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?

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?


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...


Changeup, Chapter 27

It was the top of the 9th. Last game of the season.

Two down. The runner on third inched down the line, ready to bolt for home.

Joe's knees ached, but the excitement kept his mind focused on the pitch.

He signaled low and in, and the pitcher complied.


Sharp grounder to short.

The runner's cleats kicked up dirt as he flew home. Joe jumped in front of the plate, waiting for the throw.

The ball slapped into his glove. The runner's cleats came up. Joe braced for impact.


Joe stood his ground, even as the breath was knocked from him.

He held the ball up for the umpire to see as the crowd cheered.

He took his time getting back to the dugout, catching his breath.

As he pulled the chest protector from over his head, he heard his coach call, "You're up, Joe. Do your thing."

He unclipped the shin guards and tossed them aside. He grabbed his bat and helmet and headed back to the plate.

It was a mighty swing, but a wimpy hit. The ball dribbled down the third base line.

Joe put his head down and ran like his butt was on fire.

He ran through the bag as the first baseman stretched for the throw. He wasn't sure whether he was safe or not, but then the crowd's roar let him know. He turned to grin at the first base coach, expecting a thumbs up. There was nothing but intensity on the first base coach's face as he pointed at second base with one arm and windmilled the other.

Joe was already running for second before he realized what had happened - the throw to first had gone wide and the ball was at the fence.

He slid into second, grinning and wheezing.

A moment later, he watched a long fly ball head to center field. He tagged up on second, and sprinted for third on the catch, easily making it on time.

Bottom of the ninth. Score still tied. One down.

Joe glanced to the dugout, raising an eyebrow at his coach.

His coach shook his head, slowly and firmly.

Joe knew he should play it safe.

Should wait for the hit.

Shouldn't risk everything on a hair-brained risky move.

But on the wind-up, his feet were already moving, as if they were in charge and he was not.

For a moment, he was terrified. But there was no turning back now, so he leaned forward, legs and arms pumping in a desperate effort.

He dove, arms stretched like Superman, stretching for the plate.

The catcher was blocking his way, but had taken the pitch too far in front of the plate after pushing the batter out of the way. Joe glimpsed the back 6 inches of the plate, exposed behind the catcher's shin guards.

The throw had beaten him, but he hadn't been tagged yet.

As he landed, he lunged. He felt the tag hit him hard on the head. He rolled away, momentum carrying him into the umpire's legs.

He lay there, tangled with the catcher and umpire, panting as the crowd's screams filled his ears.

Changeup, Chapter 26

Joe stared at the lights, bright as day above his head.

He was lying in the grass in center field. The team was on the road, and there had been no game tonight. Even empty, it was a sight to behold. He'd dreamed of standing on a big league field his whole life, and now he could do it whenever he wanted.

For the time being, anyway.

"Whatever's on your mind looks awfully heavy, Joe. Need some help carrying it?"

He hadn't heard or seen her coming, but her voice brought a small smile to his tense face.

She sat next to him, and he moved to place his head in her lap.

"I think it's over, Renee."

She frowned down at him.

"Huh. Not the way I pictured hearing that news."

Joe's eyes opened wide in terror.

"Not us! This." He waved at the lights.

He explained the situation.

"I could sell out, but they know I'm between a rock and a hard place, and I would be lucky to get pennies on the dollar. My dad's inheritance, wiped out in a little over a year. Betcha he'd be proud of me, huh?"

"I'm proud of you, Joe. You're doing things your way, and it's working. Otherwise, they wouldn't need to pull such shady shenanigans to beat you."

"Thanks. I could borrow the money, but how is going into debt honoring Dad's gift? I can't do that."

Joe sighed.

"What would you say if all this was gone?"

"I'd say you still owed me a hot dog."

She smiled.

"Look, Joe. I don't care if you're rich. You weren't when I met you. Riches haven't changed you, and I'd like to think your riches haven't changed how much I love you. We'll figure it out."

Joe relaxed. They stared at the lights in silence for a while, enjoying quiet company.

"Marry me?"

Changeup, Chapter 25

Joe stared at the letter. He had no idea what it meant.

