Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Four Walled Box

In lieu of a decent posting, I offer this not so decent attempt at poetry. It was inspired while I had the house to myself when Donna and the kids were in New York.

Four Walled Box

They’re gone now
All three, gone
Silence echoes
Stillness permeates
Solitude stains
Loneliness sets in like cancer
Small at first, a lump
The memory of
misplaced socks,
Then ravaging, it eats away.
The touch
The voices
The emotions
Electronic chemo fails
So alone in this Four Walled Box
One miracle cure
They return

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting Away From it All

I went shopping for our upcoming BWCA canoe/fishing trip today. It was a bit of an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

What camping is really, is trying to recreate your home in the wilderness. Therefore, you have to buy many things in an effort to simulate your house and lifestyle.

The unfortunate thing is that trying to recreate your life at 1/2 the weight and size, it seems, takes a lot of money. I wonder how the homeless can afford it?

I looked at Therma-Rest self inflating sleeping pads thinking they'd run about 17 bucks. Yeah, right. Try four times that. Those things run about $80 for my size. Now, if I sleep crappy on a regular air mattress camping, is spending $80 to sleep crappy going to solve anything? No. I couldn't bring myself to do it. That's not to say I won't be renting one (I will), because hey, I'm not 27 anymore.

Life jackets are another story. Ring three of them up at $90. Ca-Ching! Gotta have them though.

Throw in a sleeping bag for Ben and various unsundries to the tune of another 80$ or so and we're off and running. I'm beginning to think Disney World might be cheaper.

It WILL be a blast though, I know it will. Hopefully the kids will have a good time and we'll create some awesome memories. I would kill to have had a BWCA experience with my dad. Alas.

I got Ben his first pocket knife. I know in this day and age it's not necessarily PC, but you know what? I had one at his age and I'm no serial killer. It's a rite of passage as far as I'm concerned and hopefully he'll remember the trust I instilled in him to use it wisely and safely. I can remember Tom giving me my first "Buck" knife that was small and sharp. I used it and kept it safely tucked away in my tackle box. It was a great sense of security and power, even though it was just a two-blader.

I also picked up my outfit from Goodwill for Jane's 70's party next weekend. Cutoff Jeans, a silk shirt, high tube socks and aviators. Should be stylin'.

Well, gotta get running again. A busy day in stores makes a man very weary. Even if it is shopping for man-stuff.

Blogging off until next time...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A One and a Two...

Feeling a bit frazzled at the moment. Got a few writing things hanging, including this blog, so wanted to get one or more of them out of the way. Not the way I want to look at my writing...as something to get out of the way. It needs to be more sincere than that.

Kids can sense when you're not sincere. So can readers I think. Can you? ;-)

I'll try and be sincere. Seriously.

San Diego was absolutely fantastic. What a great, beautiful city and climate. Tons of homeless folks from what I could tell, but I think that tends to happen in the warmer climes. Up north here people tend to say, nah, it's easier to find a job than to freeze my butt off sleeping outdoors. I don't mean to make light of it, but I think there's a certain element of truth to it.

Got to hob-nob with the prez of ESRI, the software company who was hosting the conference. (Above) Most people don't know this guy from Adam, (Jack Dangermond) but he's big in the industry. Nice guy with a Humanitarian spirit about him. That and he's a multi-millionaire too, I'm sure.

So back to CA. What a great state. It's probably my most favorite place to visit. So much to see, so close. I can't wait to go back.

I'm not sure what to make of guys who yell stuff out the window when I'm walking the dog with my Ipod. Do they warrant a reaction? I pretend to ignore, even though I'm flipping them off on the inside. Is that wrong? Probably.

I think Donna's ready for summer to be over. Sarah actually mentioned she misses school today. I corrected her and said, "No, what you really miss is your friends, right?" She agreed.

I'm not being sincere enough, so am going to quash my creative nosebleed and go and watch a movie with the kids.

