Monday, August 17, 2015

Into Thin Air.

A funny thing happens when you crest a mountain and start down the other side....you can only see ahead of you, no longer behind you, where you've been.  You've been climbing for a while, and almost unconsciously spent portions of that last leg up to the peak, looking back, taking it all in, even wanting to run back and check certain sections of the climb out again...knowing the whole time, you couldn't go back the way you came.  
People handle change in very different ways, and turning 40 is my own most recent change.  
I'm not sure how common it is to just automatically start thinking about your mortality at 40, but I've certainly been pre-occupied the last few days with where this "milestone" puts me on my own little timeline.  One of the many things that has come to mind is my heart.  I was reading an article just this morning of a competitive mountain bike racer in Boulder, CO that is in his late 40's and has had to finally quit racing, somewhat later in life, due to on-set of A-fib.  So, as we do, I was reading and internalizing the idea of potential heart problems creeping up someday....maybe sooner than later now.  
The article added to the whole mess of things stirring in my head, but the idea of the heart, there is more to it than it's ability to keep on beating.  
My heart health check has to go beyond some stickers and wires and running on a treadmill.  40 years down and I have to be honest that my heart has been predominantly committed to one thing....my self, my self preservation, my self motivation, my self satisfaction.  40 years down and I think its time I try to start growing up a little....maybe even try to live a little for someone else.  Specifically, my wife and two boys.  
It's hard to admit that I've not given 100% of me to my own family, but it's true.  I'm, by default, selfish and a little self absorbed.  I'm not overtly dismissive or detached, but I can honestly say that, at the end of every day, it's not that often I can look back and say, "I did the very best I could for my boys and Kelli".  Oddly enough, it's as usual that I probably didn't do the best I could for myself either.  
In the last year it's weighed on my mind that all I need to do is; be the best me in any given moment or situation, that I can be.  Be completely presentin a conversation, at dinner, at work, at play, with my wife, with my kids, with my friends....be there, completely and with total effort...."leave it all out on the field".  
Ironically, attempting that very level cost me the last couple weeks with a shoulder injury from baseball--more evidence of cresting that mountain and starting down the other side--the skill set of younger days, and the endurance in the joints is maybe a thing of the past, to some extent. 
What I can do, without risk of injury, is adjust my focus toward my children and their walk in this life.  I cant provide everything they need, but I can make sure that what they need from me, they get, and that they get it without resentment, without distraction, and without hesitation.  
I can adjust my focus from myself and toward my wife.  She committed herself to a life with me, it's literally the least I can do, to make every effort to make her feel like it was a good decision.  She needs to go to sleep at night knowing how much she is appreciated and loved.  
At the end of the every day, I need to know that I have made every effort to make each of their respective days, better.  I need to make sure I've done what I can to make sure our connection will live beyond our timelines as well.  
I need to put the effort in today, on this side of the mountain, for my family, so that it doesn't really matter that much if my timeline is much shorter than I hope it is.
If I do it right, my boys, my wife, my circle....they can flourish, knowing we'll see each other again....if I'm a father and husband...not just a guy with kids and a wife.  
I've had 40 years to myself; they deserve the time and attention now.  
In contemplating "heart health", I think I can accept that, yes...one day my heart will physically fail me.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  If I focus on the journey of my boys, help them climb the mountain, give them the skills and attention to thrive...maybe I can make the work load on their hearts a little easier by supplementing the workload with mine.  Maybe having the opportunity to raise these guys is my only way of seeing back on the other side of the mountain.  Even more exciting it to know they can find a better trail up than I did.  
I pray, at the close of this note, that God forgives my mistakes up to this point, my selfishness, my sad humanity.  I pray that, at 40, I can begin a new on my timeline, a point marked by obvious change and commitment to my family and others needs.  Only God knows when and where it will come to a close, so I cant afford to NOT attack the remaining hike down the mountain with full vigor, full commitment to the moment, with a love for all those brave enough to walk with me, ahead of me, behind me, and beside me.  
