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Posts Tagged ‘Obstacles’

Dear God

Sure, it appears that I’ve lost faith. But, for far too long I dutifully prayed for this or that. As a kid I learned the lesson about not praying for superficial things such as a new bike, but I did pray for a family. Didn’t get it. As an adult I knew the lesson well enough to not pray for a lottery win, but I did pray for everlasting love. Didn’t get it.

I learned to not pray for silly things, but only for things that cause a greater good. I gave money away, I volunteered, went to church alone as an adult,  made sure (over arguments) that my children received the sacraments, and I doted over children who were being ignored. When I prayed it was for something meaningful such as a marriage that lasted forever, someone who would be there ‘for better or for worse’, for extended time with my children, for a meaningful position, for a chance at better education, for a way to save the only home I’ve ever lived in and for an end to icy loneliness. Didn’t get it.

I carried a set of rosary beads in my pocket for months and prayed on the way to work. I had long conversations with the Man. I read the Bible. I watched religious shows.

And now, finally, I get it – I won’t get it.

As John Lennon said There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky, now that I found out I know I can cry. For me that means that though I have experienced exquisite emotional pain and damaging, altering bitterness as a result, there’s no such thing as something divine that sees and acts on those in blistering trouble.

God, maybe only for me, has been relegated to the folklore of the ancients along with Juno, Ra, Zeus, Fu-Hsing, Airmid, Great Spirit, Givinda and Vishnu. The god I followed has helped me just as much as Thor has.

There is no God. Only me. Me and you.

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The Blotted Blemish

Sometimes when the crash is too intense, one has the option of simply losing themselves. That’s what I chose to do. After my dream was over, it was easier for me to lose track of time, to ignore the event and place one foot in front of the other in some lackadaisical semblance of, and attempt at ‘this too shall pass’.

School is a fantastic way to simply plow through days and nights. Children laughing (or fighting) helped to grease the passage of time, and just plain old ignoring it saw the night/day axis blur for a few months. Determination to rebuild new dreams – if only for spite, bolstered defenses. The biggest casualty lost was my faith. I thought “is it faith or luck’? Turns out I now believe more in luck.

Whatever the method I chose day-to-day, brings me back here once again.

My Big 5? I am a workhorse where I am right now. School is where my heart is and I’ve an ‘A’ average and am trying, despite severe money woes, to stay pat. Dating … not so well. Faith has been released to the wind. Accomplishments come steadily, but so slowly.

Time has moved and taken me with it. Still here. Here again, moving up.

The sun has risen again.

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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Swing and a Miss

The woman who I gave a secret box of chocolates to on V’day? The one that I inhaled a deep breath for in order to not let the moment slip away and in a gutsy move ask her out? She never called!

What’s up with that?

I hadn’t heard from her after I wrote my number down on that napkin last week, so I did something I hardly ever do. But, it’s something that I do now with a “Hey, you can’t sail if you don’t at least get on the boat, right?” attitude.

I went to her section of the building, into her department and found her there cleaning up her area. She smiled and we said a mutual “Hi” and I mentioned that I had this coming Wednesday off – how about we go out for either brunch or if it were better for her, dinner somewhere later that night? She said that sounded good but she needed to be sure she was free and she would call me. I was heady with delight.

Well, here it is Friday, two days have passed since Wednesday, and she still hasn’t called. And I’m not used to that.

I thought, “Hey!”, I at least deserve a phone call saying no thank you! Polite rejection is just part and parcel of dating anyway and no harm done. But, not calling at all … I have no tolerance for that.

I thought of going back up to her and in a good-hearted and light way asking if she lost my number. Or maybe she’s been overwhelmed? Or maybe because I’m so new to her she’s a bit shy about a three-day weekend B&B somewhere in the Berkshires and maybe I would be willing to tone it down to a one night stay at a Holiday Inn in the burbs?

But, these days, there’s a fine line between doggedly pursuing the romantic vision in your heart and having a restraining order taken out on you and being labeled a stalker.

So, like a thread being carried on a brisk and billowy wind, I’m letting it go.

Nice guys finish last? No, more like nice guy went over another obstacle.

Who’s free this weekend?

Batter up!

Categories: Dating Tags: , , ,

Tenacious Me (finale)

So far, I’ve for all practical purposes lost the ability to use my LG Chocolate Touch phone that was only ten months old, taken said phone to the local Verizon store only to be ignored and left waiting for a supervisor that took ten full minutes before she showed up and told me she couldn’t help me, watched from my car as the store employees peered at me from their window perch, called Customer Service and talked to ‘Ed’, was forced to tell my full-length story for the fourth time and was left with the information that all I could do was ‘grin and bear it’ by reverting back to my old phone .

I don’t do well with ‘grin and bear it’ when it comes to giving my hard-earned cash to corporations for the priviledge of using one of their products! I’m determined that they be the ones to ‘grin and bear it’ if they have any intentions of keeping my business.

After I came home, I was still seething from the very bad customer service experience I received at the Verizon store, and although I now had a work-around that allowed me to use an old cell phone, I was more than dissatisfied with looking at the husk of my LG Touch. I was determined to receive satisfaction!

