Musical Interlude 11/29/2009 (for a Sunday morning)

Hope everybody had a happy and filling Thanksgiving.  And hope there are enough leftovers, if you aren’t sick of them, to last a few more days.

Been battling a nasty cold which started Thursday evening, shortly after dinner.  My five-year old niece Bea brought it home from school and was kind enough to share, so I’ve been in a Nyquil-induced fugue state since Friday.   Getting better, hopefully will have the worst of it burned out by the time I return to work for the week.

My Musical Interlude for this morning will be more music than video, since there is really nothing to see other than the title and performer.  If I were to choose one song that I could cheerfully die listening to, it probably would be Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”.  That tops my list of time-stops-the-volume-goes-up-and-the-world-goes-away tunes.  As well as the stated version I also have a not-too-shabby rendition by Robin Trower, with Davey Pattison on vocals.

But I think I found an even better version.  Done by Sting.

In Spanish.

Like I said, not much in the way of video.  But tell me if this isn’t a beautiful way to start off a Sunday morning.

Mariposa Libre, by Sting.  Enjoy, and be safe as your holiday weekend winds down.

Thankful

Let’s see… where should I begin?  Probably from the top.

-          I am thankful to be working again, after almost a year of unemployment, at a job that may well provide opportunities and open doors that weren’t present before.

-          I am thankful that my tired old Bonneville has so far been holding up nicely through the 150 mi daily roundtrip commute to work (banging hard on wood as I type this).

-          I am thankful for the sudden and unexpected changes in my life the past few weeks that’s brought me to where I am now and is actually showing sunlight at the end of the tunnel, rather than another train coming.

-          I am thankful that I’m finally able to take care of my family again, and my first paycheck was enough that they can get what they need where they are, and I can take care of my needs here 640 miles away.

And now the people:

-          First and foremost, I’m thankful to Yes Dear for her love and support, and for sticking by me in tough times when I was not the easiest person to live with.  And especially for casting the deciding vote, the only vote that mattered, to make possible my move out here and the opportunity to start a new future for our family.

-          I’m thankful to be blessed with a sweet little grandson (AJ) that I have an opportunity to raise as my own and without all the dysfunction that has affected the rest of the kids.

-          I’m thankful for my daughter PBJ who helps keep the household going as Yes Dear works her brutal night schedule, looks after AJ, helps out with cooking meals, and generally just lightens burdens on everyone in the house.

-          I’m thankful for my eldest daughter, Panda Bear, who has come a long way the past few years and mended a lot of fences with the family.  And I’m thankful that she has blessed us with our first grandson KK, and will soon be blessing us with another grandchild in a few more months.

-          I’m thankful to my niece Stevie and her family, who’s been kind enough to put me up for nothing as I work until I’m able to afford a place of my own.  And to the rest of the family for inviting me over for meals periodically.

-          I’m thankful for my wonderful nephew JJ, and being closer to him so I can exert some positive influence in his life.  And being able to experience the brilliant mind and imagination that he doesn’t get to show very often.

-          I’m thankful for my other nephew Mark, who has gotten very close with me the past few weeks, and seeing him progress from the sad, shy little boy I saw two years ago to the beaming, loving kid I see today.

-          I’m thankful for my own side of the family and friends, and all the love and support they’ve given me.

-          I’m thankful for my new bosses and coworkers, who have already accepted me as part of their small team at work and has given me nothing but encouragement, and allowed me to showcase my professional talents in the workplace.

-          And, finally and most important, I’m thankful to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, who I fail to give enough credit to and should know better, for all the blessings that my family & I have received, and who keeps faith in me, even when I don’t always have enough faith in Them.

God bless and happy Thanksgiving.

Turning points

Before I proceed any further, I’ll at least let you know that I didn’t axe any obnoxious teenagers to death.  Actually, I think I made peace with them.  One of them (the 13-year old) had a screaming blue migraine last night to the point of nearly being in tears and running to the bathroom every five minutes to yak up…nothing.  Having dealt frequently with Yes Dear’s migraines, I sorta looked after him and made sure things were calm and quiet so he could at least get some rest.  Even left a trash can next to him on the love seat with instructions to use if he didn’t think he could make the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Can’t say the “turnabout is fair play” card didn’t cross my mind, but I actually felt sorry for the poor kid.  Besides I think, in the depths of his pain,  he gained an appreciation of being considerate when others are tired and not feeling well all on his own.

Plus my grandmother always told me more flies could be caught with honey than vinegar.  And I believe she was right to this very day.

Now on with the show.

How many of you out there can remember the turning points in your life?  One moment, or maybe several, where some event or decision took place that you know took your life in a radically different direction from where it was previously?  Even if it took you years to recognize the fact that in one moment, or day, or evening, or whatever, things ceased being the same and the person you were turned into the person you are now, or at least opened the door for your life to change?

