Friday, December 18, 2015

You live and learn. At any rate, you live. - Douglas Adams

It's been almost a couple months since I posted anything, and for good reason, which you'll soon read about.  Last time I wrote, I was 10 days past getting fired for no reason from my previous job. 

The irony of that day will always live in my mind, and perhaps at some point, I can do something creative with it. It was payday, and I went into work like any other day.  That morning, I got my checkstub by email, and a nice bonus was attached.  Later that morning, as I picked up a batch of new files to work, I took a look at the chart listing how many files each person worked the previous day.  It wasn't a bad place for a rookie, which was kind of nice.

Fast forward to 5 pm. Keep in mind my boss was on vacation from that day till the end of the week. I got an email from the assistant to my boss to see her once i was done working the current file.  I was waiting on an email for info, so I went over there.

She told me to come with her, and I followed her to the conference room where we had training just a couple days before. There was the assistant attorney there, let's call him Scott, and he had a look on his face like whatever was about to happen was something he wanted no part of. And when I got dropped off there, he fired me.  No reason, no explanation, not privy to that information.   I said "That sucks!" and got my shit and got out of there.

The next several weeks were terrible.  Things were going on with certain people anyway which I don't discuss here, really badly, and have been ever since.  Every job lead I got, every interview, turned out to be nothing.  One was for a lender whose close-kept doc preppers were my former company, and that obviously didn't happen.  I had another interview at a place I once worked for and also knew a lot of people.  There was a big wait on that... and eventually it didn't work out.

But in time, I found an opportunity.  After weeks of failed chances, sorting out backup plans, worries from everyone around me, there was a glint of hope.  But then there was a snag.  We had a plumbing clog that flooded parts of the house, and I had to manage it immediately.  It went down on a Sunday night, and the next day I was supposed to start at my job, but they ran into a problem, the company that let me go refused to give proper information to the new company I was getting on with. 

It was a horrible feeling.  People I love and care for had been through the wringer, each with a host of overwhelming problems.  Here I was, supposed to embark on a new journey, but that Monday morning, I was also overwhelmed. No plumbing, no water, no bathroom, no shower, and getting told I would have to reapply in six months, to something I already had.

But it worked out.  My in-laws came over and we got the clog fixed.  I did umpteen loads of laundry after the mini-flood, and with an extra push on the folks who let me go, they provided the necessary info to the new company.  And I started there last week.

I feel my sense of purpose and smarts coming back there.  It's a blessing to feel helpful, like I can freely use my talents and be confident.

It has taken about a week just to get used to the idea that I have purpose again and can actually help people out and do great at something once again.  With everything I've experienced this year,  it's been difficult at times.

Being unemployed and trying to find something new is no vacation.  It caused quite a bit of distress, and I fell into a deep depression.  Not only because of the rejection of getting fired, but everything else that went bad over the last several months.  All the various hardships compounded into a much more awful thing.  Many of the things I could have done around the house didn't get done.  My hopes and dreams seemed to be running away from me... one barrier led to another barrier, and the moment the burden dropped for good, I didn't even realize it until days later.

So here I am today, not broken by all this, but deeply moved by it.  The toilets flush, the bathtubs work, I've been welcomed into a very professional, proactive, and positive workplace, many of the worries I have with family have been solved, and for some reason, I'm actually confident to a degree, and I now have a serious instinct to be level-headed and ahead of anything challenging.

My sentences should be shorter, and I should probably lay off all the commas.  But that is the least of my worries.  Whatever those worries might be.  I've been working, and I'm tired. And that is OK.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tomorrow's Monday

I've got a lot on my mind, which probably comes at no surprise.  2015 has been a very difficult year, come to think of it.

The way it happens, it kind of goes like this.  Something bad happens to someone you love.  That's where it begins, someone you care about goes through something terrible.  And you do your best to try to heal that, but it's not enough.  When things go bad for someone you care about, nothing you do or say can really fix it.  You can heal just a little bit, but that's all any one person can do.

