I’m about to spew.

It’s about 10 pm on Saturday night. The kids just got back from Jenny’s parents house with her wasband and his new wife.

I may never publish this, because when I voice my opinion about the way her family is behaving, she tells me I’m being overly critical of them.

Her wasband actually got married about a month ago. He went to California, and in some “super secret” ceremony, married a woman that he hadn’t seen in years.

For some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to have another informal ceremony for the benefit of his parents.

So today they trudged down to the pastors office in Waco, Tx and had a 15 minute service.

When they got back to town, they all went to Jenny’s parents house. Why? So Jenny’s family could meet the new wife.

I guess the shift is now complete. Jenny has been completely discarded and replaced with a newer, “straighter” version. Yippee!! This must be such a relief to her family. Now they have a daughter that is not a shameful, humiliation. Whew! Glad that’s over!

And the challenge I put out there a while back? When confronted by one of her family members? How many calls, texts or emails did Jenny get? Zero! Nope. Not a single person in her family that supposedly loves and misses her tried to contact her.

It’s funny. I drove past a church the other day and the sign said, “If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.” I’m sure this meant if you talk about being a good Christian you need to be a good Christian. But, it also stands to reason it means if you want someone to believe you feel a certain way, lip service is about as reputable as a political promise made in November.

I don’t care if her family ever accepts me. I could care less if they even meet me face to face. But the fact that she hasn’t been allowed to participate as a member of their family in over a year, and a stranger is now welcomed with open arms is hypocritical.

But that’s ok. Jenny has a family that loves her and accepts her. And quite a few of us would defend her to the bitter end. Kris, would gladly stand between Jenny and anyone that wants to drag her down. Neff wouldn’t ever turn her back on her in her time of need. Jessica would be the first person to lend an ear if Jenny needed to talk. Shemp would offer a shoulder to cry on and the defending nature that a brother would offer. Amy? Well, Amy is the wild card. Just like every other family, we’ve got a crazy.

And there’s me and the kids. Her Christmas morning will always be filled with laughter and excitement. Her Thanksgivings will always be packed with too many people, too much food and love.

Her birthday will always be celebrated as the day the world was blessed with such a loving soul. And she will be told, each and every day that she is perfect. No matter what life she lived before today.

I’m damn lucky to have her in my life. Anyone that knows her, is. So if she’s nothing more than a used tissue (something vile and unclean that should be disposed of) then go about your business. Because you may love conditionally, but we don’t.


How to survive the zombie apocalypse

Like a lot of people, I’ve found myself pondering how I’d ensure the survival of my family and self in the event of a “zombie apocalypse”.

Ok. Maybe there aren’t many people planning for the upcoming demise of humanity. But I have thought about it.

I’ve thought about the obvious. I’d need a generator, lots of fuel. Water, food and ammo. But that only takes care of the basics.

What about entertainment? You can only kill so many zombies before it becomes mundane.

So, I’ve compiled a list of DVD’s and books I’d want to have on hand. There isn’t any real order, they’re just ones that I like and could see myself watching or reading them over and over.

1. Second Hand Lions.
Movie has been around for a while but it always makes me smile. The notion of two old, cynical uncles having their hearts touched by a young boy is timeless.


2. Anything written by Frank McCourt.
His literary career was cut short but he did publish several books about his life in Limerick Ireland and his move to the U.S. He also published a few children’s books before his death.


3. Death Be Not Proud.
It’s a simple but sentimental book. About a young man who is stricken by cancer at the prime of his life in his brain. The part of him that could have given him an amazing life.


4. Rocky Horror Picture Show
Oh come on. Everyone has that cheesy show that they know all the words to and Tim Curry is amazingly funny as the crossdressing host to this motley crüe.


5. Any Tess Gerritsen book that I can get my hands on. I read everything written by her and was amazed to turn the TV on one day and hear the names, Rizzoli and Isles. I’d fallen in love with Maura Isles long before the tv show was made. And in all honesty, I’ve never seen a single episode.


6. The Holy Bible.
I really don’t think this needs an explanation. After all, I’m sure any of us survivors will need a certain amount of spiritual guidance.

I love to read. I love good movies and this list isn’t even close to the items I’d want to have with me. But it’s a start.

What movie or book would you want to have in order to ensure you maintain a bit of humanity?

When it rains, it pours.

Well, it’s been 2 months now that I’ve officially been a member of the unemployed.

That completely blows my mind. I had no idea it would take me this long to find a job.

I haven’t written much, because I guess I thought I might jinx things.

I get up, look for work, submit resumes and fill out applications and then go about my day.

It’s been good and bad. Being off, I’ve had time to take care of Louie and the pigs, work at the barn, get everything moved, pour a patio in our new backyard and help out around the house a bit.

I was looking at my resume and noticed something kinda funny: with the exception of my last job, every job or promotion I got was in April. No kidding. Dating back 12 years, every career move I made was in April.

