Friday, March 19, 2010

So I've Got This Friend...

S o I've got this friend.

Most of the time, this phrase is code for "this story is about me, but I'm thinly veiling it so as not to embarrass myself."

But this isn't one of those times.
Not that it couldn't be. See my friend and I, we were pretty much sliding down the path of destruction and depression at about the same pace.

One day everything seemed ok. Then suddenly our worlds were upside down. Divorced. Fighting to retain our parental rights. Dealing with a legal system that is still heavily biased toward the mother in custody matters. Being owned by that system.

And while it is true that when you hit bottom, you bounce back up, it's not always as fast of a path as we'd like. There's two steps forward, three steps back. There's good days and bad days.

But my friend, well, he endured quite a bit more hell than I ever had to. But we stayed in touch, albeit sporadically.

The last time I saw him a few months back, he stopped in to see my store and buy some steaks. He seemed to be doing pretty well, but seemed a little tired. That wasn't uncommon for him though, as he tends to burn the candle at both ends 24/7.

So when I returned a missed call from him today, he greeted me in a tone I hadn't heard from him before - giddy.

"Hey. I'm moving to Florida next week," he said with the smile coming through the phone.

"You're what?"

"Moving to Florida. Remember that high school sweetheart I had told you about reconnecting with on Facebook?"

From there, it was an hour long conversation about how he couldn't find words to describe how he was feeling, and that he felt like this was the reason he endured hell.

"I believe in karma," he said, still grinning through the phone line.

"So do I, and you're obviously riding a nice payback wave of it right now," I replied.

As the conversation turned deeper, he said something that made a hell of a lot of sense. "I guess I got tired of driving off cliffs. In the past, it didn't matter if I was driving, or someone else was driving and I was just along for the ride, the car went right off that cliff."
This time, he said, he moved to the backseat, and didn't have any involvement in the path of the car. And now, he's headed down the highway, literally and figuratively, to a better life. Almost a Zen-like quality to something that he can't even put into words.

A toast to my "friend." May his good karma continue on. And may we all sip of that cup of indescribable bliss at some point in our lives. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You farkin' fork in the road!

Anyone close to me knows this: I suck at making decisions. Really suck.

Actually, let me clarify that - I can and have made great decisions, I just take forever to get there. I'm one of those ruminaters. I ponder. And ponder some more. And some more.

Last weekend was a prime example of this. I had originally planned to attend a wedding in Iowa City. Then I hit a financial speed bump, and had decided not to go. Then a few friends who were also going tried to convince me it would be a good time, and they'd take a rain check from me on the costs of the weekend.

It took me over 3 days to sit on that one before I finally, two hours before I had to leave for Iowa City, decided to go. I'm so damn glad I did, as I had an incredible time with friends, and soothed my soul through making some new fun stories and laughing quite a bit in the process, but we'll save that for a future blog.

So before me right now is one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. To move or not to move.

My ex-wife and I have been talking off and on for the last few years about the fact that we aren't necessarily in our "ideal" spot in terms of where we live. Without getting into the mundane details of school district rankings and the voting tendencies of various Twin Cities suburbs, let's just say I have yet to find a place in the Twin Cities that feels like "home."

Add into this the fact that she is wanting to move so she can be closer to her boyfriend she has been seeing off and on for 3 years or so.

So...while I'm not exactly in love with my current apartment, or my current social life in the suburb I reside in, it comes down to what is best for my kids.

I have never in my life been so torn. The last time I made a similar decision, to leave two great jobs, a dream house, and an incredible social life in Iowa City to move to Minnesota (if you aren't real quick on the uptake, it's where the "Tundra Prisoner" idea for this blog's title comes from ;) ).

My kids have all of their friends here. They are both doing very well in school. If you ask both of them, neither one wants to move.

At the same time, the older they get, the more pressure will be on them academically. And they can presume they won't be making any varsity sports teams unless they plan to be signing a National letter of intent to a major university.

I've done the cost/benefit analysis, the pro's vs. con's list, I've flipped coins, and prayed to St. Ronald, the patron saint of wisdom, but at the end of the day, my mind is frozen on what to do.

So the farkin' fork in the road is one I'm not ready to decide upon just yet. I think I'll go read some Robert Frost while I try to make a decision.