Friday, January 30, 2009

More ranting and raving!!

Yesterday, while browsing through some of my more favorite blogs to read, I came upon this post by Cinnikitty.

It got me so worked up, that I'm still kind of irate now just THINKING about it.

Things of this nature really hit close to home for me.

I mean, I'm a divorced father of 3, and it's like pulling teeth to get any kind of consistent support from their mother.

Yet, I have to wonder what makes the judges tick when they decide what amounts are "reasonable" for the paying parties...

Let me give you an example:

When my wife and I divorced, she was given custody of the kids because I was working 3 jobs, had no stable home, and was basically living hand to mouth from day to day.

Yet, even with my dire means of survival, the judge was 'gracious' enough to award my wife a monthly support amount of $750 to be paid in full each month.

Now, at that time, I was bringing home approximately $1,200 a month. Take out my rent, and it dropped to $300.

If I didn't pay the rent, I could buy some food, pay a couple of bills, pay the CHILD SUPPORT, and maybe have a couple of dollars left over for gas.

BUT! If I paid my rent to keep a roof over my head, I'd drop too far behind on payments to be able to make up the difference.

Did this matter to the court?


He determined that I could be making a base minimum wage of $16-$18 per hour, and that because I was working _3_ jobs that weren't clearing more than $1500 a month, that was my problem. I needed to take the initiative to get a better paying job, and drop the 3 that I had in order to cover my responsibilities.

Nothing like getting kicked in the nuts, and then having that person tell you that it only hurts for a bit, and to suck it up and keep going, is there?

The sad fact is that because of the hour requirements of the jobs I was working, I wasn't HOME enough to take care of my kids. I had, technically, ONE day off during the week, but that "day off" was actually the one day where I only worked ONE job for a half-day. That day was Sunday. The rest of the time I was up and working from 4am until 10pm. Monday through Saturday. I'd get just enough time to rush from one job to the next in order to keep the two higher-paying jobs afloat, and then I'd toss in extra time when I could on the weekends to the third job to get gas money. It was a vicious cycle.

Now, with all of that work, I had to get some sleep in. So I'd sleep from about 11pm until 3am, then get up and repeat the day. Sunday was the treat, in that I didn't have to start work until 10am, and was done by 3pm. That meant that I could go over and see my kids, play with them for a little bit, and then head home to get some sleep before starting the nasty work week all over again.

Now, somehow in that tangled mess of a schedule, I was supposed to blow off an employer, go fill out applications to other jobs that were better suited for family support, and then hope to God that I didn't get fired from the job I'd blown off so that I could still have money coming in while hoping that the jobs I'd applied for called me for an interview so that I could potentially blow off said job again for the chance at another one...

Do you see the irony in this?

You have a job, yet you have to drop that one because a person told you to, in order to apply for a potential job (that many others will be applying for as well) in order to get an interview.


Yes, he's a judge, and someone who is (technically) an authority figure. But who the hell does he think he is to dictate to me what I should and should NOT be doing in my family life? Don't make a personal vendetta against working class people, tell them that they can and need to do better, and then force them into unlivable circumstances just to force a change.

Well, after the ruling, I tried to do exactly like the judge ordered.

Within 2 weeks, I had my part-time job left, as the other two fired me for not showing up for work.

Suddenly my $1,200 a month income dropped to $350.

Now I couldn't even pay rent, let alone keep food in my stomach, or pay bills.

I fell into a severe depression. I didn't care about how I was doing. I didn't care about my family. I was a failure.

The feelings of inadequacy were terrible. Failure seemed to be the one thing that I was actually good at. I mean, I had a FAILED marriage, I used to have jobs, but I FAILED two of them. I used to be able to support myself, but now I was FAILING at that as well.

Jormengrund=FAIL. That was my life equation.

I finally got evicted from my small home. With no place to go, I turned to my parents. I was desperate for some place to live while I looked for work, and felt that my family would offer some kind of help.

My mom refused. I wasn't to come near their house, and until I could get my life straight, I wasn't to contact them AT ALL.

Great.. More failure. This time with the people who are supposed to love and support you NO MATTER WHAT.

Then, a small glimmer of light.

My grandpa asked me to come over and help him work on the small shop he'd been building for his woodworking stuff. I came over and lent a hand. During the work, he offered me a place to live, in exchange for help around the house. He and my grandma were getting old enough that an added hand around the house for chores would be a great help. I needed a place to stay, and they were willing to give me one as long as I was willing to work for it.

I grasped at this chance with both hands like a man hanging on the edge of a cliff would to a rescue rope. I still had some meager income, and I needed some of it to pay for the gas I was using to get to job interviews. The rest I sent off for child support. Yet I continued to fall behind because my entire earned income still wasn't enough to cover my payments.

My grandpa hired an attorney to see about getting the payments reduced, but the judgement held. I had the "potential" to earn "X" amount, and thus I needed to live up to that potential in order to meet the judgement. No change was given.

So, I worked around my grandparent's house, fixing things, cutting the lawn, weeding, painting, mopping floors, carrying laundry, driving them to and from town.. Whatever they needed done, I did it. I also applied everywhere I could. I didn't care about what state, I didn't care about what field it was in. I didn't care about anything but getting that job that the judge insisted was my saving grace.

A year went by. Two. I never saw my tax returns. The money that I'd get would immediately be sent to help pay down my outstanding balance of child support. I fell deeper into debt with that payment. I mean really... Even paying the entire amount of my monthly income was still dropping me $400 into the hole EACH MONTH. Depression kicked in again.

Then, my part-time job closed.

No work, no money, no potential employers.

I'd hit rock bottom. There was no place left to go but up.

A friend of mine offered to take me out one night for a couple of drinks in order to try to cheer me up. We went to a small bar, and had a pretty good time. While there, an old neighbor of mine spotted me, and we started talking.

That man gave me the first small break since I'd hit bottom. He offered me a job working for him. My title? Karaoke DJ.

Yeah. Glamor galore. But it was a start in getting myself back on track. He promised to help out as much as he could, as long as I was willing to put the effort into helping him as well. I agreed.

Now, I was starting to make some headway. I had a job that I worked 6 nights a week at, sometimes I even worked mornings in his new storefront. I still lived with my grandparents, but I was actually starting to make ends meet.

Then, I met HER. My wife.

I joke about her being one of the "stalkers" that used to chase me around while I was running the karaoke stuff, but there was something seriously different about her that caught my eye. She saw something in me that made me think that I could be more than even that judge thought. For the first time in a very long time, I started to feel.... HOPE.

We started dating. Thanks to her influence, I started seeing my kids more. I'd been ashamed to bring them over to my grandparent's house where I lived because I didn't want the kids to see me living so destitute. However, she told me that my kids just needed a dad, and that they wouldn't care about where I lived, as long as they were able to be there with me. As usual, she was right.

I was finally able to get some temp work as a laborer during this time as well, and started making more. Thanks to her help, I was able to pay down some of my debts, and slowly crawl back into the light. She offered me the chance to move in with her, and get out of my grandparent's house. I agreed, but I also promised my grandparents that I would still come around to take care of things for them.

Things were going well. Until we had our first big fight.

Suddenly, I was kicked to the curb. No place to stay, and no ray of hope or sunshine to light my path.

That is, until my future Mother-in-law stood up for me.

In this woman, I saw what it was like to have a mom. To have someone care for you because of WHO you are, not what you can do for their reputation.

I felt loved again, and the hope bloomed.

We reconciled, and apologies were made. I had regular visitation with my kids now, and things were going well...

Until we found the bruises on my youngest son.

Their step-dad had been taking to beating each of the kids with a paddle when he felt they were doing something wrong.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against spanking when needed.

But to use a wooden paddle on a 2 year old boy?

I wanted to literally kill that man when I found out about this.

My wife called my dad and brother in order to keep me in the house. We then called to have CPS investigate.

Somehow, the slippery bastard was able to get out from under the charge of abuse. I don't know to this day how he managed it, but each and every time I see him give me some smug smile, I have to fight in order to keep myself from knocking his teeth in.

Because we couldn't get the charge of abuse to work, I went a different route to save my kids. I filed for custody of them.

At this time, I had a solid job, a stable home, and pretty good means to support myself.

Thus, we went to court in order to settle this.

After SIX months of deliberation, I was granted custody of my children. This, in and of itself, is quite unheard of in this state, since the common term for this state is a "mom centralized state" which means that unless I was able to show neglect or a lack of vital care, the mother would retain custody.

Apparently the judge in this case was able to see the same things that we were seeing.

Then, the determination for support sent into effect.

Can you guess how much my wife was then asked to pay ME for these kids?

It wasn't NEARLY the amount I had to shuck out, and she'd been making TWICE my pay when that decision had been made.

No. She was only required to pay $550 every TWO months.


I'd had to pay $1500 every two months, and she only needed to pay $550.

So apparently not ONLY does the person who make less have to pay more, but the father is expected to pay at least double what a mother can, even if she's unfit!


I think I've got a bit more control..

Anyway, since that time, my kids have become more stable, less moody, better students, and overall are more well-adjusted than they ever were while living with their mother.

I seriously have to give credit for much of this to my wife. She and I have worked tirelessly to get the things my kids need in order to thrive.

Yet, the post CK had written was about mothers sitting around expecting to get paid for doing NOTHING.

That's exactly what my ex and her hubby do.

He's a worthless piece of crap with SIX kids who doesn't hold down a job, and expects to get "disability" (any day now) and she works for a doctor's office, and tries to bribe them into "conveniently" forget about making the support payments from time to time.

