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Entry date: 6-13-2022 - Starting something great - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


We’re still on the road and I’ve obviously written this ahead of time. If you read Saturday’s entry, you know that today we are leaving Lincoln, Illinois and heading to the greater Cleveland area. I’m hoping to be able to give a live update later today.


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I feel like I should talk about when Rhondi and I met. I know the lead up was a lot darker than I intended, but I’m glad to have gotten a lot of that out of my system. The weight of that crap is heavy.


So, I have to step back just a bit in time. As I mentioned before, Rhondi and I became acquainted on Azpunk. She seemed to think some of the things I posted were interesting and I felt the same way about her. I had no idea what she looked like, but she seemed cool. In the late summer of 2004, she invited me to a party at her house that was happening on a night that we had a show at Jughead’s. I told her I would try to make it after we played and left it at that.


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Side note: Jughead’s was an interesting bar. I will go into further detail on it at some point. It played a big role in my life for a few years, for sure. It was located on 51st Street and McDowell in Phoenix.

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I didn’t end up making it to her party, though, and this was for the best. Rhondi was in a relationship at the time, and I had moved in with the nameless one just prior, so I must believe meeting her then would have only made life harder on us both. I know I would have liked her a lot and I’d like to think she would have liked me, too. We kept chatting a bit on Azpunk.com, though, and I’m glad we did.


I’ve detailed what I was dealing with over the months that followed and her relationship ended, too. I had moved back in with Shannon and Ryan to help with expenses while I worked on the house I was going to move into and was definitely not looking for a new relationship. However, Rhondi and I were talking a bit on the website.


I had also made the acquaintance of another young lady on Azpunk and when she came down to Phoenix from the bay area for a visit, we went on one strange sort of date. I say ‘sort of date’ because we met for some beers with the other members of Pinky and then I gave her a ride back to her hotel. I wasn’t super into her, though, but I did like her a lot as a person and enjoyed hanging out with her.


Apparently, this made it to Rhondi’s attention through the vibrant Azpunk gossip channels and, by this point, Rhondi had become aware of who I was, and her interest was piqued. When one of our mutual friends told Rhondi that I was connected to the gal from San Francisco, Rhondi said something like, “Not for long,” and shortly after invited me to meet her at Jughead’s on St. Patrick’s Day, 2005.


We had North Side Kings practice on St. Patty’s Day, so I asked Luke, who carpooled with me since we were both living in Ahwatukee at the time, if he would like to stop and have a beer after practice. We walked in the place, and I found Rhondi and wow. Talk about being hit by lightning. I was smitten almost immediately. She was wearing this polka dot top and had about the best smile I’ve ever seen.


We hung out at the bar and had some beers and some Irish Car Bombs and just had a great time. Before too long, I found myself sharing the best kiss I ever had at the corner of the bar. I was feeling very good about my choice to meet her, and we decided to see each other again soon.


My joy was short lived, though, as I had come to an agreement with Shannon that I would put my dating life on hold while I lived with her and Ryan. I had not considered that I would meet someone that I liked as much as I liked Rhondi and I was in a tough spot. I would have to keep this new thing on the down low and that was going in the opposite direction of how I wanted to live my life.


I decided to keep seeing Rhondi, and honestly, I don’t think I could have stopped if I wanted to but keep things mellow. Rhondi and I talked a lot about my situation and over the first month or so of us getting to know each other, she came to understand why I was in between a rock and hard place.


I wish I could say that I handled things well and honorably and obviously it all turned out okay as Rhondi and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary this summer, but it was very tough on us all. Hindsight being 20/20, Shannon and I weren’t in a place where she would have understood if I sat her down and said, “Hey, I didn’t mean to, but I’ve met someone I could see spending the rest of my life with recently.” We weren’t going to get back together, and that was not on the table, but it was very complicated.


I’m being polite here and protecting feelings. Trying to be more of a gentleman now than I was then, I suppose. I could have handled things way better and wish that things were very different, but in the long run, I couldn’t be happier with where I am now.


Rhondi and I dated for a few months, and in many ways, it was very awesome. I was happier than I had been in as long as I could remember. Our exes didn’t care for our budding romance, but oh well. We were doing what was best for us and soon enough, it wouldn’t matter anymore. We were well on our way to building something great and growing our family.


See you tomorrow.



You can tell from the ring on my finger that we're already married, but I love this picture of Rhondi and I.

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