The Mistake of the Old Man Brand

“It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new.”
Tony Visconti

There are brands out there with incredible name recognition like Coke, Pepsi and Nike. Let’s face it…there are also other kinds of brands, like the ones you put on cows that make them moo scream as the ranch logo sizzles permanently onto their skin.

Since I had both hips replaced, I found a new favorite kind of sock. It has very loose elastic at the top which helps with swelling in your feet. I have had them for a couple of years and it never hit me until this morning that I have been branded…and today I am letting out my own moo scream.

IMG_2852

For some reason this time when I looked at my feet, the logo or brand offended me. Why not put the Medi Peds logo somewhere else on the sock so that I do not have to be told that I am no longer part of the “Active Ped” Society.  I love these socks but they make me want to hurry and put on my shoes (hey…maybe that is their strategy to get us up and walking).

Once you dictate that we are part of the Medi Ped society, I am sure the Medi Fed and Medi Bed societies are not far behind until we finally join the Medi Dead society.

Why not put something motivational or fun on the toe of these socks. How about, “Turbo Feet” or  “Feat Feet” or “Seize the Day”. Even if they wanted to keep it medically associated, they could have written, “Walk or Die”. Many major retailers  advertise “loose fitting activewear”. How well would they do if their ads were centered around loose fitting medical or coffin wear?

I remember the days when tube socks came with stripes in your school colors and socks were everything on the basketball court and football and baseball fields. Maybe there is a part of me that does not want to accept that my new school colors are lab coat white and varicose vein blue and my new team is Medi Peds.

For all of you marketing guru’s out there that are counting on cashing in on the silver tsunami, remember that we still think like we are 20. Put some racing stripes on our diapers and make koozies for our pill bottles. We may not remember where we left the keys but we dang sure can remember what it was like to be young.

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Husbands…Consider These Four Crucial Items that Should be on Your Honey “Don’t” List

“I learned a great many years ago that in a fight between husband and wife, a third party should never get between the woman’s skillet and the man’s ax-helve.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”  Martin Luther


slides part 12 043

 There are many reminders, provided weekly by my wife, that require some action on my part…take out the garbage, put a battery in the smoke detector, tell the neighbor to hush the barking dogs or we will call the police…you know the standard sort of stuff. I hear them and I do my manly best to take care of my wife’s “honey do” list. My list is long but in no way compares to her list of things that she requires herself to do daily.

Perhaps the most important list to any married man, however, is the “honey don’t list. It is the wise and savvy man that learns this early on in his marriage. It is much shorter than his honey do list but oh so much more volatile…sort of…marriage meets nitroglycerin. When you enter into this honey don’t venue, sweat beads form on your forehead like old dynamite. You realize too late that you are in a marital minefield and you strive to navigate your way through the situation without any permanent loss of wife, life or limbs.

It is great to enjoy in depth and personal conversations with your wife but try to avoid venturing into the land of don’t and especially into the land of don’t  ever. A good honey do man does not necessarily make a good honey don’t man. Husbands…listen to reason and consider why you should stay clear of the following four crucial items that should be on your honey don’t list. (Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.)

Don’t Tell Her How She Should Feel

 After listening to your wife carry on about something for what seems like forever, don’t make the mistake of dismissing all of her emotions by  casually saying something like, “Don’t be so uptight about it, just ignore it and it will go away…can you pass the potatoes? Hey kids what do you want to do after dinner?”

Her emotions matter. Her problem solving technique is different than yours and what may seem matter of fact to you, may require more detailed analysis for her. That analysis takes into account things that generally don’t even cross a man’s shallow mind. Telling her how she should think or feel shows a gross misunderstanding and lack of appreciation for her own thought process and will in most cases, be seen as an insult.

Don’t Ignore the Listening Time

 Whether you know it or not, there is a time allotted in your day when the most important thing you can do is listen to your wife. Many men make the mistake of thinking that a casual chat while continuing to do their work, play or TV watching counts as that time…it doesn’t. You are required by the laws of nature to listen and it is so much easier to listen to her quiet concerned voice than her ranting about your insensitivity voice. So… divest yourself of all of your surrounding distractions and listen.

The net side effect is that you actually learn things. You learn names of family friends and your children. You learn things that are happening with your kids and neighbors and extended family. Granted, because you are trying to get the TV on to watch the football game, your manly brain tries to condense all that she is telling you into the few words that you hope she is really trying to communicate such as, “I had a good day I hope you did too. I’m going to go clean up the kitchen”. But that is when you have to allow your manly survival instincts to kick in and remove your quivering thumb from the remote and sit back and just listen. You might even consider getting off your comfortable rear and  listening while you wash the dishes.

