Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All In The Timing

In the middle of last month I was pretty much having a nervous breakdown about my job. That phrase gets bandied about a lot these days, but things were pretty fupped duck over here. I was depressed, confused, and a lot of other things that I'm usually not. It came to a head when I sat at the computer one night and wrote a post (quoted below). Read over that and then scroll down for the punch line.

I Give Up

I'm done with putting a brave face on things. I feel like seventeen different flavors of shit, from morning till night. I'm exhausted, everything hurts, I have no concentration, everything pisses me off. I'm sick to death of having nothing left for my family. And at home I'm sick of getting punched in the eye by the baby, shrieked at by the middle one, and either sulked at or made to play characters in a never ending play drama by the big one. I'm tired of the house looking like trailer trash live here, and being too worn out to do anything about it. I'm sick of sitting around numb late at night waiting for a small burst of energy to be able to talk to my wife.

OK God... I need another job. Immediately. I want to give two weeks notice at the end of the week and be done with construction by the middle of September. I want superhuman strength and concentration, un-swerve-able will to clean my house and be nice to my family. I want time to have conversations with my friends and play with my radios. I want to be able to pay my bills and my debts, all of them. And I need you to either make it happen this week or I'm not going to be able to control myself anymore. I'm about to develop a serious drinking problem, I'm about to start punching holes in the walls.

I NEED YOU TO MAKE THIS OK FOR ME BECAUSE I HAVE NO STRENGTH AT ALL TO DO ANYTHING MYSELF.


The punch line is:

I got hired by my new boss on September 15th. Why is that a punchline? Because I laugh out loud at how good God is to me, undeserving as I am. So that's my version of a clip show. Maybe tomorrow I'll sit down and write an actual post.

Oh yeah... that bit about cleaning the house and being nice to the kids? That worked out pretty well too. I wrote about it on my daddy blog The Mister.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Quote Of The Day -

Quote Of The Day - "Hey Aunt Stephanie! Where's your BEAVER!?"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FWD

I'm beat today. I was sitting in front of the machine, wishing I had some good material to share, when I decided to check my e-mail. Suddenly I had some good material. I am most certainly not one to simply forward everything that comes along. I actually discourage people from sending me forwards. But, if it's really, really good, and you take the time to delete the part at the top that says FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD:Fwd:fwd:FWD and all the e-mail addresses, then I'll read it. This was one of those e-mails. Hope you get a chuckle out of it.

Three Things to Ponder:

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments


C O W S
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

T H E C O N S T I T U T I O N
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys , it has worked for over 200 years, . . . and we're not using it anymore.

T H E 1 0 C O M M A N D M E N T S
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse i s this: You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keys To The Castle

I went in to work at the hospital today, my first day on the maintenance crew. I knew there would be a lot of things to get used to. The thing that really blew my mind though, the thing that really turned my paradigm into Jello:

They gave me keys.

First thing. Here ya go, here's your keys, here's your name tag, we'll have a radio for ya tomorrow. That took me a minute to wrap my mind around.

It flipped me out even more when one of the guys went over the ring with me. Here's the master for all the outside doors, and here's the grand master for all the inside doors, electrical panels, some of the closets, blah blah blah blah.

Wait a minute...

You guys just gave me the. Keys. To. Everything. I think I actually sprained my frontal lobe trying to wrap it around that. To think that I, just a kid still in my own mind anyway, get's a set of keys that let me go anywhere at all in the building.

Of course, you say, doesn't a maintenance man need to be able to get to all the stuff to be able to fix it when it breaks? Yeah, but there's all kinds of stuff in there too! These people trust me, on the basis of a couple interviews, some personal references and a blood test, to traipse all over their hospital, where sensitive information abounds. Yeah, yeah, there is that non-disclosure thing that would get be booted and sued and possibly locked up, but still.

Holy crap I'm a grown up!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time Off

I don't know which is worse, really needing time off, or getting it. If any one reading this hasn't been following along I've been extricating myself from one job and preparing to start another since the middle of August. September is always the end of a long, hard pull for me anyway, but this year I had a truck load of anxiety and depression thrown in as well.

