Kitchen Cupboard Cunundrum

Image courtesy of Huffington Post
Image courtesy of Huffington Post
Explain this to me: why is it that I can avoid any desserts when I go out to dinner or to a family party, but every day when I get home I have to have a (small) handful of chocolate chips or chocolate covered almonds? If we don’t have any chocolate, (large) spoonful of peanut butter.

I do a pretty good job at working out. I run a fair amount, and I lift enough to have most fitness people at least give me a passing grade as far as my routine is concerned.

Kelly and I after the Cap City 1/2 Marathon
But there is something about being alone in the kitchen that pulls me to the cupboard for something I don’t really need.

I need help. I’m coming up on 30 and I want to say on my 30th birthday, “The day I turned 30, I was in the best shape of my life.” I’ve never had a six-pack, and truth be told, I probably drink too regularly to realize that dream. But I feel like I can blow up my chest a little, get my wife some big arms for her to pick stare at.

My other goal is to be able to hit a golf ball further than I can now without adding 25 pounds of butt and gut weight (why that helps some people hit things harder I’ll never know).

The point is, I can see all the things I want and I don’t think I’m that far off from getting there, but I self-sabotage myself. I can go out with family and convince everyone that I have this awesome will power (black coffee while everyone else is getting dessert), but go home and eat something that is 1/10 as gratifying as something at the restaurant would have been.

What do I need to do in order to avoid this kitchen cupboard conundrum?

10 Things in my Imaginary Amazon Cart

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So the lottery is up to $200 million and that is the exact number that get’s people saying, “Hey, lotto’s up to $200 million.” My problem with the lottery is that when you do decide that the money is high enough to justify spending $1, $5, or (gasp) $10 on some hope and dreams for the day or two leading up to the drawing.

I always said if I got an enormous amount of money, I wouldn’t change too much about my life. I’d have a nicer car, nicer house (though nothing Tyson-esque), and maybe a toy or two, but I don’t think I’d all of a sudden be this pompous, unapproachable douche that you wouldn’t want to have a beer with.

But since we’re playing make believe, I thought I’d make a list of 10 things I would put in my imaginary Amazon cart after I win my $200 million. My Amazon cart might have a few things you can’t buy on the actual Amazon, but I’m not going to buy a house, car, or private jet with this order. For the sake of making for an interesting read, I’ll leave those in my cart for my next order.

1. Diamond Collar for my Dog – this one isn’t so much for me, but since we rescued my dog, he said that if we ever got rich, he would want a diamond studded collar. The odd thing is, he isn’t a flashy guy by any means. I don’t know if it’s a power play on his part or why this seems to be his life’s work to get, but if I had the money to burn, I’d make his dreams come true.

2. Groupon for Wheels Up trip to Mauritius – just because I’m rich now doesn’t mean I need to pay full price for things. In this world, Groupon has a deal for a two week vacation for my wife and I to go see the underwater waterfall and stay in a tiki-hut type of place that you have to take a walking bridge out to get to that is in the middle of the ocean and there’s a fishing hole (that we wouldn’t use, babe) in the middle of the floor so you can look down at the fish. Rogue and his diamond collar would also be there.

3. Dog Nanny – the thing about winning $200 million is that a lot of what I want to do involves travel. Now that I got back from my trip to Mauritius, it’s apparent that if we are going to bring our dog along and not leave him at a bunch of Rover.com people’s houses while Kelly and I travel, we’re going to have to get a dog nanny to watch him while we are out doing our thing, but leave when we want to seat-belt session on the couch without someone judging our TV habits.

4. Charity Raffle for 4 rounds of golf with Rory McIlroy, Justin Timberlake, and Mark Cuban at Augusta National, Cape Kidnappers, Pebble Beach, and Old Portmarnock. (Rory because he’s my favorite golfer, Justin because I’d tell Kelly that he wasn’t that great in person even though he really is, and Cuban because I’d listen to anything he said.)

  • There was a special link on Amazon to buy this raffle. Site has since been removed.

5. Trip with Kelly to see Justin Timberlake in concert in Nashville, and hang with Rory and the Cube backstage – she’d be mad if I didn’t include her in meeting those guys, so I’d but a mulligan with these guys and we’d go out VIP afterward so Kelly would like me again.

