Category Archives: deep thoughts

addictions and withdrawals

About 3 weeks ago, I began moonlighting at a major pharmacy/retailer.  Now, I’m sitting home after working a 7 hour shift and I’m restless because it’s the first time I’ve really had a chance to relax.

I think I’m getting addicted to work.

I was pretty lucky this week in that I had three days in which I worked both of my jobs.  I say lucky because the school year is winding down and I know I will have to find another job of some sort relatively soon; so I’m trying to get as many sub gigs as I can before the school year ends.

It’s only been one week that I’ve been really busy and I find myself restless at the prospect of sitting here with nothing to do.  Do work addictions happen this quickly?

I haven’t talked to The Kid much in the last several days.  In part because I’ve been working a lot of nights this week; also in part because he is only returning my calls sporadically.    Last week, I booked airplane tickets to pick him up for a week at the end of the month.  I’m stoked to see him but right now our relationship seems a little rocky.  He and I need this time together, but I fear it will be a little awkward at first.

Who am I kidding?  I’m always afraid of how awkward things are going to be  with him.  Given our recent history, I think I’m pretty well justified in this fear.

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roots

The Auteur, 1B and I spent Memorial Day with my family on The Old Man’s side. It was as good as I expected it to be. It was the first time that 1b had met most of them. For the Auteur, while her and I attended my cousin’s grandchild’s (my third cousin??) birthday party, it was probably the first time she really had a chance to talk to most of them one-on-one. Some observations on the day:

  • It’s funny, because I’m probably closer to my Dad’s side of the family than I ever have been in my life. all of my cousins on that side of the family are older than me; but age, I have found has become more or less of a relative thing as we get older.
  • As they have gotten older, I see that my Dad and my uncle are looking more and more alike. I notice they have similar mannerisms to an extent that I never noticed when I was younger.
  • They do the “big brother-little brother” thing where my uncle (the older brother) will give a funny look at my dad (the younger brother) when he does or says something. My oldest cousin pointed this out to me. I guess one almost has to be a big brother or a little brother to notice a dynamic such as this.
  • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: family really is all that anyone has in this world. Maybe my dad’s side of the family has come to this realization as well.
  • The dynamic on my mom’s side of the family is such a stark contrast to that of my dad’s side. Whereas my i wasn’t real close to my dad’s side growing up, I was tight with my mom’s side in the early years.  As we’ve all gotten older, my mom’s side of the family has drifted apart. Deaths in that side of  the family started when I was young and seemed to have scattered various family members around the country and caused many of those who stayed close to home to drift apart emotionally.

When I get together with my extended family, I think about my own family and the family I want to have someday.  I want The Kid to know his cousins and, to at least some extent, have them be a part of his life.  The truth is, the nuclear family dynamic I experienced – one which I will describe as a “traditional family” – is more the exception than the rule these days.  The Kid will never know the “traditional family dynamic” that I experienced.

Catching up with The Apostle

Had this picture been made in 2014, I'm sure the artist would have included The Apostle I blog about today.

Had this picture been made in 2014, I’m sure the artist would have included The Apostle I blog about today.

Last night, The Auteur and I went to a surprise birthday party for my oldest longest-tenured friend in this world:  I’ll call him The Apostle.  I call him this not to be blasphemous or sarcastic, but because he has stronger religious convictions than anyone I’ve ever known.  I’ve known The Apostle since kindergarten.  We went to elementary, junior high and high school together.  We discovered girls together.  He was the best man at my wedding.

In an interesting aside, he met Jabba during his “born-again” phase.  When he learned about her religious beliefs, he told her to her face that everything he had ever heard had told him that she would go to Hell.

The Apostle’s wife, with some help from his sister and brother-in-law, put together a phenomenal birthday event.  It was at a banquet hall that was better suited to a wedding reception.  They had a few of his close friends give speeches about him and put together a video including greetings from some of his long-distance friends.  One of the speakers brought up a quote that he credited to the Apostle – though I have seen it used by others on the web:

Crave your future.

