Monday, April 27, 2015

Once You Fall Off --


Monday means blog entry. 

Even though I am on the road (again) and swamped with stuff - I gotta keep up on this!

This morning I found out a good friend of mine and his wife got divorced last year. It is pretty sad news - they seemed so happy! I do not know - or even presume to know - what happened. I know they moved far away to be close to her family; and I am sure there was a lot of culture shock in living in a new place, and her having her family around more - those are the kinds of things that change relationships. Not always for the worst, of course. Just as often for the better. 

But it reminds me that relationships take work!  The only thing constant is change.

When I talk to folks who are always saying things like, "we are waiting until we achieve x, before we do y," or folks who have this checklist of achievements & goals that their prospective mate has to have attained to be considered, I am ALWAYS like: what is wrong with you?

That big house with the great property value? A single thing could ruin it all: bad neighbor moves in, disaster strikes, the bubble bursts...

Good job? Company gets sold, lay-offs happen, market changes & they go out of business...

Doesn't want (or wants) kids? Circumstances change, goals change, or just holding a baby puts the baby clock in countdown (I've seen it happen)...

Good career or prospects? Goal oriented? That's all fine and good until they realize it is NOT what they want to do, or those goals change, or you all discover it does not pay what you thought it would. 

Suddenly, you need to return home to take care of elderly parents. Suddenly, the feds show up and it turns out your boss has been stealing for the from the company and framed you for it. Suddenly, you find out someone you trusted has wrecked your credit because they've been stealing from you. It happens. 

Humans biggest fault is that they think they can control what cannot be controlled: the future, the weather, human nature... Not gonna happen. 

Once you fall off, you just have to get back on. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Young Love (and Other Things)

Today I met both my son's crush and my daughter's nemise. 

My kids attends a Sunday school at the insistence of both their grandmothers. Not that I feel it is not important, it is just that it is REALLY early in the morning for me and their mom. Just saying. 

But we keep up on it. Help them learn their prayers and go over the details of their instruction (I answer a fair amount of morality questions... Let that thought take hold). However, we are really not very active in their actual classrooms, or interact with their teachers or the other students. 

This last week was the end of this school year, though, and my son's class had a breakfast for all the parents so, as parents, we were obliged to go. My son kept acting squirrelly, though, so finally I confronted him:

"Hey man," I said. "Do you not want your mom and I to go to this thing?"

"No," he replied.

"You sure? Cause we really don't want to go."

"No, I want you to go... Wait - you don't want to go?"

"We are not going to embarrass you or anything? You're not ashamed to be seen with us? Cause you are kind of embarrassing."

"Nothing like that... Wait - I'm embarrassing."

"Don't say things like that, you'll get a complex. Then what is the deal with you? You're all squirrelly."

"Dad... Can I ask you a question?"

"Get the candy first, son."

"Not that... What should I do of I lurk a girl...?"

That was it! The world might as well have been ending. His mother burst into tears. The dog howled forlornly. The cat hissed and arched its back. I stood up pointing accusingly:

"I know this day would come! You're gonna go to jail, son!!"

He looked surprised. "For liking a girl?!?"

His mother sobbed harder. The dog hunkered on the floor and covered its eyes with its paws. The cat jumped down and ran off. I sat back down. 

"Oh, liked. I thought you were getting involved in stalking someone."

"Is that bad?"

"I'm my experience, it is very time consuming. But never mind that now - who is this girl?"

So the story came out: there was a girl in Grennan's class that he thought was cute. Over his mother's sobs, he gushed about this girl. What she did. Who her friend was. Blah blah blah...

Whatever. They are 9-years-old. Not a lot or world-changing revelations there. 

But it was cute and he wa adorable talking about her. But, eventually, I had to ask him why we were having this discussion. 

My son's birthday comes at the end of the school year. It has become something of a tradition to make his birthday party a big cook-out/summer kick-off with his mates, school chums and their families, as well as with our extended families (invitations go out to second cousins, great-aunts, the whole gamut) and friends of the family, as well as out of town friends who find themselves even remotely close to our house. It is huge.

So it came down to my son wanting to invite this girl to this big 10th birthday party. THIS was a  step in a direction, for sure.

So now our attendance at the breakfast had another purpose: to help him ask the girl to the party. 

While we were there it was cute, as he tried to surreptitiously watch her to see if she was looking at him. Rehearsing what he wanted to say to her. U.S. Discussing how he should present himself to her parents (who were there). I pointed out to him that her best friend never left we side - so he was going to have to ask both of them, not just to be polite - but also so she could have someone she was comfortable with at his party, too, until she got to know everyone. 

