WWWHHHYYYY….

…do some people feel like they HAVE to be miserable all the time?

A Turning Point, Part 1

If you read this post then you know that there has been trouble brewing in my relationship with Vengeful Mother for a very long time.  What follows is a re-visitation of what brought that trouble to the fore:

In September of 2004 I was halfway through my third year working for The Company that Created the HMO (just ask ’em) and I had been working as an “Assistant Project Coordinator.”  This was a title that was very much a misnomer as, I hadn’t coordinated any projects.  I was really a lot of things.  I was in charge of safety training for the building.  I had oversight of our Janitorial Contractor.  I was the de facto supervisor of my office when the Facility Services Manager (Douche Bag) was out, I was the guy that everyone came to when they had questions or concerns or needed information.  I was “the man”.  I had been told by Fantastical Engineer that, if The Company that Created the HMO had such a job title, I’d essentially be the Assistant Facility Manager.

Douche Bag had been working on promoting me, but there were some issues that were complicating things.  The promotion he was trying to give me was to “Project Coordinator” (logically).  Only problem was there was a $10,000+ difference between my salary and the minimum salary of that position which meant a 24% raise, which was not going to happen.  At the time it was looking like my choices were to accept the promotion with a 10% raise which would make my salary more than $6000.00 less than the minimum (and I’d never catch up) or they’d attempt to put the promotion through with a 15% raise and  be only $4000.00 short.  But, there was no guarantee that raise would be approved and then they couldn’t resubmit it for 10% meaning I’d been screwed out of the promotion entirely.  In retrospect I realize that might have been the best thing but at the time it certainly didn’t seem that way.  When all was said and done, I was promoted to “Project Specialist” which was in intermediate step that DB didn’t even know about, and I received a 14.5% raise that put me into the appropriate salary range for that position.  Before that happened I was really praying for something to come through and looking for support.  I’d had previous conversations with Vengeful Mother about it and wanted to fill her in on what the developments were.  This conversation took place, via instant message on September 15, 2004:

Self: So the latest is, I get 10% now, I’m still eligible for a merit increase at the end of the year and in march the position gets reviewed and I get bumped up whatever amount to get me to the minimum.  Nothing is definite yet.  Nothing is in writing yet.  But that’s what it looks like.  With the paperwork he’ll (Douche Bag) be submitting a 90 day action plan and goals for me to accomplish in the first 6 months.  If for any reason the position doesn’t get reviewed and bumped up, he can give me an evaluation and another 10% raise.

Vengeful Mother: Sounds like something we can get into agreement about.  Of course you can count on me to say this but…  At the same time you should be plugging the leaks in your blessing dam by getting into church and beginning to tithe and give and so forth.

This is an old song and dance and I just couldn’t take it anymore:

Self: Yep.  I know I can count on you.

VM: Do you understand that I’m right?

Self: What do you expect me to say?

VM: I expect you to answer my question.

Self: Well, I know that’s what we’ve heard all my life, but honestly?  I haven’t seen a whole lot of proof of it.  Not just in my life.  In yours too.  And in Dead Beat Dad’s.  And in CPA Sis’s.

VM: Is the Word of God proof enough?  If nobody else in the world manages to get it right (but many have), it doesn’t change the Word of God or His faithfulness.  We could argue all day about what you’ve seen with your eyes and experienced in your life – But the bottom line decision you (and every one of us) have to make is whether you will take God at his Word and move forward accordingly.  It’s very hard to believe God for His blessings on our lives, when our hearts condemn us because it knows we are not wholehearted in our pursuit of serving Him.  You’re an adult now.  You’re responsible before God for your own life.  Not for somebody Else’s.  As for me, I will never stop seeking to do better at it.  To overcome the things in my background and my subconscious and whatever else is involved that hinder me from victory.

Self: That’s not what I’m saying.  And I’m not saying it’s not true.  But the fact is, I’ve grown up watching you right your tithe check every week.  And at the same time I watched you struggle every day to make ends meet.  I’m not saying that tithing is a bad thing but when it comes down to $50.00 to either get you through the week or give away and never see again and struggle the rest of the week…

VM: I know what you’re saying.  The bottom line question remains the same.  And it isn’t to me you have to answer it.  It’s before God and in your everyday life–

Self: You’re the one that insists on asking me on a daily basis.