And then... more bad news happens.  And with this bad news, it's not just something sudden you can't do anything about, it's something long-lasting that you can't do anything about.  It tests your feelings, and it tests your faith, and yet you can't do anything.  It's 100% up to a higher power or another human being to nail down and figure out.

Life gets more complicated.  The sudden and long-lasting things both are taken care of correctly, which is awesome.  But then there are the after effects, which are unpredictable and no one's sure of.

While all this is going on, in the background someone is creating problems and trying to make everything worse for other people you love.

Remember my A/C going out? That was just a mess in the middle... always more to come.

Because sometimes you work hard for someone and they blow you off anyway.  When things got hard in the family, the work folks decided to throw me out.  Like a bum.

And then troublemaking shit showed up. 

And it has been absolute hell for the last 48 hours.

And tomorrow's Monday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

People Are Important

It's good to catch up again.  I know it's only been a month or so since the last entry, but I feel like it's important to write.  I've been kind of on the shy side with it for a while.  Maybe that's my own perception, but regardless, it's time for me to pick it up a little bit and get the ball rolling once again. 

I'm currently in a place where everything is happening around me at a rapid pace, but here at home it's snailville.  One view of it says life is passing me by, the other view of it says I'm stable and patient in a world of news and chaos.  What to do? 

Expression by writing is in order.  There is some good news to report.  Grace's arm is fully healed up, and she got her cast removed last week.  Her arm is still a little bit stiff from being in a cast for six weeks, but that is ok.  She's got another week or so of getting back to normal, and then after that she will be just fine.  She's sticking to her art and creativity quite well.  She made a "dinosaur" out of the cardboard part of a toilet paper roll, 2 googly eyes, a green marker, and some pipe cleaners.  She's always creative, and she has a desk in the front room now for her art and projects.  All the supplies are there.

More good news about Mom.  She's getting closer to getting past this cancer thing, hopefully for good.  Her surgery, masectomy, and reconstruction went well, and now she has completed two out of six chemotherapy treatments.  The first one was really hard on her.  Her hair started falling out soon after and she was pretty sad about it.  A lot was going through her mind and it really sapped her energy.  The second one, not so much.  In medical circles the first one is always the hardest, and it gradually gets easier from there.  She has her second one not too long ago, and after a tough couple days, she recovered much quicker.  She is still easily exhausted at some times, but she is able to spend more time with Grace. 

There are four more chemo treatments to go, and I hope they keep getting easier.  She will be done with them in January, thank God for that.  The way I look at that is, she's 1/3 done with chemo, and has done all the surgery.  And she's cancer free. 

On a completely different note, yet cancer related, I heard today that my cousin lost his battle with Leukemia and its complications last night.  I think he's my oldest cousin, a mere 51 or 52, but I didn't even know he was sick.  He was diagnosed with leukemia about five years ago.  He went through some different treatments to combat it and after a rough bout with it, survived and the cancer went into remission.  He's got a wife and young kids in their 20s... they're having to do this without him now.  He has been called to heaven, but everyone else is still here on Earth. 

I can tell you a little bit about him.  He was a super guy.  Someone you could always be comfortable around, because he always remained positive.  He always passed around good vibes and kindness.  And he was confident.  That kindness and confidence that came to him naturally, is obvious when you see it's passed on to his wife and kids.  Pray for his family, and keep them in mind, like you keep your family in mind.

People are important.  Whether you're stuck in some sort of autopilot mode, or whether you're going through a horrible time no one could possibly relate with, or whether you're riding the stars and can't believe how great everything is going, you are important.

It's sometimes difficult to realize your own worth, or how you fit into the whole scheme of things.  I feel awkward about this myself quite often.  I'm not the best when it comes to striking up a conversation or being outgoing or anything, but deep down, I am curious about people.  I have met and spent time with people over the years and have made several friends.  Some things I don't care about so much, like opinions or shallow things.  No one really likes to be pigeonholed, they just want to pay their bills and get somewhere in life and navigate this time on Earth.  Well, most people.  Some just set blow everything up around them for the hell of it.  But not very many.