He glanced over the top of it, and then gently let it fall from his fingers to the desk.

Ms. Primrose met his stare and raised an eyebrow.

"Ok, Annette. What does this even mean?"

"Ms. Primrose, thank you, and it means you have to come up with funding for a new stadium by the start of next season."

Joe coughed, and coffee splattered on the letter.

"What?!? Why?"

"New rule. Stadiums can't be more than 40 years old. Trying to maintain a big-league image, after all."

"How old is ours?"

"Kauffman Stadium is 41 years old."

"Then this isn't about the age of the stadium. Someone wants me out. What other stadiums are affected by this?"

"One. The Angels just announced a plan to build a new stadium. Most are unaffected because there's a grandfather clause for stadiums renovated since 2010."

"That's a relief! We just renovated."

"In 2009."

Joe's brow furrowed and his face flushed; his demeanor darkening uncharacteristically.

"Then it's not just someone, Ms. Primrose. They all want me out."

He crumpled the letter and threw it across the room.

Changeup, Chapter 24

"We have to stop him."

"He's changing everything."

"He doesn't care if his bottom line isn't going up."

"Doesn't he realize this is a business?"

"What are we going to do?"

"Well, I'm sure not losing to some kid!"

The room wasn't crowded, but the agitated chatter filled it just the same.

Mr. Simpson stood and cleared his throat. Silence filtered through the room.

"Gentlemen, thank you for meeting me today. Before we begin, I need to stress that this is not an officially sanctioned owners' meeting, and the commissioner knows nothing about what we're discussing today. Isn't that right, Mr. Commissioner?"

Everyone chuckled as the commissioner raised a glass from his table in the back.

"I'd like to invite Nathan Finnigan to tell us more about Joe, the new thorn in our side."

There were a few more chuckles, but Nathan didn't so much as smile as he stood.

He laid out the details much as he had the evening he had met privately with Mr. Simpson.

When he finished, Simpson spoke again. "Gentlemen, I have no problem accepting change, but I will not accept thinner margins and weaker bottom lines. If this is how he wants to play, then we need to figure out how to shut him out. Any ideas?"

No one spoke as they all stared at each other, scheming, and apparently coming up with nothing.

Eventually, someone spoke up. "What are his vulnerabilities, Nathan? Where's he weak?"

A smile finally cracked on Nathan's face.

"Cash. Joe's rich, but he's all in."

The smile spread from Nathan's face to every other one in the room.

Invisible Pizza Babies

I was picking up dinner at a local pizza joint the other night. I had called ahead and was picking up our order in the drive-thru.

The teenage girl who was running the window confirmed our order and reached to take my debit card. She froze as she looked in my back window, then squealed with delight.

Drive-thru Lady: Your baby is CUTE!

Me: Um...

DTL: Wait, where IS your baby?

Me: At home. Asleep.

DTL: But I see the car seat.

Me: Isn't it cute?

When she left to ring my card, I couldn't help laughing as I picked up my phone to pass the time.

She came back to the window, saw me on my phone, and said sheepishly, "You're posting that on Facebook, aren't you?"

"No", I said, as I posted it on Twitter. "Absolutely not."

It's your turn for funny stories...GO!

Changeup, Chapter 23

"Joe, there's a lawyer here to see you."

Joe frowned. He didn't like lawyers.

"What about? Am I being sued?"

His receptionist, Kate, shrugged. "Not likely. Works for you in Legal."

Joe frowned further. He didn't know he had a Legal department, but it made sense.

"Send him in, I guess."

"She'll be right in", Kate said pointedly.

A tall, dour woman with permanently arched eyebrows tapped in loudly, her high heels leaving a staccato echo in the hall.

"Hi, I'm Joe."

"Annette Primrose, your General Counsel."

"Pleased to meet you, Annette. Have a seat."

"Ms. Primrose, thank you." She sat, but remained ramrod straight. Joe unconsciously slouched a bit more to balance it out.

"What's this about, Ms. Primrose?"

"You have to stop these stunts."

"What stunts?"

"You know perfectly well what stunts, Mr. -"

"Joe. Just Joe. So what do I have to stop doing?"

