Archives for November 2016

The Agony Of Stupid Mistakes

The kids and I talk about the importance of learning from our mistakes and how they can be growth opportunities.

I tell them there will never be a time in our lives when we don’t make them and say there are very few life-altering screw ups.

When they ask me to share some of mine I name a few but intentionally don’t mention some of the ones that jump out at me.

Some of it is because there are boundaries between parents and children and they don’t want to or need to know about certain things.

grouchio_idiot

Move On

After I graduated from college I was hired to work as a writer and salesman for a publishing house.

It didn’t pay much but it was enough for me to have my own apartment and to cover all of my bills.

I  have very fond memories of this time but there is one moment that sticks out as the sort of mistake you never want to repeat.

Her name wasn’t Kathy but that is what I called her and it happened after midnight during a moment when she had my full attention.

Don’t ask me why it happened because I can’t tell you. It just slipped out of my mouth and it didn’t take more than a moment for her to let me know how unhappy she was with me.

I didn’t try to cover or pretend I had called her Kathy because her name wasn’t close to it. Didn’t use the same first letter or rhyme, it was different.

She blasted me and I apologized…more than once…with sincerity.

Eventually she forgave me and the night continued but two or three days later our dating life came to a swift conclusion.

“I can’t forget what you did and flowers won’t fix it. It is time to move on.”

Stumblefail

The Agony Of Stupid Mistakes

I wasn’t happy when she ended things but I got it. Besides it didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t really miss her which made it clear to me that we probably weren’t meant for the long haul.

But today what I am really focused upon is a mistake I made in a professional email.

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It is not something that will kill my career or create huge issues and it might not even be noticed by most people.

Still it bothers me because it is such a dumb error on my part and the little niggling mistakes tend to irk me more than big ones.

That is because I see them as being so obvious and so avoidable I want to kick myself in the butt for being so foolish.

Since that is not possible nor useful it won’t happen. I’ll make a mental note to remember not to repeat this one and move on.

Random Thought

I stumbled across a couple of parent blogs who were running sponsored posts and wondered again how they got this business.

Their writing is poor and in desperate need of editing.

If that was me I would never hit publish because I would be embarrassed to have my name attached to that crap.

I know that is not nice and people can find errors in my work too, but the number of mistakes relative to the amount of content I put out is pretty low.

I suppose it bothers me to see that junk out there because we occupy the same space and their work reflects poorly on the rest of us.

That is a good segue into saying how disappointing it is to see writers devalue the work of other writers by giving content away for free or for almost nothing.

Exposure doesn’t pay the bills and in many cases it does nothing to advance your career other than to convince others that they can hire free labor.

courage

Push The River

My closest family and friends will tell you I am famous for engaging in what some might call feats of stupidity and others might say tenacity.

They’d tell you about occasions upon which I’d come up against situations that seemed impossible and that somehow I managed to make them work.

Most of the time it had less to do with intelligence or innovation and more to do with my willingness to push the river.

Every time I did so it was with the knowledge that much of the water would flow through my fingers or around me and that it was a huge undertaking with the potential for massive failure.

But I figured the line between massive failure and success was thin and worth chasing.

People Aren’t Logical

What I should have thought about more carefully was how people don’t act logically, rationally or in their best interest and that trying to push the river with them was an even bigger crapshoot.

But I didn’t and that is how we end up in the middle of the story below.

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I almost turned the photo below into a greeting card so that I could send it to someone who once told me I was the most important person in her life.

fireandrain  

Stared at the picture, heard the song playing inside my head and wondered if it would be taken in anger or disbelief.

Asked myself what I hoped to accomplish by sending it and decided there is no way it would be seen as anything but a provocative insult.

And then I really wanted to send it.

Because I am angry.wanted to scream, “I HAVE TOLD YOU IN EVERY WAY I KNOW HOW THAT I NEED YOUR HELP & YOU IGNORED ME!”

Because I want to scream, “I HAVE TOLD YOU IN EVERY WAY I KNOW HOW THAT I NEED YOUR HELP & YOU IGNORED ME!”

“I HAVE TOLD YOU IN EVERY WAY I KNOW HOW THAT I NEED YOUR HELP & YOU IGNORED ME!”

I thought that maybe, just maybe the damn song would catch her eye and ear.

And maybe her heart would hear it too and she would realize that I am standing in front of her.

My Time Is At Hand

In spite of my anger and frustration I never sent the card because I didn’t see it helping me.

Didn’t see it waking her up from her slumber and figured that if I am going to try and shake her from this comatose state I need to be direct.

But fear prevented me from taking a direct approach because rejection is always possible and I wasn’t ready for her to say there is no future.

Didn’t stop me from angrily staring at the reflection in the mirror and asking that guy to explain why our time is not at hand.

Demanded he answer the charge of enabling someone to drag our collective heart through the mud.

He just smiled and said it has always been about timing and that if we waited a little longer conditions would be more favorable.

I glared at the smug look on his face and he glared back at me.

“You like to think those 13 words will magically make her think about what would happen if she lost you forever and that the aforementioned thought would spur her into action.