There has NEVER been a consistent time when I've gotten cash from her. Either it's late, or they forgot, or the check gets lost, the account gets screwey, etc, etc, etc...

All I ask is for some consistency so that I can better take care of my kids.

In order to do this, I've got a job now where I don't have to depend AT ALL on the support, and if/when we DO get the money, it's an unexpected windfall, and we put it away, or use it to buy things that could really help the kids. Rarely, if ever, have the wife or I used any of that cash for ourselves. We use the child support just for that. The children.

Anyway, I think I'm done ranting, and this post has gotten WAY too long.

Only 13 more days until we run off to Disneyland!

Have a great weekend, and I'll talk with you all on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A minior personal revelation...

Let's get something straight here..

I'm an ass.

Not just ANY ass, but a sincere ass.

Heck, I'm even "PC" enough to admit that I'm an equal-opportunity asshat. It doesn't matter to me who or what you are, I'll be happy to oblige you with my assholed-ness.

There have been some times where this attitude has gotten me in trouble. Yeah, it doesn't work so well at the workplace, but I've been known to make it work (current job being proof of this!). It doesn't sit well in some social situations. Like when trying to apply for a mortgage, or debt consolidation, or buying a car, etc..

There are times when it's come in EXTREMELY handy. Those annoying telemarketers that seem to know when you're sitting down for dinner with the family, door-to-door salespeople, Jehova's Witness door knockers, Heck, even Mormon door-knockers!

It REALLY doesn't do me any good when I follow folks into a place. The main reason for this is that they then get marked for all of MY hard work. I mean, I'm an ass, but I like to take the credit for my butthole ways. I don't appreciate someone getting all the glory for my behavior. If I go to church with my folks, and I'm an ass, I don't want folks blaming my dad for my actions (as usually happens on the rare time I go to church with my folks). I don't want some waiter thinking that my friend is a jerk when I tell him off for not getting my order right. If I'm an ass to you, don't blame the other person for bringing me. BLAME ME.

Because of this, I want to let folks know that I rarely apologize for my behavior. Sure, you don't deserve treatment like this, but reading about how I chewed out someone else makes for funny reading... Unless you're the one who got the chewing. Then it becomes personal, and personal isn't funny.

I read a TON of blogs. I know there are some out there who read more, but I'm dedicated to a few, and I make comments on them consistently to let them know of my approval or disapproval of a post.

A couple of days ago, I made a biting and sarcastic comment on one of the blogs I follow. The reasoning behind it was all about things that were happening in my area, and I applied the rationale to an instance that was actually happening clear across the nation from where I was located.

I made a generic statement, and coupled a large group in my comment.

Yeah. It was aimed at the gay community.

Because of this, a gay person had to come forward, and complain about my biting and sarcastic remark.

Unknown to this person, I have quite a few Gay and Lesbian friends that I'm actually quite proud to call my friends. The ones that read my comments actually wanted to give me the "high 5" for it, because of the crap that's happening around here.

It's really all a matter of perspective. Someone somewhere doesn't find it funny, yet someone else in another state finds it drop-dead hilarious.

Tomato, tomatoe, really.

So, even with my explanation, I still stand by my comment on that blog. Yes, it's degrading to some extent, yet if I found someone of my ilk doing the same thing, I'd use the samn big-ass brush, and paint us all that color. If you condone the behavior, you might as well get on the bus instead of point a finger.

So, do I think that all gay people are assholes? Only as much as I think all white folks are stuck up, and all black people are angry about their ethnicity. Only as much as I think all American Indians are greedy alcoholics, and Jewish folks are penny-pinching misers.

Get my point?

Good, now get over my smart ass, and just feel free to read.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yes, I'm pathetic!

That's right.


Because I'm willing to do just about anything at times to get my way.

Want proof?


Back around 1980, I was in the third grade, and was pretty thin for my height and age.


My mom thought I was some albino Ethiopian. I had a bit of a pot belly, was nearly 5'8", and barely 100 pounds.

It was during this time that my favorite aunt was seeing this guy that my brother and I _really_ liked.

He was funny. He took us fishing. He could cook. He took us camping. He was polite. Did I mention he took us fishing??

Anyway, he was the perfect man in our eyes.

We actually looked forward to the alternate weekend when my folks would drop us off at my grandparent's house, and take off on their "date night". Usually, my grandparents would go to some activity, so my aunt and her boyfriend would watch the two of us.

This was a perfect scenario for the two of us. Favorite aunt. Great boyfriend, no parents. HEAVEN.

Yeah. Pizza. Fast food. Candy. Treats. Ice Cream. No "real" rules, and at the end of the night, the two hyped-up kids were then returned to their "normal" home to burn off the serious sugar coma.

As happens in many relationships, my aunt and boyfriend came to a disagreement one week. As luck would have it, it was the weekend we were supposed to be watched. Depression set in madly with just the three of us there. Something fun was missing, and it was her boyfriend. We all knew it, so no words had to be spoken.

After that night, my brother and I agreed that we needed to get the two of them back together, and make it stick.

The next week, they started talking again, and mending seemed to be progressing smoothly.

Until the news that they'd had another argument.

No! Not the week of our date night! This can't happen!

So, I pulled a mean, nasty, and underhanded trick out of the "do not play" pile.

I got my brother to whine at my aunt, and ask the boyfriend over for some pizza. Faced with an "adorable" face, she couldn't say no, and allowed the call. He then proceeded to whine at the boyfriend until he agreed to come over for dinner.

With the plan in motion, we had a quick conference to set our plans into motion.

Here was the basic idea:

We'd impress them both with what we could do, and because they'd be so in awe of our abilities, they'd forget about their problems, and keep being with us so that they wouldn't miss anything later on.

In the mind of an 8 and 4 year old, this was PERFECT.

Because of my size, I was amazing at climbing trees. There were quite a few around my grandparent's yard, and I climbed them all. Big, small, medium, it didn't matter. If it grew, sprouted leaves, and had roots, I climbed it.

There was one tree that I loved to climb more than any other. It was a HUGE cherry tree in their backyard. It seriously towered over the house, and was a full, vibrant tree. There were endless possibilities in the branches. Thick ones for sitting on, thin ones to swing on, crooked ones to jump around on.. The list could go on and on.

For this night, I picked my favorite tree, and started my routine. I'd scamper up the trunk, swing into the lower branches, and then Tarzan swing up to the higher limbs.

Everything went according to plan. Perfectly still night, good grip, solid start.

Until I got to the upper branches.

You see, I was so light that I could honestly swing in the upper limbs without breaking them. This meant that I really had no fear of how thick or thin a branch was, I'd grab on and climb.

On this night, that habit got me into trouble.

The branches I'd been scampering through weren't as green as they'd used to be, and a couple snapped after I let them go. Not realizing the danger, I kept up, and eventually my luck ran out. The branch I was holding onto broke, sending me down to the ground.

Two things ensured that my life was spared that night.

One, was that I hit a VERY large branch on the way down, which flipped me over, and caused me to land on my back.

Two, the house was very close to the tree, and it didn't take long after the breaking branch for them to know that something was wrong.

After falling from approximately 50 feet, I hit the ground directly over an exposed root on my lower back. This caused my spine to compress, and fracture in three places.

The snapping branches and following thud let everyone in the house know that something was wrong, and my aunt and her boyfriend were immediately outside.

I couldn't breathe. I could barely stay consious. The one thing I _do_ recall was the face.

Concerned eyes looking me over. A gentle voice talking to me. A quick "call the hospital, we're taking him in". Strong but gentle hands and arms scooping me up like I was a feather. The musky smell of cologne.

I passed out on the way to the hospital, and woke in the exam room from smelling salts. I was placed on a backboard, and forced to lie straight so that they could get x-rays.

The film wasn't pretty.

Because of my age, my bones were still pretty pliable, and hadn't completely shattered under the force of the fall. However, they had crushed together, and were now one massive lump of bone that couldn't be discerned from one another.

I was given some painkillers, and given a room. My aunt and her boyfriend stayed with me all that night, even when my parents showed up.

The doctor came in to see us all that next morning. The decision was to NOT fix the bones, but to allow my spine to heal. This was going to be done by fitting me with a back brace, and forcing my back into the position it needed to be in when the bones healed. I would have to stay in the hospital for at least a week, and then I could be fitted and sent home.


So, for the next week, I was in traction, and bed-ridden. My folks came to visit, but the one consistent visitor I got?

Yeah. You guessed it. My aunt and her boyfriend.

They'd come visit each and every day. They'd bring chocolate milk, and cookies, and some small hand-held games to play, and just sit and have fun with me in that boring sterile hospital room.

I got out, healed up, and got better. Things returned to normal.

Then, I was asked to be in the wedding, where my aunt married the man who showed so much compassion to a young boy.

Yeah. I got what I wanted.

Sure, it didn't go as I planned EXACTLY, but I still got what I wanted, now didn't I?

Rest in peace Gordon Eddy. You'll always be my favorite uncle.

Gordon Eddy. 1951-2005

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Comments, queries, and posers..

I was going to write something humorous, but after this weekend, I've decided to go a different route.

My sister-in-law is a great lady. She cares, and does everything she can to help her daughters.

This last year I saw this woman's heart get torn completely in two, and now the pain has come full circle, and she's dealing with the problems and issues that her two daughters, my nieces, are going through.

You see, her husband cheated on her last year, and she's not been the same since.

I've never really liked the man. He was quite judgemental, and really never game me a chance to get to know him, or even attempt to get to know the person I am. Because of this, I was never "good enough" for him or his family.

