What is Your Sense of Humor?

I’ve been doing stand-up comedy once a month for the past 5 months. It’s something I always wanted to try, and now I’m doing it! I don’t want to do it for any reason other than as a creative outlet. Now that I’ve done it a few times, the challenge isn’t getting up there in front of a crowd and forgetting my routine. The challenge is finding enough material to keep it fresh and new every time I go up there! I get only five minutes, so I don’t need a lot of material. Still, it takes discipline and a deadline to keep me writing and revising my routine. That might explain why I don’t update this blog on a regular basis – no deadline!

A friend asked me recently which comics influenced me or were my favorites. I told him I grew up listening to Bill Cosby and George Carlin when I was a kid. I also listened to Steve Martin, and Richard Pryor as a teen. I watched every episode of the early days of Saturday Night Live and as many episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus as I could find. Later, my taste for comedy added Mitch Hedberg, Stephen Wright, Jim Gaffigan, and lately, Louis C.K. My taste in TV shows gravitates to the weird/abnormal comedies, like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Archer, Frisky Dingo, and Robot Chicken. Apparently, I like cartoon humor. When I was a kid, I sat in front of the TV every Saturday morning watching Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Tom & Jerry, Hong Kong Phooey, and Fat Albert.

The first thing I do every morning, after I grab a cup of coffee, is to go online looking for something that makes me laugh. I share most of it on Facebook, but not everyone likes it. I think there are things that are funny in general, and things that are funny to small groups who have something in common, and things that are funny to just me. My only rule before posting something is that it has to make me really laugh!

Which brings me to my central question – What is your sense of humor? Do you have a sense of humor? Of course you do! Everyone has a sense of what is funny to them. Knowing that not everything will be funny to everyone makes it easier to try being funny. When I didn’t have enough material to have a fresh five minutes, I repeated a portion of my previous routine. The first time I did it, I got some hearty laughter. The second time was just mild chuckling. The only difference was the audience. As long as the humor can’t be mistaken for bullying (mean spirited comedy), then someone somewhere will find it funny. You might be a horrible joke teller, but you can tell a true story that will make people laugh. I’m sure something funny has happened to you recently!

Laughter really is the best medicine. Research has shown that regular laughter can help improve your immune system and help you live longer. I never get sick. Next time you have a sick day, break out the funny! Better yet, look for the funny in your everyday life and don’t get sick in the first place. Humor is everywhere – you just have to know how to see it when it’s happening. If all else fails, you can laugh about it later.

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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

I’ve been away from my blog for over a month now, going on two months. I kept waiting for an idea to pop into my head and inspire me to sit down and write. I thought of lots of ideas, but I never started writing. I decided that I would just sit down here tonight and write whatever garbage comes out of my brain. It could be awesome, but it could be awful. You be the judge!

Have you ever had a moment when you’re in a great group of people and you’re having a blast and you think, “there will come a day that I’ll never see these people again.” I guess I’ve lived long enough to have experienced this phenomenon often enough to question it. I should be enjoying the moment, and I am, but the other side of me is thinking that this is a situational friendship. We’re friends because we work together, or because we have kids the same age and we live on the same street, or we share something else in common. Being friendly is not the same thing as being friends.

Then, the job changes, the neighborhood changes, you stop doing your normal routine and start new friendships. You try fooling yourself and your old friends that you’ll stay in touch and get together again, but the best you can do is follow them on Facebook.

If you were my friend only because it was convenient for me, I apologize. We were really just acquaintances who enjoyed some of the same things. The last friend I had who always called me to hang out or go out and do something is a person I haven’t spoken to in over 6 months. That’s totally my fault, even though the phone rings on both ends. A really deep, lasting friendship is almost impossible to find as an adult. I found one when I met the woman who is now my wife. She is my cheerleader, my voice of reason, my audience, and the person I most want to impress with everything I do. She’ll probably stick around for a while.

Do you have someone in your life who you know will be there for you at all times, no matter what? Do you have a friend who knows everything bad about you and still loves you? You might want to keep that person in your life forever.

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2012 Blog in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Everybody’s a Comedian!