VM: What you don’t understand is that, without that tithe, we would have gone under long ago.  You have to decide for yourself.  I’m only trying to remind you.  Redemption is an ongoing process that happens every day of our lives for as long as we live on this earth.  The degree to which it is able to work for us is the degree to which we cooperate with the process by seeking to understand and do the things God has laid out for us in His Word.  I love you and I want to see the best in your life.

Self: Well, what you don’t understand is that I’m working on it every day.  I’m trying very hard but it’s not an easy proposition.  And you really don’t help me.

VM: “Working on it” and “trying very hard”, are so much easier when we put ourselves under the teaching of the Word.  That’s why I want to see you go to church.

Self: You don’t seem to realize though that when you say things like this you make me feel inadequate.  Like you have no confidence in me or in the job you did in raising me.  And that’s a set-back for me.

VM: Dont’ be silly.  You KNOW I have confidence in you, and you know I believe in the way I raised you.  Just put that nonsense aside and understand that putting you in remembrance, as the Apostle Paul put it, is a thing that is good for you.  We all need it, and we are all to do it for each other.

Self: No I don’t.  I never have–

VM: Well you should.  I’ve told you many times.

Self: I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say to that.  Words are one thing.  Actions are another.  You wouldn’t let any of us go to our Senior Prom’s because you felt like the point was to “put young people in the mood.”  But you couldn’t accept that you had raised us better.  You’ve been unsupportive of every potential degree choice I’ve ever had, because you didn’t think I could do it and stay faithful.  You were critical of my choice to live in San Francisco because of the gay community.  And this conversation that we’ve had part of over and over again.  You can say you have confidence but you don’t show it.  You have no idea how much that hurts me.

At this point she had to take a phone call at work and by the time she returned to me I was away from my desk.  When I returned she had signed off her IM but I found the following message waiting for me:

VM: Well.  I’m really sorry you feel that way.  I’m telling you now.  You’ll have to believe me or not.  The choice is yours.  But you do need to forgive and forget a lot of things.  That much is obvious.  You can’t keep nursing grudges and hurt feelings.  They just get bigger and bigger and more and more crippling over time.

And you need to try and see my side of it as well.  It would be much easier for me to not be concerned about you if I knew you were involved in things that build you up spiritually.  You’re no different from anyone else.  The fact that I’m concerned about you is no reflection on you personally.  NO ONE can remove himself from spiritual nourishment and not suffer from it.  And the simple truth is that the Word of God commands us not to neglect “the assembly of [ourselves] together” especially “as [we] see the day [of the return of Christ] approaching.”

It isn’t fair for you to try to say that if I have confidence in you I have to believe that there’s no way you can fall prey to the things that Satan has in place to trip you up or rob you of God’s blessings.  Or to say that if I admonish or remind you of these things it means I don’t have confidence in you.  Neither of those things is true.  I love you.  I have great confidence in you and I’m constantly amazed at your abilities and things you do.

I e-mailed the following response to Vengeful Mother knowing it’d go over by a Lead Balloon, which was, in fact the title of the e-mail:

First of all, you need to understand that I’m not holding any grudges.  I suppose I can understand why you would say that, but that’s no the case.  When I gave the examples I gave, it was simply that, giving examples.  I learned a long time ago not to make sweeping generalizations (especially within this family) without supporting data.  As far as “forgive and forget” goes, I don’t even know what that means.  Forgiveness is a choice and I’ve made that choice over and over again with a lot of people in my life for as long as I can remember.  Forgetting on the other hand doesn’t make any sense to me.  One can’t control what they can and can’t (or do and don’t) remember.  I always assume that scripture to mean that you don’t hold it against someone.  In practical application, I suppose that makes sense, but the reality is that if you pretend it didn’t happen (as is what that scripture implies) than you just leave yourself open to be hurt and taken advantage of over and over again.  So how do you “forgive and forget” but still guard your heart and yourself and not be abused?

You said, “It would be much easier for me not to be concerned about you if I knew you were involved in things that build you up spiritually.“, which in and of itself is a criticism.  You went on to say, “You’re no different from anyone else.  The fact that I’m concerned about you is no reflection on you personally.”  I’d have to disagree with that.  I know you can’t talk to everyone the way you talk to me.  People who aren’t your children and obligated to let you say whatever you want, wouldn’t have it.  At least not as constantly and relentlessly as it has been with me.

