Kess

Welcome Baby Kess!

Here is how it all went down.

A few weeks ago my 39 weeks pregnant wife wakes up with lower back pain. Her due date wasn’t for another week, so we thought nothing of it. After all, an additional 30lbs on anyone, let alone a pregnant woman might give you back pain.

The work day was surprisingly quiet, thank gawd.  The night before I had 2 papers, and a presentation due at school and I was toast. Fo’ realz.

Around 4pm she IMs me and tells me that she thinks the lower back pain actually might be contractions, and maybe I should get my butt home to help her ride out the pain.

So I rush home, heart pounding, thinking that the baby is going to be delivered on the floor of my living room. Before I walk in the door, I get some fat stack (Sorry, I’ve been watching Breaking Bad – that means cash) and move our new Nissan Rogue closer to the house. I traded up for my Mini Cooper a week prior. (Nice timing, huh?)

I walk in the door to find my wife is pacing back and forth until a contraction came, which meant that she was doubled over in pain holding onto our crappy Ikea kitchen table.  From this point on I was bouncing off the walls triple checking our “bring to hospital list”.  She was the one in labor but she was telling ME to relax.

Me: Do you have your iPhone charger?

Her: Yes.

Me: Do you have your Kindle?

Her: Yes.

Me: Do you have your Kindle charger?

Her: Yes?

Me: Where is my iPhone charger?

Her: I don’t know.

Me: Where the fuck is my phone?

Her: It’s in your pocket.

Me: No it’s not.

Her: Yes it is.

Me: Oh right, it is. Do you have extra socks? Where are the snacks? Should we call the Dr? Should I call my parents? What about your parents? Its rush hour on Friday. We’re fucked. What’s the hospital address?  Is the EZpass in the car? Do I need my checkbook?  I’m hungry. Are you hungry? What’s in the fridge? Should we order something? Should I go get it?

Her: CALMMMMMMMMM DOWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNN!

Ok, ok. You get the point. After I sat on a bowl of ice (meaning “chilled out”, get it), we dealt with her contractions until 2:30am. It wasn’t fun.  She was in pain, we were both exhausted, and it was only going to get worse. We finally called the Dr. to let her know what was happening and of course, we were forwarded to an answering service. Wouldn’t you know, when the Dr. called back I missed the call – probably because I was keeping track of the contractions with an amazing iPhone app. When we called back, and then she called back (again), she was annoyed that we missed the call. I wanted smack her in the scrubs for being so condescending. Excuse me for being an almost new parent who has no idea what to do.

She told us to come in to the hospital, so I lugged our two overnight bags, bags of snacks, car seat, and everything else we thought we might need into the car and off we went. When we got to triage, wifey face wasn’t even close as far as dilation was concerned. On top of that, the Dr. was just as mean in person as she was on the phone. I looked at my lady and I was like, “Oh no she di….int.” She responded with, “Oh no… I HAAAATE her.” We still had hours to go, but the contractions were getting worse. They almost sent us home which was NOT happening. They had us walk around the hospital letting gravity do its thing for 5 hours.  At 3:00am, when your wife is screaming in pain every 5 minutes and you have to walk around for hours in a circle, you tend to get a bit tense.

After that misery, they re-checked her shiz, and woohoo!  She was 5 cm, which meant, DRUGS!!!!!!!!!!!  Luckily Dr. had taken a nap before returning to our room and was in a much better mood so I didn’t have to kill her. She had even called the anesthesiologist (or as wifey calls him – her new best friend) and he was waiting outside the door. She had made it through… Rain rain, pain go away. Granted we still had hours to go, but at least Mrs. Kess wasn’t suffering anymore.

I made a few calls and sent some texts to semi important people to give them the news about what was happening. After some insane screaming, a bunch of cursing, and some powerful visuals (go watch a birth video!), my son Logan Reid was born.  Boom!  I’m a father.

Best feeling in the world.  Go do it. It’s amazing. Now I’m up to my ears foul liquid coming from all sorts of places on my son’s body.  But I don’t care at all. He is the best. And I love him with all I got.

I’m out!

Kess

Train, Say your Prayers and Eat your Placebos!

Hulk Hogan rules!  His famous rants have been embedded in my brain since childhood.

Sorry the video is blah,  but YouTube isn’t perfect.  Don’t pay attention to the part beyond Hulk Hogan. I have no idea how to edit that out because its not my video. I just found it.

For me it’s more like, train, (don’t bother with praying), and eat your placebos.  I know everyone says how important vitamins are to maintain your health. I bought into that nonsense as well.  The amount of pills I take is ridiculous, but the truth is that it’s nothing compared to how many pills true athletes consume. I’m a weekend warrior at best.  (Calm down ego. It will be OK. There there now, don’t cry).

