5th Anniversary

Elise and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this past Friday.  Five years. Wow.  It’s scary how fast time passes us by as we age.  It seems like just yesterday that Elise was drooling and pawing at me, begging for my love and attention.  I was a free agent at the time and negotiated a handsome contract and now here we are today, contemplating our child’s college fund, health care reform and prescription strength glucosamine.

Our anniversary was not unlike most recent days.  We wake up on a quest to find a combination of sustainable source of nutrition fortified with fiber, a pair of eye glasses or the child.  We were more tired than usual because we babysat Jack the night before.

I had an interview that morning and got home in time to cook fajitas for Christine, who was over to pick up Jack, Elise and myself.  Christine and Jack left, I went to work and Elise played with Maly and cleaned house.  In passing we had this conversation more than once:

“Sooo…  what are we doing tonight?”


We had previously agreed that we wouldn’t buy each other gifts because the weekly compensation I receive from the Texas Workforce Commission will more than likely have us selling plasma and home furnishings by mid-October.  I serriously thought about rigging a nice evening at Taco Cabana or Jack in the Box but recounted our previous anniversaries.  I like to celebrate special occasions with nice food.

Christine called to let us know that she had a 20% off coupon from Louie’s 106.  Like any other unemployed schmuck I said, “Uhhhhmmmm… hell yeah!” like I found a half-smoked cigarette on a street corner next to a syringe with minimal needle rust!  Well, not really, but it afforded Elise and me to have a discounted anniversary meal and revisit the “kyew-pon versus coo-pon” dispute.

John & Christine watched Maly while Elise and I had dinner.  Elise had the Bronzed Alaskan Halibut Filet with Smoked Yellow And Red Tomato Coulis, Fire Roasted Red Onion And Rock Shrimp Arepas, Wilted Spinach and Oyster Mushrooms and a chardonnay wine flight.  I had the 8 oz. tenderloin filet stuffed with Crab Meat, Corn and Smoked Gouda, Green Peppercorn Cognac Demiglace and Poblano Bearnaise with a cabernet sauvignon wine flight.

After dinner we picked up some night cap booze and half of a Italian cream cake at HEB and went over to John and Christine’s for the evening.  We came home shortly after midnight to realize that although I had the camera in my pocket all night, we never had our picture taken together at dinner.  I set the camera’s timer and we posed at the kitchen table that was once my dad’s when he was a bachelor.

We always have a snapshot taken on our anniversary.  It lets us reflect upon our lives and our past together as a single, loving entity of enveloped souls and say things like, “Wow!  You could barely see your ear hair back then.”

“Hey, Pot, it’s Kettle.  Guess what?  You’re black!”

New kind of job

One would think that being unemployed would lend ample time to keep the website updated. Truth is: there is plenty of time but not a lot to document.

Since becoming officially unemployed I have been doing a new kind of work. I get up, shower, shave get dressed and go to the office. I spend 3-4 hours in the morning sending out coverletters and resumes and researching companies. At noon Elise makes sandwiches for lunch and we eat out on the deck and play with Maly. I go back to work until 5:30 or 6.

The family refers to my job searching effort as working, which it is. My current job is not a job I’d wish upon many.

Six weeks of dedicated and diligent job searching have rendered three interviews so far.

Things are looking a little bit better and I’m getting more bites as time progresses and I employ new job searching strategies.

Monthly Maly Letter: Month five

Dear Maly,

You turned five-months-old today. You’ve had quite an eventful month. We started out the month by flying to Des Moines for your baptism. You were cleansed of the original sin and now I’m compelled to call you Moddy Eedizibud.

The Sunday after your baptism, while lying on your back on your grandparents’ living room floor, you rolled completely over onto your stomach and then pushed your body up off of the floor with your arms. You wouldn’t believe the squeals and applause that this event garnered. Your mom and grandparents were pretty impressed, too.

Traveling to Des Moines meant that you were able to experience flying in an airplane for the first time. I was worried that you would be afraid of the bumping as the plane took off, the change in cabin pressure or the turbulence. Just as the plane began accelerating for take off, you conked out in my arms and slept nearly the entire way. I like to think I protected you by holding you.

The plane ride home wasn’t as calm and uneventful. I’m not going to name names here but your mom thought it would be a good idea to book our returning flight during your “witching hour”. You screamed, squirmed and complained for the duration of the first leg of the flight home. There was a twenty-something childless couple sitting a few rows ahead of us and they both looked back at me every time you started to whimper. Using my honed non-verbal confrontational communication method I warned that should either of them looked back as us again I would smash their faces in with one of my flip flops.

When we arrived home, we maintained your regular night time ritual by bathing you and putting you in bed by 8 p.m. but instead of putting you down in your cradle by your mom’s side of the bed, we put you in your crib. In your OWN ROOM. I didn’t sleep well at all that night. I missed you.

We’ve been feeding you new foods now. We started you on rice cereal at the beginning of your fifth month and oatmeal just today. You’ve taken both very well. Your mom is still better at feeding you than I am. I get more on you than in you.

Two weekends ago your mom went to the store alone while you and I hung out at the house. You and I are both prone to going stir crazy so I decided we need to go for a walk.

With you in tote I grabbed your Jeep stroller and lugged the both of you to your mom’s and my bedroom to get prepared for our stroll. I propped you up tripod-style on the floor near me so I could unfold the stroller. I stood up, turned toward the stroller and immediately felt the urge to turn back to check on you. When I did, I saw the beginning of your ungraceful face plant. I was a foot too far and a nanosecond too late. You had already toppled and on the way down, you whacked your head against the wooden TV stand. I knew what was coming next so I immediately scooped you up, cradled you and kissed you and kissed you and kissed you and promised that that would never happen again. You cried that distinct cry that bitterly reminded me that I neglected you for a fraction of a second. I clenched my eyes, softly squeezed you against my body and kissed you again like it might be my last chance to hold you. You stopped crying. You knew that I was there to protect you.