We're all getting through this thing called life and it's the challenging and heartbreaking stuff that does two things: 1) it keeps us from realizing that we matter to the people around us, and 2) keeps us from our purpose.

The challenging and heartbreaking stuff also makes us who we are. It's that perception thing.  It can 1) show us how we matter to the people around us, and 2) show us our purpose.

I'm curious about people and instead of being direct about it, I'm a little more reserved. Getting to know someone is easier when there is something you have in common, something to share. Understanding others is a gentle venture towards friendship.

Almost everyone I know personally has experienced some serious trauma in life and is learning how to deal with it. Or has learned how to deal with it and is trying to teach me something. 

People are important, we are all important as individuals, so we have to share not only our best with others, but our worst.  Best friends do this frequently because our best friends take us for who we are at any time.  I think when we are at our worst there is someone hoping we become our best. 

I got a little philosophical there, but that's the point.  You and me, we're remembered, by more loved ones than either of us can think of at the moment.  You matter.  I matter.  That person you're thinking about that you haven't talked to in five years matters. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Speaking to Life

Hello once again, ladies and gentlemen.  It has been just over a month since I last wrote here, so there is much catching up to do.  One thing I've noticed about aging, is that I don't have as precise a grip on time as I once had.  Perhaps in young life there are so many milestones that are predictable, but after a certain point you gotta make it up as you go.  Or perhaps years run together quicker than they once did.  Tom Green wrote something about this in his book Hollywood Causes Cancer, which was profound enough to cause great thought, and be too long to summarize here.

I believe it's time to do a little catch-up. 

After Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, some things happened that were quite unexpected.  And some things that were a great relief.  We all went over there, and kind of mapped it out.  One of the things she told me was to be strong for her. 

A little background - given the specifics, I'm highly confident in Mom's ability to recover and beat this thing.  So going in that is where I was strong.  But coping with loved ones who are sick doesn't exactly have an instruction manual.  For a time, there was a lot of miscommunication, like the extended family, and friends were a team, but we weren't all on the same page, and I wasn't strong.  And for the most part, now we are on the same page.  We communicated.

She's cancer free now, which is awesome, but there are additional steps that are going to take a while to ensure this cancer stays on the curb, where it belongs.

I've had some other personal challenges lately, and it's really been difficult this summer to deal with them and figure things out and where all this is going.  The day after we got home from the reunion trip, my car's A/C went out, and wasn't repaired for over a month.  And folks, it's hot here.  It's been 100 and dry nearly every day.

A few weeks ago, Grace started breathing really hard and we didn't know if she had gotten asthma, so we both went in to an allergist to get some things started.  More appointments to determine what's going on are scheduled and in the works.

Last week Grace broke her elbow playing tag with some kids at Burger King.  We went to the ER right after it happened,  and she's been seeing doctors ever since.  Jamie's had to take off work, and we've had much help from the family on both sides to help take care of her this last week. 

School started yesterday, though, and Grace loves it.  She's much happier this year, with her teacher, and actually having different teachers throughout the day. 

The routine is new, and it's a relief really from the summer doldrums.

It's been a really crazy last couple of weeks, and it's just now starting to feel like real life again. It's as if we've been on a different planet where nothing makes any damn sense, and we're finally figuring out where to be and when, and what to do once again.

During some of this turmoil I received some priceless advice - and that is, the only way to create a good thing is by first speaking it into existence.  If you know me, you know I clam up sometimes and don't want to say anything and just sit there until the storm is over.

Even if it is hard, answers do have to be spoken.  Or maybe even, written.  But lately, I've tried speaking to things and it isn't aggressive or anything, and mostly to myself, but it does mean something.  I'm speaking to life right now, and I hope it is listening.