Blogging off for now...More soon!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Same Bat Time

I'm back from San Diego. I will probably post again later this week. (Thurs.) Much to tell. Stay tuned, bat fans.

Blogging off.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dogless in Waukesha

Toby was taken over to our friends' today, so it's just me and the two cats. Or in other words, just me. They're such pitifully bad friends those felines. Dogs on the other hand worship their owners.

This will be the last post for a week or so as I'm headed to San Diego for the ESRI Users Conference. San Diego, home of the most consistent weather in the continental US. What a great place to live.

A good, though busy day today. Not much time for doing what I want (like writing). In the middle of the day I had to trek to Ewald Kia and get a new key for the van. Well, the one they gave me got stuck in the ignition and they had to have a service guy come and extricate it. This was after the sales guy and another guy tried the same thing I did. Turn harder. Pull harder. Yep did them both.

It was a frustrating end to a frustrating ordeal, but we did get a new one, with promises to get a new FOB next week.

In any case, I miss my family. It's going to be a long week in CA. Conferencing is an absolutely draining experience. Lots of walking, eating out, socializing, late nights, early mornings, more walking. Beats working, but not by much. Exhausting.

Things I miss about my family:

  • Donna's updates about what's going on this week/day/hour
  • Sarah's playful sense of humor
  • Ben's socks in my bed, under the couch, or on the kitchen table
  • Laughing with Donna over whatever
  • Sarah's elfish grin
  • Ben's shouting "Dad!" from two rooms, or floors away
  • Donna's cooking!
  • Sarah's sarcasm
  • Ben's slamming the back door to go out and play with Juanito

It's weird, but the rattle and hum of family makes this house what it is. Without them here, it's just a big empty shell. I might as well be living in a refrigerator box. Seriously. It's not a home without them, it's just a house.

Well, I've got to finish packing, so fro now I'm...

Blogging off.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Awoken with a Loud Clanging Sound

You'll never believe this. (I know I don't).

A poem woke me up this morning. No, not one that was written, but one that was forming in my cranium. I gotta stop going to this writing class. It's starting to affect my sleeping pattern. Too much neuron stimulation and I'm a mess. I'd rather be dumb and rested. (Not really.)

It startled me with it's beginning;

"Lonliness rains on his heart
like a velvet mist"

and then left me to stir from 4:54 AM until 6:15 when the alarm throttled me. Of course I had to pursue it, so got a pad of paper and skipped my yoga workout and fleshed the thing out. I guess I never fancied myself a poet, but this is a good one.

Like all my writing (See yesterday's post) I don't know what to do with a rogue poem that seems like an orphan with one shoe and a bad limp. I can't really publish ONE poem. Should I type it out and carry it in my wallet? Put it on my tombstone? Fish wrap? Bird cage lining? A Nobel Peace Prize?

You realize what it's done now don't you? Now I have to write more. This class has stretched me to express myself in new ways, and poetry is one. Can you say mid-life? What the heck's going on? I not only enjoy reading it, but now I'm smitten with writing the stuff. What's next? The symphony and a developing taste for red wine? Furthermore, for the first time ever I'm considering writing some fiction. Why? Because it'll stretch me. Nothing more. And I want to see if I'm able to actually pull if off.

See what I mean? Why do I need stretching? What's so great about elasticity? Or rather, what's wrong with rigidity? Is this a temporary thing, or am I going to take up glass blowing next month? Trade in the SUV for a Saab? Hair transplants? Botox?


Is this all part of the deal? Like acne for mid lifers? Something you have to get through to move on to the next thing, I guess. Well, let me tell you, I didn't expect this. I'm like a hormonal woman for crying out loud. (Crying out loud probably comes next.) Afraid of what I might be asked to do next. I do think guitar lessons are in my future though. They're definitely on my list of things to try. That and jumping out of a plane. For now though I'm...

blogging off

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mr. Me for a Week

The house is as quiet as, well, as an empty house. Donna and the kids flew out to NY today for a week with family, cousins, the pool and the dog. I am attempting to get some extra posts in during this stay of execution. Watch, I'll fall into a pit of writers block when the chance to write is golden. WWWWD? (What Would Walt Whitman Do?)

