On the Road

First, sorry it’s taken me so long to update this blog.  I of course have good intentions of updating it regularly, but life just gets in the way.  Also, thanks to all of you who have actually taken the time to read it!  I’m overwhelmed by all of the comments left here, on my Facebook page and on my email.  Your encouragement helps me realize that I AM doing to the right thing.

Interestingly, many of you have emailed about a Phil Vasser song called “Don’t Miss Your Life” (maybe a result of my posting about the theme song from Cheers).  The song is about enjoying the little things in life and I’m trying to remember to do that everyday.  Recently I had to make a trip to Utah and my 11-year old wanted to come with me.  When I said I wanted to spend more time with my kids, I didn’t know I meant 24 hours in the cab of a small pick-up truck.  But you know what?  He did great.  I think I only heard “Are we there yet?” one time.  And I think I said it!

Heading down I-15 in Utah

One of the most surprising things I discovered is that he’s never seen it snowing.    Of course he’s seen snow; he’s even been skiing.  But he can’t ever remember actually seeing it snow.  My initial irritation at having to drive through the white stuff quickly waned.  He was so excited about the adventure.  He took some video (which I’ve stilled and posted here for you) out the car window.  We even had to stop and play in it for a few minutes.  Actually we stopped and he threw snow balls at me.  I stood there freezing and reluctantly serving as a target.  When we got back in the car, I was wet and and cold, but we were both warm inside.


Time away…

I was reading over my Facebook page this morning and saw a few posts about my absence from the morning show.  I noticed a nice comment from a viewer.  I don’t know if I am allowed to use his name but he said, “Money can not buy the treasures Richard has discovered and he will never regret his decision.”

The viewer is of course referring to my leave from the station.  I asked for, and the station granted me a leave for two months.  I had a feeling that when I left, there would be worry about my wife’s health and whether or not I would return.

First, as to my wife’s health, rest assured she’s as well as can be expected.  She has had a few setbacks, but nothing major.  She is back at work and life is returning to about as normal as it ever gets around the Gearhart household.  She has very regular checkups and in fact is going in this afternoon for what hopefully is another clean bill of health.

I decided to take a leave for many reasons.  When I look back at my busy life, one particular time always seems to stick out.  After my second son was born, we decided it was more cost effective for one of us to stay home rather than have two kids in daycare.  My older son was four and would start preschool and of course the youngest was a just an infant.  Even back then, I worked two jobs, the morning show at KSBY and I had a full time teaching job.  My wife and I decided that I would take a leave of absence from the teaching position.  It would be difficult, but we could manage financially and we felt it would be best for our family.  The timing was so tight, that we had to meet at a park to hand off the boys.  I would leave from work right after the show and meet her halfway.  She would hand over the boys and head to work.  I was a “stay at home” dad for the rest of the day

When I look back, I remember it as the happiest time of my life.  I wouldn’t give it back for the world.  A fellow teacher also had a baby at the same time and we started a “mom’s club” of sorts meeting for the boys to play while my oldest son was in preschool two days a week.  As they grew from infants to toddlers, they certainly enjoyed their time together.  I am posting a picture of them when they were just over a year old.  Just a couple of weeks ago, we got the two boys together again.  My youngest son and his buddy from the “mom’s club.”  They still have so much in common.

I loved my time as an almost full time dad and that’s why this particular viewer’s comments hit so close to home and really summed up why I’m doing this.  Now that my kids are turning 12 and 16, the time with them is dwindling and I don’t want to miss out on another opportunity to spend as much time with them as possible.

As to whether or not I will come back… that is the plan.  Hopefully there will be a place for me.  Even if there isn’t, I know the risk will be worth the reward.  Thanks to everyone who has called, written and posted on my Facebook page.  Your support means so much to me.  I look forward to my return and hopefully you all do as well.


Taking a break…

Last week, the theme song from “Cheers” was stuck in my head.  The show’s final season was in 1993, but it was the number one show in 1990 when I started working at KSBY.  So of course I watched it.  Anyone who tuned in remembers the words.  “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got, taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.”

Thanks to the station, I am starting a break from my morning anchor duties.  It won’t be a break from “all my worries,” but it should allow me to spend a little more time with my family.  My oldest son is about to turn 16, and for his entire life, I’ve gotten up well before the rest of the family to head to the station.  I have no idea what the morning routine is like at my house.  I’ve never been there to find out.  And on day one of this break, I still don’t know.  I was up at 4:00am (at least I got to sleep in a couple of hours) and off to work at my other job, teaching at Cal Poly.

For those of you who know my family, or at least been following along on KSBY for the past couple of years, our life really has been filled with triumphs and trials recently.  My wife was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2010.  A year of testing, treatments, travel (to Stanford) and chemotherapy took its toll.  This past year following treatment has come with a few scares, but nothing major.  I’ve been keeping my vacation time on the books, just in case I need it.  Suddenly, it occurred to me though, that maybe now is the time to take a break.  Using the time while we are all relatively healthy.

We are trying to accomplish the difficult task of re-establishing our life the way it was before the diagnosis.  Trying to put the emphasis back on living instead of being afraid of what is still to come.  We got off to a good start this weekend.  My wife loves the beach but we don’t go nearly as often as we should, especially considering how close we live.  So it was out to the coast to take advantage of an extraordinarily sunny January day.  We took the dog along as well, her first trip to the beach.  She loved it.  We later stopped in at the “dog-friendly” Dockside 2 restaurant for lunch.

I’m hoping this time will be a time to refocus, reenergize and reflect on what’s been  a crazy couple of years and to hopefully slow down a little and enjoy my family.  My wife said it best when we were walking on the beach.  A nice walk in the sunshine is good for soul.  Perhaps I don’t need to “take a break from all my worries,” just some of them.

I’ll keep you up to speed on how the break it going.

Welcome to my blog…

     Welcome to my life.  It’s a crazy life, but I wouldn’t change it.  I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo County and continue to live here with my wife and two sons.
     My professional life is split between teaching at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo as a faculty member in the Journalism Department and anchoring the morning news at KSBY-TV.
     I hope to use my little section of the world wide web to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s happening in my life.  Please keep checking my blog to read about life’s triumphs and challenges.