Googly Bear's Journal
20 most recent posts

Date:2003-03-18 16:03
Subject:Memorial for a dead church

It was one year ago today that my church burnt to the ground. We lost some of the flock, who didn't like worshipping in a gymnasium.

Good riddance, as far as I am concerned.

We have had new families join the church, and now we have more than before. They abviously see the faith that we have, albeit in a gym.

God is good.

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Date:2003-02-17 23:16
Subject:Do dogs get sick?

If they do, this household is as sick as one. Wife is the worst. Sore throat; head ache; body aches; stomach ache. I have the heavy head congestion and runny nose. Kids have sniffles. Bleecchhh. That is a word right out of Mad Magazine.

I used to love Mad. I bought a whole bunch of old ones when I was a kid, and I read them over and over. Loved Spy vs. Spy. And the fold-in thing on the back cover, where there was a picture, and then when you folded it you got a different picture.

Wow. That was a tangent.

Work let another person go today. A huge shocker to people that worked with her. I think they fire people now just to keep the rest of us guessing.

I am seriously considering grad school again. I'll need to take a few classes at the jr. college first. I have my Bachelor's degree, but the MBA program requires a few classes I never had to take: statistics and some other class I can't think of with my foggy brain. Calculus, I think. If I start in the fall, and take 1-2 classes a quarter, I'll be done before I am 40. :-) I am getting so flippin' old.

I need to go to bed. My brain is trying to pound its way outta my head.

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Date:2003-02-13 08:37
Subject:Osama and Saddam are laughing right now...

Food? Check. Duct Tape? Check. Plastic? Check.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

KIDRON, Ohio — America's terror alert has some people buying wood stoves, drums to collect rainwater, duct tape and plastic sheeting -- just in case.

At Lehman's Hardware and Appliances, which specializes in non-electric household products and serves a large Amish community, sales are up among the non-Amish, much as they were during the Y2K scare and again after Sept. 11.

"Whenever something like this happens, we get a lot of phone calls," said Glenda Lehman Ervin, whose father opened the store in 1955. "We get a lot of questions, like, 'Do you have a wood stove that will cook and heat my house?' or, 'How hard is it to dig a well?'"

On Friday, the government raised the nation's terror alert from yellow to orange, the second-highest level, because of intelligence information indicating that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the United States.

Federal officials have recommended that Americans take basic disaster-preparation steps such as maintaining a three-day stockpile of food and water. They also recommend obtaining duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal a house in a chemical or biological attack.

The public's fears about terrorism have gone up sharply since the beginning of the year, according to a CBS-New York Times poll released Wednesday.

Thirty-five percent of the 476 adults surveyed said they think a terrorist attack is very likely, more than double the 14 percent who thought so at the beginning of the year. Eight in 10 said an attack is at least somewhat likely, compared with six in 10 who felt that way at the start of the year. The poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, has an error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Around the country, many Americans say they do not think there is much they can do to defend themselves from terrorism. But others are taking steps to prepare themselves.

Paul and Melissa Jackson of Tulsa, Okla., bought two 1,000-square-foot rolls of plastic sheeting and 11 rolls of duct tape Tuesday at Home Depot.

The couple said they have also agreed to rendezvous with about 30 family members at their vacation house near Grand Lake northeast of Tulsa if there is an attack. Their families have also secured satellite phones in case communications are disrupted by terrorists.

"These people are crazy," said Melissa Jackson, 29. "You don't know what they're going to do. We don't think anything's going to happen, but it's better to be safe than sorry."

Paul Jackson, 34, said he had spent less than $100 on supplies, "so it's worth the risk if nothing happens."

Jim Ash, 50, of Overland Park, Kan., stopped by a Home Depot to buy a generator cord that he said he would have needed even if the terror alert level had not been raised.

"I don't think we really have that big of a risk around here, but it just doesn't hurt to be prepared," Ash said. "We do make sure that we have enough food on hand, like you would for a storm."

In Seattle, Federal Army & Navy Surplus has seen more sales in the past week of gas masks, which cost $20 to $111, said Jon Anderson. Other popular items have been first-aid kits, emergency supplies for cars, and military-surplus meals.