Now? I could care less about his opinion, as from my point of view he's no better than anyone else. He's a lying, cheating, selfish, good-for-nothing man who only cares about when he's going to get laid next, and if he's got enough cash in his account to keep food in his stomach.

However, this has completely ripped apart my SIL. These two married basically right out of High School. She'd never been with anyone else, and had only known him and the life she'd lead with him in it. Two daughters later, and she was happy knowing that her family was provided for, and taken care of.

All that changed when the truth came out.

She left.

I don't blame her there. How can you stand to be in the same room with someone who's been living a lie? How can you look into their face, and think that they're going to be honest with you EVER again? How can you live in a house where someone else has come in a defiled not only your home, but your sense of security?

Her way of dealing was to get drunk. Quite often.

Becoming so numb that the pain would lessen, and she could unbend enough to find some other man besides her ex to fill the void she had inside of her. (not sexually, you perverts!)

This led her on a merry dance for a while. One guy to the next. Each one she's spout all of these praises about their good traits. But within weeks, the bad stuff would overcome it all, and her suspicions would take over, and the fantasy would crumble.

Imagine her girls, trying to make sense of it all. Hoping that mom would be able to find some place to set down roots. Hoping against hope that the home dance would be over soon. Trying to cope with their own sense of loss and anguish over the split and hurt they could see in their mother and father.

All of these feelings became internalized in the girls. One now has serious anger issues, and I honestly think that she needs counselling in order to get the problem under control. The other has commitment issues, and doesn't trust her partner to be honest with her, regardless of the relationship history. All of this because the ONE MAN they could trust in their lives destroyed it all for a woman.

Yet he still has the gall to claim that his actions didn't cause this, it was brewing from before.

Right now, my SIL has a guy who seems like a nice man. He's sincere, and he's honest. He's got a couple of great kids, and he treats her like the fragile personality that she is.

However, I've got to be honest here.

I'm waiting for the point in time where some fault of his is going to push her away.

I've seen her happy. I've seen her miserable. And I honestly can't see her settle right now. She's got too much going on that she's trying to ignore. There's not going to be any kind of peace for her until she's able to come to terms with this, and it honestly hurts me to have to admit it.

She's met some great guys. Yeah, they've had issues.

Honestly, show me some guy that DOESN'T have issues, and I'll get the campaign set up for him to be the next US President!

But seriously, guys as a whole are screwed up. We mess up TONS. It's genetic, I think.

So guys are flawed, and girls use this opportunity to "fix" them, right?

How does someone who is recovering from a nasty situation like this ever find the strength to try again?

I don't know.

All I know is that I really do hurt for her, and I hope she's able to find peace.

Funny stuff tomorrow, I promise!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interviews, Interviews, Interviews!!

Jennybean was kind enough to send me some interview questions, so I'm going to answer these, and hope that I don't repeat any of the answers in the last two that I've gotten..

Here it goes.

Oh, by the way:

There are easy ways to get interviewed.

Just ask me in comments, and I'll email you a list of 5 questions for your interview.

Then, later on, you can post and link back to this page.

Simple, easy, and it's actually kind of fun as well..

Anyway, on to the interview!!

1. How did you meet your wife? When did you know she was "the one"?

My wife actually started by chasing me! I was running Karaoke at a bar, and she asked my brother’s girlfriend at the time if I was single.. Thus, she started stalking the places where I’d run the systems, and would conveniently show up where I was scheduled to show up! A match made in heaven, if you ask me!

2. What personality differnces do you see in your children?

Heh.. Is there a limit?

Let’s see. My oldest is the lawyer of the family. He needs to have each and every part of a parental decree laid out in no uncertain terms. If anything is left ambiguous, he’s more than willing to take advantage of it. Reminds me of my younger self in many ways.

My daughter is the drama queen and center stage prima-donna. She loves to dance. She loves to sing. Everything she says or does just happens to be over-the-top. There’s nothing really shy or bashful about her until she meets strangers. Then she huddles into a corner and waits to see if you’ll be nice or mean.

My youngest is the flirt. He’s VERY touchy-feely, and loves numbers. If you were to allow him to sit at a table all day and count change, he’d be in a minor level of heaven. Give him some milk and the occasional hug, and you’ll never hear from him until the change is all counted, stacked, and written down.

3. What is your favorite part of your job? Least favorite?

Favorite part of the job has got to be the problem solving. Getting in there and finding out why something won’t tick. When you solve it, and get it running, you become “superman” in the facility for a while.

Least favorite? The managers who decide that they’re better than you because of the title. I’ve complained about them plenty in my blog.

4. Weird stuff happens sometimes. What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Strangest? That’s got to be the time I had a manager complain about her “cup holder”. Yeah. She was using the DC tray to hold her coffee cup, and would spill it every time she booted the machine.

5. Do you have a stupid human trick or any sort of strange talent? Please do share!

Stupid? I don’t think so. I can play piano, and I sing a bit. I also adore reading..
Wait.. I do have one quirk!
I can crack the knuckles of my big toes on command. LOUDLY. It really annoys my wife when I do it to excess at times unthinkingly.

Well, there's my interview.

Hope you enjoy, and have a GREAT week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

General Ranting..

Today, I'm just going to go off on things that have bothered me, and see where it takes me.

First, I'm going to go off on these "reality" TV shows.

How in the hell can ANYONE really think this is "Reality" TV when everything seen on the tube is cut and edited for "good television"?

Reality, by definition, isn't something that can be scripted. So how can a network seriously claim that their show is all about reality when they're cutting, pasting, and molding a story for their viewers who want juicy gossip about who's doing what on that one show?

Let's point out a few, and see who agrees with me.

American Idol. Not really a "reality" show, but it's still pretty pathetic in my opinion. Yeah, some good singers have been found, but the main premise behind the whole thing is to show off some nasty attitude Brit who makes biting and insulting comments to contestants, and gets THANKED for it.

Anyone else sense the irony here?

Big Brother. Yeah. Gossip-fest galore. At the start, it's all about who's going to shack up with whom. Then it's all about what person is going to backstab the other, and so on and so forth. Reminds me of the trite analogy of the two housevies gossiping along the fence while doing laundry.

Survivor. Seriously. You take a bunch of folks, stick them on a remote deserted place, starve them for a while, then make them jump through all of the hoops. Meanwhile, they're all still messing with each other's heads, and trying to be the last person standing. Pathetic.

The Biggest Loser. Yeah, losing weight is a great idea and goal. But to make a "reality" gameshow out of it? The weight loss is impressive. But have you ever really watched near the end of the season? At the beginning, all the entrants have very skimpy clothes on, and show off all the disgusting blubber. But at the end? They cover up the flab, in order to impress you with their weight loss. What aren't they showing? The piles and PILES of skin that are now draped from their bodies from the massive weight loss. This is usually only able to be corrected by surgery, and removal of the excess skin and fat collected there. So, is this reality? I don't think so.

The Batchelor. Now, come on. Take a guy, stick him in a romantic location with 25-odd beautiful women, and make him choose ONE. First off, unless the man is independently wealthy, he's not going to be living in a mansion like they house these women in. Second, they wouldn't be going on all of those lavish and romantic escapades. Third, if he's a TRUE guy, he wouldn't be able to juggle all of those women, and if these were TRUE women, NONE of them would stand to deal with the others if the man showed any promise or affection to one of them. Reality TV? Not even close.

I know there are more out there, these are just the ones off the top of my head. I know that Brad over at Diaries of the Professor did a blasting of Kate from the Jon and Kate plus 8 TV show. I don't understand the draw of that one. Get preggers, find out that you're unable to afford all of them, so sell your soul and lifestyle for a TV series where you can be a total bitch to your husband, and still get good ratings from women who NEVER want to be in your shoes.

How about Little People, Big World? What a load of crap. Yay. Dwarves on TV. So what? Yeah, they have to cope. It's not pretty, but it's life.

Maybe next we'll travel around with someone with Cerebral Palsy, and find out how tough it is just to have someone help you take a crap, or do laundry. Or even EAT.

When is this stuff going to stop?

I don't know. But it's pretty pathetic when we as a viewer are more concerned about watching how other people live than being concerned about how WE'RE living.

Get off the couch, and get into life.

Now, I can understand losing some life-time minutes for shows like CSI, and Fringe, or House, or Bones...

Now THAT'S good Television!

See you all next week!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Personal Viewpoints!

Today I'm going to try to express some of the thoughts and feelings I get, and see if you get these as well.

I never really claimed to be an excellent wordsmith. I know there are folks out there who can take a phrase, and make it completely meaningful to the person reading. I'm not one of them.

I'm just going to try to describe the scene, and the look, and maybe some of my readers will join in with comments, and give their opinions as to scenes and looks that really touch them as well.

OK. Here goes!

Each and every evening when I pull up to the house, I am greeted by the sight of my yellow Labrador named Sassy looking out the glass panes of my french doors for some sign of me. I don't know how she's able to tell what time it is, or how she even knows that I'm headed home, but the excitement she gives off really brightens my day. Her growling welcome and excited yips, the way she wags her tail so hard that her backside nearly knocks her over, the impatient prancing of her paws, and the deep sigh of contentment once she gets a good scratch behind her ears... Unquestioned love and devotion.

The bright look in my daughter's eyes each night as I go to tuck her into bed. We'll talk about the day she's had, and what her plans are for the next day. We'll maybe sing a soft little song, or tease each other about some silly thing we remember. The snuggle deep into her fluffy blankets, and the cuddle of a stuffed teddy bear. The tight squeeze of a hug, and the gentle smack of a kiss goodnight. These are the sights and sounds of safety and security in a scary world.

