Category Archives: Dads

Walking in the Dark…

I have a routine when I get to the office… not unlike yours or anyone else’s for that matter.

When I get to work, I put away my jacket and settle my things as my computer boots up.

Certainly I need my coffee so I head down a long hallway to where the coffee is. I get in early so the hallway is relatively dark, main source of light is from a skylight near the half-way point but it is not nearly enough. I pass other associates and friends in the hallway as they are also in the midsts of their morning routines.

It’s a long hallway so their are light switches at the beginning, end and even middle yet nobody makes the effort to turn them on. Instead they continue to walk down the dimly lit hallway.

I always turn them on as it makes sense to me to do so… I usually get a smile, nod or ‘thank you’ from others sharing the corridor.

I can’t help but wonder…

They are walking down a dimly lit hallway which, judging from their appreciation when I turn them on, is not preferred. The solution to the problem is not hidden, it is readily accessible yet most people won’t make the effort, if you have to call it that, to remedy it. It seems they would rather walk in the dark.

I don’t get it. Are we so wrapped up in our lives or confined to our roles that we can’t make the effort to fix things? Do we think it is not our jobs? “No worries… Mike the maintenance man will flip the lightswitch on later when he gets a chance” or “a manager will take care of it.”

We all have our central ‘core’ responsibilities at work and at home but we are part of a team regardless. It does not take much effort or sacrifice to make an incremental impact on progress.

For me it is a matter of pride and common sense. I value my family and the company I work for and look to impact positive change where I can. While only a symbolic gesture, flicking on the light switch represents my willingness to contribute to the team, willing to go beyond my ‘job description’ to help move forward… to help the company to grow and be the best there is. It also makes sense… who wants to walk in the dark?

I am so mad at you… nothing will ever be the same.

You let me down…
The one person who I should count on to build me up while keeping me grounded…
The one person who was supposed to help me grow my strengths while helping me through my weaknesses…

You were supposed to help make me who I could be…

That’s not how it went.
I was always a disappointment.
Not like the rest of the “family”

Is that why I chase them constantly looking to them to reassure me I am part of them?
They are not family… they might have been your friends but I am not as close to them as you were.

I am constantly looking to secure a foundation. I am relentless in this pursuit. I have always talked about how I need to be happy at home or happy at work. The truth of the matter is that the foundation I was supposed to have was from you.

I have always idolized you dad.
Like the name of god. My god.

Things will never be the same.

Inspired by a scene from Suits but I am not entirely sure why.: http://youtu.be/2iGHsl5Uuho

You Are NOT Your Job…

Damn… I wish that were true.

Let me back up.
I am (mosty)proud of  what I have done professionally in my career. Back in June I was ‘downsized’ out of my job at a decent sized company. Not for what I had done, it was ‘just an unfortunate circumstance’ as a division I was working on was dissolved. I got a package that enabled me to survive while I got a job.

I certainly went crazy looking for a new gig and found one 10 weeks after. The only problem is that it was certainly a step or two lower than what I was doing. The interesting part is that it is essentially the same money (which is why I took it).

I figured that I would work my ass off and impress people in getting things done and I would quickly get promoted… Good idea? maybe in theory.

My new employer moves painfully slow. I am not even sure they are moving forward. Do you remember that scene from Risky Business when Tom Cruise is stilling in his high school classroom waiting for it to end and the second hand on the clock actually moved backwards? That’s how it seems sometimes.

The problem is that I keep getting assigned these crazy archaic spreadsheets to ‘update’ that not only will never be really looked at but can be easily obtained though the web tools we pay for. In addition, as I have suggestions on how to improve things that are ‘industry best practices’ or I find things that prove one of our agencies are ripping us off, nothing happens.

These things destroy me… apparently. I am so incapacitated sometimes I can’t focus. I have to walk away (as proof, I am writing this post on my lunch break because I just can’t deal).

But your not supposed to be your job? I LOVE what I do… Im a 24/7 guy and I don’t call it work (most of the time). The problem is that I am undervalued and when I try to show my value I get shot down. When I try to bring value, its ignored.

I need to be valued… thats for me.

I need to be valued… because I also need to get promoted and make more money… thats for myself and my kids

I should just disconnect. Do what I am told and get paid while looking for something else. Like someone told me… do your job and keep your head down.

I do it well sometimes but sometimes, like right now? I really just want to walk.
I can’t. I won’t. It just really sucks.

I feel like shit doing these meaningless tasks assigned by my bosses boss who has no idea what ‘digital’ is and has no interest in doing things different in order to be better. He is just content with doing things they way they did it last year. Does that work for anyone?

I am not my work… I am not my job. I gotta keep saying some sort of stupid mantra like that so I stay sane. We both know that is not going to work.

