Valentine’s Day is fast approaching

 

In my home, next to the wife’s birthday, Valentine’s Day is the 4th biggest holiday of the year. Falling behind Christmas, Easter, and her birthday, of course. It really is a big deal. And, rightfully so. Every year I try to do something that lets her know how much I love her and also express my amazement that she settled for me. And believe me, she SETTLED. I, on the other hand, definitely married up. She’s a great wife and we have great kids but I’m cheap and we both acknowledge this. I can’t really help it. I’m cheap about almost everything. She points this out constantly and it only seems to really bother her when she thinks I’m being cheap about safety. I’ve been known to cut corners on safety in an effort to save a few bucks. But, in all fairness, I cut corners on everything to save a few bucks. It’s just that when it comes to safety she feels that we shouldn’t worry about the cost.

I grew up real poor. I’ll save the woe is me stuff but I’m no stranger to going to bed hungry. I’m still poor by my own standards. I work a blue collar job and consider myself lower middle class. However, I have a college degree and we’re probably middle-middle class (did I just invent a class?). Well, you get my point. What I’m driving at is that I don’t like to spend money and society has made this holiday about just that. I know the day should be about spending quality time with the one you love and you don’t really need to spend a lot of money to show someone how much you care. But, that’s not the reality of it. It’s almost impossible to get a decent box of candy and a dozen roses for under $100. That may not seem like much but expensive is relative.

I also know that roses and chocolates are the cliche gift to give, but that’s me. I grill on the Fourth, sing carols on Christmas Eve, and carve pumpkins on Halloween. I’m all about the cliches. I love the hokey Americana of our holidays. I’m not so big on Christmas lights, they drive up the light bill. Just kidding. Basically every year I have the same problem trying to find something traditional yet unique and within a reasonable price. That can be harder than it sounds.

I remember last year I went with Sharis Berries. Funny story. I couldn’t make this up. I spent about $80 for some berries and a couple of individual cheesecakes. First off, let me say this place sells the biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen. I don’t eat strawberries but the wife loves them. Anyway, I placed an order and all was well. I even paid extra to make sure they arrived in time. Like with most online orders I had a tracking number. They shipped my order through UPS. I’ve never really dealt with UPS, my company and I usually ship through FedEx. So, like any anxious husband I was following the package from day to day to make sure my extra shipping charge was well spent.

Their packages are shipped with dry ice so they generally arrive in a couple days. I followed my shipment to my town and saw that it stopped. For three days. No movement. So I called the UPS customer service line and was told that because I was the receiver and not the shipper, I couldn’t be told what the problem was. I called Sharis’ customer service and had the rep contact UPS. The Sharis’ rep put me on hold and when she came back she said that she would refund my money and send me another package. Two problems. First, why did I need another package? Second, another package wouldn’t make it in time.

The Sharis’ rep told me that the package made it over 1000 miles to within 5 miles of my house and then an employee of UPS at the sorting facility opened it and ate the contents. That’s a true story! Now, this could happen at any shipping company so I don’t think it says anything about UPS except maybe they should keep a snack machine on the premises. I have other stories like that regarding various holidays, it seems that things like that happen to me all the time.

This year I was hoping to maybe go to the beach for the weekend. You can do that in Florida in February. It’s nice. But my wife would probably see it for what it is, an attempt to save money.

 

We always have fun but maybe not a good choice this year. I’ll probably just go with chocolates and flowers and a fancy dinner at the Outback. I’ll probably slip in a special surprise for her this year though. She really is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and after you put all the cards, candy and commercialization aside, that’s what it’s all about. Taking time to tell your significant other that you love and appreciate them. It’s amazing to me that I found anyone, much less my wife, that would want to spend the rest of their life with me.

 

Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day.

Dr. King Weekend

Today is a holiday for my company. I’m not sure how many companies celebrate Dr. King’s birthday by letting their employees off, but mine does. Where I grew up, at least in my family and community, Dr. King’s birthday/holiday wasn’t anything we recognized. It was considered a “black” holiday and didn’t really apply to us. At least that was the thinking back then. For some of my family it’s still the same. I know calling something a “black” holiday may immediately make some think “racist”, but you’ll just have to take my word that we never intended it that way in my home growing up.