So, here I am...possibly at the peak of the mountain...or maybe I'm actually not quite there yet?  Either way, it's been a beautiful hike so far.  I need to remember to look around a little while I'm up here, there might be some things worth telling my kids about.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Olympics.....the glue for a cracking country?

I've always liked the Olympics, winter or summer.  It's impressive to me that someone can commit themselves so completely to pushing their bodies and minds beyond what an average dude like me would even think about.  And it's funny, sometimes they make it look so effortless, morons like me sit on the couch, watch them on TV and think..."I could do that if I practiced a little".  Yeah right bud....weren't you the one with the vien popping out of your forehead trying to overcome the vacuum seal on your new bag of "cool ranch" Doritos? 
The Olympics mean something.  It's something different to just about everyone, but they do mean something.  This year in particular though, I think the games have an added burden to bear, and added dimension of importance that the athletes don't even realize, maybe no one anywhere realizes.  Scarier to me than no one realizing though, is no one caring....no one caring enough about the games and this country to put it all together.   What is this extra load to bear?  Quite simply, this country needs a fix.  We are a country divided....cracked....broken...in need of some TLC and a heavy dose of pride and motivation.   I think the Olympics are the place to start.  Obvious I guess, to pick on the Olympics, but I won't apologize for that. 
Thinking about "the games"....there are so many good lessons to be learned from these guys and girls.   We all need examples of commitment, to see the path of actually chasing a goal.
We also need to address the myth, "you can do anything you set your mind to"....well, no, sometimes you can't.  For every team member representing our country, how many have trained, dreamt, bled, dripped sweat, and failed to make the team?  Sometimes you can give it everything you have, and it's just not fast enough, or high enough, or heavy enough....and as hard as that pill is to swallow...it's okay, it's life, and it's part of the game.
Where would we be if those poeple, those dreamers and warriors for their goal...where would we be if they had not tried?  Imagine the level of mediocrity we'd succumb to if they hadn't been there pushing, training, competing.  Those "almost made it" players, they define the best, they drive others to be better, to improve because they have to as well.
Without some falling short, but working incredibly hard to do so, we'd have nothing more than a middle school track team--where no one gets cut and everyone is part of the team, and very few care to stand out and excel. 
We are in an election year and we are divided.  Every aspect of our daily lives are constantly up for debate and we are bombarded with being forced to "choose a side" every time we turn on our computers.  Social media has become a new form of political commercials, and daily status updates are either re-affirming our beliefs or causing us to internally debate whether or not a particular friendship is too valuable to comment on their post in defense of your values or opinions---I'm guessing more often than not we just let it slide.
Amidst all the chaos, all the chatter and disagreement, there can be little doubt that we still live in the greatest country in the world.  But we could be better.....a lot better.   We have a lot on the table right now as a country, a lot to discuss, debate, and work on, and I hope everyone seriously spends time looking at the issues that will be thrown around the rest of the summer and up to elections.  I hope people vote the issues and not party.  I hope that we all take advantage of being a part of an incredible system....knowing that as hard as we might work at it, as hard as we campaign or just talk with friends, and as much passion we might invest in something....we might lose.  But in that fight, in that effort, those around you will become better, smarter, more informed, more whole....a better representative for this country. 
And in between all of that, I hope we can all sit down together, eat some Doritos, hang an American flag on our front porch, turn on our TV's, and cheer on our own as they lay it all on the line as representatives of the best the United States has to offer.  We need that time together, unified, proud, and with the same hope for victory...not for ourselves, and not just for those who work so hard for the gold, but for everyone blessed enough to call this country our home. 
Yes, the Olympics mean something big this year, and if the only thing we share this year is a hope for a gold medal or two....well, that is something. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I heard this song today.....