NO ONE can remove himself from spiritual nourishment and not suffer from it.”  How in the world can you make the assumption that I get no spiritual nourishment?  You don’t know what I do, or how I spend my time.  You don’t know what I read, or how much time I spend praying or how often I listen to praise and worship music.  And you certainly don’t know where my heart is or how I feel.  The fact is that I do read the books I got at Rhema.  I do read my Bible.  I spent more than a year reading the Bible cover to cover with no interruptions.  I’m not ignorant on the subject.  And I often listen to my RS&B CDs as well as other Praise and Worship CDs.  I’m not saying that’s a substitution for going to church, but as far back as I can remember I haven’t gotten any more out of going to church than I have out of these activities.

And I’m sorry, but it isn’t fair for you to say to me that, “It isn’t fair for [me] to try to say that if [you] have confidence in [me] [you] have to believe that there’s no way [I] can fall prey to the things that Satan has in place to trip [me] up and rob [me] of God’s blessings.”  Because I didn’t say that.  But if you had faith in me, you would assume the best of me instead of assuming the worst.  And you wouldn’t feel the need to constantly make comments and assumptions.  Or, at least you shouldn’t.

What really upsets me about this is I don’t know how to make you understand.  You have no idea the kind of power you hold over me.  It’s hard for me to believe it myself, but it’s true.  You affect everything I do.  My first thought is always, “I wonder what Mom would think”, or “I should tell Mom about this.”  But much of the time, “what Mom would think” is negative.  You don’t realize that I have lived my life for you.  And I know you won’t believe or understand it, but it’s true.  My whole life has been about making you happy and getting your unconditional love and approval and support.  I’ve waited and waited for that, for you to realize it and give me what I need, but it just doesnt’ happen.

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe you love me.  I know you do.  And I know you did the best you could raising us.  I don’t fault you for that in any way.  But just like you don’t know my heart, I can’t know yours.  All I can go by is your actions and your actions have always said that you don’t have faith in me and that you don’t have faith in the job you did of raising me.  If you did have faith in the job you did of raising me, you’d trust that I know what’s right and be a person you could be proud of.  And by the way, just for the sake of clarity, I’m not talking about your confidence in me and my abilities on a physical level.  I’m talking about your confidence in me spiritually and morally.

The thing that bothers me the most about this whole thing is that after having a heartfelt discussion about myself and my feelings and emotions, you simply disregarded them as invalid and proceeded to do the same thing that I just finished telling you was hurting me.  The simple fact that I said, “You have no idea how much that hurts me” should have had some impact.  But it seems you’re more concerned with believing that you’re right and “knowing” that you’re doing the best thing, than you are with how much I need your love and support, not by way of telling me what I should be doing or where I fall short, but by showing with your every action how much you love me and believe in me, just the way I am.

It saddens me to think that I have laid all this bare for you, and I think I know that you will not believe or accept it as accurate.  I wish I knew just the right thing to say to make it so that you will.  But when it’s all said and done, I guess all I can say is, I’ve told you the truth.  I’ve told you how I feel and what I need.  Beyond that I don’t know what to expect.

More of this riveting (I’m sure) story to follow.

A Moment of Clarity; My Mom Manifesto

The time is Christmas, 2003.  The place is Vengeful Mother’s living room.  The players are CPA Sis, Mr. Fixit, Precious Niece #1, Myself and Vengeful Mother. 

Allow me to set the stage for you.  Vengeful Mother lived in a two bedroom duplex, in a town in Oklahoma named for damaged Indian weaponry, for 17 years.  The duplex was small and cluttered, full of odds and ends of all sorts that she’d collected over time.  What she had not collected, unfortunately, was much at all in the way of functional furniture.  VM‘s living room “suit” was made up of a splintered and wobbly, wood framed day bed; a book shelf made of bricks and planks and an entertainment center she’d inherited when friends of Ex Con Older Brother’s stored some items in her house over a Christmas break from college in 1989, only to be killed in a tragic traffic accident driving back from home in Mexico.  The same 19 inch television that had been the “Family Christmas Gift” in 1987 still sat on that entertainment center.   

Within this scene all the players were expected to sit comfortably to watch that small screen and enjoy each other’s company.  While this is plenty enough furniture for Vengeful Mother on any given night, it’s not a comfortable setting for the entire brood.  More often than not, when I would visit VM I ended up sitting on the left end of the day bed, propped up against a mound of pillows and blankets, while VM would sprawl herself out on the rest of the day bed.  Usually, it wouldn’t take long for her to slide her ice cold feet under my precariously positioned legs and when I’d object, I’d be told to be quiet.