Lehman's, about 50 miles south of Cleveland, said calls picked up when the terror alert was raised. "Those big 50-gallon drums for rainwater -- we've gotten two calls for them today. I haven't heard that in a year and a half," Ervin said Tuesday.

The store is also stocking up on jumbo jugs of lamp oil.

JoAnn Ekey, 55, drove about 30 miles from her home in Ashland to Lehman's to browse, not to prepare for a terrorist attack. Nevertheless, she said she is thinking about getting ready for an emergency.

"The water supply would be my major concern," Ekey said. "I'll probably buy some bottled water and make sure I have enough canned food around." She also planned to buy batteries for flashlights and radios.

Others are more skeptical.

Jenry Lizardo, 37, of Jersey City, N.J., who was shopping at Borinquen Home Improvement, said he had not taken any precautions. "I don't believe if they do any major violence or major attack that's going to do anything," he said.

Fred Ottensmeyer, an employee at Sullivan Hardware in Indianapolis, leaned up against a stack of boxed paint cans and said he is not sure precautions would make a difference. "My wife said it was like getting under a table in case of a nuclear attack," he said.

Byron Yeager, a 47-year-old Indianapolis maintenance worker with a tattoo of a burning cross on his hand, said outside a Lowe's hardware store: "There's a lot more things to be scared of in the city of Indianapolis than terrorists. If you walk around the corner and somebody clubs you over the head, duct tape's not going to protect you."

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Date:2003-02-11 10:01
Subject:A Survey

I found this survey on a young person's site, and since it was a bit different than those I have seen, I decided to give it a whirl:

I see: the screen before me
I need: more sleep
I find: 24 hours is just not enough each day
I want: DSL at home
I have: a dial-up account
I wish: for peace to inner turmoil
I love: my family
I hate: arrogance
I miss: Twin Peaks
I fear: big spiders
I feel: distracted
I hear: a drama queen complaining about her life
I smell: Eternity, for men
I crave: deep dish pizza
I search: for a focus
I wonder: what heaven is like
I regret: some bad choices

When was the last time you
Smiled?: last night
Laughed?: last night
Cried?: several weeks - not sure
Bought something?: a bottle of pop yesterday
Danced?: heh - last night, in the kitchen. my poor rendition of irish step.
Were sarcastic?: i never stop being sarcastic
Kissed someone?: this morning - my wife and my 2 kids
Talked to an ex?: many years
Watched your favorite movie?: a few months
Had a nightmare?: last week - yikes.

A Last time for everything
Last book you read: Wild at Heart
Last movie you saw: The Ring (in competition to become a fave)
Last song you heard: You are Holy, by Nicole Nordiman (i think)
Last thing you had to drink: coffee
Last time you showered: this morning
Last thing you ate: cereal

Do You
Smoke?: no
Do drugs?: no (i'd like to sometimes)
Have sex?: not often enough
Sleep with stuffed animals?: no
Live in the moment?: always
Have a boyfriend/girlfriend?: wife
Have a dream that keeps coming back?: not since i was a kid
Play an instrument?: nope
Believe there is life on other planets?: no little green men; maybe some cellular activity
Remember your first love?: yep - married her
Still love him/her?: sure do
Read the newspaper?: on sunday - other days, online
Have any gay or lesbian friends?: possibly; none that i am aware of, though; i used to
Believe in miracles?: absolutely
Believe it's possible to remain faithful forever?: yes, but it's work
Consider yourself tolerant of others?: to an extent
Consider love a mistake?: never
Like the taste of alcohol?: some
Have a favorite candy?: Twix
Believe in astrology?: nope
Believe in magic?: nope
Pray?: all the time
Go to church?: as often as possible
Have any secrets?: yep
Have any pets: no
Do well in school?: yes - i love school
Go to or plan to go to college?: went to college - planning for grad school.
Have a major?: business management; possible MBA someday
Talk to strangers who instant message you?: if it's not a pre-scripted "want to see my cam?" message - yes
Wear hats?: rarely
Have any piercings?: no
Have any tattoos?: no, but think they are cool
Hate yourself?: no (hate some of the things i do though)
Have an obsession?: i don't think so
Have a secret crush?: no; it's been a long time
Do they know yet?: n/a
Wish on stars?: no
Like your handwriting?: yeah; i write like a nun
Have any bad habits?: yeah; ask my wife
Care about looks?: yeah, a bit
Boy/girlfriend's looks?: not really
Friends and other people?: shamefully - yes, a little
Believe in witches?: yes
Believe in Satan?: totally
Believe in ghosts?: nope

