Thursday, March 14, 2013

Don't know why I was compelled to come back but...

Here I am.  I seriously tried reading everything I had posted and it's like walking around in your old high school and going "man... I remember feeling this was who I was... but..."

A lot has changed.  I see hits on the site, but have no idea who's actually reading and who are just spiders for spammers.  If you're wondering if this story has a happy ending... it does... but here goes...

After the "job security" post I made I spent the next year or so working for that company.  I met the love of my life, and we were engaged.  About 6 months before the wedding I get called on a Thursday to ask if I'd be available to come to a meeting on Friday.  I had been recommended for a different department due to my skills being a perfect fit, so I figured that was exactly what it was.  I had been eyeing that transfer for a while, so I made sure I took a nice long shower, ate a hearty breakfast, and dressed up in my best clothes to go in and meet with the director of my (and that) department.

They had me wait in the hall and I get a phone call.  It's from my real estate lawyer.  I mute it.  I had been waiting for almost three months to find out if the offer we made on a short sale was approved by all the banks that owned a piece of it.  I figured one good piece of news deserved another!  What a day!

I went down to my office where my supervisor was and told him.  He laughed at me and kept getting ready for the day.  I had to show him that I was carrying a folder full of termination details for him to even believe me.  They never even consulted with anyone who supervised my department before choosing who to lay off.  

I spent the rest of the morning completely paralyzed.  I sat at my desk in a busy office just staring off into space.  The union guys I worked with came up one after another as the news got out and all had no idea what it was even like to go through what I was going through... they're union... they don't get laid off, they get no work for a while and then come back when there's work.  We company jerks don't get to come back.

I sat for hours just waiting for something to cross my mind.  Everything I loved about my life was predicated upon this job.  It saved me.  I had lost so much weight when I was unemploiyed that people didn't recognize me.  I went from eating every other day to paying off my student loans a big chunk at a time.  I had just dropped most of my savings on a ring that rivals the stars in the sky and the rest went towards a down payment on a house...

... a house...

I missed a call...

Turns out the bid went through on my house that morning and I was to come in and figure out the closing details ASAP.  I called my lawyer and explained what I was going through.  I was bracing for another 2 years of starving myself to get by.  He listened to everything I had to say and said "I'll call you back.  I'm sorry."  This is the boring part, but eventually we got our deposit back.  Turns out you CAN find someone worth a damn out there if you keep trying.

Something was different this time.  I had a partner.  My wife and I met when I was at my worst.  I couldn't even afford to take her out for lunch.  I had to overdraft my checking account to get a round trip ticket to meet her ($16).  We just walked around and talked... and I knew I'd be with her for the rest of my life...

even when it's hard... and we got tested early.

Her and I hit the ground running.  Got my resume up to date the day after I was let go.  I had it professionally printed (300 time) and started spamming it out to everyone who was in a related field, was in the area with a job posting, or had ever responded to any correspondence in the past.  

I got zero calls back.

After about 2 weeks of this and going through almost a gig of data sending resumes via email I got a call from a company that wanted someone for a great job.  I went for the interview, they told me it was filled that morning, and offered to have me interview for a job of about half the quality.  I went through with it and accepted their offer... for half what I was making doing what amounts to data entry at a company that had just been restructured and had no idea what I would be doing.  

I spent a few months getting to know everyone and how much I hated data entry.  Then I realized that I know enough to make this place better.  I met with people all over the company to streamline processes, improve the quality of information we processed, and reduce human hours on projects to the point where my job was all but gone in 3 months.  I didn't even care.  I was able to do what I love doing... make things better.  I went from panicking at 5PM that I couldn't possibly finish all this work to listening to pandora most of the day and playing farmville because there was absolutely zero for me to do.  I asked for new projects and crushed them too.  I was doing so well I figured they'd give me a medal.  

Turns out I was wrong.

People didn't take kindly to the fact that I was questioning processes even when I was able to save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I was confused.  Why would me spending my time to make the company more profitable make me the bad guy?  

Whatever... I'll just keep dominating this job to the ground and picking up more and more responsibilities as I go until I get that pat on the back and "good job." 

A few months later and I've been given just about every responsibility in the entire wing of my building and have a direct line to the head of IT who's on orders to do whatever I say to improve the systems beyond where they were at that point.  I was riding high... but I still wasn't feeling welcome.  I got stuck behind an accident coming back from lunch one day and got in something like 5 minutes late... my boss made sure to point that out and tell me he'd be making a note of that "in my file" (whatever that is).  I thought he was kidding... I was staying later and later due to my hatred of traffic and my desire to obliterate any work I could get in front of me.  How could someone who comes in an hour and a half early and leaves 2 hours late be beat up for a single instance of 5 minutes behind schedule due to a problem outside of my control?  

