Frankenstein back with 28 staples (credit: Lindsey Snow)
Life isn’t fair.
I was born with an 80 year-old back. Not exactly 80, but old. It first broke when I was 29. After surgery, it worked again, but only for another six years. It teetered and failed again late this summer in the same spot — a re-ruptured L4/5 disc. The thing was so decrepit, my surgeon had to remove the remains and fuse my spine.
Now I’m resigned to a life of low impact and light lifting. I can’t even hold my youngest brown-eyed boy in his final months of baby-dom, let alone lift a gallon of milk for a month. I can’t return to full activity for six months until the vertebrae fully fuse. And after that, I’m advised to give up running, basketball, soccer, and maybe wake boarding or else.
But it’s not all bad. In fact, I’ve got a heck of a lot to look forward to—a lot more to live for. While having my body deteriorate ahead of schedule and the long recovery are both humbling, I also feel inspired by the experience. Here are 10 things I learned post surgery: Continue reading…
credit: last week tonight
I believe final, condemning, or otherwise hasty judgment of others is like hatred. It is learned, immoral, and vile behavior that worsens with age and leads to unhappiness.
Obviously, we’re required to make mortal judgments on the accused if on jury duty. And we need to judge the fruits and motives of others to make important decisions in life, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, engaging in business transactions, shielding our children from danger, or marrying someone.
(Similarly, hatred of conditions—never people—can inspire action, but that’s another story).
While many of us struggle in making the above judgments, all of us suck when it comes to judging others out of misguided fear, selfishness, or an attempt to validate our lifestyle over another’s. It is this type of misjudgment that is so difficult to avoid.
Earlier this year, I learned a useful trick for combating this. Continue reading…
I was solicited for a job at Google last month by their HR department. I turned them down. Here’s why: Continue reading…
The following people are giants in my eyes. Without their supportive shoulders and encouraging spirit, I would be at a disadvantage: Continue reading…
Here’s where my travel column went last month:
My wife taught me a valuable lesson recently.
For years, we’ve been planning to build a new house for our growing family. With that decision, we pegged a lot of other things to it, such as a new living room, new places to see, and even a family dog.
“Let’s update the living room after we move,” we told ourselves. “Let’s hold off on that vacation until we’re settled. Let’s wait for a dog until we have our own yard.”
We’ve held that belief for many years with various plans, not just shelter. Wait, wait, wait. When.. when… when… After, after, after. Continue reading…
I recently sampled a book in which the author said such-and-such was the “second most enchanting thing” he’d ever seen, save only seeing his wife for the first time. The line made me reflect upon the first time I met my wife:
In a hot tub. Continue reading…
I’m grateful to my parents for teaching me basic personal hygiene. Things like regular bathing, brushing teeth, grooming, laundry, and hand-washing.
But in recent years, I’ve picked up new habits that have improved my life. My parents probably tried to teach me some of them. Others I discovered on my own or with the help of my wife.
Whatever the catalyst, all of the below have greatly improved my life:
- Relentless sun-screening. Several summers ago, I had an epiphany. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say, “I wish I hadn’t used so much sun screen.” Upon realizing this, I challenged myself to not get burned that summer, despite getting burned every prior summer through negligence (I’m a pasty caucasian). To beat the sun’s harmful rays, I applied sunscreen whenever I knew I would be exposed to direct sunlight for longer than 30-60 minutes. When swimming, for example, I reapplied often, several times an afternoon. Three months later, I conquered without getting burned once. And to my vain surprise, I was tanner than I’d ever been. Since that successful experiment, I haven’t been burned again, at least my skin hasn’t turned lobster, itched, or peeled. So remember: sunscreen only filters the sun’s harmful rays. It doesn’t block the good stuff like vitamin D and sun kissed skin. Continue reading…
- Full head of hair. To all my bros (and any women) out there with thinning, balding, receding, or otherwise missing hair, I sympathize with you. I don’t know what it would be like without follicles. I imagine it’s drafty and uncomfortable. I’m grateful for a full coiffure.
