Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday night in Halifax

Last night I left work on time, headed to the mall to find a purple shirt and then headed home, to get my gym gear.  I packed my bag, went back out into the freezing cold and headed to the gym to do an hour (which ended up being 45 minutes total) of running on the treadmill.

I change out of my sweaty clothes, grab subway and head home, scarf down half my sub before heading into a steamy shower.  Now, it doesn't matter how many showers I have a day, it's one of the best parts of my day.  I like it hot, no cold water turned on at all by the time my body adjusts.  I took longer in the shower than expected.

Quickly check my facebook, as I decide between the two purple shirts I bought, and three of my favorite pairs of jeans until my look is right.  Add cologne, product to my hair, floss and brush my teeth and get the hell out of the house.  I stop at the liquor store, grab a bottle of gin and some mojos cause I hate mixing drinks at other's places.  Cross the bridge and am proactive and park in a parkade, because of the winter parking ban in the city.

I practically run the four blocks to South Street because of the bitter cold, wondering how homeless people would ever survive on the streets on a night like this.  And finally I arrive at my friend's place 45 minutes late; I easily would have been on time if I skipped the gym, but I am glad I stayed dedicated on a Friday night to my goals.

I get inside and the room has about 12 people all wearing purple shirts.  I quickly crack my first drink and jump into the conversations.  It's such an easy group of people to hang out with.  Everyone genuinely like each other.  There is no gossipping about each other behind anyone's back.  It's a group that just want to have a good time and enjoy each other's company.

At almost midnight we head out to a couple of bars, take in more drinks and dance for hours.   Music is pumping, people are smiling, making out, dancing on speakers... well my group are a little more tame, but it happens.  And around 4am I am just unlocking the door and dragging my tired ass to bed... Friday nights are good in Halifax!  And it's strange that here I am in this circle of friends that I didn't know a year ago.  I'm not their friend because I am someone's accessory.  I am their friend because they like me for me.  And that does more for this 32 year old's self-esteem than I can explain.

During my seperation I lost friends, who obviously were more my ex's friend than mine.  Looking back they liked me mainly because I was my wife's husband and that if it had just been me, then maybe we wouldn't have been friends at all.  It used to upset me that I was lost those friends, but now I have come full circle and have my own friends without any baggage and just out for a good time.  All part of the healing process.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck...

The statement I put into my header today is a thought I try never to allow to enter my consciousness.  There are people around me that think that way, and in fact it was something my father had paraphrased throughout the years.

I agree that coincidence can make it seem that people have good or bad luck, or that things can happen in threes, but I refuse to believe that anyone has bad luck.  I don't want to believe it.  I think if you look for the negative enough, you are surely going to find it, so why look?

I am a pretty positive person.  Sure I have down times and have hit rock bottom, but I think I tend to see the glass as half full.  I think if you live negatively long enough it can and will also affect (I never learned the affect/effect difference, so if it's wrong I apologize... and bring grammer lessons back to grade school) your health and manifest into things like cancer.  And I am not saying that everyone who has cancer has it because of negativity, I'm just saying that if you live negatively enough, your health will take a turn for the worse.

Anyway... just a random thought that crossed my mind, because my 2009 ended on a sad note, and then a missed phone call has brought some worry of a family member's health but I refuse to be that person that says... well things happen in threes so it's got to be bad... or when will it end, 2010 sucks... because I believe 2010 is actually a great year ahead of me.  I have picked myself up over the few months and I feel like I'm pretty much at full strength.  Rebuilding is going to make me better than ever; a Jeff 2.0 if you will.

Positive thoughts folks... positive thoughts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Social Committee

So in an effort to combat my initial shyness at work (I guess I shouldn't be shy, having been here five months) I decided to join the social committee.  They were rotating members, and I have participated as a member at previous employers, so I thought why not?  It will allow me to get to know the team members better and it will force me to go to these events I tend to shy away from in my first year of employment.

Well our first meeting was last week and I learned we are mandated to have four events every year.  A spring event, summer event, a staff Christmas party and children's Chirstmas party.  Can I start by saying that it's great that we call the latter two events Christmas parties?  Not that I am intolerant of other beliefs, but if there's a Christmas tree in the room then why can't people call it a Christmas party? 

There are five of us on the committee, one of which is the overweight man I mentioned in an earlier post, and he nominated himself as the Chair.  I think I underestimated his weight in that earlier post; now that I have watched a few episodes of the Biggest Loser, I now think he's at least in the 470 lb range.  And as if his size wasn't big enough, now I find that his point of view is just as big.  He definitely likes to take the lead, but unfortunately in doing so he goes in multiple directions and nothing gets accomplished.  Thankfully he was receptive to my interjections that would get us to commit to making action items.  I'm only two meetings in, and already I fear this is going to be a long year of planning.

