Two weeks ago I turned 40 years old. Yep, the big 4-0. El cuarenta grande.
As in old enough to graduate high school. Twice. And have four years to spare.
And it is kinda freaking me out.
Every little thing is reminding me just how human I am. Every time my knees crack and snap when I get up or walk, I am no longer thinking that everything will be fine once I can start running again and get this winter weight off. No…No…No… Now I am wondering how long I can hold off having to get my knees replaced.
As I child, I always though that I had some kind of special power. Like a comic book superhero, my injuries would be less severe than “normal people” or that they would heal faster by some super ability. I even went so far as to thinking my parents had mistakenly left me in playground over top of some toxic waste dump – granting me massive strength and regenerative cells instead of making my hair fall out (wait…).
But statistically, I have officially lived over half of my lifetime. Forget about being on the front side of my forties or the ridiculous claim that “40 is the new 25″. I am on the freaking backside of LIFE dude. A sure, slow decent into the cruel butt cavern of consciousness.
Oh and speaking of butts.
Back when I was 35 I managed to negotiate my way out of getting a prostate exam. During a routine doctor visit, I explained to my friendly physician my family history and after some contemplation, he declared that I could hold off until I was 40. Back then I was ecstatic.
Now I am terrified.
I have said it before and I will probably say it again – but I am extremely uncomfortable with anything that is NOT clothing coming anywhere near that area of my body. The only person I have let even remotely close in the last 30 years has been the WonderWife, and that was to take care of an unfortunate medical condition involving Preparation H.
What? Too much info?
My thoughts are immature. I realize that. But, just like my irrational fear of ingesting pickles, I cannot shake it – it is a fear that haunts me. But here are some things I do know:
1) The night before the appointment, my wife will build me up with a famed Knute Rockne-esque speech. 2) By morning I will act like nothing is bothering me and go to this appointment full of mock confidence and machismo. 3) Five minutes before the procedure, I will be cursing my parents for NOT leaving me on a playground on top of toxic waste.
But life has a funny way of putting things in perspective. As I dread getting older and going past my prime, as I must face my ridiculous fear of my upcoming prostate exam, as I sat there celebrating my venture into my next year of life – with cake in front of me and the smiling faces of my family singing Happy Birthday – I could not help but was think to myself, “It couldn’t get much better.”
What does a new year mean to you? A fresh start? New opportunities? A time to reflect on the past and set goals for the future?
With My Grimm Reality, it is all of the above.
So here we go. The Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Please take your seat, fasten your seat belt and also make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright positions.
Oh, and you might want to hang on.
While it would be very easy to give you another list of UnResolutions that I will undoubtedly be 100% successful in NOT doing, I have decided to look into my crystal ball and see what my future holds. Will it show full of fame and fortune? Parties and promotions? Or will it show the reflection of a grizzled face of a man who looks much older than his 40 years?
Let’s find out.
January 1 : Grimm starts his new diet. This is quickly abolished by the fact that that he has an unfinished 2-liter of Pepsi and 1/2 bag of Doritos that need to be eaten. You just cannot expect to start a diet with such temptation in the house.
January 2: Grimm starts his new diet – again. And again, it is swiftly revoked due to his birthday being just one week away. Considering Grimm is always leaning toward being polite, it would be rude of him not to have all of the delicacies that were prepared for that special day.
January 9: Grimm starts his new diet. Now he can truly start fresh – the birthday cake has been eaten, the high-calorie soda has been vanquished and no more temptation can be located – or stashed away to a secret location unbeknownst to him.
January 11 : Grimm is going through severe snack withdrawal as he has searched the house in desperation looking for that last morsel of goodness - on the floor, under the sofa cushions – EVERYWHERE. But to no avail. This is shocking to Grimm because he has three girls who are not the most cleanliest of snackers. He hates dieting and it’s only been three days.
February 14 : Valentine’s Day.Grimm gives his lovely wife and wonderful kids each a small box of chocolates which they quickly devour in front of him. They give him a 12-pack of rice cakes and tofu bars. Grimm is not amused.
February 20 : While playing Just Dance 4 with Bug, Grimm pulls both hamstrings and strains his Maximus Gluteus. This will cause him to shuffle around like an elderly person for the next two weeks, to much delight from his family and coworkers.
March 15 : Grimm celebrates being married to the most wonderful woman in the world for nine years by taking her to a semi-nearby casino under the strict condition that she cannot go into labor during the trip. This condition will be tested when she wins $5,000 on a Sex And The City slot machine and is shown break dancing in the aisle.