It’s impossible to do something out of the ordinary when you’re 51 years old without someone saying “is that on your bucket list?” It’s like they believe that I’m going to kick the bucket just because I’m older than they are! Certainly I drink too much, I eat too much, I drive too fast, but I still expect to live forever! But why does running a marathon, jumping out of an airplane, buying a sports car, and doing a pro-am night at a comedy club become a bucket list item? Maybe I just want to challenge myself!

For years, I have come up with ideas for comedy. I do my best work riffing with a friend or one of my brothers in a very spontaneous way. When I’m with a small group, I come up with some hilarious stuff! But my audience is clearly biased towards laughing at me. They know me, they know my twisted mind, and the still like me. So how do you transfer that spontaneity to a structured, easily translated comedy bit at a local comedy club? You can’t! You can’t take a “had to be there” moment and turn it into a comedy bit that strangers will find funny. That’s the challenge of doing stand-up. Making strangers laugh.

I finally decided that I was going to enter a pro-am night at a local comedy club. There were about 15 people who were just like me. Some of them had experience while others of us were rookies. Some were really, genuinely funny while others struggled to get laughs. While I was in the audience waiting for my turn, I would laugh for the comics out of courtesy because that’s what I would want for me. I have no fear of performing in front of a group of strangers, I have a fear of failing in front of a group of strangers! Now that I’ve written that, I see how ludicrous that statement is! If the audience is a “stranger,” why do I care what they think? Failing in front of people you will never see again is not a problem! It’s actually a strength. You can free yourself to be yourself when you know you’re trying to impress strangers! Fuck them if they don’t think you’re funny!

The video of my first attempt at standup is at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3930959439355 I’m pretty sure it’s public, so you should be able to see it.I was really nervous before it was my time to go up there. I had a lot of friends come to see me and I didn’t want to let them down. But once I got up there, I relaxed and had a great time! Since then, there are lots of people who are offering me jokes by saying “you can use that the next time you’re up there.” Everyone, without fail, has said “I’d like to do that but I don’t have the balls to do it. You must have some big balls!” I don’t know how the size of my balls became a topic of conversation, but, thanks?

I guess the moral of the story is, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will always get the same results. If you stretch yourself, you may be surprised by how much you’ll grow.

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Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

I’m calling 2012 my year of living dangerously. I took the plunge and got re-married in June after being divorced for 15 years. I took an even bigger plunge when I jumped out of an airplane for the first time in my life. I survived both scares and the result has been completely opening me up to just about any experience I can find. I am playing with life now and having the best time I can remember! It all started with marrying a woman who gets me and wants me to be happy. It accelerated when I jumped out of the plane. There’s something about an experience that could bring about my death that made me come alive!

I went with three friends. We used a Groupon to get a discount for tandem skydiving. In hindsight, that may not have been the best place to use a coupon! We were in trouble if they decided to cut expenses to give us the discount! Would we be jumping out of the plane because they ran out of gas? Would the four of us have to use one parachute? Would my tandem partner be just another Groupon customer? How exactly was this a good idea? I spent the time we waited by watching the parachute packers do their thing. They seemed to know what they were doing, so I left them alone. I spent the rest of the waiting time going to the port-a-potty to relieve my nervous bladder.

Finally, it was my turn to go. The plane we were in was just big enough for two of us and our tandem jumpers, so we couldn’t all go at the same time. The friend I went up with had already done this, so I felt a little better going up with her. I tried to ignore the fact that she seemed as nervous as I felt! They put an altimeter on our wrists so we could see how high we were climbing. They told us we would jump at about 10,000 feet. All they way up, I kept looking at the altimeter like I was a doctor getting ready to call time of death. I felt every little movement of the plane as it hit even the tiniest turbulence as we climbed. My friend told me later that my tandem partner was using this time for a cat nap! Damn Groupon!

When we hit 9,000 feet, my tandem partner made me sit on his lap so he could clip me onto his harness. I then sat between his legs awaiting further instructions. At 9,500 feet, he opened the door we were about to exit. My heartbeat was pounding and I was about to hyperventilate. Hearing him breathing harder didn’t help! He had already told me what to do when the door opened, but actually doing it took some effort. The only thing that kept me moving forward was the thought of humiliation if I stopped! I  turned toward the door and let my legs out the door. He told me to tuck my feet under the plane. All I could think of at that point was, “I hope my shoes don’t fall off!”

