Settling Is Not An Option

Originally Posted 29 Febuary 2012
Settling is not an acceptable option for me. I teach my kids as I have learned, only accept the best a person has to offer. It does no good to settle for what someone else tells you is the most you can expect. I will be the judge of what my expectations are of people. I am not a “have to win everything person” or a “can’t stand to lose person”. If I or anyone else gives it our best and we fail, we must treat the failure or short coming as a lesson to learn from. When in school, we had to study in order to pass the grade because we were not born knowing it all. Life is a lesson learned everyday, we cannot just be acceptable to doing things half-assed and life is peachy because of it. I see too many people in my life that really could give a shit about their interactions with other human beings. Why? How does a person get to the point where they have given up on trying. No, this is not a motivational piece inspired by something phenomenal that has occurred to me in a dream. I wish, no such luck. It is, however a wake up call because I am sick of being told I need to accept everything in life because that is all that is offered.Are you a part of the problem, or are you a part of the solution? My dad told me many years ago that those who depend on someone else for things in their life will become so dependant that they will never be able to swim back out of the wirlpool tide. Is this true? Yes and no. If you start accepting less of yourself and the people around you then you are destined for failure. Once you realize that you don’t need to accept the below par behaviors, you have achieved the first part of realization. Now what? Act upon it? Sit on it a while? Or do like most people do, bury it. People have an excuse for every single thing in life. Take the time sometime and just ask the question “WHY?” And apply it to anything and everything. You will be very surprised at the answers you will get. What you thought you knew will start to get chipped away until finally………………..KAAABOOOOMMMMMM, and all the crap you held sacred fades away and you begin asking “WHY” did I always accept someone else’s second best, “WHY” is second best all I ever offered? Think about that for a bit, it sucks, it hurts, but it is worth digging down and finding the root of the problem. Problem? Who said there was a problem? I say there is a problem. Personally, I have zero tolerance for crap like this. What amazes me is I used to think it was me, that I demanded to much out of people, but then I realized that is was not me, I was giving my 100%, yet others were falling short of the mark. The day I realized this mess of a life I had was beyond fucked, I stood back and realized I let it get that way, I accepted the bare minimum people had to offer. Now, I don’t tolerate it. Give me you absolute best or step aside because I am done with you in every way possible.

Lets look at something together for a few minutes. Lets look at one simple thing I have done to make my families and my life better. My wife and I both work, together our incomes were not making ends meet. I was satisfied with that for many years. Looking to others for something to make it all taste a little better. Then, I applied for a second job. I didn’t want a second job, but a second job became the only answer to the question of how do I make the ends meet. Luckily for me, I spent some time at school and became a TABC licensed bartender. Luckily, I am a good bartender. And, yes, luckily I stumbled into a job totally by accident. I wasn’t looking to get a job where I work now, I was actually applying at many other places. So, did luck have anything to do with it? Or did someone finally call my bluff and tell me to put up or shut up. Truth be known, it was the latter. I was told I talked a good game, now prove I am as good as I am. So I did. Sort of shocked myself to be honest. Life is sometimes difficult that way sometimes because you can only bullshit some of the people some of the time, but you can’t bullshit all the people all the time. Just something to remember.

Now, my day job is different. For me to be able to function properly, others must first do their job properly. It happens about 50% of the time. The 50% that they failed to do their job falls back to me, low man on the totem pole, to fix it. Why do I do it? To keep my job of course. The difference is that those individuals are being paid for incompetence why I do double work. Do I care? Sort of, I get paid pretty good, I have some spare time on my hands each day, so I do it. I have created my very own viscous circle of a web that has become unbreakable. Now I get to fix it because that’s what I have always done, hold hands and babysit. However minor this is, it would be nice for people to step up and do the actual job they are being paid for. Is that too much to ask? I challenge anyone to show me in my job description where it says I must coddle, babysit, and hold the hands of those not qualified to fulfill their obligations. I just looked, nothing. Since this is my day job which provides medical insurance and so forth, I move forward, begrudgenly, I move forward. I know my shit…….. and that lets me sleep at night. So, even I have to settle for incompetent behavior, not by choice mind you. Where I differ from most is I recognize there is a problem. As I am not the boss, I cannot control others destinies in employment. Do I ask too much?

