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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal 
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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

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Entries in Baseball (8)


Excerpts from Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal

Today I'd like to share a few excerpts from Life Is Short. I've chosen three. Thanks to my publisher, Spry Publishing for allowing me to reprint the text.
First up, a bit from chapter 9. This chapter is titled, 'I Only Dropped Him Once'

"The cold was remarkably piercing. I found myself hoping that we would get through security quickly so that perhaps the excitement of the day would provide us with some artificial warmth as we waited at our seats for the festivities to begin. Politics aside, I was very excited for Cole to be present at such a historic occasion for our country. Of the millions of gatherers in attendance, I only saw maybe a handful of children Cole’s age. I felt very strongly that this day could create a lasting memory for Cole and that he would leave the Capitol with a story that few other people his age would ever be able to claim. That’s how I felt at 7:30, anyway.
At half past noon, I wasn’t so hopeful. Making it past the security gate now seemed unlikely. We had traveled baby step by baby step for the last five hours, and even though we could now see the gate, it still looked to be farther away than we could traverse in thirty minutes. I began to feel sad. I had gotten Cole so close to this, and he was going to leave completely disillusioned and unfulfilled. I began to ask myself why I hadn’t left earlier in the morning; should I have been less cattle-like in my acceptance of the line; what could I have done to secure a better outcome for us? I felt like I should have tried something different. We trudged along with a defeated look on our faces, and I began to talk to Cole about managing our expectations, wanting to ready him for the letdown that seemed to be just around the bend."


This small example is from chapter 2, 'What Is a Family'


"My father abandoned our family and my parents divorced when I was thirteen years old, but I never once considered that the man who walked out on us was anything but my father. Long after he had passed on, his departure remains one of the most devastating moments of my life. After he left, I would often in the middle of the night stand in our second-floor bathroom and look out on the road that led to our house. Even though I knew he wasn’t coming back, I’d allow myself to feel excited when the lights from a random car brightened the street. In the brief moments between seeing the headlights and watching the car drive past our house, I’d imagine what our lives would be like again if he’d only change his mind and come home. Other nights, I’d sneak down to the living room and pull out the family portrait that my mom had taken down and stuffed into the back of a coat closet. It was in a big frame, and I’d sit with it on the couch until I felt better."


Lastly, chapter 22,  the night Arden was diagnosed with type I diabetes. 'Her Breath Smells Funny'.

"It was sometime around three thirty in the morning when a man we had never met before told my wife and me that our daughter had type 1 diabetes and that “her life would never be the same.” I’ve always been thankful that Arden was sleeping when we heard the news because I couldn’t stop crying. I would have been even more devastated if I had cried in front of her. They ushered us into a tiny room outside of the ICU. I hesitate to call it a room, actually, because it was a space with a door, just large enough to hold an ugly vinyl loveseat and a small table with an outdated magazine. The nurse told us that they were going to stabilize Arden’s blood glucose and then come and get us. She told us we should rest, but what I think she meant was to get some sleep now because this would be our last opportunity for rest.
Kelly and I sat down, and without saying a word or even making eye contact, we leaned into each other and fell asleep. What I remember clearest about sitting down on that loveseat was that when we leaned on each other I felt something that I had never experienced before in my life. I could feel Kelly’s desperation and grief through her skin, and I was sure that she could feel mine."


Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Dad is on sale now everywhere that books are sold in paperback and all eReader formats. I hope that you enjoy my confessions!


Chapter Titles:


Laundry Is Indeed Eternal

What Is a Family?

The Path to Parenthood Starts with Sex

The Nine-Month Countdown

I Thought You Were Going to Keep Him Alive?

Quitting My Job Was Like Starting Over

A Typical Day at My Office

To Think I Was Worried About Baby Vomit

I Only Dropped Him Once

A Little Help from My Favorite Books

Lunch with the Lions

I May Be Growing Ovaries

Baseball, Part I

Baseball, Part II

I Remember Having Sex ... and the Baby Proves It!

Could I See You in the Basement for a Minute?

Sleep—Get It Now


There’s No Such Thing as Gender Specific

Two Perfect Years

Life Has a Way of Getting in the Way of Living

Her Breath Smells Funny

The Saddest That I Have Ever Been

Learning About Our New Reality

Writing on the Internet Saved Me

His Last Chapter




Exercise and type I diabetes blood glucose control

Arden followed in her brother's footsteps last week when she tried out and was selected to play on our town's all star softball team. Yea Arden! The girls have been practicing each night since and I am learning more about blood glucose control before, after and during exercise then could have imagined.

Her second at bat.

First thing I learned is that all of Arden's activities from the past don't put nearly the strain on her system that an intensive two hour practice/game brings to her. Arden experienced a latent low in the early hours of the morning that followed her first practice. It was nearly eight hours since that practice began when her BG suddenly dropped. I couldn't cut off the fall by suspending her basal so I woke her up to drink a juice box. Normally I can fend off lows at night with a temp basal, this was different, a more powerful drop. I was awake and ready for it because I expected it but if I hadn't been, there is no telling how low she may have gotten.

So the next night I was ready! I kept her BG a little high before bed and didn't cover a small snack after practice. This turned out to be a winning combination. Night two went well.

On the third night I tried to mimic the success from the evening before but it turned out that a new site on her leg wasn't working the way I expected. When I combined keeping her BG a little high with a small snack and a site that wasn't up to snuff, I got a high BG that wouldn't come down easily. Hindsight has me wondering if the leg site was perhaps less effective because of the large amounts of running that she has been doing, as they normally work very well.

After I moved the OmniPod to her abdomen the next few nights went as planned, however I had to put quite a lot of effort into keeping things balanced. These last few weeks haven't just proved to me that strenuous activity can cause a low but that high BGs effect athletic performance. I noticed that if Arden's BG gets too high that her speed seems to diminish (I hope that you can share your experiences with me in the comments about this). Normally a very fast runner, Arden couldn't perform as she usually does if her BG began to rise above 220. I think that I also saw a decrease in her hand-eye coordination during this elevated period.

Last night before her first game I tried very hard to keep her BG around 100 before game time. I added carbs as the game was about to begin, a few slow acting and about 15 grams of juice. I was hoping to keep her steady without going too high during the game. I was able to do this with a lot of help from her DexCom CGM and she never went above 190 but wow was it a lot of work... though totally worth it to see her have such a good time.

This first game didn't just teach us more about type I diabetes, it also gave us our first look at Arden's competitive nature in a sporting moment that she regards as very important. Arden took this game seriously, she had fun but playing well was definitely high on her list of priorities. It goes without saying but we are very proud of Arden and the extra effort that is required for her to participate makes that pride shine just a little brighter.

Your child can definitely play sports at a competitive level with type I diabetes, that fact was never in question. All you have to do is give the moment the forethought and preparation that it requires, it'll be tough at first and you may spend a night or two battling lows but once you have a system in place it's not unlike the rest of your days with diabetes. You can do this.

Have fun out there!


One of the two outs Arden recorded in her first game.


Phillies Spring Training: My diabetes free vacation

It took some maneuvering, we had to cash in our frequent flier miles but Kelly and I were able to give our son Cole a Christmas gift that we thought he'd never forget... Phillies spring training tickets.

I don't leave home often without my kids. Being a stay at home dad by definition means that they are almost always with me. Arden is especially always close to me, be it in distance or contact and I don't often have the opportunity to relinquish her care. Last week however was a boys week, Cole and I went to Clearwater, Florida to watch the Phillies get ready for the 2012 season while Kelly stayed at home with Arden.

This trip was to be my second diabetes free week in five years. I still maintained communication with the school nurses but after Arden arrived home from school, Kelly took the reigns. Kelly deserves a big shout out... she did a terrific job!

Our son Cole plays and loves baseball more then I'd be able to express here in a few words. An hour after we landed in Florida we were standing at the Bright House practice fields. Not five minutes after we arrived Cole turned and saw former Phillies manager, Dallas Green. His was the first signature on Cole's ball that would eventually include Mike Schmidt, Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro, Jr. and that signature marked the beginning of our week in the sun watching the Phillies.

We stood and watched as the players took batting practice, ran sprints, fielded their positions and more. Every few minutes a horn would sound and the guys would run to another station. Cole was enjoying himself in a way that I've never seen, his smile truly reached from ear to ear.

CLiff Lee, Carlos Ruiz

Every day around 10 am Cole would stand outside of the outfield fence and try to catch home run balls as the sailed over. After he was finished, I'd get out my glove and he and I would throw a ball. This was my absolute favorite part of the trip. Standing just outside of where his baseball idols were playing, having a catch with my son. It was so relaxing and so heartwarming. Imagine your child's favorite thing in the world, imagine being at the place where it happens and feeling so close to it that you could imagine that thing for yourself. That's what this was for Cole and I was fortunate enough to be there when he felt it.

We attended a game each day, five in all. In the evenings we'd have dinner and laugh together, never once did I wonder how many carbs were in the food we were eating. It was nice not to think about diabetes. One evening at dinner I consciously thought, "this is wonderful... not having to look across the table, trying to guess how many carbs are in Arden's meal". The good feeling that accompanied that thought only lasted a moment because my follow up thought was so incredibly sad. I found myself pondering the idea that Arden would never experience this feeling as long as diabetes was a part of her life. I felt an incredible guilt for being able to escape diabetes when Arden isn't able to do the same. Those thoughts and feelings were incredibly sobering, they literally showed me where the term, "feels like a wet blanket" came from. I instantly felt the weight of her reality, I realized that Arden likely won't feel this release for a very long time, if ever.

Type I has given me a heightened perspective, I feel like knowing just how difficult life can be with diabetes allows me to properly put other situations into their place. I used that perspective, summoned up the resilience that diabetes has given me and shook off that terrible notion. I turned my attention back to our dinner conversation and was able to separate what was happening in my life in that moment from what I knew was happening in Arden and Kelly's back home.

Spring training was a marvelous experience, one that we may try to do again one day. I want to thank the Phillies Director of Public Affairs, Scott Palmer for the kindness he showed to Cole while we were in Clearwater. I wrote to the Phillies and told them that we were coming to spring training, I explained how often diabetes effects out lives and how wonderful Cole is at supporting his sister and patiently waiting while we treat low BGs, wait to eat and more. I expressed how much I'd like this trip to be just about Cole and that I wanted to make it extra special for him if I could. Mr. Palmer met us at our seats, spoke with Cole and gave him a ball signed by Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. In a week full of ear to ear smiles, this moment ranked right at the top for Cole and I am grateful to Mr. Palmer and the Phillies for taking the time. 

Cole with Scott Palmer

To see more photographs from the trip please go to the Visual Record.



Made our own pots and pans moment

About an hour after I wrote 'Pots, Pans, Baseball, Fathers and Sons' I decided that Cole and I should make our way down to Citizens Bank Park to make a memory of our own. Game one of the 2011 NLDS between the Phillies and Cardinals was without a doubt the most exciting live sporting event that I have ever attended. When Ryan Howard hit this home run to put the Phillies ahead Cole was standing in front of me, I put my left arm across his chest and we jumped up and down together, screaming like maniacs... I still don't have my voice back.

I hope that everyone gets to do something like this at least once... it's unlike any other communal experience I've ever encountered.

I've added some of the pictures that I took at the game to the Visual Record, I hope you enjoy them!



Pots, Pans, baseball, fathers and sons

Chase Utley, the player Cole models himself after. Photo by me.

I grew up in a small suburb just outside of Philadelphia. My family enjoyed baseball but they weren't rabid fans. We cheered for the home team and watched some of the game's best play. There were far more bad seasons then good and only one great one... 1980 was the year that our team, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series. I was nine years old the night they won, I remember that I was awake past my bedtime when Tug McGraw struck out the last batter to bring the Phillies and Philadelphia fans their first ever World Series title.

What happened next is maybe one of my most found memories of my Dad. He erupted, ran to the kitchen and then outside. My father, a man that didn't show a lot of excitement normally, stood outside of my home banging pots together as if the act was going to save the world. I was confused for a moment but when I walked outside to figure out what was happening, I realized that my dad wasn't the only one abusing cookware. There was a symphony of pots clanging, it's a sound that I never imagined existed before that moment and it filled the night air as if the noise was playing over a stadium loudspeaker. The celebration seemed to go on forever and it felt like joy channeled through pots and pans.

As the years passed I stopped watching and following baseball, I'd lost the passion for the game and I never really considered going back to it, until 2008. Now I know what you are thinking... that I jumped back on the bandwagon but my return to baseball didn't have anything to do with my wanting to watch Major League Baseball. I started watching again for my son, Cole.

Cole has been playing baseball since he was four (he's eleven now), we could see since he was two years old that he may have an talent for the game. Kelly asked me to sign him up early even though I wanted to wait until he was five. She said, "he's so good at it... we should let him play" - and she was right!

Sometime in 2008, about four years after Cole began playing baseball I noticed that he sometimes, despite his natural ability, looked a bit lost. Then it hit me, "we don't watch baseball, how would he know?". So I turned on the television and you know what I saw... the Philadelphia Phillies were a really good baseball team - I honestly didn't know. Initially we watched so he could see situations and understand the flow of a game better. Initially.

Three years later Cole and I watch baseball together a lot, we go to the Phillies games when we can and share the game in a way that may defy understanding unless you're a father or a son. It turns out that it's not the game that I loved as a child, it was watching it with my dad.

Citizens Bank Park 2010

We've seen some amazing baseball together but I've most enjoyed watching him play. Cole is a five time all-star in our town, an amazing outfielder, a wonderful middle infielder and he plays in a way that any fan would appreciate. I've never had to remind Cole of a game or a practice, he doesn't complain about the heat in the summer or the cold and rain in the fall. He constantly turns down offers to play other sports so that he can play as much baseball as he can squeeze in. He's a fantastic player and an even more amazing son.

Lead off double - Fall 2011

I'm telling you about all of this because baseball deserves for me to...

The other night we left Cole's practice and rushed home to watch the last 2011 regular season Phillies game together. The girls had the living room television when we arrived so we went upstairs to my room and turned on the game. The Phillies were down 3-1 when we turned on the TV. I told Cole that I had a good feeling that they'd find a way to win since they were playing to set the franchise record for wins in a season (102). Cole moved close to me and put his head on my chest like he did when he was much younger. We laid there together and watched as the game went into extra innings, it reminded me of how we'd nap together when he was a baby. 


2002, the first year we saw him swing a bat

It's been said a million times before but bears repeating, there is something magical about baseball. I'm going to post this now and then go to the field to watch Cole play this afternoon. When we get home tonight our entire family will watch the Phillies play game one of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals. Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll bang some pots together with my son.