Archive for the 'Family' Category

Broken Home

It’s what’s for dinner.

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Choice

I still wear my wedding ring. It’s a simple thing that I like. It also means something to me still. I was embarrassed about it for awhile, but now  I’m not. It really means a lot. Even if I end up dating again – not sure whether or not this will happen – I’ll just have to explain that it’s an emblem of the past and a high water mark that I take into the future. It represents the best that life has to offer.

I like my hows, it make me feel dummer tho.

If you ever get a fixer-upper, prepare yourself for constant beatings about the ego.

We bought a fairly nice little house, built in the early 60’s.  As they say in the biz, it has some great bones, but needs some interior work to get it up to speed.  We got our loan approved and were moved in within two months, and it’s been great, more or less.  I do wish I had considered the occasional whiff of paper mill that we get when it’s humid – there is an International Paper plant just a couple or three miles away, which I really didn’t think would be a factor (note to future home buyers: don’t assume that environmental conditions apply year round) – but other than that slight aesthetic problem, it’s been a good deal, and it’s great to have some room to stretch your arms in a bigger home.

I’ve always been somewhat afraid of growing up, because I knew that once I started acknowledging my adulthood, I’d have to start doing SCARY CRAP.  I mean, it might not seem like much, but painting is a real fun time for an over-achieving perfectionist with no painting skill to speak of.  I’ve gotten better at it as I go, but on the whole I just wish I could afford to have someone else do it.  On the other hand, I hate giving away money when I could do the work myself.  I’m not that busy.  So, more than likely we’d be doing this stuff whether we had to or not…but it’s nice to have the option.

We are at some point going to have to start looking at re-doing the flooring in the kitchen and the dining room.  Now, I doubt it’s rocket science but it is one of those things, like all house improvement stuff where overall precision and muscle memory really are a big deal when it comes to getting the job done in a way that is satisfying.  I guess I need to get some extra tile (or whatever) and just practice cutting that crap up for awhile, because flooring is one of those things that if it’s not done exactly right, it’s exactly wrong.

Anyway, once you get a house, you can count on having a lifetime of stuff to do, unless it’s built to your exact specifications, and you have a groundskeeper, butler, and handyman.  But hey, if you have one of those, what are you doing reading this blog? Shouldn’t you be out taking over corporations or picking out gold-plated toilet seats or shooting a prostitute or something?

Deliver us from materialism.

So, we take stock of our little lives and find new jobs for both of us, a new TV on the way, a new car, a new house, new wife better appreciation for same wife (didn’t say old, and never will, because WE ARE NOT OLD AND WE DON”T HAVE TO DYE OUR HAIR TO PROVE IT, YEAAAAARRRGHHHH).  I am also back in school now, and I’m a freshly minted MCSA – this is a big deal to me, because I wondered if I could make it happen, and lo, I did.

Things are clearly looking up, yes.

But not so fast, sister, for now I begin to see the trap before us.  We never did have a lot of things to count and name as ours before now: I had my obsession with computers and (less so) with guitars.  My dearest has her curiosities with crafts, dancing gear, and of course cat-killing.  We won’t observe that here.  Nevertheless, even though we have been able through sheer will to keep up with our hobbies in the midst of what was probably pretty serious poverty, now that we are paddling out of the mire, the temptation is strong to just go crazy and try to suddenly catch up to where I may perceive we should be, when all my life I’ve said to myself that life is not a competition, and in the end, all you have is your free time with the people you love, and anything more than that is just a distraction.

Yes.  But the distraction never goes away, and in this culture we have of acquisition and market-tested obsolescence, well, it’s hard not to be tempted by the collecting of things, especially when all the people we work for are comfortably ahead of the game, and specifically the folks I work for (a close-knit multigenerational family business) are simply not even the slightest bit aware of what it might be like to have a life such as we have had these past several years.  Not to say they have never been hard-up, because I’m still relatively unaware of their various histories, but at least for a pretty long time now, they have had their five TVs and their 50 thousand dollar SUVs, their great magazine-spread-worthy manses and all the styling and trappings of success as we proclaim it; on the other hand, we have had just our modest little slowly improving lives.  And it isn’t hard for me to grasp that the tiny strides we have thus far made REALLY OUGHT TO BE good enough for anyone because they were so hard-won, so surprising in their sudden onset, and so utterly perfectly timed that it’s hard not to feel charmed, at least that is until we begin to compare where we are now to where we COULD HAVE BEEN, IF ONLY X HAD HAPPENED.

