Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What a day

Yesterday was one of the worst days I've had in my professional life. It started when I got into work and found a network download had quite a few bugs working themselves out at the expense of the branch system. We kept bouncing from on and offline all day, and for the majority of the afternoon we hovered in this weird limbo place where we thought we were online only to get booted off right when we'd get close to the end of our task. All in the name of progress, right?

I can usually handle the stress of system/computer issues. Our bank does an update or download about six times a year and I haven't seen one go without some sort of hiccup. You just calm down the customers and try to get by. Not a big deal, all-in-all. But to add to that already big headache, I had to drive 45 minutes to meet with my boss and our collective boss. (Hereafter called boss 1 and boss 2.) I have a tendency to weave a good conspiracy theory now and then, so I hesitate to say this next thing for fear that no one will believe me. But I'm pretty sure my boss(1) set me up to look like a fool.

Our bank just got re-organized into a new district at the beginning of the year. With that, we got a new boss(2). Yesterday was our first one-on-one with her to discuss the branch trends, sales, goals, and all that other boring bank crap. I asked my boss(1) what I should bring to the meeting. He said, "Nothing. This is probably just an informal meeting." As soon as she (2) sat down, she started reviewing numbers and reports, of which I had brought none. I looked across at my boss (1) as he brought out a stack of reports and figures for himself. In other words, he was prepared and I wasn't. I looked like a complete fool. I hate that. You have no idea how much I hate that.

The first thing most people would think was that I should've called him out. But if you've ever spent any time in the corporate world, you'd know the only thing that does is make you look even more incompetent. Like you need a babysitter to do your job correctly. So I didn't say anything. I did what I could to keep up. The meeting went into a bunch of other stuff I won't bore you with that only made the day even worse. Let's just say the %?#! was definitely rolling downhill. I returned to the office to find the computers even worse and the line of customers at my office even longer.

I made it home alive though. I rarely take work home, physically or mentally. And I'm not one of those people that need a beer or two to get over the day. But last night I stopped and got some Great Lakes seasonal Conway's Irish Ale and enjoyed a couple bottles. It was definitely what I needed to calm me down.

On a completely unrelated note, I haven't been seeing too many deer on the way home from work due to hunting season, longer days, etc. But yesterday I saw 66 deer! That's right....SIXTY SIX!!!!! 4 on the way to work, 57 on the way home, and 5 on the way to Ell's brother & sister-in-law's house. Is that amazing or what? 66!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Taking a break

For a month or so, I've been hearing a lot about the fact that no one's been blogging. Kim commented about it a week or so ago, Ell posted on the topic, Andrew mentions it often, my Dad just quit posting altogether...... I could go on and on. And the reasons I've heard for people not posting are just as plentiful as the people that aren't doing it.

My first reaction to people not posting is usually sadness mixed with a little bit of frustration. I love seeing people's updates and hearing what's happening in their lives. So when people don't write for a week or a month or six months, I feel like I'm really missing out. I know I've talked about this before, but recently I've had some new thoughts about the topic.

My dad hasn't posted since October or November. I asked him why and he responded with, "Why write? No ones reading it anyway!" In other words, he's just like most of us....... a comment whore. I don't mean that in a bad way. We look for them, we want them, we love them. (Most of us anyway.) We enjoy seeing that people are reading our stuff.

But besides that, I also realize that no one feels like they have anything exciting to post. I actually hear that one thing more than anything. Winter does that to people. They get bored, they get stuck in ruts, and some people actually get depressed. Older generations called it Cabin Fever. And it's not uncommon at all. (Another reason I'm not the biggest fan of winter.)

I'm not heading anywhere with my thoughts. Just some observations I guess. Please don't take any of this as mean, just some brain farts. I have a whole bunch of things I want to write about, but this was on my mind this morning. Love ya all!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Funny

I usually post a joke or a limerick or a one-liner, but I thought I'd share an ad from the local newspaper in the one horse town I work in. I swear I'm not making this up, in fact I'll save it in case someone wants to see it!

Paid $100, sell for $75;
Received as gift, cannot use.

So besides the obvious funny that this person is too fat to fit into an ab machine, did they buy it or did they get it as a gift?

