Jace At Six Months

Today was Jace’s six-month birthday. Only a baby’s age is measured in months, and then only up to a one year (I will never call my child a 14-month old. He will simply be 1).

He was on the exam table for 30 seconds waiting for the doctor. In that time he grabbed the paper with both hands and tried to wrap it around himself.
He was on the exam table for 30 seconds waiting for the doctor. In that time he grabbed the paper with both hands and tried to wrap it around himself.

Despite the special day, we had a pretty ordinary day for the little monkey. We started the day with a routine followup with a doctor. We stopped by work at Mandalay Bay to pick up a few things from my locker. We went to Target and spent a filthy amount of money on baby-related items.

Jace at six months is a funny, curious, gibberish-talking, round mound of infant. He is starting to take in the world around him. He pets (pulls the fur) of his dog, Ace. His interest level in any object starts and stops at ‘will this fit in my mouth’. He has two little teeth and big hair.

Trying to get solid food into this guy typically results in as much food on his face as in his belly.
Trying to get solid food into this guy typically results in as much food on his face as in his belly.

He has started to eat solid foods, as long as you loosely define the word solid. It’s mainly oatmeal or vegetables that are smashed into a fine sauce. He is a sloppy eater who enjoys the splatter of an uncovered sneeze with a mouth full of veggie sauce.

Me, with Jace at six months? That’s a different story. I’ve had to learn a lot more patience and a lot more planning. I have my son every day by myself. I have to plan ahead for what errands to run and which ones to skip until a different time.

Jace is still a little too small to ride in shopping carts and a little too heavy to haul around in his car seat. A lot of places I end up putting the car seat in the shopping cart, which leaves little room for actual shopping.

I have to try to take a nap when he takes a nap or go to work on less than five hours of sleep. I do more laundry, more dishes and clean up more messes than I ever have.

Yet, I’m encouraged by what is coming. He is working on sitting up which is a precursor to crawling and leads to walking. His mobility, as I am told, will lead to a lot less carrying him but a lot more WATCHING him as he finds trouble everywhere he goes.

In May, Jace will be taking his first commercial plane ride to Kansas City and Iowa. He will be 10 1/2 months old. I took my first commercial plane ride in 1992 as a student sports information assistant with the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team to play Southwest Missouri State. I was 23 years old.

Jace is a great kid, and I am truly blessed to have him. I spend all of my time now trying to find ways to make his life better each day. As every parent knows, I will probably spend the rest of my life working on that.

Happy 6-month birthday, Jace.

Five Years And Going Strong

Today is the 5-year anniversary of me waking up at 5AM in Prairie Village, Kan., shoveling away the seven inches of snow around my moving truck tires, and rolling out of town to Las Vegas.

I had a great 17-year run in Kansas City. I moved seamlessly from the UMKC athletics department to the now-defunct Kansas City Blades to Metro Sports to owning my own business. I lived in Independence, Overland Park, Merriam, KCK (Kansas City, Kan.), and owned homes in Waldo and Brookside.

I met some wonderful people and made many new friends.

By 2010, I was ready to break away from the cold and snow and head to the desert.

The first five years in Las Vegas have been amazing. I went to poker school and got a job immediately. I was a manager by 18 months. I jumped from my first job in the suburbs to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip earlier this year.

I have made a slew of new friends. I had a son. We live in a great house in Henderson with a huge backyard and a pool.

There was one significant loss. Pirate, my beloved German shepherd mix, passed away after almost 12 years together. I still miss him.

Overall, however, Las Vegas has been very good to me.

This is how deep the snow was the day I left for Vegas. It had snowed 7 inches overnight.
This is how deep the snow was the day I left for Vegas. It had snowed 7 inches overnight. I miss Pirate. He enjoyed his retirement to Las Vegas.
Heading out on Interstate 70 across Kansas.
Heading out on Interstate 70 across Kansas.
No, I don't think I will.
No, I don’t think I will.
The next stop after six hours across Kansas.
The next stop after six hours across Kansas.
I spent the night on the Colorado/Utah border, then headed out the next morning to complete my trip.
I spent the night on the Colorado/Utah border, then headed out the next morning to complete my trip.
Utah is pretty nice.
Utah is pretty nice.
Out of Utah -- and briefly Arizona -- and about to enter Mesquite, Nev.
Out of Utah — and briefly Arizona — and about to enter Mesquite, Nev.
a.k.a. The Las Vegas Strip.
a.k.a. The Las Vegas Strip.
Pirate and I posing at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
Pirate and I posing at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

The Only New Year’s Resolution You Will Ever Need

I purposely did not want to write about New Year’s resolutions until a few days after the new year started. I gave up New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. They are hokey. They are unrealistic.

