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Feeling Lucky?

sea of lilacs

During my quick gasp back into the blog world last week, I briefly mentioned my struggle with the whole faith vs. luck conundrum. Seems I’ve lost faith but believe in luck.

I mean, keep praying for what? That circumstances will change? That a hole in the knees from excessive kneeling will eventually produce desired results? And if and when something does change, no matter how small, that this was all due to prostrating myself? I should see this as proof of divine intervention?

Should I interpret the overwhelmingly pure and fragrant waft of lilac bushes as a ‘sign’ that things will be better? Or that it was just plain ol’ luck that on a day that I needed to uplifted that I happened to pass by that small forest of lilacs and smiled out of control just because the scent permeated my senses?

I’ve had enough of waiting for miracles that never happen. I’ve taken the belief that nothing is received through an unseen force, but instead, anything received is taken by force. By that I mean anything that I receive is as a result of my getting to it.

BigLittleWolf mentioned in a response comment to my last post:

That said, we can exercise the courage to pull back when we need to, and the courage to put ourselves “out there” as well. One helps us heal; the other increases the statistical probability of being a recipient of a little good luck. Or maybe even, a lot.

I’m more believing that putting myself out there  increases my chance at ‘luck’.

God knows that praying hasn’t helped.

 

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Eye Candy

There’s a post by Merissa over at the Immature Matron that I read a short while ago which inspired me to write. In her post she wrote, and featured pictures, of both males and females who she feels are ‘hot’.

Nothing wrong about leering over a photo or video or movie and taking in the refreshing scent of a few select beautiful people. Look no further than me to see a party guilty of looking over a lithe, waif-like model du jour. But that’s the problem for me – the vast majority of those female models and pretty boys are so quick to be deleted from public consumption and recent memory. They’ll survive on looks for a year or two, maybe more, survive a few more on cosmetic surgery and scandal, but for the most part, they last as long as a heat shimmer on a cool day.

Though I appreciated the media favorites, even as a little kid I appreciated even more the art form of someone who as an adult, looked great. Someone who had maybe done their time in a lingerie spread but is way over their ‘best if used by‘ date. Someone who had flashed a lot of skin for the cover of a sports magazine, but who has traded that in for the life of a parent. Someone who despite what flash in the pan the paparazzi happens to be zeroing in on today, has attained dignity and grace of spirit. Someone who has not only retained youthful beauty, but through gradual maturity, has somehow found a way to add to that beauty. “Someone who has aged well”, to borrow a phrase.

You can keep the flavor of the year. I want the mellowed blend that has gone from within impulsive easy reach, to classic top shelf.

Here are a few that I feel look better now than they ever did:

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Supporting Them

 

When I became divorced, there was never an issue of supporting my children. While I am aware that a lot of men have issue with paying, or the pay amounts, I chose the opposite. My lawyer gave me a figure that stated the amount that she was going for and because I didn’t know any better, I agreed to the sum. Later, I began reading online and found a calculator provided by the state as to general guidelines. I filled out the form and found to my astonishment that I could be paying more!

I approached my lawyer at the next meeting, provided her with the material and said that I wanted to pay the maximum amount by law. She advised me against it, but after all, they are my angels, my light, the reason for trying to achieve a better future for them and my only family on earth. Why wouldn’t I want to give them as much as I can? The order was changed to the maximum amount and I’m proud to tell anyone that I pay faithfully, and on time, each and every week.

When I was out of a job last fall into winter, I let the ex know what was happening and that I was struggling and would pay her what I could – even as I edged closer to homelessness without a weekly  paycheck. I did payed what I could – an over payment, an underpayment, but I tried to keep it going even as I was unemployed. Even as I went out on endless and unproductive interviews. Even as Thanksgiving and Christmas were creeping closer and becoming unavoidable.

Then, she notified Child Support and told them she was not getting child support. A further move by her that caused me heartbreaking grief and wrenching disgust, was that she decided to not tell them of the amounts that I had given to her by hand. As far as the ‘system’ had been aware, I had simply stopped paying anything at all.

One morning early last month, I woke up, fixed a cup of tea, and sat to check bank balances. I was stunned to find that my account was frozen – a lien had been enforced by the state division of Child Support. I could not even withdraw money to pay for gas which would allow me to travel to work 22 miles away. I don’t have sick time accumulated yet. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Without pay I can not meet any financial obligations – rent, phone, electricity, basic cable. Child support.

I declined to put up a post at the time about the tale of having my assets frozen. It’s humuliating having that done. It’s a desperate situation that stops your heart and has you thinking lunatic thoughts. It’s embarrassing knowing that you are unable to gain the necessary money to support your children. And mostly, it was a deepening of the chasm that seperated me and the ex because she had verbally said to me that she would be fine with repaying the back amount on a weekly basis as I could afford it while I was searching for employment.

Plans for children do not stop. There are sports to be paid for, gas for two and three times a week pickups and drop offs, groceries to be bought and entertainment for them. All while unemployed.

Then she notified child support.

I was devestated.

Thankfully, I now have a job. I have a paycheck that again has my child support taken out automatically, I have weekly taxes to pay and I have a new health plan that decimates my weekly check. All this on less money – much less money, than I was earning at my last position.