The dog, is begging for the rest of my sandwich that he is unaware, is inside my stomach. This is why dogs don't lead the country. That and they lick themselves in places no politician should. I'm still waiting for that scandalous headline.

Writing class tonight was so awesome.


For someone who weekly wonders why I write and where it's taking me, it is always so clear to me after class that this is exactly what I was starved for. I'm no author, but it sure is cool to be producing again and getting critiqued while I do it. Listening to poetry, some brilliant, some mediocre makes the class so interesting, so cerebral. We're all growing in our craft, some are much more mature at it and many are better, but no one is overly critical. It's a supportive group all focused on the same goal; writing as art. It's bleeding out of me like a bloody nose that won't quit.

Funny the thoughts that go through my head in class. I'm sitting there thinking "what does any of my writing matter to anyone" (That would be the cursed inner critic that we talk so much about.) I'm in the middle of a Boundary Waters memoir that just keeps growing and I'm not sure it will ever see the light of day. Should I show it to the brothers? Keep it in a cigar box under the woodpile in the basement? Publish it? (Yeah, right)

The conclusion I've come to is that it really doesn't matter what I do with it. Sure it would be nice if someone saw it and appreciated it, but ultimately it is simply, what it is, as trendy as it is to say that. I write because I crave it, need it. It's a cleansing kind of thing. If I don't write, I get word constipation. Now there's a visual. I pray because it represents the completion of my relationship with the one true God. I write because it completes my humanity. It's like yoga. I don't do it because it's trendy, I do it because it helps me. Writing helps me be me. Jim the author who wrote mainly for Jim. That sounds downright unhealthy. Probably is.

So enough waxing philosophical. What else happened this week of note? Somehow the speakers on my Santa Fe got blown. I have a hunch that it happened when the Boys from Boys club turned my radio up full blast unbeknownst to me. When I turned on the ignition, it was, well a bit of a shock. Gotta love those kid shenanigans. Yeow!

Now I'm stuck with buzzing speakers. Near as I can tell, it's only on the left side though. So either I have to drive while facing out the passenger window to get the full stereo effect from front and rear speaker, or I need to get new driver side speakers. Since driving with my head at a 90 degree angle sounds painful as well as dangerous, I think I'll have to get the driver speakers fixed. Ca-Ching!

This week Ben suffered a goose-egg knock on the head while fleeing some fireworks that we had set in the driveway. It was a hard knock too, poor boy. He was worried about brain swelling, but I reassured him that if he wasn't crying tears of blood, he was probably OK.

He also wondered this week if he was having a heart attack at one point. Oh yeah, and he was concerned about getting swine flu on the plane. Boy's got to stop watching Discovery channel, or Dr. G or whatever he's been watching. I know when I was 10, I didn't even know what brain swelling was. We feed our kids too much information and wonder why they're freaked out when they get gassy. We've created our own problem.

Two more days until I get rid of this cursed temporary crown. I've chewed all my food on the right side of my mouth for 1 1/2 weeks. I'll have to re-learn how to chew correctly when all is said and done.

The trip to the dentist I am not looking forward to. I am confident it WILL generate a post, because dentists are such easy targets for me. She told me this should only take 15-20 minutes. It takes her that long to tell me what she's going to do. Hopefully though, because she's squeezed me in between 2 other patients, it won't take long. I might not even have to sit down for it.

