I Have a Jeep

As I walked out of the grocery store tonight, something strange happened. A man was lying on the pavement of the parking lot, halfway under my car, looking at the underside of my car. It was daylight. Tons of people were around. So I wasn’t scared.

I said, “hello,” and he jumped up and asked, “this your Jeep?”

I said, “yes.”

He said, “man, you know that engine? It’s an AMC. You’ll have this thing forever. What engine is it?”

I told him it was the 2.5L 4-cylinder.

He continued, “oh, that’s great. Easy to work on. Actually makes this Jeep about 400 pounds lighter. And,” he went on, “you’ve got the ultimate theft protection,” and laughed.

“What,” I asked?

“Right there in the dash.”

He paused.

“Stick shift!”

He laughed some more, and I picked up on the fact he thinks most people in 2019 would never want a stick shift. Actually, that’s true.

“And, you saved yourself about $4,000 in repairs because eventually, every automatic transition is gonna fail.”

I added, “and it doesn’t have A/C.”

“Really!??!?!  Smart, smart, smart. Another thing that can’t go wrong. And you got those half-panel doors. Why do you have those in? On a night like this? I mean, if it ain’t rainin’, you should have those out. Those are rare.”

He paused.

“Are you interested in selling this?”

My wife won’t like this, but I quickly said, “no, I’ve only had it a few months.”

“Oh,” he said. “So you’re not the original owner? I should give you my phone number in case you change your mind.”

I didn’t take his number. Again, my wife doesn’t “get” me.

He continued to tell me it was a shame they didn’t make the frame and parts out of nickel, because it will get rusty, but he told me about a product to fix and stop the rust underneat and then said, “if you ever need brakes, write this down  …NiCopp. N-I-C-O-P-P.”

“I’ll remember. I don’t have a pen.”

He insisted, “I have a pen in my car, want me to get it and write it down.”

“Oh, no,” I said.  “Ni Bopp.”

“Niiiiii. Cop,” he said. “Like a police officer. A ‘cop’. Sure you don’t want me to write it down?”

By this time, I was climbing in my Jeep ready to leave. I thanked him for convincing me I made a good purchase, and I think he really wanted to write down “NiCopp” and his phone number in case I ever wanted to sell it. I waved good-bye. He watched me drive away like I was headed off to war and I swore I saw a tear roll down his cheek.

I’m ready to go public with this. I have a Jeep. I’m embarrassed about it. I feel like everyone who sees me driving it …and washing it on the weekend …and detailing it …and ‘Liking’ and Saving Jeep YouTube videos …I think they’re all thinking, “oh, Don’s having a total midlife crisis.”

It’s not like that at all. Or maybe it is.

I’ve had a Jeep for a couple of months, and I really like it. It wasn’t supposed to be for me. I wasn’t looking for a Jeep. Wasn’t shopping for a Jeep. I was looking for a reliable, practical, used-car for my 16-year-old with low mileage and good reviews in Consumer Reports that all my kids could share throughout their high-school years and maybe use it for college. Nothing fancy. Just reliable. And then quite randomly I drove by this black, soft-top, 2-door, stick-shift, clean, good-looking Jeep that was priced well below what any similar Jeep I could find online, and I bought it on impulse.

My teenager refused to learn stick shift (I really thought the idea of driving a Jeep would incentivize her to learn) so now the Jeep is mine.

I’ve wanted a Jeep since I was in college and a frat brother had one and often let me borrow and drive it.  Owning a Jeep never seemed like a smart purchase. I’m 46-years-old. I don’t have a “Jeep” lifestyle of mountain biking, off-roading, 4-wheeling, surfing, camping, or anything like that. I’m not a car-buff who enjoys working on cars (although I keep my cars very, very clean and detail them once a month, at least).

Yet, even before owning my first Jeep, I had hard, fast rules.

  1. Jeeps should be 2-door
  2. Jeeps should be soft-top
  3. Jeeps should be manual (stick shift)
  4. Jeeps should be black

The order changes, but I always said, “if I ever get a Jeep, my Jeep will be…”

Now. I’m obsessed. I like the “Jeep wave.” I have a long list of tweaks and enhancements I want to make to it. I know what my “next Jeep” will be (a purchase that seems inevitable because, while my daughter didn’t want to learn to drive the Jeep …my son …he will learn …that I can already tell).

