Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Karma for me, or karma against me?

It has been a long time since my last post (as usual), but I just had to get on here and tell a story. I recently received an email from a technology headhunter that has the potential to change our lives forever--in a GOOD way. We have always been one to believe in karma, and this is no exception.

You see, we always try to do the right thing--we obey traffic laws, we pay taxes every time, we donate time and money to charities, we help those who want to help themselves, and we work really, really hard. We don't ask for anything that we didn't earn, and we're all about playing it fair--good or bad. So, I got an email last week offering me the possibility of a job. Not just "a job", but this is a job that could potentially pay as much as FIVE TIMES my current salary. Yeah...that's a 5, as in, the number after FOUR. The catch? It's in Afghanistan, supporting our military men and women stationed there, maintaining their networks, computers and laptops.

The job hasn't been given to me as of yet, but I have made it through the first stage. My former military time has pushed me toward the front of the line for stage 2. I am hopeful that the fact that I'm willing to relocate right away will put me at the front of the line, as a lot of people just don't have the desire to go to a country in conflict like Afghanistan.

Let me tell you something. For that kind of money, I believe it's worth it. First off, if it's good enough for my military men and women, why isn't it good enough for me? I ask them to protect me, so the least I can do is make their life a little less stressful, and maybe allow them a little family time on Skype. It also affords me the ability to get almost completely out of debt in the span of one year. That alone is enough for me. After scratching and scrounging for every dollar we have, it's time for us to relax and enjoy our lives. This could be the opportunity to do just that.

So, I will update you soon enough with the outcome. It could be good...it could be bad. Let's hope for the former! Until next time....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The end of an era

May 24, 2011. The day 18 years in the making. My daughter finally graduated from high school. In what could be classed as one of the poorest-coordinated ceremonies ever known to man, the ceremony is held on a Tuesday night, scheduled to begin at 8:30. At 8:50, the people are still coming in, but they start anyway. The speakers are brief, the diplomas are done...and then comes the scholarships. They could have just read the number of recipients and the total amount awarded, but NO...they read each and every scholarship awarded to each and every recipient, including college name, city and state. Keep in mind, this is a Tuesday night. We leave at 10:45 because we're just exhausted. At 11:45, my daughter pulls up outside. The ceremony went on until 11:20! Congratulations, LRSD, on your ability to screw up something as simple (and sacred?) as a high school graduation. God, what a bunch of morons.

Then I come to find out that my first born, who signed up with the Air Force just over a year ago, is coming home--permanently. No explanation as of yet, but since when does the USAF just "send people home" during war time? Especially those that are only one year into a six year enlistment?! Yeah, there's something rotten in the refrigerator. But we'll delve more into that later.

I told him years ago that his path couldn't be more parallel to mine...and damn, if that's not the truth! The difference--I had a work ethic, some pretty good job skills, a little motivation, and the desire to get a college degree. He has none of those. Call me an asshole for saying it, but as I always say, "It ain't mean if it's true." So, he's coming home next week, just under five years before his enlistment is due to end. What does one do then? Move back in with mommy, get a part-time job, and make another half-assed attempt at going to a community college to earn an associate's degree in something. Yeah...this has disaster written all over it. But I digress...

On another note, I did finally get that knee surgery I've been needing so desperately for so long. As it turns out, my patella groove (where it articulates with the femur and the tibia) has worn all of the cartilage off, and it's now a bone-on-bone articulation. The reason my knee would 'lock' when it sat stationary was because of this highly-painful condition. So, he went in and cleaned that up as best he could, repaired a couple of cartilage tears, and vacuumed out all of the 'trash' that had accumulated in the 20 years since my ACL/MCL repair in 1992. As it stands, I'll probably have to have the knee rebuilt (again) in 3-5 years...but at least I can hold out a bit longer before it comes to that. What a mess.

Hail from the storm on 4/19/11
Tornadoes, rain (LOTS of rain, floods...this has been the story this spring. More off all of these than we've had in a very, very long time. Spring isn't quite over yet, but perhaps all of the bad weather will be. I'm not ready for the 100ยบ+ temps this summer, but at least we've made it to June without any extreme heat. And if that wasn't bad enough, we had a HAIL storm that knocked holes in the roof! Here's a picture of the hail--it's HUGE! And yes...we're getting the roof replaced. Thanks, Shelter Insurance!

