, telling them that Mal was ill and I was taking care of her. We got blood testing a couple days later that confirmed that the baby was gone.

I know we cried at some point, but mostly we suppressed. We decided to start looking for a cheap foreclosure and get out of our house and make a fresh start. Surprisingly, our first lowball offer on our first house was accepted and we would be moving in 2 weeks.

Katie Lynn

We moved into the new house and were repairing it while living there. We had our trusty dog Katie with us along with a unexpected cat (more on that later). If you don’t already then you should now know a little bit about Katie.

Katie Leaps

You have undoubtedly heard so many people say that their dog was the greatest dog. There are many extraordinary dogs. I humbly, and as honest as I can be, contest that Katie is better than all of them. If my claims are true then there is not enough space here for me to type out all of the proof. Let me just say that Katie was an unconditional lover. She understood the English language perfectly well. She also had an E.T. like etconnection to Mallory to where if Mallory was getting sad then Katie would come running in from the other room and jump on her, nip at her, even drag her by the cuff of her pants until Mallory would be forced to abandon sad thoughts to ‘deal with’ Katie. Then once Mallory was better Katie would go lay down.

Katie Ice CreamWe were told in 2012 that Katie had cancer and had a fewKatie Cahill months to live. The story of how she was still with us at this time is a post in its own. Yet here in the new house, Katie’s Cancer returned. Mallory and I nursed her as best we could. We savored every second and did all of her favorite things in those last weeks.

Katie Kiss

Katie's Last Hug

In August of 2015 we lost her.

Paid Our Dues

I’m not sure why timing works out the way it does, but it does. We found out a couple weeks later that we were expecting again. We were hardly breathing again from losing Katie and this added more emotion to our lives. A few days later I lost my job. I don’t think I should have lost my job, but I was so distracted at that time, maybe I did deserve it. Luckily for me there are many job openings and I could be working again shortly.

By November 1st I had several job offers to consider. I was trying to put off picking one because I was trying to get the house ready for a baby. Also, my uncle who normally hosts family Christmas had a terrible house fire and we had the next most suitable house to host. I took the time off of work to really get our house ready.  As Thanksgiving was approaching I had selected a job and was ready to start soon. This really lifted my spirits as well as I remember Mallory coming home and telling me that she was able to see the baby’s heart beat on her ultrasound machine at work.

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day and we had our first official ultrasound scheduled. Mallory had been feeling fine this whole time. We both smiled brightly as the image of our child came on the screen.

baby #2

Then Mallory’s smile left. She, feigning ignorance, asked the ultrasound technician, “How early do you see the heartbeat?” I remember thinking, give her a chance, we already know there is a heart beat. But there wasn’t. I sent a private message to the few family members that knew.

Capture

You know what’s funny. This one was worse, but not for the reasons that you would think. I felt like we paid our dues. After all, I knew ~25% of all pregnancies would never see a live birth. Our chances were 1 in 4 that we would lose the first one. Somehow I just figured that it was our turn to lose one the first time, and now it was supposed to be our time to do what everyone else was able to do. It wasn’t. A 1-in-4 chance is a 1-in-4 chance, every time.

Alex TC

An Unexpected Cat

We were still in our first house when we met Alexander The Cat (Alex TC). We were walking in to the house from the car when this scrawny ferrel cat began weaving in between Mallory’s legs and purring. She noticed it was under weight and had an apparent large infection on his back. She put some food out for him to help him gain weight.

The next day we had the front door propped open to carry in groceries and Alex walked into our living room. I posted this video to see if he was anyone’s missing cat.

My wife knew he was a wild cat. We kept it in a dog crate overnight and Mal took him to work the next day (she works at a veterinary hospital). He was treated for fleas and for the infected abscess the size of a golfball on his back. He weighed 6 lbs. He was going to stay at the hospital for a couple weeks to get healthy, then get fixed, then released.

We brought him home and, well, many of you can guess what happened. My wife wanted to keep him. I tried to resist but… well… this happened….

Alex gif

We got him up to a normal weight of 12.5 lbs. He was a super loving cat. Alex saw us through losing Katie. He saw us through losing our second child. I think he may be the only thing that kept my wife together on the real bad days. Just after Christmas he stopped eating. Mallory took him into work and it turns out that he swallowed a whole almond (we had many out from hosting Christmas dinner) and it was stuck. They would do surgery to remove it.

This was a very common surgery at Mals work. They did them all the time. They always were routine and uneventful. So was Alex’s… except minutes after the surgery Alex suddenly died. We would later find out that he had a genetic heart condition and would have probably already died on the streets if he hadn’t been so well cared for the last 8 months. What a double edged sword for us all.

Which Brings Us To The Present

I started working again in February. Other than that we pretty much stopped doing everything else. I think we spent 4 months just letting it soak in. We had many bad days. In May it was finally real enough to know we had a problem. We started seeing a grief counselor who has been tremendously helpful.

Now it is Fathers Day 2016. My wife and my mother-in-law both wished me happy Fathers Day. It means more than I can express. Me and my wife also have necklaces that our brother John made us that say ‘Mother’and ‘Father’, respectively, in Elvish. These mean the world to us.

2016-06-19 (1)

2016-06-19

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In closing I would like to say 3 things,

  1. #IHate2015
  2. If you know anyone struggling with miscarriage, infertility, abortion, or any other parenting struggles.. just be there for them. The man as well as the woman. Don’t be afraid to ask how it is going and then just listen. You can’t fix anything but you can help carry the burden
  3. Please stop asking people when are they going to have kids. Either them or someone in ear shot may be triggered to feel something you don’t want them to.