Oh well... I'll just do this job well...

Then it happened... someone told me that "you obviously don't like it here."  I hated it there, but I found my own way to make the best of it.  I was doing top tier work and saving the company and our clients a ton of money while also building strong relationships with people who were blown away by the new level of service I was providing.  For whatever reason... and this is my biggest self loathing point of interest... I can't tell what people see.  I don't even think I'm feeling a way and people can read it on me as if I was wearing a sandwich board.

I didn't believe it at first, but I started paying attention to people's reaction to my presence.  I was involved in the same "did you see Dancing with the Stars last night?" crap everyone else was talking about and commenting on how crazy the weather has been recently... but people had a different posture when they talked to me.  I started feeling that they hated me and were just being... "nice." 

This started creeping in my head and I couldn't let it go.  I started just ignoring everyone.  If I could be great at my job and complete every task better and faster than it's ever been done before I can be useful   That's what an employee is there for, right?

Wrong.  I got a strange review.  It gave me super high praise for everything I've ever done, but said that I wasn't a great choice for the job with the way I work and they'd like to see me change how I work ASAP.  


I didn't get it.  Then, my boss, who met his wife back when he was a total maniac badass started talking candidly.  "You know, you can be who you are but not show it.  People here are afraid of you.  Nobody likes working with you even though you make everyone's life easier because... you obviously hate it here and it makes people uncomfortable.  There's a lot more to success than how good you are at the job."

Keep in mind I smiled at everyone and always tried to be positive about everything.  The late nights, the early mornings, the short lunches, the extra work load, everything was a challenge that I was attacking and trying to show that I was enjoying.  The problem was nobody was buying it.  

Then I stopped buying it.... I hated that place.  After the review I felt just as lost as I did sitting at my desk in the old job after being laid off.  It didn't hit me as quickly, but it did.  Eventually I'd catch myself letting work pile up and not even having a clue how to get through it.  I was no longer masterfully carving up work like a sushi chef... I was sweating uncomfortably in my cube staring at the clock.  

I'm motivated in a specific way.  I love a challenge and like working without a ton of guidance, but I want to know the goals desired and the standards guiding my decision making.  Without goals and standards I get nervous.  What makes me feel better is doing unquestionably good work.  When I can leave at the end of the day and go "mission accomplished."  I feel like a million bucks and sleep like a log.  When I have no idea what my work is being judged on because the standards are missing or I have no idea if my decision making is in line with goals I get nervous.  Extremely nervous.  Like wound tight, knot in my chest, no sleep type nervous.  Being told that I am doing the work of a whole wing of the building better than they had ever dreamed it could be done but that they hate me threw me for such a loop that simple tasks started feeling impossible.  I would go through a whole project so quickly and know I did it right but at the end start second guessing myself and start over.  Then I'd see what made me feel that way and know it was a false positive, but start over...and over... and over until I could do it so quickly and accurately that I was memorizing the thousands of inputs.  Then I'd turn in this 1 hour project in 1 hour, but would have done it 5 or 10 times before feeling it was complete.  At that point I'd want a "good job" to feel like it wasn't a disaster.  Because it was a nothing assignment, it wouldn't even get an eyebrow raise from the person receiving it, so I'd get no closure.  

and on and on and on.

I figured this is what life is all about and that I'd just enjoy my time at home.  My wife was adjusting to her first real commute and was totally gassed all the time.  She'd get home and if I didn't throw a net over her she'd be in pajamas and getting ready for bed within 5 minutes of walking in the door.  So, that left me alone with my thoughts most nights.  I felt miserable... so I wanted a dog.  I attacked that project like anything else and within a month had researched every dog training/socialization method I could find, met, temperament tested, and spent time with over 100 pit bull terriers. I've always loved the breed but never had one of my own.  I brought home my 4 year old boy and now at least someone was ready to play and cuddle when I walked in the door.  It helped to have something really fun at home that depended on me.  I'd take him for long walks, play in the yard, and cuddle with him on the couch every chance I got.  It felt nice.  I was distracted from everything else that had happened because he didn't give a crap about my job.  He just wanted me to throw the ball so he could go get it.  

I was falling into a groove (rut) where I just did everything I could do to survive the day and get home to my dog and looked forward to weekends with my wife.  Again, I figured this was just what everyone else deals with and eventually I'd figure it all out.  The problem was I wasn't sleeping.  I would seriously sit and just read endless news stories, play stupid games I wasn't even enjoying, or just listen to music until 2 or 3 in the morning before finally feeling like I could sleep.  I didn't want to go back.  Sleep meant I had to go back.  I would put off sleep as long as I could.  I would feel terrible by Friday night, but I'd be ready to actually to go to bed when my wife was ready to sleep too.