With him firmly clipped to me, all it took to exit the plane was for him to scoot his ass on the floor of the plane. At one point, I was dangling outside the plane until the final push sent us falling. We did a somersault and then got into flying position. At that point, my nerves turned to exhilaration! I had to force my mouth closed because there was so much wind my cheeks were flapping! The noise of the wind was incredible. The view was unforgettable! After about 30 seconds, my dude pulled the string and opened the parachute. He had me take the steering controls and taught me how to use them. We then took a spin, circling high above the earth. I don’t like spinning, but that was pretty cool.

He taught me how to slow our decent so we would have a soft landing. I didn’t believe it, but we landed as if we were sitting down onto a couch. It was much softer than I expected. I then waited a few seconds for my friend to land, which gave me a good perspective of what I just did. They packed the equipment into a pickup truck and had us jump into the bed of the truck. I wondered about the safety of riding in the bed of a pickup, but I let it go. When we got back to the starting point, my two other friends were there for high fives all around.

My first thought was, that was an awesome experience, but I’m not sure I want to do it again. I will most likely do it again next summer because I like doing things with my friends and peer pressure will force me! The longer term impact of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane was how it opened me up to doing things that scare me or challenge me. I’ve been running marathons because of the challenge, but they’re no longer scary. I’ve done karaoke both drunk and sober, so that’s not scary. I believe the next step in conquering the scary challenge is doing stand-up comedy which is something I’ve always said I wanted to do. I never did it due to the fear. Spoiler alert – I’ve done it and it was awesome!

Do what you fear the most and find out for yourself that you can survive and maybe thrive from the experience. I know it works for me!

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A Marathon Deferred

As you must all be aware by now, the New York City Marathon, the marathon of my dreams, was cancelled last week. You might think I’d be supremely disappointed. I was, but I made the most of the situation and ended up having a fantastic time in the City!

Alana and I flew in on Friday morning. We weren’t even sure the flights would be landing at LaGuardia considering it was under water a few days ago! Everything went off without a problem and we made it easily into the city to check into our hotel. I don’t know if every hotel room in NYC is small, but our room was SMALL! (How small was it?!?!?) It was so small, we had to give up the bathroom privacy we have at home. While we’re at home, doors are closed, fans are turned on, noises are muted. In the hotel, every tinkle echoed through the room! The cool thing about the room was that with a push of a button, the bed slid up the wall into a modified couch. It was like having our very own Craftmatic Adjustable Bed!

After checking in, we walked to the marathon expo. This is where you pick up your race bib, timing chip, and free marathon t-shirt. That’s the easy part. You can’t leave the expo until you weave your way through all the vendors selling souvenir shirts, jackets, hats, shot glasses, gloves, you name it, they sell it. I spent a lot of money on my souvenirs because you only do the NYC Marathon once, right?

We then tried to find some dinner. You would think it would be easy to find a great restaurant in NYC. However, we were with our friend and fellow runner, Gina. Finding a restaurant that all three of us agreed on was the hard part! We walked up to a restaurant, read the menu in the window and said, “meh, let’s keep walking.” We found ourselves nearing Times Square when Alana and Gina started getting text messages saying the marathon was cancelled! My friends suck because no one texted me! I found out later that I received a ton of sympathy from my friends on facebook, so it’s all good. We didn’t believe the news at first. The websites we looked at weren’t updated in real time, so they didn’t have the info. Finally, we had enough confirmation to digest the fact that the marathon was really cancelled. We spent the entire dinner looking at our phones and texting people. The cancellation was soaking into my reality now. After the anticipation that started in April when I found out I was in, I now knew I had to wait another year.

So what would you do if you were in my running shoes? I’ll tell you what I did – we stayed and had a blast! Now that I knew I wouldn’t be running a marathon on Sunday, I used Saturday to explore Midtown Manhattan. I walked from our hotel at the corner of 10th Ave and 42nd Street to the Empire State Building and back again. I walked from the hotel to The Late Show With David Letterman studio. When I got there, the doors were open and they were taking lottery applications for Monday’s taping. I thought, “I made the NYC Marathon by lottery drawing, so maybe I’ll be lucky again.” They took my application and told me they’d call me on Sunday. I got the call and we made it into the taping! That experience is an entire blog entry all by itself, so stay tuned.