"Hmph. The lottery you hold before each game by randomly calling a seat number for a fan to throw out the first pitch, or to be the bat boy for the game."

"There's no harm in that, and the fans love it."

"What about letting the kids run around the bases after the games? If there were an injury, you would definitely be sued."

"For letting kids be kids? I doubt it."

"It's my job to protect you from lawsuits. These are things I see as a potential risk for our organization. It's my duty to advise you against these activities."

Joe stared for a moment, almost amused at the consternation Ms. Primrose felt over some Little Leaguers.

That's when the idea struck.

"I appreciate it, Ms. Primrose. But please don't have a heart attack when that risk gets a bit more potential."

Though hardly possible, Ms. Primrose's eyebrows arched higher as she sat up even straighter in her chair.

"And just what do you have planned?"

"Every Little Leaguer in the world dreams of playing on a major league field someday, Ms. Primrose. And starting tomorrow, they'll get that chance."

Before every home game, Joe let a local little league team play a game on his field. The leagues played on a rotating basis, so teams from all areas of town got a chance to play. Admission was, of course, free. And if you cared about baseball enough to show up early and watch the kids, you got to stay and watch the pros.

Attendance soared.


Telepathy Tacos

User: Aaahhh! The conference room PC is acting up!

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. What's it doing?

User: You'll have to see it yourself. I can't explain it.

Me: Okay, Where are you located?

User: I'm in (different town than me).

Me: Please give me the name of the PC so I can remote into it and take a look. This information is located
on the PC itself or on the desktop background.

User: I can't give that to you now. We're in a meeting. This is the conference room, remember? Just sit tight and I'll give it to you later.

Me: Oooookay.

*Later that afternoon*

Me: Hi, did you have a chance to grab the name of the PC in your conference room?

User: No, I forgot. Let me get back to you.

*The next morning*

Me: Hi! Did you have a chance to-

User: Look, I'm really busy. I'll get back to you.

*Two days later*

Me: Hi! Did-

User: I don't have time for this. Can't you just go around the corner and look for the stupid name of the stupid computer yourself?

Me: I'm sorry, I'm not at your location.

User: Well, has anyone else complained?

Me: No, yours is the only ticket I have for your office.

User: Then it's obviously not a problem, now is it?

Me: You tell me. You opened the ticket.

User: Oh, bother. Just close it.

Me: Sorry for the inconvenience.

*I close the ticket. Under notes, I put "User resolved issue by being persnickety and unavailable."*

Be honest...are you this user?

Immediately Delayed

Me: Reboot your computer and it'll work.

User: Are you sure? I just did.

Me: And the problem survived the reboot?

User: Yes, it came back shortly after.

Me: How long between when you rebooted and when the issue returned?

User: I rebooted Monday, and today is Thursday, so...

Me: Oh, just reboot.

Is it just me, or will most people do everything they can to avoid a reboot?

A Letter to My Daughter

Eliana, yesterday we were privileged to dedicate you to the Lord.

Your name means "God has answered".

When we were told we couldn't have kids, we prayed...and God answered.

When we thought we might lose you the night you were born, we prayed...and God answered.

The first Bible verse I ever memorized was Psalm 56:3 - "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."

We want to raise you secure in the knowledge that you can trust your Heavenly Father.

He's been there for us, and He'll be there for you, too.

We love you.

Changeup, Chapter 22

The room was dark, but the well-dressed elite within would have called it 'atmosphere'. A quiet piano plinked away tunelessly in the background.

The waiters wore tuxedos, but not as expensive as the tuxedos worn by the two men in the corner.

There were no prices on the menus. Prices didn't matter in places like this.

The older of the two men casually flipped his rotund wrist. There were no words and definitely no eye contact, but the waiter did as he was told. He opened the Le Chambertin and poured two glasses before he disappeared once more.

The older man never touched his glass. He leaned forward and trained his flint-speckled eyes on the younger man.


The younger man fidgeted nervously. He didn't know if he should ignore his as well, or if he should make sure to finish his glass of $1000 per bottle wine.

"I laughed at him at first, but Joe seems to know what he's doing. The things he's doing - they're working."

