Losing My Wedding Ring

The panic of losing something sucks. Unfortunately for me, I have had this feeling a couple times recently.

My birthday started off rocky. After finishing my workout at Legacy Fitness, I hopped in the car to return home to shower and start the day. As per usual, I opened the drawstring backpack I take with me to store my valuables. I throw my wallet, keys, phone, and wedding ring in it while I exercise. Can you guess which one I couldn’t find last Tuesday?

First off, so everyone knows, I only take my wedding ring off for two reasons: to exercise and shower. I dislike the feeling of weights tugging at the ring and when I bathe I fear it sliding off down the drain. For 3.5 years, I have never had an issue with slipping it off during these times as it was always waiting for me right where I left it. But I was about to get my first scare…

When I arrive at the gym, I place my valuables in my backpack and place it in a secure spot. After I do my weightlifting and cardio, I then go get my bag and bring it into the hardwood class area to do calisthenics (I like to check my phone at this time). I then leave the gym and get in my car. It is at this time that I slip my ring back on. On Tuesday morning, I went through the same routine as always. With my endorphins stimulated and a birthday on its way, I was in a good mood. That all changed when I reached into my bag.

I always bring in my drawstring backpack (with my wedding ring) into the classroom area of the gym.

When I dug to the bottom of my bag to pick up the familiar piece of metal, I only felt fabric. The absence of an object immediately made my stomach turn. But I didn’t start to freak out just yet. I thought maybe the ring got tangled in the sweat towels I bring with me that I stuff in my bag when I walk out. It wasn’t there. I turned over the bag on the passenger seat and let my wallet, phone, keys, and a couple pens fall out. No ring. Now I was starting to get a little frantic. I checked on the floorboard and outside the car to no avail.

It looks weird walking back into the gym after you just left it, but pride wasn’t an issue in this situation. I busted through the doors and started scouring the floors for my ring. The owner, Nancy, one of the nicest people you will ever know, helped me with my search. We traced the path from the cubbies to the classroom and from the classroom to the gym’s exit. She had me unfurl the mats to see if perhaps it got lodged in one. I was still drawing up empty. I ran back outside to look on the curb and back in my car. I then went back inside the gym and paced around again.

Time was my enemy. It was approaching 6 a.m. and I needed to get home so Sid could leave for work and I could take Sloan to daycare. Nancy said it was the day that the gym would get a deep cleaning and that she would be looking for it while the service was being performed. She told me that it would turn up and that she would call me when it did.

Completely dejected, I got in my car and pulled out of my parking spot. When I did, I saw a small silver object shining in the darkness in the space where my car had occupied. I slammed the car in park and hopped out to investigate. Total fake out…there actually wasn’t anything there, just my brain playing tricks on me.

It was a tough 15 minute drive home. In between prayers to God and St. Anthony, I thought about how embarrassing and unnatural it was going to be walking around with no wedding ring and how disappointed Sidney was going to be. A replacement just wouldn’t be the same. That ring was placed on my finger by Sid and blessed with holy water on our wedding day.

I parked in the driveway and decided to do one more scan of my car before going inside feeling like a complete loser. I was about to get a huge birthday present. I looked at my seat belt console and noticed something shiny on the floorboard. Not wanting to get my hopes up, I remained cautiously optimistic as I moved the seat all the way back to reveal my wedding ring right next to the seat belt.

Slipping it on my finger, a tear of joy might have glided down my cheek as I thanked God and St. Anthony. To be honest, it was a semi-traumatic experience that had me feeling awful. I remember when Sidney lost her ring for several minutes a few years back and I remember the look of desperation on her face. That was me last week.

It was lost but now it is found.

But all is good now and I have my bling on my finger. I am thankful to Nancy for doing all she could to help me find it and for keeping me positive, even if the ring was never lost in the facility. Although I don’t know exactly how it happened, the ring must have slipped out of my bag when I started to remove items after my exercise session. I am so happy I found it and I am committed to doing whatever possible to end my recent streak of losing things (boy, I got the craziest story to tell about losing my keys…but that is for another day). Don’t Blink.