Plastidip. Black rims. 2-inch lift kit. Slightly bigger tires. Running boards. A hitch for a bike rack or shelf. A better stereo, better speakers, and a subwoofer.

I don’t know what the lesson is, here. Maybe there isn’t one. Or maybe, if you wait, patiently, and don’t impulsively buy everything you want right when you want it, or don’t put yourself into debt with an impractical purchase, or just take a deep breath and count to ten (or count to 26 …the number of years since I first decided that someday I would have a Jeep), you’ll get to a point where you truly know what makes you happy, and you’ll be happy when you get it.

It’s possible I would’ve grown out of my I-Want-A-Jeep phase. Maybe I would’ve decided a car isn’t anything I care about. But now, at 46-years-old, and after seeing grown-men, year after year at the Dream Cruise, fawning over cars, day after day …I get it.

Is it a midlife crisis? Is it my attempt to buy my son’s love? Is it me annoying my wife?

I don’t know. I guess it’s a Jeep thing.

Donnie Jalapeno and YOUR GARDEN

OK. Here’s thinking outside the box. You have a garden. Like many of my friends with gardens, you might have too much stuff.

So, how about you bring some of that stuff and let me make Donnie Jalapeno Salsa with produce from your garden.

I’m not even worried that you know these things are in my salsa …I’ll keep the ratio and the spices a secret.

Bring me all of this, or some of this, and I’ll fill in what’s missing and you’ll be all set.

  • garlic
  • white onion
  • red onion
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Regular tomatoes
  • jalapeno
  • habanero (if that’s your thing)

I’m 100 (it’s how the kids say 100%)

Below is a Ted Talk that punched me in the gut. No. Hit me in the head. No. Woke me up (can I say “I’m woke?”). Benjamin Hardy says alotta stuff, but what I hear is stop doing 30-day fasts, or Whole30, or cleanses, or P90X and just become whatever it is I want to say I am. He calls it the 100 Percent Rule.

Like this…

Don is a healthy guy and always eats healthy food.

It’s that simple. If you think about it, it is. In the video below, I identify with the guy he talks about who decided one day he wasn’t going to be a fat guy, and when a child pointed at him in a store and said, “look at that fat guy,” …because he decided he wasn’t a fat guy anymore, he had to remind himself, oh, right, that’s me. But he was well on his journey to looking like the fit, healthy person he already was in his head.

It’s not about New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not about starting something “right after Thanksgiving” or “right after Christmas” or “losing 30 pounds by the end of summer.”

It’s about when you decide something, do it 100% or don’t do it at all.

  • I walk for half-an-hour at least once a day; twice when the weather cooperates.
  • I don’t eat white bread and food with added sugar more than two or three times a week.
  • I floss daily.
  • I’m the top salesperson at my company.
  • I’m a social media content creator and consultant.
  • I am committed to sleeping and having a sleep schedule because I know how important sleep is to my overall health.
  • I stop looking at my iPhone or glowing screens at 10:00 p.m. every evening (if not sooner) and read a paper page until lights-out at 10:45 p.m.
  • I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. and I walk briskly (or exercise, or stretch) from 5:55-6:05 a.m.
  • I brush my dog every day and clip her nails weekly.
  • I’m a writer. I write every day.
  • I’m writing a book. It’s a Sales-Self-Help book with one of my best friends.
  • I’m writing a screenplay.
  • I’m going to be on a Podcast. At least once. Maybe regularly. So what if “everyone” has a Podcast.
  • I’m a great father and always working to be better.
  • I’m a great husband who tells his wife, and shows her, every day he loves her.

Can it be that easy? I’m 100% committed to this entire list. Or I’m not.

For me, it makes sense and keeps me centered and focused.

Project 46

Mid-Year Resolutions (and Mid-Life Resolutions)

Two things that have always been my things are my Mid-Year Resolutions and my Projects. Two years ago I kicked off Project44 and it’s been a good guide. Time for an update.

