Friday, November 17, 2006

The holiday season

It just seems like last week it was 100º and we were bitching about mowing grass and sunburns. Now, we're bitching about raking leaves and cold rain! Don't get me wrong--you'll NEVER hear me bitching about cold weather EVER. I live for this season, and I get wound up around 30º or so. I hate raking leaves, but it's not a repetitious task like mowing the grass. You do it a couple of times and you're done! Bring on the snow!

The Razorbacks are doing well this year, and I'll tell you why I make note of this fact. Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows that I've not been a Hog fan for many years--not because they won, or lost, or anything. It's simply because there are other teams in this God-forsaken state that get nearly no recognition for their national championships, and it pisses me off. As a UCA alumnus, I remember numerous NAIA championships that were never even acknowledged on some TV stations. This year, UCA is a contender in NCAA Division I, and although I don't know the school, UAPB is the SWAC champion. Yet, the HOGS steal the spotlight because they're having their first good year in 10 years. Fair? Not really. However, I make mention of this for one primary reason. When the Razorbacks are doing well, I can sell parking spaces in my yard (3 blocks from War Memorial Stadium) for 2-3 times what I am accustomed to getting. Last year, parking was $10 per spot. This year, spots go for as much as $30! How much difference does that make? Last year, I would make $200 for a game day. Last month for the ULM blowout in Little Rock, I made nearly twice that! I have 17 spaces in my yard, and I hawk them like they're the only parking in town. Parking for the LSU game will start at $20 and go up to $30 within an hour of the game. I love the Razorbacks!

Work is going well. My new job is settling in nicely. I ordered my new car this week, and it should be here sometime in January or early February. I actually had to order two different models because they weren't sure which fleet we would be using. I will be getting either a Chevrolet Equinox or an HHR. Either one is nice, but since I am not an advocate for the SUV, I would prefer the HHR; however, since I don't pay for it, I guess I won't bitch either way! I got my new laptop and Blackberry this week, so I'm all wired up and ready for action. My 'official' title is Computer Support Specialist, Midwest region. In layman's terms, that simply means I cover Arkansas, western Tennessee, northwest Mississippi, northern Louisiana and a bite of Texas and Oklahoma. It's a nice pay raise (read: significant), and I get to do many of the things I do well--driving, computers, teaching, and laboratories. I hope this job stays with me longer than my previous attempts, as it's time for some stability! My family deserves it, and I deserve it! I will be spending the entire week after Thanksgiving in Kansas City training. I then will be visiting the clinics in my area to see what their needs are and shake a few hands--you know, the fun stuff!

I've heard it too many times here lately, but apparently it's true--"Everything happens for a reason." I didn't get to keep the last job or two because this job was coming open for me. This job fits me very well, and I like the direction it is going. The pay is excellent, and the benefits are even better. My wife and my daughter and I will benefit greatly from this position, and when the time comes for me to move, I may even get the opportunity to transfer to my locale of choice (Indiana?) and not lose any service time. Sweet deal!

That's all for now. If I don't post before then, have a great Thanksgiving. I have more to be thankful this year than many, many years past. My wife--bless her heart--has made it through nearly three years with me, and she certainly deserves to be acknowledged for her effort. My hat is off to her for overcoming the drama and the hard times. She has taken my daughter in as her own, even with all of the "white trash-isms" we have to work out of her. She was around her mom long enough to really learn some bad habits, and they don't break easily! But I am truly blessed, and this year, I intend to let that fact be known. Never forget your foundation--ignoring the smallest cracks can lead to a major failure.

Until next time...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Death and taxes

It's been a very eventful several ways. As some of you may or may not know, I have been working the past few months as Crash Course Computing, Inc., a name I work under as my own business. However, it has gotten to be the "feast or famine" syndrome, and with Christmas being just around the corner, it's unfortunately been more famine than feast. Therefore, I begin working in a lab on Monday as a Computer Systems Specialist making more money than I've made in several years. This is a NEW position, so I don't have to worry about things like being ousted because of my predecessor deciding not to leave, or because someone's budget numbers didn't fit right, or because I couldn't meet the monthly quotas. I just work. I have been promised a company car because the job requires a considerable amount of travel, which should be fun. I just pop in the XM Radio and off we go!

Things with the child formerly known as my son have not changed. I still haven't spoken to him since August 20th, and apparently he's living it up--as he would with no rules or expectations. His grades for this 9 weeks are beyond miserable, pulling Cs and Ds everywhere. It's a sad statement, but I can't do anything about it. He chooses not to be a part of my life, and that is certainly his loss. Perhaps someday he'll come back around. Who knows.