I’m driving in to the office this morning and have the radio on one of the country stations here in Denver.  I was hoping for “Red Solo Cup”, but instead got “I wish you’d love me like my dog does”….and the wheels have begun to turn in my mind….which is funny, because I don’t think country music has ever been accused of making anyone “think”….drink maybe…..which I guess explains the popularity of Red Solo Cup.
Some of the lines in the song  basically elude to the fact that the dude is just not good enough for the mystery girl, but good enough for his dog….and what I wonder is, what would this world really be like without women?
Now, for the purpose of this hypothetical rant, I think I’ll skip over the obvious answers like: “there would be no babies” or “no such thing as gourmet cupcakes”, or “we might never know what an apple actually tastes like”, and examine my thoughts on the effect on the condition of man in a world of men and what might be different…..if only for a single generation (unless, because we are more productive academically, we figure out how to synthesize a new person by combining sperm—and only if they come out of the Petri dish as at least a 7 year old that can dress and feed himself).
Music
Music would be so different, it hard to imagine there would even be music…maybe just stand up comedy, sports, and news shows on the radio.  “A boy named Sue” would have little strain to it, and wouldn’t be a classic, but Chris LeDoux’s “This Cowboy’s Hat” would be legendary beyond the Wyoming borders—as it should be.  There would be no love songs, but I’m fairly certain Queen would be just as popular either way.  Back on the love song thing though….think of how many songs would never get written without the muse or emotional torture on the male by the female species…neither love, hate, broken heart, jealousy, or” I know you’re out there somewhere” type themes.   Can you even write a song about “those dudes from the office are pretty cool to play poker with every three months” and turn it into a club hit?….also something that wouldn’t exist by the way—no dance clubs—except maybe for the bars where they’ll still play hits by Duran Duran or Erasure. 
On the upside for music, we’d still have awesome guitarists and drummers, and probably harmonicas.  On the down side, we’d still have Kenny G and John Tesh.
Fashion
Socks wouldn’t match an outfit, at least not by color and nobody would care.…but come to think of it, what does white NOT match?  Tube socks would rule, and eventually you’d end up with at least different shades of white depending on the laundering skills of the owners of said socks.   Button up shirts may never get invented….ties wouldn’t for sure, who needs that hassle?  Shoes that tie would be a big enough hassle—boots would reign supreme, when you weren’t wearing cleats of some kind.  No more fashion week, no more Bravo TV….Levi’s would rule the fashion world in strict contest with Wrangler.  Polo and Nike would remain for the necessity of maintaining respectability on the golf course—and the need for a quality manufacturer of white socks….tennis would probably only exist in Europe.    I’ve given this section too much text already…basically, it would be fairly clean and very comfortable…who would need to dress to impress?—that would come down to cars, not clothes.
Design
Architectural design would be a great venue for artistic expression, but likely dominated by log and/or sheet metal—whatever keeps you from annual maintenance or severe headaches caused by color selection.  I still feel like Antoine Predock would be a huge success,  and that Frank Lloyd Wrights “Falling Water” would be duplicated all over the country, and that the Empire State building and Sears Tower would certainly exist, but I have serious doubts about Sydney’s Opera house or the colorful track housing of San Francisco….then again, something tells me that city wouldn’t be that different.
Interior design would look a lot like IKEA stuff I’m sure…clean lines, square corners, and plenty of room for electronics.  The difference would be that it would be delivered put together, and be made from better materials….maybe there would just be a huge Pottery Barn, Crate &Barrel, or Ethan Allen…just enough competition to keep prices reasonable….but they’d have to find ways of upselling, otherwise they’d sell one piece of furniture to someone every 40 years.    There would be house painters, because even guys can appreciate a little color….whatever makes the autographed jerseys and neon lights pop.  The term “man-cave” wouldn’t even exist…no more relegation to the basement or garage.  In fact, the houses would be all one level, with an unclear break between garage and house.  In a push for simplicity and function , the houses could really just be one huge room, which would be a lot easier to deal with when wiring for full theatre surround sound….who doesn’t want their TV, telephone, fridge, and toilet in the same room?