I went to the Verizon online site and signed on to my account. I must have spent close to ten minutes looking for the customer service number! Do they intentionally hide it? I think that they might because right around the ten minute mark, a box popped up with a message asking if I would like to chat with a Customer Service representative. I thought “Here we go again!”, but clicked to accept.

  • A moment later ‘Emma’ wrote a line that said something similar to “I’ll be with you in a moment”.
  • Almost a full five minutes of waiting passed before  I wrote ‘Hello?’
  • A minute later a line appeared that said something similar to “I’ll be with you in a moment”.
  • Almost another full five minutes later I wrote ‘Hello?’
  • A minute later a line appeared that said something similar to “I’ll be with you in a moment”. I was about to go through the proverbial roof.
  • I wrote and asked if there was an issue with my account that she had been looking up or if she was on multiple calls at once or what the issue was that caused her to take so very long to at least acknowledge me.
  • A minute later a line appeared that said something similar to “I’ll be with you in a moment”.

At that moment, I found the 800 Customer Service number and dialed it. I had to go through the keypad maze of selections but eventually found my way to ‘Paul’ – a real live Customer Service representative! I immediately clicked ‘Close’ on the so-called conversation I had been having with Emma.

  • I again trotted out my lengthy story – leaving out no detail at all – he got the whole saga
  • I added to the story mye Verizon store experience
  • I added in the work-around of having to use my old phone
  • I added in the online chat with Emma from Customer Service
  • I added in that I’m about to go T-Mobile on them and I’m not sure if he would be able to help me at all!

I must have taken a full 7-10 minutes of ranting (politely, but very firmly, mind you) about how badly Verizon had treated me and because of it how I would buy out my contract, spread the word to everybody at my place of business and to my friends of how poorly I had been treated and how Customer Service was used in name only.

Paul calmly took down each and every word. He took names, he took locations and he took times. He told me that he was there to fix my issue and keep me as a Verizon customer – no matter what he had to do.

Turns out that Paul was as tenatious as I was.

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Tenacious Me

The cable company, the electric company, the credit card company and the cell phone company all most likely have Caller-ID lists in their offices with my number prominently in bold, flashing, deep purple neon. I might even be used as an example in their new employee orientation program.

I dislike enormously the thought that I am nothing more than a nameless cash cow for anyone. If I see an unknown charge of even $0.25 on a bill, I take it as a personal jab in my gut and physically feel my ire rankle at the thought that someone is believing that I’m not going to even notice the twenty-five cents, or call them on it.

I listen to others bitch about the phone bill for instance. Each and every month – you watch it, your bill goes up ever so slightly. And yet, you pay it. Silently. My stand is this: you gave me a quote for this and that service. You will honor that quote. Or else.

My kids know all too well Dad’s version of ‘or else’ and they could quote it back to you. But for the sake of summary I tell them that every company is in business for one thing and one things only – to make money. Who gives them that money? Why, you do of course! If you are no longer their customer, what do they have left? Less money! And to hurt them even more, you will bring that same money to their competition. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

I’ve had this LG Chocolate phone, minus the slide out keypad, that I received through Verizon for not quite ten months now. I was satisfied with my Motorola flip phone but my contract was up and while I was researching for phones, my daughter became a big influence. Not being the kind of guy who regularly texts, all I really use the phone for is calling and receiving calls. I do text on occasion and find it convenient sometimes and it was because of my daughter that I chose the LG based partly on the easy texting feature. I found it a bit odd to not protect the phone by flipping it shut, but I have been liking the touch-finger method of using the phone and text.

However, I don’t go to the Internet through the phone, nor do I tweet, or use GPS or have any applications – I find that even if I wanted to use those features, they all cost extra money. And I can’t justify to myself paying extra to get on the internet when I have a computer at home, using a mobile GPS when I also have access to that on the computer and what other applications could I possibly need (at this moment anyhow) that would convince me to pay more money each month to a phone company?

Let me tell you that I take VERY good care of my phone. I do not have a land line and it is the major method of communication with my children, so do NOT mess with my method of communication that is for my kids! I do not drop it, I do not leave it in the heat or cold, I do not accidentally splash it with liquid and I do not sit on it. Weird? Sure, but I need my phone.

Last week, my phone started to get thin, vertical, colored lines on the right hand side of the screen. I thought nothing of it and matter of fact, I shut off the phone, restarted and *poof* they were gone. Only, they come back. I began to receive those lines more frequently. Last Sunday, I had the addition of a black thick, vertical line appear smack dab in the middle of the screen making it very difficult (I’m being polite) to read or see the display. Tuesday night I saw that a thin ‘lightning bolt’ looking white line appeared originating from the upper left corner to the middle of the right side, causing everything on the screen to look slightly out of alignment as if the screen were puzzle pieces slightly out of alignment. It was the last straw – I could hardly read anything at all, rebooting wasn’t doing a thing and it began to get so bad that I couldn’t see messages or phone calls or the number/type pad. I needed a replacement.

Here’s where I lost patience.

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