I’ve got an uncle that calls King, Marther Luther Kings. I’m not sure if he really doesn’t know his name or if he does it on purpose. He also refers to Oprah as Ofra. He’s kind of a weird guy in general though. But, like I said, King’s holiday was never celebrated in my home or community growing up. I don’t think it was the result of racism or hatred but I never asked either. I never picked up on any racist or hateful remarks regarding the holiday. It was just a holiday for a person that we didn’t know much about and someone that didn’t really effect our lives in any noticeable way. Or, so we thought.

It was not until I got into college that I found out more about his contributions to society. He did a lot for the poor and lower working classes. He really lived his convictions and was a leader with character (sorely missing today). I know he has his detractors and critics and I think legitimately so. In America, everyone has detractors. I think it’s a real testament to our country that people can and do stand up and complain about Dr. King. In this country there’s someone out there to complain about everyone and everything. I think that’s a big part of what makes this country so great. Not that we are a country of complainers but that in this country we have the right to voice opposition to anything and everything.  You don’t have to look too  far to get both sides of an issue.

The only down side to Dr. Kings critics is that some of them are labeled as racists. I believe calling someone a racist without rock hard proof only hurts free speech.  Some may be racists, but I think they represent the minority of his detractors. I for one take issue with his Christian beliefs. I was raised in a pretty conservative, Christian home and my beliefs tend to run very close to traditional Christian teachings. So, Dr. King’s take on some very key Christian doctrines run afoul in my home. But, I can still respect his position on many other issues. I can’t think of any one person that I agree with all the time on every issue.

The point of this post is that now I have my own family. It’s a little embarrassing that I didn’t know more about a great historical figure like Dr. King until I was in college. I have my own children now and I hope to break that cycle with them. I’m going to teach them about all great Americans. Whether their contributions seem to directly effect us or not. If someone makes a great contribution to America then it benefits all Americans. So, later today when we’re grilling (no good American holiday forsakes the grill), I’ll take a little extra time to educate my children on just why today is a special day and the man it honors is deserving of that honor.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great holiday!

Funny story about a trip to Wal-Mart

This happened just before Christmas. About 2 weeks before Christmas I was in a Wal-Mart doing some work. Wally World is one of my company’s bigger accounts and I’m in and out of them a couple times a week. When I’m there I wear a typical service tech’s uniform, khaki pants, polo shirt and a name badge. Now, my uniform doesn’t look anything like a Wal-Mart employee’s uniform, at least not to me. But that doesn’t stop people from constantly coming up to me and asking me where the toilet paper is located.

Well, me and another tech were doing some work right up front, in the entrance of a Wal-Mart one morning. The store we were at was in a medium sized city but I would still call it rural just because of the county it’s in. It’s on the outskirts of a medium sized city. But, this city is more of an urbanized farm town, of sorts.

Anyway, my friend and I were working when this man came running up to me saying he’d been attacked. I looked at him and saw that his eye was swelling shut. I looked over to my partner and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders. The guy was about 5’10” and maybe 180lbs.? He was talking pretty fast and by the time I had taken in the info, he’d already went on to say that he needed the police because he was attacked in the parking lot and his attacker was following him into the store.

There was a lady next to him and while the guy was telling me he was attacked, she was saying “call 9-1-1, my husband was attacked”. So, I assumed that the guy was her husband. After all, they came into the store together. At the same time. They were both borderline yelling.

I was just about to tell the guy that I don’t work for Wal-Mart but by then several managers were walking up. So, I just turned back to what I was doing. Right then the guy turns to the woman and screams “You whore, you whore. You F—ing whore!”. It was then that I realized that they weren’t together.

So, after hearing the guy scream out those profanities, I stopped what I was doing and turned to watch the show. The guy’s eye was still swelling. It was almost cartoonish the way his eye was swelling shut right in front of us. This all took place in a matter of minutes.