The happy sounds of my kids at play in the yard. The rumble and thump of clothes tumbing in the washing machine or dryer. The sound of running water in the bathroom. The drone of a TV show. The clink of dishes being washed in the dishwasher. The rustle of grass needing to be cut. These are all sounds of a home being lived in.

The open and waiting arms of my wife to give me a hug when I see her. The soft conversations over how the day went, and what happened. The sweet kisses and gentle squeeze of a happy hand. The shining eyes over some small gift or surprise. The laughter over a joke or funny accident. The contented sigh as we curl up to watch TV on the couch together. The proud beaming as we are complimented on the behavior of our kids. The excitement of a small trip to go play in the snow. The gentle laughter of a game of "Sorry". The cozy warmth of a shared mug of cocoa. These are the times when I feel love the most.

Tell me what gets you. What memories evoke special feeling for you?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

All it takes are a couple of words...


Well, the wife _did_ admit that she called my to-do stuff "men's work".

However, because of that statement, I inferred about the "woman's work" stuff.

Now, this isn't to say that I expected her to _do_ any of the work I was having to do.

But sometimes the most help is an added set of hands. To hold a flashlight, or hand me a screwdriver when I can't reach it, etc..

To blatantly look at me, and tell me you're not going to even be around because it's not your job, it's mine?

Yeah, that's really what got my fur all ruffled.

But we're good now.

Isn't it amazing that there are certain key words that can set someone off?

In just one or two words, I know that I can send my wife from being a loving, caring, kissing, and happy individual into a headhunting, hating, killing, maiming machine.

Well, not all of that, but it does tend to turn her mood completely around...

The same can be said of just about anyone. There are things - words, phrases, insinuations - that tend to rub folks the wrong way.

There might be complete innocence in the uttering of this word, and it can still set off a strong reaction.

Now, this goes both ways.

Some words can take a good mood, and turn it sour.

Some words can take a bad mood, and brighten it considerably.

My hope for myself is to learn how to control these words, and to pick them very carefully.

My reason for this?

It all comes down to a simple gradeschool rhyme, but with a slight addition:

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can break my heart"

Yeah. Outwardly, they don't do any damage. It's the person inside that you're killing when you use these words to cut.

Why is it that some of the "funny" stuff we watch on TV is all about one character cutting down another?

I can rattle off some of these shows: Family Guy. Married, with Children. Two and a Half Men. Seinfeld.

Yeah, some aren't running anymore, but they were wildly popular.

I know that I try to make humorous remarks, and there are times where the stuff I'm ranting and raving about here at work is really quite funny.

However, I'm doing the rant with the anger and angst of the moment, and not thinking about how the person I'm writing about would feel if they were to read the post.

Maybe this is all stemming from my talk with my daughter last night, but I'm really trying to be a good father. I want to be someone my kids will grow up to emulate.

Do I want them to grow up as sarcastic smart-assed little brats with no consideration for another person's feelings, or do I want them to be well-adjusted people who try to make sure each and every person they come into contact with enjoys their company and presence?

Yeah. I think we all would like choice #2 when we're honest with ourselves.

I'll be back to my old self eventually, but for now, thanks for reading the serious side, too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to M.... Meh. I've got bitching to do!

Yeah, it's my birthday, but that's not what I want to write about, so here's my rant!

This last weekend, I got unloaded on for things to do around the house.

Normally, I don't mind much, because I kinda like working on the house, and getting things done and improved.

However, this weekend wasn't like most that involve home projects.

Last week, my wife decided that because of the falling interest rates we needed to refinance the house, and see about consolidating all of our debt. I was in agreement, and she went to the bank.

However, in order for this process to go through, a new assessment of our house needs to be done in order to get a proper value of the home before basing the payments.

Now, we've done a TON of work to this house. However, there aren't many projects that have been completed. Yeah, you know how this works...

First, you start a project, and you get the big stuff done. After seeing the major change, you think "I'll come back to this later, and put the finishing touches on it, because there are other jobs that need to get done now" type of thing.


Now, I have to be honest. I'm great at putting things off that I don't want to do. I can find all sorts of reasons NOT to do a job. But there have also been times when I have noticed a "hanging" job, and commented that we need to get the stuff so I can finish it as well... Those have been the times when my wife has been willing to put it off.

Not so this weekend.

We made a trip out to Lowe's, and I watched my next month's worth of weekends get tossed out in favor of doing the "finishing touches" on all of the projects we've neglected.

My father-in-law was with us, and he made some kind of snide comment to my wife about how she wasn't going to be able to get out of helping with the jobs.

She replied to him "This is guy's work. I don't have to help. I do the woman's jobs around the house, this one is his responsibility."

Yeah. That's stuck with me and been REALLY irritating this weekend.

I have tried to keep any kind of sexism from this relationship. I've been more than willing to let her have her space and time alone, and I've been willing to do the jobs that need to be done around the house.

After the comment I got this weekend?

Not so much.

Here's why:

Define "man's work" and "women's work" for me.

If you're going to tell me that a woman's work is stuff around the house, then she owes me a TON of time doing some "man's work" because I've filled in when she hasn't pulled her weight. Dishes? Laundry? Vacuuming? Dusting? Cleaning?

I'd define all of the above as "woman's work" since they're jobs inside of the house, wouldn't you?

As for "man's work".. Fixing, repairing, yardwork.. Isn't that considered "my" stuff to do?

She's not helped much at all with my "man" jobs compared to the things I've helped her with. Yet I've decided now to bitch about them...

Here's the catch, and why I was good with things until she opened her mouth.

"Woman's work" is things that need to be done daily. There's not some weekly plan you can get into action that is going to effectively take care of all of the household chores that need to be completed. Thus, I pitch in and help where needed. I mean, I don't really like sitting around on my ass all day, and if I can help her in the process, then it's a win-win situation for me, right?

With the "man's work", it's weekly stuff. Yardwork. Cut the grass. Trim the hedges, rake the gravel back onto the drive.. That doesn't need to be done daily, and can wait to be done. Repairs aren't frequent, and they do take time when they need to get done, but they in no way really balance out for the daily house chores.

Yet if this is how she's going to treat my work on the house, I'm willing to be an ass, and give her exactly what she called for.

Case in point:

I did the last load of dishes that were in the sink, and then put them in the dishwasher yesterday. Last night, I made dinner, and I left the dirty dishes in the sink. After all, dishes are "women's work", and since I'm doing "man's work" she needs to come home and get caught up!

Yeah, she worked last night, and I could have done them. But since I am going to be working for 10 hours today, and then coming home to start more repair work, I think the account balance here is fairly even.

Here's another thing that annoys me about our Home Improvement.

I can't do all of the jobs. I don't know how to install doors, re-wire electrical outlets, do plumbing, or major changes to a house exterior.

However, she has friends who do.

The worst part about this? I WANT to learn how to do these things. Yet when she gets friends over to help get a job done (such as installing a door) I tend to feel like a fifth wheel, and keep getting in the way. The person helping gets frustrated because they just want to get someone else's job done so they can get back to THEIR work, and everyone gets a bit on edge...

Never a happy moment there, to be honest.

So, I've got some projects lined up to be done. How they're going to get done is beyond me at the moment, but they'll get done.

I'm sure I'll be back on in later days to complain about something or other with this newest repair gig, so keep reading!

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Interview #2

ISmile2Much over at Ready or Not... Here I Smile decided to do an interview with me as well! So being the kind soul I am, I've played along again. Hope you like these as well!

1.) How often do you kiss your wife? How often do you tell her you love her? How often do you buy or give her something (including compliments) without being asked to or for no reason at all?

To be honest, I try to kiss her at LEAST once a day, if not more. I feel that giving her a kiss lets her know that I’m thinking of her, and that she means enough to me to make the effort to hunt her down and plant a smooch on those lips.

Buying her stuff? Well, she’s picky about what she gets, so if I “get” her something, it’s usually me letting her take me shopping, and telling her to spoil herself. That doesn’t happen very often, as our budget is kind of tight right now, but when I can, I try to spoil her as much as I do the kids.. I make an extra-special effort to be constructive and positive to her when I talk with my wife, so that includes compliments and praise instead of sarcastic comments and biting criticism. I’m a bit of a pain in the ass, especially after coming home from work, so this isn’t as easy as I make it sound!

2.) What are the 4 best physical traits of yours? What are your 4 best personality characteristics? And then explain why to each one listed. Use MANY details. Don't be shy or modest. :)

My 4 Best PHYSICAL traits? Hmm.

I’ve ALWAYS been complimented on my eyes. They’re very blue, and quite bright and piercing. I also have long-ish eyelashes, and many folks have claimed that they’d kill for eyes like mine.

I’m quite tall, but not monstrously so. This helps me assist folks with things, and yet doesn’t intimidate people shorter than me. I recall when people over 6 feet tall were considered “giants”, so now to be considered normal is a big plus!

Physical, physical…. Ah! My hands. My wife has complimented me on my hands quite a few times.. (not in that way!) They’re on the large side, but they’re gentle and strong. A great contrast, if I do say so myself!

Lastly, my legs. When I was younger, I had aspirations of becoming either a professional hockey player, or soccer player. Those dreams died with the injuries to my knees, but I’ve kept the muscle tone in my legs quite well. They have a bit of flab on them now, since I’ve not been exercising like I should, but they’re still rock-hard!

3.) if you could travel anywhere on vacation for 2 weeks (all expense paid) with JUST you & your wife.... where would it be? if you could travel anywhere on vacation for 2 wks (all expense paid) with your wife & kids.... where would it be?

