Growing out of Gaming…

…for Gen X and younger is a fairytale! Much to my wife’s dismay.

At what age will my husband stop gaming?

My wife has been pondering the answer to the caption above for 19 years. We dated for 2 and have been married for 17. Early on, she probably accepted it moreso than now. I was early to mid 20’s and most guys engaged in some level of video games. Little did I know she had an expectation that over time I might lose interest and no such thing has occurred. For those of you ladies reading, maybe a support group can be formed because my bet is your husband is no exception. BUT, as all things allow…compromise can be found. I will share the balance I try to keep as well as a couple reason’s why generation X is still gaming.

When will these guys grow up?

The problem is that’s a bad question. It implies that a certain level of maturity is missing in those that enjoy games yet there are all kinds of other types of games (board games, card games) we played as kids that plenty of adults still engage in. Plus there is a maturity rating on video games and many are specifically made for an adult crowd based on content. Game makers realized they had the first generation (80’s kids) that grew up gaming. That they had to mature with their audience while continuing to appeal to the younger generations as well. I certainly do not advocate for any man to shirk his other responsibilities in life with a hyper focus on becoming a video game pro, sitting on the couch, eating Cheetos, leaving everything else up to his spouse and family. But if this is an interest, a hobby, or just a way to enjoy yourself for a little while letting the stress of work melt away, then I am all for it. To me its no different than other relaxing activities like reading a book.

Family fun

I would still play even if I did not have kids. We have a Wii and a PlayStation console. I enjoy games on both platforms from the most basic Mario adventure to the more complicated Overwatch mayhem. But if you have kids, they likely enjoy video games and who better to teach them and even team up with them than dear old dad. Fact is my oldest son still cannot beat me on several games although he can tear me a new one on Fortnite. I get back at him by doing Fortnite dances in front of his friends. Even his twin sister enjoys playing Minecraft with me and my 8 year old son joins in on the fun with other games like Rocket League. Many an hour of belly laughing fun and bonding has occurred with me and my three over some good game-time.

Balance

Any topic of interest whether it’s camping, cycling, crafting, boating, cooking, or underwater basket weaving can become too highly prioritized. That, I believe, is what may cause strife with any husband and wife duo over the topic of gaming. If its too high on your priority list, then you have crossed the line and need to come up with balance. Your wife should not feel like games are more important than her. She should not worry about the amount of time you dedicate to it and whether or not you are going to perform your part in the family unit. Simply put, be a man…not a man-child. These are the general guidelines I set for myself:

1. I typically only play when my wife is completely and utterly otherwise occupied. Out running errands, out shopping, unavailable for me to hang out with or help in some way.

2. If she is home, again only when she is occupied and will not mind or on the weekend when kids can certainly be involved.

3. Whether gaming with children or on my own, I try to limit my total time to less than one hour.

4. Allow for your wife to have indulgences that you don’t find particularly awesome…like shopping at Target! Or more recently for my wife, Hobby Lobby (post soon to come on that trip).

Let me know in the comments what your gaming horizon looks like in your home and how you feel about it.

That’s my two cents…keep the change.

The Goldbergs

One of the best shows on TV…

“Before class begins, does anyone need to make?”

Did you spend any part of your life living through the 80’s? If so you will appreciate this show on a much deeper level than those who did not. Did you spend your childhood in the 80’s? Then this show will impact you the most. BUT I can endorse this amazing depiction of one of the best decades in human history for anyone at any age. My very own kids enjoy episodes, laughing right along with us. Perhaps part of their joy is seeing how mom and dad looked, acted, and sometimes endured the various phases, fashions, pop-culture, and history making events that are so well captured by creator and main character in the sitcom, Adam F. Goldberg.

Adam, a self professed nerd who struggles with sports, being the youngest in the family dealing with two brutes of an older brother and sister, a fairly disconnected father figure who just wants to lounge around the house in his underwear, all pale in comparison to what he calls his S’Mother. Beverly Goldberg’s life is her kids and not in the healthiest of ways. She is smothering and crosses every line that most would not dare, so long as she believes its helpful to the greater good of her kids. It’s the kind of help none of the kids want or asked for but it makes for comedy gold and gains my loyal following.

While I did not have a Smother, older siblings, struggle with athletics, or a dad roaming the halls in his underwear…there is enough cross-over and shared 80’s experience to make you relate in a very real way. Whether its Hands Across America, an iconic old song, the portrayal of the school dance, first time love, learning how to drive, going to the mall, or girls spraying their bangs with Aquanet, there is a wealth of shared experience to cause audience members to connect on some level. And though things have changed drastically in so many ways, lots of social norms and phases of life like Middle and High School still carry very similar themes.