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Date:2003-02-06 13:05
Subject:Well, golly...

It's been a while since I posted, but not because nothing is going on. Things have just been really hectic. I am completely aware of the benefits of journaling, and I am going to try to get back to this.

I finally found someone to go and see a horror movie with me. Since Wife won't go, and the kids are too young, I had to hunt. One of the other adults from the youth ministry team is going to join me tonight. We are going to see "The Ring". The visual of that girl stepping out of the well has haunted me for months, so now I am sure I will be scared out of my mind. That's ok. I like a good jolt.

Maybe more later...

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Date:2003-01-21 12:39

I feel like I should be writing in this journal, but I don't really have a lot to say. Maybe I'll just grab some stuff off the top of my head...

I will not attend the youth group tonight, which is fine by me. I have been feeling like I need a break from it, and I will be with them on Saturday, for a mini-retreat. I have been asked to offer an opening prayer for the retreat, and I need to work on that a bit. I have my topic, and a song to close it, so I am on the way. I'll probably work on it tonight.

After this semester ends, I don't think I am going to lead a student group any more. I have not felt "it" there for some time, and I thin it might be time for me to try something else. I am on other teams and groups at church, but for social things, I need a new outlet. We have a men's group, which I was thinking of investigating. Maybe I'll call the group leader and buy him coffee, and get him to tell me about the group. Either that, or I was going to try to find a small group, that meets every week or every other week. We'll see.

Life is just kinda plugging along at an even pace right now. Nothing big is happening. No trips are planned. I need to paint Son's bedroom, but I'll get tot hat within the next few weeks. That's about it.

Oh, yeah. Tomorrow is my birthday.

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Date:2003-01-19 22:38

Friday I spoke to my manager about my workload. She told me to tell her what I want to have reassigned, and she would take care of it. I enjoy the fact that I am being trusted to tell her what I want to work on, and what I want to pass on. I am thinking long and hard about this, since this is an opportunity to get rid of some crap. I also need to look at the long-term, as I don't want my workload to dry up in a few months, and then appear disposable.

The kids went to grandmas this weekend, so wife and I got some time together. Friday night we watched "Unfaithful", the Richard Gere movie. Pretty good. Saturday we shopped most of the day, went out for dinner, and then came home to watch "Panic Room". Very good movie - I love suspense. Friday and this morning contained ever-elusive private time. Yippee!

This afternoon we went to grandma's to pick up the kids. It's good to have them back, but the break was nice as well.

Time to start thinking about work again, as it happens in the morning.

I just started, finally, to start eating a more healthy diet. I have nailed down my biggest downfall - carbs. So, I am following an 1800 calorie diet and spreading out the food across a more healthy allocation. Moe veggies and fruit, more water, less carbs and less pop. I am using a popular food counting system, but not the "points" one. It is similar to the one with the points, but when you count points, you can get all your points from carbs, if you choose. The one I am using gives me a visual layout of my different food category allocations, and I try to keep it up.

Today I slipped a little, as grandma made me a cake for my upcoming b-day. I only ate a little, and then I only had veggies for dinner, so I think I balanced it well.

Now, what to do with the big hunk of cake she sent home with me.


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Date:2003-01-16 21:03
Subject:Not a surprise to me...

What Slasher Movie Killer Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

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Date:2003-01-16 20:33

Totally cruddy day at work today, but tomorrow I can work from home, so at least I don't have to drive in to "that place." Work is truly a 4-letter word, and a vulgar one at that. Who invented work anyway? God? I think He made us work because of the apple and Adam and Eve and all that stuff. Stupid snake...