Sunday morning, Gina and I ran from the hotel to Central Park. We ran nearly 8 miles before we saw that the mile markers were still up in the Park. We ran from mile 25 to the finish line and took a few pictures. It was a sad sight to see what might have been. We ran back to the entrance to the park and saw large groups of people preparing to run their own marathon in the park. The original NYC marathon was four laps around Central Park. So, 100s of people were getting ready to do the “Run Anyway Marathon.” We soaked in the energy and headed back toward the hotel. I ended up running 10 miles, so I was kind of a slacker. I showered and headed back to Central Park to take pictures and video of the runners.

There were people on facebook who thought the runners should have gone to Staten Island to help with the recovery effort. I disagreed. I saw people from Mexico, France, Russia, and I don’t know how many other countries running together in the Park. I saw small crowds of people near the finish line cheering on the runners. I saw the world community coming together to make the most of a bad situation. Running is therapeutic to me on a regular day. Coming from Ohio was no big deal. I’ll come back and run it next year. If I came as far as they did, I would make sure to run in NYC as much as I could! If you feel guilty about not helping, do what we did and send money to the Red Cross. Run long, run free, run happy!

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Fun With Cover Letters

We recently advertised on Craigslist for a bookkeeper. We received too many resumes from people with no bookkeeping experience, so it was entertaining to me to read cover letters written by them to explain how their skills fit my job description. I decided to get out the red pen and correct this one. I hope you can read my notes because I had a lot of fun writing them!

They didn’t get the job!

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Long Live Rock!

On September 15th, I will go to another Rush concert. My son, Nick, bought the tickets and we’ll be on the floor of The United Center in Chicago. I will be seeing a concert in the same arena the Chicago Bulls play! Not that that’s important, I just find it interesting. As hard as I try, I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen Rush in concert. It has to be more than 10 times, but I really can’t be too sure. That made me wonder if it was possible to list all the concerts I’ve been to. I’ll give it my best shot.

1976 – Kiss – This was my first concert. I went with Shawn Honnerlaw and we worked our way to the middle front of the crowd on the floor. This was at Riverfront Colosseum and, since it was before the Who tragedy, tickets were general admission. I had an up close and personal view of Kiss in their days before they became caricatures of themselves. Gene Simmons had his 6-inch platform shoes on, Paul Stanley had his shirt open so you could see his chest hair, Ace Frehley was “Space Ace” and Peter Criss sang “Beth.” I’m pretty sure it was the “Detroit Rock City” tour. Bob Seger opened for them, which I find endlessly confusing and entertaining as to why anyone would pair these two.

1977, 1978, 1979 – Rush – Rush was touring and coming to Cincinnati on a regular basis in the mid to late 70s. They toured in support of “2112,” “A Farewell to Kings,” and “Hemispheres,” their 4th, 5th, and 6th studio albums of their now 20 studio albums. The only opening act I can remember is Primus, who now do the opening theme song to “South Park.” If you see Rush now, they don’t have an opening act and they take an intermission and come back and play another couple of hours! Back then, Rush played all of their best songs to date and they played them well. Looking back on these concerts and comparing them to the most recent concerts I’ve seen of theirs is like seeing a Rookie of the Year play compared with a Hall of Fame player play. They’re both awesome in their own ways. One other difference is, in the 70s, I saw Rush play while I was under the influence of marijuana and/or acid. So, saying that, I’m not even sure I remember being there!

1978 – Queen – I saw Queen in Dayton, Ohio with a couple of friends. This was the era of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Somebody to Love,” (I’d put Freddy Mercury‘s vocals on this song up against anyone today and know he’d kick the shit out of anyone), “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are The Champions.” During the part of “Bohemian Rhapsody” when Freddy wasn’t singing, he left the stage only to reappear by rising up from below the stage and then just destroying the rest of the song! You can’t see that here, but here’s a link to a 1975 performance that captures most of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pttN9RkUvAw

1979 – Van Halen – I saw Van Halen’s tour in support of their first album. Seeing Eddie Van Halen play “Eruption” is still a concert highlight for me. David Lee Roth was on his game then and he made an amazing front man.

