No, I didn’t win a lamp

I can make excuses all day long. Fuck you and fuck me and my excuses.

Here at the Big Red X, they nominate people in the North American Delivery Organization for recognition. I don’t know how many people there are out there who do what I do either directly or tangentially, but it’s a monstrously large beast that, for the most part, excels at doing things piss-poorly.

So, one can be nominated as being especially delightful or something. So, in 2013, 350+ people were nominated. About 170 got recognized. So, if you get nominated, it’s a 50/50 shot you win. And you win a gift card for $175. That strikes me as an amount that’s odd as fuck, but what do I know (or care).

I won in the 4th quarter. Yay me.

I also learned I was nominated in the 3rd quarter but didn’t win. Boohoo for me.

Here’s where it gets fun. Of the 170 or so winners, they pick 8 for the year to be recognized as being especially awesome.

Guess who’s awesome?

So, I get $175 and “receive an invitation to a recognition dinner and an overnight trip with a guest”. I’m not sure if I get the trip paid for, but I do get a shiny invitation. Knowing my luck, the dinner is at a Cracker Barrel in Hickory NC.

Am I ungrateful? You betcha. Know why? Well, here’s what was said about me.

“Robert worked untold hours with great personally sacrifice in support of XXX” (FANTASTIC typo left there on purpose)

Here’s what my most recent boss said about me (I say “most recent” because I’m now on my 7th boss in the past 30 months. Yay for reorgs!)

“You met the challenge and exceeded where others failed. I could not be more impressed that you worked tirelessly (sometimes 12 and 16 hour days) to make that account successful, there is no quit in you.”

So…if I understand, all you need to do to win an invitation to dinner is be willing to put your life on hold for a year and sacrifice your happiness, your health (physical and mental) and the overall well-being of your life and family.

CHECK!

Because that’s what I did and that’s where I’ve been since September of 2012. I’ve been in a hole working to set every record for performance that our organization has. I didn’t eat right, I didn’t run enough (getting bitten by a racist dog didn’t help), I drank WAY too much (and that’s coming from me), I didn’t sleep well and I was a more insufferable asshole than I normally am. And, it seems that, in order to get your boss promoted, that’s what they expect from you.

My direct team is down to 6 people. We used to have a dozen. 6 have quit because this is such shit. And before anyone tells me to get off my ass and do something…I’m trying. I’m actively looking for new opportunities both in side of and outside of the company because I need a change. As I told people this morning, I’m tired of having to implement other peoples’ bad ideas. I know I can do it and I want to do it…my way.

Anyway…I want to do more of this in the coming whiles. I promise to try harder at writing. Maybe it will help me get out of the funk I’m in.

Here’s what we look like now.

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Captain America to the rescue. You suck. – incredipete

Big Trouble Again

I wonder if I possess the strength to beat my head against my desk enough to actually give myself a concussion. Because, I could use one right about now.

We’re in trouble with my parents again. What a shock.

This is why:

For her recent birthday, Shmuppie wanted to see a Mudcats game with the whole family. So, all 6 of us went…and the rain started. The game was eventually called when local animals and fat people started lining up 2 by 2 in the outfield.

From what I understand, JewelrySlut and I were not pleased enough to see my parents. They apparently felt slighted.

Let’s see. We were standing in a damp, cold, concourse, watching Moo run amok while waiting for Shmuppie to blow a gasket because her birthday was rained out. And, we’d gone out to lunch and were full. As a result, we weren’t our usual beer-guzzling selves.

When they finally called the game, we decided NOT to go back the following day because my parents could not make it. They’d been sniping at each other all day about power washing. In fact, when they called that very morning, neither had wished Shmuppie a Happy Birthday. They had taken turns complaining to me about the other. We decided to go this coming weekend.

We also mentioned that we were making the birthday feast on Sunday. Shmuppie had requested Korean-style pork and BBQ fixins. We didn’t invite my parents because we were pretty sure they would not eat what we’d made. It is a tad on the odd side.

MISTAKE!

