But it's part of our lives, isn't it? Wherever there are people gathered, drama must follow.
I'm dealing with some difficult issues right now with Large. It's hard enough being a 15 year-old boy without the drama of having a manipulative mother.
Now imagine if you will how you would feel if you were spending the summer with your dad like you do every year and your mom called and told you she'd moved. Your stuff was all packed, and you'll be going to a different school (actually a ghetto school) when you return. You'll never see your friends again - kids you've known for ten years. Oh, and the kicker? It's your fault that she moved because she doesn't like your activities or your friends. So, she moved as punishment.
Nothing like a little manipulation to make your summer vacation as exciting as possible.
I felt sorry for my client. She came to the door in a wheelchair when I delivered the estimate. She was in that same wheelchair when we showed up to do the job. It was obvious she was having a hard time getting around. To make matters worse her house was a split level home with several short sets of stairs. That must have been rough.
We started the work and she talked to me about how difficult it was to get around and how they were putting the house on the market so that she could find a home with no stairs. Seemed reasonable. Then she got up and walked over to a window to show me a problem with one of the hand cranks that open the window.
She got up and walked over to the window. From the wheelchair. Did you catch that?
Her car was in the garage and it had the blue handicapped tag in the window. Several times she sighed and complained about lack of mobility. But later as I was working, she got up again, picked up a single crutch and went up two of the flights of stairs to be in her office. Then she hopped around the office without a crutch to gather up some paperwork before she sat at her computer.
"What happened?" I asked, about her handicap.
"I rolled my ankle playing tennis. I had surgery and they put a pin in my ankle."
Tennis? A pin? A single pin in the ankle? Shit, I have a pin in my knee and two in my wrist and those weren't major surgeries at all. Most of my friends have had operations of some sort or another with pins, plates, and perhaps random dinnerware inserted in their bodies. No wheelchairs that I know of.
"I had to quit my job because there was too much walking?"
I had to ask. "What did you do?"
"I was an office manager."
I just about went off right there. But I didn't. I went back to work because talking to her wasn't making the work go any faster and laughing at her would've been a poor choice of actions.
Then the medical supply company arrived. I shit you not. They brought her an electric cart, like you see old people driving around the shopping center.
So I asked, "Is the injury permanent?"
"No, the doctor says I'll be in physical therapy next week. I was supposed to start this week but I'm in too much pain."
"Did the doctor recommend the wheelchair?" I had to know.
"No. I decided to get the mobility aids on my own, but I made him give me the handicapped parking tag. Can you believe for something this serious he wasn't going to prescribe a parking tag? But I insisted."
Mobility Aids. She had the nerve to say mobility aids.
So, thank your lucky stars you're not in such terrible shape as my client, Ms. Mobility Aid.
This ad appeared last weekend:
What kind of fucking idiot thinks that gay marriage is going to threaten fatherhood? Or marriage for that matter. I'm going to be a father no matter who else also is a father. I could get married, if I wanted, regardless who else has that privilege. There is no change in my life based on who is allowed access to the institutions of society. How fucking dumb do you have to be to allow this kind of fear mongering demagoguery to scare you?
Large leaves to go back to Oklahoma on the 7th of August, so that's the day I've chosen to go out of town to a convention. Not just any convention, I'm going to my first World Science Fiction Convention. It's in Denver and I'll be there from August 7th to August 10th. If any of you would like to meet me there for a drink or an argument I welcome it.
I don't know what to expect because I've never been to one of these before.
I do know that the Hugo is awarded there. I also know there will be panels, discussions, readings, signings, etc. Some of my favorite authors will attend. All the editors, publishers, and independent press people will be there - especially the ones I want to have publish my stories.
It wasn't what I'd intended for a Father's Day. It turned into an unexpected 13 hour workday.
My friend said he needed some help on jobs because he'd over-scheduled. Since my brother had the weekend off and I'd only scheduled a half-day pressure washing job I told him that Large and I would combine with him and get it all done.
It turned out to be double what he though - - he'd done the estimates by telephone and that's always dangerous when you get to a house you've never seen.