But we could not get him to talk to her! Shyness was winning over his game - and when her family (and her friend & friend's family) stood up to leave early, disaster almost struck. Luckily, I fear neither man, devil, or Buddha - so I sidled up to the parents and managed to get my son's invitation across.

Now, we see what happens at the party. 

After the breakfast and party invite, we headed to my daughter's classroom. My daughter looked adorable in a summer-y dress that set off her blue eyes and blonde hair, and cute sandals. But I noticed her giving sideways looks at a girl in her class wearing a cute summer-y dress that set off her dark hair and brown eyes, with cute sandals -- all mayhaps a wee touch more stylish than what my daughter wore.

Sideways looks turned into a glare when this girl was given a prize bag for good attendance to class. 

Later, in the car getting ready to head home, I asked my daughter who the girl was and if they were friends. She spit ou the girls name like it was a curse, and said with exaggerated enunciation:

"She is my nemesis!"

7-year-old girls are scary enough, I am not looking forward to the teenage years.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's All About the Family

We have judged you & found you wanting.

Here is something I want you to think about, if your significant other's parents hate your guts (I don't mean just dislike you, I mean really, really HATE you), then this is my advice to you: DO NOT GET MARRIED!

Seriously, and I speak from experience, if your significant other's parents hate you, this is the first of many signs that your relationship is doomed to failure. Give it up. Walk away. No harm, no foul.

Why is it doomed to failure, you may ask?

Whether they mean to or not, they will undermine you at every chance that they get. And, seeing as they are the filter to meeting you for all of their family friends as well as extended family, you really stand no chance.

In nearly every case I have been involved or observed, too - there is a REASON these people dislike you, and do not think you should be dating their child.

I am painting this in pretty broad strokes, but think about this: the person that you are dating has a history that you do not know about. I do not mean necessarily exes, or drama, but I do mean habits. Maybe they have habits and family history that precludes you from being the perfect mate for them. You may not see that. The person you are dating may not be able to see it. But friends and family? They can see it.

Because when I say family, I don't just mean blood relatives. I'm also talking about close friends, church family, and maybe even people in their scene. These people have all known the person that you are dating longer than you have. They can see things that you cannot. 

I myself, was dating this girl and her parents hated my guts. Not because I was a bad person necessarily, but because they could see that we were just two totally opposite things. Now initially, I think I took this as a challenge.

After all, who does not like being painted as the bad boy or the rebel?

But I did try to be fair to her parents. They questioned our relationship several times and counseled her to break up with me on a couple of occasions. I told her that she should listen to them. They are her parents after all. And she had a good relationship with them. Their advice came from the heart. But in the end, she did not break up with me.

When the people at our school, where she and I both attended, they still had her best interests at heart. They told me the same thing.  But neither of us would listen to them. Her church pretty much threw every roadblock they could in our way!

So you see where this is going? 

Eventually, we would get married after dating for five years. And then, finally, things ended. It turned out we were not compatible after all. And…

Well, it was ugly.

After we split, my parents (who did not dislike this girl) told me that they were not surprised that we had to split up. And I asked them why they didn't say anything while we were dating. And they were pretty frank with me:

"we told you," they said. "but you just would not listen."

This was a refrain I heard from a lot of friends in the months and years afterward. Heck, there were people I trusted saying that to me the night before our wedding. But I was just so caught up that I would not listen. But I realize now, that all of the signs were there. This girl's family did not like me, her friends did not like me, and even her church did not like me. But I would not listen. 

My friends and family, while they did not dislike her, continually were like, "what are you doing!"

Even as I look back on it, I realize that my dog did not particularly like her either.

So there you have it. Learn to recognize the signs. And, again, if it does not work out that's just the way it goes. There is no blame. Just accept that some people are just not compatible.

Most of all, listen to your dog!

Bitch, please...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Riding Is Running Your Own Life

It had been my goal to do two posts a week. One in Monday & one in Friday. It's turning out to be harder than I thought. 

Sometimes I get a bit ahead, but between shows, work, and everything else... whew!

Yesterday (Easter Sunday) we went to our friend's house, who was cleaning out one of his garages. He had set aside a bike for me, and was going through some of the many bikes, motorcycles and minibikes. The kids were thrilled, of course, upon seeing the minibikes. 

And, honestly, who could blame them?

I was most pleased to see my daughter, even in the dress she had picked out to wear for dinner with my parents along with my sister and her husband, was not dissuaded from jumping on and wanting to ride herself. NOT wanting to be on the back as a passenger. 

This was true even for the full-size bikes. 

Her mother and I worked with her a bit about what it will mean for her to be a good passenger, when the time comes. Sitting close, holding on, and leaning into the turns. But overall, she is way more interested in riding herself. 

And, I like to think, run her own life.

Easy Rider for the 21st Century.