Below is a breakdown of what I take and what each vitamin is good for (according a paraphrased version of what it says on the bottle).

Omega 3 Fish Oil

  • Supports joint health – WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? MY JOINTS ALWAYS HURT! (or I’m just old).
  • Maintains healthy looking skin – MY SKIN IS A MESS! (To be fair, that could also be stress induced.)
  • Supplies DHA which is required for optimal eye and brain function – I WEAR GLASSES NOW THAT I’M OVER 30! (But only in class and to drive at night)
  • Healthy cholesterol levels and are necessary in the maintenance of normal blood pressure – CAN’T COMMENT ON THIS ONE B/C I DON’T HAVE A PCP.

Vitamin C

  • Provides immune support – I FEEL LIKE I’M ALWAYS ABOUT TO GET A COLD.

Vitamin D3

  • Supports teeth, bone, and immune health – SEE FIRST NOTE FOR OMEGAS.

Vitamin B12

  • Essential for energy production and a healthy nervous system – I’M SO TIRED, AND A NERVOUS NELLY.

Glucosamine

  • Promotes joint flexibility and mobility – SEE VITAMIN D COMMENT.

One a Day Men’s

  • Formulated to support heart health – NO PROBLEMS SO FAR.
  • Healthy blood pressure – NO CLUE. I GUESS SO.
  • Immunity – SEE VITAMIN C COMMENT.
  • Physical energy – SEE VITAMIN B12 COMMENT.

Zinc

  • May help support natural resistance – RESISTANCE TO WHAT?

Maybe I’m taking the wrong doses. Maybe I’m taking too many vitamins. Maybe I’m not taking enough. Everything I take seems to have one thing in common however.   They might as well be sugar pills.  To be honest, I have not noticed the affect of any one of these. Perhaps I should keep a log and test to see the physical effects of each one and track the stats. Nah, too much effort.

I know research proves how essential vitamins are for healthy living. Half of what I take is not FDA approved, so I know it’s not a governmental conspiracy.  But shouldn’t I be feeling a difference?  Maybe if I stopped taking them all together I’d be worse off, and what I take now is just keeping me afloat. Is there anyone out there who can describe what I’m supposed to feel after I take my vitamins?  Comment and let me know. All I know is that I feel buyers remorse every time I see my receipt at GNC.  But I keep going back. Why?  Because I’m a Hulkamaniac!

Kess

Oh Injuries….You’re Killing Me!

Injuries. Ugh. So annoying!  I hurt myself just thinking about writing about hurting myself. As all 8 of you have been reading, I’m fairly active. What you don’t realize is that half the time I’m nursing some sort of injury due to stupidity, clumsiness or just being old. I guess people say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because my father who played college basketball was nicknamed Ace, as in “Ace Bandage”.

In the past 5 years I’ve damaged so may parts of my body its comical. I over compensate in order to prevent future injuries. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always prove to be successful. Let’s break it down, shall we.

The first time I tried BJJ, not only did I suck and have no idea what I was doing, I contracted a staph infection.  Don’t know what that is?  Google it!  (Or don’t… it’s gross) It was my fault though. Generally speaking you need to shower very soon after competing in combat sports. Heat and moisture are breeding grounds for bacteria. Stupid me went to a friend’s house to watch UFC afterwards and didn’t wash up.  Bad idea. Since then I purchased a ton of products to help prevent any sort of skin infection from ever occurring again.

YOUR EPIDERMIS IS SHOWING!

1. Under Armour – I prefer a long-sleeve compression shirt to wear under my Gi. Not only does it keep you cool and dry, it helps prevent chaffing and skin on skin contact. But any compression shirt / rash guard will do.

2. Shock Doctor- Same idea as the compression shirt.

Yes, I admit it. When I wear the shirt and the pants together (before) I put my Gi on, I look like either a Cat Burglar or Mike Myers from SNL. Pretty ridiculous, but if it helps prevent any further skin infections, I’m game.

3. Defense Soap – To expand on my paranoia, I bought this product when I first heard about it on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. This all-natural, antibacterial soap cleans and disinfects after rolling around with a potentially smelly dude. Joe Rogan is a BJJ player, aside from being a comedian and commenter for UFC. Mixing comedy and fighting? My kind of entertainment!

4. Neosporin – I tend to get scratched a bit, so this is always in my gym bag ready to be applied if I’m cut.

5. Lotrimin. Never used it. They say to use it if you contract Ringworm.  Because I’m afraid of everything, I bought it anyway. I hope the package stays unopened forever.

6. Vaseline- I usually use this on my face and around my neck.  The Gi is pretty rough on your skin, and this helps alleviate friction so my face and neck doesn’t get scratched up.

HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES!

