Dinner is Served

“This month you have been way too critical of my cooking.” My wife told me yesterday.
“Honey, I love your cooking, what are you talking about?” I replied.
“I think its this whole month of integrity, you are taking it too seriously- all of the sudden you are telling me all of the meals you don’t like.”
“Look, I am amazed by your cooking- I just thought we could start diferentiating between which meals are good and which meals are great.” I careful explained.
“That’s the problem, you never told me before you disliked any of my meals- and suddenly I’m hearing about all of them- if you had told me in the first place I would have stopped making them!”

So the month of integrity is almost over, but it hasn’t been without it’s challenges. My wife and I decided on a star system for dinners. 1-10 stars, 10 stars for the GREAT meals, 1 for the meals I cook. (I know what you guys are thinking- I should be grateful for ANY meal, and I am. Natalie just wants to know which are my favorites.) This is the perfect system, if there is a meal I don’t like at all, I don’t have to insult it with a “1”, I can just give it a 4.5- and Natalie will realize it’s on the low end and make it only when I am out of town.

Here is a list of some of my wife’s best dinner’s. If you want the recipe’s I’m sure she would be happy to provide them:

  • Crocpot Mac n Cheese
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Thai Chicken Curry
  • Chicken Rolls
  • Taco Soup
  • Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup
  • Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and gravy

BOOK UPDATE:

This morning I had a phone call meeting with Jennifer Garbowski from Krupp Komunications. She is an amazing publicist that works for the same firm that made the South Beach Diet famous. She gave me some great ideas for potential publishers and for ways of marketing my manuscript. She loves the idea, and thinks it has some serious potential.

We agreed that I have one large challenge ahead of me to getting published- for those of you that do not know me very well…I am NOT famous. I have tried to convince people otherwise, but its the truth. I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest, run multiple marathons, or been on a spaceship. The big challenge will be to show that my book concept is so innovative that it will succeed even without a big name behind it. This is the challenge of all first time writers, and as my wife and I learned from the movie “Little Miss Sunshine” which we watched last night- life is often a beauty concept, and you need to be glamorous or famous to get noticed.

Here is where I could use some help. If anybody would like to learn about the 12 Hidden Virtues, and would like to commit one year to trying out my concept, email me at atdayton@gmail.com Good and bad experiences can be posted on my blog (with your permission of course).

Sweet Parking Spot

Since this is the month of integrity I have been searching for ways to be more honest. As I said before, I think I am generally a fairly honest person- but maybe I was just fooling myself. I must now publicly admit, I have been dishonest in my parking.

How does one be dishonest in his parking, you may ask?

1. Borrow your grandma’s handicap parking permit (I know this seems pretty low, but an associate of mine at law school actually did this all through law school.)

2. Park in the “expecting mothers” section at Baby’s R Us. (Sadly I will never be able to honestly park there.)

OR

3. At my work there is a 9 story parking garage. Anytime I arrive to work say after 8:45 I have to go around and around in a circle up to the 7th or 8th floor. The whole process is time consuming and highly annoying- especially considering the fact that I am paying $71 per month for the privelege to be trapped in the discusting garage.

Well last month I found a loop-hole. On the first and second floor there are some PRIME spots marked with “Reserved for Comfort Suite Guests”. The signs also mention “Violators will be towed for ticketed for $50”. Generally this serves as a significant deterent from non-guests parking there- but as said before, I found a loophole.

One of the employees from my work used to be on the board that runs the parking ramp. Apparently they have no mechanism to patrol those spots. Long story short- since there are TONS of opens spots and nobody patrols them, it seemed like it was my responsibility to take these spots. It was better that I use them than nobody at all.

Funny thing is, I started getting really suspicious- I didn’t want anybody from work to see me parking there, so I would go around the corner if a car was following me, and then I would sneak back into the prime spots. I was so worried that one of my co-workers might see me parking in the forbidden spot- and maybe even turn me in. So after, I would rush out of my car- so nobody would recognize me and know which car I drove. It was really starting to stress me out.

So I thought last night while I was lying in bed, how can I live a more honest life?

I need to park in the right place, even if its on the seventh floor.

Month 1: Integrity

The book I am writting has a very simple premise, focus on one single virtue each month for twelve months. By focusing on just one attribute at a time the hope is that it won’t be too overwhelming. Since I want to make sure this actually works, I am trying it out for myself.

For the first month I am wearing a gold colored band as a constant reminder to be honest, and to practice integrity. So far I haven’t really been challenged to be honest, so I’m not sure how much of a different the wristband is making, but it is in the back of my mind.

For me honesty means to be completely honest in all your interaction- certainly to the people that matter most to me. I have only been married for three years, but from the begining I made a decision to never hide anything from my wife. If I can’t share everything with her, than life would be pretty lonely. She has been pretty honest with me as well- and I think it has helped us always have very open comunications. It makes me feel safe to share anything with her.

One thing I have learned though, is that timing does matter. Being honest is important, but there is a right time for it- being honest at the wrong time can totally ruin the mood.

How My Idea Was Hatched

About 6 years ago I was riding 250 cc motorcycles over some hills near St. George, Utah when I met a young kid, that was about 19 years old. He had a string tied around his wrist, and I asked him what the string was for. He told me it was to remind him that it was the month of charity. He was preparing to leave the country to serve a humanitarian mission in South America, and to get himself ready he was focusing on a different virute each month. To make it more effective a few of his friends were doing the same thing. I never talked to that kid again, but that conversation eventually spawned the concept that turned into the manuscript I am working on.

March or April of 2008, I was thinking about how popular those yellow “Live Strong” wristbands are that were made famous by Lance Armstrong. It go me to thinking, what if the wristbands said a different message? What if instead of promoting an athlete or a politician the bands promoted living a better life? There could be different positive messages on each, and much like my friend that was wearing different pieces of colored string to improve each month- individuals could wear these bands to teach them to live better each month.

The bands aren’t expensive, but they could possibly change people’s behavior- help them actually improve themselves by wearing this constant reminder. This tangible representation of their goal was sure to be helpful. Unfortunately, how would people understand how the bands worked and what to do with them. It didn’t seem like anybody would buy wristbands that had nice words scrolled across them. Unless of course they were instructed on how the bands functioned.

Thats when it donned on me to start writting a book. The first few chapters were a little rough, but after that it just started flowing. Over the next 6 or 7 months I wrote over 150 pages, had a publisher request sample chapters of my manuscript, found a New York City publicity firm interested in marketing my product, and found an agent to represent me. I am now waiting to hear back from the publisher, and I will keep everybody apprised to how things go.

At the start of 2009 I began my own personal year of 12 virtues. My adventures and misadventures will be documented through this blog.