Wednesday, December 23, 2009
No kids. No loved ones. No special someone. Nobody to enjoy a cup of egg nog (does anyone actually enjoy egg nog?) in front of a fire (if I had a fireplace) with.
It would be easy to mope. To get down. To say "screw this" and turn Christmas into a 12-pack induced pity party.
But as I stood on my balcony tonight, pondering my first real Christmas all alone EVER in my life, I realized it could be much worse.
I could be alone, and homeless.
I could have nobody who cares about me...which I know is not the case.
I could be hungry and not sure where to find a meal.
I could be estranged from my childrens' lives and not know that they like raisin bran more than cheerios, and donuts over bagels.
I could be fighting for my country halfway around the world, worrying about being blown up by a guy with a garage door opener, away from my loved ones with no chance of seeing them anytime soon.
Or I could be gone from this world, dust in the wind, and not be able to wake up Christmas morning and take a deep breath of the cold air and thank God for being alive this day.
So Christmas Eve, I'll put on my snow boots and trudge through whatever amount of snow down the street, go to a Christmas service, and thank God for what I have in my life:
- Two amazing sons who never cease to amaze me or bring a smile to my face.
- Countless friends who are always there for me and always find a way to make me laugh.
- An amazing family who has helped me out through some rough times in the last few years (Thank you Mom, Dad, Dave, Jim, and your families).
- The fact that I understand that my life is not about my possessions, my income, my things, but about who I am as a person, and how I treat the people around me.
Standing on the balcony alone tonight, I heard from across the street ice skates shushing across a rink, and the sound of a puck being smacked off a stick, then hitting the rink wall with a loud "thump." As the snow lightly fell, I heard the sound of a shovel scraping against a sidewalk, scratching its way from clean white to dirty gray. From a distant snowbank, the sound of children taking delight in the early stages of the "stormegeddon" can be heard.
What a beautiful, peaceful and not so silent night.
Merry Christmas! May your nights never be silent.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Losing my job, and being on unemployment for nearly 10 months.
Losing my townhouse, and having to scramble to find a place to shelter my sons and continue to feed them.
Losing what I thought was a solid relationship, and in the process learning so much more about people and what to look for in the people I allow in my life.
But the old saying has never been more true for me than before, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
As I look forward to 2010, I look forward to a major career shift, one that will allow me to use my skills in a new way, and one that rather than always facing catastrophe when the economy gets shaky, will allow for growth.
I also have streamlined and simplified my life in a way that has really gotten me back to the basics, like many Americans still need to learn. My sons have learned that "things" are not what is important, but people...and that when they get some special things, they appreciate them even more.
And, most importantly, I have learned that the true friends in my life are there no matter what my job title is, no matter how much is in my bank account. Really the true friends are there no matter what, period.
And you know who you are. You have stood by me and let me vent out my frustrations, or helped me move on a moment's notice, or helped me find some part time work to help pay the bills. You've given me reasons to laugh and smile, and thanked me when I helped you laugh or smile. To each and everyone of you, I can't say thank you enough for being a true friend, and for all you did.
As 2010 approaches, I have re-learned such a simple, but true lesson - you cannot measure a person by their wealth in dollars, but you can measure a person in their wealth of friends and family. And I am the richest mofo I know in that regard.
Happy Holidays to everyone, and may 2010 be an amazing year of self-discovery and growth for all of you!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Two years plus back, a good friend of mine who was down on his luck needed a place to crash for a few weeks or so (it ended up being over 6 months, but I digress). So I spent an entire Saturday helping him move things either to my meager two bedroom townhouse, or to his storage locker.
The new roomie and his girlfriend had a few more loads to bring yet that night, so I gave him my house key to finish the job.
As I was getting ready to leave for my date, the new roomie and his girlfriend arrived with their last load. I asked him for my key, a habit I have since I'm always paranoid about what would happen if the garage door suddenly wouldn't open due to power failure or some other factor. He said fine, but wondered how he'd lock up when he was done.
