Kory McDow

This is me.

Well That Didn’t Work

Chalk this pass week­end up to another les­son learned. It’s a les­son deeply rooted in the time­less tra­di­tion of “What the hell was I think­ing?” It’s a les­son I am so thank­ful to have been exposed to again:

Be Yourself

Here’s the back­drop. I had a client that required an emer­gency project for which I was rec­om­mended by some­one I regard highly. The project was well within my skills and abil­i­ties. I had enough time to do the project right. I was within their bud­get. Everything was a go and we were fir­ing on all cylin­ders. Here was my chance to do a good GREAT job and I was about to knock it out of the park. With that, I set about doing the work.

Swing and a Miss

Midway through the project, I was told that their orig­i­nal designer was now avail­able and would take over the project. What I had cre­ated would not be used at all. Well drats.

Looking back on the sit­u­a­tion, I can’t blame them at all. Looking back at what they ended up going with, I couldn’t help buy notice one thing: that’s my style. What they ended up going with is prob­a­bly what I would have cre­ated had I not tried too hard to be some­thing other than myself with my style. It’s prob­a­bly the very same rea­son they decided to go with me in the first place.


So in try­ing to impress and do some­thing out of my nor­mal style, I failed mis­er­ably. Serves me right. Next time, I’ll just be myself and do what I know to do. Obviously, it’s good enough to be hired in the first place.

Lesson re-learned.

Matt, You May Have Just Saved Someone’s Life

There are times in one’s life when they are close to going over the edge. Today was one of those days. This week has been one of those weeks.

My wife has been sick with what we now know is strep throat. As some­one who had strep throat once a month for the entirety of my 8th grade year (I so wish I was kid­ding), I know what it is like to have unbear­able pain in your throat. And fever. And chills. And headaches. And body aches. And thoughts of mak­ing a deal with the devil just so you can take a damn drink of water with­out want­ing to punch a tiger.

Yes, it’s that bad.

But we didn’t always know that it was strep that was caus­ing my sweetie to be unable to do much of any­thing all week. Today we found out. How did we find out? By going to the doc­tor. Here’s how it went down…

Getting Treated

I left this morn­ing with an agree­ment with my wife that if she wasn’t feel­ing bet­ter by the time I returned from tak­ing the lit­tle one to school and then run­ning errands, she would make an appoint­ment to see the doc­tor to find out what was going on. One hour into me being away, I received a text mes­sage that she had made an appoint­ment for this afternoon.

Damn. That means that our exer­cis­ing the “rest and over-the-counter drugs” method wasn’t working.

We went to the doctor’s office and I checked her in while my wife sat down and waited. I joined her after receiv­ing paper­work we needed to give to the Medical Assistant. I messed around on my phone. I read a Buddhist mag­a­zine. I looked around the lobby and cre­ated sto­ries of why the other 10 peo­ple were in that wait­ing room at that moment. I con­tin­ued to wait. And wait. And wait.

We started to won­der what was tak­ing so long when we noticed that peo­ple after us were being called before us. Sure we were three min­utes late, but that shouldn’t be enough to make us wait a long time, right? I went back up to the desk and asked the woman work­ing if she had an esti­mate on how much longer it would take. She said that she would call back and find out what was going on. I sat back down and updated my wife.

After wait­ing for 45 min­utes in total, the recep­tion­ist came over to us and apol­o­gized for her error. Apparently, she was sup­posed to move us to “arrived” so the MAs would know that we were here. She never did that and so we were wait­ing for absolutely no reason.

Thank you for the apol­ogy and for tak­ing own­er­ship, but that does absolutely noth­ing for my wife who is in pain and in an uncom­fort­able lounge chair that does noth­ing pos­i­tive for anyone.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Drugs

With a strep throat diag­no­sis in our head and a con­fir­ma­tion our pre­scrip­tion for drugs would be at the nearby phar­macy, we were on our way. Our daughter’s school is near the phar­macy so I fig­ured I’d grab the med­ica­tion, then get our daugh­ter while my wife would wait in the car.

Upon arrival at the phar­macy, I was told that it would take 10–15 min­utes to fill the pre­scrip­tion. That’s fine. I’ll go and get my daugh­ter and be right back. After return­ing with my smart lit­tle angel in tow, I waited at the counter while they were check­ing on the prescription.