Makes sense, though. What I specialize in is somewhat “seasonal”. Concrete can’t be poured unless the temperature is 40 degrees and rising. Hotmix (asphalt) can’t be placed unless the surface temperature is a minimum of 60 degrees and rising. Most of the major roadways can’t be closed unless it’s between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. So that limits when we are able to build.

Toll roads, bridges, streets, major drainage projects, infrastructures. That’s my specialty. It’s what I’m good at and what I love.

But, it only happens between the months of May and September.

Yeah, you’ll see crews working all throughout the year. But for me, I usually work at such a large scale, I’m called upon to do the big jobs. The ones that have to be done at specific times in specific weather because of decisions the legislature has made.

That’s the problem I’ve been running into. Every interview has ended with “you are more than qualified, but we are concerned that when the construction season starts, you’ll go somewhere else because you can make three times as much building a toll road.”

And I get that. Really. It’s business. They don’t know me. They don’t know my work ethic. They only know that others have burnt them and I have to pay for their sins.

That being said, we are approaching my season. When the birds are singing, the trees are blooming and HMAC is heating up.

Yesterday I got a call from Texas A&M University. Coincidentally, the same school I received my bachelors from.

They are looking to hire a supervisor for their street and pavement department.

A&M is pretty much a city within a city. Because of that, they have their own infrastructure department. And they called to see if I’d be interested in interviewing. Heck Yeah! Back in Aggieland!

They said I’d be getting a call to set up the date and time later this week.

That made me feel a little more confident.

Then, a few hours later, I noticed an email. It was from the Harris County Flood Control District.

Several weeks ago I applied for a position with them as a Construction Manager.

Well, they emailed me a set of papers and asked that I fill them out and physically bring them to their offices. So I did.

Went down this afternoon and while I was there, the supervisor recognized me and had me go ahead and fill out all the paperwork that’s usually reserved for when you interview. She told me they would start calling people for interviews this next week, also.

So, in the matter of just a few hours I had two opportunities that will hopefully produce the results I’m seeking.

Wish me luck!

Poking the bear

I’ve never denied the fact that I can be a difficult person.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life just me and my kids.

I served as a DI in the Army and a correctional officer at a men’s maximum security prison. I’ve become very good at being very hard.

I was once told “The qualities that made you an amazing soldier and make you a great project manager, are the same qualities that make you difficult to love.”

Because of that I try. I try not to be overly critical of people. Especially the ones I love.

Jenny is loving and forgiving. She can see the good in anyone and focuses only on that. That really gets to me some days. People can be mean to her, act selfishly or call her names and she just smiles and acts like it never happened.

Me? Nope. My first instinct is to come to her defense. Even if the people hurting her are her family.

Because I know that I can blow up, I also know I need to have a place I can go to and just let the fire die down.

When we bought this house, I said I wanted that place to be the media room.

The kids have their rooms and the game room. Jenny has our bedroom, the living room and the rest of the house. All I wanted was my one spot.

I put the little tv and hand me down sofa in there. In fact, I spent the better part of an afternoon fixing the frame on this sofa so it could actually be used.

I put my sports memorabilia up there and tried to make it mine.

Well, that lasted about a week. Soon, Jenny’s desk and office stuff was in there. Then miscellaneous boxes found residence. Next, I was being told I couldn’t watch tv because it disturbed the kids.

So, I gave up. I figured once we got settled in I could reclaim my room.

Then the kids were using it. So now I feel like my only option when I need to escape is to hide in the garage or get in my truck and leave.

I don’t want to feel like a guest in this house that is quickly becoming a hotel. Kids come over, Jenny does their laundry while they play video games and eat, then they’re gone.

I voice my concerns just to be told that I don’t get to have my own space. Just to be told that Jenny doesn’t want to make waves. Just to be told.

I’m tired of being told.

So, since I don’t have my room or a space to call my own, I’m sitting on the porch.

I can’t even get in my truck and leave because the oldest daughters newest boyfriend has blocked me in.

So I’m sitting. Smoking and trying to get a little of the stress to disappear.

Stories that Jenny can’t tell about her students.

For those who don’t already know, my Jenny teaches 5th grade language arts at a local elementary school.

Some (actually most) of the students come from economically disadvantaged homes. So hearing the stories she tells can really make me scratch my head. All I can think some days is, “That poor kid is gonna end up selling crack by 15”

On the flip side, some of the things her kids do is freaking hilarious.

She can’t talk too much about them… But I can.

All names have been changed to keep me from getting sued!

Jenny: Megan, why do you have chopsticks?

Megan: I was using them to eat lunch.

Jenny: what did you have at lunch that would require chopsticks?

Megan: Pizza


Jenny via a text to me: I was talking to the class and turned to write on the board. When I turned around, Megan had reached into her Mary Poppins bag and was wearing a tiara! Wtf?! Where’d she get a tiara?!?


Jenny: Class… Let me ask a question. My kids at home were talking about Kool Aid last night. We don’t drink it much. Do kids still drink Kool Aid?

Larry: Oh yeah! We always drink it!