About this time a guy came casually walking in. This guy was at least 6’3″ and had to be at least 250lb. He was noticeably bigger than the other guy.

The bigger guy goes up to the smaller guy and says “don’t call my wife a whore”. I figure that the big guy is about to pummel this little guy because the little guy is still calling his wife a whore. Then, the little guy proceeds to spit directly in the bigger guys face. Not once but 3 times. Right in front of everyone. The big guy doesn’t do anything.

By now the Asset Protection Coordinator (LP) comes out and gets between the two guys. The whole time, all the big guy says is “follow me back out to the parking lot”. The little guy won’t move though.

The little guy eventually runs out to his car, bends his tag up, and takes off like an Ethiopian with a lunch ticket. The cops do eventually show up and after reviewing the video and getting a statement from the big guy, the altercation went down like this:

Big guy pulls into a parking spot and gets out of his truck. As he exits his vehicle and closes the door, he turns around to see the little guy standing there. Little guy tells big guy “you took my space”. Big guy says “Nope. You’re crazy”. Little guy hits big guy and is surprised when big guy doesn’t fall down. Little guy is even more surprised when big guy hits him back. Little guy lands on his back and his mother (Yep, MOTHER!) gets out of their car and begs big guy to not hit little guy. Little guy looked to be in his mid 40’s.

After that, little guy gets up off the ground and runs into Wally World looking for help, followed close behind by big guy’s wife.

All this over a parking spot.???

Different part of town and someone could have ended up shot.

This whole scenario was funny as hell to watch. I’m not sure how well the humor translates to a blog but more importantly, there’s several good lessons to learn from this.

You’ll have to mine out the lessons on you own.

Well, it’s been over a year…

I started this blog back in 2010 and today is the second day of 2012. I posted 2 or 3 posts in 2010 and NOTHING, in 2011.

2011 was by far, one of the least productive years for me in recent memory. My wife and I had a second son and we couldn’t be happier. We saw our favorite singer back in Sept and we were lucky enough to get awesome seats. We were three rows back from the stage and we both had a blast. That’s about all I accomplished.

I picked up a copy of Rosetta Stone and had hoped to learn either Spanish or Hebrew, I didn’t learn either. I also hoped to finally start playing my guitar but that didn’t happen either. I’ve had that guitar for 4 years and never once tried to play it.

The few bright spots are that so far, my family and I have been blessed to still have decent jobs and I’ve only seen a small reduction in overtime. My friend AJ made it back from the mid-east safe and sound and he’s getting out of the military after 11 years. He says it’s just changed too much and he can’t take it anymore. He had planned to be a lifer but the B.S. has forced him out. And that’s saying a lot considering he’s a SEAL.

We work together for the same company and we’re starting a business venture together, so we’ll have plenty of time to mend any hurt feelings that occurred prior to his leaving. This year I’m hoping to set attainable goals that will afford me the ability to spend more time with my friends and family.

Anyone that eventually finds this blog, here’s hoping that 2012 is the best year of our lives. That’s saying a lot because I’ve had some pretty good years.

Sometimes things aren’t what they seem.

Yesterday I was working at a customer’s site, it had been a long day and I was tired and a little out of sorts. I spent 3 times longer on a task than I should have. This was almost completely due to the incompetence of another person, someone that was suppose to monitor and approve my work. I ended up wasting many hours because of there inability to perform their job. This seems to happen a lot in my line of work.

One of the few downsides to my job is that I’m always waiting on someone else’ approval and quite often the one giving the approval isn’t as knowledgeable in their field as I would expect. If a guy is going to have a title such as Network Administrator, you would think they would know something about networking. That’s not always the case.

