A New Year’s Toast

A Toast

to the parents struggling to care for their family. May they provide sustenance and love for the children

to the first responder running towards danger when others run from it. May you always stay safe

to the soldier thousands of miles from those that love them. May your mission be righteous and your body unscathed

to the health care workers who give more to others more than they give to themselves. May their selflessness be recognized and appreciated

to the bullied child. May your struggles be recognized before it’s too late

to the bully. May you see the error of your ways

to the ill. May you experience recovery

to the grieving. May you experience closure and peace

to the hungry. May your plate always be full

to our leaders. May they do what is right, not what is profitable or electable

to the disenfranchised, the angry and the frustrated. May you find an outlet and peace in your heart

to the practitioners of hate and division. May you become part of the solution, not part of the problem

to those that chose the path of honesty and integrity. May you never second-guess that choice

to those who are glued to screens. May you look away and see the beauty all around you

to those fighting a hard battle. May the people you meet treat you with kindness and respect.

Here’s to a better you. A better us. A better world. It’s up to us to make it a good year.

Here’s to you.

 

Inventory

I was reminded today of one of my favorite expressions.

“Happiness is not having what you want. it’s wanting what you have.”

And in a very close second comes the Stones with

“You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”

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2 years ago I would have measured my success as a man by how much stuff I had. It was the life I was living. I lived in a nice neighborhood with neat lawns and beautiful cars in driveways. I had the Jones’s on both sides of me and I was trying frantically to keep up with them. I couldn’t. My illness was increasing, my income was dropping and trying to keep up was literally, and I never use that word, killing me. When I lost my job the bottom fell out and we knew that moving and breaking up the family was imminent. I was livid, disgusted with myself, mad at the prospect of not seeing the kids every day and feeling like a complete failure. I was also relieved to be out from under the crushing weight of the lifestyle I was living.

Fast forward 2 years and what do I have? If measured in possessions…not much. I own as much stuff that would fit in a ’13 Honda Civic. If you were to measure my heart. I have everything.

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Once I realized my career was virtually over, my dreams of a beach house were gone, my marriage was beyond repair and my health was in serious trouble I had to assess what I did have. It took some serious soul searching but I found that I was a wealthy man in assets that money cannot buy.

I don’t have everything I want. By the old standards. But I really want what I now have.

I have become a totally honest person, in particular with myself. I know who and what I am and no longer have a job pushing the boundaries of my ethics on a daily basis. I am comfortable in my skin for the first time.

I have a wonderful relationship with my children. The distance has created the need for quality time, and conversations were had and growth was achieved. I found that they respect me and understand the situation. They just want what is best for me.

My mind is clear and sharp. I’m reading the books I’ve always wanted to, I’m writing on a daily basis, reading some great bloggers and thinking on a level previously unachieved. In addition, I feel inspired.

I have renewed my relationship with my mother. We were very close until my wife put a wedge between us. We are like best friends again. Not to mention how much she is helping me right now.

I have optimism for the future. There are still so many things that I want to do, and if I set reasonable expectations and listen to my body I may be able to do them.

By having some “me time”, forced or otherwise, I realize that for the first time I like myself. If it’s possible to not say that in a self-serving way that is.

 

This year-end I want to end on a high note, with momentum and heading in the right direction. Unlike many other years in which I was down, defeated and counting on a new calendar to give me a better life. It just doesn’t work that way, I have to make it happen.

 

 

Happier New Year

I am really looking forward to seeing 2017 limp out the door Sunday night at midnight. I hope that it was a wonderful year for anyone that sees this, but for me, it is one to be forgotten. I won’t dwell on the bad stuff if you are a reader of this blog, you already know what I have been dealing with. I am encouraged that, after self-evaluation, I am still able to look to the future as an opportunity for better things and new opportunities.

My son last night told me he is glad that I am optimistic after this last year. I explained to him that I had, in fact, lost it for a while but now have it back. I explained a boxing analogy to him.  A good fighter can take a good shot to the chin, shake it off and come back swinging. For years I was able to do that. This year, this fighter took a devastating series of blows that I couldn’t shake off. I fell to the mat and was down for the count. But I’m back now and I want a rematch. As I tear a page from my daily planner, underneath is a fresh day.