33 Thursday Rundown

It is my first Thursday Rundown as a 33-year-old so I don’t know if that means it will be better or worse (probably worse) but let’s see, shall we? Here we go with five topics…

Subway Mania – Know how you can tell someone likes Subway? When they get three different Subway gift cards for their birthday. My brother and sister each gave me a gift card to the sandwich shop and Sidney included one in the gift she gave me as well. I got some Cold Cut Combos and Spicy Italians in my future!

I have some sandwiches (and burritos) on the house in my future.

Pregnancy Craving – My wife has identified her first big craving of her second pregnancy…pineapple chunks! She discovered it a couple weeks ago and we are now ordering several cans when we order groceries. Perhaps with her new love of pineapple, perhaps I can convince her that it is good on pizza!

Sidney’s pregnancy craving is pineapple and we are ordering plenty of cans from Walmart.

Funny Card – Yesterday, I mentioned that my boss decorated my office for my birthday. Well, she also left me a card that I didn’t discover until the next day. For all those texters out there, I am sure you can relate. I thought it was pretty good…

Lindsi gave me this card.

Pumpkin Patch Excursion – Speaking of my boss, this past weekend we went to her church’s pumpkin patch fundraiser. Lindsi was running the Conway Centenary United Methodist Church operation when we stopped by late Saturday morning. Sloan enjoyed looking at the pumpkins as well as their more exotic cousins, but she especially liked riding on the Spiderman motorcycle that belongs to Leo, Lindsi’s son.

Sloan had a fun time at the pumpkin patch.

Old Meme – Ending tonight’s blog post with a humble brag. Did you love the World’s Most Interesting Man as much as I did? When looking at Timehop today, this meme from three years ago popped up. It was a birthday post that someone published to my wall. Unfortunately, I have no idea who did it…I saw it only because I tweeted it out on October 10, 2016 and my caption was a generic “Someone posted this to my wall.” Someone! Why didn’t I say who it was?!

I don’t know who made this but it is pretty funny.

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That was a pretty short rundown for a 33-year-old. Am I losing my blogging touch with age? We shall see. Have a great weekend, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Celebrated by Family and Friends

We are all familiar with the generic Facebook status that goes “Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! It was a great day and I felt so special.” Although I am notorious for encouraging people not to go this route and instead do something more personal (at least on a social media front), I am going to neglect my own advice for the purpose of this blog post.

So, let me start off by thanking everyone for the birthday wishes and stating that I felt really special yesterday. Ha!

But I did want to provide a few specific examples of people really going out of their way for me. You see, I am not usually a birthday guy but some of yesterday’s acts gave me a much needed birthday boost.

Gummy Bears and Dr. Pepper – My co-worker Geoff brought me a Dr. Pepper and a pack of gummy bears. He literally Googled Brent Reser Favorite Soda because he knew I most likely wrote about the topic before. Sure enough it took him to my post detailing my top five favorite sodas, letting him know exactly what to get me. For him to do the research and then brighten my day first thing in the morning was pretty cool. 

Dr. Pepper and gummy bears…a winning combination!

Office Decoration – My boss, Lindsi, surprised me in my office (we work in different buildings) with decorations, cupcakes, and a singing telegram. After happy birthday was performed, she started decorating my office in emoji-themed décor. I totally didn’t expect it and I actually didn’t mind sticking out like a sore thumb the rest of the day when people walked by. Lindsi went the whole nine yards and it was the first time my office had ever been decorated.

Lindsi decorated my office in an emoji-theme.

Spoiled By My Girls – When Sloan and I arrived home last night, Sidney already had a birthday celebration laid out. The marquee had a message on it, gift bags were set, and a card was placed. I sat on the couch and opened my presents as Sloan assisted and Sid watched. After that, we went out to dinner and then returned home for cake and ice cream. By far the highlight of my day, spending the evening with my girls was the best way to mark my birthday.

My girls spoiled me so much last night that Sloan even helped me blow out the candles.

Facetime Birthday Love – From about 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. last night, I gladly entertained Facetime calls from my sister, brother, and parents. I even talked on the phone to my brother’s fiancée who was in Portland for work. During each call the person I was chatting with sang happy birthday and quizzed me about my day. I then opened the gifts they sent me through the mail in front of them. Sloan and Sid participated in these Facetime calls as well and it was just so nice to catch up with my West Coast family.