But it might not be as you want or wish for. She might cry at the thought but that loss might not be enough to get her to take your hand because she might think it is too late.

She might try to protect her own heart and be cool in front of you. Don’t give her an ultimatum.”

I shook my fist at the mirror and rolled my eyes as he did it back to me.

separate soul

There really is no point pretending that the guy was going to tell me anything I didn’t know.

Since nothing good comes from trying to make choices after midnight I turned out the lights, went to bed and hoped that sleep would come sooner than later.

Daughters & Computers

I hate Black Friday.

Well maybe hate  is too strong a word but it is not that far off, at least at this particular moment in time.

Daughter called last night to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and to ask for help trying to fix her computer.

Didn’t take long to determine that ‘puter is on its last legs and dying. Wasn’t thrilled nor surprised to hear it.

Just another case of money in/money out.

war sherman

Adjust Your Attitude

Going to the malls/stores on Black Friday really shouldn’t be compared to war because no one is intentionally trying to kill you.

They may elbow, trample, step on or hit you with a cart, but that is ok because 3% off of a Kate Spade knockoff is worth it.

It is possible I might have a bad attitude about shopping on this particular day and that I probably shouldn’t be listening to Enter Sandman or Crazy Train while searching for a parking space.

I tried shopping from Jack’s secret hideaway oasis but I haven’t found anything that I am comfortable purchasing so I have to go out.

Daughter needs a computer and since my baby girl isn’t a 70s kid like myself I have to make sure she has a computer to do her work.

Google Docs, the Net and more is required today and it doesn’t pay to say I remember when everyone knew what a Carbon Copy was or the importance of pressing firmly because the third copy is yours.

I don’t mind making sure she has what she needs for school because education is of paramount importance to me.

So if going to the store is what I have to do to make sure things run smoothly for her I can do that.

What I Realized Is…

I haven’t seen my kids in person since August 26th and Facetime just isn’t cutting it.

Fortunately I know it won’t be much longer because I bought a ticket to fly out to see them and I have less than a month to go.

And I know that living apart is temporary and that this is all being done for the right reasons. It is all in the name of setting things up for a better life for all of us.

I am not the first to do it, not by a long shot and in many ways I have it much easier.

Ask my relatives who sailed from the old country to America and they’d tell you so. Granted they are all long gone, but if they weren’t they’d talk about waiting for letters or maybe telegrams.

They’d talk about years gone by without seeing relatives and I have nothing like that.

I am grateful for what I do have and the knowledge that I can do this to do more for my family.

Told them to be prepared for a bigger and longer hug…more than once.

I miss those rug rats. 😉

An Abundance of Trust Issues

Don’t know about you but since the election it feels like many of my friends and family have de developed trust issues.

Given that my circle includes supporters of both sides I have heard enough to know the suspicious minds aren’t limited to one group.

I keep hearing and or reading stories that are supposed to prove that their particular issue is legitimate but all I do is look at them both sideways.

via GIPHY

An Abundance of Trust Issues

Don’t mistake that to mean I consider myself to be better than others because you’d be missing the point.

I am just an average Joe who is wondering if we are going to let anger and frustration push us into corners because that is a problem.

All that hokey stuff you hear about united we stand and divided we fall is rooted in truth and we would be fools to ignore it.

If we don’t find ways to tap into compassion and understanding we are going to be in for a very rough future because the crap that we are flinging at each other isn’t going to just go away.

What really blows my mind is how many times my kids have told me they think the adults have lost it.

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My 7th grader told me her English teacher told the class she didn’t vote and my head exploded.

The right to vote isn’t a joke or something to be trifled with and this fool had the audacity to tell her students that it didn’t matter.

I didn’t particularly like either candidate and I never hid that. I told them that I wasn’t enamored with HRC and that I saw Trump as a trust fund baby who had no skills, experience or business being in office.

When he won I said it was a huge mistake but told the kids it was time to start rooting for his success.

I told them we would stand up and oppose any proposal that would curtail rights for others. I reminded them about how the Nazis murdered family members during the Holocaust and that we were obligated to help.

And then I tried to explain nuance and how we could move from supporting another to pushing for his success.

It is rarely a black and white world and the abundance of trust issues aren’t helping any of us.

tastelifetwice

A Reason To Fear

I intentionally haven’t told the kids about my concerns about some of the people Trump intends to nominate/appoint/hire because I want to wait and see how some things go.

No one thought Earl Warren would be the kind of Chief Justice he was and I keep hoping my concerns here are unwarranted.

I keep hoping we don’t have a reason to fear but hope is not a tactic or strategy.

I Won’t Just Unfriend

Part of my job as a father is to teach these rascals how to get along in the world and that is part of why I have told them I am not going to unfriend those I disagree with.

Well, that is not entirely true, there are things you can say or do that will get me to unfriend you but you have to work a bit at it.

Part of the reason I won’t just do it is I am going to be there to help make sure neither of us live in an echo chamber.