My birthday, luckily, is July 11th, right in the middle of the year. I like to look back on my New Year’s Resolutions and analyze performance. I’ve done OK, but could do way better.

Oh, and don’t worry if you’re birthday isn’t mid-year, like mine …just play along with me. We look to things like New Years day and our birthday, or maybe Labor Day and the first-day-of-school as points on the calendar where we can start fresh. I wanna make July 1st, or the first week of July as a Start Fresh type of moment.

For me, it’s also time for a Mid-Life Review. All of this is dependent on me being lucky enough to live until I’m 92. Hey! Gotta have goals. And if “living until I’m 92” is a goal, it’s time to start doing the things I need to do to get there.

Hence, Project 46 (henceforth known as #Project46). It started quite simply with my friend, Nick Garcia, challenging me to do the #RavenRun (I’m certain he thought I would not). You know about my lung thing, so #RavenRun, for me, is #RavenWalk – 30-minutes of walking every day, rain or shine, sickness or health …period. And I’m on Day54. I haven’t missed and, actually, I’ve ramped up.


Do things around the number “46”.

  • Lights out and ready to sleep by 10:46 P.M. (11:46 on weekends)
  • Wake up at 5:46 A.M. (6:46 A.M. on weekends)
  • 46 Push-Ups daily
  • 46 Pull-Ups per day
  • 46 Minutes of Writing per day
  • 46 Social Media posts per day
  • Exercise and stretch for 46 minutes daily (even if 22 minutes in the a.m., and 24 minutes at night …and include the Push-Ups and stuff)
  • Listen (or read) something motivating 46-minutes each day
  • Make calls (cold-calls) at 8:46 a.m.
  • Weight 146 pounds

Stuff like that. Get it? Yes, weighing 146 might not be possible (or healthy) and I will never do 46 pull-ups in a day (even if I did 2 each hour …they are so difficult). But it’s simply about finding your meaningful number and building routines and plans around it. Turning 50? Project50. Get creative. Get living.

Wanna play along and support each other. Below is where I am.

(231) 660-1491 mbl
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Amazing Household Cleaner Made With Baking Soda, Dish Soap, and White Vinegar

Short and sweet Blog entry here about an amazing household cleaner made with baking soda, dish soap, and white vinegar.

Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner Recipe

Making a Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner

In a bucket (or even a Tupperware container), start with baking soda, add the dish soap and mix a little, then add the vinegar and bring out your inner child as you marvel at the chemical reaction and foaming action.

Using a Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner

Grab a washcloth (I prefer it over a sponge) and clean, clean, clean.

I used it this morning in my basement shower that tends to get mildewy in the hot, humid summer when the A/C is cranking and I just gotta say …wow. It devoured the soap scum (maybe about 10-days since previous cleaning). It whitened the grout (almost in real-time), and I liked how the dish soap kinda made it stay on the surface while I kept wiping in a circular motion. I did the walls. The shower doors. The chrome and stainless steel. And then the tile floor.

Turned on the shower. Used the handheld showerhead to spray everything and it just washed right away and everything looked incredible.

And it smelled lemony. I loved it. No bleach. No harsh chemicals (everything is edible if you think about it). And, because I’m frugal (cheap), I hate how expensive most bathroom cleaners are and this, by my calculations, cost me about $1 (and it’s probably lower than that) based on what I bought to make it.

What To Buy To Make a Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner

  • 13 1/2 pound bag of baking soda ($10)
  • 1.32 gallon Heinz white vinegar (I’m sure you can find cheaper)
  • 30 oz lemon dish soap ($1)

I have a pretty large shower stall and I did the entire shower and the doors and had mix leftover to do the floors, and still had to dump some out – next time I’ll go outside and wipe down some of my white aluminum siding with the extra mixture. Or maybe I’ll clean my slop sink in the basement. Or maybe my main sink upstairs.

My next lifehack will be to put a shower squeegee in the bathroom and use it after each shower – I hear that really, really helps a bathroom stay cleaner, longer.

I don’t know what your water and soap do to your shower, but my soap scum tends to almost look light pink or orange-brownish. Sounds more disgusting than it actually is, but that’s what I see when my bathroom goes 10 or 14 days withouth cleaning.