I was feeling that anxiety I felt when unemployed again.  Money was super tight due to the low wage I was pulling and the mortgage that I was fighting month to month.  

Oh, almost forgot to mention... every penny I'd ever saved was gone by the time the wedding was over with.  The wedding was small, but we paid for it ourselves.  That plus the down payment on the house and I was starting at literal zero dollars.

Then something special happened.

I got a call from an old friend who was laid off later in the same day I was and he said something that lifted me right back out of this funk "I got a job doing the same stuff we did together at a new place down the street and they are looking for people.  I gave them your name.  Email me your resume immediately."  

I was called to schedule an interview that day.  I was hired on the spot.  I'm good at what I do and they didn't have time to train anyone, so they had very little choice.  I only stayed in the cube for 7 months total.  I was only able to give a week's notice or the job offer was being pulled.  I said goodbye to the people who I thought were different.  The ones that really were a pleasure to work with.  Each one of them was like "yeah, shocked you made it this long..."  I hated them all by the time I left.  My boss left a half hour early that night so I had to leave all my company issued stuff in a pile outside his office with a note thanking him for the opportunity and asking for him to understand why I had to leave.  

I have been at this job for about 4 years now.

What did I learn from that experience?  My wife is the true love of my life.  I'm so lucky to have found her.  I think back to the choices I made that ended with me not getting a real NFL shot (I was signed and cut before I ever made it to camp one time).  When I do it all stops being fun when I think about how I'd of never met my wife.  I picture myself chasing her down the street going "YOU'LL LIKE ME IF YOU GIVE ME A CHANCE!" and her being all "BEAT IT, CREEP."  It's funny to think about, but it helps keep things in perspective.  

The other thing I learned is that there are a hell of a lot of very mediocre people in business that go very far and live very comfortable lives based on them being status quo.  Doing better than the average gets you nowhere.  Doing worse doesn't even matter all that much either as long as nobody ever catches you not enjoying your job.  I've done a decent job of pretending that I'm happy all the time (which is statistically impossible even though I love my job).  I've also stopped trying to improve things anymore.  I want to do just enough to prove I'm good enough and then fade into the background.  I realized that my motivation to go above and beyond came from my belief that you get what you deserve.  You don't.  You get what people are comfortable giving you.  If you are a threat due to being too good or you aren't seen as the kind of guy who'd be fun to play a round of golf with... then you get to carry the load while everyone else makes the money, gets the respect, and moves upwards.

Then there's being too easy to keep.  Some people are just so good and so low maintenance that they never go anywhere, but they also are never hassled.  These guys go their whole careers doing the same job and are happy that way.  That terrifies me, but I've been learning step by step that I don't know anything, maybe that'd be preferable to scratching and clawing for scraps.  Who knows?

Screw all that introspection and nonsense... I am a father now!  I love my life.  I could be happier theoretically, but why should I be?  I've got everything I ever wanted.  

Do I live happily ever after?  Who cares?  If I found myself panhandling tomorrow I'd still be able to say with confidence that everything I've done since I met my wife to today was worth it and a total success.  I may not be doing what I thought I'd be at this point.  I may have goals I haven't reached yet... and my truck still isn't finished, but I wouldn't want it any other way.  

Goodbye for now.  I'll try to write again soon, but if I don't, know I lived happily ever after.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Job Security in Spite of Yourself

Something very interesting happened to me the other day. I was having a problem with management at work and started looking at my options. My company is huge so I could transfer just about anywhere in the world, so I started looking.

Once I got a few hours into this search I realized how much my life would change if I picked up and moved to ANY of these jobs. It didn't even matter to me at the time. I had to get out before things got REALLY ugly.

Then I went home, put on the TV, and forgot that I was fresh out of food. I ran out to the store to pick up a least a couple days of food before the store closed and got in about 20 minutes before the doors were locked.

I rushed around and picked up a hand basket full of food, but didn't have a hand for milk. I dropped my stuff at the register and went to the dairy aisle.

In that aisle were two employees of the store. They were bitching up a storm about the job, their boss, the hours, etc... but the amazing thing was that it was very similar conversation to the one I was in only a couple hours earlier. In fact, if you had just changed a few industry words, my conversation in my "sophisticated" job were exactly the same as the conversation being had by the two "unskilled labor" guys in the supermarket.

It was so similar that I started comparing it to problems I've had at other jobs and reasons I didn't like working other places.

At this point I had my milk but decided to be a snoop a little more and get some cheese.

These guys were complaining about the same things that make every job suck:
1. Management (Unqualified, over enthusiastic, promoted for wrong reasons, etc)
2. Responsibility for things outside of their control
3. Hours/Work load
4. Pay

Our jobs could not be more different, yet those 4 problems exist everywhere. EVERYONE feels under paid, under appreciated, over worked, responsible for too much (or too little), etc.

