Changeup, Chapter 28

Joe leaned on the padded fence off the third base line. It was usually his favorite part of game night, but tonight Joe stared listlessly as the kids ran the bases, shouting exuberantly.

What was he thinking?

He wasn't trying to buck the system, he was just doing things his way. He didn't want the other owners to fail. He had simply been given the chance of a lifetime and took it.

Dummy.

He was the youngest owner in major league history, and he was afraid that fact was about to bite him in the butt.

"I'm still not happy about this."

He didn't even turn his head. He just sighed.

"Hi, Annette."

"Ms. Primrose."

She leaned against the fence next to him, staring at the same empty spot. Screams of laughter punctuated their silence.

"I'm not happy about it, but they are. And that's all that matters to you, isn't it?"

For the first time, he watched. Kids of all ages and sizes were running, skipping and even waddling. Every last one had a smile on their face.

"This is how it's supposed to be, Annette."

"Ms. Primrose. I know this is how it should be, but things are different here than they were in little league, Joe."

"They shouldn't have to be. It's still baseball, right?"

A boy in a blue Royals shirt, around 8 years old, ran through third base and jumped on the top of the fence next to them. He was grinning ear to ear.

"Hi, Mom! Come run the bases with me!"

Joe stared in shock at Ms. Primrose for a moment. She was beet red.

"Better get out there, Mom. That's an order!"

After another moment, Ms. Primrose laughed.

"That's Annette to you, Joe. And when I get back, remind me to tell you how you can fix your ownership problem."

"Oh, really? Care to give me a sneak preview?"

Annette only smiled as she hopped the fence and took off around the bases with her son, laughing the entire way.

Doctors

This is how I'm convinced every doctor's appointment is going to go:

Me: Doc, what do you think could be causing this weird symptom?

Doc: Something expensive.

Me: Would you care to elaborate?

Doc: Something very expensive.

Me: Such as?

Doc: We'll have to run some tests.

*3 weeks, 2 blood draws and a series of x-rays later*

Doc: I'm going to have to refer you to my golfing buddy. I mean, a specialist.

Me: Oh, dear. What did you find?

Doc: Inconclusive. But we did confirm the presence of an epicondyle.

Me: Can you remove it?

Doc: Your elbow? Not necessary. But please pay my receptionist four million dollars on the way out. 

Me: Absolutely. Thank you!

The Pneumonia Diet

Forget Atkins.

South Beach is for losers.

The Daniel Plan will only fill you with carrots before the lions get you.

My new diet plan is the way to go. On the Pneumonia Diet, I lost 22 pounds in 3 weeks. And since I got sick right after New Year's, that means I had more than accomplished my resolution of 15 pounds before January was out. No other diet plan can claim this kind of success.

Side effects may include respiratory failure, delusional ambulance rides, long hospital stays and hair loss.

I'll be writing a bestselling book about it, and will probably be featured on Dr. Oz's weird show. You would not believe how much of that show I was subjected to in waiting rooms for all my follow up doctor appointments.


How are your New Year's Resolutions coming along?
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Confession Time With Ricky

After all this time, I think I finally owe you an explanation.

It's hard for me to find the words that will let you down easy, but I'll try:


I'm not a real astronaut.

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My Modern Lemonade Stand

"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."

I have bad luck.

I'm not talking about the major things in life. I'm blessed with a loving family, a great job and a roof over my head.

I'm talking about the little things:

  • If I make a bet with you, I will lose.
  • If I wash the car, it will rain (18 times in a row; ask my wife!).
  • I've gone gambling once and played the lottery once; I lost both times.
  • Whichever sports team I'm rooting for will lose.
  • Whichever stock I buy will go down.

This seems like an Eeyore mentality, but I have some entrepreneur blood in me. So I've decided to make lemonade.

This is my new business model:

For $50, I will cheer for your football team's opponent. The price goes up during the playoffs, and doubles for the Super Bowl (triple if you need me to watch the halftime show for some reason).

For $100 plus expenses, I will buy the stock you're short selling.

Jockeying for a big promotion at work? I'll write recommendation letters for your competition. Just $25 / letter.

Of course, with my luck, my luck will turn around right after I get my first client.

I can't win.


What would you pay me to mess up for you?
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Giving Thanks

It had been a long day.

Shopping for hours. This store, then that store. One side of town to the other.

Evan had done very well, all things considered. Our last stop of the day was the grocery store.

He ran around like an untied balloon. Too much energy pent up for too long.

I couldn't keep him out of the way of other shoppers. After he ran in front of the same lady for the third time, I grabbed his arm and yanked him out of the way, my face red with frustration and embarrassment.

"I'm so sorry", I said to her.

She stood there for a moment, just staring at my son.

I prepared myself for a snide comment or stern admonition.

Finally, she said softly, "Don't be frustrated with him. He's just exuberant. He reminds me of my son. He passed away around that age. Just try to enjoy every moment."

So today, I'm thankful.

Thankful for the family God gave me that science said I couldn't have. Thankful for a son who's excited to see and touch everything. Thankful for a daughter who just learned to crawl and lights up when she sees me walk into the room. Thankful for a wife who still wants to spend time with me after seeing me every day for 10 years. Thankful for an extended family who loves us and supports us far more than we deserve.

Thankful for every blessing He's given me.


What about you?

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My Second Chance - Guest Post for Bill Grandi

Today I am guest posting for Bill Grandi (Cycleguy).

Bill asked me to guest post about a time when I was given a second chance.

This was months ago, and months before that.

I'm glad he gave me a second chance...

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