If only I were more of a man, right?  If only I hadn’t gotten sick when I was a young man.  If only I had just grown up a little quicker before then.  If only I had finished college, when I had all the time in the world.  Well, when I had all the time in the world, I had no time for college, apparently, and there’s not much I can do about the dregs of my mistaken actions;  I have been beating myself up for my small sins and my great bad luck for many years and it’s time to let it go now, but it might not be the worst idea I ever had to remember how we got to where we are now, and how we can use it to keep us here in this more comfortable place, because even though I’m still stressing over the minutiae, and even though I have a lot of work to do before I can really say that I’ve put it all behind us, I can see a place somewhere not too far off from here where I can finally feel like I’ve got nothing to regret and everything for which to be grateful and there is where I want to be before I do get too old to make it happen.

And that, my sweethearts, is why I fear my age; it’s taken me too long to sleepwalk my way to realizing that I won’t be around forever.

I had some lame idea to make a post about how inadequate I am but I freaking gave up.

Sometimes in life there is a confluence of events so powerful that to write about them is to mock them, so I will not bother trying to lift myself up past the limits of my abilities as a writer and will just say this: a lot of crap has been going on lately and this is why I have been one of those lame people who used to have a blog.  The last few weeks has been the most critical period of my career, of my family life, of my financial life, of my educational life, etc.  Critical is a good word for it, but pressure is a good word for the net effect things have had on our life as a family.

Just a few minutes ago Jeannie and I were bickering and my son Xay looked over at me and said “you know I’m just not even going to bother talking to you right now, you guys are just stressing out again!”  Bemusement was all, because he was pretty well spot on about the situation: we were freaking out a bit and it just wasn’t worth the trouble for him of trying to get past it.

There need to be more hours in the day.

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

Oh Thoreau, you big-hearted hippie.

Just thought I would give a quick update: I did indeed finally pass that certification test I had been studying for all this time.  I am now officially an MCSA for Server 2003, with a clear path to either MCSE ot MCITP, if not both.  Just by itself, it’s a great level to have reached, because it acknowledges that I have gone through a bunch of trouble in taking all these exams, and that I was smart enough to have passed them.  Not that they are particularly brutal, but it’s tough when you’re over the age of 30 and you have kids and a wife and hobbies and all this other stuff going on.

So anyway, I got that taken care of.

We got our first house too!  This really deserves its own post, but I just don’t have the time for it, but anyway, for those who care, you already know how big a deal it is for our family.  Jeannie, my wife, figured we’d never get out of apartment living.  My whole attitude was that maybe some people never have a need to own a home, and maybe we’re those people.  But then I got back into music, and the kids started growing up fast, and this little townhome just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  So we got into the notion of buying a home, and three months later, it happened.  It is a modest house, but a nice one, and I think within two years or so will be really well set up.

There’s a lot more to tell, like the fact that I landed a job out of nowhere which has sorta made all this more easy to deal with, but maybe that’ll have to wait.  It was pretty bad-ass though, let me assure you.

Happy things only.

My two year old son Corwin figured out what rhyming is last night.  He asked me for some cheese out of the fridge.  I picked up some, held it out and said “Now, what do we say?”

He said “Cheese, please……hahahAHAHAHAHAHAH!  Cheese please, cheese please! PLEASE! CHEESE!”

It was very funny even though it was almost 1 a.m. (he refuses to sleep some nights), especially since I remember how hard it was to get my older son to see the significance of things like that. (And if you’ve never done it, explaining exactly why a rhyme is clever is one of those very difficult first-principles type of things, the examination of which pretty much ruins the experience, like explaining a joke or a piece of art.) They are very different people.


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Currently Reading:

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame - Charles Bukowski

Currently Listening:

Mr. Bungle - California

Why, yes, I am cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.

You lika de juice????