Blessed and fortunate: I'm a man!

My first blog post was a short one, and included this: 

my 40th birthday will not be spent in the same way any other (of mine) has been. It won’t even be spent in the same hemisphere.

One way ticket. New priorities.

Boy it looks profound in those big italics, doesn't it? [no]

Back then I was looking at 40. Now I'm seeing it inside parallax just before it hits me in the nose.

my occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around

And I say "back then" because even though I posted that just 10 months ago, my life has gone down a completely new path--yet again. I traded the stability of golden handcuffs to bet on myself, I waved goodbye to a relationship that breathed like oxygen but ultimately sustained like cyanide, and I learned how much I love and miss my family and a handful of dear friends.

I also set out on a truly once in my lifetime experience, to see parts of the world I'd only dreamed of. In the 5 months since I left, I've seen stunning natural beauty in Cambodia and Chiang Mai and Vang Vieng; breathtaking works of manmade art in Bangkok and Chiang Rai and Vientiane. I've also seen man's inhumanity to man in Kanchanaburi and Saigon.

I got soaked with strangers during Songkran, knew joy with old friends and family over coffee and beer, and made new friends and relationships I'll forever treasure.

And I have written, because that's what, above all, I came here to do. 


On my 25th birthday I was working in the coolest job ever with the coolest people ever. I thought I'd found my path. But I also wanted love, and I'd reconnected with the woman I was supposed to be with. Three months later I would move to Washington, D.C., and we would forge a new path together.

On my 30th birthday I was in a job I hated, but using it as a stepping stone on the new path for more. The woman and I had been through a lot together (and at times apart), but we had made it through. We were on the same path. And I was starting to taste a bit of the good life she promised--we were even making plans for my first trip outside the U.S.

On my 35th birthday I was a freshly minted MBA, stressed out in a lucrative job with a massive learning curve, but excited for the challenge. I was newly hitched to that woman: we'd been through so much, and now all the hard work and stress and struggling was paying off. We'd had a lovely wedding and honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, sparing no expense. Living the dream that we had built. We'd built me into something more than I ever could've imagined. I even thought I was happy.

On my 39th birthday, that path was gone. The job had become even more lucrative, but it led down a path I wasn't willing to walk much longer. I'd survived a divorce, and was in a beautiful, intense entanglement with a Girl who happened to have a boyfriend. I'd given The Ultimatum, trying to convert myself from ho to housewife (so to speak).

I didn't act right

And it was around that 39th birthday that I realized this new path I'd imagined, walking hand in happy hand with this new Girl while figuring out the next stop in my six-figure professional tour was destined to be like those before--not a dead end, per se, but one from which I would have to turn in order to continue my journey.

I don't regret any of these twists or detours or dead ends, just as I don't regret my childhood plans for being a pro baseball player or POTUS not panning out, nor when at age 14 the first girl I really fell for LYLAB'ed me, or when at age 18 my first real girlfriend cheated on me with my then-best friend and his girlfriend ("Dear Penthouse Forum, you'll never believe how I got cuckolded").

Far from regret, I am thankful for all of them. Because without the love, the loss, the opportunities, the rejections, the false promises, and my own personal failings and "mistakes", I wouldn't be right here, right now--exactly where I am supposed to be. Doing exactly what I am supposed to be: writing and traveling.

Now I know what happy is. Because I Am Happy.


Rudyard Kipling wrote a lot about what it takes to be a man. His words, along with a few others, helped sustain me during my divorce. In leaving everything behind on this Next Episode of my journey, I drew on those words and inspiration from sources diverse as fuckable friends and Stewie Griffin and the Rocky movies.


And now, as the days between me and four decades on earth reduce to single digits, this path that I have walked has led me, not only to deep gratitude and appreciation for all I have become, but to a sincere understanding of what the great philosopher-king Gundy the First said:

Bles$ed and Fortunate

Some nice cooked food, some nice clean draws.

I am blessed and fortunate for all that I have. For free lunch mocking in the school cafeteria and 19 cent pot pies with half a crust but not going to bed hungry. For middle class in high school, eating name brand mac n cheese. For moving out to prove a point and one pack of ramen per day. For going to bed hungry. For splurging on a cheese slice or can of tomato sauce and going to bed a little less hungry until I'd forgotten what point I was proving.

I am blessed and fortunate for second chances.

I am blessed and fortunate for a bit of college and ambition that revealed success' outlines. For the fall that followed when I couldn't get past the fear. For getting my electricity shut off. For sleeping in or under two pair of pants three shirts two hats four blankets. For anger caused by ice showers in darkness.

I felt neither not blessed nor fortunate while line-standing to pay reconnect fees when I could've earned $3.37.

Approximately $3.00 rounded down

I am blessed and fortunate for third chances.

For Henry Coffer who befriended and mentored me. Who, when my car got repo'ed sold me--for $10--his van with AAA coverage. Then, when its battery died, came to where I sat because AAA isn't a thing that conveys--when he should've been resting since his latest chemo was the day prior. I am blessed and fortunate that was the last time he, the finest man I've ever known, had to fix something I screwed up. 

For Aljon Go, because it was his show on 103.3 or 102.9 that I called into, and he was amused enough to play it over the air. Days later I did it again and he did it again and I thought maybe I could do that.