Last Friday saw me leaving my old job for the last time. I'll check in once in a while to make sure my replacement is doing all right but my obligations there are fulfilled. I also left Friday for a weekend gig. There's nothing like working all week and then working all weekend to really grind a fella down, especially at the end of a long, hard pull.

To top it off, I didn't know Sunday night if the new job would call me in to work or not on Monday. I had already been given the job, had my orientation and physical and was just waiting the results of a blood test to come in before I could start. Hospitals are pretty serious about contagion and I had to get poked a dozen or so times to make sure I wasn't carrying anything and to make sure I have antibodies for all the major afflictions. Turns out I do but the word didn't come in until late Tuesday.

With the finances a little tight, I probably should have gone off and done some side work to keep a little money coming in, but I felt like I had a blanket wrapped around my head. To be specific, a pretty nice blanket. A hand quilted number that had been through the wash recently. I say this for clarification because when I get that sensation when I'm trying to function it usually feels like an old wool army blanket.

So, I didn't do much. Which is odd for me. I saw the kids off to their respective schools, which isn't something the new gig is going to allow for much, so that was nice. I helped The Missus skin some grapes for jam and pie and that was about it on the work front. I read a few inches of a Tom Clancy book and fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon. I felt like a retired guy.

Tuesday wasn't much better. Got the kids off and running and did a whole lotta nothing all morning. I had intended to be a lean, mean, cleaning machine... but I fell asleep again and all I managed to clean was myself, slipping in a quick shower before I picked up J-Man from nursery school. I did manage to squeeze in a tiny electrical job in the afternoon, but for all intents and purposes I was snoozing then too.

So here I sit. Ready to hit the hay a full two hours early. Ready to start a job that begins at seven and ends at three, reliably. Trying to remember what a coffee break is like. Hoping my uniform fits and doesn't make me feel like a drone. I feel like I ought to be having some sort of anxiety right now, but the blanket is back. I had forgotten what it feels like to feel OK. G'nite.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Busy Busy

I just read what seemed to be a worried comment from Jill on The Queen Mum's blog. She had noticed that neither one of us had posted in a while and was wondering if anything was wrong. Wow, that's just touching and not even a little bit creepy (seriously), nice to know there's people out there keeping track of us.

My own lack of posting was due to finishing out a busy week. Friday was my last day of officially working for my old boss. He's out of the woods on the big project and my successor has things well in hand. I'll be checking in once or twice to make sure everything is cool, but my time there is finally at an end.

Friday afternoon saw me off to mix a weekend conference for the Salvation Army. More on that in a minute. Last I knew the camp where the event takes place had a wireless network. It was known to be spotty, but I was confident I'd be able to get on line so I brought the laptop with me. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to find not one but four access points available and all at full strength. The downer came when moments into load-in I found that the entire SA network was down for the weekend while the servers were changed out. Cue The Price Is Right sound effect here: Buh-bump-ba-bah Waaaaaaaaah! So no blog posts, no Facebook, no looking up information about tubes for the upcoming guitar amp project. The nice thing was that I found that I didn't really care that much about that stuff and it was no big deal to leave it on hold for a couple days. (OK, I did check into Facebook from my phone onetimerealquick... but that was it.)

Back to talking about the gig. Most people don't know it but the Salvation Army is actually a church. The Salvationists, as they're called, have been at it for something like a couple hundred years and are primarily a world-wide church and secondarily an organization dedicated to helping their fellow man escape poverty, injustice and the like. Bell-ringing outside Wal-Mart, thrift stores and disaster relief are some of the things they do in this country, other places they have schools and such, it depends on where they are.

At first it can be really weird spending time with these people. They actually act like an army to an extent. They have officers and cadets that you're supposed to address by their rank and even wear uniforms sometimes. While that takes some getting used to, after a while it becomes apparent that all the structure has a real purpose and their organization is highly efficient. What is visible from the get-go is that these people love Jesus and are all seriously committed to making the world a better place on His behalf.

This weekend the event was Youth Councils which is a conference for the youth of a given division, at the end of which many commit to becoming a cadet. That's no small thing, it means spending a year in training and another year at a post and then being moved around the rest of your life to fill whatever need the Corps has. This morning I watched fully sixty young people stand up to do just that, either right now this fall or in the near future.

