So often when people see the online following I have, or that I write books, or that I host podcasts, they will inevitably ask, "So who are you?" Who am I? Well, the short answer to that question would be: "I'm the guy who eats tacos and knows things." Of course, I'm having fun there, because it's my website and I can. Don't bother messaging me with your outrage, I already don't give a shit that you are offended by that joke. And let me just tell you now that if you were offended by that, this definitely isn't the website for you. Perhaps a website that would induce a little less pearl clutching on your part might be in order. The more drawn out answer to the question, "Who am I?", is that I am a middle aged, Midwestern man reinventing himself one year, and one project, at a time. I am a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing, all wrapped up into one hairy, wrinkly, and wore out body. I am a husband to one, a father to four, and a grandfather to two. I am a retiree, an investor, and a small business owner. I am a writer, a podcaster, and a content creator. I am a Dead Head, a kayaker, a taco-lover, and a consumer of, and advocate for, the sticky icky. And even though I am an agnostic atheist, I am also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. I am a GenExer who was raised by a Baby Boomer and a member of the silent generation, and who has gone on to father a Millennial, two Gen Zs, and a Gen Alpha. I have left my mark on six different generations, six different decades, and two millenniums. I am a high school drop out who has been to over thirty states and five countries. This website will serve as a clearing house for all of my online content and projects that I've worked on over the years. So, let me tell you a little more about just who I am in a tad more detail so you can get an idea of what kind of content you might expect to see from me.
First, and most importantly, I am a husband to my wonderful wife, Renee. Everything else I am depends, at least in some way, on me being on stable footing, and nothing gives one stable footing like a solid relationship with a true partner in life, and that is precisely what I have with Renee. We met in an AOL chatroom in May of 1997, and went on our first date four days later. At first, she was far from interested, but I am a persuasive chap, and I began my courtship in earnest that summer. The summer of 1997 saw my charm factor amped to 11. A year after meeting we would move in with one another in a tiny one bedroom, second floor walk up unit in the western suburbs of Chicago, in a town named Roselle. After another year had passed, we would find ourselves getting married. We had a small, courthouse wedding on May 7th, 1999 attended by my father and stepmother, Renee's parents, and her two sisters, Michelle and Lisa. We had a quick ceremony, changed back at the apartment, and ate Portillo's before hitting the road for the beautiful, romantic honeymoon destination of Linton, Indiana. I know what you're thinking; how did they get in to such a highly desired honeymoon getaway spot like The Park Inn with a room overlooking the Linton Park? Well, I am certainly not one to brag, but I have a lot of connections in the Southern Indiana region. Don't hate the player, hate the game. In the years that Renee and I have been together, we have seen and experienced a lifetime worth of events. We've gone through family deaths, and new additions to the family being born. We've gone through many jobs, many cars, and many ups and downs. We've lived in Roselle, IL, Franklin Park, IL, and currently we live in Channahon, IL, where we have been since February of 2005. Given the fact that Renee and I have been with one another for over half of our entire lives, I'd say she is now officially stuck with me. And as we stroll into the golden years of our lives, I like to think that we are just hitting our stride. The best may yet be to come.
Next, I am a father. This part of my story is a tad more complex. Renee and I have had three children together; Magnolia Lynn (born in 2001), Lily Marie (born in 2004), and Tommy Lee III (born in 2011). We always said we would have four kids, but we actually made the decision to stop having kids after Lily. So, after our third child was born, we saw ourselves as a family set in stone, and then 2022 came along. Just after Christmas, 2021, Renee and I each took a 23&Me home DNA test simply to find out more about our bloodlines. What we discovered, in addition to what our heritage consists of, is a daughter I never knew existed, Ashley, who had taken a 23&Me test a few years earlier. The stunning realization that I had another child, already in here 30's, as I was 49 years old and racing towards my 50th birthday, was an incredible moment. A moment that, as hard as it may be to imagine, left me stone, cold silent. Ashley came into the fold with a husband, Ryan, and two kids, Salem and Nora, so overnight I went from being a father of three with no grand kids to a father of four with two grand kids and a son-in-law. Life comes at you fast. Ashley's mother and I had a brief encounter in the late '80's, I never knew she became pregnant, and that means that technically my first child was born long before Renee and I ever met. Now my son was an uncle to a niece just a couple years younger than him and another one year older than he is, while Magnolia and Lily became aunts to two in the blink of an eye. I would like to say that our family is now complete, but I know this is just the start of a new version of what our family is and more additions will be coming in the future.