1979 – Commodores – Okay, not every concert I went to was awesome. Can anyone guess why I went to this one? That’s right, a girl made me take her! The only songs they had that were popular at that time were “Brick House” and “Three Times A Lady.” Let’s play the guessing game again. Which of these two songs did she come to hear? Ding, ding, ding – you are correct – “Three Times A Lady!” We left as the crowd was still applauding that song. The funniest thing about this concert was that we were late because I got lost going there. It was in Dayton and I wasn’t sure exactly how to get there. We didn’t have Garmins back then and I wasn’t going to stop for directions. When we got there, some funk band was playing. I wish I could remember who it was because they were putting on quite a show!

1979 – Kiss again. I was asked by my mom to take my brother Carl to see Kiss. Judas Priest opened for them. When he went to the bathroom, the guy to Carl’s left offered his joint to me. I declined, knowing that I would be driving us home. On the way home, Carl said, “so that’s what I have been smelling coming from your room!” What can I say, it was the 70s!

1980 – 1983 – I was in the Army during this period and I was stationed in Columbus Georgia. Columbus is a city 100 miles south of Atlanta and it’s fairly close to the Alabama border. The city exists to serve the soldiers at Fort Benning where I was stationed. During this time, I saw 38 Special, Thin Lizzy, Nazareth, and Molly Hatchet. While trying to remember which bands played there, I used google and found Alabama Thunderpussy. I really wish I could see them! Also available in Columbus Georgia was live professional wrestling. We went to see some of those events and the real show was the crowd! They were so into it and so into their wrestler that they were shouting and cheering and having a great old time! From my seat, when I wasn’t watching the crowd, I saw every fake move by the wrestlers. These guys weren’t the top of the line pros, so we didn’t get the best, but it was great fun!

1984 – The Police – To go to this concert, you had to send in your name for a lottery drawing. They picked my name and I went with my best friend from college. We ended up sitting in assigned seats behind the stage. Since the stage was open, we were still able to see everything but it was from the back. It was nice to be in the concert, but not the same as being on the floor in front of the stage. Knowing that I won the lottery and was allowed to buy tickets and then finding out it was behind the stage was like waiting for Christmas morning and then being told Santa wasn’t real and opening my presents full of t-shirts and underwear.

1986 – George Thorogood and the Destroyers – this concert was held in a smaller venue in Cincinnati called Cincinnati Gardens. They were here for two nights to record a live album that was issued later that year. I went with the same friend who went with me to see The Police. Remember how I was complaining that we were behind the stage there? At this show, we were in the 7th row on the right side of the floor seats, directly in front of a huge speaker. George was an outstanding guitarist and he even played with the guitar behind his head and back. They also had a great saxophonist playing on many of their songs. Everything was great until we left the building and realized we both just lost half of our hearing! My ears were ringing for about two days!

Skipping ahead to 2000, I took a date to Ozzfest at Riverbend Music Center. On the main stage, we had Pantera, Godsmack, Incubus, and Queens of the Stone Age to name a few. The night was capped off my Ozzy himself! On the second stage, I saw Kittie and Disturbed. During the Disturbed set, my date decided it was time to go crowd surfing. She was lifted from the back of the crowd and surfed all the way to the front! I found her eventually, but she wasn’t in a hurry to leave the front of the stage. This wasn’t the kind of girl you would take home to mother. She had a tramp stamp that included her name so, and I quote, “guys will remember my name when they’re doing me from behind!” When I picked her up, she had to get something from her car. I noticed she had a car seat and empty beer bottles in the back seat. We had a fun day, but that’s the last I ever saw of her.

From the mid-80s to today, I went to a lot of concerts. I can’t remember exactly when, but I’ve seen:

– Chicago
– Neil Diamond
– Barry Manilow
– Vertical Horizon with Sister Hazel
– Kid Rock with Uncle Kracker
– Barenaked Ladies
– Beck with The Flaming Lips opening for him
– Creed
– Three Doors Down
– Puddle of Mud
– Wolfmother (with my middle son, Alex)
– Matchbox Twenty with Sugar Ray
– Dido
– Foo Fighters
– Cake with Gomez opening
– Them Crooked Vultures
– Green Day
– Radiohead

I’m sure I’m leaving some out that I’ll remember later. The bands I regret never seeing include Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Pearl Jam (I’ll see them next time they’re within 500 miles), and REM.