It’s The Wonder Years for Generation X. If you have not already tuned in, start binge watching now. Maybe you can get caught up before the next season starts.

That’s my two cents…keep the change.

Purchasing Kermit

That’s what we call our new Bullfrog Hot-tub…

We have wanted a “water-based” form of fun, entertainment, and relaxation for a long time. It was only after 17 years of marriage and a few decent bonuses that we got serious about it though. It’s hard not to want something like this in Texas but why a hot tub and not a pool or just a good ole soak in the sprinklers or trip down memory lane via the slip and slide? I will mostly contrast our decision vs. getting a pool since its probably obvious that I have no desire to rekindle my boyhood nor could I physically handle romping in the sprinklers or sliding down a wet piece of plastic in my 40’s. Both would likely have me pretty sore in the morning and neither would accomplish my first goal…to relax.

1. Relaxing – yes pools accomplish this. They cool us off in the hot sun. They allow you to float on a raft and get a little nap in. BUT and this is a big BUT…do they massage you with a variety of jets hitting all the right muscles from shoulder to buttocks? Unless the pool you purchase has a hot tub, the answer is no. Massage is therapeutic regardless of your age. It’s health benefits are so recognized that you can actually get a discount on the taxes you pay toward a hot tub purchase if a doctor deems that you would benefit physically from the water therapy.

2. Temperature Control – I can already hear some of you thinking, “Why would you sit in a hot tub during the summer?” Well its only hot if you set it to be hot. The max temp by law is 104 degrees and during the summer that is in fact scalding and uncomfortable. With a bit of experimenting we have found setting the unit to 90-95 gives us the perfect cooling affect without being too cold. Anything above that seems to cause sweating and summertime temps already accomplish that on their own. We also have an east facing patio where Kermit sits. By 2PM there is no direct sun and we never get in until its fully shaded. This combination of factors allow us to basically have a small pool that massages us. Let’s face it, I probably would not be swimming laps even if I had the chance in a larger body of water.

3. Cost – Bingo. This probably is the number one factor why Kermit is best for my family but it has a few layers to it besides just the variance in sticker price. You also have to weigh the long-term maintenance costs of taking care of 400 gallons vs. thousands of gallons. Chemicals, pool cleaning professionals, pump costs, electricity, repairs all add up and comparatively make the hot tub pale in comparison. The entry level price for a decent hot tub is $4K depending on the size you want and the features that are important to you. We went a few levels up from basic but definitely stayed below five figures, although there are plenty of options north of $10K as well. Last but certainly not least is re-sale value on your home. You cannot recoup the massive investment in most cases because you have a pool. You could probably ask for a little more than the competition down the street with similar square footage with no pool but not by $30 – $80K. And even if the same is true for a hot tub, we have two choices; leave it for the new owners and not be out too much on the investment OR take it with us.

4. Access to your pool – Though this may sound like I am pro-Kermit and anti-pool, nothing could be further from the truth. We love swimming pools, especially yours when we are invited over, which concludes my reason for landing on a hot tub purchase. I can still visit my in-laws, my friends with pools, the city pool, and even the neighborhood pool from our old neighborhood so long as we are guests of one of our previous neighbor friends…wink, wink. We get just the right dosage of cooling off in these other options that we do not feel any true loss with what we have.

Do you have a pool? A hot tub? Both? Wanting one or the other? Do you agree with my reasoning or do you have a different opinion? Leave some comments sharing your perspective.

That’s my two cents…keep the change.

The Second Amendment

This time it’s not about killing flies around the house…

In my previous post I promised to weigh in on the actual topic I was pretending to address in my shameless plug of a fly killing devise called “A-Salt” gun. It’s a clever play on words given the gun shoots salt killing a variety of insects though the primary target is normally the bothersome fly.

First, I think I should attempt to explain my political leanings. I do not feel represented by the Republicans or the Democrats but on the scale of Liberal to Conservative I am right of center by a decent degree. If only a third party option like the Libertarians would take center stage, I might feel like a group gives me some hope. Alas no attempt at doing so has thus far worked be it the Tea Party or whatever that monstrosity was when Ross Perot was running (God rest his soul).

So back to guns. It’s probably no surprise that a conservative leaning fellow would support the 2nd amendment and I do. The founding Fathers came from an overly oppressive government that they had to fight (with guns) in order to obtain freedom. History can and does often repeat itself and they knew an armed citizenry would likely prevent our government from turning on those its meant to serve. Additionally I believe the only one that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun (regardless of how cliche that sounds). And we all know bad guys will get guns even if made illegal. The only people that are truly penalized by a ban are law abiding citizens.