Lastly, my ex-wife, as much as I despise her and her lifestyle, she has endured something that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy--the person she had been dating off and on for nearly a year died in a fall this week. It's just weird that someone that close that I knew died in such a sudden way. I guess it goes to show how fragile life can be sometimes. I know my day will come...I just hope it's later more than sooner.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fall arrives

So, as the leaves begin to change colors and the days become shorter, I figure it's about time for an update. I keep myself busy doing just about anything these days, so I don't have as much time as I would like to update my blog--and my site. Oh, well...I guess it will someday just fade away.

It amazes me sometimes how people who think they have something of significance to say will do so, but they do it anonymously. After my last post, I get an angry email from some 'anonymous' person who makes all sorts of comments about my parenting ability and my lifestyle choices. I didn't post it because they didn't give any sort of real name or anything. I'm not one to censor, and had I gotten their true identity, I would have posted it for all to see. "Redass" just doesn't seem to be enough information as far as a name goes...but I do appreciate you stopping by!

Now, on to more important things. The business is going very well. I've been keeping busy with several website projects and even a few network administration jobs. I have a couple of remote clients (one in Portland, Oregon, and one in San Juan, Puerto Rico) that take up a significant amount of my time because they are relatively new networks and they have several issues that new networks have. I've also begun selling mass quantities on Ebay, which is pure profit. I'm selling stuff that we've been paying to keep in storage for two years, and the $$ is rolling in. With at least a half-dozen auctions going at a time, the packing and shipping adds to my list of things to do. Finding boxes for some of this stuff isn't easy! Electronic equipment has to have anti-static packing, fragile items have to have starch peanuts, and shipping in general has to have a box that's close to the right size, or you get tagged with shipping overage (read: less profit!).

My daughter is doing extremely well in her new school. She made the basketball team, and cheerleader tryouts are next week. My lovely bride is the cheerleading sponsor, and that keeps her quite busy in addition to her other teacher duties. Progress reports came out last week, and she is on course for a 3.0+ GPA. Her grades have never really been a problem, and she works very hard to meet the standards set on her by the more rigorous curriculum of the new school. There is none of the "good ol' boy" system here like there was at her previous school, so everyone gets an equal shake. She has adjusted well, and has a whole new group of friends that keep her phone line hot and her computer keyboard smoking. Ah, to be 13 again...

So, that's about it for now. And for my 'anonymous' visitor, please feel free to continue to send in your comments, but until you give a name, I don't feel obligated to publish you. Sorry!

Until next time...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dare I ask...?

OK, so I'm finally back up and running after nearly 3 weeks off. I lost a hard drive that contained almost all of my critical files, so I had to go back and redo everything! Fortunately, I have backups of my really "critical" files on the server, so disaster was somewhat averted.

In my last post (which I removed), I went on a slightly drunken tirade about the developments with the person formerly known as my son. He has, indeed, chosen to move back to the trailer park in Greenbrier, where discipline, rules and expectations are all but non-existent. The fact that someone would choose their few friends over their entire family will never make sense to me, nor will the fact that I've been lied to for the past 3 years. But, the true sign of a man is the ability to move on, regardless of the situation. I am now moving on without him, and my life will eventually return to normal.

I don't have much to say about work, as that doesn't exist, either. It seems as though I'm destined to be a house husband, where I do the cooking, the cleaning, and the errands, while my spouse goes to work each day. Some people would die for that kind of living--not so much with me. I prefer to be at work, toiling away at a job that I enjoy, building relationships and earning a living. Being at home, I still earn a living somewhat through the business, but it's not as steady as a salary would be, and the benefits aren't as lucrative. I make enough to pay the bills and still have some 'funny money' on the side, but I like knowing how much I'll be contributing to the budget so we can plan out things like college for my daughter and repairs on the house. I did have a very promising interview this past week, and although I've had many interviews over the past few months, this is one of those jobs that you really want. It's an international company with a big shiny building and lots of potential for growth. Their decision has been made, but it could take a few days for the candidates to be notified. I'm still hopeful, as this is a long weekend...but it's time for me to get a break for once.