So, what were your favorite concerts?

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The Honeymooners – Final Thoughts

So many things happened on our honeymoon. People have asked me, “how was your trip?” As I explain things to them, I realize how little I remember what happened! I remember everything we did, I’m having trouble remembering which place it happened. I’m really glad I wrote a daily entry on this blog so I can remember what the hell happened on my honeymoon!

Here are the odds & ends of the trip:

1. On the ship, the elevators weren’t connected to each other. Usually, you push one button and it would control every elevator on the floor. On the ship, there was one button for the first elevator, another button for the next two elevators, another button for the next two elevators, and one more button for the last elevator. Every single time I wanted to get on an elevator, I started with the first button and pressed all four buttons to maximize my chance to get an elevator. On the flip side, as I rode the elevators, we would stop at a floor and no one would get on! I’m guessing that there was another asshole who did what I did and found a different elevator first.

2. Karaoke contests are frustrating! On the ship, we had three nights of competitions with a final night where the top two finishers of each night competed in the finals. I sang every night! The audience would vote for their favorite and the top two finishers went on to the finals. I believe, and I’ve been told, that I’m a pretty good singer. I have years of experience singing karaoke. I sang songs that the audience would like to hear and not songs I like to sing. Every single night, I sang and every single night, I was not selected in the top two! The only thing that kept me sane was the people who came up to me the next day and said, “Hi, Jim! I loved your song last night”” or, “I really enjoyed your singing.” So why the fuck didn’t you vote for me, you assholes??? Given my years of karaoke experience, I have seen a huge variety of singers. I believed every night that I sang better than all the singers who went to the finals. I’m conceited that way.

3. Meeting people is fun. During the first night on the ship, this friendly young woman asked Alana and me if we wanted to be on their team for a music trivia competition. She and her sister were on the cruise with their parents. The older sister was one of the karaoke singers who beat me on the first night. Her younger sister also sings, but didn’t enter the competition. They were both adorable and we struck up an on-board friendship that made me want to adopt them! I even told their parents that I wanted to adopt them! I have three wonderful sons, but if I could have had a couple of daughters, these two would be exactly the type of daughters I would want! Also, at every stop on the trip, I was able to go onshore and find an extremely interesting person or couple to talk to at a bar.

4. Food is just not that important. The main source of food was the buffet. When you entered the buffet, they gave you enormous plates! If you put a normal amount of food on this plate, it looked like you barely had anything on the plate! So I ended up filling the plate! I would taste something and if it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted, I pushed it aside. I estimate that I ate about 25% of the food I put on my plate. One time, I found a small round dessert plate and put my food on that. It was loaded with food that I liked and it was just the right amount. Another thing that happened is, I wasn’t worried about getting hungry because food was always available! This made me take even less food because I knew that if I got hungry later, I could always go back for more. I ended up eating less during the trip than I would have eaten at home!

5. I had  a distinct feeling of “disconnectedness” during the trip. The TV channels on the ship were very limited. The cost of an internet connection was $100 for 200 minutes. You don’t browse casually at 50 cents a minute! So, I spent the entire trip with very limited access to Cincinnati news, which includes how the Reds and Bengals were doing. The ship forces you to be a part of the ship’s culture and they don’t want you to or care if you know what’s going on at home.

6. Too much togetherness is not necessarily a good thing. When Alana and I are at home, I spend a lot of time in my man cave and she spends a lot of time upstairs doing her thing. When we were forced to be together in the same room at the same time,  we were ready to kill each other by the end of the trip! We laugh about it now, but there was a lot of frustration by the end of the trip. The key to our relationship is a strong desire to be together balanced with a strong desire to be alone periodically. If we can’t get the alone time, we don’t want the together time! The fact that we both know this and want this is a very, very good thing!

I’ve enjoyed writing about our honeymoon and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. I’ll have some pictures posted on Facebook soon. You can follow me at facebook.com/jim.whittenburg  We just posted our wedding photos, so the honeymoon photos might take a while! Thank you for joining us on our excursion.

