Monday, March 31, 2008

Welcome to Holland.....

I guess this has been around for a long time. I only recently heard about it through my girlfriend...more after the story...

"by Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland. "

My son is different. His childhood is nothing like I had ever planned or hoped it would be. I had never planned on a divorce. I had also never planned to be seeing counselors, psychiatrists, etc on a weekly basis. I had never planned to do it alone. While I'm sure that I'll look back on this and see a lot of good things, it doesn't feel all that great right now. I've made a lot of mistakes trying to figure out how to deal with the uniqueness of my son. This is the time of year that things just seem much more difficult. It is the final stretch before my son goes to his mom's for the summer. I had a brief taste of that freedom this past week while he went to his mom's for spring break. Unfortunately that was tainted by the changes in my current job, a situation that is deteriorating rapidly. I spend much of my time feeling entirely exhausted, but I try to plod through things regardless. I'm also very whiny and frustrated right now, with no clear way to change the circumstances in which I find myself.

My son's return to school today was very good. No issues and he was really happy when he got home. So three very good weeks in a row on that front....going for four.

On a nearly unrelated note, I've been to Holland. Rotterdam to be precise. It was a whirlwind time for me as I had just reported to the submarine I was assigned to. Consequently I don't remember too much about it. I really wasn't planning on going, the US Navy just happened to take me there. It was a surreal experience for me. Nearly everyone looked like me. Tall, blonde or light brown hair, etc. I'm used to being able to see over most people and nearly always having an unobstructed view of things. Not there.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free Time....

It's been a long and stressful week at work. I've worked hard not to bring it home with me. I've worked out most every day this week. I haven't over eaten so much. My son has had two exemplary weeks in a row. I forgot to mention it, but he was selected as student of the week last week. Even with the excitement of Easter, spring break, and one or more substitute teachers this week, he was awesome in school and out. Friday afternoon I took him to his mom's parents to start the trek down to see his mom for the next week.

Friday I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time. I went and worked out, then shot basketball for an hour. I don't like to watch sports...I like to play them. Why should I watch someone else do something I love to do? It works in other areas too. I love to sing. No one likes to hear me, I'm not any good. Now I don't stalk or sulk in Karaoke bars, but I'll go with a group of friends...and I don't need to be drunk to get up and sing. I'll get up and dance at a club or a party...because I like to, not because I'm any good. Most people recognize this pretty quickly and give me some space. :-) At 6'2", if I step on you, it will hurt, if I bump into you, you might fall over. I'm not known for my grace and in basketball I've been known to foul out entirely on charges. Basketball with me can be like football without pads. I've learned in the past year to love volleyball nearly as much as basketball. I need to move somewhere like Salt Lake City where I can feed my insatiable passion for snowboarding.

So after shooting basketball I showered, grabbed my book, and headed out for sushi at the sushi bar across the street. Not very exciting, probably not worthy of a blog post, no sex, no intrigue, no politics, no philosophical insights, just a bit of relaxation with no responsibilities.

Saturday was the opening day for Busch Gardens. My girlfriend, her son, and I along with many friends from meetin went for some roller coaster craziness. And food. :-)

And people watching is a valid form of entertainment (like the picture below). I'm sure we entertained some folks as well.

So Sunday morning found me wide awake at 6am. Very strange and disturbing dreams that I will not go into. So I started the day with some ab exercises, some Yoga (the first time in forever for each), and this entry.

THE BIG NEWS is that I received a letter yesterday notifying me that my son was accepted into the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program!!!! Lots of jumping up and down here. I called him and he was VERY excited too! When we went to the presentation for the program a few weeks ago he liked it, but was not enthused. He said, "I didn't like what they said. They said I'll need to have a binder to keep everything in, and they are going to grade me on it. I don't want anything to do with that!!!" I said, "That is exactly why you need this program." It means that he won't get to do the Japanese class he really wanted or the other electives because AVID is the elective. He will get to go on some really outstanding field trips. I've already lined up daycare and transportation since the school is out of district. I'll be picking him up in the afternoons....which means he'll be able to participate in extracurricular activities that he wants to.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Depression and other things.....

