the other shoe

If you have been following me recently you will know that I have been doing some part-time work for a friend. It has been an overall good experience for me. In addition to having a little bit of money to play with it has also given my ego, in particular, that section that controls not feeling like a useless piece of shit, a boost. I would like to say that it has been an awesome experience but there a few downsides. For starters, it is 2 1/2 to 3 hours away depending on traffic. It is not without expense, it is at least a tank of gas plus food for 2 days which cuts into the overall “worthwhile” of it. It also requires that I stay with my friend who works there also for up to 2 nights a week. He and his wife are the ones who offered it in the first place, making this even possible and claim they enjoy the company but I feel like a burden. That’s the way I’m wired. I’m not paranoid, but I know that when I watch football and the players are in a huddle…yeah they’re talking about me.
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I also haven’t gotten too excited because let’s face it, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I fully expected a wrinkle and it came the week before last.

As I was leaving on Thursday I checked in with my friend and boss to let him know that I was leaving for the week. He turned to me and asked me to close his office door. Here we go, I thought, the other shoe.

“You’re getting expensive,” he said. “I want to help you out but I really don’t have it in the budget right now”. He looked upset, I knew that he was genuinely conflicted. I never actually considered this to be any more than a “we’ll see how long it lasts” scenario I played it cool. But inside I was a little miffed. I wanted to explain what I’ve been working on, the contribution I’ve made and the slew of compliments his CFO has given me. But I stopped myself.  Instead, I told him that I would only be available on Monday the following (last) week. I politely told him that if he doesn’t need me, just tell me and I’ll be ok. We left it that we would talk about it Monday. I managed to successfully leave his office without reverting to the old me.

The old me would have been reactionary, upset, filled with a sense of dread and lament wrong decisions made…both real and imaginary. That was when I was a slave to a -paycheck, in fear of harming my family, forced to “suck-it-up” for the benefit of others. I’m not that guy anymore because I don’t have that situation anymore. The new me doesn’t need the job, I just like the job. By choice or otherwise, I am now in a position where I can choose what I do for money and if it doesn’t work out I will find something. The bar is set pretty low but I it is oddly liberating.

I am also blazing a new trail in that I am using my knowledge of reading people. I know that Ben is happy with what I’ve been doing and he likes having me around. I know him enough to know that he can get creative if he wants in how he compensates me.

It also occurred to me that my work has and will speak for itself. I know, not think, that I have found a niche and have worked on an area of his business, with some solid success, that he didn’t even know he needed. He knows it now. So last Monday morning, early, I called him and told him that I wouldn’t be in. 6 hours of driving for 1 day was just silly. He understood. I sat back this week to see what would develop.

As of Friday morning, I had received 3 emails from the CFO and 2 texts from Ben asking me when I was available to come in this coming week. I simply responded Why, do you need me?

It seems he does.

Job and pride both intact, I think I like how the new me handled this one.

 

 

the ups and downs of being passionate

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I am nothing if not a passionate man. It is perhaps my greatest, at least my strongest, character trait. I have strong beliefs, a concrete set of values, an opinion on everything and a sincere zest for life. I love to learn, take any opportunity to help another person and get very into things. As a patient with chronic illness, having had several brushes with my own mortality, I do not fear death. I fear a life unfulfilled. I don’t care if I only have 10 years left, as long as I can spend them doing things that I love.

I consequently have a real hard time dealing with people that don’t have passion. I don’t judge, I want to inspire them. I have a great story to tell, and if someone were to hear it they may think like I do.

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I used to be an ardent follower of Russian philosopher Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism. She unabashedly promoted that mankind’s sole purpose of being on earth was to achieve his own greatness. She vehemently opposed all things communist, so her ideas came across a bit selfish. If you were to say to her “we are here for others” she would reply

“then what are others here for?”