One of the things I really took from last night – and the birthday video in particular – was that The Apostle has truly made an impact on the lives of his family, friends and loved ones.  That famous Jackie Robinson quote ran through my head as I heard person after person sing the praises of The Apostle: “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives”.

Watching that video and processing all this information, I’m forced to wonder: what impact have I really made on the lives of others?  I know that it often takes time for a person to rebuild their life after a divorce.  Hell it has taken my brother and sister years to get themselves back to where they are now, but it’s more than that.  I need to be more involved – maybe even more active in my community.  I want to be more well-rounded.  I’m not saying that I want to be involved in a church like he is; I just want to feel like I make a difference in peoples’ lives.

I crave my future.  I obsess over it.  Sometimes I think so much about it, I don’t do enough to actually work toward it.  Everything I want is within my grasp:  my career, the woman of my dreams, my son, the future life that I’ve sought for the last two years – it’s all mine for the taking.  I just have to do it.

It’s funny, because The Apostle and I were SO very competitive growing up.  We used to push each other.  A lot.  At various times throughout our lives, I think we envied each other.  I haven’t seen the guy in 2 years – since our 20 year reunion – and  he’s pushing me once again.

I got game

hard time, indeed

hard time, indeed

Today I substitute taught at a juvenile correctional facility.

Juvie.

I had heard about the facility a while ago, and i was tempted to fill-in there but it wasn’t until I talked to some teachers at another local school that I really thought i’d give it a try.

Like a lot of people, I was nervous to go there.  I was intimidated by the fact that the kids there are…incarcerated.  But the more I heard about it, the more intrigued I was:  small class sizes, no possibility of snow days, kids whose very freedom depends on their cooperation with authority. From what I could see, these weren’t bad kids.  they are kids who did some really dumb, or even bad things; but they themselves did not seem like bad people.

I played basketball with the boys’ PE class.  It was probably the one time of the day that they are allowed outside and the closest thing they currently have to a sense of freedom.  I’ve never been much of a basketball player.  I’ve always lacked the coordination for the sport; but I wanted to connect with the kids.  I actually scored 8 points.

The entire day was a very…humbling experience.  It really helped me put a lot of things into perspective.  Concerns and stressors that I’ve had lately suddenly didn’t quite so important.  The kids with whom i worked were pretty much stripped down to the basics – literally.  These are young people who have lost their freedom.    The experience mad me not only appreciate the small things; but it also made me realize that things currently can and will work out .

Naturally, seeing these young people there naturally got me thinking about The Kid and hoping that he stays out of trouble. Given the chance, I would most certainly work at this facility again.

Weathering the storm

A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:

This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.

It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected.  He’s had health issues for some time.  I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her.  After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare.   I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.

Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times.  Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.

As I always tend to do when someone I know dies,  Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality:  mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids.  Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires.  I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life.  Something, a lot of things, need to change.

I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this.  He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard.  This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with.  Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split.  That’s got to affect him more than we realize.  Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that.  The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time.  I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow.  Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.

The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan.  The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday.  Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday.  We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse.  It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now.  I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders.  I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible.  I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste.    Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad.  I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.

I miss him more than I realized.  I miss doing everyday stuff with him:  playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends.  I have to find a way to visit with him this summer.  I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen.   The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life.  I have to change that.  I have to force that change if necessary.

There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”.  That’s some food for thought today.   We’re watching a clip from “America:  The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.

Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”

somewhere between a death and a busboy

A random thought from the other day:

Several years back, I had gotten into doing the Windsor Pilates workout.  There was a bit where Mari Windsor is talking about exercises you glutious maximus (your butt) muscles and she says “Gotta make both cheeks even,”.  That stupid line has stuck with me for years.

