So, You Think You Know Me?
I have been writing this blog for five months as of today. So instead of writing about big family life, budgeting, or food, I decided to do a slightly different type of article. At this point in my blogging journey, many if not most of you know me, or have at least met me. As I grow my audience, less of you are familiar with who I am, so I thought I would write this article about those lesser known, but significant things that shape who I am as a husband, parent and blogger.
- I am adopted, and I have never been especially curious about my birth family. I’m not really sure why. I guess my parents never gave me a reason to wish for anything other than what I had. I have no recollection of when my parents told me. They probably never did, it was just part of my narrative from the beginning.
- I was very small for my age. I had to go to the doctor for bone scans so they could figure out why I was so tiny. When I got to the 9th grade I was still bald everywhere except for my head. My mother began to worry about what would happen in the locker room during P.E. Perhaps she thought that I would be teased, but it never happened. I was 4’9″ at the beginning of 10th grade, but grew 8 inches that year.
- I am hard of hearing, and have been all my life. No one knew why, but I have always had at least a 40% hearing loss, in both ears. I’m pretty sure that I have said “Huh?” over a million times. When I’m sitting in small group, or with friends in a restaurant or loud place, I pretty often have no idea what is being said. Sometimes I try real hard to hear what’s going on. Usually I just give up. I have tried lip reading, but I’m no good at it. Please don’t think I’m being rude or disinterested. I just didn’t know you were talking to me. The last time I went to an audiologist was about 20 years ago. At that time, he said that I would soon need hearing aids. My mother let me try hers. No thanks! For now, I guess I will just continue to say “Huh?”
- I have OCD. When I was young, it manifested itself as hypochondria. I was always worried that I had this fatal disease, or that terminal case of cancer. Never mind that I usually had no symptoms. As I grew up, it turned into more of a constant worrying. At times I have had almost crippling anxiety. I have taken medication for it for about 13 years now and for the most part I feel great.
- Shortly after I graduated from high school I competed in a teen New Mexico state power lifting competition and got 3rd place in the 132 lb. division. At the time, I weighed 127 lbs. which is 95 lbs. less than I weighed when I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes two months ago. That’s a lot of beer and burritos!
- I was in R.O.T.C. in college and planned to be an Army Field Artillery Officer, but became depressed about a breakup with a long term girlfriend and stopped going to class. This resulted in me flunking out of the program. In retrospect, this was probably the best thing both for me and for the Army.
- My wife and I got married in the basement of her parent’s house in Wyoming. The reception was upstairs and consisted of Tortellini and a keg of beer. Approximately 30 people attended the wedding. Carrie and I were the last two people to leave the reception. In January of 2019, we will have been married 30 years
- It took me 8 years to get my bachelors degree. I changed my major three times. Also, I am a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, which was a truly great experience. I loved partying, and hanging out with my brothers. They were the main reason I stuck it out in college. It’s also the reason why I drank way too much beer, which effected my grades. Talk about a Catch 22. Despite the fact that I spent nearly a decade completing my degree, I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything in the world. Besides. If I had graduated in four years like most people, I would have never met my best friend in the world.
- I have a B.A. in Psychology which is almost useless, unless you plan on getting a masters degree or higher.
- When we were first married. I went to school full time during the week and worked two 16 hr. shifts on the weekends at a halfway house for the mentally ill. Needless to say, we were poor, but I did manage to stay out of trouble.
- I used to brew my own beer. In fact, I opened Lubbock Homebrew Supply in 1993. It didn’t make much money so I sold it to Hub City Brewpub in 1996 and became a teacher.
- My wife, Carrie, and I lived for four years in a 460 sq, ft. house on a lake. Do you know how small a 460 sq. ft. house is? A 20 by 20 square with a 6 by 10 bathroom attached to one side. We came into the house through the bathroom. The rest of the house was divided into two parts, the living room and the bedroom/kitchen. To understand just how small our house was, just think of a house that could almost fit into the typical two car garage.
- We once sold every last possession that didn’t fit into our GEO Tracker and moved to California and lived in Carrie’s grandmother’s basement. We soon realized that even living for free in a basement in California was too expensive to survive, so we moved back to Texas.
- My first teaching experience was as an AEP (alternative education placement) teacher, working with gang members in Lubbock, Texas.
- I got my teaching license via alternative certification. I guess my psychology degree was worth something after all.
- My certification was in Special Education, and I was a Jr. High School Special Education Life Skills Teacher for two years. I became certified in Theater so that I could teach at the high school with Carrie. We shared an office, and classrooms, and we absolutely loved that we were together all day. The main reason that I went into teaching in the first place, was so that I could have the same schedule as Carrie. When I tell you that she is my best friend, I really mean it.
- I have my private pilot license, but I am about 14 years overdue for my bi-annual check ride. Also, I don’t have a current medical, and probably couldn’t pass it due to my Type II Diabetes and hearing. My piloting days came to an end when we began the adoption process for my daughter Grace. I absolutely have no regrets though, and I don’t really miss flying all that much. You can’t compare anything in the world to being the parent of a child, in my case, six!
- I was married for 16 years before we made the decision to adopt. Before then, neither of us were interested in having children. Funny how things work out.
- I have been to the Democratic Republic of Congo five times, and I hope to go back several more. I’ve only been to China once, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.
- I am addicted to sugar. I used to eat a pint of ice cream almost every day. Sugar addiction is a real thing. I am one of those people who could literally eat a half gallon of ice cream or an entire package of cookies, and still want more. This is no exaggeration. Once I start eating something sweet I want to keep eating it until it is gone, or I’m sick. With me, one cookie is too many and a 100 aren’t enough. Now I avoid sugar like a recovering drug addict avoids drugs. It’s just easier to avoid sweets altogether than it is to try to eat just one. I literally live in fear that if I eat a sweet like a cookie or candy bar, I will fall off of the wagon, just like an alcoholic who has a drink or an ex-smoker who has a cigarette.
So do you feel like you really know me yet? Do we have anything interesting in common? I’d love to get to know all of you better. Share your most interesting factoid in the comments or drop me a line anytime!
Do you like Fried Rice? I love it. I learned something when we went to China. They eat it all the time for breakfast! Here a few secrets for making great and easy fried rice:
- Use cold day old rice.
- Less oil is better when making fried rice.
- Use very little or no soy sauce when you make the fried rice. If you like soy sauce, use it at the table.
- Try using Basmati rice. It is less sticky and has a lot of flavor.
- If you would like my recipe for Breakfast Fried Rice, you will be able to find it in my next newsletter. I will be sending it out on Friday, December 14. If you are currently not receiving my newsletter you can sign up below or by clicking here!