26 months

This morning I was sitting at the Orange County airport in sunny California when the clouds rolled in. They were the not so good clouds. They were the clouds of a friend that fought, and fought hard. They were the clouds of a Dad that loved his children. They were the clouds of a racer that didn't have to win to enjoy his fellow racers. They were the clouds of a friend who has moved to the next chapter. They were the clouds of a friend that was fighting pancreatic cancer. They were the clouds of a battle. They were the clouds of strength. They were clouds of persistence. They were clouds of... Brian. It was all for you brother! That crazy day in Mobile, Alabama. And all of the times we both tried to connect in Chicago, yet it never happened. You are loved and will be missed, never forgotten. You are a legend! All my love, rest in peace.

Retire the racer

Well, this is a tough decision to make, but it has to be made. As much fun as it's been, I'm not getting any younger and I just don't have as much time on my hands any more (see I'll do it now, I'll do it later). I will be retiring from lawnmower racing. There, I said it. I would like, though, one favor... To all the racers in Mobile, AL, may I please come race with you one last time? I'm not sure when, its a long haul from NC and I have a few repairs I need to do before I can run again, but I would be honored to race for the last time with such a great group of people! Afterwards, 404 will be for sale or parted out. 302 will be for sale although she is nothing more than a rolling chassis, but does come with MCP brakes, EC front end, Douglas polished aluminum wheels all around with Carlisle rubber on 1.25" rear axle. To all of the friends I've raced with or met at a race or know because of someone that I have raced with or met at a race, I thank you! You are absolutely the best friends. Never has there been a sport (or anything) where I have felt so at home, like everyone is family. You have watched my children while I've been on the track, we've shared hotel rooms in some distant city, I've had tears in my eyes the first time we met (special shout out there to Brian, hang in there brother, the world is cheering for you!). We've raised awareness together (Mike, can't wait to see the movie) through contributions to the cause. So many more... I'm not leaving you, just the track! It's never been about winning... It's not about crossing the finish line first. I've lost and almost won and lost again. It's the thrill of the moment, the feel of 12 horses between your legs (which is not a safe feeling by the way). It's about gas and grass and 00 grease. Shiny side up and rubber on the dirt. Slinging sod they say! And we all win, because we are in it together. You have all been the biggest extended family I've ever known - love ya, mean it! - talk to you soon!!! (And one last race to come) just10things special report: there will be no just10things tonight  

Sleeping beauty

We all make mistakes as parents, well, sometimes they are not mistakes, but wrong decisions.  Maybe wrong decisions is not even the right way to describe them, but having two children, I can tell you that most were corrected by the time the second arrived.  My mistake started when my daughter was first born, I put her to bed every night.  At first, when she was under 6 months, this was relatively easy.  After that, it wasn't really that difficult either, I would turn the lights off in the living room and dance to music until her head lay gently on my shoulder at which point I would lay her down to sleep.  This progressed to the big girl bed at about 3 years old and I continued to put her to bed every night, sitting at the edge of the bed rubbing her back until she would finally fall asleep.  Some nights, this was a 10 or 15 minute commitment, other nights it was hours.  The habit that I caused was that she was unable to fall asleep on her own and lasted until right around her 5th birthday, and this was my mistake. Breaking her habit of needing me to put her to sleep every night was a progressive endeavor.  Every few nights, I would sit bedside 1 foot further away, sometimes listening to crying, sometimes screaming.  When I finally made it out to the hallway at approximately 10 feet from her bed, I felt a world of accomplishment.  A couple of weeks later and we took a huge step back and I was returned to 2 feet from the bed.  "Never give up," I said, and I was finally back in the hallway. After a good 6 month investment, I got it right.  We go to bed, hugs and kisses, and turn the lights off.  What a relief! When my son was born, I also was the one to put him to bed every night.  I believe I was lucky as he is the type that is in deep sleep 10 microseconds after his head hits the pillow. Tonight, I'm sitting bedside (albeit with a laptop).  My poor little lady has a low grade fever and a horrible cough.  My mind has wandered back to the time I have spent with her, the moments we have shared and the countless hours I have watched her fall into slumber.  I cannot help but to feel bad for her, aside from some simple medicine and a humidifier, there's not a lot I can do to help her feel better and fall asleep, except to rub her back. Tonight is just another random list of 10, but inspired by the simplistic beauty of children.
  1. My son left the porch light on so that the first tree frog of the season could see
  2. My kids regularly invite their neighborhood friends over for dinner
  3. My son is convinced that the new racing lawnmower I'm building is "his"
  4. My daughter sweeps the "shop" because it is "hers"
  5. "I will clean my room after school tomorrow" (I love not having to ask!)
  6. They answer "What do you love most about the beach,  taking walks, playing in the sand, swimming?" with  "The beach!"
  7. They sleep in the strangest positions (I might as well, but never watched myself sleep)
  8. My son drinks orange juice with every meal, loves the stuff!
  9. My daughter's favorite thing to do is to play school, she wants to be a teacher
  10. I love them both... "to the moon"

Mow for a friend

Kids say the darnedest things, they really do... these are from my four year old son, enjoy! 1. "Am I talking backwards, or right?" 2. "I'm on the phone, be quiet." 3. "Where are you?  Are there any cute girls there?"
    Then there are the reasons I have been cheery this week 4. February delivered 70 degrees today and the windows were opened 5. I realized that what was offered was not what I wanted, glad to have figured that out now 6. It's almost March 2nd
      And some randoms. 7. Wine warms the soul 8.Think about it... silver mailbox upside down attached to the post with PINK duct tape, yeah, it's that red neck out here 9. There's always something else to be done; dishes, laundry, sweep, mop, and the list goes on, but honestly, once it's all done, it feels good.  Home feels homey.
        And finally. 10. One week from Friday, I will embark on an adventure to sunny Mobile, Alabama to partake in a benefit race for a friend suffering from cancer.  I ask for your prayers for him and his family as we all join in around the track.  Some, if not most, of us have never met before, but the dedication and devotion to each other in time of need says much for the sport and the family that we build through racing.  Many have reached out through donations and auctions to raise money for Brian, I commend you all for your generosity.  Fellow racers, you continue to amaze me with your kindred spirit and helpful ways, may God bless and we all mow on!!!  See you at the track!