Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Bank Job

It is coming up on 10 years since I left my job at the bank.  I was 28 and had been there over 5 years.  I still question whether it was the right decision.  I had enjoyed my time at the bank, had lots of friends there and for the most part I was pretty happy.  The one little problem was that I couldn't find my niche. 

Here's a little look inside my head.  I am a numbers guy.  I don't like being a numbers guy.  Do you see a problem there?  I am an introvert.  Most people think introverts are shy or even rude.  We are not.  You see, when in a group of extroverts that are conversing, introverts aren't afraid to speak, we are just too busy analyzing what everyone else is saying.  Another issue that I have is that when someone ask me a question, rather than just answer it, my first thought is "Why are they asking me this?"  I will try to explain it like this:  while most people have 1 hamster wheel in their head, I have 15 vermin running endlessly.  I am good at numbers but my brain wants to be doing other things.

While at the bank, I was very good at what I did but I was bored.  Monotony is my arch-nemesis. My brain craves to be creative. Another issue was at 28, I felt I hadn't taken my shot. Looking back, I had turned down a great opportunity with the bank because I really didn't know what I wanted to do.  I did know that I didn't want to be doing numbers all the time and that was exactly what I was doing.

When the insurance company came calling, I turned them down the first time.  Six months later, they approached me again and lured me away with the promise of big money and a chance to do something different.  Since that time, I have bounced from job to to job, looking for my fit.  I have gained a lot of knowledge over those ten years and these jobs have taken to places I had never been:  New Haven, Sanibel Island, Sedona, Las Vegas and Chicago, just to name a few.  Knowledge and sight seeing are great but not fulfilling.

I recently started with a new company.  The odd thing is that it reminds me a lot the bank.  It has that friendly family feel to it.  Also, it will be 1/3 numbers, 1/3 sales, and 1/3 leadership.  A very good mix for my 15 hamsters wheels.  So, now I feel I have come full circle.  It has taken 10 years.  Did I make the right decision 10 years ago?  The answer is "I don't know." 

I can say that with my family and my faith in balance, it is a great feeling that my career has finally joined them, as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The (Non)Lawnmower

I was married in 1995.  Since then I have had at least ten lawn mowers in that time.  All of which, have failed me except one. And that one, I gave it away when I moved. It was from Sears.  I had bought it after buying a "guarantee first pull start" from Walmart.  One mow with that and it went back to Walmart.  "One pull" my ass.  Any (insert name here) could have been used. Husky, Lawnboy, Yard Machine, Craftsmen...I've had them all.  I feel that there may be some conspiracy by Briggs and Stratton to drive me insane.  Now, to be fair to the manufactures of these pieces of equipment, I am mechanically inept.  With that said, I am smart enough to figure things out. Unfortunately, when it comes to repair, figuring things out normally doesn't do me any good.  I can explain to people what these devil's creations are doing or not doing and I have a good idea of what it should be doing.  My problem, is that with being a guy, other guys expect you to know mechanical jargon.  I'm usually lost two words into their monologue.  So, I opt to try to fix them on my own.

On one occasion, I had the top of a lawn mower off. I was examining why the pull cord wasn't starting the engine.  After looking at it for awhile, I plastic part that holds the cord (whatever it may be called) and kept the top off to see what it wasn't doing.  I pull the cord and the piece comes flying off  like a Frisbee and hits right in the middle of my fore head.  I pick the whole mower up and launched it into the nearest tree.  Did I learn my lesson?  Apparently not.  I spent part of today "working" on my latest mower.  It starts and 4 seconds later shuts off.  I know it has to do with gas flow but beyond that I'm lost. Everything "looks" right. I know if I call someone they will just lose me in no time.  So, I end up pissed off at the world.  Then I came and watch my Louisville Cardinals and they are not playing well.  That always raises my frustrations.  I just want to reach through the screen.  They win.  Phew.  Feeling Better.  My neighbor offers his mower for today.  Okay the yard is done.  It is a much better day than 5 hours ago.  I'm still debating what to do with my current mower.  I think one day, I will do to a lawnmower what Paul Newman did as Earl K. Long in the movie Blaze.  But until that day comes,  I will continue to let them win.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To Hear Them Tell It, I Almost Drowned

