Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sporadic post: Don't get used to it!

I keep forgetting I have this blog, and then when I start to read about some of the things I've written, I chuckle to myself over how I handled them: both poorly and well.

Why?

Because I have come to accept that I am a flawed human. I know I'm not going to always make the right decision, but I am going to accept that I am responsible for my own actions, and I will make the best out of any given situation.

After years of self loathing and self abuse, I have come to terms with my flaws and faults.

Am I better person because of it?

Right now? No.

Give me a few years to understand how to relate to people again, and I'm sure I'll get better at it.

For now, just being able to accept myself for being me? That's the most important thing.

Next?

The world!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Balancing a budget

I have a question for you all, and I'm hoping that you'll be able to answer it the way that I tend to answer.

First off, when you pay your bills, and balance your budget, do you figure into your budget how much you're planning on spending the following pay period? And does that amount increase exponentially each pay period?

No?

You mean you look for ways to cut back on extra expenses, and then you make your payments in order to get your budget and finances on track, right?

Why can't our nation figure this one out?

I mean, it's a noble gesture for any campaigning president to say that they aren't going to raise taxes, and that the middle class isn't going to bear the brunt of the repayment of our deficit.

The truth of the matter is far from noble, though.

Tough times call for tough actions. I don't like the thought of having to pay more in taxes, but I dislike having to pay in perpetuity the expenditures that our nation keeps piling on itself year after year.

Our budget keeps growing, we keep spending, and we don't look to try to balance anything out. But we will make promises about not raising taxes, or having the middle class carry the burden of helping pay back what we owe.

Let's get real here.

We need to take steps to get out of financial ruin, and in order to do that, each class is going to have to face some ugly factors.

The rich folks are going to be taxed quite heavily. So are large corporations. Not only that, but these corporations are not going to be able to "sharehold" these expenses to their subscribers, so this means that the high-end jobs are going to take a serious paycut, and some low-end jobs could be lost.

The middle class is going to have to pay more as well. There's no getting around it. About 70% of the income in this nation is done by the middle class, and if you're going to cut out 70% of your earned income before trying to pay bills, you might as well use an eyedropper to fill a 50 gallon fishtank. It's not going to happen within anyone's lifetime.

Lastly, the lower class is going to have to take some hits as well. Food stamps need to be cut down. Welfare needs to decrease. We need more stringent guidelines for all folks with state or government assistance, just to make sure that they really DO need the assistance, and aren't just trying to skate by doing as little as possible, and getting the most that they can.

Put these steps into practice, and you're not going to be very popular, but you will get the job done.

The problem is that for the job to get done, you're going to have to become the villan, and villans don't tend to get additional time in office.

This is why no political official is EVER going to be able to get our deficit brought under control.

We like having power, and we like being in places of prestige. How can you have either of those if you upset the folks who put you there in the first place?

Then you have issues like Detroit having to declare bankruptcy. Yup, the motor city looks like it's going to have to get reposessed. Sure, the inner city looks nice, thanks to the millionaires who have funnelled enough cash into the city to make the areas where they live and work look really good. However, the rest of the city looks like photos from a demilitarized zone.

Did you know that it takes almost an hour for police to show up for an emergency call in Detroit?

That means you can get a pizza delivered faster than emergency services!

We need to start deputizing pizza delivery drivers, so that we can not only feed these folks, but also have protection in 30 minutes or less!

Then the most amazing thing I found about this was that the major car production facilities in this great city have had record-setting years financially, and are not about to try to help "bail out" the city they call home!

I just don't get it.. Do you?

Truth.. Well, sort of!

Time for truth!

Well, at least truth as I see it. You all get to read my opinion, and if I choose, I might read your responses. However, there aren't many folks who read my blog anymore, since blogging seems to be a dead art form. Anyway, it's still a really REALLY good way for me to exorcise my demons, and not go completely postal on an unsuspecting public..

Speaking of which.. Who truly believes that video game violence begets even more violence?