I've got a 30th High School Reunion coming up in 3 weeks. I plan on going and seeing how bald and fat the rest of my class has become. At least I only fill out the first half of that description. It should be a trip down memory lane. I suspect it will be enough to tide me over for the next 25 years. (I went to my 5th, and now the 30th.) Wasn't a big fan of my High School experience. Why would anyone be of an experience free of any contact with girls, civilian life and long hair? Especially at that age. Man, if I had it to do over...but I don't. So because of that I'm...

blogging off.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Scam-a-Rama Auto Sales

Everyone loves the car shopping experience, right? I know I do. The waiting. The BS. The bait-and-switches. The waiting. The small talk with 3 different people, none of whom you wanted to meet in the first place and post-purchase, hope to never see again.

My wife and I had that wonderful experience last night. Oh, it was so special. The circumstances surrounding our hasty purchase need outlining first.

When we went to the same dealer last week, they had one vehicle that we liked, except for the color (white). Well, the sales manager said "Never fear, I'll find you a vehicle in the color of your choice in the next week." Let's note this as lie #1.

After not hearing from them for a week, Donna calls them yesterday and the same sales manager had a completely different tune; like he'd never heard of us before. "Vans are hard to find right now," he says. Last week he sounded like they were falling out of the sky. Funny, those sales guys, evidently they have no sense for the car market from day to day. They only deal in it every day, so I could see how you could totally miss the mark like that. Look at Meteorologists, for example. At least Meteorologists have the excuse of dealing with the laws of nature. Car salesmen, well, I guess that's why they are where they are. No Einsteinian breakthroughs coming from this group.

So, not being able to find a reputable dealer with any Kia Sedona vans in the area, we went into a bit of a panic, being that our van is on it's last legs. We did manage to google one dealer with a few of them on hand and found out that he had a handful of convictions to his credit. As I said, we are not dealing with Eagle Scouts here. Shady characters, the lot!

Anyways, lying sack # 1 tells us if we hurry, we can still get the white van, but to hurry because he's had two other parties interested in it. Note this as likely lie #2.

We rush over to the dealers lot with the crippled Chrysler product followed by the Santa Fe, in case parts were to drop off.

I was driving the van and Donna the Santa Fe. Instead of a long, slow, memory laden ride to the dealer where the Van and I traded stories about our travels together it was more like a tumultuous, loud fiery end to the relationship. Since the muffler had fallen off, she was roarin' like a Harley Davidson that had just been neutered. Pissed off was she. I sensed she knew she was going to the trading block. She seemed to pull even more to the left than usual. Furthermore 1/2 the way there the fuel light came on. At least that still worked. Served the crooks right that we leave them with nothing but fumes.

To make a long, sordid sales story shorter, suffice it to say that we were almost scammed out of $2300.00 by the crooks that call themselves sales associates at Ewald. It seems the Financial Guy neglected to tell us that the "bumper-to-bumper warranty" was not included in the 10 year/100000 mi "Certification" that cost us $500. When we saw the financed amount, it seemed a bit on the high side. Like 2 grand high. Like alot high.

Thank God for the sharp eye of my wife. Her hackles went up when she pointed out the "high-ish" number. This caused the financial guy to become very flustered and nervous and apologetic when he explained that the "warranty" was different than the "certification". Note deception #1 occurs here.

Our point was, why wasn't this number, a SIGNIFICANT number no less, ever explained to us? "Well, the sales associate can not do that; it's not his job." Fine, when were YOU going to tell us then? Snakes, slimy, sleazy snakes.

Needless to say that when Donna pointed this out he suddenly was able to give us the "employee", or "weasel" price as I like to refer to it. That dropped $800.00 off of the price. We were never near walking out, but there was a point where I would have been OK with taking NO extended warranty.

Did I mention they're spineless parasites? It's true.

So we have a van and believe you, they are getting a nasty gram from this car owner. I intend to get my pound of flesh. Jellyfish flesh perhaps, but flesh nonetheless.

I'm pissed because they took us for fools. That and blatant deception and sleight of hand.

I'm going to quit for now, before I get more upset. I will keep you posted. But now I'm...

Blogging off.