You are such an unbelievable little person now. You talk and sing and giggle and every day I just want to hug you so hard that you permeate my chest and sink into my heart where I can protect you forever.

I will always protect you, Sugar.



Beautiful letdown

I’ve been a huge fan of the band Tool for the better part of 13 years. I quietly and anxiously waited to hear of a local tour date supporting the release of the album 10,000 Days. When tour dates were released, I made note and two months later, with credit card in hand, I purchased two tickets for the show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands.

Elise and I saw Tool at the CWMP five years ago and to date, that was the best concert that I have ever attended. It was a show in every sense. The stage was set with video screens that methodically displayed images of life, death, science, the occult, religion, philosophy and what a third eye might find appealing. There were actors dressed as aliens who decended from the top of the stage from ropes, released upon the stage and danced. The music was dulcet, raw, pounding and soothing. We sat there on the grassy knoll and shared a 16 oz. Miller Lite, Buffalo Wings from Hooters and a jaw dropping, mesmerizing performance from one of my favorite bands.

This past Monday I expected nothing less than aural ecstacy from Tool. My parents watched Maly for the evening and everything was set for a perfect evening of entertainment.

We arrived at the Pavilion on time. We had to wait in line for 45 minute while two older men used hand held metal detectors to scan, one by one, the thousands of people in line. Once to the gate we were informed that we couldn’t bring our binoculars with us.

“We brought our binoculars with us five years ago”, I contended to no avail.

We found “our spot” where we stood five years ago. A nice area in the grass in the general admission area of the pavilion. The intro began, the lights dimmed and before we knew it, Tool released itself upon the crowd. Kind of. The kid behind us began his own drunken beer slinging mosh and within seconds the bouncers had him with his arms pinned behind him and escorted away.

The band just wasn’t there. There was no energy. I had read on Tool’s fan site that Maynard had been sick the night before. That obviously carried over into the Houston show. It was a disappointing performance. Halfway through the set, Maynard asked for a moment of silence from the crowd to remember those who lost their lives on September 11th. There was no moment of silence. There were screams from the pit and a guy far stage left who screamed, “SMOKE POT”. I’ve never wanted to punch a total stranger more than at that moment.

Elise was having a hard time seeing, she also immediately noted the lack of energy from the singer and the cigarette smoke was getting to her. She offered to go stand in line to buy us a couple beers. She waited in line for half an hour and when she was two people away from ordering, the concession stands were closed. At 10 p.m. beer sales were closed.

Cigarettes and the smell of marijuana and the drunk people — now I understand why Kenny G. gained so much notoriety. It’s the likes of adult contemporary who us 30-somethings turn to when we can no longer stand the wafts of patchouli and pot, the sight of strangers’ sweat, exposed skin and tattoos that will be the source of regret in six months, or the notion of irritated and anxious crowds who strive to be entertained.

There were a few of us out there: the long-time fans who never bothered with cultivating a MySpace identity. I nodded and they nodded back. We were the ones who also left before the encore and listened to the final song as we whisked back to our cars to avoid the crowd before the show ended.

Fat lip

Note to self:
Keep your hands up when you spar a 25-year-old fourth-degree black belt.

Glorious punches to the yarbles

Yesterday morning I got an email from my boss stating that the company that is buying the company I’ve ran for the past three years will not be needing my services in any form after this Friday. I thought I was positioned to help in the transition and have at least another month of employment.

As soon as I finished reading that email I started breathing like Tony Soprano (the fictional Mafioso character, not my fish), my stomach knotted and my heart began beating faster than normal.

I was furious all day yesterday. I half-assed worked out at Tae Kwon Do last night. After a long day I came home and started my bedtime ritual with Maly. I bathed her and put a clean diaper on her. During this time Elise and I were “discussing” my current situation, mood, and plans for the future. It was at the point when I was dressing Maly in her pajamas where I found it necessary to reach my penultimate, volatile point in my self-absorbed malevolence. I yelled at Elise and used obscenities that not only should a five-month-old not hear, but also not a 31-year-old wife.

Elise understood my frustration and played the role of my unintentional, verbal punching bag. I calmed down and we talked more. I fell asleep peacefully last night after being calmed down.

I woke up and went to work today. It was late in the morning when I found solace again. I stopped whatever it was that I was doing and realized that we’ll be okay. So, I’m losing my job. I won’t lose my relationship with my wife or my daughter or any of my family or friends. I won’t lose my house. I will have lost my 1 GB thumb drive that had my resume and coverletter on it because it will have fallen out of my front left pocket somewhere during the Labor Day weekend. We will be okay. I came to terms with that today. I’ve been overly exacerbated because of losing my job and having been the provider for five months. But late this morning a glowing, pillowy goo of goodness and serenity engulfed me and pulsed a bright white light as if to say, “Take all the time you need. Things will be fine. No worries. You will prosper beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. SHIT! The cops!!! Put that away and roll down the windows. Nevermind.”

Things are going to be okay for us.

My two hourly employees called me at home tonight within half an hour of each other to tell me that they’re both quitting. I encouraged them both to stay and ride out the next two days. That’s they’re decision to make.

I don’t know about everyone else, but mine are going to be okay.