Time pasess…

Now it’s Mother’s Day weekend. My mother had invited Shmuppie up to MD for the weekend to watch by brother and SIL run in one of those Tough Mudder things. We reminded them both that it was Mother’s Day weekend and that, perhaps, Shmuppie should stay home. No harm, no foul…as far as we knew.

So, on Mother’s Day, the 4 of us went to brunch at a dim Sum place (yes…we are total food snobs). Since my parents were away, we never mentioned it to them. Even if they’d been home, we would not have mentioned it because they’re not quite the chicken feet and pork bun crowd. We called when we got home and left a message (confirming, to us, that they were not home). They called back at about 6:00PM and missed us because we were walking to a nearby store to get some bread (man…we just sound like awful foodies here. Then, I jumped in my Hybrid and joined the Occupy Movement). They left a message and we all moved on.

Or so we thought.

On Monday, I went to St Louis and Shmuppie started a few days of her End of Grade Exams at school. And, bedlam ensued at home.

Still…as far as we know…all is well.

Then it started.

I had posted pictured from Shmuppie’s birthday dinner, including the nifty ice cream cake JewelrySlut had made. My father mad his monthly visit to FB and commented on the cake picture. He said how much of a shame it was that, despite living only 6 miles away, they could not share such a special occasion with their beautiful granddaughter.

Ah…the passive aggressiveness of the NoGoodFamily has now come out.

In fact, a FB friend messaged me to say “Wow…you’re in trouble now”.

Now we know we’re in the shit…we just haven’t realized how deeply we were. By mid-week, my brother had posted a message saying that he was ready for his mud run.

Oh. Fuck.

My mother had the weekends wrong (shocking) and they had been home for Mother’s Day…and we had ignored them.

JewelrySlut and I could sense the cloud of bad hanging over Raleigh. So, on Monday, I had Shmuppie call her grandparents. She missed them and left a message. My mother called back and got me; Shmuppie was outside playing. I could tell that she was pissed but, in typical fashion, wasn’t saying anything. I confirmed that we were on for Saturday’s game and was told to call my father.

I emailed him (not wanting to do this over the phone) and we got a long reply this morning outlining all the bad things we’d done (as shown above). He suggested that we all get together so JewelrySlut and I could explain why we were acting the way we were and explain why we had so many problems with them.

Allow me to also mention that, recently, we switched from AT&T back to Time Warner for our internet. That’s not an important detail other than to say that we were able to reactivate our old TW email addresses. Guess whose mother has been emailing her daughter-in-law on the unmonitored email address for some time now. And who is unhappy that her daughter-in-law’s been ignoring her through email and not responding to invites for social gatherings. Yup…so we’re in trouble for something we didn’t even do or know that we didn’t do out of no fault of our own.

In essence:
They watched the girls in April while we went away: something they offered to do and strongly suggested. We have not appropriately paid them back yet
We were not happy enough to see them at the rainout
They did not come over the following night for dinner or cake
We didn’t do anything on Mother’s Day
We just suck, in general.

This is how it goes; they offer to do something and we accept. Then, we are not made aware of the strings that are attached and end up in trouble for something we didn’t know that we did or didn’t do.

They fester.

They fester some more.

We go on with life trying to maintain sanity in the face of what goes on at our house from 5-9 every night (utter chaos).

They fester some more.

Then, they start sniping.

You’d think that, at any time in the past 3-4 weeks, they could have called to ask what was wrong; why we weren’t happy enough at the game.

No…they prefer to let it build. I’ve actually been told that I’m supposed to call them when this shit happens because, as the son, it’s my responsibility. As I’ve said “I’m supposed to call you because you’re mad at me about something I don’t even know about”. Yes. That’s how the parent-child relationship works.

Maybe they could have called for Mother’s Day to see what was going on. No, that’s MY job. I’m supposed to coordinate all holiday gatherings. I didn’t even try this year because, as far as we knew, they were not at home. I didn’t think to call them earlier in the week to make sure that their schedule hadn’t changed. I’m gonna have to take a hit for that; for not checking up on their schedule.