I don't. I believe that we all make choices. Some are good. Some bad. Some folks make choices and because of their upbringing or family station have an impact on many more lives than others.

To me, it's more about a lack of morality and accountability rather than a game or mental stress.

Check that. I think mental stress might be a good and valid reason. If someone else stresses me out today, there might be an added goodie in my trunk when I head home tonight!

Anywho!

I feel that a lack of active parenting and teaching of strong and ethical morals is the leading cause of our troubles right now.

Back when I was growing up, my grandparents raised me so that both my mom and dad could work to support the house and family. Because of this, I have a perspective that is older than my years can actually credit or account for. I have plenty of people my age who keep wondering where my "old soul" opinions and beliefs come from.

I believe in hard work. I believe that if you do a job, you do it to the best of your ability, and get it done right the first time instead of planning on coming back and fixing things "later".

I believe in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" mentality. I choose to believe that negative reinforcement in parenting is a very effective tool. It doesn't work for all children, but for about 90% it was quite efficient. The other 10% needed something more creative. The problem is that we as humans want a "fix-it-all" solution, and then try to apply it to any and every situation instead of evaluating the situation, and making adaptations to our actions to tailor it to our needs.

It's like giving a hammer to a caveman, and then wondering why he's also trying to use the hammer to kill flies, mosquitos, fleas, and lice... He complains because either he can't hit them, or he hurts himself, and we're to blame because we gave him the hammer!

What is up with this overwhelming drive to raise the minimum wage?

I don't get it. Minimum wage was set in place so that folks who had no skills could get a job, improve their skills, and get a better paying job. NOT stay at the same entry-level job and expect to support themselves and a family!

When I started working, the minimum wage was $2.50. I did inventory work, because the shop owner who hired me couldn't stand numbers and stocking. I was very good at it, and was even able to make use of an early computer program to get an early database started for his store inventory.

Did I expect to make a living counting bags and cans?

Absolutely not.

I did take the skills I learned while doing this job to get another office job at a larger supermarket. From there, accounting and payroll skills came my way. And so I learned and grew. I didn't just sit on my hands and expect my boss to want to pay me more and more to do the same job over and over again. THAT IS JUST LAZY.

I know lazy. Trust me. I can be as lazy as anyone when you give me the chance! I just choose to NOT be lazy when my income and livelihood depend on how well I apply myself to my work.

If we were to increase the minimum wage, we then start to de-value those people who have done everything they can to improve their situation. Why would I pay some college whiz-kid $20 to work when I can have some snot-nosed high-school teen do the same job for $15? If I don't like the work, I can recycle plenty of teens, and still save myself that $20 an hour position..

What does that say for the folks who have worked for me for years, have been getting regular increases, and then find that they are making barely more than the new kids I brought in off the street? Do you honestly think that companies are going to increase wages across the board to make things "fair"? I don't. I bet you wages will stay RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE, and folks who were making a decent living will suddenly be scraping by, starting at square one again trying to work up the ladder, while the new kids sit back, and expect us to pay them just for giving another body at the workplace.

Where did this sense of self-entitlement come from?

I don't know, but this is yet one more disturbing trend that I am seeing, and it really bothers me.

I have come to terms with my grief!

I know, I know.. Big surprise, right?

It is for me.

I have never been good at expressing my feelings to people in person. I can rant and rave anonymously to perfect strangers about very personal things in my life, but I can't hardly give a differing opinion to someone I know about dinner selections. I'm just a very easy-going individual when it comes to going with the flow.

Tell you what. You go ahead and raise the minimum wage. I'll sit at home on unemployment, expect you to pay me, and pretend I'm killing you all on my newest video game first person shooter.

How's that grab ya?

Jormengrund

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sadness

Well, I have finally come to the conclusion that even though I can fake my way through just about anything and fool quite a few people, I can't continue to fool and lie to myself.

I'm depressed and hurt.

Why?