So while discussing possible things to do for our spring event he starts talking about how much he enjoys poker and every Wednesday night he plays at Dooley's and that should be our event.  A couple of other members suggest things like Kartbahn, which is an indoor go-cart track, or a movie, or a pubcrawl, but the chair pretty much has it settled in his head that we are doing the poker and pool afternoon and is going to call to see what kind of deal he can get... and maybe they will throw in chicken wings and friend pepperoni.  Needless to say, when I am up against someone like that I tend to not allow anyone to get pushed around, and I will come up with a couple ideas, research pricing and will present it at our next meeting. 

Part of the reason I joined was because with my past employers, the social committee was really key in developing friendships within the office and allowed us to interact with management on a relaxed level, which I think facilitated a better work environment.  I know strong opinions are a natural occuring thing, but I am going to work hard, and will be the asshole if need be, to have events that everyone would enjoy and not just a small group of people. 

I'm not saying that people won't enjoy poker.  In fact strip-poker has been a lot of fun in the past.  But I think a certain amount of concensus is required or people won't show up to the events.  If in our small group of five there are three other people providing options than each of those options need equal consideration.  At least until budget comes into play, than I might have to put my foot down... cause I'm the treasurer and we all know that money is the deciding factor.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Am I really moving 4ward?

It’s been the better part of two years since my wife and I separated. Almost two years. In some ways that time has passed very quickly and in other ways the time has ticked by more slowly than imaginable.

There hasn’t been a day that has passed in those twenty months where I didn’t ask myself what-if. And usually when the what-if hits me, in my head I think out the scenario of what would happen if we got back together.

And most nights while sleeping, just before I close my eyes, or sometimes when I wake up at 4am I think, how did my life get here? How did my life that followed the path I had wanted take such a turn? How did I go from having almost everything to having almost nothing?

I don’t want to sound down, although today I definitely feel like if I don’t kick myself in the ass then I could easily slip into depression. It’s just that I think I need to get some of these thoughts out of my head. I haven’t seen my therapist in a year and I don’t want to have to call him up and ask for an appointment after all this time. So I’m going to put this in a public forum and imagine that my therapist is sitting across from me taking notes and listening.

There has been a lot of hurt caused by both sides, but over the last four months or so, I feel like I need to explain certain things to my wife. Give her some insight into my thinking process throughout the last couple of years. Maybe it will eventually be used against me, maybe it will bring her some peace, maybe it will bring us to a better working relationship as parents, but I feel like there are things that need to be said. Because after all she was my best friend and I have hurt her and if I can somehow now help her heal a bit then any risk is worth it.

I know part of me lives in a fantasy world that we can be friends again. She has let hurt and anger enter her body so deeply that she forgets who I really am sometimes. But maybe sometimes she does recognize me until some of her family stoke the fire until it’s blazing again and she pushes those feelings away. And I know part of that anger is her protecting herself; but then there are the days where we email back and forth or she shows that she cares and it gives me hope that there’s a chance for friendship.

I hate that two years ago our lives were turned upside down and we can’t go back. I hate that I lost my best friend, possibly (and likely) forever. I hate that everyday I wake up and don’t really recognize my life.

2010 started and I was surrounded by friends, most of which I had met in 2009, but I felt very alone. I made a decision in those first few hours that I was going to rebuild myself and part of that process is me dealing with the residual pain and confusion. And although I don’t want this blog to be all about my therapy, there will be entries periodically where I need to talk about the process. I hope anyone reading doesn’t mind.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I got the itch

Ever year around this time I get that itch... the one I so desperately want to scratch.  The itch to book a trip to some tropical location where the beaches are white... the trees are palms... the ocean is warm enough to swim in... and I don't have to cook or clean for a week.

I am trying to talk myself out of even looking at prices, but sadly I have already done so on several occasions.  I know I shouldn't spend the money, that paying down debt is the more responsible thing to be doing... but the idea of being on a beach for a week with William is intoxicating.

I am doing my best not to call a travel agent to see exactly how much it would cost for William's trip (since most carriers tease you with the "kids stay and eat free" and I'm sure it's almost full price). 

Don't tell me how nice it would be for my Mom to come with us and escape the reality of life right now either...  don't do it.

And don't tell me that I work hard and deserve one week of careless relaxation, where I only worry about which place to eat at and when to apply more suntan lotion.. or that the only papercut I could possibly get is from reading a novel.  And I already have The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown waiting to be read on vacation... and I read Angels and Demons last year in the DR and couldn't put it down.

Oh lottery Gods (I know there are no lottery Gods...) when will I win some money... I'm not asking for a lot.  Just $100,00.00 or so.  I don't need a million or 13 million or whatever crazy number it is right now.  Just enough to pay off my debt, take my family on a great vacation and have the better part of a house paid off.  See I'd even be responsible and share...