I am going to be there to ask those who voted for Trump to hold him accountable to do the right thing and to represent all of us.

There are friends and family who I believe voted for him because they really believed he was the better choice.

I looked them in the eye and asked if they were comfortable with his being a KKK darling. They swore they didn’t think that those people would have influence and that he would be good for all of us.

Well I’ll be around to talk with them and ask them to uphold their end of the bargain. I’ll be there to say you need to stand up and be counted.

And if I am proven wrong about him I’ll be there to admit I was wrong and to say so publicly.

I am not going to unfriend. I am not going to let mistrust drive a bigger wedge because we have to find ways to bridge the gap.

But you better believe if some of the questionable stuff continues to head in the wrong direction you will hear from me.

We’re going to have to work harder to make some things happen, but hard work hasn’t ever scared me so…

Is Your Perception My Reality?

That silly prankster whom we call life in their infinite wisdom decided that it might be fun to see what happens when you old hit old Jack Steiner in the head with a Shillelagh, but not the sort you might find at Hammacher Schlemmer.

I being a big believer in giving twice as good as I got checked out the non-affiliate link just to see if that stick had any sort of magical powers I could use because life isn’t a person.

You can’t call Life up and say, “we need to talk” or be more direct and say “if you aren’t nice to me I am going to shove a barbed Shillelagh  up your ass and then rip off your arms and beat you with them.”

But I really wish you, er we could.

I really wish I could grab Mjölnir and make like Thor, ya know call down some lightning and or take my hammer and hand out some justice.

Sadly, life don’t work dat way so we haf to deal wit it differently.

Is Your Perception My Reality?

Since the election ended I have read, heard and watched people talk about what life is going to be like for all of us and wondered if their perception is going to be not just our, but my reality.

However that old prankster life hasn’t let me spend much time focusing upon it because I have been slammed with other stuff.

Instead of being able to take a deep breath to think about things like the end of goodnight kisses I have been hammered with other stuff like Teenagers- The Struggle Is Real.

Here I sit thinking about how some people would cry, but The Tears That Do Not Fall situation hasn’t changed all that much.

That is not offered as a value judgment, but a thought that streaks across the night sky of my mind as I try to figure out that needs to be done.

Circumstances aren’t just personal now, they have spilled over into the professional arena too.

Is Your Perception My Reality II

There is a situation I am working on right now where I know that perception is skewed and not close to reality.

I’ll apologize in advance for lack of specifics but there are boundaries in blogging that I pay close attention to.

So in broad terms let’s say I am running a race and someone has set up numerous road blocks around the course.

My typical approach isn’t to whine or complain about theses things but to run hard and overcome. To find ways to jump over, go under, through or around and to let my actions speak for themselves.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

But I also understand there are moments where you need to advocate for yourself and so I pointed out the roadblocks and said, “if you need me to accomplish these things you have help move these from the road.”

And then that silly prankster life got involved and made sure the people who needed to understand what I was saying didn’t.

There was a moment of uncertainty and doubt on my part and I had to check myself to see if maybe I had misunderstood what was going on.

Maybe it was me, maybe I was the problem.

The funny thing about this is how other team members called me for advice and shared how they were having the same experience.

That confirmed it wasn’t me and I felt better about some things, but not all because I knew there was a misunderstanding and misperception of and about me.

people think

Dad Doesn’t Always Know

Back in the land of thought and mild confusion your favorite dad blogger stares at the wall and wonders what he ought to do.

If his kids asked him about this sort of situation he’d tell him not to worry about what others think and to just live their lives.

But in this particular situation that might not be the best advice.

It might be the kind of thing that allows misperception to influence real world activities and there could be consequences for that.

The challenge is some of the people involved are the same who minimize the road blocks and who in some cases cannot see the fires they set every time they walk through a room.

I dislike this kind of junior high nonsense, no wait, I despise it. All I want to do is ignore it and do what needs to be done because that is what grownups do.

Because it should provide the sort of empirical evidence that makes it clear that misperception was involved.

Yet past experience is enough to make me wonder if that is a mistake and to be wary of feeling like I somehow caught my friend in my zipper.

BTW ladies, I have never understood how that happens. There has never been a time where I was so drunk, sick or unaware that I had to worry about that.

There are things you just know, but I digress.

My Heart Hurts

You know why I want to take life out to the woodshed is because I worked my ass off to make some things happen that I thought would make for a better life for my kids.

I did all the things parents do, climbed mountains, swam through oceans and fought lions and tigers and bears.

Did the last part without the ‘oh my’ at the end.

Just did it because that is how I was raised and because it feels right.

And here we are stuck in the mud, unclear whether it is the beginning, middle or end of something rough.

I am killing myself trying to figure out how to get through that teenage struggle and it hurts my damn heart to see what is going on.

I think there is progress.

Looks like there is progress, but I can’t see it clearly enough to feel as confident as I’d like.

And all that is muddying my ability to see clearly through this one other area. My gut says I am going to be ok there and that I have it on track, but dammit.

This parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, now someone give me that damn stick and life’s telephone number.