I thought about it and suggested he just lock the bolt on the front door, then run out the garage door after pushing the button. Easy enough, right? I guess not, and you'll see why later.
So I go on my date, have a fantastic time at dinner, then end up hanging out until almost 2 a.m. sitting on her patio watching her dog and her roommate's dog chase each other around. I decide it's time to head home, and set on my way.
About halfway home I realized I really really had to go to the bathroom. Not the "pull over and hide behind a bush" kind either. The big deuce.
I pulled into my driveway and hit the garage door opener. Nothing. I pull the remote off the visor and shake it and try about 20 more times. "Good thing I got that key," I think to myself.
I walk up to the front door, insert the key, and...nothing. Yeah seriously. It didn't work. I tried calling my new roomie at his old apartment where he was staying one last night. No answer.
30 attempts to awaken him did no good. FML.
I quickly went into panic mode, thinking that I was going to have to drop a deuce in my 6x6 manicured lawn, without toilet paper. I envisioned running to a neighbor's house, but then remembered that a) nobody there knew me, and b) nobody was awaked at 2:30 a.m.
Yet nature was calling. I even was starting to sweat profusely on my forehead and feared what they might find the next morning. A dead man, smeared in poo and sweat, his hand frozen as if he were clawing at his front door.
But damnit. I had to sleep tonight too.
So I called a locksmith, and searched in my trunk for duct tape to prevent me from having an accident before he arrived.
The locksmith arrived. A chatty fellow. Slow too. Every word made my stomach rumble more and more. He tried to open the lock. And tried some more. And some more. After an hour of trying, he said his only option was to drill through the current lock and replace it. "That's fine. Just make it fast, please!"
30 minutes later, he finally broke through the lock and the door was open. "Now I'll install the new lock," he pronounced. "I tell you what, while you do that, I am going to go take care of some business that is urgent inside."
After ripping off the duct tape dam (no, I didn't really do this, but just making sure you're still reading), I rushed into the little boys' room and took care of my mighty deuce.
The next morning I learned that the new roomie had 1) inadvertantly given me his apartment key instead of my townhouse key, and 2) when he went to go out through the garage door, he inadvertantly hit the combination of buttons that makes it automatically lock to all openers. Nice.
The lesson for the evening? Always wear Depends on your first date.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
There are some very important tips that you should follow if you are about to venture out into the cyberworld of matchmaking. Here are my top 5 online dating tips:
5 - Never agree to go on a date with someone who has more pictures of their pets on their profile than of themselves. Let's face it...if they have that many pics of Fido, they are either a) a person who treats their pet like a child, a big red flag, or b) a person who looks worse than their drooling bulldog...a ginormous red flag.
4 - "That's an old picture of me. I don't look anything like that anymore." Um, hello? Then why do you have it posted? NEXT! People using old photos on their profile are either saying "this is when I looked my best, 6 years ago" or "I can't afford a digital camera or I don't have a friend with a digital camera, therefore, I am not worthy of your time."
3 - If you show up and you notice an Adam's Apple on Tiffany, you are fully authorized to fake a heart attack to get out of your date. This rule is recognized in over 36 nation states currently.
2 - Talk on the phone with your potential date before the actual meeting. I learned this the hard way. I had been emailing a woman that I seemed to be getting along great with, and we agreed to meet. We never spoke on the phone before that date. I showed up, and as she spoke, I could hear her voice combining one of Marge Simpson's sisters with Fat Albert. Do. Not. Want.
1 - Use creative wordplay on your dating profile to lure the women in for dates. An example: "Activities: Currently unemployed and staying home playing video games all day drinking beer" becomes "Economically self-sufficient man taking stock of his life and exploring his options." Or "Lazy fat guy seeks sugar mama" becomes "Artistic soul in search of a woman who has it all, but needs companionship and love." It's not that hard. Give it a try.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
SO, I'm in the process of coming up with a few different routine ideas, and may within the next month or so tackle one more thing on my bucket list, if you will.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My life has essentially mirrored this over the last 8 weeks. I was whipped against the wall, bounced off another wall, and then yet another, and another. And like the super ball, instead of stopping, I'm no worse for the wear, and I'm still going...bouncing into better places for the first time in a long time.