Kids are going to grandma's this weekend, so Wife and I are gonna party like wild animals. Yes, like only we know how. We will eat chicken and brown rice and veggies for dinner Friday - we will shop at outlet stores on Saturday, followed by fajitas for dinner, and then we will pick up the kids on Sunday. Sprinkle some "private time" into the mix, and you have one thrilling weekend.

Stop me before I explode.

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Date:2003-01-16 09:11

Today is going to suck, but typically, sucky days go by quickly. I will be in meetings or on conference calls from 11 am straight through to 3 pm. Four flippin' hours in a row. My butt will fall asleep, and I will probably eat my lunch while in one of the meetings. Working through lunch is against my religion, so I guess I need a new religion. Nah. I'll just sin.

Last night, Wife was in one of her more crabby moods. She's almost always crabby, but the level of crabbiness fluctuates. Sometimes there is just a hint of it. Not last night, buddy. She was in full-bloom for a while there. Everything bothered her. I bothered her because I forgot to ask Son's baby-sitter if he ate anything while at her house. And if he emptied his bowels while there. So I called the sitter and asked. Only a snack, and no poo-poo.. Crabbiness continued. She was annoyed with Son because he has unnatural relationships with his toys. By this, I mean: sometimes he takes a toy and holds it right at the tip of his nose and stares at it for a second. He's 3, and he's my son. That should be all the explanation needed. Whatever. I know that Daughter was on the s-list as well, but I can't remember why right now.

Wife took Daughter to dance class, which gave Wife time to work out at the health club in the same building. I think that helped, because she returned in a somewhat better mood. She missed the fun though.

While they were gone, I decided to give Son a bath. We have been waiting for him to move his bowels for two days, and I had a feeling that a warm bath would help. It did, alright. He was sitting in the tub, and he got this serious look on his face. He turned a bit red in the face, and I asked him if he was OK. He said yes, and then I asked him if he had to make poo-poo. He said not. So, I figured I would leave him for a minute. When I came back, he was still just sitting there, so I asked him the question again, and he said no. As the bubbles in the tub drifted. I got a look at his work. Three big turds, drifting at the bottom of the tub. So, I got Son to stand up while I emptied the tub, and plucked the logs out of the water. I rinsed him off, and then the tub, and re-filled the tub with fresh water for a real bath. That one went better.

Well, in two hours, my marathon meeting string will begin. I guess I should go do some real work for a while.

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Date:2003-01-14 23:38
Subject:The Day Called Tooz

As days pass, I seem to be watching the entire world change around me.

At work today, I was pretty much ready to handle the new problems that I found out about while I was driving home last night. The wonders of technology and telecommunications. I can be driving with my son and get paged with text messages telling me how my world is crumbling, and then I can jump on the mobile phone to get the details of my demise.

Anyway, today was not too bad. There are a lot of problems, but gratefully, a lot of other people have the burden of work - my role is still mainly ceremonial. I like it this way.

As my world explodes, my manager might be willing to reassign some of my other work. Yippee.

I went to the youth group meeting tonight, even though I didn't feel like it. I even told a few of the other adults tonight - I am just not "feeling it" any more. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but it's just a lot of little things that just make me feel out of place. I don't know most of the kids anymore. A lot of new kids that don't talk. Our leader is on a leave of absence, and even when he was here, his leadership was on a leave of absence. He seems to be spinning his wheels all the time. He moves 100 miles an hour and never accomplishes anything. I don't get it. He gets pissed at me when I remind him, but he gets paid to do stuff around the parish for the youth group - the rest of us are volunteers, and most of us have jobs in addition. Now he is on leave, and the volunteers are running the program.

Maybe I am just feeling sorry for myself. I have been working harder than ever, traveling more than before, and trying to maintain my family peace and be patient and understanding with Wife and the kids.

This would be a good time for a retreat.

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Date:2003-01-13 23:00
Subject:All I could have hoped for...

So I dreaded going back into the office today. It really wasn't a bad day - until after working hours.
I got a lot done during the day. Cleaned up my desk a bit, got my status reports done... Then I sat in on a call at 4:00 that went really well, and only lasted about 15 minutes. A dream come true.