It would be wrong of me to think that the rest of the population is full of blithering idiots, because I know that’s not true. What is true, in my simple observations, is that we all settle. We all accept things the way they are. Some recognize it and some just go on in life oblivious because they just don’t care. Perhaps they have given up. Perhaps their willpower has been drained down below a correctable stage. I am stingy when it comes to money. I believe I should get the best for my money, whether it be a product or service. I consider that I work hard for my own money, someone needs to work twice as hard to pry it out of my hands. We stopped going out to eat because I got tired of crappy food and crappy service. For the prices of a meal that a nice sitdown restaurant (minus the golden arches) charges nowadays, I should expect to have my taste buds doing cartwheels off of other peoples tables. My money should be trying to jump out of my wallet in gratitude and appreciation of a job never matched by another human being providing me service. Neither ever happens. Quite the opposite, I usually leave a restaurant pissed off, hungry, and wanting to just go home. My wife tells me I expect too much out of people. I suppose she is right, but not totally. I expect my wife to be loving to me and my children, and let me tell you, she outperforms all of my expectations all the time, hands down. She has never, in 14 years of being together, given me a reason to ever doubt anything about her. None. How many people can say that? No, we are not perfect. But we do act like grown ups, which always helps. We, together, work damn hard to provide a good home for us and our children. We both grew up wanting things our parents could not afford, my children do not have that same concern. Is it all about the money you ask? No, its how you spend said money. Buy stupid shit and you are left empty handed most of the time. Me, I am a saver, I am always socking money away, always. Why? Because the “rainy day” might be right around the corner and I would like not to have my pants down around my ankles when I get that surprise.

I guess, in the end, I just want to know why we humans just “settle” for whatever is presented to us. Have we evolved so far that our needs to survive have been replaced with just hoping we will get enough scraps tossed at us? What would happen in our world if no one would say “I Can’t”? Just think about that and I will get back to you another time. Thanks for listening, I don’t feel any better now, but I am hungry.

How I lost My Faith In God

Original Re-Post 14 Febuary 2012
I get asked this question alot, especially from people who know I grew up Catholic. What? Did he just say he grew up Catholic? Y’all heard me right. For as long back as I can recall, it was church on Wednesday and Mass every Sunday. I was in Catholic school preparing for Catholic high school when the summer before I had a life altering experience. I had always questioned God and his existence most of my life. In fact, my quest was so deep that I was on the road to become a priest so I would understand the answer when I found it.In the summer of 1983, my life changed forever. Before I actually begin, I must mention that I had been flying with my dad for the 3 years prior. This summer was going to be the summer I solo’ed in an Ultralight to get my amateurs pilot license. I really liked to fly, up to that day, flying is all I could ever think about. I had a few weeks to practice up on my skills and prepare my self as well as my Ultralight for the big day. My dad lived in the outer edges of nowhere in podunk South Dakota so when a kid, 14, is after getting his pilots license, it makes the evening news. I had a short interview with the host and then it was time for me to go. Was I nervous? Not really, I was prepared and ready. I was very excited. My dad started the engine, patted me on the head and gave me his sun glasses because it was very bright and he didn’t want me to get blinded by the sun. I taxi’ed off and then I was airborn. I had left the surface of the Earth to fly where birds fly. About 13 minutes into my maneuvers I was gaining altitude to make my final turn to come around for my landing. This is when everything went bad.

This part is speculation and interpretation of what was thought to have happened. The FAA deemed it an unavoidable accident with no one or nothing at fault. My dad says I hit a wind shear from what he saw and the t.v. news footage shows the same. When I made that final gain of altitude, my Ultralight “nosed up” and caused a stall in the engine. At which time I saw myself rolling over into a steep dive to the ground, from 1600 feet in the air at about 83 mph. The assumption is this is the point where I blacked out. I have no memory of it all until I woke up in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks later. I had flashes of the accident but they didn’t seem real, they seems like I was seeing someone else’s dream. I was informed that I had broken 73 bones, some of which included both legs, both arms, both wrists, all of my fingers, and my jaw. I had a punctured lung and a puntured kidney. All I knew was I was in pain and I wished for death. I bear the scars of that day God decided to let me die, some physical, some mental. I spent 3 months healing and learning how to walk again, eating thru a feeding tube. During the early weeks of therapy I was told I was D.O.A. when getting to the hospital. Doctors fought hard to bring me back to life and patch me up. The priest came to see me in the hospital, prayed for me and watched over me like one of God’s soldiers. This added to the confusion, God wanted me dead. I have watched the footage of my crash many 100’s of times and still can’t explain it.