Don’t worry I’m going somewhere with this…

I found myself saying that line out loud the other day, and I started to think about the last time I did that workout – during my Previous Life.  That got me thinking about Jabba and the fact that I don’t have any real memories of her and that kind of day-to-day stuff anymore.  It occurred to me:  I don’t really know her anymore.  That whole marriage experience has faded from memory.  It is simply a part of my THE past now.  This is one of the instances where I feel very fortunate to live as far from Jabba and The Kid as I do.  Out of sight, out of mind indeed.

This realization was very liberating for me, given how promising last week’s teacher fair was. I spoke with representatives from a school district just outside of Atlanta and they seemed very interested in me.  This got me very excited about the future:  with The Auteur, with 1B.  Being closer, but not too close, to The Kid.   In a place where The Auteur and I can BOTH pursue our professional goals.

It never ceases to amaze me the way that people just pass in and out of our lives.  I’m reminded of a line that Richard Dreyfuss says as The Writer in Stand By Me: “It happens sometimes.  Friends [sic] come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant”.  I’m not saying all of this because I miss Jabba.  God knows I don’t.  It’s just amazes me sometimes:  this human ability to have somebody so inextricably linked to you and your life one day, and through a relatively short amount of time, no longer be a factor.

Of course, I say all of this now, knowing that i’ll be bitching again when the time come for me to get The Kid for the summer and I have to deal with her all over again.

A crisis of the mid-life variety?

Readers, please shoot me if I ever turn into this...

Readers, please shoot me if I ever turn into this…

As I stated in previous entries, I’ve never been a person to say “this is mature, that is immature,”  or “I’m too old for this, I’m too young for that”  but it seems as Year Forty draws closer, I’m getting more annoyed at maturity level of – not so much friends of mine – but friends of friends of mine.

One thing I have always prided myself on is my choices in friends.  My friends and loved ones are people for whom I would lay down in traffic.  I can say with a certain degree of confidence that they would do the same for me.

I get.  People change as they get older.  I’m sure if  really sat down and thought about it, there are a lot of things that I did ten years ago that I wouldn’t consider doing today.  Staying out all night, getting drunk, the immature drama that people are subjected to by people who are not worthy of being called friends.  Nothing real specific here:  I’m just noticing things that would have seemed important to me a few years ago are, quite frankly, really immature.

Even when The Auteur, Phred, The Old Man and I went to Opening Day last week:  A few years back, I would have gotten hammered before the game.  This year I hardly even drank.

I know this is all just coming across as me bitching – and it’s probably is – but it’s been on my mind for the last few weeks.

Have I finally reached a point where I consider myself to be an adult?  Is it possible that I’m coming to terms with my adulthood while simultaneously experiencing a mid-life crisis?

Watch Matthew McConaughey’s Very McConaughey Oscar Acceptance Speech

If you had told me 20 years ago that THIS guy would win an Academy Award, I would have had you committed.

If you had told me 20 years ago that THIS guy would win an Academy Award, I would have had you committed.

Watch Matthew McConaughey’s Very McConaughey Oscar Acceptance Speech.

Some people found Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards to be a little bit confusing. Even with all of his rambling, he made a few really good points.   I personally gleaned a lot from what he said about the person he chases:  himself 10 years from now. I really liked the idea of this.

I guess by virtue of the fact that I am a journaler and a blogger, I naturally tend to reflect on the past as well as look forward to the future.  I like to look back on where I’ve been, where I’m at; and where I’m going.  So the idea that Matthew McConaughey chases the 10-years-from-now himself gets me thinking about myself.

10 years ago Rob:  In 2004, I was married, living here in Michigan and teaching full-time.  Even then, I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be teaching in Michigan forever.  The school I was working in wasn’t great.  It was constantly facing the threat of being shut down (it closed 2 years after I left).  I felt like I was “on my way”.

A quick recap of the last 10 years:  I moved to South Carolina to teach there.  Had a kid.  Returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher just in time to get a divorce.  Moved back to Michigan.  Returned to school. Fell in love all over again. Now, I’m again looking at the prospect of unfurling my proverbial sails to see where the wind takes us.