March 22: The Boy is born. While his daughters quickly attempt to adorn him in unicorn onesies and rainbow pajamas, Grimm counters this by throwing NERF footballs at him and by teaching him the proper way to throw a fastball. Jackson screams in encouragement (at least I think it is encouragement) then goes back to eating.
April 19 : The birthday party for his sweet little Bear is today. The wife and kids celebrate with pizza, chocolate cake and ice cream. Grimm parties with a bottle of water and a stick of sugarless gum. He then decides to make Bug and Bear run extra laps at their next softball practice.
May 12 : As the pitcher for Bug’s coach pitch softball team, Grimm gets drilled five times in one game for what he is told is a new county record. Although tempted, Grimm somehow resists the urge to retaliate by throwing pitches at them.
May 20 : The Boy turns two months today. To date he has declined an offer to join the “Sisters Club” as well as declaring himself the master of anal toxicity. During this time, Grimm has changed…(sixty divided by… carry the one…) exactly two diapers.
June 3 : While working out on the elliptical, Grimm overdoes things a tad bit while trying to finish in a flurry. The result is a crater in the ceiling plaster and a new lump on the top of Grimm’s head. Both are called improvements.
June 22: Today Grimm celebrates the birthdays of my wonderful wife and my firstborn. He surprises them with breakfast – pancakes, extra crispy eggs, burnt toast and black, shriveled pieces of meat that at one time resembled bacon. After Bug chips a tooth, Grimm is declared banned from the kitchen.
July 4 : To celebrate Independence Day, Grimm buys fireworks at a small Army surplus store. Fire departments from three counties are called to his home when his garage goes aflame. Grimm blames a jealous neighbor for snitching on him and a faulty M-1000 for his garage turning to ash.
August 10 : Grimm competes in his first 5K race in over two years and finishes an outstanding second in his age group. Witnesses are paid not to mention of there only being two competing in his age group and that the other finished a mere 17 minutes in front of him.
September 8 : The Boy has discovered the importance of NASCAR racing and the National Football League. He is now a permanent fixture on the lap of Grimm every Sunday. Coincidentally, The Boy has developed the ability to time his bowel movements to whenever America’s Next Top Model or Dance Mom comes on the television. Grimm loves this kid.
September 22 : Grimm grants the birthday wish of his now three-year old Bee by allowing himself to be dressed as a princess – complete with a makeover given by her older sisters. All known visual footage of this event will be destroyed a few hours later.
October 31 : Today Grimm fulfills his lifelong dream of being Herman Munster for Halloween. His wife is genuinely impressed by how little makeup is needed to make him look like a Frankenstein monster. Not amused, Grimm deletes her game of Where’s My Water off of her IPad.
November 28 : Grimm splurges on the fantastic Thanksgiving dinner prepared by his family – tender turkey, homemade noodles and stuffing, glorious mashed potatoes and chocolate pie are happily piled into his waiting stomach. For today, Grimm does not care about the 25 pounds he put on in one day.
November 29 : Grimm is caring about the 25 pounds he put on yesterday.
December 1: Grimm and his wife shall begin the strenuous task of Christmas shopping. To get everything on the lists of our children will entail taking out three loans and maxing out two credit cards. Grimm considers re-wrapping presents from last year that they did not play with.
December 25 : In an eerie case of history repeating itself, Grimm and his wife will again be up until the wee hours Christmas morning. Where last year it was putting together a kitchen set for the girls, this year it will building a basketball gymnasium for The Boy.
From this angle it doesn’t appear that 2013 will be too bad a year after all. A little painful maybe, but as they say – no pain, no gain right?
Whenever I think there is no possible way that I could love my wife more than I do, I am reminded that I can. Sometimes it is something simple like her buying me a bottle of Pepsi when she knows I have run out or sneaking a five-dollar bill into my ashtray as a surprise or jumping my bones when I think she is asleep. Other times, it is much more complex – something that is much more than physical. Something that snaps into focus the love we have for one another.
We do not get many moments where it is just the wife and myself alone from the kids. Aside from those brief encounters in the kitchen where a kiss on the neck is all can do before the Mushy Police show up – in the form of our children with the uncanny propensity to squash all romance and make the remote possibility of a fourth child nothing but a dream. And with a final glance of a passionate spark drenched in the sticky remnants of a melted Popsicle, our moment is gone.
Still my wife makes sure that we get our time together.
Take for example, the television. While she could watch all of our favorite shows throughout the week while I am away at work – she chooses not to – instead waiting until I am home so we can watch them together. It is our together time. Our time to watch what we want, lounging around on the couch watching “Hell’s Kitchen” or “Falling Skies” and sharing how our days have went. These usually means that we stay up until the wee hours of the morning and are totally exhausted by the end of our viewing session, but for us it is worth it.