6. Private meal cooked by Thomas Keller – I ate at his restaurant in Vegas once, and now I want to private VIP treatment. Impress me with something vegetarian that I’ll never forget, and make sure the bar is stocked with some top shelf.

7. 1/2 day at Dayton Speedway to race Ferrari’s like they did in Entourage – There is an episode on Turtle’s birthday where Vinny and the boys race Ferrari’s and at the end of it, Vince gives one to Turtle for his birthday. I’d bring a few buddies to the track and we’d do that. Might also have some BMW M5’s to race around too.

8. Bachelor-style date with the wife to some castle in Europe where we’d have dinner and private concert by Avett Brothers afterward – We would of course take a helicopter to get there and there would be fireworks in the distance and we’d have a bottle of champagne to drink along the way. Don’t tell me the logistics don’t work I’m rich and it’s already in my cart.

9. 3rd Gen Apple Watch – Nothing fancy about this one, except for the fact that I want to bypass the next Apple Watch 2 and just get the 3rd one that will be life-changing. It’ll have some specs that will allow you to hear a phone conversation without putting anything up to your ear and instant Apple Pay where you don’t even have to check out, the watch just recognizes what you bought and pays the store as you walk out.

10. Orin Swift Wine – I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling, so I’m going to need to have all the wine I can handle to keep me occupied while I’m wheel’s up. Orin Swift is my favorite company because I’m a sucker for labeling.

“Stop this Train or What I Learned by 30”

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It might be ironic that one of my favorite albums of all time — Continuum by John Mayer — is all about recognizing that we can’t stay young forever and have to appreciate the journey instead of trying to hold on to the past.

I think about this album as I free-fall toward my 30th birthday. With only a few months left to be young and stupid, I can’t help but reflect on some of the things I’ve taken away from this last decade and some things I think might be helpful to someone else out there who might be at a similar point in life.

1. We have to stop reading blogs about “Things you should know by 30” or “Skills to have by 30” or “Things to do before you turn 30.” It’s OK if you don’t know what you are doing with your life (I don’t) and it’s OK if you don’t know how to change a tire (provided you know how to call AAA). I would say there are some things that are helpful to know, but there is no rule book that says we have to live up to somebody else’s standard of what it means to be 30.

2. I don’t understand fashion, which cracks me up because I enjoy seeing what new things are happening with men’s clothes and I like asking my wife if I could pull off things like bow ties, or those pants guys wear that are baggy up top but have elastic by the ankles. I’ve found it’s best not to try to keep up with what is hip or current, and just keep a solid stock of plain colors and classic cuts that don’t ever go out of style.

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3. I can enjoy writing (aka – the thing I am good at beyond athletics and other general talents). I used to think this would be my vehicle for making a living, and I put off a lot of writing in my 20’s because I thought I had to have this perfect story or brilliant idea about something that everyone would want to rush out and read. I realize that if I am ever going to get paid to write, I have to genuinely enjoy it first — and I do! And the funny thing is, I see more opportunities presenting themselves as I enjoy the pieces I put out. I don’t love everything I write, but I’m getting better and seeing that there is promise at the end of the tunnel.

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4. I am more secure with myself now more than I’ve ever been. I am also healthier now than I’ve ever been, which helps with body issues and self-consciousness. But, more so than how I look, I feel very comfortable with who I am to others, as a husband, and how comfortable I am with myself when no one else is around. I see my 15-year-old sister obsess about her weight and her look, and I see a lot of the same tendencies in who I was even a couple years ago. Once I learned to let my guard down, it allowed me to relax and have enjoyable conversations with new people and look forward to the unknown ahead.

5. Money is a funny thing. I think about the things I used to spend money on, the things I currently spend money on, and the idea that more money will make me happier. I used to spend money on beer (cheap/ quantity), food (cheap/ quantity), online poker, and “fashionable” clothes from Express and Buckle. I now spend money on food (groceries), experiences, lawn care items, and vet checks on my dog. I remember buying a case of Natty Light and cringing at the $15 I would spend. Now, I feel better about spending more than $15 on a bottle of wine than I do about spending less than $15 because I feel like I am moving up in the wine world.

