The struggles in life.

When I lived in Austin, I got accustomed to certain things. The discussions about being “green”, live music being available at almost every business, and homeless people.

If you find yourself homeless, Austin is the place to do it.

The homeless population in austin has almost a cult following due to some of the characters that you encounter.

There’s Leslie. He’s been an Austin “icon” for about as long as I can remember. He could be seen on any sunny day, riding his bike by Congress Av wearing little more than a smile and thong underwear.

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Keep Austin Weird“. It’s a saying that almost everyone in Texas is familiar with. The notion that someone like Leslie could actually run for mayor, and even get votes, proves that this is more than just a saying. It’s a mantra in that town.

There seems to be a deeply felt bond between the locals and their homeless counterparts.

One gentleman, Jerry, had a statue erected in his honor by a local artist named Bob Ratliff, when he disappeared. Apparently he was deaf and other members of the homeless community took advantage of his disability in order to rob him of his few worldly possessions; 3 shopping carts filled with items you and I take for granted every day.

The city’s tolerance towards the homeless community is nothing short of amazing. They even have designated “pan handling” hours to ensure the homeless aren’t attacked at night.

Not all of the homeless residents are colorful and creative oddities. One has recently been arrested for arson. Another beat a man to death over a pack of cigarettes.

As a project manager for TxDOT I saw the where they lived. Under bridges, in ditches, along frontage roads just barely protected by the guard rail.

I was even instructed on project to give the “residents” of one bridge 24hrs verbal notice that we would be working there and the had to collect their belongings and leave.

Yes, I had to evict the homeless from a bridge.

Living in Houston I’ve encountered far fewer homeless people. Not nearly as many of them have creative signs stating things like, “I need jet fuel for my private plane”.

Houston doesn’t have the tolerance that Austin does.

I’m not sure why there’s such a drastic difference. In all honesty, I guess it doesn’t really matter. What I do know is that if I find myself without a residence or an income, I’m moving back to Austin.

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More conversations.

Jenny: it’s amazing what you can do with that one finger.
(she was watching me blog from my phone)

Me: Go wake up the other kids so we can get going. Let them know what the game plan is.

Huey: CURLY!! Get out of bed before I beat you. Lee said I could!

Me: Moe, do you have anywhere specific you wanted to go today?

Moe: Not really. I’m ok with wherever everyone else wants to go shopping.

Me: AND, that’s why your still my favorite.

—-

Larry: I want to wear a pair of your sweats.

Jenny: I don’t have any?! Where’d they all go?

Larry: Oh yeah. I wore all of them to dads. And Louie’s too. And some of Moe’s. But you don’t have anything I can wear?

—-
Me: Son, I’m gonna buy you a pair of jeans today. You can participate in this process or you can receive a pair of bright pink skinny jeans. It’s your call

Moe: I think I’ll participate.

Do you see what I see?

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This was mine and Jenny’s first Christmas together. It was an amazing weekend with a few tears from her sprinkled in here and there.

I received a gift certificate from work to her favorite restaurant. So, I thought a date night would be a good way to start our holiday weekend.

We had dinner and enjoyed the fact that it was just the two of us. After bagging up our leftovers, we came home and headed to bed.

Sometime around midnight I woke up. I was feeling pretty sick. So, between midnight and 5, I was camped out in the bathroom waiting for my body to finally toss out what was left of my dinner.

See, I’m allergic to iodine. Most seafood (especially shrimp) has been processed to the point that none of the iodine is left. If the shrimp is fresh, however, it has enough in it to toss me into an allergy induced hell. That’s what happened. I go to the beach a lot during the summer and always take my Benedryl, but I really didn’t think that I’d need it in the middle of December.

That’s the last time I take that gamble.

After waking up on Saturday, we both had our respective errands to run. I had to deal with the pigs and other animals, and needed to finish wrapping her gifts. She needed to get the last of the food shopping done and get started on her baking.

Her family is still being a cluster of douche bags. They had their annual Christmas celebration at Jenny’s parents house and, of course, her wasband and kids were invited but not her.

Even though she wasn’t invited, she wanted to put together gift baskets of various treats for everyone for the kids to take.