Just her and I? I’ve always wanted to go back to Europe and tour some of the places I visited while I was playing for the soccer team that went there. But on MY schedule, not someone else’s. I loved Vienna, Brussels, Prague, and Salerno, and I’d really like to be able to get back there to see them better. In my honest opinion, Prague is one of the greatest cities I’ve ever been to. I adore music, and you can see and hear it EVERYWHERE there. It’s really quite amazing.

4.) What are your favorite *types* of books to read? Your 2 fave authors are who? if you could write a book, it would be about what? What was the WORST book you've ever read and why? (DETAILS on each questions... many/many of them....)

My favorite book genre? Fantasy/Sci-Fi. I’ve got an extensive collection, and I drive the wife nuts when I’ll break out a book I’ve already read a couple of times, and read it again, and again, and again..

My two favorite authors?

The late Robert Jordan has got to be first. His “Eye of the World” series caught me, and has kept me coming back for more each and every time. Being able to write such vivid and rich reading while battling cancer also amazes me.

Next on that list would be Jim Butcher. His “Dresden Files” series is one that I’ve been ravenously reading. The ability to combine fantasy and reality in a way that seems plausible just makes my imagination kick into serious overdrive.

If I were to write a book.. I think it would be about my life, and the journey that I’ve taken to get where I’m at today. Being able to turn a life around from a deadbeat dad into a working and responsible father is something that not many people can accomplish. I have my wife to thank for this, and I’d give her all of the credit.

Worst book read? To be honest, I usually shy away from the sappy romance novels. I know that I was suckered into reading one at some point, but I think it was so horrendous that I’ve forgotten who the author was, or what the name of the book was!

5.) What are your 5 most cherished and most proud moments of your whole life? In random order and explain why to each one. What song would you like to have played at your funeral? What do you want to be remembered for most of all? What song always makes you smile and why? (DETAILS, details, details.... the more, the better....) :)

Well, the first three would be easy if I wanted to cheat, but I’ll lump them into one. The birth of my three kids is easily the biggest and beat achievement of my life. I can never be more proud than to be able to introduce my kids to someone. It’s the best feeling in the world.

A very close second to that would be my marriage to my wife. She’s a wonderful creature, and so understanding that I sometimes wonder if she’s really needing some extra medication to deal with someone like me! Words just can’t describe the feelings I have for this woman, and I really do try to earn her love and affection each and every day.

I’m very proud of the fact that I was good enough at soccer to be selected to travel internationally for a time. The memories, the players, the cities, the culture, and the games will forever be embedded in my memory.

The feeling of buying our first house together is also very high on my list of personal achievements that I am quite proud of. Being able to know that you’ve got a place to take your family, provide a stable shelter, and make it a HOME is something that I’ll always cherish. I mean, yeah, my kids visit their mom (my ex) every other weekend, but as my youngest told me. “We visit mom’s house, but I like it when we can come HOME.”

I’m also quite proud of the fact that because of my voice, I was able to travel with my wife to Vegas! I entered a singing competition, and was selected to go to Las Vegas for a weekend to compete. Yeah, I didn’t get further than that, but just to make it that far was (to me!) an accomplishment in itself.

The song I would want played at my funeral?

I’ve always loved the songs that Mark Schultz comes up with. There are four songs of his that have always made me a bit emotional, and each for a different reason. “He’s My Son” is one that I sang and dedicated to a friend of ours who had a daughter dealing with cancer. The words meant so much, and it just seemed to fit. “Letters From War” was another that spoke volumes to me, because being a veteran, I know how difficult it can be to be separated from your loved ones. “When You Come Home” is one that I don’t really know personally, but dream about. It talks about the relationship between a son and his mother. I don’t have a great relationship with mine, but there are times when I really do wonder what it would be like to have the kind of feelings that seem to dwell between the two characters in the song.

But the one song of his that I’d want played at my funeral would be “Remember me”. It talks about the simple things. Each turn of a book, The smell of a room. The glistening light in a garden. The laughter of kids. Each time this is experienced, remember me. Maybe it’s cheesy, and maybe it will fit, but I’d prefer for someone to remember me during the small things in life, than to only think about me at major turning points, you know?

What do I want to be remembered at most of all?

That’s easy. I want to be remembered as a great father, dad, husband, and son. Plain and simple. It’s not an easy thing, but that’s what I’d wish for hands down.

The song that always makes me smile:

Another easy one. It’s the one that I sang to my wife when we got married. Jim Brickman and Michael W. Smith’s song “Love of My Life” will always speak to me about my life, love and marriage to the wonderful woman I’ve got next to me. It brings a smile to my face, a whistle in my heart, and a bit of the song to my lips each and every time I hear or think of it.

Anyway, that’s my answers for ISmile2Much’s questions. I think she cheated by sticking so many extra questions into one batch, but heck, I’m willing to play along!

I hope you enjoyed these tidbits, and now I’ll return (somewhat) to my normal train of thought tomorrow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yet more bitching about work..

Yes, I'm going to rant and rave about work stuff again.

However, before I do, I sent some questions to my wife's blog at her request. I think you should check out her answers, and see what you think!

Anyway, on to my raving....

Yesterday, I had one CRAZY workday.

Let's start this thing out right, and I'll paint you a small picture.

When this warehouse was built, it was decided to build in a small rural area that wasn't being utilized extensively by anyone, and would be easily accessible from the main freeway. They found this spot, and proceeded to install an ENORMOUS warehouse here. I'm not kidding about the size. This warehouse is over 975,000 square feet of space (floorspace), and rises over 180 feet. Plenty of space to store things!

Anyway, things seemed well. That is, until the first real rain hit. Then we promptly lost phones. That's when we found out some seriously bad news.

The city around where we'd built this place had installed sub-market cabling in this area, since before we'd come here there was nothing but cows and fields.

Moving a heavy indutrial zone in here blew out all of the specifications for the underground conduit and wiring that ran through this area. Because of this problem, ground water was now able to seep into the undergroun cabling, and effectively shut off any communication we could have with the "outside" world after any kind of heavy rain.

We brought up this finding and our concerns, and were reassured that the city would replace the cabling as soon as it was able. Passified, we went back to get our work done.

That was 5 years ago. Since then, each and every winter and spring we deal with the serious loss of phone communication. This will also include cable, and electrical at times too.

Yesterday was one such day. It had been raining here for about 3 days, and the water tables were getting high. At the end of the workday on Wednesday, my connection to the corporate network was getting dicey, and phones were becoming heavily laden with white noise and static. I contacted the local phone company to come out and fix the issue.

They never showed up on Wednesday. At 5pm on Wednesday we lost ALL phones and data lines. It was a total death blow to my warehouse, as with no corporate server to work on gave us no ability to update inventory or stock. Thus my warehouse ground to a complete halt, and workers were sent home.

I came back to the warehouse on Thursday assuming that the phone technicians would have taken care of the trouble, and everything would be running again at normal pace.


Workers were sitting around chatting, managers were discussing options, and nothing was being done out on the warehouse floor.

My General Manager spotted me, and called me into his office, demanding an explanation.

I proceeded to show him the emails I'd left, and the calls I'd made to take care of the problem BEFORE it got to this point. He agreed that I'd taken the right actions, and proceeded to chew a new one on the phone representative that he'd had on his cell phone.

I contacted my corporate advisor, and they started putting pressure on the phone company from their side as well.

In all, the warehouse was effectively shut down for nearly 18 hours, costing my company approximately 2.5 MILLION dollars in lost time and revenue.

Because I didn't stay past my quitting time to wait for the phone technicians to show up the day before, I got my butt chewed.

So, thanks to all of this, I was in a REALLY bad mood.

Enter in my "second" part of my job.

Not only do I work the technical side of this warehouse dealing with the network administration and upkeep, but I'm also part of the Quality Control group.

Being on the QC team means that we do daily audits of trailers being sent out in order to assure the stores that the product they ordered is correct.

Well, because of some slacking on the QC side, the department was behind on the number of annual audits needing to be done. My head QC manager decided to "bulk up" yesterday, and we did double the amount we normally do.

One lucky group of loaders had to deal with us 3 different times.

Yeah. Three.

The first one wasn't so bad. They didn't like being slowed down too much, because they wanted better hourly numbers, but they were willing to work past it. They started to seriously complain on the second one, and it took nearly twice as long to complete because of talking, whining, and going to their manager to "demand" a transfer to a different trailer.

Being in the piss-poor mood I was in, each whine and grumble from them just get me off a little bit more. Somewhere in the middle of the second audit, and listening to a basic temper tantrum from a middle-aged man, I broke.

I called my manager, and informed him that I'd be doing yet a THIRD audit in the same trailer. With the same people. He approved it, and informed the shipping and loading managers. That act caused a fuss that I've never seen before in an adult male.

Whining, moaning, pointing fingers, I half expected one of them to throw themselves on the floor of the trailer and pound on it with their fists and kick their feet.

This display lasted nearly 45 minutes before they finally agreed to settle down and load the store.

45 FREAKING minutes!

After much delay, and quite a bit of grumbling and moaning on their part, we got the store audit started and we finished in about 35 minutes. As I cleared out the gear, and headed to my office, one of the loaders proceeded to thank me for the work. I ignored him.

He followed.

I walked.

He asked me to tell him what I had a problem with.

So, because of his request, I did.

I told him that I understood about the pains of dealing with the slow audit process. I understood about wanting to get work done as quickly as possible in order to have the option to leave early if the chance presents itself.

But I also informed him that the QC part wasn't my only job. I told him about my sincere hatred of someone wasting my time by doing childish things.