I was then told it would be another 10–15 min­utes. (Now I’m a peace­ful man. Heck, I had a Buddhist mag­a­zine in hand (yes, I stole it) and I even read a few of the pages. My inner peace was strong.)

“Wait. WHAT?!”

You told me it would be 10–15 min­utes 20–25 min­utes ago.” I was then informed that only other phar­ma­cist left, that s/he didn’t fill the pre­scrip­tion before doing so, and that the counter guy didn’t know that. I told him that I would take my daugh­ter to the car where my wife, the mother of my child, who is in pain, who needs these drugs to recover and feel bet­ter would be waiting.

I then did so and returned to the counter to let the counter guy know that I was back. He then pro­ceeded to give me a pager while I waited in the lobby…for 20 min­utes.

For those of you keep­ing track at home, this has been approx­i­mately 45 min­utes that I’ve been wait­ing for this pre­scrip­tion to be filled. A pre­scrip­tion that should’ve been ready by the time we got to the phar­macy in the first place.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Duped

As I got into the car with the pre­scrip­tion in hand, we drive off. About 5 min­utes into the 20 minute drive home, my wife notices that only 1 of the 2 pre­scrip­tions are in the bag.

“Wait. WHAT?!”

It’s too late to turn around now. My wife has been wait­ing, in pain, in an uncom­fort­able car while she gets the pre­scrip­tions she needs to start on the road to recov­ery. My daugh­ter has been wait­ing, in hunger, in an uncom­fort­able car while Daddy gets the pre­scrip­tions Mommy needs to start on the road to recov­ery. I’ve been wait­ing, in anger, in an uncom­fort­able lobby while the lone phar­ma­cist gets the pre­scrip­tions every­one needs because the only other phara­macist left with­out fill­ing my wife’s damn prescription.

I con­tinue home as I call the phar­macy to let them know my frus­tra­tion. Oh, and we’re low on gas.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Food

Because it was already after din­ner­time and I now had to return to the phar­macy, we stopped at a burger joint to grab a burger for me and lit­tle one (my wife had left­overs she was going to eat). After telling my story to the woman who took my order (Thank you Ms! You were awe­some for smil­ing, lis­ten­ing, and relat­ing.), I also ordered a beer to drink while I waited.

Matt, you were talk­ing to an older gen­tle­man about your Seahawks hair­cut and I took a pic­ture. We started talk­ing Seahawks foot­ball and how you’re a big fan, Raiders foot­ball and how I’m a big fan, and pey­ton man­ning and how his team will fall short in the play­offs…AGAIN.

Just the fact that we were hav­ing a jovial con­ver­sa­tion about foot­ball and sports and smack talk­ing was awe­some. Your smile and enthu­si­as­tic con­ver­sa­tion com­pletely lifted my spir­its. I left the burger joint happy for hav­ing stopped by, enthu­si­as­tic to come back, and thrilled with my new state of being.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Gas

After drop­ping off my girls, return­ing to the phar­macy to get the sec­ond pre­scrip­tion, and head­ing home once more, I stopped at an over­priced gas sta­tion to get a few dol­lars until I made it to my gas sta­tion of choice. I pulled up to the empty pumps and waited. Here in Oregon, it’s ille­gal to pump your own gas, so I waited. And waited. And waited.

After I couldn’t wait any more, and some­one else pulled up, I went inside to find out where the gas atten­dant was. I walked in to find him in a quite jovial con­ver­sa­tion with some­one else unseen in the back of the market.

“Wait. WHAT?!”

I wasn’t rude, but in a very deep and stern voice, I let it be known that no one was out there at the pumps and I had been wait­ing quite a while. The atten­dant jumped and then rushed out after me apolo­get­i­cally and pumped my gas. I left with­out so much as a thank you (very unlike me) and headed home just in time to get our daugh­ter ready for bed.

Getting Reprieve

After my wife was set­tled back in bed and our daugh­ter was set­tled in bed, I went down­stairs and ate some of the burger my natur­opath would cer­tainly dis­ap­prove of. Aside from the burger being deli­cious, I thought back, Matt, of how friendly you were to a com­plete stranger. By just being you, you broke into my Michael Douglas moment and kept me from Falling Down.

And Matt, you had no idea.