Not Done Yet – On Sunday, Sidney’s family will celebrate October birthdays. That means my sister-in-law (Steph) and myself will take center stage for an afternoon of delicious food and NFL football. I am already looking forward to it.

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I was once again reminded yesterday how lucky I am. Thanks to everyone who reached out, it really meant a lot. Don’t Blink.

Bring It On, 33

It is funny how you remember the little things even after decades have passed. When I was in the fourth grade, I vividly remember my teacher, Mrs. Pryor, celebrating her 33rd birthday. She was a class favorite and we all really liked her, but I remember thinking dang, she is kind of old.

Well, let’s fast forward 23 years and today I am the one turning 33 years old. Although from my mature perspective I like to think I am still a young adult, I can’t ignore the fact that most kids probably consider me an old dog. Oh well, I guess I should probably embrace it.

And embrace it I have––at least over the past few years. In my late twenties I became pretty self-conscious about my age but once I turned 30, interestingly enough, I stopped worrying about it. I was content with where I was at in life––faith, family, job––that I didn’t need to fret about another ring around my trunk.

I feel the same at 33 as I did at 30, 31, and 32. Life is just good when you get to spend each day with the people you love the most. There is nothing to fear about aging a year when you have a beautiful wife and a sweet daughter beaming at you as you blow out the candles on the cake.

Speaking of celebrating, my girls once again went all out making me feel special. They gave me some nice gifts and took me out to dinner at Michael’s Pizza, Pasta, and Grill. The food was delicious and Sloan, just like last year, was on her best behavior. My parents and siblings Facetimed me to sing happy birthday and Sid’s family went out of their way to mark the day as well.

Sloan and I at my birthday dinner. We ate at Michael’s Pizza, Pasta, and Grill.

Of course I couldn’t stop thinking that next birthday will be much different. Yes, turning 34 isn’t a “sexy” number so to speak, but it will be the first birthday that I will have TWO children helping me to celebrate it. But enough about that, first thing’s first…let’s do 33!

Sid spoiled me once again on my birthday.

So as I begin my “Mrs. Pryor year,” I look forward to the adventures, blessings, and challenges that await me. I hope to make it the best one yet. Don’t Blink.

Concluding Another Birth Year

I always save my “year in review” blog posts for the end of the calendar year. This means that I wait until Dec. 31 to look back on the previous 364 days. However, this isn’t the only way to do things. Some people will assess a year based on their own personal trip around the sun––in other words, from birthday to birthday.

Although I am not going to break with tradition, I felt like a brief mention regarding my year as a 32-year-old (I honestly typed “23” and it made me feel happy for a minute) was acceptable. You see, it is my birthday eve and I will turn a new year tomorrow. Not wanting to look back much when it becomes official at 8:11 a.m., I got to quickly get in my thoughts regarding October 8, 2018 – October 7, 2019.

Years from now when I look back at being 32, I will say “Hey, that’s when Sid became pregnant with our second child!” No doubt about it, that is what will register with me. Lots of other cool things happened during the past 52 weeks, like my brother proposing to his fiancée and my sister-in-law getting married, but I won’t remember those events in terms of my age. Rather, I will remember them for occurring in 2019. There is just something special that connects your major personal family milestones and age.

Other than that, I won’t remember 32 as a banner year. But that isn’t to say that it wasn’t special, I just don’t remember any of my personal years as “banner years” (well, maybe except for being 21). I do remember the night I turned 32 well. Sidney made homemade lasagna and her parents came over to join us for my birthday meal. It was a nice beginning to my 365 days.

Sid and I on my first day as a 31-year-old.

Now I come full circle with a nice ending to my 365 days as I am surrounded by my wife and daughter. Although I am just about to head off to a Knights of Columbus meeting, I will be back soon enough to conclude the evening with my girls. As I drift off to sleep tonight, I will be thankful for another year that God has given me on this Earth. Don’t Blink.

Cucumber Thursday Rundown

We are at the end of another blogging week and we know what that means….the Thursday Rundown. If you don’t mind, let’s jump right in tonight.

Sleeping With Her Friends – Sloan insists on sleeping with her “friends” which means every single stuffed animal she has. Yesterday morning I took this photo of her entourage. Who needs covers when you have an enormous stuffed unicorn draped across your body?

Sloan sleeping with her friends.