I remember the summer after Yes Dear had left California for Arkansas and I was living in the Bay Area, trying to see if I could move on with my life without her and the kids.

(Perhaps I should blog more on this later for clarity, but in a nutshell we had put our relationship on an indefinite hold to see if we really wanted to be together.  Plus her move was forced by her parents, and I was in no position, either financially or emotionally, to follow her at that point in my life.)

I had my own place at that point (quite an accomplishment for me after living with my parents past the age of twenty-five) and a pretty good job, a nice shiny almost-new car, and all the freedom I cared for.  Some well-meaning friends kept trying to set me up with other women, but I didn’t bite.  I just I couldn’t move on, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be up to staying with her and the kids on a permanent basis.  Yet my best friends kept telling me I needed to move on, to quit rowing against the waters of the past, to find someone else in my life.

But I couldn’t.

We had been writing back and forth, and she told me of some issues that were going on out there with her and the kids.  She had thought she’d found someone else to be with, but that had apparently gone down screaming in explosions and flames.  Apparently this person took everything she had to offer and ran off to greener pastures, leaving her and the kids an emotional mess.

Unable to stand being away any longer, I bought a redeye plane ticket to Arkansas and literally escaped town in the middle of the night, without telling anyone at all where I was going.  Not my closest bestest friends, not my family, not my boss, not my coworkers.  The one friend that dropped me off at the airport I told him I was going to see my sister.

Why?  Because I didn’t want to hear it.  I refused to be told I was a fool going on a fool’s mission, that I would never be able to move on if I kept contact with her, what did I hope to accomplish, yada yada yada.

Had the plane crashed, I likely would still have my face on a milk carton.  Literally nobody knew where I went.  That’s how close to the vest I kept it.

Anyway I made it out there and spent a week with her and the kids.  And had a wonderful time, even though we hadn’t totally resolved all our questions about our future, or if there would be one.  But by the time I got back home and no longer had her and the kids around, I knew that I’d never be able to move on.  That my life, for better or worse, belonged in her world.

Okay, now cue “Midnight Train to Georgia”.  Just change the words to “Midnight Plane to Arkansas”.

The deal sealer?  We were at her parents, watching “Star Trek: Generations” on the VCR, which had just come out on video.

Not the best movie of the genre, but one I’ll always hold close to the heart.  Because of the story of the Nexus.  Where you could be sucked in and experience joy for all eternity.  And Captain Picard’s dilemma, where he could stay in the nexus and be with the family he never had, or return to the Enterprise and make a difference.

Making a difference.  That one line stuck with me that evening, and has ever since.

By the end of the movie, I was almost in tears.  Because I knew where I was wanted.  And where I was needed.

And when I got back home, I made my decision.

That one evening, watching the movie with Yes Dear (before she officially became Yes Dear), counts as the major turning point in my life.  Even though we have navigated many storms together since, there has been almost as much heartbreak and pain as there has been joy, and life has taken some truly unexpected directions since, I can say without hesitation that I have never been the same since, and never want to be.

Care to share your turning point?

UPDATE 5/10/10:   Submitted this post for San Diego Momma’s PROMPTuesday.  Thought it’d be more than appropriate.

Thank God…

…it’s Friday.

Didn’t know when I’d say that again.

I’m enjoying my job, but the commute is a killer (75 mi each way).  Sure I’ve said that before.  And was almost late the other morning when an accident bottlenecked traffic to where it took 45 minutes to go just 8 miles.

But there is one nice thing about the commute, particularly on the way home.  It’s one of the few times that I have time alone to myself, where things are quiet and I can unwind and muse about things in my head undisturbed.

All while going 70mph down Interstate 40.

Can’t wait till I get my own place.  But it will be at least a month before I can.

Until then, I live in a house with eleven people.  Four adults (myself included), four boys (from 16 to 1 1/2), two girls (15 and 5), a Great Dane, two dachshunds, and a cat.

And whatever friends they decide to invite over.

My car would be a great refuge, if I didn’t have to ration gas so I could make it to work.

Any sort of privacy and quiet time is at a premium here.

Last night I took advantage of everyone going to bed to go shave and shower.  I deliberately try to time this during off-peak hours so I don’t get in the way of the adults or kids’ shower and bath schedule.

Halfway through shaving, I hear a banging on the door.

“WHAT?” I snarl.

(Normally I’m a little more patient.   But I knew who it was, and I consider it to be the height of rudeness to disturb someone in the bathroom when the door is locked, unless the house is on fire.  No exceptions.)

It was Teen Nephew.  “Dave, how much longer are you going to be in there?”

“Till I’m damn good and ready to come out!”