Don’t Ask Her that Question About Her Past

 Some couples may choose to share things of their past in the spirit of full disclosure. However, this may not always be the best option, especially the second time around or if it inserts itself into the conversation year after year. After you get by the basic, “have you ever killed or maimed somebody” and “are you a child molester or porn addict”, you need to proceed cautiously.

Don’t ask unless you are big enough, mature enough, and forgiving enough to handle the answer. It is not your prerogative to demand answers because of your curiosity.

Many mistakes are private and many experiences are personal. It is not requisite that some things are ever brought up again. A pushy partner that needs to know everything and dwells in that knowledge, misses the whole point of your present life together and seriously impedes the potential for true joy in their marriage.

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Don’t Ever…Compare Her to Your Mom

Even though you may love both of these women, your wife is not your mother. On some occasion you might be tempted to say, “Hun my mom said that one day I could be President of the United States…tell me again why you disagree.” If you somehow think there should be a correlation between your mom’s assessment of your skill set and your wife’s assessment, you are mistaken.

They both love you but in a different way. The mother that you remember had a life that was devoted entirely to making you feel better, safe and loved. Your wife will do the same for your children but this same drive is not innate in your relationship with her. Her love for you will grow as she sees you sacrifice for your common goal (which is generally your children). Her task is not to raise you again though she will help you remember things that your mom taught you (Like don’t leave your clothes on the floor).

This is so clear to see when you go to a family dinner with your parents. Even though your mother may be in her eighties, she is still up and down at the dinner table serving you like you were a king. You hardly even notice because that’s just the way your mom has been to you since you were born. Your wife, however, observes and thinks, you lazy bum, get up and serve yourself and your mother.

Your wife will see the good things your mother does and pick and choose the qualities if any, that she would like to emulate. Remember that though your mother and your wife are different, they are both women and both recognize the limitations of the man species. This creates a very tight natural bond that you would want to exist between them. Any comparison you make will only hurt that bond.

Your mother changed your diaper out of love and one day your wife may too but it is not the same…the difference will be that one is done with hope and the other is done with pity.

and so Life Goes on.

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We’re just men. We came with a set of selfish genes. One day this journey through life will be complete. Part of the purpose of this journey is to overcome our selfish tendencies. You will be a better man as you work hard to keep up with your honey do list. But the reward for navigating your life away from the honey don’t list will be far greater. You will find peace and respect and a desire to serve your wife in a way that every Queen deserves.

We’re just men but we can learn. To the woman in each of our lives we say, thank you for giving us a second chance…again and again. That’s a trait that my mom was always really good at…whoops.

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Why You Should Take Your Kids Fishing!

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Henry David Thoreau

I recently came across an old picture of a bass that one of my kids caught. Check out the expressions on my boy’s faces. I loved taking them fishing. My dad took me fishing. His dad took him fishing. I am sure that for generations along our family line, the dads have been taking their kids and grandkids fishing.

catch a fish

family fishing
Taking your kids fishing is awesome. It is an experience or sum of many experiences that sometimes have little to do with actually catching fish. There are boat trailers that lose an axle or have a flat tire. There is always the pressure of backing a trailer down a busy boat ramp with multiple “experts” and old timers watching and judging. There are plugs that are sometimes remembered only when the boat is quickly filling up with water.

There is bait to buy and keep alive. There are licenses and boat regulations to consider. There is bad weather, hot sun and early morning departures which impact your whole day.

There are boat batteries that run down and motors that won’t start. There are snacks, gas, and ice to buy. There are fishing lines that break and hooks that end up in fingers and ears. There are rods and reels that fall into the water and stringers of fish that drift away because nobody tied them to the boat. There are anchors that have the same fate…a well meaning toss over board with no rope attached to the boat. There are tangles and knots. There are long hot hours that go by without any bites except from mosquitoes. There are snakes and gators that keep you on your toes.

There is all of this and finally a nibble…and if the fish gods are smiling on you, your child lands a fish. Life is good again…or so it seems to the younger ones. For those older and more mature anglers, they know that life has been good all along.

hf70 As with fishing, life is much less about the end result than it is about the journey. Going fishing is all about teaching your children how to solve problems without them even realizing they are growing…it’s about them learning that having fun does not always mean things won’t go wrong. Going fishing is about spending time talking with your kids while you are waiting for the fish to bite or for someone to tow you in. Going fishing is about introducing your children to the wonders of nature. Going fishing is how you make a miserable outing into something that your kids will treasure forever.

Don’t rob your kids of these experiences. Even in the bible it tells us while raising kids we are not to spare the rod…and,  I might add, nor the reel and a box full of tackle. Do all that it takes to make a fishing trip possible. You may or may not catch a fish but there is no question that your misery will pay you back to the positive down the road.