JewelrySlut will take a hit for not taking the girls to their house the day after Mother’s Day. The kids didn’t need to say goodbye to me before I left for the airport; that was not as important as seeing my mother.

However, whenever they decide it’s time to talk, I think JewelrySlut is gonna blow. I try to keep her from these sit-downs because they just end up sucking.
But she’s had enough.
Enough with them creating these scenarios where we’re the bad guys.
Enough with letting these things stew.
Enough with the online troll attacks.
Just enough.

Whenever this powwow happens, it should be buckets of fun. We can either just accept the blame for everything and roll over…which will give us 4 months until the cycle starts again or maybe everyone can agree not to do this anymore.

I doubt that will happen. We’ll just start the cycle again. The only problem is that, with every cycle, my scar tissue builds. I’m tired of this and really have next to no patience for it anymore. I wonder how badly I need to have my parents involved in our lives. With more of these episodes, I’m going to wonder if I need them at all.

2011 can eat a bag of dicks

January: We started the shitstorm of 2011 poorly. I weighed in at 190 and immediately became sickened with myself. My mother had her back surgery. Since I spent the day before and day of said surgery in the bathroom puking up my guts, I didn’t call her. After she got home, I was “sent for”. She lectured me about not calling her “What if I had died?” I told her we both knew she wasn’t going to die and if I hadn’t called then I’d have to live with it (whatever that meant), not her; she’d be dead. I then went on the assault. We didn’t speak again for months. Work sucked. It was cold. I started running

February: JewelrySlut turned 40 and I managed to make a nice mid-week dinner for her. Our planned trip to Asheville was scuttled because of my mother’s back, Shmuppie’ s inability to stay at their house without freaking out and my mother and I and the whole not speaking thing. I’m sure Moo did something cute. Work sucked even more. My feet hurt. I needed new sneakers and some $400 inserts. My feet still hurt. I got under 180.

March: Shmuppie was tracked out for 3 weeks. Grr…having her at home for all that time was evil. On a positive note, we took a vacation at the end of the month. We went to WEI and promptly walked into horrid weather. The Wii saved us from certain insanity. We won’t complain about a week off from life, but it could have been better. My feet hurt. I kept running. I got into the low 170s. On a positive note, UConn went on its run through postseason basketball. From a fan’s perspective, it was a joy to behold.

April: Pollen, tornadoes and more suck from work. It really was a horrible year at work. My main account was just terrible; both the clients and my coworkers. I worked way too much in 2011 and am hoping to not be so stressed out from work in 2012. I kept running. I didn’t like it but it was getting somewhat easier. I was up to about 2.5 miles at a time. I stayed in the low 170s.

May: Shmuppie turned 9. I don’t remember anything else happening other than that I’m sure I hated work. I ran some more. IN convinced someone else to run. She became angry with me. She was down nearly 20lbs by now too. I was in the high 160s.

June: It was hot. We had swimming. Swimming sucked. Shmuppie did not take it seriously and lollygagged through the summer. She also tracked out for 5 weeks. My mother took her on another cruise. My parents and I were barely speaking. I was fine with it. Work was awful. Running became infinitely less fun as the temperatures went up. Life was madness. Swimming 2X per week and Saturday meets. It was all a blur of trips to the Y and working on my blackberry late into the night.

July: We went to FLA for July 4th. JewelrySlut’s father was moved to a hospice facility for a “respite”. He was to stay there for a month. S was at home, mostly trying to regain her sanity and life. She’d been caring for him 24/7 for 2 years and it had taken its toll on her. We had a nice visit, ate shrimp, set off fireworks and drive home in storms. Work, as expected, was beyond bad.

August: Happy Birthday to me. I celebrated by running 3 miles. I was in the mid 160′s, having lost 25lbs and had managed to keep it off. JewelrySlut was also running and was cursing me with every step. Work was…you know.

September: Shmuppie tracked out again and we went back to EI. MerlotMan, ChurchBomber, and us all decided that we needed a good trip down there after March’s misadventures. We got it. The weather was wonderful and we had a great time in our oceanfront house. We played in the sand, ate well, and had a wonderful time. Moo really enjoyed the beach. By now, she was more than a handful. She’s developed quite the personality. Watching her play in the sand or stand in the waves with her mother was among the highlights of the year for me. Work… I went to Cleveland for a few days. I hit 162.