Vehicles
Nothing would really change with vehicles, but lines would be more clearly drawn between countries—I can only assume Europe would still have Mini’s and MG’s, but will maintain their “man card” by continuing to kick out Ferrari’s and Lambo’s.  Trucks, sport cars, motorcycles, anything for off-road, and probably horses still.  No RV’s, no station wagons, no Camry’s, no scooters, and probably no Volkswagens of any kind.  All vehicles would only be available in primary colors or black, silver, or white. 
Sports
Salaries would be under control but testosterone wouldn’t be..…Teachers, in fact, would probably get paid more, because impressing other people would all happen during the game, or on the course, or on the track, not necessarily with the paycheck to play a game.   There would be a lot of grief saved for the guys who would have otherwise joined a cheerleading squad, another casualty of a unisex world. 
Hunting wouldn’t change much, other than the side industries….wall mounts would be more standard decoration fare than in just the mid-west, so taxidermy would rank as a highly desirable career option.  Where WE and Bravo networks would disappear, VS. and Outdoor Network would expand to fill the void. 

Resorts/Vacations
Resorts would look like current day Flying J’s….someplace for fuel, food, a shower, and place to park your truck for a bit.  Ski resorts would pretty much just have a restaurant and access to a chair lift…Motel 6 would be the biggest hotel chain in the world, and probably be seen as frivolous.  Spa’s…well, spa probably wouldn’t even be a word.  Hot springs might be the only time you would see more than one guy in a vat of hot water with another….maybe .  
Food
Chefs would be challenged to create food that looks appetizing under fluorescent lights, because low lit or candle lit meals just wouldn’t feel right—or maybe they would, who knows  .  Restaurants would all have bar seating for dudes eating alone, along with tables for business meals or a group of friends, and all would have a “to go” menu option.  High end steak joints would survive for sure, but I doubt everything would be getting paired with some kind of wine selection.  Homes would come standard with grills installed, indoors and outdoors, with industrial vent hoods and a rotisserie.   Grocery stores would be much smaller….basically an aisle for drugs, and aisle for toilet paper, and aisle for cereal and bread, an aisle for drinks,  and an aisle for frozen dinners and ice cream—yeah, Ben and Jerry both made the cut—and an aisle for meat, milk, and some vegetables.   No Hallmark cards, no seasonal selections, no yogurt, very few baking items, no flowers, no junk for kids, etc.  And all checkouts would be express or do it yourself.   There wouldn’t just be a bank in the grocery store, but a clinic, a dentist, a barber, and insurance agent,  and a store front for JCPenney for underwear and socks. 
Work/Careers
Productivity would be through the roof.  And why not? What distractions would the guys really have?  You can’t hunt all the time, you don’t need to go shopping, no one is calling you, you’re not going to be late for a date, there isn’t a game on every single night…..so, you work.   That’s not to say the quality of work would go through the roof, just the time invested….but I do know there was a lot of evidence showing an advantage for boys in “all boy” classrooms, so I have to assume it carries over to the working world a little bit. 
Who knows, maybe this is all wrong, it’s certainly a ridiculous topic to spend any time on.  Come to think of it, who doesn’t like a cupcake once in a while?  The more I re-read through some of this, all I did was write about life in rural Montana. Frankly, I’m pretty sure if this world existed, I’d be spending my free time wishing there was something to fill that unexplainable void in my life….I wouldn’t know it, but I’d be missing my wife. 
Hmmm…..another song just played with a guy singing about what his life would be like without his girl, all the stuff he’d get to do or want to do—how appropriate—and his statement about what he’d be doing without her?  Spending his time looking for a girl just like her….exactly.   Would the world be different? Of course.  But who would really want to live in a world without all that crazyness that comes with those pretty apple pickers?  I know my life is better with Kelli in it, and my boys.   Ha , just realized as I wrote that last sentence…my poor wife—she’s already living in a world with all guys….maybe I should have just asked her what it’s like.  Sounds  a  little drab though, not sure how she’s holding it together…..women are mysterious and impressive.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Dead Birds, One Lump of Coal......