“But those hot dogs we had for dinner aren’t getting along with me!”

“Then go use your sister’s bathroom.  No way in hell I’m letting you in here to stink up this one when I’m about to take a shower.”

“But their bedroom door is closed!”

“Too bad.  You’re not coming in here.”

He sat outside the bathroom, making groans of intestinal distress, then eventually slinked away.  Guess he got into the other bathroom, because I heard no more from him.

Don’t bug me while I’m in the bathroom, dammit.

This is a sampling of what I have to deal with.

And tonight is worse than usual.  I’ve literally had to barricade myself in a bedroom just to talk to Yes Dear and blog with some semblance of privacy.

But I’ll just have to deal with it the best I can.  Because staying at SIL’s is not an option (no matter how much JJ begs me).  Between the chaos and the cats, I’d just be going from a frying pan straight into a fire.

Plus my feet hurt like hell from work.  Guess it’s my eleven months of unemployment catching up with me.

Good news?  My laptop cord is fixed.  Took it over to my SIL’s, whose husband completely replaced the plug.  So I don’t have to fork out another forty bucks I don’t have to get a new one.  At least not right now.

Tomorrow the house should be (mostly) empty, so I’ll take advantage of the lack of people to do my laundry and a few other things.

Meantime, TGIF everybody.

 

 

Inspiration

If you think that things are hard for you, check out this video of an interview with someone who refuses to let his disabilities control him and instead enjoys life to it’s fullest.

The subject of this video also happens to be a close personal friend of Yes Dear & I.

(Note: if you feel moved to comment on the newsite, please don’t link back here.  Like to keep this blog as private as possible from close friends & family.)

Short break, will be back with ya

Back in Arkansas now, will be starting the new job Monday.

Probably won’t hear much from me until latter part of the week or so, mainly because of work, but also because I need a new laptop cord.  It’s been going bad for a while now, but a week ago Stevie’s dog (Great Dane) went running across the living room and ripped it out of the wall.  Last night when I plugged it in the plug started shooting sparks.  So no laptop of mine until I get my last unemployment check Wednesday and can afford to find a cheap computer place around here that may have secondhand Dell laptop power cords.  May ask my SIL’s hubby where to look, if anybody would know of such a place he would.

Also will try to pay JJ a visit sometime today.  He was supposed to be a part of a church presentation but won’t be able to make it due to the fact he ended up in the hospital yesterday with breathing problems.  Don’t know if it’s a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia, have to find out details in person.  Probably not serious, his house is full of hypochondriacs (himself included), but it’ll be a little while before I get out in his direction again, so I at least want to see if he’s doing okay.

And I miss my family, particularly Yes Dear, already.  I had such a good visit when I went home I wish it could always be like that.  Something about absence making the heart grow fonder, I guess.

List of things I forgot to bring: my pillow, blanket, broken glasses (can get frames fixed here), and scriptures.  Bummer, I could really use all of those.  Will either have to wait until my next trip at Christmas or ask to have them UPS’d.

Batteries starting to go in laptop.  Catch ya all later.

Small Miracles

I’ve been in Georgia since Wednesday night, and am presently getting stuff together to take back with me tomorrow (Sat), since I have to report to work in Little Rock on Monday.

And I can’t tell you how positive I’m feeling right now.

Contrast that with just a month ago, when the darkness was trying mightily to overtake me and I was slipping into a who-gives-a-crap mindset, not to mention my marriage was showing the strain from ten months of unemployment and no prospects immediately in sight.

And in just a few short weeks, it seems everything changed.  And the changes keep coming.  Fast.

And the miracles.  Small ones mainly (the big one was getting the job), but they count for much.

I came home to a house of joy and peace that hasn’t been experienced for awhile.  Yes Dear seems to have gotten over her initial misgivings and is very positive and supportive of me and my unexpected venture.  We’ve been speaking of a brighter future within our reach. We visited our daughter Panda Bear and her husband yesterday, who seem to be getting their relationship back on track and talked of maybe coming out to live near us once we get established.  And got to visit with our first grandson, whom will be referred to hereafter in this blog as KK (sorry for the alphabet soup of names, but it fits cause it’s  his actual nickname and is convenient).  He will be turning one the first week of December and he’s grown enough to pass for a two year old.

Oops, almost forgot.  Went to court yesterday and the juvenile court is going to send the guardianship papers for AJ back to probate court to be signed and made official.

They gave us a clean bill of health.  We will soon have full guardianship of AJ.

Who, BTW, is growing too.  And becoming more social.  Playful and smiling, and will actually talk to you if prompted.  Of course, a three month old infant’s vocabulary is extremely limited, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.  He even made friends with the ceiling fan while lying on the bed.  Cried when it quit spinning, but started smiling and giggling when we turned it back on.