So if everyone has those feelings, why do they complain?

It's a simple answer. Complaints come from within. Jobs are what you make of them. Whatever you're doing isn't as hard as you think it is, you're being paid better than necessary, and things aren't as bad as they seem.

Some people validate their existance by suffering. No matter what it is, they will find a way to point out something that they have to endure that makes them a better person/employee/etc. They are not comfortable with things just being "good." They must figure out what the problems are because if there aren't any problems then this can't be for real.

I am one of those people. I find fault with just about everyone around me and with everything I'm doing to a point where I find myself questioning why I'm doing just about everything I'm doing. I have a job that pays me more than any other job I applied for when I was looking for jobs. It has serious responsibilities, but they only come up maybe once every few years. The work load is simple and fun. The people I work with are awesome. I really couldn't ask for a better situation... I take that back... you can always be paid more for doing less. That is one of the certainties of life. But, beyond the "HUUURRRRR I want to be paid more" argument, there is nothing wrong...


After that incident at the supermarket everything came together. It was a great moment. Those two guys who were bitching in the middle of an active store were the perfect eye opener. It was a moment. It was something I hope to never forget. No matter how bad you think it is, you have to ask yourself if it's any worse than the alternatives. Look back on what you didn't like about past jobs. Think about those things and put them into broader categories. Compare them with what you are complaining about now.

If you're anything like me you've worked in a couple different industries and had some radically different jobs. I've been everything from a strong back to a financial mind to an opperational specialist and in every job I can point back to those 4 things: Boss, Unreasonable expectations/responsibilites, work load, pay.

I can tell you without hesitation that the past few days of work have been a breeze. I've had the same stupid bullshit going on that made me angry to begin with, but I've taken it with a smile on my face.

I finally know it's me who has the problem... not my jobs. If you've been divorced 10 times... you have to stop blaming the other party. If you become increasingly unhappy with every job to the point where you force yourself away... OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER... then maybe it's time you stop blaming the jobs and start with a serious overhaul of the way you look at your career.

Friday, November 30, 2007

366 Days to Die

I realized today that I have 366 days to die if I want to be in the cool kid "dead at 27" club. I finally have things going in the right direction, so I am not choosing to drop dead for any reason... but who knows?

I got out of my work truck at the marine building at the end of my shift tonight and took a second to enjoy the view of the waterfront at sunset. It's funny, but I forget that I work on the ocean. I need to actually stand there and stare at the water for a few minutes before it sinks in. I guess it comes with the fast paced nature of my job. I don't get a lot of time to sit and marvel at the beauty and plentiful bounty of the ocean. But, if you're entire job revolves around SHIPS... then maybe you should remember that they sail on the WATER.

I love the sunset. It's great lighting for the last few minutes of the work day. Tonight it was what got me contemplated the last year and what I've made of myself. The biggest difference from this recap and recaps of years past is that I've always had SOMETHING going, but this year I have a real sustainable career that isn't going anywhere... and I MEAN THAT... unlike when I was talking about fighting through a job at AG Edwards.

Now I'm with a great company, doing work that isn't going anywhere, and loving every second of it. I make great money and have been earning respect from my managers and peers... if only for the fact that I have a decent sense of humor and can take a joke. This is the kind of place that I'd like to stay for the rest of my career.

I've got a great girl in my life. (: (: (:

I sold my truck... which sucked at the time... but I got a really fun car that saves me a ton of money without having to look like it was designed by homosexual aliens. VW TDI FTW

I'm moving into a new "apartment." (how do I say that I'm renting a room in a house? Is that an apartment... room... what?) this place will cut my bills in half while also being a badass place to live... nuf sed

Basically, 2008 is my year. Everything is in line. All I have to do is keep my head on a swivel and keep out of trouble and everything will be fine.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Best Man

My best friend got married on Saturday. It really didn't sink in that he was getting married until it was time to do my toast at the reception. Actually, that isn't true... it sunk in deep about 20 minutes before it was time to speak.

I realized I was sitting at the head table at my best friend's wedding and that I had to get up and say something that would be recorded and remembered for the rest of his life. I had to put the friendship of my life into words in front of everyone that mattered in his life. I had written about 10 different versions of the toast the week before and had been thinking about it ever since he got engaged and told me I was going to be his best man. When the time came to sit down and actually write up some notes and hit the bricks I just closed my laptop and decided it had to just come out. It couldn't be something I had prepared and practiced. It just had to be me, talking about my buddy and his wife in front of a couple hundred people...