Jenny: what’s your favorite flavor?

Larry: Flavor? I don’t know flavor. But it’s gotta be red or purple.


Jenny: Now Jason, I know that talking to Donny may seem ok, but we both know I’m much prettier than he is, so look at me!!


Jenny: Eduardo, where’s the proof? When you turn in your work you have to show your proof!

Eduardo: Why?

Jenny: cause when I fail you, I’m gonna hold up my sheet and say, “Here’s my proof as to why he has to stay in the 5th grade.” So you might wanna have something to argue that with!”


Jenny: Ok. I want everyone to write one word describing what it’s going to take to pass the STAAR test.

Andre: Man. I can’t use the word focus. I don’t know what else to say.

Michael: why can’t you use focus?

Andre: FO CUS. Two words. Duh.

Jenny: I give up!

Ok. Not all dentists are Satan

So, after several days of debating about what to do for my toothache I decided (with much prodding from Jenny) to go to the dentist.

Last night was horrible. I could barely swallow because the gland in my neck had swollen. I couldn’t talk without drooling all over myself because the knot on my gum had spread to under my tongue and each time I laid my head down my jaw and tooth throbbed.

At 1:30 am I found myself sitting in the garage (cause I was probably keeping everyone awake moving around), sitting on the concrete floor with a mouth full of gauze that had been soaked in clove oil and way too much ibuprofen in my body.

Finally at 2:30, I was so exhausted I was able to doze off as long as I was in a sitting position.

As soon as the local dental clinic opened, I called. “I’m sorry. We can’t see you until Monday.”

That was the same response I got from 6 different offices.

At about noon, I sent Jenny a text. I told her I was still trying to find a dentist because I knew that as quickly as my situation was deteriorating, I would not make it to Monday.

In fact, there were moments last night that I considered the idea of doing a bathroom extraction just so I could get a little relief from the pressure.

My only option was to go to the ER and see if I could get a prescription for antibiotics.

Well, my Jenny came to my rescue. She called and told me that her dentists office would squeeze me in if I could be there by 3pm.

I flew across town to get there on time.

I explained that in the past, my experience with dentists had been Army “quacks” who’d botched root canals, fucked up the removal of my wisdom teeth and in general made me feel worse than I did when I went in.

The hygienist was amazingly sweet. She explained everything she was doing and could see that I was in pain.

As she took the X Rays, she would check in with me. “Are you comfortable? Does this hurt? Let me know if this hurts.”

Shortly after she finished with her portion of my visit, a doctor popped her head in. “I’m sorry it’s taking so long. I’ll be back in just a second.”

I thought that considering I’d been squeezed in, it was going fairly quickly.

I’d only been in the back area for about 10 minutes when the dentist came in. She is about the same age as Jenny and I. A few years younger but still young by my stereotypical standards.

She was polite, understanding and sensitive to the fact that all I really wanted was some relief.

After looking at my X Rays, she then began “tapping” on each tooth in the back of my mouth.

“Does this hurt? How about this?” I explained that while it was a bit uncomfortable there really wasn’t any pain.

Her determination? I had a gum infection. She pointed out the bone in my “bite wing” (whatever that means) and explained that she couldn’t see anything really wrong with my teeth or the bone. Apparently, something had gotten under the gum line and my smoking causes it to get infected.

What’d she do then? I really don’t know. But whatever it was made all the difference in the world.

She must have ruptured the spot. Because (this gets kinda gross. Sorry) she said, “Yep, there’s the puss” and all of a sudden my mouth felt 100 times better. It didn’t hurt. No pain. None. The tapping was uncomfortable but they didn’t go into my mouth like cave dwellers digging for water!

She gave me a prescription for antibiotics and sent me on my merry way.

She told me to come back on Wednesday. She wants to get the infection cleared up enough that she can redo the X Rays and make sure there’s nothing more going on.

All in all it was a pleasant experience.

I think I may reconsider this whole dentist thing thanks to Dr. Anton.

I hate dentists.

I consider myself to be a pretty tough person. In my career I’ve had broken bones, stitches, dislocated joints and worked with H1N1 and bronchitis.

But I do not like dentists. I woke up two days ago with a swollen jaw, and a sore tooth.

My philosophy? It’ll get better or it’ll get worse. But I can tough it out.

Well, it got worse. I now have a pain that is stretching into my neck, my gum has swollen up to the top of my tooth and I can’t chew on the left hand side of my mouth.

What should I do? Probably go to the dentist. My former employer agreed to provide me with insurance until March 31. But, I got a letter on February 28 telling me that it had been cancelled.

I have a signed contract. So there’s a part of me that says I should just go to the dentist and then send the bill to my former employer.

It’s something I need to discuss with Jenny. I’m off work, so it’d be the perfect time to take care of this. But, what if this turns out to be something big. Something that requires multiple visits beyond March 31?

I can’t keep popping excedrin and sucking down oragel. But I can’t make a decision that could cost thousands without talking to Jenny.

I’ll keep ya posted on what we decide.