Saturday, March 10, 2012

The whale...

...or was it an elephant?

You ever hear the one where some one asks you, 'how do you eat an elephant?'  You might say, 'I don't know.' Personally, I would say, 'with a fork,' which usually causes the questioner to stumble and the joke gets ruined.  But if you aren't a smart ass, like me, and say 'I don't know,' then the person would say, 'one bite at a time.'

Now I don't know why anyone would want to eat an elephant, unless of course its because you've already finished off the tiger, dolphin, and horse, but the concept is intriguing.  Any large project, even one that might be small but is perceived to be big can use this idea to accomplish the goal.  But seriously, the immensity of it gets me sometimes, well actually it gets me a lot of the time.  Even setting small goals its hard to just start without the perfectionist mindset from setting in and stressing me into not starting.

I started digging holes in the yard tonight for my retaining wall, which I started working on last year.  Maybe by the end of the weekend this elephant will be devoured and I can begin on the next.

I should find something far more appetizing than an elephant for my next entree...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grumpiest old man... must die!

We've all heard misery loves company.  But company definitely doesn't love misery.  Some days I feel like I'm company and a certain coworker is misery.  The only problem with the whole thing is that I often get dragged down to misery's level and become miserable myself.  I hate it.  Often I start talking to someone and by the time I'm done I wonder if I sounded like a whiny little girl or a grumpy old man. 

I'm pretty sure that I usually sound like an awful chimera of both. 

How does this happen? I drive into work, usually after spending about ten minutes hanging with my wife and daughter in silence as my brain warms up to the fact that it is awake. Then while it finishes its boot up cycle I'm half way to work and the last ten minutes I either focus on the good parts of life or get angry at people who drive 30mph (in the left lane, no less) when the speed limit is 65mph, but that anger fades quickly.  And I get to work with a pretty good attitude regardless.

Then I sit at my desk and eat some yogurt as I plan for my day and check the ol' email.  Then into the lab I head.  Ten minutes later I'm ready to throttle the old guy who doesn't have anything nice to say about anything or anyone.  He seems angry and bitter about everything.  His pay, all politicians, coworkers, construction workers, greeters at walmart, ants marching across his desk, and that guy that use to work with him 20 years ago!  Blegh. 

His attitude is corrosive.  I just stick in my head phones and find something semi-positive to listen to, yet he comes in and waits for me to stop to take my earbuds out to listen to his latest complaint.  Aaarrrgghhhh!!!! 

I had to text my wife today for prayer so that I didn't stab him with my lefthanded scissors that he keeps buying me (I write left-handed, but after a lifetime of dealing with right-handed scissors, I'm a righty in my cutting habits).  I had another coworker that told me he would help me dispose of the body. 

I find myself thinking up devious ways to get back at him.

Then while trying to divert my thoughts from revenge today, I was reminded of a movie.  Grumpy old men (go watch it if you haven't already).  And I realized that is my life.  We aren't competing for the love of a woman. I'm competing for my sanity.  I think up ways to make him suffer (I haven't thrown dead fish into his car yet) and luckily he hasn't retaliated, or realized that I do anything to make his worker life harder, otherwise things would escalate like they do in the movie. 

I actually haven't done a lot, I did pour a few granules of sugar on his desk to draw the ants away from mine, but at the time I was mad because he placed a full open bag on my desk, which really drew them towards my desk.  That doesn't really justify anything, I'm just saying I'm turning into a grumpier old man and soon I'll be worse than him.  I don't want that. 

I want joy and peace in my life.  To do that I need to kill the grumpy old man in me.   Its hard.  It'll take a lot of work.  I'm going to have to humble myself.  I might have to crank up the tunes in my earbuds or go deaf to block out some of the whining (doesn't Jesus say something about shoving pencils through your eardrums because its better to lose one, or two, parts of your body than to have it all thrown into hell?  not a literal translation, but I do think it might work in this situation).  Or I could just take Monday, Wednesday and Fridays off and never have to deal with him.