To make this an even better funny, the following ad was right below...

used twice, $40
Lewis Veton handbag, new, $50

Even though it's cheaper, do you really want a machine that's all sweaty b/c the person was too fat to use it more than twice? But forget that, they have a REAL Lewis Veton handbag at an awesome price!!!!!!! What are the chances?

(BTW, it's spelled Louis Vuitton for those of you who are calling me for the actual number.)

Have a great weekend everyone. :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ten Years

I watched a TV show last Sunday night where a group of five college friends got together for a reunion of sorts. They spent the weekend talking about their past dreams, their goals, their ambitions, and where they were now in relation to all those things. Then some murders happened and there was a bunch of flashbacks and one of them stole one of the other's identities, it was all very confusing! But the reunion part of the show hit a nerve and was eerily relevant to my life that weekend.

Saturday night was our tenth annual Jamaican Party. What an awesome night! Some people said it was the best one yet. Everyone was dressed up (or down in some cases,) Ell's cooking was amazing as usual, the Red Stripe was chilled just right, the games were so funny, all in all a fantastic night.

Ten years. Wow! That means that many of us at the party will have our tenth wedding anniversary this summer. (You know, the eleven weddings in six months; nine in three months.) On the TV show, the characters were upset with themselves and each other that they hadn't lived up to their potential. And even more upset that they had compromised on the beliefs and standards they promised they'd never waver on. Since I dissect everything and try to apply it to my life, I started wondering if our 11 couples had done the same compromising. Are we living the lives we said we'd live? Have we stuck to our convictions in the face of all adversity? Has having children and mortgages and careers made us boring or are we still the crazy kids we were: on fire for love and faith and hope?

Even though almost no one from that circle of friends reads this rag, I'm not going to go down the list and say who's changed the most and who the least. But I will say that many of them are shells of the people they once were. Their lives are shells of the dreams they once had. Few are still on fire for anything. And most have morphed into at least one thing or another they swore they'd never be. I'd like to say I'm not one of them, but I know I am. Why'd we quit? Why'd we give up? And only after ten years? I could see if we were old and had taken a lifetime to change, but only ten years? Pathetic.

I swear I'm not gonna let it get worse. I may have to live a boring life b/c of our finances and my devotion to getting Ell through school, but I will not stop dreaming. I will not stop hoping and praying. I still a little fire down inside of me I refuse to let go out. I refuse to sit down after the 20th Jamaican Party and feel like I did Sunday night. Not about myself. It won't happen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


This is going to be a graphic post, just a warning.

Last week when Ell and I were trying to dig out our cars and driveway, I felt a little pain above my groin. I knew what that pain was. In the winter of 1996 I got a bad cold. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, the works. I was working at the nursery and was outside most of the day, so the cold lasted almost six weeks. As a result of the cold, I developed a inguinal hernia. It's a tear in the stomach wall above the penis. The hole normally comes from the constant pressure on the groin muscles from sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, or strained bowel movements. I had been doing all but the last one for six weeks straight. Anyway, if the hole in the stomach muscle gets big enough, some of the intestines and colon can slip through it into the nut sack. I was young and poor without health insurance, so I never had it looked at or repaired. It hurt pretty bad when I was digging up trees or anything using a shovel, but other than that I kind of forgot about it. It got worse and bigger when I stocked drywall for 4 and 1/2 years, but still kind of painless. I was married in '97, and it didn't effect my sexual performance, so I didn't care that I had a grapefruit sized ball sac. The only real side effects of having your intestines where your balls should be, are finding pants that fit, and never having solid stool. In fact, I spent 4 years having what could best be described as diarrhea when I pooped.

Skip ahead to 2002. We finally had health insurance, horrible though it was, and we decided to get my hernia checked out. We were referred to a doctor who turned out to be one of the leading specialists in hernia repair. He was a Canadian who came to the Cleveland Clinic Health System to perfect his trade. He took me as a patient, and in September of 2002, he operated on the largest hernia the Cleveland Clinic had done that year. Not something I'm particularly proud of. Even though he specialized in surgeries with about a one week recovery time, the intensity of my hernia and the operation put me up for about a month and a half. But it worked. Besides a stretched-out ball sack and a depleted sex drive, I was back to normal.