I'm grateful for my son. Without Large, we'd have had no chance to get it done. He worked like a man and didn't complain once. He didn't move slower as the day went on and he didn't shirk any assignment no matter how difficult or unfair. Today I'm a very proud father.
I'm grateful for Medium. She's smarter than any teenager I know and she's intuitive to the point where she always knows what I'm going to say or do before I know. She's also a sensitive girl with a lot of love to give.
I'm grateful for Small. He's learning to be responsible and he's gaining some motivations. Combine that with his already vast creativity and his all-consuming drive for history and he's a force to be reckoned with.
Earlier I mentioned Pressure-Washing. Here's a guy who does it for art instead of work:
One of my clients asked me if I could go out to her cabin and pressure wash, clean windows, etc. She said that I could use the facilities, stay a couple nights, fish on the lake, etc. if I did it. Plus charging her.
What do you think of when you think of cabin?
I think of this:
So, with that in mind, I took Large and we went up for a couple of days to work.
Apparently I was wrong. After the jump you can see what my client thinks a cabin is:
I usually keep my goals to myself. I'm so OCD that I don't need to share in order to achieve what I desire. Today I'm going to share a bit of what I've got in mind in hopes that the rest of you do the same - no, not the same goals, but the sharing of where you intend to go.
The first and most important criteria of my goals is that they are possible - they aren't pipedreams to get me going in the right direction and they aren't carrots on a stick that this ass can never quite reach. I set goals that I know I can achieve and I modify them often so that I'm always moving forward. If I would've set this goal eight years ago:
Quit my engineering job, start a business in an unrelated field in which I have no experience, build that business up to the point where I have employees, am making as much money as I used to, and am working less than half the time in both hours and days. Start writing. Finish a book and some short stories while learning the craft.
I'd have said that I was off my rocker. But I did it this way, one at a time.
Quit a job that was killing me mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Take some time off to write and figure out where I wanted to go.
Write some stories.
Write a blog.
See an opportunity for some good seasonal money and learn how to do it.
Work with the idea of perfection and to getting personal referrals from clients.
Hire my brother, both for his benefit and mine.
Turn my blog writing into a book.
Hire my son through the summer, mainly for me.
So that's my method of goal setting. I've never read a self-help book which explained to me the right way to set and achieve goals, so I'm probably doing it wrong. C'est la vie.
Now to my current goals.
1. Eat less food, but make better choices. I don't know if I'll lose a lot of weight or if I'll look better, but those would be nice side effects. What I do know is that I eat too much of foods that are bad for me. I want to change that.
2. Hire two employess. It's either that or turn away work. I'll have to hire them and train them and develop a level of trust before I'm confident they'll do the job I want. I'm meeting with an accountant on Monday to determine what the best direction is for restructuring my business and making this move.
3. Write 1500 words a day through my work season. Write 3000 words a day this coming winter. Chances are that another book and some short stories will result. I'm not being that specific, however. The words are the important thing - the goal is one day at a time.
4. Take Sugar out on more dates. We need to have more fun. We've had too many hard years.
5. Write a blog post every day. I made it over a full year. I know I can do it. This week I essentially took a breather while life and work overwhelmed me. I'm back - you can come here every day.
I'm interested in what my clients do. They all have enough disposable income to hire people to clean their houses and wash their windows, so few if any of them are struggling financially. Usually I just ask, "So, what do you do?" I don't blurt it out, but I bring it up in conversation when the clues and hints in their house aren't enough for me to figure it out.
There are the lawyers, which comprise the vast majority of my client base. There are business owners and upper executives of the large corporations in the area. There are doctors of various specialties and there are more than a couple hospital administrators and health insurance representatives.
But two of my clients have surprised me with their answer.
One of my long-term repeat clients is a piano player. Specifically, he plays Christmas music. He records CDs of him playing Christmas music and sells them on the Home Shopping Network. That has been enough to secure him a multi-million dollar house on the lake and the lifestyle that goes with it.
And another of my clients invented a shoe accessory. So I inquiring further. She patented two pieces of ribbon, which when secured around the heel of a high-heel shoe can then be wrapped around a woman's leg and tied somewhere between her calf and knee. (sounds like stripper-wear to me). She sells this invention on . . . . the Home Shopping Network. And she's made a bundle doing it.