     I appreciate bumper stickers.  They are a tiny bit of entertainment during an otherwise frustrating ritual that is morning and afternoon traffic.  I saw one this week on a Dodge Ram truck that was outfitted with some nice offroad tires and a lift kit that read: "My footprint is bigger than yours".  Typically in these situations I go for the obvious sarcasm's, like "he must wear a size 14 shoe to put that kind of sticker on his truck"...but I'm sliding past that and acknowledging the jab he was throwing at the environmentally concerned of Denver.  Right off the bat I was upset....because he was probably right!  I bet his footprint is bigger!  I'm a competitive guy, and deep down that got me thinking...how big is my footprint?  For added mental complexity--for me--I had at the time been mulling over my legacy....what about me stands out? What will people remember me for? What have I accomplished so far?  And it gelled in my mind....I will beat this guy.  I will increase my footprint to an incredible level, one possibly visible from space.  I win and I create a legacy, really accomplish something of merit.
     This sounds easier than I think it will actually be.  How inefficiently can I live on a day to day basis to ensure that I amass more carbon emissions than everyone that surrounds me?  Well, for starters, I'm typing this naked because I've turned the heat up in my house to 106°.  Sounds hot, but it's really just comfortable because I've opened half my house windows since it's snowing and chilly outside...you should see the steam rising off the roof, it's crazy!  Nothing like a warm, crackling gas fire place raging in the middle of the day too...boy it feels like the holidays!  Speaking of that...Christmas lights.  These babies are never getting turned off...in fact, I need more--Clark Griswold, show me your way!  Once they're all up, they're staying up all year...it'll look like a fancy Mexican restaurant in Texas around here!   I've already got every light on in here, and right about now I'm regretting the switch we made to those "high efficiency" mercury poisoning inducing lights....too efficienct, totally against the grain here, just bad timing.  But there's more than just keeping the meter spinning (I'm proud of myself, I stopped typing for a while and came back again just now--and left the computer on!).
     Vehicles...I think I'll need to keep them running 24/7, which is really a win/win since it's 19° outside.  Nothing better than getting into a warm car when it's freezing out.  I think I'll fire up the generator and lawn mower while I'm at it and just let them idle....with the garage door open of course...I'm not reckless.
     I have to think of this as a year round venture, so there is the classic juxtaposition--A/C units--contributing (allegedly) to global warming while cooling it at the same time.   I think this summer I'll buy as many window units as I can fit in my truck.  Then I'll plug them all in and fire them up in the backyard....so I'm ensuring a huge footprint while ironically cooling the atmosphere just enough to offset the potential "damage"...my own carbon credit of sorts.  I'm not sure how this is all going to be documented or shared with the world, but my legacy will live on through my kids at a minimum--and not just genetically.  I can see it now, everyone sitting around talking about dear old dad someday....."Remember what he did to the house?  What a freak, I never slept in that stupid house, too many lights on....but I did enjoy the soothing buzz of air conditioning units going non-stop just outside our bedroom window."  "Want to decorate for Christmas this year?"...."No."
     Ah, to be remembered.  The harder part is going to be finding that dude in the Dodge to rub it in his face....but then again, I might not want to....especially if all he meant was that he had huge feet, which also relates to a huge fist.  I'm competitive, but I'm not good at confrontation.   Man, I didn't think of that.  I need to rethink this whole thing.  It's hot in here....um, forget I said anything.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tebow or not Tebow....that's...a dumb question.