I gotta focus on doing my job, looking for something better, and consulting in the meantime. Know anyone that needs a ‘experienced results driven digital marketer’? lol.

Time to go… gotta go update my resume. 🙂

4-4-14-Update… For the most part, I am numb to the BS that happens at work. I’m still looking for a new opportunity and actually have 2 phone interviews next week. The real question is, this keeps happening to me or at least it seems that way. Is it me? Is it the type of work environment I choose? Maybe corporate america is not what I need? Maybe I always end up being the ‘agent of change’ and maybe I just need to be with people with a similar skill set so I can stop fighting and get to the next level instead…. if I am not too late.

 

 

The Last One To Know…

Its from a song… “The Last One To Know…. Is The Last One To Cry…”
What’s missing is what should be obvious… she might be crying now but I did plenty of crying (ok im not really the crying type though I get emotional) for YEARS.

Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely wish she was not crying but honestly? Its her turn, I had mine.  Denial is a powerful thing and she has been living it for years… let me explain.

Let me use another song quote to start off… this one is from (slightly embarrassed) the country singer Tanya Tucker.
“If it don’t come easy, you gotta let it go”.

My wife and I spent most of our relationship waiting for something to happen. When that event happened, ‘we’ would be better.

‘Once the semester is over, we will be better’

‘Once the sale of the house closes, we will be better’

‘When I get less stressful job, we will be better’

It does not work like that… yes, things would be better because there is less stress but there is always going to be stress. If you are not getting along NOW and it is a consist thing? talk to Tanya Tucker.

DRAFT

35 More Minutes…

That’s how long I have before I leave to see the kids. They are both in a play at school tonight and I asked my ‘x’ if I could come over early to spend some time with them. Things are different lately/now. The ‘x’ wants to keep her distance as she realizes that I am not coming back. She is looking to protect herself and I understand… and feel bad.

What little time I have with the kids is  a bit stressed. Though they have had daily 30 minute time limits on their various Apple devices, I think that’s out the window cause I can’t get them away from them. Its hard to talk to them, its hard to get quality time. I try to get these devices from them without looking like the bad guy… its a skill I am working on. For now I look to distract them with whatever activity I can engage them with.

So I sit here waiting for what is now 30 minutes before I leave. I am stressed out about seeing them. I immediately get stressed when I see a call or text from them.  I am not sure why. I want to see them, they want to see me. My 10 year old is coming over for a slumber party tomorrow night, my younger one wants to stay home with mom. That’s ok, it will get better in time.

Logically I understand. This is still new, they are upset and frustrated that I am not in the house anymore and they want things back to the way they were. Luckily (sarcasm) this is not a logical thing, its emotional. Its gonna take time…. just got to keep my eye on the ball… hopefully time heals.

15 minutes left and I just have to put on a energetic, positive vibe and get going.

Wish me luck. It might be a long night.

It’s a Fight

Maybe it’s not a fight but everyday at home (before I left) was a struggle to be happy instead of depressed.

I was walking in the mall today (so not me) and walked by this couple. As I approached, though I only glanced, I could actually feel the tension. As I got to the closest point as I passed them he lashed out at her. Of course it was something petty to me and even petty to him (im guessing) but the tension and aggrevation is what was all too familiar.

It was, I am happy to say, a reminder of what was… What used to be me. Don’t get me wrong, I almost never yelled and certainly not at my wife or in public but I have a good idea of those feelings.

Leaving my house is a process, ups and down, mostly downs as it relates to my kids and its really hard on many levels. That couple in the mall reminded me about why the process is necessary.

While I wish they didn’t have it, I thank them for the reminder. Life is too short, fight the fights that are worth fighting. When you can’t fix it, despite best efforts… consider real change.

I left May 28th. It’s been just over two months now.

Earthquake…

What are you afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen to you? With the exception of a loved one getting really hurt, job loss, is the most devastating thing that could happen to me. To me, its worse than death and the foundation of an explanation as to why is within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and my history. Well, that is where I am, thus the ‘earthquake’. I lost my job just over a month ago. I was provided a good severance package so I still have a good income but now my job is some sort of a nightmare. My full-time job is getting a full-time job.

Ok, so Maslow recognized that there are levels to your needs. In short, first you need ‘Physiological’ needs. These are things like: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep. If you have those, you can work on achieving the next level, “Safety” needs. These are: security of body, employment, resources, etc. IF you can get that, the next level is ‘Love/Belonging’ which covers friendship and family. When you have that you get to the ‘esteem’ level where you build self-esteem confidence, etc. Ultimately you want to get to the final level which is ‘self-actualization’. Sounds like a video game to me but a hell of a difficult one as we all know. You might have bits and pieces of the different levels but supposedly it won’t all be complete until you have all of them within the various levels. Each level builds the foundation to the next.