Cleveland, Ohio – My Favorite Things

Growing up in Detroit we always referred to Cleveland as “The Mistake By The Lake.” Their rebuttal is “At least We’re Not Detroit.” Touche.

Me and the Missus like to take weekend road trips from Detroit to regional destinations, so it was only a matter of time before we ended up in Cleveland. Even the dirtiest mine has some gems hiding. Here are the gems we found.

Gem #1

There is a restaurant chain in Ohio call The Melt. The menu consists of many different grilled cheese sandwiches. On our first trip we got the bacon mac & cheese grilled cheese. It was to die for. They also have rotating seasonal menu, many craft beers on draft along with meads and ciders. We don’t go to Ohio without stopping at Melt.

You’re drooling. I’m not sorry.

The only bad thing I have to say is the wait. It is often an hour+. The bar is FCFS, we have been lucky with a little hovering and have never had to wait too long.

Gem #2

We got a local to clue us in to Bar Cento. Wow! They had a good selection of draft beer, 300 bottled beers (!), and a huge wine selection. This may be the broadest selection I have seen in one building.

Belgian Fries!

The food here is top notch. Order anything with confidence. My personal favorite are the Belgian style fries: fried twice in duck fat with garlic and rosemary. My mouth is watering while I write this.

Since they were voted best pizza in Ohio by Food Network and Zagat, I should probably mention their pizza. We sampled 4 of them and they were all amazing, including the Sunnyside which won all the awards (runny egg yolks, provolone, and house made pancetta on a thin crust). Don’t deprive yourself of this place if you are visiting Cleveland.

It is in the Ohio City neighborhood, which is full of many other gems as well like the West Side Market, Koffie Cafe, The Flying Fig, and…

Gem #3

Most awarded porter of all time

 

…award winning Great Lakes Brewery.

You can take a tour here and see how the beer is made and get 25 cent samples at the end.  They also have a brewpub.

Protip: go here for the beer, not the food.

 

On top of this there is the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame which we never visited.  The Botanical Garden we never visited. Museums and playhouses we never visited. We did go to the Zoo, it was good, but we have visited 30-40 zoos now and I would say it’s average, nothing more. Good to visit once.

What did we miss? Post a comment below.

36 Things That I’m Pretty Sure I’m Sure Are True About Life

These are up for debate, after all, I’m only pretty sure I’m sure these are true. Hopefully you will find some of this helpful.

  1. Do the right thing; Every action/inaction plants a seed that will sprout up.
  2. Never bring up anything to your significant other that they did/didn’t do if you can fix it yourself in 2 minutes or less.
  3. You always learn more when you lose than when you win.
  4. You always learn more when you listen than when you talk.
  5. It is always better to shut up and do your job than to complain about something you are being paid to do.
  6. Crying is emotional vomit. You don’t want to do it, but you always feel better afterwards. It should be encouraged more, not frowned upon.
  7. The simplest answer is always the truth.
  8. Telling the truth sometimes sacrifices short term popularity but gains long term respect.
  9. You should always hear what doubters have to say but almost never listen to them.
  10. If you are disappointed in yourself you are probably looking at yourself too short term.
  11. Failure is usually lack of motivation, not lack of ability.
  12. If you avoid real challenges in your life you will compensate with needless drama.
  13. You can use other peoples glaring personality flaws to help identify miniature versions of that in yourself.
  14. Very caring people often are unrealizingly selfish; They don’t care for themselves, putting the ones they care for at risk of losing their only help. (Is “unrealizingly” is a word?)
  15. Work hard. Be a good steward …but you shouldn’t pay a lot of attention to money; neither when you have a little nor a lot.
  16. You can easily become accustomed to a higher standard of living at any time, but it is quite difficult to lower it. Start simply, live humbly, give generously.
  17. You should turn down most arguments that you are invited to. Winning is overrated.
  18. Actively lower others expectations of you so you don’t become enslaved; actively raise your expectations of yourself for the same reason.
  19. If you ever think “Somebody should do something” then you just became “Somebody”.
  20. In the end, the gossiper always looks worse than the one they spread rumors about.
  21. If facing your fear(s) isn’t on your bucket list, you should add it now. Then do it.
  22. Life favors the passionate over the intelligent.
  23. There are hardly any monsters larger or more ferocious than loneliness. Sadly, most people are there by choice; either a bad choice in someone else or choosing to not improve themselves.
  24. During tragedy, avoiding the elephant in the room only makes things worse. Be courageous.
  25. Take a lot of pictures.
  26. You should never feel ‘above’ washing a toilet.
  27. When you meet someone very confident, they are bluffing.
  28. Most people get their value from the wrong place. Common mistakes are popularity, income, recognition, talent, appearance, etc. We should get it from something more stable and lasting.
  29. Your gut instinct is usually right, your knee-jerk reaction is usually wrong. You can apply patience and learn to recognize the difference.
  30. Joy is something that must be held with two hands, that is, you must let go of other things to hold onto it.
  31. The easiest way to get somebody behind your idea is to make them think it is there own.
  32. You should figure out what you want to do before you figure out if it’s possible.
  33. You can’t trust anybody, it is always a risk. Now that that’s established, go take risks; some are worth it.
  34. Everybody in your life deserves to have an occasional bad day patiently and completely pardoned.
  35. Treat everybody based on who you are, not who they are.
  36. Don’t take earthly things so seriously; it’s not like we’re getting out alive.