October: I got back from vacation and walked into a tsunami wrapped in a tornado, glazed with a forest fire. I spent the first week back waiting to get fired. My team had fallen apart in my absence and everything went to shit. I realized that there was nothing I could do to save things. I was going to have to accept that I was considered a failure and take my beatings that continue to come on a daily basis. I rode the worst of it for 2 weeks.

Then, one fine Wednesday, JewelrySlut walked into my office with red eyes. “Dad’s dying”. FUCK! We had her and Moo no a plane the following morning. We hoped that they could race Death to Florida. They made it in time. Did they ever. By Saturday, he was still alive and I had gone insane. I jumped on a plane, sending Shmuppie to my parents’ house. In typical NoGoodFamily fashion, we put the shit behind us and rallied. They took Shmuppie for a few days. I got to FLA for long enough to realize that my father in law didn’t plan on dying on our schedule. He was waiting until he was ready. I put us all on a plane and brought us home. We needed to restore some sanity.

The running continued.

November: My father in law passed away early in the month. This time, JewelrySlut, Shmuppie and I all went down to FLA for the services. My brother in law and his fat derelict family showed up. We spent 4 days not talking to one another. A year of calls from their debt collectors had soured us all on each other. The services were what they were. My mother-in-law’s family and kids all came down to FLA and it was good to spend time with our new family. Some people don’t get our decision to keep her in our lives; she is, after all, just a step-mother. We don’t see it that way and are happy our kids have another grandmother…a bonus grandmother.

I went to Lima OH for work.

There was a rash of un-friending on Facebook. Apparently, I’m a tad too much of an asshole for some.

We ran a 5K. JewelrySlut won her age group. We ran WAY too fast.

Thanksgiving was its usual bout of wine-induced fun.

December: Work started sucking a little less. Shmuppie tracked out again but spent a week at my parent’s house. The 3 of us sat around the house and relaxed. We went back to FLA for Christmas. IT was a good trip; filled with the usual insanity, but done while in shorts.

I guess we’re back to normal with my family. We talk now and think we’ve reached another level of d‚tente. It is what it is with us. We’ll never be normal or storybook-looking. Too many bridges have been blown up to ever have that. I gained a few pounds at the end of the year and finished 2011 at 168. I also finished it with a 3.5 mile jog with JewelrySlut. I don’t know who these 2 skinny runners are who live in my house, but I think we like them.

2012:
I need to lose 5lbs.
We will run another race or 2.
JewelrySlut and I are taking a vacation in the spring; just us. We need it and my parents are pushing us to do it.
It’s supposed to be a St. John year, but I don’t see it happening. It’s too much money and hassle. I prefer EI and its simplicity.
Shmuppie turns 10. Good lord.
Moo will turn 3.

I hope 2012 is better than 2011. 2011 goes down in the books as a very bad year around here. The only thing I can say about it is that we got fit. That’s good, but not good enough.

The First Step:

I could always walk and would walk at a good pace. Somewhere in the 4+ miles per hour range. It was a good clip and I’d work up a good sweat. I’d walk when I didn’t have time for the gym.

This year, I never seemed to have time to go to the gym unless I was also going to swim practice. Between not having time and the damn Wii, I knew what was coming. I wasn’t happy about it.

The First Step was coming.

I was gonna have to run if I wanted to exercise. If you don’t run and never have, you have no idea how hard it is to take that first step. You know going in that it’s the first step in a descent towards inevitable madness. There’s no avoiding it. Once you start, you can’t stop. I was pained when I thought of taking The First Step. I didn’t want to do it. I knew where it would lead; new shoes, shorts, hats. I’d have to set insane goals, meet them beat them and keep moving onward.

I took The First Step.

I remember the first mile. Out the driveway, hang a left, run to the end of the street, hang a right, run to Port Royal.

