Distance makes the heart …

The family – Margaret T. Hance Park – Phoenix, Arizona – March 20, 2011

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted to this blog … lemme open a new tab on the browser and check … almost a month to the day since I posted anything of substance.

I apologize, really. Life has been all catch up and emergence. It’s like nothing you can prepare for, really, emerging from the depths of such a severe illness – one that threatens to take so much away from you and then, a few weeks later, deposits you on the shore and says, “well, there you go. That’s that.”

It still doesn’t all make sense.

I went somewhere dark, you know? A place where fear rules your life. It’s like the movies, where the bad guy is hiding behind the door, with the gun to the victim’s temple. And the victim is saying something into a phone – “yes, transfer the money into that account” – that they don’t want to say. Or maybe, “don’t want to say” isn’t the right phrasing. It’s that they don’t have control.

Something is driving them. Something scary. Something bigger. Something menacing.

And when you see that; feel it’s cool steely grip on your veins, it takes a while to rub that feeling off. It’s not like a shower, or a warm night sleep, can make it go away.

People have all kinds of ways to cope with things like that.


I went on a binge.

The funny thing – for those who’ve never been through such an experience – is that you don’t really know you’re on a binge until you’re long out of it.

I guess in some cases, people go so out of control that their family is forced to confront them; and that in others people spin much, much further out of control – losing family and friends and property and all sorts of stuff.

I’ve never binged like that. No, like all things “Ed-in-his-30s,” I tend to binge in moderation. That means two nights of heavy drinking and excessive eating after crappy, long, tiring work days, instead of 4, 5 or 7.

My binges often involve drinking beers that most people wouldn’t even buy – cask-condition rarities that run upwards of $15 a bottle (that’s not a typo). My philosophy: if you’re going to get drunk, it might as well be on something good. And while that sounds all highbrow and fancy, it’s actually double the stupid. I can’t afford to be getting ripped on $15-a-bottle beer. Not while a series of hospital bills are set to pour in.

Getting drunk for me also means cooking elaborate meals. I’ll spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up dishes packed with calories. I’ll shut everyone else out; turn up the music and get lost.

Sounds okay?

Well, those are the good binge days.

The other ones might look something like those ones on the commercials for self-help centers. Me, alone, lost inside my brain, trying to put all the pieces together; trying to control the future, when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Cigarette butts – yeah, those cigarettes I’ve quit 2,000 times – swirling in an empty bottle.

You have to wake up and face yourself the next morning after that.

I’m really good at wearing the disguise.

“Hi, I’m Ed, I’m not ‘A Perfect.’ But I play one on TV.”

That’s me.


But then again, it’s not.

Because here we are today, tonight. And all is clear. And that mist has passed.

The mist passes faster and faster these days. That’s one of the gifts of age.

I don’t like the binges. Hate them, in fact.

And, in truth, what doing endurance racing has taught me is that the difference between wanting to do something, and doing it, is simply making the decision to do it, and then following through.

It’s a matter of taking action. I’ve gotten good at that.


But enough about me. Most of you tuned into this blog because you cared about our family, and more importantly Beckett.

Beckett has made incredible progress and he is almost 100 percent recovered. His occupational therapy concluded today, with full strength returned to both of his arms and hands. One of his legs and feet – I can’t remember which – is also fully recovered. The other is close.

He has returned to school full-time; and is participating in recess and physical education. He is caught up on his studies; and looks poised to pass the first grade with no problem.

His recovery; and his ability to slide back into his life, relatively unscathed, has been a miracle. Truly. And we have many of you to thank for all the help, thoughts and good wishes you’ve sent our way.

Our life has been slowly returning to normal. Last week, we really hunkered down and spent a lot of quality family time together. Three straight days in fact, of pretty much just us, being together outside, at parks, at meals. It was the most peaceful three days I think any of us have had in months.

And it’s rolled into – despite being extremely busy – a mentally peaceful week. I’ve slept eight hours or more each of the last six nights. That, in and of itself, is an incredible blessing.

