I’m Such a Nerd

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2014 by me

BK got invited to a BBQ Saturday night.  As part of the deal she had to make a dessert.  We were hanging out together during the day, going longboarding and such, and she’d invited me to the BBQ.  We decided it’d be easier to make a dessert at my place and then leave from there so after we were done skating we went to my house and started baking, and promptly found out that I was short on butter so I rushed over to the grocery store.

I get the butter, I get in line.  The guy in front of me has a bill for $20.79.  He runs his debit card.  Declined.  The cashier takes a couple things out to get it to $15 bucks and he runs it again.  No joy.  So the guy walks across the open space between the cash register and the bank and goes to run the same ATM card to see if he can get any money out of the machine.

The line behind me had grown, it was fairly busy at that time.  The cashier tried to call a manager to suspend the transaction.  I told the cashier to just add my butter to the guy’s bill and paid for it all.

Here’s the thing.  If it would’ve been some frazzled mom or some little old lady I wouldn’t have minded.  Might’ve even liked the possibility of coming across as a hero.  But it wasn’t a woman.  It was a guy just a couple years older than me.  So I tried to get the heck out of there before he came back from the ATM so I didn’t have to face him.  I didn’t know how to take his gratitude if he was thankful, and I didn’t want to face his anger if he was upset or embarrassed.  So I skeddaddled just as fast as my little legs would carry me.

Parenthood

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2014 by me

For a variety of reasons I hate this show.  Mostly because I am somehow addicted to it.

This week’s episode was particularly frustrating.  They had a nice mixed message.  A teen-aged boy who was punished for chasing a girl and an older man who rewarded for it.  Then it ended on a cliff-hanger on whether or not the patriarch was going to survive.

But mostly I hated it because of the older guy.  “Fight for your love”.  That normal Hollywood thing.  No matter how bad you screw up, just chase her long enough, harass her enough, say the right thing, perform the right big act, give her the right puppy dog eyes and she’ll take you back.  If only it worked that way.

Introverts

Posted in Uncategorized on November 14, 2014 by me

It’s funny.  It seems like 2014 was the year of the introvert.  I saw tons of articles and cartoons and Facebook memes and blah-blah-blah explaining introverts.  And it got annoying.  Like it was a badge of honor on Facebook to post one and say “see, see?”

A lot of the articles seemed really superficial to me.  Kind of like having a really generic fortune and just forcing yourself to interpret your situation just right to say “wow, that fortune came true!”  Or a horoscope.  “Man, that thing was right on the money!’

This one though, seemed to have a little more depth and to ring a little truer to me.  There are a couple “Duh!” moments in it, but the ones that I can relate to?

1)  Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.

Not only does small talk stress me out, sometimes it annoys me.  The idea of making idle chit-chat at networking events is torture to me, although I’ve practiced it and I’ve gotten a lot better at it.  But sometimes, making small talk with people I know is annoying.  It’s a distraction to me.  One thing that’s just dawning on me here.  At some jobs I have to be “on” a lot.  As a manager, I have to talk to a million people in the course of my day.  If the introvert/extrovert/energy thing is true, when I come home I just want to sit on the couch for a couple hours and be alone in my head with the TV on and just recharge.  I had a relationship where my favorite thing to do was just sit on the couch with her and watch t.v.  But she’d get frustrated that I wasn’t talking to her.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk, it’s that right then, I couldn’t do the small talk thing.  I was just completely burned out.  I’m going to have to remember that moving forward.

I don’t like to speak for a group, just myself, but I think this is probably a fairly universal truth for introverts.  I might not’ve been the best at talking, I might have hated small talk.  But the fact that I wanted her there on the couch beside me?  Instead of being alone?  Says a lot.

2)  They succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.

This one is interesting to me.  When I’m in practice as a public speaker (it requires practice for me), and when I’m on, I’m freaking awesome talking in front of a crowd.  I can have people laughing and chuckling, engaged, asking topic related questions and it’s a euphoric high.  But when it’s over?  I want to run and hide from the one-on-one follow up questions.

3)  They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.

Radio operator?  IT Guy?  These aren’t really social jobs.

4)  When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit.

Sweet Baby Jesus this is me.  Church?  Sitting next to strangers?  Has made me get up and walk out.  I hate it when ushers tell you you have to move in to make room for people.  Screw that.  I got there early and picked my aisle seat.  They can move around me.  The Army used to make you “move up and fill in the empty spaces”.  Special kind of hell for me. Movies, sporting events and flights?  Yeah, I specifically buy the aisle seats.

5)  They think before they speak.

I think this ties in to the small-talk thing.  I can’t just tell you how I feel at a moment’s noti7ce.  It’s not that I’m stupid about my feelings (well, sometimes I am), it’s that I have to figure out what I’m feeling, and then I have to figure out what to say and how to say it.

6)  They physically can’t stand talking on the phone.

AAAAAND so is this one.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to her, it’s that talking on the phone is a special kind of hell.  Sure she heard me talk on the phone to people.  But not people I saw everyday.  It was my Dad, my sister, a far away friend or two.  And generally it wasn’t chit-chat, it was bigger stuff we were talking about.

7)  They literally shut down when it’s time to be alone.

This was the realization from earlier this year.  The crankiness I get after too much time with a smile on my face making small talk with people I don’t know well.  The torture of wanting to leave and waiting for someone who is comfortable there and doesn’t realize how miserable I am.