Southern Eating – There is a little restaurant in downtown Conway called the Pickled Cucumber. Forgive me for not taking photos of the building itself but at least I got the food. It is all about homemade Southern cooking at this place. I went with Sidney’s family for Sunday lunch and I thought it was pretty impressive. This is a “meat and three” establishment so you typically choose an entrée and three sides. I opted for just two sides––mashed potatoes and rice––and for my main course I ordered chicken and dumplings. Can’t forget about the corn bread that was thrown on there either.

My dish from the Pickled Cucumber in Conway.

Didn’t Win No Beauty Contest – I wasn’t the cutest baby by any means, there is no disputing that. But with a birthday drawing near, I thought it was appropriate to share this newborn photo that recently popped up on my Timehop. Not all babies can be adorable and I am just thankful that I was delivered into this world.

I wasn’t the prettiest baby, that’s for sure.

A Looooong July–A Facebook friend posted this and I couldn’t help but laugh. Although we have had a glimpse here and there of fall, it has still been really hot here. Today the high temperature was 94 degrees. I don’t mind the sizzling temperatures, but it is of funny to think of it as a long extension of July. I know how it is the other way around too. They say February is the shortest month but in Montana I swear it lasted until February 82nd.

This is actually kind of true.

Care to Stay a Night? – Thanks to my friend, Erik, I am following an interesting (but weird) Twitter account that publishes some oddball content. To get a full extent of what I am talking about you will have to follow it (@41strange) but here is an example of a post. The only clown hotel I think I would stay at in Nevada is Circus Circus. I know this word if overused, but this joint looks sketchy. I am always up for an adventure but I don’t know if I will be making a reservation here.

Even though clowns don’t bother me, this isn’t my first choice for a hotel.

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I have a wide open weekend coming up which is nice because the rest of October is jammed packed. Going to make sure I savor it! Enjoy your evening, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Taco Shells

As I continue to backtrack on my 6-year-old bold statement that I wouldn’t recognize gimmicky “national holidays,” I couldn’t help but notice that today is National Soft Taco Day. Per usual, I was a little annoyed with the item being celebrated. Really? Not just National Taco Day but National SOFT Taco Day? This is getting ridiculous.

But then I realized something. Sidney and I actually have a pretty heated debate when it comes to taco shells. She likes hard, I like soft. We are pretty adamant about our preferences and when we purchase a taco kit we make sure it has hard and soft shells.

Sidney prefers hard shells.

In my opinion, it is a no-brainer. Soft shells do a better job at containing the toppings. They also absorb the flavors and juices of those toppings. With a hard shell, toppings freely fall from either side of the taco the moment you move it –– that’s to say if the toppings haven’t already fallen out. In my experiences, after I prepare my hard shell taco and place it on my plate, it plops on its side and toppings scatter.

If you really crave what a hard shell offers, why don’t you just enjoy taco night with a bag of tortilla chips? Don’t mess up the composition of a taco just for that extra crunch. Of course you can make the best of both worlds and opt for a double decker taco by placing a hard shell inside of a soft shell…it will definitely help with stability. But not the best option if you are counting calories.

So perhaps the distinction of “soft” in today’s “holiday” isn’t so petty after all. We didn’t eat tacos for dinner tonight, but if we did, I would have made Sid eat a soft shell. Don’t Blink.

HalloweenGivingMas

This morning, my boss walked into our meeting room and exclaimed, “Happy HalloweenGivingMas!” It was the first time I heard the phrase but it immediately resonated with me. I liked it.

The three month period that started today is my favorite sequence during the year. Believe it or not, I like this quarter of the calendar even more than summer. For me, it just comes down to the family and holiday components.

October itself is awesome. I have written extensively about this before…and it is not just because it is my birthday month. The smell and feel of autumn is unbeatable and who doesn’t love corn mazes, beautiful colors, scary movies, and Halloween? November is highlighted by the four-day holiday weekend and themes of thankfulness and family. December is a month-long celebration filled with magic, joy, and warm cheer.

Combined together, it is a 90+ day ride of excitement and anticipation. As we begin this three month run, I have high hopes for more memories and highlights. Enjoy everyone, the calendar always saves the best three months for last. Happy HalloweenGivingMas! Don’t Blink.