I pride myself in my work. I’m passionate about it, it makes me happy, and it addresses ‘Maslow’s’ Safety need. I expand my ‘safety need’ to include the needs of my family. My need to provide for them.  Without this level complete, which is provided by MONEY and thusly my job, very little else matters. It obvious and undeniable that I can pay little attention to anything else in this type of situation. The only thing positive that was born of being unemployed for me is the temporary escape cycling provides during these times.

The fact that I lost my job 8 days after I left my wife is crazy. Living separate makes the fact that its been 5 weeks and she does not know almost ideal. I have no intention of telling her… when I get a new job I will simply let her know I got a new job. Telling her would do nothing more than make the situation worse as she is unable to help resolve the situation.  I had been unemployed before and I was a defeated mess. I did the job search thing, it was during the recession and got nowhere. Did the entrepreneurial thing out of desperation and lost more money than I can stomach to think about. It wasn’t that I’m not an entrepreneur at heart, its simply because you do stupid shit when you are desperate. I was desperate to ensure the safety and security of my family.

While I am not ‘desperate’ quite yet, I am certainly constantly fighting fears that I am not going to find a new full-time job before my severance package runs out which as I write this is 44 days, 10 hours, and 56 minutes away. I probably spend equal time between actually working to find a job and worrying about it. Can’t avoid it, can’t control it.

The bottom line here is that I am doing all I can to preserve the safety and security of my daughters. They are going through enough without having to worry about daddy not having a job. Be rest assured, they will never know I lost my job. I will fight to the end for the ability to tell them I left my old employer and have a new and better job. You know how people talk about ‘the light at the end of the tunnel?’ Well is really like a water well that I am at the bottom of looking up and seeing the light.  With a ton of different meanings, only the light at the end of the tunnel matters… just got to climb my way out. Will I is yet to be determined. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Slumber Party II…

Its July 4th weekend, 2013. Saturday night and the second slumber party was planned. The holiday weekend went pretty good. Went to the house and spend the 4th with my girls and my ‘x’. Originally we planned to just hang out all day, eating and playing games. Lara the ten year old thought it would be a good idea to goto the beach so we did. There were no real issues other than the ‘elephant in the room’ but its was good.

Friday night into Saturday I was on my own. It was like a vacation for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. Saturday afternoon I went to the house. I would be spending some time at the house and then taking the two girls to my house for a slumber party (sleepover).  I could feel the tension as I walked in. Lorraine did not do well last slumber party. The idea of being separated from the kids overnight was difficult. She said she had cried all night.  The reality of the fact we are separated is difficult. The knowledge that I don’t want to be with her is difficult and it showed. We started talking as the kids went upstairs. She still does not think I had a valid reason for leaving. All her friends thinks I am cheating on her and I left for ‘another woman’. An amazing person clarified things for me and it makes perfect sense.

Look, her friends were mostly blind-sided when I left. By believing that I cheated on Lorraine takes the blame for this failure off Lorraine, off me, and onto this magical, mysterious, and ultimately imaginary  ‘third party’. Its quite neat and clean actually, which should tell you that the answer is too simple. Too easy, and ultimately wrong.

Temptation is everywhere. Think about your day, your week. Tell me that there isn’t ‘that person’ that you would want  to <lets be civil here> “sleep with” in your life. You can lie to yourself but don’t bother saying it out loud cause there IS someone. What’s keeping you? Love your spouse? Happy? Dedicated? Feel heard, respected, and content in your homelike? Yes? THAT is what is ultimately a shield against all that temptation. Its like your immune system… when its down, you will get sick (no pun intended). I’ll tell you what I told Lorraine… I left because of what happened between us, not for some piece of ass… I value my family much more than that.

Now back to the slumber party.  Nicole wanted to stay home to take care of her mom but in the end, decided to ‘come with’. As the multiple bags were packed (really? this was for one night?, lol) I quietly put them in the car to minimize drama.  They finally got everything together and we were on our way.

We went to Friendlies for dinner and got that out of the way. It was late when we got to the apartment and I quickly turned on the lights. As we walked in they immediately commented that the apartment did not smell anymore. Last time there had been a ton of rain and the apartment smelled a bit musty. I told them how hard I worked to make the smell go away to make them feel more comfortable.   We put away the bags into the bedroom and got settled.

The rest of the evening, as short as it was was about making sure their experience at the apartment was as nice and fun as possible. Do you know why you love your favorite beer? Its because of the experiences you had with it, not necessarily about the actual taste. I happen to love Guinness and probably most of the reason is because of parties I went to where that is what I had.  Tangent alert! anyway, I want them to associate visiting the apartment with good feelings.

We played games, watched a movie, and had a quick snack along the way. When it was bedtime, I tried to make everything fun, even a little pillow fight. Before we went to bed, we sat on the floor and had a quick ‘talk’.