I read a very short article this week that referenced what they said was a "soon to be released study" about how blogging can be nearly as effective as an anti-depressant. Writing is rather cathartic for me. Reading about other people's journeys is also very encouraging for my own. There have been some studies ( I don't feel like tracking them down right now ) that say that anti-depressants themselves may not be as effective as we previously thought. Maybe it is because we get them through our drinking water now? :-) Some have Reverse Osmosis water...they are the smart ones.

I wish I was one of those people that didn't eat when they get stressed out. I'm just the opposite though. I have been loosely following the Body For Life program for a couple of years now. It is a great mix of diet, cardio, and weight lifting. I've sort of been off of it for two months now and I have really been feeling and showing the effects of that. Getting back into it is the hardest part. Making the time for a 20-40 min workout each day when you haven't had to is not very easy. Finding the sheer willpower to go out and move when the previous day's workout has left you aching is hard. There is great reward if you do though. It makes me even hungrier than stress does. :-) It does relieve stress and like writing, it can help keep depression at bay.

A couple of thoughts from the last few days.

My son vacuumed up a piece of equipment the other night. He proceeded to tell me that he wasn't close, etc, that the vacuum sucked it up from a long way away. The truth is that he wasn't really paying attention and was trying to get out of trouble. His perception is that he wasn't close. He clung to that. I explained that I had one problem, a broken piece of equipment, but now I have two, a broken piece and a child that didn't want to take responsibility for not doing what they were supposed to. I explained that I really only want to deal with one problem. One problem is easy to get through, two problems makes it a lot more difficult on both of us. I keep explaining that it is easier to say "Ok, I'm sorry, I won't do it again" than it is to keep fighting whatever happened. He creates a perception and clings to it. I see it in a lot of places...we refuse to acknowledge anything that is different from our perceptions. So, Our perceptions become the realities we choose to believe. I wanted to say "lies we choose to believe" but it only becomes a lie when we know it to be untrue but cling to it anyway because it suits us. Once we believe them we rarely can let go of them to embrace what may really be true. Sometimes this is self preservation...why would we want to admit we could be wrong when we could be right? Why should I let go of something that hurts those closest to me when it makes me feel so good?

The other thought has to do with many things in our world today. Particularly Internet security. Many of the applications we know on the Internet are run with protocols that are decades old. They are not secure. Security is difficult to tack on at this point. The other day I had to review a new application that runs on a newer protocol. After going through it and asking some tough questions, the answer I got was that "It's not any worse than email (SMTP)." Ok, so here is a thought...If we are building new solutions, lets try not to include the old incompetencies. It applies to much more than just computers and the Internet though.

Spring Break this week. Try to get outside and correct some of the vitamin D deficiencies that might be holding us down. I hope yours is a great one. My son is going to see his mom for a week. It will be a nice break not to have to be a parent for a couple of days. Lets see how much stuff I can cram into the next week!!!!!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Once upon a lie, and happily never after?

A long time friend wrote me last week. She has been married for a number of years and has an eight year old daughter. Her husband has met someone else and has had an affair. He sort of wants to stay in the marriage, but doesn't want to do counseling. He also wants to remain good friends with the woman he had the affair with. Sounds very familiar to a situation I faced a year and a half ago (only I wasn't married to the person).

She writes:
"My husband has had [an affair] and we're trying to work things out, but he won't go to counseling and I keep reliving stuff. I still sense red flags. Some days I'm so hurt I don't know how to manage it. So my question is, do you ever really get over it? The betrayal. Maybe you didn't want your wife back after you found out, so maybe it doesn't matter as much. But had she wanted to stay, could you ever have gotten over it? Probably a stupid question. Sometimes I think we'll separate, and if so, I wonder if I can ever learn to trust another person again."

I wouldn't wish this on anyone. You get through it, like everything in life. You eventually get over it (at least most do). Some learn to trust again as they realize not everyone is like that. Some do not.

