I've been wanting to start a blog for sometime, but never got around to it. I'm a 41 year old, single, stay at home dad of three kids (Faith, 13, Robbie, 10 and Tom, 7) living in Bellevue, WA, which is just across the lake from Seattle. Up until about 2 1/2 years ago, I was married living in Texas and was Director of Prospect Research Research at Baylor University (which means I found potential donors to the university and matched their interests to our projects). I have had Crohn's Disease basically all my whole life and had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was around 30, but I was functioning fairly well and living a fairly normal life (cub scout master, member of my kids' school board, etc.), but then the summer of 2010 hit.
In the course of a couple of months, my wive separated (and later divorced), I left my job (originally meant to just be a short sabbatical), got primary physical custody of my kids (thanks to my now ex-wife who thankfully avoided us both "going nuclear" on each other in court and instead allowed us to come to a compromise that was best for the kids), and found out I had cancer!!! Because I was determined to be around for my kids, I told the doctors to be as aggressive as possible. After a few weeks, I came back from frighteningly close to the edge, I have been able to stabilize with ongoing treatment (my form is considered "incurable" but is in many cases manageable with treatment indefinitely .
Then shortly after the first of 2011, my ex-wife decided to move to Seattle. Since I believe strongly that kids need and deserve both parents in their lives (if possible), I decided to move the kids and myself across the country to area I knew absolutely no one (except my ex-wife, who incidentally, has been a great help to me). Its been a long and at times trying journey, but I am absolutely convinced that I made the right decision, because it was best for my kids (and any other factors are insignificant to me in comparison).
That brings me to the here and now. I physically still can't work full-time, but I am trying to keep my mind focused and occupied while the kids are at school, so I thought writing a blog might be a good idea. I'm not sure what I want to do with it, but it will reflect me and my interests. My interest are my kids (obviously), my health (also, obviously), politics, current events, travel, science, history, and saving money and I also have a severe contest addiction. I've always loved sweepstakes and contests and have been successful at them when I sporadically had time to entry, winning such things as two big screen TV's and trips to Iceland, Los Angelese and North Carolina (to a NASCAR race), but they have actually been a God send to me over the past couple of years. They give me something to occupy my thoughts (as opposed to worrying) without being physically or mentally taxing. Also it helps keep me in a positive outlook wondering what the next mail will bring me and also allow me to get "extra" things for my kids which my very tight budget can't provide. I really hope to be able to get sponsors for some giveaways for my site, but I will definitely be sharing some of my contest secrets, linking to some of my favorite contest sites and individual contests and also I'll try to keep you up-to-date on what I'm winning to show that real people really do win these things and what you could be winning too with some effort.
Well, that short of sums up the answers to "Who am I? and Why am I here?" (and major points if you got the reference to the 1992 Vice President Debate. Congratulation, you are as embarrassingly nerdy as I am!) But I REALLY want to hear from you and have your help to making this site meaningful I know the last thing the world needs is the 18th millionth generic "PR-friendly" review and giveaway site or the 5 billionth "my kid just did the cutest thing" site. So any and all advice is appreciated.