A dumb question yes, but I bet it's the first blog of mine you've bothered to click on......the dude is that big.  He's a polarizing, compelling stud....love to hate him, or hate that you love him, either way you probably have an opinion.  That fact alone is interesting since no one really knows the guy...we don't have 15 years worth of NFL seasons to see, and there's not that much out there from college unless you're a sports nut or from Florida.  We know he wore eye black with bible verses on it in college...and they told him not to do that....which is silly and sad.  We know he's an outspoken Christian and extremely competitive.....which is a combination that I'm sure scares a lot of people in this country under the age of 50...which is also sad, and silly. 
Here is a guy who won the Hiesmann, National Championships, and was then a top draft pick into a backup situation....third in line in fact.  He's been told his whole career he wasn't NFL material, but his frame and prowess served him well at the college level.  And yet....
He's been generating headlines all year and of late things have gotten pretty interesting.  He's had articles lately promoting him for MVP, his stats have been broken down to show his "yards per touch" as being in the top 4 or 5 in the NFL.  And there's that whole "Broncos Win Streak" thing....from 1-5 and the cellar to 7-5 and first place.  Today "The Onion" had a headline story that joked that his story has inspired more teams to start bad quarterbacks...to paraphrase.  
The thing I wonder about while I look at Tebow's story develop is, why do people take such an issue with him?  The only people that have a legitimate concern or a say in his ability as a quarterback are the folks paying his salary, and they seem like they've had the least to say--other than they're going to ride this train until it stops.  I don't understand someone who, like me, works in a completely unrelated profession and has the kinds of things to say about Tebow's skill set or personal life.  The silly thing when you read the stories or overhear the water cooler conversations, is opinions are just being recylcled everywhere without any new revelations....he's just plain offensive to some and the best thing since sliced bread to others.....it's clearly political.  It's political, it's emotional, and it rubs up against peoples core because he's the biggest name in a long time that's forcing people to accept that good guys still exist...that somebody out there really is better than most of us....and that you can have it all and not be a jerk to get it. 
Some of my friends will appreciate this question based on conversations we've had....but try to answer it honestly--what is so offensive about a white, male, outspoken Christian?  Now tell me he's not popping up in the news because of personal or political views....
There are probably 5 people that care about his footwork in the pocket, legitimately.  There are probably as many that stay up late analyzing his arm motion during the pressure of a two-minute drill.  But there are lot more that care about him unashamedly bowing for a quick prayer....Tebowing--a national phenomanon.  Picking on someone for praying in public--wow America, way to represent.   An irony in this country, especially with younger generations, is that everyone wants to be an "individual" but systematically accepted, wants everyone to accept everyone else, but are completely offended when other's actually express something they've accepted for themselves....especially if it isn't the same thing that they themselves believe...which in the end kills true individualism....sad and silly.
There are those, however, that just don't care about any of this....don't care about football, don't care about Tim Tebow.  That's just fine, a nice little spark of individuality there, keep it up.   Not me though, I'm a fan.  Football is a great game, another great American gift to the world.  Frankly, so is Tim Tebow.  No pressure Tim, but it's more important that you "hold the line" off the field than on.  You've stepped into an arena few have walked into and succeeded and for all that is good, I hope you never falter.  Winning games is great, but winning in life is better, and we need some success stories.  So keep it up Tim, the kids are watching, the media is leering and waiting, and everyone else is talking. 
Hmm, I guess I answered my dumb question for myself at least......I say Tebow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy This.....

So, to beat a dead horse, I thought I'd throw out a little social commentary on the "occupy where ever" movement...if you can call it a movement (frankly I think it's a politically charged extension of camping season and a good excuse to have "craft time" with fellow hipsters making signs and urban wigwams and wikiups).  Hey, their getting traction though, got to hand it to them....and if you can't beat em, join em...of course if that were true, the cops all over the country would be trading badges for tie died uni's and we'd have no control over anything anymore...so beat away I guess.  Just kidding you baby.
I'm not opposed to anyone's right to protest, in fact, it's just another snapshot of what makes this country so great, and it is great despite the problems that exist that apparently charged up these groups of seemingly disgruntled citizens--at least I think they're all citizens.  I don't think they're checking voter ID's to protest yet.