::Note – I’m sure I’ll look back at what I’m spending money on now in 10 years and laugh, but at least it shows I’m evolving::

And regarding the idea that more money will make me happier… I won’t say I wouldn’t be able to put it to good use, but the things I value in life aren’t necessarily obtained by money. When I was 21 I wanted to be a millionaire and didn’t care if that came by dumb luck or hard work. Now, if I earn a million dollars, I want to have done so because I worked hard for it and I earned it. The payoff would only be worth it if the value of my effort matched the money I get on the back end.

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6. The last thing I learned in my first 29 3/4 years on this planet is that, above all, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself. Whatever it takes to make you happy, don’t stop at anything until you can stare at yourself in the bathroom mirror when no one else is around or can hear you, and say to yourself that you’re happy, or at least taking the necessary actions to become happy.

So I was going to end this with a John Mayer quote, but I think I’ll end on one of my own. (Wasn’t it Almost Famous or American History X where the lead character says it’s best to end a paper with a quote from someone else because they probably said it better?)

Here it goes…

Don’t get hung up on things that are beyond your control. Decide who you want to be and figure out the best way for you to get there. And along the way, try to have a little fun and learn something new.

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Dadbod is a Gateway Drug

PARKS AND RECREATION --
(Photo by: Danny Feld/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

I am writing to you as someone who has a mild case of the “Dadbod.” I’m not working towards it, in fact I am trying to rid myself of it, but the fact remains — you can only really see an ab or two when I’m dehydrated and most pictures I see of me are so-so. I’m not full on Sandler or Segal, but if I put a little more effort towards it (ie – a little less effort towards doing what I’m supposed to), I could probably hang with them in the next Dadbod article to come out.

Here’s what they’ll tell you:

  • “It allows women to feel secure about their own bodies.”
  • “Promotes positive self-image.”
  • “It’s authentic”
  • “Says ‘We can be healthy AND have a good time.'”

Look, I’m all about positive self-images and having a good time, but the Dadbod is a gateway drug, slippery slope, and fast track to nowhere-ville all wrapped in to one. Let’s investigate:

Stage One: The John Hamm Phase

Confident, Dadbod Lite version of John Hamm
Confident, Dadbod-Lite version of John Hamm

If this is where it stopped, I’d have nothing to say. The John Hamm phase isn’t Calvin Klein model, show up your kids, “hey look at me and my bod” type of body. He obviously goes to the gym, eats right, and doesn’t appear to be pretentious about the fact that his body is in shape.

Stage Two: The Leonardo DiCaprio

Not quite rocking it, but he's busy. I get it.
Not quite rocking it, but he’s busy. I get it.

Not what you would want to see in a People Magazine, but no shame here. Leo is a hard working actor and has earned some time off (both from the screen and from the gym). He’s not hiding in the shadows and, unlike the rest of us, can pull off this look. It does appear he is a slice of cake or two away from falling to…

Stage Three: The Adam Sandler

Money can't save you now. Dadbod-Heavy starting to set in.
Money can’t save you now. Dadbod-Heavy starting to set in.

Stage three is where the gym is that thing that you used to go to and your fridge has more beer and soda than lettuce and fruit; in fact, vegetables are only those things you pick off your pizza when it gets delivered. Your energy is low, you probably buy candy bars in the checkout lines at grocery stores where you only buy pre-cooked whole chickens and Mountain Dew by the case.

Stage Four: The Kevin James

Full on Paul Blart
Full on Paul Blart

You’ve now entered Stage Four — aka the Paul Blart, aka the point of no return, aka it’s not funny anymore to try to pass this off as Dadbod but you’ll try anyway. Pretty soon, you’ll be exclusively rocking the untucked shirt and refraining from washing your jeans because you’ve worked them into a comfortable groove you won’t get back if they shrink a half-inch.

Dadbod is a cool word and that’s why it’s popular right now, but don’t confuse Dadbod with anything “healthy.” It’s not healthy. I don’t know why it’s so wrong to strive for something that is hard to get like a six-pack (not the one from UDF). Being in shape takes hard work, dedicated time not being on the couch, and will power to refrain from shitty food and understand that food is the fuel, it’s not the vehicle.

I love eating and drinking as much as the next guy, but we have to remember moderation is key and if we don’t recognize our habits early, we’ll go from Hamm to James before we bat an eye.