"Hogwash. He's a kid and his team is in last place. I have nothing to worry about. The league has nothing to worry about."

"Then you're not paying attention, Mr. Simpson."

"Enlighten me."

"Every home game this season has sold out."

"At $5 - $20 a ticket, that's not surprising. He's still not making as much as we are."

"Not on ticket sales. But the increased interest has created new fans. People love what he's doing. They can't keep merchandise in stock."

"Neither can we. Our Dominguez and Greenley jerseys have been selling out for years."

"And both of your stars are retiring this year."

"So he sells a few more jerseys than me next year. Again, why do I care?"

"Their endorsement deals are through the roof. And that's major money; corporate money. Long-term contracts."

"All right, you have a point. But when I win the World Series this year, again, I'll have all the endorsement deals I want."

"That's the point, Mr. Simpson. You won't win it again next year. You'll be stuck rebuilding the team for the next few years. You won't get the usual deals you've grown accustomed to. But that's still not your biggest worry."

Mr. Simpson frowned. He finally reached for his drink.

"He's getting the younger players at a fraction of the cost you are. He's hiring them all at league minimums. His payroll is the lowest in the league."

"Good. He'll never keep them that way."

"Wrong. They're signing extended contracts already. And the veterans are begging to renegotiate their contracts similarly."

"Why in the world would they do that, Mr. Finnigan?"

"He's splitting the team's profits with them. Across the board. For life."

Mr. Simpson's wine glass was empty.

Last Minute Weaponized Pizza Gamblers

I have no idea how to grill chicken. If you're having chicken at my place, you're a gambler.

My wife:  Did you check the chicken?
Me:  Yup!
Wife:  And?
Me:  It's still there.

Bananas don't make good weapons. They're too Dole.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Unless someone gives you lunch for free.

When I'm in charge, we're not having the usual "Candy Dish By the Receptionist".  We're having the "Beef Jerky and Doritos Bucket By Ricky".

Chicken noodle soup is how you punish sick people.

If you order a last minute lunchtime meeting, you should also be required to order a last minute lunchtime pizza.

At some point you say to yourself, "Self - today is not getting any better. So we shall have a cookie instead."

Do you like food too?

Faith Like a Child

I was prepping Evan for PaPa's funeral. I blabbered on and on about heaven and Jesus. I'd never had to explain death and resurrection to a two-year old.

Evan waited until I was all done and then simply said, "He's happy!"

Kids get it better than we do.

Faith like a child.

That's what PaPa had. His faith was simple. His Jesus was enough.

He demonstrated love through his actions.

He was patient. He was kind. He always protected, always trusted, always persevered.

He sat through my Little League games and took me to garage sales and pawn shops. He watched my silly magic tricks over and over, shocked each time. He wrote me letters riddled with typos and one-liners ("If you turn that pitching machine on its side, will it throw you curveballs?").

He exemplified how to love your spouse. Unconditionally, respectfully, tenaciously.

He was generous. He never charged a church or a desperate person unable to pay. They received the same effort from him as those that could.

This is how he lived. These are his beliefs. We are his legacy.

Blither Blather Ducky Duck

If you pray for patience, God will make you take notes during a committee document review meeting.

Here are those notes...

Back-to-back meetings? Grumble, grumble...wait a minute - you brought pastries AND breakfast burritos?!? Talk to me, Boss, talk to me. You have earned my affection, er, attention.

Wow. That was a lot of meaningless words. I wonder if they'll notice if I substitute the Boss' for my own.

What I think was said: High-level mumbo-jumbo nomenclature file plan sponsor quarterly fish fry blither blather ducky duck.

What I'm going to write in the meeting minutes: Documented non-feasible customer supply chain obfuscation and compliance.

We are now in Hour Three of this Thirty Minute Meeting That Won't Take Long At All, Ricky Get Back In Here. It is currently being discussed that we have gotten off track and have not discussed what we should have been discussing at all. Don't you think all afternoon meetings should include Doritos?

so the meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

Hope there's burritos!

Do you die a slow death in meetings?