Vengeful Mother had waited only a beat or two, before turning the second bedroom of her duplex into an office, after, I, her third and final child, had made my escape.  Fortunately, this meant she also had a rolling task chair which provided an additional seating area.  CPA Sis tends to experience back problems, and, as we had just discovered earlier on that fateful day, was carrying within her Precious Niece #2, so this office chair made for the most appropriate seating option for CPA Sis

Precious Niece #1 was, at this time, about 13 1/2 months old.  She was off of bottles, but unfortuantely, CPA Sis and Mr. Fixit had failed to pack a “sippy-cup” for her before making the trek to Vengeful Mother’s abode.  It became popular opinion that PN1 was thirsty and VM only had bottles in her house.  So, while Mr. Fixit went into the kitchen to prepare a bottle with water, I sat down, temporarily to be sure, on the right end of the day bed, and VM sat in the middle.  CPA Sis was already seated in the office chair and PN1 was standing next to her trying somewhat to get the attention she needed, to get the assistance she needed to alight to her mother’s lap. 

Amidst the various conversation, movement and other chaos that was happening, Mr. Fixit returned to the living room with the bottle of water, walked up behind CPA Sis, placed the bottle against the front of her shoulder, released it, and allowed it to slide down her front to her lap.  The bottle stopped it’s trek when it arrived at her thigh and, naturally, landed on it’s side.  Vengeful Mother, ever the caring nurturer, said, “Oh, honey.  Pick that bottle up before it leaks on you and gets you wet.”  CPA Sis then picked up the bottle and held it out to Precious Niece #1 who showed no interest in it (although everyone was sure she’d been thirsty). 

When Precious Niece #1 rejected the proffered sustenance, CPA Sis reached over and set the bottle down on the daybed, on the left end, where I normally sat.  Now, you’ll recall that I described this day bed as “wobbly”.  It is also a plain, twin sized mattress, that had a 5’4″ 200+ lb woman sitting in the middle of it.  Naturally, the bottle fell over almost immediately…  And, no one seemed to care.  Finally, I said, “Could someone please set that bottle up?”  CPA Sis set it up, but she left it in the same spot, so it immediately fell over again.  I said, “Could someone please move that bottle before it gets the day bed wet?”  This is where this long story, finally gets “interesting”.

Vengeful Mother turned around and looked at me and said, “Just, quit complaining!” 

I said, (Or started to say), “I’m not complaining, but that bottle keeps falling over, and as you already pointed out it’s going to leak, and it’s going to get the day bed wet over there where I always end up sitting.”  I never got it all out though because by the time I got to “…but that bottle…” Vengeful Mother had wheeled around with…  well…  with vengefullness, in her eyes and put her hand up in front of my face.

Now, I’m not saying she was going to hit me.  I really don’t know, ’cause I wasn’t about to giver her the chance.  I pulled my head back and with hatred in my eyes and vicious anger in my voice I said, “DON’T, YOU, DARE!”  Now, you would think this would get her attention and make her think about her behavior in the situation.  You would think… But you’d be wrong.  Vengeful Mother simply squinted her eyes at me in a disdainful look and said, “Well, then, just stop.”  Part of me wishes she had actually hit me, because I do believe that would have been the straw that broke the camels back for me.  And part of me wishes I had said more anyway, but you see…  As I said, “You would think this would get her attention…”  It didn’t get her attention.  What it did do was get Precious Niece #1‘s attention and she looked at me with utter shock and confusion in such a way that broke my heart, and I never want to see again.

Now, this is just the beginning of a much bigger story, one which I’ll happily tell in future posts (lucky you), but the reason this event was “A Moment of Clarity” is this…  When it was over, and I had returned home to sunny California and had some time to think about it, I wrote a Manifesto, of sorts…At least as it applies to Vengeful Mother.  Here it is:

  1. I will not stay with her ever again.
  2. I won’t come to visit again unless I have someplace to stay (i.e. with Mr. Fixit and CPA Sis, another friend’s house, or a hotel) AND a car to drive completely at my disposal while I’m in town, whether it be a retnal or a loaner. (This is somewhat more complicated now, as Mr. Fixit & CPA Sis moved to New York last December.)
  3. I will not be ordered around.
  4. I will not be reprimanded.
  5. I will argue as needed.
  6. I will NOT argue in front of the children.
  7. I will not have a curfew or feel bad for disturbing those who wait up for me.
  8. I will be me and I will not be judged or condemed for my choices or my behavior.
  9. I WILL NOT BE JUDGED, COMDEMED OR STEREO TYPED JUST BECAUSE I’M A MAN!!!
  10. Pursuant to numbers 1-5, 6 (especially) and 9, I will walk out at whatever stage of any arguement or discussion that I see fit.