Lastly, it appears as though we'll be staying put here in Little Rock, at least until my daughter graduates high school, at which point we'll be moving far, far away to a land where seasons are obvious and so is intelligence. We'll fix this place up and keep it up while it continues to appreciate in value, and perhaps by the time we get ready to move, we'll be able to make a couple of bucks in the sale. It's a nice thought, but who knows what tomorrow brings.

I keep hearing that everything happens for a reason, and sadly enough, the events of the past few months show that perhaps that isn't too far from the truth. Some really horrific things have happened during that time, and hopefully the hand that fate has dealt me won't be a bust. I guess time will tell.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Let's try this ONE MORE time

Well, with the realization that our current home will not sell in a timely fashion, we have put it up on the rental market with a property manager and moved on with the hunt for a home in Greenbrier. Our search took us through a dozen or so homes, some of which were "close"; others of which wouldn't even qualify as livable. We did come across one that we found to be very suitable, and quite an attractive house. It is in a very low traffic area where development will not overrun the area anytime soon. I have a couple of pictures of the house, but they're the realtor's pictures, so don't blame me if they look like CRAP!
This is a picture from the front. I don't know why they chose to fuzz the edges, but the photo is still pretty much effective. The house sits on a pretty good sized lot (about an acre), so we don't have the subdivision squeeze syndrome going on. My next closest neighbors are a good 100 yards away, and you can't even see their house through all the trees.

This is a picture of the back of the house. Notice the oversized dormer at the top. The view out that window is absolutely incredible. The house is on top of a hill, and from that window, you can see all the way across town and out into the mountains to the north of town. This room is the office/guest room/TV room. There will be a 42" LCD flat screen TV on the wall closest to the chimney with assorted furniture (and my computer) in the room. There's also a full bathroom upstairs, which makes it even nicer.

And just for my own indulgence and because I am excited about our purchase, I'm even going to put the real estate description in here! Check this out:

4 total bedroom(s)
Central air conditioning
3 total bath(s)
Interior features: Dishwasher, Fireplace(s), Range and oven, Tile flrs, Wood flrs
Approximately 1 acre(s)
Exterior features: Deck, Fenced, Public water supply, Septic sewer system, Storage/out-building(s), Trees
Approximately 2000 sq. ft.
2 car garage

So, with that said, I'll keep my fingers crossed that this house gets leased and we get the HELL out of here! Until next time...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Back on the road again!

I just got home from picking the Protege up at the body shop. She now has a new front end and fresh paint after a little run-in with a 16 year old teenage girl a couple of weeks ago. It was just enough to crinkle the hood and a fender, while it also shattered the headlight and cracked the bumper (damn plastic shit). But, after a week with my buddies at A&J Collision Repair, it's back and better than new. We sat down and did the math, and this is the 17th car that Allen and Jody have put paint on for members of my family. Most of them were my brother and my dad getting their cars and trucks repainted, but 3 of them were mine, and one was the Escort-property of the ex many years ago. But enough about that.

The kids are with their mom for the month of June, and Leslie and I are house hunting once again. Given the time frame, the budget, and the increasing interest rate, we have decided to purchase a home that's already built and save the dream house for our final resting place, either Indiana or Wyoming--fate will tell. We have our eye on a couple of places, both of which have a large lot, 4 bedrooms, a fireplace and a POOL! I've never had a pool, but I hear they're a lot of work. Oh, well...something to do to keep the ungodly hot summers at bay.

So with that said, I'll get back to my life. Keep checking back, as I will hopefully be updating more often. Until next time...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Moving Day 2006, part II

Have I told you how much I absolutely HATE moving? Is there anyone who actually enjoys it? Memorial Day weekend 2006 is also Moving Day weekend 2006; however, this is part II. What?

You see, for those who have been following along, part I came back in early January when I moved from Little Rock to Greenbrier in order to comply with the 'temporary' child custody order. The apartment has been home for 5 months, but now that school is out, it's time to move BACK to Little Rock...only to move (part III) again later this summer--back to Greenbrier! What?

It's a long, convoluted story that, if you haven't been keeping up thus far, would take far too long to tell in this forum. Needless to say, I must really love these kids to put myself and my shit through three moves in one year. Fortunately, that is the case! And what's even better is, their academic performance has really risen to the occasion. The 4th nine weeks, the grades were finally above 'C' level. I know it seems like a small accomplishment, but when you're given six months to undo six years worth of miseducation, this is a phenomenal improvement. Next year, stability will be increased with the fourth member of our family present--finally--and I expect nothing but great things.