All I can say now is that I hope peace comes your way.  You've read this far, haven't you?  Speak to life, and tell your worries as well as your hopes what your story is, because they have to listen.  Let em battle it out afterwards; you'll be backstage getting your next story together.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Evening Writing

Hey everybody, it's been a few months or so since the last entry.  So it's time for catching up.  I've experienced a lot of things since last I wrote, and I thought it time to share.

The new job is going great! My three months has come and gone, which means I am not on the probation period anymore, and medical benefits kick in.  It's a smaller company than the one I worked at before, also.  I started out doing the full process and then got moved to just prepping docs.  I work with some really cool people, too. The company itself is pretty awesome as well, they've brought in lunch quite a bit, and there's plenty of room for OT.

While that's going well, some things aren't.  My sister's boyfriend passed away last month.  Just for a little more perspective, I was able to drive when she was born, so she's much younger than me.  He was in a boating accident and only 19.  And they were a close couple.  They had been together for nearly four years...

It's been really hard on her, and since we are living over 300 miles from her, we haven't been able to visit so much.  We did a couple weeks ago because there was a family reunion, and we got to go to it. Right now her main focus seems to be taking care of his family, because they did spend a lot of time together and became really close.  We did get to visit for a short time on our trip, which was nice. We brought the Christmas presents we didn't get to send in December.  On the way there, at a Tractor Supply in a small town on the way, we found a Coke bottle with her name on it, (the spelling isn't common at all) so I had to pick it up.  That among other things gave her something to smile about, in the midst of really tragic and awful feelings and events. 

We did pick up a few things while we were on vacation.  Our family tradition, along with visiting as many people we know as we can in a short time, also extends to shopping at certain places and doing certain things.  One of the first things we did was visit The Galaxy Connection in Hot Springs.  It is a Star Wars Museum in Arkansas, and wholly impressive if you ask me.  I'll soon dedicate a blog to that place, Google it for now (as well as any other place mentioned that piques your interest.)  We also shopped some in Mountain View, since that was where the reunion was, and it's basically the central location to much of my family from Arkansas.  Well, Mountain View and the surrounding areas.  One place we visited was a place called Yoder's Country Cupboard.  It's about the size of a Trader Joe's grocery store, and carries, furniture, bulk foods, bulk food processing items, cooking utensils, natural products, etc.  It's where I get my powdered butter and powdered cheese. Another place we go is For Mother Earth, or, as we affectionately say, "The Hippie Store."  They have everything from natural hemp products such as clothing and lotions, to bumper stickers and t-shirts and books.

Anyhow, that's what we do in town.  I always like to go to a few of the flea markets (thrift/antique places to those not in Arkansas.) Since I used to live there, I always peek into these shops for a few minutes, just to see if they have a copy of the '92 or '93 Mountain View yearbook.  I was in both of them and I always look, but it seems like only the surrounding years are there.  It's a quest, among other things.  There are always some interesting items for sale or consignment there!

In other news, however, there is other news.

Several weeks ago, my mom found out she had cancer.  From what I know it's isolated, and can be removed, but at quite a cost.  But - without getting into too many personal details, she can have a pretty serious surgery and one round of chemotherapy, and that should take care of it.  We do have cancer in our family background, as well as diabetes.  She is diabetic, but she also takes care of herself exceptionally well.  So, tomorrow is the big day.  Her surgery is first thing in the morning, and we're hoping it goes well and there are no complications or any other issues.  My mom is really brave, and very tough.  And I believe she will do just fine.

It's worrisome in a way, just like any other challenge is.  I don't know how else to put it.

A lot of folks I know are experiencing some challenges right now.  It's not pretty, but what in life really is,other than an occasional trip to the lake, or a beautiful sunset, or a Cinnabon opening up nearby?  

I guess when faced with things like this, each of us has a choice to make, either be afraid of the bad things in life, or focus on the good things in life. Or, confront the bad things in life and appreciate the good.  I don't know for sure.

All I know is here I am, writing this blog at 8:57 on a Wednesday night, letting things out finally that have simply been thoughts waiting to burst out.  There's something about freewriting during the evening that just takes the edge off of life.  Life's tough folks, that's all there is to it.  You know how it is! But hey, I can sit here at night after work and type anything I damn well please, and it really feels good to just let it out. I didn't like writing sentences in third grade nearly as much as I do now!  

