Friday, February 27, 2009

What Housing Problem?

You wouldn't know that there is a economic problem with housing in my area. With military bases being consolidated into Fort Bragg, construction around here has been busier than beavers working on their version of the Hoover dam. Not only are there more houses and condos (and a lot less trees and open fields) but I'm beginning to see a proliferation of extended stay hotels. You can't miss them with their truck-sized TV screen atop a 20 foot pole and blindingly blaring their latest rental special. "One bedroom apartment with kitchen and living room for $199 a week" I hope that includes a bathroom or at least a very large bucket. The price is better than a hotel stay but it still seems rather expensive. I just wish that those TV screens would show other channels.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Children Are Not Pawns in Divorce

Last week's vacation went relatively well. My daughter and her fiancé and I had a great time together. The only disturbing part was when my ex violated our divorce decree and hid my 16 year old son in another state so that we couldn't speak with each other. When I returned my daughter and future son-in-law back to their home this past weekend, there was my ex --- all smiling and of good cheer like the person of ill repute that she is. My son was upset because of our missed time together. When he and I were finally alone with each other, he confided that he wants to move away from her more than ever. Sadly, he doesn't think he could handle his mother's drama while waiting for the courts allowed his move. At this point, he seriously considering waiting out the next 13 months until he was 18 and then able to escape to my home. I can only support him in whatever way he needs me to.

What my ex doesn't seem to get is that she has now completely lost the respect of her children. What little love for her that they have left is being further whittled away by her continued selfish actions. I hope she realizes this soon and it torments her for the rest of her life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why is it never easy when dealing with crazy people?

It was simple. My son wanted to visit next week during his school's winter break. I was more than ready to have him here in the safety of my home. Earlier this week, my ex agreed. This morning, she called and said that her lawyer advised that my son not be allowed to leave the state. WTF? This has never been a problem before. The only difference now is that, at 16, he's wised up to his mother's craziness and wants to escape to me. My son has always known that he could live with me. But she has her ways ... deceptive, manipulative, craft, evil. She had me in her clutches for 25 years until I finally realized that there is a difference between being a gentleman and being a door mat. My son has matured to the point of knowing "how much of a mother she isn't" to him. His words. My ex treats my son as nothing more than a meal ticket of child support. He lives in a filthy trailer while she's gone for 3 weeks a month driving a truck --- she prefers this to earning a living with her engineering degree.

So a couple of weeks ago, he dropped the bomb that he wants to live with me in a clean home, with a loving parent who will be there daily for and with him. This has driven her crazier ever since.

The sad part is not that she doesn't want him in a better environment. She doesn't want to lose the yearly $14,000 that she receives but rarely spends on him. It's no wonder that she can afford a lawyer while I make do on 2/3 of my income left to cover my life and her divorce debts. Divorce can be so much fun!

Ahhhh, but this little drama couldn't have continued without the mind games from her evil lawyer. How else can you make money if you don't sow seeds of doom and gloom and paranoia? With the droning of a cult member, that's all my ex would say this morning, "My lawyer advised.... No, I can't talk about it. My lawyer advised."

Fine. The divorce decree states that my son can visit without restriction. My lawyer says that I can enlist the aid of the sheriff. I have told my ex when and where I will be to pick up my son. If he isn't there, I will file a report as more evidence of an unfit mother. And she wonders why our two adult children have no respect for her...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Watch What You Hear

Everyone at work seems to becoming more and more pessimistic about our new owners. The other day, a fellow co-worker and I were having an informal chat about a test cabinet design. Another co-worker walked by and heard us saying something about industrial knobs. He automatically assumed that it was a derogatory slam on upper management and was more than ready to give us his supporting thoughts.

I guess this is how we are all handling the stress of cutbacks and firings. We have no way of knowing who's next in this business game of employee Russian roulette. And our bosses aren't saying much. So lately we are finding it easier to exchange tales of bitterness with each other at the first chance. It may relieve a little anger but I can't see how these continued verbal outbursts are going to help the company in the long run ...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

That Parking Ticket Might Not Be What You Think It Is

Drivers in Grand Forks, North Dakota, have recently been finding official-looking tickets on their windshields. These fake tickets instruct the driver to view pictures of the violation at a specific web site. Unfortunately, hackers who run this despicable site cause a virus to install itself on to the victim's computer.

It's getting harder to know who to trust any more. If you can't count on your ever vigilant meter maid to harass you honestly, who can you trust any more?

Create Your Own Discount

My bathroom is a need of some work. But as I shopped at Lowe's and Home Depot, I couldn't find anything cheap enough for my budget. So I've devised a plan to create some discount bath fixtures at these shopping warehouses. Tell me what you think.

How about sitting on one of the display toilets with your pants about your ankles until one of the sales associates walks by. Surely you and I could get a price break if we ask for some toilet paper and a discount on the slightly used toilet. Or, we could borrow pail from the hardware section and fill it full of water from the garden section. Then with a scrub brush purloined from the bath section, we can proceed to bathe in one of those luxurious tubs until the manager kicks us out the store. And what are they going to do with the bathtub is personalized with our dirt? I smell price cut ... among other things.

Anyone else have other ideas?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Watch This!

Pssst! Hey buddy! Can I ... tock ... to you for a few minutes? You look like the kind of guy who might be interested in a couple of Nooka watches.

Now hold on! I'm not trying to ... tick ... you off! But if you're like me, there's never enough time. Yeah, I know --- unless you're serving it.

Ok, OK. I know time is relative. I know that the length of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on. No, I'm not trying to get philosophical here. I just want to make a sale.

Of course, you have to admit that time is a great teacher. Sadly, it kills all of its pupils but that's life.

What's that? Sure, time is a great healer. But have you noticed that it's a lousy beautician?

Anyway, what do you say? How about a new watch? How about one with the old-style analog hands? I understand that the days of the digital watch are numbered... Oh Yeah? Same to you, Bub!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Power of Memories

I have been having several nostalgic dreams lately of when my children were young. We used to visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina every fall -- the rates were low, the crowds were sparse, and the turtles were hatching. One of the Society for the protection of turtles would set up an event for young children to lead hatching turtles back to the ocean. My children loved participating in that event every year.

As for me, besides sharing in my children's fun of helping defenseless creatures, I would enjoy running along the edge of the tide at sunset. There's nothing quite like the salty fragrance in your nose, the warm water lapping at your toes as you raced by, the sparkle of the setting sun dancing on your frolicking children, the adrenaline rush of a good life pushing you to run faster and faster until it was as if you were gliding across the top of the ocean. Eventually I would be breathing so hard that I had to stop. But I stopped with an enormous smile on my face and an even larger sense that all was right with the world and my family.

A lot has changed since then. The other night, that memory of my beach runs came back as a dream. Only this time, my gasps for air awoken me. For the next few minutes, it was as if I could not breathe deep enough. It's as though my ex has done everything in her power to make sure that my children and I can't get enough of each other anymore. But my children are about to give her an unexpected turn in that battle...