I would say more, but it's late and we all have to get up early to try to beat this ungodly Arkansas heat. The high tomorrow is predicted to be 95º, and I couldn't be less enthusiastic. So, have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Maybe I'll get done in time to grill a Johnsonville Brat! Until next time...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time to move on....

So it's official...I begin employment with a new firm starting May 22. After being with "that other company" for just over a year and being tossed out like last week's garbage, I have obtained employment with a company called Interface Health Information Systems, doing something similar to what I did previously, but with a few exceptions. The pay is MUCH more, the stress is MUCH less, and the potential is MUCH higher. Did I also mention that I have a window office on the 32nd floor of the tallest building in Little Rock?

Don't get me wrong--I still miss my job at Clear Channel every day of my life; however, I can't live my life wishing for something that is no longer there. This place will give me the ability to thrive in an atmosphere surrounded by racks of servers and offices filled with crisp medical uniforms. Oh, and did I forget to mention the pay? It's a 33% raise over "that other company", and it's actually a salary! I no longer have to fight and claw to make my pay. I simply show up and do the best work I can do in an air-conditioned office with a panoramic view of most of Pulaski county. I also receive the respect that is due while offering up the same to the people I work with. The best part is, I can continue working with my own now-incorporated company, Crash Course Computing, Inc.

With every door that closes, another one opens up. I'm just glad that this one closed. Me? Bitter? No...not at all. I'll miss the free Diet Dr. Pepper and Mike and Ike's, but I think for the amount of money that I'll be making, I can probably buy my own! I'll post a follow-up once I have settled in, which I'm sure you'll ALL be awaiting in trembling anticipation!

Until next time....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Noteworthy notes and such

So it's time for another posting, and there has actually been newsworthy events in my life--whodathunkit?
My daughter is now in softball, and I have to admit, I had fear after seeing what happened last year! Last year, the team was all but horrible. She was no exception. However, this year seems to be 180º different. She has some pretty good bat speed, and her catching is massively improved. I've been working with her to try to improve on it, but it was really great to see the difference in maturity and commitment. Once we got past the coach's inability to schedule anything more than 2 hours out, everything else seems to be churning along. The team as a whole still smells pretty bad, but at least they're not the worst team in the league anymore!
As for the boy, a diagnosis was made last week that should have been made two or three years ago--but wasn't. In the time when I was unable to initiate anything, I saw classic signs of ADD and dyslexia. When questioned about seeking help, my ex simply said, "He's not hyper enough." What?! What the hell is that? His mind is all over the place, and his handwriting resembles something written with his the dark...while stoned...standing on his head--a classic symptom of one type of dyslexia. Oddly enough, I am afflicted with severe dyslexia, making him a prime candidate. Once again, I was powerless to seek treatment. But, now that the ball is in my court, the diagnosis has been made--moderate-to-high-level ADD with possible dyslexia. His testing for dyslexia (and any other disabilities) will be next week. Hopefully we can get those problems treated, as well. It's just a shame that he had to suffer through three years of the obvious torment and frustration of these afflictions without anyone who was able to lift a finger doing anything.
Now that there is a diagnosis and treatment in place (72mg of Concerta daily), he has already shown marked improvement in his ability to complete tasks. Where he would previously leave things undone and forgotten about, he now completes the task, and has begun to work with multitasking. I just cringe every time I think about the frustration and absolute helplessness he must have felt all that time when there was a problem but no remedy. Hopefully now that will no longer be a problem--Super Dad to the rescue! (OK, so I feel good about what?!)
I still see things with my ex moving in a divergent way. I saw a glimmer of hope several days ago, but it was just as quickly dashed away by inaction and complete denial. So now I just do what I have to do to get the job done, and when it comes time for the nut cutting, I'll be well-prepared for the occasion.
Again, I absolutely HATE the direction that the relationship I once had with her went. The title of "ex" doesn't necessitate anger and hatred. At least in my case it doesn't. I would like nothing more than to have the kind of relationship we once had, where we could hang out and laugh and talk about stuff and just be adults without all of the "ex" crap getting in the way. That's how it SHOULD be. That's how my wife and I would both like it to be. It's just a shame that it can't be.
Speaking of my lovely bride, she is currently in an ambulatory state at home, recovering from a thrashing she took at work on Wednesday last week. Apparently, an incompetent chickenshit colleague dumped off some "trouble" students into her class, one of which could be considered "at risk". Oh, and did I mention she was pregnant, too? So this girl decides to take it to the floor with another girl in the class, and in the heat of the moment, Leslie jumps in to try to break it up. For her efforts, she gets an elbow to the eye, then gets tossed around like a rag doll. The resulting back injury will keep her laid up for a few days in a drug-induced euphoria. Lovely bunch of homo sapiens, aren't they?
Now, keep in mind, I live 50 miles away, so I'm not at her disposal to assist with things like getting up to let the dog out, eating, and the inevitable bathroom visits. She ends up crawling from one place to the next, and when letting the dog out, she just has to hope that the dog will come back when she calls. I know it's short-term, but when I can't help when it's needed, it makes me feel somewhat like a buffet at a funeral home--useful, but in the wrong place.
So there you go. You're now up-to-date on the saga that is my life. I'll keep you posted on the goings-on as they come...but damn, I wish they wouldn't come so frequently! Until next time....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Is it winter? Spring? Winter again? Spring again?