All weekend long there are meetings which range from church meetings to workshops and prayer groups to rock concerts and movies. All of this stuff is particularly well thought out and generally a really good time. One might get the initial impression that a bunch of adults in uniform might just stand in the back and look dour while the kids rock out. Not so! Just this morning I watched two women from the Corps lock arms and start head banging while the band belted out worship tunes. The kids in their group cheered and took pictures (except for their immediate family members, "Mooooom! How embarrassing!") A few years ago there was a high ranking officer, an Admiral I think, standing next to me during a concert performance. It was like, Bon Jovi loud in there and I was considering pushing the bass a little more. I shouted as much to the tech next to me and we both looked at the Admiral who was standing at ease, bobbing his grey head. He saw us looking at him and with a twinkle in his eye gave us two thumbs up and a big grin.

All in all it's a fabulous time. I've been mixing this particular event for them for six years and it's always a highlight of the year for me. A few different people have accompanied me as my assistant and actual fist fights have broken out to settle who was coming along. I'm already looking forward to next May when I'll get an e-mail from Captain Bone (involuntary snicker... sorry Kevin) inviting me back for next fall's event.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Ham Radio Stuff

I nabbed 5 contacts in a Dutch contest last winter and they sent me a ribbon. How cool is that! (I'm such a nerd)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What The Hell Am I Doing?


Jon Dayton's Facebook profileI've become completely addicted to Facebook over the last couple weeks. (BTW, click over there and add me if you're on, let me know you're a reader. I've got Flair for you!) Anyway, the pros of catching up with tons of people I haven't seen in at least a decade are (so far) outweighing the cons of being inundated with craplications that seek to clutter my page and eat my life.

The only down side is that it's making me examine my life in terms that I haven't really considered in quite a long time. Of my four closest friends from my college days, three live in NYC, two are total industry heavy hitters, and none of them are working day jobs to support their production habit.

Maybe it's just that day job thing that's getting me down. For the first time in my life I'm no longer able to schedule my work around my shows. When I was self-employed times two I could do that. But I guess now the need for security outweighs the need to feel like I'm in control of anything.

I do still live in my favorite house on my favorite street in the whole wide world. I do still get to go out and do some shows where I'm widely respected and validated by my peers. And it's some small consolation, but at the rate I'm going, I'll only be a month into my fifty-first year when my (as-yet-to-be-born) fourth child goes off to college. None of my NYC buddies can say that. It's a long slog to that distant time when my time will be my own again, but hey... it's something.

I guess the thing I'm really choking on is letting go of self-employment. Maybe it's just my ego getting bruised, but it's a sad parting to let go of being a guy who goes to rock shows for a living and runs a construction company on the side to being a maintenance man who does shows when he's not needed at work. It is a cherry job. Everybody I've told about it so far has been saying things like, "Oooh, that's good work." and, "Are they looking for anyone else?" The job did seem to fall into my lap directly from Heaven so I guess I should quit my bitching.

Ah well, here's to my life in the distant future. Just a short couple decades and the kids will be gone, the house will be paid off, and I can re-do the floors and start to buy some nice things to put in it. Shit... that sounds like I don't appreciate those guys at all. Don't misunderstand me on this. My children are amazing. Ask anyone who knows them. I'm more than happy to be investing my time and effort on them right now because they're likely to re-shape the world when they get their sticky little mitts on it. I guess I just need to get my head out of my ass and go back to work.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

In My Head

I've been working with a guy the last couple of weeks who has some electrical experience and is hopefully going to be able to take over my duties when I leave for my new job. He's not bad at it and improving all the time so no worries there. He's not real fond of the conditions though. He misses the rest of the crew. When you wire an 800 foot long pole barn with twenty-five foot ceilings you spend most of your time pulling wires along the ceiling in a lift. The most you ever interact with the rest of the people around you is the occasional shouted greeting or question.

I enjoy it myself. I like keeping my own pace and not holding anyone else up or waiting for them to catch up. Not having to keep up conversation is another plus. I've got plenty going on inside my own cranium, I don't really need to keep up a constant stream of dick jokes to make the day go by.