What would you do? Is there anything you can offer for support that I can pass on to her?

I know that for me, the relationship between my wife and I had deteriorated so much that when she told me everything that was the closure I was looking for. She wanted out from being a wife and a mom and thus began my foray into being a single parent. An open, frank, and total confession can do wonders. At least for me, it is the not knowing everything that happened that drives me insane. I know it is the same for other people I have talked to as well. That nag that the other person is hanging on to something, a secret, where there should be no secrets. As far as "friends" go, seriously a friend would step aside, wish you nothing but happiness, and disappear. "Friends" that hang around after you have slept with them or are willing to sleep with you even though you are in a relationship probably aren't "friends".

March 9th was National Get Over It day. I missed it this year, but it isn't too late to make up for it!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A concert...

My son went with his grandparents this weekend.


Well, no, not really. But nice to not have to worry about him for a little while.

So I got to soak in my girlfriend's hot a nice and small dinner, and go to a local club, the Jewish Mother, and see a show. What a show too.

First up was a local, Jesse Chong. I've seen Jesse by himself, seen him with a another renown local favorite, fiddle player Charlie Austin, and now with his band, Jesse Chong Band. :-) They were great as always and they write their own songs.

Next up, the headliner, Emerson Hart. Lead singer for Tonic. Just him doing his solo thing, a drummer, and keyboardist. The songs are all very personal, the show was more like a living room show (the place is really small), but it was phenomenal. I barely know Tonic, but I recognized a few of the songs he played. Big bands in big stadiums can be kind of fun, but few can ever pull off a personal connection with a crowd that size (Harry Connick did when I saw him once, and the Blue Man group which I saw two weeks ago!). If he is coming through your area, you should go see him, even if you have to stand the whole night like we did. It was awesome.

He said about one song called Vanity, "Ladies, if you are worried about getting older, don't. You will always be hot. And let's face it, your shit will probably work a lot longer than ours!" He is right, but hopefully just about the first part!

My girlfriend and I had a great ride on the boardwalk today. It was beautiful with just a touch of chill. The ocean was calm with the waves barely lapping at the beach.


Have a great weekend!

You Wanted More - By Tonic
Love is tragic
Love is bold
You will always do what you are told
Love is hard
Love is strong
You will never say that you were wrong
I don't know when I got bitter
But love is surely better when it's gone

'Cause you wanted more
More than I could give
More than I could handle
In a life that I can't live
You wanted more
More than I could bear
More than I could offer
For a love that isn't there

Love is color
Love is loud
Love is never saying you're too proud
Love is trusting
Love is honest
Love is not a hand to hold you down
I don't know when I got bitter
But love is surely better when it's gone

'Cause you wanted more
More than I could give
More than I could handle
In a life that I can't live
You wanted more
More than I could bear
More than I could offer
For a love that isn't there

I got to pick me up when I am down
I got to get my feet back on the ground
I got to pick me up when I am done

I dont know when I got bitter
But love is surely better when it's gone
I don't know when I got bitter
But love is surely better when it's gone
'Cause you wanted more
More than I could give
More than I could handle
In a life that I can't live
You wanted more
More than I could bear
More than I could offer
For a love that isn't there

You wanted more
More than I could love
More than I could offer
The harder you would shove
You wanted more
More than I could give
More than I could handle
In a life that I can't live

Friday, March 14, 2008

My son....

That is a nice turn around from the past several weeks. 

We got a canoe this week and took it for it's inaugural voyage Thursday.

I got a promotion....and a pay cut.   :-) 

More to come.....

"Until you forget what you think you know and what you think is possible, you will never know what is truly attainable."

was selected as the STUDENT OF THE WEEK!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Something from a senior manager at work today....