 The last two might be unrealistic, so I guess I'll have to do some internal work on me. 

Feel free to pray...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grogginess is catching... fast!

Yeah, I am feeling completely uninspired to do anything.  I've yet to X off a single day since I set the goal last week and I think each day I don't do it adds another day's burden to my shoulders which inspires me to do it less and less out of condemnation and guilt.

It's a horrible downward spiral.  The question does need to be asked as to why I succeeded for so long last year when this year I seem to be having a hard time making it out of the starting gate. Could it be working two jobs while trying to have a relationship with my wife and daughter is too much for my brain to handle and laziness sets in too easy when I'm not having to do any of those things?  Or maybe the lack of confidence I have in my writing scares me toward inaction.

Maybe just having a 15 month old climbing all over me while I'm trying to write is more detrimental to my success than I might have originally guessed...tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Play in the mud...

...or dine on pizza?

Yep, as a kid I don't think it ever crossed my mind that I may have to decide between those two activities rather than just shirking all responsibilities and enjoying both delights.  But alas, I'm a grown up now with responsibilities. 

Its gorgeous out, at least it was the last time I went outside, and with the warm weather and recent precipitation, I'm betting I can easily dig a couple holes in my backyard and try to finish up a project that I started last fall. 

Yet, I have to work tonight. And last week, one of the guys challenged us to get the truck unloaded and shelves stocked by 12:30 and we did.  Now he has to buy us pizza tonight.

So I could go home and work on a project or I could just work and make some dough while eating some cheese and meat covered dough (please note that I'm speaking of two different kinds of dough here)

See children, life as a grown up isn't all fun and games! Of course if I had planned better I could've gotten out of here earlier, gone home worked in the yard, showered and then been in to eat pizza and unload a truck....sigh...

See children, if you learn plan ahead life can be all fun and games!

***Update***  After venturing outside at lunch I have determined that its getting cold and windy and decided playing in the mud this afternoon wouldn't have been fun after all.  Which makes this entire post somewhat pointless.  Oh well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paid Crastinator...

...that's when I'll know I'm a pro!

So yesterday I did one thing to further my goal of setting up goals for the year.  Ha.

I printed out a calender so I can X out the days when I accomplish my goal, but I never really set my goals.  And after much thought I've decided to take it easy and set two goals for daily improvement. 

1) Write one page of fiction or edit three pages of completed stories (I kinda stole this one from the author of the article that I got the idea from, and blogging doesn't count.  But it feels doable and I hopefully won't set myself up for failure.  And if I do write one page a day, I can easily knock out a book or two a year.)

2) Do something constructive at home.  (You might say that if I do number 1 at home then number 2 is done, but I mean something that betters the home, whether spraying weeds, mowing, raking leaves, trimming trees, doing dishes, taking out the trash, doing laundry, etc.  Most days, especially now that I'm working two jobs I get home and veg.  This isn't conducive to having a nice yard for my daughter to play in, or contributing to a clean house, which I prefer.)

There you go.  I think its manageable and it'll help me get closer to where I want to be in the future.  I do need to figure out what I'm going to do on sick days, or holiday and traveling days.  But maybe I should quit procrastinating and just go start writing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Something like that...


So last year I set the goal of writing more and it actually worked for a time being.  About 6 months.  Then life got busy chaotic with summer and bug collections across the western United States, and I broke the chain so to speak.  I've been struggling to re-motivate myself again.  I finished writing a book and then its sat.  and sat.  and sat some more.

In the meantime I've had about a dozen more story ideas.  I really wish I knew a ghost writer who could just take my ideas and create the stories, or a machine that could just read my thoughts and jot it all down.  But since neither of those is going to happen in the immediate future, I need to quit being lazy.