New Year’s resolutions bolster the bottom line of fitness joints every January. The lead to promises of no more drinking, no more smoking, no more gambling and more.

New Year’s resolutions are, in fact, stupid.

There’s only one resolution you need to make, and you don’t have to wait until December 31 every year to make:

be-better-than-you-were-yesterday

 

 

 

This is not to say I don’t have dreams. I would like to lose a few err 40 pounds. I would like to have a few more bucks in the bank. I want to be a better father to Jace. I would like to end this 27-year run of disastrous relationships with shallow, feckless women.

But the only way any of that is going to happen is if I am better than I was yesterday.

Once you take responsibility for all the things that have happened in your life — both good and bad — everything gets easier.

I wasn’t ready for my TV career to come to an abrupt end in 2004. But I let pinhead bosses push me around until I walked away. It was my fault for letting them get to me.

My last personal relationship in Kansas City was full of lies and deceit. I let that relationship eat me up, and make me want to flee Kansas City to Las Vegas as fast as I could. Again, my fault for letting myself get so involved and so blinded to the obvious lies in front of me.

I’m in a new position at Mandalay Bay. I’m doing the best I can to do a great job but I’ve screwed up a few times lately. My fault for not understanding proper policies and procedures, or not seeking the right people to get the correct answers. Again, my fault for not being as good as my job as I should.

Spend your every day in 2015 just trying to be a little better than you were the day before. A little more love. A little more forgiveness. A little more compassion. Be nicer. Be kinder. Be gentler. Be a little more humble, a little more grateful, a little less brash.

Be better than you were yesterday. And the rest of your days will be great.

 

Back To The Grind

After a 6-month hiatus where playing poker was an after thought to

1. Jace
2. Jace
3. Jace
4. Work
5. Sleep
6. Jace

I was ready to get my 2015 off to a good start and play a little more poker. Since I am no longer working graveyard my sleep situation has normalized, as has my mental state.

My first attempt was last night. I am definitely rusty. Time off can lead to the biggest leak in poker — playing too many hands. I am definitely falling in that trap, though I managed to make a $180 profit when I got my money in terribly and rivered a straight.

Villian (Big Blind): 2-3o
Me: 6-7 diamonds
Flop: 4c, 5h, 6s

BB checked, next player bet $20. I called $20. BB checked raised to $55. First raiser called, I called. Turn was an Ace of spades. BB shoved. I only had $60 left, the pot was $170. So my last $60 could get earn me a pot of $290.

The problem with the call is I’m beat by the straight (which he had), any Ace, two pair, a set and a slew of other hands. I made the crying call anyway, and rivered a 3 for a high straight.

Tonight I tried again, and still showed some rust. On an extremely loose table (there were seven straight all-ins to open the new game) I misplayed A-A badly from the small blind. Later, I misread a player when I was holding two pair against his higher two pair. I quickly fell back $200. But I decided to stay and grind. The stay was worth it. I worked a straight flush draw into a rivered straight for a nice pot. I hit a runner-runner trips to win a small $50 pot from the big blind. I ended up carving out a $42 profit.

So my 2015 total is $222. Not retirement money, but a step in the right direction.

First Angel Dime of 2015

After picking up my son from his mother this morning we had some errands to run. Jace needed a new high chair as he is taking to solid food. And Daddy needed some groceries for the homestead.

We didn’t know an angel was looking out for us. After our Target stop we headed to the Fresh & Easy at Boulder and Horizon. We parked in a spot where we don’t normally park. When I got out of the Jeep to open the back door to let Jace out, there it was on the ground.

Jace's collection of angel dimes.
Jace’s collection of angel dimes.

If you don’t know about angel dimes, you can read what I wrote about them last year.

Our angels are my mother, who passed away the day after my 19th birthday, and my grandmother. They were the angels in my life when I was alive and they are now the angels watching over Jace.

angel_dimes_jace_shelf
My angels dimes in their “All You Need Is Love” container, along with other cherished items on a shelf in Jace’s room.

My angel dimes are kept forever in a Beatles’ themed container which sits on a shelf in Jace’s room. It’s good to have angels watching over us.

Happy New Year 2015.