So as she hurried, scampered, sweated and mixed, she texted me to tell me to, “hurry cause they’ll be here at 1.”

I found myself recruited to help mix, cut, plate, stir or whatever else she needed to get this all done.

In a short time she had all the goodies packaged up, in cheerful little containers, ready to go.

When the kids arrived, we loaded them up and off they went.

Several hours later they returned with the gifts and goodies that they had gotten from Jenny’s family.

And a ham. Yes, a large, uncooked ham.

Jenny had gone to her wasbands house a few days earlier and found a gift from her dad had been delivered for her. She got teary eyed because it’s the first time since September that her family has had any contact with her that she didn’t initiate.

So, she had a sneaking suspicion that the ham was from her dad.

After questioning the kids and texting the wasband, she got a response of “your dad secretly sent the ham for you.”

Again, the tears decided to come. Not full flowing but there.

The next morning (Christmas day), she opened her laptop ready to blog. Then she stopped.

I had left to care for the animals so she was in the room alone while the kids still slept.

Why did she stop? Because she was afraid that if she posted anything about her dads generosity, he’d be grilled and called out by Ursula (I’ve decided to call her sister this. After all, she is being somewhat of a witch about all this) and his sporadic acts of kindness to Jenny would stop.

Can I just say, GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK?!?!?!

Now here’s my opinion on this. Her sister has no right to act like some self righteous bitch and stick her nose in our business. Secondly, her dad shouldn’t be ashamed to still love and care for one of his own children.

I’d never feel I needed to “hide” my love and devotion to one of my kids. Regardless of what they’d done. So for him to feel he has to keep this a secret is pretty shitty on his part.

As for her? Well, I’ve discussed my dislike of her before. And I can only assume she hasn’t gotten the herpes virus that I wished upon her.

After I got home, the kids were woke up, we finished up exchanging gifts, and Jenny and I began the cooking marathon.

Dinner was awesome. It was me, her and most of the kids.

There were a few disruptive moments that she and I defused by sneaking off to the barn.

Sometime around midnight she and I crawled in to bed and passed out from pure exhaustion.

What did I get? A jacket for work (from my wasband), a zippo from Jenny, and two shirts. One of which I found out she had scoured virtually every store in north Houston to find. It’s almost identical to the one I had to get rid of that I wore on our first date.

It was a good Christmas. Hopefully, the first of many more with my girl and our family.

I hope that you and yours had an amazing holiday as well!

Conversations

Not every minute of every day at work is a pain in the ass.

I actually enjoy the time that I spend joking and laughing with my techs and other engineers. The ladies up front have even gotten where they are loosening up too.

Thought I’d share some of the things that make me laugh. Please. Keep in mind we do work construction. Some of the things we say and hear are off color, vulgar and offensive.

So, if you are sensitive, you may want to read something else.

Jay: How the fuck did y’all hijack a plane? You can’t even figure out how to USE the box knife?!?!

Kavin: hey! That wasn’t me! I don’t know who those guys were!!

——

Sonny: excuse me? My uterus is not a GPS tracking device for your lost crap!!

—–

Dee: Lee, do you want me to file this in the system or just in the hard file?

Me: Actually, my give a shit hasn’t clocked in yet. When it does, I’ll let you know.

—-

Me: Hmmm. Christmas party with Asshat and free beer or a Christmas party with no booze but no Asshat? Church it is!!

—-

Louie (she comes to work with me sometimes) : Hey! You don’t have any good office supplies to steal! TxDOT’s stuff is better!!

—-

Habib: My wife left me today. Do you think I could convince her to come to the Christmas party anyways? She’s a bitch, but if I get her drunk she might still have sex with me!

—-

Jay: I should have known. Since everything is going smoothly, Asshat needs to feel more in control. So he’ll be by to fuck our system up again! And there he is! At least he’s dependable.

—–

Kavin: My back hurts!

Brian: If you wouldn’t stick your head so far up your ass, it wouldn’t.

—-

Juli: (paging me on my office phone) Lee? Qal Tek on line 1.

Me: Tell them I’m not in, I’ll call them back.