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When I Win

I mentioned before that I’ve teamed up with a woman who has been unbelievably lucky at the lottery. She’s won mid-level prizes in the past year which include a scratch for $10,000. It’s uncanny how often, and how much, she wins.

So I offered to go in with her. I’d pay the same amount as she would and we would split the prizes. I started off by giving her $20. I figured that we would play a few times a week and go from there. In total, I believe that since we started doing this at the end of January I’ve given her an out-of-pocket total of $60 – far more than I should be giving out.

As I think while sitting here, I am unable to come up with the total amount that we have won. But I can tell you that the two largest tickets that we’ve hit on are a $1,000 ticket and two $500 tickets! In between we’ve been playing constantly – daily … with money that we’ve won! Each and every day we win between $20 – $100 dollars. Each day! And we continue to play every day – with money that we keep winning!

When the amount of the daily winnings get to about $75 or so, we play smart. Half of the winnings gets split between the two of us, and we play the other half. So, for instance, two days ago we won $110, we split $60 between us, $30 apiece, and played the remaining $50. Every day I’m getting cash amounts ranging from $20 to $75 or so handed to me. Cash. Cash that I put away in a safe. A dollar amount that is large enough for me to pay cash for two items that I’ve long lusted after. A large screen TV to replace the old one that was given to me (which sports in the upper left hand corner a permanent splash of green from the aging picture tube), and a new computer to replace the one I use now that is slow, painfully slow.

She keeps saying that we are about to win a large amount. A really large amount. I’m excited within reason of course, but I occasionally let my mind wander.

People often ask each other what they would do if they ever won ‘the big one’. I already know what I’d do.

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Mental Confetti

Anybody can have, and is allowed, a bad, bad day. But resilience, perspective and determination are formidable tools that have sprung up in the wake of planting seeds and are indispensible to moving forward.

Much like exercise, being in school has the capacity to boost self-confidence. Especially when everyone wants to team up with you because of your grades.

Yes, I did fall off the wagon with smoking. But, I’ve resolved to get back in the ring and overpower the demon.

I am hardly able to fathom that the little boy who fit snugly in the crook of my arm at one time (and who pooped in it) is going to be sixteen on Sunday! He once told me that he’s getting old. Imagine that thoughts that I had as his Father.

No matter how hard I try to keep up, the mail stack on my junk table grows out of control.

I’ve been in my apartment a little over two years and it still looks bare on the walls and naked around the windows. I need inexpensive ideas and a method of making them look something other than walls of white and stark panes. I have a few pictures here and there, but is it because I’m a male that I haven’t even a modicum of decorative flair?

After all this time, I still love to play my guitar. I recently dragged out some old Creedence, Concrete Blonde, Four Non-Blondes, Bad Company, James Taylor, Beatles and a mess of various artists. It’s all pitch perfect and I make a great session player. Ah, the skills I’ve acquired and excel at – all of which can’t make a living!

I’ve teamed up with a lucky woman at work who has a history of winning on scratch tickets. I’m not a gambler and never had the proclivity to spend money on gambling, but we’ve won over $1,300 in three weeks. I’ve got a feeling …

I hardly see re-aquainted girlfriend. We talk every few days on the phone, but with opposite work schedules it’s difficult to have what you would call a relationship.

My ‘secret’ gift of chocolates that I gave to someone at work post-Valentine’s day is no longer a secret. I never see this woman because she’s on an opposing end of the building, works in a different department, has hours that most times are ending at the beginning of mine and only comes to my end infrequently to keep an appointment with someone who needs her. So I haven’t seen her face to face in a few weeks. But yesterday as I was walking down a hall to fetch a cup of coffee, there she was walking toward me! An impromptu conversation ensued, I apologized for the candy-gram if it made her uncomfortable and I hoped that she wasn’t offended. She was not. She was flattered and said that she should have shared it with me. We talked small talk for a few minutes and parted with a ‘see you later’. I turned, took a small step, turned around again, took a big breath and said ‘Wait’! I asked if she’d like to get together for a cup of coffee, or a drink or a trip to Jamaica. She laughed out loud and said she’d like to get that cup. She asked me for my number and I wrote it on a nearby napkin. As I wrote she remarked that she could tell that I never gave my number out at bars. How? Because I didn’t write softly enough to prevent the napkin from tearing in places. I’m looking forward to the call.

I’ve been wakened a lot recently by charlie horses in my left leg. What, I’m going through a second puberty?

I told an eighty-two year old woman in a wheelchair that she was beautiful. She shook her head no. I repeated that she was beautiful to me and she replied “Is it because my lips are so full?”

Managing Time

There’s such a lot going on each day in this past week, it has been difficult getting on and posting. Although I seem to have the time to read other posts almost daily!

Christmas turned out well. Christmas Eve the little angels fell asleep by 10:45 PM and by 11:15, Santa had written a reply note, filled the stockings and laid out the presents. True to form, my daughter was awake at 4:11 AM. The three of them woke me up at 6:00 AM sharp and it was such a delight to see all three of them in the bedroom doorway – even my oldest, with huge smiles chomping at the bit to get to the gifts.