I realize now, that number 7 probably would not be an issue based on number 1, however it’s been such an issue over the years that it seems wise to keep it in there.

The Entry it Took Two Weeks to Write

I have fallen into almost every job I’ve ever had.  The first job I had was working in the gift shop of the hotel where my mother worked as the hotel managers secretary.  Sure, in high school, I worked at a Hardee’s fast food restaurant for about a year, and then worked as a cashier in a local grocery store, but first of all those are not particularly ambitious jobs, and secondly, they hire any warm body that will apply for those positions.

When I was 19 years old I was engaged to a woman.  We were to marry two weeks before my 20th birthday.  Problem was I did not own a vehicle and was relegated to jobs I could walk to.  The jobs I could walk to couldn’t pay for a car, let alone a life with a wife and child (She had a two year old son.)  We agreed that I’d go to live with my father in Cincinnati, Ohio for six months.  He had a car I could drive (It was my father’s Oldsmobile, despite what the commercials always said.)  With my father’s Oldsmobile, I could drive anywhere and get a job anywhere.  So I went to the mall.  It seemed like a logical next step after the grocery store.

I went into a Men’s Clothing store in the mall that I’d never heard of called Webster Menswear and applied for a job.  I apparently made a good impression on the manager and he wanted to hire me to be his Assistant Manager right then and there, but I was honest with him and told him I was only planning to be in town for six months and that I would be quitting to move back to Oklahoma when the six months were up.  He hired me as a sales clerk and then two weeks later he promoted me to Assistant Manager.

My engagement ended shortly thereafter and I end up staying in Cincinnati for nine months instead of six.  I moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Father’s day, 1995.  Before I left I made contact with the Regional Manager of a different clothing store – owned by the same parent company – called J. Riggings, advised him that I was moving to town and would like to see about interviewing with him if he had any open positions.  As luck would have it, there was a Second Assistant Manager position open at the store in Tulsa and he hired me for it.  I worked for another roughly nine months in Tulsa at Woodland Hills Mall before being promoted to Store Manager at a store at Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City.  Three months after that I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas where I spent the longest nine months of my life managing the store at the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

I hated it there and I felt trapped in that job, like there was no where else for me to go.  So I decided that it was time to go back to school.  I was 22 years old and had no idea what I was going to do with my life but I had to take action.  I quit my job, moved back to Tulsa and into Vengeful Mother’s house.  I applied for a job at one of our favorite restaurants as a waiter.  I figured that would be easy enough money and good flexible hours for a college student.  WRONG!!!  I was the worst waiter you’ll ever encounter in your life!  I forgot things constantly, I was slow getting the orders in and the food out, and I was perpetually sweaty!  Who wants their food served to them by a fat, sweaty guy?  I averaged $2.00 tips on every table and lasted about three months.  Somehow during this time, school never seemed to come to pass.

It was during this time that I decided I wanted to reconnect with my best friend from High School, “Batman”…  Batman was a huge fan of the superhero, stating that he liked him so much because he was just a man and all his “abilities” came from his gadgets and not because of some superhuman trait.  Batman was an artist and he sketched bat signals on his book covers and notebooks on a regular basis.  When his parents bought him a Ford Ranger Splash pick-up truck, he had a Batman symbol custom painted on the tailgate.  I could probably write a whole post about Batman and not scratch the surface, but the bottom line is, I was very attached to him.  I realize now that I was probably in love, but I was in no position to acknowledge or profess that at the time.  Batman was a year younger than I, and when I graduated from high school we lost touch.

So it was when I returned to Tulsa after my stint in Arkansas that I decided to try and locate him.  Turned out to be pretty easy.  I opened up the phone book and there it was.  His distinctive, three-worded, German last name right in the beginning of the Vs.  I wasn’t positive that it was him so I sent him a letter.  A few days later the phone rang and it was his voice on the line.  We made plans to meet for lunch by his work a few days later.

Batman worked for what was then LDDS WorldCom.  We talked about his job and he told me that I could easily get in with the next training class and that he’d put in a good word for me.  A few weeks later I was training in the telecommunications industry to work in the customer service call center.  Much to my dismay, Batman informed me that he and his wife were moving to California a few weeks later.  His wife grew up in Turlock and they were going to move there to be closer to family since his family had moved away from Tulsa already.

