Monday, December 31, 2007

A year in review from the jaws of a shark

One day before the start of the new year, or early this morning, I had the strangest dream.
Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you about it.
I was paddling in a hard scrabble canoe, in the kind of boat that rescued a few passengers on the Titanic. Only I wasn’t doing a very good job, and some unknown woman, not my wife (but don’t worry, honey, if you’re reading this because I’m pretty sure we weren’t having sex), starts bitching at me to paddle better. Finally I dunk us in the water, by mistake, and a huge shark starts chasing us, and I specifically remember this woman saying “Great, now we’re in the water while a shark is in it.”
The shark, though, was the shark from “Jaws,” so though it was kind of scary to be in dark waters with him chasing me, it was also sort of surreal. I wasn’t sure if I should be really terrified or just sort of wigged out.
And when I awoke this morning, at my Mom’s, with Jayden in between us because he escaped his room (my legs have bruises all down them from him kicking me) and the babies downstairs squealing for Grandmother, I tried to figure out what the dream meant.
Dreams don’t always mean something, but I think this one did.
Stay in your chair. This might take a bit. Here, let me get you a drink. It’s 11 p.m. Colorado time, an hour before the New Year, so I’m having one myself. It’s Boulevard, a Kansas City beer, and it has memories of home.
Wow. What a year. Kate and I were just saying that in just 19 days, it will be a year since our lives completely changed and we found out we were having twins. And hey, I know what they say, having kids changes your life, but our lives were already changed, thank you very much, thanks to Jayden. This was sort of like having a piano crashing over your head. Like that kind of a change, like you think you’ve got your life pretty well figured out, and then, well, now you don’t.
And boy, I bitched and complained and reveled in the news all at once, and as excited and intrigued by the whole thing as I was, I also was deeply concerned about one thing.
I did not want myself to die.
Now I wasn’t going to die, as in die die, as in Wile E. Coyote off the cliff with a little puff of smoke at the bottom. But Pokerpeaker, I feared, was going to die.
Hey, I knew some things would have to change. I tend to be a little, teensy bit selfish with my time. I’d have to learn how to be a morning person. I’d have to let some things go and really reduce a lot of other things, like being happy with the chance to play a video game for two hours a week instead of two hours a night.
Not a big deal.
But other things I didn’t want to die.
I didn’t want my mountain climbing was go off a cliff (heh). Hey, I wouldn’t climb as much, I knew that, but it could not go away.
I didn’t want my poker playing to go away. I still wanted to play online. Hey, I wouldn’t be able to play live very much, but I still wanted to play as much as I could.
And I still wanted to write and blog and do a good job at work.
And I wanted to run and stay in shape.
I wanted to still be me.
It’s a half hour before the time you’re supposed to asses whether your happy with your past year, and you wonder how you did in meeting your goals.
The mountain climbing, as predicted, did fade away some, but I was still able to guide three peaks this year. I wouldn’t want last summer to go as it did every summer, but I still got out a little bit. Now if I have another summer like last year’s, I’ll start to wonder if I’m truly still a mountain climber or if I just need to call myself a runner and be done with it. I’ll also have to eventually ask myself if I want to continue climbing the more difficult, risky mountains and whether that’s fair to my children. Running seems to be filling the competitive void that climbing, at least for now, and especially when I start doing those longer races like the one I’ll do this spring, a 15-mile race down the Poudre Canyon in Fort Collins.
This summer poker was a rough game. It saved me and caused me problems and was a source of stress when I didn’t need it and also helped me blow off even more stress. I think it was +EV on the stress reduction level, even though it wasn’t by much. Maybe 20 percent more stress blown off than it caused. I’ll have to run it through Pokerstove to be sure.
I dropped down to .10/.25 NL and usually played three tables a night just because I knew I needed to play a lot of hands and that I also wouldn’t be playing optimum poker because I was frazzled and tired.
It worked. I think, by the end of the three month period that every parent will tell you is total infant hell syndrome, I even made money. It was like $75 over hours and hours of cash game play, but it was still a profit.
Amazingly enough, not only did I achieve my goal of still playing, I discovered more about myself as a poker player. I am not a real tournament player. I am a frustrated tournament player. I am a good cash game player, however, and I have been since I started playing three years ago.
That’s what I do, and I’m good at it. So that’s what I’ll do from now on.
I’m still not much of a blogger. I don’t take the time too often to think about what I want to write before I start to write. When you write for a living, sometimes blogging is too much of a way to relax and just scribble out your thoughts. I need to change that. Blogging is a way to improve my writing and think out some complicated thoughts that I’ll be going through these next few years. Plus I need to figure out how it can be a larger source of revenue.
So this shark? Well, I took it as the shark trying to eat me, just as the twins and my crazy family life tried to get rid of who I was.
Only that’s what I thought. See, that shark was obviously fake, and I knew it in my dream. Those fears were false, a stupid reaction to an incredibly scary and stressful situation that I never thought would happen to me.
The twins were not going to kill who I was. They would only add to me.
Now I’m supposed to say how much better my life is now, that my life is changed for the better, and cue the Kleenex. But that’s not what you’ll read here.
Parents of twins, when we talk to others,will instead tell you that it was incredibly hard, but they made it through.
Thirty seconds to the New Year, and the real me is out of the water and back in that boat. Though we're not through yet, dammit, I survived.

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