Rather than resolutions, which I have long since abandoned, I tend to focus on revelations, as in "what did I learn in the past year?". As I age, the list of revelations I mentally stockpile each January tends to dwindle, but I am still able to sit back in a bit of awe at some of the things I'm still learning each year. Here are three that hit me this year:
1) I may be losing a bit of testosterone.
This revelation came in October. The day started out testosteroney enough - I played a semi-vigorous game of football in the late morning with the uber-elite Schlitz Sporting Club, followed immediately with a few beers while hanging in the park (just like high school!). As we departed, I decided to go for a bike ride as I had been itching to check out the new Lowry Bridge (transit nerds give me a holla). On my way, I happened upon Jimmy's Bar, a place where my buddy Danny and I often meet for meat raffle/pull tab/happy hours. I wanted to guilt Danny for not showing up for football, so I pulled up to snap a photo of the sign to send him. As I sat straddling my bike, clad in tight (for me, anyways) sweatpants, windshirt, massive bike helmet and snapping away on my phone, two gentlemen stepped out of the bar. The two were of vastly different shapes (think Shaquille O'Neal standing next to Kerri Strug) but of equal shit-faced drunkenness. I was into geeking out my photo, so I didn't really pay them much attention. The bigger of the two fellas popped a cig in his mouth and ambled towards me, the little one close at his heels. I, still focused on my photo, continued to pay no attention. Finally, as the big fella put his thumb and middle finger together and snapped my helmet with considerable force, I was forced to give them notice. I looked up at the guy (and it was up) and noticed his eyes were kind of off in two separate directions - not because he was born that way or had a horrible accident, but because the sheer amount of alcohol he had consumed had filled his massive frame to the point that is was seeping into his ocular cavity and forcing one of his eyeballs to the side. I uttered an inquisitive "Hey?", to which he responded, "You rellly tink dat hellmuts gonna help you?". Meanwhile, his buddy kept staring at his own shuffling feet and muttering "mmm-hmmm" over and over. I, quite neutrally, replied "not really". His quite logical response was "then why the fuck are you wearing it?". He had me. At a loss, I replied, "Because it look cool?" My new friend thought a moment and said, "No, it makes you look" - literally a 30 second pause here - "fucking stupid!!!". I wasn't quite sure how to respond, but didn't really need to, as his buddy, still staring at his fascinating foot shuffling, said "C'mon Dave, he ain't worth it". After a ten second pause, "Dave" said, "yeah, you ain't worth it" and the two walked away. Here comes the kicker: Not until Dave told me I wasn't worth it did I realize he was looking for a fight. The entire time I was thinking Yay! New friends! (Spongebob voice). When I got home and relayed the magnitude of my misinterpretation to KT, her response was, "whoa...Low-T" (Apparently there is an informercial that airs in the middle of the night when our television is always on but rarely watched for a new drug called Low-T that I don't need to explain what it treats). She may be right, but, Hey! New friends!
2) KT likes it rough
Late this summer, our washing machine began leaving giant brown smears on all of our laundry. Nearly all of our light-hued clothing became blemished with sporadic giant poop looking stains. We got by for a while by using the laundromat and Greta's place, but KT finally had enough and starting searching Craig's List for a new machine. She found one rather quickly and, with her mother, went and sealed the deal, bringing Lady Kenmore into our life. Lady Kenmore is not the name we have given her, but rather the name the marketing geniuses at Sears, Roebuck & Co. had decided to name their washers in the 1970's. This machine is a giant. Weighing in at a cool 3000 pounds, and a beautiful olive in color, the Lady Kenmore is truly a classic. Each washing cycle the Lady Kenmore will use enough water to drown a small village and she will severely punish your clothing for being dirty. The Good Lady Kenmore doesn't do delicate. She beats the living hell out of your laundry, striking a paralyzing fear in our clothes of ever being dirty again. Lady Kenmore has destroyed more than one of Audrey's sweaters and stretched out underwear to the point of no return. Audrey hates her, Al and I fear her, and KT (of course) is head-over-heels in love with the Lady Kenmore. She has never been happier with the sheer industrial-strength smell and look of our laundry. More than once, I have caught her purring "Laaaaadyyyy Kenmore" to the machine as she pulls the clothes out. It's a bit alarming, but if a few ruined items of clothing keep her happy, I'm willing to pay the price.
3. Cats make noise
I've been progressively losing my hearing for several years and a lethal combination of stubbornness and ridiculously restrictive insurance policies had prevented me from ever taking the necessary steps to do anything about it. Finally, in March, I made an appointment with an audiologist at the University of Minnesota (a wonderful place, by the way). An exam showed my hearing to be at about 40% of normal and down to 20% at high frequencies. I knew my hearing was bad, but was surprised by exactly how bad it was. I was fitted with hearing aids, have been wearing them since and regret I didn't do this 10 years earlier. The most amazing part of hearing again for me has been the cat. Until getting my hearing aids, I never realized that our cat made noise. I knew in theory that cats could meow, but I always assumed that only happy cats meowed. Uma is not a happy cat. She is a constantly cranky asshole who wants nothing more than to confuse the hell out of us. She will go from "love me" to "I will kill you in your sleep if you ever touch me again" within seconds. She has tortured the dog with sneak attacks for so long that poor Maggie is a shivering paranoid mess. It never occurred to me that Uma was actually making noise when she bared her teeth at me. My shock upon hearing it for the first time was such that I frantically called KT into the room, convinced I was going to have to Google "How to dispose of a dead cat". It took quite a bit of convincing from KT to assure me that Uma has always meowed like that and wasn't saying her final "Go to Hells". Other things have caught me by surprise (our coffee maker beeps when the coffee is done!) but I still crack up every time Uma talks.