Let's look at the reasons:

First off, my mother died back in December, and I still really haven't come to terms with that just yet. On one hand, I know she's better off, and that she didn't suffer. However, this also means that there is a very large chunk of my personal life that has gone unfulfilled and unanswered. I will never again be able to try to reconcile my past and my feelings of hurt and inadequacy in this life with the woman who helped create them. I have work unfinished, and no way to be able to complete it. Frustration!!

I have graduated my college courses, I passed with flying colors, and was at the top of my class. However, I don't really have much aside from some papers to show for it, since I can't seem to get a job in my chosen and preferred field, and have instead opted for a job that pays me to sit behind the wheel of a car, and deliver printed packages to clients in an efficient and timely manner. A trained monkey can do the job I work at now, and to think that I spent $50k on my further education to make a better life for myself. I could honestly squee in delight right now.

I moved back in with my dad after my mom passed. Yeah, not really my first choice, but since I didn't have a job at the time, and was not really motivated to do much of anything, it seemed like the best place to go and get my life back on track. However, then my family showed up, and I was juggled around a while so that family had places to stay. I love being on the bottom of the pecking order when other family members decide to show up unannounced, and lay claim to your bed, bedroom, and home for the duration of their stay. I just makes me all warm and tingly with love and happiness.

Finally, I'm having relationship trouble. I don't feel loved. At all. By anyone. There have been quite a few times where I've been told that, yet right after hearing those words, I've had actions that seem to make a mockery of the words. Things like having me move out, or shovel me off to a friend's house so that family can stay in the room I'm in... It's little things like this that seem to bother me the most, and I'm having some trouble trying to move past it all. I don't know why. Maybe I need to get some Prozac, and just drug myself happy.. Who knows?

My sarcasm hasn't slowed down any. If anything, it's gotten more sharp and biting. This is a problem, since I tend to be sarcastic with everyone, and when you have a keen edge on the responses, it tends to drive folks away without meaning to. Just yesterday I told someone I was nearly overfull with joy so much that I wanted to jump off the nearest bridge. Yeah, I got referred to HR and told that if I needed some personal time off work to go speak with a specialist, they would be willing to help support me in getting the help I needed to keep my mind off of suicide.

So yeah, I'm basically a bubbling fountain of joy that reaches out, grabs you by the throat, and tries choking the life and joy out of any given situation.

There. More biting sarcasm for you before I end this and publish it.

Squee.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Resolutions...

Well, it's the new year, but I am not going to make any kind of resolution. Why? Because even though it's a noble idea, usually it tends to set up someone for failure. I base this on the observation that folks make resolutions to change things that are major issues for them. Once they are unable to follow through with these resolutions, they feel themselves unworthy, and since they can't make those "simple" resolutions, they might as well continue on as they were beforehand..

I choose to work on myself in moderation. I don't expect to make overwhelming changes. I don't expect anything special. I just want to make sure I complete each short-term goal that I set for myself, and be satisfied with it.

I mean, I was able to do this these last two years while in classes. I graduated on the 21st of this year with honors, and voted by the faculty as one of the top 5% of the graduating class. I personally felt that I didn't do as good of a job as I could have done, but apparently what I was able to give was more than the faculty expected, and I was honored for my achievements.

Now, I'm in my Bachelor program and attempting to continue the success I have had these last two years. Juggling classes and work is getting more difficult, but I am sure that I'll be able to figure something out.

Now my main focus is on my family, my dad in particular, then classes, and work. We'll see how well I am able to manage these priorities this year.

Best wishes to you all this year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Home

Just two months ago, I got a voicemail from my dad asking me to call him. When I returned his call, I got some news that shook me: My mom had cancer.

Now, if you have followed and read any of my blog at all, you'll realize that my mom and I haven't had the best relationship, but we had learned how to be amicable to one another, and were actually starting to patch things up between us. This news was not good, and it wasn't going to allow me to get any further kind of closure from my childhood.

