POST 31 Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind…

…you pick up on spoonfulone and leave the other behind.

The Lovin’ Spoonful — 1965

No looking back now. We crossed our Rubicon last week when we signed the “build” contract. Now all efforts are on moving forward. It really is a life changing decision. Just having made it is a relief, which is not to say there won’t be any doubts along the way! But it made me thinking about decisions that I have made, either with or without Barb, through the years. And since lists are always fun, and since I don’t have to compete with David Letterman any more, here we go.

Top Ten Decisions

10. Pushing the button: This blog is fun to write and hopefully fun to read too. But there is a button at the bottom of the WordPress app that reads “Publish.” The decision to press that button is never made lightly. Every word is read and reread. Does this say what I mean? Is there a better way to get a point a cross? Is it “who” or “whom”?

9. Go Go White Sox:  I remember when I was 5  years old being asked by my dad if I was a Cubs or White Sox fan. I have absolutely no idea how I made the decision, but for some reason I squeaked out “White Sox.”  More than fifty years later I have been able to celebrate one more World Championship than I would have if I had decided the other way. Of course, the next few years may easily change the balance of those scales. Despite my loyalty to the Pale Hose, I was not able to convince Michael to follow in my footsteps, as Sammy Sosa enticed him into becoming a Cub fan. At least we share a love of the 5-0, 13th ranked  NU ‘Cats!

8. Evanston vs. Champaign: Speaking of Northwestern, my college choice is still something I wonder about. For financial reasons, I could either go to University of Illinois in Champaign, or go to Northwestern and live at home. Northwestern won out, and I value the education I got there, but I do have regrets that I did not experience campus life. Who knows, I might even have met Barb a few years earlier and we could be closing in on our 40th anniversary! (More on that choice coming up.)

7. What do you want to do with your life?: Lots of science courses, and a few role models here and there, made the decision to go into medicine pretty straight forward. Journalism lost out, as did computer science. I still wonder what Silicon Valley might have held for me.

6. Really? Really?: My turning to Pathology caught a lot of people by surprise. Weren’t pathologists nerdy people who couldn’t talk to people and were most happy cutting things up in the hospital basement? Well, um yeah! Sign me up! Actually, it has been a great decision, allowing me to practice medicine and have a wonderful family life. I have always had time to be with Barb, to enjoy time with the kids, and to treasure being a grandpa.  No regrets on this one.

5.  Can I start a lab?:  Hard to believe that it is more than 10 years since my career changed dramatically as I left hospital pathology to create a laboratory for UroPartners. Many factors influenced that decision, and a lot of sleepless nights (actually sleepless months) followed, but I am very proud of what we have here. Each step, from layout, to hiring, to getting up and running brought new challenges, but I have to say that we are looking good!

4. The Sandwich Generation: While we parent our children, we reach the point where we parent our parents as well. The decision to insist that my mother and her sister relocate to a senior living home was a distressful one for them, but it was necessary and provided each of them with several years in the appropriate environment. This was a big one, and one that I could never have accomplished without Barb’s help. She really dug in and got it done.

3. The middle school is losing its lease, something has to be done!: This one probably had more unforeseen consequences than any other. Twenty six years ago the grammar school district was creating an advisory committee — community members needed to help make a decision about building a new school. Volunteering for that committee led to a cascade of events culminating in 16 years on the Stevenson High School Board of Education, 6 years as Board President, the proud moments of winning numerous awards, and the even prouder moments of presenting both Laury and Michael with their diplomas. And wonderful connections with people who inspire me still, connections that developed well before the time of  LinkedIn.

2. Riveredance!!!  (oops, I mean Riverwoods!!!): Yes, this new home is a big decision. But I know it is a good one.

And the number one big decision: Ok, this is obvious. Asking Barb to marry me has been the best decision I ever made. Except,,,,I didn’t ask her, she asked me!  But I was the one who asked Barb out for our first date (polo and pizza) and got the ball rolling, so I will consider this my decision. For all our years, thanks, Babe.


Since we started with a Lovin’ Spoonful song I will end with my favorite.

Can you guess what it will be?  Click and find out.


POST 30 Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! You Can’t Fool Me ….

marx….. There ain’t no Sanity Clause!

Fiorello (Chico Marx)–A Night at the Opera, 1935

Pop the cork and pour the champagne, Wednesday night it finally happened. Picture the moment. Barb and I stare down the builder and architect, eye to eye and face to face. We pull out our pens, they pull out their pens. A last moment of hesitation. Finally, we all sign on the dotted lines. Shazam! We have a contract to build our semi-jumbo-downsizer.

Of note, unlike the iconic bargaining scene between producer Groucho and agent Chico, our negotiations did not consist of cutting and cutting and cutting (on either the house OR the contract.) The original document presented by the builder ran 17 pages. Then we added 2 pages of specifications and 6 pages of drawings that all needed to be referenced. Finally our attorney protected us with 43 numbered clarifications and additional points. I am surprised there ISN’T a reference to Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny for that matter.

So are we pleased with the product of all our work? I think so. We managed to keep all the spaces we wanted, though some are a bit tighter than we had hoped. We tend to live in the kitchen, and the new one will be designed for  both our daily needs and  for all the guests who like to hang out with Barb when  she prepares for a dinner party. There are enough bedrooms and playrooms, AND space for a first floor litter box for Princess, Kitten, Phoebe.

Now the plans are off to the Homeowners Association Architectural Board for their review and approval. No one seems to know quite how long this will take, and if any revisions will be necessary. So far, all the Board has asked is that we keep the “lawn” mowed. I like easy requirements! After the Homeowners agree that we are in compliance with their dreaded monotony code (yawn) it will be the Village’s turn to sift through the plans and give the final go ahead. At least we don’t need state approval. I suspect Illinois hasn’t been paying many of its inspectors lately!

Who has a favorite “home” song? Now that things are moving along I am working on a mix tape to play at next years move in open house celebration,  to which you are of course all invited. I’ll start with Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Our House.” What comes next? Leave your suggestions in the Comment box.

Have a great weekend everyone.

“……there is always a schmuck with a pen.”—A. Simon, circa 1988