So tonight while taking a breather from playing with Charleigh I came across this article:

Its a similar idea to what I did last year, but with a more long term view.  So beginning tomorrow I'm going to write it all out, and find me a calender to mark stuff off of.  I'm not seriously procrastinating on starting my new project, its just that its almost 10pm and I'm tired and have a 13 hour work day tomorrow.  Anyways, I'm excited to get back into the swing of things again.  I even started jotting down the major I ideas I have for the next book that I want to start writing.  Woo hoo.  And maybe on the days I don't write I can begin editing my book from last year so I can maybe start trying to get it published.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knowledge and Identity...

...lessons from my daughter.

We have been working with Charleigh on signing so that its easier for her to communicate with us.  It hasn't been very successful, but I still try to use some of the signs that we know or made up while talking to her.  I made up one where I point to myself, draw a heart on my chest and then point to her while telling her that I love her.

At first when I started doing this I would get a big grin out of her.  Now when I do it she will sometimes still get that same grin and then point to herself.  Her mom keeps trying to teach her to say it back, but I honestly wouldn't care if she did, I just want her to know that I love her, that she can find comfort and rest in that.  When I see her point to herself I think to myself that she knows she is an object of her father's affection.

I want her to grow up confident in the fact that she has two parents who love her no matter what and that there is a God in heaven that loves her even more than either of us could ever imagine.

I have been told that having children gives you a new perspective on God.  And I have to admit that it does.  I just wish that it was easier to form that identity in my heart and mind that I'm an object of affection to God (like  my daughter seems to have when it comes to her parents).  There's no bigger testament to his love than the Jesus death, burial, and resurrection.  Yet when He says He loves me, I don't grin and point to myself, secure in that knowledge.  Sometimes I struggle in accepting that love and grace.  Sometimes I doubt his delight in me.  I'm kinda jealous of my daughter in all honesty.

I have a lot to learn, and I'm glad He has blessed us with our daughter to reveal more of Himself to me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of Pencil Lead and Phonebooks...

...some days I'm glad I don't work full time in IT.

Today I was trying to get a copy of some paperwork, for tax reasons, so I had to run across the parking lot several times to reach the fax machine each time the lady, in a remote part of the country, tried to send it to me.  It didn't happen the first couple times and then she finally got it to work, only she sent it through wrong and I only got two blank pages.  I'm not complaining because it gave me some quality time, away from the desk, with fresh air (even though the air was thick with smoke from all the people running their chimney's last night, I assume). 

During one of my trips I ran into a coworker who I hadn't seen in awhile.  He stopped me and asked me how to transfer a file from one machine to another.  I told him the easiest way was probably with a thumb drive.  His native language isn't english so he tried explaining his dilemma to me despite the fat I had just shared my wisdom, a moment before, on how to remedy his problem.  Finally he asked if he could use the 'chip' that he had.  I got clarification that the 'chip' was a thumbdrive and said yes.  He ran down the hall to his office to grab the 'chip' while I chatted with another coworker.

Moments later he returns and hands me a long slender piece of plastic.  I tell him that the object he just gave me is a container of pencil lead and not a thumbdrive.  He looked at me curiously.  I popped the cap off and poured the lead into my hand and said it goes in a pencil.  He smiled and laughed and went back looking for his 'chip', which he never found. 

It reminded me of a similar incident a couple years before when I was in Laramie.  I was needing a thumbdrive to transfer some files and I stopped by one coworker's office and asked he had one.  He looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, hold on a sec."  He turned to his desk and picked up a phonebook.  I assumed the thumbdrive was buried on his desk, but no, he handed me the phonebook. 

I said, "No, not a phone book, a thumbdrive!" 

He then replied, "Sorry, I don't have one of those."  He took his phonebook back and turned around.  As I was leaving, he turned back and asked, "What the hell is a thumbdrive?" 

Maybe I should just carry a couple of them on me at work at all times.  It might make things simpler, plus I could scan documents and put them on there so I don't accidentally throw important tax documents away and spend the afternoon trying to receive them back...