Tonight, we went to a press screening of the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie – a film based on a series of books that are Beckett’s absolute favorite.


What happens from here is anyone’s guess. I guess we keep trying to repair. I’ve gained 12 pounds since Beckett’s gotten sick – that is certainly not good. So, I’ve signed myself up for another race.

Back into training mode I go.

On Thursday, Heidi and I will celebrate our actual, real 10-year wedding anniversary. We’re going to do it right. I got us reservations at Kai – what many argue is the best fine-dining restaurant in the Southwestern U.S. I figure a milestone like that is worth celebrating.

Without Heidi, without her undying love and constant patience with me, and everything that surrounds this family, I’d a 1/20th the man I am today. Probably less than that.


So that’s that; or that’s where we’re at, anyway.

Is this the end of Bacon and Candy? Most assuredly not.

But I hope it’s the end of Bacon and Candy and the talk of sickness.

Beckett’s lead neurosurgeon has warned us there’s a 20 percent chance of recurrence; which is high, but at least we know, and we know what to look for.

I do feel like we’re closing a chapter, though. Or maybe a whole Part to a much longer book – get sick, get diagnosed, get healed, people send out love, miraculous recovery occurs, dad loses his marbles and gets drunk, dad sees he’s insane and gets better, kid cures 100 percent, mom and dad celebrate with 10th anniversary – yeah, that’s too much for one chapter, definitely a part to a bigger book …

Life calls; the unpredictable march awaits.

Or, in my case, work calls.

At 4:30 a.m. tomorrow.

With love,

Ed, Heidi, Beckett and Brody



It’s Here: Beer, Sun and Baseball 12

The Crew: 11th Annual Beer, Sun and Baseball - March 20, 2011

Today is the biggest annual (non-charitable) party for the Arizona wing of the Baker family: Beer, Sun and Baseball. It’s now in its 12th year.

Every year, on one Saturday in March, I throw together a massive tailgate party at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, home of the Oakland As. People pay a set fee and they get all their alcohol, soft drinks and food covered, plus a T-shirt and a ticket right behind first base.

Most people don’t come for the baseball. They come for the party. This year there’s 53 attendees. It’s always a great time. Mnay of the people who go to this only see each other once or twice a year, typically at this event. So it has a sort of reunion-ish quality about it. And the fact that it’s annual gives it a sort of holiday feel, each event marking another passage in time, a celebration of the fact that, hey, we made it another year, and we managed to get out and celebrate friends and family today.

Or something like that. Most people probably don’t think that deep. Some probably just wanna get a beer buzz and scream at athletes.

If you had asked me 27 days ago whether we’d be doing this event; and whether Beckett would be at full speed and not only be able to go, but up at 5:30 a.m. and bouncing on the bed and wondering when we were leaving, I’d have thought: no way.

Beckett’s progress and his return to form is nothing short of a miracle.

Time to go party.

(Pictures to come tomorrow. Lots and lots of pictures. Promise.)

– Ed, Heidi, Beckett and Brody

By the By

Beckett - August 2005

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.

This week, between Monday and Thursday, I worked a consecutive series of 12+ hour days. On Wednesday alone, I worked 19 hours. Got up at 4:30, got to the office at 4:45 a.m.; worked straight to 5 p.m., took a couple hours break for dinner, and worked untul 1:30 a.m.

It’s about catch-up. Trying to get things back into their normal groove. Trying to replace what was lost. All in all, it was a success.

Today, as I sat behind the 3rd base dugout at the Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres spring training game with mom, dad and Electa, it felt as if I was finally starting to put the pieces back together.

I could breathe deeply, and enjoy life in the moment. Finally, peace.

Beckett has progressed fantastically. His therapy has going well. Me? I’ve just been trying to stay away from the keyboard.

You should all know, though: We’re doing fine. Slowly, we’re slipping back into the groove.

– Ed, Heidi, Beckett and Brody