Juli: ok. I thought you were in?

Me: go back to your puzzles, kiddo. It’s gonna be a long day for you.

—-

Greg: Lee! Did we get our Christmas bonus yet?

Jay: Of course we did. I took the liberty of cashing yours as payment for putting up with your shit. Your welcome!

—-

Bill: there’s really no nice way to say this, so I’ll just say it… Kavin is a dumb ass. But not your run of the mill dumb ass. No. He’s the grand poobah of the dumb ass clan.

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Twisted images that I can sooo relate to!

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A rough draft but I’m thinking it would make for the perfect Christmas card to Asshat.

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Sadly, this statement is true.

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Since Jenny is a teacher I thought I’d throw in a little geography lesson.

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Now you know what he’s thinking when you walk in the door!

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Yes, I have an ego. But I’m willing to share.

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Never. I repeat never tell me I can ship anything. I’ll see that as a challenge.

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For those who believe that “a vengeful God” translates to “a hurtful, homophobic God that makes mistakes.”

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Before you call CPS… They are over 12 so they don’t legally require a safety seat.

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One for the suggestion box.

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And you thought the song was stupid!

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A classic line with a twist!

And last but not least……

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Just my .02

When I first met Jenny, we started off as friends. It was summer and she was off work but I still had my rat race to run.

She would sit and talk to me for hours about her blogs. She has/had several.
Midlifenatalie is the one she keeps up with the most. It’s where she feels free to be herself. She feels like she’s having a conversation with a friend and there happens to be others listening in.

I used to feel that way when I’d read it. I almost felt like I was intruding. I was afraid that me reading it would cause her to censor what she said. Some days I felt like I was reading her diary. Thoughts that she would jot down simply because they didn’t make sense while they were occupying space in her head.

I’ve noticed she hasn’t been blogging much. Our lives are hectic and fast paced. For a while I think she was being cautious about what she said because she knew her family and ex were reading it and she didn’t want to upset anyone.

She’s blogged about our sex life, our kids, her work, her family, the world environment and recipes. She is all over the place with what she writes about.

I love that.

I can honestly say that she doesn’t hide anything from me. She’s open about her past and what she hopes for in our future. She tells me her dreams and fears. She expresses her frustration with my eccentricities and laughs at my silliness.

But every once in a while I will read her blog and see something she’s written that makes me take pause. I don’t feel like she’s hidden anything from me, it’s more that moment of, “Wow. I didn’t know that!”

Kinda like when you discover that the person you spend all your time with loves brussel sprouts. You never see them eating them so you just don’t know.

I know that I’ll be discovering new things about her for years to come. Just like she’ll be discovering new things about me.

But I do miss reading her blog posts. They are too few and far between. I’m sure if I asked her what was going through her pretty little head right now, she’d eagerly tell me. There’s just something about overhearing her thoughts, that makes me smile.

I wish you’d post more, Jenny. Just my .02

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The difference between night and day.

Once upon a time, my life was very different than it is now.

I would have to deal with arguing and bickering on a daily basis. It was usually between me and my partner at the time. We’d argue about money that was disappearing from the bank account. People at the house at all hours of the night. Her drinking and all her run ins with the police. Her friends twisted ideas of how our relationship should be structured and so on and so forth. Yep. We put the “funk” in dysfunctional.

Today I have to deal with bickering and arguing every day, as well.

My technicians argue that they aren’t being sent to the “good” jobs. The ladies up front fussing because Asshat is being… Well… Asshat. My lab guys arguing because one believes he can do a better job than the other.

Then there’s the uproars at home. Usually it’s a fuss fest over who gets the computer first, whose sleeping in the big bed and what we’re having for dinner.

Through all this, I’m not the one arguing or fighting. Most days I just sit back and take a spectators seat.

The kids, Asshat, the techs, whoever. Generally, they are bickering amongst themselves and tend to sort it out.

Jenny and I have our discussions that get a little tense. But they get resolved and we are happy again by the time we go to bed.

Yeah. I still have the moments where there’s tension all around. But at least it’s the type that makes me appreciate the type of peace and love I have now.