One thing I am very happy about in 2017 is this blog. I have always dabbled in writing but never had the time to commit to a blog. Now, for better or for worse, I have nothing but time. I have committed to working on this blog every day. It has done wonders in helping me to exorcise my demons, to express myself, and to unburden myself of the excessive emotional weight of the events of my life. And I am so happy to have readers.

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I have almost 40 followers. A paltry amount to many but a big deal to me. As an aspiring writer with a story to tell, you give me the motivation to continue to write, to explore my boundaries, to share my story and in the process, free my soul.

I follow so many of you, I enjoy your posts and admirable writing styles. You give me feedback, hope, and encouragement and you have become a part of my life.

I hope all of you have a wonderful New Years Eve and a fantastic 2018 full of pushing forward towards your dreams.

My car has a big windshield and a small rear-view mirror because what is behind me is not nearly as important as what is ahead.

Dad would love this

“Your father would love this,” my mother remarked as she nodded to the craziness occurring in the dining room. I nodded in agreement. We were cleaning dishes and listening to my oldest son, youngest daughter and her best friend abuse each other. It was a perfect night. Cold, windy and snow-covered outside; music playing, wood-stove burning hot and laughter galore inside. The house smelled great and our bellies were full. My Taco Tuesday feast (a day late) of Tacos, Quesadillas, homemade Spanish Rice, and Guacamole was a hit.

Mom was right, Dad would have enjoyed seeing this. He worked his whole life to build a home like this to retire in, entertain his friends and spoil his 6 Grandchildren. It is a true goddamn shame that he would not see this come true. We didn’t get together nearly as often as he, and I, would have liked. Shit happens and time flies. My situation did not allow me to come up. A difficult work schedule, a young family and a wife who resisted coming up (too buggy, too far, too much time in the car, I can’t sleep up there, and I’m too much of a rigid bitch to give you what you want) caused time to slip away far too fast. By the time our schedules freed up a little, Dad was sick and visits became difficult. By difficult, I mean it was hard to watch. I barely held it together, but the children had a visibly hard time with it. The once virile, humorous and incredibly active man was transforming into a shell of his former self. It was not unlike seeing the air escape a balloon in slow motion. It became increasingly difficult for him to go out of the house, he had a hard time getting in and out of cars, and once he couldn’t drive, any optimism he had was out the window.

The good and bad memories of my father surround me. His influence is everywhere. Pictures on the mantle, the flag handed to me at his funeral by a grateful nation, the hand made furniture are good ones. The safety rails in the bathroom and the disassembled handicap ramp in the back yard are not. I remember once, when he had a caretaker at the house, I walked by the bathroom and Dad was on the toilet. He needed to be wiped. I asked him if he wanted my help even as I realized that I had never thought of wiping my father’s ass for him. I also never envisioned a day he would need me to. Dad couldn’t talk but he mouthed the name “Arthur” (the caretaker) and I went to get him. I knew then that the last thing Dad wanted was for me to wipe him, he was embarrassed that I saw him like that. That was a tough day.

Still, I remember the few times that we did get together as a family. Fond memories of him manning the grill, making a campfire, toasting marshmallows, playing with the grandkids, having dinner and playing phase 10 after, these are all great memories.

Yes, he would have loved to be here tonight. I would love for him to be here as well. He really left us too soon. I really want to believe that he is here, somewhere in this house, enjoying the laughter and keeping a careful eye on us.

Miss you big guy

 

 

 

Dog chasing a car

Ever seen a dog chase a car? My first question was always “what is he going to do if he catches it?”

I made the mistake the other day of clicking on one of the “hookup” site links. I was feeling, well what the fuck let’s call it what it is, horny. My wife had told me earlier that day that even though we are not officially divorced yet if I wanted to “get back out there” she was fine with it. I guess that means she suggested it. I certainly don’t want a relationship so I entertained the idea of a casual thing. So I signed up, no credit card required appealed to me.

I instantly regretted it. I began getting bombarded with nude pics of really slutty women “near me” and very provocative messages. I immediately knew that this wasn’t for me. Despite how “delicious” I appeared to one lady; despite the fact that Paradise was the “only one who could take me there”; and contrary to Sexygodess17’s assertion that she’s “the one I’ve been looking for”,  it’s just not my style. I deleted the account immediately. Like a dog, if I chose to chase this car, what would I do with it if I caught it?