Then last Wednesday, as I shoveled out snow from underneath my car on the fourth or fifth time it was buried, I felt a tear right where my surgery scar was. It was a minor pain, so I kept working. Stupid, huh? It took four hours but we got both cars out. The pain was bearable, so I took it easy for a couple days. I cut some firewood, we had a party on Saturday, and I vegged out on Sunday. Monday morning I was off work for President's Day, and I ventured outside early to cut some firewood. The pain in my groin intensified to the point I almost couldn't stand up. I took a shower, and sat down in my lazy-boy to take it easy. That made the pain worse. I couldn't stand up straight, so I lay down in bed. Even worse. The pain was taking my breath away. I couldn't move at all. I crawled to a chair and tried to tell Ell I needed help. I couldn't talk or focus my eyes or even breath. The pain was horrible.

Ell was worried that another hernia had happened and that there was some strangulation. That meant immediate surgery or possible death. I'm glad she's gonna be a nurse, but that was information I didn't need to hear. She made some phone calls and somehow got an appointment with the doctor who had done my surgery. I don't how she did it, b/c he usually has a 2 or 3 month waiting list. We drove the hour and a half to Cleveland and I hobbled into the office. He felt and probed and pushed on my nuts, the scar, and my groin. He told me it wasn't another hernia or even a tear in the repairs he'd done on the previous one. He said I probably had a rather significant tear in the scar tissue. Like a muscle cramp, that scar tissue needed to be worked out and stretched. So he told me to do exactly the opposite of what I thought he'd say.... "Stay busy. Keep moving. Keep active."

So despite the fact that the pain sometimes comes in waves so strong it takes my breath away and I cry out, I'm trying to move around and stay busy. It sucks, but hopefully it makes it better. I'll let you know.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Funny

I'm not sure where I got this joke; it's been on my desk for months. Better late than never, right? This one's high-larious!

A wife emails tech support for marriage counseling...

Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed that the new program began making unexpected changes to the accounting modules, limiting access to flower and jewelry applications that had operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 un-installed many other valuable programs such as romance 9.9, but installed undesirable programs such as NASCAR 4.0, NFL 5.0, NBA 3.0, and MLB 7.2. Conversation 8.0 no longer runs and HouseCleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.
Signed, Desperate Wife

--------Reply Separator--------

Dear Desperate Wife,
Keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an entertainment package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Try to enter the command: C:/I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME and install Tears 6.2. Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Guilty 3.0 and Flowers 7.0. But remember, overuse can cause damage, with Husband 1.0 defaulting to GrumpySilence 2.5, HappyHour 7.0, or Beer 6.1. Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will create "Snoring Loudly" wave files.

Be especially cautious about the HotChik virus; it's programmed to corrupt Husband 1.0 utterly as well as all future Husband upgrades.

Do not install MotherInLaw 1.0 or reinstall another Boyfriend program. These are not supported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. Consider buying additional software to improve performance. I personally recommend HotFood 3.0, Lingerie 5.3, and Keep-A-Nice-Body 10.1. Good luck.
Tech Support

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Just One Day?

Ell and I took a day off work yesterday, not for illness,..... we couldn't get out of our driveway! Ell worked on getting up to a 1/2 inch of ice off the cars, and I spent about four hours shoveling and pushing and digging and piling the white stuff so we could make it onto the road. It wasn't fun. I may have even aggravated an old surgery injury. But that's another story. Whenever I work alone outside my mind starts to wander and I usually end up thinking about various psychological scenarios of life. Yesterday's thoughts started with the questions, "Why am I even bothering to dig out? Do I really need to go anywhere? Is work really all that important that it can't do without me for a day or two?" All of which took me to another thought.

Our world has gotten so fast paced and hectic that it almost seems impossible to take a day off from anything. Work is so stinking important we can't miss it. The kid's activities are so vital they can't skip a single event. And so much more. Most of those thoughts revolve around the pressures that are placed on us and sometimes we place on ourselves. We see so many things still going and happening and we almost feel lazy or that we'll be left behind or lose something if we don't go about our daily schedules. Even in the face of roads that are impassable or temperatures that are deadly.