A sample of today's stream of conciousness:

While listening to the new Metallica album on the radio:
This is crap. Still not impressed guys. You spent HOW many months and millions of dollars and the kids up the road are making more interesting music than you?

Which got me thinking about building a tube amp for Anthony this winter:
I wonder if I'll need a voltage regulator? I need to look up tube performance curves. I hope it doesn't turn out to be noisy. I wonder if having selectable plate voltage is a viable means of tone control.

Then I catch sight of the cows in the part of the barn that's finished:
Man do those chicks have it easy. Soft bed to lay on, big pile of food, no predators. I should look into getting my masters in chewing the cud so I can take it easy around here.

Not particularly exciting, but having a constant flow of stuff to wonder about is one of the central joys of my life. Not that this is a crack on any of the guys, but I can't even imagine having a dripping faucet for a stream of consciousness. What must it be like to have nothing grander on the easel of your imagination than a beer after work and what's on TV?

Anyway, here's hoping that you've got some decent cud to chew as you tackle the monotony of your day.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Some Stuff

I just realized that I've been saying on my other blog that I've been writing over here, but that I actually haven't in a little while so I thought I'd better get after that. I knew maintaining two blogs was going to be some work sometimes, ah well. I'm penning this somewhat after two A.M. local time because I'm all messed up on sleep tonight. The boys were having trouble getting to sleep so I stayed in their room for a while... on the floor, on my back, on the bare yellow pine floor. So three hours later my brain was somewhat rested but my spine is likely to be pissed at me for the rest of tomorrow, today, whatever.

For anybody not following the job saga, I quit, secured another job, then went back to get my former boss out of a pickle. The barn we were building needs to have the front half finished by the end of the week so they can move cows in, that included 80% of the wiring so I've been doing that. The Missus hasn't been too happy about that, but she's the only one. I've sorted out most of the stress with the boss and doing the work is relieving me of a load of guilt I was going to have over leaving at crunch time. I was taught to finish a job. I think the majority of the stress on my wife's part has more to do with having two kids start school this week and also wanting to barf all of the minutes that she's awake. Now that those two things are starting to settle down and the week is starting to draw to a close things are going better for her.

In other news I've become completely addicted to Facebook this week. As if making contact with old friends wasn't elixir enough for the soul, they're all swapping virtual plants to save the rain forest. I'm not one to pass up a chance to rack up points online. Those guys are all way ahead of me. While I'm on the subject, my friend Florence runs this totally bitchin goth shop online. I've never really been into that whole scene but there's a couple things on there I might actually pick up. The "Dead Duck" is one, it's your basic rubber ducky but it comes in Black No. 1. I'm not sure the kids will get it though. Anyway, if you're feeling dark or know somebody who is, check out Amalthea's Attic.

While my brain is still humming, thatgirl tagged me to do a meme, which is the fancypants blog writer word for write-down-stuff-about-yourself-and-send-it-to-folks. So I'm going to hop over to The Mister and stick up a quick post before I finally hit the rack. Keep your chin up, it's almost Friday. Time for a quick haiku before I go...

Week is almost done
New job will start soon I hope
Hello health care perks

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Facebook, not lame?

Jon Dayton's Facebook profile
The other day I joined Facebook. I did this mostly so I could see what The Missus was doing over there, the same way that she would log in to my MySpace account. Now don't go jumping to conclusions and start thinking that we're a suspicious bunch over here. She would log in so she could click on people and see who she knew, sort of like the home game of Six Degrees of Separation. That, and our friend John Beckler writes some hilarious shit on his MySpace blog. I don't know why she joined Facebook, but it lead to her regaining contact with someone she hadn't seen since college. It got my interest up and one day last week I started in.

I didn't put a lot of effort in at first. Looking at a few pages from people I know I didn't think I wanted to have a peace garden that everyone could contribute to, or get a cow thrown at me. A week into it I'm still not sure what a poke is and if I ever want to experience one. So I was cautious about who I approved to be my friend. There were a few people from college who popped up on the "People you might know" list that I passed over, only to have them hit me with a request a few days later.