 HighFive Your Life Principle: Go fishing with your kids. Enjoy what others may call misery and make memories that will last through the generations.

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Why You Should Listen When Your Wife Puts a “Bug” in Your Ear…

 “Lady Middleton resigned herself… Contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subject, five or six times every day.”

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Ok…by way of confession, I used this story in my last blog to relate a different life principle. That is one of the great things about the stories of our lives…they have multiple teaching moments if we look for them…now…back to the story.

I really enjoy a nice bowl of cereal for breakfast while reading a good book. Since cereal only requires the use of one hand, it is easy to shovel in luscious energy with your head positioned low and just over the bowl, while using the other hand to turn the pages and to keep anyone out who might have wandered inadvertently into the area where this intense and hallowed awesome morning ritual is taking place.

Recently, I prepared a nice bowl of a cereal with raisins. I added extra raisins and a good banana and settled down for a nice relaxing morning session of reading and eating.

About halfway through, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, an unusually large clump of raisins in my spoon surrounded by white milk. It was staged close to my mouth hopper waiting for the previous spoonful to adequately clear which only took a moment. I didn’t stop reading or even stop to take a look at it and into my system it went. I noticed as I chewed on it that it did not have the same texture that I came to expect when eating those juicy raisins but that sensation was but a footnote to whatever had my attention in the book.

Sometime later while back at my desk computer, I noticed something lingering in my mouth. It was actually hard to get a hold of but once I pulled it out, I was shocked to find the leg of a roach….yes shocked and grossed out and yukked out and holy cowed out. Yep…my nice clump of juicy raisins was just a nice juicy cockroach. Below is a picture of it.

roachHad my wife told me before (perhaps multiple times) to close the bag of cereal with a close pin before returning it to the cupboard?

Well…yes.

Was she right?

Well…yes.

Did I get what I deserved?

Well…no…I mean who deserves a roach in the mouth? Yuk!

One more time…Did I get what I deserved?

Well…yes.

Yes…I should have listened to my wise and loving wife. Instead of a bug in the ear, maybe I just needed a bug in the mouth to change my disobedient and lazy ways. It worked. I will now pay extra close attention when she says there is a “fly in the ointment” or “bug in the batter”.

A HighFive Your Life principle is to give heed to the bug in your ear that your wife places there from time to time. It will most likely make your life just a little easier.

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What Do Bad Thoughts and Roach Legs Have In Common?

When the negative thoughts come – and they will; they come to all of us – it’s not enough to just not dwell on it… You’ve got to replace it with a positive thought.
Joel Osteen

I really enjoy a nice bowl of cereal for breakfast while reading a good book. Since cereal only requires the use of one hand, it is easy to shovel in luscious energy with your head positioned low and just over the bowl, while using the other hand to turn the pages and to keep anyone out who might have wandered inadvertently into the area where this intense and hallowed awesome morning ritual is taking place.

Recently, I prepared a nice bowl of a cereal with raisins. I added extra raisins and a good banana and settled down for a nice relaxing morning session of reading and eating.

About halfway through I noticed out of the corner of my eye, an unusually large clump of raisins in my spoon surrounded by white milk. It was staged close to my mouth hopper waiting for the previous spoonful to adequately clear which only took a moment. I didn’t stop reading or even stop to take a look at it and into my system it went. I noticed as I chewed on it that it did not have the same texture that I came to expect when eating those juicy raisins but that sensation was but a footnote to whatever had my attention in the book.

Sometime later while back at my desk computer, I noticed something lingering in my mouth. It was actually hard to get a hold of but once I pulled it out, I was shocked to find the leg of a roach….yes shocked and grossed out and yukked out and holy cowed out. Yep…my nice clump of juicy raisins was just a nice juicy cockroach. Below is a picture of it.

roachSince I try to discover the good life principles in the bad things that happen, I immediately started thinking about how this experience might have a life application. Besides the immediately clear wisdom of closing the cereal bag tight in between meals and looking at what I am eating, I looked deeper.

A friend of mine recently sent over a link to a church produced video helping parents approach the subject of pornography with their children. The message of how to help our children and grandchildren deal with these bad thoughts is so important. The link is below.

http://media2.ldscdn.org/assets/primary/preparing-children-against-pornography/2015-08-001-what-should-i-do-when-i-see-pornography-1080p-eng.mp4?download=true

Just like the roach in my cereal, we can, with hardly noticing, consume things mentally that are not healthy for us…and once they are in our brain, they seem to linger longer and are harder to remove. We need to be diligent about preventing them from getting in and then steady and strong about getting them out.

A HighFive Your Life principle is to pay attention to what we and our family members consume physically and mentally and to notice when we are chewing on raisins and when we are chewing  roaches.

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