For WVCP and Mr. E., who let me learn. For Lokey who showed me how fun it could be. For Eastern European tennis players who made me enunciate. For whoever posted the Help Wanted at SuperTalk 99.7 flyer, and for everyone who saw it before me and didn't see opportunity in a weekend board-op shift.

For small radio clusters with blowtorch transmitters. For Doug Kellett who gave a smart punk more than one chance and was punished with listener complaints for it. For Richard Bachschmidt who showed me excellence. For Steve Gill, who showed me how to get paid. For everyone else who made $8.75/hr so fun I earned it 60-70 times each week. For the coworker who picked me up from the roadside after my car's next thing broke.

I am blessed and fortunate for penance, as pride greed and sloth are sins with built-in retribution. For the lows since they made me sacrifice to reach the highs. For getting the damned degree. 

For the terrible company that led to the crazy company that led to the inept company. For the brother I met there. For Deanna Flannick, the great manager I met at the great company--sorry our timing sucked. 



For the 1991 Toyota Camry with shot clutch rusted wheelwells and steering cover that flapped each time I accelerated or broke, and did it for 7 years with few complaints.

I am blessed and fortunate for the brass ring, and less of both for grad school loan interest rates. For a corporate job that showed me what money does, and what it can't. For a coworker who passed the happiness it can buy. That the voice inside me saying "no more" found my mouth.

All are blessed and fortunate it did before the peestick changed colors. We were for mediation and being reasonable.

I am blessed and fortunate to have found my golden chains

For a higher power should it exist.

For more chances than I can count.

For people who helped and hurt me, including me. All of us got me here, which is exactly where I should be.

And when I realized all of this to be true, all regret lost its hold and slipped away like Dawn kicking even the toughest grease's ass.

Damn you Proctor & Gamble for all this dust in my eyes.

So how could I be angry at anyone? How could I stay angry at myself?

I couldn't. So in that moment I forgave everyone for everything.

And my chains are breaking.

One year ago

My d-i-v-o-r-c-e became final one year ago today. I use passive voice here not just to echo Ms. Wynette but because the actual event was an anti-climax. After exceeding the one year minimum for parties to be separately domiciled and developing an "optional but highly recommended" Mediation Agreement.

Not the first time she came complaining.

Not the first time she came complaining.

Then came the Complaint in language boilerplate enough to be downloaded. Then the Motion for Summary Judgment and then the judge, having verified the court's determination of no genuine issue of material fact remaining, granted the mutually agreed Absolute Divorce.

Documentary proof I suck at future-predicting

Documentary proof I suck at future-predicting

Doing things amicably was right--spend a little save a lot nobody wins but nobody should, not financially. I still believe in the power of penance. By the time we reached the paper trail's end our raw edges had sanded down. We'd learned to be civil and even playful.

"I can't imagine wanting to divorce someone more than you."

"Aww! I feel the same way!"

It sounds like a Ben Folds Mashup:

We lived together as husband and wife for two years and three-ish months. She moved out that long ago and more. And obscured by all the reasoned, detached, measured words was a crushing load of conflict anger and guilt that caused (and was further created by) the wreckage I created. Because the end result had to be better.

She's remarried now, I think. Haven't seen her since the day before our Absolute Divorce was decreed. One of her early worries--one she repeated that last Sunday--was that I would erase her from my life. I assured her otherwise, and added I was looking forward to it being finalized, so she could be around me if she wanted to, not due to legal requirements or because she still had stuff in my house.

An Optimized Life

I'm REALTOR (R) shopping. Message a few and get responses in minutes excited to meet me and learn more about my desires. I feel like the hot chick on Tinder. Or the real one.

Halloween 2015 was cray

Halloween 2015 was cray

I have lots of documents related to this home and I hope this one will help show its benefits. Then imagine the convo with Betty Goldblazer, CRB.

"The efficiency could be even greater(!) if the thermostat management features were used." I say.

"Well why didn't you use them?" She asks, her tone registering surprise that her forehead disregards as if bouncing the notion off its wrinkle-free shell.

My life can't handle this much caps lock

My life can't handle this much caps lock

"I don't know. Because so what if it's not perfect? If I get cold I put on a layer. If I get hot I take them all off. It's fine, so I don't think about it. I don't have to think about it. Everyone wants to make everything perfect, and nothing ever is. Never can be. But we fight it. We grow depressed emulating or competing with people we don't even know. We sell solutions to problems that aren't problems (apart from you being a lazy ass)."

"I am not lazy! In addition to being a Top 10 Producer, Goldblazer NextCentury Champion level from 2007-2010 and again in 2013, and earning the prestigious--"

"Yeah yeah, I wasn't talking about you. It was an aside. Click the link."

"What link?" She exclaims, the heights of her incredulity matching only those of her bottle blonde bouffant. (That's alliteration y'all).

"Point is, none of it matters. Perfection is rare by definition. Hard to attain. There's only one thing I want to be perfect in this life right now and that's my writing. I know that can never be either, but I reach for it. I work toward it. To make it as perfect as I can. To tell my stories, in my way. And I hope people get it, too, because this writing thing isn't about selling it is about communication. But that's where all my best efforts have to go. 

"And a house needs love and effort I can't give so let's get it in the hands of a family who will love it the way it deserves. Some family who will appreciate its Prom Staircase and will clean the gutters once in... ever. That's why."