What On Earth Have I Done?

November 10, 2007

Robert Fulghum’s new book is wonderful so far… I really enjoy his works. Reading this book opens my mind to what’s around me, like a fresh breeze. After a while with out some reflection and solitude I seem to get a black and white view of the world.

As the title of the post suggests that is his thesis- “What On Earth Have I Done?” An interesting question because he poses the question as a Mother asking a child “WOEHYD”. Then he puts the question as to an adult’s life. Same question-different meaning altogether.

The chapters are short vignettes, which after read seem to stick in my mind wait for a chance to be applied. An example would be the story of his quest to rid his house boat of Otters. Success really didn’t have the intended result; less stink but a loss of playfulness and curiosity in his world. Another, how his house was valued less than he thought it was worth, and the reasons why were the reasons he discovered that added value to his life.

Fulghum tells a story about a couple of college students who eat a dining room chair… yea, really!… now you’ll have to read the book.

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My Wife, My Best Friend?

November 7, 2007

My Wife is my best friend… And, guess what? I think that’s the best thing ever. I do love her more than a normal friend and certainly in a different way. But when you boil it down I view her a the best, closest friend I’ve ever had, bar none. Maybe it’s best said that she is even more than a best friend. A Super-best friend. Someone I share everything with (with the exception of the crap I put up with at work).

What puzzles me is how could someone not be best friends with their mate. A few people I work with look at me like I’m insane when I tell them my wife is my best friend. That makes me wonder about the quality or worth of their marriage or living arrangements. I do work with a wide variety of cultures, Muslim, Hispanic, Blacks, Red Necks, and others. Not all clearly express that they don’t view their mates as best friends, but many don’t act like it. Talking about things they say or do without their mates knowledge tells it all.

So is “best friend” the better term? Don’t know… but I do know it’s working out well for us that way.

Love for my Wife

September 25, 2007

I have been married for 26 years… I know I love my wife more today than when we were married. She is not a perfect wife (for sure I’m not the perfect husband), but I love her more than ever. It’s more passionate and at the same time a the “best friend in the world” type of love, how can I explain that?

Several times in our marriage I believed we were doomed. But I never considered leaving or divorce because I knew it was me and at least 1/2 of it was my baggage. All I would have done is take the baggage to another relationship.

What brings me to this post is that we have some friends who are having problems with their marriage and some of it reminds me of our problems. The rushing around of little kids, jobs taking to much time, being second (maybe even last) in getting attention (sex, what sex?), the stress of money and everything else  and that’s not mentioning families that seem to complicate everything with their problems and hangups.

My advice… communication, but first listen… really listen. If you think everything is OK and your partner blows you out of the water with news you never suspected. You’re not listening…or paying attention, verbal or physically.

My problem was/is I like to solve problems. When my wife would share her problems, I wanted to offer solutions. WRONG ANSWER, (maybe I’m slow… but it took me 15-18 years to get this) listen and then listen to her but don’t offer solutions. Believe it or not that’s not what she wants. She want attention and someone to listen to her.

Talking… well I’m getting better at sharing my feelings, needs and fears.

Do I have all the answers… not even close. But my wife and I can weather the storms of life with our love, respect and trust in Jesus Christ.

Back for More

September 11, 2007

Well Summer is over and work and home life has settled down to category 2 tornado. It it had gotten any busier I don’t know if I could have taken it much longer. Working six days of work mostly ten hour shifts, teaching Sunday School class and running the boy to football two a days. Now all we have to worry about is Home School and having the kids do their work on time.

Tomorrow is my oldest sons birthday, he’s 17. I’m so proud of him. He’s so diligent about school and football. There is a very nice girl that seems to enjoy his company. It’s so interesting to see him struggle to understand girls. Little does he know that will be a life long task, or better said… adventure.

I have been planning this weekend for at least three weeks (all the work I want to get done for the cookout Monday evening). I have decided to quit working on the yard and garden before 5 PM (even if I’m not done) so I can spend the evening with my family.

Water balloon fights come to mind if it doesn’t thunderstorm. Maybe I’ll go to the dollar store and buy squirt guns and noodles to have some real fun with the kids and Wife. What ever we do we’ll have some fun.

Monday we’re having a cookout our family and a few guys from work. Just burgers, hot dogs, beer can chicken, smoked pork, roasted corn on the cob, and other cook out stuff. No over kill this year. Just a simple cook out with family and friends. And I plan to remember our troops and fallen heroes…

What are you doing?

