I’m 40.

For myself, when I read this many years from now.

I woke up and Miranda had decorated the kitchen with giant 3-foot shiny golden balloons: 40! There was an incredibly lovely cake from Sparrow Bakery and cards that made me cry both from her and from Ruby.

Ruby is just 2 years old. She’s so smart and capable. There is a video of her making the card, complete with an elaborate story. She remembers everything. She makes interesting connections. She is just starting to draw things with intention and meaning. She can go on short hikes with us on her own power. It’s unreal that our tiny little girl who was born just yesterday has turned into a very real person so quickly.

She’s about a week into a little sleep “regression,” where she doesn’t want to sleep alone. We are not winning. She mostly sleeps with me at night in the guest bedroom. Otherwise, Miranda wouldn’t get a wink. Secretly, I don’t mind it (she’s a good snuggler), but I also don’t want it to become a thing we have to do for a long time. Toy bribery worked one night, then not the next.

I’ve been in back pain for about a month. There has been a tangible drop in my productivity. It’s been harder to get into deep work, because the pain pulls me out of it. It’s just muscles though, I’ll get through it. I’ve been seeing the same physical therapist I saw for my broken arms for this. I can tell he’s not into medicating. He does some light chiro stuff, stretches me out, gives me excercises. I do them, but probably only half as much as I should. I’m going to stop writing for a sec to do them.

That felt kinda good. I gave up today though, I gave up and went to urgent care for the pain and they gave me a shot of some kinda super Advil or whatever. It’s working a little.

I know why I have back pain. I sit on my ass all day. I work long hours. I’m often at work from 5:30am to 4:30pm. I feel like I have to, to stay on top of business. I’ve been going to the gym, but since the back pain started and the gym would aggravate it, I haven’t. I can’t wait to get back to going, I like that break. Miranda and I were going together for a while.

Worse than the sitting, I’m overweight. I’d say the last year hasn’t been kind to me in that regard, with the broken arms and all. The arms are still a bit messed up, but it’s not blocker for much anymore. It’s a food thing. It’s always been a food thing. I need to eat less (and more healthy) food, and then never stop doing that the rest of my life. Like any addict, I need to stop the bad eating entirely.

Then there is the whole pandemic thing. See, COVID-19 has been raging and killing lots of people. Only 11 deaths in my county, but 436 in the state, and headed toward 200,000 in the country. We’re in this weird position where we thought we had it beat, and the country started “opening” again (loads of businesses literally closed and tons of people are working from home) and then it turned out we definitely do not have it beat, but we’re just kinda staying open anyway and waiting it out. It’s become highly politicized, of course.

Did I mention we’re only 60 days from the Trump/Pence vs. Biden/Harris presidential election? That has us all in an emotional mess too. I find Trump to be abhorrent. Quite literally a terrible person. I remember the first time I saw him pick out an individual American citizen to pick on and was shocked. Now he’s done that, what, hundreds of times? He’s not a leader, and I want a leader. I don’t particularly like Biden, but I like the joke I read yesterday. It went something like choosing between airline meals, and one of them is dog shit with glass shards in it and the other is the chicken. To question if you’re going to vote for Biden is like pausing before deciding between those meals to say “how is the chicken cooked?”

Oh and one more thing. People in America have extremely had it with the killing of black people. The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were the biggest sparks this time. It’s gotta stop. The Black Lives Matter movement is raging. There are worldwide protests. There are even protests here in Bend, Oregon and the smaller towns around us. ICE showed up the other day and that drew an even bigger protest. In Portland, the protests have gotten so heated there has been federal involvement.

In my home state of Wisconsin, there was a shooting the other night that has stirred up more protests all over the state. I just looked at pictures of citizens literally pointing guns at each other in the street.

My dad called me for my birthday. We talked about Ruby. We talked about my back a little. Then we talked about the protests. He drives my step mom to work and back each day, and he sees the destruction that happens in the streets. Businesses that have already struggled through COVID now getting their windows smashed in. Whole streets with boarded-up windows.

I don’t know what to think, most days. I want a leader. I want to be healthy. I want everyone to be healthy. I don’t want to see anything collapse because we don’t have the leaders we need in the places we need them.

Happy birthday, bud.

(Thanks for all the birthday well-wishes, everyone. They’ve been coming at me right and left today and it’s really heartwarming especially during this time that is so isolating.)


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