- A titanium back. Six months ago, I had my lower back fused. Although my participation in high-impact activities involving running, jumping, and extreme bending have been cut short by two thirds a lifetime, I’m grateful for the $26,000 titanium rods, screws, and spacer that keep me upright and mobile now. With a new lease on life, I feel great. Continue reading…
I don’t know if falling in love is more challenging today than it was before. But it can’t be easy with the constant allure, cover, and distraction of smartphones.
Case in point: I saw a guy macking on a girl recently—or at least trying to. He was obviously interested; his attention undivided. She was preoccupied with her phone, however. She occasionally rejoined his advances with peppered smiles and words, but she mostly focused her attention on the tarot card-sized device she cradled in hand and poked at with thumbs.
From a distance, I couldn’t tell if she was coping with embarrassment behind her phone, considering a counter-flirt, or not at all interested. If I had to guess, I’d bet on the latter because newly crushing or in love couples usually stay fixated on each other’s eyes. Of course, interested males are horrible at deciphering this universal truth — always have been, always will, with or without smartphones. But I know first-hand how complicating phones can be to loving relationships. Continue reading…
credit: lindsey snow
A funny thing happens to humans in winter. At first, the coldest equinox is a magical time for children, especially when it snows. With age, however, those same humans sometimes grow to despise the season. They become calloused by it; discouraged by it. They forget the importance of it to new life; the relevance of it as a requisite opposite.
Upon relocating to Utah 12 years ago, I felt even more jaded by winter given the increased snow here. I didn’t care that this desert land accumulates most of its water from white-capped mountains that melt in spring. I didn’t realize just how water-less summer would be without winter.
All I knew is that I didn’t like commuting in it. And I was a really important person then, busy getting from A to B as fast as I could. Winter, you see, slowed me down. Continue reading…
Several months ago, my wife and I were discussing truths we want are children to know. Although I’ve covered the topic before, I’ve since recognized several more while reiterating others.
Granted, you can’t expect to learn the below principles in a couple of sentences. But maybe, just maybe, this commentary will spark your curiosity and challenge your worldview for the better: Continue reading…
credit: blake snow
I haven’t written one of these in half a decade. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here goes again. Continue reading…
My wife and I recently borrowed a large sum of money to buy a highly illiquid asset. To secure the loan, we disclosed more of our financial behavior to the bank than we’ve admitted to anyone else, including God. And rightfully so—again we were borrowing a large sum of money, and they wanted to make sure we’d pay it back.
In addition to scouring our personal finances, the lender took a fine tooth comb to our business finances. I’m self-employed. But my wife owns 50% of “the company.” I generate and service all the income. She gets half. Many would call her—as my lender often did—a “silent partner.” But she is anything but. Continue reading…
For me, 2013 is a year of tens. Ten years of marriage. Ten years of taking care of business. Continue reading…
If you’re happy with your health, nutrition and self-image, skip to the next post. If not, read on.
In nine years of marriage, Lindsey and I have never owned a weight scale. Not one.
Why? Because they’re superficial, largely meaningless, and a lousy motivator of long-term health. Continue reading…
Saying “I love you” for the first time is always a crap shoot.
It’s easier to do when the other one says it first. Difficult to do when you’re the emotional, head-over-heals, and “want to lay it on the line” type like me.
That was the case when I first expressed my love to Lindsey. If I remember right, the conversation went something like this (probably after one of our legendary make-out sessions):
Me: “I love you.”
Lindsey: “Thank you.”
Crash and burn.
Not to worry, though. I was flying high again a few months later, after hot stuff reciprocated. And we lived happily ever after.
Thank you, Lindsey.
I contracted a gnarly cold last week which kept me in bed for most of a day and in-doors for the rest. Problem was, we got dumped on last Tuesday. Something like 15″ of snow. So I couldn’t shovel. Lindsey did.
For any females in the room, you have no idea how bad it feels for an otherwise healthy man to watch his wife or any surrounding woman do arduous work while he’s nearby. It’s embarrassing. It makes you feel like a deadbeat.
To make matter’s worse, two of our neighbors are old ladies and were out breaking their backs as well.