The thing that has me a tad irked about the whole "lets ruin our city parks and social spaces and hollar 'they made me do it!' thing", is that I have no idea what they are all protesting...what is the agenda and the goal with it all?  I wonder what changes besides increased polarity, beafed up arrest records, rapes, fights, general mayhem, etc.?  This is movement? 
It reminds me of baseball...when I played in high school we had a coach that almost took pride in running out to argue a play with an umpire.  Granted, there are times I think you can get something out of that ridiculous display of belly bumping and hat flipping--namely if the ump is notoriously bias, blind, or you need to fire up your boys.  However, it has to be accepted before hand that you, ultimately, are not going to win this fight.  I can count on my hand the number of times an umpire has changed his call....actually I could count that on a hand with no fingers at all, because it's never happened...not once.   When I was coaching, I never argued with an umpire (you can flash looks and yell some things), not on the field of play--for a couple reasons.  1.  It looks ridiculous.  2.  He's not changing the call.  3.  It just puts them on the defensive and will probably work against you moving forward in the game.  4.  Bad example for the team--who looks like they are out of control in that situation?  Who needs to be "in charge"?  I think you forfiet some of that when you whine.
I didn't allow kids to argue either, they look even worse.  Until you can take charge of your own situation, you're never going to present much of a case to whoever it is you want to argue with. 
I don't mean to throw the baseball analogy out there to beat down the protesters and say that they are fighting a losing battle and it's a waste of time and that they look ridiculous and that they are embarrassing themselves with their tactics and lack of a gameplan, but......
Maybe the news is to blame since I'm just not seeing anything about the movements "mission statement" or goals, and certainly nothing about legit accomplishments--all we hear about it the fueding and destruction of morals and public property--maybe we need better coverage?  I don't know, but it's a mess they need to clean up if they hope to garner anything positive from it.   As far as I can see so far, it's just a chubby pitching coach looking for a fight until the Legion hall opens for happy hour. 
 

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm taking it to the next level....

So, I finally jumped in with both feet.  I'm fully committed to making this thing work and I'm ready to show the world.   Let me back up just a minute to clarify....
I've written previously about the things people do to their cars, the stickers they paste everywhere to show who they voted for or what kind of a mood they tend to be in, or, and I like these, the ones that tell you "if you're close enough to read this....".
I'm okay with all of it, it's your car, your life, and if you don't care that much about resale or that it was a rental and you paid the insurance deposit anyway, so why not...but I've discovered something I had never imagined I would do as well.
Stick people.
Daddy stick man, Mommy stick woman, and little kiddo stick people--one in a stick stroller...which, I guess couldn't really be illustrated in much more detail than sticks anyway, so I guess it's legit as is.
Stick people stickers are as ubiquitous as hybrids anymore, like bumper weeds....they spread like wildfire. 
I had an idea that it would be really fun to come up with my own line of stick people stickers....the white trash version....Chubby stick dad in a stick recliner w/ empty beer cans, raggity looking stick mom, prego, frazzled hair, stick baby on her hip....
I think they'd sell...maybe not in the right parts of the country, but then again, they wouldn't stick to the rust there anyway.
But, let me circle back to the point.....commitment.  These stickers, I think, are better than wedding rings...is there a more clear cut message about your status than driving around with a little advertisment about your family structure?  So, I did it.  My Yukon now proudly displays little stick respresentations of the Poppenhagen clan....I am fully committed.  No one will be pulling up next to me saying, "hey, wonder what the story is with that dashing gent in the driver seat?"  They'll know....he's mortgaged, tired, overworked, and lives for 18 holes on the weekend because it's "daddy time". 
I think I might have to kick off another line of stickers for young singles.....but my trial runs at putting six pack abs or high heel shoes and huge hoop earrings on stick people just look funny.   I have a lot of other ideas, but I'm not going to tell just yet....I'm doing market research, trying to take care of that mortgage you know.