Last night was another one of our late night/early morning viewing sessions and neither one of us really was in a fully conscious state as we hit the sheets. We kissed and said “I Love You” that in our fatigued state probably sounded more like “Iwubooooo” and quickly followed by a duet of snores. This night however, she reached over for one last loving caress and I held her hand in mine. In my semi-conscious state I remember thinking to myself if I was squeezing her hand too hard and that maybe I should let it go so that her blood flow doesn’t get cut off and we have to amputate her hand in the morning.
But then I felt something. A heartbeat.
I smiled to myself hoping she might feel it as well and in some weird way my heartbeat would grant her some super-fantastic-awesome dreams. You know the ones – where you wake up and you are just a little miffed because in your dream you actually had central air conditioning that worked? Ok, maybe that is just mine. As a laid there next to her, hearing her breathe deeply in a restful slumber I quickly began my decent into my own coma when I felt something else…
At first I thought I was dreaming, but yet as I managed to barely open one eye – I felt it again.
It wasn’t just one heartbeat. It was two. Beating together.
While it could have been sleep deprivation that helped intensify the pulses in our hands, I can only compare it to that of hearing the heartbeat of my firstborn or feeling her kick for the first time. I have always believed that if there was only one person in this world for me – then that person would be my wife. I think that this little moment – this fleeting instant in time where I could have just as easily passed out and missed out in the experience – are the things that make life so fascinating and worth living.
I didn’t wake my wife and I will probably regret it once she reads this, because if the roles were reversed – she would have awoken me. Or at least tried to (once I am out, I am really out). She is pretty awesome like that.
Christmas just would not be Christmas unless I gave to you the gift of gifts. Over the years I have shown you such wonderous things like a double-barreled marshmellow crossbow, a laser beam guarded safe, a vintage lunch lady figurine (complete with horn-rimmed glasses), and of course the unfortunate kit that can shape your poop into “amazing” designs. This is the 5-year anniversary for the Toy Guides, and I hope that the 2011 edition will give you as much fun as the first.
So without further ado, I humbly give to you – Grimm’s 2011 Toy Guide.
Below is the link to all of the previous Toy Guides, and as I have done before, I have updated the availability and prices of everything I have ever listed as of November 23, 2011.
Description: The Bubble Calendar is appropriate for any design (and fun) conscious home or office. Just make sure that jealous friends and co-workers don’t pop your bubbles! It’s also perfect gift for that obsessive person in your life… as long as they don’t pop the whole year the first day!
The calendar is fully functional, with days of the week and all major U.S. holidays marked and weekends bolded for easy reference. (Perpetual Kid)
The Grimm Review:4 Stars
C’mon it’s bubble wrap. 366 freaking days worth! And while this may not be the best gift for the workplace (stupid Tom from the cubicle next door will pop the entire year while you are away getting coffee), this could be a fun and educational gift for the kids. The price is fairly reasonable, considering you are paying for a sheet full of 366 plastic pockets of air. But seriously, it is bubble wrap with a purpose! Besides, what better way to base your day than on the power of the pop? A loud and proud pop means you have something to look forward to. A weak, quiet deflation means – well, you’re screwed. Unless you are a ninja, gas, or better yet - ninja gas, then you totally can be of the silent but deadly clan.
Prices as of 11/18/2011:
$8.99 – $9.50 (50 grams – 1,250 balls) on Vat19
$3.95 (4 oz. – 50 balls) on FatBrainToys
$4.95 (4 oz. – 50 balls) on Amazon
Description: Spitballs are the amazing orbs that grow up to 200 times their original size when immersed in water.
Designed for bouncing, throwing, and smashing, Spitballs resemble kernels of salt prior to activation. When dropped into a bowl of warm water, they’ll begin their metamorphosis. The longer they soak, the bigger they get. Growing to the size of a pea within five minutes, most Spitballs will eclipse the size of an acorn within a few hours.
If left out to dry, Spitballs will slowly return to their original size, so you can reuse them again and again. Each 50-gram bag includes approximately 1,250 slippery, squishy, and explosive Spitballs. Available in regular and glow-in-the-dark styles. (Vat 19)
The Grimm Review:4 Stars
If you are like me, you are probably wondering why I didn’t try and market this kind of thing back in Mrs. Horner’s 6th grade math class (I seriously could have made a killing). But once you discover the science behind these tiny little balls you will be amazed at how they actually work. What starts out looking like tiny grains of salt can grow up to 200 times their original size depending on how long you let them soak in water – especially cool if you don’t just want to bug your significant other, you want to blast them full force in the face. If you are the artsy type and want colored balls, no problem – just let them soak in water with food coloring of your favorite color. The only downside, is that these balls can become a choking hazard and are not recommended for kids under three. Here is a fantastic video from one of our links above, Vat19.