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I’m not a casual sex guy, never was. I like the idea of a Friend with Benefits. I have friends that have this. Just sex, no commitments of any kind. But I’m not wired for it. When I was a younger man I had many long-term relationships and a few one-nighters. I never felt right after the one-nighters. Laugh if you want but I respect women and felt dirty if I objectified them in any way. Even when they seemed perfectly fine with it I still needed two showers after. It’s how I am and if I have to choose, it’s a good thing.

I recently entertained the casual route because I’m not ready for the real thing.  For a lot of reasons, none of which has anything to do with my wife, she’s actually the one that gave me the green light.

I don’t like how I look. I’m still heavier than I want to be even though I’m losing it. I’m very self-conscious of the swelling in my legs and how it would look to someone should I take my clothes off in a lit room. And, since I am a brutally honest guy, I only have one testicle. I had testicular cancer when I was 31 and lefty was removed. I was offered a prosthetic but I said no, it’s not like I was dating or planned to. I was with my wife. I regret that now. I think a woman might get freaked out about that. Do I bring it up ahead of time or do I let her find out for herself? Should be interesting.

Again, in the interest of complete and brutal honesty, I must also confess that I haven’t had sex in 8 years. My wife shut me off then and I couldn’t bring myself to break the vows of my marriage. Several opportunities arose, as did I, but I abstained. I have stayed in my marriage for the children and all I had was my honor. If I was unfaithful, my children would lose respect for me and that’s all I have. So, not having gotten more than a handshake in that long, I am very reluctant to ask my next potential suitor for an instruction manual for her vagina. And a kleenex.

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Another issue is what do I have to offer? A woman my age would most certainly see that I have little or nothing to offer them. I can see the ad now:

Broke, balding, chronically ill heavy guy with one nut and a great sense of humor who lives with his mother for the foreseeable future seeks, well shit, ANYBODY. Confidence in the bedroom depending on how long it takes to turn out the light.

I really want to meet someone to spend time with. To walk and talk, read and watch movies, drink and hang out, and be casual with the pace. On top of everything else I don’t have, I don’t have baggage. I’m actually a pretty good guy and fun to be with if someone can get past all…that…shit.

At least Advil helps with the Carpal Tunnel.

Canceled

just me and the TBS A Christmas Story marathon today. It’s snowing like a bugger out there and my scheduled 2-hour drive will likely be 3 if I want to see the family. It’s just not worth it.

I will miss seeing my kids today but they have a lousy drive also.

Who am I kidding anyway? I have as much desire to see anyone today as Frosty welcomes a Spring thaw.

Me, the dog and the wood stove.

Merry Christmas to all of you

 

 

Canceled due to weather

I’m really not feeling the Christmas spirit right now. While I have made great strides in my appreciation for the inherent values of compassion, generosity of spirit, and of course humility, it is still  not a day of joy for me. Having nothing to give my kids, driving a  long way for a couple of uncomfortable hours of time with the soon-to-be-ex-wife and the kids, who are equally uncomfortable, in a house that I don’t own just reeks of awkward. The only bright spot about tomorrow is that I am planning on bringing my youngest daughter and her best friend back up with me for the week. That I am looking forward to.

Everyone says they want a white Christmas. Well, this year in New England that won’t be a problem. We have a shit-ton of it right now. And several layers of ice on top of it. Power outages from overweighted trees are everywhere. The roads are a mess. And we are to get another storm tomorrow morning. My wife called me this morning and we discussed the possibility of canceling due to weather. It’s not that I can’t handle the drive, the oldest two have a good drive as well and we worry for their safety. Also, the house we are going to has a tough driveway and no street parking. One pass of the plow and my Civic is blocked in until Spring.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I almost think I wouldn’t mind staying in tomorrow, the house to myself and just get shitfaced. I’m at peace with things but I am definitely not in the mood to put on a happy face and pretend that I’m happy. I’m dealing. For now, that will have to be enough.

Merry Christmas to me as long as the ice machine is working.