Now, I realize women are just as capable of shoveling as men. (Put the gun down and walk away slowly, extreme feminist lady.) What’s more, with so many lazy dudes in the world, it’s likely women shovel more than men.
But as a man, it just feels wrong to be nearby and incapacitated while women perform work you would otherwise be doing. In that respect, I’m admittedly old-fashioned.
Now we have proof. Scientific proof that suggests couples with a disproportionate number of daughters like us tend to be more beautiful than those who conceive more sons.
Of course, since 50 percent of the world is female, that might also suggest that half of the world is beautiful, which can’t be right. (Thanks, Sara)
I like running.
With exception to an injury hiatus, I ran several times a week over the past two years. And since reading Born To Run, I do so enthusiastically (not begrudgingly like I once did).
I normally run continuously for 45 minutes to an hour. On occasion, two hours—whatever I feel like really. I don’t time myself or track miles—an act that makes running feel like work—I just run.
Two weeks ago, I was feeling especially light on my feet. When I left the house on an empty stomach that Saturday, I didn’t plan on running for three plus hours, but I did. I also didn’t take water or food with me, and nearly put myself in the hospital as a result.
True to chain letter form, Lindsey emailed me the following “friend survey” today. With exception to nos. 23 and 41, her responses made me proud to call her my wife—especially with Valentine’s around the corner. They also make me look chivalrous, which is always a good thing.
Warning: some of her answers are a little sappy. But this is my blog—not yours. You can get lost if you have a problem with that! Continue reading…
My wife Lindsey is a natural writer. Here’s her latest perceptive, genuine, and punchy post on parental expectations, entitled Never Say Never:
Before I became a mom, I had some expectations that I thought were fairly reasonable. Sure, I had heard that each child comes with their own personality, but I wasn’t fully aware of the fact that they really do come with a mind of their own and that they use that mind from a very early age. To show how naive I was, here are just a few things I knew my kids would never do:1) I was never going to have a child that sucked her thumb. Sadie’s been doing this (and continues to do this) since she was 4 months old.
2) I was never going to have a child that was attached to a blanket. Sadie has two.
Lindsey and I are anxiously awaiting the pending arrival of our second child next month, a girl that will don the ever-popular name of Madison (Maddie for short). Despite my being a newbie dad, I’ve learned a few tricks in keeping a pregnant wife happy.
Here are five suggestions for doing just that.
- This first one should be obvious, but just in case: Never tell a pregnant women she’s fat. She knows this. Also, her feet (and maybe even her legs) will inevitably swell with water due to the added weight of a baby. Don’t be a retard; avoid this one at all costs. Continue reading…
We have a little trash extraction system in the Snow household: Lindsey empties our trash cans with haste and leaves the bag just outside our front door for me to take down to the dumpster at a later time so she doesn’t have to scale the three flights of stairs from our penthouse rental. It’s a good system.
I didn’t always think that way, however, as Lindsey apparently doesn’t like to fill the trash bags with dross before readying them for the dump truck (not to mention the fact that she buys the nicest, most expensive bags money can buy). It gets worse just before company comes over as was the case yesterday. Before the company arrived, I took out a trash bag that was less than two-thirds full.
This would have bothered me in our first year of marriage having been reared in a house where you literally had to jump on a trash bag to fit everything in. But now being a “seasoned” married individual of more than four years, I just chuckle when taking out light loads.
The upside to Lindsey’s fastidious trash habit? We’ve never had a spill, leaky bag, or stinky kitchen in our house during marriage.
My wife Lindsey is learning the piano taking formal weekly lessons. She used play when she was younger, but has since forgotten some of her chops. So for the last 6-7 months, she has been practicing often after she puts the baby down to sleep. The sweet sound fills our house. Though she doesn’t yet sound like Mozart, Liszt, or Beethoven, the aural harmony of progress, practice, effort, hard work, and dedication is music to my ears.
It’s very motivating for me to hear this change in action. My line of work is either visual, experiential, or cognitive so my ears don’t get to participate in gauging my development (if any). So outside of practicing musical instruments, I can’t think of many skills where you can hear actual progress aloud. Keep up the good work, Lindz!