- rick, uncreative.
- note: for purposes of this post, I group all shopping channels under the title The Home Shopping Network - because I don't know anything about those channels except there are quite a few of them and I've never purchased a single item from any of them. I've never even watched it longer than it takes to scan while going channel up and channel down on the remote. I don't actually know if there is a HSN still or whether its name has changed since the 80's. I do know that Christmas presents from my mom always come in a QVC box.
Well, I played some Facebook games. I engaged in an internet debate. I read everything that's possibly interesting on the worldwide web. I ate some leftovers for lunch.
I didn't do any work. I didn't make any phone calls. I didn't write a word on my book or short stories. This is the extent of my blog writing. I didn't do laundry and I didn't clean the house. I didn't wash the dishes.
I'm not looking for a bright shining beacon of industrious brilliance. I'm looking for a helper: someone strong enough to move the ladders, smart enough not to break things, honest enough not to steal, and brave enough not to fear heights. It shouldn't be too hard.
I interviewed my fifth candidate last night. Now he knew what job he was interviewing for, but he showed up in a pinstripe suit with white tie. That was my first clue that this guy wouldn't be right for me. But I gave it a chance and I was hopeful through our discussion. He'd had a rough life but it looked like things were getting on track for him. He had his own place, his own transportation, and a fiancé which is how I knew of him because his fiancé is a nice, hardworking employee for a business friend.
He seemed eager enough and he showed a grasp for my requirements. I was ready to give him a shot, until the end.
"God bless you," he said. "I'll pray for you tonight."
"I'm a very spiritual guy," he continued. "And I was also wondering about the hours, because I need to be at church by five on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and I need every Sunday off for sure. I have to constantly strengthen my bonds with my Savior."
"Oh," I said. I didn't really have anything else to say. What do you say to someone who just spontaneously decided he was going to pray for me. Do I need his prayers? Will his prayers prompt me to hire him? Will his Jesus come down and do the Jedi mind trick on me and then one day this guy will be working for me and I'll hand him his paycheck and then I'll wonder, 'how did that happen?'
I met him at a coffee shop for the interview because I don't have a formal office. After being blessed, I escaped.
Warning: This story series will contain scenes of a sexual nature. If this offends you, please don't continue reading it.
Misty walked into
the Math Lab on a Saturday afternoon, unannounced, unexpected. She
stepped into the room and I was captivated. She had sparkling green
eyes and straight brown hair that flowed across her face, down past
her shoulders. She wore a white sun dress that contrasted her tanned
skin. Her legs were muscular like a gymnast and she stepped
gracefully in precipitously high heels.
Usually very smooth,
Dylan was visibly shaken. He jumped up from the staff desk, spilling
papers and pencils across the floor. Then he slipped on one of the
pencils as he rushed around the desk catching himself before falling.
He ran to her and hugged her desperately.
minutes of excited catching up he walked her over to the staff desk.
He couldn't speak correctly when he motioned toward me.
guess,” I said holding out my hand. She nodded and took it, her
bracelets tinkled musically as she squeezed. Her hands was soft and
small; fragile even. “I'm Rick.”
“Nice to meet
you.” Her voice was very soft, nearly inaudible.
Dylan found his
voice and jumped in. “She's moving back here. She's enrolling in
She looked at me and
smiled. At least I think it was a smile because her mouth was framed
by cute upturned corners favored in models and actresses.
“I'm not sure what
I want to study. I'll start here at the Community College and get
some general requirements out of the way.”
This week has been all about work. In fact, I had a scheduling snafu (that means I fucked up and double-booked) which caused a couple of really long days.
One of the things I like about my clients' homes is that they have worked so hard to make their living spaces unique, beautiful and comfortable (okay, some of the houses are too formal to be comfortable). Some of the pieces of art are really cool. Like this one, carved from a tree trunk:
The other thing I really like is when a house has a great view. This one did. It's a sprawling 14,000 sq foot home right on the bank of the Mississippi River. After the jump, their view: