I’ll try to briefly recap the last day of my thirties.
I woke up a bit groggy, which is not at all unusual because my wife hops out of bed at 5:30 am every morning to work “East Coast hours” because her boss, the CEO, lives and works in Connecticut. She lets Blue Boy out of the living room (aka “Blue’s Room”) where he’s fenced in so we don’t hear him romping around on the hardwood floors all night and he diligently jumps onto our bed to help me wake up.
At this point, I look over at the clock and it’s always within five minutes of 5:45 am. Today was no exception.
This morning my wife worked from Blue’s Room. Sometimes I see her in the office, but since she had no early morning calls, she was there. I kissed her and removed the pads from the couches which indicate to Blue that he doesn’t belong on this furniture. I folded up the fences, set them aside, and proceeded to make coffee.
We religiously drink whole bean Peet’s French Roast, ground up just seconds before brewing. Today was no exception.
With the coffee brewing, I headed upstairs to the luxurious media room with the massive sectional couch we purchased from Ethan Allen after agonizing amounts of research. I walk up here and it makes me happy every time. We nailed it. Everything about this room is fantastic. I’m starting to perk up at this point, about 6:00 am, and I switch on our massive Samsung The Frame television and toggle over to the NBC app to watch the previous night’s Nightly News with Lester Holt. I don’t particularly like this show, but it goes ten minutes exactly before the first commercial break and that’s exactly how long my morning core workout takes.
So I start the show, begin tracking a Core Workout on my Apple Watch, and assume the plank position, elbows down, for four minutes. This usually is long enough to get through the Trump segment and something about police brutality. Today was no exception.
I just listen because four minutes in an elbow plank is hard even though I’ve been doing it now for months. I don’t need the extra strain to try to see the TV up on the wall to my right.
I’m just starting to sweat as 3:45 roles around and I try not stare at my watch for the last 15 seconds. Finally, I do bird dogs, star crunches, some isometric holds, and close out with a few leg stretches and rolling plank pushups. I usually go just over ten minutes, more if one of the stories grabs my attention and I end up watching for 30 seconds in between moves. These short breaks are an indulgence.
Another indulgence awaits — sweet cream in my coffee! I used to drink coffee black, like my wife, and I still like it black, but I really love it with sweet cream. Rather than buying it from the store, I’ve found I get the flavor and the creaminess simply by mixing syrup and milk into my coffee. That’s it, and it’s wonderful.
At this point, it’s about 6:15 am. My wife is still working, in the midst of emails or whatever. She usually doesn’t talk to me at this time in the morning. On my best days, I’ll avoid my laptop and instead head outside where some compassionate person dropped off today’s East Bay Times on my driveway. It still tickles me that every day I get this delivery for practically nothing.
Then I sit, in Blue’s Room, and read the paper while my wife does her emails or whatever. At some point she’ll stop working and chat, or one or both of my daughters will emerge from their slumbers, cuddle up to us and start talking about breakfast. I’m pretty sure that happened today around 6:30 am. They both came out and asked what’s for breakfast. We answered that question with some poppyseed muffins from Costco and a couple of bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios. I partook in both.
We all get dressed after breakfast. The girls brushed their hair and teeth and I put on some chinos and a polo shirt since today was a teaching day at DVC. Normally I walk the girls out promptly at 7:25 am to their bus stop but today my wife offered to take them. I obliged and continued playing guitar on our porch, as I’m prone to do on most weekdays in the 15 minutes before we leave for the bus stop. Today was no exception.
I practiced the lyrics to Suzanne by Leonard Cohen and got on a MightySignal sales team call. After that, I headed to DVC, calling in an order to Morucci’s for sandwiches from the road. I needed to pick them up on my way back and they get very very busy during lunchtime.
From 9:35 am to 11 am at DVC this morning I taught Introduction to Marketing. It was my second day of class today and I had a lot of participation. We talked about the Marketing Mix, Marketing Envirnoment, and Marketing Orientation. I told them about Lee Iacocca, the legendary President of Ford and CEO of Chrysler during the 70s and 80s, and we talked about the automobile industry marketing mix and environment in the context of the period. It was a great discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recognized that 15 years after my last formal education I’ve continued to learn a lot.
The lecture went quickly, which I’ve learned is always a good sign, and after fielding a few logistical questions from my students after class, I sped home, picking up those sandwiches on the way. I also went by our local liquor store and got some Campari, Gran Marnier, sparkling wine, and a fancy expensive liqueur I’d never heard of, but it looked old and Italian so I bought it. Sonny was behind the counter again and I know he appreciates my boozy shopping sprees.
At home I went to work, setting up my audio equipment for the soundcheck my friend and I planned to prepare for my birthday party concert this weekend. The gear looks like this:
- Two mics and stands
- Two guitar stands
- Two music stands
- A four-track Mackie mixer
- A super simple PA with two channels in
- Tube amp (Peavey Classic 30)
- My best two guitars (Webber and Fender Tele)
My friend showed up just as I finished prepping the sandwiches, at 12:30 pm. Minutes later, we got our outdoor furniture delivery, a nice set of two wicker lounge chairs and a couch, as well as a nice teak coffee table. We sat on our brand new furniture and ate Morucci’s sandwiches.
For the following two hours, we played music. He did most of the lead vocals and I played more electric guitar than I expected I’d play. It just sounded so good. I was happy with the harmonies I added and again loved the fact that he plays harmonica so well. It’s such a wonderful addition to the mix of sounds.
At 3:00 pm, he headed home to Novato, and I turned my attention to the many parts of the basketball backboard that I purchased online to replace the one that our contractors damaged during the big remodel. After a bunch of trial and error, I figured out that the best way to attach the backboard to the original pole mount was to take part of the pole mount apart. With some WD-40 and a couple of pliers, I was able to detach it, making the assembly process a lot easier.
Another thing I’ve noticed, as I’ve approached 40, is my confidence in figuring out these silly handy projects has increased dramatically. I know to expect things not to match up perfectly, for the instructions to be wrong or a part to be missing. I embrace that part of the challenge.
This project was no exception. My mounting bracket is old; the angles don’t match up to the new backboard very well. I didn’t buy a new mounting bracket, so I used my hammer to solve the problem.
At 5:00 pm our neighbors and their two boys came over. I was happy with my progress on the backboard and went into our kitchen to make a Campari spritz using the ingredients I bought from Sonny. My wife was enjoying the new outdoor couch, listening to music on the outdoor speakers, looking as beautiful as ever. We sat for a while, letting the kids play upstairs in the TV room where I did my core workout this morning. At 5:30 pm I fired up the grill and slathered the salmon my wife bought earlier today with olive oil and a lot of sea salt.
The grill was hot. I put the salmon flesh-side down and watched the flames come up. I tried to put them out, turned down the heat, and tried again. Eventually, the grill settled down and I lowered the lid and set a timer for six minutes. I talked to our neighbor friends, trying to keep an eye on the grill to put out more flare-ups. I flipped over the salmon, put them up on the roasting rack, and closed the lid again. Two minutes later I took off the salmon and brought it inside, most of it golden orange, a few bits blackened from the flames.
Our friends stayed until 8:00 pm. The grilled salmon tacos were delicious, a real treat. We finished the Campari spritz and the bottle of wine they brought. I admired the beautiful cleaver they gave me for my birthday. We put pajamas on our kids and helped them fall asleep. At 9:00 pm I talked to my wife for a few minutes and then came up here to write this post.
I turn 40 tomorrow.
What have I learned? Well, let me count the ways:
- I always enjoyed grilling. I enjoyed it in my 20s. I’m better at it now because I can afford nicer meats.
- I made lasting friends in college, at my first job, and at grad school. Today, most of my friends are my neighbors. I’m totally fine with that.
- I always wondered, growing up, what it would feel like to be able to spend up to $100 on groceries or dinner or whatever and not even care about it. I’ve known this feeling for a while now, and it’s a wonderful feeling, and I’m still grateful to feel it. I hope I stay that way.
- Relationships take work, moreso as you get older.
- Being fit takes work, moreso as you get older.
- Disposable income and disposable time are a great combination.
I don’t feel 40. I recognize that I am 40 and I don’t fight it. But the “40” that I thought of growing up is not the 40 that I see in me today. I have all the enthusiasm and hopes and dreams that I had at 20. I’m in better shape, probably in much better shape, and I’m more established and with far more financial stability. By these metrics, I’m better at 40 than at 20. I believe that. I hope it’s still true at 50.
So I leave my 30s tonight with this blog post, a glimpse into a day not unlike most of the days of my 30s, and probably not unlike many of the days I will have in my 40s.
I’m happy and excited.
Today was no exception.