The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week

The Backdrop

This week has been one of the tougher weeks in my life. As a hus­band, father, and entre­pre­neur, I found that I was fail­ing at every sin­gle one of these areas. Mind you, my wife, daugh­ter, and clients might’ve have said oth­er­wise, but I felt like I was drown­ing and I couldn’t see, let alone grab, any metaphor­i­cal pre­servers that might have been tossed my way.

My wife hurt her back over the week­end and was left fairly immo­bile dur­ing the begin­ning part of the week. Under most cir­cum­stances, I would be atten­tive to her needs and help her on the road to recov­ery. Instead, I was angry that she hurt her back and wasn’t able to help around the house.

I know. Dick move.

My daugh­ter, who has recently been more affec­tion­ate, was look­ing for me to be present with her since Mama was unable. I’d play games with her and read her sto­ries. Okay, let’s be hon­est. I’d move pieces around and rush through the stories.

I know. Dick move.

I had two web devel­op­ment projects to com­plete this week. I com­pleted the first project and pre­sented it to the client on Monday. In my rush to ensure the project was deliv­ered by when I said it would be ready, I rushed through test­ing and ended up deliv­er­ing an incom­plete project. My other client received an email response say­ing I’ll get to it when I can.

I know. Dick move.

What these three sce­nar­ios have in com­mon is that I was stressed, over­whelmed, and in need of more time. Because I was try­ing to focus on every­thing at the same time, I ended up focus­ing on noth­ing. I wasn’t present in the three main roles that guide my life.

The Lesson

I had a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one impor­tant in my life and he reminded me that we can only do what we can do. I think of him often in these sit­u­a­tions where I’m feel­ing out of bal­ance because we’ve had pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions about main­tain­ing bal­ance as some­one man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple roles. Needless to say, I real­ized that this week was the per­fect storm that demon­strated per­fectly this les­son I keep on learn­ing, or rather, need­ing to learn.


The only way for me to be both effi­cient and effec­tive is to be present in the moment. It’s also about man­ag­ing those moments so they don’t bump into each other. Should be easy, right?

Moving Forward

If only it were that easy. I do know that I have to do (there is no try), no mat­ter the dif­fi­culty. What that looks, sounds, and feels like is this:

1. Fridays off. I need Fridays off in order to de-stress, cre­ate, recover, plan, etc. This should have mul­ti­ple results. I can con­tinue to work on the sys­tems I’m devel­op­ing to man­age life bet­ter, I’ll be more pro­duc­tive when work­ing on client work dur­ing the other four days of the week, and I can take time to just be.

I’ve been tak­ing some Fridays off for some time now, but have been check­ing work email and would find myself in the mid­dle of a project won­der­ing where the day went. Plus, I don’t under­stand how work­ing 5 days and play­ing 2 is any sort of bal­ance. Working 4 and play­ing 3 seems a lit­tle more even to me. Does it to you?

2. Being present. This is fairly self-explanatory, but I’m includ­ing it here more as a reminder for me than shar­ing with you. Some of the great­est moments in the past few years have hap­pened when I’ve stopped to notice the beauty around me. It’s in the eyes of my wife when she comes home and sees me wash­ing dishes (I hate wash­ing dishes). It’s in the words of my daugh­ter when she repeats some­thing funny over and over again mak­ing me laugh hys­ter­i­cally. It’s in the emails from my clients when they say I’ve gone above and beyond what they were expecting.

3. Schedules and Systems. I’ve been a fan of sys­tems ever since I can remem­ber. I love both struc­ture and flex­i­bil­ity. And in order to main­tain the bal­ance I need, I have to incor­po­rate both. What does that mean? I’ll be work­ing on sys­tems for every­thing from check­ing work email to clean­ing the house (yes, we’re an equal oppor­tu­nity house­hold). I’ll also be using a sched­ule to more accu­rately pin down when I’m doing what, not to the point of per­fec­tion, but to the point of clarity.


I have a feel­ing the above three items will serve me well. Hopefully, I’ll look back on this arti­cle in a few weeks and see the results. But for now, I think I’ll get started work­ing on these things today…

A Friday.

My Thoughts On The 2012 NBA Finals

So I’m going to get a lit­tle some­thing off my chest and then move on.

Right now

1. The Heat won the Championship and JeBron Lames is the best player in NBA right now.


2. JeBron Lames is not the great­est player ever. Yes, he is one of the greats right now, but you CANNOT con­sider him THE Greatest when the other guys in the con­ver­sa­tion (Russell, Magic, MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Bird, and Kobe) have won 11, 5, 6, 6, 2, 3, and 5, respectively.