To hear them tell it, I almost drowned. (Them, being my family)  But my story is the true account of the events.  Here is the same story told in two very different ways:

Their story--The water was rushing so fast through the ditch.  Some how Carmen (my elder sister of 3 years) grab yours legs as you fell off the bridge.  She yelled for your dad for help as your head bounced around in and out of the rapids.  When your dad arrived we pulled you from your certain watery doom.  Hip hip hooray.  Carmen saved Shane again.  She had saved me once.  You can read about that here:

My much more boring true event story:  I was probably 6 or 7 when this occurred.  There we were, Carmen, Shawn (he's my twin brother), me and our neighbor Caroline (she's the same age as Carmen) standing on the bridge on a warm summer day. (the bridge was actually 2 railroad ties thrown over a 6 foot wide creek. Now Caroline had a pack of Fruit Stripe gum.  You know the kind with a zebra on the pack.  Anyway, We were all chewing a piece.  Then, Caroline says, "whoever wants the last piece has to spit theirs out."  Well, I wanted the last piece.  So I arched my back, then sprung forward and proceed to launch the gum out of my mouth.  The only problem was that I launched myself right off the bridge. (I may have even done a flip, I don't remember it happened to fast) I landed butt side down in about 2 inches of trickling water.  Someone yelled for my dad and he pulled me out.  And that's it.

Through the years, this tale has gotten larger and larger but I can shoot their story down with this one fact.  If you know my mom, then you would also know that there is no way, absolutely none, no chance in hell, that my mom lets me or any of us around that creek if Thunder River was raging through it.    The defense rests!

Occasionally, I will run across Fruit Stripe gum.  It always brings to mind that day.  And I wonder, "How in the world did I launch myself off of that bridge? 

P.S.  I'm still waiting for that last piece of gum             

Friday, March 9, 2012

Home with a Sick Kid

I felt a little bad this morning.  I wasn't sick but my 5 year old was.  However, I ignored her claims and continued to get ready to go to work.  (The jerk store called....)  Anyway, lunch packed, hair gelled, coffee made, hell I even shaved today. I have 15 minutes to get her dressed and on the road. I picked her up and she is on fire.  I go get the thermometer.  I stick in her mouth (wait is this the rectal thermometer) (I'm kidding we don't have one of those) (I don't think) and she is fighting me not wanting to keep it under her tongue so I'm not getting a accurate reading.  The temperature reached 101.2 but I'm guessing it was higher.  So back to her bed she goes.  Now I have time to fill.  I'm looking around and I guess house cleaning will be the winner

Sorry about that.  Just had gagging sounds from the other room.   Why do kids puke on themselves or better yet why do they come and wake you up to tell you "I think I gonna pu bbbllughghh"  So while I'm trying to get her out of bed, I grab the sheet only to get a hot soggy handful.  Yup.  I love being a parent.  I get her to the bathroom and she's complaining that SHE smells like puke. (what about my hand)  I get her stripped and into the tub.  I take her clothes and the aforementioned sheet to the laundry.

Now where was I.  Oh yeah, house cleaning.  I kind of just lost my motivation.  Looks like a couch trip has now been scheduled. I hope you all enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jonah's 10th Birthday: Celebrating a Life That Almost Wasn't