A series of excellent principles to work by:

People Are Important!
Honesty & Truthfulness
Trust Up and Down
Follow Through
Do The Work Right
Mistakes Do Happen
Bad News Don't Get Better With Time
My Work Does Not Define Who I Am

Be On Time
No What If Drills
Don't Dwell on Misfires
Will Not Tolerate Rumors or Second Guessing
One Team-Much Elbow Grease
Our Reputation Is Our Work
I Have A Family
Suspense's Are Important
The Boss Is The Boss
Take Care Of The Boss
Share, Share And Share

Definitions of things seem to be on my mind a lot lately.  Definitions of relationships and family mostly.  While my work is important to me, it definitely doesn't completely define or own me.

Brandon's counselor this morning discussed vitamin D defeciencies.  There is a test you can do, but it seems to be a given with the winter months.  He drinks a lot of milk and we try to get outside a lot, even in the cold weather.  It is another avenue that we'll be exploring.  Nutrition is a topic that deserves it's own post though!
"Until you forget what you think you know and what you think is possible, you will never know what is truly attainable."

Sunday, March 09, 2008


{CLICK}[fluorescent lights flicker on]

"WOW, it's really dusty in here, kind of like no one has been here in almost 40 days..."

[pieces of equipment start to whir to life, and that familiar electric hum becomes the new standard of silence]

[quizzically looks down and wonders if it still works, then decides to try it out]

"Does this thing work? Testing....Testing.....1..2..3...Is there anybody out there? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me...Is there anyone home?"

Ok...what happened? I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle maybe? I'm not sure.

The short story is that two independent events merged and formed a perfect storm of sorts that has kept me busy. I haven't even been answering email. It isn't over yet, and probably won't be for a couple of months, and it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Now, for the longer story.....
A good friend from Richmond called last week and said it had been a month since I last posted. I kind of laughed and was thinking it had just been week or two. He said "February 5th". I was stunned. Really? perception and perspective were in dire need of calibration. A few people started writing me and a note I got today got me jump started. I wasn't trying to worry anyone or looking for attention I have just really lost track of how much time was going by because I don't have any spare time to reflect on anything right now.

So what has been going on? Well we'll start with work. I rarely say anything about work here because a few people I work with currently read my blog. I also don't like to bring work home with me so it is usually the farthest thing from my mind when I'm at home. That changed about a month ago. There were contract issues and other problems happening at work and my company asked me to help out. So I have been. I now work in a different city than I was during the day, and at night I work on things with the previous position from home. It was supposed to be only for a short period. The short period is over and the next foreseeable end is around September. In a way I'm getting a promotion, but the team we had is splitting up and I would rather that it didn't. Some of the confusion and chaos ends Friday as it is my last day with one company and Monday I start with another. Same position, etc, but another company won the contract...and that is supposedly how Military contracting goes.

The other factor conspiring against me is my son. Every year in the spring he begins to become unglued. I've worked on several different solutions this year to try and prevent it from happening, but he is still falling apart. His tantrums are becoming more violent and more frequent. Right about now we probably need an extended break from each other, but that isn't really possible. We had a problem today where he began to explode but showed a little bit of promise. The rest of the day seemed to go well. However, Friday he came unglued with a substitute teacher at school (I don't think she'll come back to that class) and then really exploded at the YMCA. He has been suspended from the YMCA for two days and is now on probation. Three more events and I will not have childcare anymore. I am not sure what I will do after that. I hope he doesn't get to that point, but history says not to be too I need to start planning. I also missed a day and a half of work last week because of a tantrum he threw at home in the morning. Emergency counseling appointments, doctors, etc. He is heading back to in patient care and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.

Two weeks ago we did have an amazing adventure with Whale Watching. Not only did we see a whale, it was a North Atlantic Right of only around 300 known to be alive. They are a very rare sight anymore. You can see the pictures HERE. If it looks a little strange it is supposed to. I was there watching the animal move and everything and I still can only barely make heads or tails of it. It was about 30' long, in about 20' of water, and only about 500 yards off shore...if that. When I signed up for the trip I never thought I would actually see a whale, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.

Welcome to another edition of "Daylight Savings Time". I'm really tired now and going to bed.