Batman had already lined up a job with what was locally known as MFS WorldCom.  He’d pretty well settled in by the time I was nearing the end of my training.  With Batman’s recommendation and assistance, I too got in to MFS WorldCom and moved to California in March, 1998.

When I left MCI WorldCom in March of 2000, I expected to have no problem finding a new job in the telecommunications industry.  How could I?  The whole world runs on phone lines and data connections.  In October of 2000 I started a new job with a small hole in the wall Telecom company in San Carlos, California.  That job lasted 10 months.  The owner was a psycho and he didn’t like me because I didn’t cower before him and jump at his every whim.

On September 15, 2001 I moved in with Green M&M and started looking for a job.  When my unemployment benefits had run out and I still hadn’t found a job I signed up with a local staffing agency.  A week or so after I signed up with them I got a rather excited call from the rep telling me they had a great job for me, working in the Facility Management office of a high rise office building in Downtown Oakland, with a great company and a great manager.  It was a temp job, but I was desperate for full time work and the job was easy so I applied to be the new Administrative Assistant.  Nearly six and a half years later, I still work for The Company that Created the HMO, and still report to Douche Bag.  I’ve been promoted three times now, and I’m not an Administrative Assistant anymore, but the last promotion came when I was ordered to take on an entirely new set of responsibilities, despite the fact that I’d been very vocal about the fact that I did not want to do that work.  I wasn’t asked, or offered.  I was ordered and if I wasn’t happy about it I could quit.  I had every intention of it…  If I could just find something new.  It’s been three years.  I hate my job and I really want out.  But I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to proactively get myself a job and I don’t know what I would want to do if I did.

What, you might ask, is the point of all this?  Well, more than once it has been the topic of my therapy sessions: “I hate my job.”  “I want a new job.”  “I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”  “I don’t know the right steps to take to find a new job that I’ll be happy with.”  This is all very true, but the biggest issue has always been finding something that I’d be happy to make a career out of.  I have fears and insecurities about all the things I’ve ever considered and most of it requires educational experiences I do not have.

Lately I’ve really been thinking more about creative things.  You see, when I was young I wanted to be an actor.  If you’ve read this blog before you know this already.  The problem is, I have no confidence in my abilities anymore.  I took some drama classes in high school and I really enjoyed it, but I stopped and I’ve regretted it ever since.

Eight or nine years ago, I took an acting class from a man named Ed Hooks.  Ed was an actor in his earlier days, but hadn’t worked in years.  I now know that he didn’t have a terribly illustrious career (although I did see him on an episode of Quantum Leap on DVD the other day.)  Anyway, Ed was moving to Chicago and I knew going into it that my time in his class was short term.  During those few months I attended this man’s acting classes, I lost all of my remaining confidence in my ability to act.  I know I had a lot of growing to do and I wanted to do it but it’s hard, and Ed’s criticism always made me feel like I didn’t have the ability.  I’d like to think that my time in therapy has helped but I’m not sure that I’m any more able to be comfortable making a fool of myself than I was then…

Most of my formative years I was a singer.  I was in choir most of my school years and at church.  I love to sing.  And before my balls dropped– er puberty hit, my voice was pretty good.  I had solos regularly.  But something happened as the bottom started dropping out of my vocal chords and my voice became weaker, and my range far more limited.  I still sing all the time (in the shower, in the car, in places where no one can hear me, usually.)  Yeah, I have an OK enough voice that most people aren’t bothered by my singing, but I’m not any kind of performer.

I don’t have any dancing experience, and though I do have rhythm I’m not particularly confident on that front either.

All that is to say that I have been thinking a lot lately that I’d really like to get involved in musical theater or television and movies, but I don’t have the skills or the confidence to go for it.  I’m aware that there are classes I can take, but they cost money and I don’t have it.  Plus I spent my entire childhood living in poverty, and in the last few months things have been really, really tight.  I just can’t imagine how I could possibly take any cut in pay, financially, or emotionally.

So that’s my dilemma.  The only thing my entire life I’ve ever imagined I could be happy doing, is the one thing that I’m afraid to go for.  So I stay in my lousy job, with my decent, but not great, salary, and horrible working conditions, because I don’t know how I could possibly go for the one thing I want, and I don’t know what job to fall into next!

I Have an Evil Confession to Make

There is a small part of me that hopes that John McCain win’s in November, just so I can make snide comments about “President Comb-Over.”

What Happened with the Bathroom Transformation?