It was a wonderful morning of tearing open paper, hugs and kisses and topped off with my cooking a full, heavy Christmas Morning breakfast. The ex came and took them at 11:00 AM and it was very sad for me. But, it was not like it was last year for me at all. This year, I had made a plan to work a shift later in the day. So, I kept busy, was around someone else who had to leave their family also and had a great talk with her. I found great comfort being there with her.

My new shift position has me coming home very late – close to midnight. But, once more, I’m grateful to have anything at all! In the beginning (heck, only last week) I was sitting in front of the tube and flipping while smoking butt after butt and then lying back and falling asleep on the couch. I’ll write a post about my nasty habit later.

My new approach when I get home is to sit for just a few moments while my PC boots up. When it’s up, I immediately sign on to Netflix and find where I left off the night before (in the middle of a movie or a documentary) and lie down in bed and watch what I can before I fall asleep. I then try to have my internal clock wake me up around 7:00 AM and get up. I want to have a rhythm going and not wake/sleep haphazardly.

I’ve taken to go online and read up on my class before it has even begun. I’ve found online tests that I can take for each chapter and can pinpoint some nuance that I don’t quite grasp and study harder. I am determined to be well prepared and ace the class. As far as financial aid, I find that I have to wait until next week to try to straighten out any money issues because naturally, they’re closed for the holidays. But I’ll get up there Monday and have a face to face to see what might be done. Worst case scenario is that I don’t get anything for now. However, I’ll bring my checkbook, arrange for a payment plan, make the first payment and keep applying like crazy – there has to be something that I qualify for and I’m confident that I’ll get something.

There’s something huge that’s been bothering me – reacquainted girlfriend. Something in my mind that’s been, again, telling me that she’s not the person I want to be with. Much as I try to stay fully committed, I have this dreadful feeling that I simply do not want to be with her. Or, maybe it’s that I’m not excited by her company? She’s certainly been a undenyable and indispensible for who constantly dispenses confidence and who cheers for me as I’ve mentioned many times before. As I stir up my reasoning I try to not dismiss it and stay my determined course with her, but try to pinpoint exactly what it is that wants me – sometimes at arm’s length, a shadow away from her. I’m feeling that a lot of it has to do with her constant, unalterable need to be close and closer to me physically. She perpetually needs long kisses, hard hugs and physical intimacy. Nothing at all wrong with that! But, it’s constant. And I just don’t want that every single moment of the time we’re together.

More, after the Break

… Planting Seeds

I’ve been experiencing the results of specific plans being laid out within the past few months. And though they’ve been laughably knee jerk, or altogether not specifically sparked by intelligent forethought, or driven by step by step strategy, they’ve somehow borne fruit. And it’s taught me a valuable lesson.

I had applied for a position at a building where I sometimes fill in as a pool per diem. I’ve been going there for years and where I have unknowingly built up quite a peer admiration society I’ve found out. When I went there a few weeks ago to fill in, I asked those around me, those who admired my work ethic and knowledge, if there were any positions open and they quickly said that there were. Well, unknown to them, when I went back the next working day to ask the supervisor, she loved me and my resume, but had just hired two new staff members. Damn!

A few days ago I went back for a scheduled per diem shift and it was during my shift that an employee went to the supervisor and spoke of needing time off. The supervisor called me into her office, told me of the circumstances (and that she had to let that employee go due to too much time being taken off) and offered me the position! It was a whirlwind because …

I had been tendered an offer at the facility where reacquainted girlfriend works! All I was waiting for was a call from them as to when they could fit me into their orientation. It was a done deal. At the same time …

I have been at the tail end of another orientation as a per diem employee only. Orientation out of the classroom and now onto the floor was deflating to put it kindly. Never had I been in a building where so much negativity about the building and the staff flowed so freely. It was disheartening, but a building where I could get a check every once in a while. It almost physically hurt to be there.

However, all bets were off when I received an offer at the building I wanted to be in. It was a rush of good feelings – stability, working at a facility that was clean, efficient, professional, fosters team-work as more than a word game, and most importantly, it’s where I want to be!

Yesterday I called the supervisor where reacquainted girlfriend works and politely and professionally thanked them for their interest but I had received another offer that I was accepting. I then called the facility where I was on floor orientation and did the same. I later learned from reacquatinted girlfriend that her supervisor was very disappointed because she really wanted someone of my caliber to come aboard as inspiration. She said that “we lost a big one“. I then called the floor orientation building (confused? maybe I should have used building #1 and building #2) and relayed the same information to them. They were a bit more peeved. I sense that they knew my worth, but on the other hand, I was only per diem (which may only come about every month or so) and was low-balled on pay. They acted on the phone as if I were abandoning their burning ship and came off kind of righteous. But, I remained committed to staying professional and courteous and thanked them for the opportunity and that they had taught me a few things  didn’t know, so I appreciated the time with them.

Let me also add that I was contacted yesterday by yet another facility, who in the voice mail said that they ‘were very excited about my resume and were very interested in setting up an interview‘!

More, after the Break

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