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The Honeymooners – Day 11 – The Journey Home


I woke up early so I could do my weekly long run of 16 miles. Doing this after drinking the beer I drank the day before is never a good idea! I hydrated and headed out the door. Unlike my Denali run, I had a plan this time. I knew that it was 2 miles from our hotel to Stanley Park. This park is huge! They have a running/biking track along the sea wall It was fairly busy for a Sunday morning. At the start of my run, the view of the ocean and the sky and the light at that early hour almost made me stop in my tracks! I kept going until I came to a fork in the trail. I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I continued to follow along the ocean. That wasn’t the right way to go! I followed the ocean for as long as I could, but then I was forced to run toward downtown. The rest of my run had me stopping a lot to figure out which way to go. I got lost once or twice, but I made it!

When I got back to the hotel, Alana told me that our flight was cancelled! She made one phone call after another to United Airlines to see what was going on. Since our flight was going through their partner, Air Canada, United had no idea what was going on. We decided that we should probably get to the airport by 5:00 for our expected 11:55 flight. Before doing that, we had to do one more touristy excursion. We took a short bus ride to a suspension bridge a friend recommended. It was okay and I took a few more pictures, but it involved a lot of walking and climbing up and down stairs. Usually, I’m good with that but today’s run kind of made me feel like I needed a walker to get around!

On the bus ride back, we decided to get off before our scheduled stop so we could get some lunch. Alana pointed to a café and I agreed, but it looked from the outside like it was a soup, salad and sandwich type of café. When we went in to ask for a seat on the patio, we were greeted by an attractive woman in a tight, short, black dress. After we sat on the patio, Alana said, “Did you notice that all the servers have tight black dresses on?” What I should have said was, “No, Baby, I didn’t notice.” What I said was, “Yes, and they had the same uniform at yesterday’s lunch. I guess they hire only hot women who look good in tight black dresses.” She glared at me. I changed the subject by discussing how both restaurants must be owned by the same company. I refrained from taking their pictures. The restaurant turned out to have a chef who won Iron Chef. Many of the items on the menu were marked to show you his personal creations. I chose a burger and it was the best burger I had on this vacation, with yesterday’s burger a very close second. Amazing stuff!

At the airport, we were lucky enough to get an Air Canada agent to help us understand what happened to our flight. Our original 11:55 PM flight wasn’t going to leave until 1:30 AM, which would make us late for our connecting flight in Toronto to Cincinnati. So they just decided to re-book us for a flight TWO DAYS LATER! In their defense, they called Alana who had her phone turned off. We decided that it would be best to get on the 1:30 flight and then wait until 5:30 PM the next day to go home. I never thought I could nap on airport terminal benches, but I found a way!  Before they shut all the restaurants down, we grabbed some dinner. Afterwards, I went to the bar to have some liquid nap fluid. I ended up sitting next to a guy who lives north of Vancouver. Way north! He needs a bush pilot to get him home kind of north. He was a very friendly guy but I was fixated on his thick Canadian accent. It was another interesting conversation among a huge number of people I met on this trip.

Arriving in Toronto, we tried to check into our next flight. We were told to go away until 1:30 at the earliest. There was absolutely nothing on the outside of the terminal for us to do and very limited breakfast options. The only slightly acceptable place for breakfast was a Tim Horton’s and we didn’t like how long the line was. We found a small place that sold coffee and we ate a stale sandwich. I then found out that Alana can sleep anywhere! She put her head down on the table and went to sleep for a couple of hours. I woke her up only because I had to find a men’s room. Once we were able to check in, we got though customs and into the baggage screening area. We checked two bags, so this Jamaican man near the checked baggage drop off area yelled, “Hey, I’ve been looking for you! Come over here!” We went over there and joked around with him, and then he said, “Do you ever watch the show House? You look just like him.” I said, “Yeah, I kind of get that a lot.” I don’t get it as much when I’m clean-shaven, but I had about 14 days of growth on my face because I didn’t shave on this trip. So when I’m an asshole to strangers, they must just assume I’m him and give me a free pass. I like that!

Home finally, we dropped our bags and collapsed. Going on vacation can be exceeded only by coming home. You don’t know what you miss until you can’t have it. Things like a computer with a reliable wi-fi connection, a comfortable couch with a remote for the TV that has hundreds of channels, a comfortable bed and non-lumpy pillows, a toilet that flushes cleanly on the first try, and freshly ground coffee in the morning instead of that god awful coffee I’d been drinking for 11 days. It’s good to be home!


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