For those of you who are interested in my bathroom transformation (and there seem to be a lot) I don’t mean to have dropped the ball on the topic.  The bulk of the job is finished with just a few final issues to be resolved.  Adorable Little Contractor will be back tomorrow to finish up with the loose ends.

Wheeler Dealer Land Lady had the drain mechanism replaced in the tub.  It is now a sparkling clean chrome drain and overflow/switch (no more plug on a chain.)  That was last Tuesday.  Then Friday and Saturday “Mr. Bathtub” came to refinish the porcelain bathtub.  I didn’t even know it was possible for it to be white again.  The damn thing is GLEAMING!!!  I almost don’t want to use it.

Tomorrow ALC comes back to finish the grout on the shower surround around the tub.  WDLL wanted the tub refinished before he did that.  He will be installing the shower curtain “rod”.  It’s actually a track that is ceiling mounted, instead of a rod mounted to the tile.   I’m happy with this except that it means standard length shower curtains won’t work so well.  I’ve bought a length of chain from The Home Depot and I’m going to suspend the shower curtain from the track so that I can use standard length shower curtains (Extra long ones are extra pricey).  He also has to replace the new light switch with the old light switch.  The new one is an occupancy sensor which is lovely but not needed.  It also has a dimmer switch in it and as a result the lights make a high pitched ringing sound that drives me insane!  So I told WDLL it has to go.

Anyway, I figured since the job was all but done, it was better to wait till it was 100%, take my final “after” shots and post my final Bahtroom Transformation entry.  Sorry to any or all of you who might be waiting with baited breath, but I promise the end result is coming soon.  Thanks for your patience.  🙂

I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with My iPhone.

When the iPhone first came out, I scoffed at the whole thing.  The lines, the outrageous price tag, the low capacity, the having everything in one device, everything.  Majority got one when they first came out and Unsvelt Girl Who Runs went on and on about how cool they were (but she didn’t get one).  I already had a 60G iPod that I’d gotten a year earlier and a cell phone that was old and worn out and needed to be replaced but didn’t have to cost $500.00 to do so.  I just didn’t think it made sense to buy an iPhone.

And then HE came in.  He is beautiful.  Must be nearly seven feet tall, but might as well be 20.  Slim, rugged good looks, soothing soft spoken voice and noticeably lacking in the abject pretension that I’ve grown accustomed to dealing with in my company.  Also, he’s black, so if the stereotype holds…  Perhaps I’d never go back.  And again, he has children, (I assume a wife) and he’s probably straight as a rule– well, a yard stick.  None the less, the day get’s a little brighter when he walks in the door.  He works for our in-house construction “company” and is, therefor, someone I deal with regularly. (Sidebar:  Hmmm.  Fantastical Engineers, Adorable Little Contractors and Beautiful Construction Workers!  I seem to like the rugged ones don’t I?  Don’t know what that’s about…  Anyway!)

The first conversation I ever remember having with him was about his iPhone.  He had an iPod Nano attached to his shirt, and an iPhone in his pocket.  We discussed the fact that he doesn’t put his music on his iPhone.  “Then what’s the point,” I wondered.  He told me how he’d dropped his first iPhone down an elevator shaft, and though he had paid so much money for it, and though they don’t offer replacement plans for them he “had” to have another one.  And then he let me play with it.

Nice as it might be, there was no double entendre there. I played with his iPhone for a few minutes.  After that, I was hooked.  That very day I ran out, with my “new cell phone fund” and bought my very own 16G iPhone.  I couldn’t wait to get it home and activate it and load it up and have my new functioning iPhone.  Activation was a piece of cake.  I had my phone service switched to the new phone in less than 10 minutes.  I love my iPhone.  The music on the other hand was a nightmare. I hate my iPhone.

I started to sync my music and it was dragging.  Taking several seconds for each song.  It loaded about 300 songs (I have over 3000) and it errored out.  I hate my iPhone.  I restarted it and it picked up where it left off.  This time it ws going faster (I love my iPhone) but it still was taking hours.  When I finally gave up to go to bed, I found that it still had about 800 songs to go.  I left it to finish and I went to bed. I hate my iPhone.

Out of my 300+ albums, my iTunes has located album art for all but about 12-15 of them.  I was looking forward to listening to my new iPhone, and enjoying the larger view of the album art and the “cover flow” feature.  Imagine my dismay when I picked up my phone the next morning and found that only the first 300 songs had album art and all the rest of the albums had the “no art” graphic of the music notes. I love my iPhone.  I hate my iPhone.