Then, about 5:00 my pager buzzed. I got word that the big project I have is hitting a snag. A major requirement of the client's is not included in our solution. That means: we go back to the drawing board tomorrow morning. Ugh.

Beyond work, things are ok. Son is still struggling with potty-training, but he is so cute sometimes, that I have to cut him slack. And Daughter is such a good kid, and smart, that I forgive her messiness. She puts nothing away without 999 reminders.

Wife had a really crummy day at work today. Every time she calls her HR group to ask questions or complain (which is not her fault - they are incompetent), they "don't like her tone". I have never heard of an HR dept. with such thin skin. It is their job to handle conflict and resolve it.

That's all the fun to report from my neck of the woods.

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Date:2003-01-12 00:00
Subject:Dread-Eve & Family notes

Back to the office tomorrow. Dread.
The weekend was a pretty good one. Yesterday was mostly spent cleaning around the house, and we went out ofr dinner. Today, after church, we put the rest of the Christmas decorations away. Our house is ordinary now. The lights are still on the shrubs outside, just not plugged in. I'll take them down when it thaws outside.

My trip out of town, combined with the book I am reading, is causing me to look differently at my family, and the way I relate to them. I find myself trying to let my kids be kids. Let Son act wild when he wants to - get down at his level more often - tickling him till he pees.

Daughter is getting more slack from me on her neatness deficit. I am still trying to get her to keep her things tidy, but I am trying not to obsess.

With Wife, I am trying to be more hands-on. :-) I am just trying to show her that I lover her as much as I say I do. Our time alone together is still rare these days, but when we can steal even a few minutes, I try to show her that I still find her attractive, and that I still like to be playful with her.

Even if none of them notice, I'll keep trying.

Time for bed.

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Date:2003-01-10 00:00
Subject:In-Flight Fun Part 2: The Return Trip

3:24 pm PT
Sometimes sequels aren’t as good as the original. This one is pretty good so far. Our movie today is the predictable Sweet Home Alabama. I haven’t seen it before, but it already looks like every other “chick” movie I have seen or heard about.

Snack time has been equally predictable. Instead of turkey and cheese, the sandwich is chicken and cheese. Instead of Fritos – Tostitos (no salsa – grrr). Same little breath thingies. Milano cookies – again. The treat was coffee. The flight attendants billed it as an exclusive blend of Starbucks coffee. They started brewing it before takeoff, so the entire cabin smelled great by the time we were in the air. I am usually not a coffee drinker after 11am, but this time I made an exception. It was worth it. Gosh, my life is exciting.. How can you stand it?

I suppose that I should probably be doing some work now, writing up some notes from the client meeting this morning. However, the client will be billed for my flight time whether I am writing notes, watching Reese Witherspoon or sleeping. I can do them on Monday.

4:05 pm PT / 6:05 pm CT

I know a few people that live in the area I just left, other than clients. One guy I went to high school with lives there, and a few other acquaintances as well. One guy, however is like a brother to me. I have known him for almost 3 years now. I met him during a very rough time in my life. Without going into details, he (B*) helped me to figure out a lot of the reasons for the struggles I was going through, he taught me about healthy relationships, and he led me back to God. He moved away nearly 2 years ago.

We had dinner on Wednesday night when I arrived. We had a great time talking over dinner, and then we hung out for a few more hours. We talked about the book I mentioned in my previous entry – he has read it already. And this time, I did a lot of the listening. I am usually the one looking for advice, or a shoulder to cry on. No crying on either side this time, but he told me about some really painful things that happened to him over a year ago. I knew something happened, but just not what it was. During our chat, I found out, and gave him a chance to unload a bit. It was not an emotionally charged discussion, but it was a first. I was on the listening side, and he did the talking. Even though I am a few years older than him, B* has been more of a big brother to me. This time, I slipped into the big brother role for a bit. I have filled that role with a few kids from the youth group in the past, but this was the first time with B*. It’s unfortunate that the person I feel that is my closest friend, other than my wife, lives 2000 miles away. And my wife doesn’t even know he exists. That is a story for another time.

