Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

The Twisted Date With My Ex-Wife

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I have been sitting here going over the meeting I had with my ex-wife on Saturday and for the life if me could not think of a title to refer to this post. Then it occurred to me, just call it what it is because there is no other explanation. I’ve mentioned it has been easily five years since I have seen my ex in person and at that time the only words spoken were fuck you as we passed by one another in a crowded gymnasium for our daughter’s high school graduation. I guess I wasn’t paying attention to her looks then since I can’t for the life of me remember. That becomes important here in a bit. I was going to give y’all a play by play of the evening, but there would be way too much quoting am I’m feeling lazy tonight. The picture above is important as well, remember that in this relationship with my ex I am always the mongoose.

At a little after 7pm the intercom for the front gate pops up my phone, since I get the video as well I knew exactly who it was, how nice for her I thought, over 2 hours late. Since I was out in my shop I opened the gate, instructing her to park in the drive, and then wait for me because I had to walk back up to the house. A few minutes later the door to the shop opened and there my ex stood. Shaking my head I told her since she couldn’t listen and wait, go ahead and get in the truck so we can head back up to the house. Her only comment to me was how, in her opinion, my shop was kinds messy. Great, thanks for noticing. Being overly polite I asked her if she would like to come in to see the house while I grabbed her package. She didn’t say yes or no, she just got out and started walking to the back door. Whatever. When we came into the kitchen my wife and son were sitting at the bar eating some cherries. The two women gave that look to one another that women do, stating dominance to the other while being grinned back at. I know you people have seen this exchange before. It was the first time these two have ever been this close to one another, like seven feet or so, with very sharp knives in both their reach.

Now, as we walked out the door I noticed something I haven’t even thought to think about since the mid 90s, but the swing of her ass caught my eye. It was strange, very strange. We got into my truck to go eat, discuss her problems with the IRS, and then head back to my housee so she could get the hell on her way. We went to a favorite place if mine, The Texas Roadhouse (I know, how cliche), neither of us ordered alcohol, in fact we both ordered food right away. I had prime rib because we were at a steak house, she ordered a salad, because we were at a steak house. Apparently she no longer eats the flesh of animals, glad I ordered my very bloody rare. She brought up the papers, if she could see them, and I pulled out the document releasing me from any further legal liability. At first she refused, dinner was over, she paid, and we left. There was absolute silence driving back except for the Ozzy I had playing on the radio. We pulled up to the house, I told her goodbye, and I was heading into the house. I almost made it, her pride almost made this whole adventure worth it, but then she called me by my actual name, asking me to wait because she wanted to sign the papers so she could have her copies. Fair enough.

It was done, I went inside to make a copy, and then I went back out. When I handed her everything she purposely let her hand gently touch the back of mine. Then it hit me, bitch you are sting a low life cunt. We were done. I went in and she drove down the driveway. I grabbed my cigarettes and two bottles of water, then went back out to the deck, lit my tikis, and had a seat at the table. The inky thing I was thinking was I was glad the night was over. She will never change, she always believed that she could not fail, perhaps I should introduce myself now. I should have just mailed her shit to her, a day late.oh well, the deed is done and that is that.

My evening ended on a positive note though, my wife came out the back door, walked up to me, put her arms around my neck from behind, kissed me on the cheek, and then slinked over to the hot tub not wearing a stitch. She always knows how to bring a genuine smile to my face. And that, my friends, is where this story ends.

Spending The Entire Day Waiting

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Yesterday I spent the entire day at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston waiting for assistance at the pharmacy. When I say all day what I really mean is I was in line for mandatory valet parking at 7:04 am, by line I mean there were already 64 vehicles ahead of me, for a service which doesn’t even start until 7:30 am. This is after a 55 minute drive from my house. But, before I begin my monologue about my personal frustrations with the VA Medical wait times or my personal complaints, my experience is minor compared to most others trying to get more critical treatment. In no way am I saying I have bigger problems, just I have my own problems. Regardless of what a person’s reason for visiting a VA Medical center, things should happen in a more timely manner than what it does currently.

My reason, and I had only one reason, for visiting the VA Medical center was a very clear and simple mission, to find out who and why my insulin changed. I would waste time explaining the significance to everyone but only a diabetic and doctors (most) would understand. Let’s just say we don’t change insulin for no reason at a whim. What started this quest was simple, Friday I got my new 30 day supply of insulin which was the wrong “brand” and the wrong dose. Names change so I did a little research and found what they sent me was wrong altogether. I called the pharmacy, and the short version is, I was told I must be mistaken and if a mistake was made it was because I ordered refills for the wrong insulin. Really? I’m that fucking stupid? I referred to my Rx # and so forth directly from the myhealth website and I was again told the mistake was all me. After hanging up I contacted my PCP in Conroe, spoke with her nurse, and was assured nothing had changed in my prescription details. Well, at that point in the day it way too late to drive into the VA so I made plans for Monday morning. Unfortunately those plans got scrapped and I was delayed until Tuesday. For your curiosity purposes I have included a screen capture from today to illustrate how vets can use this website to order and track prescriptions and yes this is my own personal list.