Job Interview

May 22, 2007

I had an interview with Starbucks today. When I woke up this morning I just did not feel like I was ready for the interview. Almost there I notice I miss a spot shaving, luckily there was a CVS next door and I could buy a dollar razor to correct the problem. It was just that type of day, kinda behind the curve all day.

The interview went… I just don’t have a feel for it. I answered every question with good responses I believe. It was a situational type of interview, with prewritten questions and S-A-R type responses. A classic  interview, one I’ve done myself many times before. I wasn’t nervous or anything like that, plus Steve was nice and was a good interviewer. He stayed focus and didn’t wonder off into rabbit trails. I just don’t have a good feeling about the situation.

I guess there is one plus, I saw the manager of the store I frequent. So maybe I can speak to her and see how far my resume has made it. I’ll see her later this week. I would really like to work for Starbucks, I have a lot to offer. Twenty years restaurant experience, I’ve opened stores, was a certified trainer, been company Manager of the Year, managed a store to 26 periods of sales increases and oversaw six restaurants from the ground up. One thing that I believe that hurts me is the restaurant I used to work for is mostly out of business in my area- Shoney’s Inc.

During their time they were a great restaurant to eat at and work for.

Parenting, what a challenge! It seems you can only know how you’ve done by the end result. And what is an end result? When I’m older and grayer with grandchildren? Or maybe there’s another way to “judge”? Maybe that could be in present actions, like following through on yard work and other chores. Or maybe making good judgments on friends, employment and schoolwork. I believe, I rely to much on the ending well part, and sometimes overlook positive signs now.

I’m very busy with work, church projects and work around the house (including homeschool things). So what a relief today when I asked my boys to dig a few holes for our new pergola I plan to install this coming week. I called home from work and they have two holes done and if the rain lets up they’ll get the other two done tonight. My girls 7 and 12-teen are scraping the arbor to ready it for paint on Monday. Sounds like a small thing, I could dig the holes in about an hour, or scrape the arbor in 30 minutes, but this will allow me to get it done quicker so I can plant the garden early in the week.

Plus, I think this will give them some ownership when we finish the projects. I have a mostly built shop (16×20 timber frame) that each has helped in their own way. The girls will come out and sweep the floor and pick up nails (I recycle used boards and beams) and the boys have helped lift walls and countersink nails in the floor.

So for the future I will look on the present and encourage my kids and be thankful for the wonderful help they provide. (I cannot leave out my beautiful Wife, she deserves more credit for the children’s good points than I do.)

I really like this web 2.0 app. It’s free (for a month) and to keep it it’s only 4 dollars and change for the premium service. It seems to be a social type of app where others you invite could add to your mind maps. When you work with someone else brainstorming you can even use Skype to talk. And they claim you can upload maps from MindManager and FreeMind as well as download (I believe).

I have been using MindMeister for several days and I am going to have my kids move their goals to the MindMeister site so they can put dates and details to them. I have planned out the Mother’s Day trip to Dawes Arboretum with a cool mind map. Needless to say I’ll be cutting out a few stops to Starbuck’s to pay for the four and change.

Don’t forget check out Jamie Nast’s book Idea Mapping along with her blog.

My co-worker is talking to me again. For the 8-9 weeks he wasn’t talking to me. I was nice to him, said good night to him and other social things (with no response from him, not one word). I left him normal (and sometimes extra) communications about what went on during my shift during the “silence”. I finally left him a note asking what I had done to offend him and if he would tell me I would be more than willing to apologize, still no communication.

Then a few days later he just started talking like nothing had ever happened. You know what? In one way I’m relieved, and feel better about working with him. On the other hand, I’m more angry with him than when he wasn’t talking. I need to put that anger aside, because with no doubt, he’s the one with the problem. I do feel a little sorry for him.

I heard of a study on job satisfaction on a podcast (60 Second Scientific American) and the study claimed 47% of Americans were satisfied with their jobs and were happy about them. I believe that’s amazing. Maybe it’s this way; when you talk about a person’s job and say how difficult or bad it is they seem to defend the job. They might say it’s not so bad, or only at times it’s that bad or hard. Just a thought. I really like my job, and sometimes I love it. It just takes so much time from my life and family. It’s said no one at the end of their life says “I wish I’d spent a little more of my time at the office”.