Okay... back to work for me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quick Christmas Post

Anyone who has learned that my Grandmother passed away during Christmas vacation automatically assumes that it ruined our Christmas, but it didn't.  This was actually one of the best Christmases that I have had in a long time. 

My sister, Annette, flew in on Christmas Eve, surprising my Mom and Grandmother.  It ended up that she could get the time off and the flight was reasonably priced so she told me she was coming and we made some plans to surprise the ladies.  Annette called from her cell phone when she arrived on our street.  I spoke for a second and passed the phone to my Mom.  I immediately went and grabbed the videocamera and then there was a knock on the front door.  I answered and videoed the reaction my Mom had when she turned around and Annette was there... and I'm hoping I got Grammie's reaction too. 

That night we had ham for supper, tried making Chocolate Martinis for Annette and Mom and then went for a drive to look at Christmas lights.  Mom and William were competing to see who had "more on my side".  Then William decided to fall asleep in the car and we continued to enjoy the colored lights.  I had planned on snacks and watching Disney's Christmas Carol with William but instead he was in bed early.  The adults enjoyed some snacks and drinks and then headed to bed. 

Annette was on an air mattress on William's bedroom floor and I was sharing his single bed (surprisingly not a bad night's sleep).  He woke up around five in the morning and wanted some OJ but went right back to sleep.  And around 7:30 we woke up, and William said he wanted some more sleep, but by 8 I had him talked into seeing what Santa had brought. 

It was great for us all to be under one roof.  Passing out presents and seeing William's excitement.  And I couldn't get over how appreciative he was for all he received, even clothes.  He kept saying how many presents Mom and Annette had bought him. 

I know that Grammie enjoyed seeing William's excitement.  She would laugh everytime he would pull a couple of gags on people (a can of chips with a snake that pops out when you open it, and a pack of gum with a cockroach on the stick of gum when you pull it out).  So there's no reason to think of sadness when I think of Christmas this year.  It was one I will always cherish because it we were all together for a change.  I guess maybe fate played a part.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Facebook might be taking over my life

I guess I could be called a bit of a facebook addict.  It was more of an issue when I was a civil servant, because I had access while at work, and less work to be done, but I still find it hard to go a day without logging in at least once and catching up on what everyone has been up to.

One thing I don't like about facebook is the fact that when someone unfriends you for any reason, including them closing down their facebook account, you don't have any notification.  I know it's probably to avoid a certain level of conflict that people may start if someone unfriends them in a time of anger or just doesn't care, but part of me wants to know who leaves my friend list.  I think it would be my need to try and correalate the reason for the departure with a recent event.  I don't like it when I lose a friend, according to my friend count, and I can't figure out who is gone.

And another part of facebook that is rather strange is the ability to recognize people that are friends of friends, but because of seeing them in photos with friends, you almost feel like you would know them.  You somehow get this vibe from them that they would be a great friend, all because they know how to pose in front of a digital camera.  Strange.  What is even worse is being drunk, seeing one of these friends-of-a-friend and for some reason introducing yourself to them on the dancefloor.  What was I thinking??  At least two of the people around this friend-of-a-friend found me attractive... although one of them was a little too grabby for my liking.  Oh the fun of drinking public in Halifax.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why do all good things come to an end?

Death has a strange way of making you realize your mortality. It has a way of forcing to look in the mirror and examine your past and present states and sometimes it can change your outlook on the future.

This week we laid my Grammie Spurr to rest. She was my last Grandparent and for me it was strange to realize that I now no longer have anyone from that generation that I am physically carrying a piece (DNA) of.

My Mom asked me if I wanted to say a eulogy at the funeral. I, of course, accepted because I figured it meant enough to my Mom for her to ask me to do it. But my first thought was whether or not there had been one for my Grandfather. I would have been honored to have spoken about him, but there is no way I would have been able to speak during his funeral. He’s the one person I will never get over. I choke up every time I think about it.

I sat at my Grandparent’s dining room table for a couple of days this weekend past and came up with portions of what I wanted to say but couldn’t get the flow I wanted and knew I needed to make myself proud of the thoughts I wanted to share. And then it all just became too much. I think the reality of it all set in and I couldn’t face the idea. The thought of my poor Mother sitting in the first pew as I read the eulogy was more than I knew I could handle. I ended up declining and allowing the minister to share some words about my Grandmother.

I will just say these few things about my maternal Grandmother. She was a strong willed woman who was the happiest when her family was with her. She made sure she always had molasses cookies in her pantry when I was young, and made the best home-made bread. She always wanted to look her best and hated to be late and believed a person was strongest when part of a family. She will never be forgotten.

Sidenote: I am always reminded when I am at my Grandparent’s house, whether through pictures or stories I hear, that life was very different in those few generations before mine. The family unit was strong but always had time for each other. The community supported each other and although they worked hard, life was simple and they had fun. I have said it before… I think this rat-race we find ourselves in today is all wrong.