Needless to say, I wasn't nice about the whole thing at all.

I was actually quite the jerk.

But I really don't like it when folks kill my time by doing something stupid and childish.

The time they spent crying could have been better served doing work, and 10 minutes after we finished the store, they would have finished their tirade!

So.. Guess what I got to deal with this morning?

Yeah. The manager for those two isn't going to act on the incident, and DEMANDS that I apologize for my actions the day before.


I think I'll waste his time today, and see how he likes it. If he enjoys it, then I'll apologize. If not, he can kiss my ass.

Hope you all have a good weekend. I'm looking forward to getting out of here for a while!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More talk about relationships!

Yeah, I haven't talked about the guy/girl phenomenon for a couple of weeks, so I'll get right back to my endless rant.

Here's something that completely confuses me, and I kind of want some feedback on it.

I'm going to give you a personal account of something that's happening in my household, and things that you might do to resolve it, ok?

I'm terrible, and I do mean TERRIBLE with money. Sure, there are times where I can save up enough when it's a short-term goal. But budgeting and keeping to it? Nah, not so much.

My wife, on the other hand, is a budgeting genius. She can plot and plan each payment out to the last penny before even glancing at the checkbook balance.

As I've posted in my profile, we're getting ready to take my kids to Disneyland here next month. Because of this, we really need to save up some cash to take along with.

I remind the wife, she nods. I trust it will get done. She's the budgeting wizard, after all!

Um.. It hasn't happened yet.

Now we're by no means hurting in the paycheck department. We both make enough to comfortably live. Yet with the slow economy, sales have dropped, so work at my warehouse is thinning. This cuts back on the overtime I could count on, as well as giving me opportunities to leave early. Yeah, I know I shouldn't take them (and I've been good lately about staying!) but when there's a chance of getting out of here with my sanity somewhat intact for the day, I jump at it before it gets a chance to make a break for it!

Still, even with these issues, we make enough to more than cover our bills, and stay well off.

Where does the cash go?

Do I take into account the need for replacing clothes the kids wear out?

Probably not.

How about the sundries like dishwashing detergent and such?

More than likely, no.

So where do I get off complaining about this?

Maybe it's the fact that even though I completely SUCK at budgeting, I'd still like to be kept involved in our family's finances. To know where the money's going. To know how much (or how little) we do (or don't) have.

Is that asking too much?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fessing up..

OK, time to give you a littel more of my twisted history:

Back just before I moved out of my parent's house, my brother and I were actually starting to get along better.

One week, my mom needed to go to a conference, and she and my dad decided to make it a kind of "getaway" and left the two of us home alone for that weekend.

Big mistake.

Huge, really.

Yeah, I was the "responsible" one, and could cook, clean, and keep house.

But when the taskmaster isn't there to crack the whip, do you really think that I'd do something like that?


In fact, for that weekend the house became a kind of "anti" Jormengrund house.

All of the rules HAD to be broken. Not just by my brother and I, but by each and every person who came along to visit as well!

Toilet seats left up. Dishes piled in the sink. Laundry sitting in stinky piles all over bedrooms and utility room. Vauum sitting neglected in the hall closet. TV was left on, and dirty plates scattered around the living room instead of eating at the table... The list goes on and on..

However, the one act that took the cake happened the Sunday before they got home.

My brother and I are HUGE fans of boneless country-style cut barbecue ribs.

I've got a "secret" recipe that I break out at least once a year. The family literally waits every year for them, and I never get leftovers. They turn out delicious, and so tender that they fall apart before you can get them on your plate.

Add to this potatoes, and some kind of greens for those health-consious nuts, and you've got a perfect meal!

Well, because I had a job and income, I went and get a good size pack of ribs, and we set about to make ribs for ourselves.

During the cooking, I needed to add some barbecue sauce, because the basting didn't look "just right". While opening this sauce, I found out two things:

1. When air is trapped under a screw-top lid, the pressure doesn't release until the top's off again.

2. BBQ sauce flies much further than you'd think.

Yeah. It shot about four feet across the kitchen and splattered on my brother and the kitchen table.

Now this initial incident was a complete accident. I'm being totally honest here. I didn't intend for the sauce to shoot out, I didn't think of trying to splatter my brother with sauce for the fun of it, and I had no clue that there was air trapped in the bottle.

However, what followed became legendary for a few years to come.

Once my brother realized that he had sticky BBQ sauce on the side of his face and in his hair, he just _had_ to retaliate.

So, he calmly sauntered to the sink, and cleaned up, then surreptitiously opened the refrigerator, and grabbed the bottle of mustard.

I'll let you know that my mom insisted on keeping the ketchup and mustard in the restaurant bottles, so we had these little yellow and red squeeze bottles..

These made perfect "pistols" for condiments.

Yeah. We made a serious mess.

After about 15-20 minutes of mayhem, we calmed down.

That's when we started to look around, and notice the utter devestation that used to be the interior of our kitchen and dining room.

Ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce over lights, on the ceiling, walls, pictures, carpets, hardwood floors, dog, fireplace, stove, etc...

It kind of looked like the inside of a "spin art" booth you can occasionally see at the fair, only not as pretty.

We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning up.

However, from time to time we'd come across another "strange" stain, and clean it up. When one of us would see the other, we'd fall into complete hysterics over it.

We finally came clean with them about two years ago, and my mom said something that I don't think I'll EVER forget:

"That explains the ketchup I found in the dishwasher! I wondered how it had gotten in there!"


Don't ask, just chuckle and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My FIRST Interview!!


The sly and devilishly clever Amorous Rocker deemed me worthy of attention, and agreed to interview me. So, she's sent me 5 questions that I'm going to answer for all of you.

If you want to play along, feel free to tell me in comments, and I'll figure out 5 questions to ask you, and you can post them on your blog and link..

Anyway, onto the questions:

1.) If you could get any car in the world for free, with the insurance payments covered for as long as you have the car, what car do you want and why?

I have always loved the time I was able to drive a Porsche Boxter. Since then, I've really compared each and every car I drive to that machine, and so far they've all come up lacking. I guess that answers the question, don't you think?

2.) You mention your wife from time to time on your blog. ;) She seems like quite the character and I don't mean that to be insulting or negative. What are three things about your wife that make you smile?

She's got the best sense of humor. There are times when I'm totally sarcastic and a complete ass, and she GETS that. Don't ask me how, but she's able to deal with me and my 'tudes.

She's a wonderful mother. I've seen how much she cares for my kids, and it nearly chokes me up each time I think about how much more she cares for those kids than their own biological mom does. I can't even begin to love her enough if only just for this one thing alone!

Lastly, she's adventurous. She's willing to run off for a quick escape. She's the one to plan the road-trips. She makes time for the quick getaway. Spontinaiety is something she majors in. Me? I have to have a plan. I have to have rules.. She just balances out my old man attitude with younger emotions and feelings. It rocks!

3.) If you won a million dollars but the catch was that you couldn't spend a dime of it on yourself, what would you do with it?

Easy. I've got a wife and kids to take care of. They're not me! I also have some in-laws that I would kill for, so they'd be guaranteed to get some good tratment. I'd also see about taking over care of my grandmother, who's in a care facility now, since she's unable to do many household chores herself anymore. I really don't like what my uncle's been doing.. Anyway, I'd be sure to go through all of that cash in a couple of years!

4.) Do you ever worry about if you're being a good enough father to your kids?

Of course! I don't really know of a dad that doesn't worry about this at one point or another! I just hope and pray that they'll look back at their childhood and realize that they were happy, loved, and cared for.

5.) What is one thing you would like to change about yourself and why?

I'd love to be able to change my educational background. I never got the chance to finish my college education, and I'd really like at some point to be able to say that I went in there, did what was needed, and took home the paperwork, you know? I'd also like to be able to show my kids that education isn't just words that I'm telling them, it's something I actually believe in and did myself.

Anyway, there's my interview, and I hope you all find this just a little bit more interesting than the drivel I've been scribbling these last couple of weeks.

Have fun!



Normally, I'm not one for really picking on folks....

Wait, wait.. I take that back.

I'm usually the FIRST person to pick on someone about strange things.

However, with this one, I decided to leave well enough alone. So I'm going to blog about it, and snicker under my breath.

The person in question is one of my "upper management" people. This person has repeatedly told me about his education, his skills, his schooling, and why all of this makes him a far better candidate for a higher-paying job than me.

To be honest, I could care. I've got the job I was shooting for, I'm resonably happy, and I don't have to deal with the corporate asshats nearly as often as someone even one step higher on the company ladder.

This person has been nagging me since the end of November for a new monitor.

The problem has been that it's a "fuzzy" picture.

I'd go into the office, and see nothing but a crystal-clear screen. So I wouldn't do anything about this problem.

Lo and behold, last week I noticed something while walking past the "faculty" lounge.

This said manager was using reading glasses to read the paper.

Does anyone else make the connection here?


While using the monitor, this manager refused to use their glasses. Thus, a "fuzzy" screen to read.

Well, I got sneaky. I started a polite conversation, and pulled out my own glasses to read. This opened up a discussion on prescriptions, and I mentally noted what their prescription was for.

Then, dear reader, I went online, and ordered a "privacy screen" that also doubles as a set of reading glasses for this manager.

It arrived yesterday, and I put it over the screen. I got a call about 10 minutes later thanking me for the "new" monitor that I'd replaced the "old" one with.

Yeah. I'm sneaky like that.

But heck, as long as they're smarter than me, I know that my job will forever be safe!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bah, Humbug!

Today, as you can tell, I'm posting.