The thing that really cemented the value of it for me was when my ol' buddy Sam Betts hit me up. I still maintain contact with my four closest friends from school and they keep me filled in on what the rest of the crew is doing. But my good buddy Sam had slipped through the cracks. He had a rep for being the world's largest invisible man anyway, so no big surprise that I couldn't find him. Well there he was, grinning at me in photo-icon format and I almost leaped from my chair. Whaddaya know... it's not lame after all, despite what roughly a million people think about the new layout (I never saw the old one).

So now, at least while Facebook is my new toy, I'm spending a little time tricking out my profile page (modestly, cause really, if I wanted a page full of junk I've already got one of those at MySpace) and savoring the contents of my inbox. Sometimes two or three times a day I'm exchanging blurbs with people that I have had no contact with for over ten years. And so far I haven't been inundated with mini-applications to clutter things up. Nice job Facebook.

So now I'm taking a little bit of a risk and opening things up to blog readers. I figure I already know most of you in real life anyway. But then there's the totally random internet friendship that has arisen between thatgirl, myself and The Queen Mum, so it's not like there aren't people out there in California or Spain who might be stalking reading this as well. What the hell I say, there's already pics of the fam up on our blogs, and I'm sending people from Facebook over here, so I guess it won't hurt to send traffic the other way.

Any would-be stalkers should just know that my wife is a crack shot with her .44 Magnum, the children all know ju-jitsu, and anyone who tries to steal my identity will be eliminated by a man who just likes to be called "The Cleaner". Yeah, that's right, I have a hit man, we went to college together, I went into production, he works for "the Family". I don't know what I'm worried about anyway though, you can't steal debt and my children would seriously drive their captors out of their skulls before they got to the end of the street, I've got nothing to worry about. So please... come invade my personal details. I'd love to meet my readers on Facebook. Just try not to throw any cows at me.

P.S. If you hit me up to be my friend, send along a message with the request. Just put the name of the blog or just "blog" on there so I know it's not some totally random stranger approaching me.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Forces of Ignorance

Dad: How was your first day at the library, battling the forces of ignorance?
Jacob: The forces of ignorance have pointy teeth and tiny hands that can throw things!

- Jacob Two-Two

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Eye of the Storm

Last night and today were as much of a roller coaster as I've ever been on in my life. They consisted of my former boss calling me and saying things that made me want to vomit, and then having the people around me pray for me and straighten me out. It came down to the end game this morning. It got about as bad as it could possibly get. Then I talked to my Dad and he somehow got the world right side up for me then. It was at that point that I realized I was in the eye of the storm.

Totally biblical. Circumstances raging around me, upheaval, stress, panic, and in the middle of it... a tiny little room with sanity for wallpaper that God made for me. I stepped in. Looking out the peep hole, the storm was still there, in my little room, sanity, and quiet. I stayed there all afternoon. By dinner time, it had all played out. Bluffs called, points made, situations 90% cleared up. I won't be talking about anythings specific relating to this. If you're in the inner circle give me a call and I'll fill you in, this is the last public airing of this.

In other news, I added another widget. I realized that there were about a dozen other blogs I check that aren't by people who want to blog for a living. These are people I know from the neighborhood mostly, and I wanted to include them in the fun and maybe send a few hits their way.

That's it for now. I'm spent. I'm goin' back in the room.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Two Cents Worth

I dunno if anybody noticed, but I finally succumbed to my inner capitalist and put Google ads on my blogs. Real tiny ones cause hey, I'm not a total whore for money. Mostly I just like to quantize things, so any means of tracking hits to my stuff is appealing to me. Hey, why not count hits until Google sends me a check?

So I've been logging in to AdSense for my daily fix of numbers and slowly watching the impressions climb. And then, somewhere around the 300 mark, there was two cents in the total box at the bottom. Joy! Maybe this is mundane to everyone else but the concept is totally blowing my mind. Six months ago I thought blogging was nonsense. Now there are half a dozen that I can't live without checking three times a day, I have two of my own (thinking about starting two more actually) and for some reason... not only do people read this shit, but other people are willing to spend real advertising dollars on me when I attract them!

What a world... what a world.

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