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Date:2003-01-08 00:00
Subject:In-flight Fun

1:00 pm CT
Flying 1,725 miles is one of life’s hidden pleasures. Some of today’s pleasures include:
 Two infants within earshot, one of which didn’t really seem to be enjoying the flight, hence the incessant crying.
 On this flight, since it was a smaller plane, one choice of movie: Simone. Never heard of it. Didn’t care.
 “Snack service”. Yeah. Whatever. Probably birdseed and ½ a can of pop. Yum.
 “The Soundtrack Channel” – number 15 on the headset. I got the pleasure of hearing songs from the following screen gems:
“You’re the one that I want” from Grease
“Far from Over” from Stayin’ Alive
“I had the Time of my Life” from Dirty Dancing and
“Last Dance” from the hottest of 70’s movies, TGIF.
 After those songs, we moved into a bunch of non-English language songs. Click.

The morning, before I left for the airport, was pretty smooth. Wife left for work, and I took the kids to school. I got to sleep a bit later (7:30) since I did not have to go into the office. I did log in to check my mail, though, and had only a few messages to read. I guess it helped that I was working on my mail from 11 pm last night until midnight.

Ooh, snack service is coming, and it looks like we get some kind of food in a cardboard box. I’ll finish this after I find out what kind of taste-delights await me.


Well, what a treat. No birdseed for this high-powered traveler. I got me snack-in-a-box. Mini turkey sandwich, Fritos, 2 Milano cookies and a whole can of pop! Can you believe it? I even got a little pack of those breath freshener things that are like cellophane and melt on your tongue. Everyone got them, so it wasn’t just me. My breath is fine.

And the movie – Simone – is actually turning out to be pretty good. It’s about a director that creates a computer-generated actress, and all the world is trying to get a look at her. It seems a bit tedious at times, but it is watchable. A pleasant surprise.

Only about 3 more hours in the air…

Too Tame

3:45 pm CT

I am reading a book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. I am only partially finished with it, but it has given me a lot of insight into why men today are the way they are, and in effect, why I am the way I am.

Essentially, in the past century, men have become less “wild”. We live in big cities, instead of on prairies. We work in offices, instead of on farms or ranches. We also spend less time with our dads. Dad is, many times, working long hours, and time spent with sons is fleeting, and does not include the passing on of any real “manly” things. I am really oversimplifying the book here, so let me just say that it has brought me to tears more than once, and it feels like I am looking in a mirror.

My dad could be categorized as a tough guy, I guess. Was in the Marines, a bunch of tattoos, drinker, smoker, wood-worker, electrician. When I was growing up, I have very few good memories of my dad and me. He would come home drunk many nights. Every Friday, he would come home from work, clean up, and go out, by himself. He’d leave my sister and I at home with my mom. Then, he’d come stumbling, or crawling in, in the wee hours of the morning. This happened every single week. My mom was obviously a total enabler during those years, as she let him do this. Once in a while, my dad and I did things together. Once, he took me fishing in Iowa for a few days. We slept in the back of his van, and ate in small diners. I really liked it a lot. One other time, we went fishing in Minnesota, with my uncle and my uncle’s buddy. This trip I don’t remember as well, as maybe I was younger. I am not sure. Other than an occasional home repair project, I didn’t do much with my dad. I guess the good things are kind of fuzzy to me because the bad things happened so much more often. On a lot of my dad’s drunk nights, he’d come home and make us do goofy things, “as a family”. Like, go to the beach at 10 pm. Or wake us up at midnight to eat tacos he brought home. Maybe my mom was afraid of him, or maybe she just wanted to keep the peace. Either way, it didn’t help me to have a dad like this.

I figuredout early on that this was not a good role model for me. I did have an uncle that I adored though. He was actually my mom’s uncle, but I could not have loved him more. He used to park his car in our garage, so I got to see him a lot. He’d always have candy to give us, and he was always happy to see me. I got to spend time with him in the garage, just hanging out. He’d work on his car, which didn’t really need work, just to get out of his house, I think. He and his wife had 2 daughter, so I am sure the hormones were insane there. But he always had time for me. Before he retired, he drove a truck, and I remember the thrill when one afternoon he took me for a ride in it. I got to wear his hat and sit up front with him.