(more like ears, teeth, knees, toes, and black eyes)

7. Head Gear – Get some, unless you wear your cauliflower ears like a badge of honor, which many professional fighters do. I on the other hand prefer to have my wife still love me, so I protect my ears from being permanently damaged. I’ve never actually experienced cauliflower ear, but I have been tender after class, especially when going to sleep and resting my head on the pillow. I woke up wondering why my ears hurt so much. That’s because they looked like this.

OMG!!! Just kidding! I found that in Google Images.  My ears were just a bit red.  Since then I went and purchased Cliff Keen Head Gear. They are very comfortable and I don’t even notice them on my head when I roll except when the strap chokes me out before my opponent does. Yikes.

8. Knee Braces – BJJ tends to put in you horribly uncomfortable positions at times. Flexibility is very important in order to attempt to control your injuries. Unfortunately, I’ve had weak knees for most of my life. I always keep my knee braces with me, which helps stabilize my knee caps and keep them from moving laterally. The last thing I need is a torn ACL or MCL. I prefer Shock Doctor’s brand.

9. Mouth Guard – I hate mouth guards!  They are essential in protecting your teeth, but until recently my only experience with them were the cheap boil and bite kinds, which is exactly what it sounds like. You boil the piece until it becomes soft, and then you immediately bite down on it to “mold” it to your mouth. It is horrible, very gag inducing, and not comfortable. I ended up doing some research and found a great company called Fight Dentist out in Las Vegas that creates custom fitting mouth guards. They send you a mold that you have to put into your mouth for a few minutes until it forms to your teeth.  Then you send that mold back to the company. A few weeks later, they send you your custom mouth guard.

It fits perfectly!  No gagging!  And when I say no gagging, I only mean when I wear the finished product. Making the mold was certainly a traumatic experience. Lets just say that I was hovering over my kitchen sink dry heaving, tearing up, semi-puking the whole time. My wife was yelling at me to stop while simultaneously crying hysterically because she was laughing so hard due to the idiocy of the scene. She couldn’t understand why I would continue to hold the mold in my mouth while throwing up in the kitchen, but trust me, it was worth it! I love you Fight Dentist! Great Product!

10. Toes – Ever break your toe?  It SUUUUUUUCKS!!!!!!! I wasn’t even rolling when it happened. We were just doing a warm-up drill and my pinky toe got caught on the mat…and the rest of my body went the opposite way. It was extremely unnatural looking, and when the toughest guys in gym look at me and cringe, you know its bad.  I quickly smashed it back into place like a Neanderthal. Not sure if that was a good idea or a bad idea. I was easily limping for 3 weeks because I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot. Of course I didn’t go to the doctor, because I figured that all they would do was tape it up. Instead, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought a six-pack of athletic tape. So now, every time I get on the mats, I tape my pinky toe to my ring toe on both feet. So far so good. I’ve been clear of toe injuries since implementing that into my mummified safety routine.

11. Black Eyes – It happens, even though I’m not getting punched. Sometimes you knock heads. Sometimes its a dude’s shoulder that comes crashing into your eye-socket. Other times you’re in control and your opponent is flailing away and you get caught with an elbow. Here are a few pics of mine from earlier this year.

Yes, its 2 black eyes. One in each eye, and no it wasn’t at the same time. They actually didn’t hurt at all. I just bought some Arnica gel from CVS to help with the bruising and iced it.

AFTERMATH

These injuries can get annoying, but not enough to make me stop participating in the sport. The hardest part of dealing with them is deciding what story to tell my wife about what I did to hurt myself yet again…. and asking her to take care of me. The other difficult part of the situation is explaining to my coworkers that I’m not in Fight Club. You know what? Let them believe that I am. Maybe they’ll think twice about giving me more work to do.

Kess

Unmotivated? – Do it anyway!

We all hit the wall.  You know, the wall? We all get tired, bored, and lazy.  I say…

Get up! Show some heart! Take pride in what you do. Accomplish something. Make a plan and stick to it. Someone out there is always going to be better than you, working harder than you, wanting it more than you. Be that person that inspires others. Make them wonder how you do it. Show them you’re tougher than them. Don’t be afraid of that challenge; at least you tried. At least you had the guts to get in there and and take what is yours! If only one person acknowledges that I help them to motivate, then I know I’m doing something right. In some way, I’m helping them to be a better person. Every time I feel unmotivated, I look for inspiration.

Kess

The below video gets me psyched up every time!  Check it out!

BJJ – The Beginning

I just finished my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. Although I’m exhausted, I’m still on an emotional high! Even though I didn’t tap anyone out today, I didn’t get tapped either. For me, it’s not about that. It’s about getting strong. It’s about being flexible. It’s about stamina. It’s about staying in shape. It’s about learning an intricate (ever so subtle) detail of a particular move that can greatly improve your game.  Most of all, it’s about fun.