Yes, there are greats who have not won a cham­pi­onship and win­ning a cham­pi­onship doesn’t make you great (Sam Jones — 10 and Robert Horry — 7 come to mind), but once you’re in the ranks among the greats, you have to pay your dues.

JeBron, before you can be con­sid­ered THE Greatest, win another cham­pi­onship young buck. (For those of you cry­ing foul, I look at what he has done, not what you expect him to do. Championships don’t win themselves.)

The 2–3-2 Format

3. The 2–3-2 for­mat in the NBA Finals should be elim­i­nated and here’s why… (HOME = team with home court advan­tage (OKC) & AWAY = team w/o (HEAT))

3a. Consistency

If it’s good enough for the rest of the play­offs, why change it for the Finals? I get that travel expenses are reduced dur­ing the con­fer­ence finals because west teams are play­ing west teams (ignor­ing a Memphis vs. LA Lakers/clippers matchup), but you’re the big bad NBA and the expenses are neg­li­gi­ble con­sid­er­ing the rev­enue generated.

3b. Pivot Games

The most impor­tant games in any series are 1, 3, 5, and 7. With the 2–2-1–1 for­mat, HOME gets home games in 1, 5, and 7. With the 2–3-2 for­mat, HOME only gets games 1 and 7.

3c. Momentum

One of the main argu­ments for keep­ing the 2–3-2 for­mat is that you should take care of busi­ness at home. Even if you do that (at least through the first five games), AWAY will have just won 3 straight games. Yes, you’re headed back to HOME’s arena for 2 games, but talk about momen­tum. In a series as impor­tant as the NBA Finals, even a small shift in momen­tum can make a big difference.

Refs? What refs?

4. The refs were HORRIBLE in this series. Before you cry foul, I am admit­ting that the Heat were the bet­ter team. OKC didn’t have a match for JeBron, the Heat’s abil­ity to get into the paint, and the hus­tle game (Bosh/Battier/Chalmers made sev­eral hus­tle plays each game). But there were games where JeBron was allowed to bull­doze into play­ers and get a block­ing foul called in his favor.

Additionally, There were no-calls where it was bla­tantly obvi­ous the call was missed (hello Game 2). And with both teams dri­ving hard to the bas­ket, there was a big dis­crep­ancy in the num­ber of free throws attempted. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

M Go Blue!

5. Congrats to Juwan Howard for win­ning his first cham­pi­onship. He’s a stand-up guy and I’m proud he rep­re­sented the Maize and Blue #MGoBlue

Ahh, I feel bet­ter. Don’t you?

Saturday Zoo: Lego My Lego

Bullet Time on Hoth

Ahhh, another Saturday. Depending on where you are located, you’re start­ing to see some sun. Where we are, we get lit­tle snip­pets of sun­rays, but they usu­ally leave by the time we run and put our shorts on. Oh well, at least we have some yummy Saturday good­ness to check out.

This link came my way and I just had to share. It reminds me of my nephew who loves both Star Wars and Legos. And here we are, the best of both worlds! This is an awe­some col­lec­tion by Avanaut. For the com­plete set, check out: Lego On Hoth.


Thought For The Day

I came across this today and thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy.

DID is a word of achieve­ment,
WON’T is a word of retreat,
MIGHT is a word of bereave­ment,
CAN’T is a word of defeat,
OUGHT is a word of duty,
TRY is a word each hour,
WILL is a word of beauty,
CAN is a word of power.
- Gerard Hargraves

Saturday Zoo

I’m not a fan of com­mer­cials. Actually, that’s not true. I’m not a fan of bad com­mer­cials. I love good ones. So much so that my wife and I are at a con­stant debate whether or not to turn the vol­ume off or not dur­ing the commercials.

We usu­ally turn off the vol­ume because more often than not, com­mer­cials just aren’t very good. I’ve got­ten pretty good at deci­pher­ing between the good ones and the bad ones within the first 2 sec­onds of a com­mer­cial. I don’t know what it is about them that tips me off, but you can find me yelling at my wife ask­ing my wife politely to turn the vol­ume back on so I can enjoy the cre­ativ­ity and/or the humor.

The com­mer­cial below was one of those com­mer­cials. Not to set it up too much, just know that I can see myself doing some­thing along these lines. Our poor daughter.