Sometimes it is good to let things out, good and bad, and see where it goes. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Good news, everyone!  I have landed a new job! 

It all started a few weeks ago.  I got home from work one night and decided to see what the job market looked like.  I do this from time to time to exercise my resume, and see if there's anything out there that looks like a major opportunity.

I ran across a Mortgage Closer spot located here in McKinney, among others and applied.  The next morning at about 9:15 I got an email back from the one here in town wanting an interview.  I have literally never had such a quick response, and since Jamie and I had the afternoon off anyway to complete the refinance on our house, I thought that afternoon might be good for an interview.

So I called before the ink dried on our refi and we agreed to meet that afternoon for an interview at 4.  I was a little nervous, but suited up and went in to make an impression.  The interview lasted about 45 minutes, and it went pretty well. 

It's a law firm that does doc prep instead of a lender, but I remember some former coworkers got into the end of that business, so I figured why not.  I had several questions and there didn't seem to be many dry spots in the interview, and the interviewer had plenty of questions for me.

After sending a thank you email that night, I got a response early the next morning wanting me to call in because they had an offer ready.  I called in on my morning break to find out what it was, and it was pretty dang good!  Enough of a raise to cover certain losses from where I was working, and benefits to cover it, as well as the added convenience of traveling 2 miles to work instead of 20.  And no tolls on top of that.

As far as quick responses, the interview response, and the offer response, it was one of the fastest moving blessings I've encountered.  But it was my turn to be fast.  I had maybe a couple hours to come up with a 2 weeks notice.  It sounds easy to throw one together, but it's a great deal harder after being loyal to a company for six years. 

I knew I would have to face my team lead and answer a lot of questions I was still trying to answer myself.  So, when I got up the huevos to go for it, I did.  And it went really well, actually.  I had the resignation letter in hand and asked my boss if I could borrow her for a minute.  What probably came off as a quick comment about something trivial was much more heavy and that was one heavy piece of paper in the moment. 

But I dropped the bomb and it sailed gently enough that once I handed in my two weeks' notice, she seemed to take it pretty well.  She was actually proud of me!  She even took the letter well, and said "Awww!" while reading it to herself.  That was a real relief.

Over the next two weeks, I felt kind of awkward.  My boss told me it would be a good idea to keep it under wraps for a few days so nothing negative would get passed around.  I held out for a week.  April 1 was the one week mark but I still wanted to hold out.  The next morning my boss asked me, "Hey Mitch, are you going to let anyone know you got a new job, or just come in next Wednesday and walk out like 'Deuces!'?" So I told her I was thinking of telling people that day because the day before was April Fools' and no one would believe me.

So after that it was sort of open season for everyone to know and a chance to say goodbye to all the people I've worked with over the years.  It was bittersweet and for a while there, I had some slight tugs of regret.  But those were soon replaced with tugs of hope, and those feelings that come about when changes are soon to come.

I started to not care about my awful afternoon commute that I'd gotten used to.  All those daily habits, dietary, scheduling, otherwise, sort of melted into this pool of uncertain and hopeful future. 

On my last day I was busy, said goodbye to my team, and finished up.  The four-day weekend that followed was the last step of preparation, and yesterday I walked into my new job ready for action.

The last few days have been really nice.  Things seem to be coming together pretty well at the new place.  I got a chance to meet everyone who works there.  It's a good environment, and very hospitable.  It's busy though.  The new boss says "We'll keep you busy."  Music to my ears! Gaining almost five hours on the commute alone takes stress off and allows me some wiggle room when it comes to sticking around late or working on different projects.

It's the middle of a big change, and so far it is going well.  There will be more soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Things

2015 has turned out fairly well so far I think. I've always spent a lot of time analyzing years of my life. It's always begun with how New Year's and how it turned out.  It seems like for the longest time, New Year's Eve and how the new year was rung in defined the rest of the year.