Yes, this isn't one of my "usual" days for writing. I can give you ONE reason.

I'm at work, I'm on overtime, and the only reason I'm here is for some conference call that just couldn't be rescheduled for a time when I'd NORMALLY be in the office.

So yeah, I'm not really happy about being here, even if I'm getting the pay compensation.

Something about being at your work before you're ready to go back really puts me on edge. I don't know what it is, but I really just wasn't ready to have to be back here yet. In my mind, I've still got ONE full day off coming before I have to deal with this stuff, and yet here I sit, in my control room, machines whining, and I'm taking out my frustrations here by posting about my pissy attitude.

Sorry folks, my Blog, my rules.

I often wonder what it would be like to be that upper corporate office, and make other folks dance to my tune. Would I rub it in their faces, and give the "I said to make it happen, now get to it!" kind of attitude, or would I be more compromising?

I dunno. There are times that the Attilla the Hun type of attitude really appeals to me, and there are other times when I'd much prefer to be a peacekeeper.

I guess it all really depends on who's trying to pick on me as to how I'd prefer to act at any given moment.

Pick on me, reap the whirlwind. Treat me nice, and be treated nice in return.

Isn't that just about true with each and every person?

Friday, January 9, 2009

I didn't forget you all!!

Yeah, I'm late in posting today.

It's been a weird and hectic week for me for some reason.

First, there's the whole thing about getting my little car into the repair shop..

Then, there's the added hassle of learning the quirks of a different car. Namely, a Jeep with an attitude that totally clashes with me.

Add to this the fun of severe snow and rainstorms, with a dash of flooding tossed in just to keep things interesting..

And finally, have some of my corporate bosses show up to audit and do their fiscal year-end inspections, and things get CRAZY.

Yeah. Lots of interesting stuff going on..

At least the rain's stopped for now, and the water levels can drop some. I'm lucky. I live on a hill, so even though I get more snow than others, I don't really have to worry much about flooding.

If my place floods, then I better be looking for the replacement for Noah, because about 70% of the Earth's surface is going to be under!

My folks know that if they need to get out there's a place here for them. (I haven't told my wife that yet, but seeing as she reads this, she will now! Love you honey!)

I have never really seen much hospitality this last Christmas season. Yet when you toss in a flood? Folks tend to open up doors just to help those who used to have shelter keep warm and dry.

Yeah, the Christmas spirit might have been missing on the due date, but it did show up, just fashionably late in my area!

You can always tell the good folks by how they react in stressful and serious situations.

Those that step up and take charge and responsibility are those you know you can rely on to help out in your time of need. They are the ones who might be quiet and reserved, but will give you the shirt off their back if you're in serious need.

I tend to be one of those kind of people. Yeah, I talk and blather about all sorts of things on here. But since this isn't a face-to-face kind of confrontation, and I don't have to look into anyone's eyes, I tend to say what's on my mind with no thought to consequences.

In person? I'll talk and chit-chat. However, I don't really say much about myself, and keep mostly reserved.

How I'm able to do this, I really don't know. I talk and talk and TALK about absolutely NOTHING at all, and can still keep folks interested and engaged, yet reveal nearly nothing about myself, and still keep my caring personality well hidden..

My wife hates it.

It made me very effective as a DJ and Karaoke host, since I could make each and every person feel like they were the star of the show, while I personally couldn't stand about 85% of the stuff that was going on!

Anyway, I'm thankful for this clearing in the weather. The ground and myself can dry out a bit, take a breath, and prepare for the next big one, since this is the time of year for nasty weather.

How about all of you?

Anything you're really looking forward to at the start of this new year?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Anyone got a boat and paddle I can borrow?

Yeah, it's bad out here.

Flooding nearly everywhere you look.

Driving to work today, I got the chance to see some of it in action. There are places where the water is nearly over the Freeway, and there's predictions that by noon, those places will be under water.

If that happens, I could very well be stranded here, and unable to get back home.

The freeway here is the highest point of travel. I could try to go south, and around, but mudslides from all the rain have killed that "alternate" option, and the highway there is closed. I can't go east and around, because there's even MORE flooding that way, and all roads are closed. Every option except the interstate is closed because of flooding going north..

Heck, the only way to get into Seattle right now is by air!

I'm really not looking forward to this.

I'll break out the rubber boots and sandbags, and hope that my GM will let me go home early if it looks like the interstate will close just north of here...

Wish me luck! I think we're going to need it....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Irritability has got NOTHING on me.

Well, my car's in the shop.

Yeah, in case you didn't read here; Thanks to three weeks of nearly endless snow, my carport collapsed on top of my little gas-sipper of a commuter car, and squished it.

Not my best day, I can tell you.

Anyway, while making arrangements to get my car repaired, my wife and I discovered that we'd taken rental car coverage off of our policy for some reason!

Yup. No rental car for me to fall back on in order to get to work.

There's a silver lining to this, though.

My sister-in-law hurt her knee this last week, and is unable to drive. Because of this, I'm borrowing her car in order to get to work.

Her car? A Jeep. Soft Top. Really. Loud. On. The. Freeway.

Yeah. Not the best car to be driving around on the freeway, but I've gotta get to work somehow, right?

Well, yesterday wasn't too bad. The weather here has warmed up some, and the ice and snow aren't an issue.

However, this is the Pacific Northwest, and like everyone knows, it's raining.

There are two major problems I've got with the car I'm stuck with for now.

One: The windshield of a Jeep is designed for basic off-road work. Thus, it's quite flexible. Because of this flexability, the wiper blades at times don't make contact with the glass. This isn't good, because when it's raining the wipers are unable to clear the water off the glass, making vision even more blurry. I have to maintain a speed of no greater than 55 MPH in order to keep the wipers in contact with the windshield. Posted speed limit? 70 for cars. 65 for big rigs. Yeah, I get passed by EVERYONE.

Two: The soft top isn't all that stable. Most convertible covers that I've seen have the heavy-duty snaps that are a bitch to fasten and a bitch to take off. Not so with this car. Everything that connects the top for this one is..


Yup. Velcro.

Another reason I can't go above 55 MPH is that if I do, and a good gust of wind comes along, 2/3 of the top just come unfastened and start flapping about. This wouldn't be TOO bad if the weather were nice.. But no. It's raining here, and I need all of the cover I can get! I had to stop twice this morning to fasten the top back down because of a truck flying past me and causing a big gust to blow across the car.

So yeah. I'm trying to dry out and warm up this morning, and I'm dreading the drive home today.

Maybe I'll try to find some back-roads way home, and just take a scenic trip.

We'll see.

To any of you with experience with Jeeps:

HELP! Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More tales for the New Year

I really, REALLY hate this time of year.

Work gets slow.

And when work gets slow, managers tend to have extra time on their hands..

Restless managers are NOT good. They get into things, they "tinker", and they just get to be a MAJOR pain in my butt.

Let me ask you something..

Just because you don't have something to do, do you go out and start taking parts and pieces off of your car because you think it'll run better?

Do you give the licensed mechanic advice about how to do his job because you read somewhere that doing this one job will save time and money?

What? You don't?

Then explain to me why so many folks assume that since they own a computer and can operate a couple of programs, that they can tell me what needs to be on their computer, what needs to be removed, and how I can effectively "speed up" the networking lines and communication?

Simple fact is that if I were to bring any of these folks into my office, they'd be floored at what was in there, and no clue where to begin.

When it comes to major installations like mine for computer stuff, please let the folks who know what they're doing get their jobs done.

I mean, if you want to get your job done, that's fine..

But please.. PLEASE let me do my job as well, and don't screw around with things you know NOTHING about!

Let me give you this example:

Today I came into work with two computer towers sitting on my workbench. This was news to me, because when I'd left on Friday everything was cleared, and all was good in IT-land. Upon further inspection, I find a Post-It note on the side of one of the machines.

It read: "Removed some unnecessary programs from the desktop, and now it won't work" *manager's initials here*

I sigh, and fire up my workstation computer. After slaving the "dead" tower to my workstation, I go over the programs that were uninstalled before the comp went dead.

Here's a list of the "unnecessary" programs that were removed by this helpful manager:

Microsoft Word.
Microsoft Excel.
Microsoft Office suite 7.9
Outlook Express
Lotus Notes
and finally:
System Comp Manager.

This last was the one to kill it.

The System Comp Manager is the script written by MY network manager for all computers linked to the network. Without this script in place, the network then will delete all company hardware from the machine attempting access to the network, effectively shutting it down.

Was dipweed manager to know this?


All he needed to do was leave the machine alone, and let the computer do the job it was designed for.

All in all, he removed the basis for the paperwork templates he uses for reviews (Word), the templates he uses for production reports (excel), the templte he uses for weekly updates (powerpoint), the email program he uses for inter-office and personal mail (Outlook Express), and the corporate email system (lotus notes).

Let's just say that I came a bit unglued this morning, and I used my best judgement in allowing someone else to talk with this specific manager...

I put a call into my supervisor's office, and sent them the entire details of what happened.

This was about 2 hours ago, and I still haven't seen or heard from him since the call was put out that he was needed for a phone conference in the front office.

I hope he learns his lesson!

More next week on things you really shouldn't do to the office computers!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Looking back: A glimpse of what the Year 2000 has been so far...

I've been thinking about how this new millennia has been, and there have been some seriously funny times, some very serious times, and some sad times..

Amazing how much emotion can be caught up in a memory, isn't it?

These last 9 years have seen the birth of my youngest son, my divorce, my grandpa's death, meeting my wife, getting married, losing my dog, and having to put my grandmother in an elderly retirement community..