But anyways, let's start from the beginning. The rehersal SUCKED. It didn't suck because it wasn't fun, it sucked because it was the priest's "day off" and we had some stand in there that just said stuff like "uh... this is how it normally goes." Long story short, gametime comes and I have no idea what to do. I'm standing there on the alter with my best friend, his girlfriend/wife, and her maid of honor with no FUCKING CLUE WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. The priest had to keep telling us "what are you doing? Go here!" or "hey, come back, it's not time for that."

The best one was that Steve, the stand in priest, told me that it was my job to get matches so the mothers could light the "unity candle." He told me when they get called up to just hand them a book of matches. Ceremony starts, they walk up, I reach into my pocket to get the matches, walk over to them and they ghost me... walk up to the unity candles and use their own matches. There I am in front of all these people with my outstretched hand holding two books of matches I grabbed from the hotel and two emotional women ignoring me and walking right past as I stand there like the guy who goes for the high five and gets NOTHING.

Oh, and let's not forget the rings. About a minute before everything starts I get handed two little white boxes and am told "here... these are the rings." OK... what the fuck do I do with these? "I dunno."

So, now I've got rings, matches, and a flask half full of Johnny Walker Red in my pockets and didn't know what to do with any of those but the booze. The priest turns to me and angerly says "the rings???" to which I reply "What rings?" At this point the bride almost passes out. The priest must have thought I didn't hear him so he repeated himself, only this time I think he was doing his best SpaceBalls impression "the RINGS???" "Dude, that little kid brought them up, right? I'm not the damn ring bearer." At that point he throws his arms up and I realize "hey, I'm about to ruin my friend's wedding." and take the rings out and give them to the priest who blesses them while giving me the evil eye.

Later in the ceremony you expect to hear "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride." Well, that wasn't exactly how it went. It was more like "hey, kiss her."

The thing that threw me off was that it wasn't a full ceremony because the groom was not catholic. I guess things get a little jumbled when the priest is giving the short version, but I felt awkward as hell standing there trying to keep up with what was going on when things just didn't seem to make sense.

Don't get the wrong impression though, it was a beautiful ceremony and watching the two of them interact on the alter really took away a lot of my apprehention about the quality of their union. I'm just a perfectionist when it comes to ceremony type stuff and want things to go off as if the USMC had set it up.

So the wedding is over and we're taking pictures. By "we" I mean the families while the groomsmen and myself drank from our flasks and wondered why we couldn't sit down seeing as we weren't in any pictures. Then we took the limo (which was badass by the way... it was a stretched escalade with enough room for 20 grown ass men) to a park and took our wedding party pictures. That was cool because we decided to take pictures on a bridge that is used by EVERYONE at the park and they just kept on coming as we tried to pose for all sorts of pictures. That sounds sarcastic, but what made it cool was that every single person that came by congratulated the newlyweds. It is always nice to see respect for tradition from people who owe you nothing.

After the pictures we went back to the reception hall. This is where the nerves went crazy. I had been losing sleep for a week. I was nervous and jerky all day, but when we hit the reception... holy shit was I a mess. I was ok for a minute or two and then some bald guy in a suit comes up to me and says, "Excuse me, sir, but I need to see your invitation." He picked the wrong guy at the wrong time to start throwing down shit and I snapped. "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?" was shouted at him as I made a lunge at him and grabbed him by his shirt... yes... I'm from a 1920s silent film... I was short on options. Then he freaked out... "OH MY GOD... I'M THE DJ IT'S A JOKE PLEASE AHHHHH." I let him go and he goes "you're speech will be after everyone is seated and before dinner. Plan on 20 minutes. Right after the maid of honor... and I'm so sorry." I didn't feel bad for making him soil himself, immediately shoved my face with appetizers, and proceded to drink. Every drink went down slightly faster than the next until I saw the waiters pouring the champagne for the toast... then they barely hit the ice before they were gone. Then it was time.

The chick read her toast... which was nice... but ended with a poem. That was the best thing that could have possibly happened. That gave me an in to just smash her (gently), warm up the crowd, and test the waters.

"I have to appologize for two things. First, I don't have a poem." I held my breath and the split second it took everyone to realize that I was going to be fun and to laugh felt like a year. Then it happened. Laughter.

"Secondly, I was not aware that this was a toast until the rehersal when I was made aware that the 10 minutes of material I had prepared was neither apropriate or warranted for a wedding."

Laughter. I was in and this was going to be good.

The rest of the speech came out just like I had planned... until I got to the point where I got serious. I got to the point where I said "I can't believe I care this much..." and I felt it hit me... Holy shit. Your best friend is married and this is your only chance to get the point across in front of everyone that needs to hear it. This better be good... and then a knot formed in my throat and nothing came out. The silence I heard after I said those words and couldn't say anymore made it even worse. The entire "audience" was in the palm of my hand. I tried to think of something else to say that would slay everyone at that point but the more I tried the more I realized that I was going to be a huge sweaty lumberjack looking motherfucker standing with a drink in one hand and tears in my eyes if I even tried to say anything more... so I just let the silence speak for me, wished him luck, and let the maid do the honors of having everyone raise their glasses.