At this point, I cannot imagine where I’ll be in 2024, but I’m certain that The Auteur and I will be there together.  The Kid will be getting ready to graduate from high school.  1B will be getting ready to graduate from college.  I fully hope and intend that The Auteur and I will be happily married by then; God willing with a couple kids of our own.

There’s simply no way 2004 Rob knew who he was chasing. And I guess there’s no way that 2014 Rob can know who’s he’s chasing either.  Maybe that’s what Mr. McConaughey was talking about:  life being about the journey, and not the destination and all of those other cliches to the same effect.

There is one thing about the future of which I am absolutely certain:  it is full of infinite possibilities.  Look at Matthew McConaughey.  No one, and I mean NO ONE could have foreseen him winning an Oscar twenty years ago.  Infinite possibilities indeed.

Oh yeah, and I will be turning 50 in 2024.  FIFTY. My reaction to that can best be summed up in the video below…

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hoping for the best

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I don’t include this quote today out of any insane attempt to compare my situation – or any situation in my life to the Holocaust.  I include it because, I believe it embodies how most people feel about life in general.  Despite the experiences – good and bad – we all have with one another, we always look for the best in others.  I was thinking a lot about this while The Auteur and I were at 1b’s basketball game.  Her dad was talking about attending the game last night; he ending up calling in the afternoon saying he couldn’t make it. 1B didn’t seem surprised, but I’m sure she was still disappointed.  After all, it’s her dad.  In the time that I’ve known her, 1B’s Dad will pull no-shows, bail at the last second or he and his new wife will straight-up tell 1b that they’re not interested.  In spite of all this, 1b will – as all people do – hold out and hope for the best.

This got me thinking a lot about my recent dealings with Jabba. Sometimes, I think that if Jabba knew about The Auteur’s experiences with 1B’s dad, it would really make her appreciate the kind of dad I am to The Kid.  We’re trying to make plans for The Kid’s summer visit, but are having difficulty agreeing on a time frame.  Things have been relatively peaceful between her and I – maybe because we spoken on the phone.  This makes me optimistic.  After all the crap she tried putting me through, maybe, hopefully, she’s starting to mellow out.

But then there’s the cynic in me that  is cautious because she has been so quiet.

I don’t foresee things ever being amicable between me and Jabba.  Frankly, I don’t care.  I don’t want to be friends with her, but it would be nice if we could be polite when it came to The Kid.

I talked to a lawyer earlier this week and he introduced me to the term parental alienation.  I had never heard the term before, but I am already all-too familiar with the concept.  He said it sounds like that what Jabba’s starting to do with The Kid and I. I just don’t get it.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

I guess it’s because I’m am pie-in-the-sky dreamers.  I like to think of myself as this über-cynic but the reality is that I too hold out & hope for the best even from those people who annoy the hell out of me.

loose ends

LooseEnds610

before…

Something that I’ve learned over the last few years (and has been reinforced in me even more so recently) is there is no such thing as a routine divorce.

No divorce that I know of goes “by the book” or “by the numbers”.  I can’t help but think of some of my friends and loved ones who have been divorced and none of them are routine.  Everybody, it seems, has a few loose ends left that need to be tied off.  Sometimes these things take years to accomplish.  When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Marriages are supposed to be life-long commitments.  Part of the process in marriage is making two separate lives into one. It takes years to do; and likewise takes years to undo.

knot22

…and after?

What brings me to this train of thought today is the news that Jabba and The Kid are moving.  It’s only across town from where they live now but they are moving out of the house that we lived in while the Hutt and I were married.  It’s bittersweet to say the least.  I feel for The Kid, since this is really the only house he has ever known.  Most of all, I’m glad.  I’m not happy for Jabba – I could care less for her – but I’m glad that now Jabba, The Kid and I have all now officially moved on – at least in that one sense.  That house, and that one part of our three respective lives is over.

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