All these things are small miracles.  Almost insignificant in the normal scheme of things, but they’ve been multiplying lately.  Here’s a few more:

-         My daughter PBJ has a seminary class (very important for LDS youth) before school every morning that I always gave her a ride to.  In my absence the past few weeks (Yes Dear doesn’t get home from work in time to take her) she hasn’t been able to attend and we were seriously afraid she’d have to drop out.  Found out last night that someone from church is willing to swing by in the mornings and take her.

-         Last week Yes Dear was having problems with two of the tires and the battery in her minivan.  There was little I could do 600 miles away, and we had virtually no leftover money to take care of it anyhow, all of it allocated towards rent, already past due bills, and gas in our cars.  Some good friends of ours, who we supported through a family crisis last summer, went out and bought a battery and two tires and had them installed.  When asked how we could repay them they replied, “Pay it forward”.

-         These very same friends have also been taking care of babysitting AJ for us in my absence and when my wife works and PBJ is in school.

-         I’m knocking on wood mightily as I type this, but my tired old Bonneville has been up to the task so far of the brutal mileage being expected out of it (and will be in the near future).  Though I’ve decided next time I come back into town I’m either renting a car or flying.  Not going to push my luck anymore than I absolutely have to with a fifteen year old car with 200K miles on it.

-         When I drove in Wednesday evening it was on a budget that allowed barely enough gas to make it home and a bottle of Pepsi, due to the fact that my unemployment check was delayed because of Veterans Day.  As I drove into Georgia something told me to call my bank.  I did, and found out the check had gone in after all (didn’t expect it till next day, but made it that evening).  Famished and thirsty (other than rest stop water fountains) after driving ten hours, I found a Quiktrip to pull into and topped off my tank, then got myself a huge bottle of Pepsi and an armload of taquito sticks.  Tastiest quick dinner on the road I’ve had in a long time.

-         Had a brief scare this morning when Yes Dear’s check didn’t go into the bank immediately.  That could have been disastrous, because she needed the money to catch up on very late bills and I needed gas to go back to Arkansas.  Yet instead of going into a depressive and ranting state at the unfairness of being thwarted just when things were looking up, I came to a peaceful realization that The Powers That Be did not bring me and my family this far and have so many good things happen only to fall apart over something as stupid as a bank glitch. So I told Yes Dear to let it go for the moment and call a couple hours later to find out what was going on.  Sure enough, her check made the bank by noon.  Seems like there was a small computer glitch all right at the bank, but it was quickly resolved and only delayed her check by a few hours.

-         Tomorrow is Yes Dear & I’s eleventh anniversary.  Being simple folk as we are, we’ll leave AJ in the capable care of his auntie PBJ and take advantage of Applebee’s $20 menu.tonight, since I have to hit the road tomorrow.

I can also contrast all this with the state of things coming back from Houston last February after all my job prospects out there Smafell through.  Though I tried to be as upbeat and positive about things as I could be, I still felt like I was coming home with my tail between my legs.  Though all was far from lost at that point, I felt depressed and like a failure, and it showed to the rest of the family.  And didn’t help things between Yes Dear and I.  Coming home this time though felt more like a victory (albeit a tired, hard won victory).  The moods and attitudes were different, and there was a mutual appreciation that hadn’t been present in a while.

I honestly believe there is a higher purpose to all of this.  That in the long run it will benefit my family and make us stronger.  And, with us on stable ground, we will be in a better position to reach out and help others that may desperately need it.

I thank all those who left comments on my rambling post about changes.  Though my head knew what the correct course should be and normally prevails anyway, sometimes we all could use a reminder not to let our hearts take over so completely that we get our priorities screwed up.  That is the primary sin of much of Yes Dear’s family, and one we have to guard ourselves against.

But it does feel good to soon be a contributing member of society again.

Homage

Remember my posts about my friend Doug here and here?

I was pleased to find out someone else paid tribute to him.

Discovered an old friend on FB who also was a close friend of Doug’s, even longer than I had been.  We talked for a while and I got a few more details about Doug and the last few years before his death.  Though many of his issues persisted and his health slowly failed, it seems that he was able to find a little measure of peace before his passing. And my friend was kind enough to post a website in memory of Doug here.

And after looking it over and seeing his photo, I had to leave the room because my damn allergies started acting up.

I too miss my friend Doug.  Because he was one of the very few people who could see my dilemmas, understand them fully, and be able to reach in and add his own unique perspective that would often be exactly the right thing I would need to hear at the time.  Even if I didn’t want to.

I could sure use it now.  Because he would understand it perfectly.

Because he has before.

And I can’t tell you how glad I am that someone else remembered him too.

UPDATE 7/20/10: Submitted this post for San Diego Momma’s PROMPTuesday #115.