What I wanted to say was summed up perfectly in Kill Bill on Budd's sword "To my bother Budd, the only man I have ever loved." I love my best friend as a brother. I'd stand by him no matter what. I just hope he knows that and that my speech got that across.

Now he's off to Maui with his wife and will return to his home thousands of miles away on the opposite coast to live his new life. He moved away a couple years ago now and even though I spend time with him over xbox live often, it'll never be the same as stopping by his house on a rainy afternoon, loading up the recovery gear, and finding some trails to thrash with our trucks, or searching our favorite junk yard for just the right part that we'll never figure out how to use, or watching some stupid movie just because the cover was so bad that we had to know what was inside. He plans on coming back to where we grew up, but who knows where I'll be? The wedding was almost a sense of closure for me. I had a chance to put a final chapter on our friendship if that's how fate works out. Sure, we'll see each other when he visits his family or when I'm out in his neck of the woods on business, but the days of offroading because there's nothing else to do or having a few beers while trying to beat video games from decades past are, for all intensive purposes, over. Sure, that's not positive thinking, and as far as i'm concerned, if I ever get married, he'll be my best man (which should put in perspective how awesome our friendship is), but if things work out that we just grow too far apart, this weekend will stand as a closing of the book in the best way I could.

Do I want that to be the case? No fucking way. Is it likely? I don't know. He has an awesome job that loves him to death and the idea of them letting him go without making him an offer he can't refuse is unlikely. The boss at the branch of my company out there wants me out there badly, but I am under contract where I'm at for another year and a half before I can go... believe me... they tried hard to get me transfered, but amazingly, my job loves me too and they didn't want me go anywhere.

So that's the first thing on my mind. Is this the end of an era? But the other is marriage. I have a girlfriend that I love with all my heart. She is amazing. If things work out, who knows, but the closer marriage comes to a reality... and not even necesarily in MY life, but in lives that I am involved with... like my best friend's, the more questions that come up.

As a kid I just wanted to be a young dad. I wanted to be able to play sports with my kids, run around, have fun, and be the athletic guy that I am now in my children's memories. My father was exhausted when I was growing up, but for good reason. He was working around the clock at 3 different jobs to allow us kids to have a mommy home while we were too young to go to school. Then he worked nights and weekends to make ends meet. He still found time to throw the ball around, but I don't think I've ever seen my dad run. It never lessened my love for my father, but to me he seemed old even when I was a kid. It was extremely hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I'm older than my dad was when I was born, but that has since faded. I've been through some hard times and I've come out allright. I'm still struggling to get by, but only because I still have hands held out in my direction that expect me to actually pay them back for things I needed while I was "unhireable." In the very near future bills will be paid off and debt will be gone. At that point I'll be back on track to living a full and happy life free from fear of financial hardship... believe me... with what they're paying me at my job I have no business checking my account before I pay bills... but somehow I figure out a way to be on the edge month after month.

The other concerns I had about marriage were 1. Finding the love of my life and 2. Finding a home. I know... really not an amazing list, but those were really the only two things I considered when I was thinking about what needs to be done to be happy.

Now that I'm watching my friends get married and it's becoming more and more of a reality that this could happen to me one day other things are popping into my head. What do I do when I just want to veg out and be along with some video games or some other stupid shit for an unheardof ammount of time? What happens when I really want to do something and my wife digs her heels in and says "no."? How important is it that my wife enjoys the things I'm into? Is it OK that she just tolerates them or is it important that she takes part? What about debt? We both have debt that we don't see going away any time soon, how do we handle that? Credit... mine blows... does that hurt my chances at marrital bliss? What do you do when you don't agree with the other person on really important things?

The list goes on and on. The more I think, the more stupid questions come up that actually aren't so stupid when you consider going from just you and your two cats in your apartment to having another person who is not only financially involved in your life, but emotionally tied as well. It's not like it's a roommate who you can basically ignore completely, it's a person who's life is now your life. What you do affects them from the time you wake up until the time you wake up again.

The best way I've found to isolate my issues with marriage from my issues with personal space is to consider the differences between a roommate and a wife. That may sound silly, but when you think about it, it's a pretty clear example. Roommates split bills, but a wife splits the bank account. Roommates spend time together sometimes and other times don't, but wives require attention on a regular basis. Roommates have concerns about how you behave and how maintain your living quarters, but wives care about those things far beyond how it affects themselves, they care about how it affects you and what that means towards your future together.

bla bla bla.