When I was about 12 years old, my uncle suffered a stroke. He became bed-ridden, and he hardly spoke any more. He vaguely remembered us after that, and he deteriorated over time. My aunt took care of him for 10 years. She dies of a massive heart attack one Fall, and he died 2 months later. By the time he died, I had all but forgotten how much he meant to me.

This book is reminding me. It feels like pieces falling into place, for the first time. Maybe once I finish this book, I’ll have a better idea of the roots of a lot of my struggles. We shall see…

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Date:2003-01-07 00:00
Subject:Blow Me off

While very hectic, today was not as nasty as recent days at work. I had a lot of loose ends to tidy up today, since I am leaving for a trip out of town in the morning. (That reminds me, I'll need to order a cab)
Anyway, things progressed pretty well, and the meetings that I did attend were quite productive. I was also able to excuse myself from one time-waster meeting, and I also got my manager to re-assign another project that was headed my way. It is a well-known fact that I am heavy on work these days, so no questions are asked when I request a project be deflected from my desk. Ah, the raw power…

I decided that, even though I am pressed for time, I would still go to the youth group meeting tonight. I wanted to go particularly because one of the college kids (B*) that I am fond of would be there. He's like the little brother I never had. He's smart, funny, and a little on the sarcastic side. A little brother to me, for sure. :-)

Well, I went to the meeting, planning on meeting with him at about 8:00, for a half hour. I got to the meeting about 7:30, to visit with some other people and B* showed up a few minutes later. He did not have a car to drive, so he took a ride with another college alumni. He only stayed for a few minutes, and left with his ride. He said he'd try to see me the next time he comes home from school.

Now, I admit my expectations were high. We actually discussed, a few days ago, our plan to talk a bit tonight. Then, he blows me off, with no warning. I am not sure if I will even tell him how I felt about this, but it did bother me. And still does. I feel that I invested a lot of myself in him over the past few years. We have had some really good conversations, and I feel that I have been able to help him from time to time as he adjusted to being away at college. I am the only adult that he sends IMs to. I am glad that he looks to me for guidance. I guess we have different expectations of each other, and maybe I am just being over-sensitive.

I need to log on to work for a while and then I have to go to bed. United Airlines - here I come.

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Date:2003-01-06 00:00
Subject:Dump on Me

Yeah, so I went back to work today. I was pretty busy all day, and yet things still hit the fan at the end of the day. I had to ask Wife to pick up Son from the sitter's, as I was going to be sucked into a late afternoon meeting, and there was no way I could get both kids in time. I left work late, and still had to dial in to a call, from the car, for another 45 minutes. I work for the devil.
Then when I got home, someone had dumped their old Christmas tree on my lawn. We have an artificial tree. garbage pickup was today, so it would sit out there another week. And, I'll be damned if I am going to pay to get rid of someone else's garbage. We pay by the piece, or bag, or can, for our trash to be hauled away.

So, I called the police.

I felt I should report illegal dumping, which it technically was. The local police told me I needed to call 911 to have a squad dispatched.

So I called 911 on the old tree.

A very nice officer came by, and after a few minutes, he offered to take the tree to the dump, in his truck. I helped him load it up and that was that.

Later, I called the station again and put in a good word for him. My good deed for the day.

Still going out of town this week. Wednesday thru Friday. Blah.

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Date:2003-01-05 00:00
Subject:Sunday, Bloody Sunday

I only call it that because it is the last day before I have to go back to work. Work. A 4-letter word. Bleecchh.
Today was all I could have really hoped for. Wife took Daughter to Sunday school, and went to church during that time. Then, I went to church with Daughter. This way, 75% of the family got to church. Son will begin joining us soon. He's just a little too "busy" to sit through anything yet.

Later in the afternoon, we ran some errands, as a family. It was fun in a normal kind of way. Groceries, mailbox, gas station, Target. Middle-class-suburbia at its finest.