Does that mean nothing needs to be done about the topic? Not necessarily but I do want take this opportunity to delineate the topic and get feedback from you, especially if you are Left Leaning about what your stance might be. I will confess I don’t completely understand on a scale of reform to outright banning therefore repealing the second amendment where the Liberal agenda lands. It seems all over the place depending on the source.

1. So, on the scale of reform but keep this civil right vs completely ban guns & repeal the amendment, where do you land? Change nothing is also an acceptable answer.

2. Automatic weapons. This is normally one of the delineation that the left makes when conceding that they want reform of some kind rather than repeal. Yet they constantly refer to an AR 15 as an automatic rifle even though the AR stands for ArmaLite and it is not automatic. Being misinformed is not a good place to argue from. That said, where do you stand on actual automatic weapons?

3. Personal choice. Though I support the right to bear arms, one can do so without actually owning any. So right leaning or left does not mean you own a gun necessarily. You don’t have to exercise a right in order to support it. What have you personally decided is best for your family?

4. Lastly for the gun owners out there. On the scale of one concealed pistol to fully stocked zombie apocalypse arsenal, where do you land? What are some of your favorite firearms and why? Lastly, what do you use them for (self defense, hunting, both)?

Whether you agree with me or not I want to hear from you. Please leave a comment and get a conversation going.

That’s my two cents…keep the change.

Bug-A-Salt Rifle

Stunningly handsome yet fierce fly hunter

If you clicked on the link because of the title thinking it a controversial second amendment topic on assault rifles, woohoo…the clickbait worked. But right off the bat I will disappoint you because its no such thing. Perhaps that will be a topic for a future post because I do have and will share my stance on that issue. So while this post might land a lame score on the controversy scale it tops the charts on the amazingly fun & huge nerd scale both of which should be very important to you.

Special note: If I like a product or service, I will shamelessly plug it & recommend it regardless of the lack of compensation. However, I will gladly accept a few dollars thrown my way if those I plug so choose to enhance my lifestyle (wink, wink, hint, hint).

Google “Bug-A-Salt Gun” and you will likely see an image like the one below:

This is the outdoor version for larger bugs because it packs a punch that will basically cause the targeted insect to explode. Not a mess you want to deal with indoors. They also have an indoor version (pictured at the top of this post) and I have both. The gun is loaded with table salt. A full chamber of salt will give you 50 shots worth of fly hunting fun. Like a shotgun that releases multiple pellets that spread out in a wide pattern, peppering the intended target with a multitude of shrapnel, this gun uses the salt grains to take down the evil fly buzzing around your kitchen. You know it must die. Its pure evil hellbent on finding a tasty morsel of food that you worked hard to prepare. It will land on the best cut of steak causing immediate contamination considering he just flew in the house from the steaming pile of dog poo in your backyard. You’d be lucky if that is all it would do. But the evil doesn’t stop there folks. No way. That fly also wants to lay eggs and take a poop of its own right there on your chicken casserole.

Ladies & Gents…we have to protect our homes from this menace! What kind of husbands, wives, mothers and fathers let such tragedy go unchecked? Finally we have the answer. No more guts on the window with the worn out, ancient fly swatter. Save for a pinch of salt there is practically no mess. Ditch that archaic subpar weapon and arm yourself with the greatest bug killing machine on the market. Or be a complete ignoramus and disregard my sage council. The choice is yours.

That’s my two cents…keep the change.

The Concept…

…not that it matters much.

I used to blog. Regularly. For years. Back then I thought I needed to have a singular focus or idea and what was better to emphasize than my Christian faith, the story of how I found truth, perhaps helping others do the same? A few problems manifested pretty early on but I kept at it longer than most. With a singular focus like that it could get challenging to come up with new articles, new opinions, and most either came to read something they already agreed with or came to argue rather than listen and consider my story. Like many, I eventually quit. This blog may not last the test of time either but I have made a decision that has promise for longevity.

This time around the plan is to just talk about whatever I want. I am still a Christian, my faith has not wavered. Neither has my desire to share Christ with those who are lost. But my interests and my life are much broader than one topic. One day I might get political, the next I might talk about my favorite meat to grill. The only rule I plan on exercising is I will only publish MyTwoCents on topics that I am passionate about or at least in the category of being very interesting. It might end up that the only person I entertain or have common interests with is myself.

But I miss this outlet. So regardless of the size of the audience now or down the road a bit, I am going to selfishly offer what I feel like offering, when I feel like offering it. My bet is you will occasionally find my posts of value and other times feel like flaming me in the comments. Either way is fine so long as it encourages you to participate. For me the thrill is in the interaction. You know, that thing that the internet practically steals from us completely? How ironic would it be if we actually use it to connect?

That’s my two cents…keep the change!

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