But what if.........think about this for second.........what if......... everything, everywhere, for an entire day, was closed?! (I'm not talking about emergency services, just everything else.) Schools, businesses, churches, community events and centers, gas stations, everything. There was no where you could go and no where to be. I almost wonder if we could handle it in 2007. Could we? Could people make their own food and not depend on the restaurant they always go to for breakfast? Or lunch and dinner? Could parents be creative enough to entertain the kids without just plopping them in front of the tube? Could husbands and wives remember how to have a good conversation that lasted more than a minute? Could young people spend quality time with their family instead of always having to be on the go? Could it happen?

I have to think that some people just couldn't do it. They'd be restless and whiny and depressed. How sad is that? How sad that so many people have lost the ability to relax and just enjoy life. I hate winter and I hate having to deal with the byproduct of the season, but yesterday was an awesome day. I had breakfast with my wife for the first time in a long time. We sat around and talked for a long time. When we finally got out of the driveway, we leisurely strolled through the grocery store with no time pressures. (I know, against my question, big picture please!) We enjoyed not having to be anywhere or do anything. I spent an entire 24 hours with my wife for the first time in years and years. It was great.

The STUFF in life ain't that big a deal, people. Take some time and smell the roses. That thing you had to do will still be there tomorrow. And if not you didn't need it anyway. And if I've never said it before, all of you are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Funny

I know hunting season is over in most parts of the country, but this joke is too good to wait until next season. Enjoy...

For the first time in many years, all the guys were able to hunt at the deer camp. Since it was crowded they had to bunk two men to each room. No one wanted to room with Greg because he snored really loud. They knew it wasn't fair to make one of them stay with him the whole time, so they decided to take turns.

The first guy who roomed with Greg came to breakfast the next morning with his hair messy and his eyes bloodshot. Shocked at his appearance one of them asked, "Man, what happened to you?" He said, "Greg snored so loudly I just sat up and watched him all night."

The next night it was a different guy's turn. In the morning. he came to breakfast looking the same as the first guy. When asked how it was, he answered, "That Greg shakes the roof. I sat up and watched him all night."

The third night it was Frank's turn. Frank was an ex-football star and easily the biggest and burliest man of the group. He came to breakfast the next morning looking clean and well rested, but Greg looked like he hadn't slept a wink. The rest of the guys couldn't believe their eyes. They asked Frank, "Why do you look so different from the last two guys? What happened?" Frank said, "Well, as Greg laid down last night, I went over and tucked him into bed and kissed him goodnight on the forehead. I slept through the night but I think Greg sat up and watched me all night!"

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hope in the face of tragedy

According to an AP story in the paper today, a judge in Texas sentenced a man on two counts of murder. He killed his pregnant girlfriend, and the court ruled that he murdered both the woman and the unborn child. While it is a horrible thing that he murdered someone, it was a blow to the abortion-rights community that the unborn child was deemed a human being and not just a part of the woman's body. I'm not happy that someone had to lose their life for this decision, but that's what happened. I know abortion is a touchy subject, and I know that some of my readers are not in agreement that abortion is murder. But it's what I believe and what I support. So I rejoiced that the man was sentenced for both murders and that the unborn child was granted the same justice as the mother. Texas joins a number of states (I apologize I don't know the exact number) that are starting to recognize the life of the unborn child as being legitimate and real.

Another aspect I hesitate to share b/c of the obvious backlash it will have on the Christian community is the fact that the murdered woman was 16 and the killer was her youth pastor and her boyfriend. I'm sure the left-biased media will have a field day ripping apart the church in an attempt to discredit Christians everywhere. And in the commotion the issue of the unborn child's rights will be ignored. Sad. The whole situation. Very sad.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Funny

Five best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:

5. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

4. "This is just the 15 minute power nap they raved about in that time management class you sent me to."

3. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Whiteout. You probably got here just in time."

2. "Did you ever notice the sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?"

And the number one best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk...

1. "In Jesus' name, Amen."

Have a great weekend everyone!