I take great pride in knowing that I’m not just good at my job but I’m generally very knowledgeable in my field. It makes my life easier to know that if some problem pops up out of left field, I’m suited to handle it. It seems that people are not so keen on being good at what they do, they just want to be good enough. Being just good enough isn’t good enough.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I was sitting in my vehicle in the parking lot after the job and working on my paperwork when my boss called to check on another job across town. I was talking to him and organizing my papers when a car pulled up. I wasn’t really concentrating on the car, the papers or my conversation with my boss. I was just sort of trying to halfheartedly multitask. It was later in the day and I usually wear sunglasses when I’m driving but the sun was going down and I was parked, so I didn’t have them on. This matters later.

Four people got out of the car, 2 guys and 2 really hot women. Because my attention was divided between tasks, I guess I wasn’t paying attention to what I was looking at. I was chatting away with my boss about another job and I was paying pretty close attention to the two pretty women. Maybe too much attention.

Well, they walked out of my view and went to a store close by. That was it, I assumed they would be shopping for a while. They weren’t. They came back across my field of view in short order. The first one back was the prettiest of the two ladies. She was dressed in a revealing outfit. Very tight shorts, revealing, and not much of a top in terms of concealment. I guess I was looking a little too close because her boyfriend had stopped just inside my peripheral vision and he was looking at me pretty hard. After a few minutes of him watching me watching her he moved to directly in front of my vehicle and stopped. Then I started paying attention to him. He was staring directly at me and he looked mad.

I then realized that I didn’t have my sunglasses on and he could see where I was looking. Now, my first thought is, don’t get mad if your girlfriend dresses in revealing clothes and guys look at her. She’s obviously doing it for the attention. I’ve seen hand towels with more fabric than this woman was wearing and this guy’s pissed at me? That was my first thought. Then I realized that I may have been looking too hard. Either way, what’s done is done.

This guy looked like he wasn’t going to let it go. He was still standing there just trying to stare me down. Its been a few years since I was in a fight but I’ve won more than I’ve lost. This guy was about my size and he looked soft in all the right areas so I figured if he makes a move, I like my chances. What I didn’t like was he had a friend with him and who knows if the girls would get involved.?

The whole thing felt like high school. Very immature for sure. So, this guy is still standing there. I assume I know where this is going so I start paying attention to my surroundings. The hotter of the two hot ladies was already back to their car. The other hot girl was close behind her friend. The other guy was just passing Mr. Toughguy and he was headed to the car. He seemed aware of what his friend was doing but he didn’t show any interest in getting involved. At least that’s how it looked from my perspective.

Mr. Toughguy was still trying to stare me down and now he was starting to flex and roll his shoulders. I guess he was trying to intimidate me but I already knew what I was going to do and it wasn’t going to take long. Unless this guy was some kind of MMA star, he was about 3 mins from being unconscious. I figured whatever I did I would have to do it fast just in case any of his friends wanted to help.

So, toughguy’s not moving. I pushed my laptop over into the passenger seat and unbuckled my seatbelt. I left the engine running, just in case. I reached over and popped the door open and was just about to get out when something happened.

Mr. Toughguy lifted his arms and through his very loose NBA jersey I saw his sports bra. He had boobs! Mr. Toughguy is a Ms. Toughguy. He was a she. This took the wind out of my sails for a min. I had to reassess the situation. Two guys and two girls didn’t get out of the car. Four girls got out! These were a bunch of lesbians. I can usually spot this kind of thing but these girls were really playing the part.

Needless to say, once I realized what was going on I busted out laughing. She saw right away what I was laughing at and she lost her momentum too. She looked a little disappointed that I didn’t get out to fight after that. She got in her car and left. Later that night I thought about the absurdity of the whole thing and couldn’t stop laughing. It was pretty ridiculous.

My Weekend. Not Very Exciting.

Well, I’m a homebody. This is probably what my wife (and friends) understand least about me. I know it bothers my wife that I’m happy sitting at home inside all weekend but it relaxes me.

After 10 years of marriage my wife still doesn’t understand that I like being alone. I love my family and friends but I’m really happiest when I’m alone. I know it’s selfish and I make an effort to keep it under control. What I’ve tried to explain to my wife is that I’m “out” all week long, sometimes up to 13 or 14 hours a day. I’m dealing with people and traffic all day long. There’s a lot of city driving that comes with my job. When I’m finished working and on those rare weekends that I don’t have to work I don’t want to go out.