The family therapist has repeatedly told me that great communication is key in minimizing the effects of the ‘divorce event’ on the girls. In a positive way, I got them to sit on the floor in a mini-circle and asked them how they are feeling. It was late and they were tired but they did not say much. I was not discouraged, I used it as an opportunity to reinforce the message. I told them that they should not hide their feelings, they can tell me anything, even if it is to tell me they are mad at me.  Lara was quick to say it… ‘dad, i’m mad at you’. I told her that was ok and she had every reason to be mad at me. I asked if she was mad but also loved me and she said she did. Putting those two emotions together makes it more acceptable and ultimately I told her that if she is mad and she loves me then we can always talk about it and work it out.

Nicole had nothing to say but that has been normal for her. I find it harder to get to her and I have to focus on her a bit more going forward. She tends not to say anything and then she lashes out. The challenge with that is that she tends to be very direct and VERY accurate. She might be too smart for MY own good.

Ultimately we went to bed after the little talk feeling better. I slept on the couch and woke up the next morning to Lara sitting on the other couch playing with her iPAD. It was a quick slumber party but it certainly served its purpose. I asked them on the way home if they had a good time. They told me they had a great time and it was so much better than the first time AND the apartment did not smell !  Thank goodness.

Getting My Apartment

In thinking about leaving my wife I always thought of my two daughters and my need to ensure that they have all the things they need. I always thought to myself that I will live in a hovel, some terrible place so that I can still afford to keep them in the nice house, in the nice neighborhood and same school.

While that’s still true, them having a nice place and having a decent place to live for me are not mutually exclusive goals. Add the fact that it is better for THEM and me to have a nice place to live and I had to figure it out.

It took weeks but I found a one-bedroom coop rental literally five miles from the house. I lucked out for a change and it had just been completely redone. Everything is new! The carpets, the paint, the kitchen, everything! The appliances had never been used, the dishwasher had some samples in it !

I did not sign the lease until the day after I left. While I knew what I was going to do no matter what was said on the day I left, I think it was better “for the record” that I did not do it until the next day. I stayed on a friends couch that first night.

I had nothing. No furniture, no plates, nothing. The only thing I had were all the clothes I filled my car with on the day I left… before the kids came home.

I think it was really important that the kids know where I am, that I’m safe, and that they belong there too. On the day I moved in the kids were at school. I went to CostCo during the day and somewhat stocked the kitchen. I got 2-3 key items that they liked and put them prominently in the fridge and in the cabinets. I out their pictures on the walls and their art work on the fridge. I called the house and invited them over.

I went to the house and out everyone in the car… Including the new “x”. I drove them over and we all went inside for a tour. I pointed out their food… Their drinks… Their pictures and art. When we got to my room, I went out of my way to tell them it was not my room, it was theirs… And this is their place too.

I had no furniture… Not a chair in sight. The only thing I had was an air mattress I got from the house that I ended up sleeping on for a week. Did I mention it had a hole in it? Good times.

We all sat (including the x) in the living room on the floor. We joked and laughed a bit while my younger one did cartwheels.

Mission accomplished, they know where I live and that they belong there too. Baby steps.

Is the dust settling?

It’s Saturday, June 22. I left the house on May 28 so its been a little bit short of a month. Had a great time ‘out’ last night, I will be busy doing chores all day today and I’m thinking about tomorrow.

I don’t think I have anything to do. While my guess is that something will come up I can’t help but wonder about being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like being alone. I used to be so happy to get some time alone. Maybe it is because that was by choice and this is not? I am positive I am not sure if that is it. I do have choices…. I could visit my sister in the Bronx or I could spend the day with the kids and my x.

The problem with spending time with the kids and my x is… what’s the point? If I’m gonna spend all my time with them, why be separated? I know what your thinking and its true… I did not leave my kids, I only left my wife so why don’t you just take them for the day? Im not sure that is a good idea.

Lorraine is not ready to spend the day apart from them. When I had a ‘slumber party’ at my apartment for the first time, she cried all night. It was the worst night of her life so she told me. While I am not into the ‘drama of it all’… I certainly understand that it was difficult… it was for all of us. As a result, I will find something else to do.

The point is… I have basically had the same family structure/routine, etc. for all these years and it is time to branch out. Time to try new things, mix things up, and rebuild a life. It is what I have waited YEARS to do and I am excited to get started.

Update ( let’s pretend you want to know)

Going cycling in am tomorrow. Thinking about setting a crazy goal. The Hampton’s? 231 ? Not sure. Going east is probably safer but we will see. It might also be a good time to see the new “fast an furious” movie and pick up a few items for the apartment now that I got new furniture. Oops… Haven’t mentioned much about the whole “setting up my apartment” thing. Title of my next post? Maybe a good idea.