After driving, after waiting for mandatory valet parking, and after getting my number at the pharmacy, I sat there prepared to have a discussion with the pharmacist. I had my last vile, the vile they sent me, and the printed version of what you see below. So, I waited. after 2 1/2 hours my number came up so I got in line to wait another 20 minutes. Finally, when it was my turn to speak with a pharmacy technician, I was told that he could not help me with my problems and that I would need to take a different number so I could be consulted by the pharmacist. WTF? Again, I sat and waited in the sparsely populated waiting room of the pharmacy. Now, we are in lunch time so the slowness begins creeping to an almost halt. I’m hungry, but not hungry enough to leave and lose my place in line. Good thing I had brought a baggie full of spicy roasted almonds for a snack. Somewhere around 2:30 pm I was again alerted my number was up and got back in the line to wait behind the others whose numbers were called. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel appears, I’m next. I was so close I could taste it.

The pharmacist very nicely asked what my problems were and how could he assist me. After explaining it all again to him he looked at me and told me any and all changes had to come directly from my PCP. Really? What changes did she make which changed not only my insulin but almost triples my dose? Of course, there ate no changes on record. The he pulled the “you must have ordered the wrong insulin when you did your refill request” bullshit. How in the hell can I do that? I have one fucking choice and that is what in the fuck I clicked. Here is the real kick in the balls, he tells me regardless of anything that is said that the current 30 day supply of insulin has already been verified, processed, and shipped which means he can not refill any more until July and if changes through my PCP happen then those will need to happen prior to that date. WTF are you smoking? If I am in need of this insulin immediately then I need to purchase it on my own. If I thought I would look good in prisoner orange I would have just ended his smart ass right then and there. FUCK I hate this fucking place!

And, by the way, one can not simply go to a civilian pharmacy and get insulin without a fucking prescription. I can, however, go on line and order it from a pharmacudicals supply in Canada with no prescription for a mere $260.10 plus express shipping. Yea, like that’s gonna fucking happen. Who knows what the fuck would be in that vile. As a result, my civilian PCP was nice enough to see me this morning. That only cost me $167.30 but he did give me a prescription for the correct insulin and the correct dosage. Which was generous of him, probably since I have been a patient of his for the last 15 years. So I got lucky, this time. At the pharmacy I had to pay the self-pay cost of $208.08 but now I have what I need for the next thirty days. I also am able to get in to see my VA PCP at the end of June so things hopefully work out and get back on track, hopefully.

No, I do not think I can ever get them to admit this whole thing was their mistake. I have come to a conclusion in the short time of dealing with the medical portion of the VA, they have to not have a soul or something to work there. I wonder how in the fuck they sleep at night. I do know, it is because they operate with no conscience. But, to be fair, I base this opinion solely on the people I have encountered myself. However, I have met ex-VA doctors, nurses, and technicians who say that they did not agree with how things worked but their hands were always tied when trying to make a positive difference. I can’t say I know what every veteran is going through and I know my problems are simple compared to most because my are Rx related. I would hate to see the state of my “health & wellbeing” if my only option was the VA. I am deeply sorry our Veterans must endure such bullshit as a course of their own survival, they truly deserve better, they deserve the best that is offered, and maybe with their asses in the news now the VA will clean their act up. I know, I know, wishful thinking.

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Incompatible Software Malfunctioning IT

(FILE PHOTO) Samsung Overtakes Apple As Leading Smart-Phone Supplier

As the workplace becomes increasingly mobile, the federal government is opting for devices other than BlackBerrys. The Obama Administration announced a Digital Government Strategy for federal employees to access workplace networks from mobile devices without compromising privacy and security concerns. In accordance with this strategy, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and National Institute of Standards and Technology developed a baseline of standard security requirements for mobile computing and a framework design to reference in designing security and privacy protections. This would allow federal employees to use a range of popular brand devices without compromising government networks and leaking information, and even allow some offices to implement a bring-your-own-device policy instead of on government-issued devices.

Technology insiders applauded the government’s decision to develop the mobile technology to permit federal employees to work remotely. A survey of federal managers and federal workers found that each employee would add an additional seven hours each week in productivity, amounting to $14,000 in productivity gains. Of those federal workers who already have mobile device access, they spend a weekly average of nine additional hours on top of their full-time work schedules checking in to their workplace networks. Almost half of these workers report working more efficiently outside the office.

The Department of Agriculture forked over $20 million to several companies for MDM integration which is now one year behind schedule and malfunctioning. Perhaps if the USDA hired one of the companies approved by the GSA for mobile management solutions, then the USDA would not be having these rollout problems. Or maybe if the USDA required a demonstration of the bidding companies’ capabilities for MDM integration in the USDA’s network, then USDA employees would now be using their own iPhones and Android to access their workplace servers. Instead, the USDA paid three contractors $20 million.

Testing before handing over taxpayers’ money would have shown that one contractor’s software is not compatible with part of the USDA’s network security infrastructure. Eight months after the MDM system was supposed to have completed a 30-day, 3,000 phone test phase, this test phase has been pushed back, and the USDA is still just testing one component of the contractor’s incompatible software to determine whether the software will be used or abandoned. According to the USDA’s Request for Proposal, the agency already supported more than 3,000 mobile devices before the $20 million project and hoped to expand the number of mobile devices to more than 100,000 over the next few years. As of late July, only 1,370 devices were on the USDA’s MDM system.

Surely, given the failure of the MDM integration at the USDA, other federal agencies would restrain themselves from awarding millions in taxpayer dollars to these contractors without first testing their product? Think again. One of these three contractors was awarded $212.1 million in government contracts just in 2013. The contractor with the incompatible software has several multi-million dollar government contracts with the CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS, and the Air Force. Instead of pouring millions of dollars to fix “glitches,” taxpayers would prefer their money go towards testing new technologies first to prevent such rollout problems.

Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.

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