It's not just the changes in your life, it's the finality that it brings. If you decide you want to marry someone who wants kids and you decide 5 years from now that it's just not going to happen then you're in for a divorce or a very unhappy life (or both). If you decide you want to enjoy your money instead of socking it away and she wants to save every penny... once you make that choice that for the rest of your life you are going to be bound to another living person who may or may not have similar goals you're in for the long haul.

That brings me to something the priest said that really changed the way I think about marriage. He said "Love brought you together, but marriage is the choice that you are making that says you are going to love this person forever." What this man of the cloth was saying is that love is what brings you together, but the feeling of naturaly occuring love has NOTHING to do with the rest of your life. If you have it, great. If you don't, then you have to remember that marriage is CHOOSING to love someone forever. It's an active choice and a decision, NOT a feeling. If you maintain your natural love for the rest of your life, great. If not, you've chosen to love this person and now it's like a tattoo. You got "mother" written on that banner over a heart and it's not going away so you have to live with it... so don't get that stupid tat if you aren't ready to show it off forever no matter how faded and stretched it gets.

I wanted to talk about all these things, so I started asking these questions to my chick. My thing was that all I know about my parents starts after i was born. I don't even know how they met let along what brought them to decide that they were going to get married and why it's worked out that they are still together going on 30 years later. My chick had a stroke of genious when she said, "why don't you just ask them?"

I called my parents. They weren't in so I left a message about something unrelated and went to bed. About an hour later I get a call from my mom. I start asking her questions and believe it or not... she had awesome answers. I felt like a 7 year old all over again. It was like laying in the grass and asking my dad why the sky was blue or what makes a car move. It was my mom and I talking. Me asking questions. My mother giving answers. And her answers came from the loving perspective of a mother looking out for her child. I haven't felt that warm and fuzzy about my family or my life in years. It was like she was kissing away the pain of a scraped knee. Every question came and was answered in such a simple and rational way. It was so easy. I just wanted to hug my mom and cry. Not because she solved any problems but because she was real to me. She wasn't just the woman who drove me to football practice anymore. She wasn't making dinner or doing my laundry. She was a human being who loved me and cares about me. I saw my mom as a woman who fell in love with a man. She was one half of a flawed but beautifully perfect relationship that made way for my life. I felt like I've never felt about my mom and dad. For the first time in my life they were people just like me with problems just like me who delt with them just like I can deal with them.

I had to send my mom an email to tell her how much it meant to me because I know that if I tried to tell her on the phone that she would shrug it off and be humble about it all.

Anyway, nobody is reading this for two reasons. 1. It's too long. and 2. I haven't posted anything forever... so goodbye.

PS. My mom and dad met at a bar

Friday, August 18, 2006

Masterbait and Liquor (continued)


I didn't realize the owners of that store would ever find their way here, but they did and it's only fair after reading his very nice comment that I repost the link to the original site and his comment here:

link to the original post and image:

MasterBait and Liquor said...
Forgive me for being a money grubbing capitalist but we do have to pay the bills as we are out in the middle of nowhere. MasterBait and Liquor is located in Elsmore, KS. We have cool t shirts, koozies and shot glasses with the mermaid logo and words: Liquor in the front Masterbait in the back. Email us at or call us at 620 754 3688 Thanks for your support!!!

I believe the site is, but I could be wrong.

I have no affiliation with this store, but anyone trying to make a buck with something I find cool is a friend in my book.


PS. I will check out the store when I'm back working.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Next to the last straw

Growing up I wanted to join the Army. In college I wanted to go OCS. The fact that I was listed in the draft reports for the 2003 NFL draft stopped me from cutting the weight I needed to cut to join the marine OCS program.

Well, after I chose to persue a career in football... twice... I decided I needed to settle down. The reason I settled down went away and I was left in a shitty career with no hope of sucess.

I was fired.

8 months later I'm still here. No job. No money. No chances. No choices. No future.

I've applied to everything from day laborer to hedge funds and been laughed at by them all.

"You're not serious about wanting to work here. You're a college guy. Why the hell would we hire you full time as a construction worker? Apply for foreman jobs and stop wasting my time."

"You're not serious about applying for a foreman job. You have no industry experience. Why not stay in finance?"

"You're not serious about applying to this hedge fund, are you? You don't even have a finance degree."

"You're not serious about applying for a sales assistant job, you're a salesman. You won't be happy here."

"You're not serious about wanting to answer phones for a living. You were a financial consultant for christ's sake."


I'm sick of it. My life up to this point has taken one wrong turn after another. I have no idea how people read my resume or what they think when they meet me, but whatever it is that's stopping them from hiring me, they need to just spit it out so I can evaluate what the fuck I'm doing wrong and fix it.