Last year my friend John (follow him on Twitter) introduced me to the sport. He brought me over to his school at Vitor Shaolin’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on 47th and 8th in NYC. Upon arrival at the gym,  it was safe to say I was really intimidated. These guys were REAL athletes. I couldn’t believe how strong and fast they were. I thought we were just going to a gym to train (for amateurs). Some of these dudes were real fighters.  And then there was me; a nice guy from Long Island, 160lbs soaking wet.

I was the kid at camp who had the Epipen because I was allergic to bees. I was also allergic to dust and mold spores. I had no business being involved in combat sports. But for some reason, after seeing Daniel-Son crane kick Johnny in the face, I was in love with martial arts. FYI, Bill Simmons of ESPN has an amazing article about the Karate Kid Trilogy. However, being a skinny kid growing up, I wasn’t allowed to participate in any martial arts. My parents thought I’d get hurt. And they were right. I’ve been training BJJ on and off for about a year, and I am far from injury free (I’ll write another post about how often I get hurt and how I keep sports injury supply companies in business).

There is one thing that I can say about BJJ which I never expected. Every time I train, it proves to me how tough I am NOT. It’s an extremely humbling experience and it’s one of those sports like golf where you never feel like you’ve mastered it. But you just want to keep training and training and training in hopes of getting better each time. That’s the great thing. Even if you get tapped out in every roll, you might not realize it, but you’re still getting better. At the very least you’re getting a solid workout and improving your health (unless you get a black eye, bruised rib, split lip, broken toe, torn acl, skin infection)….those are fun. Ugh.

I usually train at 7:30am because it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

A. I got my workout in before my coworkers even walk into the office.

B. Because I just worked out, I want to eat really healthy that day and keep the flow going.

C. I’ve already taken my vitamins which help with energy and and recovery.

D. Since I’ve already been beaten up today,  my ability to handle stress greatly improves because I don’t have the energy to fight back at work.

E. Once I’m home from either work or school, I want to eat a really healthy dinner to prepare for next day’s BJJ session. Put it this way, rolling at 7:30am with a 190lb pound monster who is trying to choke you is a hell of a lot worse with a belly full of last night’s pizza.  Believe me.

Kess

Typical Day – Make it Work!

People sometimes ask me how I do it. “Do what?” I say. “Find the time to do everything?” they reply. My answer….”Sometimes you just have to cowboy the fuck up”. Actually I don’t say that at all, but it sounds badass, right?  I think Bruce Willis said it in one of his movies, but I’m too lazy to research which one right now (yes, I’m aware that quote isn’t accurate). My usual obnoxious answer to them is “coffee”.  Honestly, I just want it. It = More than I have.  And after I hit 30, I felt like I was running out of time.

I’m a big fan of checklists and accomplishments. When I fulfill daily goals, I get super excited, because fulfillment of daily goals makes weekly and monthly goals easier to attain. For arguments sake, lets assume I had a decent night’s sleep (that rarely happens). If I go to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at 730am and then go to work, at least I accomplished my workout and had fun for the day. If I don’t get hurt, that’s another plus (I’ll touch on that at a later date).

Once I’m at work I make “to do” lists with empty boxes next to them. Not only does it keep my undiagnosed ADD at bay, it gives me satisfaction if the boxes are filled in with pen by the end of the day. For future reference, I hate pending items that I have to go back to. After powering through work, it’s off to school.

Because of my ridiculous ice coffee addiction, I usually purchase one right before class. (Remember how I said I rarely get a decent night’s sleep).  I don’t care who you are, after getting your ass kicked in the am and then going through a full day’s work, it’s hard to stay awake to learn about credit default swaps without that little something extra. Anyway, with that extra boost, I take in as much information that my brain will allow until 850pm.

940pm is usually the time that I walk through the door at home after taking 3 subways and moving the car. I spend some time with my wonderful sleepy wife who has prepared a nice healthy dinner for me which is awaiting reheating in the microwave. She ate hours earlier like a human.

After she goes to sleep, I usually stay up a bit longer because I’m too wired to sleep and jump on PS3 or Xbox 360 depending on what kind of mood I’m in. (Yes, I still play video games…Sue me!)  I’m sure the explosions and gun fire is a not great for my relaxation but it keeps my mind off of how complicated credit default swaps can be.  I need a little fun in my life after a long tough day. We don’t want this to happen like it did to Jack Torrance in “The Shining”.

I finally roll into bed around 12am and stare at Twitter for a few minutes to see if any of the comedians that I follow can make me chuckle silently as to not wake up the wife.

STUPID iPHONE ALARM!!!! 6AM.

Ugh, should I get up to go train and do it all over again? I’m exhausted. Should I man up and just do it? Probably. Did I? You’ll see…..

Kess

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