Now that you know a little about my family, let me tell you a little about what I do. For twenty-six years I was a landscape contractor in the greater Chicagoland area. I worked for other companies for the first twenty years, and then had my own company, Powell Landscaping, for the last six of those years. I retired twenty-two years ahead of schedule, at the age of forty-five, in February of 2018. My incredible wife, Renee, retired me and set in motion a new timeline that led me down the path that made you, for some reason, want to come to this website and see more about what this crazy old man is all about. Since I retired, Renee and I have made investments, including 50% ownership in a small trucking company, and I have kept myself busy with a multitude of projects. I have written and self-published my own books, I created and host two podcasts, I have an e-commerce store with over four hundred items to choose from, I write a weekly blog, and more projects are currently being developed that may hopefully come to fruition in the not so distant future. In addition to those projects, I create content for social media, appear on other podcasts as a guest, and host live events solo, as well as with others, from time to time. I primarily discuss politics and social issues, but also create content around cannabis consumption, music, GenX culture, food, Chicagoland history, and damn near everything in between. In addition to the content creation, podcasts, books, and trucking company, I am also an ordained minister, so if you need someone to officiate your wedding, I am also your guy. As an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church, I am able to officiate weddings, or oversee the renewals of your vows, in all fifty states. Send me an email on my Contact page and we can discuss that further.
So what qualifies me to discuss the wide range of issues I touch on in my content, podcasts, and books? Nothing. I am not an expert in any of the fields I discuss. In fact, I'm a high school drop out who spent four years living in a tent in the early '90's while hitchhiking back and forth across the United States. My experience comes not from a classroom, but from life on the road. While others my age were attending college, my campus was the highways and byways of America. My professors were Mother Nature and Old Man Time. When my nomadic way of life came to a conclusion, I settled down, grew roots, and created a stationary life for myself. I also became extraordinarily interested in politics, as I knew the people controlling the levers of power had an impact on my life. So when I discuss anything, I do so from the perspective of decades worth of my own experiences. While I am not an expert in anything, sometimes you will get more reality from someone who lived through the various events he discusses rather than someone who was taught about the events we lived through. What I lack in book smarts I more than make up for in life experience. It is safe to say I have been around the block a time or two.
Politically speaking I am a center-left Democrat. I describe myself as a liberal, but far left liberals would describe me as Ronald Reagan. I believe that you should get a job and contribute to society, but I also believe we need safety nets in case we fall. I am a capitalist who believes in heavy regulation of the private market. A capitalistic economy with socialistic safety nets, if you will. I think we should have universal healthcare and nobody should go broke trying to stay alive. I believe in everyone's right to own, and carry, a gun, but I also believe in tighter gun control measures. I support the LGBTQIA+ community, and I can acknowledge that inherently racist systems have served to open doors for me while oppressing others, and that systematic racism is still woven throughout the fabric of our society, unfortunately. I believe we need to severely reform policing in Americas, but I oppose "de-funding" the police. I believe in a person's right to choose, and since it isn't my body, it sure as hell isn't my choice. I don't mind the taxes they take from us, but I wish they would just get us the most bang for our buck. And, sadly, as I came up in an America where the right and left could work across the aisle with one another, we have seen such relationships devolve into tribalistic war tactics, and the far right wing in America has turned their sights to full-on fascism, and that I simply cannot get on board with. One party rule is not the desired political landscape, but at the moment it is, unfortunately, a necessary evil.
As for what I do to fill my time, more than a few things manage that task. I absolutely love to kayak, and where we live exists a slew of various waterways on which one can enjoy a nice kayak ride. I like to write my books, create content, and most recently have begun to somewhat enjoy cooking. With our son taking an interest in bowling, I am working a few games a week into my schedule as well. I love football (Go Colts!), and try to make it a few games at the friendly confines to watch our Cubbies. I also manage to fill my day up with running our small trucking company, cleaning the house, doing the grocery shopping, and shuttling kids to where they need to be. It is hard to imagine that one day all of that will stop, and the dynamics of the house will drastically alter, but if there is one thing my time on this blue rock floating through space has taught me it is that nothing lasts forever and everything changes. Anyway, that is a little bit about me to help welcome you into the dysfunctional family that is my digital following. Make sure to hit all the pages on this website, and go follow me on all the social media platforms where I have an account as I do post different content to different platforms. Now, onward, Buttercup; there's fuckery to spread!
My interview with The Chicago Tribune
My interview with The Morris Daily Herald
My interview with AARP
My guest appearance on The UnLearn 16 Podcast
My guest appearance on The Just Buy Less Coffee Podcast
My guest appearance on The Old Man Strength Podcast
My guest appearance on The Pints & Diplomacy Podcast
My guest appearance on The Tony Michaels Podcast
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