The Return of Wheezy McGee

AR003: “The Return of Wheezy McGee”

A quick disclaimer: this episode includes a lot of coughing, sniffling, and overall grossness courtesy of yours truly and my seasonal allergies. Autumn is my absolute favorite season for a number of reasons. Football, leaves, Thanksgiving, My Fall Wardrobe (which includes an assortment of sweater vests, bowties, and dope jackets). I also met my wife during this season and the memories of that first autumn together are still fresh in my mind.

But this time of year also brings with it an annual bout of allergy-induced asthma. It’s like clockwork, really. The first few months of dating my wife I sounded horrible. It’s a wonder she decided to stick it out. Wheezing, a cough that sounds like a barking dog, plus my inability to breathe really makes sleeping a miserable experience, which leads to me being grouchy all day. Am I painting a pleasant picture yet? I guess it was my overwhelming machismo and impeccable facial hair that ultimately won her over. Not to mention the dulcet tones, who could forget the dulcet tones? Actually in truth it was the gap between my teeth. Just ask my wife. So much for my dulcet tones and machismo drenched facial hair. Ugh, I think I threw up in my mouth a little just reading that sentence. And I was the one who wrote it.

Anyway, It will be interesting this year since I am busier than ever- rehearsals and performances for two different shows, gigs every weekend, etc. So if you think of it, say a prayer that I can manage my asthma and get sufficient rest over the next few weeks. I would really appreciate it.

It’s Sunday morning at 5:45am. Most people still have another few hours under the covers in dreamland, and oh how I wish that were true for me on this particular morning. But no, here I am riffling through my dishwasher, looking for my favorite HULKAMANIA coffee mug. The one I got for my 8th birthday and I still use almost 25 years later. It’s truly a miracle that it hasn’t broken traveling from my childhood home, to my first apartment. Then my condo, then rented farmhouse, and now in rented condo. It’s mornings like these that I especially need to summon the power of all the hulkamaniacs. train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins and believe in yourself I rattle off in my head as I imagine flexing the largest arms in the world. I slide my mug into the Keurig with my Hoganesque 24 inch pythons, being careful not to destroy the near quarter century legacy I held in my hands.

A typical Sunday morning for me involves getting up around 7:30 and getting ready for church, but today is different. Today, my dad and I are performing for the National Kidney Foundation’s Chester County 5k. This is our 2nd time playing this event. It’s held in October, it’s outside and we start playing around 8am. Roughly 12 hours earlier than our usual gigs. I “suit up” for what will undoubtedly be a chilly morning. The forecast called for the temperature to be in the mid-40s during our sets. I tried my best to shew away visions of my guitar strings slicing my cold fingers clean off while I sang along to Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars songs.

My dad arrives to pick me up around 6:30am. It’s still dark and will be for another hour or so. We arrive at the park where the 5k is being held and quickly unload and set up. This is actually an enjoyable task in this instance since it gets our blood flowing and keeps us warm for the time being. Around 8am, we started our set, throughout the morning we were joined by the event’s mascot, Sidney the Kidney, who got the folks dancing with her insanely graceful dance moves.

This was going to be a busy day for me because immediately following our morning gig, I’d have to quickly grab lunch and head to rehearsal for my current theater production, EVITA. I’m portraying Che Guevara, which is the male lead in this particular show. The part was originated by Mandy Patinkin on Broadway, which brings me closer to the coveted Patinkin Trifecta. This is a personal life goal and a phrase that I coined in hopes that it gains momentum in theater circles and eventually enters the mainstream. The premise is for an actor to play three of Mandy Patinkin’s best known theater roles in a lifetime. This is my second, having previously performed in The Secret Garden in the role of Archibald Craven. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know much about EVITA, it is a sing-through musical like Les Miz. That means that after singing for three hours outside in the cold, I would have the honor of singing for another three hours inside under hot stage lights in costume. It doesn’t sound like a great day, but for an aspiring actor and singer like myself, I was in heaven. That was until I got home and crashed. Hard.

Remember how I was telling you about what autumn does to me? No, not the part that made me almost throw up. The part about WHEEZY MCGEE? Yeah, well, this past week my asthma kicked in to high gear.

Here I was, waking up coughing in the middle of night. every night. for this entire week. Do you hear that sound? That’s my son’s nebulizer machine helping me regain the ability to breathe so I could get back to sleep. Fun times. Like I said, I’ve always struggled with allergies. In fact my allergies are so bad that I used to get weekly allergy injections. But that was before I left my corporate job and starting paying for my own healthcare. I think the definition of Affordable Care changed when I became self-employed. Maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, each morning I felt like I’d been hit by a MAC TRUCK as I got my kids ready for school, and as I mentioned before, when I don’t sleep well, I get grouchy. In fact I’m thinking of legally changing my name to Oscar between the hours of 6-9am. Every morning my poor wife and kids, not to mention my children’s bus driver, have to deal with looking at my bedhead and sour demeanor, which could only be described as a cross between Einstein and Frankenstein. I know, I know, technically Frankenstein was the name of the doctor and not the name of his monstrous creation, but when going for clever wordplay, you tend to take a few liberties. So after my daily routine of getting my kids on the bus and repenting in sackcloth and ashes of said grouchiness, I get started with my tasks for the day.

Last week, I mentioned how two gigs can pay for a month’s worth of groceries, and since I had just performed with my dad, it was now time to do some shopping. Let me take a minute to educate you on the wonder that is ALDI. Now, ALDI does not sponsor my podcast, but if anyone out there from ALDI is listening, maybe we could find a mutually beneficial partnership. For instance, I advertise your amazing store on my podcast, which literally has tens of fans. Not tons, tens. And you maybe bring back those jalapeno poppers with the raspberry habanero dipping sauce. Maybe? Ok, have your people call my people. Anyway, I could do a whole podcast on this amazing place. We shop there almost exclusively and we are able to feed our family of four for a month for around $300. And the quality of the food continues to improve. I confess, my wife and I are such huge fans that we actually bought our mattress from there. It’s a memory foam queen size mattress and we got it for $200. We went online trying to find out if it was a scam but we couldn’t find a single negative review. NOT ONE! Anyway, if you haven’t given ALDI a try then you are missing out. It takes a little but more planning, and you need to get used to their lay out, but once you do, just sit back and watch the savings roll in. Oh and bring a quarter because you need one to use the carts. You also have to bring bags or buy them there. They don’t have to pay people to collect carts and bag your groceries and they pass those savings onto you the customer. OK, if ALDI doesn’t sponsor this podcast now, I will be disappointed. So that was a little bit of what my week looked like. Oh yeah I did a bunch of real estate-y things, too. But let’s be honest none of that is as interesting as hearing about my wheezy machismo. Or Wheeza Macheeze or MaWheezemo D’ah I’ll figure something out until next time. Be real and keep it real.

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