Last month, mom started chemotherapy, and it blasted her pretty good. During it all, she would call and ask me how I was, what I was doing, and if I could get away at some point to come up and visit with her. The petulant little boy inside of me came up from the screaming depths, and declined - blaming it on the new job and other hassles that life had thrown my way. I told her I would make time for Thanksgiving, and would come up to visit then. Mom was disappointed in my reply, but agreed. I made my appointment, we had some talks, and we had some celebration, what little we could find with someone in the same room who was ravaged with cancer, and trying not to be sick just from the smells coming from the kitchen. It was a tense Thanksgiving, and I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling and those emotions.

This last weekend, I got a call from my dad. "Come north, we are bringing your mom home to the Hospice Center. The cancer has spread, and they don't know how much longer she is going to make it." I went north. My biggest worry was not on my mom dying, but how the rest of my family was going to be able to handle the stress and loss. My dad has always defined himself through my mom. If we'd ask about any kind of appointment or coming up to visit, he'd want to check with mom to make sure all dates and times were clear. Any decision would be routed through mom, since they made all of their decisions as a team, and no spouse was left not knowing. Similarly, my brother was very close to my mom. They could talk for hours about nothing at all, and at the end of the conversation would determine that they got a lot accomplished. I never understood that connection, and to be honest I still don't get it to this day. How were these two going to handle her loss?

My mind was in overdrive. I couldn't form a coherent thought. All these scenarios and "what-if" statements kept circling in my head. The argument kept coming around to me about "Sure, she's bad now, but there have been plenty of times where someone has seemed to be on Death's door, and makes an unexpected turn around. I'm sure this is going to be one of those times, and I'm going to waste some of my vacation time on a potentially unnecessary trip." Against all of my arguments, I went north to see my dad and brother. Mom was resting, unable to speak anymore due to the illness that had now claimed 40% of her lungs, enveloped one of her kidneys, stained her liver, migrated to her lymph nodes, and nested now in her bones as well. I leaned over the rail of the bed she was sleeping in, took her feverish hand in mine, and whispered to her about how much I loved her, how proud I was to be her son, and that no matter what happens, I would always live and act the way she would want me to.

In that moment, I finally understood that the petty anger and hurts that I was nursing completely paled in comparison to the reality that my mom was destined to leave this world, and that the air needed to be cleared. I gave love and forgiveness, expecting none in return, but knowing that she could hear me, and knew things were right between us.

Early that next morning, about 12:30 in the morning, my brother called me to her room. I rushed there, and the family sang hymns as she struggled for each and every breath. During our singing of "How Great Thou Art", my mom silently passed away, and a peace that I have never seen on her face showed. I knew at that moment she was no longer troubled, and she was finally at rest and at peace. I kissed her head, told her I would see her after a while, and went to console the rest of my family who were there.

Life is short. There are no guarantees about how long you will be in this life. Make the most of each day, live it to the fullest with no regrets, and rejoice when you wake up the next morning able to do so again.

I love you mom, and I am glad you are at peace.

See you sometime soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Struggling

I am having difficulties in my life, and because you can't stop me, I'm going to vent about it all on here, and feel a bit better.

As you know from my last post, my mom has cancer, and I have seriously mixed feelings about this.

Now, I am having some more serious issues stemming from this problem.

First, I have a good relationship with my dad, and watching how torn up he is getting over this is really starting to affect me as well.

Then, there's the fact that my brother also has a close relationship with my mom, and he and I are fairly close. So the emotions and feelings that he is going through are really starting to affect me.

Then, we have my girlfriend.

She has a good relationship with her family, and doesn't have near the amount of dysfunction in her family that mine does. Couple that with the fact that her grandmother passed away just a few weeks ago, and she's really on me to try to do extra for my mom.

I don't know what to do.

I want to support my brother and dad. I want to feel more for my mom. I want to make the girlfriend happy and try to patch things up with my mom as well.

I just don't see it all mixing!

Granted, I can bury it all, and just deal with things as they come, but I refuse to let things affect me if I can actually DO something about it.

I know!

I'm going to ignore it all, and hope it goes away!

Excellent idea, if I do have to say so myself....

Of course, you and I both realize that this means there will be MUCH more for me to write about next time, right?

Win-win scenario right there!

Adios