She still takes it personal. Which brings me to Friday. I worked late Friday. Until about 7 pm. I had mentioned, on Wednesday, in passing to my closest friend AJ that maybe we could get together on Friday for a few beers.

This guy has been my closest friend for about the last 8 years. He knows me as good as anyone but even he doesn’t get that I like being alone. He’s leaving in a few months and will be out of the country for about a year. We’re running out of time for a last little get together and I found out too late Friday that that’s what he had in mind.

Friday he calls late in the afternoon saying that he has the grill fired up and beer ready to go. He’d bought a gift for my kid and wanted to give it to me. This was late notice and I wasn’t sure how late I was going to be working. Turns out I worked pretty late for a Friday. I didn’t make it to his place and he took it personal. Problem wasn’t the time so much as the notice. I hadn’t told my wife, I was just going to swing by and have a few beers if time allowed.

It wasn’t too late to stop by his place but I couldn’t because I didn’t tell my wife and I couldn’t spring it on her at the last minute. I eventually saw him on Saturday and we hung out for a couple hours but when I invited him out to eat he balked. He made up an excuse about having to get home. He gave me the gift for my kid and we parted.

Now he’s leaving soon and I’ve got limited time to patch up any damage I did by being lazy. I should have stopped by his place on Friday. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay longer than 20 mins or so, I should have stopped by. Because I prefer to be alone I make excuses for myself and end up hurting people close to me that I care about.

So, that’s how my weekend started on Friday. I worked Saturday until about 5 and then met up with my friend AJ. After our little get together I went home.

Sunday came and I didn’t go outside once. I spent most of my time watching movies. I didn’t see anything worth talking about.

I’ve been down a little since Friday. I feel really bad about not going by AJ’s place. I should have stopped by. I’m sure that since Wednesday, when we spoke, he’d given me clues about his plans. My mom always said I couldn’t take a hint. People have to come out and just say what they want around me or I’ll never know.

I really need to work on being a better friend and my people reading skills. I don’t want to hurt my best friend because I’m lazy and insecure.

On top of all that, I still caught grief from my wife when I got home on Friday.

Can’t win for losing.

Hello! This Is Me.

Hello! For anyone that eventually finds this site, welcome.

This is my first attempt at blogging and I kind of stumbled on to it. I’m a repairman. That kinda explains the title. I’m on the east coast and married with a family. I’m in my 30’s and have an engineering degree. I’m the typical guy next door, I guess but I don’t really talk to my neighbors. I’m just not real outgoing. I always thought I would end up being a bench tech somewhere after I graduated because of my inclination to be alone. Never thought I’d be out working directly with the public. But, here I am.

Lately, with the economy the way it is and some changes at home, I felt like I needed an outlet. I wasn’t sure what that outlet would or could be but I knew/know that if I didn’t find one soon the thoughts and ideas I’ve been having might start affecting me on a physical level.

I’m not the kind of person that’s ever kept a diary or journal. I’ve tried for most of my life to keep my feelings to myself. My wife says she still doesn’t really know me after 10yrs of marriage. She also says I’m the “unfunniest” person she’s ever met. Although, I’ve always wanted to be The Funny Guy in my circle of friends. I try really hard but usually I don’t get many laughs. I’ve always known I have a twisted (maybe perverted) sense of humor. For example, I am usually the one guy in the theater not laughing at the funny part of a movie. And I’m usually the only one laughing when I do laugh. It can be real uncomfortable for my wife and friends.

But, I’m rambling. This first post, I hope, will establish who I am on this blog.

I want to use this blog to post any crazy encounters I have during the course of my day. Rant about anything and everything that bothers me and post the crazy thoughts I have while I’m out and about doing my job. Basically it’s cheaper than a therapist.

Hopefully somewhere along the way I’ll find that I’m not the only one who feels the way I do and maybe I’ll find a few people out there with my same sense of humor.?