So, I healed. Went back to Texas. Except the plans had changed. I was no longer going to be going to Catholic high school. I was going home to pack and move to South Dakota to live with my dad and work with him. 2 days before I was to be picked up by my dad, we got a phone call. The phone call was from my grand mother, to tell me my dad had died earlier that morning. How? Ironically, in a crash not much unlike my own. With one exception, the doctors were unable to fix him, score one for God. We left immediately to go to the funeral. I buried my father, a man who loved to fly almost as much as me. I mourned for him. I still wonder if he is happy where he is, where ever that is. It is not often a loved ones death is captured on tape, my dad’s death was, and I have watched it many times also. The FAA case determined my dad’s crash as a mechanical failure/ mechanical fatigue.

Where is this “Loving God” I had learned to fear? Why won’t God answer me? My freshman year of high school I made the choice to turn my back on God, religion, and faith. I had been lied to. I couldn’t find the truth because it does not exist. I have spent the rest of my life depending on the people around me, as they depend on me. I make no secrets that I do not believe in God and I do not fantasize that God exists. I am not mad at God any more or any less. There just isn’t any room for fictitious folklore in my life and I challenge humanity to prove to me (and themselves) that God does exist.

I have spent most of my life trying to remember what it was like to be dead. I will never know what happened to me exactly. I will never know how I survived such a destructive crash. I am here on planet Earth because doctors knew how to fix broken people. I value the time I have with my family, this time is precious to me. I never know when it might be the last time I see them.

I haven’t flown for recreation since that day. Since I joined the Air Force, following in the footsteps of my dad, I have had to fly quite a bit. When I retired in 1999, I made my last flight and have not been on an airplane since. I hate flying, it scares me, and I have made the choice to avoid it at all costs. I changed on the day I died, I lost my love for many things I held dear. I lost my dad, but I know he died doing something he absolutely loved, flying high, as the birds would fly.

Routine Blood Tests Highlight Scary Secrets

Originally Posted 01 Febuary 2012
Recently, a few weeks ago I needed a refill on my blood pressure medication. I have been taking the same one for 8 years, it works so beautifully it is almost impossible to put it into words. Let us just say it works. Anyway, in order to re-new my prescription I needed to have blood work done to make sure it isn’t screwing up my kidneys. For the record, I haven’t had blood drawn since early 2008, so I was a bit overdue.How did it turn out? Good news, my liver is great. Bad news, I am being informed that my blood sugar levels are so high that I should be admitted to the hospital for treatment and observation. Um, yeah, that’s not happening. I am not a fan of hospitals at all, they are truly the one thing I fear most in life. Well, besides needles. So, I re-visited my doctor and he gave me the run down. It looks bad, real bad. I am having to make some severe lifestyle changes. The good news is that if I do what I am told, check my blood sugar 20 times a day, eat right, start excercising, take my shots twice a day, take my pills twice a day, that maybe, just maybe, I might get it under control in the next year and live to tell about it. I was given a 20% chance of success if I follow all the guidelines. 20%? Not great odds if you ask me. But, what do I know anyway.

I thought I knew plenty. I thought I would live my life my way and that was the way it was going to be. Fried foods, pasta every night, Mountain Dew all day right after a Amp for a swift kick in the ass first thing in the morning, rare red meat, no veggies, eat what I want, drink what I want, and smoke what I want and die after I was an old man. Oops. Gotcha. Now I have to maintain because there is no reversing the effects it has already taken on my body. I always could dismiss things by giving it another cause. Come to find out, they were the early warning signs of diabetes. Signs? What signs? Well, lets see. Like having to pee every couple of hours 24 hours a day. Thought it was the HCT in my blood pressure medication working overtime. HCT removes excess fluids from your body so you don’t get swollen joints, hands, and feet. Being run down all day even after having about 900 mg of caffeine in my body each day and not being wired. Having a sore that won’t heal after months of having it. Constant dry mouth even though I drink 2 to 3 gallons of water a day. Mood issues for no reason, come and go like a light switch. Constant numbness and tingling in my feet and hands all day and all night. Here I thought I was getting older. Here I thought my pains were from breaking most of the bones in my body more than once. But, I am no doctor. And, apparently WebMD is full of shit.

The actual shock is gone now, I think depression is here. It is not overwhelming, as one might think, because it has given me time to reflect on the past and give deep thought to my future. I don’t want to become a statistic, not yet. I will lick this thing we call diabetes, one way or another. As I read back over this passage I realized that other than my wife and kids no one else knows. I guess it is still that way because y’all only know me by a name and not personally. It did feel good to talk to myself while I wrote this entry because it has all been thoughts bouncing around in my head for the last couple of weeks. I suppose I will mention this all again in the future after I figure out where things are going and how I plan on getting there. Thanks for lending an ear and listening to my story.