And the first decade isn't even over with yet...

However, because of my last post, I'm going to make this one a bit more light-hearted.

Over at Father Muskrat's place, I told him about an incident that he said needed to be told here on my blog.

This story involves one of my good friends, I'll call him Thom, and my brother and I.

Thom had just celebrated his 30th birthday back in 2000. Because of this, we got together and celebrated the only way we knew how back then. We partied. HARD.

The day started out around 2pm after we'd all gotten off work. We met at my house, and piled into my car. Then we proceeded to the liquor store, and blew and insane amount of money on alcohol. After this, we went back to Thom's house, where we called around to see who all was going to make it to his party.

Once we knew how many folks were going to be there, we called up the local tavern where we hung out as "regulars" and made sure to let them know we were coming, and to order food for everyone.

Little did we know that my brother's girlfriend's dad was going to bring along the bikers that he hung out with.

In true biker tradition, once there, the entire group demaded to get Thom his "birthday hacks". This involved a 2' long and 3"thick wooden paddle, and Thom's butt.

Unwilling to let this go without being medicated, Thom insisted that he needed three rounds of drinks before getting the hacks. This was agreed to, and three rounds of drinks were ordered.

Feeling pity, I slipped my shots over to Thom, and he drank them with little more than a blink.

Needless to say, once the third round was over, Thom was feeling NO pain.

So, the group lined up, and broke out the paddle. Thom stood at the front of the bar, and bent over. Each person there then got one hack with the paddle.

I'm telling you the truth, Thom didn't flinch once, and even insisted on a couple of folks to "go again" because he didn't feel anything when they went.

Well, the party went on, and on, and on... Eventually, it got to the point where Thom couldn't even ORDER a drink, much less drink one, so we decided to take him home. I got my brother, and he and I took an arm, and dragged Thom out to my car.

Once in the car, Thom was seat belted in, but he insisted on keeping his feet on the dash, because "If we get into a wreck, I'd rather slam my head into my knees than into your dash and ruin it". So, we drove hom with my brother in the back, and Thom in his "crash position".

Once there, we found that the neighbors had taken up all of the parking spaces at Thom's apartment complex. This led to a massive tirade by Thom, with him then insisting that he needed to "poop" on his neighbor's car. He walked over to a Mazda RX-7, and said "This is his car.. It's a shitty car, and to prove it, I'm going to poop on it."

My brother and I rushed over, and grabbed him by the arms, and pulled him away from the car, and tried to get him turned to get up to his apartment.

This proved to be a bit of a chore, as during the 5 seconds of freedom he'd had he was able to somehow unbuckle and unbutton his pants, which were falling down around his knees.

Since my brother and I had his arms, he wasn't able to reach down to get his waistband of his pants, so he was trying to do the "penguin" walk to keep them from falling completely off.

The next big trick was getting him up his stairs to his apartment. You see, the stairs were only wide enough for two people, and there were THREE of us..

So I stood next to Thom, and he did the duck-walk right next to me. My brother, not willing to be too close, followed a safe distance behind...

At the second step, Thom decided that he needed to pull his pants up. After about 5 minutes, I reached down, and handed him his waistband to hold on to. This was a good fix until one of his neighbors walked out of their room for something, and Thom decided that a friendly "Hey!" and full-on two-handed wave was needed.

Yup. Two hands. Pants back down around the ankles. Female neighbor disappeared. Haven't seen her since that night.. Can't say I really blame her.

Anyway, then another minor scuffle happened to get his waistband back into his control. 10 minutes later, with pants in hand, we waddle his drunk butt up to his room.

By this time, Thom is really starting to feel his booze, and he proceeds to lean against the wall next to his door, telling us that he's "Resting here for a while."

We finally convince him to get into his house, and with some reluctance, he agrees to go get changed.

As we're walking by his computer/office room, we hear some music. Thom's roommate had downloaded some songs onto his computer, and Billy Idol's "White Wedding" was drifting down the hall. Thom asked where the music was coming from. I answered "Billy Idol's on the computer, Thom" to which he replied "Billy Idol's on the computer? Isn't he gonna break it?"

We finally got him into the bedroom, and into bed. He told us he needed his glasses, which were still firmly on his face, so we showed them to him, then walked out to let his roommate know we were headed back to the bar to drive other folks home.

While walking down the stairs, we made a "small" discovery.

During his penguin walk, Thom's wallet and keys had fallen out of his pants, and were laying at the foot of the stairs.

These were gathered up, and taken back to his apartment. When the door opened, a completely drunk Thom greeted us, and was so excited that we'd gotten him a wallet and keys that looked exactly like the ones that he'd lost.

We helped the roommate get the drunk birthday boy back into bed, and then started back for the bar.

My brother's cell phone rings.

It's Thom, still looking for his glasses. My bro reminds Thom to feel his face. Glasses are found, disaster averted.

Just before getting into the bar's parking lot, another call.

It's Thom's roommate. Thom is headed down the stairs because there's a car in the parking area that needs pooped on, and Thom isn't listening to anyone.

We turn around, and push some speed limits to try to get the problem stopped before Thom figures out what car to violate.

Pulling into the parking garage, my brother and I see Thom stumbling around the parked cars, looking for the numbered spaces. Luckily, he's got space 115, and Thom had only made it to space 45!

We pull over, and Thom greets us like we've been gone for years instead of minutes.

After catching up, we are able to convince him to head inside.

Big. Mistake.

In order to get Thom to his apartment, we walk past the offending car.

Snarling in righteous fury, Thom declares his need, and drops trou.

Giving up, my brother and I turn our backs, and hear the sounds of defecation as Thom shows his displeasure with neighbors that park in his vehicle spaces.

Beaming with pride, Thom returns, and allows us to take him up to his room.

Because of the actions, my brother and I avoided Thom's place for a couple of weeks.

The next time we visited, Thom had about four new neighbors, as the offending neighbor moved, the flashed girl had moved, and a couple of folks who lived below Thom's apartment had moved as well.

It's nice to know how much of an impact you can make on a small commune just by throwing a kick-ass party!

Happy New Year folks!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's memories....

This time of the year brings back one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with.

As I've stated before in my blog, I was basically raised by my grandmother and grandfather, as my parents both worked, and didn't have the scheduling needed to be able to see me or my brother on a daily basis until I was old enough to watch the two of us myself.

Because of this, I developed a very close relationship with my grandparents. Not only were they willing to dote on me and my brother the way only a grandma or grandpa can, they also taught me how to be a responsible person, and one who was able to function well in today's society.

When I got older, I moved back to the small town, and in the course of time moved into my grandparent's house to help them. My grandpa was well into retirement age, and his health wasn't the best. My grandma was fighting her weight, and couldn't get around to get things done like she used to, and needed the extra hand in keeping the house clean not only for herself, but for my grandpa, too.

Living with them like this opened my eyes to some things that were going on with my mom's side of the family that I really wish I hadn't seen or heard about. I could have gone through life not knowing who was being a complete ass to my grandparents when they thought nobody else was looking, or who was stealing from them while claiming to be helping one of their kids, etc., etc..

I was having a hard time of it myself, really. At that point in my life, I was dealing with a divorce, custody of my three kids, a part-time job with no real possible full-time work on the horizon, and parents who preferred for me to stay away from their house, and be someone else's problem.

Into all of this mess came the light of love and life that were my grandparents. They needed the help, and in exchange for a place to stay and a warm meal, I would help them with the daily chores that needed to be done, and work my part-time job.

This ended up costing me something fierce.

In the winter of 2001, my grandpa's health took a rapid fall. He became more unsure of his surroundings, and everyone he met, including myself and at times my grandma, were strangers. His body was gradually shutting down, and he was doing everything he could to fight it off.

Enter New Year's Eve.

I had to work that night, and there were problems that I couldn't deal with. My grandpa was just returned home from his last trip to the hospital, where he'd dealt with a minor stroke. He was recovering pretty well, and able to get around the house, but he was even more disoriented and confused. I had to work, and there was no way to get someone to cover the night shift I was working, as everyone was planning on playing around that night.

So, in true fasion, I made sure that my grandma and grandpa were good before I left for work. Then, I left them alone at the house so that I could get my "real" work done.

Coming home at 2am means that if there aren't lights on in the house, everything is normal. I mean, who in their right mind would be up when you're supposed to be asleep? Because of this, I went into my small room, and went to sleep.

It wasn't until 6am the next morning that I got the news. My mother walked into my room, and woke me up to help her get some things for my grandma.

While I'd been at work, my grandpa had another stroke, this one combined with a heart attack. He and my grandma were at the hospital, and it didn't look like he was going to be coming home.

I showered, dressed, and grabbed things I knew my grandma would need, and we drove to the hospital.

The man I saw in that bed when I entered the room was not the man I knew. He was small, emanciated, wrinkled, and looked dead. He was not the vibrant, laughing, happy, and confident man I had come to know and love.

Monitors beeped from around his bedside, and my grandma sat next to him, holding his hand, and talking softly to him.

A young doctor came in around 9am, and told my grandma that he wasn't sure why my grandpa was still alive, but that he would never really regain enough strength to return home.

After hearing those words, my grandma waited for the doctor to leave, and she spoke the most touching and heart-wrenching words I've ever heard.

"It's ok. You don't have to stay here for me. I'll be fine. I've got your grandson here to help me."

With those words, something in my grandpa's face lightened, and within 5 minutes he was gone.

I'll never forget him, and as long as I live I'll miss his smile, his laugh, and his love for life.

I miss you grandpa, and I swear this year, as I do every year since you've gone, that I'll try to live like you always wanted me to.