Tuesday, March 25, 2008

calling a spade a spade

A good friend of mine has remarked that I'm a straight-shooter - I say it how it is with little regard for what someone else might say. So here's how it is - I'm an asshole. I recognize this about me; sometimes I embrace it. In my previous line of work this quality was certainly an asset as I didn't get too caught up in feelings - or the preservation thereof - which allowed me to say (and do) what needed to be said (and done). And I don't get too wound up over what is said to me - water off a ducks back - whatever - I don't care. In fact, being called an asshole generally meant I was doing my job - well.
Here is where this is a (recurring) problem - with N, who is a classy woman and who is very adept at saying what she feels needs to be said, I find myself caring a great deal about what is said, by her to me and I instantly become defensive. The reasons for this are several fold: 1) I hate looking like a schmuck - worse I hate being a schmuck and being confronted with my schmuckiness - accountability is not my strong suit (poor parenting - really) - and the reality is that if she is confronting me, she's probably a) in the right, and b) has let whatever "it" is go on for a while and simply can't take it anymore. 2) N is one of a handful of people who's opinion of myself matters, and hers matters most - I hate disappointing her - she is a wonderful mother, a loving wife, and is completely selfless, and constantly gives her best, especially to her family - so it goes without saying that she deserves my best efforts. 3) I have a great deal of pride, and that pride is shaken when I fail to meet expectations, and so when I do fail I get pissy, and I don't want to discuss where, and how, and why I blew it - we all know where, and how, and why - discussing it just makes the feeling of failure greater and more difficult to overcome. There are other reasons I am sure, but the reasons are beside the point. The point is this - I'm not fine with this particular status-quo - I NEED to improve. I need to be accountable. I need to give my best effort to those who love me. I need to reflect on the areas where I blew it - this is where real growth occurs, and frankly, this is where my growth has been stunted.
By writing this, I suppose, I am calling myself out. I am acknowledging the 188 lb. unaccountable pissy elephant in the room, and I am declaring a jihad on it, so that I may become more whole. I need this. N deserves it. And we really don't have the room for an elephant anyway.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I hail from the South - Texas to be exact. My wife hates Texas, and everything she thinks it stands for. Yet she loves me. Americans can be luke-warm about the U.S., but Texans LOVE Texas, and they LOVE being Texans. The same is pretty much true of anyone from the South. We take a certain amount of pride in our rebel past - in our penchant for going against the status quo. The men and women who settled the southern states were generally industrious, hard-working, sweat-of-the-brow folks who didn't take well to being told what and where and how-for. So rather than toil under the dictates of someone else, they stike out on their own. Throw a dart at a map of east Texas or western Louisiana and you'll most likely hit a town that was settled or founded by one of my ancestors - Avinger, Texas - Stonewall, Louisiana - Bossier, Louisiana - a town or two in Alabama. Forget the toothless, inbred stereotypes - these are iron hard folks who look after their own, and more often as not will refuse aide in any form. They don't have to be rich, they just want to own what they have.
Like many southern folk, I can trace my lineage back to Ireland and Scotland. Again, these are proud folk who can be unruly subjects. I take pride in knowing that my ancestors would not settle for merely making it - they set out, leaving friends and family behind, to make more of themselves and to better provide for the generations to come. Instead of waiting for conditions to improve, they sought to improve their condition themselves. No hand out - no blame. Just action.
I guess the point is this - while my family is largely rooted in the South, and I am quite proud of my Southern (and Irish) heritage, I feel more rooted in the tradition of doing what is necessary, what is right for me and mine, and I won't be told what that is.
I hope that this tradition continues through K1 and K2. I want them to be strong and proud, and to do only what they feel is right, regardless of what their friends, or even their family, tell them. I want them to find their own path - to love it, to own it, and to never settle.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

game of the gods

Ultimate season is nearly here! I am giddy with anticipation, even though I haven't played for the last two seasons. I'm hoping that I've grown up enough to simply enjoy playing, rather than whining about my teammate's perceived lack of skill and/or commitment. I can't believe I'm about to say this - though it IS true - winning isn't everything, and I'm guessing that I'll be one of the guys who's finding it difficult to keep up - initially .
I still want to win, though. BADLY! Nothing wrong with that, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

all i really need to know...

I don't deal well with grief. It makes me uncomfortable. I really don't understand people who wallow in their grief. They make me mad. I do understand anger, however. I completely get wanting to choke the crap out of the ***hole who stands at the gas station air compressor after his tire has been inflated simply because he doesn't want you to use the rest of his $.75. Who doesn't get that?
But here's the thing (this isn't earth shattering (if you want deep and groundbreaking check out N's blog)), we need grief - if for no other reason than to help us regain perspective.
I was reminded of this a little while ago when I ran across an NPR interview with Robert Schimmel. I won't even attempt to retell it here, since, as my dear N loves to point out, I suck at it - my version typically takes twice as long as the original.
We'll just stick with the perspective I regained:
Don't just look for opportunities to instruct your children - look for opportunities to learn from them. They have as much to teach as they have to learn.
"If you want to survive, keep marching." Don't wallow. Don't ever quit. I guarantee you someone else has overcome far worse than you are currently dealing with.
Choose your words carefully - you can't unring a bell - don't put yourself in a position to wish you could.
And finally, even with an eternal perspective, life is fleeting and nothing is guaranteed - make the most of every minute you have with the ones you love.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


After months of reading and enjoying my wife's posts and thinking to myself "I should do that, too", here we go. My goal is to give another point of view of this small yet surprisingly power packed family. My wife, N, does a fine job with her blog, but I feel it is important, or will be anyway, for my kids to see our lives through my eyes. They should know what daddy was doing and thinking, if for no other reason than to know I was involved - which I am, and love to be.

A quick introduction of the regulars is in order and then we'll wrap up this initial installment:

B - Dad, Honey.
N - Mom, Babe, all around bad-ass.
K1 - Nearly 5 rowdy boy, older brother, loves his daddy, needs his sister, will run you into the ground.
K2 - 3.5 punk princess, loves her mommy, adores her brother, tolerates her daddy, is tougher than any other child on the planet.