Actually, no. Nevermind. Don't tell me shit. Keep saying "it's not a good fit" just like every other suit wearing CUNT in the business world who has no balls and resorts to dropping buzz words like they are the fucking gospel.

I have one interview left. I'm going on one more. It's the last one I'm going to. I have an interview with a company in two days. There is nothing they can say or ask that I don't have real world experience to back up with well documented records of sucess. It's an industry I know well, that is looking for people "like me" and is right in my neck of the woods. I will dance like a monkey for them and they will clap and hire me after giving the organ grinder a few cents.

What if they don't?

Well, I filled out my online application for the US Army tonight. I expect to be contacted by an Army recruiter by the end of the week. If they will train me to be a mechanic, then I will enlist. I've always wanted to be a mechanic, and times have never been so bad. It's time to stand up for what I believe in... nah.. it's not... it's time to find a job that really wants guys like me... big powerful athletic stupid follwers who will do whatever they are told and believe in honor, justice, and the american way of life. People who voted for Bush TWICE and are proud of our commander and chief to this day.

I went out with my best friend's father today to see what he does for a living so I could get a better picture of what I'd be doing if I became a salesman with him. I love it. That's exactly why it's not going to work out. It's a great career with a man who's right up their with my father and my coaches when it comes to my respect. I'd get to learn from and hang out with him on a daily basis and hopefully make a shit load of money. The problem is everything is a numbers game. He makes a great living, but it could be one big job a year... 2 jobs... 6 jobs... who knows. It's not a 60 ticket a year gig, so it could take too long for me to get going before I'm punted from my apartment and forced to give up any shot at a social life so I can live back with my parents.

I won't let that happen.

I am going to one more interview. If that doesn't work out... which I can almost guarantee will happen... it's too good a job for someone with my curse. I simply can't wrap my head around how awesome it would be to work for them, and that is the single biggest reason why I won't get it. Trust me... I've been doing this longer and with more companies than any "professional" you know. I know what I will not get... and that's anything that interests me or pays enough to cover the tiny bills I have.

Well, maybe I should explain the next to last straw... a job that I was perfect for and had a wonderful intrerview with, declined my application. This has happened way too many times for me to just brush it off. I have great interviews and then get a call the next day that "I'm not a good fit."

That was my next to last rejection. I have a job with a package delivery company that I will do part time (because they can't hire me full time due to a family member who works there) and send every cent I get to my land lord. I will live on zero dollars a month beyond that rent check. I will let my phone, internet, and electricity get cut off. Everything else doesn't matter. I will hustle like I've never hustled before with my friend's father's company and I will make it work. If it doesn't, then HELOOOOOOO ARMED FORCES!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Fly

Today, I got to see something new. I found it 100% amazing to be more specific. I opened the door to my balcony and the window in my bedroom to air this dump out because it's actually not too hot outside and the humidity is low. I opened the screen door as well because my cats have destroyed it to the point where they can just walk through it anyway, so I figured what could happen?

Well, Virgil walked out on the balcony and was just laying around when all of a sudden he hops up and runs into the apartment as hard as he can run, jumps up over the couch and then goes flying down the hall. I had no idea what he was doing so I followed him.

When I caught up he was in the bathroom with his ears back, crouched low, and eyes wide. He was just sitting there looking at the tank over the toilet. All of a sudden I see a fly take off and go back down the hall... with Virgil hot on his trail.

Would you believe he got it? It was exciting and awesome to watch. He was hunting that thing, jumping in the air and trying to catch it with both paws, and following it everywhere it went like it had a neon sign over it's head. I could barely even see it, but Virgil was on it like crazy.

A few minutes later Wyatt comes out of my bedroom to see what all the commotion is about. Now the two of them are watching a second fly that's way up on the door. Wyatt gets a bead on him and pounces, catching him easily, but he gets away when he picks up his paw to see if he got him. The fly goes into my bedroom with two cats chasing him and tries to get out the window. He slips between the screen and the sliding glass window and is where they can't reach him.

Virgil looks back at me and starts crying. It was like a little kid who's ball got stuck on the roof. "GET IT! THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

Well, it did come back out and Virgil got him for good.

The third one got away through a hole in the screen and caused Virgil to start crying again. This time he just laid down by the hole and waited for him to come back.

I learned a few things:

1. Cats are unbelievable hunters.
2. Cats really ENJOY hunting and killing. It's like a game to them.
3. Cats can see very well and track motion extremely well.
4. Even though my building's dumpster is not far from my window, I don't have to worry about flies.

It's not that I didn't know these things before, but seeing them first hand for the first time was awesome. I'm not about to pray for mice, but if I did have mice, I know I wouldn't have to worry about them long.