Amazing NASA Batteries

The following is an email I sent to the manufacturer of our bathroom scale, which is on the fritz:

Greetings Dapper Sirs and Stunning Madams,

We have an EatSmart Precision GetFit scale. We bought it on Amazon around Christmas.

It's great. We love it. It works hard.

Too hard, in fact.

It won't turn off. Ever. It just shines day and night, broadcasting my failure for all to see.

Now to be fair, I have a two year old son. He's constantly pushing buttons on it, so it's entirely possible he reprogrammed it like that one time he turned our DVD player into a rogue NASA satellite.

I can turn it off by removing all the batteries, but then my son puts them in his mouth, which is frightening but also hilarious because he winces and then proudly says, "That's aMAZing!"

So, to recap - Do you have any ideas as to how I can make my scale behave like it did when it was shiny and new?

Thank you so much for your time.


Ricky Anderson

How do you think they'll respond?

Edit: They sent us a new scale, with exactly zero hassle!

Potty Training and Vladimir Putin

Whenever I'm injured, no matter how slightly, I subconsciously limp a bit. Whether I stub my toe, have a headache or a sore throat, I find myself limping ever so slightly. That Oscar has my name on it, right?

We're 0-2 on potty training attempts (for Evan, not for us). He hates it with a fiery passion. Navy Seals have Hell Week. Toddlers have Potty Training. And if you're one of those superstar parents whose kiddo got it down in 15 minutes, I'll just sit here and assume you outsourced the potty training.

Oooh! Here's an idea: An advice column by Vladimir Putin about estate and probate matters. It would be called "Putin On Heirs".

I can't Gantt.
   (My sincerest apologies if you got that one.)

Are you potty trained?

Two Tickets, Please

Evan has a toy airport and airplane. He loves to simulate the entire traveling experience. He checks luggage, loads the plane, and flies the passengers to the next airport, which is really just landing on the other side of the first airport.

I made him a ticket / boarding pass the other day. I stamped it with our return address stamp in order to make it official.

I told him I'd be traveling for work soon.

He asked if he could come, too. I said no.

He asked if I would have a ticket to give the airplane man. I said yes.

He ran into the other room and came back holding his ticket.

"Evan has a ticket! Evan give ticket to airplane man and ride airplane with Daddy?"

I'll be needing an extra ticket, Boss.

My precious cargo won't be in the overhead bin, he'll be with me.

When were you surprised by a child's request?

Shaken, Not Stirred

Some users are lucky you can't reach through the phone and shake them.

This is also a sign my phone is defective and will no longer be answered.

User: Would you please remote into my computer and fix this issue?

Me: That's not really an issue; it's working like it should.

User: But I don't like it doing that.

Me: I understand how that can be frustrating. Would you like me to remote in and show you another way to accomplish what you're trying to do?

User: That'd be great!

Me: Ok, I'm in. So if you look at this option over here -

*User grabs control back and opens their email*

Me: Um, if you look at this -

*User grabs the mouse and fires up Pandora*

Me: If you don't mind, I can just show you -

*User starts talking to a coworker*

*I simply change a setting that will let the user do what they want to, without waiting for the user to learn it since they obviously don't care*

Me: You're all set. You just need to reboot for the change to take effect.

User: Do you mean log off and back on?

Me: No, I meant reboot.

User: What, like now?

Me: Yes, please.

User: Ok, I'll call you back.

*10 minutes later*

User: Ok, I'm back. I just logged off and back on, though. I didn't reboot. Is that ok?

*Blink, blink*

Me: No, please reboot your computer and have a great day.


What drives you crazy?

National Kazoo Day 2014

Check out other National Kazoo Day videos by Jan Moyer and Amanda Bast.

How are you celebrating National Kazoo Day?

NEENJA Burrito Clocks

I am so tired I can't think straight.

But I'm also jittery because of all the coffee.

This has led me to wander around the office and tell my coworkers I'm a "NEENJA!"

NEENJAs are probably a bit more covert than I am.

One of my coworkers just handed me a breakfast burrito. I am declaring him an honorary NEENJA.

I don't like grandfather clocks.

Are you a NEENJA?

Meet Eliana Jane

What did you get for Christmas?