I was driving car pool ten years ago, when I got the call.  I dumped my co-workers out at the eastside Huck's. (a fellow coworker picked them up)  Gretchen's water had broken.  It was our second child but first birth.   We had adopted four years earlier with the knowledge that our chance of conception was very slim to none.  But here we were.  We had made several trial runs as pre-term labor was constant problem.  We dropped Noah of at my brother's house and off to Centralia we went.  Another problem that we always have is that when we need our doctors, they are always out of town. That is just our luck.   Anyway so Gretchen's gyno is out of town.  We get checked in and Gretchen gets dressed in one of St. Mary's finest gowns.   And we wait. And wait. And wait.  I decided to go downstairs and get some lunch.  I ate and then went to the chapel. A place I would visit more than once.  Okay so I go back upstairs.  Still no action but that was about to change.  The nurse says she can give Gretchen something that would speed things up.  Okay go ahead.  She had already had her epidural and they had placed a heart monitor on the baby's head.(yes it was placed there vaginally)   After a short while, the baby's heart rate started to get faster.  I thought it must being getting close.  Nope.  The heart rate was then all over the place.  The nurse was trying different things. They had called for the doctor but she was not to be found. The nurse had her turning this way and that way trying all sorts of things.  Then the nurse, almost in tears says, looks at me and says and I quote, "I don't know what else to do!"  I seem to recall other nurses in the room as well.  Finally the doctor arrives and she wants Gretchen to roll over and get on all four.  The problem was she was numb from the waist down.  So the doctor is yelling  for her to rollover and she's trying and the heart rate number is all over the place and then ........the heart monitor hits and stays at 0.   I'm about to go in to shock.   The heart monitor had slipped off during all of the movement. Then things then calm down.  They get Gretchen on her back again and the heart monitor is placed back to here it reads positive numbers.   During all of this my mom had been in the room the whole time but my dad had went down stairs .  He had missed all of this and had came back just as this was going on.  I shook my head no and he stayed in the hall.  After I give the okay, dad came in wondering what in the hell was going on.  The doctor tells us that our baby was in distress and that we had two choices.  A) since the heart rate was back to normal we could wait and try again to have it naturally or B) we could have an emergency Cesarean.  Gretchen didn't want to take anymore chances, she would do the Cesarean.  She is in tears and I'm still recovering from seeing the big 0, but time moves on.  They prep her for the procedure and I'm told I can come in with her.  They come and get her and I'm apparently invisible.  So I follow behind and they stop me at the surgery doors.  I say "They told me I could come in."  A nurse responds "You will have to wait in there(pointing to a little room to the side) until they come and get you."  Okay, so I'm in my little room and they bring me scrubs to put on and a mask.  I wanted to say "You do know I'm not the doctor."  But I kept my mouth shut.  In St. Mary's they stamp your baby's foot on the wall after their born and put their name above it,  For those baby's that don't make, they place an angel stamp with their name above.  So, I'm sitting in my little room and look out into the hall and freak because the last stamp on the wall leading into surgery was an angel with Jonah above it. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.   Anyway, they come and get me. Now for those of you that have never been in on a C-section, be prepared to see things that you probably won't see anywhere or ever again like.....your wife's intestines sitting on the outside of her body.  I take my seat beside Gretchen and hold her hand.  She is awake and we talk a little.  Then just like that the doctor reaches in and pulls out our baby.  The cord had been wrapped around his shoulder.  They show me it's a boy and take him to the side.  The nightmare was over.
Jonah turned ten today.  What a great ten years.   Fours years after his birth, we would have baby girl, but not before I would get kicked out of the delivery room.  But that story is for a different day.  This day belongs to Jonah.  Happy birthday Jojo.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Living in Blog World

Did you miss me?  I took a little time off.  I did have a Leap Day post but I pulled it after tornadoes ripped through my beloved Southern Illinois.  I had started another post late the other night but I was so tired I couldn't remember what I wanted to say.  My brain has been working overtime with hundreds of ideas but no time to get them down.

We should all live in Blog World.  It's a place where no one fears repercussion about what they say.  Honesty abounds.   We get to tell stories, voice opinions and rant.  Some are fun, some are serious, and some are just strange.  But what I like most about Blog World is that bloggers appreciate other bloggers and they let each other know.  They give each other awards and promote one another's pages.  Something that the real world just won't do.  For example,  how many of your friends have a talent, such as, quilting, auto detailing, singing, writing, handy-manning or baking.  And how often do you recommend their services. ...............Yeah, I know.  We are all guilty of it.  Are we afraid of their success?  Are we jealous?  Are we apathetic?  Yes, all of the above.  Another example:  we all have friends that have business.  Do you shop there or use their services or do you prefer to save a couple of bucks and go to Walmart?  Feeling guilty yet?  I know we all do it.  But the thing is, we can always change that.  Final example:  Everyone wants to buy American made goods but what effort do we make to get that accomplished.  We look to our government to create jobs but we ourselves won't take initiative to help stir local jobs by buying products made here. 

That is why I love Blog World.  We look to help each other out and I get to promote my non-blogging friends' talents as well.  In the end, we are all here together.  Let's help each other out.