I had no time to deal with it, I had to go to work.  I would try again that evening.  That evening the exact same thing happened.  This time I was determined to babysit it!  I was awake until after 2:00 in the morning, only to find that the exact same scenario played out again.  I hate my iPhone.  So I did what any one would do.  I called in sick to work so I could fix it.  🙂 Any excuse not to go to work.  I love my iPhone!

I ended up having to uncheck all the music in my library and then recheck them a group at a time (I did alphabetically) and sync it and then resync it and then re-resync it, over and over again until I had all the music on my iPhone with the album art.  I hate my iPhone.  It took a lot of jumping through hoops to do it but once it was set up it was great and I loved my new iPhone. I was even rational enough to know that I was dealing with an Apple product and it was only a matter of time before something bigger and better (and cheaper) came out.  This was in April.  I didn’t know then about the 3G model, but I knew it was only a matter of time…

So it came as no surprise when I heard about the “twice as fast for half the price” 16G iPhone 3G.  And then I found out about the 2.0 version of the software for my archaic iPhone.  It’s new and exciting! Of course I had to load it up!

I did not know that this new software would wipe my iPhone clean and then take hours to load.  This was yet another overnight endeavor.  I hate my iPhone.  But when it was done all my music was there, and I had the Apps store!  I lay in bed for three hours that Saturday morning, surfing the apps store, and loading every free application I thought I might even be sort of interested in, I could always delete them later if I wanted to.  I love my iPhone.  Downloading software version 2.0 was the worst thing I’ve ever done with my iPhone.  It’s just been one problem after another!  I hate my iPhone!

A month or two ago, there was an update to the software.  Version 2.0.2.  I went ahead and downloaded that because it must only be an improvement, right?  Now my updates won’t download.  The Apps store tells me there are updates and right now I have this lovely little red circle with a white 5 in it hovering over the corner of my Apps Store button.  But if I try to install the updates it tells me that I’ve already “purchased” this application and that if I’m having trouble downloading the App, I should select “check for purchases” in iTunes.  I hate my iPhone.  When I follow these instructions I get an error message from iTunes telling me that some of my Applications couldn’t load because there was an “unknown error”.  I’ve gotten this message before, and the number of applications not loading properly is growing.  I hate my iPhone.

So last night, for the third or fourth time, I connected my iPhone to my computer to try and resolve this issue with iTunes.  For the second time, iTunes reflected the 10+G of music I have as “other”.  I disconnected my iPhone from my computer and went into the iPod function.  “You have not loaded any music.” it says. (I’m sure I’m paraphrasing.)  Bullshit I didn’t load any music.  I don’t have 12G of “other” on here.  So I had to restore my iPhone.  I hate my iPhone. I have had to “restore” my iPhone on three separate occasions, and the only good thing I can say is that the first two times my music reloaded with no issues.  (I love my iPhone?)

I started the restore process on my iPhone last night at around 5:30 p.m.  iTunes loaded about 300 songs and errored out.  I looked in iPod and the music was there but with no album art.  I restarted the sync and it picked up where it left off.  I hate my iPhone.  I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. and it was still syncing.  I hate my iPhone.  I got up at 7:00 this morning and looked at my computer.  No longer syncing.  I wasn’t sure if it was done or not so I restarted the sync and it started loading music again.  It had over 800 of my over 3000 songs to load.  I walked away and started my morning routine.  When I left for work at 8:20 it had only loaded about 120 songs.  I had to manually stop it so I could leave.  I hate my iPhone.

Ironically, all the music it loaded in my second attempt last night, and my third attempt this morning does have album art.  I love my iPhone a little bit.  The first three hundred songs however, have no album art.  I’ll have to uncheck those albums resync my phone, let it delete those albums and sync the last 700+ songs and then recheck those albums and resync it again!  If all goes well, it’ll load all the remaining music and all the album art that goes with it.  If all does not go well, I may pull a Russell Crowe and throw my iPhone at the head of one of the “Geniuses”.  I hate my iPhone.

For those of you keeping score at home, there are far more hates than there are loves.  But at $500.00, I better love the hell out of my iPhone.

The truth is, I love my iPhone.  I really love the concept of my iPhone.  And if and when they get all these bugs worked out, I will petition the state of California for a marriage license for me and my iPhone.  But until that happens, my iPhone is my bitch!  It complicates my life.  It’s uncooperative.  It points and laughs at me.  And it tells me that I’ll never be truely happy.

Come to think of it, I think I am my iPhone’s bitch.