I can't believe it's been SIX WEEKS since I last posted. I gotta get on the ball! There's just been SO much going on it's hard to get it all done. Where should I start? At the last post, I had just gotten custody of my chit'lins, right? OK, I'll pick up from there...

We're now moved into the apartment in Greenbrier...for those of you who haven't visited the webcam lately. It's a nice little townhouse, and the rent is affordable. The kids are rocking and rolling in school--it's still a struggle, but they seem to be turning it around. I guess when you're as far gone as they were, it will take some time to get the trailerpark out of 'em. They seem to be quite happy here, and they make no bones about it. It's sad that it took this kind of epiphany to bring it out, but better late than never!

It also appears as though the ex has gained a co-habitant in the trailerpark. The first attention she's had in 6 years, and damned if she doesn't follow the prediction I made after we divorced to a 'T' and move the sonofabitch right on in! I predicted marriage by summer--we'll see how that goes. The guy is quite suited to her, but then again, I guess the field of choices is quite limited when you live that kind of life. They'll make beautiful music the high life in perpetual 'manufactured housing'. Given their skill level and income, that's likely the best they can do. Sad, but true. It's a match made in aisle 9 at Wal Mart! The wedding reception will probably consist of Pabst Blue Ribbon and fish sticks. CHEERS!

You see, I don't get it. If you had seen us just 2-3 years ago, you would swear that we were best friends. We talked several times a week, we confided in each other, and we actually were able to lean on each other to some degree. It was nice having someone comfortable like that. But oddly enough, just as soon as I became unemployed (involuntarily--see previous posts) and the money wasn't rolling in on time, it went downhill. Soon after that, I met Leslie, and when the thought of me being with someone permanently that wasn't as selfish and controlling as Lauren (BITCH), she went into some kind of "bitch" mode. She became distant, and then she became downright angry. She then began to use the kids as pawns to try to hurt me, as if taking them away would hurt anyone other than them. It was at that point that the two of us began our divergence. Once it reached the climax last December, our contact has now been reduced to one or two brief phone calls a month--usually to discuss why some monetary restitution hasn't been made, or to arrange pickup or drop off. Very sad. I guess it will work itself out eventually, but what a waste.

So my first anniversary is just a few days away, and I have to say it's been a very good year--with a lot of drama and trials mixed in. I guess when you make a blended family like that, there will always be some issues. A lot of the issues were brought on by changes necessitated by the custody--moving away from my wife's home has been tough. Fortunately, it's only temporary, and come this summer, we SHOULD be all back together again. Don't let there be a mistake--we've had our disagreements! We're both hard-headed as hell, and we have very strong personalities. It takes a special person to put up with a person with my past, as well as my present. It seems as though I may have latched on to that person, and as much as we fuss, in the end, there's nothing but "LUBBINS". I always wanted someone I could look at and think, "She's my strength." How lucky did I get?! Happy 1st anniversary, Baybee!

Last but not least, my kids' birthdays are this week. Trevor will be 16 and Taarna will be 13. GOD I'm getting old! Trevor has a truck waiting for him if he can get his grades up to an acceptable level, and I'll be happy to let him at it. I'm personally tired of it sitting outside and not being driven. To coin a phrase I used to use in the past, "Time...." So, with that said, Happy Birthday to my babies. May the next year of your life be better than the last!

That's enough for now. I keep saying I'll post more frequently, but rarely do. I guess if I posted more frequently, my posts wouldn't be so damn long and drawn out! I hope everyone's having a good year so far...and with that said, I close with my traditional line. Until next time....