Lung Healthy Household Cleaner

scrubbing_bubbles_marquee-newAnother benefit of this homemade cleaning solution is the lack of toxins. Yes, the surfaces will be clean and there won’t be bleach on your fingers, but I’m a guy with a lung condition, called Bronchiectasis, and for years I’ve deferred all bathroom cleaning to my wife so she can damage her lungs (sarcasm) and not me. But truly, when I do get bold and clean the bathroom with Scrubbing Bubbles, or Scrub Free bathroom cleaner, I wear a breathing mask, and even then, I cough and wheeze. If I don’t cough and wheeze while cleaning the bathroom, afterward I will because those toxic fumes hang in the air.

Not a Mommy Blog

There you go. This is not a Mommy Blog. This is a Dad Blog. I put the good stuff at the top of the article. Most people will never read this far. When I was searching and researching it was so annoying. Half the Blog entries told long stories about why they found a non-toxic cleaner option, told me how many kids they have, or described some ailment they believe was caused by all the chemicals (OK …I kinda did that with telling you about my lung condition), blah, blah, blah.

I tried to make this lifehack, Dad-centric tip easy.

  • Part 1: I started with stating here’s the BEST non-toxic, homemade, vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap based bathroom cleaner (10 seconds to read)
  • Part 2: I told readers how to make it (10 seconds)

***at this point, a reader could leave, bookmark, or Tweet my entry and I’m happy…***

  • Part 3, 4, 5, etc: 10-minutes of all the background for those who really like to read stuff.

Experiment in Attracting Readers to my Category Expert Blog Entry

And finally, another reason I’m posting this is as an experiment. It’s a lifehack. It’s a cleaning tip. It’s a Blog entry with all the right tags and keywords. When someone searches for “homemade household cleaners” or “baking soda bathroom cleaner” or “baking soda dish soap chemical-free cleaner” …or when they search anything about “using dish soap to clean your bathroom” or “Dawn dish soap bathroom cleaner” …hopefully, they land here.

I hope someone leaves a comment and tells me I’m a genius, that they tried this and it changed their life, or actually I wouldn’t mind if some Internet troll decides to tell me how I’m killing all the fish in Lake Michigan because of this homemade household cleaning product.


  • Cleaning the bathroom. It eats up soap scum and doesn’t have the toxic fumes that hurt my lungs
  • Cleaning gutters and siding. I live in a neighborhood with many tall trees, many of them maples. Without fail, in the spring, when I can’t keep up with the helicoptors (seeds) that fall off those maples into my gutter, a good rain will overflow my gutters and my white gutters and downspots will look grey and dirty. I sprayed this on. Let it sit. And it wiped clean like I was using Krud Kutter. But I didn’t have to wear the breathing mask and gloves like I do with that.

Good luck. Get clean.


I Love Don Week 2019

My birthday is July 11th. Every year. And most of you know the week leading up to my birthday is known as “I Love Don Week.” It’s an opportunity for you to celebrate me for an entire week and give me gifts every day.

extended-offer-vector-16727621I take great pride in annoying inspiring the world every year. This year, with Fourth of July falling on a Thursday and me being Up North (Michigan) without WiFi for the long weekend, I’m getting a late start so … I’m making a VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

“I LOVE DON WEEK” will be extended through Sunday, July 13th.

Please spread the word and let everyone know. You thought you only had one shopping day remaining but think again. I will be accepting gifts and well-wishes and meals dropped off, free drinks if you catch me out and about …all the way until July 13th!!!

Now, the list.

Can you sense the excitement? Spread the word! Big news. Happy Birthday, me!


Don is a Blogger, creative thinker, advertising sales guy, writer, coffee drinker and other stuff. You can connect with Don in many, many ways.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/donkowalewski 

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Neoprene Sleeve

My iPhone doesn’t have a case. Never has. Never will. I like to keep it in my front pocket or back pocket (or any pocket). The problem with that is, something will scratch it. Maybe the keys. Maybe the denim on my jeans. Maybe small bits of sand or dust that, when you sit on an unprotected phone in your pocket, will scratch the screen.