Tonight, we ate yummy carry-out and watched Harry Potter. Now, everyone else is asleep, and I am about to join them.

Here's to dreams of a job I like. Sigh.

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Date:2003-01-04 00:00

Title challenged today. Oh well.
Wife was a bit more relaxed by last night, but Son did not go to sleep until after 11pm, so we did not get to undo the damage from Pillow Talk. Tonight will be better. Even if I have to employ some cold medicine on the little chap. Desperate times...

We had a new refrigerator delivered this morning. It is sick that a major appliance can make me so happy. The ice maker works, and it's got the freezer on top, as opposed to the side-by-side model that was hauled away. I hated that thing. The only thing that I'll miss from the old one is the water dispenser. I'll adapt.

Wife is browsing the mall (danger, Will Robinson) while Daughter is at a birthday party in that area. We will probably have some pizza tonight and chill. Tomorrow is the last day of the Christmas break for the family, and life returns to normal on Monday. Bleecchh. Not looking forward to that. Tuesday I'll have to pack for my trip. Bleecchh-Bleecchh. (That's double-bleecchh)

Son is driving me nuts. If I get some time later, I'll write more about my exciting life.

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Date:2003-01-03 00:00
Subject:Pillow Talk

So, last night, after the kids were finally in bed, Wife and I headed upstairs. As we waited for the kids to be asleep, for sure, we talked a bit. Little did we know, but Wife was about to ask a question that was going to ruin not only last night, but today, and potentially many days ahead.
"Can you tell me one thing that would really make you happy?"

My response: Working at a job that pays what I make now, that I actually enjoy.

Background: We had a bunch of layoffs in our office in December. At the time of the layoffs, I was out of town for work (on a new project), and found out that my boss was one of the 40 or so people that were terminated in our office. Since that time, work has been really bad. Not only is everyone coping with the loss of a lot of good workers and good friends, those left behind have to pick up what was left by them. Our work unit is one of the few that has been pretty busy, yet we still had to lose people. (There are, of course, people that just sit around and surf all day, but that's probably never going to change) Then, right before Christmas, I got another new project, which the client immediately requested on-site meetings for. On-site in their office - 2000 miles away. Their first request was for a meeting on January 3rd - today. A vacation day for me. They settled for next week, though, which still means I have to travel again. Less than one month since my last trip. This may be normal for some people, but in my group, if you travel once a year, that is a lot. Anyway, I have had to work longer hours than anyone else on our team, dial-in to conference calls on my days off and vacation days, and throw my family into a tizzy with the traveling.

Back in the bedroom - with my response hanging in the air, we got into a heated discussion about the way our work lives are these days, and how difficult it is for both if us to juggle work, the kids, our marriage, and all of the other minutia that fills each day. This heated discussion never turned into an argument. It was more a case of me venting a lot of the frustrations that I keep buried inside. Wife usually does the venting, and bottle mine, like a fine wine. Or a time-bomb.

Wife got really upset during this chat, as we discussed our frustrations with Son's special needs for speech and socialization stuff in pre-school. On and on it went. Eventually, we called it a night for the discussion, as we both were talked out. Wife started to doze a bit, and I went down to watch TV and surf the net for a bit, as my mind was still racing.

About 2am, I heard wife come down the stairs, and she had been crying. She said she could not sleep, and had been up worrying for the past 2 hours, about everything we talked about. By this time I had calmed down, and was about ready for bed. We talked a bit more, and I kind of got her to relax a bit, and we did go to sleep.

This morning, Wife was still on the brink of tears at the drop of a hat. I was working on Son's bedroom a bit (preparing to paint), so Wife took the kids to her mom's house for a few hours. When wife got home, she seemed a bit better, yet still has a look of near-panic deep in her eyes. I've seen it before, so I know what it looks like.

Anyway, that is the long version of the past 24 hours. Monday I'll go back to work and be up to my ass in alligators. Wednesday I'll be flying out of town again, only for 3 days this time, not 5, like last time.

So, I update and watch the web for opportunities. They are few and far between these days, but you never know.

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