With that said, I think I'm done for now. Summer is coming, and it's going to get hot. Wow. So, until next time...

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Life and its curve balls

So, here it is, April of 2011. Where are we now? When you look at all of the trappings of the "typical family", you wonder...what if this is as good as it gets?

We now possess four cars. Four. Why? Because we feel some incessant need to drive? No...because that's what we do. We buy stuff, whether we need it or not. We live in a house with a (low rate) huge mortgage, we work at least a half-dozen jobs each, and we still find that we're only a couple of paychecks away from being flat-ass broke. Is this the "American way" that everyone seems to proclaim? How? Since when is working every fucking day of the week, 12 months a year, considered the "American way"? When is it OUR time? But I digress...

You see, it's that credit monster. We like our credit, but we hate our credit cards. Does that make sense? That's like hating your drug dealer, but loving his drugs. Hypocritical, at best. But yet, we continue to worship the credit gods, sending them thousands and thousands of dollars a month, in hopes that the illusive 'payoff day' will soon come around. In some cases, it has. We're not nearly in the bind we were a couple of years ago, but we're still in pretty tight with those high-interest death cards.

So where does it end? Do we win the lottery and pay it all off? Or do we just continue to pay like lemmings until we either die or a rich uncle leaves us a huge inheritance? Meh...I guess time will tell.

I've found myself feeling rather melancholy this week after receiving a photo montage DVD from my sister. It was a photographic chronology of my other dad's life, set to some pretty sappy music. I find myself missing him every day, and the DVD simply brought it home. I called my mom and talked to her, only to hear that she has begun to shed some of the trappings that she and John had accumulated in their 35 short years together. Perhaps that is where my whole mood comes from. I am rapidly approaching that "middle age" mark, and the family that I so desperately want to spend time with, I find that I can't because of my financial obligations at home.

My memories of my childhood and seeing those pictures flash by...simply makes it all the more bigger. My kids are growing up and moving on, and I wonder if I have had as much quality time with them as John had with the five kids he raised. The worst part? I know the answer is "no"...

Alas, my lifestyle is calling. I guess the "Cat's in the Cradle" now, and it's time for me to go to work. Until next time...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snowmageddon...followed by Snowpocalypse

Well, it's certainly been a good year for winter in Arkansas. We have what the TV people are now calling a 'major snow event' on January 9, bringing a whopping 6" of snow, along with some really cold temps, keeping us socked in for a few days and giving us some snow days to make up at the end of the school year! It was certainly a nice surprise to see the glistening snow on the ground, even if only for a few days. But alas, as it goes in Arkansas, the snow was gone within a few days, and temps soared into the 60s and 70s within a week.

Fast forward to February, when yet another 'snow event' rears its head. This one skirted north of us, leaving us with only an inch or two of snow, which was gone the next day. It was sloppy, it was slushy, it was too warm. Again, it's Arkansas--not so rare here.

Just as the meteorologists are saying that would be winter's last big blast, I checked the models. They disagreed. Several days later, another 'major snow event' bore down on us, bringing us another 6" of snow, but dumping two feet on some just north of us. Really? Two feet of snow? In Arkansas? And the kicker--temps dropped to low teens, then to single digits, assuring the snow would last for a few days. Three more snow days are in the books, and people are beginning to complain about cabin fever, icy driving, blah blah blah...

Just color me 'happy' for seeing any winter at all! Lots of cold temps and 14" of snowfall over the past month? Yeah, I'm good with that. Which is probably a good thing, since they're predicting 70s and sunny within a week. Sounds like winter is losing its grip. I'm sure we'll see some more 'minor snow events' before it's all said and done, but as far as 'major'...I think that should be it. BUT, it's still very early in the Arkansas winter, and this place is known for some really odd extremes. I say BRING IT ON...even if it doesn't show. I love this shit, and I don't care what anyone says!

Anything else going on? Nope. It's been a slow month. We've had 6 snow days, and it's been very busy in between. New York City trip is coming up in a couple of weeks--that should be fun, since I've never been! With that said, I'll wrap it up. Until next time....