I eventually broke from her because of her views on charity. She played a little “fast and loose” with who is deserving of charity and who is just a waste of flesh. But I did take away a powerful message of worth and achievement. Some nuggets: nothing is more unacceptable than wasted talent; a man owes it to himself to achieve his best; if you believe something then fight for it and shout it from the rooftops. It ties into my ideas of worth, in other words, I always ask of people (inside my head of course) “what is your joy. What do you bring to the table? How are you making the world a better place by your presence?”

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I know it’s a little hardcore, but do you ever wonder what your funeral will be like? Do you know how you will be remembered? Will you be remembered fondly? Once again, as a person with a lot of health issues, I often think of my legacy. I would hope that the attendees of my memorial would raise a glass and tell a funny story or of something I did for them. My stone will most certainly say

here lies Bill

He really cared

About what I have no idea

That’s passion.

Of course, there’s another type of passion that I am sadly lacking in. In the love department, my furnace is out of oil. Not for lack of interest, but lack of opportunity. I fondly remember being in love. Sadly, it wasn’t with my wife. God bless her, my little Silver Medal. I am speaking of the one that got away.

To say that I was passionate about her is the understatement of the century. The very thought of her excited me. She was my everything. Sex is great, I love it like the next guy, but a mere kiss from this girl would make my feet spontaneously combust. We loved hard and we fought harder and I would still give anything to be with her again. I have never loved like that again, and I’m afraid I never will. After 24 toxic years with the wrong person, it’s unlikely. In that department, I am dead inside. But I want to.

Life without caring is a life unfulfilled. I don’t think I would change my style even if I could. I look at it as you either give a shit or you don’t. People without passion will continue to disappoint me but, like politics and religion, it’s their deal. To me, it’s the only thing that keeps me going.

#JusJoJan Daily Prompt – January 1st, 2018

 

 

Integrity and $2.25 will get you a coffee

I have been on a nice, even emotional ground lately. I have rolled with adversity and conflict without anger and frustration. The only good thing to come out of recent events is that I have reconciled my past, forgiven myself for past mistakes, and tried to approach my future as positively as possible. I was doing great until yesterday when I saw my wife.

As part of the divorce proceedings, we are required, as parents of a minor child, to take a class on the impact of divorce on children. Our youngest is 15 and she is fine with everything so the course would be a piece of cake. Sit through it, sign your certificate of completion and head home. I would drive her home, I would head back up and we would not see each other until Christmas.

When my wife initially proposed that we get divorced, she put it out there as completely amicable. There was no money to argue about so alimony was out of the question, no assets to bicker over, and an agreement that I would give whatever I could towards supporting the family. No court mandates required. Completely civil. She just wanted to move on and I agreed.

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In the ten-minute ride to her house, she completely changed her tune and started talking about what would happen once I started receiving my disability checks. I didn’t know how to answer that, particularly because I still have no guarantee that I will actually get approved. She began to talk about how much she would need for the youngest two children in the way of clothing, food etc.,. I explained to her that if I am approved I will do whatever I can for my family, reminding her of our previous conversation. She pushed on further, speculating again on a check that I can’t guarantee. Finally, I asked her to just give me a number. She wouldn’t. She refused. Apparently, her monthly expenses are private. They always were I suspect. She handled the finances and despite how well we did we were always broke. Exasperated, I told her she was unaccountable and it was unfair. She replied that I was trying to walk away from this marriage without consequence. Are you absolutely kidding me?

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This is a direct affront to my character. My character is all that I have left in this world and it is not in question. I am committed to always doing the right thing, especially with regards to the children I love so much. I have shown her my ass, figuratively speaking, by disclosing everything and offering it all if needed and she thinks that I would let my family go without anything when it is within my means to prevent it? All I ask for is some transparency, something I have never had in the time we have been together. I may have to have an agreement drawn up after all. I can’t believe that my integrity is on the line after the sacrifices I have made to do right by her. I never say this but I’m offended.

As my dad, a very honorable man often said…”sometimes, it’s just the point that matters.”