I’m not the only person with that problem and I’m not the only person who thinks the iPhone shouldn’t have a case. The iPhone is beautifully designed. It is thin. A case takes a beautiful, thin iPhone and basically turns it into a VHS tape.

I found a neoprene pocket liner that allows me to slip my phone into my pocket, and it doesn’t matter if that pocket has coins, lint, sand, or my keys in it …the phone is safe inside it’s neoprene sleeping bag, if you will.

It’s brilliant. I know it. And I know exactly who will laugh at me about it. And I don’t care.


run with raven

Does anyone remember two years ago when I started kicking my own butt? It was called “Project 44” and I was exercising in multiples (or factors) of 44 in the run-up to my 44th birthday (or was I 44 years old and there were 44 days until the end of the year …I can’t remember).

I’m at it again. It’s not like I’m a big, fat slob …but I’ve been walking-only …most days …sometimes for a half-hour and sometimes for 15-minutes.

But I started reading a book called Brain Body Diet and like all weight loss books (or brain health books, it suggests exercise is good for the brain …and health …and weight loss …and cholesterol …it’s like exercise is good for everything. *sigh*

Then, Nick Garcia sent me an email about the Darren Hardy #RavenRun challenge and basically bullied me into get moving, so here I am. Just finished my 3rd straight day of #PowerWalking and then, today, I added Work Out with My Teenage Son (which could also be known as “Come to Terms with My Declining Ability Due to My Age”). We went to a large hill by our house. I walked/jogged up and down two times (taking a break at the top and bottom to cry and fake an injury …and do 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 burpees) while he bounded like a gazelle up and down three times, stopping at the top and bottom to scream, do jumping jacks, many more push-ups than I did …pretty much rubbing my face in it and hurting my pride.

Doctors say exercise is good for you …and all I gotta say is it had better be.


Brain Body Diet

Started reading this book, Brain Body Diet by Sara Gottfried, MD,  and quickly realize it was written by a woman for women, and yet, I know there’s got to be some good advice in here. I’m stubborn. I refuse to admit I’m reading a book for women and I’m simply going to leave the estrogen and lady-stuff on the side, and take the universal truths out of the book. For example, in the first steps fo the 40-day journey to a better brain and body, the steps toward success are (1) eat vegetables to lighten the load on your liver, (2) take brain botanicals like berberine and curcumin, (3) exercise to the point of sweating and heavy breathing, (4) detox your home environment, and (5) use supplements to begin reducing toxin levels in your body.

There’s a bunch more steps after that, but all five of those seem unisex and apply to everyone.

Happy to report after two days of intense power-walking, maybe it’s my imagination, but the things I was stressing about seem a little less stress-inducing.

Can a man wear yoga pants?

This book promises that in 40-days, I’m going to be transformed. We’ll see.


This can be the greatest, most energizing, most detoxifying, most amazing smoothie you’ll ever have or you’ll hate it.  You won’t find it at Tropical Smoothie Cafe or Beyond Juice because those places need their smoothies to taste good. Mine is not horrible, but it ain’t a dessert by any means. It’s a massive injection of good food.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of black or red raspberries
  • half a banana
  • 1 TBLS chia seeds
  • 2 or 3 slices of apple (with skin)
  • 2 strawberries
  • handful of leaf spinach
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • Optional: half-scoop of Green Vibrance
  • 1 tsp Bulletproof XCT Oil  ***NEW 8/10***
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ***NEW 8/10***

Throw all this into a Vitamix (I’ve never met a blender that will liquify this) and go!  Add some water if it’s too thick.

Energy. Energy. Brainpower. Helps your eyesight. Fights off brain fog.

UPDATE / ADD-ONs as of 8/10/2019

Nothing is ever perfect. I added two simple items that don’t change the flavor but have some incredible benefits. MCT Oil claims “Crave Less. Do More. This smart fat kickstarts your body’s ability to run on brain-boosting, fat-burning ketone energy. Innovative cap design gives you a precise pour without the mess” and cinnamon is good for many things including tons of antioxidants, heart health, and my biggest reason …it’s known to ward off Neurodegenerative Diseases. In other words, two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).