1 mile. I felt as if my inner organs had liquefied and reformed into an angry she-beast. My body, heaving and panting, asked me “What the hell was that?”

I walked home.

The next day, I did it again.

It was easier.

Crap.

I was thinking about this today as I put on my $100 sneakers with the $400 inserts (thanks for the bad feet Mon and Dad!), my lame-ass running shirt, new warm-up pants, silly yellow windbreaker, Nike hat (Quick Dry FTW!), running gloves, strapped my BB to my arm and set my pedometer/pulse reading watch.

What have I become?

I’ve become a runner.

Never have I loathed doing something so much. Never have I thanked myself every day for starting something. It has helped. I haven’t weighed this little or been (what I think to be) this fit since a Bush was President (and I mean the old one…not toe goofy one).

I ran a leisurely 3 miles today. It was the 5th day this week I’d run and the shortest distance by a good half-mile. I was just out for a little jaunt.

You see, the Last Step of The First Step happens on Sunday. My first 5K race is Sunday. I have a goal. I’m gonna beat it.

I fear The Next Step. Running is a series of gateways. 5Ks become 10Ks. They become halves. They become wholes.

It’s got to stop. I’ve been told that we’ll only run one race longer than a 5K, and we’ll only do it because the scenery is nice.

I’m not allowed to buy a bike. She knows me well enough. She sees me eyeballing TheKid’s purple bike (the one with the streamers) and just says “No”. Because she knows. Because now she’s hooked too. And fears the madness.

We’ll be taking this Last Step together.

This doesn’t end well.

My money-making scheme

In these apparently troubled economic times (seriously, I am so removed from normal society that I’m only vaguely aware that “something” is going on. I just keep my head down and keep working) I have come up with a way for us to pad our household income.

But I digress.

Last night, Shmuppie and I were at swimming. She swims, I exercise. Normally, I bike and then run. This allows me to catch up on magazine reading and allows me to convince myself that I don’t need to run as far because I’m up against a time limit to pick her up from swimming.

But, on Monday, I had a horrible run. I had indigestion after eating at my parents’ house the night before (first time we were there for dinner since Christmas Day), I didn’t eat breakfast and it was stiflingly humid. My 3-mile jaunt turned out horribly with me having to walk most of the last mile. I was ashamed.

So, on Tuesday, I decided to run first. I did a nice little 5K and then biked. I was soaking wet but felt OK and had redeemed myself somewhat.

On the way home, I was taking stock of life.
(PS…If you haven’t noticed, the theme here has gone from getting chased by midgets to babbling about health and fitness…sorry)
I had just run and biked. I’d met my latest goal on the Wii and had kept my weight low for the 3rd straight month. The radio was on and I could actually identify some of the songs.

I suddenly felt less than old for once.

Then we got home.

JewelrySlut had assembled dinner.
Moo was running around the house in a diaper. She was holding toy phones to each ear and dancing and yelling. Music was on. It was like walking into a tornado.

My point is…this is my money-making scheme.

I want to sell seats in our house. You can come by between 5:00 and 9:00PM and watch what happens. The target demographic is married couples without kids. If you can survive watching what goes on, you MAY be ready for children of your own.

As I said…we walk into the house:
Shmuppie immediately does the opposite of what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to put her towel in the dryer and go change into clothes. Instead, she stands, alack-jawed, in front of the computer, backpack on, staring at Pandora.

Mo is still running in circles yelling at her phones. She’s also trying to jam one into my pocket and swap it for my Blackberry. She wants it so she can see “BABY!” (Her as my wallpaper).

I’m holding my gym bag and sweating. All I want is to change shirts (I take 3 to the Y) and eat.

We get everyone to the table. Moo wants everything on the table and nothing (at the same time). She’s rejecting food left and right while asking for it 2 seconds later. Mostly, she wants “beeboos” (strawberries). She lets us know this by yelling “beeboo” over and over again while doing the sign for them (in case her dipshit parents can’t understand).

I relent and get the beeboos. I plop 2 on her tray.

“Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet”
“Yes…the beeboos are wet” Now she starts crying for her wet beeboos.
“Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo”
“Your beeboos don’t need a tissue. You’re fine. Eat”

“I have a social studies quiz tomorrow” (JewelrySlut and I exchange horrified looks)
Oh…what’s it about?
The regions.
The regions?
Yea…the regions.
The regions where?
In North Carolina. (Duh)
Oh…what are they?
Coastal Plains, Piedmont and Mountains (I knew this and was testing her)
Oh…what about them
Well…we need to know what jobs people have in them.
Like what?
In the coastal plain, people fish.
That helps…seeing how it’s near the ocean
In the Piedmont, people make furniture and work for banks.
Oh…I guess I’m not doing it right then seeing that I do neither. What about the mountains?
I don’t know. I think they work at places where they use wood to make paper.
Paper mills?
No.
Well…I don’t think they call them “places where they use wood to make paper.” They call them paper mills.
We have to write a paragraph and say where we’d like to live, in what city, and what job we’d want.
OK…where do you want to live?
I could live in the mountains and whitewater raft (a kick she’s on lately. She wants to go whitewater rafting)
In what city?
Boone.
OK…so you’re moving to Boone to be an outdoor guide of sorts. Can you name any other cities in the state?
Raleigh?
Yes…that’s one. Any coastal cities?
We don’t know any Pacifically
JewelrySlut: That’s good, but do you know any Atlanticly?
(Blank Stare)
Raleigh is in the Triad
No it’s not.
Yes it is.
No it’s not. Raleigh is in the Triangle along with Durham and Chapel Hill (We do love us some shapes here in NC). The Piedmont is Greensboro, Winston Salem and someplace else.
No it’s not.
Trust me.
Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo
NO MORE BEEBOOS!

Shmuppie now sulks because we’ve shattered her perception of North Carolina.
Moo is yelling for fruit but is ever so sad that it’s wet.
JewelrySlut is drinking wine and crying.

I finally decide that dinner’s over. Moo has been released from her chair and has managed to bring every toy she has to the table. She’s also banged her head on the table 47 times and fallen down 13 times. She’s howling in pain and asking for teeshoos. All I want to do is get the 2 of them to bed so I can shower and wrap things up at work. JewelrySlut is eating still. If you ask me, she’s dawdling over her salad to avoid the chaos.

Shmuppie is sent upstairs. I start clearing the table. Moo is now climbing the furniture. I just start yelling at everyone. I’m now pissed off and want the night to be over.

10 minutes later, we get Moo moved upstairs. She barges in on her sister. Shmuppie is in the shower. I happen to notice that she’s also completely dry. In the shower. 10 minutes after we sent her upstairs.

*SNAP*

There goes my sanity. Moo has managed to run into the tub and is howling again. JewelrySlut is only now making it upstairs, having SLOWLY eaten her salad.

I grab Moo and pull her from the bathroom.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HOW CAN YOU BE IN THE SHOWER AND BE DRY? WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME?

Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo
Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet
SHUT UP YOU! (To the 2 year old)

I slam the bathroom door before Shmuppie can answer. I don’t want to hear the excuse. I don’t want to know what she had been doing for 10 minutes that didn’t include showering. (She claimed the water was too hot).

JewelrySlut now appears and is yelling at me.
Moo is trying to pull her diaper off.
The bird s flying in circles in her cage.
We can her Shmuppie form the shower cursing my existence.

All I want to do is get them to bed.

See…if you had bought a seat to this and could survive it, you’d know if you had what it takes to be a parent. Because, that was not abnormal. That was Tuesday. Today will be just as fun but for a host of different reasons.

I need a vacation. Not any vacation. As I tell JewelrySlut, I need a vacation where she and I can go to a nice hotel, stay in a room with a king-sized bed and lower the A/C to 68. We’ll sleep all weekend. That’s all I want.

Of course, I’m a parent so that’s not always an option. Especially in 2011. Shmuppie no longer permits us to do anything without her. We can’t get a babysitter and go to dinner and we certainly can’t send them to my parents’ house.

2-3 hours would be nice.

We get to do it all over again tonight at 7:30. I can’t wait.