I know that's silly of course, at this point, it's usually an early night and making it to at least 11 pm with the local stuff on TV, and if I'm lucky to make it to midnight, an open door to put my ear out to find out if anyone decided to pop fireworks.  Hardly a harbinger of what's to come.

At my age, and experiencing enough year changes, it doesn't matter quite so much.  So I judge a new year on other criteria, such as where I slid in from the last year and where I plan to go.  I've got a few goals.  This year I'll be doing some homebrewing.  I have a lager recipe ready to go, but not quite all the equipment to get it just right.  So I think I'll start with an ale and take it from there.  A new project means I've got to get a foot in the door and test it out.

Jamie has successfully made two batches of laundry detergent from a recipe.  Both times she's nailed it.  She's also made candles before, and has all the supplies to make another batch of really great candles.

Grace has a knack for art.  Drawing, chalk, painting, you name it, every once in a while she comes up with something really great that people really like.

I've done a thing or two on the grill, but I want to do more.  Maybe smoke a brisket, or nail down the perfect ribeye.

It's a fairly new year, and all of us here have a specific skill or goal and that's what we're keeping focused on this year.  Jamie and I have always been interested in making things from scratch.  It's our version of the whole survivalist thing, but really, we're just being creative and wanting to make something to share.  A couple years ago, she made some candles, and I made some "liquid apple pie."  Grace drew some interesting pictures.

So here we are now.  We're a little more ambitious with our ideas and want to make a journey of it. I hope we each make strides with making something.  One day we may team up and make something no one's thought of yet.  Who knows?  We'll see. No one thinks of the best ideas while waiting for midnight, they always show up when we don't have a pen.  I'll keep a spare pen around with me if you will.  Only way we're gonna change the world.

Monday, February 9, 2015


I haven't written in a while.  Sorry for the delay in getting back to the blog to express things randomly, or freewrite, or whatever.  That's what I do here, is whatever.  The world is a really crazy place.  Quickly though, I'll get through the New Year's Resolutions in order to get to the good stuff.  Pretty much, I want to brew beer, get promoted, and do something else creative this year.  It takes a lot of work to pull any of that off in the hustle/bustle everyday stuff that comes along with parenthood and homeownership.

Anyhoo, I learned something about communication recently.  85% of communication is nonverbal.  Not the best news for me as a blogger doing all this random writing.  But, it is pretty damn interesting.  Only 15% of meaningful communication is words.  The rest of it is stuff like body language, expressions, feelings, etc.  So, as a writer... this is a different perspective but sort of a good one.

On a personal note, I, along with many of you, have been relegated to limited personal communication over the course of developments in technology over the last however many years. It's much easier to say something with a text or email or even a phone call to get something communicated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitching about this, just making an observation.  Over the course of natural evolution, we lifeforms have had millions of years to get used to changes.  Humanity, however, has had to figure changes out over years, or even months.  With advancement comes the learning curve. 

What I'm really getting at is this: it's really hard to have a deep conversation with digital media.  Just as it's as difficult to have a deep conversation 200 years ago by sending letters.  Humanity hasn't conquered distances we can't walk in every personal way. 

As an old-fashioned sort of soul, I feel like I've forgotten these basic instincts of communication, simply by knowing who I'm around so well, and digitally communicating with those who I don't see personally every day.  Remember, our development as a species forgets certain things because we have so much other stuff to remember if we're going to survive, and if we're lucky, thrive.

Being reminded that 85% of communication has nothing to do with words sure does throw off an old wallflower like me!  Sure, I can be outgoing sometimes, but most of the time I put a lot of stock into words as communication.  Maybe I'm too quiet, or express things by typing a little more than I should. 

How we communicate is how we're built, I suppose.  Let's share ideas, and facial expressions. I'll fart on your head if you give me any shit, though.


I had to bury my dog yesterday and it sucked. He seemed like he was recovering but it was not the case. I was wrong.  We all were. Yesterd...