Description: Advanced LED lighting technology melds with nostalgic presentation to create this sleek, one-of-a-kind alarm clock. Medium-intensity red LEDs provide the perfect level of brightness for day or night-time use. Easy to use. Includes multi-function alarm.
Includes AC power cord.
Dimensions: 9.5 W x 4 H x 1.75 D inches (Discovery Store)
The Grimm Review:2 Stars
I will confess I am somewhat conflicted on this. On one hand, I love the idea of a digital alarm clock in block form. You can place tiny fun objects in the tiny squares as a reflection of your personality (read: mega-dweeb). On the other hand, with my horrible eyesight, I have never been able to read them that well. Is that a “0″ , an”8″, a “6″ or a “5″? Add to the fact that I would be reading the clock through half-opened, gunk-filled eyes and there is no way I would ever be on time. My other issue is the price, as for $50, I would expect much more than just a cool looking alarm clock. Like maybe a lazer light show and breakfast in bed. Yeah, that would be cool.
Description: H2Goo ellibaff turns bath water into goo… and back again! Bathe in magic goo! Great fun! The ultimate bath time fun. H2Goo Gellibaff turns bath water into goo… and back again! Available in gloriously bright colours and new colour changing magic goo too! Turn bath time into play time! Simply run your a bath, add H2Goo Gelli Baff and watch in amazement as your boring bath water magically turns into a fun, thick goo. H2Goo Gellibaff is a completely harmless powder that soaks up 400 times its own weight in water. And there’s no need to worry about cleaning up either – when the fun’s all done, simply add the sachet of dissolver powder and the goo disappears as magically as it appeared. The goo reverts back to plain old coloured bath water so don’t worry about it blocking or clogging the bath, it won’t! H2Goo Gellibaff is a harmless powder which holds 400 times its own weight in water. The dissolver sachet powder is simply pure table salt, the same as you put on your table! Completely safe, H2Goo Gellibaff conforms to strict testing and safety regulations and doesn’t stain your towels, carpets or kids.
Prepare it: Simply run a bath, sprinkle in a pouch of “goo former” and watch in amazement as the water turns into glorious goo! Then let the kids get in and have fun. Good clean fun: H2Goo Gelli Baff doesn’t stain carpets or kids! This product contains no harmful chemicals. As well as being great fun, the goo softens and cleans the skin.
Dissolve it: When the kids have finished playing, simply add the “goo dissolver” and watch the goo magically turn back into water! (Pleae read the instructions carefully before using the product). Contains enough H2Goo Gelli Baff for one 40 litre (10.57 gallon) bath or 2 x 20 litre (5.28 gallon) baths. (Amazon)
The Grimm Review:4 Stars
There is no question that I love the odd and the unordinary when it comes to gift giving over the holidays, but my intentions with this gift is just pure evil. I can just imagine the look on my kids faces as we sneak the packet into their baths one evening and they realize that something is happening to the water. After both claim the other went to the bathroom in the tub, the wife and I will claim that it is in fact their naughtiness oozing out of them and they must stay in the tub into it all goes away. Now it must be noted that for the price, you only get 1 packet of “goo former” and one packet of “goo dissolver”, and that is the sole reason this doesn’t get a perfect 5 stars. Still, the idea of instilling fear into my kids is too great to pass this item up.
Prices as of 11/23/2011:
$24.99 on ThinkGeek(sale)
Description: Huey is an electronic lamp that dynamically matches the color of whatever he sits on. Have a favorite green notebook? Plop Huey down on top and he matches the color with his glowing skin. Just painted your room Cerulean Blue? Hold Huey against the wall, the gently squeeze him and he will hold the color, even if you put him down on your brown nightstand. Huey even comes with a color cycle mode if you are indecisive. Watch him pop from color to color and give him a reassuring squeeze when he gets to the one you like. Huey the Color Copying Chameleon Lamp makes an adorable addition to your wee geeks room, but he’s a great friend to anyone who loves color. (ThinkGeek)
The Grimm Review:3 Stars
It may seem as though I have this weird fascination with nightlights this year. I guess in a way, you are right – but I also believe in the power of blowing the minds of my kids and this little fella will do just that. There is just something about having the kids think their dorky old dad is the coolest dude in the house – at least for one day. Huey loses a little bit due to warnings of it not being suitable for ages 6 and under and to keep him away from children 3 and under due to an apparent power adapter, but if you have that preteen that appreciates a groovy lightshow or a 37-year old that still lives in your basement while smoking to much weed then this is the gift for them.