Flash back to last Fall to begin this story. I had reconnected quite unexpectedly with a woman I knew since childhood, and there was spark that felt very natural and unforced.
While it was a long-distance relationship, we managed really well to make it work, spending time together in our hometown, Sioux City; or in Des Moines, the mid-point of our locations, or in Iowa City, watching both of our favorite football team, the Iowa Hawkeyes on multiple occasions. Then there were trips to her home in Kansas City, and vacations to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Tampa, Florida. Every minute we spent together was like something you'd read about in some cheesy romance novel that women love to read. In just six months time together, we created memories that would last a lifetime for most people.
Then, the super ball started the bouncing journey. Around the second week of February, out of nowhere, she began to grow more distant, and within a week, she ended the relationship. It caught me completely by surprise, and would have been enough to devastate alot of people. I tried to stay strong, but not having a full picture of what led to the break-up drove me crazy in my mind.
Then, just three days after getting my Dear John email, I was laid off from my awesome job. Again, this caught me completely by surprise, as I was one of the less expensive employees for my company -- my job had been shifted from 40 to 25 hours back in September, and my medical and dental benefits were lost.
Now these two things would have been enough to put alot of people I know in a straight jacket...and for a brief time, I was afraid that I would end up in one. But I persevered. Leaned on my friends and family to talk through things, and tried to remember that a positive attitude can go a long way.
Fast forward about 2 weeks later, and the super ball continued the journey. My townhouse went into foreclosure the previous September, and I had been trying to find out from my mortgage company the date I had to be out of there without a sheriff coming to my door and forcibly removing me. After leaving voicemail after voicemail for a 3-week period, with no callbacks, I finally got a live person on the phone at the attorney's office representing my mortgage company. This was on a Thursday. They confirmed for me that I had to be out of my townhouse by end of day the following Monday.
GREAT! Compounding the stress was the fact that I had agreed to take a short-term 3-day job with my friend that required a trip to Milwaukee, WI, and we had to leave on Sunday night. So I essentially had 72 hours to pack everything I owned up, and put it into a 10x20 storage unit I had rented. Could I do it? By myself?
Just 20 minutes after hanging up with the mortgage people, there was a knock at my door. The Repo Man cometh...and he taketh away my car. I had been waiting for a severance check to be deposited into my account to get the car payment current...and it had just been deposited that day. But it was too late. Repo Man had to take my car. So Thursday night I began the process of getting the car back (how do you move out of a townhouse without a car?).
After wiring the payment, and jumping through silly hoops for the car loan folks, I was finally given clearance to retrieve my car around noon on that Friday. The catch? I had to get to St. Cloud (an hour drive from my home) by 2:30 that afternoon. Luckily a good friend was able to drive me up there, I got the car, and was back home by 6 that evening. A day in which I needed to be packing was completely blown. 48 hours to pack everything I owned and moved into the storage unit.
I did get everything into the storage unit, thanks to some incredible friends...and made it for the job in Wisconsin. For the next week and a half after returning to the Twin Cities, I lived in the same cheap flea-bag motel I lived in for a time during my divorce 3 years ago. I finally secured an apartment that was close to my old townhouse, and would allow me to continue to have my sons the two school nights I have them without creating too long of a drive to school in the morning.
I also began to heal on the ended relationship, realizing that there was nothing I could do to have changed the outcome. It is still a mystery to me how and why it ended, but I guess even if I never know the full story, at least it ended before I got so far into it that it would have been even more hurtful.
Now, my sole focus is sending this super ball back into the job market, whether it is in my old field, or a new one. I am essentially living a clean slate and starting from scratch in all facets in my life, and it actually feels GOOD.
The super ball hit the ground, and is now soaring quickly back up into the air, and is not looking back.