‘Cause… you know… I hadn’t cried in awhile…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2014 by me

Moving

It almost seems silly…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2014 by me

to link to a post on another blog that turns around and links back to a post on mine, but I really appreciated Lori’s kind words today as well as her support over the years.  That support has been for me personally, for my soldiers as well as being a military mother and supporting tons of soldiers that she’s never had a chance to meet personally but that she was exposed to through her son and through the efforts of the various non-profits that she started to support us.

Happy Veterans Day to all vets and to all the people who have supported us!

Veterans Day 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2014 by me

When I first heard of Soldier Ride I found out that there was one in Colorado Springs in the spring of the year.  I applied and listed that as my preferred location, assuming that they’d send me to it anyways to keep costs down.  Spring came and went with no word from WWP.  I was surprised several months later when they invited me to participate in the Phoenix Soldier Ride.  My folks live in Phoenix and at that time I didn’t fully understand what Soldier Ride was, so I jumped at it, assuming I was getting a free ride to see my folks.

On the first day of Soldier Ride I quickly realized that I’d underestimated the emotional impact of the event and that I would be cheating myself if I carried through with my plans of spending evenings with my Dad by the pool.  I’d already invited him to come out to the hotel to meet me, it was a travel day and people were trickling in.  My flight had gotten in in the morning and our first hard-time wasn’t ’til 5:00pm.  I had figured he and I could go walk around the nearby mall and stay out of the heat and catch up.  By the time I realized that I should be spending the time getting to know my fellow vets, he was already on his way and it was too late to cancel.

When he got there, I took him around and showed him the amount of effort being put into Soldier Ride on our behalf and gave him a better understanding of what the program was about.  But as we were walking around I almost felt…  ashamed.  That’s probably the wrong word, but I was sad and disappointed for him, that we were getting all this wonderful support and that when he came home from Vietnam he was forced to hide his service away and not talk about it to anyone.  I’ve been shot at, ambushed, blown up.  I’ve had friends die in combat.  I’ve volunteered to do things that scared the shit out of me and that I still hide from talking about on any serious, emotional level.  I know I’m carrying around a lot of baggage that I need to deal with.  I’m not trying to minimize anything that I’ve, we’ve done.  I’m glad that I’ve got all these resources to help us.  I’m just so disappointed that those that came before us didn’t have these great tools.

The last day was a travel day as well.  Breakfast and survey in the morning, then quick good-byes and people leaving.  Many drove, some were going out to the airport at various times throughout the day.  Earlier in the week I’d asked my parents to pick me up and hang out for an hour or two before going to the airport.  One of the guys there was on the same flight out as me and we’d become pretty good friends over the week.  I asked if he wanted to tag along and he jumped at it, deciding it was more fun to hang with us than sit at the airport.

There’s a military memorial across the street from the capitol building in Phoenix with some very moving tribute to the soldiers from Arizona who lost their lives in the various conflicts.  With no other idea of what to do while we were waiting I suggested that my Dad take us there.  It was, as always, an emotional experience.  But it was also interesting to stand back and watch my Dad talk/teach/elicit response in his quiet way.  He’d only just met my buddy but was already having an impact on his life by discussing the various monuments with him, listening to what the GWOT memorial meant to us, explaining what the Vietnam memorial meant to him.

I’ve got a tradition for Veterans Day.  I’ve written about it before, here and here.  What I do is generally buy shirts that are veteran themed, get permission from my HR Department and hand them out to employees and peers at the company that I work for who are vets, and let them know that there is an exception to dress code for Veterans Day and that they can wear them to work that day if they so desire.  In the past, I’d bought the basic Veteran shirt from RangerUP.  The first year I did this, I bought extras and gave them to friends and my Dad.  I was excited, Dad called me the day he got it and thanked me for it and has worn it multiple times since, with pride.  It’s made me very happy and proud to see him take pride in his service and open up more and more about it over the last decade or so.  This year I noticed they had a new shirt for Vietnam Vets.  Of course I had to get it!  Even though the shirts that I ordered for my new team at the new job haven’t shown up yet, he got his on Saturday.  I got the standard, low-key text from my Dad.  Probably something like “pretty cool shirt.  thanks.”

But the next day I got a couple pics (which he would kill me if he found out I posted one!).  He was so excited and liked the shirt so much he couldn’t wait ’til Veterans Day to wear it.  dadvet

 

It makes me happy, but it sure doesn’t feel like it’s enough.  You know what it is?  I just realized this as I’ve been typing the last couple sentences.  He’s my Dad, but he’s more now.  He’s a battle buddy, a comrade-in-arms.  And I feel guilty because I’ve got these resources to tap into that he doesn’t.  That’s not fair.  That’s not sharing my cold bottle of water with my gunner while we’re out on patrol.  That’s not sharing cookies fresh from home even though I really want to horde them all for myself.  That’s so much worse.  There’s a deeper bond between us now, as peers and I feel like I’m violating it.  I know I’m not.  I didn’t make the rules, I didn’t create the situation.  And I can’t deprive myself just because that’s the way the situation is.  But that’s how I feel about it.

Ugh. That Damned Internet

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2014 by me

A friend of mine died several years ago.  The last week or so I’ve gotten probably 30 spam emails from his old email address.  I wonder how much more often this will occur as we move forward.  Not with this guy specifically, but in general.

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